Sean Callagy grew up with the idea that ordinary people could do remarkable things. He hoped to be a professional athlete, but his eye condition degenerated to the point that when he graduated college, it hampered him from getting drafted to play professionally. Today, Sean is an entrepreneur, national speaker, philanthropist, one of America’s top trial attorneys, online personality, and the creator of various peak performance technologies. He’s a legally blind warrior and adventurer. He joins Steve Sims to talk about his passion and share his journey to creating the UNBLINDED Mastery Program, a multi-month professional development process that transforms clients’ lives and businesses in ways beyond their imagination.
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Sean Callagy: Warrior And Adventurer
Our guest, Sean Callagy, is not only a phenomenal warrior entrepreneur, who speaks on stage with Tony Robbins and got his own massive law firm, but he’s also legally blind as well. This is a guy with tremendous perspective energy. I’ve spoken to loads of guests but this is one I want to crack a bottle of whiskey and chat with. He is mutual friends with Jay Abraham. He’s going to get you set up with integrity. He is going to get you pumped for the day. We’re in the middle of Coronavirus. This guy tells you how to deal with it. He’s got some nuggets you need.
Sean, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
I’ve been fortunate to interview and chat with a lot of people and I’d go, “This is interesting. This guy is fascinating.” It was worrying to read your bio and to feel intimidated and inferior. Thank you for that. Quite simply, everyone’s an entrepreneur, a speaker and a philanthropist, but not everyone is a top tier attorney. You are a serious attorney, who worked for some of the biggest groups out there, but also blind and a massive adventurer. Give us a little bit of background about how you grew up and where you came from before we get into the magnificent impact that you have. Give us your youth.
You’re way too kind. I think that whatever I’ve done, I’ve not done more things by far that I want to do, but thank you. I appreciate that. My mom pushed a hot dog cart in Jersey City, New Jersey when I was a baby. I don’t want to exaggerate that. We weren’t starving, but we did not have money. I grew up though having heroes like Muhammad Ali, fictional characters like Batman, James Bond and others. What I associated with from a very young age was the idea that normal people could do remarkable things. As I grew up, I was an athlete. I’m legally blind now, but I wasn’t then. I had my sight knowing I was going blind over time degeneratively. I was a three-sport athlete in high school.
What happened for me was I met a sports psychologist when I was sixteen. I wasn’t starting varsity. I wasn’t on the high school team. I was on the JV team, the second tier. All of a sudden, I started studying sports psychology. I started doing some things differently with my weight training. I became a top Division I recruit across the country. What it said to me was this idea of, “The guys that were bigger and naturally stronger than me, why weren’t they achieving the same levels that I was? They had every reason to be.” The same thing happens to me when I went to law school. I went to law school because I didn’t get drafted as a professional baseball player though I was captain of my Columbia University Ivy League school team and I started getting great grades. I don’t think I had the highest IQ, the highest scores in my law school boards, but I have the same way as athletics, developed systems and processes.
It wasn’t until I got what I thought was my dream job, which was a nightmare for me. It’s not like I was digging ditches, but it was oppressive, negative and limited. I realized that the reason that people were free in a capitalist structure was because they have the ability to influence. I never knew that was true. I was scared and I was ready to quit my dream job at the ripe old age of 27, and with $100,000 in debt from law school. A mentor of mine told me to read a book. It was Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within. A lot of times, people stop the story there and that’s not the story. I’ve had the blessing and privilege of speaking on Tony’s stage. I’m going to be on a webinar with him as well. What it taught me is how to control my fear and the idea of modeling. That was what I had done as an athlete and in law school. I was like, “I got a model influence. Let me model Tony and Oprah. Let me read books by people like Jay Abraham, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, etc.” What all that did for me was it helped me to make a bold decision at a young age. That’s how it started.
It’s funny that you quoted Tony’s book because that was the first book that changed my trajectory as well. We have that in common. You went from sport into law. What was the hook there? What attracted you to get into law?
