GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude


James Malinchak believes that success starts with attitude. The secret to living is giving. You don’t come into the world with anything and you’re not leaving with anything. The only thing you can leave is your legacy. Give back what you learned. James says that if you want to be wealthy, you have to do something, package it, teach it and sell it. That is exactly what he is doing with his masteries, speaking events, and more. Join Glenn Bill as he talks to James about having a winning attitude. Learn all the secrets to being wealthy, like having to pay all your expenses. Find out more about his book, Success Starts With Attitude. Discover how he teaches public speaking and more about his Pitch Secrets Mastery. Also, get James’ thoughts on basketball today, from the NBA to college basketball. Start getting wealthy today!

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James Malinchak, Featured On ABCs Hit TV Show “Secret Millionaire” – Keynote Speaker / Coach

We are with one of my favorite mentors. It’s somebody that I’ve been following for years and somebody who has direct mailed me tons of mail. Mr. James Malinchak is a leader, an influencer, an educator, and a mentor to millions. He is recognized as one of the most requested and in-demand business and motivational keynote speakers and marketing consultants in the world. He has been featured on the hit ABC TV show, Secret Millionaire and coauthored the best-selling book Chicken Soup for the College Soul. He was twice named College Speaker of the Year. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s bring Mr. James Malinchak up. James, welcome to the show.

Glenn, thanks for having me. I love the red jacket.

You’ve got to have props. Do you know Clint Arthur at all?

Clint has been here at my house for coaching.

Clint is a big prop guy. We love red. That’s the color of our book, the show, and the University of Attitude, which you have now walked into. You’re a big college speaker, so you probably never heard of the University of Attitude, but it has 400 million campuses in America. Welcome to the University of Attitude.

I’ve not spoken there, but I love it.

You’re doing it. People come to our show to bridge the gap from where they are to where they want to be and to bridge the gap from who they are to who they want to become. That is exactly what I know you specialize in. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your definition of attitude? I would love to know who your attitude coach was.

First of all, thanks for having me. Anytime I get to share something that might help one person is a blessing and anybody else that has helped. It’s all gravy and icing on the cake. Thanks so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure.

My definition of attitude is waking up every day, being thankful and grateful for all the blessings that you have in your life, and being happy with your life. God gave us one of the most powerful powers on Earth, which is the power to choose. We get to choose our attitude every day when we’re blessed to flip open our eyelids in the morning. What greater blessing. If you’re healthy, your family is healthy, you’re safe, your family is safe, and you’re having a happy life, that’s a great attitude right there. You can choose that.

You’ve written many books, but you have Success Starts with Attitude. Do you want to tell us a little about that book, why you wrote it, and maybe some key precepts?

This all stemmed from a talk that I’ve been doing for corporations for years. I’ve done 3,000-some talks in my career. I started thinking when I was starting as a young speaker, “What has been the driving force for me that has allowed me to not only be successful but do things in life and create a life that I’m happy with and blessed to have? It all comes down to attitude.” That’s why I resonate with your awesome show so much because it does.

My whole message was always, “Success starts with attitude.” Years later, when companies were like, “We love that message, but the message is wearing off as soon as you’re done talking. It would be great to have some resource where our folks could take the message home and the message can live on well past your presentation.” I sat down and transcribed my talk. I broke it up into 50 chunks. This is the talk I’ve been doing for years.

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude: Associate with winners. If you hang around duds, you’re going to become a dud. But if you choose to hang around winners, that’s who you’ll become.


It was all based on employers saying, “We would love the message to live on and be instilled within our folks, so we can not only help them change their life, but it will change our culture and the direction of our organization and get everybody rowing together with the same mission and vision of our organization.” I was like, “Mama didn’t raise no fool. If they’re going to buy tens of thousands of books from me and give them to their people, I’m going to sit my butt down and put a book together.” That’s how it came about.

Not to put you on the spot, but maybe you could open that up to the table of contents. Considering the times that we’re in, could you maybe give us 1 or 2 quick tidbits that are in there? You go, “Glenn, out of the 50, these 1 or 2 things would be relevant for the people that are listening here that will help them become and bridge the gap from where they are to where they want to be.”

This is one of my favorites. I talk about it in my talk all the time. It’s a secret twenty. Associate with winners. Look at you. You’re creating a winning attitude, culture, environment, and vibes and going out to the world. Why wouldn’t anyone want to subscribe to your shows, follow you, and read your books? You’re a winner. It’s a simple choice. You could focus to hang around duds. What are you going to become? You’re going to become a dud. If you choose to hang around winners and people who are positive on the growth curve as we all are and trying to do more, achieve more, be more, and help more, then that’s who you become because all of that wears off on us.

I tell kids all the time, “If you want to be a drug dealer, I’ll tell you how to do it. It’s hanging out with drug dealers. You will learn how to fix it, mix it, slice it, and dice it. You will learn everything you need to do. If you want to be a winner, a successful person, a champion, or somebody who’s contributing to society and the world making a positive difference and you want to have your name up in lights, then you hang around with those people.” Associate with winners. It’s a simple choice. I’m not saying you’ve got to associate with celebrities. I’m not talking about that. I’m not here for the NFL Pro Bowl.

I have a bunch of folks that are former and even current NFL players I’m helping get into motivational speaking. I’m not saying you have to be on that level, but I’m saying a winner of a mindset is somebody positive or someone who’s trying to do great things. Adversity comes at them and they bounce off. Women put their bracelets up like Wonder Woman used to do and let the adversity bounce off. We put our chest up and let the stuff bounce off like Superman used to do. That’s who you associate with. It’s people that reject negativity and negative people and hang around winners.

When we talk about bridging the gap from where you are to where you want to become, if you go to, you’re going to see James with some heavy celebrities and high-powered people. I’m looking at a photo over his shoulder. You’re going to see the great Michael Jordan sitting there with James. You’ve been around some unreal people. What I want to know is, before you became James Malinchak, the celebrity coach and mentor, who was James Malinchak before you bridged that gap? When you say, “Let’s associate with winners,” who are some of the winners in your life that weren’t famous and made you who you are?

I appreciate that. I grew up in a very tiny steel mill town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a population of about 6,000. It’s a town called Monessen. You wouldn’t know it unless you were from Western Pennsylvania. We didn’t have much. Dad was a railroad conductor working in the mill and mom was a lunch mother serving lunches to us kids at school. It wasn’t like we had anything. It wasn’t like we came from anything. My first two mentors were my mom and dad.

I wanted to get a basketball scholarship out of high school. That was my dream. That was my first big goal. It was to play Division 1 college basketball, but I heard every reason why I couldn’t do it, “You’re too slow. You come from a high school that’s too tiny. No one is going to see you. No one from our school and our family has ever done that. What makes you think you can do it? You don’t shoot and dribble well enough. You don’t play good enough defense.”

I heard every single reason. I started to believe that. I’ll tell you another mentor. This is Monaghan. It was 7th or 8th grade English class. I was down in the dumps believing that about my future. She’s about 4’11. She got up from around her desk, came over, got in my face, and said, “James Malinchak, it’s ridiculous for you to believe that stuff. If you can dream it, you can do it. Go do it.” For some reason, that resonated with me.

What I decided to do was I said, “I’m going to become a gym rat.” A gym rat is somebody who’s always in the gym. My motto became this, “Maybe she’s right. To heck with everybody else.” Here’s my motto, “You might be faster than me, you might be a better player, and you might have more God-given talent, but you’re going to have to kill me to beat me because I will take you out. If you go up for a dunk, I will take you out. If your ball is going out of bounds, I’ll dive through the wall to get the ball.”

That was my mindset. I was a hard-nosed steel mill town kid. There are a lot of lessons in here for anybody reading. I thought to make that work. I had to become this gym rat. I said, “I’m going to get up at 6:00 in the morning, go to the high school gym before school started at about 8:10, and work out in the gym.” I made friends with a janitor, Douggie Hlinka. I remember Douggie like it was yesterday. He was so nice. He was not supposed to, but he would unlock the door and let me into the gym.

I would work out for an hour or so on my areas of improvement, not my weaknesses. A weakness is only a weakness if you choose to let it be a weakness. I would tie my right hand behind my back because I was right-handed and practice dribbling with my left hand to get my left hand stronger. I wouldn’t shoot with my right hand. I would shoot with my left hand to get my left hand stronger. I would wear ankle weights and do defensive slides all by myself. Nobody was there.

Here’s the teaching point. Who were some of my mentors? There’s Douggie Hlinka, the janitor that opened the door, Mrs. Monaghan, who said that to me in class, and my mom. My mom, for four years straight, got up at 5:45 or 5:30 in the morning, had breakfast waiting for me, and drove me to school five minutes to 6:00 every single morning in the dead of winter when it was bitter cold outside.

Having attitude is to wake up every day and be thankful for all the blessings that you have in your life. Share on X

My father was another mentor who said, “Son, you can do anything you want in life if you believe in yourself and you don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do it.” As a sidebar, as I wrap this point up, my father went on and became a Division 1 college football official and officiated the Orange Bowl for the national championship. There were six officials in the whole country. My dad was one of them from our tiny steel mill town.

It’s those lessons there from Mrs. Monaghan, Douggie Hlinka, who I’ll be grateful forever for unlocking the gym, my mom driving me to school every single morning and never once saying, “I want to sleep in,” and my dad, who did not only tell me, “You can do anything you want life if you don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do it and believe in yourself.” He went out and laid a path by doing it himself and letting me see becoming a top Division 1 college football official. Those were my early mentors.

Where did you play college ball?

I signed a scholarship out of high school to the University of Cincinnati. Go, Cats.

It’s a great year in 2022. I’m sure you enjoyed that. I want to go back to mom and dad because I often find with exceptional people like yourself that there were people a generation before them like grandma and grandpa. I’m wondering. You’ve got four of them, whether it was one or all four. What were the lessons your grandparents put in you or instilled in you when you think about them? Talk to me about what memories resonate with you.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many memories because they all passed away when I was very young, but I will tell you the memories that I do have. We grew up in a steel mill town. Think of Hoosiers if you ever saw the movie. It was a tiny town.

I’m in Indianapolis. I’m a basketball junkie.

Think of a small town like that. There’s basketball. The whole town was following the bus in the car. That’s the small little town that we grew up in. What I remember from my grandparents is that they were hardworking folks, both of them. Grandma was up early in the kitchen cooking and cleaning the house all day long, “You’ve got to have a clean house.” I remember that, “You’ve got to have food in your belly.” I’m talking about folks who never had any college education. We’re going back to people who stood in line for the Depression.

You are in Western PA deep. They came from Western PA.

Joe Montana grew up ten minutes from me. One of my dearest friends from high school, Michael Moorer, went on to defeat Evander Holyfield on April 22nd, 1994, to become our small town’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. There’s Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, and Joe Namath or Broadway Joe. That’s the heart of Western PA right there.

Talk to me about Michael Moorer. You said he was your friend. He was the Heavyweight Champion of the World. What was his attitude? What was the attitude lesson you learned from him? I remember him winning. I’m still a huge boxing fan.

This is my book, Millionaire Success Secrets. I wrote about Michael. That’s Michael and me in junior high school playing basketball. This is my mom with Michael in a limousine after he won the Heavyweight Championship. That’s Michael and me in a swimming pool at Palm Springs. That’s me in a locker room with him before he’s fighting George Foreman. Michael and I go way back. There’s my ticket for the fight against Evander Holyfield. There’s Michael and me right there at training camp when he was getting ready.

