Wealth Podcast Post

Live the Life You Want with Ken Rusk

George Grombacher August 18, 2023

share close

Live the Life You Want with Ken Rusk

LifeBlood: We talked about how to live the life you want, the value and importance of blue collar careers, why college may not be the right path, and how to figure out what works for you, with Ken Rusk, entrepreneur and author.      

Listen to learn why the understanding and pursuit of comfort, peace and freedom can get you closer to where you want to go!

You can learn more about Ken at KenRusk.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Get your copy of Blue Collar Cash HERE

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review here:


You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live. 

Stay up to date by getting our monthly updates.

Want to say “Thanks!” You can buy us a cup of coffee.


Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher

Ken Rusk

Ken Rusk

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
went for this George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Ken Rusk. Ken, are you ready to do this?

Ken Rusk 0:08
Yes, absolutely. Thanks for having me.

george grombacher 0:10
All right, let’s go. Ken is the million dollar ditch digger. He’s an entrepreneur, and the best selling author of blue collar cash, love your work, secure your future and find happiness for life. Ken, excited to have you on tell us a little bit your personal life some more about your work, and why you do what you do?

Ken Rusk 0:30
Well, I grew up in the Midwest, I’m one of five boys and our family lived in a very small house in Amherst, Ohio for a while, which is interesting. You learn how to do a lot of different things when you’re living with it’s in a very small house with a large group of people. But my dad was a Marine. And my mom was like the best mom ever. So I got the best of both worlds, as far as you know, the straight and the narrow. And we made our beds every day and still do to this day. So

yeah, it’s been it’s been a really a really great growing up for us. I mean, we, we did everything. And we were we were outside every day. And we were running around and doing things building things, fixing things, wrecking things, breaking things, and having to fix them again, especially before mom got home. And yeah, it was a pretty normal, normal childhood growing up in Midwest great place to be.

george grombacher 1:23
Well, I appreciate that. And you obviously got into ditch digging at some point or rather contracting tell us about your career arc.

Ken Rusk 1:34
So in my high school shared a fence with an industrial park, and after school, we would go out, cut through the whole net fence, walk through the industrial park and go to the local carry out to hang out what kids did back then. And interesting, because this industrial park had a lot of businesses that were really hopping, you know, there always a lot of energy, a lot of people moving around a lot of equipment, things that you know, little guys liked at the time. And so I remember I knew somebody that worked there, and I walked in and I said, Hey, what’s going on here today? And they said, where we dig ditches and we basically fix basements. So in the summertime, I would work in the field without digging ditches in the wintertime, I would work in the office making calls or doing whatever they wanted me to do. And that lasted for about three years. And then I had the decision to make you know, am I going to school? Am I going to say with this job? What am I doing? And so I ended up making that decision. Right? When that was happening, the the owner of the company decided to start franchising. And so we started opening franchises all around the Midwest, and they sent me to go do that. So I lived out of a suitcase for three or four years, opened up five or six more four or five offices, I would guess, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, Pennsylvania, that kind of thing. And then I decided, You know what? Tired of living out of a suitcase as is, you know, and we went to Toledo, Ohio, opened up our company start with six people. And now we’re up to about 200. So it’s been a hell of a ride.

george grombacher 3:09
Nice. Yeah, you mentioned your dad was a Marine and your mom was an awesome mom, that either one of them have college.

Ken Rusk 3:18
Neither one neither one did my dad was chopping lettuce for Kroger’s when he was younger, and ended up owning his own food brokerage company, which worked out very well for him. But yeah, he was. He was a worker, you know, it’s funny when I say this, because back then, you couldn’t do this to this day. But in the book, I talked about how he, he would get up in the morning when he was 12 or 13, get on a bus, go to the train station, take the train station to downtown Cleveland, grab a bunch of papers that were you know, they didn’t have facsimile back then right. So the he worked for a legal firm delivering papers that like legal briefs and stuff. And he do that jump in cabs and drive all over Cleveland, and then he would come back, get back on that same train on that same bus and come back to back home, all at the age of 13. So, I mean, you can imagine if someone attempted to do that today what they’d probably go to jail. So it was it is a whole new world. But yeah, he was a really he was a pretty strict guy. And that was great. And he was he was a great guy. But I mean, you had to make your bed tight. And you know, he ran the house, like half like a loving father and half like a barracks, but you needed to with five young boys running around. So

george grombacher 4:36
yeah, I’ve got two and so I certainly can’t even literally can’t imagine having three more. I appreciate I appreciate your old man. So was was with your high school and just just the culture in Ohio at the time in the Midwest. Was college pretty popular. Was it uncommon?

