Bret Ridgway In Search Of Heroes Interview
Ralph Zuranski: ?What is your definition of heroism?
Bret Ridgway: Well that is a tough question and I have been thinking about this for a while. To me a hero is somebody that does the ordinary extraordinarily well.
Bret Ridgway: The behind the scenes people, the mother who puts her kids through college, you know, as single parent working two jobs. Those are heroes, not the people in the headlines or the media like the Hollywood stars, etc. They are the ordinary people doing things day after day extraordinarily well helping other people.
Ralph Zuranski: Did you ever create a secret hero in your mind that helped you deal with life’s difficulties?
Bret Ridgway: Not specifically that I remember. I always felt that I had a strong family situation as a child and maybe I just wasn’t deep enough to know what’s going on because I found out over time that, one of my mottos is, ‘Don’t worry about what you can’t control and just take things in stride and move forward.’
Bret Ridgway: My parents were a good influence with me and kept us on the right track. So, no secret heroes that I can think of to be honest with you.
Ralph Zuranski: What is your perspective on goodness, ethics and moral behavior?
Bret Ridgway: Well, I think it is the only way to be frankly. It really bothers me sometime when you go to these events and you here these people.
Bret Ridgway: Certain speakers don’t like certain speakers and there is always a bit of a political agenda behind the scenes about who’s trying to climb to the top of the mountain and all of that and maybe that’s why I don’t want to be on stage but I try to treat everybody right and frankly I don’t know that I have any enemies out there, I may, but if people need us we are there and if people don’t need us well that is fine too. I am not trying to force my way into somebody else’s circle. If you just do the right things for people than it works out.
Ralph Zuranski: What principles are you willing to sacrifice your life for?
Bret Ridgway: Well, family worth starts and ends as far as I am concerned and I certainly have had the opportunity in my life to go seek, with the type of experience that I have, higher paying positions and try to climb the corporate ladder so to speak but I never really had that desire so to speak. It was more of me being able to have flexibility and being able to spend more time with my children.
Bret Ridgway: I have three children, a daughter -17, a son – 15 and a son -11. They are involved in music and or sports so the path I have chosen, while I have given up money to do it has given me the opportunity to be actively involved in their lives. Going to those weekend soccer tournaments and to those music performances, etc…That is the most important thing to me, not the money.
Ralph Zuranski: When was the lowest point in your life and how did you change your life path to one of victory over all obstacles?
Bret Ridgway: Why it seems like an insignificant thing now but years ago while I was working for the industrial training company I was responsible for scheduling the classes and I got to work with military bases and other fortune 500 types of facilities and one Friday evening, before a class was scheduled to begin Monday with a client and that sucker called me and said basically he was splitting, he was not going to go to the class, he was tired of traveling and just was not want to do it.
Bret Ridgway: Well I got myself all worked up into a tizzy and I did not know what I was going to do, all upset and crazy, I ended up calling the customer that morning and telling him we could not do the class and as it turned out everything was okay.
Bret Ridgway: I got straight worked up for nothing, things work out, things go on, so I have just learned never to let anything too much bother me because in the scheme of things it is just not that big of a deal. So, just take things in stride and move forward.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you have a dream or vision that sets the course of your life?
Bret Ridgway: Well, two primary things, one, to keep the vision in place that will allow me to be there for my children and so that’s why I do a little bit of traveling to support building this organization. I try not to let that get in the way of the family thing and the overriding thing is just… God and family, do things in the right way.
Bret Ridgway: You know the old clique, ‘Treat people the way you would like to be treated.’ My real challenge right now is I want to build a organization and the only way that organization is going to grow is to support people the right way so the principles that we have talked about, the fundamentals have to be followed for that to happen.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you take a positive view of setbacks, misfortunes and mistakes?
Bret Ridgway: Going back to my example a little bit ago, one thing I view as a setback probably isn’t so, and I have learned over the years that things have their way of working out for the better.
Bret Ridgway: As an employee quits there may be short term pain but in the long run it ended up being better for both parties involved. There is never a problem there is an opportunity, so it’s a chance to assess your situation and where do you go from here that’s better than how you were doing? While it may be a temporary slap in the face it’s generally for the better.
Ralph Zuranski: Are you an optimist?
Bret Ridgway: Without question. If you can’t be an optimist, why be?
Ralph Zuranski: Do you have the courage to pursue new ideas?
Bret Ridgway: I think it does, but I am not one to stand up on a mountain top and covet my new ideas to other people. I believe more in the behind the scenes thing, eternal life type thing. I am married to a Catholic and we have attended a Catholic Church for twenty years and finally decided this year to join the Catholic Church, so I am either a slow learner or whatever.
