Deer running through a field.

Creating a Legacy of Wealth

Dusty Staub Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Confront, Courage to Learn and Grow, Interviews: Courageous People

How to Stop Chasing the Transactional and Create a Life of Exponential Wealth

A Conversation with David Couch, CEO of Blue Ridge Companies; Owner of Summerfield Farms

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with David Couch about servant leadership, leading with integrity, and consciously creating a legacy.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you for speaking with me, David. Let’s start by telling our readers a bit about you and your service in the world.

David: I am a father, husband, philanthropist, real estate developer and a farmer.  My service to the world at this point in my life is mostly as a philanthropist.  I am a servant-leader who also functions as a coach, psychologist, mentor, motivator, supporter and one with whom to celebrate other’s successes.

I also work as a friendly life strategist/deal support person–offering guidance to help friends and, at times, random contacts in the creation of the life they want.

Real estate development for me has been a means to an end, providing time by being able to make an honest and good living while also being careful with the land and its development.

Being a farmer is really just a more organic version of being a real estate developer; both can do good or harm to the land and community around them. Either of these roles can, if stewardship is kept in mind, provide tremendous goodness and value.  My focus now is on how to create greater value by doing what is right for the land as well as for people. After all, the blessing of being a philanthropist is God’s reward for sharing and spreading His blessings.

We all have within us the ability and opportunity to become philanthropists, and it is our responsibility to broadcast our respective gifts, like casting seed into the fertile soil of the world.  The farmer and the developer roles provide a four-fold opportunity to do well by people, community, land and nature.  

Dusty: Whose legacy has touched your life and inspired you?

David: There are more than fifty different philanthropists/mentors who have touched my life.  One, who stands out as a catalyst for me, was someone who gave of his heart, soul, time and his immense emotional intelligence.  Joe Ehrmann is his name.

Joe is a former professional football player. (Featured in a must-read about his life… Season of Life by Jeffery Marx).  Joe had many opportunities to do incredible things with his great athletic ability, and economic success.  What he chose to do was help mentor young women and men to be of service in the world.

Joe’s statement of purpose was so inspiring I borrowed it with his permission.  It is, “I coach to help boys become men of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible and change the world for good.” 

I have modified it slightly from helping young men, to helping people. It is a timeless statement of purpose and true value creation in this world.

Young man with courage.

I first came across Joe’s story when a friend left Marx’s book for me to read.  I read it one day while sitting in a deer stand and it touched my heart and inspired me.  Shortly after reading that book I was asked to develop a baseball program for young men at my children’s school.  I told them I would only take on that task if I could do it following the principle’s Joe Ehrmann outlined.  This was granted and Joe’s concepts helped build a highly effective program that developed young men of character, integrity and respectful sensibilities.

This inspired me to reach out to Joe and ask him to come to town as a speaker and also help address the team members.  He was all about how to become a man with dignity, respect and understanding of the true order of winning, namely: to first focus on personal behavior, second on academic performance and being a good friend as well as a helper in the community, then on becoming the best team player and finally, focusing on personal skills development and athletic performance.

That ordering of what really mattered not only helped develop the character and quality of the young men, it also built a championship winning franchise as a mere byproduct of this comprehensive big picture approach.

Dusty: What is the conscious legacy you wish to leave in this world?

David: The legacy I want to leave behind is simple.

I firmly believe that I was put here to coach, teach, mentor and encourage – offering a legacy of giving.  Development work has blessed me with financial wealth, yet you don’t have to be wealthy to give.

There are many things to give beyond money: time, energy and resources such as encouragement, respectful challenge, support and truth telling.  The reason to do this is to awaken the drive in all of us to be our highest selves and to create a better future.

Dusty: Why does it take courage to create a meaningful legacy?

David: It takes courage to leave a meaningful legacy because society judges us all in so many ways that are off the mark in terms of living a life of true significance and meaning. For example, it judges men particularly based on three primary lies of masculinity.

Lie #1: Athletic ability or physicality determines your level of masculinity.

Lie #2: Success with women is a measure of your masculinity.

Lie #3: If you missed out on one and two, that economic success somehow has something to do with determining your value as a man in this world.

Society has three equally harmful lies related to how it socializes girls.

Lie #1: You have to be pretty and thin enough.

Lie #2: My value is determined by how I am seen by the boys.

Lie #3: My economic standing determines my value.

Young woman with courage.

It takes real courage to step beyond the societal judgments–to move beyond the transactional elements of life.  It takes courage to focus on what really matters and is of the deepest meaning and value.  After all, it’s helping others along their pathway, liberating the drive in others to seek their highest and best self where we find the greatest joy.

To do this requires the Courage to Confront, to challenge as well as to support others.  It means having the Courage to be Vulnerable and open to people and finally the Courage to Learn and Grow, to step beyond the bounds of what society dictates and what the media portrays.

Dusty: What is the best advice you would you offer to anyone wanting to create a conscious Legacy?

David: There are four fundamental things I recommend:

  1. Spend time in quiet meditation.  Take the time to go inward, reflecting on what really matters most and listening to your deepest heart. It is in those depths that the answers you most need will be found.
  2. Seek out productive and committed mentors and apprentice yourself to them to gain insights and wisdom not only about professional growth but about living a more authentic, fulfilling life.
  3. Read any and everything that relates to where you want to go in life, things that will inspire you as well as informing you
  4. Share the wealth of knowledge you have gained, remember to pay it forward.

Doing those four things will help you create exponential wealth, in all the best definitions of that word, not only for yourself but for all involved. This takes a largess of heart as well as the acts of courage required to be your best self.

Contact David at

More in the Legacy Series:

Consciously Creating Your Legacy: Living a Life of Continuous Value

A Legacy of Developing Young Leaders: The Courage to Lead with Humility and Conviction

You never know who else might need to read this today. Share this post.Pin on Pinterest
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn