Grit.org Podcast - Episode 2: Colby Harris
Brian Harbin: Well, hello. My name is Brian Harbin. I'm our host for today's podcast “Grit.org” where we talk to top achievers in business and athletics just to learn how they have unlocked the power to build more grit in their lives. So today, super excited to have Colby Harris. So, who's really the first product of “Grit.org”. So, just to tell you guys about Colby. So, he's 19 years old, born and raised in Atlanta and then actually moved to a small-town Highlands, North Carolina, an altitude of 4000 feet, where he then also moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida. He's got two older brothers and a younger sister and has always had a passion for sports. But really made his mark in surfing where from age 12 to 16. He never lost a contest in his hometown of Fernandina Beach in surfing.
So, he was student body president of his high school, has worked as a kayak guide as well as started and run two business ventures. After graduating high school in the spring of 2020, he then came on board as one of our first and turns at Grit University. And in 8 weeks, he helped start and run Grit Camp where he led seven counselors and 206 campers and made a profit of $6,000 for the summer. He then came back for a second summer in 2021 where we had 281 campers, 24 counselors, and in just 6 weeks, made $10,000. He's now a full-time staff member at “Grit.org” and when he's not working with “Grit.org”, you can find him surfing, working out, coaching flag football or soccer. So, welcome Colby. Super excited to have you on.
Colby Harris: Thanks Brian, couldn't be more excited to be here kicking off the “Grit.org” Podcast.
Brian Harbin: Yes, so let's do this. So, before we roll up our short sleeve shirts and get into this, so wanted to open up with this kind of get to know you type question. So, share with us a quick story of your best our worst performance in the moment. So, whether it was like a clutch moment in life where the game was on the line and you delivered or you didn't deliver.
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely I can take you all the way back actually to 5th grade, I mean it was my first time playing on the 10-foot hoops. Still in Highlands North Carolina, so nonetheless playing a basketball game. We're down by two points couple seconds left on the clock coach calls a timeout. Sure enough, draw up a play to get me the ball, take the final shot. So, this was my first and actually my last attempt at that final shot. So, we draw up a play, we come back out on the court, we inbound the ball. Ball gets pushed around a little bit and sure enough we queue up the play. I get an off-ball screen, dart out to the perimeter, get the ball in my hands, three seconds left. Two, I put up a contested shot. One, it's a slow-motion moment and sure enough, brick and I mean brick just back of the rim. We lose the game and I immediately just start crying, you know, full breakdown, most heartbreaking moment as a 10-year-old, just couldn't believe it. So, I was completely shattered in the moment.
Brian Harbin: Oh man, that's brutal. Think everybody can relate to those moments where they feel like they wish they could have it back, right?
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you don't get any second chances, its stuff like that. So, got to get that first time around.
Brian Harbin: That's awesome. So, well, not awesome but yeah, thank you for sharing that. So, kind of rolling right into it. So, growing up, you lived in four different cities by the time you were eleven. So, born in Atlanta, city of 6 million people. But then you moved to Highlands, North Carolina which is in the mountains, 2 hours north of there, what a thousand people. Then you moved to Pontevedra Beach, again Jacksonville is a big city million people. Where then you moved to Fernandina Beach which is another kind of retirement town of 12,000 people. So, just a lot of different experiences in just 11 years. So, how do you think living and having all those different experiences has kind of helped shape who you are today?
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely I mean not only were they different towns but all in all just the perspective it gave me to an opportunity to not just see a few places but go through that process. I mean I actually went to three different schools in just one year from Highlands to Pontevedra to Fernandina. And throughout that process things get quiet and gets lonely, just going from home to school and back home at the end of the day. So, as I've grown up and obviously broke out of that box and made friends and became very comfortable. I've just never let myself forget what it was like to be that new kid on the block.
Brian Harbin: Yep, and I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling of loneliness and is definitely a tough to go through at that age for sure. I think definitely makes you more relatable for and empathetic for people that have been through that though.
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely and again I'm very thankful for the whole process in and of itself because actually was a little bit more of a shy kid when I was that age. Then as I grew up from going through that process of moving and experiencing that outsider sense. It just kind of created that urge to connect with people and build relationships and it really taught me that life really is all about evolving and you really just have to make the most of the cards you dealt.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, no doubt. What would you say kind of in addition to adjusting to being the new kid on the block? Any other important life skills you felt like you learned at that point in your life?