Bret Ridgway: That was finally a change in life that I decided it was about time to do. From a business stand point I think it always takes courage to try to build an organization. Let’s talk about duplication of the fulfillment business for just a second. It’s a thankless job. It’s one of those things that people don’t even get noticed unless you mess up, and we are human, we mess up sometimes. You’re supporting people and you want to be seen less and all that, but it always isn’t, so I guess in a certain sense it takes courage to be in an organization that basically gets no thanks or even gets noticed unless it happens to have a problem.
Ralph Zuranski: Were you willing to experience discomfort in the pursuit of your dream?
Bret Ridgway: Well, yes there is some discomfort from time to time. I generally tend to find out things that are discomfort a short term and they usually end up being a gain long term in terms of how you take the situation and approach it from there.
Discomfort is certainly a relative term and I am sure all the people you have talked with from the stand point of the word as a whole we have all live charmed lives. We don’t really know real discomfort. Anything that we get on a normal day to day business is a bump in the road to be dealt with and nothing that is extremely catastrophic compared to other people in the world.
Ralph Zuranski: How were you able to overcome your doubts and fears?
Bret Ridgway: Well, I have them just like everybody else and one of the reasons probably that this interview hasn’t happened before now is because of my doubt that I am really a hero and the fear that I can’t do an interview without sounding like an unintelligible idiot. Eventually can have got to just sum it up to courage and do what you need to do.
Ralph Zuranski: Who helped give you the willpower to change things in you life for the better?
Bret Ridgway: More so a higher power I think. I am one that tends to ride along as things go along and it takes an epiphany or something to make me change direction so I don’t move real fast. That is a great question and probably more so a higher authority, something kicked in and a light bulb went off.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you readily forgive those who upset, offend and oppose you?
Bret Ridgway: Without question. A couple of years ago I was cornered by a speaker at an event who thought I did something inappropriate and he dressed me down in front of some other colleges or whatever so I had to basically take this person a side and tell them what I thought they did wrong, and if I hadn’t done that to relieve the situation then probably a friendship would have been lost. So when it was handled it was agreed that the situation had not been handled properly and we were able to work through that and this person remains a great business person and friend to this day.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you experience service to others as a source of joy?
Bret Ridgway: I experience joy in doing something while it doesn’t have to be in front of everybody or on the stage type thing. Just the satisfaction in knowing you have done a job well enough for somebody is good enough for me.
Ralph Zuranski: What place does the power of prayer have in your life?
Bret Ridgway: Well as I have mentioned I have recently converted to Catholicism and for years and years I frankly felt like “Hey I am strong enough, I can handle everything myself, I don’t need other higher authorities or other influences in my life, I can deal with it.”
Bret Ridgway: Then I started taking a few lumps here or there and I realized, “Well, maybe I am not quite as strong a person as I think I am, and I do need assistance.” So that is the point in time that I began to seek more instruction on Catholicism and God and all that.
Bret Ridgway: That has really helped me keep things in line and moving in the right direction and keep things in focus and prioritize and not let little things blow up and get out of hand and just try to keep on the straight and narrow.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you maintain your sense of humor in the face of serious problems?
Bret Ridgway: Well, I am not a loud in your face Ha Ha type person certainly. I am more quiet and reserved unless I am really comfortable with people. I am not an extrovert certainly; I am very much introverted until I have known somebody in a business setting for a while.
Bret Ridgway: There is just a lack of comforts or whatever you want to call it. The humor question, it certainly comes in to factor, not Ha Ha humor but being able to not laugh off a serious problem but take it in stride. Don’t loose your cool over some things that could be dealt with. I guess the humor part comes in terms of not… or don’t get too down when it’s down and don’t get too up when it’s up.
Ralph Zuranski: Who are the HEROES in your life?
Bret Ridgway: I am very proud of my children and watching them accomplish things and treat people the right way and do positive things for other people. My daughter just spent a week at Nathareth Farm where they did a week of volunteering in West Virginia for people.
Bret Ridgway: My wife is a hero. One of the things that attracted me to my wife, and we have been married for almost twenty-one years now, is I love the fact that she loves to do things for other people. I don’t have any real sports heroes or political heroes or whatever it is just mainly common people I deal with on a day to day basis are my heroes and who keep me in check.
Bret Ridgway: My parents are also heroes in my life. My mother is a good heart of gold type person and would do anything for her children. My father is more of a quite leader, not a lot of face to face critique dialogue type thing, but lead by example sort of thing.
Bret Ridgway: My dad is about seventy years old by now and is forming a new adventure trying to get a company going that sells equipment called Toque equipment where it is like a big soccer ball croquet type game, and so I admire him for at this stage in his life still trying newer things and trying to build an organization himself.
Ralph Zuranski: Who do you think are the HEROES today that are not getting the recognition they deserve?
Bret Ridgway: Certainly by my definition of hero yes. The people that are doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well. The world needs janitors and if you are the best damn janitor you can be than you should be proud.
Bret Ridgway: You have every right to be the hero to somebody. The single mother that puts two kids through college, she is a hero to me. It’s the people out of the public eye that are heroes. I don’t think the people in the public eye are any larger heroes at all.
