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Episode #655

What is the best legacy to leave behind as a Powerful Man?

If you have kids, how do you want them to be impacted and influenced by your legacy?

In this episode, Doug and Brad talk about how to share the best legacy with your kids and what you can do to teach them about being authentic.

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Doug Holt  00:01

Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of The Powerful Man Show. I am once again joined by my brother, Brad Holt. Brad, thanks for being here, man.

Brad Holt  01:03

Hey, Doug, thanks for inviting me.

Doug Holt  01:04

Yeah. I had such a good time on the last episode, we were talking off camera and we decided to bring it back and talk about something else. And we were talking about this offline. I think this is a great topic. It’s the topic of legacy.

Brad Holt  01:17

Oh, legacy, nothing more important. What are you going to leave behind, if anything?

Doug Holt  01:23

Yeah, and I think that’s a really interesting thing. So, as you know, kind of the 03:00 AM conversation, as I call it, as men a lot of times we bust our butts, right? We bust our butts in business, especially in our 30s, we have this idea that most of us are going to retire in our 40s. Right? We’re going to build this amazing business and some of you guys have.

But one of the thing we also think about is, what are we going to leave? What’s the legacy are we going to leave? Are we leaving generational wealth, right? The kind of wealth that your kids don’t have to worry about money and their kids and the next generation or etc, etc. But oftentimes, what we don’t think about his legacy in its multifaceted form. Like, what else are you leaving behind? And so that’s what we want to dive in today, Brad.

Brad Holt  02:04

All right. Well, money is better than no money, no question about it.

Doug Holt  02:09


Brad Holt  02:09

But from all the people I’ve talked with, all the research I’ve ever done, money does not bring happiness. It doesn’t bring contentment. But it’s better to have it than to not have it. So, boy, we get distracted because we think legacy is financial only. Now I’m a big planner, and if I wasn’t doing this, I would be doing retirement coaching or financial planning because it’s a passion of mine, and building a plan so you can achieve your goals, retire, rewire, whatever you want to talk about. But I love to talk about non-financial. What legacy are you leaving to the people around you, your family, your children, and your community? Because how we act is mirrored by those we love and interact with? Are we acting in a way [inaudible 00:02:59] leaving a legacy that we’d be proud of?

Doug Holt  03:02

Yeah, that’s a great point. And you being my biological brother, as well. And we’re at different stages of life with our kids, right? So, my kids are still very young, I have a three year old and one turning six next week. And so I see this already, Brad, where my daughter who’s three walks around the house like a parrot mimicking all the things I’m saying and doing, right? And it’s hilarious to the point where she’ll say something or have a mannerism, and I’ll look at myself go, okay, I didn’t do that. And then I’ll go, is that my wife or where is she learning that pattern? Because they’re sponges at this age, and they just are absorbing so much of their environment, and then they’re reproducing it. So, you see that going on. Where your kids now are much older. Right? They’re much older, and I’ll let you talk to that point.

Brad Holt  03:54

Yeah. Well, I have a 20 year old and a 22 year old. And one’s in graduate school, ones in college, and I have the true advantage of getting their feedback. How did we do? Because my relationship with them is no longer a true parent. I’m more like a guide, or advisor to them as they take the steps. And there’s nothing more important to me than my faith and my kids. I feel a huge responsibility for them. At the same time I’m letting go of them and seeing them grow and what legacy am I communicating? And it’s been awesome to see it because, unfortunately, they usually mimic all my negative habits. But occasionally, occasionally some of this comes through.

And it really comes down to communication and when I coach at TPM or I coach with men, one of my challenge is to them is even though they’ve personally gone through a lot of trauma, they’ve gone through a lot of issues, they have maybe even a terrible marriage or they’ve already split or divorced. The question is, what do they want to teach their children? What legacy they — How are they dealing with it?

So, not only are you trying to help the men be the best versions of themselves, but if they do become the best versions of themselves, my hope and prayer for them is that they will make a generational chain, cut off that bad parenting that bothered them, those traumatic events, leave it behind, and teach their kids better ways to deal with the situation, which many of these men were never taught or even had role models.

