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Blog - Chris Saizan

Two books that brought my team much closer.

At The Chris Saizan Group, our whole team is dedicated to personal growth and learning, something we do together with our own little book club.

I really believe that this helps us connect, become better people, and, therefore, serve our clients even better.

Today, I wanted to shine the spotlight on two books that we’ve just read:

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, and

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

I’ll share a quick synopsis of each with our collective notes and impressions, and I highly recommend that you pick up these books and read along with us!

Dare to Lead

Brené Brown is the world’s leading “vulnerability expert” – a title she holds reluctantly since she was raised as a fiercely self-sufficient, grin-n-bear-it Texan.

After years of clinical psychological research into the topics of courage, shame, empathy, and yes, vulnerability, Brown rose to national attention with an iconic TEDx talk that didn’t leave a dry eye in the audience.

In Dare to Lead, she offers “the ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures.” Brown breaks down how leadership is not an innate trait at all but can be taught and learned based on four skill sets.

However, those require “brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with our whole hearts.”

On a recent podcast interview, Chris was asked about just that, as he’s passionate about setting a culture of openness, honesty, and trust within his team.

“I want people that are working with me and for me to know that I would die for them,” said Chris. “And my team is more cohesive and stronger than ever before because of it. When you trust the people you’re working with and know they love you, you perform at a higher level.”

The four main themes of Dare to Lead are:

  1. Rumbling through vulnerability

Genuine growth and leadership require emotional exposure, but that comes with risk, uncertainty, and a lot of inserting yourself into uncomfortable situations, even when you can’t control the outcome.

That’s really difficult for most of us!

  1. Living into your values

It’s important to identify your core values and also start recognizing your behavior in vulnerable situations. Those core values support us when we’re vulnerable, so that’s something we can fall back on.

  1. Braving trust

Trust is the glue that holds teams together! In order to build that trust, Brené offers a unique definition of BRAVING: Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Nonjudgement, and Generosity.

One of the things that really stuck with me in the book is how we end up taking ABOUT people instead of TO them because it’s much more comfortable.

  1. Learning to rise

Brené stresses that learning from our mistakes is so critical. We often suffer defeats and setbacks in life, but we also painfully retell those stories of our defeats over and over again, until they start to define us.

We can’t avoid defeats, but we can control how we react to those defeats, learning valuable lessons from them. Instead of dwelling, we should take ownership of setbacks in life, wearing them proudly like armor!

Can’t Hurt Me

You may have heard of this book by now, as David Goggins’ memoir has ascended the New York Times Bestseller List and become a national phenomenon. Just opening the book and reading the first line, “Do you know who you really are and what you’re really capable of?” hit home for us.

Far from your typical poor-me memoir or sappy self-help book, Can’t Hurt Me documents the gritty life of David Goggins who grew up in an incredibly abusive environment, resulting in deep emotional scars and a whole lot of anger. That anger turned to depression and almost did him in by his early 20s, as he was obese, working a dead-end night job, and isolating himself more and more.

But Goggins had an epiphany once he hit rock bottom and decided to change his life completely. To do that, he had to “make the pain his best friend” and get really comfortable outside of his comfort zone. It all started by summoning levels of self-discipline and mental toughness he never thought he had, allowing him to transform his habits and outwork those around him by “callousing his mind.”

Through raw, brutal self-analysis and a never-die attitude, Goggins became the only man in history to become a Navy SEAL (going through Hell Week three times), Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He later became a world-renowned ultra-marathon runner (routinely running 100 miles) and ultra-triathlete as well as setting the world record for pull-ups in 24 hours (he did 4,030 pull-ups!). In fact, Outside Magazine named him the fittest man in the world!

But, aside from the remarkable physical feats outlined in the book, it was his self-imposed mental discipline that really stood out. In the book, Goggins talks about his “40% Rule,” which means that most of us only tap into about 40% of our capabilities and potential.

To rise higher than that 40% it takes a lot of self-evaluation, pushing past our little internal voices that try to sabotage us, and implementing the right daily habits with unbreakable accountability.