I’ve got a great story. You will love this. I’ll talk about attitude. It was junior high school. Michael was in 9th grade and I was in 8th. We had a game on a Saturday. We’re playing against the team that we should easily blow out by twenty-some points. We get to our gymnasium. The way it worked back in our area is you get to your gym and shoot around in street clothes messing around.

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude: Being a champion takes commitment, discipline, consistency, and sticking to your plan. Work harder than anybody else, even on days when you don’t feel like doing it.


The bus picks you up. You get on a bus and go to the nearby town 10 to 15 minutes away. You go into the locker room, change, come out, and play the game. We’re doing our little shoot around, waiting for the bus to come to our school. We’re goofing around, shooting hook shots, and throwing bounce pass between our legs. We would get on the bus and go to a nearby school. We played the school that we should easily have blown out by twenty points, but we lost by 25 or 30. It was a big swing.

On the ride back home, what are we doing? We’re laughing and goofing off, “It’s no big deal. We lost a game. It’s Saturday night. We’re going to go hang out as kids and have fun.” We get back to our gymnasium, go downstairs, and start putting our stuff in our lockers and getting our stuff to go home. Coach Marino comes over. He said, “Where are you going?” Somebody said, “We’re going home, Coach.” He said, “You’re not. Put your practice uniforms on. We’re going to go upstairs and run a couple of hours with no water bottles and basketballs because I don’t think you were committed to playing.”

What do we do? We started moaning, complaining, and saying retarded stuff like, “Wait until I get my dad to call the school board. We will get him fired.” It was knucklehead stuff except for one guy. My buddy, Michael, didn’t say anything. He changed his clothes, went upstairs, and got ready to run. We’re upstairs running, doing Around the Worlds, and going up and down the gym steps and all over the gym. We’re doing line sprints for 3 to 4 hours.

Everybody is moaning and complaining except one guy, Michael. Michael never said a word. He finished first in everything that Coach Marino said. 3 or 4 hours later, Coach Marino calls us in at the center court. He said, “Everybody, get in here. You go downstairs, shower, change, and go home. Don’t you ever come back not ready and committed to play, or we will do this the rest of the season.”

We’re downstairs changing clothes. Everybody is moaning, complaining, and kicking the lockers, “It’s this idiot coach. It was the coach’s fault. It wasn’t our fault,” except one guy, Michael. We get cleaned up. I got to go over to Michael and say, “What time are you coming over? We’re all getting together for his little party.” He said, “I can’t make it tonight, Mal.” I was like, “Why?” He said, “I missed my workout. I have to go home, hit the speed bag, jump rope, and shadow box.”

I said, “We played a game earlier. We have been here for four hours. What do you mean you’re going to go home and work out?” In that high school dressing room when we were junior high in 9th grade and 8th grade, he said, “I have the dream of becoming the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World someday.” I said, “I know about that.” We all lived in this small town. Everybody knew everybody’s business.

He said, “Other kids out there got the same dream. Maybe they hit harder than me. Maybe they got better training facilities. Maybe they’re quicker. The only chance I have to win when we fight, maybe years from now possibly, is to stay committed and work harder than anybody else. That means on days when I don’t feel like doing it.” I had my first look in eighth grade at what it takes to be a champion, not a world champion but a champion in anything. It takes commitment, discipline, consistency, and making sure you stick to the plan.

On April 22nd, 1994, I was at Caesars Palace out here in Las Vegas. I was watching them put the belt around my Midget League Basketball friend and announce a new Heavyweight Champion of the World, Michael Moorer. It doesn’t end there. It gets better. I’m at his victory party after. They took him to the hospital because that’s what they do with the fighters to check them out. They take him to the hospital. He’s fine. He’s got some bruises against Holyfield, but he’s okay.

He comes back and walks into this private party. Everybody is screaming, “Champ.” He walks through the crowd. I see him and he sees me. I go one and up on him because I’m so excited. I jump up on him. I’m screaming and squeezing him. I’ve got tears coming down my eyes. He’s like, “Get off me before it hurts.” I’m like, “I’m sorry.” He grabbed me and whispered in my ear, “Do you remember way back in junior high school that I told you I would be the Heavyweight Champion of the World?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “I did it.” I say, “You did it, buddy.” I started crying more. That’s attitude right there.

That is such a great story, Mal. that is freaking good. You’ve got a ton of them. I want to respect your time. With that said, we always pivot our interviews with this thing called Knowledge Through the Decades. I want to walk through your life very quickly. Give me an antidote about each decade or when you turned into a new decade. We look for attitude lessons throughout your life. I don’t know if you have kids or not. What’s the attitude lesson of being born?

Are you talking about the lesson then or the lesson I know now?

It’s the lesson you know now when you think about childbirth or being born and you’re coming out. What’s the attitude lesson there?

It’s such a blessing. We have life. If we want to put it in a statistical term, you’re a winner. We all came out winners because we survived millions of other sperm. Everybody comes into this world a winner. Think about this. We decide to let things change our attitude about life, ourselves, and the way we see the world as we grow because we won. To everybody reading, you won, my friend. You’re here. You came into this world a winner.

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Do you remember being ten in 3rd grade or 4th grade? Do you remember your teacher? What was the attitude lesson that you learned at ten?

Reward people. That’s when I first got a star on one of my papers for some class. It was Mrs. Skiles. I ran home. I couldn’t wait to show mom and dad the star on my paper. That taught me the power of recognition and reward.

The message to the GAPers is this. Who are you rewarding? Are you actively going out to put a star on somebody’s paper? If you want to improve your attitude and become who you want to become, recognition and rewarding people are huge.