Doug Holt  05:36

Yeah, that’s a great point, it reminds me of a story here. So, first of all, we all know none of us were taught about relationships growing up. It’s the weirdest thing. Your biggest fights in life tend to be around money and relationships. And no one teaches us about either of those things with any depth. And it reminds me of one of the men that went through the activation method recently. And it may have been your group, I’m not sure. But when he went through the activation method, what he learned quickly was one of the exercises we take the men through is the stickman exercise. And he had a teenage son.

And so we sat down with his son and taught him the method. I said, hey, look, here’s my stickman, and here’s the man that I want to be. And if you ever see me as the stickman let me know. And I’m paraphrasing this for the case of the show, and this happens a lot of times. And so one time as it happens with fathers and sons or kids, as well, is he and his son got into it a little bit, right. They’re arguing about something. And his son said, “Dad, you’re being that guy, you’re being the stickman guy again.” And he thought about it for a second and goes, you know what, he’s right. First of all, he’s like, crap, he’s right. This sucks, as any father would say.

But the point is, is what kind of a legacy and lesson did he leave his son? He taught his son at a very young and very informative age, that we all have these sides of us that aren’t as great as we think, right? Everybody, as a kid, you think your parents are parents, they’re not real people until they get to their 20s as your kids are, Brad, you start to reflect and go crap, my parents are actually just people doing the best they can. But what he’s teaching, my point is for legacy, right, he’s teaching this young man, his son, what it’s like to be a man, right, what it’s like to be there. Hey, these are the bads — Dad’s got some bad stuff he’s working on. Maybe not bad, but things where he’s not showing up the way he would like to. And here’s where dad wants to be.

So, as a man, here’s where I’d like to be and I’m working on this, son. And his son’s seeing it. And his son’s begging him saying, dad, I want that great part of you, I need that part of you. And what legacy to have this young man growing up? If that was my son, I think I’d, you know, it almost brings me to tears thinking about it. I didn’t grow up and just seeing that, hey, it’s okay to be imperfect, right. And none of us are perfect. But it’s also great to strive to something, to be a better man, even as a dad and as a father, and as a husband, as a provider to take steps.

He’s also showing his son like, look, dad’s working on himself. Dad is working on improving himself. And the story that I heard, Brad, was that obviously, this brings he and his son so much closer together. Because we all have problems with our parents at one point or another, but at least this kid, this boy knows that his father is working on becoming a better man. And when you know someone’s working on being better, you give them so much more grace, right, because you know, they’re taking the action steps. So, when I think about legacy, that’s one of the stories that comes to mind for me. Now, I know you have a bunch of others that we were talking about offline. So, tell me more about legacy and how some of the men can apply some of these principles and actually leave a legacy more than just wealth?

Brad Holt  08:47

So, I think it’s great because one of my guys was exactly like that. So, this could have been something I experienced, and there was a 13-14 a young man. And I wish I would have thought about this when I was raising my kids more because I tried to be too perfect, and try to always have the right answers. And so therefore, now me having hindsight 2020 is, gosh, that puts a lot of pressure on my kids to be perfect when I don’t want to be perfect, I want to be happy. And if I would have been vulnerable like this gentleman was and said, hey, dad’s not perfect, it allows his son or daughter, or even spouse to say, I don’t have to be perfect, let’s quit faking it and let’s get real. And you have the real conversations. And the son will then say, oh, okay, I have a stickman and the best version.

And you know, what does that mean? Who is my stickman and what is that? And you know what? Dad’s not perfect. I can now talk to dad about it. I don’t have to hide it from my father because I need to be perfect. No, we don’t need to be perfect. As we say at TPM a lot of time is we make imperfect action. Just move forward the best you can. And if we act perfect all the time, boy, I think we’re really sending a bad message to our kids, and our kids don’t know how to fail. And what it’s going to teach them is to lie, teach them to fake it, and not be real and deal with the issues that they have. And they — all kids have issues. I know mine do. And being able to communicate with them and share is huge.

And I’m hoping in my life, even though my kids are in their 20s, for the next 60 years, they’ll continue to share their hopes, their dreams, and their fears and uncertainties. And if I can be vulnerable, like this gentleman was and make them feel safe, that they’ll share, that’s a legacy changer because they’ll do it for their kids and their kids. And that’ll be much more, it’ll be a much bigger impact than wealth would ever be.