Colby Harris: Oh yeah, absolutely. Again, having to transition and make new friends, communication skills were huge and as I grew up got various jobs from spinning milkshakes to being a kayaking tour guide. It just really taught me how to talk to people and again, Highlands and Fernandina being retirement towns, a lot of older, wealthier, very particular people. It definitely tailored me to really know how to talk to a certain type of people and it made it a lot easier to talk to a younger person especially. So, I definitely carried that into business and life in general and that was just a huge asset that put into my life for the last 10 years.
Brian Harbin: Well, in developing those communication skills that age is paramount. I mean, especially a lot of kids nowadays or communication skills. If they can't say it in a text or a comment, right. So, being able to develop those skills that age is crucial. What about any advice that you could go back and give your 13-year-old self and then maybe why that was important at that time for you to hear?
Colby Harris: For sure, I would have to say just to take every trial and tribulation as an opportunity to grow. I dealt with same common struggles as any other 13-year-old. Acceptance, insecurities, all the norms and I really just feel like that's something that everyone experiences. So, if I could go back and just remind myself that everything's going to be alright and you got to capitalize on those opportunities rather than dwell on them really.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I know that would have been crucial for me to hear at that age. I remember being 13, I was 4.11’, 75 pounds, get cut from the baseball team which was my passion for being too small but it led me to tennis which was my second favorite sport and then ended up doing that for the next five years. So, but hearing that at that age, hearing that advice would have been huge just saying, hey, look, it all worked out for a reason.
Colby Harris: Exactly, and that's just how I feel about is that everyone really has these similar experiences and although they vary, they definitely boil down to very similar emotions experience. That's why I like to take the opportunity to get intimate about what I've been through because I feel like if everyone kind of took step to just be a little more open. It would help that next guy overcome any obstacle that they're facing.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, that's fantastic. So, what about do you feel like there were any pivotal moments for you that were kind of like a rite of passage where you go through something but then you come out a totally changed person on the other side.
Colby Harris: Absolutely. So, once we moved to Florida, the first thing I got into was surfing as you've mentioned. So, not only did it help me relax, just being in the water was very therapeutic. Anything in life or sports, school, my family, I could just leave it on the beach and get out and relax. But it was also the first solo sport I tried or I picked up, it used to just be basketball and soccer. So, getting into a solo sport really taught me a lot about responsibility and dedication and having to take myself out to improve was just a huge thing at that age to really learn that my success was going to determine the work I put in.
Brian Harbin: I'm surprised to hear you say that surfing isn't all that popular in Florida, but the thing about surfing that is not only physically demanding, having to get up on the board, the balance, the strength, all the paddling you have to do. But there's so many things that you can't control like the weather, the size of the swell. So, it's one of those sports is hard to get better at, right.
Colby Harris: Yeah, oh, absolutely. It definitely took, like I said, that dedication. I actually back seated all other sports to just go all in on surfing. But yeah, back to another rite of passage for sure a great one for me was actually stepping in as the student body president my senior year. I just remember being a freshman and actually watching the student body president at the time at pep rallies, even at school in the lunch room. No matter what it was, it kind of just carried a certain energy that led the rest of the school and I immediately knew that was just a position I wanted to hold one day.
Brian Harbin: And being student body president, a lot of people want to take on a responsibility like that is like a resume builder but for you, you took it to a whole another level, right. So, tell us about some of the things that you accomplished during your tenure as SGA president.
Colby Harris: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Looking back on now, if you ask some classmates or the administration at the time, they probably tell you, I was a little annoying with it with all the stuff that I wanted to have done. But for sure, so, the first thing and probably my most notable, I know it's been about 20 years since you were at a public high school. But I can tell you now, the water is terrible. Going to those water fountains and stuff, heavy with iron leaves that bloody taste in your mouth.
Brian Harbin: Florida water is bad as it is.
Colby Harris: Right. Nothing like the mountain water, I was used to for sure. So nonetheless yeah, I was a junior. I just gotten initiated as student by present. The first thing I did was go to the principal and say, hey, look I've been seeing these filtered water fountains at gyms, private schools, various areas that I've been to. I just recommended that we get it done especially with plastic usage and stuff like that these days. I figured it was a great step to take. So, sure enough come fall of senior year we got back to campus and there were filtered water fountains on every building or in every building on campus. So that was really exciting. There's still there to this day. And then another one I was really excited about is during our homecoming week actually started a flag football tournament for the students.
So even though we have various games throughout the week none of them really test athleticism or skill. So, I was like we need something that can really everyone to the test in that way so developed a flag football tournament that we would do on the Sunday to really kick off homecoming week, bring out big speaker, go to the to the stadium all that good stuff. The best part out about that one is really that it still runs to this day. So, I kind of left a big part of my legacy in that one and I hear great positive things about to this day. So, just being in that position whether it was creating new events orchestrating them, lining up stuff with the administration. Acting as a student by president really just helped me step into a new version of myself as a leader. That's where I really started to develop these very entrepreneurial skills that I really still carry with me to this day.
