Ep 493: 5 Ways to Create Limitless Power | Jim Kwik Episode Recap

RV (00:01):
I wanna share with you five of the greatest lessons that I learned from Jim kwik. So Jim is a client of ours and a friend, and somebody that I very much would consider a mentor, and recently interviewed him on our podcast. If you did not listen to it, you have got to go listen to this episode. It was absolutely incredible. And what I wanna share with you, here are my five biggest takeaways from that interview. Jim originally told me that he only had like 20 minutes for the interview. I think we ended up going 45. He, he got into this mode of just really pouring out his heart for our community and what we do, and sharing his story. And it’s inspiring for mission-driven messengers. But so there’s so many takeaways that came out of it. I’m gonna, I’m gonna pull my five favorite ones that just immediately spoke to me.
RV (00:53):
So number one is that your labels are your limits. And if you continue to fight for your limitations, then you get to keep them. That is one of his direct quotes that hit me so hard because it’s absolutely true, right? First of all, your labels are your limits. And sometimes our, our labels initially come from somebody else, right? Somebody calls us stupid, somebody calls us, you know, poor, or somebody else says we’re weird. Somebody else says, we’re like, you know, we don’t have what it takes. We’re not, we’re not cut out for it. We’re not from the right family. We, right? And so those labels sometimes become our limits, but then we often allow those limits to set hold in our life, and we start to fight for ’em. And we say things like, we start to make that our narrative, and we tell other people, and we tell ourselves why we can’t do things.
RV (01:50):
Oh, I’m getting so old. I, you know, I can’t exercise anymore ’cause I’m so old, or I’m always so bad at remembering names, or I’ve never been good at math, or like, yeah, I’m just not a good salesperson. Or like yeah, I don’t, you know, I don’t understand the social media stuff or like you know, I, I just, I’m, I’m too busy to, you know, do whatever, like, give back in whatever way. And we fight for those limits. And those limits, like what Jim said, is the, the problem with that is that when you fight for your limits, you get to keep them. That is a sobering truth, a sobering moment. The next thing that he said that really stuck out to me was when he was telling this story about meeting the, the, the father of his friend who changed his life. And he said, he said, Jim, you’re this close to changing your life. You’re this close to changing your life. And then he was pointing at his head, you know, the distance between his own brain, right? And, and going, it’s the six inches inside of your own, like your, your own head. You’re we’re
RV (02:58):
That close. You’re that close to changing your life. You’re that close. If you change, if you change what you think about yourself, if you, if you can, if you can change the way that you what you tell yourself about yourself, if you can learn about how your brain operates, we’re that close, right? You’re that close to changing your life a few inches. It’s getting your head straight. It’s getting your mind right. It’s getting your, your thinking ironed out in my take the stairs book. I talk about the creation principle of integrity. How you, you know, you think it, you speak it, you act, and then it happens. But it starts with the thought. You have to get the thought, right? First, permanent changes in your actions are require permanent changes in your thinking. They require permanent changes in your thinking. You can’t cover up, you know, poor thinking with actions.
RV (03:57):
That’s a diet, that’s a fad that you will change temporarily and it will go away. You have to rewire your programming. You have to rewire your thinking. If you want to create a permanent change in your life, that’s, that’s different. That’s, that’s rewriting the neural programming. It’s not just pos, it’s not just positive thinking. It’s not just personal development. It’s neuroscience, it’s psychology, it’s biology. You have to form new neural pathways in your brain. That leads me to the third, my third favorite thing that Jim said was when he said that if you’re struggling, if you’re thinking about quitting, if you’re hitting a ceiling, if you’re being blocked, if you’re plateaued, if you’re stuck, if it’s not working, you need to change your perspective. And the two fastest ways to change your perspective are to get new, to get around new people and new education, new education, new people, and new education.
RV (04:57):
That’s so true. That has been true in every moment of my life. Every time I pursued some new goal that seemed impossible, some new dream that I, I had no business doing, trying to, or, or, or coaching somebody else on that journey or, or trying to work with them to, to accomplish something that’s never been done before. Getting the right people, getting around the right people changes everything. And getting new education, getting education from the people who have done it before. It changes everything, right? And this is why, like, I, I, I just have to encourage you unapologetically that if you are somebody who wants to build your personal brand, if you are someone who wants to become an author or a speaker, you need to go to free brand call.com/podcast and request a call with our team. Jim Quick is a client of ours, right?
RV (05:43):
You could listen to the interview, right? Listen to what he said about how we’ve helped him. Now, he was massively successful before us, but we’re working with, like people like him. We’re, we’re, we’re adding value to people like him. And we’re, we, we see what people like him are doing behind the scenes. And we know something about this. And so, if you’re stuck, if you’re, if you’re speaking business, your coaching business, your consulting practice, your, your professional services firm, your network marketing company, your entrepreneur, your entrepreneurial endeavor, or your side hustle. If they’re not growing as fast as you want them to, you need to be around new people. And you need new education. That’s what we do specifically for those people, experts, entrepreneurs, right? Professional service providers. Like, that’s, that’s our world. Request a call with us, talk to us free brand call.com/podcast. Get perspective.
RV (06:34):
If it’s not us, get it from somebody, right? Get it from somebody. And, and I will, I will again underscore and, and highlight Jim’s book, limitless, right? I don’t read every book of every person who comes on the show. I can’t, right? Like I’ve got a stack of other things that I’m also reading, but like, this is a book that I highly recommend, limitless. I have read the book. It is so powerful. It is a, a, a, a user manual for your brain. It’s, it’s important. I think it should be mandatory reading for like every, I think it should be mandatory reading for every 18-year-old person to read, to read this book, and to read Take the stairs, and to read the trust edge and to read financial peace. Those are like some of the books that I go, man, everybody should have to read it.
RV (07:17):
But if you haven’t, read this one. Get it and get new education. Or, you know, get it from somebody. If it’s not from us or it’s not from Jim, get it from somebody. The fourth thing that Jim said that I absolutely love, that was a complete, you know, just great reminder is you’re one step away from completely changing the direction of your life, right? It’s one thing to go changing your life is hard work. Changing your life takes some time. You don’t change your life instantaneously, overnight. But you can start changing your life with one step, one moment, right? To, to biblically. There’s a beautiful word in scripture that the word is repent in the English language. But many people think the word repent means to be sorry, but that’s not really the nature of the word. Repent. The, the nature of the word repent means to turn in the opposite direction, which is part of how you demonstrate that you’re sorry for something.
RV (08:18):
That’s part of how you demonstrate that you wanna change, that you wanna change your life, that you wanna change your behavior, that you wanna change who, who you are as a person is to repent, to turn another direction, to take a step in a different direction. And you go, you know, the moment you turn your life isn’t completely different, but your direction is completely different. And once your direction is completely different, your destination will be completely different. And your destination is the inevitable outcome of your direction. So while I can’t change your destination in the snap, the snap of a finger, like you can’t immediately fast forward to the destination you can in the snap of a finger, in one moment, change your direction. And if you change your direction, you ultimately will change your destination. Because the destination is the inevitable byproduct of the direction and the direction you can change overnight, the direction you can change immediately, the direction you can change with one step, change your direction.
RV (09:17):
That’s so powerful, such an important reminder. And then the fifth thing that Jim shared, which is where I just feel like we’re brothers from, we’re brothers from other mothers, is to go, you know, you can sense this guy’s story, right? This guy’s, Jim’s superpower for most of his life was being invisible, was being unseen. He was hiding deliberately because he was the kid with the broken brain, right? Because he was the kid that the other students made fun of. He was hiding. And then even once he sort of found his power and he found his gift, and he was able to make money, he still never wanted to become well known. And he didn’t want to do that. He, he, he was, he’s introverted. He, he was shy, he was fine living, he was comfortable living in the shadows. So why then did he break free from that?
RV (10:10):
Why did he break free and start one of the biggest podcasts in the world with a hundred million downloads? Why did he start one of the most successful YouTube channels with one and a half million subscribers? Right? Why did he, why did he write a book, right? Why did he even ever work with brand builders group in the first place and, and, and write a book, and then rewrite the book and, and sell a million copies of his book? Like why did he do that? It was because of number five, ultimately, even though he wanted to hide ultimately, even though he was a master of being invisible, ultimately, that even though he didn’t care about fame or nor notoriety, ultimately all of those things fell subservient to a moral obligation to serve, a moral obligation to serve. That’s what it means to be a mission-driven messenger. It means you have an a moral obligation, you have a duty, you have a responsibility, you have a calling, you have a command, you have a summoning, you, you have a voice that you cannot quiet because it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with the people out there in the world calling you and saying, I need you. I need your help. I need your wisdom. I need your perspective. I need your expertise. I need your advice. I need your strategies. I need your technique. I need you.
RV (11:34):
It’s not about your fame, your vanity, your riches, your followers. It’s about service, a moral obligation to serve. And if you’re a true mission-driven messenger, you have to stop hiding. You have to get out of the, get out of the shadows. You need to come out from behind the curtain. You need to, to, to get out and share with people. Share your story, right? Think of how many people, Jim’s life, his stories impacted the kid with the broken brain, the kid that was made fun of the kid who was dropping out of school, the kid who was letting his parents down, then becoming one of the smartest people in the world, and the brain coach to Will Smith and Hugh Jackman and Alex Rodriguez and the Rock and the, and half of the Fortune 500. I mean, what a transformation. And then sharing those because of a moral obligation to serve. It’s your duty, it’s your divine design. That’s what I think, right? I think it is God’s divine design of your humanity. The reason that you have struggled, the reason you’ve had challenges, the reason you have had setbacks and obstacles is because it was part of God’s plan all along to use you to impact other people.
RV (12:56):
And so to resist that calling to me is to defy God himself. That’s how I think about it. But a moral obligation, whether you believe in God or not, but like to, to, to realize and go, I’m gonna be subservient. Yeah, maybe it, you know what? It is uncomfortable to get out there and promote your stuff. It is annoying to have to learn about social media. It is a pain to have to figure out how to build a personal brand and create websites, and launch books and do speaking and, and sell tickets to events. And yeah, it, it’s a pain. Like it is a pain, but the fruit of it is you get to impact lives. You get to make a difference. You get to help people. You get to serve people. You get to add the meaning of all of the things that have happened to you suddenly have meaning as you add value to others. That’s what this is about. That’s what this journey is all about.
RV (13:55):
So my friends, don’t let your labels be your limits. Don’t fight to keep your limitations. Realize that you’re six inches away from every dream you’ve ever wanted by changing what’s in your mind. Get a new perspective. Be around new people. Get new information. Take one step in a new direction, and that will ultimately determine a completely different destination and operate out of a moral obligation to serve. That sums it up. Show Jim. Quick some love. If you would, if you would, if you got anything out of this episode or this recap, go just say hi and tell ’em where you found him. Say, Hey Jim, I love your stuff. Heard you on the influential personal brand podcast. Heard you from Rory and Brand Builders Group, Rory and AJ and Brand Builders Group. And just tell ’em, say, Hey man, thanks for your story. You know, if you can buy the book, check it out. He’s got good stuff. And share this episode with someone in your life who needs it,
RV (14:50):
Right? Share this with somebody in your life who needs it and keep coming back every single week. We’re working hard, right? We work hard to, to get ac get you access to people like Jim Quick. It’s not easy to get to people like Jim Quick. It’s been years of developing a relationship with Jim so that we could get him for 20 minutes to come on and, and, and talk to you and, and share this. And, you know, he ended up going twice as long ’cause he feels the power of you, the power of this community. So thanks for, for being the community. Thanks for being the reason he’s here. And thanks for being the reason why we do what we do. We’ll catch you next time on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.

Ep 492: Creating a Limitless Life by building a Limitless Mind with Jim Kwik

RV (00:02):
Well, I’m honored to introduce you to one of the people who is my favorite friends and one of the smartest people I think, on the planet and truly has become one of the biggest personal brands in the entire world. And Jim Quick is someone that I just got to meet maybe just over a year ago. Actually a couple years ago. We met at Ed Mallet’s book launch. We became friends. He became a, a client of Brand Builder’s Group. And every time I meet this man, I’m just blown away by his brilliance, his network, his commitment to service, the depth of his expertise. You may not know this, but he is a brain coach that’s been has worked with people like Will Smith, Hugh Jackman, Jim Carrey, Alex Rodriguez, the Rock. I mean like major, major celebrities. And he’s well known for his speed reading and memory techniques, as well as just helping people optimize their brain overall.
RV (00:58):
He’s got millions of online followers. He’s trained many CEOs, obviously celebrities. He’s spoken for world renowned organizations like Virgin and Fox Studios, Nike, Zappos, Harvard and he’s been on the Today Show and all over national media. And then, you know, he wrote this book, limitless, which sold several hundred thousands of copies, became a New York Times bestseller. We got a chance to work with Jim on the expanded edition of Limitless, which just came out. And you can learn more about [email protected]. Anyways, Jim, thanks for making time for us, man. What an honor to have you,
JK (01:35):
Rory. I I really appreciate not only what you do, but the manner you do it. So thanks for your friendship. Thanks for your support and helping us with our brand. Yeah, we’re on a mission to build better, brighter brains. No, no brain left behind.
RV (01:48):
Yeah, man, I I, I love that. I, I for the people that don’t know you, can you just tell us the story of, of, you know, it’s in the book and you talk about it, but like why you started working on sort of brain optimization in the first place from your, from your personal childhood?
JK (02:03):
Yeah. I mean, I know your listeners are interested in this. ’cause Entrepreneurs, they, you know, your number one wealth building asset you have is your mind, right? I mean, and the faster you can learn, the faster you could earn today, knowledge is not only power, knowledge is profit. And so the more you know, the better decisions that you can make, the more you could expand your business, your bank account, and your brand, you know, the effect that you have in the world. One of the ways I share my messages on stages, we’re in front of about 250 to 300,000 people every single year. As a public speaker, you know, this is my 32nd year of, of speaking as a brain coach. I usually do, if there’s time these demonstrations, I know you and I have shared the stage numerous times.
JK (02:49):
For me, if I have time, I’ll pass around a microphone in an audience and maybe 50 or 60 or maybe even a hundred people introduce themselves and I’ll memorize all their names, or the audience will challenge me. Amazing. Memorize a a hundred numbers or a hundred words. Yeah. And I’ll do it forwards and backwards, but I always tell people, I don’t do this to impress you. I really do this to express to you what’s possible. Because the truth is every single one of you listening, you could do that too. Regardless of your age, your background, your career, education level, financial situation, gender history, iq we just weren’t taught, you know, school is a great place to learn what to learn, like math and history, science, Spanish, but there are zero classes on how to learn. And I think if there’s one skill your listeners like that, there’s like one idea to take away from this.
JK (03:32):
Your ability to learn rapidly and translate that learning into action is the ultimate competitive advantage today in the 21st century. Right? And I know it’s possible for all of us because it’s such an advantage, but I didn’t grow up with that advantage when I was five years old. I had a traumatic brain injury. I had a very bad accident in school. When head first into a radiator. I was rushed to the hospital, lost all this blood passed out. I mean, but really where I showed up was in school. I had learning disabilities after that. I was put in special education. I had poor focus, poor memory. I had migraines every single day when I was five and six, seven. I just thought it was like normal when I was, it took me three years longer just to learn how to read. When that was very frustrating.
JK (04:21):
It really laid into my, my self-esteem, my self-worth, you know, a lot of self-doubt because if I wasn’t like all the other kids, I would work hard because I came from immigrant parents. But it’s, you know, that installed that discipline. But I, I just didn’t do well. And I just felt like it was kind of unfair When I was nine years old, I was being bullied and, and teased for slowing down the class. ’cause I just didn’t understand lessons. Teachers would’ve to repeat themselves over and over again. And I would learn to pretend, but I didn’t really understand. And teacher came to my defense when I was being teased, pointed to me in a fellow class and said, leave that kid alone. That’s the boy with the broken brain. Oh. And I could tell you Rory, that that label became my limit. I didn’t understand it at the time.
JK (05:06):
Adults had to be very careful, their external words, ’cause they often become a child’s internal words. So every single word it play out. Every single time I did badly in school, which was all the time, I would always say, oh, ’cause I have the broken brain. Or to my parents, I didn’t do well on this quiz ’cause I had the broken brain, or I was in pick for sports. ’cause I have the broken brain. And you know, we’ll talk a little bit about that in terms of learned helplessness and how our self-talk. I believe our brain is this incredible supercomputer. And our self-talk is the program it will run. So if you tell yourself something like, I dunno, maybe your listeners say to yourself, I’m not good at remembering names. Right? Something pretty common. You won’t remember the name of the next person you meet.
JK (05:45):
‘Cause You program your supercomputer not to. Right? Your mind is always eavesdropping on, on your self talk. And so I struggled and then eventually I found a mentor at age 18. So I struggled. Those 13 plus years got introduced to the power of the mind, the power of the brain. I started leaning into starting getting curious, like, how does my brain work so I can work my brain, right? How does my, my memory work so I can work my memory better? You know, how does I got curious about how to make it practical every day. You know, if they say your brain is this incredible gift and superpower, why wasn’t I able to, why do we forget the keys? Right? Why do we forget what we just read, ? How come we’re overloaded and we can’t keep up with, with all the information?
JK (06:28):
So you know, and after I learned these things, I started to teach. And my, one of my very first students I started to tutor, she was a college freshman. She read 30 books in 30 days. Wow. Not skimmer scan. And I know you’re a book lover and reader. Yeah. But can you imagine that advantage? And I wanted to find out not how I taught her how to speed read, but I wanted and to understand even more than she would. I wanted to find out not how, but why I am always interested like you, why, like why do people do what they do? Right? How many, so many people know what to do, but they don’t do it. ’cause Common sense is not common practice. And I found out that her mother was just recently diagnosed with terminal cancer and doctors gave her mom only 60 days to live.
JK (07:13):
Wow. And the books she was reading were books to save her mom’s life. And with that leverage, you know, it was just, I, I wish her prayers six months goes by, I don’t hear from her. And I get a call one, one morning and it’s this young lady and she’s crying profusely. But when she stops, I find out there are tears of joy that her mother not only got, you know, survived, but it’s really getting better. Doctors don’t know how or why they were calling it a miracle, but her mother attributed a hundred percent to the great advice she got from her daughter who learned it from all these books. Wow. And in that moment, I realized that if knowledge is power, then learning is our superpower. And it’s a superpower we all have. It’s just, you know, people are struggling with their focus or their memory, or their overload or distractions, whatever.
JK (08:00):
It’s not really your fault. You know, we just weren’t taught how to be able to use your brain doesn’t come with an owner’s manual and it’s not user friendly. So that, that’s why I wrote Limitless, to be an owner’s manual for your brain, your most valuable asset that controls everything to be able to read faster, focus better, improve your memory, remember client information, product information, you know, give speeches without notes, do all these things. But yeah, I just feel like we wanna fill in the gaps of the education system, you know, for both education and, and professional personal development. And I feel like it’s a gift that everybody could give themselves.
RV (08:39):
Yeah. I mean, it, that’s what it is. It’s, it, it is an owner’s manual. Like it is an instruction guide and there’s mindset. There’s motivation, there’s daily practices like, it, it’s such a powerful book. And you, you know, you, you mentioned that your, that label became your limit, right? Early on. What do you think are some of the most common destructive labels that people have? I mean, like, you mentioned their names, right? Like, I’m bad with names, but like, when it comes to, let’s talk about personal brand specifically, right? So like, you had to overcome this learning deficit, this sort of, you know, these mental challenges with like your development. And you then became one of the world’s leading experts. And then you went, you know, kind of from being like, you’re pretty, like a lot of people don’t, maybe don’t know this, but like you’re pretty introverted guy. Yeah. And yet
JK (09:32):
Very, very,
RV (09:32):
You are one of the, become one of the biggest personal brands in the world. You’re reaching maybe a few hundred thousand people a year in your speeches, but millions through your videos and your podcast and social media, et cetera. Like, what were some of the labels you had to overcome or that you think personal brands often have to overcome to be able to get their message out to more people?
JK (09:54):
So for me, I, I believe it’s the person in the mirror. It certainly was in my case. My two biggest challenges growing up were learning. And because of it, public speaking, I would I remember I was failing high school English, and they called my parents in, and I was so ashamed you know, I wasn’t gonna pass the class. And the teacher, you know, talked to my parents, talked to me, and felt a little empathy and said, I’m gonna give you one last chance you could do this book report on Albert Einstein of all people, and to get extra credit to be able to pass, you know, class. And, and I I said, I’m gonna do it. I told my parents, told the teacher I made promise to them and myself. I spent this was back when people spent time in the libraries.
JK (10:41):
This, I was dating the, you know, pre-internet . And I did this book report after weeks and I was so proud of it. And the day was due when I go down my parents, I, I found it was waiting for me with a little note for my parents. They professionally bounded and I was just so proud of it. I, it’s hard to describe, but I’ve never felt pride around anything I did before. But I felt like this is, you know, it just symbolized something, right. And the day it was due I go, I can’t wait to hand it in. I’m sitting in class and then towards the end of the class, the teacher says, all right, we have a surprise for all of you kids, Jim, come to the front of the class and present your book report.
RV (11:22):
Oh no,
JK (11:24):
I froze. ’cause At this time, you know, I never gave a speech before. I, I was my superpower. I talk about superpowers a lot. I was really being invisible. You know, as you mentioned, I was very, I’m very introverted, but I, back then I was extremely shy and awkward. ’cause I never knew the answer. So I was being, I would always shrink down ’cause I didn’t wanna be called on. ’cause I just never could know. I didn’t know anything. Wow. And I would sit behind the tall kid and even my posture was like slumped up to take up less space. I didn’t wanna be seen or heard, or maybe I did, but I didn’t, you know, want to. So out of fear. So I think fear is a big obstacle for a lot of us. It’s interesting that my two biggest challenges growing up are learning and public speaking, .
JK (12:07):
‘Cause God has a sense of humor. You do it for a living. Those speaking, yes. All I do is public speak on this thing called learning. But it’s just a reminder to everybody that your struggles lead to strengths. Right? Our challenges lead to change and adversity can be an advantage. Like, I, I believe that sometimes there’s some things we can only learn in a storm, right? And some, some storms come to be able to clear our path. And we don’t know until hindsight looking back years from now, why things happened the way they they did. But I do believe I was guided and, you know, grateful for what I went through. But I bring this up because the things that kept me from growing even the impact was, you know, self-doubt. You know, people struggle with things like imposter syndrome. Who am I at 20 years old to be able to go into companies as I did and teach people three times my age?
JK (12:58):
Right? Like, and, and it was, it was interesting. So I, I would say the person in the mirror was, was my biggest obstacle. The doubts, the fears not being good enough, your failure. A lot of trauma that I had to kind of unravel growing up. And I just, even with the book, people Assume when the book came out in 2020 that I had like lots of books. But this was my first book. Mm-Hmm. . And it was interesting because I wanna help people. And I then this goes back to a bunch of conversations you and I have had on branding. I wanna help people, but I don’t wanna be, I don’t necessarily need to be known for it. It’s really weird. Like, I, I wanna feel like my life has purpose and I could have an impact, but I don’t need as much to be acknowledged for it.
JK (13:46):
I feel like if I had that drive, I’ve maybe even helped more people. But because of it, you know, over 30 years, every opportunity to really scale, I always said no media book deals, train the trainer. I met with Kaplan, the franchise, you know, like to open up quick learning centers, you know, different places, infomercials and PBS specials. All those offers came. And I always said no. And then one day I, I was in a car accident and I I almost died and I definitely could have. And the next day that week, I, I signed the book deal that was in my inbox for like, 10 years. Wow. Because it just made me think about legacy. And you know, just to everybody listening, I don’t know who I’m talking to, but creating the life you want, you know, the contribution, the character that, you know, all whatever is important to you, it can be scary, but you know what’s a lot scarier is regret.
JK (14:45):
You know, I, I spent a lot of time in senior centers. I, I lost my, my parents, I mentioned they immigrated here, had many jobs. We lived in the back of a laundromat that my mom worked at. Didn’t speak the language or anything. My grandmother took care of me because my parents were always working. And when I was going through my challenges at five years old, she started showing early signs of dementia. And she, she eventually passed of Alzheimer’s when I was seven. So all those things like really informs where you go. Like, my inspiration really was my desperation to feel good enough to feel like, oh, is my brain gonna work when I’m older and, you know, with my accident? So, you know, it’s the idea where people listening where you make a decision where you take your mess and you turn it into your message.
JK (15:34):
And I totally agree with you that we are best suited to support and help the person we once, you know, were, you know. And so like, I want to help that 9-year-old boy that had so much doubt and, you know, was being teased and ridiculed and feeling like they weren’t enough. And I think we can improve our confidence, our self-esteem overnight if we just understand our, our, our brains. Like, ’cause it’s so fantastic. And, you know we’ve dedicated our life to getting this out there on stages. And we have one of the top where we’ll cross a hundred million downloads on our podcast this year.
RV (16:08):
Wow. I didn’t realize that it was that, that’s awesome, man.
JK (16:12):
Yeah. And the book, thanks to, you know, yourself, your team and the other supporters, like, you know, we’ve done over, over a million copies just, you know, on on limitless on audio books and Kindle and print 40 different languages. We’re just very, very, very proud. We donated all the proceeds to charity. We built schools in Ghana, Guatemala, and Kenya also supported Alzheimer’s research for women. Women are twice as likely to experience Alzheimer’s than men. So in, in memory of my, in my, my grandmother. But it’s nice. You know, I feel like, you know, we’re just getting started and you know, our goal is to be able to support people, you know, having their, the brain they desire and deserve.
RV (16:53):
Yeah. And I, I think, you know, that concept of, I, that’s probably one of the reasons why I was drawn to you right from the first time I met you. You know, we were backstage originally at, at that, at my lead event, and there were so many like major VIP important people both speaking and just like in general in that Yeah. Vicinity.
JK (17:14):
That, that was, that was a, who’s who I remember was Jenna and Mel and everybody. Yeah.
RV (17:21):
But you were, you were so humble. And it was like what you just said, I think is what spoke to me was like, I’ve never ever caught a sense of ego from you or a, an ounce of like, posturing or positioning or who I know. I mean, before we started this interview, I had to even ask your permission to share. Like, are you okay if I tell people that like, you work with Hugh Jackman and the Rock and Will Smith? ’cause I know you’re like, you don’t share those things very often. And I’ve gotten to know that and I’m just like, I mean, this is amazing, Jim. Like, it’s, it’s incredible the, the, the, the people that you’re working with. And, and yet it’s the heart of going, it’s your heart of service, which has been really powerful to see and to go look at all the good you’re doing from your, from scaling.
RV (18:05):
Like look all the money you’re doing for charity and all of the people you’re reaching. And I just, I love that because to me that’s what, you know, we just, we define our audience as mission-driven messengers. Hmm. And it’s not that we don’t care about money. We do care about money, but, but money is subservient to the mission. And I’ve always felt that way about you. And I can’t say that about everybody else in this space. But I do feel that way about you and, and I and, and, and I, you know, I love that you, you know, you’ve got one book, like you put every so much into this one book. Not, not everything, you know, but like so much into this, you could have written 15 books. But like you’ve, you, this is one of the things that we, we tell our clients about books is a book should be a conclusion, not a hypothesis.
RV (18:55):
And a lot of, a lot of authors write books that are hypotheses. They have like, oh, an idea and then they put it out there. This limitless is, this is a series of conclusions of a lifetime of work and study. And it’s like, it’s banked. Dr. Mark Hyman wrote the Forward for this. Y’all like the, the, the, the doctors, some of the leading doctors in the world. Come on Jim’s podcast and everything. And I just, anyways, I, I love what you do and most of all, like the, the way that you do it I, I got one other question for you before you go, but, but, but where do you, before that, where should people go, Jim, if they want to, you know, connect up with you, obviously they can get limitless, expanded. Well else would you send them?
JK (19:38):
The book [email protected]. You get to where support your local bookstores, you know I would say social media, you know, take a screenshot of this conversation wherever you’re consuming it, and tag Rory, tag myself. Say hi. I’ll repost some of you know, some randomly and gift out a few copies of, of Limitless to your community as a thank you for having me on your show. We, we were not, we’re, we’re not hard to find, you know, just search my name in your podcast app. We just crossed a 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube. So we put, you know, regular content there and help how to read faster, improve your memory, best Brain Foods, changing your habits, unlocking limitless motivation and, and so, so much more. Yeah.
RV (20:29):
I mean, it’s amazing. And if you, if you just think about like the a hundred million podcast downloads and the, the millions of subscribers, all the people you’ve helped that never buy a book or never buy one of your courses or programs. Like what a what a what a gift.
JK (20:46):
Nine 95% of what we put out there is completely free. You know, we’ve just, again, we wanna positively impact at least 1 billion brains. It’s pretty bold and audacious. That’s why we appreciate you and your community and just helping us show people build a better, brighter world. I believe you change your brain, you change your life, you change your brain. You could change the world. And yeah, I’m, I’m very optimistic of, you know, what the next, in the years are for everybody here that’s listening, you know, in terms of their own potential and on performance.
RV (21:20):
Yeah. So last little thing. You know, if somebody is sitting in that moment right now, Jim, they’re listening to this and they, they have a label that’s a limit, right? They had somebody say something to them. Yeah. Or they had, they said something to themselves and maybe they, they do have a vision to go, I want to impact millions of people. I want, I wanna, I wanna create videos, I wanna create content. But they’re struggling in that moment. Like, what, what, what encouragement, what last little bit of encouragement would you give to that person?
JK (21:47):
I’ll if it’s okay, I don’t, I’m, I don’t really share this, but how I got started on my career, maybe people get a couple of little nuggets that they can relate to. When I, when I got accepted into a local university I thought freshmen meant I could make a fresh start. And I wanted to show the world that I could do it and make my parents proud. I’m the oldest of three siblings and I wanted to be a good example, right? And I took all these classes freshman year and I, I did worse because it’s so much more difficult. And I was ready to quit. And I don’t know if someone’s at that place right now, that they’ve tried a few things and they’re just kind of ready to quit. But but hear me out. Like I, I told a, a friend of mine that I didn’t know how to tell my parents because I didn’t, I didn’t have the money to be in school in the first place, so I didn’t wanna waste it, right?
JK (22:45):
And my friend said, Hey, why don’t you come with me to visit my family? I’m going this weekend and get a different perspective. And I, that word perspective really changes things for me. I think that if you’re anyone feels stuck, like they’re not making progress in some area of their life, maybe their brand, their business, their followers, their impact or income, whatever, it helps to change your point of view, right? And how you do that, you change your place or you change the people you’re spending time with. And I end up going the weekend visiting his family and pretty well off family, a beautiful home on the water. And the father walks me around his property before dinner and asked me a very innocent question, which is the worst question you could ask me. He says, Jim, how’s school? And I just, I start, and you mentioned how introverted I am, I start bawling, crying in front of this complete stranger uncontrollably because I had so much pent up like, like emotion that and I just tell my whole story, broken brain ready to quit school.
JK (23:53):
It’s not for me. Don’t have the money. They don’t know how to tell my parents. I’m gonna be a total disappointment to them. And he’s like, Jim, he asked me a new question. He’s like, well, why are you in school? And besides perspective changing the place and people you’re with, maybe we need to ask ourselves new questions. ’cause I didn’t know why I was in school. I just thought, that’s something you do, right? You go to school, get a career and do that thing. But, you know, I was like, I didn’t have an answer ’cause no one’s ever asked me that question. And you ask a new question, you get a new answer, like a, a question like what’s the best use of this moment? Or what if it would’ve succeeded and I didn’t do it right? Like, it’s just a different thing. And, and then he says like, well, Jim, he saw I was struggling with the answering.
JK (24:38):
It’s like, well, what do you wanna be, what do you wanna do? What do you wanna have? What do you wanna share or contribute? I didn’t have any answer. And he really was patient with me. And I start to answer and he takes out a piece of paper to stop just, and he asked me to write it down, right? Like a bucket list, like all the things I want to do before I kicked the bucket. Mm-Hmm. . And I don’t know how long the exercise was, but when I’m done, I start folding the sheets of paper to put in my pocket, you know, my list of dreams. And he reaches out and grabs the page, pages right outta my hand. And Rory, I’m freaking out because I’m like the most insecure 18-year-old kid. And obviously this person’s very successful and he’s reading my intimate goals and, you know, like dreams, right?
JK (25:22):
Yeah. Things I’ve never shared with anybody or even realized until I wrote ’em down myself. And when he’s done. And we’re all scared of being judged, right? Like, that’s why I was shrinking down all the time. ’cause I didn’t wanna be judged, right? Other people’s opinions or expectations. And I realized that if we fuel your life with other people’s opinions, then we’re gonna run outta gas. Right? It’s just not very sustainable. And I would remind everybody, don’t take criticism. ’cause That’s what keeps us from acting is like what people are gonna think. And you don’t wanna be criticized. I I, I live by this thing. I have this on my wall. Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from. Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from. And so he’s reading it, I don’t know how much time goes by. He’s like, Jim, you’re this close to everything on this list and I’m spreading my index fingers like a foot apart.
JK (26:09):
And I’m thinking, no way. Gimme 10 years. I’m not gonna crack that list. And very wise, ma man who was mentor to me, he takes his index fingers, Rory, and he puts ’em to the side of my head, meaning what’s in between was like the key that’s gonna get me everything on that list. And he takes me into a room of his home I’ve never seen before. You would love it. It is wall to wall ceiling, the floor covered in books. Awesome. And I remember I had my reading difficulties. I’ve never read a book cover to cover, and it’s like being in a room full of snakes for me, right? I’m so intimidated. But what makes it worse, Rory, is he starts going to shelves and grabbing snakes and handing them to me. And I’m freaking out, right? Because I’m thinking like, what does he want me to do with this?
JK (26:52):
And yeah, I started looking at titles of these books. And there are these biographies of some incredible women and men in history and some very early personal growth books. Like Norman Vincent Peele, the Power of Positive Thinking, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, right? All the classics. And he says, Jim you have to read to Succeed. I want you to read one book a week. And I automatically go and I say, are you kidding me? Like, did you hear anything? I was saying, I have a brain injury. I’m a poor reader, and I’m not that smart. I have all this schoolwork. And when I said schoolwork, he was like, Jim, don’t let school get in the way of your education. Right? That’s like a Mark Twain quote. And I was like, that’s very insightful. And yet I can’t commit to doing that. ’cause If I say I’m gonna do it, I have to do it.
JK (27:41):
I can’t. And I, people do this to me all the time at events. They know a memory guy. They’re like, Jim, I’m so glad you’re here. I have a horrible memory. You know, I’m, I’m just getting too old. And I always say, stop, if you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them. Hmm. If you fight for your limits, they’re yours. Right? But I’m fighting for my limits of, and I mentioned the schoolwork and he’s like, don’t let school get my education. I’m like, yeah, but I still can’t do it. Right? And then, very smart man, he reaches into his pocket and he pulls out my dream list, which he still has. And he has the audacity Rory, to read every single one of my dreams out loud. Oh my gosh. And imagine that, right? Like this insecure self-doubt. And you hear like someone who’s obviously doing well, complete stranger.
JK (28:24):
You hear your dreams and somebody else’s voice, enc canted out into the atmosphere, right? Yes. And it messes with my mind and my spirit something fierce. ’cause A lot of the things on that list were things I wanted to do for my family, you know, for my parents, things they, they can never afford to do. Or even if they had the money, they wouldn’t do it for themselves. Right? And with that motivation, having going back to purpose, if you have a reason, you’ll get the result. ’cause Reasons, re rewards, right? And a lot of people, they’re not, you know, if they’re, if they’re holding back with their brand or their book or something that they know they wanna get out there, like I did for so long, I didn’t have a, you know, I wasn’t, I knew intellectually the reason, but I wasn’t feeling allowing myself to feel that reason.
JK (29:08):
And with that leverage, I agree. ’cause I wanna help my family to read one book a week. So fast forward, I’m back at school and I have a pile of books sitting at my desk. I have to read for midterms. I have a pile of books that I wanna read that I promised to read, and I already couldn’t get through pile A. So what do I do? I don’t have the time. So I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, I don’t work out. I don’t spend time with, you know, people and anything. I just live in the library for weeks and weeks and weeks. And one night at two o’clock in the morning in the library, I pass out, out of sheer exhaustion, I fall down a flight of stairs, hit my head again. Oh my gosh. And I woke up in the hospital two days later.
JK (29:46):
And at this point, ’cause I wasn’t eating, I was very malnourished, hooked up to all these IVs. I was down to 117 pounds. Wow. Right? So I lost all this weight. I thought I died. And it was the darkest time in my life. And when I woke up, I thought, there has to be a better way. Right? And when I had that thought, and you know, God speaks this in in different ways, like the nurse came in and brought a mug of tea. And on it was a picture of Albert Einstein, you know, the person I did that book report about. And it was interesting that learning that he had learning disabilities and he processed things differently and all this. But on the mug was a quote that said, the same level of thinking that has created your problem won’t solve your problem. And it made me ask a new questions like, what’s my problem?
JK (30:35):
Well, I have a broken brain. I’m a very slow learner. Well, how do I think differently about it? Like Einstein, I was like, well, maybe I could fix my brain. Maybe I could learn how to learn faster. And I was like, okay, where do I do that? Well, school. And I asked the nurse for a course bulletin for, with all classes for next semester. And I start going through it a couple hundred pages. And they’re all classes again, of what to learn, but not how to learn. So I set my schoolwork aside and I started studying these books and then other things in the area of neuroscience, adult learning theory, multiple intelligence theory. You know, I wanted to, I was obsessed, like, how does my mind work? So I work my mind. I wanted to know what did, what did ancient cultures do to remember things before there were printing presses and, you know, computers, right?
JK (31:20):
And I started studying that, and then light switch went on. And I just started to understand, you know, about 60 days into it. And my grade shot up. And so did my confidence in my life. But to, to bring it back to my career, how I ended up teaching it was, I, I was upset that I struggled every single day for 13 plus years when there were solutions out there. And, you know, I felt a moral obligation to help people around me that were struggling the same way. And that moral impetus, I started to tutor and I wanted like friends just for free. And then I was like, well, how do I get more people? I was like, and I had that thought. There was a classroom that wasn’t being used on a Thursday night at seven o’clock. I was walking past. I said, okay, next week, same on Thursday at seven o’clock, I’m gonna just put five or 10 people in there, teach them for free for a couple hours.
JK (32:15):
And then maybe afterwards, one or two of them wants to be tutored and I can help them. And I go back, this is my first marketing. All right? So this is how free public seminar. Here it comes, . This is amazing. I take a piece of paper and a black marker and I write free speed reading memory tips, get better grades, less time. Thursday, seven o’clock, put the classroom right? Good hook. Good hook. Yeah. And then the, and this is, this is, and this is how, and I’m telling you, we don’t have to, you could, we could begin before we’re ready, right? , I didn’t know what I was doing, but I, I, I just kind of trusted. I prayed and I prepared. But and the next morning I take, I make a few photocopies on the way to class. I put ’em around on bulletin boards.
JK (32:58):
Not a lot. Fast forward to Thursday. The next Thursday I’m walking at seven o’clock and I just pray there are five people that show up, right? I turned the corner and outside of the room, there’s a crowd of people. And my honest thought Rory, was, wow, I hope whatever’s going on ends soon so I could do my thing. Right? , because you can’t see what you don’t believe. Right? And it’s not that you’ll, you’ll believe it when you see it. It’s, you’ll see it when you believe it, but I didn’t believe it. And I go, I can’t even get in. ’cause There’s people standing at the doorway. I’m like, like, what’s going on inside? And this guy looks at me, he’s like, there’s a speed reading class. And I thought, honest to God, I said, no way. What are the chances? There’s another speed reading class, the same room the same night, you know, same time.
JK (33:47):
And I, I pushed my way in and packed, right? All the seats are taken, people standing in the back, and lo and behold, no one’s teaching. Right? And it takes my slow brain all that time to realize why they’re all there and who they’re all there for. And remember, I’m 18 years old. I look like I’m like 13 years old. wearing t-shirt, shorts, and I’m nothing really s wear prepared to teach, right? I was, you know, and, and I’m full bank of public speaking. I’ve never done it before. Right? Right. Because even that book report, when when the, when that teacher asked me to hand it in, I, I was so nervous, Rory, in high school, like to pay able to pass, I, I looked at her and I lied. I said, I didn’t do it. And you could see the disappointment in her face and in the, you know, I was being teased more.
JK (34:37):
But when the class ended, I remember leaving the class, I, I reach into my book bag and I take out that, that professionally bound book report. And I, I threw it in the trash. And I think it symbolically it was like giving up hope. You know what I mean? Or my dreams or my potential. But that’s why Einstein coming back to me and giving that kind of, that, those words of wisdom. But going back, I, I still haven’t done any public speaking. So I’m freaking out. My heart’s being outta my chest. I I even talking about it, my mouth is going dry so I leave. Right? And, ’cause I can’t even talk with all those people there. You just left. Yeah. ’cause there’s not five or 10 people. I do a head count and there’s 110 people. Oh man. Right? So I leave, I told you it was a good hook.
JK (35:20):
It was a good marketing . And I go to this fountain because I can’t even go back to my dorm room. ’cause My friend, you know, my suite mates all make fun of me. ’cause They all knew about it. And so I’m just meditating by the fountain. Water’s kind of calming me down. And I have, I hear this voice inside in my, my head and it’s my mom’s. And I won’t tell you exactly what she said, but essentially it’s like all these people, you promised to help these people, a hundred people, and you’re disappointing them. You’re disappointing me kind of message. And I’m doing this walking meditation back to my dorm room. And, and here’s the lesson. I stop and I take one step back to the classroom. And the lesson for me is one step in another direction completely changes your destination. If you’re going this way, you take a step this way, you’re gonna end up somewhere different.
JK (36:10):
And there’s a quote in Limitless from a French philosopher that says, life is the letter C between the letters B and D. Or B stands for birth and D stands for death, life, c, choice. We always have these choices, right? Our lives are the sum total of all the choices we’ve made up to this point. You know, I believe these difficult times, they could distract you these difficult times. They could diminish you or these difficult times they could develop you. You decide. And I made this choice to go back to the classroom. And I go there, I apologize, but I don’t remember what I talked about for two hours. But you ever, like, this stream of consciousness just kind of flows through you. And when I’m done, Rory, I came out of this trance. I was like, I don’t know how to help all of you, but if you’re interested, I need about 10 hours to teach you what’s working for me.
JK (37:00):
Maybe two hours a week over the next five weeks I get $30 an hour. This is what I got teaching tennis back in high school and just making this up there. And I say, I’ll be in the student center tomorrow at noon. If you’re interested, I’ll answer your questions. And I swear, Rory, a hundred people stand up and they leave. Not one person talks to me. Huh? So I am sitting 10 o’clock at night in an empty classroom and I’m totally confused. And I’m so exhausted. ’cause You know, when you do something you never thought you could do, I end up passing out on the carpet and it was the best sleep of my life. I get woken up the next morning, the class coming in at eight o’clock and the next morning and I run, I’m embarrassed. I run back to my dorm room, shower, go to breakfast, go to class, 12 o’clock I promised to go to the student center to answer questions.
JK (37:50):
And I’m going to the student center running a little bit late. And I just hope one person believed in me, just one. Right? And when I get there, Rory, that same crowd of kids were there. And at the end of 90 minutes or two hours, 71 of those students signed up for a program that didn’t even exist. And at $300 a, a person. ’cause I didn’t do the math. 10 hours times, $30 an hour. And I didn’t realize that students could go, they have a plastic card that goes into an ATM machine that takes out $300, right? Because I didn’t have that. And so I’m not even 19 years old and I have $21,000 cash in my pockets and my, my book bag. What? And, and I don’t even know, like, it’s so surreal. ’cause That’s a lot of money. But that was definitely a lot of money.
JK (38:38):
30 back then. Yeah. Years ago. That’s a lot of though. Yeah. And so I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, what do I do with this? And I hear my mentors phrase, don’t let school get in the way of education. I use practically all of it to travel the country by every program, go to every seminar get mentored and coached by some of the best people in the space. And I, I really feed my mind. And one of those 71 kids was this young lady who read 30 books in 30 days and saved her mom’s life. Wow. And that’s why I continued on the journey, you know, but I, I just wanna, men, you know, reiterate that it was, it was perspective. If I feel, feel stuck changing the people replaced to get a new point of view, asking new questions of yourself. ’cause You ask new questions, you’ll get new answers.
JK (39:31):
And stepping in a direction, making a choice, right? ’cause One step in another direction completely could change your destination. And if you’re listening to this, I feel like there’s a reason why to, to our, to listeners that, you know, maybe they could relate to some aspect of my story. That they feel like they’re here for a reason and they, and they went through adversity and they, they learned something from it. We hear a lot about post-traumatic stress. We do not hear a lot about the other side post-traumatic growth. People have gone through such difficult times that you wouldn’t wish upon anybody. But you discovered something. You discovered something about yourself, or you got clarity, or you found a mission, you found a traitor, a strength, right? And you, you know, and you want change what happened, right? And I feel like now’s the time that we have to so many people, like we dim our lights.
JK (40:23):
Like I was shrinking all the time because we didn’t want those light to shine in somebody else’s eyes. And I feel like we live in a, sometimes in a dark, dark world. And we need as many people to shine as possible. And and do the things. I feel like life is difficult for one of two reasons. Either you’re leaving your comfort zone, life gets difficult, right? And you’re in the unknown. Or life is difficult ’cause you’re staying in your comfort zone. And I feel like that for a long time, I stayed in my comfort zone because I just wanted to have my small little learning center and teach, you know, the, the a hundred people a month that I was teaching or whatever. But I also feel like that moral obligation that, you know, we’re here for a reason. And I feel like at the end of our life, I feel like that it’s like I, I visualize myself meeting the person that I could’ve been.
JK (41:20):
You know? And I just don’t wanna be disappointed. And my message for everybody here is that there is, and I promise you, I, I coached half of the Fortune 500 companies in the world. I, I, I, I, we have students online in every country in the world have a lot of feedback from people. And I could tell you without a doubt that there is a version of yourself or your brand, or your book or your bank account. There’s a or your brain, there’s a version of yourself that’s patiently waiting. And the goal is we show up every single day until we’re introduced. Right? And I just feel like we’re all on this quest to reveal and realize our fullest potential. And when, when would now be a great time to make that choice. You know? And it doesn’t have to be a big one.
JK (42:07):
It could be like little, a little thing you could do to kind of keep your momentum, you know, for me it was about getting my brain and my mind right? Because I knew everything was gonna come from that. But things have to go from your head to your heart, then to your hands, right? You know, it’s, it’s your mindset. It’s your motivation. It’s also the methods. So that, that, that’s, that’s what limitless is for me. I love that Limitless is not about being perfect. It’s not about, you know, it’s about progress. It’s about advancing and progressing beyond what you’re currently demonstrating or you believe is possible. And I just know that this is available to all of us. That I’m not, definitely not special in this case. You know, and so I, I look forward to people like staying in touch with, with both of us. ’cause I, I, I’m, I’m hoping that I get to read their books or see them on stage or watch their, their videos or however they’re getting their, their message out to the world.
RV (43:01):
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s so powerful. That’s why I get my kicks, I get my kicks these days from watching clients succeed and when they win. And it’s just awesome to be a part of it. What an inspiring message, buddy. So y’all get limitless. Follow Jim. Say hello. Learn from his stuff. I’m telling you guys, this is a guy has a heart of gold. And it’s, and, and, and brilliant insights that’ll change your life. Jim, you went way over time, buddy. Yeah. You gave us so much extra time, . I know you have to go. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please just
JK (43:33):
, I wanna, I wanna wanna thank you and your team again. We got, we we, because we collaborated and we learned from you. We, we helped so many more people. And you know, looking forward we have a few, we have, we have another book coming. So
RV (43:48):
Come on now. We’ll
JK (43:49):
Definitely. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we’ll, we’ll talk, we’ll talk about that. But thank you, thank you for what you do. You’re, you’re an inspiring force of nature, you know, and unstoppable force for, for good and for God. So thank you.
RV (44:00):
Thank you, brother. Well, we’ll link up to everything y’all and Jim, we’re praying for you. We’ll talk soon, buddy. All the best.

Ep 485: Set Free from Post-Abortive Shame – Part 2 with Rory’s Mom

So that’s what we would do. And we had, we had friends, but the biggest, the biggest friend was one of my other coworkers. Dan Dan’s been in your life since you were born. And you know, he didn’t have a family at the time. And you know, he, he, he spent a lot of time helping me with you guys paying for jackets at Christmas. And, you know, it was the reason you went to kung fu school. So, so yeah. I mean,
RV (00:39:44):
So these people, these are your coworkers and your friends are the ones buying us Christmas presents?
TG (00:39:49):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, one year we, we were all on the, see, the, the, the challenge for me, for us was that I, I would not make enough money to cover our expenses, but I could not, I didn’t qualify low income housing. I was on the list for five years. And after you turned two, we were no longer eligible for wic. And we weren’t eligible for, for the, the gas leap and the oil that there was a lot of stuff we were not eligible for because I made too much money, like $20 sometimes they would raise the guideline. So $30 more than the guideline. That was all, I was not getting any child support from Tom and very little from Dan. So I never received a dime of child support from Tom. Ever. Ever.
RV (00:40:50):
And so you’re, you’re not, you’re working and so you’re, you’re making enough money that we don’t qualify for a lot of the low income stuff, but you don’t make enough money to cover really the expenses. And so basically what I hear you saying is like, that gap was really covered by friends. It was really covered by colleagues, coworkers.
TG (00:41:13):
Absolutely. And God, I mean, God provided, you know, my faith was at this, this is also a point in time that I went, went back to church. Now I did not. We went to the Methodist church. Don and Shelley wanted me to go to the Methodist church, and Lety Love did it. So we went, we went to the Methodist church and I started teaching Bible study. And I, I loved being back in church. I started, I started teaching third grade Bible. And and so we did that. And then when we moved to Louisville, you know, we went to St. Louis, we went back to Catholic church. So we were, we were in church, although the shortfall never came from the church. Mm-Hmm. . It just came from the network of family of friends that I worked with, the people that I worked with, you know. But I, one of the things your mom always loved people.
TG (00:42:14):
I always knew I was gonna, I wanted to be a, a coach and I always wanted to be a counselor, you know? And, and I don’t know if this is a good time to say, you know, dreams get shattered by words. Words are so powerful. When I was 14, 15 years old, my mama said to me, how could you be a counselor? You can’t even help your own sister. ’cause I had a sister that was very bipolar and a lot of issues. And so I was like, okay, I guess that’s not what I’m gonna be.
RV (00:42:57):
Well, just like that. She said that one thing and you internalized it and you’re like, I can’t, I’ll never be a counselor to take care of other people.
TG (00:43:06):
Yeah. Mm-Hmm. .
RV (00:43:08):
So, so we’ve got all these people, uncle Charlie, Don and Shelly, Dan, Eric Chuck, Chuck,
TG (00:43:20):
Becky,
RV (00:43:21):
Becky. They’re, these people are taking care of us. They’re providing us helping with Christmas presents, stuff like that. I know that you mentioned one time that there was somebody that you worked with who Oh, that was Eric. Yeah. So Eric was like, your, your, your, your bank. My bank
TG (00:43:41):
Bank of
RV (00:43:41):
Eric. And then, and so does this all, does the story really, really start to turn when we meet dad?
TG (00:43:52):
Yes. I guess, I guess that is the case. You know, I think the, the, yeah, I guess it does. I, I guess I would say yes.
RV (00:44:04):
Like financially.
TG (00:44:05):
Well, we met, we met the Phillips’ though, see before, right. And well at the same time almost. So what happens is, so now I finally get to get our own place on Lin, on Cleveland Circle. Mm-Hmm. and I, it was a low income housing project, not project, but government program. And so I was able to qualify to purchase this place. And so this was in Lafayette and so, which is like the next town over. And so you were in, in you were little, you were, you were, you were going to St. Louis and then you had to go to Lafayette Elementary. So you were like in fourth grade or something like that. I think when we, when we were able to do fourth or fifth grade.
RV (00:44:58):
Mm-Hmm. , I remember I went through, I went to St. Louis Elementary
TG (00:45:01):
Just up until
RV (00:45:02):
Through third grade. And then, yeah. And
TG (00:45:04):
Then went third grade. You didn’t, I don’t even know if you, did you go third grade or just second? I thought it was just Ms. Kava.
RV (00:45:11):
No, it was third grade. ’cause I transferred to, yeah, maybe it was halfway through third grade. I think
TG (00:45:15):
I, yeah, I think it was like halfway through third grade. So anyway and the only reason you got to go there was because the priest at the time allowed me to work my tuition off. So like I cleaned, I would clean the daycare and I
RV (00:45:28):
Would, in addition to your normal job.
TG (00:45:30):
Right.
RV (00:45:31):
Okay. So you had a, your job is storage tech, but then you were working extra hours to basically pay for tuition for us to go to school there
TG (00:45:37):
For
RV (00:45:37):
You to go, for me to go to school there. Yeah. And so then we meet the Philips, who you met through storage tech.
TG (00:45:44):
Right. But this is the thing about the Philips is this is why God works in mysterious ways. I was able to, I had to move outta my apartment. We had to move outta our apartment on Mead in May. And because of the government and all the issues with the house and all that stuff, it wasn’t gonna be ready until July. So for two months, we didn’t have a place to live. And Kris was, she had just started working for Chuck, my boss’s boss, Frank . So she was an executive admin. She was working for the vp. And I walked into her office after I found out that they had to extend the paperwork and everything, and we weren’t going to get the house until July. I’d already given notice. We were already gonna be out by May, had be out by May 1st.
TG (00:46:45):
So she, she sees that I’m upset and distraught. I I, I knew her maybe for like less than a week. And she, she asked me, you know, what’s the matter? And I told her, we don’t have a place to live. I don’t know what we’re going to do. And that’s when she said, you can move in with us. Your house is right around the corner from us. Went your new place. And you know, she had two girls, Katie and Britt. They were your age, and Randy’s are close to it. And a wonderful husband, dad, Dave,
RV (00:47:18):
She knew you, known you for a week and said, come live with us. Yeah.
TG (00:47:22):
We, we, I hadn’t even met her husband or her kids. She didn’t know who you guys were. She said, I always, we always wanted to know what it’d be like to have sons. They weren’t brothers.
RV (00:47:33):
Yeah. Clearly they hadn’t met us because they were in for a rowdy, they were in for a rowdy , a rowdy route awakening from me.
TG (00:47:39):
Yes. That’s when Brittany broke her arm,
RV (00:47:41):
Remember? And Randy moved in. Yeah. That’s amazing. So she just said, come live with us.
TG (00:47:48):
And I, she hadn’t even asked her husband.
RV (00:47:51):
And that shows you who runs the show in families, doesn’t it? Yes. , we got people moving in, by the way,
TG (00:47:58):
But Well, they, and, and I guess they, they had had some, you know, exchange students. And again, she loved people. And, and even though we were only living with them for two months, it was right down the street. And so they had a big home. And so we would have, you had your birthday parties there, and we had Easters and Thanksgivings there, and, and we became very close and, and you know they were your sisters and you know, that’s kind of but we had to live in their basement.
RV (00:48:29):
Yeah, we lived in their basement, but that was a lot better than the dungeon. And then basically Dan O had gotten me started into martial arts when I was five. And then when I
TG (00:48:39):
Well, yes, actually when you were three, you came out kicking when you were three, he started, he started teaching you front kicks and sidekicks and all that kind of stuff. And then when you were five, five sixes, I was able to afford to put you in community TaeKwonDo classes. However, when you were about seven and a half, eight years old your teacher, Nina said you needed special. You were a special kid and you needed special instruction and private lessons. Mama couldn’t afford that. And so Dan stepped up and said, we will find a school that and I will pay for it. And that’s when we went to she kung fu It was all adults, just a couple women, mostly men. And you, you wanted to go there. You went there and, and Dan paid for a month because they had never had any kids even want to go. And this just a couple years, Sharon, I don’t even remember the other name of Sharon
RV (00:49:41):
And David Sword were the, they owned it and they ran the, they ran. They
TG (00:49:44):
Were your senses. Yeah.
TG (00:49:46):
And so they said, well, we, I guess we could give it a try. And Dan paid for a month and said, if, if, if he can’t keep up after a week, you could keep the money and we’ll go to find another place. And after the first night, everybody forgot you were a kid, they called you sponge because you could absorb the, the forms. And that first night is where you met dad. And because of timing, if you have not read the story about Rory and his dad, go by the book, take the stairs. ’cause Rory does a really good job about that. Mm-Hmm. .
RV (00:50:23):
Yeah. You can also look, you can also hear that story in my Ted talk. Mm-Hmm. you know, if you Google Rory Vaden Ted Talk or How to Multiply Time, I tell the whole story of dad coming in on his motorcycle with his leather jacket and his tattoos and his long hair and his goatee, like, and, you know, he was like,
TG (00:50:40):
Was not my type.
RV (00:50:41):
He, he was scary to me and not your type. And he just was this gentle kind man. And we became basically best friends. We advanced through the belt levels together. He starts taking me home, dropping me off. We would practice forms together on the weekend. He starts taking me to the movies. We
TG (00:51:03):
Start, no, no, no, let’s stand corrected.
RV (00:51:05):
Oh, okay. Let’s correct the story.
TG (00:51:06):
Let let go back. Let’s correct the story. Please,
RV (00:51:08):
Let’s correct the story. Once and for all months, by the way, that’s what this is. This is a media correction. . Yes. That’s what this podcast is. We’re, we’re, we’re documenting the details. Okay. So correct the story. Okay.
TG (00:51:20):
So six months after you guys are doing your, your show line thing, and you were right about that. I go in because, you know, I figure, okay, I can, I need to, to somehow, this is your friend. He was your friend. But he would help me because I couldn’t be at the football field in the karate studio at the same time. So he was basically your, your taxi service. So one day he comes over to me and he says to me are you, what about lunch? You know, this weekend? And I looked at him and I said, what about a movie? And your dad goes, for the first time, he looked me up and down as Tessie, not as Rory’s mom. And he said, what about a movie? So that night when we get home, I tell you, you’re, you’re eight and a half years old, not, no, you’re nine. By this time you’re nine. And I said, we’re going to a movie. This is right before Thanksgiving, November. And, and you said, great, what movie are we gonna go see ? And I said, no, you’re not invited. And you put your hands on your hips. And he looked at me and you said, you’re going on a date with my friend . I said, Rory, it’s not a date, it’s just a movie. And you go, don’t you make my friend mad at me, mama
RV (00:52:59):
.
TG (00:52:59):
And I said, oh, Rory, I’ll try not to. But, but it’s just a movie. And as you turned, walked down the steps, you went Yes. . And that was at the first moment that I thought maybe your dream would come true and you would get a dad. And basically Kevin Vaden and I have been together ever since that night. And yes, we as a family had gone to lots of movies since then. But you had never gone to a movie without me and just him before that.
RV (00:53:38):
Hmm. So we test for our black belts together when I’m 10 mm-Hmm. . You guys get married. He adopts me. Mm-Hmm. . I changed my last name from Rory McLaughlin to Rory Vaden. Mm-Hmm. . You guys have been married over 25 years ever since.
TG (00:53:55):
We’re gonna be married 30 years this August.
RV (00:54:00):
Uhhuh . And dad changed. Dad changed everything for us. I mean, well,
TG (00:54:05):
It did, except we need to tell the story about Dad real quick. Okay. So my faith is growing and, and, and, and we didn’t know if we were gonna make it. We can make it work. And one night we, Kevin and I stayed up till two in the morning and we talked about our differences and we talked about kinds of things, and we agreed that if we didn’t talk politics or religion, that the marriage could work. And so we didn’t. But at that time, my faith was, was still shattered because I was still carrying all that guilt. And I still didn’t believe that the Lord could forgive me or had forgiven me.
RV (00:54:46):
You’re talking about from the abortions.
TG (00:54:48):
Yeah. And yeah. And you know, and getting married and divorced twice doesn’t exactly go along with 10 commandments either, so. Sure. So yes. So all, all of that,
RV (00:54:59):
What year is that?
TG (00:55:01):
That was in 1994 that we got married.
RV (00:55:07):
Okay. And that’s when you had that talk?
TG (00:55:10):
Oh, no, we had that talk in 1991 or 1992
RV (00:55:14):
Was shortly after you were married?
TG (00:55:16):
No, it was shortly after. We, it was when we were started dating. Oh, it was before we got married. November. Yeah. And then we had that talk. I gotcha.
RV (00:55:24):
Because you’re going to church and he wasn’t, he wasn’t into that.
TG (00:55:27):
Right. Exactly.
RV (00:55:28):
And the deal was you can go to church, do your thing, but don’t ask me to come, don’t like, you know, do do whatever you want to do, but don’t ask me into that part of your life, basically. Correct.
TG (00:55:37):
And he had been raised in Nazarene in the church in Nazarene by his grandma. And he went to church till he was 16. And then he studied Buddhism and all of that, and he was not for organized religion. He’s like, Nope, this isn’t for me. I don’t care about Jesus. I don’t wanna know about Jesus, you know? And I’m like, fine. And he’s like, I will support you and you could take the kids, but don’t ask me to go. But he agreed to go to one Christmas thing a year, but it couldn’t be church. It had to be like a Christmas concert, you know, go see a Christmas movie, something like that.
RV (00:56:11):
Gotcha. I gotcha. So you guys make that packed and you get married he starts making more money. You start making more money. Me and Randy are getting a little bit older. Like, we’re starting to become a little bit more a, a a little bit more sustainable. You’re still carrying the guilt and the shame of your abortions.
TG (00:56:37):
Right.
RV (00:56:39):
When, what happened? And how did you, at this point, I didn’t even know you’d ever had an abortion. No. And I didn’t know that till years later. What, what happened when
TG (00:56:53):
Nobody knew? How did you 25 years?
RV (00:56:56):
Nobody knew. Nobody
TG (00:56:57):
Knew. When I would go in for the doctor’s appointments, I had two live births and two miscarriages. If you go back to the records, that’s what all the records said.
RV (00:57:10):
So for 25 years, you’re carrying this secret. Mm-Hmm. these secrets.
TG (00:57:15):
Mm-Hmm. .
RV (00:57:16):
When does that get resolved? And how, how does that get resolved to where you start to talk about it? And I mean, here you are, like, you know, being open about something very intimate and shameful, embarrassing, whatever word you want to use, like very private. What, what happened? How did you, how did you get to this place emotionally and spiritually about that, those two incidents?
TG (00:57:40):
Okay. Well, a lot happened, but I’m gonna just try to give the highlights. The biggest thing was in 2002 after you had started college and you had gotten that full scholarship. And I had told you guys that, you know, you had to, you always had to have a dream. You always had to be something. Because of my brother’s death. My boys were not, they were always gonna have goals. That’s why you set goals. They were, they were gonna know how to read and write and they were gonna always have goals. Randy wanted to be a cop. And so I’m like, great. Even though I didn’t really want ’em to, kept up from drugs, kept him from stealing when he was in high school, all of that junior high. And then Do you remember what you wanted to be?
RV (00:58:25):
Yeah, I mean, I went through a few phases, but I remember wanting to be a dentist because of Dr. Wayne Lingo, who was my dentist years. I remember wanted to be a pilot because Top Gun was cool. And then I wanted to be, I wanted to be a karate guy ’cause I was into Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But mostly it was, I wanted to be a dentist, like Dr. Lingo. I remember that.
TG (00:58:42):
Yeah. For, for, yeah. You started going to him when you were three, until you were like 13.
RV (00:58:47):
So now I’m in college.
TG (00:58:49):
So now you’re in college. You got that, you got, you got this scholarship. So
RV (00:58:53):
I’m outta the house. Randy Randy’s outta the house. Randy, he’s, Randy becomes very successful. He joins the Navy
TG (00:59:00):
Right now. He’s in the Navy, so he hasn’t done anything except be in the Navy right now.
RV (00:59:04):
Yeah. So he, but he graduates school, he plays football. Like he, he’s, he’s the starter varsity football player. Mm-Hmm. Finishes college or finishes high school, goes to the Navy and then you are
TG (00:59:18):
So I’m married. We’re in Frederick. I had started my Mary Kay business after we got married. So I was starting to be around positive women. Right. I was starting to, you know, we would go in church. We had gone to a church. There was the new now a little Catholic church in, in in Frederick. I was going to there, meeting friends and stuff like that. So, so what happened was, in 2002, you said to me, when are you going to go start your dream? Because I had always shared with you that I wanted to go to college. And so I started college. I went to Front Range community college for a couple years and got my associate’s. And you know, I was in my forties at the time. And then basically it took me seven years to get a four year degree, but then I went to the University of Phoenix. And so my last year, my degree was in Human Services and management. I always, this
RV (01:00:17):
Is from the University of Phoenix,
TG (01:00:19):
Right. I always wanted to, to help people. I, people used to be drawn to me and, and, and I would, you know, I know my family thinks I talk too much, but I actually would listen and, and ask questions and, and stuff like that. And so people, people just liked me. And to,
RV (01:00:43):
And you had the dream of being a counselor, like you had that from the time you were a little girl. Right?
TG (01:00:49):
Right, right, right. Yeah. Even when we were, I was growing up, people would to me tell me about their parents or whatever, going through divorces. I didn’t know what that was. Anyway, so, so I had to do a paper and I had to do it on a nonprofit. And this was in probably, it wasn’t until 2005. No, it was in, it was in 2000 and, and eight. But before this happened, before I, I was doing that. Let’s talk about your dad for a minute. So we’re going along. My faith is growing. I’m teaching bible studies. I’m actually facilitating, I’m actually volunteering at LifeBridge. I got baptized when we moved there, a to across the street and, and then you came and, and started going when you were in college, I got to baptize you. That was the highlight of my life. But in 2007, the bottom fell out. And we had been married since 1994, so almost 13 years. And it was the worst year of our marriage, but it was the strongest year of my faith up until then. And so what happened was I got tired of going to church by myself. I got tired of, you know, not being able to have my church friends over or, or when they would invite me to do things. I always, as couples, I had to go by myself.
TG (01:02:39):
And so my pastor, he wasn’t the head pastor, he was my pastor of my LifeBridge group, pastor David. I went to him and I said, I can’t do this anymore. I, I, I don’t know, I I, I can’t do this anymore. Your dad had lost his job, you know somebody accused him of hit and run. Your, that’s the year your grandma died. I mean, there was a lot going on. You were gone. And so he told me, he said, Tessie, it doesn’t matter. You know what the Bible says? It doesn’t matter that you’ve had two divorces and been married twice. It doesn’t matter about the abortion. It all your sins are forgiven.
TG (01:03:23):
What matters now is that you are in this marriage. And you know what that means? You cannot walk away. You need to be the example. You need to love him. If he chooses to walk away, that’s different. But as a believer and a follower of Jesus, you can’t do that. You need to stop praying for him. I know, by the way, my hus, my wife Ruth Ann’s been praying for Kevin’s salvation for the last three years. This is what he told me. And so he said, and one more thing. You will not be the one that brings Kevin to faith. You, you probably won’t, but your example will. So anyway, so let’s fast forward to 2000 and, and, and eight.
RV (01:04:14):
Okay. 2000. So two, fast forward to 2008,
TG (01:04:19):
Right? It, okay. Yeah. And so, so then, so what happened was, I, I end up going to life Choice Pregnancy Center to do this paper. And, and I walk in there and Connie gave me a tour, asked me for a tour, and she brings out this box of embryos, plastic, little baby embryos. And my eyes immediately go to the 11 weeks. Hadn’t thought about it for a long time, consciously, it was all subconscious and my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t even speak. And she put her arm on me and said, have you, are you post the board? I didn’t know what that meant. She said, have you ever had an abortion? And I couldn’t speak. I was afraid she was gonna kick me out. I just shook my head. Yes. And
RV (01:05:18):
She said, your eyes went to 11 weeks. ’cause That was, you were 11 half weeks pregnant during the second abortion. And so your eyes went, started straight to that
TG (01:05:27):
Baby,
RV (01:05:28):
That baby in the, in in the model. Yeah.
TG (01:05:32):
And so then she, she proceeded to tell me she had to, and that God forgives. And and she introduced me to Lisa Coates, and she said, you need to meet Lisa. And Lisa was the counselor that did the forgiven and set free classes. And I did that for 11 weeks. And then I did it for 20 more weeks in training. And then I was able to start helping others accept, you know, that. And, and, and I started, I, I was also, after that, I was able to counsel women. So I was starting to work at the pregnancy center, and I was able to help women that came into the pregnancy center scared and afraid and not knowing what to do and, and, you know, that kind of thing. So I did that. And then I graduated in 2000 and, and, and I started working at LifeBridge Christian Center, LifeBridge Christian Church on staff. I’ve been there for f you know, 14 years volunteering when you, you know, number one volunteer, but on staff as the director of single parents and grew that ministry to about 150 women. And, you know, I had great mentors. Nancy was a great mentor, and Abby, and, and so that’s where my faith started to just really grow and take shape. And that’s when the Lord revealed to me that his plans and his purposes are always gonna prevail. And, you know, he ha it has, has,
RV (01:07:15):
What year was that? So what year does that forgiven and set free class happen? Like what year is it that you finally experience the freedom, feeling free from the weight and the guilt and the shame of those
TG (01:07:30):
2009?
RV (01:07:31):
So that’s 2009. So how many, it was 25. Was it 25? So 25 years is what ended up being the full, was it, is that right?
TG (01:07:40):
Whatever, 2009 is from 1976 .
RV (01:07:43):
Okay. So that would be 86. 96, 2006. That’s 33 years. So that dec that decision stayed with you for 33 years, even though it was a secret. And then you were finally set free of that in 2009,
TG (01:08:03):
Right. And through the, before 2009, starting in 2000 or whatever, as my faith grew, I told a, you know, a couple more people, you, you learned about it, I think in 2004 or two, whenever after you were baptized, stuff like that. Your dad knew about it. You know, your sister knew about it.
RV (01:08:19):
Well, so for 25 years nobody knew about it.
TG (01:08:21):
No. And my parents never, they went to the grave not
RV (01:08:24):
Not knowing about either one.
TG (01:08:27):
Correct.
RV (01:08:30):
And then it sort of gradually starts to happen. So all right. So we gotta land the plane here. Okay. I, I want to hear the story. I, I, I, we need to have Randy on the podcast. I’m gonna have Randy on the podcast because I wanna hear his story. We haven’t gotten to hear much about my brother’s story, and my brother has an amazing story especially here. Like recently, some of the things he’s done with his bodybuilding competition, I’m realizing going, we need to have Randy on too. But I, I want to hear, tell me, fast forward, you have all these friends, you’re resourceful, you’re building relationships, people are helping us. We’re start, you’re starting to get on your feet, dad comes into the picture. We start growing your faith is, is strengthening, you know, you have your faith all along. Quickly walk us through what happened to dad on his faith journey. And then tell us where are you at now?
TG (01:09:20):
Okay, well, so, so with dad basically the climate in, in Colorado started getting the political climate started to turn and stuff like that. And people started, you know, the government was infringing on his, on his rights, gun rights and stuff like that. And the world was getting dark. And, and so dad and I started actually having some conversations on religion and politics and so deep conversations. And, you know, I just remember one day saying that, you know, I understand, but I know where I’m going. I know where I’m headed, and I have joy and peace, and I will always have that. And so anyway, he started going to church a little bit more and wanted me to pray at meals and stuff like that. And then he started, you know, listening to Phil Robertson and that their sermons and you know,
RV (01:10:12):
For Phil Robertson, for those of you that don’t know. So my dad starts watching Duck Dynasty the show, right?
TG (01:10:19):
The show.
RV (01:10:20):
And he’s watching Duck Dynasty and he learning about this family. And then from there he starts watching Phil Robertson’s sermons.
TG (01:10:28):
Right, right, right, right. But, and yeah. Yeah. But you know, I don’t believe that it was just a TV show that changed your dad’s heart, although it did. But the, of course not. Jesus was ch working on his heart all this time. Your dad used to be the most Christian, non-Christian man. And that’s how I used to introduce him to people that I knew. And he loved his family.
RV (01:10:52):
And just meaning the way that he, he exhibited the virtues of like you patience and kindness and love and self-control. Yeah. All the
TG (01:10:58):
Fruits of the spirits. Yeah.
RV (01:10:59):
All the fruits of the spirit. Whatever that gala verse, I think it’s Galatians verse. Yeah. That, that was my dad all along. That’s why you fell in love with him. And then, but he was not a Christian, but he exhibited those. But then he starts watching Duck Dynasty Duck Dynasty leaves in Phil Robertson. He’s going to church you ch he sees he’s seeing you set free, you know, he’s seeing my faith, which has always, always been like, for the most part, strong, especially when I was going door to door like him called. Well,
TG (01:11:24):
That’s when it got stronger
RV (01:11:26):
Uhhuh. It got really stronger.
TG (01:11:27):
Right, exactly. So, so yeah. And so then we go, he starts coming to church Easter and Christmas, a a year. And then, anyway, he, he wanted to get baptized and we were just about ready to celebrate 20 years of marriage. And we, we got back from church and and I’ll never forget. And, and he said, you know, he wanted to, and I was just thrilled. And, and he said, thank you for never giving up on me. And I said, you know, how, how could I, you know, God never ever, ever, ever gave up on me. And so he got baptized on your 32nd birthday, and do you remember what you said when you were, unfortunately you were in Paris at the time. Do you remember what you said to him when he told you, because we, he wanted to, we zoomed you. He wanted to tell you right away.
RV (01:12:30):
I remember a poem that I wrote about him when I was in middle school called The God, would you Lord, would you let him in? I remember, I remember writing that poem
TG (01:12:40):
For him. Well, you had had said, dad, this is the best birthday present you will ever be able to give me. Mm-Hmm. ever. So
RV (01:12:47):
That was 20, so 20 years, basically, you’ve been praying for him for 20 years.
TG (01:12:51):
Well, Ruthann had been praying for him for 10 years. I, that was the other thing. I never prayed for his salvation until after I had that conversation with Dave, pastor David, I had never prayed for your father’s salvation.
RV (01:13:05):
So how long between that, when you started praying for it and when it happened?
TG (01:13:09):
2007 to 2016.
RV (01:13:12):
So nine years,
TG (01:13:13):
Somewhere around there. Yeah, somewhere around there. Mm-Hmm.
RV (01:13:16):
. Yeah. And it’s always a, it’s a series of, it’s always a series of events. And so, so you and
TG (01:13:22):
Dad’s always chasing after us. Always. Right? He’s always putting people in there. Mm-Hmm.
RV (01:13:26):
. And so you and dad are married, you know, you stay in Colorado when Randy has his grand babies or his babies, your grand babies. And then as they got older and started to get the teenage years, AJ and I have our two babies. And so you moved to Tennessee. Well,
TG (01:13:44):
We, we always knew, I always knew that we were gonna move to Tennessee because that’s where you were gonna land. So
RV (01:13:50):
We moved to, well, and Dad wanted to be, dad wanted to move back.
TG (01:13:53):
No, dad. Well, dad only didn’t wanna move. He wanted Mo moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky once the political climate Yeah. Changed. He never real, he never thought, like with me, that we would ever leave Colorado. And so that’s kind of what happened. And so since then, what I’ve been doing is I, I truly believe you know that you’re spiritual and your men, your physical health are tied together. I always have believe that. And so many times, you know, people bottle up all of this. We all have a story. We all made poor choices. And God has, you know, he can free any of us. And so I have I have a counseling, a biblical counseling practice. And I also help people with their nutrition through, through plant powders. And so I’m doing that now, and I get to do that from the comforts of my home here in Pulaski. And I get to be with my grandkids and, and with you all. And, and yeah. So that’s kind of what I’m doing now. And we go to a great church and, and faith church. And I believe that the Lord still has more for me to do. And so I am just trying to listen and follow. And
RV (01:15:07):
You are. And so you effectively are a life coach. You’ve got this Bibi Biblical counseling practice. You’re coaching people on their nutrition, so they’re spiritual and physical health. And so that dream you had all the way back, you got your degree, by the way. Mm-Hmm. . So you end up surviving all those years, breaking free from the guilt surv managing to raise two kids,
TG (01:15:34):
Awesome kids, by the way, two awesome kids, both of you, awesome
RV (01:15:38):
Kids of you
TG (01:15:38):
Guys awesome kids. You guys
RV (01:15:40):
Will have to be my brother for sure. I gotta bring Randy on. I’m
TG (01:15:42):
So proud of you both.
RV (01:15:43):
And then, then Kevin has the son. So we get, you know, right. Sean comes into our family. Yep.
TG (01:15:48):
So I get three kids,
RV (01:15:49):
You start to own, you guys start to own your own property. We make it through college. Sean has a family. He gets married, he’s got kids and grandkids, and like and then now you are I biblical counseling, life coaching and talking to a lot of women who are going have going through some rendition of some hard time.
TG (01:16:13):
Right? Right. Exactly. You know? Exactly. So one of my people gave me this a long time ago, and it says, only God can turn a mess into a message. This was one of my single moms gave this to me, and it sits on my desk because I also, you know, oh, I did say that about that single mom. And so anyway, I think that that’s what he has done, and we’ll continue to do. So I just have one final thought that, you know, I, you asked me one time ago how, how I did this. Yeah.
RV (01:16:45):
So before we do that, so where should people go?
TG (01:16:47):
Oh, okay. Yes.
RV (01:16:48):
If, if they want to connect with you. Right. And, and, right. I mean, I love it. I am quite certain that somebody listening either is going through some of this or knows someone who is in a rough time in their life, particularly maybe like, you know, a single mom or, or someone struggling with, with, you know, things, decisions, choices they made in the past that they’re struggling to get past. Where, where should people go if they want to connect with you?
TG (01:17:13):
Tessy Gale at msn. Just my email. So my name, T-E-S-S-I-E-G-A-L [email protected] or my Facebook page. And also my affiliate website, which is tessie gale dot juice plus.com.
RV (01:17:35):
Mm-Hmm, . So we’ll put, we’ll put links to that. So you can just e you can just e email my mom and you could talk directly to her which is great. So yeah, and before you just share your last, you know, thought, mom, I just, I, I, I, I want to, I want to know how you did it, but I, I also just wanna make sure that I don’t let this opportunity to slip by without saying thank you. Thank you for figuring it out. Thank you for finding a way. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for taking care of me. And Randy, thank you for the choices, the decisions that you’ve made. And you know, I also wanna say to our friends and family, so many people in this story, thank you, you know, thank you to all the people that we, we mentioned here, the people who are buying us dinner and buying us Christmas presents, and just covering the gap and covering that, that spread of our practical needs.
RV (01:18:43):
I’m just so grateful for them and I’m so grateful, mom, for your resourcefulness to build relationships. You know, what, what if of all the, of all the superpowers to have, I mean, building relationships, is a, is a good one. And so many people just covered that gap for us. And I’m just so grateful and I’m grateful for dad, and I’m grateful for Randy be raise me and, and Danno and the Phillips and Uncle Charlie and Don and Shelly, and you know, Eric and Betsy and all, I mean, just all of the, all of the so many people that we didn’t even name, you know, teachers and my story friends who, you know, some were there for, you know, seasons some just for a moment. But so many people who, and this is this, this is why I wanted to share the story, is it’s like there’s, there is no such thing as a self-made person.
TG (01:19:42):
There is not,
RV (01:19:43):
There’s no, there’s no such thing as a, a self-made entrepreneur, A self-made millionaire, a self-made bestseller. Like there’s, there’s no such thing as a self-made. It’s a, it’s a series of people over generations that make choices that help somebody become the person that you one day see. And so, in the case of my life, mom, thank you for being the, the point person. You know, for me, I’m, I’m so grateful for that.
TG (01:20:13):
Well, you, I’m, you’re welcome. You’re welcome, Laurie. And you know, I always knew that, that, that God had a plan, you, I mean, he did. And he does. And so I’m just grateful that I don’t ever want you to forget that it’s that there’s so many people in our life that made us our life possible, right? And always will be, you know, and faith, hope and love. You know, Rory came to me one time and said, you should be a statistic. How come we’re not a statistic? And I said to you, this was when you and high freshman in college,
RV (01:20:54):
Right? ’cause Everything in your story, I mean, that’s part of why I wanted to share this is like, everything in your story points to our life should have gone a totally different direction. I mean, we meet, we met all the criteria in many ways of like a life that would be far, far different from the life that we have now. We always had love, but like we, you know, we could have gone a different direction. So yeah, I mean, how do you do that?
TG (01:21:20):
Well, I had faith the size of a mustard seed in the beginning. And due to all the trials in my life, I took Mark 9 23 from the head to the heart, right? And I started to believe that all things are possible for him who believes all things. And that grew with roots. And then I had Hope 29, Jeremiah 29 11 was, became my life first in, in the early two thousands. And it was like, you know, he has a plan. He knew his plans for us, and he still has one for the my future. And he always, always was there. Its plans. Were always there. And you mentioned love. I am a firm believer. I’ve seen it through thousands of children. We didn’t even talk about the, the coaching for five years that I did as a single parent with those boys for soccer five years.
TG (01:22:25):
But I’ve seen it in all my life. Is that his deep, deep love for me? I began to trust him and continue to bring love and surrounding me with love of others. And I was able to trust him once I finally did learn to love and be set free freely completely. So he has made my path straights to grow in love for myself and for you boys, and for others. The love from just one person can change a person’s circumstance in life. That’s the other lesson that I hope you and all, all of those listening understand one person and the love of Jesus, which there is no greater love will change one life for all eternity. I have lived and learned this and will share it until the day he takes me home. Thank you, Lord, for this day. May your blessings come our way. Keep us safe, whatever we do, and let us never forget to keep our eyes on you.

Ep 484: Overcoming Impossible Odds with Rory’s Mom Part 1

I think, one of the most dramatic, compelling, true stories of, of a person who has made a huge impact, not just in my life, but in the whole world. So what other introduction can I do except say I’m so grateful for this woman and everything that she’s done for me and all the sacrifices she has made in my life for me and my brother, and my dad and our family. So, welcome to the show, Rory’s mom, Tessie Gale. Hi, mom.

Hi, Rory. Well, thank you so much for having me. I feel very honored and blessed and, and yeah, I’m glad to be here. And if my story can impact anybody, even one person to, to, to have hope and, and you know, know that, that whatever they’re going through right now is, is for a reason. And, you know, the Lord has a plan for every each one of us.

Yeah. And, and I, that is what I, I I wanna, I wanna start by understanding the real story of where you were at when you became a mom and what was going on in your life. So be, because I think, you know, I think a people look at, you know, me and AJ and our family and where we’re at today, and they might assume like, Hey, you guys have always been successful and had nice things and lived in nice homes and traveled the world and dah, dah, dah. Even our own grandkids or, you know, your grandkids, my kids, right? Yeah. Jasper and Liam. I, I remember we, we went to a we went to a, a sporting event not that long ago, and I remember we walked in and Jasper looked at us and he said mommy, where’s our room? Because we got free tickets from our bank to have box seats.

And they have had so many of sporting events they’ve been to where they’ve sat in a box. And I’m like, you little spoiled brats. I never ever had box seats ever until like my, my late twenties. And, and then I, I compare that and contrast that with how I grew up, and then really how you grew up and, and where you were. And so I wanna share that story. So, so talk us through, let’s start with high school. I think, and you can go back a little bit, but, but tell me about when you got pregnant and kind of walk me through what your life was like in high school when you first got pregnant and kind of like up through those, you know, the first five years of Randy being born, and then, you know, you having me.

Sure, sure. Well, I, you know, I was the oldest of five children, and I was born to a lower middle class Latino family. My dad was an iron worker, and my mom was a nurse’s aide and, and cooked for the, the priest. And growing up Catholic, we went to Catholic school and I went to Catholic school for 11 years. And my, I was junior class president and very involved in school. And my junior year of high school, I, I went to I started working at Winchell’s Donuts, was my first job. Nice. And, and I met Danny who was not you know, wasn’t part of my, my circle of friends or anything like that were very different anyway, so we were in love, right? And so at 17 ending my junior year, I got pregnant with my first child with Randy.

And I was going to be obviously I didn’t sit very well with my folks. However I was going to be 18 and, and by the time Randy was born, and so we, my dad gave us a wedding in backyard, and that’s summer in 76. And we got married and he joined the Navy so that we could, so we could pay for our child, right? I mean, how, how are we gonna pay for him? So, so we did that. And then soon after, I, I, I had left high school my senior year because of obvious reasons. However, I was really close to getting my high school diploma. I was short like a couple credits. And so I was able to go to the local adults night school and actually receive my high school diploma right after Randy was born. And so I, I got my high school diploma, and I made a commitment that someday I would go to college. And

And so just to be so, so you got pregnant when you’re 17?

About 17 and a half, almost

17 and a half. But so when, when Randy was born, you technically were 18, so you had, you got to determine whether or not you were gonna raise him. So you were very, very young, but they, you didn’t have to put him up for adoption or into the system ’cause you were an adult. You got to make that decision technically by the time he was actually born.

Absolutely. And that was a, that was a very very important, very important. But

That had to be a tough dec decision. I mean, I mean, not knowing what you know now, like, like having a son, but I mean, I mean, being, being pregnant in high school like that can’t, couldn’t have been an easy, that can’t be an easy circumstance.

No, no. But I, I was the oth the other thing too was I, being the oldest of five, I raised my, my siblings Mm-Hmm. And so I had, I mean, I was changing diapers with your aunt when she was a baby. I was seven years old. So I’ve been changing diapers and playing mommy with kids since I was seven years old. Yeah. basically, and that, I think that is where my love for children come from, was one of the places. Right.

So then walk me through what happens next? And, and so in your first, in your first marriage, I know that there were a couple difficult things that happened over the subsequent years. So obviously you and your first husband didn’t have a lot of money. You pregnant, you had a baby. You’re 18 years old, you finish, you get your high school diploma by going to night school, and then what happens those next couple years?

So then Randy Dan and I moved down to San Diego, and he gets out of the service. He just basically did bootcamp and he was able to get outta service and got a job at Winchells. And I was eight weeks Randy was eight weeks, I’m sorry, Randy was eight weeks when I got pregnant again. And you’re right. I mean, we had no money, nothing. And so he drove me down to San Diego, downtown San Diego to the abortion clinic. And I had my first abortion there. And it was really awful. I was really scared. And, but there was no way, I mean, in my mind, at that time, there was no way. And the, when he picked me up, he just said that, you know, we would never, ever talk about this again. And that, you know, we wouldn’t tell no one, not even our parents, nobody. And if I ever got pregnant again, that he would leave me. And so, of course, you know, 18 years old and, and you know, so, so you gotta remember I was raised in the church. I knew that that was wrong. And yet I had no network, no family, nobody around me except him at that time. So we did that. And then you know, our marriage was always a struggle. And then what happened was in

I mean, clearly, I mean, that I, that’s understandable, right? Your young, your young kids, kids, you have a child, you go through this abortion experience. You, you have no college education at this point. You’re trying to make it, you’re working at,

I didn’t have a job.

You didn’t have a job. He’s working at, I didn’t have

A job at this point.

He’s working at Winchell’s Donuts, right? You get pregnant, have an abortion, then what happens?

Then we ended up moving to Colorado. We came for Thanksgiving. And I didn’t wanna go back. And so he went back, got our stuff. And so we ended up his parents lived here, or his mom and, and his mom’s wife, or his mom’s, not wife husband. And so Grammy Elaine and Mike lived here and in Colorado. And then they leave, we are there only, they’re only there for six months, and then they get transferred to Texas. So now I’m alone. And we’re 19 years old, 20 years old, and they leave. So in January of 1980, we end up moving to, to Boulder, Colorado. And we get a donut shop to manage, and we, we become the managers of that in, in Boulder. And we, we had enough money to get a mobile home at this time.

And so we moved in next door to Don andShelly, which, you know, God, God blessed us with these neighbors. And we, we, we ran the donut shop for probably a year, couple years maybe, and that one, probably a year or so. And so then again, we were growing apart. We were growing apart. And I think that I had that resentment from, I always wanted another child. I mean, I always wanted another child. And, and Randy wanted a sibling. I mean, Randy wanted a, a sibling. So at three and a half years old, I get pregnant again, but this time I don’t tell my husband right away.

And then at 11 and a half weeks so almost three months, he drives me to the hospital. And for the second time, I have a second abortion. And I, I remember waking up and the nurse saying to me, she’s gone, and you can go back to your life now. And so that day, I, I, I cried out to God, and I promised that I would never, ever allow this to happen again. And the little love that I had for Dan was gone, died that day. But the shame and guilt stayed with me for a long time. But I do want you to know, Rory, that on that bed, before I left that hospital, I also begged God that if I ever got pregnant again, that I would offer that child to him uhhuh to share and to help me his will or whatever.

So, so then what happens with Danny, so you, so you have a, we split up second abortion, you split up and then what?

So we split up, and my mom used to always say, it’s too bad you guys couldn’t have stayed business partner. But we split up and he went back to California. And this time, it was like around 1981. And he went back in the summer, well, there was a man, his name was Tom McLaughlin, who was a customer, a local customer. He, he worked at the CU Boulder. He was the paint foreman at the time, and would come in. And so we started dating. I mean, he was handsome and and tall. He was 12 years older than me. So at this time, I’m like 23 years old. And, you know, he, he was intelligent. He had huge dimples, and he was a very, very handsome man. And he was from New York. I, I had never been anywhere west east of Colorado up to this point. And so we started dating and I got pregnant with you. And he was thrilled. He was absolutely thrilled. So he was 35 years old, somewhere around there. Never been married, never had any children. However, the, the, I was eight months pregnant when I walked down the aisle with you. And that was the month that he lost his job. And so what I didn’t realize was that he was an alcoholic. And that day that, or that time period, he started becoming very verbally and emotionally abusive when he wasn’t drinking. He was wonderful. He was wonderful.

And when you, when you talk about verbally and emotionally abusive, what are the, I mean, this is now your second marriage. Mm-Hmm. , you’re 23, still no college education. You’re Mm-Hmm. Working at Winchells,

Oh, oh, oh, oh, no, let’s back up. So, you know, God always provides a way, and God works in mysterious ways. I’ve told you that your whole life. And so one of the things was when Dan went back to California, Randy and I stayed, and I got a job because of a customer of mine at a company called Storage Tech. And so they were a computer-based company, and I ended up getting a job in their cafeteria at that time. And I was the banquet coordinator. I used to serve, serve the lunches to all the c-suite executives, and, you know, the high-end clients, Xerox, Honeywell, you know clients like that. 3M how

Much are of you, how much are you making in that job? Because now you’re your ex, your fir, your ex-husband left. Mm-Hmm. , his parents left. Mm-Hmm. , you’ve got no family in Colorado. You’re staying there. Mm-Hmm. You have no college degree. You have some work experience at Winchell’s, but you’re a single mom. You’ve been through two, two abortions, and now you get a job. How much are you making?

$5 and 64 cents an hour.

Gosh.

But I had life insurance and I had medical benefits, and that’s what I paid to have you. That’s how I was able to have you. And so Tom and I are struggling at this point. I had moved in, or he had moved in with, with me and Randy while I was pregnant with you, and, you know, had my mobile home and didn’t like my mobile home. And you know

So you had me. So he moved in with us. So you had, so, so you had me, you guys got married?

I got married at eight. We got married when I was eight months pregnant with you. And so he moved in. Okay. And then you were born one month later? Just one month later.

Okay. And when you say abusive, can you just, like, what exactly does that mean? So he wasn’t physically abusive, but he was

Right? No, he was not. He’d never, he had never hit me. He had never hit me up to this point. And he would just be, he was always ranting and raving. His father died, his father committed, committed suicide when he was older, when, when he was in his fifties or whatever. And, and Tom was older. He was in his twenties, and he, that affected him a lot, I think. And well, I know. Sure. And, and he was drinking. And so he would just get very belligerent very argumentative, call me names. Which by the way, the first one used to do that too. But anyway, so, so, you know, my self-esteem is starting to go into the toilet. Right. And but again, I had the Lord, even though I knew that I had, had been separated from him and, and walked away from, from my values, and I, at this time, I wasn’t going to church.

Right. The church kind of disowned me. I mean, I wasn’t going to church. And so but I, I, I knew, I just knew that I had, that there was something better. And so we, we struggled too. But Don and Shelly, I mean, and at this time also, you know, Charlie, you know, you know him as Uncle Charlie. I mean, he had a print shop next to Win’s Donuts, and we became friends. He was a single dad. And and we were just friends. And he had a boy that was just a year older than Randy. And so you know, he, he was in the picture, I guess, you know, the three of them were pretty much, and Betsy, I mean, from, from from work. So before I left Tom, so at this time I’m working in storage tech as cafeteria. In the cafeteria.

Six months later, I meet who I call my Colorado dad, Chuck Tillman. And he needed to create a job because of the rule breaking cowboys that engineers, he used to call ’em, that were losing all these parts all over the country. And it was costing the division a lot of money. And so he had to find the right person for this position. This was a brand new position, never been cre hadn’t been created. And so he interviewed me because he, he liked, he liked the fact that if I could work at a donut shop and deal with all these personalities, that sure surely I could corral these guys.

I mean, clearly that’s one of the things, like, you’ve always been very resourceful with relationships, being adaptable to people and environments. Like even in high school, I know you were the, you were friends with the, like, the, the, the Latinos, and you were friends with the nerds and friends with the jocks and friends with the popular, like, and, and then at Winchell’s you’re meeting all kinds of people. And here at Storage Tech, you go from basically being cafeteria

Marketing

Person to marketing and managing like a bunch of engineers, and then, you know, making friends with, you know, the neighbors and, and all that sort of stuff. So, so when does, so when does Tom leave? So, so, so Tom never hits you or anything like that, but you guys split up when,

Okay, so, so so, so Tom did hit me, but before that, so, so one time he trashed our house. I came home and he was just, you know, he, he was drunk and he just trash, it was trashed our house. So we, you were a baby. And Randy was five and a half. So he remembers this. And so we went to the Boulder Safe House for three days, just for three days. And when we came back, I told him, you know, he apologized and all that, but I told him, if you ever raise your hand to hit me or my child, Randy, we would be gone. And of course, he’s like, I would never do that, da da da. So in right, right after your first birthday, so in August of eighty, eighty three, we, we moved because he didn’t like my mobile home, so he talked me into leaving it. So now I have to declare bankruptcy. So now I’m working at, at Storage Tech, and I’ve started creating a network of people and friends, and we move to, to a rental house. And my brother died. Okay. So this was right, this was actually right after you were born from back up, but right after you were b you were born in July of 1982. And my brother, my only brother committed suicide in October of 1982. So here I am with a tiny infant and a five and a half year old, and an alcoholic husband. We go to California, and that’s how your parents, that’s when your grandparents met you, that’s when the whole family met you. I mean, you were the bright light of that whole

Is that Chuckie’s funeral?

Yeah. You were the bright light of that.

How old? So Chucky, how old was Chucky when he committed suicide?

He was 20 years old.

So I never met, I never, I literally never met him. No. I was there at his funeral, but I had never met him when he was living.

Right. He never got to see you. Mm-Hmm. But he did call the day before to congratulate me or you. And he used to live with us in Boulder. He came for a little bit, and then him and Danny left. And, and Tom, Tom and him didn’t get along, and he was into drugs and stuff. So he, he went back home. He went back to California and he wasn’t even there. He was there about a year. He was there about a year.

So, and so then, did you, so that, so that’s a couple months after I was born. And then, and then you and Tom split up shortly after that.

We split up the net. The, the no, we split up the following year after that. We were still together. ’cause You weren’t, you weren’t a year old yet. But then we moved in August of 83 to, to Boulder to the house. But that whole time, right, I’m, I’m working full time. He’s trying at storage tech. He’s trying to get his paint business off the ground because he decided that he didn’t want to, you know, be, they offered him a position that I didn’t know till years later. They offered him a position as a painter, and he didn’t take it. It was beneath him, I guess. And so instead he, he said, no, I’m going to start my own thing. And so that’s what he did during this time. But he was mismanaging money, you know, he had a, he had a champagne taste on a beer budget.

And then when did you guys separate? So

Then we, so we finally separated and, and moved out on my 25th birthday. So that was December of 1983.

All right. So I’m a year old. I’m a year, like a year and a half old. Year,

Year a year, almost a year and a half old. My sister Letty, your Aunt Letty, she came to live with us. And she was living with us in the, in the mobile home, or not in the mobile home, but in the rental house. She came in October and we left on my birthday night, December, we were at Don and Shelly’s, no cell phones at this time. He’s supposed to, Tom’s supposed to come over. He calls, he’s at the bar. He tells me to come and pick him up. I could tell he’d been drinking. And I said, we are in the middle of dinner, and I, I’ll come and pick you after that. Well, obviously that didn’t go over real well, right? So we get there and we’re all in the car. We’re all in the car. And he throws my cake out of, out in the birth my birthday cake out the window while we’re driving. And, you know, he, it’s very tense. Your brother now is almost, it’s like six and a half or whatever. And he, he’s old enough to know that it, it’s not a good scene. I told him and Letty to take you upstairs, and then when we get home, we proceed to have an argument and it gets very heated. And he swung at me and clipped the head of, top of my head, just with his hand. But I called the police and I’m like, I’m done. I’m done. And so this

Is on your birthday?

Yeah, yeah. So on my birthday, so the 25th, yeah, I, I try not think about that one too much . But this is on my birthday. And

So he missed your birthday. So what happened was he missed your birthday dinner. He was at the bar, then you go get him, then all this stuff unfolds. Then he hits you because this is, you know, these are the stories that Randy tells me about. He remembers those encounters. He remembers being at the safe house. He remembers the yelling. Like the only thing I really remember is I remember being at the bar with Tom very young. I remember, because I remember eating cherries, which is funny ’cause that’s what Jasper and Liam liked to do. They liked to eat the cherries. And I used to eat the cherries out of the like, little thing that would sit up on the bar. And then I would play like the video games. And

You were, see, you were little. You gotta remember that. So that’s when we left that night is when we physically never, we never lived with him again. Yeah. But he was still in the, you know, he was still there at that time. He was still living in car, still

In the area. And like, it’s

Occasionally, but I, I had to work all day. So he would take you, he would take you with him. ’cause I’m not gonna pay for a babysitter. He’s not working.

I see. That makes more sense. ’cause I, I mean, I must have been still, I, so I must have seen him still when I was like three or four, like old enough to remember the bar because he wasn’t So he didn’t have a job then. Really? For like years. You’re working during the day He’s watching me taking the bar. Yeah. And then I got it. So, so there, so at this point, you’re 25, you’ve been divorced twice. You have two children, two abortions. Single mom, you’re making go ahead.

$5 and 65. Oh no, I had, you’re starting to

Make more money.

I was making, when I started working for Chuck, I was making almost $7.

All right. So Chuck pulls you outta the cafeteria roll. And he goes like, Hey, you’re gonna come like, join me. So now you’re making seven bucks an hour. But he had insurance. And then were we on food stamps?

Yes. We were on, we, you know, we were able to get on WIC and a little bit on, and, and you know, what happened was, do you wanna know what happened?

So, and then, you know, I remember we used to live in the dun the dungeon. So this must have been before. So this was after you left Tom? We lived in a dungeon, or we lived in

The dungeon. Okay. And you don’t remember it because you were less than two years old? I,

I only remember Randy telling me about it.

So, so the night we left, after the cops came, we all went to Uncle Charlie’s house. And we stayed in his basement. You know, his, his, his basement was finished. We stayed in his basement for two weeks. This was gotta remember, this was in December in Colorado. Mm-Hmm. the first December that your Aunt Letty’s there. And it’s actually in 83. And we had worst blizzards ever that year. And so we end up going to Charlie’s and I wanted to, to get my own place. And so we, we needed, we needed to find our place. And so I did, we found a place. And so, so Letty and I call it the dungeon. It was the dungeon. And basically it was in downtown Boulder. It was under a business. And the front door was in the back alleyway. It had no walls in your aunt letty’s room, just one by twos and installation.

It had no ceilings. It was just the wires and the insulation like exposed. It was all exposed. And there was just a little closet walk-in closet. And that’s where Randy had a bed. That was it. He had a little twin mattress on the floor. And then the kitchen didn’t have any formica. It was actually duct taped. The counters were duct taped. We had a tiny little little table, but you, they had, we had this big furnace in the middle of what was our kitchen. And you were crawling around at this time. And I was always so afraid you were gonna burn yourself because it was big and it was in the middle. And you and I had another room to ourselves. And, but you slept with me in the bed. That we had a mattress on the floor. And I don’t even know if we had a couch. We, it had, it had two chairs and a tiny table. I don’t, I don’t even think we had a couch. I don’t remember. Couch. And we were there for four months.

Wow.

Your grandpa came, he wanted us to move back to California. I didn’t, I didn’t wanna leave. I had a net network. I had a good job. And I wanted to raise you guys in Colorado. I rem I, I I didn’t wanna leave again. And so Letty got a job at Littleton and took the bus. And then we finally moved to Louisville. That’s when we moved to Louisville, and we moved in with a bus driver friend of hers. And then we weren’t there very long. And then we just started moving. And, and the thing was, Louisville was real close to our job, my job. And so we moved for the record, let’s get the records right? Yeah.

How many times did we, so how many times did we move because we were bouncing around a bit, right?

So from the time you were born and until the time you were 11 years old, we moved nine times in 11 years. Wow. But this is the thing, Rory, the reason we moved so much was every year your mom would get, make a little bit more money and we would get a litter. Better, better place. Mm-Hmm. . You know, I mean, we

Were, we were upgrading. Well, the mobile home, you abandoned and went Yeah. And declared bankruptcy, but then

. Right? And so I didn’t have any credit for seven years. Right. For seven years I didn’t have any credit. And I, it, and, and I, I had to learn to pay Paul, Rob Paul, pay Peter. And I got really good at that. And I was trying to build my credit back up.

So how did we m how did we make it right? Like, I’m trying to do the math here, going like, you know, six bucks an hour raising two kids. Well, like, I, I mean, we have, you know, AJ and I have more resources. We’ve got, we have people to help. And I’m just going, I don’t, how do you raise two kids, work during the day, raise these two kids. Letty is there, but like, oh, but

Letty’s not living with us anymore. she moved out.

No, let out.

sHe’s moved out

Some somewhere in those first, in those five years. I mean, you know, Tom is gone. Dan is gone, parents are gone. Your family is, you got, how are you covering the spread here?

Well, there was several things. First of all, life was a lot simpler back then. You gotta remember that life was a lot simpler back then. You didn’t need, I didn’t need a lot of money. We didn’t need a lot of money. But God provided, he always provided, you guys never slept in the car. You never went to bed hungry. Now we did a lot of Top Ramen. We did mac and cheese. And your mom was very you know, in, smart in in, I did a lot of improvising. And I made mac and cheese casserole with tuna and hot dogs and all kinds of things. And so, so that was one thing. And, and Don and Shelly in the early days, I mean, we would go over at dinner time, they would invite us for dinner. But the biggest factor was all the guys I worked at Tech support, remember with these engineers and, and, and Chuck, he, he was your godfather. And you know, he, he loved us. I mean, they would, him and Maryanne his wife, we would, you know, we’d go out to dinner. You guys went everywhere with me. Everywhere. We didn’t have babysitters. You went with me. And so we would go to the pizza, whether we went to the pizza bar place or wherever. Trail dust. Do you remember the trail dust? I

Do remember the trail dust. Yeah, I

Do. Ken Campion used to pay for us to go to the trail dust. And and you guys loved that place. And, and so, so I had a, a family

And and this is your boss. So this is your boss. That’s

My boss. And all the looking after

My coworkers and all their friends, all their

Coworkers, my coworkers. So Eric he was my banker. He was, he was, he was our banker. He, he, he was, he was one of my meaning.

He’s loaning you my not an actual banker, meaning he’s loaning you money.

No, he’s making me money. Right. So, so one of the things was, I never had to pay interest, but I always paid him back. And so that taught you guys how, you know, you need to pay your debts. And one, one year you wanted to go see the faces. You were like,

Oh, in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore.

Yes. Seven. And you were like, mommy, I wanna go see the faces. Can we go see the faces for, for, for our summer break? And so I saved enough money, $200, and we were gonna go. But at that time, the car that I had needed tires and one tire blew up. And, and, the guy was like, you, you can’t go anywhere on these tires. And it’s definitely not with two kids in the car. So I had to take that money and buy four sets of, you know, a set of tires. And Eric, Eric gave us the money to go on vacation. And at $25 a week, I paid him back. It took me six months to pay him back. But you got to go see the faces. And we got to go camping, which he didn’t like. But Randy likes camping.

I still don’t like camping. I mean that, maybe that’s why I don’t like camping. It was like, you

Don’t like camping.

You like being the freezing to do, you

Like being

Outside you all dirty. Right? but

We went to a lot of parks when you were little. That was the other thing we did. We visited all kinds of parks. They were free. We went to dollar movies. We would, we would go to McDonald’s and Rob your piggy banks. That’s how we would go. I would get the, the change out of my, do you remember pulling the change outta my car and my console?

Uhhuh . And so, and

So that’s what we would do. And we had, we had friends, but the biggest, the biggest friend was one of my other coworkers. Dan Dan’s been in your life since you were born. And you know, he didn’t have a family at the time. And you know, he, he, he spent a lot of time helping me with you guys paying for jackets at Christmas. And, you know, it was the reason you went to kung fu school.

Ep 470: Passion Struck with John R. Miles

RV (00:02):
Hey, I’m so excited to introduce to you someone that has become a friend over the years just being in this space, John R. Miles. And he is the founder of a movement, I’ll call it, a movement called Passion Struck. So he is an authority on behavioral change, and we’re gonna talk some about really like the science behind behavior change. And that’s a really important thing to him. But basically all things personal growth. And he’s just a really inspiring guy. And his, he has a podcast that is an award-winning podcast. It’s called Passion Struck with John R. Miles. And he, we’re gonna talk about this too, because it’s been really impressive to see what has happened with his show. He’s had amazing, amazing guests on there. I mean, Marshall Goldsmith, Jim Quick, Gretchen Rubin, mark Hyman. You know, like so many of my friends and colleagues, lots of our brand builders, group clients Dan Pink, Dan Dan’s not a a client, but he’s a friend.
RV (00:58):
And then a lot of our brand builders, group clients, you know, Jen Gottlieb, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon it goes on and on and on and just really amazing. And so I want to hear his story, but he’s got the book coming out. Passion Struck is just coming out now. And so he has been recognized by a few different places as like one of the top alternative health podcasts. And he’s got experience in over two decades he spent in corporate and military leadership. And so anyways, he’s just a really fascinating guy and has some remarkable achievements. And I felt like you need to hear and know John Miles. So John, welcome to the show.
JRM (01:42):
Hey, Rory, it is so amazing to be here and I’ve been looking forward to this for like two weeks, so, so thankful to be here. That’s
RV (01:49):
Really great, man. I, you know, I wanna start by talking about the book ’cause I know that you’re really big on behavioral science. So tell us like, what is the idea behind Passion Struck as a movement and sort of a premise. And then I would love to hear a little bit about some of the behavioral science that is, is kind of behind your, your writing in the concept.
JRM (02:13):
Yeah, so I think a good introduction to this, and it’s how I start out the book, is one of my favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau. And he says that the mass men lead lives of quiet desperation. And that’s how I was living myself. Part of your teaching is we’re best positioned to serve the person that we once were, and that’s who I was. And when it happened to me, it was at what most people would’ve thought the pinnacle of my career. Here I am Fortune 50 CIO, making seven figures plus, wow, have the house, have the cars, have everything you would want. But I think what ends up happening is in the success driven society, we find ourselves in, we’re, we’re orienting our success around the wrong things in life. And what it brought me was a complete utter burnout, numbness, et cetera. And so when I found myself at that state, I tried to think using your one word problem, like what was it? And it’s, it’s not an easy thing to do. I mean, I struggled with this one word problem, but you,
RV (03:24):
You and every, every brand builders group client is, it’s such a hard, it’s like such a simple question, but so hard to answer, right? Like, what problem do you solve for your audience in one word? And, and that’s my story too, right? That’s where we came up with this. I struggled with it. I had a mentor ask me that, but it, it is hard, it’s hard to answer that. So what did you come up with?
JRM (03:43):
Well, I started coming up with things, working with my coach that turned out to be symptoms. So I came up with a apathy and, and other things. And what I figured out it was, was anti-matter unmuting the fact that we reached this point where we feel like we don’t matter to others, we don’t matter to the world, we don’t matter to ourselves. And I think it is such a profound thing because it’s literally impacting billions of people across the planet. I mean, you just look at what Gallup is saying, and there are 900 million people in 142 countries who are unfulfilled with what they’re doing day in, day out. Said another way. Tom Gilovich psychologist at Cornell just put out a study in 2018 examining thousands of people about their biggest regret in life. And it wasn’t our biggest mistakes, it was the would haves, the should haves that we could have accomplished. It’s, it’s the lack of pursuing our ideal life. So passion struck is really about that pursuit. How do you become one of the five percenters? How do you 10 x your life so that you live it in the most fulfilled way you possibly can?
RV (04:57):
Mm-Hmm, . Yeah. I mean, it, it’s it’s amazing how easy it is to just kind of almost get into this river, this flow of you go to school, go to college, graduate, get a job, and then all of a sudden it’s like, you know, you just kind of going through the motions of 20 years. You’re like, man, I, a lot of people who didn’t, and they never designed their life, they never said, gosh, this is what I really want and go after it. Or they, they really went after something, but it wasn’t the thing they really wanted. It was like the thing they were, they were supposed to do. So, you know, when you say un mattering you know, or I process that as like insignificance, right? And, and I know you talk also a lot about significance. So what, as, as I think about our audience and this show, right?
RV (05:44):
And the people, the mission-driven messengers who are in our community and, and, and, and not just our clients, but the ones who listen to this show, finding their passion is a huge part of building their personal brand. It’s a huge part of breaking through Sheehan’s Wall, as we call it. It’s, it’s a huge part of m making it as a successful business. Like making your personal brand into a successful business is so closely aligned with nailing and finding and being clear on your passion. So how do we find that passion? I mean, I think if people know when they don’t have it. So how do we, how do we find it?
JRM (06:24):
Well, man, Rory, I I’ve got a great story for you. So I know you and aj are are both religious as, as am I and as I was
RV (06:36):
At this, yeah, we’re not just religious. I mean, we’re hardcore Bible thump and Jesus freaks, right? , like, I, I don’t, I don’t know if you saw it, but I released a whole po a separate a 20, I recorded a 15 episode podcast called Eternal Life, seven Questions Every Intelligence Skeptic Should Ask About Jesus of Nazareth. And it’s just like a logical academic historical, and it’s not an ongoing, it was, I released all 15 episodes at once. It was too much content to put on this show. But yeah. So anyways, yeah, I, we, we, we are, we are, we’re spiritual that way and religious, and mostly just we’re Jesus people.
JRM (07:09):
So what I found is the biggest barrier to truly understanding what your pap passion and purpose are on this planet is that we don’t listen to that inner voice because we’re so distracted by what’s going on around us that we’re not really in tune to what it’s really calling us to do. And I remember interviewing Andreas Wooder, not sure if you know him, but he Uhuh he started the business school at Catholic University in in dc. But he was just this guy who went in, he was in his late teens, was completely listless. He had no direction and ends up applying to be a Swiss guard, never thought he would get it. And he ends up getting selected and being one of the Swiss guards for Pope John Paul ii. And he told me that Pope John Paul II was just amazing in that when he was with you, you felt like nothing else in the world mattered.
JRM (08:09):
And he became this incredible mentor to him. But he told him that, Andreas, your issue is that you’re not discovering your uniqueness. He said, God’s pursuit for you is he’s put you here to solve a problem that only you can solve with the skill sets that he’s given you. And it is your life’s journey to find this uniqueness and then exploit it in serving others, which is basically the whole message that you and AJ teach. But as I was looking at this for myself, I had been getting this inner voice for a while, but I didn’t understand how to process it because it was telling me, John, I want you to go out and help the lonely, the hopeless, the beaten, the board, the battered, the broken. And here I am sitting as CIO of this company thinking, what the heck am I supposed to do with this?
JRM (09:03):
And I don’t think this finding your purpose is something that you just flip a light switch on. To me, it all started when I really doubled down into my mindfulness practice, got rid of the noise, and really focused on self-awareness and self-compassion. And I started really leaning into what did those words mean? And that’s kind of how I came to this whole conclusion that it’s really about people not feeling like they matter. And that’s why we have that mental health issues. We have so many people feeling lonely, helpless, whatever you have, but then it’s, you can’t use that as your marketing blueprint, of course. So it really took me, once I understood that’s what I was trying to do, it was then how do you approach this with the audience in a way that it resonates with them? And so for me, that became the power of intentionality. How do you create an intentional life?
RV (10:00):
Hmm.
RV (10:01):
So if you, if you walk down that and you go, I love that idea of intentionality, sounds like a uniqueness, what we would call a uniqueness, right? Is to go, okay, the cured insignificance is intentionality. Where do you start with that intentionality? Like what’s, what are the, what are the first things that we should be intentional about that will lead us towards finding that passion? Or like you’re saying, like we believe it’s a divine design of each person. Just like kind of what Pope John Paul, the, the second was saying there is like, we believe that it is a part of how we are divinely designed is to, is is to to serve a purpose. So if if someone’s listening right now and they’re kind of feeling that way insignificant, or they’re burnt out, or they’re realizing like they’re just not loving what they’re doing, what are some of the things they should be intentional about first?
JRM (10:59):
Well, this really goes into the core aspects of my book, and let me just set this up for you. So this thing just didn’t come out of thin air, and I think it’s important for the listener to understand that I have always been passionate about leadership. It’s what led me to ultimately going to the Naval Academy instead of going to other public universities I got into. But as I was going through, I really started to, to look at, you know, what made some of the greatest Naval and Marine Corps leaders of all time. Like, what allows someone like General Stan McChrystal to do what he does and why do some of us fall short? And it really launched me on this, what is now become a nine year journey of examining over 750 remarkable individuals about what allows them to break through so that they are living this ideal life that they always aspire to.
JRM (12:00):
And and some of your clients are, are doing this. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, who you mentioned Jen Gottlieb, are, are two great examples. Louis Howes is another one. And what I found was initially about 30 core things. And as I looked deeper and deeper, I boiled it down to that there are 12 principles that they all seem to follow. And it just so happens is I went further and further into behavior science that all 12 of these align with principles of behavior science. So the first principle that I talk about is you need to become a mission angler. And in each one of my chapters, I tell the story by examining people who have perfected this. So in this chapter, I cover Jim McKelvy, who founded Square and Gary V. And Life Crafting is something that I talk to a lot with Hal Hirschfield, who’s a behavior scientist at Anderson School of Business at UCLA.
JRM (12:58):
And it’s really about, if you think about the topic of this chapter, mission Angler, anyone who’s ever been a fisherman, and I live here in Tampa Bay, it’s not as if I get into a boat and just arbitrarily go 20 miles into the Gulf and hope that wherever I put the anchor down, I’m gonna catch fish. Typically, you’re looking at tidal patterns and you’re looking at moon phases, and you’re looking at what’s, what fish are in season right now, and where do they typically migrate to during different times of the day and moon phases. But so many of us, we don’t craft our lives the same way. We leave it up to chance instead of being deliberate about the outcomes that we want. And so one of the things that I talk about is that you need to craft the life you want. It’s, it’s that difference between your actual self, your odd self, and this ideal self that we aspire to become.
JRM (13:56):
And it’s how do you close that gap between where you are now to where you want to be and do it as Ben Hardy says, through the gains, by measuring yourself against who you used to be over time. And at the core of this, Rory, is, is aligning the actions that you’re doing with your intentions, with your aspirations. And people get this causality wrong. They think they’re all, they think that they’re standalone things, and they’re absolutely integrated, because if you’re not being intentional in alignment with your core values, your core beliefs, then it’s gonna lead you astray. You’re not gonna find yourself in those critical moments making the right decisions. And to me, that’s at the crux of having intentionality.
RV (14:46):
I love that. So walk me through that again. You said a align the action, align your actions with your intentions and aspirations, like you’re talking about the relationship there. So are they sequential or like, is is it a hierarchy or like, what’s the, what’s the connection point between each of those?
JRM (15:05):
So the way I describe it in the book is that you have passion, perseverance, and intentionality as the foundation for this. And I looked at Angela Duckworth’s work on grit, passion, and perseverance. And those things kind of make up what constitute your actions. But when you couple that with how you’re intentionally undertaking those actions and then doing it through the lens of your dreams or aspirations, it’s then that alignment of A plus B plus C equals six that ends up compounding as these things come together. So another way to look at this is something that I often talk about is oftentimes we become our own visionary arsonist. And I’m not even, I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard me talk about this before. No,
RV (16:00):
I’ve not, I’ve not heard this, but this is, this seems interesting.
JRM (16:04):
Well, what I mean by this is it’s really self-sabotage. We arson the very things that we want to create in our lives. We arson the growth and achievement because we inadvertently undermine our own progress. It’s akin to programming a destination into your GPS, but then repeatedly taking detours that lead you farther away. And yet we find ourselves doing this all the time because of perfectionism or setting unrealistic goals, procrastination, negative self-talk, odent behaviors, you know, you, you name it. But the problem with this is that it’s taking us further and further away from where we want to go. And this is an absolute great way to look at the synergy of action, intention, and aspiration. Because if you disrupt their harmonious interplay, that’s how this visionary arsonist comes into effect. Because what ends up happening is they’re misdirecting their actions. While they may be engaged in an activity, the actions are not in sync with their intentions or aspirations. So the actions, instead of being in the present moment of anchoring yourself intentionally to them, they become erratic and misaligned. So that, I think that’s a way of looking at it, is you’re, you’re ending up ha wanting to have this alignment, but you keep doing things underneath it that sabotage one element or another of it, and all of a sudden you’re halting your own progress. Mm-Hmm, ,
RV (17:39):
Yeah. It, I think one of the things that, that ha has stuck with me, I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is that it’s just like the reason that most people don’t succeed or have ultra performance is not because of a technical skill. It’s not like a tactical thing they’re missing it’s ’cause of a mental belief system that they have, you know, that’s somehow working against them. And, and it’s like this program, like you’re saying, it’s like a faulty map program that just is, is detouring them, is, is, is pulling them off track. And , I wanted to ask you, I wanted to ask you a little bit about how this applies to your personal brand journey, because, you know, you, you started building your personal brand and specifically your podcast. Your, your podcast has really taken off in the last couple years. So was that an intention that you set very specifically and then, you know, kind of like, did this aligned your actions with that and you know, really started pursuing that? Or like, how did you get the podcast to take off so, so fast for you personally, because this was kind of a newer endeavor, right?
JRM (18:59):
Yeah, so I mean, to give this some backdrop to the listener is it’s not as if four years ago I came here and I had this incredible brand, like Mel Robbins has it. I had come out of this prolonged career being an executive where the majority of the companies I worked for, the last thing they wanted me to have was the personal brand they wanted me to represent and be the face of the company. Now, thankfully, a lot of this is changing, and I highly encourage people to start their personal brand as early as they possibly can. But I remember starting to have these ideas for the book, and I started shopping it to different agents, and the agents all came back to me and said, you know, a how do you know any of this is gonna resonate? What audiences have you tested it on?
JRM (19:47):
And three, how are you even gonna sell it because you don’t have a brand that anyone identifies you with? And so it really put me in a place where I was thinking about how do I get the word out there? And so I started to really use your content pyramid, and I started playing around first with getting blog posts out and social media posts, just testing the ideas. And I was getting some traction, but not as much as I needed. And so I started to really examine podcast, and I started to, to really listening, listen to maybe 15 to 20 different podcasts a week. And before I knew it, I’d probably listened to a hundred different podcasts. And from that I figured out people who were doing it really well, who then became the guidepost for me. And I became really intentional about it.
JRM (20:40):
I know a lot of times people who do podcasts after a season or 10 to 20 episodes, they stop. And I knew I didn’t want to do this if it was that type of endeavor. So I really was careful about how I thought about it when I started it. So when I launched it, I knew I was going in, I matter what for a year. And no matter what the results were, I was making this a long-term decision. And I, I have to tell you, when I first ended up launching it, I think, like many people, it wasn’t resonating the way I thought it would. It would, like, not everyone is a Mark Manson who launches their podcast, and all of a sudden it’s in the top 30 of podcasts. That’s not how things happened to me. It started out with me getting 50 or 60 downloads. And the funny thing is, they weren’t even from family, family and friends, , those weren’t even the people who were listening. And I think that’s
RV (21:38):
Common, thanks everybody for the support. I really appreciate it.
JRM (21:42):
But what I ended up really coming to the conclusion of about five to six months in was that I wasn’t being authentic in the way I was hosting it. I had seen great podcast hosts, whether it’s, you know, ed Millette or Lewis or Jay Shetty, or Dax or Mel or whoever you want to say. And, and I was trying to be, I think too much of them instead of really carving out my own lane. And it was really when I started to do the entire podcast through the lens of how do you create this intentional life? And interviewing people through that lens that I started to see this traction emerge. And then it, it’s like one action, as Lydia FiNet says, it’s like action leads to action. So the more I doubled down on this, the more I kept interviewing people through this lens, it was like word started to spread.
JRM (22:35):
And I remember the first person of notoriety, notoriety, I can’t even the first person of significance. I, to me, every guest is significant. But to me, when I got Susan Kane on the podcast, that was like a defining moment because it kind of established some credibility with what I was doing. And from her, I was able to book Dan Pink, and then it led to Gretchen Rubin and then others. But I’ve been very mindful that just ’cause you have a big name doesn’t mean you have the best wisdom. And so what I try to bring on the show is a combination of these big guests, which I think you have to have. But I also try to bring on a lot of what I call everyday heroes, whose stories people can really relate to because they’re stuck just like we all are. And then they find their way of being unstuck. And I think people can relate to their messages.
RV (23:32):
Uhhuh . So how many episodes? You’re a 400, you’re like 400 episodes in now, right? And that’s over how long?
JRM (23:41):
It’ll be three years when the book comes out. So Uhhuh,
RV (23:45):
Uhhuh . So how frequently have you been, how frequently have you been publishing? That’s more than a hundred episodes? That’s more than twice a week. That’s that’s, wait, yeah. I’m trying to do my math there. Yeah, so twice a week for three years. So twice a week would be like a hundred a year. And for three years, that’d be like 300 episodes. So you’ve been pub publishing more than twice a week on average?
JRM (24:09):
Yeah. So I started out with doing one interview, one solo per week, and I did that for the first year. And I found out I was having so much interest of people being on the show that I had a backlog. And so I thought, I’ll get out of this backlog by doing an additional episode for a short period of time. Well, that became permanent, and now I find myself in this s backlog again. I mean, we’re booked out right now till till June. So I’m trying to think of what’s the next evolution of this, because I’m not sure I, I want to add additional days to this format. But there are so many great people who are coming to me. I, I, I hate saying no to ’em. So, so right now I do Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Right. The, these next couple weeks, it’s actually gonna be four because if I tell someone they’ve got a book coming out, I have them on the show I’m gonna get it out the week their book launches. So I do a couple bonus episodes here and there.
RV (25:13):
Wow.
JRM (25:14):
So like, yeah.
RV (25:16):
How do you do how have you been doing, it’s interesting that you’ve been doing like the solo episodes from the beginning. How, how do you come up with the content for those and you know, like I, I think they’re all your, yours are like 20 minutes roughly, right? Usually they’re around like a little more than 20 minutes. Like how do you come up with what to talk about for 20 minutes now? And I think this ties in obviously to your passion, right? Is if someone, and that’s why I think it’s so important to personal brands. ’cause It’s like if you nail your passion, then hopefully you can talk, you know, about it in a very deep way. And but I’m just curious, like, have you struggled with the solo episodes or how do you out, how do you outline those or think about ’em?
JRM (25:56):
Yeah, I’ve, I try to do ’em through storytelling as much as I can. So I, I try to do ’em as if I was delivering a keynote speech. So I try to set up the big idea that I want to talk about. I then try to express it in a story either about myself or a person I’m talking about. Then I try to hunker down on, on two or three big ideas, go through ’em, and then kind of give a summary. And a key takeaway is the format that I’ve, I’ve kind of come to. But yeah, I think I’ve done 140 solo episodes now. So putting out that many solo episodes and for them to be unique is, is absolutely, it takes a lot of effort. And each one of these, if you think about it, it’s almost like you’re writing a 3000 to 4,000 word speech a week.
JRM (26:46):
So I read a ton. I read probably a hundred books a year, and a lot of the inspiration for the topics comes from things that I’m reading. I read Scott Berry Coffin’s book transcend, and I think I probably got 20 ideas just out of reading his book. You know, I I, I got a whole bunch out of, you know, let’s say hell Air Rod’s Miracle Morning or Jim Quick’s Limitless. I mean, but the important thing is it’s, you can have the idea. I mean, they’re talking about it through their voice, but I try to passion struck it. So I’m trying to share something that I find interesting for my community, but I put it through the lens of what we talk about on the show. So that’s kind of how I come up with it. But we, we have kind of a, a rolling list of 50 to to 70 different ideas that we’ve thought about for, for content.
JRM (27:44):
And then we kind of just think about what we’ve talked about. Because something that you’ve taught me that I think is in extremely important is I like to teach things randomly. I think I put the information out there in a random way because I want people to keep coming back because they never know what they’re gonna hear. Like this week alone, I’ve got Mark Hyman talking about the future of medicine. I have Dr. Aliza Pressman talking about parenting, and I’ve got Mike Mcic talking about being all in. I mean, there are three completely different topics. And then my last one, my solo this week is on quiet desperation. So I try to just make these things so that people keep coming back because they never know what they’re gonna get. And I don’t like doing things too habitual from a content perspective.
RV (28:37):
Interesting, interesting. Have you done anything to get to try to get people to leave reviews? ’cause I know you also have a ton of podcast reviews and that’s you know, that’s super impressive, like thousands and thousands of reviews. Which do you, do you, is there anything that you’ve done there that gets people to, you know, excited to do that, or not really?
JRM (29:00):
I mean, I just constantly ask for it. I mean, I think sometimes it’s one of those things that you, you’ve gotta be, you can’t be bashful about asking for things. So I ask my guests and I ask, I put it out in every episode, and I ask on social media, and I ask every single opportunity that I can because that social proof is extremely important. I mean, the fact that we have 16,005 star reviews in the US I mean, tells you something. It, it, so to me it’s extremely important to cultivate that. And so it’s something that we’ve just been mindful of since we started the show.
RV (29:40):
Yeah, there’s that intentionality again. And I think that’s an interesting part of it that people don’t just realize is like, Hey, you have to actually ask for them to do it. And it’s a measure of how engaged your community is too. And it’s encouraging. ’cause What’s interesting, the podcast format is you, like, you never hear the other people, right? You have like a conversation with your guests, but there, you know, there could be hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people listening, but you don’t get feedback from them other than like the review. Like that’s really the way that you, you, you get to interact with people. So it’s interesting, you’ve been so intentional about that and asking and asking for the reviews. So anyways, I think, I think this is so powerful helping people find their passion and having a plan for it.
RV (30:26):
These 12, these 12 principles that you talk about in the passion struck book, I I think that aligns with personal brands because if you really nail your passion the all of a sudden you’ve got something to dedicate your life to and a and a and a cause to build a personal brand around and build a business out of, and most importantly, a mission to live. And you know, something to, to, to serve. I, I have one other question for you before I do that. Where do you want people to go, John, to like, get a copy of the passion struck book or like stay connected with you and, and, and learn more about what you’re up to?
JRM (31:04):
Yeah, Rory, the best place for them to go is all things passion struck Central, which [email protected]. And if they purchase the book before the end of the publishing week, I have curated over $300 worth of free giveaways specifically for the audience eBooks, I, I did a master course. You, if you do it this, if you do it sooner, you get a free access to the, the first chapter of the book and other things. But passions struck.com is the best place to go.
RV (31:33):
I like it. I like it. So the last thing I wanted to ask you about before we turned on the recording, you talked about, you were telling me, you were about to tell me about the Hockey Stick moment. So you were, I think you were talking about at, I guess maybe there was at some point you had like a tipping point for your personal brand or, or the show. Do you, so do you remember what that was? I’d love to, I’d love to have you finish that story.
JRM (31:57):
Well, I think it was a combination of both. So I was working with Hillary at the time and Hillary Billings, and I was at this point where we were, this
RV (32:08):
Is a brand builders group with one of our strategists. So you got to, so Hillary was your private strategist.
JRM (32:13):
Hillary was my private strategy, and I was at this point where I was thinking about launching other things, but I’m one of these people that, in that, I think when you dilute your focus, you end up basically disintegrating other things that you’re working on. And the podcast hadn’t gotten to the point that I had wanted to, and I knew I was at this crossroads where I was either gonna double down on it and figure out like, what is causing it to stagnate or I was gonna jump to this new thing and I decided to double down on it. And that’s when I really started to examine how I was doing it, not from really the cadence of how I was putting out the content, but in how I was being deliberate about how I was curating it, how I was asking questions to the guest, who I was bringing on, why I wanted them on.
JRM (33:08):
And I really started putting myself in my audience’s shoes. Like, if you are in this life right now where you feel stuck, or maybe you’re a high achiever and you’re feeling burned out, or you don’t know how to make that next leap, like what is advice that we can start giving on this show to help you fundamentally change your game? Because as you know, most people, I mean, I love the way you say this, people don’t pay for information. They pay for the application of it. I didn’t want to just put out information and have no one do anything with it. I wanted to start putting out information that people could live by. And so I really started to intertwine not just people talking about it, but the science behind it, so that if we’re talking about a discipline, bringing on experts who can then lay in the science for why it works, to me became a powerful one-two punch. And when I became more authentic, starting leaning into really serving my audience and making that the focus, so it, the whole thing became about, it’s almost like doing a keynote speech where you’re not up there serving yourself, you’re serving the listeners. That’s what I did. And quickly, over time, everything changed. When I leaned more and more into my uniqueness, it, the hockey stick happened. And, you know, I, we’ve had now 36 months of consistent growth on the show, so.
RV (34:38):
Wow. That’s really, really cool, man. Well, we’re so excited for you. I’m so proud of what you’re doing. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m, I admire what you do. I, I love what’s happened with the show. And so we’ll put a link to passion shuck.com where people can go check out the free resources, check out the book, check out the podcast. John, thanks for helping people find their passion. And keep going brother. And we we’re cheering for you. We wish you the best. Well,
JRM (35:07):
Rory, it’s such an honor to be on your show and I just hope the rest of the people who are listening to this, you know, create that ideal life that they want because that’s what we’re all put on here. Earth here to do. So start doing it today.
RV (35:21):
Amen. Me too. Me too brother. Me too.

Ep 465: Turning Your Most Embarrassing Moments Into Your Most Relatable Moments | Henna Pryor Episode Recap

AJV (00:02):
So I just did a podcast interview with a new friend of mine, Henna Pryor, and she’s the author of a new book called Good Awkward, which is ultimately how to be good at Being Awkward. And I was kind of inspired to do this post after this conversation when I sat back and just realized for a moment that most people that I know in my life avoid awkward moments like the plague, right? Like embarrassing. Like even people go, that’s your most embarrassing moment. It’s like even recalling your most embarrassing moment can make you blush or, you know, give you goosebumps. It’s like, oh my gosh, I cannot believe that happened. And this whole conversation is about how to embrace awkwardness in order to give you an upper hand, an advantage on connecting with your audience becoming more relatable enh enhancing vulnerability, increasing authenticity. There’s all these different things, but at the end of the day, what it really comes down to in my perception is learning how to be comfortable with yourself and yourself is gonna make mistakes yourself is awkward, right?
AJV (01:12):
Like we do awkward things. We say awkward things, we are awkward different stages of life and some, some of us longer than others. And if you really think about it, those are the moments that make you the most different, the most unique. But yet we’re we’re also, those are also the ones that we try to like hide under the covers the most. Like, lock in a closet and go, let’s just forget like that three year period of my life where I had a perm and wore Snoopy shirts every day. Like, let’s just, let’s just close that door and pretend that never happened and or that that stage of business where I can’t believe I was doing this. And I have to tell you guys this story, I have a few stories I wanna share actually, about, you know, the things that make you vulnerable are the things that people fall in love with.
AJV (01:59):
They are the things that make you relatable. Because the truth is, regardless of how much, you know, there are things you don’t know. And regardless of how good you are at some things, there are some things you’re not good at. And when we see is what you’re good at, it makes us feel like, man, I, I just can’t be myself around that person. Like, they’re too smart or they’re too rich, or they’re, they’re too this or they’re too that. And all it does is create a level of discomfort for those around you. And the truth is, you’re not like that at all, right? It’s like you’re goofy when no one’s around and you make all kinds of silly mistakes, but no one knows about ’em. But if they did, they would love you even more. And I feel so, so overly confident in that. So I’ve gotta tell you two quick things. One is a story about me and Rory. And one is a story just about me, of just a little bit of a example, proof of how the awkwardness of your day, of your life, of your business, of your journey is often what will be
AJV (02:58):
The number one thing that helps expedite your connection with your audience. And so about two years ago Rory and I were going through all of the early footage from Brand Builders Group, you know, brand Builders Group started in the middle of a crisis, I would say. And, you know, I was fired very publicly, which was, you know, pretty awkward in and of itself. From our fire, our, our prior company. And then Rory resigned two weeks later. And so Brain Builders Group kind of happened in the middle of this crisis. It was very much a God thing, but in those early days, it’s like we didn’t have a lot of money to do high production quality. And I ended up getting pregnant with our second son only like three months after we started the company, which, you know, was great timing.
AJV (03:44):
And so we had to turn Rory’s office into a nursery, which mean for a short amount of time we had to share my office and doing podcasts like this. Yeah, don’t worry. Doing training videos, doing all the things happen in the same office and we would just have to take turns. We had like a little schedule. And Rory is quite distracting when he works. And so what we did, which was, you know, real, you know, real professional, is we put one of those expandable shower curtains across my office, and there was a sheet that divided his side of the office from my side of the office. No sound barrier. It was just, I can’t be looking at you, don’t be looking at me. Well, we did so much early content, we were just working at all hours, and it was like we didn’t have time to review content.
AJV (04:32):
We had no one reviewing content. And this content stayed live in our portal for, I don’t know, almost four years. And we were doing this content archive, cleanout refreshing a bunch of old videos, and I’m, we’re going through all this content and I’m watching these videos and I’m like, can you see the sheet in that video? And so we started watching all these other videos, y’all, there was like an entire series of content videos that you could see the top of the shower rod in my office dividing our two offices. So you could see my shadow behind this white sheet and the shower rod in all of our public facing course videos. I was like, are you kidding me right now? I can’t believe anyone comes back to this portal. I can’t believe anyone is watching this video. And I remember being so embarrassed, and me and Roy , those have to come down right now.
AJV (05:24):
Those are the first things that are coming down Monday morning. And so we emailed our team and like, okay, as we’re archiving videos, start with all the ones that you can see the sheet and the, and the curtain rod that are dividing our offices. And then we were at one of our events very shortly after, a few weeks after, and we were telling this story about we all come from humble beginnings in some way. And we were telling this story, and afterwards, I probably had two if not three people come up to me and they go, I know exactly what videos you’re talking about. That’s
AJV (05:56):
When, when I fell in love with you guys. And I was like, what? And they were like, when I saw that you guys were just doing this because you love it and you had passion for it, and you were using a bedsheet and you were sharing an office, I said, these are my people. These are people that I care to learn about. These are people I care to know because they’re not trying to be something or not. They’re not trying to do this with lots of production value. They’re this, this is not just about entertainment. This is not about a performance. You were just like, here, I think I can help you with something. I don’t care if there was a bed sheet. No, we didn’t know they could see that. But it’s like the whole point is that thing that we felt so awkward about, so kind of embarrassed about like, I can’t believe this happened.
AJV (06:38):
Don’t, they were like, no, that’s when I fell in love with you. That’s when I said, these are my people. I, I wanna, I wanna learn from these people because I felt like you got it. You knew what it was like to be in a startup. You knew what it was like to hustle and you were doing the thing, and I was watching you as you were learning and you were growing. And that’s when I fell in love with you. And I was like, what? Out of all the things, the Bedsheet videos, and I think that was like this whole interview with Henna Pryor was those moments of awkwardness when people go, man, that that’s when people, right, what we find most embarrassing other people find the most endearing. And that’s when you create this unbelievable connection of, man, I I know who you are, right?
AJV (07:23):
Because you don’t hold it back and you don’t pretend, right? And so I think there’s, there’s some element of that, of going what what we think is embarrassing other people find endearing. And so it’s not that you wanna find moments to embarrass yourself, but also don’t, don’t be embarrassed by the moments. Go. That’s just a part of where we were, that was a part of our journey. Like that was hustle mode. That was startup mode. And yeah, there was a shower curtain and a sheet. And now the way that I look back on it was like, yeah, that was, that’s how we started this, and that’s okay. And it’s okay for other people to do that. And by sharing that, it allows other people to settle into their newness, to their beginners, to their whatever stage that they’re in of going, okay, that that’s okay to be that way.
AJV (08:12):
I don’t have to have this, this, or this to make this work or to succeed or excel, because that’s the truth. You don’t. And so allowing people to see those missteps, those awkward moments, will not only allow them to get to know you better, but it also creates a, a new level of comfort in what they’re going through themselves, right? So, second quick story I’ll share is one of my biggest consulting clients of all time in my former life was Bridgestone retail operations. And I had an amazing opportunity to train more than 2,700 retail stores at Bridgestone. And as a part of this, you know, two year engagement we
AJV (08:54):
Were also the host, the training host at their annual conference in Vegas where I don’t know how many people there, I’ll try to be conservative, 10,000 of their retail operators were there. And I was in this ballroom and they were rotating classes, you know, and we were talking about sales and customer service and customer experience and, you know, all the things. And this ballroom probably held 2000, maybe 3000 people. And it was the first session of the day. And I had been doing so much prep work for this because, you know, I may not be like the, you know, avatar to relate to the average Bridgestone retail operations team. And I’m like, all right, I gotta, I’m, I need to find some car humor and I, you know, I need to make this relatable so it’s not some, you know, rando chick up on stage talking about what they need to do in their stores.
AJV (09:47):
And so I found these hilarious videos that I thought were hilarious on Seinfeld about this conversation that Seinfeld was having, about how he didn’t know anything about cars. And, you know, it’s like he was saying, you know, I could take my car to the shop and they could tell me it needed a Johnson rod and I wouldn’t know the difference. And, you know, it just kind of like went on and on and on. Well, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t know what a Johnson rod was. ’cause I don’t know much about cars either, so I just thought it was funny. And so I add all of these videos to my presentation, and as I’m playing these, you know, videos as examples of customer awareness, they all start dying laughing. And so I’m like, I roll with it, and then I’m, I’m saying Johnson Rod, and I’m using that in the examples, and I’m telling stories about it now, and I’m now calling back to the video.
AJV (10:37):
And every single time I do, the laughter gets bigger and bigger and I’m like, wow, I really got this going. Like, I’m really relating to this. So I just roll with it. And the mc of the day was introducing everyone, and that at the end of every session, he would wrap it up with going, can you believe? Right? And it’s like, can you believe that we achieved da da da da dah, and can you believe this da da da? Well, heaps my presentation, and this is how he recapped it. And you believe that AJ said Johnson rod five times on stage. And everyone just dies laughing. And I’m sitting there going, okay, I think I’ve missed something here. And I look back in the back of the room and I can see three of my team members waving their hands in the air frantically like this, like, stop, stop.
AJV (11:20):
And I’m like, what is going on? So I get off stage and one of them rums up to me and she goes, agent, do you know what a Johnson rod is? And I was like, clearly, I do not. And she goes, are you kidding me right now? And I’m like, what, what is it? And she goes, it is the male private area. And I’m like, what? And she was like, this whole video was, you know, this sexual innuendo about, you know, the male private parts. And I’m like, oh my gosh. And this is in front of like
AJV (11:52):
2,500 men, me on stage talking about Johnson rods. And so for the rest of this two day conference, everywhere I went, they were like, Hey Johnson, hey Johnson. And I’m like, I’m never gonna recover from this. This is the most embarrassing thing of my life. I’m not gonna be able to finish this consulting project. I’m gonna get fired. All these horrible things. So a week goes by, I get on the phone with my direct contact, who was the COO of this operation. He goes, stop, heard you were quite the hit at the conference. And I’m like, Uhhuh, did you hear about it? And he goes, yeah. He said, honestly, it was the highway. He goes, the rest of these sessions were so boring. He goes, yeah, I’d appreciate if you didn’t say that anymore. But, and it was like, this rolled right off the shoulders was hilarious, just , you know, it wasn’t hilarious for me, but it put it just like, it brought down this intensity level between me and my direct contact who was the, you know, the buyer.
AJV (12:47):
And it created this level of I’m not just a consultant coming in here changing stuff. It’s like, I’m this moron who came on and said all these things on stage. And for the rest of the time it was just, it was a, it was a different atmosphere. It wasn’t, Hey, I’ve been hired to come in and fix things or change things. It was, you know, Hey Johnson. And although I would’ve preferred that was maybe not what I got called for the rest of the time, but at the same time, it just, it created this element of comfort, of relatability, of ease that did not exist before, right? I was humiliated and terrified. They thought it was hilarious. And I share that to go, what you think is your most embarrassing moment may be the thing that creates the most relatability. Maybe not, maybe not, but maybe.
AJV (13:38):
So I would just encourage you as you kind of settle in and highly encourage you to listen to this full episode with Henna Pryor or pick up a book. Good, awkward. It’s, how do I embrace awkward, right? It’s, how do I use my missteps to give me an opportunity to showcase who I really am, not who I think people want me to be, but who I really am. So how do we good? How do we get good at being awkward is one, we realize it’s gonna happen. We be prepared for it, and we don’t hide it, but we embrace it. And even sometimes maybe put a spotlight on it to go, Hey, not everything is worth sharing. But there’s a few things that would really humanize me, make me relatable and help other people have a, a greater sense of comfort and peace and ease about their situation if I just shared a little bit of mine. So here’s a little bit of inspiration to embrace those awkward moments, embrace those missteps and use them to your advantage this year.