If anybody doubts it, you asked me what I remember, and the thing I pulled up is recognition and reward all these years later. If anybody doubts that it works, there you go.

You’re twenty years old. You’re at UC. You’re a big man. I love the shorts. Those uniforms were great. Did you ever play against Larry Bird in Indiana State?

No. Larry was much older than me.

He used to go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning too.

I had the blessing of speaking for one year at Indiana State University. I went purposely a day early so I could go to the gym and take in all the Larry Bird-ish stuff.

My son graduated from ISU. It’s pretty cool. What was your attitude lesson at twenty? What did you realize?

It’s that life is about competition. You may do well in one area. For example, in high school, I was a big old basketball star for my tiny little area in the papers. I was stronger than most kids. I’m 6’3. I had about 185 pounds back then. I was strong. I could shoot and dribble because of my work ethic during the summertime before school. When you get to college, everybody can shoot and dribble. Everybody is fast or faster. Instead of saying competition, I would say navigate competition.

I have to learn how to navigate competition and find where I could contribute. The other thing, too. I learned at that point was it wasn’t about me. I was a big old star in high school and all that but now I’m part of a team and the community even though we were a great team in high school. I was much better than a lot of the players on our team, but now everybody is good. I was playing against Billy Owens at Syracuse, Bimbo Coles at Virginia Tech, and Chris Jackson.

At the time, his name was Chris Jackson. He went to LSU with Shaquille O’Neal and Stanley Roberts. Here’s a name you probably remember. Eric Anderson went to Indiana University. That was my class when I was a senior in high school when we were playing in the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic. Getting into my twenties and college, I learned how to navigate competition and pick where I could have little wins. If you add up enough little wins, you get a big win.

Let’s go to 30. You’re ten years out of playing college basketball. What was going on with James Malinchak when you were 30?

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude: If you want to get wealthy, forget stocks, real estate, or Bitcoin. None of that matters. All you need to do is to pay off all of your expenses. Pay off everything but never stop making the payments.


I was creating financial freedom for myself. I don’t think enough people at that age think about it. They think, “I’ll live life.” I had my phases too in my twenties where I bought ridiculous stuff, all the infomercial products, and the fancy car when I started to make some money and all that. I have a relative that’s worth several hundred million dollars. He’s one of my mentors as well.

He would always tell me, “Save your money.” This is a guy that was going to buy a professional football team. I immediately paid everything off as fast as I could. Here’s my financial lesson for anybody reading. If you want to learn how to get wealthy, here’s how it is. Forget stocks, real estate, Bitcoin, and all that stuff. None of that stuff matters. You pay off all of your expenses. That means your house.

You say, “I’ve got a mortgage that’s 4%.” It doesn’t matter. You go to bed at night owing people money. What’s the price of peace of mind? Wake up and have no bills. Here’s how you get wealthy. You pay off everything, but you never stop making the payments. You make the payments to yourself now for the rest of your life. I paid a car off back in my thirties. It was about a $180 a month payment. To this day, I’ve never stopped making that payment every month. It goes to me.

I’m guessing that’s part of Millionaire Success Secrets. That lesson is in the book.

That’s what I teach my students. Think about it. If you erase a 5% interest rate you’re paying, that’s like making 5%. People don’t think about it. If you go over here and you’ve missed it at a measly 5%, it’s a 10% swing you’re making now. You do that incrementally and consistently. You’re disciplined over time. You wake up one day and you’ve got whatever you want.

What was your profession when you were 30? How were you cashflowing? Were you speaking and doing all that at 30?

At the time, I was a financial advisor.

You’re a Northwestern Mutual guy. Who were you with?

My cousin was one of the most successful silver traders on the commodity exchange. He used to fly me to New York. I worked for him when I was in high school and college being a gopher, but he was teaching me about markets, finances, and all that. He was the floor trader for a guy named Bunker Hunt, the Hunt brothers, Lamar Hunt, and the Kansas City Chiefs. My cousin was their floor trader. He paid obscene and crazy money. Every trade went through him. He started trading his silver mercantile accounts and made crazy money, but he came from my same small steel mill town.

We lived about ten minutes from each other. That got ingrained in me. He would tell me, “Save your money. Don’t make stupid purchases. Invest wisely. Never swing for the fence. Pay things off. Go to bed at night with peace of mind. Wake up with peace of mind.” He would also say, “More marriages end in divorce because of money problems, not infidelity. If people think money is not important, I’ll show you a gazillion ways that affect your life.” That’s when I started setting up for financial freedom in my 30s.

That’s very rare. What I keep thinking about was your first message to us, “You are who you hang around.” It’s getting around winning people.

I wasn’t trying to build wealth and be rich. I was creating financial freedom, meaning to wake up every day and not worry about bills. You get a pretty good attitude when you wake up and you have no bills.

If we put out there, “We’re going to pay off all your bills to improve your attitude,” everyone would sign up for that program. The problem is we can’t do that, but you can do it for yourself. That’s the point. Let’s go to age 40. Do you remember your 40th birthday? Where were you living? What was going on in your life at 40 years old?

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I don’t remember my birthday. I have no idea. It was probably someplace great, though, because my attitude was great. Every place is great. I could have been at the 7-Eleven. It would have been a great day.

The most important six inches of real estate are the six inches between your ears. It’s always beautiful there.

Before that, I was starting to put my knowledge and wisdom into a major career because I started consulting and conditioning folks to do what I did. At that time, I had already been doing a lot of speaking because, in my mid-twenties, I started dabbling in it. In my late 20s and early 30s, I got into doing 150-some locations, not talks. I would go to Orlando, Florida, to Valencia Community College. They have six campuses. I would get paid six checks. That would be 6 talks and 6 checks at one location.