Brian Harbin: I'm sure rewarding to know that you left an impact, right. Nobody tried to impeach you.
Colby Harris: No, serious problems I might had a few, but we won't get into that.
Brian Harbin: So, at this point in your life SGA president, obviously you're winning all these surfing competitions. You got your businesses that you're running and obviously being first cousins had a lot of people in the family saying, hey, you really need to talk to Colby about working with you. I remember our first conversation in November of 2019 and I knew you're a hard worker I loved your passion and energy and I knew you wanted more than most teenagers wanted which was very appealing to me. But I remember that first call in November 2019 but tell us about call from your perspective.
Colby Harris: Definitely, I remember, I was just at the house and again, I was currently running a pressure washing business. It was about November. I think of 2019 that you and I first touch base. I remember you just asked if we could get on a call for a little bit and you kind of just laid everything out for me. Looking back on it, the first thing I remember is just immediately being all in. There was no if ands or buts after you'd took an about 15-minute spiel to let me in on it. But the three main components that really me, want to go all in were profit sharing, hands-on business experience, and implementing these time-tested life and success principles. I was always a very hard worker clearly as we're going through my stat sheet and what not, but I had never practiced any of these habits such as working out, reading, or meditating. So, I knew it would not only help me become a great entrepreneur but also helped me on my path of becoming a better young man.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and so then, over the course of the next few we started brainstorming different ideas. We didn't know exactly what we're going to be doing, but we came up with the concept of Grit Camp. Because it was a combination of your passion and our passion of sports and kind of taken advantage of my years of coaching and people, I knew through that. But we roll through, we're getting close to spring break now and then Covid hits, right. And everything changed we're two weeks before camp starts. Our facility isn't even locked in yet. Did you feel like you had any doubts at that point about your decision to come with work at Grit University?
Colby Harris: Honestly, no. I mean, there was a lot of factors. I clearly again, a lot of things going on. I remember coming down just two weeks before and you had mentioned the facility wasn't locked up but not only that, we only had two sign ups. So, we obviously had a mountain to climb but I never had any doubts. I say that honestly because I knew you were extremely determined to get Grit up and running and create these new ventures. Because you told me, it been nearly 20 years in the making. So, between your full dedication to it and my determination that just continue to excel. I knew we would make it work and then there's one very clear time that I remember of just being down here in Jacksonville with you. I'm pretty sure it was even that day that I was down where we were still trying to figure out if we did have a facility. And you just got to the point where you told me, look, no matter what happens you're going to get great experience and we're going to make some money. So, it was as simple as that.
Brian Harbin: Well, and part of it too is just that's the mentality that we're implementing of like hey whatever happens we're going to figure it out.
Colby Harris: We thrive on that.
Brian Harbin: That's right, we find a way no matter what. So, summer gets kicked off, our facilities locked in, the first week we had what 12 campers. But kind of a big victory for us that way we had Doug Marone who was the Head Jaguar coach at the time come and speak which is great and then shoot by week three we had what 64 campers. So, summer's kind of rocking along. Do you felt like, but then you're getting up at 5:30, taking a cold shower, working out running camp in the Florida heat all day. Then you guys are going out doing advertising and sales in the afternoon working out, meditating, journaling and reading at night. So obviously, full weeks do you feel like was there ever a point where you feel like you hit a wall.
Colby Harris: Yeah, I'd say I smashed the wall at one point. By week 3, I actually still hadn't had graduation, no prom, no senior trip. We're going to the Bahamas and I was actually an ambassador for the trip. So, I was going 50% off to a four-night trip to the Bahamas and I've only been out of the country once, so that was a huge bummer for me. But the icing on the cake of course is right there, at week three a big group of my friends including three of my best friends all went to Panama City Beach to just kind of Get out after all these cancellations and enjoy what would be our last summer collectively. So of course, I was here doing exactly what you were saying. Waking up at 5:30, running camp, using the afternoons for marketing.
So, each morning when I was waking up at 5:30, I would immediately kind of pull out my phone and I just have accumulation of Snapchats from the night before of everyone hanging out and having a good time. So, this would definitely sting for a little bit but then I'd snap of it very quickly. I would realize I had to go out that day and do everything in my power to make sure that I wasn't making these sacrifices in vain.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I know you guys did end up having prom and graduation rescheduled. Do you felt like being able to go to that was a nice recharge for you in the middle of the summer?
