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Finding What Drives You: Making Sense Of Your Problems With Dr. Matt Chalmers

BYW 42 | Making Sense

 

Dr. Matt Chalmers has been fixing and aligning spines for a long time. He is the owner of Chalmers Wellness and believes that if there is a problem in your body, you need to understand it before you can fix it. Being a chiropractor has helped him in making sense of the complex and challenging. By making sense of these, he is able to live a purpose-driven life. Join Dr. Matt Chalmers sit down with host Dr. Gary Sanchez to talk about his Why of Making Sense of the Complex and Challenging. Learn how to relieve stress because that is the most unhealthy thing a person can do to themselves. Understand how to fix your physical and mental problems. Also, find out what drives you because only then will you find your purpose.

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Finding What Drives You: Making Sense Of Your Problems With Dr. Matt Chalmers

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of making sense, to make sense of the complex and challenging. If this is your why, then you are driven to solve problems and resolve challenging or complex situations. You have an uncanny ability to take in lots of data and information. You tend to observe situations and circumstances around you and then sort through them quickly to create solutions that are sensible and easy to implement.

Often, you are viewed as an expert because of your unique ability to find solutions quickly. You also have a gift for articulating solutions and summarizing them clearly in understandable language. You believe that many people are stuck and that if they could make sense out of their situation, they could develop simple solutions and move forward. In essence, you help people get unstuck and move forward.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Dr. Matt Chalmers. He received his Degree of Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas. Shortly after graduation, he started postgraduate and work in the field of neurology and is now a Certified Clinical Chiropractic Neurologist. Dr. Chalmers also received Certification in Spinal Decompression for the Management of Disc Pain, making him one of only a handful of doctors in the Dallas Metroplex to have such a certification.

Dr. Chalmers has been an athlete all his life and enjoys working with athletes and their families. Nutrition is a large part of a healthy lifestyle. As such, Chalmers Wellness offers a wide range of dietary counseling for weight loss to weight gain. Chalmers Wellness also offers a large variety of nutritional supplements to help improve the overall wellness of the entire family.

Dr. Chalmers, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. It’s fun.

Tell us a little bit about how you got into chiropractic in the first place. Give us a little bit of your history. What were you like in high school, got into college, and then ended up going into chiropractic? How did you pick that?

My whole family is engineers. The whole take data and solve problems is in my genetics. I didn’t want to be an engineer. My whole family is in the oil field business. I saw that and I was like, “That’s not for me.” I was going to be a medical doctor. I wanted to either be an internist or a surgeon or something like that. When I was in high school, I played football. I hurt my back and I couldn’t walk, so I went and saw orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, pain specialists, and radiologists. If you had a license to look at people, I saw you. At the end of the day, they see this 155-pound kid that looked like he’d never seen the sun. They tell me that there’s nothing wrong with me and I was making it up because I didn’t want to play football anymore.

Being a chiropractor is a calling, not something you get into for fun. Click To Tweet

At that time, I was bench pressing 400 pounds and squatting about 600 pounds. I remember looking at the guy and be like, “If I can reach you, I’ll break you in half.” He was astounded that calling me a liar and a fraud would somehow make me a little upset. I called my football coach and I’m like, “I can’t walk and play ball.” He’s like, “Go and see our team chiropractor.” Because of the way faith works, I remember to this day telling him, “I need a doctor and not a massage.” He was like, “Go see him.” I was like, “Fine.”

My parents carried me in. He takes the same X-rays the MDs had for an hour or so. He clips it on the board and goes, “It’s right there.” He put me on my side, adjust me, I got up, I hobbled out, and I could practice three days later. I was like, “Maybe there’s something else to this whole world than what I thought.” The cool thing is about two weeks after that, I asked him a question about the body and he goes, “I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll find out.”

It took about another ten days and I go back in, and he’s like, “Remember that question you asked me last time? I researched and figured out the answer. Here’s your answer.” I was like, “All of those surgeons and medical guys couldn’t figure that problem out and so they said it was my fault.” These guys didn’t know the answer to something, so they went and researched it and looked it up. I was like, “This is the path I want to go down.” That’s why I became a chiropractor.

That was my whole deal, which is funny because when we got to chiropractic school, Dr. Stern comes up and he’s like, “Who here has a family who is chiropractors?” People raised their hands. He said, “Who’s here has his life radically altered for the better because of chiropractic?” We raised our hands and he’s like, “If your hand didn’t go up, you should drop out now. You’re not going to make it. This is too hard.” There were about 2/3 of the people who raise their hands and when we graduated, a whole 1/3 of us were gone. Chiropractic is a calling. It’s not necessarily, to me, you get into it for fun. It’s been really helpful for a lot of the stuff we do, so it’s been great.

Do you find people either believe it or they don’t?

It’s funny because we’ve been working with many people and I have many medical doctors as patients either for the nutrition piece or for the chiropractic piece. I get a lot of people who come in and tell me, “I don’t understand what you do. I don’t see why it works but this person sent me in. My wife told me I needed to come in.” 3 or 4 visits later, they’re like, “I still don’t understand how this popping thing works but I feel a lot better. Obviously, what you’re doing does something.”

It’s hard because even a lot of the standard medical doctors don’t have the education in neurology to understand muscle spindle fiber, Golgi tendon function, how the change in tone happens and the pressure on nerves goes away. It’s quite involved but it’s one of those things that people are starting to come around because they’ve seen the evidence in their friends and themselves, and they’re like, “I can’t tell you how it works but it does, so I’m going to come and do it.” That’s been helpful.

I’m a big believer in chiropractic because I had years and years of back pain. I did a similar path to what you were talking about, I went to every other kind of doctor you could imagine and nothing worked but chiropractic did. That was a godsend for me. When I have a problem with my back, that’s where I go because it’s fast too. It’s not years of talking about it, X-rays, medications, muscle relaxers, and all of the rest. It’s like, “Let’s get it figured out now,” which I like.

BYW 42 | Making Sense
Making Sense: To be a chiropractor is all about making sense of complex and challenging things. Once you help people solve their problems, they move forward faster.

 

When I did my why with your testing, I was like, “This is 100% me.” If I do something and it works, that’s great but I have to know why. I have to figure out what was it that the real problem was. How do I fix this? The thing is that if I understand why then when somebody else comes, I can be like, “I know what’s wrong with you but I have to attack it from a different angle.” That’s the way that we solve things. If you do something and it works but you don’t know, how are you going to replicate that if it doesn’t work the same way next time? It was funny when I read that from all the nutrition we do and for all the physiology work or even in chiropractic that we do, it was like, “This is the first time I’ve taken any type of tests like this and it’s nailed down exactly the things that drive me like this.” I’ve never done anything that was even remotely close but this was 100% on.

The great thing about what you do is it’s in line with why you do what you do. You’re that person that is great at solving problems and you love to solve them. The more challenging, the better. If what you choose to do with your life is in line with your why, you will have passion for what you do. That’s where passion comes from. You’re the perfect example of that.

We talk about purpose and people ask me all the time, “How do you wake up at 4:00 AM every day and research and read for two hours before you get to work? Doesn’t that get boring?” I’m like, “No. I love what I do.” There’s a lot of times where I’ll be reading a research article and be irritated that I have to quit reading it so I can get ready for work. I remember the first time I did this, somebody asked me a question about testosterone, steroids, and that type of thing and I had no idea. This is the day that I started chiropractic school, so I didn’t have any real education. I remember this day, he was like, “I thought you’re going to be a doctor. You don’t know any of this stuff.” I was like, “I can’t be that guy.” I went and bought a medical textbook and read it cover-to-cover because I had to be able to solve these problems. If someone comes to me with an issue like this, I have to be able to fix it. It was telling and, in my opinion, humorous how much this test nailed who I was.

Something that you can think about is that is why I would choose you. How many chiropractors are there in your area? Probably plenty, right?

There are lots. In the gas stations, there’s one in every corner up here.

The question for the general public would be, “I need a chiropractor. Where should I go? Who should I choose?” The question is, “Why would I choose Dr. Chalmers?” From now knowing your why, when it comes to your message to what you articulate to the public, it’s all about making sense of the complex and challenging so that you can help people solve their problems and move forward faster. You do that now by knowing so much. You dive deep into the different subjects that you are the expert. You know as much if not more than the medical doctor, probably more because you’ve had time to look into it and that’s why I would choose you.

That’s oftentimes the big thing is because I care. It’s why did this thing happen? When we talk about how gallstones don’t exist, you have to understand what happened. It’s a liver issue. You had to do the research. You have to care enough to always have to know what’s the next step. Talk about making complex things into integrated plans. When we look at IBS and celiac and stuff like that, it’s like, “We have to clean the liver first for these reasons and the kidneys for these reasons. We have to clean the gut and kill the parasites, kill the yeast, bring the probiotics back up, and repair the gut lining.” All the stuff in the body, we have to do it in this order for these reasons in this way. As I said, that’s me. I take something complex and I crunch it down into specific, easy-to-do steps. I’ve never seen anything that came back and was able to explain how I do things like this.

Take us back now. When you were in high school, you got injured, you couldn’t play, went to the chiropractor, and got healthy. Did you get to continue to play? Did you play after high school or did you go off more into the medical realm?

If you don't know how to deal with something, understand it from a different angle. Click To Tweet

What ended up happening was I got offers from all over the place to play but I knew that I couldn’t study the way I needed to, play the way I wanted to, and do all the things that are in college life and play football. I was like, “One of these has got to give. I know I’m not going pro, so I’m going to let the football thing go because I’m going to be the doctor. I got to go do that.” That’s what I end up doing. I decided to focus down on that. I kept taking physiology classes and that was my big thing because that’s how the engine works or the machine works. That was obviously why that appealed to me so much. It’s because I had to know how the system worked if I was going to be able to sit down and take it apart and put it back together. I had way more physiology classes than I had to but that was the big piece.

As we started going through, people started coming up to me and they’re like, “I’ve got fibromyalgia. How do we fix that?” “I don’t know.” I started going to the seminars and support groups figuring out what worked and what didn’t work. Now, that’s how I figured out how to fix fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. When we went through with the neurology and I started working with all my athletes, that’s how I figured out how to fix carpal tunnel and plantar fasciitis. There’s a lot of these things that if you sit down and understand how the system works and ask questions like, “How did it break?” Break it down into like a system, “Where does this thing go wrong? Why does it go wrong like that?” You can easily go like, “This is the point that broke. Fix that and everything after fixes itself.” That’s how everything has gone for us as far as the direction that we’ve taken to the practices.

You can tell me, “Vitamin C does this.” “Great. Why does it do that?” “You should take D3.” “Why?” It’s one of those things where not a lot of people understand that D3 works as a hormone helping absorb nutrients and then directing them where they need to go in the body, which it’s why if you get sick, you instantly run out of D3. Your body is saying, “Absorb all those chloride ions and bring them up here. We need to make more white blood cells.” As soon as you run out of D3, the messenger that’s telling the body what to do is gone. If you don’t keep your D3 up, that’s why. It’s those little things. That’s who I am and that’s what keeps driving this forward of like, “You bring me a new issue. I have to figure out what’s wrong.”

When we went to COVID, this is one of the few extra plural problems, which is why venting doesn’t do any good, you have to use hyperbaric, and you also see the breakdown of red blood cells. The other thing that we had like that is malaria, which is why quinine helps so much. It’s little things like that. As we go through, we take a problem and we pick it apart. Where did the system break? How’s this chain work? How do we build a process to repair it? That’s how we’ve done everything.

For those of you that are reading, Dr. Chalmers looks like he’s a football player still. He’s got 28-inch biceps but I don’t even know how big of a chest he has. The question that comes to mind for me is you went into chiropractic and from the outside perspective, chiropractic is all adjusting the spine, crack, pop, get everything lined up, get all the nerves, and all that working. How do you then take that? You’re one of the chiropractors I can tell already that’s gone to a completely different level than a typical chiropractor. Why did chiropractic then start to incorporate nutrition, stem cells, and all the other things that you guys are doing from traditional crack and pop?

As an athlete, I’ve always been looking at what supplements are going to improve my functionality. What do I need to eat? How does biochemistry work? I’m 6 or 8 hours short of a Chemistry Degree. I’ve had lots and lots of chemistry. That’s been one of the big pieces of how’s this works. I have that entrepreneur style of mind. When I see a market niche that’s completely open, I have to be like, “No one is playing here. I got to go figure this out.” It’s for nobody else but me and my family. Why are we taking the supplements we’re taking? What’s going on? How do I make my body work better?

Anyone in the bodybuilding and athletic community understands how critical diet is. As an athlete, it’s one of those things that you cannot be talking about diet if you’re in the healthcare field and you’re an athlete because that’s all it is. A lot of my medical doctor friends come over and work with me for themselves and they send their patients over to get that piece to reset because if you don’t know the chemicals that the body needs to run, it isn’t run right. That’s a big piece.

That’s evolved, at least for me, in the natural space of, “If I don’t feel good or if I want to have great health when I’m 75 or 80, what do I have to do now to make sure that I’m on the right path?” That has a ton to do with nutrition. That’s where this is all coming together. I have this end goal of being active when I’m 80. How do I get there? I had to build a system to get there and biochemistry was the system that I’m using. That’s where a lot of that came from.

You said way back that you were going to become a doctor. I’m sure at that point, you thought the medical doctor. You were then exposed to chiropractic and you went that route. It seems like you’re now going back towards chiropractic and where you do more than to adjust the spine.

BYW 42 | Making Sense
Making Sense: If there is a problem, sit down and understand how the system works. Then ask questions and find the root of the problem. Fix that problem and everything after it fixes itself.

 

I have a bunch of Eastern and Western medicine guys and they both make fun of me. They’re like, “You’re the only guy on Earth that’s going to talk about coffee enemas and injectable medical testosterone in the same visit.” I’m like, “We need them both.” You got to clean the liver. Your heart, brain, and bones need to function. At a certain point, we’re all going to have at least this conversation. I’ll have that conversation because it’s what the body needs. I tell people, “I’m more of a physiologist than I am anything else.” If it helps the body get better, it gets to play.

If you come in with a herniated disk, we’re going to talk about pain injections because those pain injections decrease inflammation and spasm and allowing me to do the physical work that’s required to keep you off the surgeon’s table. You integrate these things and you use the greatness of everything that’s around you to fix them. We do tons of medical testing like MRIs, calcium CTs, sleep studies, and all those things. At the same time, we’re resting metabolic rates. We always go back through it after the medical steps. What do we need to do to your chemistry to get you where you need to go? How do we make all of these things fit together into a nice little box where everything is set up and ready to go? The core of the piece is you can make an argument that I’m mixed.

I own a hormone therapy company so you can easily say that I’ve incorporated a lot of medicine. I have but it’s whatever works to get us from point A to point B. How do we get to our goal? What’s the fastest and easiest way to get to our goal? We’re then going to design a system that takes us from here to there in the cheapest, best, fastest and safest possible path. That’s how we set it up. A lot of times, if you come in and you got a yeast overgrowth, we can do Biocidin, black cumin seed oil, and all sorts of things. You can spend a couple of hundred bucks over a couple of months or you can take Diflucan or nystatin for $10 with insurance and the next month, we’re good to go and we can repopulate the gut with probiotics. You can use both. It’s just what’s the best thing for your specific program?

I’m going to ask you what I think is a tough question. If you could only pick one thing that makes the biggest difference in achieving health or being healthy, what would that one thing be? Is it nutrition, fitness, blood chemistry, supplements, sunlight, or sleep? What do you think is the one thing that makes the biggest difference in health versus non-health?

That’s pretty easy. It’s offsetting or eliminating your stress. Psychological stress changes the body unbelievably. We have sympathetic and parasympathetic. One is fight-or-flight and one is rest and digest. If you can figure out how to get your stress managed, so your sympathetic nervous system is not always dominant, parasympathetic is a massive benefit. You see those guys who smoke, drink, and eat bad food but they lived to their 90 because they don’t give a damn. They’re like, “I’m going to me. I’m going to live my life. Things are going to happen the way I’m going to let them happen.” They’re like, “How are they healthy? This guy exercises and eats right.” He’s also stressed out. He’s type A and freaking out about everything every day, watching every single calorie and doing everything. He’s super high-strung but this guy is not so much. That’s probably the biggest thing.

For a lot of us who have owned multiple businesses, get six hours of sleep a night, and they’re crushing it all day long, how do you offset that? You go work out in the middle of the day. You meditate at the end of the day. You set your life up so that you don’t wake up to an alarm. You just wake up when you’re supposed to. Those types of things. How do you balance that? The biggest thing is how do I eliminate the stress damage to the body?

It sounds good but what’s the best way to do that?

If you’re going to get six hours of sleep, start by going to bed in the time that you can get full six hours before you want to wake up. I get up at 4:00. I’m in bed and asleep by 10:00. I used to set an alarm but now my body is used to it, so I wake up naturally about 5 or 10 minutes before my alarm goes off, so I’m good and then I can do that whole thing. I research and I do everything all day long. I then go to the gym right about 1:00. My stress level comes up and up during the day. I’m going to work out and it crashes because there’s nothing better than the kinetic motion to decrease neurologic stress.

Care for your quality of life over money. Click To Tweet

Now my stress goes way back down and then I eat. I then go back to work and I work for the rest day until 6:30. I go home and that’s when I do my meditation and my breathing stuff. That’s where I calm down and do that type of thing for about 20 to 30 minutes. That crashes my stress again, I can play with my kids, and do all that type of stuff at the end of the day. I do that as a daily habit. Coffee enemas are a big deal because the cleaner you get your liver and your colon, the cleaner your liver and your colon can get the rest of your body.

All that oxidative stress that you’re dealing with is supposed to be pulled out of your body through the blood via the liver. If your liver is congested and it can’t pull the waste out, you’re sitting in waste all the time. That gives us cholesterol problems or plaquing problems. That gives us all sorts of oxidative issues, cancer issues, and things like that. Cleaning that liver is probably going to be the second-best thing but setting your life up so that you can avoid or balance that stress. It’s going to be the number one most important thing. Schedule your day with little breaks in it to de-stress yourself.

I work out at 6:00 AM but I might consider changing that to the middle of the day. When you come back from a workout in the middle of the day, you feel like the day started over. It’s way fresher.

Getting a workout at 6:00 AM is better than no workout at all but you can change it and tell that you’re going to do it right before you eat. The cool thing is if you do that right before you eat, you knock out that sympathetic portion and now you’re in parasympathetic, which is resting digesting. Now, that food you ate has the proper hydrochloric acid to kill all the bugs, viruses, and parasites. It’s got the digestive enzymes from the liver and the pancreas. You’re going to digest and absorb more of the nutrients from that food than you would have beforehand. That’s the other big piece to crashing your stress and getting it down as low as possible before you eat. That’s the other little piece that’s cool plus, you’re going to get that little extra window of food and nutrition absorption from that workout. That’s the other fun thing.

What are you seeing in the future? What have you figured out and made sense of what’s coming down the pipe for the rest of us that took some breakthrough in staying healthy, living longer, and living a better life?

The Millennials are picking up on this and as older guys, you got to have to recognize why they’re doing it. I was talking to a bunch of business owners and they were all irritated because they’re like, “I keep offering these Millennials more money and they don’t want it.” I’m like, “That’s because they care about the quality of life more than they care about money.” What I’m starting to see is people starting to wake up and be like, “I’m not going to crush myself with stress for 80 hours a week just for money. I want to have a life, live and de-stress.” That’s a good one.

I’m seeing lots of CEOs that I do a lot of work with and corporations specifically for health and wellness, getting hyperbaric chambers in their office, getting exercise studios in there, and getting nutritional stuff in there. Also, making sure that their HSA covers supplementation and helping them get the right nutrition. A lot of people are starting to recognize that while Western medicine is amazing, personally, it saved my life more than twice because of car wrecks. It has a specific place. We need to worry about our daily lives, our daily supplementation, and our daily nutrition. A lot of people are starting to wake up to that idea of what we are doing for wellness and not for medical care.

We’re seeing a lot more concierge work. When COVID happened, everybody went virtual. My concierge piece and my practice blew up. We go 2 or 3 a month and it went to 3 or 4 a week. People are calling me, “I need you to take control of my entire healthcare. This is an issue now. I realize how critical and how fragile my health is. You got to help me.” That’s when we started seeing everything. You’re going to see a lot more concierge, people who are taking an active role in their health and who are deciding they’re not going to let the world beat them into a pulp. I think we’re going to see a lot healthier people as we go through. Things are going to get a little bit better.

You mentioned something there about a hyperbaric chamber. For those who are reading that are not familiar with that, what is it and what is it used for?

BYW 42 | Making Sense
Making Sense: The biggest difference between a healthy and unhealthy person is stress. Learn how to offset or manage your psychological stress.

 

There’s a lot of different uses. People are most familiar with seeing them around dive shops. If you get bent or if you get too many air bubbles in your blood, you can use hyperbaric to push those back out. The way we use it for health is when your body is under pressure. It’s usually 1.4 ATA or atmospheric pressure. Through Boyle’s Law, you can force gas into a liquid, so what ends up happening is that when you’re sitting at room pressure and you’re breathing normal air, that’s roughly 28% oxygen at sea level. That’s how much oxygen you’re getting in. You breathe either reconstituted oxygen to 95% or pure oxygen at 100% under pressure.

Now, instead of your red blood cells carrying the oxygen, your plasma carries the oxygen as well, so you can get 1,000% more oxygen to the tissues. We’re talking ankles, feet, hands, brain, heart, and all those things. When you get that oxygen in, the first thing it does is it eradicates free radicals. It’s one of the more powerful antioxidants. Now, the pH changes. It gives even more alkaline, so it gets a little bit better. The other thing is that all those little blood vessels that were starved for oxygen now get to breathe on their own. If you had damaged red blood cells due to sickle cell anemia, COVID, carbon monoxide poisoning, or anything like that, all of a sudden, we can get the oxygen where it needs to go. That’s a big piece of what we do.

All of my pro athletes would come in and I’ll have them go work out hard one day. They jump in the chamber as soon as they get done working out and I’ll have them come in the next day after the workout. Every single one of them is like, “How do I get one of these my house?” He’s a big NFL defensive guy and he comes in, and he was like, “Yesterday, you almost killed me in my workout. Now, I could have kept going and do the same workout. Is that because of the chamber?” I said, “That’s 100% because of this.” He bought one and he kept calling me, “This is the difference in this year.” Towards the end of the season, he didn’t fall off as much as everybody else did because he was constantly regenerating himself throughout the year. I probably got 20 or 30 of those guys’ chambers because they would all see him and be like, “What’s going on?” They call him up and he’d have them call me. It’s a big deal.

When we talk about how are we going to be in 30 years? It’s one of the things I tell everybody, “This is one of those things you should invest in.” If you wake up for an hour, do your emails, read your book, or watch a movie while you’re in the chamber for an hour every day, the chances are that your oxidative stress is going to become a problem. It’s either plaquing your blood vessels or anything else is going to be small. You’re going to get a lot more benefit out of doing those emails if you’re in that hyperbaric function.

There was a study I heard about hyperbaric chambers that were done in Israel where they increase the length of the telomeres using the hyperbaric chamber for 25 years. What that means long-term, I’m not sure. Maybe you have a perspective on that.

This is a paraphrase of what’s going on. The length of your telomere is the length of your life expectancy. As your DNA replicates, the telomeres break off. It’s like if you tie your shoes for too much and they start to fray at the end, that’s the same idea. You got to cut the shoelace or get rid of it but you can’t do that with DNA. By keeping the telomeres healthy, keeping them oxygenated, keeping them in the right pH balance, keeping the nutrition back to them, they can repair a little bit and they can stay longer.

The chances that they can replicate more often are higher. That goes back to the quality of life long term and, more or less, how long you’re going to live. Telomere length is a big deal. There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent trying to figure out supplements, drugs, and everything to increase telomere length. This deal with oxygen is one of the reasons that people are extending their life by using hyperbaric on a more regular basis.

Would you recommend that everybody have a hyperbaric chamber?

The length of your telomere is basically the length of your life expectancy. Click To Tweet

There’s going to be that weird thing where you got a pressure issue. Across the board, almost everybody can do this. I’ve never met anybody who shouldn’t be doing it. Yes, I would recommend it to everybody.

I know you live right outside of Dallas. Are you insinuating that the Cowboys are going to be good in 2021?

The problem I have with my Cowboys is that they can always be good but we find a way to not. There are games that we’re going to win this by 55 points. The Cardiac Cowboys, at the end of the game, we’re up for up seven points and they’ve got the ball. You’ve got to stand there and shake until the game is finally over. I’d love to say we’re going to do great things. I like a lot of the guys on the team. I met most of them and they’re all good guys. “We’re just getting every Sunday. We’re going to figure out where we’re at. It’s going to be a fun season. We got a good shot, so we’ll see where we go.”

You also wrote a book, is that right?

I did. It’s called Pillars of Wellness. I don’t sit well, so during COVID, we didn’t fully shut down in Texas but we slowed down. When we did that, I was like, “I got to do something.” One of my buddies, Ryan Steven, who’s written a lot of books and does a lot of motivational stuff was like, “Write a book.” I was like, “That’s something to do.” I did it and I put a lot of little things in there that people don’t know once you get deep in physiology about testosterone, gallstones don’t exist, and how to make the body healthier.

One of the big ones is finding your purpose and living a purpose-driven life. It’s funny because people ask me, “You’ve been married for over twelve years. You have a phenomenal relationship. Give us some advice.” I’m like, “Unfortunately, the reason that works well is that I knew my purpose. I knew my why and so did my wife. We figured out that they aligned. We’re a team.” When I do something to benefit my why, it benefits her. We work together all the time and that’s one of the big pieces.

In the book, I talk about biochemical, biomechanical, spiritual, and psychological health, the pillars that hold you together and make you healthy. Those are the big ones. Now that I’ve got a hold of your tests, I’ve been telling everybody, “Read The 5 Love Languages so that you can understand how to deal with your spouse and take this test because if you don’t know who you are and you don’t know what drives you, you’re always going to be miserable.”

As soon as you figure it out, “This is who I am,” and you lean into that, that’s why I’ve been doing this for many years. I’m excited for Monday. We take four-day vacations and I’m always irritated because I’d be away from the office for four days. I don’t get to do what I do. I don’t get to live my purpose. I’m going to make all of my concierges and I’m going to tell as many of my patients to take this test so that they know who they are and they can start pointing themselves in the right direction.

BYW 42 | Making Sense
Making Sense: As your DNA replicates, the telomeres break off. Like tying your shoes too much, they start to fray at the end. So you have to keep the telomeres healthy.

 

You’re speaking my language. We talk about it as being the start-here button. When you’re trying to figure out who you are, “Where am I supposed to start? Should I take this?” Discovering your why is the essential first step in self-awareness and all the rest will make a lot more sense once you know your why. In your case, your why of making sense of the complex and challenging. That’s why you do everything. You take that everywhere you go with you including in your marriage. Now, any of the other assessments you take will fit within that why of making sense of the complex and challenging as will your message for your business. The Pillars, what is your book about? Is it making sense of health?