I knew how to book talks as a speaker, which is something most speakers have no clue how to do. I knew all the budgets because I figured it out and learned it. Here we are at the 40 mark or even before that because I started getting asked to do this. I started to realize the knowledge, the wisdom, and the experience, good, bad, positive, and negative. I can package that into another business and put it out in the form of courses, consulting, and seminars to help others.

When I do my Big Money Speaker boot camps for those that want to do the speaking, I always say, “I’m spending four days here with you. I’m not going to talk to you about your message. You already have a message and a story.” You talk over coffee with someone and share advice. You only got that stuff. You need to know how to organize it. I can show you that in ten minutes.

I’m going to spend four days teaching you. That’s why my logo is a coin. On one side, you have a message. The flip side is the business. I’m going to spend 4 days and 12 hours a day teaching you all how to crush this stuff from a business standpoint. That’s what I started to do. I tell folks nine words that will make them wealthier than anything else. Do something, package it, teach it, and sell it. That’s all I did. I packaged it up and started putting a price on it.

If you go to his Big Money Speaker events, he drops stuff like this for four straight days.

I always say nine words that will make you wealthier than anything else. Do something, package it, teach it, and sell it. That’s all I did. That happened because people said, “How did you do that?” My litmus test is if three people who don’t know each other ask you the same question, you better put your antennas up and say, “There might be an opportunity here to help a lot of people and turn this into a business.”

Did somebody teach you how to get booked? Did you figure out how to get booked?

I figured it out all on my own.

I’m curious. What are the two most important things to getting booked, in your opinion?

The very first thing is understanding that everything else is smoking mirrors. I’ll give you one thing. I always say, “The single most important thing is you have to get the eight ball.” You’re like, “What?” If you and I were shooting a game of pool playing a game of eight ball, I could knock every ball on the table that’s by suit or by number range, but if you knock the eight ball in, it’s simple. You win. I lose. The eight ball of speaking is you’ve got to get to the coordinators and get them to pick you and pay you. Everything else is irrelevant. It’s smoke and mirrors. People tell you about branding and all that bullshit.

I never had a brand. I went out. I was booking a hundred talks a year and making $500,000 to $1 million a year. I had no brand. It was me hustling, getting to the people who were the coordinators who controlled the budgets, telling them the value that I could bring to their audience, and then communicating in a way where they understood that value. They picked me to speak and paid me a check. Everything else is irrelevant. You will see all these people selling all this other crap to you online, “You need this.” You don’t. What you need is AIC or Ass in Chair. Reach out to coordinators.

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude: The eight ball of speaking is you got to get to the coordinators. Get them to pick you and pay you. Everything else like branding is irrelevant. It’s smoke and mirrors.


You did that with the old thing called the telephone. You just told them.

There’s direct mail.

I’ve got a file like this. This guy is killing it. It still works. Nobody mails and calls. Call them.

If you want to get a talk, they think that coordinators are hanging out on Facebook and Instagram. They’re not hanging out there looking for speakers. If you mailed directly to their bell box, you have zero competition, or if you pick up the phone and call them because everybody is scared to talk to people on the phone.

Let’s go to 50. Are you 50?

I’ll be 50.

You’re a young guy. Let’s do this. Where are you now? What’s going on with you? What is your attitude? What has been the most recent attitude realization you’ve had? What’s your message of hope for the people that are reading?

It started hitting me years ago. Here’s a great message for everybody. This happened to me. Maybe it happened to you and maybe it happens to people reading. My feelings internally changed, and then my attitude changed. I never asked for it. You wake up one day and start feeling or thinking a different way. At least that’s what happened to me. Years ago, I started focusing on the legacy. I retired and checked out. I was hanging out and doing what I wanted. It hit me one day, “This is cool and fun.”

I still have the consulting clients that I had, but I wasn’t taking new business. I turned down almost every talk that I would get invited to because I wanted to play golf and basketball, hang out, wake up, and have no agenda. That got boring after a while. It hit me. The secret to living is giving. Hopefully, it’s a long time from now, but there’s going to be a time when I’m no longer on planet Earth. I’ll never forget. I would do something great anywhere in the school or get some award. I would tell my mom and dad.

They would always say, “That’s great. We love you. We’re so proud of you but remember this. You didn’t come into this world with anything, and you’re not leaving with anything. The only thing you have are the memories you create, the people you help while you’re here, and the legacy you leave.” Especially as a young person, it goes right over your head, “I’m going out and getting the new Mercedes.” It’s funny, Glenn. I don’t know if you’ve found this, but the older I got, the wiser my parents became.

I’m with you. Are they still with us?

Years ago, there’s that whole thing that mom and dad used to always say, “I won an award. I was on Secret Millionaire, the TV show. Mom and dad, I’m on this TV show.” They say, “That’s great, son. We love you. We’re proud of you but remember that you didn’t come into this world with anything. You’re not leaving with anything. The only thing you’ve got is who you help while you’re here, the memories you’ve created, and the legacy you leave.” Years ago, it hit me. I said, “That’s what I want to do.” I showed I could do that by doing stuff like podcasts and not walking on the beach and playing golf but getting back in the game and doing what I love doing, which is teaching and sharing the wisdom and experiences that God blessed me to have these years.

We’re so grateful that you chose to be with us. Are mom and dad still with us? Did they move on?

Nine words that will make you wealthier than anything else: do something, package it, teach it and sell it. Share on X

My mom is. My dad passed away on April 15th, 2006. He was trying to avoid taxes. We joke and say that’s why dad left.

I was checking you out. I saw you in your mom. She’s 90 years old in 2022.

I was with her celebrating her 90th birthday.

Tell me quickly about three programs. You have Pitch Secrets Mastery. For those people that are looking to make a difference and insert themselves into your legacy, tell us what Pitch Secrets Mastery is.

