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Like our host, NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis knows what it means to be driven…
That’s probably what drew Raphael to him in the first place, all those years ago when he was still living in his Mom’s basement, “broke as a joke” and searching for his way out.
After all, they had a lot in common. Dads that weren’t there. Moms who needed them to be the “men of the house.” A seemingly constant battle just to get by - to barely make it.
There was that and his incredible, unshakeable faith.
Most people dream about meeting their Mentors, but Raphael went out there and did it, and in this second episode of The Real Empire Show you can sit in on their interview and walk away with a wealth of knowledge to fuel your fight for Financial Freedom.
For anyone who has ever struggled to rise above or to break the chain of generational bondage to the wrong mindset or poor decisions, this podcast is for YOU!
Because there are no circumstances out there that with the right mindset and mentors, you can’t rise above!
It hasn’t always been easy for Ray, or for Raphael. It won’t always be easy for you, either. But with the strategies and insights you’ll gain in this episode, you’ll be all the stronger and equipped to weather whatever storm may blow your way.
Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss our next episode, either!
Hi, guys…this is Raphael Vargas. Welcome to the Real Empire podcast. Today we have a very, very special guest, Mr. Ray Lewis himself. Ray Lewis doesn’t need too much of an introduction, but he was your, you were an ex NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens. Yeah. And a lot of people might not know this, but you know, seven years ago, how I got connected with Ray was seven years ago when I was building my company in my mother’s basement. You know, I used to watch your videos and I related so much with you, right? I really did so much with you because, you know, I went through similar things, right? My father wasn’t around when I was trying to start my company. I felt a lot of solitude and the only person that I could turn to was God, right? My mother was working two jobs, trying to take care of me and my brother and my brother’s mentally disabled. And you know, I’m trying to start this company having this big dream for real estate. I’m sure you had a big dream to be an NFL super superstar and not a lot of people maybe believed in you, you know, or thought it would happen and you had to believe in yourself and ultimately you had to believe and have faith in God’s vision for you more than anything.
Well, honestly, I think a lot of people say football and the vision was not football. My vision was really to provide a way for me and my mom to get out of situations that we were in. You know, my vision of lifting weights or starting to train was not about making a tackle, but it was all about making sure that a man never put his hands on my mom again. You see, so that introduction of pain as a young child, right? Father wasn’t around. It created a certain mindset in me that there’s no pain the lasts all the ways, but there’s distractions that’s every second of your life. So you can either look at something as a pure distraction, right? Or You could look at it as a detour. And that’s the difference that you have to figure out very quickly the difference between detours and distractions,
Because the biggest problems, people fail to realize that sometimes God will take, he’ll take you on different detours to get you to the place that he wants you to be. But people come in your life to actually distract you. And people was distracting what I want it to be, which was just a child. I just want to be a young kid playing football in the streets coming in every day. And it wasn’t that, it was me holding my mom every day when her eyes was freaking bleeding. Yeah. And I’m sitting there and 10 years old, I ran into who God was and I had a conversation with God. I’m in my room and I’m screaming, crying, saying “Why does my mother have to endure this?” And the next thing you know, I heard this voice, you know, and started praying and um, we went through one last altercation, um, I up, I asked my mom for these deck of cards weeks prior and she ended up declining for a few weeks.
But then she finally brought me these cards and uh, she had just got through with this altercation and going through it with this guy. Um, and I grabbed these cards and I just, I went, I ran to my room and I just smashed the card on the floor and I then a six came. I did six pushups, eight came, I did eight. Jack, Queen, King came, I did 10. Ace, 25; Joker, 50. And I was just making it up as I was going. I was like, it don’t matter. And I just grabbed those cards and just started doing push ups, push ups, push ups, push ups, push ups, push ups, shuffle them again, started doing, sit ups, sit ups, sit ups, sit ups, sit ups, sit ups, sit ups. And then, man, I’m telling you, I never forget, I just told this story recently the other day…I felt the pain so severe in my stomach that I thought that I was like, I had really did something. I thought I had tore something. And the moment I felt that pain, I heard my mother’s voice released from her pain. Her room was right next door to mine and I heard her say, “Hah!”
And I immediately went and chased what that pain felt like again, cause that pain was not greater than my mother’s voice. And that’s what got me really firing to the point that I–most people run from what’s painful. Yeah, I chase it because I want to fail now. Swim better later.
