May 13, 2021
Today we have the incredible Casanova Brooks on the podcast, and when we say don’t go anywhere – you NEED to hear his story – we mean it.
To give you a little insight, Casanova is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, high-energy keynote speaker, and real estate professional. Through his battles with adversity in many stages of his life including stage four lymphoma cancer, to losing his mother, job, and home in a matter of a couple of weeks, even with having very limited resources Casanova learned to develop a bulletproof mindset to thrive and succeed in life and business. From producing 46 deals and $8 million in his first year in real estate to now owning multiple businesses, he has been an action-taker in every sense of the word. Casanova now focuses on empowering others to focus on developing their mindset to become the best version of themselves to thrive in their own lives.
On today’s show, we chatted with Casanova about his story, where he started, everything he went through in life, and how he continuously fought through adversity after adversity in his life. When you hear his story, you almost can’t believe where he is today from where he came from. Today he shares with us the mindset that gave him hope to continue amid challenges and grief, to whom he attributes his character development, how to keep going when you feel unmotivated, and what advice he has on how to lead a life of impact over income. This episode is POWERFUL and will leave you with tangible, practical advice for how to harness your mindset into one of growth and hope against all odds, as well as a motivational kick in the pants to help you uplevel yourself and your business.
Cassanova is originally from the south side of Chicago, whereas today he resides in Omaha, Nebraska. Being raised by a single mom, his dad was never in his life, last he knew he was alive and has thirteen brothers and sisters from his dad’s side. On his mom’s side, he is an only child and grew up in that way as well. Growing up Cassanova was no stranger to adversity. At the age of eight, his two best friends in Chicago had asked him to go to the beach with them (which was a normal routine). At the last minute he decided to sit this one out, well a couple of hours later they both ended up drowning off of the pier at Lake Michigan. Why he wasn’t right there with them doing everything as normal, he doesn’t know. Cassanova always says that God his creator had a bigger purpose for his life, so he is fortunate enough to still be here.
Then when he was around 10 years old, he started to notice how inundated with drugs, gangs, and violence that was all around him. At the time he wasn’t involved but you can see where that path was going to go as your environment becomes your association. His grandma who stepped in at an early age to be kind of the father figure in his life decided they should move to Sioux City, Iowa. Cassanova goes from big-city Chicago to not only do people look like him, to Sioux City which is a town of 1,000 people, cornfield, cattle, and almost no one who looks like him. Casanova finds the silver lining in every circumstance and in this one it allowed him to focus on building relationships and not grow up with an ignorant mindset. That ignorant mindset that just because someone doesn’t look like you means they have to be against you and there is no way they can be with you in life. That was a silver lining for him and to this day he has that mindset that it is relationships over everything.
Growing up in Sioux City, he lived a normal kid’s life. Started getting popular in high school playing basketball, football, dance squad, and track. Things were going well and then in his sophomore year Cassanova started struggling with breathing just walking down the halls in school. After telling his mom they decide that if it persists they would get it checked out, so fast forward they go to the hospital and since it had to do with breathing they decided to keep him longer and run more tests. Later that night they came back saying they would like to transport him to the University of Iowa because they thought it might be more serious and that he might have cancer. Six hours later he finds himself at the University of Iowa where they run more tests and come back saying he has stage four lymphoma cancer, throughout his body. They put an emergency port in his chest and it was connected to his jugular vein and for the next two years, he experienced everything that somebody experiences when it comes to the c-word with bone marrow and chemotherapy.
It was a challenging time for Cassanova and being a 15-year-old boy where those next two years are supposed to be the time where you are somebody. Your junior and senior year, everything is supposed to be great, those are the two years where you can be the man or the woman. For him, it looked a lot different but had the incredible support of two strong women, his mom, and grandma.
Fast forward to his biggest storm in life, six and a half years ago his wife and he decided to move down to Omaha for a job opportunity he had. Getting a job as a digital marketing consultant at a fortune five hundred company, within eight months he finished as number nine in the entire company with over 450 sales employees. He was on the up and up and figuring out his path in life. After seeing management positions available he started to apply for them but soon figured out that everybody could tell him, no, but nobody could tell him yes.
With having no college degree Cassanova started going home and studying on Youtube University with what he could do. He came across a real estate video and a guy in the video said you have to find a way to be the lord of your land. Why is because he or she that owns the land makes the rules. After dragging his feet he finally got his license but found the challenge of being in a cubicle Monday through Friday from 9-5 every day. After finding an outside sales job at the same company he worked for they had just put their first house under contract to buy. That same day his mom and grandma called saying they wanted to move down to Omaha to be closer to them. All this was happening in a matter of weeks! They moved his grandma and mom down to Omaha and within 24 hours his mom ends up in the hospital after battling esophageal cancer. At this time he is also starting this outside sales position where they require you to go to Rochester, New York to complete your training. Cassanova received the call that his mom had passed while he was up in Rochester and took the first flight back. Then a week later his manager comes back and tells him he needs to complete his training or they have to let him go. He decides to be let go but they give him a three-week grace period so that they can still close on their house before he is let go. Two days before closing on the home, underwritings come back and they go to reverify employment and by the time they got the information on Monday he had stopped working there last Friday so they didn’t approve the loans. All within a matter of two and a half weeks he lost his mom, job, and home.