Ken Rusk 5:03
Well, yeah, that’s kind of the crux of it. So when I was in high school, I remember being an econ class in like 10th grade. And teachers said, Hey, raise your hand, if you’re going to college, and only half of us did, you know, the other half, were going to it right into the workforce, they were going to work with their uncle at some factory, or they’re going to go work for their, their, their father at a small business, or whatever, you know. And the other thing is, we had shop class in high school. So you know, millions of kids across the country back then could walk down the hallway, and they could look to the left and see someone milling a leg for a table, that you look to the right, see someone changing the transmission on a Mustang, they could see someone doing hair or doing nails, or cooking or welding or whatever. And that was really, really important back then you would accidentally discover how cool the trades were. So college was maybe a 5050 thing back then. And it certainly has changed from from that point in time, that’s for sure.

george grombacher 6:02
Accidentally discover how cool the trades were, I think that that is a great term. And so now here, here we are. Fast forward however many years it’s been Ken and the book is a best seller. We’ve got crisis of student loan debt and a crisis of of people not liking the work that they’re doing and therefore not liking their jobs. Tell us a little bit about the message of the book.

Ken Rusk 6:28
Well, so when you when you have a staff of 200, you go through a lot of hiring, I probably hired a couple 1000 People in the last 36 years. And, you know, I could kind of see the preparedness of the new hires changing, their expectations change, their preparedness changed, their outlook changed. And so you become an involuntary life coach, okay. Now, I don’t have, again, I don’t have any college, I don’t have any schooling, I don’t have any professional training and coaching, I have no letters after my name, certainly. But you begin to start coaching. And it’s kind of a necessity, because what we do is very hard. And, you know, you start talking about their first visa and their first apartment and cleaning up their driver’s license and getting in their first car, and they start to visualize what their life could look like, as long as they work hard, right? Work hard, the harder you work, the luckier you get, right. So my whole life was like that, the harder I work, the more things I could acquire for myself. And so that kind of bled into this. Now, again, I am not anti college at all, if you’re gonna operate on my shoulder, so I can get back on the golf course, I want you to know everything there is to know about a knife before you come at me with it, right? I mean, I get that. Or if you’re a teacher, or if you’re, you know, an architect or an engineer, that’s great. But if you’re just going to school to because someone tells you, you have to. There’s about five other pathways to get to the life that you want for yourself, assuming you know what that life looks like. And I think that’s the whole thing that the book talks about is, I don’t care how or what you do for a living. I want to know what you’re doing with what you do for a living. I want to know what your life is going to look like, one year, five years, 10 years from now. And I want you to draw that out as crisp clearly as you can, and put it somewhere where you see it every single day. Because, you know, nobody ever rolled up into my driveway and saw what I’ve accomplished and said, Wow, what degree do you have? I mean, that’s just never happened. They might say, Well, how’d you grind this life out? I’m happy to tell him that. But yeah, it’s a balance. And again, I think there’s about five or six pathways to get to the life that you want college being only one of those. But somehow we’ve mixed that in that that’s the only way. And I that’s very concerning to me, because it’s it’s artificially eliminating millions of people who would have great lives, being a carpenter or a plumber, or electrician or welder or hairdresser or a baker or whatever. Because of the stigma of wow, I’m supposed to go to school, or I’m not going to be as good as somebody else, which is never been true. It certainly isn’t true now. And it’s only getting more or less true as we move forward.

george grombacher 9:26
The life that you want, you need to get really clear on that. Look at all five years into the future. And so instead of just saying, Well, I’m gonna go to college, get a degree and then figure that out. Let’s take the time when were 1516 1718 or 13. If you’re ready to start having those kinds of conversations and actually put pen to paper or think about it what you want. And then maybe you’ll realize that what you’ve just described is the better route, some kind of a trade or whatever.

Ken Rusk 10:00
But certainly I mean, if you’ve got carpenters and plumbers and electricians making 150 grand a year right now in the Midwest, I mean, that’s, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Right. And yet, you know, you have people that we have so overproduced, that liberal arts degree, we have so overproduced, that bland business degree, that really doesn’t mean anything specific. You know, it’s like anything else. If you grow a million tons of corn, when you used to grow and a half million tons of corn, that corn is going to be worth a lot less. And that’s what we’re seeing. We’re seeing people that coming out of college thinking, Man, I’m gonna nail this $90,000 a year job, and then someone hires them at 55. And they’re like, oh, wow, that’s not exactly what I thought was gonna happen, because I have all this debt that I have to pay down now. So I really feel bad for none for those kids, you just get kind of corralled into that system. Because, you know, colleges are really, really good at shaming teachers and parents in high schools, that if they don’t pump them through their system, those kids are going to fail. It’s the biggest lie that’s been told by the American public in the last 20 years. And again, if you’re going for a specific career for a specific job, and there’s that job waiting for you, at the end, fine, do it. But if you are a tactile person, or if you learn with your hands, or if you learn by doing, and I’ve seen this so many times where people, especially after I wrote the book, they came to me said, Man, I got this degree, I’ve never used it. I’m not using it right now. I’m still paying for it. When do I start to get to live my life? I wanted to be a carpenter. Okay. So yeah, that’s the problem. And I think we need to swing that pendulum back towards the middle so that we can get the balance that we need. Because if there’s 167 million jobs in the United States, today, half of them are blue collar jobs. And yet, we’re trying to shove 100% of our future students in high school into college. That’s just going to create more of the problem that we see now.

george grombacher 12:03
simplest things are often the truest. And yeah, the corn analogy is perfect. You know, we need 500,000. But we just made a million, it’s not going to be quite as necessary. Yeah, exactly. So when do I get started living my life, the life that you want. Those are abstract. I think that’s why people don’t spend time thinking about goals or thinking about the lives that we really want. What is it that makes a good life from your estimation?

Ken Rusk 12:33
I think, I think there’s three words that when I started writing the book, I just couldn’t get these words out of my head, it was like seeing one of those numbers, and you just see it over and over and over again, right? Comfort, peace and freedom. I just couldn’t lose these three words. So they’re the mainstay of the entire book. And really, what it is, is, it’s your own personal version of what your Nirvana would look like, okay, we’re not all going to chase, you know, 15 cars, and mega yachts and McMansions. And everyone has their Nirvana that if you sat them down, and you locked them in a room for, you know, a week, and you said, I want you to draw out the perfect life, the way you see it, not the way society sees it. And that’s what your parents sees it now to where your friend sees it, or, you know, anybody else, I want you to draw the life that you think, man, if I could live like this, that would be really cool. Because it’s different for everybody. And that’s the beauty of it. So get out a box of crayons. I say Kranz, because you were probably your most creative when you were five years old, which is the last time you probably held a crayon in your hand, right? And you had no stressors, you had no, you had a blank slate, your life was pretty, pretty clean. And you drew a rocket or a horse or a rainbow, or whatever the heck you drew, right? draw this picture out and hanging on the wall. Because what your mind sees clearly, it attracts itself to And what’s funny about that is I was just interviewing Jeric Robbins, who’s the son of Tony Robbins. And he actually put science to my theory, which is the neurotransmitters in your brain. After they see something often enough, they begin to connect faster and faster and faster and faster to the point where they become one thought, where if you see something long enough, your body actually thinks it owns it already. And then it subconsciously puts your your brain and your body and your and your actions into motion to go and get that thing. So why aren’t we using this free? No need for training? You know, we all have this, why are we using this free thing that that, you know, the Creator has given us to use that side of our brain and say, okay, yeah, I’m in control this what do I want my life to look like? And I’m going to draw that out and stick it up. On the wall,

george grombacher 15:01
I love it. So comfort your hard working person. And what you do is hard. How does comfort fit in?

Ken Rusk 15:10
Comfort is the level of being it’s to me, it’s like, if you stand in front of the mirror and you like what you see, and you like how you’re perceived by others and you you perceive the world in a certain way, you’ve balanced your emotions. And because emotions are a choice, we have to remember that, you know, it’s not all about, you know, your favorite pajamas or a comfortable couch. Okay, it’s all about, can I be comfortable in myself the way I am the way I’m on this planet? Can I say, okay, I’m good with me. Because a lot of people aren’t, but they need to work on it and get there. So that’s the first thing can I just be comfortable with, with me with with my being with who I am? That’s the first step of it.

george grombacher 15:54
I love it. Peace.

Ken Rusk 15:56
Peace is something that people think you just find. And I think you’ve actually sometimes have to plan for peace, okay? There’s nothing more peaceful than walking your dog in the park. Okay? And yet, do you do that? Or do you just wait for that to happen spontaneously? Well, you don’t wait for life to happen to you, you happen to life, right? So if I can plan my piece, or design my piece, or even create it, then in this crazy world that we live in, you’re going to be way better off than just hoping and waiting. That just happens to happen. Okay, because spontaneity is something that this world lacks so much of, and yet, it should have so much more of, because that’s the whole creative being that’s the whole, who are we is and why are we even on this planet? What are we living for? Okay? We don’t live to work, we work so that we can live well what the hell is live, I want to know what the live looks like. Okay. So yeah, that’s, that’s my, that’s my version of peace.

george grombacher 17:01
Great. And then freedom.