Colby Harris: Absolutely. I mean if I hadn't been able to do that, I've it would have been very difficult to continue to push forward. But sure enough, yes one of my classmates her grandmother actually felt so bad about our prom being cancelled that she actually open her riverfront property and hosted a problem for us. So that was on Saturday and then that Monday we had graduation at the football field at Fernandina Beach High School, which actually hadn't happened in about 15 years. So, we got to have graduation. I actually was given an opportunity to speak as well. So, I was on stage when we actually threw our caps in the air. So, looking out and seeing my classmates, my friends, my family, all these people who had had such an influence on my life over the last couple years. It was just a liberating moment to not only bypass COVID. Let COVID be what it is but for me to close the chapter of high school and just know that it's over and it's time to move forward and let's see what's next.
Brian Harbin: Yeah. Get some closure on it for sure and big time. Yeah, I remember you coming back that next Monday and you were just had that pep in your step. We’re nice and refreshed. I'm like alright Colby's back. We got that energy back out of him which is great. So, one of the things I had you guys do is we do a weekly blog. So, I had you guys write a blog about kind of your experience up to that point and the title of yours was “Sacrifice”. I really like that because understanding sacrifice means you understand delayed gratification and putting off something in the short run knowing that, hey, in the long run it's going to pay off and just shows a lot of a big sign of mature maturity. But tell us some about that about some of the character and you felt like you experienced that first summer.
Colby Harris: Yeah, I mean, it was a crazy summer and I experienced a lot of things that I never have before but I'd say the biggest one was really in my emotional control especially with my anger. I always had a certain intensity to me that could sometimes become less of like a seriousness and become more of a tempered tantrum almost. So, I really credit this change to my daily habits through not only running camp and being surrounded by these kids who are just lights of life every day, but also the reading, meditating, journaling. And then also a big physical factor for me had to have been working out. I know not to get too scientific on it and I don't even know a ton about myself. But yeah, when you do workout, it is proven that it releases those endorphins in your bloodstream and increases that feeling of satisfaction.
So, to be knocking that out first thing in the morning at 6 AM, it really sets the tone for the day and I would go hard. I mean, you would do the workouts with us. So, we took it seriously. If we're going to be up at 6 AM in the gym, we might as well make use of it. So, I work out early in the morning to this day because it's just become so necessary for my day to day.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and just as the listener's frame of reference here. So, before that first summer you weighed in at a 180 pounds. You had above 20% body fat. Could barely do what? 10 body pushups and pull ups and squats, right.
Colby Harris: On a good day.
Brian Harbin: But now 180 pounds you put on what 15 pounds of added muscle and shaved your body fat down to about 12% and now your bench is about 200 pounds and same with your squat mac. So, in addition to kind of that physical transformation that you went through, what would you say would be some of your other proud achievements from that summer?
Colby Harris: A huge moment for me at the end of that summer was actually at the internship banquet that you and Jen hosted for me and the other intern. Jen had actually put together a video, just an appreciation video for me and Dylan. It was basically a compilation of all the kids or majority of the kids that come to camp that summer. And they were just taking a few seconds to share what they liked about us and the memories they had with us and brutally honest some of the things they might not have liked about us. But nonetheless that was the first time I'd ever really felt like I'd impacted someone else's life or at least on that sort of scale. I mean it was probably upwards of 100 kids in that video talking about me and just telling me how much I meant to them.
So, to be in that moment and really seeing it after the hard work was done the sweat was put in the mental all of that stuff that had just been every day, day in, day out, all summer. It just reminded me of my counselors and how thankful I was for them and how big of a part they played in my life and the memories and lessons I shared with them. I could never take them back. So, it's definitely a shining moment.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and that video was all Jen's idea and it was really cool to be able to see the impact you guys had made through the eyes and of the of the kids which was fun. You mentioned the banquet so that was something that we did real just get to celebrate you guys. We had a private room at seasons 52, 6, 7 course meal with family and significant others and that's when we watch the video and then you guys get your check for the summer. So, you guys get your weekly salary and then your profit-sharing checked in. so, you're get your big check for $6,000, but then at that point you go back to Fernandina the plan was for you to start college in the fall. But tell us kind of what happened next.
Colby Harris: Right. So, it was interesting. Obviously, COVID hit. So, getting my paperwork and stuff, all that lined up was a huge hassle, abruptly leaving school. But another big thing driving the outcome of me not attending school last fall was that UNF was the only school I ever wanted to go to. University of North Florida and I'd actually been denied admission twice. So, I applied twice, got denied twice. So, I honestly think it was a blessing in disguise, because even though community college online is always an option. I really want to make sure I had time to continue to just hustle and stash as much cash as possible while living at home in Fernandina. So, that time I actually picked up two jobs. I was working at a high-end golf club as a golf cart attendant, so scrubbing clubs, talking to members, cleaning carts and stuff like that. Great business, very cash heavy again. And then outside of that I also got a job at a car wash, as a car wash attendant. So, getting rims stuff like that.