Ep 464: How To Get Good At Being Awkward with Henna Pryor

AJV (00:02):
Hey, everybody, AJ Vaden here on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast. So happy to be here today, and I love when I get to interview new friends. And Henna Pryor and I got introduced and just found out that we have lots and lots of mutual friends, but she was introduced to me from our Chief Experience Officer, Matt Lyles. She’s also good friends with one of my closest friends. And, you know, as we were just talking I wanted to make a quick note for everyone about why you need to stick around for this particular episode. And I didn’t even have this on my radar, didn’t even have this on my agenda And as Henna and I were talking right before I hit record, she said something. And I’m like, that’s gonna be the most inspiring thing of all for everyone who is listening. Mm-Hmm.
AJV (00:47):
And so here is, here’s my number one recommendation. For anyone who is tuning in going, is this an episode that I should listen to? Would this be helpful for me today? Here’s what I want you to know before we get into this interview. Henna started her speaking and now authoring career two years ago. I’m just gonna pause for a second and let that sink in. I didn’t say 10, I said two, two years ago, right? And then just last year, she was named as Success Magazines Woman of Influence. Her book was her, her new book, good Awkward, was listed as one of the top books of 2023. She is on a rocket ship to the Moon with her speaking bookings. And this was two years ago. And so we’re gonna talk a lot about how to use awkwardness as a superpower.
AJV (01:36):
We’re gonna talk about her book. We’re gonna talk about all kinds of things. But most importantly of all, if you are someone who is going like, man, I just feel like this has taken forever, and I feel like, you know, I just, I’m gearing up for like this 10 year journey. I would just encourage you as I was just encouraged of, like, it might take that long, but it might not. And you may wanna tune in today to just get a a spike of inspiration and rejuvenation of going like, Hey, the work you’re doing can pay extraordinary dividends. Don’t give up. And so that would be my encouragement as you’re listening and tuning in today. Stick around and learn how somebody like Henna started just two years ago and is way further ahead than she ever thought possible just two years later.
AJV (02:21):
So that would be my encouragement to you. Now, before we get going, let me formally introduce you to Ms. Henna Pryor, who is a sought to after workplace performance export. She is an award-winning two-time TEDx speaker. She is a global keynote speaker. She’s an author, she’s an executive coach. I love this. She says her clients call her the Secret Weapon for Impossible Change. I think we all could use a little secret weapon of that and our lives. But she’s also known, which I appreciate this for her Science-based approach in a fun, no nonsense, no jargon way. And you, I know if you guys listen to the podcast, you know that she’s speaking my love language. And as I mentioned earlier, she was recently recognized as a Success Magazine Woman of Influence. What an awesome honor. And she has a bestselling book, good Awkward, that was named as one of the best books of 2023. So Henna, welcome to the show.
HP (03:15):
Thank you so much. Do you ever have that experience when someone is talking about you and describing you and you’re like, wait, seriously, that’s me, ? Like, when you talk about it, I’m like, that person sounds really accomplished. Oh, wait, that’s me. Thank you. Thank you for that kind introduction. Yeah, I
AJV (03:31):
Love it. And I’m so excited to connect, and I’m so excited that there was like this, like, you know, behind the scenes inner webbing of mutual connections that led to this interview. And that’s what I love about when you’re just great at what you do, your, your name just kind of starts popping up everywhere. And the fact that we were able to pull this off and get this interview recorded today is just so exciting to me because anyone referred to me by, you know, Matt, who’s our chief experience officer, already comes in high regard. And I’m just so excited to to delve into this. And I wanna start this interview by this comment that you made before we hit record, because I think this was not, I, I love it when things, I’m like, whoa, that wasn’t even on my radar for this conversation. So I’m so glad you mentioned it. And so I want the audience to get to know you a little bit. But also I wanna know, like, what were you doing before two years ago? And then what led to this pivotal change where you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna head down this, you know, professional speaking path and then writing a book, and then how long God’s skirting Earth have you done what you’ve been able to do in two years time? So I know that’s a lot, but this is what I wanna start with.
HP (04:44):
I love the question. Is coffee a fair answer? Is that allowed lots of it coffee and a lot of laughter? No, the, the short answer is I spent 14 years in the staffing industry. So direct hire, executive search, where I was working with both candidates and clients. But in that space, I got to work with leaders across industries and get a firsthand view as to what made employees happy, what made experience strong, what made people stay, leave, what made brands successful. Kinda got to watch it from a a 20,000 foot view for 14 years. When I left there in late 2019, I actually went and got my executive coach certification. So for about a year or so, I focused on the one-on-one space and executive coaching. But slowly that morphed into, Hey, can you come do this with my team? Can you come do this thing that you do with me at our conference?
HP (05:33):
Can you start to, to talk to more of us? Which naturally and organically shifted into speaking. Now, my first paid speaking gig was late 2021. So two years in, let’s say two months. At this point, I got paid $250 to go to Vegas. They did not pay for my flight. I live on the East coast, so I went in the hole, right? I think I was in the hole about $200. But that was my first time speaking to a group. And immediately I was like, oh, doing this in front of a bigger group feels electrifying. I love this. I would do this for free. And I think immediately, once I had that experience, I knew not only was that something that I loved, but frankly that was a calling I had had for a long time and was too afraid to step into because, you know, at the time of I’m, I’m 42, just about to be 42, I’m like, I, I’m gonna tell other people how to run their businesses, how to build their brands, how to be successful and have peak performance. I’m only halfway through my life, but I finally got out of my own way long enough to say, you know, you can, you can try this, you can take a stab at it, place some betts. And I’ve been placing Betts ever since, and it’s been great.
AJV (06:44):
So if you don’t mind me asking Yeah. You first paid engagement $250, roughly two, two and a half years ago. Yeah. Do you mind telling people how often you’re speaking now and what you’re charging now?
HP (06:58):
? Yeah. No, I don’t mind at all. At least three times a month I would say I am on the road, and that’s by design. I do have children. I try not to make it more than that. And let’s just say add a bunch of zeros to that, you know, kind of a hundred, a hundred x 10 XI, my math is like not serving me right now. Yeah. So the number, the starting number is similar. There’s a lot more zeros on the other side of it. And, and that’s the stuff of dreams.
AJV (07:22):
Yeah. That, you know what, and I think that’s really important to know because I think one, it’s really important for everyone to just pay attention. Like, her first paid engagement was $250, not $2,500, not $5,000. It was $250
HP (07:37):
In a paper check that they handed me in the lobby when I got there. Yeah.
AJV (07:40):
And didn’t cover her travel. So it’s like, if this is really a calling on your life, it’s like, and I love what you said, it’s like when I did it, I was like, I would do this for free. Right. It’s an honor to get paid. I love this so much, I would do it for free. But it’s, I think it’s important for us all to know you’re gonna start in some humble beginnings. Yeah. But that can quickly expedite 10 XA hundred x if you’re phenomenally good at what you do. Right. And I, that’s what I just, I really want people to latch on. It’s like, don’t be embarrassed to go, I’ll come for free a hundred dollars. Sure. I’m coming. Knowing that in a short one or two years later, it could be so much more than that. But you gotta be willing to go, I don’t care. I wanna do this so much, I’ll be there.
HP (08:28):
Yeah. And I, I appreciate what you said about being phenomenally good at what you do. I think there was some of that where I was naturally good at some of what I did. You know, I think there’s a degree to which some people have something in them that activates this, but there was also a lot I was not good at. There was a whole bunch that, you know, as it relates to the craft of public speaking and, and sort of thought leadership, which I do believe is a craft, I had a lot to learn. So once I decided I was gonna plant my stake in this, I invested a lot in coaches, in programs, in partners, because I don’t think that the people who want to play at the highest levels get there quickly without support. And I was impatient. I wanted to get there quickly. I wasn’t willing to wait 10 years, 15 years. And I do think that for me has been a big difference in the speed in which this has happened. You asked, how did it happen in two years? I found who I perceived to be the best. And I called them and I said, how do we work together? And that has played a huge role in the fact that things have happened as quickly as they did.
AJV (09:31):
I love that. You know, we say this all the time. It’s like, you don’t have to recreate the will. So don’t, right. It’s like there have been others that have gone before you get a mentor, hire coach, attend a conference, but my goodness, get out there and do something to help expedite that learning curve. You know, I was just thinking about this my, I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, both boys who are oddly obsessed with football. And we were just watching a game, and I’m, I’m drawing a blank and striving me nuts right now of like what the team was. But they were talking about this quarterback, and he is not, he is not a well known quarterback at all. And in fact the statistics that they were sharing about him were in the last two years, two, two years, he has been sold or traded, or you switched positions or team 23 times.
HP (10:28):
Oh my god. .
AJV (10:29):
But in two years. And I’m like, what is that even possible? Like, how did that happen? And he was having the game of his life. They ended up winning the game. And the only reason I know is ’cause our team was the other team. And, and they were like, just talking about like this amazing story of perseverance. And then they shared with this kid, he’s not a kid, he’s in his late twenties. Yeah. But this kid was doing, and he said he has hired every coach, he has gone to every off season training. And they were, all these announcers were just sitting there going like, look at this success story of someone who no one thought would even be in the NFL two years later. And here he is living out his dream playing quarterback in the NFL, but he took a risk on himself. He invested all the money he was making to hone his craft. And now look at him. Mm.
HP (11:20):
Yeah. What I love about what you just said, I think that that the line that just grabbed me, you said at the end is he took a risk on himself. And I, I, I resonate with that so much because when you take a risk on yourself, it can feel really embarrassing and really awkward to get traded 23 times. Most people wouldn’t wave that flag proudly. No, they wouldn’t say like, good for me, I got traded or make it.
HP (11:43):
That’s embarrassing as an athlete that you couldn’t, you know, stay in demand enough with where you were, that people didn’t wanna trade you off like a playing card. I mean, that’s, that can be embarrassing and it can derail people from trying something new in the future. But I love that that didn’t stop him. He continued to take the risks on himself because he had a goal. Yeah. And that, that to me is so, so much my ethos too.
AJV (12:05):
Yeah. And I, and I love, I think that’s, and that’s really what it is. It’s like when you are truly following your calling, it’s like, I can’t not do this. Mm-Hmm. ,
HP (12:14):
I have to Mm-Hmm.
AJV (12:14):
, I have to give it every single thing I have. It is in my DNA and, and that, and that, regardless of how long it takes, those people will be successful. Yeah. It may not always happen in two years, but it will happen because they don’t give up. And that, and that’s what I love about, you know, stories like that. And so as you were talking, it made me think about listening to these announcers that were both enamored and just like, they were also like so happy that he was like, made it to where he is, because that’s what happens when somebody invests in themselves so much. And so just to pivot just a tiny little bit, I wanna know, it’s like, so you kind of organically shifted into, you know, this prior corporate career to executive coaching. Then it was like, Hey, can you do this for my team? And then, hey, can you do it for more people? And all of a sudden, here you are. How did the book come about?
HP (13:05):
Ah, the book. Okay. The book, I’ve always wanted to write a book since the fifth grade. I think I always had this, this desire to write a book one day. But similar to the speaking thing, I think I was nervous to do it because there’s a lot of books, . And I thought, okay, what do I have to say that’s new and fresh? And I remember, you know, an origin story for me is one of awkwardness. My parents are South Asian immigrants. My mom’s from Pakistan, my dad’s from India. I am named Henna in, I was born in the eighties. Hannah Barbera was all the thing. And so people were mispronouncing my name, my food smelled weird in my lunchbox and , you know, the, the story that I told myself my entire childhood was the me I wanted to show. The world was always clashing with the me that was on display.
HP (13:49):
And there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t feel impossibly awkward about it. So fast forward, you know, college, I sort of found my people. Then I entered the professional spheres. Every transition point professionally, every inflection point. I feel like all those feelings came back again. Mm-Hmm. Like, they’re looking at me, they’re wondering what I’m doing. Am I being an idiot right now? This is embarrassing. I don’t, I’m not saying the right thing. And our queen, Brene Brown started saying this thing at the end of her podcast, she would say, stay awkward, brave and kind. Mm-Hmm. That became her tagline. And I had a very visceral reaction to it. I remember thinking, brave. Yep. Yep. I know that one kind. Yes. My parents taught me that one. Stay awkward. No, thank you. I’ve been trying to get rid of this my whole life. What are you talking about lady? Everything else you say is brilliant. This one, I don’t know. And I got very curious about this particular emotion and how it relates to the way we show up at work in life in our personal brands. And the deep dive began. So TEDx and then book on that very topic.
AJV (14:52):
I love that so much. And the fact that you just like embraced it so wholeheartedly and wrote the book, launched the book, and all of this too is in like the last two and a half years and some change. Yeah. I would love to know just really quickly, and then I actually wanna get in and talk about how do we use awkward as a superpower? And like what is good awkward, right? Because I think most people associate awkward with like well, awkward is just awkward. It’s not good. Yeah. But Right. There’s these amazing things that can come about that. But I’d love to hear about like, you’re just the, the authoring process. ’cause First time author, right? Yep. And we have so many people who are first time authors or aspiring authors in our audience. So I would love just for you to share what was your experience of writing your book?
HP (15:40):
Yeah. Oh gosh. So I was listening to your recent episode with I think his Alison Trobridge that she was talking about a little bit of the authoring. And so a lot of what she said, I was nodding my head, but for me, you know, I mentioned I’ve wanted to write a book since the fifth grade. I’ve always liked writing in, let’s call it dabbling context. So there was a period there where I had a Tumblr blog and then, you know, social media posts and all that. But a book felt like a big ask, right? It was a big reach and not a small project. I’m a little squirrely in that I don’t like doing the same thing for too long. So I thought, do I even wanna do this? But what it really ended up becoming about was I started to seed the idea on social media.
HP (16:20):
So on LinkedIn, I started to kind of test this idea of awkwardness as a superpower. Where are my fellow people who feel awkward all the time, not necessarily who identify as awkward? And we can talk about that, the sort of state versus trait, but that feel this a lot. They feel awkward raising their hand in a negotiation or for a promotion, or for a project. And so I started to test some of this content that was in my mind on social, and it was very quick that I realized other people are resonating with this. And so I didn’t just start writing a book sight unseen, right? You have to sort of know, is there a reader for this thing that feels important to you? And to the answer on social media was yes, people are like, ah, I feel like you’re in my head, I feel like you’re putting words in my mouth.
HP (17:03):
And it became very clear that there was a community of people who also had strong feelings about that word. And once that became evident, then it sort of felt like this natural morphing from, you know, TEDx was a 15 minute test of the idea that resonated. And then there was a lot more to talk about than landed in 15 minutes. So it became perfect fodder for a longer form book. And I wrote and wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and half of it got thrown out . And I found a really good editor. And the rest ended up being where we are today. And I’m just really happy with how it came out and came together.
AJV (17:36):
Yeah. I think what’s so important for everyone to hear is that the book was not the testing ground.
HP (17:42):
No. Gosh, no.
AJV (17:43):
I, and I think so often it’s like, people are like, I’m, I’m, I wanna write a book. And then it’s like, we get busy with like writing the outline and we start writing, and it’s like, that’s not really where it starts. And no, you know, back to what you said, it’s like I had a Tumblr blog, I was doing LinkedIn posts, and then that graduated into a TEDx. And it’s like, the more that I did, the more I figured out what was resonating and what was clicking. And it’s like, we always say this at Brain Builders Group, it’s like, you know, writing a book is not the hypothesis, it’s the conclusion. Right? But we, we gotta know what that is. And the only way to really know what that is, is to start testing it, right? Yeah. And that’s the power of a blog and social media and, and speaking even, right? It’s testing out the content of going, okay, now I know the words that need to be on the pages.
HP (18:29):
Yeah. I think not only testing the content, but also it was opportunities to test my voice. So I, I’ve written a book in the nonfiction, personal and professional development space alongside lots of wonderful serious types. And I quote Tupac in the book, , right? I, because that’s who I am. And so for the last year or two, I’ve been playing with bringing my whole voice to mm-Hmm. my LinkedIn profile, and can we talk about serious workplace performance topics in a light, playful, no jargon way? And so, you know, one of my personal life mantras is take the work seriously, but never yourself. But I wasn’t gonna put years of my life, hours of my day into a book in a voice that I hadn’t yet ensured would be received by the intended audience. So, so much test driving the content and also test driving your voice, getting solid in your voice before you put all that energy, time, money, heart into a book.
AJV (19:27):
I love that. And, and I love too. It’s like, I love that quote. It’s like, take the work seriously, but not yourself. And if you’re not, and I think it’s too, it’s like if you haven’t figured out your voice yet, that’s not time yet. Yeah. Right. I love that. Testing your voice as well as testing the content. So let’s talk about the content. So let’s talk about this this new book of yours called Good Awkward. So what is good, awkward?
HP (19:50):
What is good Awkward? So quick definition of awkwardness is helpful here. So lots of definitions from every dictionary, but for the context of today, awkwardness is the emotion that we feel when the person that we believe ourselves to be our true self is momentarily facing a gap between the person other people see on display. In other words, for moments or maybe moments, our internal identity doesn’t quite match their external reality. So I raise my hand in a meeting at work, and I call someone the wrong name. In that moment, the internal identity I hold someone who’s thoughtful about names, who pronounces them correctly, is facing a gap between the version that they see. Sloppy, careless doesn’t care about these things. Hmm. In the personal branding space, I put out a post that, you know, without me realizing it comes across as, you know, a little tone deaf or a little bit off, off the cuff.
HP (20:47):
The person I believe I myself to be is now facing a gap between the person that other people see on display. That middle space where we feel that discomfort, emotion, that specific emotion of discomfort in a social setting is where we experience awkwardness. Good, awkward. It simply means that in order for us to grow as professionals, as people, as brands, as personal brands, every time we put ourselves into that stretch zone where growth is on the table, we are going to face the potential and the possibility of awkwardness. There’s no avoiding it. Because to avoid awkwardness is to avoid uncertainty. So eliminating it is not an option. , we have to get good at it instead.
AJV (21:28):
Mm. I love that whole concept of just get good at awkward. Mm-Hmm.
HP (21:32):
, is it gonna happen? It’s not going away. Yeah. It’s not go even the most confident polished together people, you know, have not cracked the code on eliminating awkwardness. They’ve just dialed in their comeback rate. Yeah. Their comeback rate is fast.
AJV (21:47):
Yes. I love that. So let’s talk a little bit about how do you become good at awkward?
HP (21:54):
Yeah. So two, two parts here. The first part is awareness. There is a mindset component here. So awkwardness, again, it’s a social emotion. Let’s say you’re practicing a, a social post that you wanna write, you’re kind of drafting it out and you, you know, get a, get a fact or figure wrong. Well, if you didn’t post it yet, nobody saw it, you don’t feel awkward about it. It’s a social emotion. It’s once other people start to create an opinion of it that all of a sudden it kicks up. So it is very closely tied to approval. So part one of this conversation is how do you start to peel back the layers on the stories that you hold around awkwardness. Maybe growing up it was, you know, don’t do that. People are watching, you know, other people are looking at you. If you grow up with those messages, then you probably are going to have lower tolerance for awkward moments.
HP (22:42):
Everyone’s staring, everyone’s looking at you. So a little bit of a, a narrative rewrite on what is awkwardness. It’s natural, it’s universal, it’s normal, and it’s part of the growth journey. Mm-Hmm. part two, and this is the part that I’m very passionate about. It’s, it’s conditioning, it’s conditioning of a muscle. We now live in a society where we’re facing a weakening of our social musculature. So on this day, aj, we’re new friends, but if, if I really wanted to, we could theoretically stay in touch and never talk again. We could text, we could slack. That’s true. Right? I could order my meals on DoorDash. I can, you know, date by swiping. I don’t technically have to interact with another human in many contexts if I don’t want to. And, you know, add to that a pandemic, which made this much worse and accelerated it, we are facing a decline in social interaction.
HP (23:32):
We don’t have to have it anymore. And so what’s happened is that we don’t even have practice in the small moments. Yeah. And all of a sudden we need to course correct on something that went sideways in one of our, our speeches, in our posts and in podcast we were on. And we’re even less primed for how to handle those moments because we don’t even have these daily moments of happenstance anymore. So we actually need to now overcorrect and condition for those social moments. And there’s lots of ways that we can do that. But conditioning is a second important component to this.
AJV (24:05):
You know, as you were talking, it just made me think, because you’re right. It’s like I don’t have to have social interactions, unfortunately, but it’s like, even in like social media, it’s like you can custom curate the perfect post of like, I never have to look awkward. I never have to experience awkward if I don’t want to. And I think that there’s a little bit of it because I just turned 40 this year, so we’re Mm-Hmm. in the same high school generation. I’m so grateful that all those things did not exist when I was growing up because it did, it, it built a muscle where it’s like, yep, that happened. . Yeah. What do you gotta know about it? Right. Sometimes
HP (24:43):
People think they’re like, oh, is it the new generation? I’m like, well, it is. You know, my daughter’s 13 and it, it’s for sure in this generation where we went to a friend’s house, I was about to ring the doorbell, and she’s like, no, no, no. We text, we text here from the driveway. And I’m like, oh God. But then I, you know, I thought, okay, maybe it’s just the teens. It’s the youths. Right? Get off my lawn. My husband, who’s in his mid forties, we were trying to order DoorDash the other day and it wasn’t working. And I said, okay, well, can you call the taco place? And he says, no, no, no, we’ll just get pizza instead. And I’m like, babe, I want tacos. Like, just call. Right. He, by the way, he’s in sales for a living. Ah.
HP (25:19):
Not an introvert. Funny. So we’re, we’re all facing this, right? Yeah. And, and where I think it’s important to understand is it’s not changing anytime soon. Mm-Hmm. . So we have to now create what you and I had the opportunity to have more naturally, we have to be more intentional to find those opportunities now.
AJV (25:36):
Yeah. I think that’s so good. And I think it’s like anything, it’s like if the more you do it, the better you get at it. Right. And it’s like, the more it does just become that. So let’s talk about these in a couple of different ways here, because I, I love what you said, and I’ve kind of have like a few questions that I wanna make sure we get to through this interview. And I, you know, my job is to keep us on time, which I’m not always so good at , but it’s like, I love, like one of you, one of the things that you have said is like, awkwardness can be one of the greatest brand assets that you have. And I’d love to kind of dive into that, of, there’s one thing of going, you know, there might be someone listening, going, yeah, I’m awkward. There’s a lot of people are listening going, no, I don’t wanna be awkward. Right, . Yeah. And it’s like, but maybe there’s some benefit to it. So let’s talk about like, what are some of the, you know, the perks and benefits of embracing our awkwardness.
HP (26:25):
Yeah. I love that you started to touch on it when you were talking about, you know, the, the way we show up on these social channels. So the thing about social, or let’s just call it like our digital presence in, in brand world, is it’s asynchronous, meaning we don’t get to mess up and then quickly get the response response from a mess. It kind of trickles in right? With like likes and comments. And it’s all this slow different timeline type of experience. But what happens to be universally true is, you know, there is, I think, a greater skepticism towards the performance that happens, especially online. Totally. So in the, in the book, I have a, a line, you know, we’re either awkward or we’re performing Mm-Hmm. , there really isn’t an in-between, right. We’re, if we’re, if we’re perfectly on on point, that’s okay. I’m not against perfection, but just understand that if you are coming out as a human, perfect, then you’re performing.
HP (27:16):
Otherwise we’re in that awkward potential of something, you know, going un unexpectedly awry. So where there’s opportunity here is knowing that our audiences generally are holding up a little bit of skepticism about the highlight real world. The perfect, you know, we’re always on, we’re always getting it right. There is enormous opportunity in life’s natural and inherent awkward moments to create a literal espresso boost of loyalty from our, our clients, the people that we serve. So, example, Cheryl Sandberg, when she wrote Lean In, you know, again, hailed by many as a great book, and she’s very quickly been catapulted as a thought leader of our time. But it was very quickly criticized by many because it was out of touch, or really only for the privileged. Now for Sheryl Sandberg that had the potential to be very embarrassing, very awkward. Here she is trying like hell to advocate for women in a wave of people, or telling her she’s out of touch.
HP (28:15):
She doesn’t understand. She could have ignored it. She could have shut down. You know, that there’s a lot of ways she could have gone. But instead she not only heard the criticism, she named it, she named it out loud. And she continued to then incorporate what she was learning and hearing in the areas where she fell short in this conversation, into her future, talks into her future content, into her keynote, which made even those who kind of were, let’s call it early haters of the work, all of a sudden come on board because of the way she handled that awkward situation, it could have been, again, a huge derailment to the message she was trying to create. And instead she used it as a force for good. Mm. There’s hundreds of examples of similar, but when we have those moments, what are we going to do with them? Because it can either become something that shuts you down, or we can look for that gift in the garbage and use it as an opportunity to rise up further and faster than we did before.
AJV (29:09):
Yeah. You know what, and that’s such a mindset, right? Because it’s like Mm-Hmm. , you are gonna do one of those two things. It’s like, you’re gonna be so embarrassed. Yeah. And, you know, so ashamed or, you know, so whatever. It’s like, it’s like, I’m, I’m done, I’m out. Right? I’m gonna turn off my social media block all the comments and I’m gonna go hide for a few weeks. Yeah. Or it’s like, yeah, let’s talk about that. Yeah. Right. And let’s learn from it and let’s grow and change from it. So I’d love to hear from you. It’s like, what does it take for someone to build that mindset? Mm-Hmm. who you can kind of become, not not embarrassment proof, it’s like we all feel moments of embarrassment, but you’re able to go, well, that was embarrassing. Yeah. And yet, here I come, right? Yeah. I’m still moving. So what are some things that we can do to help build that? Because I think that’s a lot of what people really struggle with. It’s like they want to be seen in this certain way, and it’s like, yeah, but there’s all these other things that are naturally gonna happen along the way, and when they don’t go right, they just kind of fall apart.
HP (30:08):
Yeah. There, there’s a couple pieces of research that are really helpful here that shaped my thinking around this. One of my favorites is from psychologist Elliot Aaronson. This was decades ago that he noticed something called the Pratfall Effect. So what I am not suggesting is that you currently, you know, in your spaces, step in it on purpose to make yourself feel more relatable. Right? I’m not telling you to go spill coffee all over your lap and you’re next, you know, LinkedIn live. Please don’t do that. But what I am saying is that what the research shakes out is if you are generally someone who appears competent, intelligent, smart, capable, if you generally most of the time come across as someone like that, and you occasionally say the wrong thing, step in it, embarrass yourself, have an awkward moment, it actually does not hurt you. In fact, what the pratfall effect tells us is that people like that, what it actually does is it kind of knocks you down a little bit off the pedestal that we put you on and makes you one of us.
HP (31:08):
Mm-Hmm. , it makes you human and relatable. And if you can just stay in that for a moment and go, well, wasn’t proud of that, that didn’t quite go, you know, how I planned, or I didn’t say that the way I wanted to, it actually can create an even deeper level of loyalty. So I’ll just give a specific example. You know, on a LinkedIn, or I’m sorry, an Instagram story recently, I think I used the term something about my tribe, and I am trying to be just more thoughtful. Again, everyone’s got their own tolerance, but understanding that that’s a term that is, you know, sort of owned by indigenous people. And there’s a lot of other ways to say it. My squad, my crew, and I wasn’t happy with my word choice and I could have left it, and a few people, you know, wouldn’t have cared and maybe nobody would’ve cared.
HP (31:52):
But for me, that felt like a misstep that I wanted to address. So it wasn’t terribly difficult to say, you know what, I, I wish I didn’t use that word. Right. And that’s just something I’m being mindful of. No judgment, you know, everybody else is on their own journey. But I got I think, 20 messages in response to my follow up, just saying, Hey, I appreciated watching you do that in real time. I love that. Right. I appreciated just you, you figuring that out real time and sharing it with us. Same thing with book things that went sideways, things that didn’t work out. You know, again, these embarrassments can end up being the thing that create the loyalty that nothing else can create that quickly. How many of those can we lean into? Mm-Hmm. .
AJV (32:30):
Mm. I love that. It’s, you know, I just, I jotted this down as a reminder to myself. It’s like your reactions are just as important as your actions. Yeah. You know, know, and it’s like, sometimes it’s the way that you react to the thing. Mm-Hmm. that will create, well, I guess one, it’s, it’s a little bit of that authenticity factor, but more than that, it’s that humanizing factor. It’s like, Hey, I appreciate that. And I don’t see that very often. Right? Yeah. It’s embracing this thing that I’m like, oh, I wish I, that didn’t happen, but let’s talk about it versus brushing it under the rug.
HP (33:01):
Yeah. And I think just the, the second thing I’d add to this is, you know, we just heard that the word of the year was authenticity. Right? Merriam Webster said the year. And a lot of people are like, yes, I love that. I can’t wait to be more authentic. And yet they are still trying so hard to be perfect in their videos, in their posts. And what I remind them is, you can’t get to authenticity without stumbling through awkwardness first. There isn’t a path there awkwardness. And the messy middle is the journey to authenticity. And what I’m not asking again, is for you to falsify it. But what I am asking is don’t keep the curtain shut during those moments. Just let people in and trust that as long as you are generally, again, doing a good job in your other spaces, you generally show up as prepared in care of the people that you serve. That believe it or not, people will not hold it against you. In fact, it has the inverse effect. Mm-Hmm. as long as you’re setting the right foundation the rest of the time.
AJV (33:57):
Yeah. You know, I love that. And actually, you know, made me think of something I think my husband does amazing things in lots of areas, but one of the things that Rory does really well is, you know, he learned the art of this at a really young age. You know, he started speaking when he was like 18 to high school groups, but in his early twenties, I remember him teaching other, you know, young speakers these comeback lines. Mm-Hmm. . And the comeback lines were, this is what happens if the audio goes down. This is what happens if no one laughs. This is what happens if, and it was like immediately he was like, this is how, and now what I hear you saying, it’s like what he was doing is like, this is how you embrace the awkward. Right? Yeah. And be prepared for it, embrace it, know it’s gonna happen At some point, be ready for it. And if you’re ready for it, then it turns something that could have been so off-putting into something that’s quite honestly quite hilarious. Yeah.
HP (34:50):
I love that you made this connection. Yeah. ’cause one of the, the last chapter of the book, we talk about using kind of improv skills to tolerate and embrace awkwardness. And it’s exactly what you’re describing. It’s understanding that uncertainty is going to come, are you building the muscle to tolerate it? And again, you don’t have to take an improv class. In fact, let’s start small. The next time you’re at a coffee shop, leave your headphones out. Right. See what happens if you catch someone’s eye the next time you’re in the supermarket line, leave your phone in your pocket. Yeah. See what happens if you catch someone’s eye an elevator, don’t hammer the closed door button shut. See what happens if someone walks in and you make a quick conversation. We have to intentionally now create these little moments to practice being in social uncertainty. Mm-Hmm. . Or we will never tolerate somebody not laughing at our joke. We’ll never tolerate somebody shouting us, you know, heckling us in the audience. If we don’t build social reps in the small moments, the big moments are gonna be extra painful. You
AJV (35:45):
Have to build up disastrous. You know, it’s so funny, as you said, as you mentioned improv. I’m like, oh my gosh. During this exact same time period, Rory was taking standup comedy lessons. . I love it. Like he totally learned this in standup comedy. I’ll tell you, going to watch him in standup comedy, that was awkward. I was awkward that that was awkward. That was awkward for me. But it was like one of those things he was like, I’m gonna do this so that when I’m on stages, I’m prepared.
HP (36:13):
Nothing will phase him anymore. Yeah.
AJV (36:15):
And it’s so true. And, but I Mm-hmm. You know, it’s like I totally connect the dots as you were talking about that. And I don’t know why I had a 20 year flashback, but I’m like, oh, that’s what that was.
HP (36:25):
He’s ahead of his time. I
AJV (36:27):
Love that. So, okay, so my next question is how do you monetize this? Right? And it’s like you have this whole idea of like, you can monetize your missteps. Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. So I, I wanna talk about that because I got lots of awkwardness. So how, how do I turn that into some sort of monetization idea? Yeah.
HP (36:46):
Again, I am so just tickled and grateful and thankful and humbled by the last few years. But I will tell you one of the biggest pieces of feedback I get after a keynote is, gosh, Henna you’re so relatable. Hmm. You’re so approachable. You’re one of us. And I’ll tell you, it’s as simple as naming my fops out loud, excuse my language. Right? Like the, the things that I’m teaching, I don’t start with what went well. I start with how I royally screwed it up a million times. Often on a stage, I will say, you know what, I meant to explain this graph differently. Rewind. Let’s try that again. Right. I will, I will have very natural moments of brain fart. I went blank. I meant to explain that differently. Or someone will, you know, respond. If it’s a small group in a way that I didn’t expect, I don’t run away from that.
HP (37:34):
Or I, you know, shy away, I actually run in and say, you know, I didn’t expect you to say that. So let’s talk about this a little more. Tell me more about what you mean by that. But I lean into what in many cases would create a, oh my gosh, I don’t, I don’t appear like an expert anymore. I don’t appear what I’m talking about anymore. And people are so afraid to do that because they’re afraid it’s going to diminish their, you know, perception of expertise. But again, I’m here to tell you that if you generally are well prepared, well rehearsed, well thought out the rest of the time, those couple of instances are actually going to give you feedback of, oh, you’re so human. Mm-Hmm, , you’re so relatable. You’re so, so approachable. Which has been a catalyst for my repeat bookings. We like people that get it. So getting it ke keeping the awkward alive is, is a, is a moneymaking opportunity if you let it,
AJV (38:23):
You know, and I think that’s a, I think that’s a huge part of it, is that, you know what I said, what you said there that I think it’s really important is relatable. And that doesn’t matter if you’re a speaker, an author, small business owner you know, a startup. It doesn’t matter if you’re a salesperson, a doctor, a physician. It’s like, my gosh, we all want someone who, it’s like, do you get me? Because this conversation, like, I feel like I’m so dumb right now. Like, I don’t even know what words, you know, I, we were at a restaurant here lately, and I’m like, I feel so dumb asking this, but I don’t know anything that you just said,
HP (38:54):
. Like,
AJV (38:55):
What is that and how is that cooked? And it was like, Rory, Rory on purpose always is like mispronouncing things on purpose to embarrass me. And you know, it’s like, you know, ve he’s always like, verts. Oh,
HP (39:10):
,
AJV (39:10):
Stop saying that. But it was like, we were at this restaurant and I’m like, I literally dunno what anything is. I’m like, you were talking too fancy right now. And it was like, I was like, in that moment, I felt so out of place in this restaurant Mm-Hmm. And I’m like, this is like too much. I cannot handle this. And he was like, you wanna leave? And I’m like, kind of Mm-Hmm. I’m like, if I can’t tell what is on the menu and the servers having to explain to me what all these things are, I’m like, this’s too much. But I think there’s a lot of that of going, like, it literally did create like a physical reaction of like, I’m, I’m not comfortable here. Like, I’m not enjoying myself anymore. I feel so dumb that I just had the ask all these things.
AJV (39:53):
Like, why couldn’t there just be a little bit more of like, the everyday person who eats food’s gonna come in and wonder what is all this stuff that we’ve put on this menu? And it was like, literally I was like, like we almost got up and left and Roy was like, beg just the food’s gonna be good. Right, right, right. But it’s like one of those things, it’s like a hundred percent of it was like, I felt so out of place because Mm-Hmm. like, does anyone else know what this is? It’s this just me. Yeah. And that, it’s that relatability factor. It’s like, how often do we use our expertise to help us sound more credible? But what we’re really doing is creating this huge chasm between us and our audience. And they’re going, well, she’s too smart. Like, yeah. I don’t even know what she’s talking about. And I’m, and I’m too afraid to ask ’cause I don’t wanna look dumb. So now I’m just sitting here going, what is going on? Mm-Hmm. What is happening? And I think that happens all the time. People just don’t talk about it. Yeah.
HP (40:44):
What I love about your story is in those moments, like most of us would think, gosh, everyone must feel read on my face. What I’m feeling like the server must realize that I am just so uncomfortable right now. Everybody around me must realize. But awkwardness is sneakily one of those emotions that you’ll always feel it 10 x mm-Hmm. 20 x more than anyone else is seeing it on you. I remember the first time at my public speaking training, I got up and talked in front of my peers, my knees were knocking, my hands were shaking. And I’m thinking, everyone can see this. And I got down and I’m like, you could see my knees. Right. And they’re like, what was, what was going on with your knees, ? What was going on with your knees? And so this is the spotlight effect, right? Everyone is paying closer attention to our missteps, our knocking knees, our, I don’t understand the menu when that’s just not the reality. They’ve already thought about themselves. They’re already back to their next table, their next whatever. And this is preventing us from trying things and taking the risks. So just that awareness is really good. As we think about what are we gonna try to do next? Maybe you’ll go back to the restaurant, maybe you won’t, but you did it and you survived. And you’re here to tell the tale.
AJV (41:49):
I’ll tell you, I’ll not be going back.
HP (41:51):
. You don’t have to, you don’t have to.
AJV (41:54):
I need to know what the words on the menu are in fair, fair you know, but it’s like, but it it still come back. It’s like relatability factor. And it’s like, the truth is what we discovered is we were not their audience. Yeah. And that’s okay. They’re it’s okay. You know, and that’s okay. But it’s like, if you know who your audience is, then you gotta speak language. They understand
HP (42:13):
You wanna go where they have green, green beans. Yeah. , that’s what
AJV (42:16):
I need to know. I don’t need these fancy, fancy French words. But it’s like, I think a lot of that has that relatability factor, right? And it’s like if clients are saying, Hey man, you’re so relatable, but that’s telling you it’s like, these are my people.
HP (42:27):
Yeah. Yeah. And
AJV (42:29):
So that’s identify
HP (42:30):
Yeah. Agree. And I think, you know, the, the best part of all of this is it actually takes less effort. It takes less effort to let some of this fall off some of this armor of perfection and Mm-Hmm. , you know, one of the best compliments I receive from a branding standpoint, and it really makes my heart saying, every time I hear it, they say, Henna, you’re the same on a keynote stage as you are on your LinkedIn posts, as you are on your website, as you are at happy hour with your friends. Now granted happy hour probably has a few more curse words and some other, you know, inappropriate jokes. But other than that they’re like, he, it’s crazy. You’re the same person and all those places. And I can’t help but think that’s crazy. That’s crazy to people. That’s just be you. It’s a lot less work to be the same you in all the places, but it requires letting go of some of this element of performance.
AJV (43:17):
Yeah. So let’s talk about that for a minute. So how do we do that? ’cause I think that’s a fascinating thing, especially with, you know, the emergence of, you know, technology and social media and my gosh, now AI and all of the things where I’m like, is that, is that you or is that a fake deal? Yeah. Like, I dunno. And it’s, I think a lot of it has to do with, it’s like, I, I want to get the same person at coffee that I see on social media and often it it, they are different, right? Yeah. I’ve got this continual hangup about meeting people that I really admire. I’m like, I just don’t want them to be different. Right? Yeah. So from afar, I think I know who they are. Yeah. And it’s like, but it’s because so often they don’t match.
AJV (43:58):
Yeah. And so what, like, what causes that? And, and I think what can we do to go, man, we can be the same in all the places. ’cause At the end of the day, that’s what we all want. Yeah. We wanna know that the person online is the person on stage, and the person on stage is that’s who they are at home. That’s who they are behind closed doors. We don’t want these, you know, Dr. Jekyll, you know Mr. Hyde Mm-Hmm. personas. And so I think one I’d love to talk about, like what causes this weird phenomenon of like, you have a stage persona. You know, you’ve heard people say that and it’s like, you should not have a stage persona. Yeah. You just need your persona. And then how do we fix that?
HP (44:36):
Yeah. So what causes that is there’s an interesting piece of research I talk about that it speaks to this idea of catering. So what a lot of speakers, authors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs do is they try very hard to cater to their audience. So their definition of catering, there was a study done by Harvard Francesca Gino and her team catering essentially means presenting or speaking or writing in order to meet other people’s expectations. Hmm. What do you think your audience wants from you? And then you do that, right? And we think that’s going to make us more successful when we cater to other people’s expectations. That’s gonna make us more likable, more successful, more desirable, when in fact the research shakes out that that is not the case and it’s a lot more exhausting to cater. So they did a, a pitch study actually with entrepreneurs.
HP (45:24):
There was entrepreneurs pitching to investors for funding. And the entrepreneurs who catered to the investors essentially presented what they thought the investors wanted to hear. Were one third, I’m sorry, two thirds less likely to get the funding versus the one third who kind of came in passionate, organic, raw, stumbles, fumbles, blunders, and all that. Third was more likely to get the funding. So catering not only does not help your leadership or your persuasiveness or your influence, in fact it hurts it. And you collapse into bed at the end of the night because you’ve been wearing this mask of someone that you’re trying to be for other people. And so what we can do to overindex on that is to just try to be really honest with ourselves. Is this what we actually wanna say? Or are we saying it because it’s what we were told other people wanna hear? And we can also just monitor our energy levels. At the end of the day, if you’re pooped at the end of the day as a content creator, as an influential brand leader, think about why Mm-Hmm. . Is it because you’re catering? Because if you are, you’re gonna be pooped. If you’re coming from an authentic place of what you actually wanna say, you’re more likely to feel energized. How do you feel at the end of the day? Do that assessment? Start from there. Mm.
AJV (46:36):
I think that’s so good. It’s that whole thing. It’s, I it is so much more work. It’s like, okay, I think this is what they wanna hear. So I have to Mm-Hmm. , you know, put everything through this filter to accommodate that versus just saying the thing.
HP (46:50):
Right. And making adjustments along the way, you know? Yeah. If you say the thing and it’s not for them, guess what? You’re not likely to end your career there. Make adjustments along the way. . Yeah.
AJV (46:59):
And that’s the thing. There’s an audience for anything. And an audience for anyone. You just have to find yours.
HP (47:03):
Exactly.
AJV (47:04):
Exactly. I love that. But it’s, and it’s true. ’cause It’s like when you’re trying to fit the mold of whatever you think it is, it is more work. Yeah. It’s so much more work
HP (47:14):
And the mold changes. Yeah.
AJV (47:16):
Yeah.
HP (47:16):
You know, our audience is shapeshift constantly the mold, all of a sudden the goalpost like, oops, it’s not there anymore. And here we are trying to chase a target that is, is a kind of fool’s errand.
AJV (47:27):
All right. So I have just a couple of last minute things that I’m just curious to get your thoughts on. So what, what would you say for the person who’s listening, who’s going, man, I avoid embarrassing moments, awkward moments at all costs. Because I don’t rebound quickly and it does affect me mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically. What would you say to that person who is going, I mean, I listened to this, but I’m going, that makes me wanna cringe the thought. Mm-Hmm. of letting my failures out into the public or the person who’s going, like, that’s good and all, but that would never work in my workplace. Yeah. Like if I actually made a mistake, I’d be fired. Like, what would you say to that person who is kind of like filling their head with those sorts of thoughts?
HP (48:15):
Yeah. So awkwardness, embarrassment, cringe. They’re human, universal emotions. So I hope to a degree, everyone listening to this is like, oh boy, she’s having me lean into this. This is gonna be uncomfortable. Yes, it is. And the moment you realize that it is not something avoidable and that it is not something we can run from, is the moment you’ll at least start prioritizing your response to it. So it’s not that you’re never gonna feel it, you are, it’s just are you hooked by it? Are you ruminating? And more importantly, is it freezing you from raising your hand the next time from trying the post the next time? Is it paralyzing you from taking those micro risks you need to take in this current market to stand out, to be a leader, to be provocative, to be someone different if it’s preventing you than it needs reexamination if it’s not preventing you.
HP (49:04):
Some people own their awkwardness. They’re like, I’m awkward. I say awkward stuff. And here we go. Right? They’re, they’re comfortable. Know which one you are. And then the second thing I would tell you is that it is not just an awareness thing, it is a conditioning thing. So I’m not saying your first at bat is put up a really, you know, provocative or potentially controversial post and let that be your first effort. How about start with, you know, calling your dinner in tonight at the restaurant instead of using the app. Right? How do you start small? How do you create opportunities for uncertainty in your social environment so you can start to build up slowly? That tolerance for when something goes sideways, if you don’t create any opportunities in the small moments, every big moment is gonna feel like that much more of a disaster when it doesn’t go the way that you ex expect. Create opportunities in the small moments. Hmm.
AJV (49:55):
I love that. To, you know, and that’s the thing. It’s like with anything, it’s like take the small steps, but I love that it’s like to create opportunities for uncertainty. Mm-Hmm. And I think most people are trying to avoid uncertainty at all costs. Yeah. But you’re saying no, find it. Right. Even if it’s as small as picking up the phone and calling. But find those moments for uncertainty to build that muscle.
HP (50:21):
Yeah. If we don’t, then taking small risks is never going to feel okay. And as people building brands, we have to,
AJV (50:29):
Okay. Last question. You mentioned it’s like you can, em you can embrace this idea of good awkward to expand your brand. Mm-Hmm. , what do you mean by that? And how do we do it?
HP (50:41):
Just, you know, every time you have one of those moments where you’re like, this post was a flop, this podcast, I said something dumb. Right? It’s okay to do that. I just wanna ask you don’t run away from it. See what might happen if you actually even put a little bit of a spotlight on it. Right. And so in the case of the, the tribe comment, not only did I not ignore it, I actually raised it to the forefront and made it a conversation. So your missteps, your fumbles, your stumbles, they’re going to happen. Not everything requires a spotlight. Mm-Hmm. , but carefully and selectively with good judgment, choose which ones might actually move your brand conversation forward. Because believe it or not, life gives us plenty of fodder. Oh, good. It just depends what we wanna do with it.
AJV (51:27):
Oh, that’s so good. And I love that it’s not like, Hey, tell everyone every embarrassing thing No. That you said or you did, but it’s like, Hey, don’t ignore these awkwardness that happens in life and don’t ignore your missteps, but, you know, discern with discernment. Decide which one of those would actually help you expand your brand, connect with your audience. And for those, put a spotlight on ’em. Mm-Hmm. , humanize yourself and let people know. It’s like, you know, these, these things happen to me too.
HP (51:57):
Yeah. Yeah.
AJV (51:59):
I love that. And I think that so much of this is about you know, in my filter, this is about relatability, which I think is a key to trust. It’s a key to building strong relationships, which you can build without actually ever meeting anyone in person. But so much of that just comes with like, I know that I’m getting the real person. Yeah. Right. And it’s like
HP (52:21):
When someone says, Henna I feel like I know you and they’ve never met me. That feels like, you know, a tick in the win column, because that means I’m giving enough of all of it to my branding efforts. And the good news is all it requires is me not stopping it. Mm. Just letting it, letting it come out.
AJV (52:40):
I love that Henn.
New Speaker (52:41):
a. If people wanna connect with you, follow you, learn about you, where should they go?
HP (52:46):
Thank you. It’s henna pryor.com. I’m Henna Pryor on LinkedIn and Instagram. I love to make new friends, even if it feels awkward to reach out, do it anyway. And the book is good, awkward and good awkward.com has more details. It’s everywhere books are sold.
AJV (52:59):
I love that. So henna pryor.com. I assume people can get all their social stuff there. And then if you wanna check out the book, which you should check out the book, I think this is one of those, again, universal topics that applies to all of us, all stages of life, all stages of business. And for, for that, go to good awkward.com. Henna, this was awesome. I loved it. I love having conversations like this. I love meeting new friends. And for everyone listening, stay tuned to the recap episode, which will be coming up next. And I will see you next time on the influential personal brand.

Ep 459: 5 Steps for Coaches to Help Other People Create Breakthroughs | Michael Bungay Stanier Episode Recap

RV (00:00):

RV (00:43):
What does it take to be a great coach? How do you coach somebody else to create peak performance? How do you actually help another person have a major breakthrough in their life? That’s what we’re gonna talk about today. I’m gonna share with you my little five step formula for helping somebody else have a massive breakthrough in their life. And this comes from the fact that I have coached hundreds of top producers, top performers, ultra performers, some of the most influential people in the world, right? If you look at some of my one-on-one clients, I have coached people who are like the number one realtor out of 76,000 agents. I’ve coached people to the world championship of public speaking. I’ve coached New York Times bestselling authors, I’ve coached billionaires and, you know, multiple billionaires and several hundred millionaires. I have coached some of, of the elite kind of performers and business professionals on the planet.
RV (01:45):
And one of the things that I’ve learned, and I think a part of why I often get hired by these, you know, elite business performers or people who want to become elite, is because I have really over the years, learned a lot about the psyche of what it takes to create a breakthrough for someone else. And that’s just what I wanna share with you. So it’s really simple. The first thing before I get into the five steps, what you first must know is that the reason why most people don’t have major breakthroughs in their life is not because of logical or technical limitations. It’s because of emotional and mental limitations. Let me say that again. Make sure you get it right. The reason that most people don’t have big breakthroughs in their life is not because of logical or technical limitations. It’s because of emotional and mental limitations.
RV (02:47):
Meaning, if, if somebody is going to become an, an ultra performer, right? That’s my term that we use and take the stairs or a multiplier to use a term from my second book, there is somebody who has an exponential change in their results, an exponential change in their outcome. It usually doesn’t happen from learning a tactic. It’s not that they go, oh, oh, there’s some hack that I just needed to learn, and now all of a sudden my, you know, my results are gonna explode. It’s because of an emotional or a mental breakthrough that must happen. And so I’m gonna walk you through this five step process. I’ve never created a piece of content like this before, so I’m so excited to be sharing this with you because as I, as I, you know, listened to the, the interview with Michael Bungay Stanier, and you know, such a great interview.
RV (03:39):
And he, he’s such a, such a successful guy in the book. His book sells really, really well. And I was thinking going, wow, I’ve never actually talked about what are some of the things that I try to do to help my coaching clients create breakthroughs. And of course, this is something I try to do with myself as I coach myself as well. So, how do you have, how do you help somebody have a huge mental or emotional breakthrough or pivot or change that allows them to have the big breakthrough in their life? So here’s this little five step process. So number one, the first step is you have to listen for their limiting beliefs. Listen for their limiting beliefs. So you know, part of what I loved about this conversation with, with MBS, Michael Bunge Stanier that we had, and part of what I love about coaching in general, right?
RV (04:32):
The premise of coaching is interesting in true coaching. The true coaching model is to believe that not the coach doesn’t have the answer that the, you know, the student has the answer. And it’s sort of like Socratic ma method based on Socrates, which is that a great coach is supposed to ask questions, and that the, the answer is revealed to the student by the student as you sort of ask questions. And part of me really loves that and agrees with that. Part of me also goes, my coaching style’s not that way. You know, I ask a lot of questions and I try to help people get to the answer quickly. And if they’re not getting it, I, I wanna like tell ’em what it is. You know, if, if we can, if we can see it, and if, if we are, if something is revealed through the conversation that points to the answer, not that we have all the answers or that I have all the answers, but that we can see what their answer is.
RV (05:25):
And this is what is so key about coaching, which I don’t think people understand. It’s not that we have a one size fits all answer that we can just go, oh, tell me your problems. I’ll give you the answer. It’s not out of our expertise necessarily. Although in our particular area of personal branding and personal brand strategy, we have a very, very, you know, robust set of curriculum and content. But even inside of that, it’s not that we have the right answer. It’s, it’s all about finding the right answer for the client at that specific moment. And the best way to do that is to listen for their limiting beliefs. So how do you listen for somebody’s limiting beliefs? It’s very simple. First of all, you gotta understand what a limiting belief is. And then I’ll, I’ll share with you some triggers for this, right?
RV (06:15):
So what a limiting belief is, is their quote unquote true story. I’ll call this a true story. It’s not actually true, but in their mind it’s true. You’re listening for their, their true story about why they can’t do something or why they aren’t succeeding, right? Like, somebody, somebody. And, and so now let’s, let’s talk about that, right? So if, if somebody is talking, let’s say you’re coaching them and they say, yeah, you know, gosh, I would, I would love, I’d love to get in better shape this year, but it’s just like, it’s just not possible with a toddler. There’s just no way that can happen. So right there is, is I go, I can, I have this like, mental trigger that goes, ah, that’s their limiting belief. They just spoke it out loud. And people do this all the time. If you listen, you’ll hear when someone you’re talking to says out loud, they won’t hear it.
RV (07:13):
But if you have a keen ear, you have to train your ear for this is, you’ll go, ah, they just spoke their limiting belief. How do I know that? Because they just spoke out something that they believe is true about why they can’t do something else, right? They’ll say, oh, well, I couldn’t do what that person did because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh, that’s a limiting belief. Or, you know, I’ve always been taught that you can never, you know, you can, you, you know, I’ll never be rich because I don’t believe in having debt. And, and everybody knows you need to, you need to take on debt to become rich. And it’s like, oh, so you’re listening for it, for you’re listening for their true story. It’s their rationalization, their justification, their explanation for why they can’t have something else. And that’s really key.
RV (08:04):
So you just gotta train your ear to listen for it, right? It’s their story. It’s something they believe to be true about why they can’t achieve something else. So that’s a huge, that’s like half of the battle right there is just being able to train your ear for it. Now, step two, in step two, I want you to call it out without singling them out. So what I mean by that is you want to, once you hear them say it, you wanna draw attention to it, but you don’t wanna make them feel stupid. You don’t wanna make them feel weak. You don’t wanna make them even feel wrong. So the the analogy that I think of for myself as a coach is I don’t wanna be a judge. I wanna be a mirror. I simply wanna hold up a mirror like a a, you know, a judge is determining right or wrong.
RV (09:03):
A judge isn’t a place of power. A judge is telling you you’re out of bounds. You know, you’re inbounds, you’re out of bounds. But a coach shouldn’t be a judge as much as they should just be a mirror to go, ah, let’s pause the conversation. Let me hold up, Amir, and I wanna reflect something back to you that I just heard. I just noticed that you said the reason you can’t do blank is because of blank. And so you just wanna reflect it back to them. And I want you as the coach to also encourage your client and for both of you to suspend whether or not that limiting belief is actually right. It might be true, right? It might be true that, you know, they, they literally go, oh my gosh, I’m involved in so many things. I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t, you know, I can’t lose weight this year because I’m so busy.
RV (09:55):
‘Cause I have so many things. You know, that might be true, but it might not be true. It might be that they still watch 20, you know, three hours a night of Netflix, and that actually if they carved out 15 minutes from their Netflix routine, they actually could get in better shape. But you’re not in step two, your job isn’t to judge them. Your your job isn’t to render an opinion on whether or not this is right. Your job is to reflect it to them to call it out, but don’t s them out, right? Like singling them out is when you, you know, you, you kind of like embarrass somebody publicly. That’s not what you wanna do. You just wanna call it out to say, Hey, I just heard something interesting about what you said. The reason why you can’t blank is because of blank.
RV (10:39):
That’s a huge, huge important step. Now, number three, step three, step three is I want you to give them a new belief. Give them a new belief. So here again, you don’t necessarily need to tell them that what they believe is wrong, but I would use language like th this, I would say, Hey, I wanna invite you to consider a new way of thinking about this. And I just want you to try on, I love that language. I just want you to try on this idea for a second, try on for a second that it actually is possible to get wealthy without taking on debt. I just want you to try that on. It may or may not be true, but I just want you to try on that thought. I just want you to try on that mindset, I just want you to try on that belief, right?
RV (11:43):
That’s kind of like how you have to think about it is going, I notice you’re wearing an old outfit, and I just want you to try this on. You don’t have to buy it. You don’t have to own it. It doesn’t have to become your favorite thing. You don’t have to commit to wearing this, you know, out in public, but like right now, I just want you to try this on. And I want them to try on the idea to try on the, the the thought. So you want to give them a new belief. It’s basically like install a new operating system, give them a new way of thinking about a, a possibly a new way of thinking about, or just an alternate explanation of, or an alternate perspective for thinking about the thing that they currently think is true and set and defined in some other way, right?
RV (12:31):
So you’re gonna give them a new belief to try on. Then step number four, step number four is to fill them with encouragement. Fill them with encouragement. Here’s how you fill somebody with encouragement. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna take this to a biblical term. Now, you, you may not be a Christian, you may not be in the bli. The you may not believe in the Bible. By the way, if you don’t, I would really encourage you to check out my other, I have a podcast that I created called Eternal Life, seven steps, or excuse me. It’s called Eternal Life. Seven Questions. Every Intelligent Skeptic Should Ask About Jesus of Nazareth, where we look at the historical logical and academic accuracy and scrutiny of the Bible and the story of Jesus. You could check that out, but you know, you don’t have to be a Christian to, to appreciate, I think this concept, which is that the word inspire is actually a biblical term.
RV (13:32):
It means to breathe life into, and the, at least in the, the, the biblical account for the creation of, of humanity, of, of men and women, is that God s spoke the world into existence, and then he breathed life into, into man. So there’s this connection between word and life and breath, right? And so that’s where the, the word inspire comes from. It’s to use your words to breathe life into other beings or into things or into creation. That’s really a huge part of coaching. Again, even if you don’t believe in, you know, the Bible or whatever, hopefully you can, you know, grasp the power of that concept, that your words give life to people. They can give life to people. So how do you fill somebody with encouragement? What does it mean to actually encourage somebody? How do you use your words in a way that makes somebody feel inspired, that makes someone feel alive, that makes someone feel encouraged?
RV (14:36):
Well, it’s super simple. Tell them, like articulate to the person what it is about them that most impresses you. That’s how you inspire someone, articulate, you know, tell them what it is about them that most impresses you. You say, oh, I’m so impressed at how smart you are, or how sharp you are, or how fast, or how good you are at this, or, or how savvy you are at this, or your skills at doing this, or why I, the reason I love being around you is because of your energy, or because you’re funny, or, you know, because you always make me think differently. Or because you are you know, such a challenging you, you, you, you, you’re a critical thinker or whatever. That’s how you breathe life into people. And one of my favorite quotes is that Mark Twain said, each man is my superior in some way, or each woman is my superior in some way.
RV (15:34):
I really believe that. I really believe that all of us have something to learn from every other person. And so those are the things that I’m constantly looking for people. And when you want to breathe life into them, when you wanna fill them with encouragement, all you’re going to do is articulate what it is about that person that most impresses you, or what it is that you have learned from that person, or what it is about that person that inspires you. You inspire me to be a better parent. You inspire me to be, to read more. You inspire me to be a better leader. You inspire me to be better in excel. You inspire me to, to, you know, keep better track of my money. You inspire me to write more handwritten notes. You inspire me to be more spontaneous. You remind me to be more grateful.
RV (16:19):
Like whatever it is about the person, that’s what you articulate, and that’s how you fill somebody with encouragement. The reason that this step four is so important in helping somebody break through their limiting beliefs is that when you establish, when, when you’re helping somebody break a limiting belief, when, when you’re helping somebody break through this limiting belief, the neuroscience of this is that you’re forming a new neural pathway in their brain. Remember what I said about their, their limiting belief in step one? It’s their true story about why they can’t do something or why they aren’t succeeding. Why makes it true? What makes it true is not that it’s actually true. What makes it true is that they have told themselves that again and again, and again and again, and the human brain does not delineate between true and false, right or wrong. The, the human brain does not know right or wrong just by itself.
RV (17:18):
You have to teach it what’s right and wrong through programming. You have to teach it what is true and false through programming. So when somebody has a limiting belief, that’s an operating system that is running. Another metaphor that I sort of use for this is that imagine you’re going on a hike through the woods. Your neural pathways are like the path that’s been formed. The reason that path has been formed is ’cause you have walked that path several times. You have decided that that is true. You’ve reinforced it over and over again. So in your brain, literally there is a physical neural pathway that has been performed. And so it’s easier for your brain to think things that it has always thought, or it is easier for your brain to think things that it has already been thinking because the neural pathway has already formed.
RV (18:06):
When you get to step three in this, where you give them a new belief and you, you know, after you listen for the limiting belief, and then you call it out, and then you give them a new belief to try on. What you’re doing there is, is you’re trying to go off the path that they’re currently on, and you’re trying to form a new path. Literally, that’s what’s happening in the brain. A new neural pathway, a new set of synapses firing, you know, between like these neurons in your brain. And, you know, the illustration here is, think of it as you’re hacking through the forest and you’re, you know, you have like a machete and you’re like having to chop down trees. It’s harder to walk down a new path because the new path isn’t clear yet. The new path isn’t established yet, the new path, it’s also slower to walk down the new path.
RV (18:52):
It’s not as familiar and it’s not as cleared, right? So anytime you’re trying to create a new belief, a new mindset, a new pattern of thinking, it’s slower and it takes more time. That’s why you have to fill them with encouragement. You have to fill them with encouragement. And that gives them the encouragement is what keeps them going down the new pathway. And it’s, it’s saying, I, I believe in you. I know you’re smart enough to figure this out because you’ve inspired me to do blankety blank, right? I, you know, I, I, I know that you’re capable of doing this. And I, I know that you have, you are, you have all the characteristics of other people who have been successful in this journey. I know you have what it takes to do this. There’s evidence in your life that you have it because you impress me and you inspire me, and you want me, make me wanna be better, right?
RV (19:45):
So I’m filling them with that encouragement. And then step five, step five, and this will seem a little bit, counter to what I said earlier, give them what I call the 10% tactical. The 10% tactical. Now remember what I, I said at, at the very start of this, which I will hold true to, which is the reason most people don’t experience breakthroughs is not because of logical or technical issues. It’s because of emotional or mental, you know, limitations. But technical tips give people confidence. Technical tips, give people encouragement. Technical things make people feel like they have a new tool to try. And so that gives them sort of the you know, the, the willpower or the strength or the discipline or the motivation to actually take action and walk down the new neural pathway. So the 10% tactical is just saying, rather than giving them a whole bunch of things to focus on, give them the one thing, right?
RV (20:53):
So this is kinda like a 2080 rule, like the Pareto principle of, you know, focus on the 20% that creates 80% of the results, except it’s even more narrow than that, is I want you to give them the one tactical thing that they should focus on between now and, you know, your next encounter, your next meeting with them to go. If you just do this one thing, I believe that you will, this will create a 90% change in your results. One of the things that I think coaches do is they give people too many action items, too many things to do all at once, right? Give them the 10%, the 10% technical meaning, what’s the one technical thing that is a small, you know, tweak of their current behavior, only a 10% tweak of their current behavior that is likely to be responsible for a 90% change in their behavior.
RV (21:46):
You know, when, when I’m evaluating speakers, one of the things that you know we’re doing is, is I, I coach some of the best speakers, you know, in the world. And when I’m coaching very high profile speakers, it’s like, I don’t give them a hundred things to do. I try to give them like, you know, even in an hour long speech, I’m trying to give them two or three things. And really one big thing to go the next time you go out, I want you to focus on this one thing, because that’s the 10% tactical, the, the, the, the tiny little bit that they can focus on. But if they do that one thing, they’ll have a 90% change in their outcome or their results. So there you go. There you have it. This is my secret, never before shared formula on how to be a great coach and how to create breakthroughs in other people.
RV (22:32):
So step one is listen for limiting beliefs, right? Listen for their story about why they can’t do something. Step two, call them out without singling them out. Be a mirror, not a judge, but reflect back to them, Hey, I just heard you say the reason you can’t X is because of y. You’re reflecting it back to them. Step three, give them a new belief. Give them a new belief system. I just want you to try on for a second. What if you actually could do blank in order to get blank, right? And, and now open their mind up to actually, maybe there is a way to pull it off. Step four, fill them with encouragement. Tell them what it is about them that impresses you most. And then step five, focus on the 10% technical. Give them the one technical tip, the one technique change, the one skill thing, the one pragmatic or practical behavior change that you want them to focus on that will reinforce this new mindset.
RV (23:31):
If you do those five steps again and again and again, you will create breakthroughs in your clients like they’ve never experienced. And as your clients have breakthroughs, that’s gonna build your reputation. And as we know, reputation precedes revenue. That’s why we’re here at Brand Builders Group to help you turn your reputation into revenue. So if you haven’t yet requested a call with our team, I hope you consider doing that. So we could talk about helping you do that and generate more reput or generate more revenue from your reputation. You could do [email protected] slash podcast. That’s all we got for this time around. We’ll catch you next time on the influential Personal Brand podcast.