It’s funny because when you people come, they’re like, “I want to lose weight.” I’m like, “First of all, we’re not going to work on weight. We’re going to work on your fat. I don’t want you to gain two pounds of muscle and lose two pounds of fat. You’d lost no weight and you’re upset but you’ve made good strides.” They’re like, “That’s easy,” I’m like, “How is it easy?” I can do this with anybody. Get your resting metabolic rate, find out your somatotype, put your somatotype diet macros set and your RMR, check your hormones, and that’s it. It has worked for every single person we’ve gone through. Again, it’s a system. We’re making the complex easy through systematology, which is 100% what my thing is.

I can’t wait until my kids get a little older so they can take this test so I can be like, “I’m not going to tell you what to do in your life but I want you to explore these 3 or 4 careers before you decide what you’re going to be.” If we can figure out what their why is, I don’t care if they’re underwater basket weavers as long as that’s their thing. That’s all they talk about. That’s all they want to do. They’re 100% committed to it. I don’t care about how much money they make. I want them to be on fire for what they are and what they do. This is one of those tests that will help weed through all the noise of where they should be pointing themselves.

Do you feel more successful when you’re able to simplify things to the point where other people can do it or when you’re able to create processes that other people can follow? This is why I’m asking you this, just so you know. I haven’t shared anything with you yet and that is that there’s your why, how, and what. We already know your why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. I’m sure I know what your how is. I’m a little torn between a couple of things for what it is people can count on from you. Can they count on a simple solution that they’re able to follow or can they count on a structured process that they can stick with?

The reason that it’s hard is that I want to make sure that we structure the program but I also want to make sure that you fully understand where we’re at. I will sit there and be like, “We’re going to do it this way and this is why.” People look at me and I’m like, “You didn’t get that. Let’s go back over this and we’ll explain this in a different way.” I want you to make your own decisions. I’m not your dictator. I’m your guide. I want you to make your own decisions. I want you to understand the reason you’re making the choices you’re making because I can set it out.

If you’re like, “I don’t know why I’m doing this so I’m not going to do it.” I’ve not helped anybody. If you can understand it, if I can explain it in a way where you’re like, “Now I understand the importance. Now I understand why I need to do it.” That’s important but I also have to make sure that the structure is there so that you go, “I did part A. I do part B and part C,” so that you get that little fulfillment of, “I have finished something and I can move on to the next piece.” That’s a difficult question. I don’t know which one I put more. Probably explaining it to people if I had to because they can do it when I tell them.

Making it simplifying for them or giving them structure.

It’s simplifying it.

If you don't know what drives you, you're always going to be miserable. Click To Tweet

I’m going to take a stab at what your why, how, and what are. This would be your personal message and your personal brand. If you’ve got up to speak to an audience and they introduce you, “This is Dr. Matt Chalmers.” If you started your presentation by saying, “My why is to make sense of the complex and challenging, how I do that is by seeking mastery and understanding, diving in deep looking for the nuances looking for all the depth, breadth, and detail. Ultimately, what I bring is a simple solution so you can move forward and you’re able to do it and use it.”

That’s 100% my goal. I’ve got to break this down for laypeople and I’ve got to break it down a lot of times for my MDs who are like, “I thought we’re about this is how the world works.” “No. This is how it is.” You’ve got to make it simple so people can grasp onto it. In my nutshell, you nailed it.

I also assume that is what your practice, your marriage, and everything that you do everywhere you go are all about, making sense of it, diving in and getting all the details, seeking mastery of what you’re talking about, and bringing something simple and easy to understand. It’s like you did when you talked about your marriage. I’m sure you studied marriage and relationships. You probably have 50 books on it and you’ve done the same thing. You’re a chiropractor.

Maybe not 50. The thing is, I have to recognize that there are people who are not like me because if I go through it, I’m like, “How did you guys not come to the same conclusion I did? How did you not do this?” They don’t think the way you do. They have other gifts. That’s 100% how it all happened. It’s obtaining mastery and bringing order to chaos.

We call that your Why Operating System. Your why, how, and what. That’s the system that drives you. That’s how Dr. Chalmers makes decisions. It has to make sense, have depth and meaning but it has to be simple. If it’s not those three things, how do you feel about it?

It’s not going to work. The goal is to get you better. If I explain it to you and you don’t get it, you’re not going to get any better. If I don’t understand the problem, I can’t fix it. That’s the thing. If I went and saw this guy, and I’m like, “They don’t understand how the body works. Why did you even tell him to do that if you don’t know what’s going on?” That’s 100% of who I am with those things.

That’s where the messaging, the marketing, and the branding all come from for your practice. Your practice is a reflection of you. Your practice is all about making sense of the challenges that your clients and customers are facing, diving in deep so that you know what’s going on, and bringing it to them in a simple way where they can get it done and do something with it. Make sense?

Yeah. That’s funny because we’re releasing two videos on how to fix carpal tunnel and one on how to fix plantar fasciitis at home for $20 without going to the doctor. That was the whole thing. I show people and they’re like, “This is so simple. How come no one’s ever said this?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I’ll make videos and put them out on the internet. You guys make sure everybody sees it.” It’s called neurology. It’s super simple. If you understand neurology, which I understand is not super simple. That’s the thing, I’ve got to explain it in a way that you understand. I’ve taken something complex like clinical neurology and functional neurology and explain it in a way that a ten-year-old can understand.

If there are people who are reading and they love what they know about you, they’re looking for somebody in the Dallas area, probably it doesn’t even have to be the Dallas area, that’s going to help them make sense of their challenge, know that there’s a person who knows their stuff, and can bring it to them in a simple way, how and what’s the best way to get ahold of you?

BYW 42 | Making Sense
Making Sense: Live a purpose-driven life. Know your purpose and align it with yourself and your loved ones. When you do something, make sure it benefits you and whoever you share your life with.

 

ChalmersWellness.com is good. I’ve been doing a good job with messengers and stuff like that. It’s @DrChalmers1 on any of the social media. You get a hold of me that way and CWellStore.com has got a bunch of stuff on it as well. If you follow us on social, we’re trying to get out. We’re going to launch those videos. If you’re on socials and you see those videos, share them with all your friends because you might not have plantar fasciitis, you might not have carpal tunnel, but I bet your friends do know that your friends know somebody that does.

I appreciate you spending this time with me. It’s been fascinating. We’re speaking the same language. I love what you’re all about. Those are the same things that I find a lot of interest in, so I look forward to staying in touch as we move forward.

That sounds great.

Awesome.

It’s time for our new segment Guess the Why of somebody famous. We are going to pick a famous person. He’s a famous golfer, especially if you follow golf. His name is Bryson DeChambeau. If you know anything about Bryson, he is known as the professor. He is somebody who created his way to play golf completely different from everybody else. If you’re a golfer, you know that each one of your clubs is a different length. Your sandwich is a different length than your driver, your nine iron. They’re all different length clubs.

He decided that it would be right to have every club be the same length and change the head on him so that every time you could have the same swing, it would be the same length and give him the best chance of being predictable and consistent in his shots so that he could plan what was going to happen better than if the clubs were different lengths. I believe that Bryson DeChambeau’s why is mastery because he is so intricate and meticulous about every aspect of his swing and the course. He has percentages for types of grass. Everything is down to a number.

It’s fascinating to learn about him and see what he’s done. His why is mastery. Thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why you can do so at WHYInstitute.com. You can use the code Podcast50 and get it for half price. If you love the Beyond Your Why Show, please don’t forget to subscribe below or leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using. Have a great one. I will look forward to seeing you. Thank you.

Important Links:

About Dr. Matt Chalmers

BYW 42 | Making SenseDr. Matt Chalmers received his degree of Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas. Shortly after graduation he started postgraduate work in the field of Neurology and is now a Certified Clinical Chiropractic Neurologist. Dr. Chalmers also received certification in Spinal Decompression, for the management of disc pain, making him one of only a handful of doctors in the Dallas Metroplex to have such a certification.

Dr. Chalmers has been an athlete all his life and really enjoys working with athletes and their families. Nutrition is a very large part of a healthy lifestyle and as such Chalmers Wellness offers a wide range of dietary counseling from weight loss to weight gain. Chalmers Wellness also offers a large variety of nutritional supplements to help improve the overall wellness of the whole family.

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Podcast

The Why Of Mastery: Why You Should Ask Better Questions With Ben Baker

BYW 40 Ben Baker | Why Of Mastery

 

Ben Baker knew he had to shift careers fast, so he asked himself the question “Is there a better way?”  

Ben’s Why of Mastery led him to find the solution to save his marriage. Today he helps companies streamline internal communication to expand their unique value.  

Tune in as Ben talks with Dr. Gary Sanchez about living your Why of Mastery. Shift your mindset to be a learner. Because masters don’t think they’re masters. They’re lifelong learners! As a learner, you always ask vital questions. Keep doing that and you’ll live your Why of Mastery to the fullest.  

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

The Why Of Mastery: Why You Should Ask Better Questions With Ben Baker

Welcome to Beyond your WHY Podcast, where we go beyond talking about your why and help you discover and live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that in every episode, we talk about one of the nine why’s and we bring on somebody with that Why so you can see how their why is played out in their life. We are going to be talking about the why of mastery, which is the most rare why. If this is your why, you have an insatiable thirst for knowledge but not at a superficial level. The thirst is all about exploring the depths and intricacies of a particular subject.  

Masters never think they're a master. They consider themselves lifelong learners. Click To Tweet

You’ll pursue this goal until you are viewed as an expert in your subject area. You find enjoyment in the sheer act of immersing yourself in something new. You are fearless when it comes to learning about new subjects or ideas but often cautious when it comes to expressing your thoughts and feelings. You love to peel back the layers of the onion. Always going deeper and looking for subtle differences on any given topic. Short answers to questions are a challenge for you because you know you won’t get to the depths needed for someone to truly understand the subject being discussed. We’ve got a perfect guest for you on the way of mastery. His name is Ben Baker.  

Ben has been helping companies and the people within them understand, codify and communicate their unique value to others for more than a quarter of a century. He is the President of Your Brand Marketing, an employee engagement consultancy. He’s the author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-on Guide to Understanding Yours, and Leading Beyond a Crisis: A Conversation About What’s Next. He’s the host of iHeart and Spotify syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live Show with more than 250 episodes behind him. Ben believes that if companies understand, live, and build cultures around their purpose, employees will engage, stay and want to grow with the company. This takes great leadership, communication, and awareness of the brand.  

Please welcome, Ben Baker. 

That introduction gets longer every time I hear somebody read it. I want people to say, “Here’s Ben Baker.” Gary, thank you for having me on the show. I am excited about this. 

This is going to be fun. Ben, take us back in your life. Tell us the quick version of your life story. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? How did you get into developing your branding process? 

I was born in Minneapolis and moved out of there in 1974. We decided that we wanted to thaw a little bit. My mom was originally from Winnipeg. Her sister, her husband, and the kids all moved out to Vancouver. My mom wanted to be near her sister, so she said, “Let’s move out to Vancouver or out to the West Coast.” Back then, the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar, so we ended up moving to Canada. If it had been the reverse, we probably would have ended up in Seattle. Back in 1974, we moved up to Vancouver and I went through elementary, high school, and university up in Canada.  

Through all that, I did a lot of traveling. I went to the University of Victoria. I lived in LA, Seattle, Toronto, and New York for a bit through university. I lived overseas but Vancouver is always been home. I’ve always had a box of my stuff somewhere in somebody’s basement. It’s like, “Can you hang on to this stuff?” You have a few choices. We have books and knickknacks and stuff like that but that stuff ended up back at my house in probably about ‘96 when we got married. I’ve been back in Vancouver since about ’95. What happened was when I came back to Vancouver in ‘95, I was brought back on a contract.  

I was still in the high-tech industry. I was brought back because one of the major companies in the distribution area had a problem with a client. They said, “Can you take over the account and be able to help us resurrect it?” I said, “Sure. No problem.” It was a $100 million account. I spent probably about 1 or 1.5 years flying across North America, meeting with people, changing things, challenging things, and bringing things back to normal. About a year and a half later, I met my wife and we got married. We both realized this was a divorce waiting to happen. I was in the air 200 days a year. I was gone 250 days a year.  

Circumstances changed, so I went up to my boss and said, “You have two choices. You can either double my salary to pay for the divorce or you can cut myself my travel days in half.” He said, “Why don’t we buy you out?” I said, “I’m listening.” He says, “Stick around for 30 days. Help us hire your replacement. Fly them around for 30 to 45 days and we’ll pay you a six-month override.” I said, “Done.” He says, “Do you need to check with your wife?” I said, “No. Trust me.”  

They said, “One more thing. We’ll pay for you to take the What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up training,” because they knew that every job that was comparable to the one that I had that was good allowed me to make the same money. I was going to be doing the same amount of traveling. It didn’t matter if I was working for Intel, Epson printers, Hewlett Packard, or whoever. Everybody was going to want the up on a plane. They realized this was bad for me, so they were generous enough to sit me down with an industrial psychologist, run me through the Myers-Briggs and all those types of tests and come up with some solutions. It came up with two different things.  

One, you’re good at helping people tell their stories. Number two, work with large corporations. Don’t work within large corporations. They realize that what I’m good at is finding the solution, fixing the problem, and leaving. That’s what I do well. See what their problem is, understand the challenge, help them fix it, and leave them to be able to move on their own. I don’t want to be there. That’s the person who’s there for the next 10, 15, 20 years doing maintenance on it. I’m the fixer.  

That’s where my new career began. I ended up in direct mail. I ended up working for a large direct mail firm and we ended up doing an enormous amount of $500,000 to $1 million piece runs. I killed a lot of trees. What it came to the realization was that a lot of my clients were in the grocery, the casino business and they were reactive. They were like, “Our competitors are like this. We need to put something in the mail right now.” I’m like, “Let them chase you instead of you chasing them.”  

That came down to understanding brand, strategy, vision, market and getting to putting together a year-long plan for them. Every time they drop something in the mail, somebody else had to react not them reacting to somebody else. It worked well up until 9/11. We were a Canadian company working with US clients. Good, bad, or indifferent, the US companies decided, “We want to deal with American folks.” Because the Canadian dollar was getting stronger and there wasn’t as much value, the factor of the American first wanting to deal with Americans, that business started to go away. I started to look and say, “Where can we go from here?” That led to promotional marketing, tradeshow development, social media development, and your overall branding.  

How do you brand a company? How do you understand what their story is? Where did they come from? Where are they now? Where do they want to go? Who are their clients? Why do their clients care about them? What differentiates them in the marketplace? Being able to help my clients tell their stories through various types of mediums. In 2008, at the beginning of the crisis, I left the company I was working for and started out on my own. It’s a perfect time to start a company but my clients were large and substantial enough that they said, “We don’t care who you work for. You take care of us.”  

They have supported me and that’s what got me through those first three years of chaos. It was looking at my clients going, “You guys don’t have $1 million to spend anymore. You have $500,000 to spend. How can we take that $500,000 and get the most out of it? How do we enable you to tell your story as effectively on a smaller budget where everybody else was saying, ‘You guys spend more. You guys spend more.’” I’m going, “No. They only have so much money to spend. Let’s take what they have and be able to figure out how to do more.”  

BYW 40 Ben Baker | Why Of Mastery
Why Of Mastery: Most companies are good at telling their story externally, but they’re horrific at telling their story internally.

 

That led me to work with clients and understand their philosophy and what they are. A few years ago, I came to the realization that most companies are good at telling their story externally but they’re horrific and telling their story internally. Their internal clients and employees don’t know the brand story. They don’t understand the genesis of the organization. Why was it started? Beyond the dates and the times, they don’t understand what the impetus was of who, what was the original problem these people were trying to solve, and how did it move from where it was to where it is to where it’s going. For the last few years, my mission is to help clients communicate more effectively inside, get rid of the silos, break down barriers, have more effective communication across different divisions, and allow them to be more successful because they’re not wasting millions of dollars through ineffective communication. 

What was that moment when you realized that companies don’t tell their internal story very well? What was going on? What were you seeing and how did you come to that conclusion? 

Here’s a perfect a-ha moment. I used to work with a lot of government clients and a lot of health authorities. We did a lot of work with smoking cessation, alcohol awareness, and drug addiction programs. One of the health authorities that I belong in and work with is 200 or 250 square miles. They spread out all over the place. I was doing by tour de force, going out and you’re checking on the track line and talking to a whole bunch of different divisions and having a bunch of meetings.  

At the end of the day, I started realizing I went, “I’ve had this conversation before today.” I realized that there were three different groups that had a similar problem, slightly different audience but the same thing that they were trying to achieve basically and none of them knew each other. None of them had the budget on their own to be able to solve this problem. They are all saying, “What can you do for cheap?” I’m like, “We don’t want to do cheap.” What I did is, I got all three groups on a conference call together. 

I introduced these people and I went, “You’re all talking about the same problem.” We’re like, “We’re going to have to change the logo and we might have to change the message a little bit but we can buy in bulk and be able to create something that’s going to work for all three divisions. Gain it all together and make it work effectively.” Ninety-five percent of the message was exactly the same. They were able to take the three budgets, put them together, and do something better than any one of them wanted to do. None of that would have happened because none of them even do the other teams existed, let alone they were working on a similar problem. That happens time and time again, Inc. Magazine says companies that have 100,000 employees or more wastes an effective $62 million a year because of ineffective communication. The number is staggering. 

Ineffective communication means that everybody gets into their group, does their thing, and doesn’t get outside of their department to find out what’s happening? How do we look at the big picture, instead of our little picture? 

The left hand, not knowing what the right hand is doing. Here’s the perfect example. You have a job that goes from ideation with a sales team through marketing, product development, into the hands of operations, and out through distribution. Do these five groups ever get together and look at this thing as a unit and say, “What is this going to take to get this out the door?” You have packaging people that are not talking to your production people that are not talking to shipping people. What are the little things you need in order to make this thing work? How many of these boxes are going to fit on a pallet? What are the things that we need to do to make sure that the box isn’t going to crash when we ship it along?  

How do we make sure that these things are being able to be done on a production line versus having parts of it hand done? Because the different departments are not talking to each other and finding out what the other department needs, I hand it off from one division to the other division to the area division. That can happen in accounting, legal, and finance. It can happen anywhere. It’s people not understanding what other people need. When I give this to you, am I giving it to you in a way that you can use it or do you have to totally repurpose it to make it work with the systems that you’re already working on within the same company?  

What about this problem that you’re solving? Why is this interesting to you? What is the excitement over solving those problems?  

The older you get, the less you know. Click To Tweet

For me, it’s all about watching companies become more effective and profitable. I’m a lousy chess player. I wish I was a better chess player because I don’t play the game as much as I used to. I like watching the whole board. I’m that 50,000-foot person that likes to see how the different pieces come together. How do you make sure that you can look three moves ahead and make sure that things work effectively? It drives me crazy when you see ineffective policies, process procedures, and miscommunication because a lot of it’s due to laziness.  

A lot of it’s the fact that you’re too lazy and embarrassed to ask the question you think you should know better, or you think you do know better, which is even worse and therefore, things that should go smoothly. Things that should go effectively, things that should cost X end up calling X times ten by the time they get out the door, and nobody’s stopping to realize this, oh, okay, cost $100 instead of $10, where it could have easily cost $10, if people took the time to reverse engineer things. 

If they had more detail and depth and that they knew more about it. When your why came up as mastery and you read about mastery like what I read to you, how did that feel to you? 

It truly made sense because the one thing that you were telling me about a master that you didn’t mention is a master never thinks that they’re a master. I consider myself a lifelong learner. I consider myself always sitting there going, “Is there a better way? Is there a different way? Is there somebody that I should be aligning myself with or consulting with or talking to that may know more about a specific part of this than I do?” I may understand things from a grandiose point of view but when it comes down to the weeds, the nuts, and bolts, I want to talk to the person who’s doing that.  

When I was in the printing business, if I wanted to know the challenges of putting something on a press, I would talk to the pressman. If I need something about how do we convert something from a great big piece of paper into a box or into a package or something like that? I talked to somebody who’s writing the converting line or the dye maker. They’re going to have insights into things that I didn’t even know what questions to ask, let alone know what the answers are. Maybe being over 51 years old gives me a little bit better ability to not have the ego to think that I know everything. The older I get, the less I know. I don’t see that as a weakness. I see that as a, “How do I find the answer?” “How do I find somebody who knows the answer and bring them on board for us to be more successful?”  

You started helping companies communicate better. How did you get from doing that to podcasting? I know you have your own show. You help people tell their stories. How did you get there? 

I’ve been podcasting for years. I’ve had my own podcast, the YourLIVINGBrand.live Show. I’m over 250 episodes or I might be over 270 episodes by now but I’ve been on podcasts for a couple of years before most people even knew what a podcast was. People were inviting me to be on their podcast to sit down and talk. I know some of the grandparents of the podcasting industry. People sit there and go, “You’re an old man of the podcasting industry.” I said, “You don’t even know.” These guys have been doing this for fifteen-plus years or longer.  

A few years ago, I got into my podcast and during COVID, a couple of different things happened. I speak around the world. February of 2020, I had speaking gigs lined up in Australia, Europe, the Caribbean, and across the United States. Three days in March, it was wiped out. Everything was gone. Not only the years’ worth of speaking gigs that I had but probably the next year of speaking gigs because you go to one gig, somebody taps you on the shoulder there and says, “We’ve got an event coming up. Could you come and speak to us?” I sat there and said, “I have two choices. I can either grab my knees and rock back and forth or I can figure out what’s next.” What I realized is that there’s a lot of large organizations that are either trying to do podcasting and doing it poorly or they have no idea where to start. 

I created the podcast host for hire program. What it is, is for the most part, these are internal-only streams-only on a secure platform podcast. Allowing companies to have an internal communication message that’s asynchronous and allowed to have communication across multiple divisions, multiple people, multiple projects, and allow to have better insight into the company. I help them with strategy. I voice the podcast for them and help them with the entire distribution channel, the editing, and everything.  

That became a COVID baby but it’s starting to become fairly successful. There are companies that are reaching out to me going, “What would this look like? Can we try a six-month trial to see whether it works?” People asked me three months ago, “Three months isn’t going to give you enough time to understand whether it’s going to work or not. We need to do it in six.” There’s a lot of companies out there where productions and conversation with a variety of different people doing test markets for them to see how this works for them and how this is making it better for them. So far, the information that I’m getting back is fairly positive. 

Give us an example of a company that would want to have its podcast. 

I can’t mention names because everything I do is under NDA, nondisclosure, but we’re talking about hundred million to multibillion-dollar corporations that are across different cities, different states, different countries, maybe they have multiple divisions. They probably have 1,000 more employees and they have multiple projects going on simultaneously because we’ll work on things like change management, culture and purpose issues, diversity and inclusion issues.  

If you’ve got a new division, project, or a new thing that you’re trying to get out into the marketplace, we’ll work with you to build a launch strategy for that through podcasting, so everybody knows. Everybody is on board and sales prepared to sell this thing when it goes out the door, so those are the types of issues that we deal with. Bangalore main has no idea what LA is doing and they readily admit it. That’s where we tend to get involved. 

They bring you in and say, “Ben, we need to create our own podcast. This is the goal for it. We need you to help us set it up and to get the right equipment.” If you’re reading and you want to set up your own podcast for your own company or how about if you want to help someone start their podcast business, would you be somebody that they should call? 

BYW 40 Ben Baker | Why Of Mastery
Why Of Mastery: Many organizations are either trying to do a podcast and are poor at it, or they have no idea where to start.

 

Not if they want to start their own podcasting business. If you’re looking to start your podcast, there are two different ways. If you’re a small to medium-sized business, I’ve got an online course called YourSuccessfulPodcast.com/launch. That’s a course designed for small to medium-sized businesses to teach themselves how to podcast effectively. It’s everything that they need. There’s a resource page, what do you need to do every day for your first 30 days to make sure that you’re successful. I host a monthly Zoom chat for anybody who is a client that they can come up and ask me anything. I have an email that people can email me if they’ve got questions. It’s designed for that.  

The next level is the companies that are sitting there going, “We want to start a podcast. We’re not do-it-yourselfers. We don’t want to do this. We want somebody who can grab us by the hand and help us through this.” That’s where the magic is. It’s to help them. Either I can host the podcast for them. I can co-host a podcast and teach somebody how to become a podcaster or I can train the person and give them the tools that they need to be able to be on the air themselves and be successful moving forward. My goal is to enable your company to shine on your own and for me to be there in the background like that security blanket. If you need me and how you need me, I’m here for you. I’m not going away but use me as it makes sense but let me help you set it up properly and get you up and running.  

That would have been so great when I was setting mine up for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing. I was winging it and doing a bunch of poor ones at first until you started to figure it out but I know there’s something about you that our audience doesn’t know, which I found fascinating. I’m going to ask you this question because I know you have an interesting answer. Why would I choose you for somebody to help me with my show because I know what you’ve been doing the last five years as far as being on other people’s podcasts? 

You would use me because I’m the person who’s going to have the details. I’m the person who’s going to be looking ahead. I’m the one who realizes that there are 2 million podcasts out there. In 2018, there were 500,000 podcasts and now there are over 2 million podcasts. Seventy-five percent of those podcasts fail within ten episodes. The reason for that is, people don’t understand why they’re podcasting, who they’re podcasting to, tone of voice, strategy, what they’re trying to achieve from the podcast, and how to set it up for success.  

For me, I’m all about the process and understanding you as a person or you as a company and no two podcasts are going to be the same. You and I could talk about the exact same type of things on a podcast. We could have the same audience, and your audience and my audience are going to get different insights out of the same information. We can even talk to the same guest and we’ll interview that person differently. That’s the beautiful thing about podcasts. You’re not in competition. What you’re doing is providing long-tail communication, building trust, and relationships with your audience, that eventually you’re going to sit there and go, “We should talk to them about the project that we’re working on. This isn’t advertising. This isn’t an immediate call to action thing. This is about know, like, and trust.”  

How do I know that you know all these details? That’s what I’m getting at because you told me something that surprised me. I was like, “You do that?”  

I’m trying to remember exactly what it is.  

You’ve been on 50 podcasts a year.  

That’s what you’re getting at.  

I was like, “Who goes on 50 podcasts a year to find all this information out?” Why are you on those podcasts? 

It’s true. I go on somewhere around 50 podcasts a year. My goal is 50. I made 57 in 2020. During COVID, it was a little easier but my goal is to find out what do people do, what people do not do well, what are the new and innovative things that people are doing like different intros, exits, and cadence that people have. They have a different tone of voice. People have different questions people ask and all that stuff gets built into a repository in the six square inches between my ears. It enables me to sit there and go, “Do this but certainly don’t do this. This will work for you but it won’t work for somebody else.” I’ve got somebody that we ended up putting the strategy behind the podcast and it’s a rock and roll podcast.  