Truthfully, I had no idea what else to do and that may sound silly. I hope to be a professional athlete and my eye condition degenerated to the point when I graduated college that I did not get drafted to play professionally in baseball in the US. That’s something that I was planning on. I was devastated. I got a job in New York City for a year. I think I owe them a check back at some point because I didn’t know what my job was for that year. I don’t even know what I did, but it was not fulfilling. I didn’t feel like I was adding value. I went to law school to find myself and took on a lot of debt, like a lot of people do. I then went to grad school as a next step.
When I discovered this concept that influence mattered, it awoke this idea for an experiment. I decided that I was going to quit my job. People tell hyperbolic stories and this is not a hyperbolic story. It’s a true story. They offered me psychological counseling and said I had some kind of adjustment disorder that could be the only reason why I wanted to quit from a corporate law job. I went from there and I’m like, “I’m going to see if I could build my own law firm as an experiment to see if all this personal development type of stuff works.” It did. I had a 40-person law firm two years out of law school selling. The hardest thing to me at the time to sell, which was me as an attorney at 27 years old. That’s how we got through up to age 30.
You’re still the President of the Callagy Law firm.Normal people could do remarkable things. Click To Tweet
We have 125 people. For a long time, because of the technologies that I was developing and the human technologies and acceleration, I was able to become much more of a business owner than operator. Let me drop this in because we don’t like to skip the story or the issue. I wanted to quit every single day from the day I quit my job at that major law firm. My son was on the way and I had no money. I was $100,000 in debt. I did this on my credit card. For all those entrepreneurs looking to get into the process, the game, looking to find their destiny, doing it every day, grinding, challenged, afraid, I still wake up afraid. I still wake up wanting to quit. I’m years down the road and I have seen everything work and some things fail, but that doesn’t ever go away. We wake up and question like, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?” I want to ground that in reality, but then we have choices when those feelings come in.
I’m glad you mention that because it was where I was going. You started off with sport, but your eyesight hindered that. I find it funny that to find yourself, you go into one of the most complex industries on the planet, into law. It’s like, “I didn’t know what to do so I became a brain surgeon.” You went into law and you are successful at it. You can make a lot of money and you own the company so you’re not shy of a few quid, but this wasn’t what was driving you. I want us to land quite solidly on UNBLINDED Mastery because in looking at what you do and who you are, this seems to be where the passion and lust is. Is that right?
It truly is. For me, I was an athlete growing up and as we said, team mattered most. I was touched by the mentors and coaches I had as a high school athlete. A lot of people aren’t blessed with that kind of people in high school. There are a lot of bad coaches out there, but I had incredible ones. What it instilled in me was when I was in law school, I coached 13 and 14-year-olds in football. I have such a desire to learn and give back. I then realized that people could become financially free. I realized how much of a gap there was in the programs that are out there, what was missing in the space of personal development. It became my heart’s desire for two things to happen.
One is for people not to bad mouth personal development overall and say it doesn’t work. A lot of people do. A lot of people say, “The work that you and I do doesn’t work.” There are many people out there that aren’t delivering results and supporting people the way that they need to. It’s not out of ill will. It’s out of ignorance. The second part was to find a way to create a formula, not just to tell people, “Work hard, have big dreams.” What was it technically that I was learning that mattered? UNBLINDED, that was something I started doing under a different name as far back as 2000. I was teaching people that work for me how to create acceleration in the quantity, like how many, and the quality of how great of sales meetings that they were having and generating them with integrity. I couldn’t ever sell anything I didn’t believe in. That became my passion and desire. I will do it every day until the day I leave this earth.
Was that the day you went, “I’ve got to take this out to others outside of my office?” What year was it you decided, “There’s something here that everyone else should be aware of?”
It was 2003 and I sold that first law firm. I created a law firm in the late ‘90s and then I sold it in 2003 successfully for multiple seven figures. I then started teaching and coaching. I became a certified coach in 2003 as well. I then saw real gaps and challenges in the coaching industry, but I built the most financially successful train development program. My clients were happy from my coaching school from 2003 to 2006. Three months from graduating from coaching school, with no top contacts or connections in that space, I was making $40,000 a month net for me and it went up from there. I started training coaches on how to do this. I then had an epiphany in 2006. That epiphany was, “I was more of a business owner in the law firm. In this training business, I’m more of a business operator.”
My son was about to play baseball, Tee Ball and I was like, “I don’t want to miss coaching my children’s games. I’m going to start a second law firm. I know how to do that very well. I’m going to build and scale it and become a business owner, coach all my kids’ sports games and teams. When they get older, my son is in college and my daughters are later in high school, I’m going to go back in and teach this to the world. In between, I’m going to use my ability to teach people these things on a very localized level. I’m going to generate legal clients, thrill it. They’ll give me some fulfillment contribution and it will be beautiful.” In 2018, my son was going to college. That’s when I decided that it was the time that I hit acceleration again and took this to the world and started getting on airplanes, working nights and weekends again. That’s how I made the decision to watch unblinded.
Anyone out there going, “We can understand the drive. We can hear the passion.” If anyone’s interested, it’s UnblindedMastery.com. What is there? What will they find?
If you go to UnblindedMastery.com and UnblindedHuddle.com, that’s our free daily huddle. I do huddles every single day for people for free. What you’ll find is the formula of formulas through many years of study. How do you create massive acceleration where you generate more money in less time with more magic, but how do you become financially free? How do you practically take your sales meetings from eight sales meetings a month where somebody could say yes or no to you to 25, 50, 150, then 175 like my financial insurance client, Rob Gil? How do you go when you’re a blind man and walk into going to a seminar of Tony Robbins in 2018 Business Mastery? How do you go from there knowing nobody is going to see a face to 1.5 years later speaking on stage?
I speak at events there and promoting the Platinum Partnership, the Business Mastery programs. That wasn’t because people thought I was a nice guy. It was because people thought I had massive integrity and the ability to help people see what they’re not seeing through the influence technology that I understand. Lots of other incredible things have happened, but a 1,600 person event on in January, we decided to put that event on 60 days before and 1,600 people showed up. It’s how you learn to do those things because I’m not great, wonderful, and terrific. I was incredibly introverted growing up. My sophomore year in college at Columbia, where years later I would be the unanimous selection as baseball captain. In my sophomore year, I ate lunch by myself in my car every single day in New York City, double-parked. It is a true story. I wasn’t born with the gift of connection, but I learned how to do it.
I did notice that we share a common friend. I was looking online at all of your testimonials. We shared a friend of the great Jay Abraham.
Jay Abraham changed my life. Thank you for raising that. When I found Tony Robbin’s work, Jay’s brilliance as well as Tony’s brilliance ended up with me getting a promotional letter. That was one of those dynamic, creative, impressive promotional letters I ever received. This is back in 1997. It caused me to spend $500 to buy a book from Jay Abraham promoted by in conjunction with Tony. That book taught me the power of exponentiality and marketing. That was a part of how I launched the law firm and how I created the acceleration originally. A lot of times when people hear lawyers, they don’t think entrepreneurs or business. As a lawyer, you’ve got to sell your stuff like a coach, a trainer, a speaker, an accountant, an engineer. It is the same deal, especially when you’re 27. Jay was a massive breakthrough. I’ve had the privilege in the past couple of years of getting to know Jay. He came and spoke at our Immersive UNBLINDED Event. I’ve been on Jay’s podcast, he’s been on mine and he’s a genius beyond geniuses. I’m honored to call him a mentor and a friend.
He’s a strange, lovely cat. I always love the fact that you have a conversation with him. I remember a conversation I had with him when my book came out. He was giving me some strategies and some ideas. One of them made me feel a bit uncomfortable so I dodged the answer.
What was it that he shared that you should do?