I think this, this leads to a really good point because I think a lot of people think that they can just get the knowledge in real estate investing or in the NFL. And if I send out postcards, if I make the calls, I’m going to get deals. And I think what they fail to realize that sometimes it’s not that easy. It’s not that easy. It wasn’t that easy for me. I remember the same exact…it’s so funny, you know, this leads into the mindset behind being a successful entrepreneur, real estate investor or whatever it is. Right? But the same kind of thing happened to me, right. I went through three days of no sleep because I was watching my mother, you know, struggling trying to take care of me and my brother coming. We, she was doing the same thing, going, working two jobs and then going to school and studying at nighttime and she would stay up. I said, my mother is going through that. I got to go through that to it and I’m going to take her out of this situation, you know? And so the same exact thing. So explain what, how does that, how does that mindset translate to entrepreneurship, success in life, financial success, success in the NFL, success in whatever it is. Why does that mindset so important to be able to endure pain for greater good, for greater causes?
Yeah. Yeah. You gotta be, Oh, I’m okay with failing a lot. Yeah, I’ll try anything. And that’s what I think as an entrepreneur, as a guy who really chased football and wanted to be the best at it but, I miss more tackles than I made, but the ones I made though, yeah, we’re purely came from me being patient enough to study the things I was supposed to study. Entrepreneurship is all about studying the history. That’s before you. That’s what, that’s true entrepreneurship. If you don’t understand the history of it, then you just probably repeating the wheel of what 80 other thousand people are doing. Right. It’s the same thing in my game and in my game, you can either go out and say, I’m going to be the best or you can go study the best, the top five or 10 linebackers that was before me, I wanted to know who they were. I wanted to know who Mike Singletary was, I wanted to know who Willie Lanier was, I wanted to know who Lawrence Taylor was. I wanted to know who Dick Butkus was, I wanted to know who Jack Lambert was. I wanted to know who they were and I wanted to know what made them special and I wanted to listen to how people talked about them. And I went and found out that silence and I said, I got it. And so then I started to piece myself together based off the historical things I learned. Right? There’s nothing, I haven’t studied from Dr. Martin Luther King. There’s nothing I haven’t heard from Dr. Myles Monroe.
That’s my favorite pastor, by the way. Favorite one.
Right? We lost him way too quick, too.
Way too quick. And on a private jet, you know?
Yeah…on a jet. And there is nothing greater than me personally. Right. How I study my Bible, I guess so unique. It’s all intertwined though. Like everything is successful in business and wealth. People really think that wealth is money–wealth is your relationship with God. You can take all my money away from me right now, but if you leave me with my faith, if you leave me with my faith, I promise you I’ll get back to the top because that’s, that’s irreplaceable. Right? And so what I’m chasing now is even more vibrant. That’s why life is so freaking amazing. And that’s why every entrepreneur has to understand this. You dictate your destiny and your consistency. Your consistency is the only thing. It’s the only thing determines that. That’s why I’m making money is easy. That’s why I’ve been making money since I was 18 years old, right?
So making money…ha…I figured that out years ago. What you have to figure out, about making that money is do you become a slave to your own money? Right? So do you become your own God, right? Because a lot of times then we get success in the entrepreneurial world, right? We find ourselves at a certain level. We find success. We find money, we find fame, we find all these things. But again, our identity, our foundation has slacked off. We don’t pray as much. Number one, we don’t read our Bibles and mice no more. We don’t hang out with the people that know that all they want from us as to help us. We stopped hanging out with people that always needs us to pay the tab. But this is what you have to trade it in to what I truly believe, true entrepreneurship tied with greatness really is. I truly believe this and I’m telling you this is kind of a book I’m writing at the same time, but I truly believe this and this for anybody. See, you will never touch a certain level of greatness until your comfort zone is disturbed.
If you figured out your comfort zone too soon in life, it’s going to be impossible for you to be happy. That’s why people with wealth are depressed because their comfort zone is they are able to buy everything they need with and not faith. Faith buys me a ticket to live the rest of my life. Money can only buy me something that somebody like me and you created.