Doug Holt  10:53

Yeah, I mean, absolutely. That’s what every — As a father, right, we think about it, what do you want to leave your kids? Yeah, you want to leave them money, but you’d rather leave them with no money and great integrity, great character, a sense of loving themselves, a sense of accepting themselves. And to your point, being happy. There’s nothing greater than as a father to know that your kids are happy, to know that you’re giving them the tools to set them up for success, to break generational patterns that could have happened, right? Because other fathers haven’t had the tools to teach them or the guts or whatever it is, that’s come up for them to actually pass it on.

And as you think about what is it you’re actually showcasing them? What is it you are delivering to them? And for some of you guys, for a lot of you guys, you’re showing them the Facebook version of life. Like I’m perfect, I’m father, I’m the strongest guy in the world, I’m tough, and all of these things. I have all the answers. That’s just like posting your Facebook life of when you take your kids to Disneyland, but not showing the real versions of what’s going on in your house. And I’m not suggesting by any means that you need to go on Facebook, and spill the beans about how your marriage isn’t working or anything else. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is just being authentic, being real with what’s going on.

And when you can’t be authentic, the depths of your relationships are very shallow. And that means that the relationship with your kids are shallow. And we talk about this with a lot of guys, Brad. And something I always ask the guys is do you want to be the father that gets the obligatory Christmas card, or birthday card that your kid just picked up at the gas station, sign their name at the bottom of somebody else’s writing and mailed it while you’re eating a TV dinner, because you didn’t have the guts to step up and do the work yourself and allow them in to see the real man that you are; the flaws, the great parts. But most importantly, the, hey, I have these things that aren’t perfect and I’m working on them

Brad Holt  12:53

Yeah. And some of the men, their marriages are not going to work. And we come from divorced parents and we’ve seen our parents at their highs and we’ve seen our parents at their lows. And the parent who did not get into the fray, the parent who was loving unconditionally and supporting, that parent probably didn’t get as much kudos during the time. But I can tell you how much it meant to me, sheepers, I didn’t have to deal with all the malarkey. Because when parents, married or not married, they, sheepers, you know, the kids, we see everything.

Doug Holt  12:37


Brad Holt  12:38

And the fact is, as a child, our sanity is tied to our parents sometimes. If our parents are crazy, we’re screwed. And I’m hoping that our men can decouple that with or without their spouse. And that brings — the interesting thing is, that’s when they’re young. But we also put our guys through visioning exercises for themselves, and then also their spouse. But we also do with our kids, here’s where we’re going.

Doug Holt  14:07


Brad Holt  14:08

So, even though my kids are in their 20s and they think I’m 56 years old that I’m pretty much Yoda’s brother because I’m so old.

Doug Holt  14:16

[inaudible 00:14:15]

Brad Holt  14:17

Yeah. And that they now are thinking about things. So, we share that vision. We go, here’s what we want to do, because I’m 56. We have the go-go years, the slow go years and the no go years. Like, hey, eventually I’m not going to — So, we’ve been trying to be active and do things with them and we tell them why, and we share it with them so they can also plan their lives and say hey, don’t wait for retirement, man, live your life now.

Doug Holt  14:47

Well, and it’s great. And a lot of guys listening to this, Brad, they are struggling in their marriage. And like you said our parents divorced when I was five, separated when I was four, thereabouts. And you get to see that. And what you get to see guys is your kids are watching. I don’t care if your kids are three or they’re 30, they’re watching. And what they’re learning is how do I be in relationship? Like how do I be in relation? And we often say, look, your son’s going to grow up to be just like you, or do everything in his power to be the opposite of you. Your daughter is going to marry a man just like you or do everything in her power to be the opposite of you, right? It’s one of the two things, it seems to go in those extremes.

However, are you teaching your kids how to be in a loving relationship? Now I realize you can’t control your wife and all the problems are her. I totally get it, guys. We can talk about that another time. But how are you showing up? Are you showing up fully? Are you showing up completely? Are you showing up being present? Are you showing up, showing them this lust for life? And Brad, your story is perfect to go into this. We’ll do it another time, but we can touch on it today. But are you really showing your kids that hey, life’s to be lived.