Obviously, I was just enjoying it being back home and just as hard as I could and my routine had to evolve obviously because it was no longer the Grit show. I was working on someone else's schedule but I still made sure to get that workout in every day again. It become a necessary action day in day out to get in the gym.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I remember that was something you definitely made a point to keep rolling. So, then January rolls around and then you were committed to come back for another summer at Grit University and help run Grit Camp. So, you would come down Friday, so all the kids that signed up for Grit Camp, they'd get their water bottle with their name on it, a T shirt and then we'd hand deliver it. Like on a Friday, we'd coordinate with the mom. So, you and I had a lot of windshield time together driving around to deliver these water bottles and T shirts. That's kind of when we started the process of talking about maybe you coming on full time in the fall. But tell us a little bit about that from your perspective.
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely. So, by January, I was still at the car wash and at the golf club as well, but I started to have this use it or lose it mentality as entrepreneur honestly. So, I kind of want to test myself and I just told myself like, alright create an idea, implement it and then scale it as best as possible. So, I came up with my second business which was the efficient assistant I just define as an assistance business. Where I felt that if you needed a light bulb change, your gutters cleaned, furniture moved or assembled you should just call in some young guys like myself and we'll take care of it for you. So, I did that up until summer 2021 I had to fully commit back to grit camp. But back to coming on full time, I didn't want to limit myself financially, but very similar to summer 2020 I knew that I was doing something bigger here. That it was something I want to be a part of I love the idea of being the first product and almost like this poster boy. You even said that to me one time, I was like, I like the sound of that. So again, there was just a lot of factors into it, but the biggest one would have to be just I loved the relationship we had. It really just came down to our visions aligning and really created a pretty dynamic duo. So, definitely knew it was a good choice for me.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I remember those conversations we would have driving around and anytime one of us would have an idea, we would start to build on it. Just it would be yes and instead of trying to limit the ideas. We kept expanding on them and it was just kind of like being this, very much like a startup feel to it. We could be creative and talk about all the places we could take this thing. But then I was thinking about, okay, well, if you come on full time, how we're going to keep you busy full time, and how we're going to generate more revenue in addition to what we get from Grit Camp.
Colby Harris: Right. Yes. So, I knew that we would just have to continue to work on building things. So, as the brainstorming grew, we knew it was time to launch Grit Club as well as start a podcast especially I remember me personally mentioning it to you and you're like, oh like I love that you would be interested in doing something like that. Just because I've always loved speaking and having good conversations. So, it really only seemed right to get something like this going where we could not only continue to stay connected with the people that are already in our network or they go to our camps, but to expand and just put out good quality content especially in such a crowded space with a lot of nonsense these days.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and as we get closer to the summer, you're in a situation where you needed a car, a reliable car. I'd had my Hyundai Sonata for 8 years from my reliable car, I put 100,000+ miles in this thing and. But I wanted to get a truck, wanted upgrades so I got my Jeep Gladiator. So, I end up selling you my Sonata and so here we are what maybe a month before camp starts and tell us what happened to that Sonata.
Colby Harris: Yeah, it's funny you say reliable because I mean we sold my mom's old Honda Pilot that she drove for about 5 years. My oldest brother Chase drove it for about 3 years. My second oldest brother Joey drove it for about 3 years and then I drove it for about 3 years. So, we sold that car. I'd take your Sonata. Again, I was coming down on Friday. So, I'm leaving Jacksonville. I get back to Fernandina about 500 yards from the house when just boom. Engine cuts, lights start flashing. I'm like, oh no. So, thankfully, I was able to get off the road safely. Car went at crank and sure enough we get it towed. Next day, I'm at my house. I'm in my room and I get the call and sure enough, engine's blown which anybody with a car knows engine transmission, you're having a bad day.
So, sure enough they tell me $5,500 out the door with labor and the engine itself, which was more than we actually purchase the car itself for. So, I remember just completely down and out it's the lowest I've felt in a long time and then sure enough I'm facing my palms sitting my room, when I get a text from you. Sure enough, the gist of it was very simple it's just, look, if a busted engine is the biggest mountain, we have to climb this summer, then we're in luck. Don't get drained over it. The only thing we can do is move forward. So, it just reminds me that we'd that I had good people in my corner and that I couldn't allow myself to dwell on it. We had too many things on our plate for me to get locked up in that and sure enough, the beauty of the unknown after sending inquiries to Hyundai for about two months. Before I knew, we had a brand-new engine dropped in there free of cost. So, definitely got the hook up on that one.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, I tried to buy the car back but yeah.