I can’t recall what the question was, but he asked me a question. He was saying about setting up a free group or something like that. Bear in mind that I had no knowledge of this. Luckily, Jay and Tony were clients of mine. When the book came out, I was able to go to people of this stature and go, “What should I do here?” I had some pretty stellar friends to be able to help me there. Jay was asking me this question. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable about what he said I had to do to market my book. I dodged the question. I thought to myself, “I got away with that. That’s good.” He carried on for about 10 or 15 minutes and then stopped. He said, “Are you brave enough to go back to what you avoided fifteen minutes ago?” He called me out on it and I was like, “I didn’t dodge anything.” Jay is a very sharp man. He was sharp then and now. I’ve got to say, any book by Jay, anyone should read.
Can I ask this for me to learn from you? I’m inspired by you. How did you end up with Tony Robbins as a client?
I had the concierge firm as one of my key things. I suppose everyone’s got some secret sauce that they discover afterward. A lot of people, especially in the travel industry, in the real estate industry, they respond to the request. Nine times out of ten, they make the mistake of giving the person what they asked for. If someone turns up and says, “I want a three-bedroom house,” they searched three-bedroom houses. “I want a four-star hotel in Paris,” they give them a four-star hotel. They don’t ask, why are they there? What are they trying to achieve? What memory do they want when they come back? They don’t ask all of the why questions.
I talked to Chris Voss one time and he said the why is a very aggressive question and it makes people feel offensive when someone goes, “Why?” For me, why gets to the core of the question. Once I know what the core is, then I can do things. When Jay goes to Paris, I was like, “When was the last time you were there? How did they make you feel? What was the emotion you were trying to create? What can we create that you will never forget this trip over any other ones?” I suppose it was going to step and beyond the question that got me this kind of people as clients.
We don’t know each other well and I am so drawn to you because of what you’re describing. My formula isn’t my formula. What I consider to be the formula is I discovered the truth. You are living the formula because you are successful. I put words to it. What you described is exactly why Tony Robbins is your client. I’m saying with absolute humility and respect. I knew that’s where you’re going to share or at least the beginnings of that. It is remarkable that people like yourself, people that succeed, accelerate, and breakthrough, there are these micro distinctions on how they go from hello to yes with people and second, the people they decide to go from hello to yes with. You didn’t just ring Tony and Jay. You got there with intentionality.
Jay was the one that helped me get a Tony. I’ve worked for the groups that he’s had to help set them up to events, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with Tony. With Jay, we’re a bit partial. Thankfully, he is a neighbor down the road. I’m looking forward to this lockdown being over. There are very few people on this side of the world that I know and I’m looking forward again. He’s a good lad. Let’s take a little bit of a focus on mindset because the commonality between all people is their perception or perspective when they fail at something, you could simply have sat in a corner and cried, “I’m losing my eyesight. I can’t be an athlete. Life’s bad to me. It’s a bitch,” and one would have accepted that. You didn’t.
You carried on and launched major companies that were competitive and dominated anyone else with all those abilities. You had that perspective not recognizing any kind of hindrance, but also there’s the positivity. My wife has always said that my superhero talent is ignorance. I’ve never been able to see it’s going to file, so I’ve gone on. There’s a mindset you need to be able to do what all of the people you’ve mentioned do. We’re in a strange place and we were talking about lockdown. How is that affecting your mind and what are you doing to be able to see the silver lining in it?
I’ll tell you exactly what I do. Every day I wake up, I ask how many cases of Corona are in the world? How many cases of Corona are in the United States? How many cases of Corona are in New Jersey and the other states I have offices in such as New York, New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, Texas? I then feel sad and then I pray. I listen to a flash briefing on Alexa for three minutes and then I’m done. I spent ten minutes connecting to what’s going on so I don’t forget empathy. I don’t lose connection with the people I’m going to communicate with. I experienced my feelings in that space because that’s part of the reality of what’s happening. It’s not reality, but it’s part of the reality. I then work out. I start listening to some fearless motivation. I listened to Chapter 73 of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run where he talks about the death of Clarence Clemons and what he did after to demand excellence from the band and Clarence’s nephew and watching forward.Life is about growth. It's about connection, love, and contribution. Click To Tweet
Life is about growth. It’s about connection, love, and contribution.