Fast forward, within the next nine months, he did 46 real estate deals and eight million dollars in volume. Received the rookie of the year in Nebraska in real estate and now owns multiple businesses, including real estate and daycare centers.
At the age of eight that was a big turning point. When something tragic happens you have an opportunity to allow yourself to be painted as a victim or a superhero. For him when he was eight, he was always viewed as healthy and nothing wrong, after his friends passed everyone kept asking if he was okay. Not liking that uncertainty helped him develop a callus early on.
Then at 15, his mom and grandma did so much for his mentality. They never owned a house, car, land, nothing growing up so how they were paying the medical bills he never knew. He never saw them break down or sweat the stress he is sure that caused. That was huge for him, so early on he developed a mindset that, joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for a little bit of pain. No one wants to go through pain but you have already survived 100% of the days that you were challenged 100% to the max, so there is no reason that you can’t keep going.
To help strive for hope, Cassanova always looked ahead to something that could make him smile. It could be something so minuscule. Look forward to something weekly, it can be small but it will help pull you through. All the little losses that you take aren’t losses but little lessons.
Motivation is short-term. When you talk about motivation, a lot of times motivation comes from somebody dangling a carrot in front of you. For Cassanova, his motivation was his family. How his mom and grandma were anchors for him. Even if you’re not the one going through the storm right now, you can be the anchor for that person. Cassanova believes he is only here today because of his family. Being raised by strong women- his cousins, mom, grandma, and wife. This is why he is so passionate about women because so many have shaped him in his life.
Remember, even if you’re not the one going through the storm you can still be that anchor for someone.
Cassanova’s motivation was and still is the fact that his son is watching him. Having her favorite movie growing up as a kid be The Lion King, where Simba always watches Mufasa. No matter how cheesy that is, it is so powerful as well. He knew that his son was watching him and how he was going to respond to everything. Everything that Cassanova tries to do is to tie it into how it can give him meaning in life.
The opposite of motivation is an inspiration. Inspiration is something that sticks around more long-term. When you are inspired by something it’s hitting a part of your soul that makes you come alive. For Cassanova he always goes back to being a child, a lot of people aren’t motivated because at the age of 14-15 for whatever reason you stop being embraced for being a kid. You stop being embraced for having a dream or an imagination. People tell you no you have to go to college and be great at this one thing. If you look at it, anybody who has nieces and nephews, grandkids, when they are trying things out in the beginning you’re going to tell them to keep trying. If they don’t like dance, try softball. We want them to try all these different things so they don’t feel trapped in a box. We want them to find the thing that makes them come alive.
What is your gift? What is the thing that comes easy for you and is harder for other people but also what is the thing that people say wow and thank you in the same sentence for? We all have that, it doesn’t have to be some crazy skill set. It could be customer service. It could be you just love to take photos. The reason people don’t feel motivated is at some point they think this is not what they want to do long term.
A lot of people want to be an entrepreneur, but you start at being a solopreneur and you never graduate to an entrepreneur because you feel like you have to do everything. We have to do everything to build this team and then find ourselves with a scarcity mindset. That is why a lot of people lose motivation because it’s all about me me me. At the end of the day, the most valuable asset you have is your time so you have to focus on leverage, abundance, and focus on everyone who can win off of your talent of just being you. Why we lose this motivation is there are so many day-to-day tasks that become mundane, but we don’t want to outsource it or build a team because we feel like other people can’t do it as well as we or we don’t have the money to take the risk. Focus on the long term and that it has to have impact over income and bring on people that can help along with the story.
For Cassanova, it’s always relationships over revenue. He understood that having a story and building relationships was great for him, but he wanted to build something bigger than himself. That is why his podcast Dream Nation and the companies they have built is to create something to inspire the world. Allowing other people to eat off of something bigger than he because he believes everything starts with a dream.
Those of us who dare to dream while the rest of us are settling for what society is telling us to be. We’re the ones being trailblazers, world changers and ultimately we make this world a better place.
Real estate has always been his what and how but it has never been his why. Why he gets up every morning is to use his experiences to inspire someone else to go out there and create a life by their design.
How can you have more impact? It’s the words that you say, but at the end of the day, it’s the impact that you have on people. That is what Cassanova always tries to build himself on, he has a lot of businesses, but at the end of the day, it always impacts over income.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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