Colby Harris: No longer a lot.
Brian Harbin: That's right. That's right. Well, and again, kind of goes back to the mentality of it's not what happens to you how you respond to it.
Colby Harris: Yeah.
Brian Harbin: it was another good test going into the summer but you know and then you moved back into HQ. What do you feel like was different for you coming into that second summer?
Colby Harris: The first thing was definitely that I was going to be a loan intern, so it's definitely going to be a me versus me situation. I was always very competitive so that was a very driving factor in 2020. I was like, ah, I'm going to compete with this other intern. You know just because that's just a competitive nature I have. And then I also had spent the last 10 months working and living at home just hustling and grinding every single day. So, I knew it'd be easy to transfer back into Grit University life because I was hungry for more and I mean, starving. I couldn't wait to get back over here and just get back down to it.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I know the plan was for us to have another Grit University intern and maybe we thought it was going to be easier to get another intern than it was. But we're said, hey, if that not going to work out then let's really beef up our high school counselors and make this the best place for high school counselors to come work. So, and by the way, quick plug too if anybody is looking for a summer job next summer, go to “Grituniversity.com” and learn how to become an intern. But so, we go into you know summer 2021, we had two less weeks of camp but had 75 more campers than the previous year and 14 additional counselors. But tell us what it required to kind of keep growing Grit Camp at that point.
Colby Harris: Yeah, I would say the biggest thing for me was to not get too caught up in the management side of it. I mean, we were in the exact position we wanted to be in, growing, and expanding obviously in our numbers. So, I just wanted to continue to roll with it. I couldn't get too caught up and I credit a lot of that growth just to the culture that I feel like we created at camp. For our counselors, we weren't nagging them. We weren't breathing down their necks. All of them are athletes as well. So, we never discourage them from their activities outside of camp and through solid pay, lunch included every day and having a chance to influence these kids at camp. They wanted to be a part of Grit Camp and like you said, you've always had a vision to make it the number one place for high school and college-aged students to work in Jacksonville.
So, outside of that, it was the same for our campers. We required one thing and that was effort. Some kids do have to be pushed harder than others, but they all experience that same sensation of achievement when they can break down a barrier and just push that one step further. Definitely where the Grit part comes into our camp. So, anyhow it also came back to me and you as well and that's where it all started with us in the forefront to create this culture that we're going to come in and give it our all day in day out and just lead by example. So, the culture was everything and I can't wait to just continue to grow and expand on that and showcase it to everyone.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I know you mentioned too like embracing the growth, I think we didn't have some of the challenges we had the previous summer. But you know what was it halfway through the summer there's a hurricane barreling straight over Jacksonville and we've got 60 kids at camp on a Wednesday. We're like, what are we going to do? So, we end up running a gaming truck, but just again kind of that mentality of like alright well this is our next challenge let's figure out a way to overcome it. So, we go through the summer and about midway through the summer you have a breakthrough moment. So, tell us a little bit about what happened while you're out selling advertising one day.
Colby Harris: Yeah absolutely. I mean this is what I call my anything's possible moment and you'll definitely know why here in a second. But yes, so I was out selling corporate sponsorships and I kind of knocked out all the businesses in the area. It'd been a couple hours. So, I was like alright let me go get some dinner. And then I'll head back to HQ settle in for like any other any other afternoon. So nonetheless I get my dinner. It's already boxed up, but I'm eating it at the rest when I'm scrolling social media, I'm on Instagram. I come across a post from Matthew McConaughey and he's promoting his new book. He says, ‘Share a viral value that you believe if everyone incorporate it into their life the world would be a better place.’ I just kind of had something come over me where I was like, I need to talk about Grit and what it means to me and just how influential it's been.
So, I end up going back home I immediately head back to HQ. I mean I hop in the car; I take my food like it was already boxed up I close it straight to the car and I had back to HQ. So, I'm thinking about what I want to say. I set up my phone in front of the Grit University sign. I got my Grit Camp T shirt on and I just shoot a quick 302nd clip and put on my Instagram story. Matthew Mackay had said that he'd be sharing some of his favorites to his story. So, that was the ultimate goal. Well, time starts passing. I'd mentioned to a few people like I'm anxiously waiting to get on Matthew McConaughey's Instagram story and it's funny. All the responses were fairly similar. Don't get too excited or that's a long shot something like that, very pessimistic. But I understood no one want to see me get let down or anything. So nonetheless, I get my food back out I start eating and almost even forgot about it. And then sure enough while I'm eating, I get a notification on my phone from Instagram.