And here’s how to show up as the best husband I can possibly be despite whatever else is going on. To be the best man possible despite what’s ever going on, despite my upbringing, despite my setbacks, despite my business, despite my wife doing X, or Y, or whatever it is. How are you showing up? Because when we talked about leaving a legacy, your kids are watching, they’re watching your every move, and they’re learning what it is to be a great human or at least a father in a relationship.

Brad Holt  16:31

Yeah. So much to unpack from that. I think most of us don’t realize that most likely our kids will be like us, okay, even if they don’t want to be. I’m going to say it’s heavily skewed to even if you hate your father or your mother, you’re going to go that way because that’s all you know. That’s all they know. And so even if they’re intellectual, this is going to come out behind closed doors, because that’s the only model they have. So, it’s easy if you have a bad marriage to be a great father to your kids. Because it’s like being a great uncle. I love your kids, so I can have fun with them. But then I give them back to you. I’m done. Fun uncle’s over, I want to go do my stuff.

Well, how we treat that spouse, kids see it. These little nuances are huge. If I treat my wife poorly, I’m adding stress to my kid’s life. If I am not happy and rigid and all tight, my kids see that. Communication, because they’re watching our body language, they’re watching our tone of voice, and we as men think we’re saying one thing, the words are correct. But the impact of the message is the body language and tone of voice. That represents over 90%. And kids, even at the ages of two or three years old can pick up on that.

Doug Holt  17:51

Oh, yeah.

Brad Holt  17:51

This is a stretch and they go into survival mode. And that’s the last thing we want as a dad to do to our kids.

Doug Holt  17:59

When and that’s so true. And you said a couple things that are really prevalent that I want to go into, but one is communication, guys, is mostly nonverbal. Right? You know, I think I’ve read 5-6% and the numbers are around thereabouts are verbal, the words you say. What a lot of you guys are doing and I certainly did this, Brad, is I thought I was being the good guy by shutting up, keeping my mouth shut when I was pissed off or upset. And really what you’re doing is you’re distancing yourself. You’re going internal, which then your kids start thinking, okay, is there something wrong with me? Am I doing something to upset dad because they don’t know what’s going on. They just see dad shutting down around mom, and therefore dad just shutting down period.

Now as a father or as a guy, I think I’m doing the best thing possible. Right? I’m not arguing, I’m not upsetting the applecart, I’m just toeing the line, pretending to be happy. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, and that goes to you guys, everybody else around you knows exactly what’s going on. They may not know the reason why, but they know something’s wrong. And your kids pick this up. And at a young age kids are meaning making machines, humans are in general. But your kids are going to make this mean something. Okay, when I’m upset, I go internal. Or okay, dad’s upset, what did I do wrong? Maybe I didn’t pick up my toys. I need to do that to get love. Or maybe I need to make a bigger mess, so dad will spend time with me.

Kids are going to find a way but either way, they’re going to make a meaning out of this. And when you guys think that you are saving your family and your kids by biting your tongue, by just not upsetting the applecart, toeing the line, being a nice guy, really, you’re causing more problems. And this really took me a long time, Brad, to really learn and really understand. And I’m a little slower than a lot of the guys that come through the program and learn this. However, it took me a long time to really figure this out because I thought I was taking the high road when really I was causing more problems than not.

Brad Holt  19:57

Oh, your example reminds me of people who golf, okay, is, in my mind, my golf swing is like Freddie Couples’, and it’s beautiful. Then someone took a video camera shot of it and this reminds me of a CFO of a university. I took my phone and I was videotaping his golf swing. And then a few weeks later I saw it on my phone and I go, “Kev, check this out. I took a picture of your golf swing.” And he goes, “Oh, man, you just blew my buzz. That’s the worst looking golf swing ever.” And go, “Why didn’t you ever tell me my golf swing was so ugly?” I go, “I thought you knew.” And we’re communicating — videotape yourself and you’d be shocked at how bad we are in the body language. It’s almost like a small child. Tell your brother you’re sorry. “I’m sorry.”

Doug Holt  20:48

Yeah, exactly.