I feel myself with mentoring model acceleration. At 7:00 AM, I had an innovation call with my team and I start my day. At any point that my states begin to slip throughout my schedule day, I literally move. I get into my body, yell, scream, move, and go for a run on the beach for a little bit. They’ve already worked out for the day. In five minutes, I’ll get some endorphins again and go back and go forward. Before this, I am being very candid, I felt I was almost going to pass out because I’ve used many words and so much energy already in the conversations and the other work I’ve done in speaking. I deep breath. I fill myself inside my body and release more endorphins. From a pure mindset perspective, here’s where I believe. My why is I believe someday I’m going to meet God and I want to have a good answer for how I use my talents. I want to inspire and challenge as many other people, but in love and indirectness as I possibly can. I want to have fun doing it. It’s fun talking to you.
What’s better than this? We’re going to watch some talk show where people complain about the horrible things happening. You’re infectious. Your energy is incredible. I want people to know you. I want people to know me, but most importantly, all people know their greatest selves. My mindset is that people are driven by pain. The pain I am driven by is the people I am not going to touch and connect with, the things I am not going to do, the habits I’ve developed, even if they’re strong, positive habits that could be optimized. That will keep me from the next level because life is about growth. It’s about connection, love, and contribution. If I’m making decisions all day about that and I’m scared that I’m going to be limited for where it can go because of the pain and fear I have about something, whatever the fears are. I’m going to be on the thing with Tony with ten people. Am I going to talk too much? Should I be more quiet? No, I’m going to be myself. However, that lands I care, but I’m not going to let that fear inhibit me because I have a bigger mission to live. Thank you for that question because that’s how I operate every day.
I’m not trying to trip you up with this question, but do you feel what you do is hard work?
Usually no, but I do go into a space of believing these four energies of influencing people. There’s fun, aspirational, goddess like present love, and Zeus like direct and go. The utilization of Zeus energy, I think there’s an energy drain. I’m going to be working with a voice coach soon, but I also practically believe that when I’m speaking at times, I don’t breathe enough. Sometimes I can physically exhaust myself a little bit because I’m not breathing as much when I get engaged. Adrenaline and endorphin are rolling through me. Sometimes I feel like I thrive to do something like this to take a breath and I’ll feel like lightheaded because I’ve given so much of myself, which practically not breathing enough.
Aside from that, no. I think it’s an absolute gift. The only challenge I feel maybe at times making decisions about who I’m giving time and energy to. Sometimes there could be some polls and demands in that space, so I want to touch and support many. Sometimes out of my desire to take care of people and at the same time operate with optimal boundaries, that’s the only pull. Sometimes I feel wanting to do more and create a little bit more time. That’s the only stress I feel, but I do not feel like I’m working hard. I feel like it’s a blessing. People working harder in hospitals, saving lives. They’re working in a grocery store in lines risking their lives, digging ditches, working on electrical poles. I don’t feel like I work hard.
You said your mom was pushing the hot dog cart around. I think about my dad on the building site. My dad’s no longer with me but my wife’s father is. He would have to get up at 5:00 in the morning and work in an old body plant. God knows what’s floating around in his system from all the pain and stuff that he’s been doing since the ‘60s. I remember having a conversation with him a couple of years ago. I was moaning because I had to be in three different countries with three billionaires, planning amazing things in one month. I was complaining about my flight schedule. Everything was bloody first class. As I was bitching, he hung up on me.
I thought, “I get it.” I phoned him back and he went, “Are you finished?” “I get you.” Sometimes we do get wrapped up in it. We’ve only got to look back to what people are doing in other areas and look at our parents and go, “We may be busy. We may be tired and exhausted, but it isn’t a hard graft that a lot of the people before us put through. As you say, the nurses, the superheroes, the doctors, the grocery store workers, they’re working massive shifts to put up with us. No one ever goes to the doctor and says, “I’m feeling great.” They always go there to bitch and whine.