It's officially McConaughey shared you to their story. So, I like eyes wide and I'm like, alright let me just open it first. And sure enough, I open it and there I am you know blue check next to his name and all on Matthew McConaughey Instagram story sharing what Grit means to me and just how important it's been. So, that was a moment where I just jump up and just start screaming anything's possible, like anything is possible. That was such a shining moment where I realized that I was just scratching the surface and what we could do here, I mean here I was on Matthew McConney's story in front of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people showcasing the brand and what it entails. So, it was just a moment, I knew I was in the right place doing the right things and I needed to continue to reach as many people as possible.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I remember too. We got the Instagram clip at the very end of the video to show at camp that week. And when we get to that part, I look at all the counselors in the back of the room and all their jaws just dropped to like, are you kidding me?
Colby Harris: Yeah. It was a classic moment. I love that I was a big dog on campus that day.
Brian Harbin: That's right and you know what was really serendipitous about that whole thing too is ironically totally unrelated. I had broker the domain name “Greenlight.com” that summer and then so one of my friends that sent me his book “Greenlights.com”. In his book he talks about right before he got the dazed and confused part a book that he read that changed his life is the greatest sales in the world by Agmendino, which for me when I was 18 was a book that I read that changed my life. And when you moved into Grit HQ your first summer, that was the first book I had you read. So, for us to kind of had that that common thread with him was kind of neat. But anyways, kind of back to the summer. What would you say was kind of a peak moment for you during that second summer?
Colby Harris: Yeah, definitely. I mean, obviously, that really set the tone about mid-summer and there was a lot of great accomplishments. But as you mentioned, we went from about 7 counselors to 24 counselors in 2021. So, a big moment for me was actually at our counselor appreciation luncheon. So, we all went out and me and you because we didn't have a second intern, we believe that we should build in some bonus packages for some of our standout counselors and our full-time counselors and I had my banquet a few days following. So, I knew I was going to be taking care of. So, going to the counselor appreciation luncheon that day and to see everyone's not just enjoyment of being a part of Grit Camp but to give them that bonus check and that feeling of, you did your part and you were taking care of in turn for it.
So, I just love that time because again, it's crazy that some of these kids are a year, two years younger than me and I remember my first getting my first check like that. It's just a sensation like no other. So, I love that everyone really enjoyed being a part of it and hopefully we'll get to have them back next summer as well.
Brian Harbin: That's right, and like you said too, the fun part was the fact that nobody was even expecting anything. It was just a total straight up surprise and bonus so just to see their faces was pretty awesome. And then like you mentioned too, we had your banquet a couple days later, you get your profit-sharing check to make 10,000 total for the summer which was awesome. Then you take a month off and then you move back into Grit HQ full time. So, tell us kind of a day in the life of what you do now.
Colby Harris: Definitely, would love to. Yes. So, each Sunday, I fill out a spreadsheet that we call the plan. So, it starts at 6 AM and goes all the way to about 9 PM with half-hour intervals Monday through Friday. And I'll just go in and fill that out to start the week and then every morning, I pretty much follow the same schedule I did during camp. I get up about 5:30ish workout by six and then back to HQ by about 8 AM with some breakfast whatever it may be. So, each day is a little different, but right now I'm spending a few hours every day working on a mental performance coaching program, getting ready for grit club. Outside of that, I have various meetings whether it be networking or with attorneys, potential camp locations, a lot of behind-the-scenes type of stuff. Then me and you still carve out plenty of time to sit down and brainstorm and talk social media, new ideas whatever it may be, as well as I still get to take time like you said coach.
So, right now, we're coaching soccer and flag football and then I'm also helping at the North Florida School Special Education with their golf club which I'm really enjoying. So, all in all like I said each day is different, but my favorite part about is just the autonomy to be able to do what I love and make time for event with family and friends. Or if there's pumping swell, go out to the beach and get some waves on a Wednesday morning, not many people get to do that. So again, it's just the beauty of being able to live life on my terms with a few sacrifices here and there. It's amazing.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and I think part of being happy and living in the moment is just having that autonomy of schedule for sure that you earn, right.
Colby Harris: Exactly. The big part, you got to earn it.
Brian Harbin: So, share with us kind of what's next for you or where you see all of this going.