Several years ago, I had a revelation. It’s the old commercial, “I could have had a V8.” You get the wake-up call. I had the wake-up call. I said, “All sales training is wrong. It’s traditional stuff that is taught from year-to-year and passed down.” He said, “Who are you to judge?” I’ve sold $50 million from the stage, webinars, and all that. I got a pretty good gauge of how you communicate to convert. They teach you this, “Make 100 contacts and you will close X number percentage.”

Let’s pretend it’s 10%. You get 10%. What does that lead you to believe? You’ve got to get more clusters of 100 to get another 10%. You’ve got to see 1,000 votes to get 100 yeses. That’s a lot of people you’ve got to see prospecting in any profession, career, entrepreneurial business, or speaking. Insurance sells. I said, “That’s bogus because that’s not what I do.”

From a presentation standpoint, if I had 10% of the audience that bought my course, webinar, or live in the audience, I go back and get Michael Moore going home to practice, work out, and train that night. I go back to the drawing board and say, “There was 90% that said no. I must not have done a good enough job of communicating the value, the benefits, and how their lives would be changed or they would have said yes. Let’s go to work and get moving on it to see how we can improve it.”

It’s like, “Instead of out of 10, you get 1 out of 10. If I get 4, 6, or 8 out of 10, do I need to see as many clusters?” If you get 50 or 60 out of 100 because you learn some ways to language things and present properly, do you need as many clusters of 100? No. Pitch Secrets came about when I was at my event. I had Kevin Harrington there, who was an original Shark on Shark Tank. He invented the infomercial. He sold $5 billion.

Kevin saw me do an offer where I sold $100,000 in 2 minutes and 37 seconds. He had never seen anything like that before, even though he had the best products on TV. Here’s why. I made the offer up 30 minutes before. There was no offer or seminar. There was nothing. I went up because I knew how to communicate. Thirty minutes before I put some slides together, I went up, made this offer, and in 2 minutes and 37 seconds, sold $100,000. We had more sales after that in the next fifteen minutes.

He took me aside. He’s like, “That’s the greatest pitch I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen 50,000-plus pitches at the time.” I’m like, “What are you talking about? You had Billy Mays, Anthony Sullivan, and the greatest people on TV.” He said, “They’re selling $29 things or $60 things with three payments of $20 each. I watched you sell a $2,000 package that you made up because I saw you making it up.”

“I watched them stand up and go to the back to give $2,000. I had never seen anything like that in my life. He said we ought to do a seminar called Pitch Secrets. You and I ought to teach it because I can share a lot of stuff. You need to teach it with me.” That’s how it all started. That’s what it is. It’s how to present the right way to communicate things the right way, so people say yes to you and feel great about it. They don’t feel tricked and manipulated. You don’t feel slime.

Does that get taught at your Big Money Speaker boot camp? Is that a separate gig?

It’s a separate one. Kevin and I have done several of those together. It’s whenever we want to do it. It’s not set in stone like it’s every August 8th or something. It’s whenever we say, “Let’s run Pitch Secrets.” We have done probably about 5 or 6 of them or something like that.

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude: Pitch Secrets Mastery is a course on how to communicate things the right way so people will say yes to you and feel great about it. Make it so that they don’t feel tricked and manipulated.


Do you have any upcoming in-person events going on?

Not yet because of the whole COVID situation, I haven’t done a personal live event of our own since January of 2020, right before COVID hit. We will be coming out of it, but we have to make sure. For example, we do them here in Las Vegas. We’re always monitoring the governor’s website for what we can and can’t do. It was crazy. I have a friend who’s a big executive with one of the NFL teams.

She and I went out, grabbed some dinner, and went to a show because she had never seen a Vegas show. It’s the craziest thing. You’ve got to sit there in the show wearing a mask in the showroom. There are some crazy guidelines here. That’s why we haven’t done the events. We do them in Vegas because of where I live. We always bus people up to the house and have a party at night and stuff like that.

Let’s talk basketball quickly. Do you follow the NBA? What are your thoughts on the state of the NBA? Who’s your favorite team?

My favorite team is the Sixers because Doc Rivers is a friend of mine. My favorite team was the Clippers when he was with the Clippers before the Sixers. My favorite team before that was the Celtics when he was with the Celtics and won the World Championship in ’08. That’s my favorite team. I root for Doc because he’s a great guy. I’ve known Doc for years. I met him out here when I was doing an event with Michael Jordan. Doc was there. We became friends. I liked him. He’s a great guy. I root for him. In the state of the NBA, spoiled folks should be grateful for what they have. Joe Theismann is one of my best friends. He’s a former NFL quarterback for the then-Washington Redskins.

They’re the Commanders.

Joe is one of the guys that got me into speaking years ago. He’s the one that told me about the speaking industry and got me into it. He has been one of my dearest friends for years. Right before he broke his leg in the NFL, he was the third-highest paid player in the NFL. It was $1 million. He was the NFL MVP. He signed a new contract, which is the third-highest player in the NFL, for $1 million. Now, these guys at the NBA, NFL, and all that get $50 million or $40 million.

There’s Jackson from Baltimore. The going rate for a quarterback MVP is $40 million. That’s it.

Here’s my point. Shut your damn mouth, show up to work, and do your job. Be blessed. You should be privileged. You could be playing basketball at the local YMCA for nothing.

I was watching the All-Star football game. I was a football coach for 25 years. I was fortunate enough to coach Zack Martin for the Dallas Cowboys, his brother who’s in Las Vegas. One of the Player Personnel guys, DuJuan Daniels for the Raiders, also was a guy that I coached. I’m familiar with it, but I was watching the lack of effort in touch football. When I watch some NBA games, including my beloved Pacers, and you talk about hardcore defense and being in position and shuffling, the lack of effort on a professional basketball court is mind-numbing.

It’s crazy spoiled versus grateful. It’s a privilege to be paid to play basketball or things you did as a kid. It’s not a right. It’s a privilege and an honor. I get that you want to try to get as much as you can. That’s why I love people like John Stockton. Did you ever hear Stockton come out in the media and complain about it? Nope. He got his contract. He went to work day and did his job.

He was rough on the court. I have friends that played for the Jazz when Stockton and Malone were there. They were rough because they were leaders in practice, but they were privileged. They felt honored to be playing basketball and getting paid. There are not many people that can do that, especially in the United States. It has become so overblown.

Jason and I were privileged enough that the great Mark Eaton came to the show. I’m guessing you know Mark. It was a month before he passed that he was on our show, which was crazy. You might want to read that one. Everybody should listen to what Mark Eaton had to say.

No matter what you go through, you choose your attitude. You can either complain or do what you have to do. Share on X

I will. Folks need to be more thankful and grateful. I get it. You get $50 million a year. God bless you, but there’s a way to be diplomatic and grateful about it. Give back and help others with some of that money. It’s their money. They can do whatever they want. It always goes back to what Charles Barkley said years ago. He said, “I, Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Stockton, Malone, Patrick Ewing, Bird, Magic, and Kareem played this game for free.” You won’t find players like that now.

Talk to me about the state of college basketball. Are you a fan of college basketball? You love UC. Are there any other favorites that you like to check out college-wise?

I love great coaches like Krzyzewski or Coach K at Duke in 2021 and 2022. I got to meet a lot of these folks when I was doing the Michael thing out here for four years. One of my good friends, Jay Wright at Villanova, is a two-time National Champion. There’s Calipari for Kentucky. Coach Cal recruited me out of high school when he was back at Pittsburgh and then when he went to UMass.

A good friend of mine is Eddie Schilling. I don’t know if you know Eddie or not, but Eddie coached with him at UMass. He grew up with me right down the street. He was a shooting coach. He’s at Grand Canyon University near you.

Coach Cal out of high school, signed Jimmy McCoy from Central Catholic. Jimmy McCoy and I played in Roundball Classic. I ate his lunch. I was very upset that Coach Cal gave him the scholarship. Jimmy is a great player. He was a great team.

Have you ever run into Dan Dakich at all? Do you know Danny?

I don’t know Dan.

He was close to Eric Anderson. He’s a little bit older than us. He guarded Michael Jordan when IU beat North Carolina in the Final Four that year.

Eric and I played against each other in Dapper Dan Roundball Classic in Pittsburgh with a friend of mine, Sonny Vaccaro. Sonny was one of the biggest guys. You probably remember Sonny. A lot of people don’t know this. Sonny is the guy that is credited for building the whole Air Jordan brand. He flew around three years on a private jet with Michael to build the brand. He’s the one that got Nike to give all the money on one player for Jordan.

Sonny used to run something called the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic in Pittsburgh, which was an All-Star game that he had run for 25 to 30 years or maybe longer than that because he goes all the way back. Moses Malone played in it when Moses went straight from high school to the pros. All the big stars played in it. I was so excited and privileged that I got to play in it.

The state of college basketball all stems from the coaches. What example are they setting? They bring freshmen in. Are you setting the right example? Others might not like this. What I like about college basketball is it’s not traditional anymore. It used to be traditional. Guys come in and stay for four years. It’s not traditional. Every coach is different. Calipari has got the one-and-done. He made the one-and-done famous.

You come in for one year and play. That will get you to the NBA. You will be done. People bashed him for that. I’m like, “Why? That’s his style of coaching. If he wins, who cares? He can coach however he wants. He’s not doing anything illegal.” Jay Wright is a friend of mine and Jimmy Larrañaga down in Miami. I met Jimmy at the Michael thing. We did the Michael Jordan thing. I love Bill Self at Kansas. I love Roy Williams. I got to hang out with Royal lot. He’s retired.

Who is the Gonzaga coach? Is it Mark?

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
Success Starts With Attitude

I love him. He’s phenomenal. I’ve never had a chance to meet him. I don’t know him, but I sure admire that guy.

That’s a traditional way to run your program. All his guys are old and all that. I want to respect your time. There’s one last question for you. You know a lot of people. You’ve dropped bombs and given us such great stories, but maybe there’s still one inside of you, no matter who it is, whether it’s Michael Jordan, the most famous person you’ve ever met, or the custodian that let you in at 6:00 AM.

When you think about the one person you met that moved you the most, somebody that has overcome something, somebody that embodies the attitude, or somebody that knocked you off your socks and you went, “This is the most impressive and unbelievable person I’ve met,” I would love to that story, and then we will get you out of the studio.

I got a telephone call one day from my dad. This was when I was younger. I was in college. I was working in New York on the commodity exchange for my cousin. I was living with my cousin. My phone rang. It was my dad. He had said my sister Vicki had collapsed and was in the hospital with the right side of her body paralyzed. This was shocking for me because prior to that or a few weeks earlier, she was in New York. We hung out. We went to the mall and got some pizza. It was sister and brother time.

We initially thought she had to have a pinched nerve in her hip or her back because she was young when this happened. She was 38 at the time with three children. The first set of test results came back. It wasn’t a pinched nerve. We thought maybe she had a stroke because medical research says that people of younger ages, even younger than that, can have strokes nowadays. The second set of test results came back. It wasn’t a stroke.

A few days went by. I could not reach Vicki on the phone in the new room that she was in. They put her in a new room. Finally, I got connected. She answered the phone and I said, “Vicki, how are you?” She said, “Did you hear?” I said, “What? Everything is cool. They upgraded you. That’s why you’re in this new room. Everything is fine. You’re coming home.” She said, “Little brother, I have a brain tumor. The doctors say that I’ve only got about three months left.”