To me, one of the things I’m most proud of, my youngest daughter’s name is Emma. When it was becoming on the horizon of real in the US and in New Jersey where we live this Corona situation. I’m sure most people have seen it by now. My daughter posted a post that said something to the effect of, “Our grandparents or great grandparents, the sacrifices they had to make was fighting wars.” I’ll add a little to that, like, “Jumping off in boats at Normandy beach making decisions or no decisions to run into bullet fire. They were going to die for freedom.” The sacrifice we’re being asked to make is to stay at home, watch Netflix or do podcasts. I don’t think there’s much of a comparison. It’s easy to lose perspective. When I was coming on, I had some technical difficulty. I was like, “What the hell? I get it. This is crazy. This is stressful,” and I caught myself. I’m like, “Are you kidding? Is this stressful? This is not stressful.” I agree with you.
I mentioned, UnblindedMastery.com, but you said the huddle. What is the huddle website again?
The huddle is UnblindedHuddle.com. That would be the way to be introduced to more of what we’re doing on a daily basis. It’s free. If you’re ready to go and accelerate your sales and accelerate the quantity, quality of your meetings in a way that makes you feel full of integrity and ready to go, it’s UnblindedMastery.com. That’s our program. My dream is not to speak in front of a hundred thousand people. I’ve had the privilege of speaking in front of 15,000. It’s not to speak under a hundred thousand. What it actually is to have a hundred thousand people that work with me, speak in front of a thousand people, and truly be unleashing their gifts. That’s what UNBLINDED Mastery is about. For anybody seeking celebration in their business or sales, doctor, lawyer, coach, trainer, that’s our space.
Sean, it’s been an absolute pleasure to spend time with you. Thank you so much for spending the time with me. It has been a joy and I’ve learned a lot. I’m quite pumped.
Please, join us. Personally, Steve, I’d love you to be a guest to UnblindedHuddle.com and have a little bit of fun in our UNBLINDED influence off where you take your incredible influencing skills and put them up against some other brilliant influencers and see what happens. We had a lot of fun with that. I invite you all.
Sean, you got it. I’ll step up to the challenge. I might not always win, but I’ll never back down from a challenge. Sean, thank you for being with us.
Thank you, everybody.
That was another episode of the show. I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you want to come and hang out with me with some of my friends, maybe you should come to one of our Speakeasies. How do you do this? Get over to SteveDSims.com, look up for the next event, and click Get Involved. We’ll find out what your problems are. We’ll find out how we can help you. We’ll give you a tremendous event. Hopefully, see you at Speakeasy one day in the future. All the best.
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About Sean Callagy
Sean Callagy is the Founder and President of the 100 Plus Team of Callagy Law, which is now in 4 states. He is one of only 2 attorneys in America to have Two Top 100 National Jury Verdicts between 2014-2016. Sean is the leader of a medical revenue recovery team that has recovered over 50 million dollars in 2017 and more than 300 million dollars for healthcare providers in unpaid and underpaid claims from insurance carriers.
Sean Callagy can’t stand lawyers. It’s why he built Callagy Law with the ultimate mission to “fundamentally change the way people feel about lawyers, one client at a time.” After attending Columbia University and graduating from Seton Hall Law School in 1996 with cum laude honors, he soon realized that he could only reach his maximum potential by owning his own law firm, so he created Callagy Law in 1999, following a career in one of New Jersey’s top law firms. Within three years his firm became a multi-million dollar success story. Sean’s law practice not only achieved dramatic growth in size but has recovered $100’s of millions of dollars for his clients.*
Sean is also founder and leader of the Callagy Results Formula. He has been studying the science of producing results since he was introduced to a peak performance sports psychologist at 16, which led him to becoming Captain of Columbia University’s baseball team, a national level success in moot court at Seton Hall’s very prestigious Moot Court team, being recruited to every major law firm out of law school, founding his own law firm in his 20’s, creating top national jury verdicts where no one thought justice was possible, and building and creating tremendous attorneys and leaders through his teaching, training and coaching, which he also has run a successful business in outside of Callagy Law.