Ep 458: The Coaching Habit with Michael Bungay Stanier

RV (00:02):
I’m so honored to introduce you to someone who I have found to be a delightful human full of really deep wisdom and just someone who’s been a real joy to be around. We ended up meeting each other at this bestselling author meetup, just a private meetup of colleagues that happened just a couple months ago, and I’ve started following him more closely since then. And now I’m bringing him to you and you’re gonna love getting to meet him. So his name is Michael Bunge Stanier. And he is most probably most popular for his book called The Coaching Habit, which is probably the bestselling book on the topic of coaching this century. I followed his book long before I met him because here’s what’s very unusual about his book. It sells a lot every single week. , most books sell a lot at first, and then they kind of like trailed down, you know, from there.
RV (01:02):
Yeah. And this book has not done that for years. It has been. It’s just like super consistent every week in and week out. Michael also founded a Box of Crayons, which is a learning and development organization and company that’s trained thousands of managers to be more coach-like in organizations. So this is companies like Microsoft Te Gucci teaching their leaders how to become better coaches. And when I met him, I was just like, oh my gosh. We have to introduce you to our audience, both to hear the story of how you built your personal brand, but literally, like all of us are coaches in some form or fashion. So anyways, Michael, welcome to the show, buddy. Oh,
MBS (01:42):
Look, I’m super excited. That was an amazing gathering in Nashville, wasn’t it? There was so many impressive people there, . I was like, there’s so much to learn, and it’s such a supportive community. I mean, it’s a real insight around, part of the way you, you continue to elevate is you continue to hang out with people who are ambitious and doing smart things and, and are generous. And the the generosity in that room was really amazing.
RV (02:07):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I feel the same way. And I, you know, whenever I’m in a room like that with colleagues, I am you know, proud to be there, humbled to be there and, and, and then really blown away by a lot of the people because I’m, I’m a reader first. I’m a student first. I’m a fan first. Right. And so I’m, I’m fangirling over a lot of the, a lot of the people even these days. Like a lot of our clients, I’m like, you know, I’m, I’m glad that we’re helping them, but I’m also like, still so excited to like, get to know them and meet them. And so I think this topic of coaching Yeah. Is super relevant. And can you just like, talk us through the, the, the premise of the coaching habit and like that, not just the book, but the body of work and like what that’s all about?
MBS (02:57):
Yeah. You know, I I was really sure I was gonna be a coach early on. You know, it felt like one of those, the saying inspiration is when your past suddenly makes sense. When I discovered coaching, I was like, oh, look, my whole past aligns around that. When I was 17, I did crisis telephone counseling and helping kind of youth anxiety and youth suicide and stuff like that. And so I’ve been learning how to ask questions and stay curious and, you know, sink deeper into what was going on since I was 17. And I heard about coaching when I was working and living in London. And of course part of me is like, it’s a weird Californian thing. ’cause This is like in the 1990s before it really blew up . And part of me is like, intrigued and, and I’m in London where we’re, you know, skeptical about everything, but a part of me was intrigued.
MBS (03:44):
And then when I moved to the States and lived in Boston, I hired a coach and I started telling my clients, my consulting clients, I was coaching them, whether I didn’t know what that meant. And then when I moved to Toronto in 2001, I’m like, I’m gonna start a coaching practice. And I did my training and, and I found I didn’t love being a coach. Hmm. It was very confusing. I grew a practice, I had lots of people, I’m like, this isn’t quite right for me yet. But I’d been invited by a, a big multinational to help design a coaching training for them. And I designed other training on other topics before, and suddenly something clicked around this, which is, oh, I want to un weird coaching for busy managers and leaders, because coaching has this, it comes with baggage and there’s a lot of kinda woowoo ness around coaching.
MBS (04:38):
You know, it’s kind of like, oh, it’s mysterious, it’s touchy feely. Everybody’s wearing caf, dans and lighting incenses, . You know, there’s a kind of, there’s a, there’s a bunch of stuff that people are like a bit suspicious about it. And I’m like, I was really clear that I think coaching can be an amazing technology to unlock people’s greatness, help ’em have more impact in the world. I didn’t love how it was being taught in the, in the ways I’d seen it. And particularly I didn’t think it was being taught well in organizations where often life coach training was just brought in. And like, we’ll just tell the managers the same stuff. Yeah. So the origin of this was like, I want to un weird coaching for normal people. So even though, you know, I’m, I’m kind of well known, I guess in in coaching circles, the people I’m really trying to serve are people outside coaching circles, which are people like, I need, look, I’ve got a team. I’m trying to lead them. I’m tapped out in the leadership skills that I have at the moment. And I, I, I have a sense that I, you know, my organization’s telling me to coach them, and how do I do that? And I’m like, let me show you as best I can so that you can read the book or hear the book or whatever, and go, oh, if that’s coaching, I can do that. And that’s the impact I was really trying to have. Mm-Hmm. .
RV (05:57):
And I remember being in college, you know, when I heard the word coaching, I used to think of, you know, for me it was, it was athletic coaches. I did martial arts and I had basketball coach. Right. And I, I, I thought I thought of it very much as like instruction and teaching. And, you know, then I was in the world championship of public speaking and I had coaches that, you know, they were giving me feedback and they were critiquing. But then when I was, when I was in college, I took a class on coaching and I very vividly remember them saying, coaching is not teaching. It’s only listening. It’s only asking questions. And like, the foundational premise was that the, the client has all the answers. Yeah. And so it was like a very Socratic method of like, your job is to only ask questions. And so even to this day, I’m still a little unclear on like what the proper definition of coaching is. ’cause A lot of my clients call me a coach, but I teach them what to do.
New Speaker (07:02):
Like I tell them, you know, so I don’t know if that counts. I,
MBS (07:06):
I, well, I get, I think you can get really hung up on these kind of technical definitions of coaching. Sure. So I have a behaviorally based definition, which is simply this. Can you stay curious a little bit longer? Hmm. Can you rush to action and advice giving a little bit more slowly? Because I think coaching involves teaching. I think it is partly a, like I, look, I’ve got scars, I’ve got wisdom , I, I, I’ve got stuff. I can tell you this. You know, some of the answers are not waiting to be uncovered within because they’re technical stuff that you learn in a different place. And I’ve got that wisdom, and you don’t yet have that wisdom. So I think it’s ridiculous to say, oh, coaching, you can only ask a question. But equally, I think if you think coaching is just telling people what to do, you fundamentally misunderstood one of the powerful ways to help people learn.
MBS (07:56):
Mm-Hmm. . ’cause What you’re help, what you’re, the goal in coaching is to help people generate new insights about themselves and about the world. You can do that by asking questions. You can do that by offering up learning, teaching advice is to actually help them shift their behavior so they do something differently as a result of it. It’s helped them to notice the impact. So they get feedback from their new insight and their new behavior. And then it’s to help them then move to, now what’s the new insight? Noticing that. So insight, action impact. And that’s the cycle of coaching. And how you get there depends on the person, depends on the context. Depends on the moment.
RV (08:35):
Yeah. And you know, in inside that definition, and it’s like, I don’t, you know, like brand Mild’s group, I actually don’t define it as a coaching company, right? We are really a training company. We have curriculum, right? We’re putting people through processes exercises. Right. We’re certainly getting input, like to tailor it to what we’re doing doing, but it’s like, it’s not, and and to me that is very different from coaching of the idea of going ask questions to sort of help someone discover what Yeah. You know, their like I love the way that you said, I think the word that you, you said was it’s technical training. Yeah. Technical training is different from sort of a find the answer within type of a Yeah.
MBS (09:16):
Conversation. But there’s a, there’s a way that these two dance together. It’s not one or the other. I mean, if I was training you on, on your world championship speaking, you know, I, you could, you could give a talk and I could immediately jump in and go, right, Rory, let me, let me make some adjustments here. But it’s actually a more powerful lesson for me to go. So Rory, tell me before, I’ve got some ideas, but what do you think went well? What do you think your strength is? Where did you feel the weakness in, in the talk? What bit do you feel like you really need to focus on to kind of lift the level? And you figuring that stuff out is helpful for you. And it’s also then helpful for me to then go, right, let me take, I, I can figure out the advice that’s most useful for you.
MBS (09:59):
Like, even at the highest level of sport now, like the rugby world championships on rugby union. And if you, if you know it, you know, it’s a big thing. And if you know rugby union, you know that the New Zealand, all blacks are the team. They are the, they’re the most winningest team in sport. They have this unparalleled success record. They dominate this sport in a way that is incredible for coming from a tiny country. And the way these elite sports people are taught are part directed through questions. What are you noticing? What are you learning? What do you guys think we need to solve around here? And part technical intervention, which is like, here’s what we need to do differently around that. It’s both. And the bias that I’m looking to shift for people is start with curiosity and then know that teaching might be the thing that follows curiosity. ’cause That might be the most appropriate thing to do.
RV (10:55):
Mm-Hmm, . Yeah. And I think like you’re saying to the, to the context, I mean, there’s so much power in somebody realizing for themselves what, what, what the action is. I, you know, I also think about it in selling, you know when we teach like how to deal with objections, one of the things that we say is you are selling, if they’re talking, and that basically, it’s like, like the prospect. Your prospect only believes like 20% of what you say, but they believe a hundred percent of what you’re able to get them to say, .
MBS (11:30):
That’s great.
RV (11:31):
So if you, if you can ask the questions, if you can, if you can orchestrate the questions and engineer the questions in a way that the light bulb comes on for themselves as they’re talking, there’s, that’s like a, that’s a revelation that will be more influential than you just telling them what to, you know what to think. That’s
MBS (11:49):
Right. Because if you come in, if you lead with advice, and that’s what so many of us have kind of built in as our default, our default response. You know, somebody starts talking to you and after about 10 seconds, your advice monster comes up outta the dark and goes, oh, I’m gonna add some value to this conversation. Or just wait till they stop talking. ’cause I know what I wanna tell them. But if you, if you default to advice, the first thing you need to know is that the power in the relationship shifts. It’s like you go one up, they go one down. And when they’re one down, ’cause you’ve got the status, and they don’t, I know this answer. You don’t know the answer. People inherently resist advice sometimes even when they ask for it, they’re like, can you gimme some advice on that?
MBS (12:29):
Yeah. And yeah, , and I mean, just think of all the advice you’ve given and how little has been followed through on in your time. But if you can find a way for them to more specifically ask for it or figure some stuff out themselves, or for you to build on what they’ve already figured out, they’re just more likely to hear what you’ve got to say to them. So it’s not even, it, it’s like, it’s not even a, oh, I should always ask questions. It’s like, if I want my advice to land, leading with curiosity gives your actual advice a better chance of being more helpful and also acted upon. Mm-Hmm.
RV (13:02):
. Mm-Hmm. . Yep. It, it, it, there’s a part of it, like, especially I think when you’re managing quote unquote managing someone, right? I think it’s one thing if someone hires you to go, teach me a skill. Teach me, teach me Spanish. Right? Teach me how to do QuickBooks. Teach me, teach me how to paint. That’s very different from going, how do I manage my, my, my teammate to become a high performer? Or how do I have a conversation with my aunt, my aunt, aunt about how to change her life? Or how do I give advice to a friend who’s going through a tough time? And
MBS (13:43):
I think that’s true. But I’ll tell you this, Rory. You know, I, I’m, I am a teacher. Like I, you know, through my books and through my courses and the like, and something that, and knowing that there are coaches and teachers and, and people doing similar stuff who are building their own brand by building their own content one of my key design elements is what’s the least I can teach that would be the most useful. So part of that design philosophy is for me to not think that me just adding more value, more content, more information, more advice is actually helpful. Part of the discipline of being a great teacher is going, how do I strip it down to what’s essential? How do I give them the least of what I can do? And how do I create the most space for them to then interact with it, to play with it, to understand it, to deepen it? And one of the things that I see in less experienced teachers by teachers, you can be a facilitator or a coach or any other thing, is the sense of, I’ll just keep adding more content as a way of proving my worth. And the courage, the courageous act is to keep taking content out so that you shift you shift away to the audience’s interaction with your content. And it means you give up control, but you increase engagement and you increase learning.
RV (15:09):
Yeah. That reminds me of I’m pretty sure it’s Mark Twain who said that brevity is the essence of wisdom,
MBS (15:16):
Right? That’s right.
RV (15:19):
And it also takes, except
MBS (15:21):
He said it a little snappier than that. I’m kidding. As a .
RV (15:28):
But the, it, it also, it also, it takes more work to be able to say something concisely, but not to get away from your real point, which is to lead with, you know, to be curious, not necessarily to is So is being curious the same as just leading with questions?
MBS (15:46):
Well, I think, I think so. I mean, I think questions are the great, the great force of, of cur curiosity. So you know, it’s useful to understand that most of us have an advice monster, a driver to go look, the way I add value is I tell people stuff. And we have different things that, that advice monster feeds in us. Sometimes. It’s like, I like to just be the smart person, show my status, show that I have, prove that I’m adding value by the content I have. Sometimes it’s like, I like to be the person who rescues people. I like to save people. I like to be seen as a person who will protect everybody from everything and know everything. So nobody has to stress or worry. And sometimes it’s like, I just like being in control . And when I’m giving advice, I have the upper hand, I have control.
MBS (16:33):
But if you can understand that you’ve got a, a, a wiring and a bias to jumping in with advice, it’s deeply wired in your brain. Your brain loves certainty. And when you’re giving advice, even if it’s the wrong advice to solving the wrong problem, your brain is still going. But this feels quite good, . But when you ask a question, which your brain likes less, because it’s like when you ask a question, it’s a little more ambiguous for your brain. ’cause You’re like, is that a good question? Did they understand the question? Well, they have a good answer. What if they have a crazy answer that I don’t even understand? There’s a little moment of uncertainty, but then you shift the focus onto the person, you give them your full attention, it’s about them rather than about your status. And that’s when greatness gets unlocked.
RV (17:20):
And so is the, is the primary, you know, benefit of that, you’re saying to just that they’re more, they’re more likely to make a change in their life if they come to the realization themself? Is that the premise?
MBS (17:33):
Well, there’s a couple of premise behind it. The first is, if you leap in with advice too soon, quite often you’re not solving the real problem. You know, the one of the powerful questions in the coaching habit book is what’s the real challenge here for you? And the inside is the first challenge that shows up is not the real challenge. And when your advice monster is loose, you’re like, oh, that was the first challenge, and I’ve given you some advice that my work here is done. But your work here isn’t done because you’ve just offered up not very good advice to solve the wrong problem. So there’s, if you can become a, if you’re in a, in a leadership role, if you can become the leader who is known for figuring out what the real problem is, rather than having the fast answer, you become a much more revered, much more valuable person to the people around you.
MBS (18:23):
Because everybody’s got answers. Very few people have the discipline to say, what’s the real challenge here? What’s the hard thing? What’s the most important thing for us to solve? So part of it is like, can you figure out what the real problem is that that alone is, is gold dust? Secondly, it is absolutely true that if people figure out their own answers, they’re more likely to act on their own answers. So if you’d like people to do something differently, the more they can figure this stuff out themselves, the more they can make their own neural connections, you help them grow in competence and confidence and autonomy and self-sufficiency and all of that is good for them. But most of that can be really good for you as well, because you become more effective as a coach or as a manager or as a leader, because your people are like, I’m smarter. I’m more confident, , I’m better able to figure this stuff out myself. I mean, now less dependent on you as a leader, which means that you as a leader or whatever role you’re in, you can just get on with your own stuff.
RV (19:26):
So connecting this back to like, so I like, I I love this I love the application of this too, being a leader and a manager in Yeah. An organization. It, it, there’s also an element of this that to me feels like the more fam the the more familiar someone is with you, like the more, the closer you are in proximity, the more this feels important. Yeah. where it’s, it’s like your kids, right? Like they won’t, they don’t listen to you when you tell ’em to do stuff. They listen to somebody else. Yeah. Because you’re in such close proximity and, and the people you see every day that you’re leading on your team, it’s like eventually they just get tired of hearing you say the same thing over and over again. You know, when you look at it as, as being a coach that people hire, right? Mm-Hmm. And you go, they, they hire you. I think you, you, when you, you get into like the dance you’re talking about, about being curious, asking questions, but also typ, you know, I guess sometimes it’s like if, like for life coaching, I process this very much as like life, like a life coaching conversation. Yeah. If somebody is struggling, they don’t know why they feel blocked. They, they have low confidence. You know, a lot, lot of those are sort of these deep rooted issues.
RV (20:51):
If you look at like a different type of, you know, I’m a health coach or you know, something like that. Or like, I’m, I’m, I’m a, I’m an accountant who coaches people on their, on their, on their finances. Right?
MBS (21:07):
Certainly
RV (21:07):
There’s always that part of it. Like, what’s the real driving? How do you get them to change their behavior? Yeah. Like you’re saying it’s a behavioral model. This, this is like the, the getting them to modify the behavior is the part of it. Teaching them the what to do is a, is also part of it. So anyways, just any any tips on finding that balance, finding that dance, if you’re a hired coach Yeah. In, in those different kind of types of roles.
MBS (21:35):
So the starting point for me is when you are a coach in that role and you’re hiring your clients and you’re trying to figure out who your ideal clients are. Yeah. ’cause That’s part of the quest for success, is who do I best serve? Sure. you have a conversation with them at the start going, what does good coaching look like or sound like to you? let’s, let me tell you what it looks like. And it sounds like to me, and you actually have this conversation going, how do we talk about how we work together before we plunge into the work? Because, you know, if you’re a health coach, somebody shows up at your door and you’re like, right, , I’m go, I’ve got so much to tell you. I’ve got stuff about weight management. I’ve got stuff about diabetes. I’ve got stuff about exercise.
MBS (22:20):
I’ve got stuff about blood pressure. My, my head is filled with amazing content. And you’re like, I, and I’m so keen to prove my worth to you and add value because I’m, I want, I want you as a client and I’m driven by purpose around helping the world be healthier. So you’ve got all this motivation to get into the work, but the thing to do is, before you get into that work, ’cause it’s, it’s calling you, but it can wait a moment. If you look at your client in the eye and go, look, when you’ve worked with people before around your health and it’s been really helpful for you, what happened? What did they do? What did you do? And what can we learn from that? And now let me tell you my, when I’ve worked with people and I’ve coached them around health and it’s been really successful, let me tell you what happened, what they did, and what I did.
MBS (23:07):
And you actually have a conversation where you actually figure out what’s the best expression of our working relationship together. And a couple of things are gonna happen. One is you get to start educating your client around, this is how I work. Secondly is you’re like, you get to fire your client. ’cause You’re like, it seems like we don’t have a good fit here, even though it looked like we did on content because you got this health issue. And I know stuff about that health issue, the way we work is not compatible. And secondly, you go, right. So I think I understand what the balance is between how much curiosity and how much advice that that is best to strike in, in this circumstance. So there’s no generic answer to this, Rory, other than to say there’s a place for curiosity, there’s a place for advice on balance lead with curiosity. Because that will mean that when your advice shows up, it’s better directed, it’s more specific and it’s more likely to be solving the right, the, the real issue. But primarily it’s like whenever you are working with anybody, sit down and go, how will we work together?
RV (24:16):
Mm-Hmm. . So I wanna come back to the management like inside of a company like organization. Like a lot of the work you do with companies for a second. Yeah. You know, and I’m thinking about our team at Brand Builders Group and like, you know, we’ve got, we’re growing so fast that we have basically like a, a, a mid, a mid-tier level of management that’s developing. Mm-Hmm. And some of those are people who started with us and, and you know, they’re fairly young, but they’ve done so good and now they’re getting promoted. And so they’re in this new world of like, how do I manage and, and, and lead other people? You said something earlier in our chat that basically a lot of times people in corporate, you know, they have like a stigma about coaching. Like, oh, that’s woo woo or whatever. But then you show them this other thing and they realize, oh no, if that’s what you mean, I could do that. Yeah.
MBS (25:04):
What,
RV (25:04):
What is that switch there? What’s, what’s the thing, what’s the thing that they’re thinking now that gives them the stigma about coaching and what’s, what’s the way that they start thinking about it once they understand the coaching habit? Yeah.
MBS (25:17):
You know, in general there are five reasons why people resist coaching, certainly in organizations. So let me walk through the five points of resistance and offer a a counterpoint to those points. So the, the first is people go, I just don’t have time for this stuff. . I mean, I’d love to be coaching my people, but Rory’s a hard task master. I’ve got too much on my plate. My calendar’s already super busy. And you know, I know coaching is like this, what is it, 45 minute or one hour conversation. I can’t, I just, I mean, I’ve got a life. I can’t do that with my people. And I’m like, great. I agree. If you can’t coach in 10 minutes or less, you don’t have time to coach. So it’s like resetting this expectation around what coaching is. It can be a really fast conversation.
MBS (26:06):
In fact, at its best it’s five minutes or it’s 10 minutes. Hmm. And then the second point of resistance people go is, Michael still don’t have time to coach. Even if I could coach in five minutes or less , like my world is full and the gaps I’ve got in my calendar are for going to the bathroom, having lunch and doing all the other stuff that is urgent and important on, on my plate around this. I can’t add coaching to what’s expected of me in my company. And I’m like, great, if we’re trying to add coaching to what you’re already doing, we, we, we’ve lost. It’s just pouring water into a full glass. This is about transforming what you currently do so that you can be more coach-like in the way that you interact in your current interactions on email, in person, over Zoom, whatever it might be.
MBS (26:54):
It’s not adding it. You are not going, I need to now add coaching to everything I’m already doing. It’s like, be more coach-like in your current interactions. Then the third point of resistance people go is like, look, I don’t, look, I don’t wanna be a coach . I didn’t sign up to brand builders group to be a coach. I signed up to help people figure out what their essence was in the world, or help them drive their marketing or help understand their speaking position or help build their speaking business. You know, I’m a marketeer or I’m a sales person, or I’m a brand builder. I’ve got technical expertise that I’m working on. Don’t make me be a coach. And I’m like, great, I don’t want you to be a coach. There are lots of coaches who want to be coaches, but I want you to be coach-Like, it’s not a role, it’s a leadership behavior.
MBS (27:41):
We’re not, we’re not making you put on an uncomfortable suit, which is like, this is just an essential way to lead, be coach, like, love that. And then people go, this is, this is number four. Which is like, but I honestly, I’m not even sure what coaching is because like you, it’s like, is it sport? Is it executive? Is it life? Is it health? Is it a DHD? Is it, you know, there’s a thousand variations of coaching and I’m not sure what any of them are. And that’s that definition we’ve talked about. Really behavioral, can you just stay curious a little bit longer? Can you rush to action and advice giving a little bit more slowly so it’s got no woo woo or kind of outcome thing. It’s just a process, staying curious longer. And then the fifth and final point of resistance, Rory, is people going, okay, but what’s in it for me?
MBS (28:32):
Like, I can see why Rory wants me to be a coach, because that’s gonna help the people in, in the organization thrive and do their best and keep up with the, the growth we’re having as a business. And I can understand why the people who I’m leading would love me to be a coach because it’s a great leadership skill and I feel seen and I feel heard and I feel encouraged and I’d be become more competent and confident and capable and self-sufficient. But, you know, you’re asking me to shift my behavior. I’m pretty good at giving advice. what’s in it for me. And for me, I would say it helps you essentially work less hard and have more impact. So whether, you know, Rory, people are wired one of two ways. They either wanna move away from pain or they wanna move towards a reward. So if you’re a move towards a reward person, it’s like this allows you to do more great work, work that has more meaning, work that has more impact and those around you to do the same. But you, you get to do more great work. And if you wanna move away from pain, it’s like, this has means that my team is less dependent on me. It means that I’m less overwhelmed and it means that I’m more connected to the work that really matters. So
RV (29:45):
That, that one’s the one that, that jumps out to me. ’cause A lot of ways this is basically like, not ba but part of what this feels like to me is it’s the difference between fishing for a man and teaching a man to fish.
MBS (30:00):
Right?
RV (30:00):
Right. Like, if, if, if, if I train my team that I have the answers, I tell them what to do, I solve the problems, then they constantly come to me for every one of those things. The,
MBS (30:12):
The more you give them the answers, the more they come to you for the answers. The more they come to you for the answers, the more you give them the answers. And like before you know it. And this is coming from good intentions, like it’s exhausting. And you’ve built a team of vampires who are just draining your life. Like what? You guys are smart and capable and talented. That’s why I hired you. What has happened? And you’ve just built this system where they’re like, they’re like, I don’t feel I can come up with my own stuff. ’cause You wanna gimme the answer the whole time. So it’s a real shift in identity sometimes.
RV (30:44):
Yeah. I mean, one of the other things that you, I don’t think has come up in this conversation, but one of the other benefits of doing it this way is you actually learn a ton. Like you actually, I I’m shocked sometimes at the creative stuff that like a team or a client will come up with where I’m like, I never would’ve thought of that. Right. And by not launching into just like giving them the recipe, you, you have a chance to be like, there’s this beautiful discoveries that, that come out of it.
MBS (31:17):
Well, you haven’t hired the people you’ve hired to just come up with ideas as good as you can come up with. ’cause You’re like, I can already do that. I’m hiring you to have ideas better than I can do and take this business further than I can think of. You want their full brilliance. And this, this commitment to curiosity allows people to say, oh, I’m going to bring my best. You’ve given me the insight and the courage and the commitment to kind of like, try and be braver, be bolder, have better ideas.
RV (31:48):
Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Well I I, I wanna, I wanna ask you one other thing before I do that. Where should people go, Michael, just to like, connect with you? I know that we’ll, we’ll put links to the Coaching Habit book and, and your other books and stuff too. But where should people go if they wanna link up with you? Yeah,
MBS (32:06):
The main website is mbs.works and that’s a hub for all the books, the coaching habit, the advice trap, the new one is called How to Work With Almost Anyone. And all of those books have, you know, free resources and stuff. So whether you want to download the questions from the coaching Habit book or see me hold a Keystone conversation from how to work with almost anyone, all of that’s accessible and available for people. Mm-Hmm.
RV (32:27):
. And so if, if, if somebody is kind of saying, all right, I, I want, I’m willing to give this a shot, whether, you know, it’s with a paying client or someone they’re managing or even a family or a, you know, a member or a friend. What’s, what’s kind of the first thing? I mean, I know the, the message here is just stay curious longer and you, you know any, any other kind of tips in terms of the first thing they should do or the, to focus on or like to shift in order to help them do that? Yeah,
MBS (32:59):
There’s a couple of places you might wanna start. One, one really interesting place to start is just start noticing how much advice you give during the day. how quick you are to jump in, often interrupt kind of how quickly you stop listening to the other person. ’cause The, the, the answer is already in your head. You’re like, we’ve only just met, we’ve been talking for 20 seconds. You’re telling me a complex situation about people I don’t know in a culture, I don’t know with a team. I don’t know, but I think I’ve already got the answer for you. So just start noticing how quickly you default to that. That’s one option. If you wanna get more specific. You know, staying curious longer is a really great overall mantra, but it’s unlikely to shift your behavior. So what I would do is get specific, this is just good habit building 1 0 1, which is like, who’s the person with whom you’d like to build a coaching habit and what’s the context in which you might be interacting with that person?
MBS (33:56):
And if you could ask, pick just one question to ask that person might be, what’s the real challenge here for you? It might be, and what else, you know, the best coaching question in the world. There’s always a place for, and what else it might be. What was most useful or valuable for you at the end of the meeting? You could just pick one question. What question would it be? You know, people abandon, have a building ’cause they try and take on too much at once. The smaller you can make it, the more likely it is that you’re gonna get that first rep, rep in. And once you get the first rep in, the second rep’s easier. So pick something specific, pick one question, one person, one context, and then commit to actually following through on that.
RV (34:39):
That’s great, man. Well, I I, I love it. I mean there, I, there’s no doubt that this can, if nothing else, this can improve our relationships with one another dramatically. It’s like God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. , that’s right. And is, you know, be be it’s kind of the like slow to speak, quick to listen, kind of a kind of a thought. So I really, I really appreciate this and love it. Thanks so much for being a part of this and sharing your wisdom and, and we’re cheering you on, man.
MBS (35:09):
Yeah. Thank you Rory. It’s been great.

Ep 455: The Secret to Self-Worth | Erwin McManus Episode Recap

RV (00:07):
Hey, brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview. As always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free, and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions, and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to, to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brandbuildersgroup.com slash podcall brand buildersgroup.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
RV (00:52):
What a powerful conversation with the legendary Erwin McManus. I mean, this guy is one. He is, I think one of the wisest teachers that we’ve got in on the planet today. And just so honored to get to become his friend, you know, have him become a client, get to interview him here for you. And, and you can just, you can just see that there is a just a level of spiritual wisdom, like spiritual intelligence and, and emotional intelligence from knowing how the world operates and knowing how people operate and how, how we’re wired and what are the things that we do to self-sabotage, and what are the things that we can, we can do to increase the likelihood of our success. And so I wanna, I want to recap and, and extend a couple of the things that I learned from Irwin in that specific interview that are sticking with me.
RV (01:47):
And, and also, you know, when I think of the mindset shifts that need to take place, of course, we, you know, the interview was promoting his, his, his book mind Shift. And when I think of some of the key mindset shifts that need to take place for someone to build a great personal brand, be a great entrepreneur, and, and really maximize and achieve their God-given potential I wanna I wanna share three of those with you today that, that were kind of inspired by Erwin. So first one is, I loved when he was talking about don’t be a prisoner of praise. I really align with that. I think so many of us are playing for the applause of others. And in reality, I think the applause you should be playing for, first of all, for me, it should be your Heavenly Father, right? It should be this idea that when we get to heaven, he, he says, you know, job well done, right?
RV (02:48):
Like, you loved me, you loved others, and that’s it. Now, separate from that, I, I think it’s playing really for yourself and not meaning that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re self-centered in the sense of like, you only care about winning yourself. But I think what, what matters is that you need to be proud of yourself. You need to be proud of yourself. It really shouldn’t make that much difference to you. I don’t think about how other people think of you. And I think some people go their whole lives trying to make like their, their alcoholic parent proud of them. And it’s like, it’s never gonna happen. And it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them. And why are you spending so much energy and time seeking the approval of somebody else who caress about the approval of someone else? You know what?
RV (03:42):
You don’t need to be successful in life. You don’t need the approval of other people. What you need to be is proud of yourself and confident enough to step forward and do the thing that you feel called to do. Like in some places, there are certain requirements. In some places, there are certain prerequisites, you know, for, for steps that you can take seeking having other people’s approval often is not one of them. And specifically, you know, it’s like an ex-boyfriend or, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a bully in high school, or it’s, it’s like these people who we allow to control our lives by allowing their influence that they once had on us to hold us today stagnant and still stuck in a place of mediocrity when we should be pursuing and expanding and achieving our potential. So I want you to focus on being proud of yourself.
RV (04:39):
And part of being proud of yourself is, is why in my first book, take the Stares, right? We say all the time, like, put your self-esteem in your work habits, not in your results. Like, being proud of yourself is not going, oh, you know, I have a million followers, or I made a million dollars. It’s, it’s being proud of the work that you’re putting in. It’s acknowledging yourself for the things that you’re doing that nobody else sees. And that’s why you have to be your number one cheerleader. You’ve gotta be the person who goes, even if the results aren’t there yet, I’m doing the work, right? I mean, I remember when, when I was speaking 304 times for free at the, you know, in these Perkins restaurants and in these like, you know, trashy comedy clubs on a Tuesday night. Nobody was there giving me applause, but I knew that, I said, you know, if I’m doing this one day, I’m gonna be speaking on stages in front of arenas of people, and it’s, I’m paying the price now to earn that, right?
RV (05:39):
Right. Like when I was, you know, creating my first book proposal and I was writing out the manuscript no, nobody was leaving Amazon reviews saying, oh, this life, this book is life changing. Nobody was there cheering me on, right? Like, well, some, some people were right. I’ve been fortunate to have, you know, my wife, my, my family in very supportive environment. So I I, I have had people cheering me on, but the, the person that matters most is you. You gotta be the person cheering yourself on. When I was in college and people were slamming the doors in my face like I was going, well, that’s okay. I know that if I talk to enough people, somebody’s gonna buy, I’m gonna get paid for every door that is slammed in my face. If I just keep going, you gotta be the person cheering you on.
RV (06:21):
And that’s how you need to think about it. When I say put your self-esteem in your work habits, right? Like, one of the things that I did when I was in college was you know, my, my first summer when I was going door to door, I made like $17,000. And I figured out, you know, that I knocked on whatever it was like th like, there was like 3000 doors, you know, that I had knocked on. And there were like 3000 doors that had slammed the door on me, and we used to keep track of them, right? And so what I, what what I found out is like, oh, I made $17,000 and I, I knocked on 3000 doors, or that told me no, what most people do is they think of going, oh, you know, I had however many hundred, a few hundred customers, and those are the people who paid me.
RV (07:03):
But the game that I played, and I actually wrote a song about this so I’ll, I’ll I sing for you, is I figured out that I actually made $4 every time someone slammed the door on me. ’cause I made $17,000 total in the summer. I knocked on 3000 doors of people who told me no. So that is $4. So rather than thinking, oh, I make money when I make a sale in my, my second summer, I played this game, and whenever somebody would slam the door on me, I would sing the song. I would say, I make $4 because you holler at me, baby every time, every time I you holler, I make four more dollar for me rv. I make lots of money because you yell at me. Thank you for slamming the door on me. Woo-Hoo. Like, that was the silly song that I was singing, and I would actually sing it out loud between doors, right?
RV (07:58):
So if, if somebody had been following me, and every time I knocked on a door they handed me that every time someone slammed the door on my face, if someone handed me $4, I’d be like, that’s amazing. I’m gonna go knock on another door and see if they’ll slam the door on me too. And then here’s $4, here’s $4. That is how it was, right? That is how it is. You’re getting paid for every rejection you’re getting paid for every setback you’re getting paid for. Every time you fail, you’re getting paid for every time. It doesn’t work out. The problem is, there’s nobody standing there handing you the four bucks. You gotta be the one, right? You gotta be the person handing yourself $4. You gotta be the one cheering yourself on. You have to be your the number one cheerleader of your own life.
RV (08:41):
You gotta be reminding yourself, I’m getting paid for all of the work that I’m putting in right now that nobody else sees. If you can’t cheer yourself on, then you’re never gonna make it, because no one’s gonna be there to applaud you. No one’s gonna be there to cheer for you when you’re failing. The only person that’s gonna be there is you and God is. So you better learn how to cheer yourself on. You better figure out a way to play a game or have a mindset shift, or use affirmations or have a mental, you know, paradigm that says, I just made four bucks. I just made 20 bucks. Every time someone slams the door on me, every time someone tells me no, every time I don’t get booked for this, I don’t get invited to that. I’m getting paid. Like, and, and you have to be that person going, I don’t care if I’m not winning right now. I’m putting in the work.
RV (09:31):
I’m doing what it takes. And even if the results never come, I’m so proud of myself. I’m so proud of myself for working when nobody’s watching. I’m so proud of myself for hustling when there is no applause, I’m so proud of myself, right? And then, you know, one day I get inducted into the professional speaking hall of fame when I’m 37 and everyone’s clapping going, oh, you know how cute this guy is so young. And it’s like, dude, I’ve been getting, I’ve been getting rejected and slammed for 20 years, so I might be young in age time, but I’m old in stage time. I’m old in rejection, I’m old in setback. I’ve experienced massive failure and I just cheered myself on through it. And that’s what I would hope for you, right? Because at the end of the day, you won’t care about being in the Hall of fame or having millions of dollars, millions of followers, or been invited to this, that, or whatever.
RV (10:24):
What you’ll be, what you have for the rest of your life is you, you will always be there with you. And so how you think of yourself is what matters, what other people think of you that doesn’t matter. But how you think of yourself matters. You need to be your, your your number one cheerleader. You need, you need to be the person that whose praise that you’re seeking. I want you to work so hard that you become proud of yourself. So that’s a mind mental mindset, mindset shift that needs to happen. Number two, you know, I loved when Irwin said this. He said, at first, you always feel like a fake, right? Whenever you start something new, you feel like a fake. Here’s what you need to know. Here’s what you need to understand. If you’re, if you’re new to something, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner, right?
RV (11:17):
The first time you pick up a camera to do a photo shoot or edit a video, and you’re like, man, I don’t know what to do. Like, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. Or maybe you’re the person on the other side of the camera and you’re recording your first reel and you’re like, oh my gosh. Like, I don’t, I don’t look anything like Alex Hormoze or Tony Robbins or you know, Oprah. And I’m like, I feel like such a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. That’s it. And you can’t, you can’t look at a master and compare what they’re doing with you as a beginner, but just because you’re not yet a master doesn’t mean you’re a fake. They were that way too. I promise you, I promise. Every, every New York Times bestselling author once felt like a fake, every Hall of fame speaker once felt like a fake, every eight figure entrepreneur once felt like a fake ev.
RV (12:02):
Every actor once felt like a fake. Every celebrity once felt like a fake, especially the bigger the goals you’re pursuing, the more you feel like a fake, because the more impossible it feels, and the fewer people around you there are that have ever done that, right? Like you, you might feel like a fake. You’re not a fake, you’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. You’re just learning. You’re just starting. Give yourself grace again. Be proud of yourself for trying and keep going and, and, and, and, and celebrate your own wins. Be your own cheerleader. Be proud of yourself. You’re not a fake, you’re just a beginner. And then the third thing, you know, Irwin brought this up, which, which I always love when people that are super successful and are like living legends when they talk about this, you know, Irwin said, take the posture of an amateur, take the posture of an amateur.
RV (13:01):
You know, the way, the way that I process that is to go, you have to be willing to always be a beginner. Be willing to always be a beginner. Probably my most famous quote from my first take the Stairs book is, success is never owned. Success is rented, and the rent is due every day. Part of why I said that success is never owned, it’s rented, and the rent is due every day is because it’s true. It’s like, even if you’re a master, you can still be a beginner, right? Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, like you, you hear the stories of how hard they practice. You know, you, you, you of about the amount of energy and time they are Steph Curry shooting free throws and shooting three pointers. Like, yeah, he is a master, and he’s still doing it every single day. He’s paying the rent every single day.
RV (13:50):
You, you, and you, excuse me. You see that behavior modeled by the most successful people in the world in all walks of life. The ones who continue to climb. They allow themselves to always be a beginner, be willing to be a beginner. Most people don’t wanna be a beginner because it makes ’em feel like a fake. That’s why it’s so important to realize you’re not a fake. You’re, you’re just a beginner. And it’s okay to be a beginner, right? When I, when I try to play the piano or the guitar, I feel stupid. I’m like, I don’t know what to do. I’m not, I I don’t get this right? Like, if I’m cooking in the kitchen, I feel stupid. I’m not stupid. I’m just a beginner. I just haven’t done it much. I’ve lent my time and my attention and my energy to other things.
RV (14:38):
And one of my all time famous, not famous quotes, one of my all time favorite quotes, and I believe it was Mark Twain who said this, this is who I attribute to it, is Mark Twain said, every man is my superior in some way. Every man is my superior in some way. That’s so true. And that gives you grace for yourself. And it also puts things in perspective when you meet other people and you go, wow, I really admire, you know, this person, they’re so funny, or they’re such a great leader, they’re a great speaker, or a great mom, or a great dad, or they’re a great cook. Or, or, you know, they’re in super in shape. And it’s like, doesn’t mean that person’s better than you, it just means that they’re, they, they are your, they are your superior in some way, but there’s other ways that they’re not right?
RV (15:26):
Like their marriage might be a mess, or their finances might be a mess, or they might be struggling with self-confidence, or they’re not as spiritually centered as you are, or they just, you know, they have different skill sets there. There’s not like a ranking system where we go one human is better than another in, in all things, but in, in some ways, they are right. Every man is my superior in some way. And you know what that also means? That likely means that you are superior to every other man in some way, right? There’s something that you do. There’s something that you, there’s at least one thing in your life that you know more about or you do a better job of than everybody else, a a around you. And so it creates this unequal, it creates this equal playing field by realizing that we all have unequal talents.
RV (16:12):
We have, we have non proportionately distributed talents. That’s called uniqueness. That’s called God’s divine design for your life. That’s called your, your, your blessing, that you were born to do something that only you can do. So lean into those things and realize, yeah, you, you might become a master, you might become an expert. There are some things where it’s like, I am a master. That there, there are just some things. And that’s why, you know, we try to, we try to teach the things that we’re really good at. And if you wanna build your personal brand, like, gosh, you’re gonna be hard pressed to find anyone better in the world that can teach it to you than us. Like we’re really good at this. Anybody who wants to become a speaker or an author, or a coach, or who wants to speak or write or teach as a way of generating leads for their business, I mean, we spend our whole life doing this, but if you want me to like, change your oil or cook you a meal, or like give you parenting tips, like I’m not the guy, I’m, I’m not the master in that every man is your superior.
RV (17:14):
Every woman, each is, is your superior in some way. So that should both help you put an appropriate level of, of praise on other people and an appropriate level of grace on yourself. And, and have a balance of both confidence and humility to know that each, each man is my superior in, in some way. But if you do those things right, a lot of this comes down to, to going, you gotta be proud of yourself. You gotta find a way to celebrate yourself. You gotta be the person who believes in you. You gotta be the person who cheers you on. You gotta be the person who says when, even when no one else is watching, when no one else is clapping, when no one else is paying attention. You go here by myself in this moment when I’m alone, I’m learning the things and I’m doing the work, and I’m surrounding myself with the people who are gonna help me do the things that I want do that I feel called to do one day.
RV (18:11):
And so if, and if building a personal brand is that thing for you, request a call with us. Will you please talk to our team? This is, this is something that we, we know something about and we’ve got a track record and we’re working with some of the most amazing people in the world, like Erwin McManus, and you know, just go to free brandand call.com/podcast, request a call, talk to someone on our team, and between now and then be cheering yourself on. Find a way to be proud of you. We’ll catch you next time on the Influential Personal Brand Podcast.