That’s one of the reasons why Chris and our team members participate in Spartan Races and a recent 100-Day Challenge where we cycled 20 miles or ran 5 miles every single day for three and a half months!

“This 100-day challenge; I’m just going to be brutally honest – it sucks!” Chris said on the podcast. “But it teaches us a lot about being true to our word and being accountable. For me, the biggest takeaway has been that the people on my team showed me how much I can count on them.”

Great lessons on leadership, vulnerability, and pushing yourself to new heights thanks to these books!


We welcome you to join us as we read our next book as a team or contact me if you have a great book you’d like to suggest!





The Importance of Culture w/ Chris Saizan

Today, I wanted to talk about something that’s difficult to define but permeates just about every aspect of our lives: culture.

Iconic author Paulo Coelho points out that “Culture makes people understand each other better,” while Marcus Garvey compared a society’s culture to the roots of a big tree.

But I like the simple definition by former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who said, “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.”

In terms of business, Chris Saizan of the Saizan Group at Keller Williams Realty puts a lot of thought into the business culture he creates and cultivates.

Chris was featured on a national real estate podcast recently, speaking on the topic of culture as it applies to his real estate team.

You can listen to the whole podcast interview here.

Here are a few notable takeaways from Chris’ podcast interview:

Chris got a great start in the business working under Sacramento mortgage broker Neil Smith, who instilled not only systems, structure, and accountability, but a culture of learning and continuous personal growth.

Chris got to apply those lessons when he transitioned into his career as a Realtor, including opening up his own business.

“EVERYTHING rises and falls on culture,” Chris said in the podcast interview. “But I see very few real estate teams functioning at a high level inside and out, and the reason behind that has to do with culture.”

Of course, a great work culture means happy employees who feel part of something bigger than themselves, and the benefit to the clients they serve is huge.

“In order to get the most out of the people in your company, they need to see how much you care about them,” said Chris. “We’ve all shown up for each other here in a major way.”

To do that means getting really personal – the opposite of what you may think when talking about a business environment.

“Have you heard from different business leaders and CEOs that it’s not a good idea to mix personal with business?” Chris asks on the podcast. “Well, I’m the complete opposite. These are people we’re spending half of our lives with. Because of that, I think it’s vitally important to know how we’re doing in our personal lives.”

So, when it comes to health, family, relationships, and all of the important things in life, Chris and his team are always working to strengthen their bonds.

“Culture is about setting things up to make sure those boxes are getting checked but that we’re NOT just here to do business,” said Chris. “I want my people to know how much I care about them.”

Chris shared some of the things that he and his team do to establish and protect their culture, including:

  • Yoga as a team every week
  • Eating lunch with his team at least twice a week where they talk about anything but work
  • Sharing one or two self-help or inspirational books each month (see below)
  • In-depth, one-on-one meetings with each employee every Friday, where they can share feelings and vent in a safe forum.

“We’re all flawed – we’re all human beings,” said Chris. “But what we do have control over is being able to sit down and open up, open up our hearts, and know that we’re not going to get judged.”

  • They’ve also completed three Spartan races together as a group
  • Right now, they’ve undertaken a 100-day challenge where they have to cycle 20 miles or run 5 miles every single day!

Aside from the health benefits, it sets the tone for culture as they get out of their comfort zones together, break through barriers, and becoming stronger human beings because of it.

“There’s something really beautiful and beneficial about putting yourself through a little torture and pain,” said Chris. “It’s crazy what comes from that when you do it with people you work with.”

Chris notes that he’s seen growth in all of his team members, allowing them to function at an optimal level because of the trust and love they feel.

“When you get to experience and DO LIFE with people on that intimate of a level?!” said Chris. “To me, that’s the secret sauce.”

I can’t think of a better definition of culture than that!


If you have any thoughts, ideas, or feedback on the subject of culture, Chris would love to hear from you.

Of course, if you need to buy or sell a home, you can reach Chris here.