That’s kind of where my mindset changed as a player, like I went so deep in the history, man, and that’s what I think that mindset really is. I think that mindset is something that you have to establish through desire. Desire that’s in something that’s inside of you. That same pain. I feel it as a kid when I work out every day, I don’t work out to say, “Hey, let me go get a good sweat”. I work out to get to that level of pain. I want to see what that feels like again and now that I’m more mature, now that I’m 44 years old, let me see how I handled it. You know, I handle it now when I’m on a bike. I keep to it to where I want to pass out. I want to feel that. Yeah, that’s when I know I’m going to that level, right? It’s like that level. Like, bro, I’m telling you this like this, this anybody out there. I guarantee you there’s no man on this earth that I can outwork me. I don’t care what skill you have because of my mindset. I want pain. I want you to take me there. Then my training starts.
That’s scary, man! You know what’s, you what’s crazy, what I’m fathoming about is so many people are like, I want to reach success in real estate for freedom, and then when that freedom comes, I want to hang on the beach. Go vacation. You’ve reached a very…I mean, in my opinion, right? This is my opinion. You’re the GOAT of the NFL. That’s my opinion, right? You’re the GOAT of the NFL. You can relax, you have absolutely have the opportunity to relax, hang out with your kids, do whatever you want. You still have this mentality and I think why is that so important? Why is it so important that once you reach a level of success that you dreamed about to always keep pushing?
Because you’re always being watched. That’s the key to life, right? People always paying attention and you have to be remembered for something, and so my fire has a greater fire now than it did when I was playing because when I was planning, I got it, but I was doing it for a game, right? Everything I’m in now, it’s pure light. To save a billion lives. You got to be in a lot of prayer. You got to read and a lot of books and you gotta be okay with having a lot of haters and I’m okay with all of those. You know what I’m saying? Like, I mean that’s the thing, that you got to have your own mentality. You’ve got to have your own system. You have to have your own program that don’t need nobody else to work out with me. Don’t need nobody to train with me.
A military guy asked me the other night, he said, what are you training for now? Why are you trying so hard? I said for a better me. I want to see what that feels like. I want to one day get to feel like what the ultimate man feels like. To where my body is an optimum level. My mind is functioning at an all time high. I don’t eat meat. I don’t put nothing confusing into my body. Well, I do have a cigar every now and then. That’s my getaway time. I got one right here, waiting for this thing to end. So, so don’t look at me and say I’m perfect, we all got vices. We all got things. But I’ve set enough things aside because I want to chase what it means to be great in God’s eyes…man’s approval? Child, please! God’s eyes and that’s what we all supposed to be doing.
That’s what the good book confirms. To love that neighbors as thyself cause we supposed to share what we learned. That’s the difference of knowledge and wisdom, right? Knowledge is actually the application of wisdom, but the only way to apply wisdom is you must be knowledgeable, which is going to take a lot of reading, which is going to take a lot of praying, which is going to take a lot of sacrifice. Yeah. It’s going to take a lot of those things. The 1% of this world. Yeah. I’m bold enough to say this. The 1% of this world needs to have a sit down in one room and figure out do you want to be a host for God or a slave to ego? Yeah. Because they came down with it. No matter how much money they got, but there’s no reason that we have homelessness.
There’s no reason that young, beautiful girls are being trafficked, or the way they’re being trafficked. There are things that we have to start paying attention to that affects our future, that we’re letting happen. So being an entrepreneur or being a person of status that you’re gaining something, you don’t gain it, then stop. You don’t get to the top of the mountain by saying I’m staying up here and I’m never coming back down there. That’s the lie our world told us. That’s why all the superstars and all the actors and actresses can never walk the streets regularly because they’re their own gods. I need security. Somebody goes out to hurt me. I always got a set of eyes; that’s a different kind of security. I’ve got a set of eyes. I walk the streets again, I get out and I meet people and I let people see what a walking miracle is. You don’t have to always pay to see me. Right? And so that’s what I truly believe. Why I keep going, because one day when I’m gone, the legacy that I will leave on this earth will put a dent in what God wants to do with it. And that’s what my legacy is chasing. And that’s why I get so freaking giddy about entrepreneurship because it’s like I don’t care what it is. Real estate, it don’t matter what it is. You, I can tell you, your success rate by what you commit to.
Yeah. And it ain’t hard, all these people out there want to be successful, but everybody want to be successful and make a few million dollars and then go sit on a beach. I ain’t got time. They still trying to get me into golf.
Now, I don’t have time to waste six hours. I get it. I get it. And I’m getting there. I’m getting there. I played 18 holes the other day,
And I’m like, whew, seven hours and now I get it. Because if you spend time with the right person on the golf course and then you walk away with two or three deals, but I get it. But I’m just at this different place where everything that I’m doing with this, whether it’s my No Excuses camp, whether it’s my initiative of actually saving and impacting a billion lives, whether it’s really going at this anti-trafficking situation. Whether it’s teaching entrepreneurs how to be an entrepreneur, how to understand, whether it’s teaching a young man to, to learn how to walk as a man without a father around you. Whether it’s teaching a young man how to be a man, how to return back to the gentleman, right? There’s a way that you’re suppose to present yourself. There’s a way that you should be speaking, there’s a way you should carry yourself.
Whether it’s all of these things that I’ve learned throughout my years, I truly believe it’s my duty to share. So that’s why everything we got in my company and one of my companies, which is the solar company. That’s why that whole, that whole movement is for one reason. It’s to freaking give people that was raised like me, real opportunities, the low income community that we are targeting right now, nobody’s scared. Why? Oh, they’re not subject to climate change? We all are! But every week, single parent mothers fight with paying their light bills. So that’s why we created Power52 right? That’s why we created the community solar solutions. I could’ve rode off and bought a whole island by myself and say I’m done. And the reason why God didn’t give me my big boom because he said “You’re not done”. See, I had different visions. God’s vision was very different than mine.
God said, “You’ve got work to do. Get your behind on social media. And tell these people the truth, that they better find me if they want happiness, if they want peace.” People look at my athletic ability. You better look at my foundation. My foundation is the reason I’m sitting here. My faith is the only reason that I’m bold enough to tell you my story, right? Because I know what’s real. But that’s what people are missing. And like I said, you can be successful. You could make money because the Devil has the same power to give you money. So that’s easy. The easiest thing in this world is to make money. The easiest thing, the hardest thing to do is to die and be represented by the man himself. That’s why he says, when people see you that they should see an image of me. Then when you go tell people all the time, don’t cry. It was a choice. I ran my race. We all have to run our race. The race in entrepreneurship and greatness is the race for your legacy. What will your legacy be when your day is done? Your mindset comes from a pure attitude and your attitude towards whatever you around. I don’t care what it is. Your attitude dictates your survival and my attitude…I don’t care about nobody’s opinion. I saw what that looks like, to listen to someone else’s opinion about something they don’t know.
So now it actually entertains me that I can live who I am as a man or whoever’s out there can live who you are and not have to look for validation through people. And I like life now, you know, I love what the game done for me, but I like life now. Like I love changing people’s lives. I love seeing people…I love seeing people find Christ. I love seeing people look at one thing and say, I’ve been reading my Bible every day. You better be doing something outside of checking Instagram. Cause that’s just paying attention to everybody else stuff. Use it…I tell my kids all the time, use it, don’t abuse it, use it. You know, now they have these, these things, the way you can read or pay attention to how much time, or where you’re spending time at, right, on your phones and different things. And I looked at mine the other day and I was like, wow, let me snapshot this and send it to my kids because on my phone, more space is used up by my Bible app than any other app on my phone, any other division on my phone. So it shows you history of what you’re actually studying it and that’s what entrepreneurship is: study. And that’s what greatness is; it’s studying the history so that you’re confident enough to make the play.
Wow. Yeah. That was a lot of wisdom. I appreciate that. And, um, you know, obviously I think, I think with all of that is meant to say the foundation of creating a legacy is the reason you’re still driven to this day. You could go buy an island. You’re still driven. We want to change lives. You here for legacy. And the only way to have a mindset like yours is by starting off with a strong foundation, a foundation in God. A foundation and knowledge in studying greats, a foundation in studying the world, obviously studying and understanding how the world works, understanding how business works as well. That’s so amazing. What’s the…we’ll end with this last thing. What’s one word of advice that you would give to an entrepreneur? A struggling entrepreneur like myself, you know, seven years ago I was in my mother’s basement, struggling, you know, had no guidance and have money for mentors. I didn’t have that. What’s one piece of advice you would say?
Yeah. Never give up and always find somebody who’s smarter than you to help you execute your vision