It’s all upbeat heavy music and all that but that’s his audience. I would never listen to this thing in a million years but once we realize who his audience was, his audience is the young Turks. They’re the guys that are out there storming the walls in the business community. The guys want to work 80, 90 to 100 hours a week. The go-getters, the wannabes or call them whichever you are but that’s who this guy speaks to and that’s who his audience is. That’s who he relates to because he’s one of them. 

For me, it’s a podcast for these people, so the podcast needs to reflect that. I knew the perfect piece of music and perfect intro for him. I knew what we should be talking about who the first five guests should be. A lot of that came down to the fact that because I’ve been on 50-plus interviews a year besides my show, but plus the shows I do for other clients, it gives me insights into things that most people don’t have. 

In our case for you and I, when I knew I was going to have you on the podcast, you sent me an email and said, “I was listening to one of your show and you need to get a new microphone.” I’m like, “What?” You’re like, “It sounds like you’re underwater.” 

I felt bad about that. I never liked giving that advice to people because I’m certainly going, “I’m costing somebody money,” but I’m going, “If you’re doing one interview, you had a bad mic but not having good sound on a podcast is horrific, because nobody listens to it.” If people are fighting through the sounds of being muffled and stupid and nobody can understand what you’re saying, people are going to tune out. Nobody cares. You can be as brilliant as you want to be but if it’s not easy for people to listen to, they’re going to go find somewhere else to be. 

For the readers, Ben was going to be on the show and he sent me the email that said, “You need a better microphone.” I have a good microphone. The one I’ve been using all these years was at that time when I got supposed to be one of the best ones but he said, “That’s mid-level. You need to get a better one.” I ordered a new microphone, so I’m using this new microphone right now and I waited until I got it. In fact, I postponed our interview until I got it so I could have the good mic, so I wasn’t going to get a post podcast interview email that said, “I wish you had a better microphone for our interview.” I got a nice one here and hopefully, we sound better. 

Here’s the thing. You didn’t pay $500 for that. You certainly didn’t pay $1,000 for that mic. How much did you pay for that?  

About $150.  

For $150, you sound 100 times better and it’s not about spending a fortune. The mic that I’m using right now is $150. The new mic that I have on order is about $450. I’m ready for that next level of mic, but I’ve been using this mic for almost a few four years now and it’s time for me to take that next level up but for most people, a $150 microphone is all you’re ever going to need for your podcast. That’s going to make you sound good, it’s going to be crisp, it’s going to be clean and it’s going to allow you to be able to sound good to your audience. 

What’s interesting is I have headphones plugged into the microphone so I can hear my own voice in my ears where I couldn’t do that before with my other. I could do it. But I didn’t know that I could do that, so I didn’t know how I sounded. I’m sure this microphone is still better than what it was when you heard it, I didn’t have it in the right place on the right settings and I didn’t know that. You had me buy this one and I realized that I could hook my headphones up to it to hear myself. That little tweak was valuable, so you’re the guy that dives in deep, looks for all of the nuances and little things.  

That makes a big difference. That’s the whole thing with the why of mastery because that’s the question I asked you. If you remember, I said, “Your why of mastery, give me an example of an area that you have a lot of knowledge about.” You said, “Podcasting.” I said, “What do you mean?” That’s when you started talking about the 50 podcasts a year that you’re on, so what works so you see the nuances because it’s the little things that make the big difference is what you told me. It’s super valuable. 

I don’t need to know everything. There are a million things I don’t know about. My son is brilliant at Physics. My wife is brilliant at other things. Neither were the things that they’re interested in are not things that I want to spend a lot of time working on because I know if I have a question about it, I know where to go for the answer. My thing is, the things I want to know about, I want to know a lot about and because those are the things that are not only going to help me but are going to be helping to help my customers and my customer’s customers and that’s where I focus. 

Ben has half of his screen and on the other half of his screen, he has his logo and it says “What’s Your Story?” Tell us about that. What do you mean, what’s your story?  

What’s your story logo came out of Your Brand Marketing real logo. It’s two people sitting there talking to each other. That came from the show YourLIVINGBrand.live story but the first question I asked everybody is, “What’s your story?” I may not ask it directly. I may not sit there going, “Tell me about what your story is.” A lot of people ask us, “Where did you come from? Where are you? Where are you going? What are the things that are important to you? What are the challenges that you’ve had? What are the insights? What have you learned along the way?” That’s your story. The more we can understand people’s stories, the more we can understand what they’re passionate about, what they believe in, what’s the hill that they’re willing to die on, and what are the things that are so important to them that they’re deal-breakers.  

It's time for you to take that next level up. Click To Tweet

If we can understand that about people, we can help them better if we assume that everybody wants the same things that we do. As we all may be part of one race, the human race, but each person wakes up every morning with their own hopes, wants, needs, fears, and desires. It’s our job to understand people on their own terms. We don’t have to agree with it. We don’t have to believe what they believe but we need to understand and empathize with them because if we can, that’s how we can help them. That’s what your story is all about.  

Is there a way that you like people to tell their story or is it however you want to tell your story? 

I let people tell their own stories. It’s interesting. I do a show weekly. I know the first question that I’m going to ask somebody and I know the last question we’ve asked them as they walk up the door. Between that, it’s a conversation. It’s like, “What did you mean by that? Can you elaborate on that? Where did that take you? How did you feel when that happened?” The more I can sit there and listen not to interrupt, not listen to ask my next question but to actively listen to care and to go understand what their internal motivation is, the better the conversation is.  

I have guests ask me all the time, “Can you give me some prepared questions?” The answer is no because I don’t know what the questions I’m going to ask are and I tell them that. I said, “I don’t have a clue what I’m going to ask you until I ask you. I have done the research. I’ll comb through your social media and your website. If you’ve done other interviews, I’ve done that. If you’ve got a book, I’ve read the precis.” I never come into an interview unprepared but I don’t care where the conversations are going as long as I understand where we’re going. To me, I understand where I want to get to, this is the angle, and these are the things that we want to discuss. How we get there or what happens along the way doesn’t matter as long as it helps us achieve our goal. 

The last question I’m going to ask you. What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever given or have ever got from someone else? 

I teach it at universities all the time and I find that these 3rd and 4th-year students are smart but they have no idea how to tell their own story. I tell them, “You need to understand who you are. Don’t worry about a job title, career path, or any of that stuff. Understand what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at and they are different. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you’re good at it and vice versa. It’s got to be the combination of the two. If you can understand how you can solve people’s problems, listen, understand how to listen and understand people, and fix people’s problems, you will always do well, and your career will blossom regardless. It’ll go in directions that you never thought it will.” That’s the biggest piece of advice I probably give every 3rd and 4th-year student that I come across. The best piece of advice given to me is that a lot of what you see on stage is an illusion. Our job as speakers is to touch hearts and souls.  

If we can touch hearts and souls, they may not remember 90% of what we said but if they feel it, internalize it, it means something to them, they see how it benefits them, and see a clear path to success, that’s when you’ve got them. That’s when they’re onboarded and running with a check on their hand towards you. That’s what I do. Every time I’m on stage, it’s like, “How do I connect emotionally with this particular audience and how do I give them what they need to succeed?” Maybe not what they want, but what they need. 

Ben, if people are wanting to get in touch with you, they want to set up their own show, they want to connect with you, what’s your story, or the podcast host for hire, how do they get ahold of you? What’s the best way to connect with you? 

BYW 40 Ben Baker | Why Of Mastery
Why Of Mastery: The better you understand people, the more you can help.

 

The repository is YourBrandMarketing.com. Everything is there. There are 50 different websites that all push to one central location but the central hub is YourBrandMarketing.com. That is where my podcast is. That’s where all my programs are my workshops. Anything and everything that you want to know even free chapters of my two books are on there. People can download it for free. I don’t have a paywall. You don’t have to give me your email address or anything. You can even sign up for a free 30-minute conversation. I’m more than happy to talk to anybody. Find out what you’re trying to achieve and if I can help you, great. If I can’t help you, I’ll try to find somebody who can. 

Ben, I appreciate you taking the time to be here. I look forward to staying in touch with you as we continue on our journeys. I know that I was on your podcast, so that was exciting. I’m looking forward to staying in contact. Thank you for taking time out of your day to be here. 

Gary, I loved every minute of this. Thanks for being such a great host and I’ve enjoyed sharing the mic with you.  

Sounds great. Thanks, Ben, and thanks for my new microphone.  

You’re welcome but don’t send me the bill.  

Take care.  

Thank you all for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. The code for that is Podcast50. You can discover your why for 50% off. If you love the Beyond Your Why Podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, leave us a review, and rating on whatever platform you are using. I’ll see you all. Have a great week. 

Important links: 

About Ben Baker

BYW 40 Ben Baker | Why Of MasteryBen Baker has been helping companies, and the people within them understand, codify, and communicate their unique value to others for nearly a quarter of a century.

He is the president of Your Brand Marketing, an Employee Engagement Consultancy, author of “Powerful Personal Brands: a hands-on guide to understanding yours,” and “Leading Beyond a Crisis: a conversation about what’s next,” and the host of IHEART and Spotify syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show with more than 250+ episodes behind him.

Ben believes that if companies understand, live, and build cultures around their purpose, employees will engage, stay, and want to grow with the company. This takes great leadership, communication, and awareness of the brand.

 

 

 

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Podcast

Renie Cavallari On Inspiring Others To Unlock Their Fullest Human Potential

BYW 39 | Human Potential

 

Renie Cavallari always has a lingering feeling to pursue bigger and bigger goals. This admirable thought became her drive in starting Aspire, a company focused on tapping the greatest human potential. Listen to her meaningful discussion with Dr. Gary Sanchez focused on getting rid of head trash.

She explains how freeing your mind from doubts and eliminating your big lie can lead to clarity. Discover essential advice from this conversation to start getting out of the feeling of being stuck and determine the right motivation you need. As a result, you can shift your mindset and reconnect with your emotional side that dictates your life purpose.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Renie Cavallari On Inspiring Others To Unlock Their Fullest Human Potential

If you’re a regular reader, you know that every week, we talk about one of the nine whys and then we bring on somebody with that why so we can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of a better way. If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator. You are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvements with the world.

You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?” You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased, but never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating, which means that you’re adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another, always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Renie Cavallari. She is the Founder, CEO and Chief Instigator of Aspire, a global transformational training and culture development company that specializes in inspired learning that shifts human behavior and awakens potential. She is also the founder of the RCI Institute, active thinking and people technology lab. An award-winning international strategist, speaker and leadership expert with a vast grasp of business and its challenges, she has driven measurable results for businesses with her innovative solutions around the world for over many years. Renie, welcome to the show.

It’s great to be here, Gary. Thank you so much.

Renie, what city are you in?

I’m in Phoenix, Arizona.

When you're living in your potential, you're living in joy. Click To Tweet

Bring us up to speed on you. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? How did you get into being a strategist, author and speaker? Tell us your story.

I grew up in Philly. I’m a scrappy kid from Philly. My parents were both teachers. I went to college at FSU. I got lucky and joined Corporate America right out of college. I had amazing mentors and people helping me learn and grow. I started in sales and was honestly endlessly curious all the time. Eventually, I had several great opportunities in the hospitality industry, working for various companies. I started a company called Powered by Aspire. We do transformational work. We’re about awakening the potential of people. When you talk about understanding your why, I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t aware of it early on, but many years ago, I got very clear. That clarity has been such a gift. I’m also a mama. I have a daughter. I’m married. Also, in that beautiful transaction, I got another daughter, Alison and her husband, Greg. I have a grandson too, Aiden.

Take us back. What was that moment that you realized, “I got to go start this Powered by Aspire?” What happened? What were you doing? What were you thinking? What was going on? How did you come up with that?

I was in a fancy corporate job. I was SVP of a medium-sized, good-sized company. The partners offered me a partnership and to become the COO as well. I remember I kept thinking, “I should feel so happy about this.” I was certainly grateful for the opportunity, but I wasn’t happy. I asked for the weekend and I stopped and sat with it. I came in on Monday morning. I said, “Thank you very much. I quit.” It was about that I became aware that I wasn’t aspiring and hence the name of the company, to what I loved to do. I was doing what was next in the chain of tradition of, “You go from here to here. You’re going to be COO. Isn’t that fabulous? Next, you’ll be that.” All of a sudden, it made me awake.

I didn’t have a plan, which is crazy because I have been a strategist and strategists tend to overplan everything. I sat back and I was having dinner with a girlfriend. She said, “You should start your own firm.” I had thought that I wanted to start a firm before, but not with this. It was a crazy, snap-on tool for a diaper delivery business. What happened is that my girlfriend, Brenda Exline, had a successful ad agency. She said, “If you’re too afraid to do it, I’ll be your partner.” It was the greatest thing anyone could say because I thought, “I don’t need a partner. If she believes in me, I should go do this.”

You said you weren’t happy. Why were you not happy?

BYW 39 | Human Potential
Human Potential: There’s nothing like mentors and people that you imprint on that you don’t realize that you’ve done something to, and they’re giving back to you.

 

I didn’t like operating the business. I didn’t like the work because, in the operation, I wasn’t connected to my why, which was about awakening people. When you’re awakening people, it does tie to finding a better way like, “How do you keep improving?” Giving people the opening to find what they want next to live to their potential. When you’re living in your potential, you’re living in joy. That’s it. To me, success equals joy. That’s my success meter. I knew like, “I don’t like this work.” That opportunity woke me up to, “If you don’t like what you’re doing, no wonder you’re starting to get grumpy.” Things started to irritate me too much and that wasn’t my nature. It was a fantastic learning moment. When I find myself in that same place because it does come up throughout your life where you’re looking around going, “I am not my happy space.” For me, that’s the moment where I can change my thinking and think about, “What is it that I want?” versus “What is it I am doing?”

I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people that are reading this that may be in that not-so-happy place and don’t know how to put their finger on exactly what it is they’re not happy with. They just know they’re not happy. They don’t like what they’re doing, but they’re doing it because they got to make a paycheck. You were fortunate it sounds like at a young age to be able to make that transition. How did you determine what you were then going to do? Now, you’re making snap-on tools for baby diapers. How did you decide, “I think I’m going to go start Powered by Aspire?” How does that happen?

I never did that business of the snap-on tool concept where you deliver diapers. It was a concept that never got off the ground, but that was the first entrepreneurial moment for me. Because I knew what I loved to do, I was clear on that and I thought, “I’m going to start a business.” I didn’t have any people in my life that were entrepreneurs. My father was a teacher. My mother was a teacher’s assistant. There wasn’t a map of that, but I just knew like, “If I do what I love, the odds are, I should be pretty good at it.” I put it out there and started thinking about it.

I got a phone from someone who I had worked with for years. It was the greatest gift because there’s nothing like mentors and people that you imprint on that you don’t realize that you’ve done something and imprinted on them and they’re giving back to you. His name is Paul Margetson. He called me up and said, “Renie, what is your financial nut?” I was like, “I’m sorry. What?” It was a personal question. It wasn’t like he was a good friend. He was a business associate. I told him the number and it wasn’t much. I was single. It wasn’t like I had made this big decision. The company came back to me that I have resigned from and said, “We need nine months.” I had time to formulate.

That’s important for people to understand. When you want to make a shift, you don’t have to make it in a nanosecond. You start to think and explore like, “What do I love? Who can I connect with? How can I leverage that?” You certainly have done that in the chapters of your life. It starts to move because you gain clarity of it. Paul called me up and said, “I’m going to hire you. You just told me your nut.” I gave him my nut for the month. He said, “I’m going to pay you. I want you to send me a proposal of what I’m going to pay you for.” It was such a gift in so many ways because the financial freedom became clear and it wasn’t a big nut.

On the other hand, it was this opportunity he gave me to create the kind of firm I would want to work for. From that, I said, “We’re going to work on, ‘How do we transform people so that we shift their behaviors so they can perform at higher levels? When they perform at higher levels, not only do they feel better and continue to grow, but their organizations continue to perform.'” Aspire has a 96% retention of our clients year-over-year. That’s at the foundation of it when there is performance because it’s not fluffy stuff working in culture and leadership. For some people, it might be, but in our firm, it’s certainly not. It’s about this higher level and there’s nothing that turns me on more than that, like watching people soar. I’ll drink that Kool-Aid every day.

When you want to make a shift, you don't have to make it in a nanosecond. Always take time to think about it. Click To Tweet

You started Powered by Aspire. What was your vision for it? I’m not sure exactly what is Powered by Aspire. Tell us what that is.

Its why is to awaken human potential. It has been that for many years. We are a transformational company. We work on transforming and performance improvement. We do training, leadership development and a lot of cultural alignment so that when you understand the company why, how and what, that alignment allows for trajectory. We work on those solutions for our clients. As their strategies change, we custom-build training so that they can bring their people along in the changes that are occurring. That’s what Aspire does. We have quite a bit of IP, intellectual property. These proven processes are focused on what we call People Technology™. These tools allow people to understand where their performance is, how to grow, what kind of mindset is going to take them to where they want to go and what skills they need. There’s a whole variety of tools in our People Technology™ war chest.

So that when they perform at a higher level, then they experience more joy?

They sure do. They stick with you as they grow in their career and the companies that they work for. There’s a beautiful synergy amongst it all. I feel so grateful that I do work where the intimacy of the relationships becomes the best value there is. I do need to be paid and the intimacy of the relationships is at the heart of our business.

It sounds like you enjoy showing people a better way to live a more inspired life.

BYW 39 | Human Potential
Human Potential: When people perform at higher levels, not only do they feel better and continue to grow, but their organizations continue to perform.

 

When my team read it, there was a lot of laughter. That was autobiographical. I couldn’t have written it for myself as well as it was written, including the not-so-beautiful parts, which were so delicately put. My team might have been a little more direct on that part, that constant and never-ending improvement.

I know what it’s like because I live in that same world. We can’t turn it off. It’s just the way it is. You go to bed thinking about better ways. You wake up thinking about better ways. You didn’t choose it. It’s just how we function, but it does have its pluses. You’ve written six books. Your latest book is called what?

HEADTRASH: The Leading Killer of Human Potential.

Tell us about that. It’s a better way for what?

When we understand what our head trash is and learn how to shift our head trash get out of our head trash, then all of a sudden, we can turn on our performance, happiness and everything. Head trash is a look at what’s going on in that brain of ours. We have this physical brain that we’re all aware of that’s functional and we have an emotional brain that is all about feelings and thoughts. The emotional brain we don’t talk a lot about. We talk about mindset, but the emotional brain is more complex than just, “I should be positive.”

We need to understand that there are two sides to that emotional brain. When we get that, there are two sides, the disconnected side of the emotional brain, which is where negativity, fear, anxiety, worry and concern live. It’s all those difficult negative emotions. Also, that has physical implications too, like shortness of breath. Our body can become distressed on that side of our emotional brain. The goal of life is to get over to the connected side of your emotional brain. The more time you spend on the connected side, then the more creativity you have, collaboration, happiness, joy. You’re in gratitude and appreciation when you’re over on that side and that opens up your world. When we understand how to dump our head trash, then we change anything we want because we have clarity. When you’re up late, you can’t fall asleep, that tape is going and the nasty voices are on you, it’s hard to gain clarity in a way that’s productive.

The more time you spend on your connected side, the more creativity, collaboration, and happiness you have. Click To Tweet

How do you define head trash?

Head trash are the little voices in your head that are undermining you in any way they can. They’re that self-talk that gets turned on and it’s a loop usually. It can come from things like the imprints of your past. It can come from experiences that you have with someone. Clearly, your head trash is about your thoughts. We feel the way we think. A lot of times, we’re trying to change how we feel. That’s why if we just take a drug, we can change how we feel, but it’s not getting at the core. When we change how we think, that changes how we feel. How we feel ultimately determines how we’re going to behave and what action we’re going to take. If we feel crappy and we take action, it’s usually not our best self, or I’ll at least speak for myself.

When you become more aware of it, then you can stop yourself and start to say, “How do I shift out of this?” That’s what the book focuses on. It focuses on that we all have head trash and the understanding of it and then the model of, “Own it. Shift it. Dump it.” How do you do that so that you have more joy in your life? The less head trash you have, the more space for the things that you love and want. Even your aspirations and the things that you might be frustrated by because you don’t have them, you have the space to go after them versus feel crappy and therefore, you’re stuck.

What motivated you to write a book about head trash?

First of all, I consider myself an expert on head trash. I am up there. People ask me my expertise, “How long have you been a strategist? What’s your most successful strategy?” All this other kind of baloney. “What am I an expert at?” “I can speak to head trash.” Having worked for many years with people and behind the scenes, the RCI Institute, which is another firm that I own, the institute has been studying human behavior and it is live human behavior. Aspire executes the work. We’ve worked with thousands of leaders around the globe. We’ve worked with tens and thousands of salespeople and customer service people. We have this large group, imagine 26 years of working with people and being able to understand, “How do you shift performance?” At the RCI Institute, our job is to get in there, create these processes and improve them so that people have real tools to be able to move.

BYW 39 | Human Potential
HEADTRASH: The Leading Killer of Human Potential

That’s where the book came from. This is my work of 26 years of being curious about people and helping people find improvement and find where they want to go. Also, in the book, I don’t think you can write about head trash. I think it’s inappropriate to write about head trash and talk about other people’s head trash, especially since I have plenty of it and I work on it. It’s not just the proven processes on an intellectual level. It’s my journey in there. From some people’s perspective, I may look successful, but I’m equally a big old mess as everybody else and I work on the same challenges. Hopefully, this book is helping people to move to a higher quality of life, like what they want versus where they find themselves.

The second thing is, I was almost through this book and then COVID hit. I had to put the brakes on it and come back to it after a couple of months. We studied over 100 top-performing leaders over that time. We started to zero in on, “Who was able to lead success? Who was not able to lead success?” Which, for me, became another piece of the book. I felt like as we had this pandemic called COVID-19, coming out of it, we have an epidemic of head trash. We’ve got all the stuff in our heads, our lack of control, our anger towards what happened and our feelings towards how we want to work. All that is on the disconnected side of our emotional brain and we got to help people get to the other side.

Are there a certain number of different types of head trash? Are there unlimited numbers of head trash? How do you know? Is there like, “There are five head trashes?” How does that work?

Head trash is just head trash because everyone’s head trash looks different. Some head trash we can all relate to because it’s like that question of, “Am I good enough? Can I count on you?” There’s some kind of threads that we all think about, but we’ve identified what we call the four big lies in our disconnected side. We all have one of these four and then there’s all the other stuff that’s in head trash. That’s all usually more incidental. It’s reflective of a specific thing that occurred, but it ties back to something else.

It ties back to one of these four big lies. The four big lies are, “I must be right. I must never lose. Everyone must always love me. I must always feel comfortable.” When we can identify that, that’s our big trigger. When you discover your why, you can discover what your motivation in life is. When you discover your big lie, you discover what is holding you back, where you go when you’re stuck. When you can acknowledge where you go and understand where you go when you’re stuck, then you can get out of it.

When you’re stuck, then you can go back to the four and say, “Which one of those four is the one that I’m focused on right now or the one that’s in my head all the time that I got to change so that I can move through this or get past this?” Is that what you’re saying?

When you understand your head trash and learn how to get them out, you can turn on your performance and happiness. Click To Tweet

It’s even easier than that. We all only have one. When we’re on the connected side of our emotional brain, none of this applies. It’s just when we’re on the disconnected side, in that negative, fearful, worry, anxiety and all those challenging emotions, then that’s where one of these lies lives. It’s not like you get to change it up in your life. It just is. The, “I must be right. They must be right.” They dig in and they will get analytical. They will tell you why they are right. The only way to help them is to help them be right, shift them and move them out.

The book goes into, “How do you do that for yourself and then also for others?” Also, there’s the, “I must never lose,” which you are looking at. We will do anything for the win. In that process, we can be inconsiderate. We’re driving at solving that problem. It’s a bone that we won’t let go and we’re going to go. Also, “If you can’t help us win, then you mean nothing to us.” We don’t do it on purpose, but that’s the, “I must win.” It’s so rhinoceros-focused and then you have the, “Everybody must love me,” where everything is about connection. If they feel a sense of disconnect, they can’t function. They worry like it’s an excessive people-pleasing need.

“I must win. I’m a people-pleaser when I’m on my connected side. I don’t think about pleasing anybody when I’m on my disconnected side. I’m just all about the endgame.” The, “Everybody must love me,” must feel that connection when things are chaotic and they’re worried or fearful. The, “I must be comfortable,” is tricky because they wouldn’t be comfortable with any of this. They change at first. They cannot handle any kind of conflict or chaos well. They tend to stay quiet. There you go with postal people, where all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you’re thinking everything was okay and they let it rip. When you understand these about yourself and other people, now you can be supportive of them as well as yourself.

It’s funny listening to you as you go through those four. I can see certain people in those, me included. How you described yourself is pretty much how I would describe myself. When I’m focused on the problem and I got to get that problem done, I’m not worried if you love me or not, but in general, I would focus more on the want-to-be-liked area. It’s similar. I don’t know how that would apply or connect to the why. Seeing as you and I have the same why, I’m wondering how that goes together or if it does. That would be interesting to me.

I think that your why is this motivational switch and it’s in that connected side. Where your big lie lives and it’s only turned on, on the disconnected side. What intrigued me with the why, is that when you are focused on the why, you’re on the connected side of your emotional brain and therefore, you can gain clarity. That’s a cool way to get yourself back over to where you’re going to be productive. You’re not productive on the disconnected side. That’s when people get stuck there. We have to help people out of that mess. The four big lies are based on tens of thousands of people studying them through Aspire and our work.

BYW 39 | Human Potential
Human Potential: When you change how you think, that changes how you feel. How you feel determines how to behave and which action you need to take.

 

If you think about performance improvement, it’s a jazzed up way of saying, “We’re going to change the crap you’re doing. You’re doing it this way and you feel comfortable. We’re going to take you out of your comfort zone,” which most people don’t generally like. “We’re going to help you get to this level of doing it, but that means that this is going to change.” Your little people go nuts. Some of us get crazy and excited about it, where another person might be afraid, “What if I fail? What if I’m not as good as I used to be? What if I get passed by?” When we understand the big lie, we can coach people and develop people a lot differently. This helps our leaders have compassion and an ability to work with people in a more effective way so they can get to where they potentially can go but not by the beating.

Maybe you can give us your own story of how head trash affects you, how you get out of it and then what happens when you get out.

There are many stories. I wrote a story in the book about I’m off the Amalfi Coast and it’s beautiful. We were on this beautiful boat. I’m with my daughter and another friend. We were about to go to the Blue Hole, which is a spectacular place. I am secretly afraid of drowning. I have an imprint from way long ago. I can explain it all. Back to the matters, we were in the middle of the ocean. The two of them jumped out. We have our life jackets on. They started swimming up and I had a panic attack. I panicked, “I’m going to jump in. What if I drowned? What if they drowned? My daughter is only nine. What kind of mother am I?” The head trash starts and I can barely get myself in.

This is a dream. We’ve been planning this. There’s everything about it that’s wonderful. It has never dawned on me, but it just came to me. Eventually, I jumped in the water. I was flapping around and not having a good time. I got out and felt bad. I felt like a loser and a terrible mom. I was embarrassed. You name it. It’s no good. For me, at that moment, I didn’t have the tools to understand what I need to be thinking. A lot about our head trash is the questions that we ask that keep us in our head trash. I kept asking, “Why did we do this? What if we drowned? Am I a good enough swimmer?” Not things that are serving me versus if I had had the skills to understand that the questions that I could have immediately turned on are like, “What about this is going to be fun? What are the safety precautions that I can look around for? What else would help me jump-off with ease?”

If I had been more adept at that time, then I would have had a whole different experience and I would have seen the Blue Hole, but I didn’t. I had to get back on the boat, recover by myself and feel bad about it. I missed out on this joyful moment. Fortunately, my daughter got to see the Blue Hole. That’s an example of when we have the tools, we can work on anything. The book is there to help us be okay with it first. I wasn’t okay with it and therefore, I got stuck in it. You just dig in and we do that dance.

Attach meaning to it and then it means this and none of that and all the rest.

When you discover your why, you can discover what your motivation in life is. Click To Tweet

The next thing you know, I’m no longer a decent mother.

Renie, if people are reading and they say, “I would love to connect with Renie. I would love to learn more about the Powered by Aspire and the RCI Institute,” what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?

They can reach me at Renie@MyHeadTrash.com. For resources on head trash, they can go to MyHeadTrash.com/VIP. At the VIP, you can get in there. We are about to start the Big Lie Test. That’s another opportunity for them to explore. Send me your questions. I’m happy to help.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten or you’ve ever given?

That depends on what day. There’s so much great advice and so many great mentors. I’ll just go with something that came up for me. When I was working for a CEO, he was a tough guy. We were in this thick discussion. It wasn’t a pleasant discussion and I’ll never forget it. He said, “Renie, I pay you to think.” I found myself chasing it a lot. I’m on the move too fast. I don’t like that feeling because it’s way out of control. It’s not strategic. It’s not how I like to operate.

That came back to me of, “What am I doing here that I need to stop doing?” It was that I had stopped what we call at Aspire, we call it TPM, Think, Prepare and Move. I had gotten so programmed because of COVID. We were moving and moving to work hard on the company, help our clients and how do we survive. All of us have been in survival. We’re moving to do whatever we can to learn more, do more, try new things more or whatever it is. It became a habit versus being thoughtful about what I’m moving on.

That’s something that, for me, it got me back to the connected side of my emotional brain to go, “Wait a minute here,” and to rethink things so that I can get back to having more proactive movement again because I feel like I’m just, “Go, go. Next, next.” I look around and I have a lot of friends, peers and people that I work beside, all kinds of people and they feel the same way. It’s a high-level energy zone. It’s not sustainable. It’s like a high pitch. For me, to get off that pitch, that’s it, “I pay you to think.” I pay myself to think like an entrepreneur.

BYW 39 | Human Potential
Human Potential: Coming out of the pandemic, people also gathered an epidemic of head trash. They have a lack of control and anger towards what happened, which directly affects their work.

 

Renie, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day. Thanks for being here. It has been great to get to know you, another better way person. I can dive right into what you’re saying and how you’re thinking and how you created all the things that you did. Thank you for spending this time with us. I look forward to staying in contact as we move forward.

Thank you, Gary.

It’s time for our new segment, which is Guess Their Why. I want you guys to think about the why of Phil Mickelson. He just won the big tournament, the PGA Championships, at age 50. Nobody had ever done that. He is the oldest guy to win a major tournament. He did it by changing the way he thinks and how he focuses. I’m curious what you think his why is. For me, I believe that his why is mastery. He is somebody that loves all the details, the nuances, the depth, the breadth, spending hours after hours, practicing these different shots and learning new ways to dive in deep and figuring out how to excel at different levels.

He is always striving for greatness, but he focused this time on focus, “How can I stay focused for the amount of time that I need to, to win the Masters?” What he would do is go out and play as many holes as he could and stay focused. He was playing like 36, 40, 45 holes a day getting ready for the PGA to be able to train his mind to focus. He has done the same thing with eating and different clubs. He is always tinkering and finding different ways, but not at a superficial level, diving in deep. He knows more about golf than probably anybody around. He is the kind of guy that loves the nuances and the details. He loves to explain them.

He dives in deep, studies it, learns it, does it, executes it, teaches it and explains it. I believe his why is mastery. If any of you know him, I would love to discover his why and then we’ll prove it. I want to thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code Podcast50 and you could discover your why for the half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating. Thank you so much for being here and I will see you in the next episode. Have a great week.

Important Links: 

About Renie Cavallari

BYW 39 | Human PotentialRenie Cavallari is the founder, CEO, and Chief Instigator of Aspire, a global transformational training and culture development company that specializes in inspired learning that shifts human behavior and awakens potential. She is also the founder of the RCI Institute, an active thinking, and people technology lab.

An award-winning international strategist, speaker, and leadership expert with an inimitable grasp of business and its challenges, she has driven measurable results for businesses with her innovative solutions around the world for over30 years.

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Better Way Tips & Tricks

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
― Unsourced, misattributed to Maya Angelou

The above quote felt fitting for the WHY of Better Way. It seems to be a constant battle of whether they feel confident they’ve landed on the BEST. If a Better Way is unsure if something could be better, then it will never feel quite right to them. They feel as though their best, the best of someone else, or a project, could always be improved. They can often be their own worst enemy in slowing down processes because of the fear it could be better.

Tips and Tricks for Being Better Way:
1. Aim for ‘Good Enough’

If your WHY is Better Way it can be easy to spiral into a place where nothing is good enough because it could always be better. And to your point, yes, anything could always be better, but to avoid getting stuck – “better way” it until it’s good enough, then learn to move on.

2. Perfection is a myth

Better Ways sometimes feel perfection could be achieved, because they are such high achieving personalities. Don’t let this myth stop you from feeling you’ve achieved something great!

3. Embrace other’s gifts

Often, when having the WHY of Better Way, and interacting with someone with a different WHY, you may come off as you know better than them. Make sure you are embracing their unique way of thinking also and letting them speak to their WHY.

Tips & Tricks for Interacting with a Better Way:
1.When working with a Better Way: Don’t spend a lot of time on a project

Now, this may seem counterproductive, but if you spend weeks and weeks on something, once you show it to them, they’re going to change everything anyway. Bring a super rough draft that you haven’t developed a lot of attachment to yet, so when they offer all their changes, they’re easy to make and won’t frustrate you as much.

2. Diffuse the Bomb

You can “diffuse the bomb” of them constantly trying to better things by asking if it’s good enough to move on. Or you may be able to in a relationship by saying “You’re doing that Better Way thing again” and they’ll realize it and laugh.

3. Understand The second part of their WHY: Find a Better Way, AND SHARE IT

Better Way people do truly want to help. Though it may come off as they think they know more than you or what’s best more than you, it comes from a good place. They want to share the best way they’ve found to do something, and they want to help you out.

 

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Podcast

Innovating Lives, The Better Way With Paul Allen

BYW 33 | Innovate Lives

 

Paul Allen understands that relationship strengthening and viral marketing is the industry that requires constant learning how every trend affects decision-making in the family and the community. A platform’s potential to be viral can be pointed to a growing community’s interest and how well they build a discussion towards the platform’s topics on how to innovate lives.

As the Founder and CEO of Soar, Paul fulfills his why of “better way” by helping people unlock their potential through connection and utilizing the wealth of knowledge that has been accumulated over generations. In this episode, Paul joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to discuss how viral marketing is associated with progressing business and how family strengthening is achieved through different factors, not just by initial analysis.

Are you interested in the opportunities of growing your following and seeing opportunities in its early stages? Take part in the discussion and learn more from Paul’s experience.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Innovating Lives, The Better Way With Paul Allen

If you’re a regular reader, you know that every episode, we talk about 1 of the 9 whys, and then we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. We are going to be talking about the why of a better way. If this is your why, you are the ultimate innovator. You constantly seeking better ways to do everything from the most mundane tasks of brushing your teeth to improving the rocket fuel that powers the space shuttle. You can’t stop yourself. You take virtually anything and want to improve it, make it better, and share your improvement with the world.

You invent things and take what has already been invented and improve that, too. You constantly ask yourself the question, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way?” You contribute to the world with better processes, better systems, and operate under the motto, often pleased and never satisfied. You are excellent at associating and taking from one industry or discipline and applying it to another, always with the aim of improving something. You generally operate with a high level of energy because after all, that, too, is a better way.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Paul Allen. Paul is a mission-driven tech entrepreneur known for Founding Ancestry.com and Soar.com. He founded eight companies since 1990 and led the Global Strengths Movement for Gallup from 2012 to 2017. He is a popular keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and an advocate for lifelong learning. He teaches how our identity comes from knowing our family stories as well as from our personal strengths. He has spoken in many countries around the world including the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, China, and New Zealand.

Paul taught entrepreneurship for two years at Utah Valley University and internet marketing for two years at BYU. He was an Ernst & Young Utah Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 and the MarketingSherpa National Entrepreneur of the year in 2008. He is a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and was named a Cyber Pioneer in 2010 by the Cyber Law Section of the Utah State Bar. He was the Honored Alumnus of BYU Humanities College in 2016, having graduated in 1990 with a BA in Russian. Paul and his wife Christy live in Kansas City, Missouri. They have eight children and five grandchildren.

Paul, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Gary. I’m so excited to talk to you. I loved your description of the better way. Every single thing resonated with me, so you’ve nailed it with this assessment.

Take us back through your journey. Give us a quick tour of your journey from being that sounds like at BYU to how the heck did you get to Soar.com?

I never want in my young life to be a business person or an entrepreneur. It never even was on my radar. I loved learning and every school subject when I went to university. I changed majors multiple times because every class I took, I’m like, “I want to major in this.” I ended up majoring in Russian, but I started a Master’s degree in Library Science. My entrepreneur journey was started accidentally when I went to a university conference where the president of the university was awarding honors to great faculty researchers and the best teachers in the university. My father was receiving the Karl G. Maeser Research Award because my father invented software in the ’70s and ’80s. It was used by hundreds of manufacturing companies throughout the United States like Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Westinghouse, and Boeing. They used his technology for classifying parts and processes to take raw material through manufacturing processes and create higher value.

My dad was a world-famous classificationist and decision tree software developer. He had a team that built the software, but he was the visionary. At the conference that I was at honoring my dad, the president of the university talked about gathering up all the truth in the world and bringing it to students and communities of learners. I was working part-time at my brother’s search engine company. He had a software company called Folio in the ’80s and I was running a Kurzweil $40,000 OCR scanner, and trying to build searchable info bases. We were scanning little bits here and there. This president of the university had a vision for putting all the world’s knowledge at people’s fingertips. I thought, “Why don’t I go do that?”

Two years later, I started a nonprofit with my dad. It didn’t go anywhere. My best friend and I decided our mission for our first company will be to digitize all the world’s most important books in every field of human knowledge, put them on CD-ROM using the Folio search engine, and see how many people we can help with their learning journey. A few years later, we made the Inc. 500. We were making $4 million a year in top-line revenue. At that point, I realized I’m not going ever to go back into academia. I love being an entrepreneur. Some of the coolest people I’d ever met were entrepreneurs. I embraced it finally in ’95 and ’96.

From there, that led to Ancestry.com. Was that your next big venture?

One of the interesting things we realized in the first five years of CD-ROM publishing is that almost everything good is under copyright by author or publisher, and licensing all the best books ever written in every field was impossible. I started spending hundreds of hours in libraries in the old public domain section, the history section, the literature section, and some old science work. We came across genealogical collections of tens of thousands of books containing birth, marriage, and death records data.

Connecting families is not just connecting you to your past. It takes on a live, current social context. Click To Tweet

In September of ’95, I went to an internet conference in San Francisco where it hit me for the first time that CD-ROM is going to go away. It’s like this temporary storage and distribution mechanism, but when the World Wide Web is available everywhere, all the world’s knowledge will be stored there. The term cloud computing hadn’t been invented yet, but it struck me powerfully in September of ’95 that we could digitize all the world’s genealogy records, put them on the internet, not pay royalties for any of it, and build the world’s biggest genealogy company, which we started doing in 1996.

Take us through this because when I hear you say that, that sounds overwhelming. “I’ll take all this data and digitize it.” How do you go about doing something like that?

As a twenty-something-year-old, I ran a $40,000 scanner and could scan a couple of hundred pages an hour and edit it. You end up with this pristine searchable database or text-based on a small scale, but digitization of content was happening all over the place. I remember, we had to get nine-track magnetic tapes from the government and we would take data off of that. I don’t go back to the ticker punch card days as my dad did, but more books were being published electronically. It wasn’t necessarily all about digitizing what was done in the past. It was partly about all the birth, marriage, and death records are now digital to begin with. In the late ’90s, cameras became digital.

You didn’t have to go scan all the old photographs. I saw the writing on the wall where the world is heading because the content will start out digitally. That will make it almost free to index it and license it or make it available online. The old content that we knew we have to raise hundreds of millions of dollars or someday billions of dollars would be going into scanning all the world’s microfilm collections, all the records in courthouses, and church archives. That’s why we decided to raise tens of millions of dollars of venture capital was the digitization costs would be enormous. We figured that eventually we could get it done.

How far back did you go before you launched it?

In June of 1996, we put 55 million records on the internet. It was the Federal Government’s nine-track tape. They had a $2,800 reel that we could buy. It was 55 million Social Security records of people who had been deceased. The Social Security administration had reported their birthday and location, their parents’ names, and then how long they obtained Social Security benefits. It was a great starting point for genealogy in the 20th century. That database was sold by dozens of vendors as a CD-ROM collection for $29 or $59. We put it up for free on the internet. Within a year, we had a million visitors a month coming to our website and we started small. We made a promise to our customers that every single day we would publish one small, medium, or a large database of new genealogical records.

We started working with content providers and genealogy societies. For years, Ancestry would add 10,000, 50,000, or 1 million records. Over time, we grew to billions of records. Every day our subscription became more valuable to more people. Especially in ’98, when we came up with a concept called the Ancestry World Tree, where we invited every genealogist in the world to upload their family tree and we would index it all and make it available outside of our paid wall. We were building the Wikipedia of family trees and it was all free. At that point, our growth exploded because we had millions of people uploading their trees and thousands or tens of thousands of connected names in trees that had sometimes taken 10 or 20 years to build. New users would come in and say, “Here are my great grandparents. I can go back ten generations automatically.” That was the tipping point for Ancestry as a successful company. It was user-generated content at scale.

What was your original vision for Ancestry.com?

BYW 33 | Innovate Lives
Innovate Lives: Almost everything good is under copyright by author or publisher and licensing all the best books ever written in every field is impossible.

 

Basically, to digitize all the world’s genealogy records and put them on the internet. That’s where it started. Where it morphed to was community-generated content. What that morphed to is even more interesting and unexpected. People in the world of business even though Ancestry is worth $5 billion don’t know this next chapter. We morphed our vision from genealogy on the internet to let’s connect and strengthened families worldwide. Connecting families is not just connecting you to your past, but connecting families started to take on a live current social context. I had a dream one night that we built an intranet for every family in the world. Those cousins, aunts, and uncles, second cousins, everyone could gather in private groups, share photos with each other, have a shared calendar of birthdays and anniversaries, upload content like recipes, and even do voiceover IP chats with any relative in the world.

Six years before Skype was invented, we launched MyFamily.com, whereas Ancestry was growing slowly but surely, MyFamily.com is the idea that attracted the first $75 million of venture capital. None of the VCs were interested in the Ancestry thing until they found out that MyFamily.com was going to be photo-sharing for all the families in the world. We had this private secure way for families to share content. It grew to a million users in 145 days. It started growing by 20,000 or 30,000 users a day. Every VC we talked to felt guilty that they weren’t sharing their family, their kids’ photos with their mom or their dad. They weren’t as connected to their living family as they knew they should be and in the long run that everyone values family. In the day-to-day grind, sometimes we lose touch with people.

The money flowed. It was because of that idea that Ancestry raised all the money after the dot-com bubble burst and tragically, MyFamily.com was turned from a free site growing like crazy into a paid site that over the next fifteen years served fewer families every year. It could have been Facebook scale in a way if the investors hadn’t turned it into a $30 a year paid subscription but that’s not what happened. What ended up happening has Ancestry turned into a $1 billion a year revenue company. MyFamily was shut down in 2015.

It sounds like your vision started out as information-based and ended up like a family reunion.

It became about not data but about relationships and connections among living family members. It turns out that family is the most important thing in the world for most humans. There’s about 7% of adults in America that will spend time and money doing genealogy research. The polls we’ve seen show that 95% of people say that it’s important for them to stay in touch with living relatives. Even though family sizes continued to decline when you find a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a niece, or nephew, staying in touch with them and even connecting to an extended family is a big part of the human experience. People value that. MyFamily.com was popular and had potential than Ancestry.com did.

Have you ever thought about bringing it back?

I started to in 2007. I was a post-Ancestry for a few years and a great social entrepreneur friend of mine sat down and had a social website for college students. I thought, “Why don’t we morph that into a website for families?” We started a company called Family Link. We were a few months into building the replacement for MyFamily.com. When I went to San Francisco and met Mark Zuckerberg, the day that he announced a Facebook platform, he held an event called F8. It’s fate for short. There were about 65 software developers that they highlighted as partners of Facebook. At that time, they only had 24 million Facebook users but they were growing fast. I was teaching internet marketing at a university and I knew all my students were using Facebook. I was using Facebook to test it out. When Zuckerberg announced the platform, I got on the phone call with my lead product guy.

I said, “We’re shifting our company. Instead of building a destination website for families, we’ll build apps for families on top of Facebook.” By October of 2007, we launched our first app. It was called We’re Related. It allowed you to privately share photos with your relatives on Facebook and collaborate on a Family Tree with your other relatives. We started having 15,000 people a day started Family Tree. It was quite remarkable, but we started adding a million users a week with no dollars spent on advertising. We tapped into the Facebook viral loops. Within 2.5 years, we had 120 million users of We’re Related and 10 million users on a little app called MyFamily, which was a little stick figure app that we acquired. We had 130 million Facebook users. In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook kicked all the apps off of their platform. It made them undiscoverable and impossible for us to communicate with our 120 million users.

95% of people consider being close to their living relatives as more important than spending time and money doing genealogical research. Click To Tweet

Disney had come to us to sell all of our ad space for us because we were the most family-friendly app in the Facebook world. We lost $700,000 in monthly ad revenue and had to lay off 40 people. We tried to resurrect the MyFamily idea. When it was shut down by Facebook, they ended up building some of our key functionality into the Facebook platform. Whereas it used to be, you could only be friends with someone, you were friends with your sister, friends, with your grandma. We had hundreds of different relationship types family, my cousin, my aunt, and my uncle. Shortly after Facebook kicked us off of the platform, they now had all of those different relationship types so that you could define how you were connected to all your relatives on Facebook. It was very disappointing to be kicked off and then to be replaced.

You probably are not a huge Zuckerberg fan?

The swear word in my family when anything ever goes wrong, all of my kids will say under their breath, Zuckerberg.

You started Ancestry.com. It started growing like crazy. How big did it get and then you sold it? Did you approached by another organization that says, “We want this?” How did that happen?

We almost went public in early 2000. I moved to the Bay Area. I lived in Los Altos Hills. We moved our headquarters of Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com to San Francisco. We chose our bank, Merrill Lynch to take us public. We wrote our S-1 and they were saying we were going to be a $1 billion IPO. On the first day after the IPO, we would trade at $1.5 billion because we missed the window. We had hired a new CEO and CFO who wanted to delay the IPO a little bit. Six years later, a lot of our investors were tired. The board of directors chose to sell the company to a private equity fund. In 2009, the company went public finally. It was a nine-year delay from what we thought would be the IPO to when the company did an IPO. At that point, I didn’t own any shares because the private equity fund bought out all the existing shareholders in 2006. I haven’t owned any shares in Ancestry since 2006.

I’m sure it’s still worked out great for you, though.

Pretty well.

You’re now out of Ancestry.com. You’ve done some of these other family apps. Tell us about the idea for Soar.com.

BYW 33 | Innovate Lives
Innovate Lives: Soar’s vision is to unlock the greatest potential through discovering their why, strengths, connecting them to people like coaches and teachers, and connecting them to the collective humanity’s wisdom and intelligence.

 

My friend worked at Gallup and it is one of the world’s best companies around assessments of talent and potential leadership training. They’ve published dozens of bestselling books, but they also do a poll in the United States and a world poll. Gallup has maybe more data about humans in every country and what matters to people than almost any other organization in the world. My friend worked there, and the StrengthsFinder Assessment was one of their biggest selling products, but it would be bundled in books for 15 years or 12 years. They decided to do an eCommerce play maybe and make it available without books, just by the code, and take the assessment. My friend, who I had mentored in early 2000 as a young entrepreneur said, “If you want to make something go viral, like StrengthsFinder, you should bring in my friend, Paul, who’s done it multiple times.”

I started consulting for Gallup in 2012. I fell in love with their assessment. Thought it explained me better than anything I’d ever seen before. I took Gallup’s leadership team to Silicon Valley saying, “How we build this into social networks like LinkedIn, Yammer, Facebook, and Google Plus,” and then Gallop made me a full-time job offer. We moved to the DC area and spent five years, which I cherish every minute and every memory. I gained great knowledge and understanding of people, culture, leadership, surveys, how to find out what people think, and how to do something about it. I consider Jim Clifton, one of the great CEOs in the world. He’s the one that acquired the Gallup polling company from George Gallup’s sons. His father, Don Clifton, is the inventor of Strength Psychology, and the StrengthsFinder Assessment which rolled out a few years before he died in 2003.

I got a completely new view of life and what matters through the Gallup lens. I decided to launch a coaching platform to help everyone in the world who’s taking an assessment to get great coaching after taking the assessment. We invented something shortly after that. It allows us to store billions of hours of teaching, coaching, and training content in the Cloud and then to use AI to play for each listener or learner the very audio clips or video clips from the people that they ought to be exposed to in order to develop their talents, pursue their why, and reach their full potential on Earth.

Soar’s vision is to take all the things I learned in 30 years and weave them together into what you could call a human potential platform. How do you unlock the greatest potential of every human being through discovering their why, their strengths, connecting them to people like coaches and teachers, and then connecting them to the collective humanity’s wisdom and intelligence, hopefully soon stored in the Soar audio and video Cloud, and then available through smartphones or smart speakers? We think about Jarvis as an AI assistant for everyone because everyone’s an Iron Man. Potentially, if you fulfill your purpose, you’ll be the very best version of yourself, but AI could assist you in getting there. That’s the long-term vision for Soar.

You don’t do anything small scale, do you?

I’m not Elon Musk because I don’t invent core technologies. I’m not a brilliant rocket scientist, solar genius, or spaceship person. I’m not into the core fundamentals of physics and things, but I do see how to weave together some ingredients, particularly viral marketing, so that something good and helpful to people could scale to tens of millions or hundreds of millions, maybe someday billions of people. I do see how that plays out. I am a systems thinker and I’m very disparate in my reading, my learning, and listening. I’m not trained in business or technology. I never had a single class in college or a school around technology or business. It’s like this weird, eclectic education that leads me to think differently. From what I understand, there’s a $2 trillion company that says, “You should think differently.” I unwittingly do that.

For the readers that are familiar with the WhyOS, the why, how, and what, Paul and I have spent some time together. We know that Paul’s why is to find a better way as we talked about how he does that by seeking mastery and understanding meaning diving in deep. What he brings is a way to contribute, add value, and have an impact on the lives of other people. As you know his story, you can know that coming to life in the way that he does this. Paul, you said something that I don’t want to let you not expand on for our readers, which was, your friend said, “You got to talk to my friend, Paul, who knows a lot about making things go viral.” The billion-dollar question is, how do you take something and make it go viral?

There are lots of people that talk about viral marketing. Sometimes, people talk about a YouTube video or a TikTok video that gets shared by millions of people so it gets tens of millions of views. I don’t understand video that well. I don’t understand creativity and shooting something funny or that’s touching. I don’t have a lot of creative genes. I can’t draw. I’m not artistic. I’m the opposite of that. I’m an analytics-led person. I love numbers, doing math, and forecasting things in my head. The way I view viral marketing is that you engineer viral marketing into the product experience. Here’s a simple example. If I take an assessment and I take 5 or 10 minutes to answer a bunch of questions, I get a valuable report back.

Facebook knew that everything can be social. They reinvented the news, games, banking and everything they do is engineered to be social. Click To Tweet

That could be a good experience for an individual. If the process of taking the assessment includes me telling you who my spouse is, my partner, my parents, my children, or my closest friends and say, “After you take the assessment, we want to share the results with ten people who know you well so that they can add a few positive comments to each item in your report.” If you design it to be not a solo experience but a group experience, out of the 10 people, 5 of them will make a comment. Two of them will say, “I want to take this assessment too. This is pretty cool.” When MyFamily.com was started, the average new user would invite 4.5 family members to join them in their group. If you start a group site and nobody’s in it, then it doesn’t grow.

It’s like you drop it. You leave. If you get 4.5 people in it and one of them happens to be the genealogist of the family or the other one happens to be the photographer of the family, they start posting content and started inviting people. Pretty soon, you have 30 people in your group. That was viral marketing, but it was engineered into the product. It wasn’t an afterthought. It was designed to work that way. Mark Zuckerberg is more than anyone in the world realize that every industry, every product, everything could become social. Facebook’s team tried to reinvent the news and make it social. Reinvent games and make them social. Reinvent cryptocurrency but banking. Every single thing they do is engineered to be social from day one. That’s why they’re affecting billions of people. All kinds of products can be designed to be viral as a core part of the experience.

I don’t think I would have thought of that way. I’m so glad you mentioned that. I would have thought, “How do I create something funny as you said or something different and send it out to everybody I know to see if they’ll send it out to become viral.” You start at the beginning and create it that way so that it becomes a group experience. I love that.

If you watch all the fastest-growing apps of all time, starting with the Facebook world and then the smartphone apps, they all not only do what I’m describing, but they also import data. For example, Clubhouse, which grew to 10 million users in a few months. When you start using it, it asks you to get your contacts and incorporate your contacts into the Clubhouse experience. Now, it knows who everyone you know on your phone. Most of the fast-growing apps either leveraged your Facebook social graph of all your friends on Facebook, your Twitter social graph, your iPhone, or Android contact list. Most people are not privacy-oriented, they say yes.

The company has access to Gary Sanchez knows 1,000 people on his smartphone, and then it makes it easy for them to prompt you later to say, “Would you like to invite these other ten people to come and check this out?” Rather than a one-time viral video share, which doesn’t give you much substance about each user. Sometimes, you don’t even know who the users or viewers are with integrating contact importing, address books, or email lists into the user experience upfront. It makes it that much faster for those apps to go viral.

What other ways than could we make it go viral? You got me thinking about obviously the why discovery and how to make that go viral. I’m picking your brain for all of our readers.

You and I are going to have this conversation down the road. I love the Why Assessment and I love the WhyOS. I want your stuff to scale to a billion people. It will help a lot of people around the world to know their why, their how, and their what. One other way is when an assessment result comes back if you could create a badge or an image that would be shareable on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. It’s different than the mechanism I described where you’re asking for feedback and input from people that know and love you. In this case, it’s just social media posts and it could say, “Everybody, here’s what I discovered about my why, my how, and my what. Click here to get your own Why Assessment.” Maybe there’s a light version that’s free, people can register, and take that.

There’s an official rich version that’s combined with a coaching session. Let’s say I posted in 5,000 people see it, 50 click on it, and 5 sign up. That’s viral. That was again engineered into the product experience. At the end of the product experience, you created a sharable, or it could be them holding a photo of a report, a smiley face, or whatever and then posting the photo of themselves. It could be all things but you would test all different outputs from the assessment that might be fun for people to share. I actually, know of an assessment. I won’t tell you which one it is, but I’m confident that if I ever could license this assessment, we would get a billion people to take it within 1 or 2 years. It’s different than what you’ve done or what other psychological assessments are. It’s a relationship assessment. I won’t go into more detail but it would be crazy viral.

BYW 33 | Innovate Lives
Innovate Lives: You need to know your why, your how and your what, and then you need to be paired with the right person telling the right story that will help you today to take the next step in your journey.

 

Your mind is always thinking that way and you’re always looking for, “I get what you’re doing, but how can we bring this to the world?”

My first marketing book that I bought in ’95, ’96 was called Guerrilla Marketing Online Weapons: 100 Low Cost, High Impact Weapons for Online Profits and Prosperity. Those hundred rules, I studied them over again. How can we use these to get customers to do word of mouth? Every time an Amazon box ships, everybody sees the Amazon swoosh. That’s a guerrilla marketing tactic. It’s not viral marketing as much as it’s a guerrilla marketing tactic. You look anywhere, you’ll find people still using those 100 rules and lots of new ones as a by-product of doing business. More people find out about you than otherwise would.

Let’s talk now a little bit more about Soar because there’s so much more to that than what our readers yet have known. Talk to us about artificial intelligence. What are you thinking in terms of that? Tell them a little bit about what you’re doing with Zoom because I know you’ve collaborated with Zoom. It’s fascinating. I’m scared to say the word Alexa around here because I got one right behind me. That’s a big part of it. Let everybody know what you’re doing.

Imagine a world where billions of hours of great lectures, podcasts, radio shows, webinars, all the great teachers, and thinkers, that world already exists but it’s all distributed. You’ve got Spotify. You’ve got audible. You’ve got great courses. You’ve got TED Talks. You’ve got great content everywhere, but it’s hard to know what’s good for you. If you could listen to an entrepreneur lecture, which one of the millions of hours of entrepreneur stories or lectures should you listen to? You need to know where you are on your entrepreneur journey. You need to know your why, your how, and your what, and you need to be paired with the right person telling the right story that will help you take the next step in your journey.

The more that Soar can ask people where they are, where they want to go, using assessments, and coaching will get a better picture of each person. When you tell us where you want to go, we will have soon indexed hundreds of thousands, millions, billions of hours of teaching, training, coaching, and other great content. We will be able to say, “People like you, Gary, have benefited most from listening to this speaker of this podcast or this author. Here’s what it will do to help you in your next step in your career or your business.” At scale, we want to organize the world’s useful information and provide an AI recommendation to help you, not just in your entrepreneurship and your career. That’s a big part of life. We spend 90,000 hours doing our jobs. It’s best if you love it and you’re good at it but in your physical health, financial well-being, relationships, and faith experience.

You mentioned our Zoom integration, wouldn’t it be cool if your favorite pastor, minister, rabbi, imam, or any of your religious leaders that you personally chose to be a part of their community, if all of their sermons and messages were not only recorded but transcribed and indexed, and now available to you for the rest of your life on your smartphone or smart speaker so that a message they shared two years ago that touched you at the time is available at the tip of your tongue. You could say, “Alexa, what did my pastor say about the good Samaritan? Alexa, what did my pastor say about anger or forgiveness?” It transported you back to that three-minute clip where they told a story and exhorted you to be forgiving, overcome anger, or love your neighbor.

We think humans deserve the power of near-perfect recall of all the content that matters most in every area of life. That’s where Soar hopes to be is the content, AI, and recommendations, but again, user-generated content will be the key, just like it was an Ancestry. When you upload all your family audio and video, you can instantly retrieve any bit of it from any device five years in the future and share it with your children or grandchildren. When you do that with your faith sermon library, your collection of inspiring messages from your hand-chosen religious figure, not from a televangelist who has been maybe over-published or has been on the air for 20 to 30 years. Your personal pastor, minister, rabbi, or priest who knows your family, they’ve been a part of your religious journey, and you now have their messages in your pocket or on your voice device, social entrepreneurship, even political.

Gary, this is a sad realization to me. I ask a lot of people, “Do you think you’re a great citizen of this country? Do you know who your school board members are, your city council member, your mayor, your state legislators? Do you know their names?” The vast majority of people don’t know. We don’t even know what they’re saying or thinking on any subject. If we know your ZIP code, we could take all the recordings of all the political meetings that are being held at every level of government. The Federal Government’s pretty antagonistic and toxic all the different organizations or our bodies are pretty gridlocked.

Don’t take advice from somebody just because they’re successful. 90% of the advice you will get is going to be wrong for you. Click To Tweet

At the local level, if I had a playlist of what my local leaders have said about charter schools, literacy, clean water, safety, policing, or anything, and I could just say, “Alexa, what do my representatives say about this subject?” All of a sudden, I get a five-minute playlist and I know exactly what all of my representatives are saying. I can reach out to them and say, “I have an idea or I support you on this.” We’re all detached from what is going on at every level of government. The Soar platform can address that along with the other areas of human existence.

What I think was fascinating about it is you don’t have to hear a whole sermon if you don’t want to. You talk about a particular subject or something that you remembered and it gives you like a minute before or after or something.

We’re working with AI to determine what’s the right clips within a 45-minute sermon. When did they change subjects, pause, or shift? You might have a one-minute clip followed by a 3 minute then 5 minute. You don’t want to capture an incomplete thought and miss the punchline of any story or message. The clips will be of varying lengths in the future. They’re every 60 seconds. You could search, find, and play the 60-second clip. Using AI, we can start to determine the best flipping point in any long format, audio, or video. We filed a patent called precision-recall in cloud computing. It’s quite mind-boggling to think that if you take any file of audio or video or any content at all and stored it in the Cloud, you can retrieve any file out of one quadrillion files by using a 2 or 3-word catchphrase.

In other words, we’re giving a 2 or 3 words ZIP code to every single piece of content up to one quadrillion files. If I say to Alexa, “Alexa, get King Dream.” King Dream has been assigned to Dr. King’s speech on the mall in 1963. If I say, “Get Nobel Malala.” The Nobel Malala phrase has been assigned to her Nobel speech. Any clip or long format piece of content can have a 1, 2, or 3-word catchphrase or voice tag. We hope that over time users will start uploading meaningful nuggets, gems, key takeaways from conferences, assigning it a 1, 2, or 3-word phrase, and then sharing it publicly. All of those pieces of content will be discoverable through a Google search, playable on your browser, your smartphone, or your smart speaker. We cover all the technology platforms and that precision-recall allows humans to do more with nuggets of wisdom that has never been possible before.

That is amazing undertaking that you’ve decided to go down this path. I remember you told me this one day. You said I’ve helped people figure out where they came from and now I want to help them figure out where they want to go or help them get where they want to go. Is that how you said it?

That’s generally the gist of what Soar is about. We’re not about dictating anybody’s values, beliefs, or journey. What we are about is collectively harnessing intelligence and wisdom from lots of people who’ve succeeded in various aspects of life, try to surface the nuggets, and then expose those learnings, knowledge, and content to future Soar-journers on this Earth who are now making their way through life. As soon as you tell the platform who you are and where you want to go, we have this big menu of opportunities and connecting you to knowledge and people that you never heard of before, but they are suited to you and to that next step in your journey. It’s about a platform that enables and empowers people with knowledge and wisdom from other people. We’re simply trying to connect the other great humans who have wise things to say and they’ve made wise choices with the future humans and the current humans who are trying to figure out our path through life.

It’s not about guiding or dictating values. It’s about unlocking the best path for each person using their identity, why, how, and then the knowledge that exists out there in the universe. I had a coach once who told me that when you start moving forward, the universe tends to provision you on your journey when you have clarity about where you’re trying to go. Think about all the gifts we have in this world. We have nature, abundance, technology, knowledgeable people, books, music, art, and culture. We have all these beautiful things out there to guide us along the way.

The question is, “Do you find the provisions you need as you move through life.” If we’re all distracted with our screens 3.5 trillion hours this year looking at our screens playing games, we might not see what resources exist. Some of which are free that could provision us to take the next step to lead to success, thriving, and flourishing. We’re talking big general broad terms and who knows whether we can pull it off at scale. We’re going for it because we have investors, employees, and customers. We’re looking forward to the coming years where all of those people together can provide a wonderful human potential platform for as many people as want to sign up for it.

BYW 33 | Innovate Lives
Innovate Lives: Humans deserve the power of near-perfect recall of the content that matters most in every area of life.

 

My last question for you, I know I’m probably keeping you longer than we had anticipated, but it’s so fascinating. What is the best advice that you’ve ever either gotten or given to somebody?

I’ve got a lot of advice once I was so unhappy that MyFamily was going to be shut down on the sideline that a venture capitalist who had invested in the company and helped save the company. I was going to quit the company. He said, “You’re like a little boy on a field saying, I don’t like how the soccer games going. I’m taking my ball and going home.” That’s not the advice you want to hear but it shocked me. I ended up not exiting the company at that stage on bad terms. It helped me to stay through, get Ancestry profitable, and leave on good terms with everybody. That was my friend, Paul, who gave me that advice.

Now the best advice I give people is that 90% of the advice you get is wrong for you. My best advice is don’t take advice from everybody just because they’re successful. They’re wired a certain way. They have a certain how, why and what. They have certain strengths. If you take advice from people that are successful, it probably won’t work for you because you have a different neurological pathway, pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving. My best advice is to find the people out there that are wired like you that have the same patterns that you have and the same values, and then try to use them as your role models and mentors.

If the advice they give aligns with you and will work for you, it won’t feel hard and It won’t be a struggle. It’ll be natural because you have God-given talents. You were designed to do certain things well. If you can find advice from other people who were designed similarly, no one is designed identically with anybody else. I had an entrepreneur friend who used to give me advice. It made me feel sick about myself. I felt like I sucked. I was a failure because I can’t do Joshua’s version of entrepreneurship. My advice is to be careful who you take advice from.

You got me thinking. I’m going to start testing this. Getting advice from people with my same why. You’re a perfect example. You’re a better way. Every time I hear you speak, it’s exactly what I would like to hear and the way I would like to hear. It’s fascinating to me.

I feel exactly the same way about you. Your Why Assessment could provide a lens through which all the world’s knowledge and information could be filtered so that people with each why, how, and what could start to get. That’s why I’m so excited about your show and the fact that you’re already interviewing people who do live 1 of those 9 whys. You can use machine learning to identify people’s why’s all over the world, teachers, entrepreneurs, leaders, and then use that as machine learning. We have a lot to do together, Gary. You have an assessment that’s beautiful and scalable. We have a platform that could give people a lifelong journey after taking your assessment which could connect them to resources, provisions, and people that would unlock their best future good. We’re going to be partnering in a lot of ways, I hope because whenever you talk, I’m like, “I love how this guy thinks.”

The last thing is how can people get ahold of you, who would you like to get ahold of you, and who are you looking to connect with?

I wish we were ready for every person to sign into Soar and download our products. Our applications have matured a lot in the past few months. The content that I’ve been talking about, the hundreds of thousands or millions of hours, that’s still around the corner. The people that are most important to Soar are publishers, authors, and aggregators. If you have content that you would like to transcribe an index and make available on the Soar platform in these clips as well as in the long format, contact me at Paul@Soar.com. We’re also talking to investors. Anyone who’s got great content or is a creator, especially if you know thousands of audio or video hours that ought to be added to the Soar platform. We’ll be partnering with large companies and organizations that have hundreds of thousands or millions of customers and employees who want access to the content. We’re starting with the content first then we’ll work with distribution partners.

Are you still focused a little bit on coaching and coaches?

Coaching is a part of the Soar platform. The video integration we have with Zoom, coaches who use Soar with their clients can provide a recording or a transcript. The clients can have lifelong recall of what did my coach say about mindfulness and toxic workplaces. We all forget we have a great coaching session like we go to church and hear a great sermon. The next day, we can’t recall anything. We’re trying to say, “Let’s give you recall and allow you to highlight the things that you want to repeat over again until it goes into your long-term memory or into your way of being.” Over time, we’ll all become better humans faster.

Paul, thank you so much for taking an hour out of your day to be here with us. I was looking so forward to this. I knew we were going to get some great content out of this and ideas and thoughts. I look forward to us collaborating in many years. I’m excited to be new buddies.

Thanks, Gary.

It’s time for our new segment, which is on guests their why. This is going to be an easy one for everybody. I’m going to pick the why of Steve Jobs. Everybody’s familiar with Steve Jobs and knows about his life, how he lived his life, and how he built Apple. I’m curious to know what you think is Steve Jobs’ why. I’m darn sure on this one. I believe that Steve Jobs’s why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. I’m also sure that his, how he did that was by finding a better way. I’m sure that what he ultimately delivered was a simple solution.

His why is to challenge the status quo. How he did that was a simple solution to help others move forward. You saw this in his life and you see this Apple as he was the visionary of Apple. When you think about what is Apple’s tagline, “Think differently.” Where do you think that came from? It’s directly from Steve Jobs. If you’ve enjoyed Beyond Your Why Podcast, please rate us and share us with your friends so that we can reach our vision of helping 1 billion people discover, make decisions, and live based on their why, how and, what. Have a great week.

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About Paul Allen

BYW 33 | Innovate LivesPaul Allen is a mission-driven tech entrepreneur known for founding Ancestry.com and Soar.com. He founded 8 companies since 1990 and led the global strengths movement for Gallup from 2012-2017. He is a popular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, and an advocate for life-long learning.

He teaches how our identity comes from knowing our family stories as well as from our personal strengths. He has spoken in many countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, China and New Zealand.

Paul taught entrepreneurship for 2 years at Utah Valley University and internet marketing for 2 years at BYU.  He was an Ernst & Young Utah Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000, and the MarketingSherpa National Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008.

He is a fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and was named a Cyber Pioneer in 2010 by the Cyber Law Section of the Utah State Bar. He was the honored alumnus of the BYU Humanities College in 2016, having graduated in 1990 with a BA in Russian.

Paul and his wife Christy live in Kansas City, Missouri. They have 8 children and 5 grandchildren.

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Podcast

Cody Cottle: A Motivational Speaker’s Story Of Finding The Best Version Of Himself

BYW 32 | Motivational Speaker

 

Cody Cottle believes that there is a better way to inspire people to take their work to the next level. After discovering his gift in public speaking and building communities of like-minded people, Cody dedicated himself to help others find a better way in life through his work as a motivational speaker.

Listen as he talks about how he got out of being with the wrong company thanks to the proper mentorship of his cancer-stricken neighbor. By realizing his true purpose in life, he started the Facebook group-turned-company Motivation Everything, inspiring people to discover the best version of themselves. He also shares how he motivated himself to become a better person, a powerful public speaker, and a consistent content creator who releases inspiring videos every single day.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Cody Cottle: A Motivational Speaker’s Story Of Finding The Best Version Of Himself

If you’re a regular reader, you know that every episode, we talk about 1 of the 9 whys, and then we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. We are going to be talking about the why of a better way. If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator. You constantly seek better ways to do everything from the most mundane tasks of brushing your teeth to improving the rocket fuel that powers the space shuttle. You can’t stop yourself. You take virtually anything and want to improve it, make it better and share your improvement with the world.

You invent things and take what has already been invented and improve that, too. You constantly ask yourself the question, what if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? You contribute to the world with better processes, better systems, and operate under the motto, often pleased and never satisfied. You are excellent at associating and taking from one industry or discipline and applying it to another, always with the aim of improving something. You generally operate with a high level of energy because after all, that, too, is a better way.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Cody Cottle. He’s a Founder of Motivation Everything. He is a renowned motivational speaker, personal branding expert, and visionary leader, recognized for his transformational work with purpose-driven men and women around the world. He’s a mentee of Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Thomas and Nicholas Bayerle. Among others, Cody has gone on to help thousands of aspiring leaders turn their motivation into momentum with clarity, strategy and accountability. His life mission is to help 1 million people develop the motivation and accountability they need to achieve their 5-year goals in 12 months and realize tangible success in all areas of their life. Cody lives in San Diego, California with his Siberian Husky, Zeus, and enjoys surfing, mountain biking, hiking and traveling in his free time. Cody, welcome to the show.

Gary, I’m honored to be here with you.

It’s going to be fun. Did you move to San Diego?

I did.

Where did you move from?

The ultimate dream is to make the world a better place by inspiring people to step into who God created them to be. Click To Tweet

Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Is that where you grew up?

It is. We say Kalamazoo, but the small town is Otsego.

Give us the quick version of where you started, how you got there, how you got into coaching, and how all of this has happened because you’ve had a lot of success fast.

I’ll try to sum it up as much as I can for you and your audience, Gary. I was born to a single mom with two kids, me and my sister, Autumn. My father went to prison three months after I was born and he’s still in prison today. My father was a biker gang leader of a biker gang called the DC Eagles and he made some mistakes in his life. Growing up was tough. I didn’t have a dad and we struggled because of it. My mom is an amazing woman and I always say I have my mom’s heart. She taught me compassion, empathy, and how to love people, but she’s not good with money.

Because of that, I remember coming home three different times in my childhood to eviction notices on the door and living in a car a few times. Growing up, it was tough. I had a lot of insecurity and a lot of lack of confidence because of that childhood growing up. I’ll never forget, Gary, this one time I was with my sister and my mom at this little rinky-dink gas station. We’re walking in the gas station. Do you know how they put the candy bars right by the checkout?

Yeah.

BYW 32 | Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker: The gifts, talents, passions, dreams, and ideas you have inside your mind were gifted to you for a reason and purpose.

 

My mom shared things with me that maybe she shouldn’t that made me grow up fast. I knew we were financially struggling. I knew we were struggling to pay rent and things like that. My sister grabs a butterflying finger and she looks at my mom. She’s like, “Mommy, can I have this?” I’ll never forget the hesitation on my mom’s face. The guilt of, “I can’t even afford this candy bar for my daughter.” My mom, I don’t know how she did, she’s like, “Sure, I guess.” She looks at me and she’s like, “Cody, do you want one, too?” I was like, “No, Mom, I know we can’t afford it.”

I say that to give some backstory of what my upbringing was like. At thirteen years old, some things began to change for me. I had an entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. I knew I needed money, so I started knocking on my neighbor’s doors at thirteen as soon as age my mom let me, and I was like, “Can I mow your yard? Can I weed your garden? Can I pick up sticks?” Anything to make a few bucks. The neighbor next to me, his name was Wally. Wally was like, “Yeah, sure. Come over tomorrow after school and I’ll find something for you to do.”

I began working for Wally and a few other neighbors. I had six clients that summer while I was thirteen. Wally began to do something that I had never experienced before. He began to mentor me. When I would get done working, he would take time and he would pour into me. At the time, I did not know that he was sowing seeds that would come to fruition later in my life and that changed my life, Gary. What I didn’t know is Wally had multiple myeloma blood cancer and emphysema when I met him and his doctors told me he had six months to live. Wally lived three more years. Meanwhile, we became so close. He became like a father that I never had. I even moved in with him, my next-door neighbor.

He ended up passing away when I was sixteen, but he changed my life forever. He taught me the value of mentorship, being coached, and having someone pour wisdom in you and the transformation that it can create in your life. Because of that, I made it my life’s mission to be able to be that person for other people in the world. At eighteen years old, I made my mind up. I want to be a motivational speaker. I want to make the world a better place. Because I existed, this world is better and that goes along with the why have a better way. That’s who I am. That’s my identity.

I started young and I had to make money, so I didn’t go to college. I went into different sales careers, but while doing that, I joined Toastmasters. I built an MLM business and I learned public speaking, how to build a team, and how to talk to people. I began making videos. I can show you videos of me several years ago. I look young now, but you should have seen me then. On my phone, I’m like, “You can live your dreams.” I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. It was cool. What’s crazy is I never gave up on this journey and I just kept after it, even when setback after setback happened.

My mom and my family doubted me. “Be realistic, Cody. You just need to focus on your job. You have a good career.” I broke six figures at 21. I was in real estate and I did some timeshare sales. They’re like, “You have it made. Quit trying to do this other thing.” I’m like, “No, I don’t feel fulfilled doing this. I need to do something that makes me feel fulfilled.” Moving forward, I founded a company called Motivation Everything. It began honestly as a free Facebook community. That’s how it started before it was ever a business. I said, “I’m going to build this community of like-minded driven individuals that are coming together to inspire and motivate one another to become the best version of ourselves.”

I didn’t know how to monetize it. I ended up getting into different masterminds and coaching myself while building this and I made a commitment. I’m going to make a video every single day without missing one. Gary, I have not missed a video yet since I started doing that and I was able to build a following. People began to know, like, and trust me, see me as an authority figure in the space, and respect me as a speaker and a motivator. I monetized it and I started a mastermind. I was terrible when I first started. “This is what I’m doing. If anybody wants to join me, come on.”

We were created with intention. There will never be another you in the world. Click To Tweet

Surprisingly, a dozen people raise their hand and I’m like, “I feel like I owe you money already because of how much value you’ve given in my life. Wherever you’re going, I’m going.” I built that, then I started doing one-on-one coaching. It’s evolved and it’s gotten faster and faster with the momentum. I built a personal brand for myself. We launched Maverick Media. We’re building personal brands for other coaches and consultants in the space, teaching them how to monetize content and the actual paying high-ticket clients. The ultimate dream is to make the world a better place by inspiring people to step into who God created them to be.

From age sixteen on, you knew this was the path you wanted to be on?

Absolutely.

Take us to that moment where you made that decision. How did you make that decision? What happened for you to say, “This is what I’m going to do.”

After Wally passed away, I was heartbroken. I made some mistakes, too. Shortly after that, I started hanging out with the wrong people for a short amount of time. I found myself in jail at eighteen for some small stuff, but it was in that moment in that jail cell, if I’m being honest. There are 183 bricks on the wall. I counted them over and over again to keep me from going crazy. I began thinking about the few years I had with Wally and his mentorship and what it meant to me. I had to make a choice in that Kairos moment to step into being the person that he was helping shape me into or to go down a path of just mediocre and average. At that moment, in that jail cell, that it clicked for me. I made my mind up. It’s more identity. I chose an identity that I wanted to have. I said, “I’m not going to stop at anything until I become this person.”

What was your identity before? How did you determine what your new identity was going to be? There are going to be people reading this that are struggling with that exact same thing. They’re trying to figure out, “Who am I? I just picked up all this stuff along the way and this is what I’ve become by default. It’s not working for me,” like where you were at. All of a sudden, you said, “This isn’t working. I’ve got to have a different identity.” Take us through that if you can.

What’s most important for the audience to understand is to begin asking the right questions. Who are you? One thing I don’t think a lot of people realize is that we were created with intention. Gary Sanchez, there will never be another you in the world. Cody Cottle, there will never be another Cody Cottle in the world. That clicked for me one day at that moment, if I’m being honest, and I said, “Holy crap. There will never be another me.” The gifts, talents, passions, dreams, and ideas that all of you have inside of your mind were gifted to you or given to you for a reason and a purpose.

BYW 32 | Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker: For somebody who wants to speak on stage, get intentional and figure out the avenue that will get you there.

 

I begin asking the questions, who am I? What am I good at? What do I love doing? What makes me come alive? What is your why? Go through that. Figure that out. Write it down on paper, and then figure out how do I channel all of this? What is my vehicle? What is the pathway for me to put this into? This is the best part, Gary. How do I give it away to the world? That’s our purpose. You might have heard this before. Discover your gifts, master your gifts, and give them away to the world.

Now you’re sitting in that jail and you’re counting the bricks and you’re saying, “This isn’t it.” What were the answers that you came up with for yourself to those questions?

It’s taking me back emotionally to that moment. I knew I was good at communication and I knew that I had a passion for public speaking. It’s interesting because, in my childhood, I was insecure because the growing up without a dad and some different things that happened. I loved the art of communication, so I began saying, “What am I good at? I’m good at communication. I’m good at talking. I have a lot of energy.” Energy is contagious. Passion is contagious. One thing that anybody can say about me in my childhood is I was always the most passionate guy in the room. What I realize is that’s contagious.

I have the ability of bringing this energy to the table and it rubs off on people. I’m good at communication, I have great energy, I’m super passionate, and I want to make the world a better place. That’s broad. This is where we all start. I want to help people and make the world a better place. I had to niche that down and I started asking questions like, “What other people in the world do I admire that are doing things that I could see similar to me?” I followed Eric Thomas. He’s from Detroit and I’m from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Before he was big, when his Thank GOD IT’s Monday first came out, I followed him before he blew up. I watched him go from nobody to one of the top motivational speakers in the world. I met Gary Vaynerchuk and I was amazed and inspired by him and what he was doing, and then Tony Robbins, Darren Hardy, and all these big people in this space. Honestly, that first seminar I ever went to and seeing a motivational speaker on stage, I knew then, Gary. I said, “That’s me. I need to be on that stage and I need to figure out how to get there.”

Everybody has that dream. Suddenly, their dream comes to them and a lot of people just let it slip away because going from the audience to the stage is a big step. Going from an eighteen-year-old kid that had some challenges to, “Now I got to go and inspire people when I’m sitting here in jail.” Those are big steps that a lot of people aren’t willing to take. How are you willing to take that?

I made my mind up that’s what I was going to do. Doing something is not hard. Figuring out how to do it is the hard part. For me, it was just getting intentional. The path is always in the math and figuring out what I needed to do to get me on stage in front of people. The quickest avenue for me when I began was network marketing. I was in a large company and I won’t namedrop the company, but I built a residual income of about $60,000 to $70,000 a year in MLM, which is hard to do. That opened doors for me. The reason I was in it was the public speaking. It was the conventions and the things that they did.

Discover your gifts, master them, and give them away to the world. Click To Tweet

That opened the door for me to get on stage in front of 2,000 people, which was the best day of my entire life. For somebody that wants to speak on stage, get intentional and figure out the avenue that’s going to get you there. That was my start. That got me in front of people, that got me on stage, and that got me practicing, then you need to get better at what you do and you need to master your craft. The fastest route for me, I never went to college, was joining Toastmasters. I learned so much through Toastmasters. Let alone the networking I did and the connections I made through there. That opened a lot of doors as well.

Things have changed from where I started to where we are now. It’s easier to do now than ever because we have social media and we have the internet. If somebody out there wanted to speak on stage or follow a similar passion to me, Gary, I would say that it starts with the content that they create online. Building an audience and influence and getting people to know, like, and trust them. Serving and giving value, and in and through that if you stay consistent, doors will begin to open up. You will get opportunities to speak on stage because you’re bringing value to the world through the messages that you’re giving.

You said that you did a video a day. You started your Facebook group and then you started doing a video every single day. How do you go from zero people in your Facebook group to making it bigger? What did you do?

Consistency is the secret if I’m being honest. The video every day drew people to the group. I do what’s called a 30-sec motivation check. If you want to crack the code on video content, two minutes or less video, every single day consistently. Ninety nine percent of you will not make a video every single day. That’s why the 1% that does have a competitive edge on you every single time. The other part of this is people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. When you care and you’re passionate and you’re bringing messages that are giving value to people, it draws people to you. My encouragement is to figure out the messages you want to give and over-deliver on that and the community will grow. Stay consistent and trust the process and through the time, it will happen.

You went from having nobody there when you first started to now having lots of people in your Facebook group. How do you do that? You put one video up and then take us through what happened.

Before I had the group, I had my personal timeline and I was posting content there and building a following through that. I announced in the world. I came out and said, “This is what I’m doing.” I’m creating this community and this is what it’s all about. I would like to invite you guys to join the community. If you like the content I’ve been making for the last several years, you’re going to love what’s inside of this community. I’m going to over-deliver and over-serve everybody that joins. It’s absolutely free. It’s a place that we can come together, get a break on your timeline from all the negativity and all the politics, and get some wisdom you can go apply to step into who you were created to be.

How the heck do you come up with content every single day? It sounds great. It sounds like it’d be a lot of fun, at least at first. How do you keep up the content? How do you not get tired of it?

BYW 32 | Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker: If you stay consistent, doors will begin to open up for you.

 

Everybody asked me that. That’s a great question. At the end of the day, I live by better done than perfect, so don’t overthink it. You always have something you can talk about. Even when you think you don’t, you do. For example, I have a Siberian Husky and we go on walks every day. I do a prayer walk in the morning. We were walking out to the trash can one time to take the garbage out and I noticed trash on the side of the driveway. I looked at this trash and I was like, “Should I pick it up or should I leave it?” Immediately then, if I had to ask that question, I knew the answer because doing what’s right is always right and integrity is doing that when nobody’s looking.

What I can do is out of even walking the trash to the trash can, I can create a story and a narrative that creates a message for the audience. Don’t overthink it. Be creative. I’m going to give everybody my hack, too. I’m always reading books and always meeting with high-level guys like Gary and other people in the world. That’s wise, intelligent things. I have notes on my phone and I’m constantly plugging in on video ideas based on the conversations I have, the books I read, and the different content I consume. I’m never in lack of ideas. If I’m not being creative now, I can go to my phone and find something I’ve noted before.

What has doing a video a day done for you personally in your own growth?

At the end of the day, I make the videos for me, first and foremost. Being to express what’s on my mind and what I’m feeling and thinking in real-time and getting to bring value to others has almost been holistic for me. I don’t know how to explain it. For me, it’s helped me on my journey, and then if I’m being completely transparent, I’m big on if I say something, doing it myself. There’s this level of self-accountability when you create a motivational message for others that you then have to take extreme ownership of and apply to your own life and your own identity.

When you think about that, you have trained your brain to look for positive things, life lessons, ways to grow and ways to share. That has to have ratcheted up the speed with which you’ve been able to achieve, all these things that you’ve already been able to do because of the way you’ve trained your brain, the reticular activating system.

It’s crazy what we can do when we set our mind to it. It’s like the compound effect. I started at a young age and became obsessed, if I’m being honest, with personal development, and then furthermore, how to apply it in my own life. Even one step further, how do I educate and inspire others to want to do the same thing. For me, Gary, it was the fascination of stepping into the best version of me. I constantly go back to that and I realize how much potential we have. I even feel that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of who I can be.

That’s a totally better way thing. You are always in search of a better way. When you find it, you catalog it, use it, and associate it in different other businesses or people’s lives so that you can have a bigger impact and you can share all these better ways. You’ve taken it to a level that most people aren’t willing to do. It’s accelerated things for you. I’d be curious to see when you coach people. If you suggest to them to make a video a day, how much faster they would progress? What do you think?

Integrity is doing what is right even when nobody's looking. Click To Tweet

I do it with clients, especially on the personal branding clients. A lot of the people in the space that want to be a coach or a public speaker or anything like that or a consultant and they want to build their own brand and give value to the world, I tell them they have to do that. The fastest way to get there is consistency. Two graphic design posts a day to their brand and one video every day consistently. I challenge your audience to make a video every day for the next 30 days for two minutes or less. It doesn’t have to be crazy. Just do it.

Post it on all the social media?

Post it across all of them. I recommend using TikTok to make it. TikTok’s algorithm is phenomenal. It’s super easy to edit, overlay music, and make yourself look good, and then share it on all the other platforms.

You can use TikTok to create the video?

Yeah. It’s super-fast. I make my videos in five minutes.

They should give a course on just that. A lot of people I’m sure that are reading this are thinking, “I’ve got to shoot a fricking video every day. I’ve got to get lighting, sound and all this stuff. Somebody’s going to edit it. How am I ever going to do this?” That’s not the type of video that you’re doing?

No. The thing is now I have filmmakers that work with me and other guys. We pump great content, but you brought up a valid point. I have a video that’s going to come out on this. The reasons people don’t make videos are, “I don’t have the right equipment. I don’t know what to talk about. I don’t like the way I look or what my voice sounds like.” The equipment part is a limiting belief and an excuse. When I wanted to go down this journey, I had a mentor that I was out to lunch with.

I was like, “I want this camera at $1,700. I want the perfect microphone and I want the studio lighting.” All of these excuses why I wasn’t making the content I wanted to make. He looked at me in his eyes and he said, “Are you going to quit making excuses and just do it?” He said, “Do you have a phone?” I said, “Yeah.” “Does it have a camera?” “Yeah.” “Can it record?” “Yeah.” “Can you post it online?” “Yeah.” “What’s stopping you? Pull your phone out and start talking.” I did. I have guys that will follow me with cameras now, but I love the super authentic, genuine selfie-style video.

BYW 32 | Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker: When you are caring, passionate, and bring messages that provide value to people, it draws them to you.

 

What is next for you, Cody? Where are you headed? Who are you looking to work with? People that are reading this, who would you like to reach out to you?

I’m heading to be the number one motivational speaker in the world, so I’m always looking for opportunities to share my story. I’m willing to do it anywhere that I can get the opportunity to help inspire other people to step into their purpose, live an intentional life, and be the best version of themselves. Outside of that, from a business standpoint, our personal branding business is doing incredible things for coaches, consultants, and online business owners in the space that want to turn organic content into high-ticket paying clients. I’m always looking for introductions to talk to people in that space as well.

Cody, thank you for being here. I’ve enjoyed our conversations. I know we’ve talked a couple of times. Where can people go to connect with you? What is the way that you want them to connect with you?

First and foremost, I invite you guys to join the Motivation Everything community. It’s on Facebook. Just search Motivation Everything. It’ll pop up. You’ll see it and you’ll know it. Also, you can follow me at Cody Cottle on Facebook, and then on IG and TikTok, IAmCodyCottle. We’d love to have you guys there. I put a video every day and I pump a ton of content. My hope is it inspires even one of you out there to step into the best version of you and find your way.

Cody, thank you for being here. I look forward to following you as you progress to the number one motivational speaker in the world.

Let’s go, Gary. Thank you for having me on.

For sure.

It’s time for our new segment, which is Guess the Why. We pick famous people and we try to guess their why. Many of you are familiar with this famous person. Her name is Kim Kardashian. I would love to know what you think her why is. She’s in the process of getting divorced. She’s had lots of craziness in her life that she’s had to figure out. I’m going to guess that her why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. She’s had to face lots of different challenges from the way she grew up to how she grew up, to who she’s been hanging out with, to who she’s married, to all the problems that they’ve had.

Her why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. She’s a great problem solver. She’s somebody who makes decisions fast and moves fast. I’m going to say that her why is make sense. If any of you out there know her, have her take the why discovery so we can figure it out for sure or put in the comment box what you think her why is. Thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 to get it for 50% off. If you love the Beyond Your WHY podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and a rating on whatever platform you are using to listen to our podcast. Go out and have a great week. Thank you for reading. I will see you next episode.

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About Cody Cottle

Cody Cottle, the founder of Motivation Everything, is a renowned motivational speaker, personal branding expert, and visionary leader recognized for his transformational work with purpose-driven men and women around the world.

A mentee of Gary Vaynerchuck, Eric Thomas, and Nicholas Baylerle among others, Cody has gone on to help thousands of aspiring leaders turn their motivation into momentum with clarity, strategy, and accountability.

His life mission is to help one million people develop the motivation & accountability they need to achieve their 5-year goals in 12 months and realize tangible success in all areas of their lives.

Cody lives in San Diego CA with his Siberian husky Zeus and enjoys surfing, mountain biking, hiking, and traveling in his free time.

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Podcast

Finding The Better Cure: Optimizing Health Through Herbs And Chinese Medicine With Chloe Weber

BYW 31 | Chinese Medicine

 

Chloe Weber believes that there is a better cure to diseases than shoving down the symptoms with tablets. Rooted in millennia of tradition, Chinese medicine focuses on healing the whole person, not just the disease. As the CEO of Radical Roots, Chloe fulfills her why of “better way” by helping people discover how this ancient body of wisdom unlock the secrets to better health.

In this episode, Chloe joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to discuss how Chinese medicine looks at the underlying patterns beneath the disharmony in your entire being that causes the disease to manifest in your physical body. In Chinese medicine, curing disease requires a deeper look to pinpoint the source of excessive stress in your life and eliminate it.

Do you want to learn more about finding the better, longer-lasting cure for what ails you? You have come to the right place! Tune in and learn from Chloe’s expertise in Chinese medicine.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Finding The Better Cure: Optimizing Health Through Herbs And Chinese Medicine With Chloe Weber

If you’re a regular reader, you know that we talk about one of the nine why’s and then we bring on somebody with that why. You can see how their why has played out in their life. We’re going to be talking about the why of better way. If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator. You constantly seek better ways to do everything from the most mundane task of brushing your teeth to improving the rocket fuel that powers the space shuttle. You can’t stop yourself. You take virtually anything and want to improve it, make it better and share your improvement with the world. You invent things and take what has already been invented and improve that too. You constantly ask yourself the question, “What if we try this differently? What if we did this another way?”

You contribute to the world with better processes, better systems and operate under the motto, “Often pleased, never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating and taking from one industry or discipline and applying it to another. Always with the aim of improving something. You generally operate with a high level of energy because after all that too is a better way. I’ve got a great guest for you. You’re going to love her. Her name is Chloe Weber. She developed an interest in public health and medicine after being diagnosed with cutaneous leishmaniasis in high school. As one of the first cases diagnosed in Costa Rica, Chloe was drawn to study ecology and evolutionary biology at CU Boulder, where she began to understand how diseases evolve along with us and the deep connection between humans and our environment.

Chloe was drawn to Chinese medicine as a way to address public health issues. She graduated with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder and spent time studying in Heilongjiang University Hospital in China. After graduating, Chloe co-founded a nonprofit sliding-scale walk-in Chinese or a clinic called Urban Herbs. When Chloe’s son, Remy, was diagnosed with a rare and debilitating genetic disorder, she decided to study Integrative Neurology and Functional Medicine extensively and has motivated her to find ways to help children with neurodevelopmental issues and seizures. Chloe is the CEO and Co-Founder of Radical Roots, a Chinese herb company on a mission to make superior hemp and herb products and Remy’s Revenge resource website. Chloe, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. I’m excited to chat with you.

This is going to be fun. I know I pronounced some of those words incorrectly. First of all, let’s get that straight. You were diagnosed with what?

Cutaneous leishmaniasis. It’s a parasitic disease that spread through sand flies. I was lucky enough that I went on this outward bound trip to Costa Rica. I came back to the States and I had these weird bug bites on my arm and a couple of my face. They kept getting worse and worse. Ultimately, they got biopsied, sent to the CDC. The CDC knew me by my first name when I was fifteen, so that was a cool little thing for me to get. I had this crazy parasitic disease. It’s common in other parts of the world but had never been found in Costa Rica. It’s not something you see in the States. I was forced onto chemotherapy for a while and had to do home instruction. It went a little crazy. Overall, it was an important learning lesson for me in my evolution as a human.

Where were you born? Take us a little bit on your journey because it’s a fascinating journey.

I was born in New York. I’m a Brooklyn girl, born and raised. That’s something I’m proud of. I was always a soccer player. I was always the captain of the soccer team. I always loved playing with kids. I went to summer camp, did the whole thing and was adventurous growing up. That’s how I convinced my parents with lots of begging and crying to send me to Costa Rica on this outward bound trip. That was when I was about fourteen. My sophomore year of high school was spent in home instruction dealing with the ramifications of this tropical disease. It was an interesting thing for me because it was this crazy juxtaposition of going to Costa Rica where I was blown away by the natural beauty, by people living in remote circumstances without toilets and running water. They were happier than anybody I’d ever met in America, to going home, coming back to the States, being sick and having this crazy next part of that journey.

It was an interesting dichotomy. It shaped how I started looking at life because it was like, “If this one girl from Brooklyn can end up with a rare tropical disease on a first name basis with the CDC, we don’t know what’s ahead of us.” We never know what’s guaranteed. Tomorrow is certainly not guaranteed. That was something that I learned at that time and that’s something that I’ve taken with me every day ever since. Through that, I went to college at CU Boulder. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I was fascinated with the fact that due to our interactions with the environment, diseases were spreading like leishmaniasis into new environments and affecting different people. It was interesting how global warming and how our actions were affecting the spread of disease.

That’s what I studied and who knows what you go into to work for when you’re done? I bumbled around and got into Chinese medicine, which was a fortunate stumble into that field. It’s been one of the great loves of my life and one of the greatest honors that I could have to practice this medicine that’s been handed down through thousands of generations and millions of healers who have given so much to the health of our society.

See everything in the world in a different way. Click To Tweet

Take us to that moment where you said, “I’ve got to get into Chinese medicine.” How did that happen?

I had done acupuncture before for quitting smoking and for allergies when I was younger. I knew a little bit about it. My parents were hippies, so I’ve had some experience. I wasn’t scared of it but I wanted to go back to school for public health. The problem with public health was that I also wanted to find a better way. There are all these public health issues. I went to a hospital and I was volunteering there. All I was seeing was they were putting Band-Aids on things. “Here’s a medication. It’s going to cover up this issue but then you’re going to have these side effects. We’re going to get another Band-Aid. We’re going to put that on top of there and keep going.” I love Western medicine. I think it has its place and its strengths but it also has its weaknesses.

Public health is amazing and something that I’ve always been interested in but it doesn’t give me the hands on experience of working with people, seeing what I’m doing and how that affects a person. I also like people in general. That was something I wanted to have. I stumbled into the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Denver. It’s like Hogwarts School of Magic. It’s completely bonkers. You go in there and there are all these Chinese herbs everywhere. I started looking into Chinese herbs and realizing what an incredible system of medicine it is, how it’s customizable pharmaceuticals, how safe and how effective they are. Acupuncture, I had already had and I’d known how powerful it was. I signed up on a whim. It’s been an incredible journey ever since.

There was no like, “I’ve got this problem. That’s why I’ve got to go into this to look at Chinese herbs.” It was like, “That’s interesting.” It seems like it might be a better way to customize what we’re doing instead of giving everybody the same thing.

I looked at the Chinese herbs in particular and I was like, “This is a better way of doing medicine.” If we’re having symptoms, if we have a disease, if we’re having headaches, if we’re having menstrual cramps, that’s our body telling us something. It didn’t make any sense to me to shove those symptoms down. That’s not how the body works. Chinese medicine honors the natural ecology of the body, supports everybody as an individual and respects everybody’s individual differences, challenges, strengths and weaknesses.

Most of us are not going to be going to Chinese medicine school. Tell us what it was like going to school for that.

Chinese medicine school is much more rigorous than I realized when I signed up. I’m not going to lie. It’s essentially the course equivalent of 4.5 master’s degrees in three years. They have us studying like crazy and on top of that, you’re learning a lot of stuff in Chinese. A lot of it is outside of our typical Western paradigm. We’re talking a lot about yin and yang, the five elements, these herbs and how they work together. They have a whole different language for talking about health, wellness and life. A lot of it is based on Taoism, which is something that I’ve always resonated with. I remember one of my teachers for the first year. He said, “For the first year you just study and memorize. One day it’s going to click. You’ll see everything in the world in a different way. You’ll understand all of it.” I remember being like, “This dude is crazy. What are we doing here?”

One day, it all fell into place. I was like, “No wonder I have these tendencies, these allergies and these things.” Those all fit together in a pattern of disharmony that’s been described in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is an incredible system but it is not easy to study. Herbs were hard for me to study because you learn them in Pinyin, which is the Chinese name. Luckily they expect us to be able to get the tone right because I am tone deaf when it comes to Chinese. There’s no way I can do it. Learning hundreds of herbs and herbal formulas in Chinese was so hard for me. I think that’s one of the reasons I became an avid herbalist because I’m not used to having a struggle with anything. I got stubborn and figured out how to master it. I’ll be working on mastering it for the rest of my life to get good at it.

How many Chinese herbs are there?

BYW 31 | Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine: Chinese medicine honors the natural ecology of the body, supports everybody as an individual, and respects everybody’s individual differences, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses.

 

I had a sliding-scale herb clinic. We would carry normally about 350, 400 herbs at a time.

Take us through what goes on in your mind when you are evaluating somebody who’s getting migraine headaches. You’re going to take them through figuring out what’s going on with them and finding a better way for them to get healthy. What goes on in your mind?

In Chinese medicine, we are looking at the underlying patterns beneath the disharmony that you’re seeing. In the example of migraines, one common pattern of migraine is stress. In Chinese medicine, stress is correlated with stagnation within the body. Things aren’t flowing freely, so you’ll see somebody who’s sighing a lot, who’s getting irritable. It’s like classic PMS is the stress stagnation. We call it Liver Qi Stagnation. In that pattern, the stress can build up and then cause some irritation to the head and cause some migraines because the energy is inappropriately rising to the head in a way that’s it’s not supposed to. We can look at that underlying stress. We can talk to you about what’s going on, what are the triggers, how’s your digestion, how’s your sleep. We’re looking at every aspect of a person’s life and vitality. What are you eating? What are you drinking? How are you feeling? Do you like your job? All of it.

Stress might be one of the things that’s contributing to migraines. Hormones are another common thing that are contributing to migraines. Those are all different patterns of disharmony within Chinese medicine. They can be translated into Western medicine but the way that we view it and the way that we look at the whole system together in terms of your spirit, your mind, your body, your diet, your exercise, all of it is different than Western medicine. What we’ll do is we’ll see what’s out of balance. We’re looking at the different elements of the body. It’s always fun trying to explain Chinese medicine. We look at the body as a microcosm of the macrocosm.

Years ago, when Chinese medicine was developed, they were describing pathogenic factors within the body through elemental descriptions. We talked about wind in the body. Wind in Chinese medicine can be an external invasion like a cold or flu. It can be a ticker, a tremor or epilepsy, some neurological disharmony. We’ll talk about phlegm, which could be a buildup of phlegm in the body or coldness, dampness, heat. We’ve talked about different pathogenic factors. We talk about different elements and how those are working within the body. It’s all looking to get the body back into homeostasis, if that explanation makes any sense.

It’s like there’s a set on the thermometer that you want your house to be, 70 degrees, and something’s keeping it at 75 or 65. We’ll figure out what that is. How do you know which herbs to give somebody to make that happen if you’ve got 350 choices? That’s mind-numbing to me.

We study a lot but we do herbal formulas. The strength of our medicine is that it’s not just one herb, one ailment. It’s the combination of these herbs, how they’re working together to support you and what’s going on in your body. We have classical formulas. For migraines, if that’s coming from stress, you might use a formula Free and Easy Wanderer Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San, which is classically used to move the Liver Qi, alleviate stress and then also support digestive function. I think it has 6 or 7 herbs that are used to move the qi, support the blood flow and digestion. From that classical formula, we can also say they need more of this herb or I want to add in some other herbs that are going to anchor it because they’re having severe migraines and we need to get this done. We can tailor these classical formulas to whatever’s going on.

This became personally important to you later on or maybe before you went to school and with your son. Tell us about your son.

My mission when I was in school was always to start a sliding-scale Chinese herbal clinic because everybody knows about acupuncture in America but people don’t understand the strength, the value and the beauty of Chinese herbs. That became my obsession. I wanted everybody to have access to this because it’s so easy. You can come in. I can do an evaluation on you in twenty minutes and have you go home with your own medicine that’s going to help you with little risk of any side effects. That was my mission. I started Urban Herbs a couple of months after graduating from Chinese medicine school and I had my son two months later. Remy was around ten months when we got referred to early intervention because he wasn’t sitting well yet and he wasn’t rolling. He wasn’t hitting some of the milestones.

At twelve months, he was referred to genetics and neurology. You know it’s a shit show if you’re being sent there. It was clear that it was a bigger deal. I left that business and took Remy back home to Brooklyn and started spending two years where we were searching for answers for him trying to get a diagnosis. He was doing twenty hours of early intervention therapies a week. I was doing another twenty hours of therapy with him a week. We were going to osteopaths, cranial, sacral, developmental pediatricians, geneticists and every freaking doctor that you could possibly imagine. Finally, he was diagnosed with a super rare genetic disorder when he was 2.5 or about 3 and it’s called STXBP1.

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This disorder is so rare that A, it doesn’t even get a name. It’s just named after the mutated gene. That’s always fun. Also, the doctors are like, “There are 400 kids in the world. We don’t have anything for you.” This is a child who has significant challenges. He’s got severe epilepsy. He’s got a cognitive disability, ataxia, apraxia, Parkinsonian-like tremors. He’s nonverbal. He started walking when he’s almost seven. When you get that diagnosis, as a mom and herbalist, I was like, “What are my options here?” Seizure meds don’t seem to help many of the children with his disorder. Seizure meds also dull neural connectivity, which is not something I’m eager to do on my three-year-old, who’s starting to learn how to crawl after thousands and thousands of hours of therapy.

I started looking into hemp, CBD and cannabis medicine for epilepsy. I started trying all different products on the market. Some of them were good. Some of them were not good at all. I started learning more and more about it as an herbalist and stomped my feet for a while. I even emailed a couple of the big companies offering to help them out write formulas for them for free. As an herbalist, I wanted to use the Chinese herbs to potentiate the actions and make it stronger for hemp medicine in particular. If you have good quality CBD, it’s an expensive supplement because it’s not easy to grow.

There are a lot of headaches and a lot that you have to go through in order to keep a CBD company alive, which I wasn’t aware of before starting one. To me, the beauty of herbal medicine is using these herbs together. This is what thousands of years of Chinese medicine has taught me. Let’s combine these actions and make it stronger. I stomped my feet long enough and decided finally that I would make my own company and create a superior supplement line for kids like Remy and adults like me who are under extreme stress.

How are you able to deal with all of that? That seems overwhelming to have that many things going on and no answers.

It was impressively challenging. It’s been a crazy trip with Rem. I think I’m lucky because I had the experience of having leishmaniasis when I was younger and I think that it taught me. As I said, nothing’s promised for tomorrow and having to learn that lesson when it comes to your child because Remy, due to his seizures is at risk of leaving me sooner than most kids, which is something that I’m still working on. Having to process that also gives you a certain amount of freedom in your life in an odd way. If you realize the depth of not having tomorrow guaranteed, then why wouldn’t you go as big as you can possibly go? Why wouldn’t you love as hard as you can possibly love? Why don’t you throw yourself at it because that’s what’s going to happen tomorrow anyway?

As hard as it was and as hard as it has been, at the end of the day, I have the most beautiful little boy. He deserves all the love in the world. He also deserves to have a happy mom. I do the best that I can to honor that. Some days, I’m on point and some days, it’s a hell of a lot harder. We’ve gotten through hopefully some of the tougher times. I’ve also gotten a lot of help along the way. I’ve taken Remy all over the world. I take him to a neurologist in Ecuador for a month twice a year. I take him to The Family Hope Center in Philadelphia, who I recommend for every single family with a child with any learning disability. It’s also been an exciting learning experience for me. I feel like I’m uniquely primed for this challenge. In some way, we were well paired together. I try and live up to that honor.

In the middle of all of that, you started Radical Roots. It makes sense. It’s a better way. Tell us all about Radical Roots. What is Radical Roots?

As I was saying, I wanted to combine the Chinese herbs with the highest quality of medicine that I could. I found a farmer in Longmont, Colorado, who does next to no-till farming techniques. He rotates eight cover crops. It’s honoring the ecology of Colorado. It’s helping build topsoil. It’s super clean, obsessive and lovingly grown hemp. The guy even goes up to the mountains, gets mythical healing spring water and brings it down on a truck to water the plants. It’s insane. I wrote Chinese herbal formulas. There are different patterns of disharmony that lead to one outcome like in migraine. What I did was I looked the five main things that people are looking to have medicine for.

One is neurological conditions. That formula is Remy’s Revenge. I wrote a formula that’s focused on calming the wind, calming that static in the brain in Chinese medicine. That was one of the formulas. The other things that people are often using hemp medicine for pain management. I wrote a formula that’s focused on pain management based on the herbal functions of Chinese medicine. Also, there’s Western research on all of these herbs as well. It’s not just woo-woo goodness. There’s plenty of research behind all of them. We did one for anxiety and stress. With anxiety and stress, it could be that you’re working too much. It could be that you’re too worried and your mind’s going all the time.

BYW 31 | Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine: There’s no better medical system in the world than Chinese herbal medicine.

 

We looked at those different patterns and tried to write formulas that were going to support all of those patterns in a safe way so that you could take something off the shelf. Customizing the herbal formulas is always my favorite way to do it but we also need to scale it so that more people can have access to it. That’s what we did for the line. We’ve expanded and done a couple of new formulas that don’t have CBD in them to support people who aren’t able to do that. We do have low levels of THC in all of our formulas because I believe the whole plant medicine is far superior and the THC is an important co-factor in order to potentiate the actions of the hemp. We don’t have any THC-free CBD products. I wanted to make some herbal products for people who get drug tested or who are uncomfortable using hemp products.

For the readers, how Chloe and I got together was my office is in a building called The Optimum Building. The gentleman that owns this building is a guy named Matt Finkelstein. He’s a better way guy like us as well but he’s me at least on steroids. He switched the words from better way to way better. If it’s not way better, he doesn’t want it in everything that he does. I’ll have him on the show here in a little bit. Everything in this building has to be the best of the best. He has Radical Roots here. I was looking at the Radical Roots and then I talked to Mikayla, the gal that brought them in. She’s the one that connected me to you, Chloe. I’ve been taking your products and I love them. I’m taking the Immortal All-Stars and I’m also taking Flow State. What are those?

First of all, thank you. I love our products too. The level of detail that I’ve gone into with these products is psychotic. It’s a complete honor to me as a practitioner and as a human for people to trust me enough to take the products that I create. In terms of Chinese medicine, in terms of being a practitioner, in terms of being a mom, I take that honor seriously. There’s never a time that I will ever cut a corner when it comes to my business. We did a biohacking line for Bulletproof because we were going to be in the conference and all this stuff. Immortal All-Stars is one of those. That one doesn’t have any hemp in it.

I was looking to make an anti-aging formula because that’s a big biohacking thing. Also we’re all so run down and deficient at this point. That formula is great. It’s got a reishi in it, which is incredible for immune health. It’s got He Shou Wu, which is known to blacken the hair. It’s infamous for that. It’s got a bunch of other mushrooms that help with immune support but it helps with energy. It’s got a little bit of ginseng. It’s an overall tonic. It’s going to give you that power to get you through that day. It’s going to keep you feeling your best day in and day out for as long as you can. To me, it’s not about living forever. It’s about making sure that I’m optimizing every day and living my life to the fullest. That formula packs a punch. It’s amazing how strong they are.

Flow State is one of my favorite formulas. That’s based on the formula I referenced earlier, Jia-wei-xiao-yao-san. It’s called Free and Easy Wanderer. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formulas in all of history. That one helps alleviate stress. It’s encouraging the free flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. It also supports digestion. In Chinese medicine, stress and digestion are always on that same axis, which is the same in Western medicine. They’re just finally learning that. You’re never going to have something that’s going to go on in your stress that’s not going to, in some way, affect your digestion and vice versa. That formula has been shown to have powerful anxiolytic property so it helps with anxiety. It has neuroprotective properties.

I added some herbs that increased BDNF, which is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. It helps your brain grow, get stronger and be more effective. That one is one of my favorite formulas. We have that in CBD and without CBD. I’ve been having fun because I have all the products but I get to mix and match them, which is fun for me. Immortal All-Stars sometimes, I’ll take with our Complete Spectrum hemp because I want the hemp but I want the Immortal All-Stars. I get the best of both worlds. Flow State is for stress but sometimes, if my stress is affecting my digestion more, then I’ll add Middle Management and take that with it. If I’m more tired, then I’ll take that with Revive or with the Immortal All-Stars. It’s fun to get to mix and match a little bit.

Your level of detail is borderline psychotic for the products that you make and the way you formulate them. Tell us a little bit about that. Give us an example. What do you mean? You have a perpetual smile on your face. Every time I talk to you, you’re smiling as you’re talking. For those of you that cannot see Chloe, she’s always smiling as she’s talking. There’s something going on back there. You’ve got some knowledge of the way you’re doing this that we don’t have. Fill us in a little bit on this level of detail. There has got to be a better way.

I would say the secret sauce is Chinese herbal medicine. I will always bow down to the fact that this is a continual medical lineage that has gone on for thousands of years. To me, there’s no better medical system in the world than Chinese herbal medicine. Trust me. I’ve been all over the world. I checked out every medical system I can find. For me, the main secret sauce is the Chinese herbs but also the people who grow the herbs. All of our herbs, especially the Chinese herbs, are psychotically tested. We make sure that there are no heavy metals, pesticides or chemicals in them. We get them organic as often as possible, which is most of the time and the loving care that our farmers put into our hemp in growing that.

I have a manufacturer who is an absolute genius. He lives up in the mountains in Colorado and he does an alchemical spagyric extraction technique. He tinctures the herbs. He takes the herbs and burns them. From the ashes, he’s able to take the salts and minerals and bring them back into the tincture. Cosmically, it’s recombining the body and the spirit of the plant and then chemically, it’s creating all these crazy chemical reactions. To me, the whole plant medicine is so important. We can look at the pharmacological constituents. We can look up all the pharmacological actions of all of these herbs. The magic is one you’re using them as whole plants. It’s like you can get all the different ingredients of a cake together but that doesn’t make a cake unless you mix them and bake it. You have these whole plant medicines. It makes it so incredibly powerful and effective and then making sure that they’re super safe.

It blows my mind. These herbs have changed my life. I started the company for Remy because I wanted to make him a formula to stop his seizures. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to stop Remy’s seizures or to help any child with epilepsy. There’s nothing more heartbreaking in the world than watching a child go through a seizure. I live in that world. I have so many friends whose children have severe epilepsy. If I can help one family get a better night’s sleep or have some reduction in seizures, I would do anything for that. I started it for him and for all these other kids. I also found myself and I came back to life through some of these herbs also. They’re so powerful. I do believe they are a better way.

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What you see with most people with the why a better way is they see something they think is better. They try it out on themselves and find out whether it’s better or not. When they find out that it is, then they share it. Have you tried most or all of your products on yourself?

Yes, I take them all of the time. It’s ridiculous. I love my life. It’s challenging. I get to study Chinese medicine. I get to do what I love every day. Some of the things about running a business are not my favorite. I’m never going to be an operations person. It’s never going to be my strong suit but I love being able to create. I love being able to get to talk to people who are pushing boundaries and innovating. I love getting to play with my son. He’s a riot. I’m the worst salesperson in the world. I could not sell something if my life was dependent on it. I can’t lie. These herbal products are amazing, so I use them all of the time.

Last question, what is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received or the best piece of advice that you’ve ever given?

A piece of advice that I often give is I’m lucky that I do not have the perfectionist gene but I think people get caught up in the big picture of things. One of the things I often tell other people, particularly parents or people who are struggling to make big headway in their health is something is better than nothing. I think we get so caught up, wanting things to be perfect and doing the whole thing. In Chinese medicine, when I see patients and they’re like, “I have to revamp my whole diet, change my whole life and do all of this.” I’m like, “Yes, that would be ideal. However, why don’t we start with adding a ten-minute walk in every day and adding an extra cup of water a day? I think we can move imperfectly in the direction of our dreams without having to have it all figured out.” That’s one piece of advice.

It takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it?

We have enough pressure in society.

Chloe, what is next for you? If there’s people that are reading this and they want to connect with you, maybe they want to come see you because I think you mentioned something about you want to go back to having some type of a clinic. What’s next for you and then how can people connect with you?

I should be opening a clinic here in Boulder. I am going to also be launching a podcast which we’ll go into focused on the health of our children and the deterioration of that. Something is better than nothing but the reality that our children are in a desperate place. One out of six kids has a developmental disability. One out of nine kids has ADHD. One out of 32 has autism. We can wait around for Western medicine to come up with a one-to-one correlation but that’s never going to happen. I want to help people realize that we all need to take action in our homes and in our communities, start finding a better way in terms of health for our children. I’ll be launching that, playing with herbs and more products. People can reach me. I have the resource website, RemysRevenge.com. That’s what I’ll do the show through and then RadicalRootsHerbs.com. People can email me at Chloe@RadicalRootsHerbs.com if they have any questions.

I wanted that to be the last question but there’s something popped into my head that I forgot that I wanted to ask you about. I was told that I’m supposed to show you my tongue. What’s the story with that? Mikayla said, “She’s going to want to see your tongue.” Tell us a little bit about that.

BYW 31 | Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine: The main secret sauce is the Chinese herbs but also the people who grow the herbs. All of the company’s herbs, especially the Chinese herbs, are psychotically tested.

 

That’s funny. I’ve never even asked Mikayla to see her tongue. Maybe I have. The tongue is internal but it’s external. It’s a way to see the internal state of the body externally. From the tongue, we’re able to tell a lot about how your state of health is. I’ll do mine, so I don’t put you on the spot. If you look at my tongue, I have a crack down the middle of it. That’s a stomach crack so I have a lot of food allergies, which is true. On the side, you’ll see there like teeth marks. It looks like a scallop. In Chinese medicine, we call that Spleen-Qi Deficiency. You’ll often see that people are studying a lot, worrying a lot, overthinking a lot. The tip of my tongue is typically a little bit red, so that’s a little bit of heart heat from stress and juggling 752 million things at one time.

We can learn a lot from your tongue. We also take pulses in Chinese medicine. Based on how the frequency of the pulses and the different qualities of the pulses. Some practitioners are amazing and they can tell you stuff back to your birth from your pulse. I am by no means that pulse expert. Maybe one day we’ll be. I don’t have the attention span to get that good at it. I’d rather just ask questions. In Chinese medicine, we have a lot of interesting ways of assessing the health of the body. Tongue and pulse are some of my favorites.

I remember one of the times I first got into Chinese herbs. I wandered into a Chinese herbs shop in Chinatown in Brooklyn. I had watched a TV show where somebody went in. The guy looked at their tongue and their pulse and they gave him a bag of herbs. I went into this legit Chinese shop and stood there. I was waiting for somebody to ask me to see my tongue. They clearly only spoke Chinese and I clearly did not. I was debating and shoving my tongue. I was like, “I’m going to leave awkwardly.” I think I bought some ginseng and left.

Chloe, thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us. I have a daughter in Denver and a daughter in Fort Collins. When I come up there, I’m going to come see you. We can do this whole tongue thing and make sure that I’m okay.

It sounds good. I’d love to see you.

Thanks. I appreciate you being here.

Thanks, Gary.

It was time for our last segment in that is Guess the Why. What we do is get somebody that’s famous that we think we know what their why is. We are going to talk about Tom Brady. Everybody knows Tom Brady from The Super Bowl and from playing football. What do you think Tom Brady’s why is? I have a sense of what I think it is. I think that Tom Brady’s why is to find a better way. I’m not saying that because that is my why and I want to be like Tom Brady. When you look at his life and you look at how he’s found better ways to stay young, to stay healthy, to stay active, to stay fit, to stay playing football. He’s aged and he’s still playing at the highest level. He just won The Super Bowl. He has found better ways to do what everybody else is doing. He’s implemented them and he shares them. To me, that’s all about a better way.

I’d love to hear your opinion. Let us know. What do you think about Tom Brady’s why? Is it better way or is it something else? Thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code Podcast 50. You can get it for half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe, leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using because that will help more people learn about the why and discover their why. Our goal is to help one billion people discover, make decisions and live based on their why. Thank you.

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About Chloe Weber

BYW 31 | Chinese Medicine

Chloe Weber L.Ac, MSOM developed an interest in public health and medicine after being diagnosed with Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in high school. As one of the first cases diagnosed in Costa Rica, Chloe was drawn to study Ecology and Evolutionary biology at CU Boulder where she began to understand how diseases evolve along with us and the deep connection between humans and our environment.

Eventually, Chloe was drawn to Chinese medicine as a way to address public health issues. She graduated with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder and spent time studying at Heilongjiang University Hospital in Harbin, China.

After graduating, Chloe co-founded a non-profit sliding-scale walk-in Chinese herb clinic called Urban Herbs. When Chloe’s son, Remy, was diagnosed with a rare and debilitating genetic disorder (STXBP1) she decided to extensively study integrative neurology and functional medicine and has motivated her to find ways to help children with neuro-developmental issues and seizures.

Chloe is currently the CEO and Co-founder of Radical Roots, a Chinese herb company on a mission to make superior hemp and herb products and Remy’s Revenge resource website.

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Challenging The Status Quo And Managing The Imposter Syndrome With Veronica Kirin

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome

 

Our society has expectations for us. That is why so very often, we tend to put ourselves inside a box, hesitating to go beyond it and do what it is we really want to do. It is time to get outside of the box and challenge the status quo as Dr. Gary Sanchez sits down with anthropologist, author, and serial entrepreneur, Veronica Kirin, to tell us how. Facing the natural struggle of having an imposter syndrome whenever we try something new, Veronica offers her insights and advice on how we can manage it. She further breaks down some of the common reasons we find ourselves feeling in the wrong place and how to overcome it. Veronica also taps into defining our identity, the choices we have to shape it, and the roadmap it provides to our lives. What is more, she then takes us into her award-winning book, Stories of Elders, an anthropological study about the paradigm shift of the high-tech revolution.

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Challenging The Status Quo And Managing The Imposter Syndrome With Veronica Kirin

We are going to be talking about the why of challenge. If this is your why then you live outside the box. You don’t believe in the norm, following rules, or drawing inside the lines. It is far more natural for you to rebel against the stereotypical or classical way of doing things. You aggressively seek unique ways of approaching the world and finding solutions that no one else has considered. You like to create and innovate, especially in game-changing ways.

You have eccentric friends, eclectic tastes, and a larger variety of both. You may have diverse interests with little in common with each other. As an entrepreneur, you prefer to create a new market versus serving an existing market. You love to be different, think differently, and challenge virtually anyone or anything that is too rote or conventional. People with your why often accomplish amazing feats. When you say you want to change the world, you mean it.

Pushing the envelope comes naturally to you. I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Veronica Kirin. She is an anthropologist, author, and serial entrepreneur who works with business leaders to scale their impact and income while managing imposter syndrome. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Stories of Elders and the creator of Stories of COVID, which documents the pandemic in real-time.

Veronica, welcome to the show.

Gary, thanks for having me.

Tell everybody, where are you?

I am in Berlin, Germany.

What the heck are you doing there?

We are talking about the challenge here. It’s so apropos for everything in my life. I wanted to have the opportunity to live in a different place than what I had grown up in. I wanted to see what else the world looked like in the pandemic. Believe it or not, it made that easier because it helped me cut ties, which is heartbreaking in a way. I desperately miss my friends and they know it but I wasn’t seeing them anyway because we wanted it to all be safe. When the opportunity came to move to Berlin, it was an easy yes, and we are loving it. It’s been glorious.

Where are you from then? Tell us a little bit about your story? Where were you born? How did you get into Anthropology versus where you are now? That’s an interesting twist.

It’s unusual for me to be asked where I was born. I’m usually the one asking where someone was born as the Anthropologist. I was born in Michigan, the Great Lakes State. I grew up in Michigan and a little bit between Michigan and Pennsylvania which is where my grandparents were. My grandparents were very old-world-style grandparents and lived in an old steel mill town. I got very used to this romantic feeling around brick roads and eating pellets and go with my grandmother, which is a Croatian style crepe, except for much more fried than the crepe is. It’s a lot better for you. I grew up already straddling two worlds.

Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are in the wrong place. Click To Tweet

Talking about the challenge as your why. It appeared very early for me. I was bullied in school. I didn’t know it at that time, but I had that challenge in my head. When I was made fun of for being nothing like the other kids, I was going to the beat of my own drum. I was able to pull out of it and think to myself, “Why is your way the better way?” Automatically, the challenge was appearing in my life and it was protecting me. No surprise than that I would become an anthropologist if I, at that early age, was already thinking, “Why is your way, your society, and your culture the better way?” Anthropologists study cultures and intentionally remove themselves from their own culture in order to be as much a tabula rasa as possible thus having an unbiased lens to look into other cultures and societies.

There you go with that string of events. You ask where did I move to Berlin? The short answer is, I was living in Los Angeles at the beginning of the pandemic. I thought I wanted to try out the LA dream. I prefer warm weather because my blood is Croatian. I meant to be in Mediterranean-style weather. I simply don’t do well in the cold. It’s a running joke with friends and family. It’s the truth. LA didn’t feel very good to be surviving a pandemic and I didn’t have a support system there yet. I’d only been there six months. I went back to Michigan, where my partner still was. We regrouped in Detroit and moved to Berlin.

How do you like it there in Berlin? What’s going on there as far as the pandemic? How are you guys surviving there? Do you speak German?

I speak Spanish fairly fluently, French, a bit of Croatian, and a little bit of American sign language. None of those are helpful right now. We’re learning German but we love it. The status of the pandemic here is we’re in a soft lockdown. Public transport is still open. Grocery stores are still open but some of the bigger stores or the soft sell stores are all closed. We wanted to get new bicycle, and we had to find a store that was allowed to be open in order to buy a bicycle, for example. I can go on coffee walks but you can’t go on coffee dates. None of the cafes are open.

It’s an interesting way to learn a new culture and society because it’s almost like an intentional baby step into Berlin since nothing is open. I’m able to get to know public transportation in baby steps. I’m able to get to know the grocery stores in baby steps rather than doing it all at once. We love it. I’ve been having incredible meetings and networking with entrepreneurs since there are no networking events. We’re doing it all via Zoom. Everyone has been welcoming. It’s been fantastic.

Tell us a little bit about imposter syndrome and how did you get involved with that.

If our identity hasn’t shifted to the new level we’ve reached, imposter syndrome will emerge. Click To Tweet

I have faith n imposter syndrome. I was talking to a client about it because she’s experiencing her own imposter syndrome. She’s going through a growth spurt. I went through my growth spurt and with growth comes imposter syndrome. It doesn’t matter if you have done whatever you are doing now a million times. If you do it in a new and different way, in a new industry, or with a new title, oftentimes, imposter syndrome rears its head because it’s tied to our identity. If our identity hasn’t shifted to the new level we’ve reached, imposter syndrome will emerge.

What is imposter syndrome? Define that for us.

Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are in the wrong place, you are literally an imposter, and you’ve fooled the masses into thinking that you are capable or knowledgeable. Oftentimes, it comes even more for people who are minorities, women, and people of color. They find themselves in a room where there are other people that don’t look like them, sound like them, or act like them. They wonder to themselves, “How did I make my way here?” Even though you have done it through your own merits. I work a lot with entrepreneurs with imposter syndrome because they’re going from founder to CEO mindset. That usually is when imposter syndrome rears its head.

Does anybody not have imposter syndrome?

If they tell you they’ve never experienced imposter syndrome, they are lying to themselves.

I’ve experienced that at many different times in my life. As you’re growing up, how could you not? When you’re thrown into a new situation, you’re the newbie, and you don’t feel comfortable. How do you help people with it?

The first thing is to identify what’s the root cause. Is it your inner child that is being triggered because something feels scary and you’re worried about being exposed? If you’re exposed, and you lose out on your subsistence because now nobody wants to work with you. Is it your inner bully? Sometimes, our inner bullies are our mom or dad’s voices in our heads telling us we can’t do it. If you’re feeling, “I can’t do it,” sometimes, that’s simply your inner bully coming out. We have to stand up to our inner bullies and tell them that we can.

Sometimes, it’s the identity shift. It’s nothing super psychologically profound, but it still needs to be resolved within us. What I told my clients was that, “This is going to take time, but remind yourself that everything you are being asked to do by these clients is all things you’ve done before. If you remind yourself of that, your identity will start to settle as a consultant and you’ll start to feel like you’re finding your sea legs.”

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome: Anthropologists study cultures and intentionally remove themselves from their own to be as much a tabula rasa as possible thus, having an unbiased lens to look into other cultures and societies.

 

How much of overcoming imposter syndrome is the action, just doing it? You have to do it. Can you not do something to overcome imposter syndrome?

No, because our minds are plastic the way our brains work, but they need new input in order to rewrite. Even if you’re sitting in meditation to overcome imposter syndrome, you are still taking action. You can’t do nothing but you’re never not doing nothing.

What got you interested in imposter syndrome? What was the story that led you to say, “I got to help other people with imposter syndrome?”

To rewind a little bit, I was thrown into some intense experiences when I was younger. Taking my why of challenge. I decided to take a gap year halfway between sophomore and junior year of university. I joined the National Civilian Community Corps, which is a branch of AmeriCorps in the United States. NCCC is the national guard but with hammers rather than guns. We train on a base and we deploy all over the United States. Sometimes, we do in partnership with FEMA or the American Red Cross. I was wide-eyed, bright eyes, bushy-tailed, suddenly I am down in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I’ve been told that I am going to be starting the case working program for a nonprofit organization. I’d had no such experience except for I’m a people person, as you can tell. I did the research.

For those who don’t recall, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 20, 2005. The internet was a different place. The research was a different place. I was still using a flip phone. My research into figuring out how to make this happen was different. By the time I finished my role there, which was only two months, I had over 300 cases, 3 filing cabinets, all color-coded, all figured out, double lock and key, and making sure that people’s information was secure and safe. They’re also being served. I was a twenty-year-old having done that.

The first thing you start thinking is, “Can I do this? I want to do this.” It doesn’t matter if you want to do it because the brain still wants to go, “Can I do this?” As an entrepreneur, as I have pivoted into new roles throughout my life, it rears its head. Becoming an author rears its head. Becoming an Anthropologist and getting my degree. What does it mean to be an anthropologist? What does it mean to be an entrepreneur, especially a web developer without a degree in web development because your degree is in Anthropology, as a coach, and as a consultant?

We live our life by labels for better or for worse. Click To Tweet

For myself, I found it to be key. The faster I can pivot around imposter syndrome, the better my work is. As I am scaling clients because my work day-to-day is working with entrepreneurs who want to scale up their businesses or they’re in pain because they’re hitting their human 24-hour limit and they don’t know what to do. It’s time to scale. If you’re going to scale, you’re going to hit imposter syndrome. It’s critical that we work your way through that as fast as possible, but also as holistically as possible. Not ignoring it, you can’t ignore it, but it’s critical to work through it. That’s why it’s become enormously important in my work as an entrepreneur coach.

There’s going to be a lot of entrepreneurs reading this. They’re going to soon be facing that imposter syndrome. What do you do with them? What’s your process? How do you help them get past it?

It’s different for every case but there are broad strokes that are available. The first is to think about when has imposter syndrome ever reared its head before in your life. Is there a pattern? If there’s a pattern, that’s awesome because now we can start to see where your triggers are, and we can predict when it’s going to come. If we can predict when it’s going to show up for you, we can get ahead of it and be prepared. It will still happen, but rather than feel the panic and sink into the, “Can I do it,” instead we see it and say, “Hi, imposter syndrome. You’re here again. Let’s start working our way toward integrating this new identity of growth.” That’s the biggest key for me. It’s figuring out where your triggers are for imposter syndrome.

If you discover that it’s an inner child issue, something inside you feels unsafe because of this new growth. I asked my clients to tell their inner child that they’ve got this. That’s your mantra for that time period, “I’ve got this.” That’s where my client I said, “Everything you’ve done for your clients, you’ve done this before. You’ve got this.” It was the inner child coming out, then the inner bully is very mean. We are strong back at them and say, “No, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I can do it. You need to be quiet. Go sit down.”

Are those the two most common reasons or is there a most common reason why people have imposter syndrome?

Those are the broad strokes. There are all kinds of little nuances. Those are the two categories as to the voices in our heads that often are naysayers.

When you know this, are we able to preempt the strike? Imagine you’re on an airplane and you’re scared of turbulence. Turbulence is coming. You prepare yourself, “If there’s turbulence, this is what I do.” Is it the same thing?

Your identity is that je ne sais quoi part of you that comments on your own lived experiences. Click To Tweet

Yes. You train yourself almost like a fire drill like, “How do I want to react to this?” You don’t always know when the turbulence is going to happen, you know that it’s going to happen. “I’m on an airplane. It’s going to happen. I’m an entrepreneur, imposter syndrome is going to happen.” If you pre-train your brain and decide who you want to be or how you want to react in those moments in order to navigate it, you are going to have a better outcome. You’re going to get through it either way, but it’s that moment of decision of, “Am I going to get through this, learn from it, and grow, or am I going to let it get the better of me for days, weeks, months?” Heaven forbids you to get to the better of you and you let go of your business.

From my perspective, I would see imposter syndrome being a box that you put yourself into. We know how you like being put into a box. You’re like, “I’m not staying in this box. There’s no way.” Who says, “I have to be in this imposter syndrome box.”

Who says it has to be a box?

You help people get out of the box they put themselves into.

To grow the box, to reshape it, whatever it needs to be. We live our life by labels for better or for worse. That shapes our identities. We come straight down to identity. What box have you been put in or have you put yourself in, and how do we grow you out of that because the opportunities are in knocking.

Let’s talk for a minute about identity. I hear more about it. How would you define your identity? What is identity?

Your identity, in my opinion, is that je ne sais quoi part of you, that comments on your own lived experiences. We have this nature versus nurture balance, the question of the world. We all have experiences and our experiences shape us. Why do two people have the same experience and choose different things? It’s that je ne sais quoi, that part of you that we can’t define whatever makes us human or makes us conscious. I almost did a philosophy minor, but I didn’t. I’m not going to delve too far into this, but it’s that piece of you that even though you’ve lived for decades, your still you, and you know you’re still you.

Is your identity something that you define? Is it five sentences about who I am, is it a feeling, or what is it?

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome: It doesn’t matter if you have done whatever you are doing now a million times. If you do it in a new and different way, oftentimes, imposter syndrome rears its head because it’s tied to our identity.

 

You are delving into the realm of Plato, Socrates, Nietzsche, and all of the philosophers who have been grappling with this issue for the ages. Have we got a firm answer? Not really, but I can say as an entrepreneur and working with my clients that we have a choice that goes on top of our lived experiences. It is in those choices of who we want to be that can shape our identity. You’re still you, but it is you that has made those choices rather than those experiences making those choices.

In what way do we use identity?

It’s our roadmap for life. Our identity shapes our reactions to our experiences. It shapes the choices we want for our careers. Why’d I chosen Anthropology or Disaster Relief instead of Science or Math? If you could think of the folds of our brain as a map and our identity are those pieces, it tells us yes or no. It helps us to describe what we want. Sometimes, it comes straight down to what food do you want to eat that day. I identify as somebody who loves Italian food, so I’m going to choose pasta over the salad. It can be so tiny, and yet it shapes our world every moment of every day. I’m going to say the word guru because usually, the guru is applied to people who teach meditation or yoga. Meditative gurus would argue that we can reshape our identity. It’s that ability to make choices about ourselves. We’re choosing to change the roadmap, which then changes how we react to the world around us.

Tell us about your book, Stories of Elders. What is that?

That is an anthropological ethnography. It’s an anthropological study about the paradigm shift of the high-tech revolution. My favorite thing as an Anthropologist to study is paradigm shifts. In 2015, I noticed tech was affecting my life as an entrepreneur in tech, but it was also being talked a lot about in the news. My friends were talking about how uncomfortable they were with Facebook, which we’re all still having that conversation. I’m a challenge why.

I wanted to do something about it. I don’t want to sit around and let somebody tell me what to think. To me, life is understood through lived experiences and stories. That’s ethnography. I didn’t feel that I could adequately understand how technology is affecting our society unless I spoke with the people who had lived through as much of the high-tech revolution as possible. That’s why the book is called Stories of Elders. I went to people who were born before 1945. Before World War II, before that tech revolution that happened due to the war then afterward, we know it was an enormous boon to our economy and our technology. I spoke with people who grew up using crank cars. Now, they’re using an iPhone. That is the foundation for understanding that I was seeking. That’s what the book holds within its pages.

What’s the essence of the book? Is there a theme, “This is what I learned,” or more of the stories about those people?