Brad Holt  20:49

You didn’t mean it. I said I was sorry. Well, we as adults do it all the time too. And that’s kind of the beauty of our community is the iron sharpens iron analogy, and you see other people who are in the same boat, and everyone lets their guard down, and the truth comes out. And we see that, ooh, maybe I could have handled that better. Because other men who love us and support us are kind of calling us out. That’s kind of aggressive or that’s not a nice thing, it’s not a kind way to do it. And we need to be called out so we can be better. If we’re better, we can leave a better legacy and teach our kids so they don’t have to go through this.

Doug Holt  21:28

Yeah, such a great point. And especially I can picture the kid, because my kids are in that age range. Like, apologize to your brother, sorry. Like, come on. At least fake it, fake like you care. You just threw your sister down the stairs. And we do this so much we walk around and we talk about gosh, leaving a legacy. For me, I have the sign I talked about above my stairs, that says your energy impacts, right, this household, basically, essentially. And I have another sign that says change your priorities ahead. It just reminds me that when I walk through the door, so I have kind of my man cave, which is like a 1,300 square foot basement, that I have to myself that I’ve redone.

And I walk up those stairs, when I go in to see my kids, and they’re so excited, they hear the door, click and it’s daddy, daddy, daddy. I may come from a stressful situation or I may have had a coaching call with a guy who’s going through a traumatic life event, and it’s really important that I clear my energy before going in there because my kids pick up on it instantly. You can see the whole mood of the house changes based on me. I’m the leader of the home, my wife is up there all the time. We’re very blessed that she doesn’t have to work. But I’m the leader of the home. And so everybody falls in line. And guys, when you talk about leaving a legacy, you want to teach your kids first and foremost, I believe, to love themselves unconditionally, right? Your perfect, whole, and complete just the way you are. And that’s something we tell our kids every night.

And then on top of that, what are things that they could do? To your point, Brad, teaching them that they’re not perfect. That’s a great thing. That starts with you just admitting that you’re not perfect. You know, there’s this thing that we talk about often is we use it as directions. Men don’t ask for directions, right? We don’t want to ask for help. And the reason we don’t ask for help isn’t because we know everything, it’s the fear of what other — it’s the fear of judgment, what other people will think of us. What are people going to think of Doug Holt if they find out I’m not perfect? What are they going to think of me if they find out that my wife and I still fight? We still argue, we’re human. We’re not perfect. But I can tell you what guys, arguments that used to take two to three weeks plus to resolve happen in minutes now.

Do they still happen? Heck, yeah, they do. I had one yesterday. But it literally took minutes to resolve the argument or come to a place where we’re still connected and still in communication with each other. Right? Whereas it used to be, gosh, eight years ago or so, you know, I’m stubborn and Brad will probably argue with me on that one, but I can be pretty stubborn. And it’d be three weeks, to months before my wife and I would actually come back together. And that’s a different environment to grow up in. It’s a different environment for kids to see.

Our mom and dad, do they have constructive ways of disagreeing? Do they have constructive ways of like, hey, we don’t agree on this. But we could still have each other’s backs. Hey, we don’t agree on this. But we still love each other. Right? And that’s the legacy that I want to leave, gentlemen. And I’m not sure about you, but that’s where it’s worth putting in the work. That’s where it’s worth putting in some time.

And we often say, show me your calendar and I’ll show you your priorities. And if you don’t have time to work on yourself, you don’t have time to work on your marriage, then I guarantee that you and your marriage are not a priority for you. That’s what you’re telling me. And that’s where we talk about legacy, the legacy you’re leaving. Sure, you might really be leaving some money behind, but your kids are going to use that money to pay for therapy, right? Because dad was never around or dad and mom, dad didn’t show up. And this is your call.

Brad Holt  25:07

No, well said. Well said. That would be my biggest fear. I mean, my kids will do their own thing and I’m mentally prepared for that. But I want them to do it because they love what they’re doing, not because they dislike their parents. And the why is really critical. We have to teach our kids why did dad spend — go to all my games? Why did dad do this? They don’t know why.

But also, if we spend all our time working, they’re going to say, oh, work sucks, because dad’s a jerk. I don’t want to work. Why would I want to work because look — I see the result. But likewise, I see the guys who make the switch when the flip goes off in the movement And they go, oh, I’m going to focus on myself, be the best version so my cup is full. If my cup’s full when the arguments happen, I’m not in survival mode where I try to defend and attack and — I’m actually in a more wiser self.