Ralph Zuranski: Why are HEROES so important in the lives of young people?
Bret Ridgway: Positive role models are critical to the success of our youth and everybody in society. If people lead by example the other people will follow and we want positive examples for our youth to follow, so I highly commend you for this program and I am very pleased to be apart of it.
Ralph Zuranski: Do you have any good solutions to the problems facing society, especially racism, child and spousal abuse and violence among young people?
Bret Ridgway: Good solutions no. Why can’t we all just get along? I don’t get it. There is enough for everybody, I don’t understand Al–Qaeda. I don’t understand democrats against republicans; I just don’t get it all. Why can’t we all just get along?
Ralph Zuranski: If you had three wishes for your life and the world, that would instantly come true, what would they be?
Bret Ridgway: One, an end to terrorism. Two, more good news, more feel good positive examples, like that show on ABC Extreme Makeover Home Edition where they go and do something nice for a family. More positive less trash, and I don’t know what a third one would be so lets just go with those two.
Ralph Zuranski: What do you think about the “In Search Of Heroes” Program and its impact on youth, parents and business people?
Bret Ridgway: Well I think what you are doing is extraordinary and if you can spread the word that people fully understand the meaning of the program and why the real heroes of our society aren’t the ones in the tabloids.
Bret Ridgway: And that our youth can begin to recognize that and see that there are positive examples out there outside the public eye then you will have created a very positive influence for a lot of people and I want to do my best to help you and wish you the best in spreading the word because spreading the word is such a positive examples of people can be there for them to see.
Ralph Zuranski: What are the things parents can do that will help their children realize they too can be HEROES and make a positive impact on the lives of others?
Bret Ridgway: Be positive with your children. What do we call it? The 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule?
Bret Ridgway: Whatever you want to call it. Most of the time people are doing things the right way, whether it’s employees, children, whatever, so they should be getting ninety percent of the time positive affirmation and ten percent criticism rather than ninety percent criticism and ten percent positive affirmation.
Bret Ridgway: And if we give people credit that they are due and not just speak up and criticize when they are doing something wrong I think that would go a long way for everybody to want to work together more and create positive situations for the people that surround them. There is so much criticism in life today and if people would just give positive affirmations than I think that we would all be better off.
Welcome to the Speaker Fulfillment Services site from our co-founders, Bryan Hane and Bret Ridgway.
Speaker Fulfillment Services is a company dedicated to working with authors, speakers, and other information marketers. We handle the behind the scenes production, warehousing and shipping of your physical information products so you can focus your energies on the more highly valued tasks of marketing and product creation.
How did Speaker Fulfillment Services come about? It all started way back in 1992 when SFS co-founder Bret Ridgway had the fortunate privilege of attending the late Gary Halbert’s “Hurricane Andrew Seminar” in Key West, Florida. Little did he know at the time how that event would change his life and the interesting paths that it would lead him down.
Gary Halbert’s seminar was his first exposure to the world of direct marketing outside the world of telemarketing, which he had been involved with for about ten years.
But over the course of those few days back in 1992 he had the wonderful opportunity to learn from masters like Gary Halbert, Ted Nicholas, Bill Myers, David Deutsch, Brad and Alan Antin and many others. It’s also where he had the opportunity to meet a gentleman named Carl Galletti for the first time.
That chance meeting led to a joint venture with Carl two or three years later where he took over Carl’s hard-to-find marketing books catalog, which you can still find online today at SFSBookstore.com.
Fast forward to 1999. Carl decided to put on his first Internet Marketing Superconference in Las Vegas and asked Bret if he would come out and set up a marketing bookstore at his event and handle the back-of-the-room sales. Bret had only a vague idea of what that entailed but it sounded like a great opportunity to meet some new folks so he agreed to come out and help Carl.
That one event evolved into the eventual formation of Speaker Fulfillment Services as we know it today. And it’s still evolving. Some of the speakers at Carl’s event, who were event promoters in their own right, saw what we were doing and asked if we could help them at their event.
One of those speakers, Jim Edwards, cornered Bret at Carl’s 2003 Superconference and asked Bret if he would take over some product fulfillment for him since he knew Bret was doing product fulfillment for some his own websites.
It was a natural outgrowth from all the relationships Bret and SFS co-founder Bryan Hane had established from handling the back-of-the-room at dozens of Internet and Information Marketing Seminars. So the duplication and fulfillment portion of the company was formally established in 2003 and the rest, as they say, is history.
We’ve been blessed to work with great information marketers — people like Armand Morin, Alex Mandossian, Mike Filsaime, Alexandria Brown, Ryan Deiss, Perry Marshall, Greg Poulos, John Assaraf, Joel Bauer,Dr. Brad Nelson, Will Craig and hundreds of other information marketers worldwide.
We now operate out of a 50,000 square foot facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. We’d love to work with you.