Colby Harris: Yeah. Well, I love being here and being a part of it. So, all in all, I definitely notice shoot for the stars. So, I see billions of lives being change by what we're doing. One thing I'd say a lot and when people ask me about what I'm doing here and my experiences with it is I don't want anyone to feel how I felt at my lowest points and I want everyone to feel the enjoyment of life that I experience now. Although our concepts and our principles and our habits, they can apply to anybody. But my main focus is definitely the next generation, from 90s babies to Gen Z and millennials and generations that haven't even been born yet. Because the world can be a very toxic and unhealthy place if you let it be. Emphasis on, if you let it be. So, a saying I love is hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men and weak men create hard times. I feel like we're in the good times. So, we have to do everything in our power to make sure that we don't reverse all that hard work that past generations put in.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, I love that and so true with that statement for sure. So, now that you've got some life experience under your belt, how do you define success.
Colby Harris: Yeah, I'm still painting a picture every day as to what that means to me. If you would ask me when I was 10 years old, still living in Highlands, I would just told you, I need to make a lot of money one day because that's all it really looked like to me. But after experiencing a lot of trial and tribulations, I've learned what really takes to lead a happy life. Take the success matter of it but a happy life. A happy life first success will follow. Right now, I would say to me, success just means enjoying the day to day, and not just enjoying the day to day but the people around you and especially being able to take care of those people around me. So, I really believe that for me, I just need to keep pushing forward and putting in the work to do my best to lead a happy life and then make sure I can take care of those that mean the most to me.
Brian Harbin: I love it, and if there's people out there that like what you're doing and how do you feel like they can best support you and help spread the message.
Colby Harris: Absolutely. The easiest one would definitely just be keeping up with our social media the blog and now our podcast as well. If it does apply to you or you feel like it might apply to someone else, just please share it. Send it to someone and let them know that it's something that could be very beneficial and then also listen to what we're saying. And if you don't already incorporate into your own life, because that's the best way to influence someone else just lead by example. Let them see what it does for you and then they might just implement into their own life.
Brian Harbin: Yeah, and as you know “Grit.org” we are found it on the twelve principles we call the Grit Creed. So, you can go to “Gritcreed.com” and see our twelve principles and that's how we kick off camp every single day is going through the Grit Creed with the kids. They repeat it back to us. So, you know them backwards and forwards, but of the twelve parts of the Grit Creed, which one do you feel like resonates the most with you?
Colby Harris: Definitely, I will lead by example because my purpose is larger than me. That one is so powerful in my life because I never not only thought of something like that but I never led a life that entails that until I became a part of Grit University and “Grit.org” in general. So, right now I can tell you that without reminding myself that line day in day out it would have been a lot harder to get through those 6 AM workouts. It would have been a lot harder to get through camp days. It would have been a lot harder to go out in the afternoon and keep pushing for these 12-hour days. So, just being able to remind myself of that it's what's kept me so disciplined to this day.
Brian Harbin: And just a couple more questions here, but what would you say has been the most impactful book that you've read and why?
Colby Harris: So, I would have to go with Tuesdays with Mori.
Brian Harbin: That's a good one.
Colby Harris: Yeah, if you're not familiar. So, pretty much I actually read that book when I was about 16 and it really just goes back to the professor Mori and then his student Mitch. They had a great relationship through his college days and of course, like most school relationships, they're all, oh yeah, we'll stay in touch blah blah and then sure enough, 25, 30, years go by and haven't seen each other. Well, Mori has an illness. He's slowly dying and when he touches base with Mitch again, they just take every Tuesday to go through these life lessons. He shares some wisdom with him. The part that really stands out to me is after all that time has passed, Mori is almost disappointed to hear that Mitch has led an unfulfilled life and gave up on a lot of his dreams and didn't take that step to do what he really wanted to do. He kind of just folded under the pressure and that's a huge fear of mine is could I have done this if I tried, or did I not go as hard as I could have? So, it just gave me a lot of perspective of that age to take risk and do what feels right in my heart. Don't get too caught up in anything else. Just do what feels right and to always go for it.
Brian Harbin: I love it and last question, kind of a fun question, but for our listening audience to kind of get a picture and a taste of what it's like working with kids all day at camp from age 6 to 12. But yeah, so what's the good, the bad, the ugly of working with kids age 6 to 12?
Colby Harris: Yeah, there's a lot of good, a lot bad and there's definitely some ugly in there too. So, first thing I mean it's kind of a double whammy because they're it's a good and a bad but they're brutally honest. That's one thing you can rely on. So, whether they were telling me, I mean we're running around eight hours a day and we get very involved. If I've been sweating all day and I kind of smell bad they let me know. Hands down. No questions asked. But on the flip side, they could build me up a little bit. Like say, nice, like oh cool, but you got big muscles. I'm like, oh yeah, okay appreciate it.