I could not speak. I quit my job immediately and told my cousin and all that. We cried. I quit my job, jumped on a plane, went back to the Pittsburgh area where she was, and became her coach. I read a great book by Dr. Bernie Siegel on the flight back. It was called Love, Medicine & Miracles. It was all about how people beat cancer, inoperable brain tumors, and the worst diseases and how they won by attitude, believing that they could win, praying, and positive visualization.

I became her coach. I put a sign on the door to her hospital room that said, “If you have any negative thoughts, leave them at the door because I will not let you in.” Everything became positive. We would do positive visualization and have soft music with the lights down. I learned this from the book. She would visualize fighter jets shooting the brain tumor, shrinking it, and destroying it. We were changing her diet and everything we could possibly do.

About two months later, I was supposed to go to college and play basketball. I was supposed to be there under a contract for a basketball scholarship. The coach was fine. He was cool. He understood, “Take as much time as you need. Don’t worry about it.” I was in the room with her. I made the mistake of telling her that I was not going to go to college. I was going to stay there with her. At this time, she had lesions in her brain. One led to 2 and 2 led to 3.

They were so painful that they would give her pain medication. They had to give her so much that she would overdose on it. If she didn’t take them, then the pain was so bad. It was a bad situation. She would always lay in bed. She could talk and was coherent, but I had never seen her get up. When I told her I wasn’t going to go to school, she rose up out of bed, got in my face, and said, “You go to college. I’ll be fine. Don’t you worry about me.” She did.

A few nights later, I had to make the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life. After thinking about it, praying, and talking to the parents, I decided that if I don’t go to college and stay, she’s going to know she’s dying because why else would I not go to college? I had to make the most difficult decision I’ve ever made in my life, which was to leave my sister that night, knowing it would be the last time I ever saw her alive. I go to college, and the craziest thing happened.

It’s a month and a half or two months after she was supposed to have passed away. She’s still living. Every night, here’s what I would do. When I was in college away from her, I made a deal with her before I left called 50/50. I said, “Vicki, when I’m at college or school, I’m not going to quit this fighting that we’re doing. All you have to do is fight 50%. That’s it. I’m going to fight the other 50%. I’ll call you every day. We’re going to keep at it and win. As long as we don’t quit, we’re going to win.”

Here we are, a month and a half or two months later. She’s still alive. Here’s what I would do when I was at college. Before I would go to bed, I would get on my hands and knees, pray, look out the window, talk to Vicki, and would encourage her. It’s the same way I talked to her on the phone or the same way we were in the hospital. It’s a month and a half or two months later. Doctors cannot understand how she is still living. There is no medical explanation. I am excited beyond means.

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With Attitude
How I Became A Big Money Speaker And How You Can Too!: The 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Adding Public Speaking To Your Current Business!

I was having dinner with two elderly folks. They were in their late 70s or early 80s, Ernie and Adelaide. Adelaide said, “How’s your sister?” She knew what was happening. I was all excited. I said, “She’s still alive. She’s in a lot of pain, but she’s not giving up and quitting. Doctors have no explanation for how this has happened. I’m so excited.” Adelaide said something to me that made me feel selfish. She said, “Did you ever think that she’s in a lot of pain and wants to let go, but she’s not because she doesn’t want to feel like she’s letting you down?”

I felt so selfish. I never looked at it from that end. That night, I got down on my knees, prayed, looked out the window, and talked to her. It was a different talk this time, though. I said, “Vicki, I know you’re in pain. You may want to let go. I understand if you want to. If you want to, I want you to. We didn’t lose because we never gave up. I’ll see you again. We will be together again at some point. I love you with all my heart. If you want to do that, then that’s great. I support you.”

Four hours later, the telephone rang. It was my dad telling me Vicki had passed away. I tell you that story because you asked that question. That is the most inspirational person I’ve ever met in my life because throughout that entire ordeal, not one time did she ever say, “Why me?” Not one time did she complain and get mad. I was mad for a long time at everybody and God, “How can he take my sister?”

There are drug dealers out there giving kids crack and hurting people. There are murderers. My sister never hurt a fly. I was the mad one. I learned from her that no matter what you go through, you can choose the attitude of complaining about it or dealing with it and doing what you have to do. That’s why I say she’s the most inspirational. I’ve met a lot of people. I’ve been blessed to be around a lot of winners and superstars as society would deem them, but nobody touches her.

James, thanks so much for sharing that. That’s a beautiful story. We will make sure that we honor it. We will dedicate this episode to Vicki Malinchak and make sure that she is front and center. Also, the message of the story is that James Malinchak has met the most famous and successful people in the world, yet the person that God put into his life to solidify his attitude was somebody that he grew up with.

The question to you GAPers is this. Who is in your life that could be the hero of your life and you don’t even know it? Maybe we need to quit looking at all the superstars, media, and stuff and understand that it’s the people that walk with us day-to-day in our life. We can change and improve their attitude. They may have the lesson for us to learn to have a great attitude to help us get from where we are to where we want to go. Vicki did that. James, this was awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate you giving to our audience. You have changed some people’s lives with this talk between you and me.

Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. I started it this way and I’ll end it this way. I love the red jacket.

I appreciate it. Go Hoosiers. When you talk about a great coach, Mike Woods has been turning that stuff around in Indiana. I will get out to Las Vegas and see you. GAPers, I’m with the great James Malinchak. We are out of here. Remember, stay positive. Thank you, James.

Thank you, Glenn.


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About James Malinchak

GAP S3 2 | Success Starts With AttitudeJames Malinchak is recognized as one of the most requested, in-demand business and motivational keynote speakers and business marketing consultants in the world. He was featured on the Hit ABC TV Show, Secret Millionaire and was twice named “College Speaker of the Year.” James has delivered over 2,000+ presentations for corporations, associations, business groups, colleges, universities and youth organizations worldwide.

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