And I kind of sit there and I watch what’s going on. And I relax and I can access my experience, my wisdom, and it really diffuses things. But so many times our cup is empty, and we respond and boy, talk about a legacy killer. Great story is we had a — My wife and I are pretty positive people, but there’s one woman, her name is Vangie who comes into our life a lot. And when she walks in the room, my wife and I look at each other and go like, okay, maybe we can be more positive, because she’s such a positive — she lifts everybody up. All boats go up. I feel better about myself. My wife feels better about herself and my kids are floating. That’s the kind of legacy I want to leave is to really make people better versions of themselves by lifting them up.

Doug Holt  26:54

Yeah. I think most everybody wants that. Right? We have, we don’t call them good guys. There’s a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy, I recommend it to guys. It basically paints the picture where most guys are like, “Oh, crap, that’s where I went wrong.” And in that book, the call to action is surround yourself by like-minded men. And that’s what we have here in the community, The Powerful Man, and are guided by expert coaches with decades of experience in leading these things and how to do it. The point being is you can’t be Vangie, you can’t be Brad Holt, or somebody who’s positive lifting everybody else up, unless you’ve done the work on yourself, unless you’ve gone to the trenches and done the actual work.

And look, guys, very few people want to do the work, right? We’re doing the work on yourself, I will argue is the most difficult work you’ll probably ever do in your life. You know, nobody wants to look at what — in the dark corners or recesses of where they are. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. It can actually be very, very fun. The activation method is a methodology that’s been proven to start that process for guys.

And really what we say is it just really strips away, it’s like chiseling away the rock to uncover David beneath the stone. Right? And that David is you, is the real authentic version of you. We don’t try to change you, we don’t try to do any of that crap. You’re perfect the way you are. We’re just trying to strip off all the stories and BS that everybody else has dumped on you over time, and the ways of being that you’ve picked up that aren’t working for you. And I think that’s the key and that’s the key to uplift others. If that’s your calling and you feel like wow, yeah, I love what Brad’s saying. I want to be a Vangie too. I certainly do. I want to help more people.

And a lot of you guys are doing this at work, you might be doing it in your church or synagogue or mosque, you might want to do that in these different areas around you. But going through is — the key here is really looking at, okay, how can I better myself, so my foundation is so strong, and how can I do this in my home? Right. You got to start with the home. There’s a great quote about a guy who wanted to change the world and failed. And he realized if he just started with himself, then moved to his family, then his family could help his community and his community could change his nation, and that nation could change the world. But you got to start with you. That’s homebase. Brad, when we talk about legacy, leave these guys with two-three things they could do today.

Brad Holt  29:14

One is put the time aside to invest in yourself. Because if you don’t fill up your own cup doing things that you love, if you don’t spend time reflecting, your cup is going to be empty. And if your cup is empty, your family gets leftovers. And that’s the worst thing. I’ve been designed to succeed in business. I compare myself as a business owner to other business owners, and I work hard because I want to achieve. That’s great, but at the end of the day, that’s not that important to me. And my kids are. My faith is. And am I acting this?

And sadly, is I was only spending a couple hours a day on the most important things to me. So, guys, I challenge you to invest in yourself, not later when I retire, now. And if you don’t, statistics show, you’re not going to be happy with the end result. And you’re going to have a lot of regrets, and that’s the worst. No regrets.

Doug Holt  30:14

No regrets, guys. You heard it right there. You can’t go backwards, right? So, when you’re sitting on your porch in a rocking chair, looking back at your life, you don’t want to be in the should have dones. You want to actually be like, hey, I did the best job I could. I took massive action. You know, whatever it means to you. And look, obviously, I’m biased and I say this all the time, because it’s just true. I think the activation method is the best program out there.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t be involved or we’d be making it better, which we always are working on. However, it may not be for you, it may not be perfectly suited for you. You don’t know that unless you get on a call with one of our advisors. But do something, do something. Get off of the fence and take some action. Brad, so great having you here, man. I appreciate you sharing all your knowledge and your wisdom with the men, and I appreciate all you’re doing within the movement of The powerful Man.

Brad Holt  31:04

Thanks, brother. Really appreciate it. Always have a blast talking with you.

Doug Holt  31:07

Yeah, likewise. Guys, take massive action. We’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.