Ken Rusk 17:04
Freedom is simple. I mean, they’re like a triangle, these three words kind of rely upon each other for their very existence. So you could say freedom is the lack of, of war, I guess you could say freedom is, is the lack of an autocratic society or whatever. I look at freedom as have I balanced out the emotions in my head, my stressors, my financial life, so that I don’t have a whole lot of things just bearing down on me all the time, sucking out my emotions, my good ones, wasting all of my time, living at the behest of others. Do I have the ability to be spontaneous? Do I have the ability to plan my own time? My own week? My own schedule? Do I have the ability to force those things like, like, you know, maybe having lunch with a friend or you know, calling your mother or walking your dog, or I’m free from, from all those things that just type that tend to grind our life out of us? And I think, I think if you can balance your mind in such a way that you can say to yourself, yeah, I’m going to do this today, or I’ve set my week up. And you know what I did, I planned me first. This whole week, I planned my workouts I planned my my piece time I planned my spiritual time, I planned my my giving back time. And then I filled in work around that. It can happen people say, Oh, well, that’s a pie in the sky. Baloney, you can do it, you just have to sit down and get it done.

george grombacher 18:35
I love it. Comfort, peace and freedom. They all, they all certainly do interact, and will not happen on their own. When you hear the phrase, you have to let things come to you. What do you think about that? I’ve always really struggled with it.

Ken Rusk 18:53
Well, you have to, I mean, that’s okay. As long as you drain your mind and have the ability for it to be clear enough and aware enough to have something come to you, I get that. But I also think that you know, you know, what makes you feel good. You know, it gives you comfort, peace and freedom. You know what your life could look like the way you want it. So, yeah, I think when people say let things come to you, I believe you have to have a general idea of what those things are first, and then when they come to you. It’s not because they just drove in your driveway and showed up. It’s because you’re kind of putting that out to the universe first. And then here they are. And again, I go back to the neurotransmitters i i don’t know why we don’t use that side of our brain. We live. We live so reactionary. We react to stressors and weather and timing, and, you know, negative emotions and other people and societal norms and expectations. Why can we ProAct you know, why can’t we say let’s let’s plan And let’s put out the good stuff that we want to the universe and then allow it to come to us. You really planned for it. I mean, it did show up eventually. But you willed it to yourself. And that’s what I believe.

george grombacher 20:11
Thank you. Very well said. Well, Ken, thank you so much for coming on. And thank you for for taking the time to write the book and getting the message out there. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Where can they get their copy of blue collar cat blue collar cash, love your work, secure your future and find happiness for life?

Ken Rusk 20:31
Well, if you go to Ken ross.com, you can get started there. All my socials are at Ken Rusk official. And I actually just recently put a course together that if you if you buy this course, I give one away free to either one of your friends, neighbors or loved ones, or someone that’s in the underserved community nearby. And it’s literally $129 You get a free $25 book, The course forces you to use the book, the information in the book to change your life today, not tomorrow, but like this afternoon. And again, just know that if you’re helping yourself, you’ll be helping someone else. At the same time. My life was really good before I wrote this book, and I’m very blessed and thankful for that. So this is just another way for me to kind of give back. So know that if you’re helping yourself, you’re gonna help somebody else in the process.

george grombacher 21:21
Love it. If you enjoyed as much as I did show Kenya appreciation and share today show the friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Ken Rusk, ke N R U S k.com. And check out everything Ken is working on. If you’re interested in the book, and what Ken has been talking about resonates, pick up your copy. And also consider doing the course that goes along with the book. It’s 129 bucks, and you get the book as well. And Ken will give away the same version to somebody else as well. And then follow Ken at Ken Rusk official on social media. I’ll link all those in the notes of the show. Thanks, Ken. Ken.

Ken Rusk 22:00
Thanks, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

george grombacher 22:02
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and we’d be grateful if you’d subscribe as well.

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook.

Our Manifesto

We’re here to help others get better so they can live freely without regret
Believing we’ve each got one life, it’s better to live it well and the time to start is now If you’re someone who believes change begins with you, you’re one of us We’re working to inspire action, enable completion, knowing that, as Thoreau so perfectly put it “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Let us help you invest in yourself and bring it all together.

Feed your life-long learner by enrolling in one of our courses.

Invest in yourself and bring it all together by working with one of our coaches.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, or you’d like to become a Certified LifeBlood Coach or Course provider, contact us at Contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Please note- The Money Savage podcast is now the LifeBlood Podcast. Curious why? Check out this episode and read this blog post!

We have numerous formats to welcome a diverse range of potential guests!

  • Be Well- for guests focused on overall wellness
  • Book Club-for authors
  • Brand-for guests focused on marketing
  • Complete-for guests focused on spirituality
  • Compete-for competitors, sports, gaming, betting, fantasy football
  • Create-for entrepreneurs
  • DeFi-for guests focused on crypto, blockchain and other emerging technologies
  • Engage-for guests focused on personal development/success and leadership
  • Express-for journalists/writers/bloggers
  • General-for guests focused on finance/money topics
  • Lifestyle-for guests focused on improving lifestyle
  • Maximize-for guests focused on the workplace
  • Numbers-for accounting and tax professionals
  • Nurture-for guests focused on parenting
  • REI-for guests focused on real estate

Feed your Life-Long Learner

Get what you need to get where you want to go

Rate it
Previous post