Our identity is our roadmap for life. It shapes our reactions to our experiences and the choices we want for our careers. Click To Tweet

It’s less the stories about those people, although you get to know them because some of them appear over and over throughout the book because they’ve had such a front-row seat. For example, I interviewed Ned Gould, who engineered our first spy satellite for the US government. If you want a technological conundrum, try getting a film into space, taking pictures, and then sending it back to be developed. We have it easy these days with digital photography. People like that appeared over and over and you got to know their stories but it was about their reflection on technology. The book is organized into the twenty most common topics around technology that emerged through these interviews. Things like communication, relationships, community, and that’s what the book was seeking. How is it affecting our society?

If I were to talk to your parents and I ask them your upbringing or the way you lived your younger years more typical and traditional or more different in your way, what would they say?

They would say that a large part of our conflict came in from them being rather traditional parents and me being a challenge why. I was quite a good girl. I was Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. I follow the rules but there was tension because I knew that I wanted to explore more. What drew me to Anthropology? Once I was allowed to explore myself and I found Anthropology at university, it all clicked together and I was able to explore both what makes me culturally, but then also what’s reinforcing that, what’s breaking that down, what’s reflected about me in other cultures, and what are other cultures reflected thing to us. It went on from there. It’s still going.

One of the interesting things about the why of challenge is how they react to people being bullied or bullies in general. What’s your take on when you see somebody being bullied or being bullied yourself? They’re the person that stands up for the one that’s being pushed down. Has that played out that way for you?

I’m oddly conflicted adverse. Instead, I befriend the person that I feel is being attacked and be a resource or a stanchion of strength for them to reinforce the fact that they are okay despite whatever is going on. I will stand in the way of somebody being a total a-hole. I’m not going to go to fisticuffs and I’m not going to go out of my way. I had a lot of friends who were on the fringes of our school society back in the day and I worked hard to make sure that they felt like they were okay as well.

Your friends were more of the eclectic ones that we talked about? You had a wide variety of friends, not just jocks? You had a lot of different kinds of friends.

You need to have a unique subset of friends in order to be a good coach and consultant to entrepreneurs. Click To Tweet

I was very much the floater.

One of my friends who’s one of the world’s leading economists. He writes a weekly email newsletter to millions of people. He has your why. I asked him one day, “Why do you have such a wide variety of friends?” I was at his 60th birthday party and there were many different kinds of people at this party. I couldn’t believe it from Newt Gingrich to the boyfriend of the hairstylist. He said, “It’s my job to be able to explain to the world what’s happening. If all I know is my perspective, then that’s one perspective. I need to be challenged by other people. I need to see it from other people’s perspectives so that I can accurately tell what’s happening versus one opinion.” How does it speak with you?

It feels very familiar. I have the full spectrum of friends still. You need to have a unique subset of friends in order to be a good coach and consultant to entrepreneurs because you’re going to have a variety of clients. I feel like if I had only one type of friend, I would get bored.

You got to keep you stimulated.

There’s so much out there to learn. We have one life that we know of. It’s already overwhelming to consider it, “How will I taste the fruits of this world while I have it?” It’s the same conundrum of people who love to read and they say, “I will never be able to read all the books in the world.” You’ll never be able to experience everything in the world. If I have only one type of friend, I’m already cutting myself short.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received from one of my colleagues in NCCC when I was still wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was very upset that she wouldn’t wear her seatbelt. I’m a little bit like a Doberman in that way like, “The rules must be followed.” Oddly, for a challenge, “What’s going on? Why won’t you wear your seatbelt?” My nickname on the construction site is Vern. She turned to me and said, “Vern, not all rules are made to be followed.” I was twenty years old. It’s shocking and true as a challenge that unlocked something within me because, as I said, I grew up traditionally. To have somebody say that to me and validate that little whisper for me, that allowed me to grow into who I am.

The best piece of advice that I give is it’s for entrepreneurs but it works for anyone that, “If you have an idea, you wouldn’t be able to have the idea if you weren’t the right person to make it happen.” People like to fool themselves into thinking that they can’t do it for whatever reason. Here we are back at imposter syndrome but you have what it takes. If you didn’t, you couldn’t have conceived of the idea. If you have an idea of banging around in your head, you’ve got to make it happen. You know how to find the resources, get the education, and what you need to do because you were able to conceive the idea, so do it.

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome: We have a choice that goes on top of our lived experiences. It is in those choices of who we want to be that can shape our identity.

 

Don’t let anything stop you. Veronica, if people are reading this and they say, “I would like to reach out to you. I’d like to connect with you. I’d like to follow you.” What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

They can hop on my website at VeronicaKirin.com. All of my social media is on there. My books are on there and that email form goes directly to me. It does not go to my assistant. It’s a direct line to myself. If you want to talk more, go ahead and get in touch.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day in Berlin. How long are you going to be in Berlin?

We don’t know yet but it’s indefinite.

It’s great to get to know you and know your story.

Thank you so much, Gary. I appreciate it.

There’s a lot in there for people. You get people outside of their box. They put themselves in a box, and you get them outside. What is your message as far as your coaching? Why would somebody choose you?

I have a unique take in a couple of different ways. I work to scale small businesses, but I use startup tactics to do it. Small businesses are the door that we can unlock to freedom for everyone, especially in the LGBTQ community. A lot of business owners don’t have the resources or attention that startups do. They get stuck at their 24-hour limit. They can’t grow, get stressed, and don’t know what to do. It wasn’t the freedom they had drawn out. Freedom is possible for them, but we need to unlock that door for them.

Not all rules are made to be followed. Click To Tweet

I get what you’re doing and I get the tactics that you use, but why would I choose you over everybody else who does what you do?

I’m not going to let you fail.

What is it that you believe? You’re the perfect person for what you’re doing and the reason for that is because people put themselves into a box, into limits, and limit themselves, and you don’t think that way. You’re going to get me outside and pass what I thought I could do. You’re going to push me beyond the box that I stuck myself into, whether that’s imposter syndrome or all the tactics that you have.

The question is not about what you’re going to do for me or how you’re going to do it, but it’s, “Why should I choose you?” Which goes right back to your why. If you start your answer to that question by saying, “I believe.” If I believe what you believe, then you’re the right person for me. If I don’t believe what you believe then you’re not the right person for me, and that’s okay too. If you don’t tell me what it is you believe, you’re telling me all these things that you do, you leave it up to me to figure out who you are.

I went inside my head one day and I thought hard about what is the meaning of life. What I came out with is that I believe that life has a chance to happen and we have this one moment in history to become everything that we were meant to be. My calling is to help you get there.

How I do that is by all these other things. What I am is an entrepreneurial coach or whoever you’re talking to at that moment. It starts with what you believe in. If you’re looking for people that are looking to do something amazing, in their own world amazing, and don’t know how to get there and feel like they’re trapped. What we talked about is to challenge that thought, “Who says you can’t do this? Who says you can’t have the impact you thought you could?” That’s where your why, how, and what. Did Dan take you through your how and what?

Yes.

If you have an idea, you wouldn’t be able to have the idea if you weren’t the right person to make it happen. Click To Tweet

What’s your how and what?

Making sense of the complex is my how, big surprise, and my what even bigger surprise is helping to contribute to other success. Big surprise that went into disaster at first.

What you said with your why, how, and what is exactly the summary of our entire conversation because you challenge the way things are done, you figure out solutions to big problems that people think are big, and you grabbed their hand, help them do it, and contribute to them. If it’s the imposter syndrome, let’s challenge that there even is such a thing or that it’s going to limit you. Let’s figure out what it is that is limiting you and then let’s see how we can have a bigger impact when you’re outside of the limiting factor. The better able you are to articulate that, the less you’ll get stuck on what you are doing or how you’re going to do it. This is what I’m going to do for you. How do you know that’s what I want? How do you know this is what I need? It allows you to get to the essence of, “Why quickly should I choose Veronica to help me move forward?”

It’s all of the things that I know but it’s easier to do for clients than it is to do for yourself. I appreciate you doing it to me.

That’s when you know their why, how, and what becomes crystal clear. I know the language that you speak now. I know the conversations that you’re having. I know how to create a program, a plan, or to help you get past those because I know the way you think. It speeds the process. Thank you so much for being here. I’m glad we got to connect. If there’s a way that we can help you, if there’s a way you feel the why, couldn’t work with what you’re doing, let us know.

Dan and I had a great conversation about how it can fit into my coaching, and I’m quite enthused. I love you, guys, for sure. Simon Sinek was an Anthropologist.

I can imagine that you are a lot of fun to hang out with.

Maybe someday, we’ll have that chance. I hope so.

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome
Stories of Elders

My wife has the why of challenge. I know what it’s like to hang out with you.

You have fun every day, don’t you?

Yes, I do.

Those fights are pretty fun, too, aren’t they?

No, they’re not. There is no filter. Here’s one of the things I’ve noticed about people with the why of challenge and maybe this isn’t you but it’s my wife and a lot of other people with that why that I know. Sometimes, I don’t feel like people with the why of challenge has a sense of the way they said something in that it can come off a little bit aggressive where they don’t even know it. “I’m just talking and we’re talking here.” “That wasn’t a talking conversation. That wasn’t a little bit more than just talking.” “What do you mean I was talking? We were having a conversation.” “That wasn’t a conversation.” I don’t know if those kinds of conversations were happening with you.

It certainly sounds familiar in my own relationship but I have found that one can turn it off or at least tone it down. If I’m being intentional about like I am on this interview, I’m doing a speech, or I’m talking to a client, there’s a bit of a switch that I’m able to flip in order to be a little bit more intentional with my words because I’m smart enough to be able to do that. When you’re tired and when the filter is off, sometimes the words come out, and you’re like, “That didn’t mean to sound like that.”

It would be interesting to ask your partner.

Who is an explainer, so that’s fun too. Dan and I talked about that because his wife is also somebody who wants to makes end and he’s a challenge. I found that even as a challenge as well, sometimes challenging in the argument rather than being a team member in the arguments was not where it should be even though the intention is to continue to argue as a team member.

Do you feel like you would make a good employee?

I’ve had one corporate position. I was only an employee at that company for four months and they promoted me. I went from executive assistant to the director of an entire department. Because of that, I had the latitude that I was comfortable with at that age. I didn’t know what I had within me and what I was capable of. At 23, it was the right position for me. I don’t think I’d be a very good employee anymore. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over many years. I know what freedom feels like. You’re not going to tell me what to do.

You show up on time or do it this way.

I will show up on time because I want to respect you.

Do you feel more successful when you’ve been able to help me or when I trust you?

When I help you because I’ll help somebody in the grocery store, they don’t know me. Do they trust me? I don’t know, but I still help them.

Thank you for being here. Have a great time in Berlin, however long that is. I’m excited for you. You did what you wanted to do and you’re making it happen. A lot to be said for that.

You are as well.

I retired from dentistry. It’s such a relief to not be in that box that I was in. My brother has the why of the right way. He’s very structured, rigid, and particular about everything, but it takes a lot of creativity out of you when you’re put in that situation. I had a lot of years of, “I’ll do it.” Not the passion for it. Now, every day is awesome.

Congratulations. Thank you. I appreciate it.

It’s time for the new segment, which is guest the why. We are going to guess the why of Madonna. What do you all think the why of Madonna is? I have what I think, but if you had to guess of the nine whys which why would Madonna be. I think Madonna has the same why as our guest, Veronica, which is challenge. She didn’t follow any rules. She didn’t do it the way anybody else does. She did her own thing, beat her own drum at every age, including now. I’m sure she’s doing it her own way. That’s what allowed her to be so successful, different, fearless, create things that we’d never seen before.

That is I think Madonna’s why is challenge. Let us know what you think. Thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. Use the code Podcast50 and you’ll get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and a rating on whatever platform you’re using so that our show gets reached by more people because our goal is to help one billion people discover, live, and make a decision based on their why. Thank you for being here.

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About Veronica Kirin

BYW 30 | Imposter Syndrome

Veronica Kirin is an anthropologist, author, and serial entrepreneur, who works with business leaders to scale their impact and income while managing imposter syndrome. She is also the author of the award-winning book “Stories of Elders” and creator of Stories of COVID™ which documents the pandemic in real-time.

Veronica Kirin graduated with anthropology honors and recognized as a Forbes notable graduate of Grand Valley State University with the intent to enter the nonprofit and humanitarian sector. She immediately enlisted with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps where she was personally presented with the Spirit of Service Award by President George HW Bush and received the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Congressional Medals.

Unfortunately, that disaster relief work left her with PTSD, and she was unable to continue her service work. She suffered silently for years, afraid of the stigma that comes with the condition. In 2010 she founded a nonprofit organization in an attempt to continue her service work. Though that organization ultimately failed, it was the spark that lit the entrepreneurial fire.

Today, Veronica is recognized as a Forbes Next 1000 Honoree, 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40 by Business Equality Magazine, is Founder of the award-winning tech company GreenCup Digital, and Entrepreneur Coach to socially-minded business leaders driven toward positive worldwide impact. She has leveraged her anthropological training to study paradigm shifts, resulting in an award-winning book “Stories of Elders” which documents the high-tech revolution through interviews with those that lived it, and is today documenting the pandemic in real time through worldwide interviews.

She has spoken at entrepreneur conferences and events around the world and has presented two TEDx talks on her research. She is most passionate about LGBTQ Rights and Social Equity.

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Podcast

Simple Is Beautiful: Challenging Norms And Creating A Better Way Forward

BYW 29 | Simplify Things

 

Brandon Alcocer believes that simple is beautiful. It reduces overwhelm, creates more room for creativity, and makes the brain work better. For him, simplifying things means challenging the way things have always been done, thinking outside the box, and finding a better way to move forward.

An innovator in the world of sexual and motivational psychology, Brandon simplifies a lot of life issues into one thing – sexual expression. As an author, professor and DJ, he focuses on optimizing people lives by helping them improve their erotic intelligence and make the most out of their arousal states.

Listen in as he speaks in detail on how dealing with sexual issues clears up many obstacles in achieving peak performance and paves the way for a more fulfilling life.

Listen to the podcast here:

Simple Is Beautiful: Challenging Norms And Creating A Better Way Forward

Featuring Brandon Alcocer

We are going to be talking about the why of simplify. If this is your why, then you are one of the fabulous people that make everyone’s life better. You have the unique gift of reducing the number of steps required for almost any task. If most of us believe that a procedure requires eight sequential actions, you see how it can be done in six. You constantly look for ways to simplify, from recipes to business systems, to how you organize your garage. You feel successful when you eliminate complexity and remove unnecessary elements in a process. You streamline things for the benefit of all and break things down into their simplest form. You operate from a perspective that the world is a better place when kept simple and as a result, constantly find ways to help the rest of us improve efficiency, save time and reduce aggravation.

I’ve got a great guest for you. He is known as a dual-threat innovator in the world of sexual and motivational psychology. His name is Brandon Wade Alcocer. He is a top-selling author, college professor and DJ whose focus involves promoting erotic intelligence and maximizing the power of arousal states for life optimization. During the past several years, he’s influenced thousands of students and social media followers with his entertaining and thought-provoking lectures, posts and novels on improving happiness, health, social skills, sexual expression and relationships.

Aside from his academic and writing careers, Brandon has served as a DJ for many years known for infusing neuroscientific concepts into the creation of workout mixes on SoundCloud. Millions of fitness practitioners, fitness instructors and gym owners throughout the world have used his productions. These music mixes follow a specific strategy designed to boost dopamine during workouts, thus increasing the likelihood of a fitness habit formation. Brandon, welcome to the show. How did you get into being a DJ? Tell us where you were born. Give us a brief story of how you got from where you were to becoming a DJ and then onto your next career.

The first place I want to start with to paint the whole picture is that I learned that I’m what’s called an HSP, a Highly Sensitive Person or Highly Sensitive Personality type, which means that from a very young age, I’ve been observing human behavior probably on a level that’s not typical of most people. I’ve been gathering data my whole life. My parents took me to a lot of parties growing up and I would always observe the dance floor and see if people either dance or not dance. What music do they connect with? What music do they not? I was always compiling data, listening to radio, seeing how women interacted with the music and the effect that it had on the dance floor.

It’s an extreme amount that when I talked to my other buddy who was ten years old, he said, “Dude, just throw me the ball. What are you talking about?” That’s the way it’s been my whole life. It’s this hyper attentive personality towards human behavior. I love entertaining people. I have a musical ear. I’ve never played an instrument and learned music. I have this sense that it’s always been there that I know what’s the right song that this group of people wants to hear that’s going to make their head explode on the dance floor. I don’t put some music file or whatever that people just love. I don’t care. I don’t pay attention to lyrics. It’s just, “What’s going to give these people dopamine?” It’s how I understand it now. I did that.

I started DJ-ing at parties at thirteen years old. There’s a cool story with that. I was thirteen years old and was picking up doggy do to try to earn money to buy turntables. At the time, it was tape decks, little Walkman CD players and a radio shack mixer or whatever I could get my hands on. This was before the internet where you could download everything. I had records and recorded songs off the radio. I said, “Dad, I want to start working events.” He said, “Book it and figure it out.” That was probably the best lesson my dad ever taught me. There are some people who are perfectionists and I’m the opposite of that. My rule is, “Just get a beat on it.” What that means is I do a lot more with that attitude.

Going back to “Book it and figure it out,” I booked a sweet sixteen party. I was thirteen years old for $20 for four hours. It went okay, but they wrote me a check. I didn’t know what to do. I don’t even have a checking account. I had no idea what to do with it, but I got paid. What I learned when I booked that is that I had two weeks to get all this music together. Because the pressure was on for me, I’m also ADHD. That’s when my brain kicks into gear and I focus. If I would have waited to, “Eventually, I’ll get a gig, but for now, I’ll try to develop the skill,” I never would have been in that focus. I would’ve lost interest and probably moved on to something else. For somebody with my brain type, for sure it’s, “Book it and figure it out.” I’ve been using that model with about everything that I’m doing.

I’m an athlete. I grew up playing basketball. To the best of my memory, I’ve hit every game-winning shot that I took. I hadn’t taken a lot but I won our lead championship on a game-winning shot and several others. I might have missed a few. I don’t remember. Maybe that’s selective memory but the whole thing is I know I perform better under pressure. Understanding my brain type, I know that not everybody is wired that way. For me, it’s when my brain is most at peace. I love speaking in front of large groups of people. It’s very natural to me. That’s where I navigated into. I did stand-up comedy for a few years and navigated my way into being a professor because I thought, “I need to get a job. What’s the job? I can’t work in an office. It’s not stimulating enough. What’s something where I feel like I can do stand-up comedy all day?”

That’s where I got the idea of becoming a professor. It turned out that I liked learning. It took me a while to get there. The thing I wanted to teach was happiness, social psychology, which going back to my HSP brain, observing human behavior. At 10, 11 years old, my friend’s parents always seemed unhappy in all these marriages and relationships that eventually got divorced. Observing relationships at school, in college and all these things, I can’t help but think we’re all trying to do this approach to relationships and nobody is stopping to admit, “Why don’t we do something different?” I took that question through college and didn’t learn much because there’s not much information on it. I’ve had to figure out my own way. It’s been gradually growing each year, blending in neuroscience, coming up with my own theories and things like that.

Simplifying reduces overwhelm. It lessens stress, creates more room for creativity, and makes the brain work better. Click To Tweet

After college, I got my regular degree in Family and Consumer Studies, which is Family Sciences. It’s a study of human behavior. I could have gone the psychology route but when I was going through school, I was focused more on depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and the negative disorders, which is fine, but for an HSP, it’s debilitating. Studying that stuff kills my energy. For people who are reading, if they’ve never heard of an HSP, Highly Sensitive Person, I’ll give a couple of examples.

If I watch a scary movie and a monster, let’s say, Jason Voorhees with a hockey mask is stabbing somebody, it physically feels like I’m getting stabbed. For the next week, two weeks or even a month, throughout the day, I’ll get a tinge where that stabbing occurred in the movie. I know it’s fake. I know it’s for entertainment and all that stuff, but I can’t get that tick out of my brain. I physically feel it, which means I have a hyperactive central nervous system. It doesn’t apply to everything. There are all kinds of variety with it, but that’s an example.

Another example of it is being highly empathetic towards other people. If you and I and let’s say your wife and whoever went to a brunch at a nice restaurant at Marina Del Ray. I think it was Trader Vic’s back in the day. They had a great Sunday brunch. They have a famous chef there. Somebody ordered an egg over easy and it came out over hard. They got angry and sent their food back. For me, as a highly sensitive person, I was thinking, “What message is that going to send? The chef who went to school for all these years is going to feel low on that day.”

BYW 29 | Simplify Things
Simplify Things: Being a hypersensitive is a superpower. You have to learn how to use it for good because it can easily turn against you.

 

This was their biggest day of the week. They got to make 1,000 brunches for people. I want to go back there, talk to the chef and say, “I told these people how great of a chef you are and an artist you are. Is it possible to redo this egg? The other thing I want to do is order a dessert from you, chef’s choice. Whatever you think is the best dessert that you would love to eat, send that our way because I think you’re a brilliant artist. I support everything that you do and then I’d go and sit down.” What I’m saying with that is hyper-aware of how other people feel. I want them to feel so comfortable that they can maximize their performance.

Let’s talk about that. When we talk about HSP, what are you doing when you’re being hypersensitive? What’s going on in your head?

You can feel the pain of other people and it shuts down all the other mechanisms in my brain. Some people can block it off and focus on something else. For me, it can’t. It’s overwhelming. For me, I almost feel paralyzed. A lot of times, I’ll say, “I’m going to go to sleep. It’s 5:00 PM. I’ve got to sleep it off and the next day I’ll feel a little bit better.” In a way, it’s one of those things where it’s a superpower. I’ve had to learn how to use it for good because it can easily turn against yourself. As far as the heavy neuroscience of what’s going on, I don’t quite have it. I’m still learning about it but it pulled everything together for me. It helped me understand why I’m doing all this stuff and my perspective on things and how it’s unique.

Let me ask you a couple of questions then. What is the result that you get after you’ve been through an episode of being hypersensitive? What happens because you then took an action, right?

Yes. I wish I could think of an example right now. Understanding human behavior will usually end up being a scene in a book. I write erotic self-help thrillers. My first book, The Experience, which we’ll get into. I’m working on my second book. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’ll get some lesson out of it that has a unique twist that maybe other people didn’t see it the way I see it. After an episode, it’s a level of clarity that I think is a nuance that might be different than what is the status quo. In a weird way now when I have these episodes, I can sit in the mud, so to speak and be like, “I’m going to get something good out of this. Let me have it work its way through me.”

When you went through and discovered your why of being the why of simplify, taking complex things and simplifying them down to something that’s useful. Stripping away all the extra stuff that’s going on and getting to the point, how does that feel to you?

It minimizes the overwhelm and that’s what an HSP is all about. We create these environments where we minimize the overwhelm. If somebody is creating a team, the HSP is good to have on the team because we can see that maybe there’s a lighter way because it’s going to save energy for everybody. That’s circumstantial, but that’s a big part of it.

Why do you think things should be simple? What happens when they’re simple or simplified?

There’s less stress, which means the brain works better. There are people out there and I think it’s one of your why’s where they love a challenge. I’ve been reading a lot of your episodes. There was a gentleman on who was a basketball trainer. He talked about working with Kobe Bryant and that stuff. I grew up loving basketball and I respect his talent. Similar to Michael Jordan and the documentary, that came out and everything. Those are very specific personality types that most of us don’t have. If we all trained like Kobe Bryant, we would be head cases.

A lot of people don’t talk about the emotional issues that were on his team. He won five championships. If there were some ways to tweak his brain, which you can’t, but if there were to make you a nicer human being, maybe he would have had ten championships. The flip side of that is if you take away that detailed focus, that killer in him, then he won’t be as effective of an athlete. I get that. I’m jumping all over the place. Simple means there’s going to be more space, less stress, more room for creativity and people are going to be happier overall because then there are less people quitting, changing jobs and all that stuff.

When you think about the music that you create or choose, you’re wanting people to have an experience, right?

Yes, a sensory experience.

How do they do that? Do they do that by having a lot of complex things going on all over the place or when they’re able to focus in on what you’re trying to have them experience?

With the music, a couple of caveats. One, this is with the assumption that the stuff that I’ve recorded is in their genre. If somebody only likes country and I don’t play country. It’s within their genre. In my mixes, I create what’s called a mashup, which is where you’ll take the lyrics or the acapella of one song and then the beat of another song and you line them up perfectly. You might hear The Beatles and then a gangsta rap beat. The number one way to release dopamine in the brain is nuance. In this context, nuance is taking something familiar where you’re somewhat familiar with it and you add a little twist to it. That gets the brain to have that spark of dopamine, which is just interest where you say, “That’s interesting.” When you have that, that’s dopamine.

Going to the gym, they don’t change the design of the gym very much. You can go to the same gym for five years and it smells and looks the same. The weights are in the same spot. It’s the same person who was there at 4:00, who was there yesterday and the day before. All looks the same. How are we going to bring nuance to the situation? One way is that thing in your ears. If you’re listening to the same The Beatles album over and over again, that’s going to lose its effect. With these mixes, I take every genre and turn them all around into a way that’s pleasing to the ear and high energy. People use that with workout, cleaning the house or whatever it is. They’re more than likely going to create a habit around that because of the dopamine release that’s in place. That’s my strategy as far as the mixes. That’s different than what I would do for a dance floor at a nightclub. These are specific for working out or habit creation.

What got you from DJ to erotic books?

Being an ADHD, I have lots of interests. I get bored super easy. I jump around from one project to the next. I would like to have multiple projects because it keeps my brain occupied. For the readers, I’m not doing stuff all day long. I might work maybe 2 or 3 hours a day. The rest of the time, I’m just lying around or meditating. If I get too much stimulation, I can feel myself just shut down. During those 2 or 3 hours is the equivalent of somebody else’s ten hours. They are hyper-focused. It’s like the zone that you locked into. Anybody’s been in that kind of workflow state. I know that my brain, because of it, goes there.

How did I get from that to erotic books? The DJ thing started out as a hobby. I DJ’ed to get through college and everything. It ended up being this thing that I could work a couple of hours a week on and it built on its own. As far as the erotic books, I’ve always been observing human behavior in my twenties. I had three wonderful girlfriends, but each of them was unfaithful at various times in the relationship. I was somebody who was teaching dating and relationships. In ’05 and ’06, I was a matchmaker and dating coach in Beverly Hills. I worked at a firm that specialized in helping millionaire women find dates. My job was to coach these women into understanding their sexuality. I would have lines of students after my classes asking about jealousy and what should I do about this and that.

Meanwhile, I go home and walk in on a girlfriend with somebody else or whatever it might be because I’m thinking of doing stuff by the book, but it’s not working. Whatever I’m doing that’s by the book isn’t working. Finally, after the third time that it happened, that was my 29th birthday. I said, “Enough is enough.” During all this time, I’ve been fantasizing about Vegas. I’ve always been obsessed with Vegas. From a human behavior perspective like, “What is this place where you can just go, be free and there are all these lights and shiny objects. What is this?” I’ve been through a lot during my twenties. On my 29th birthday, I dropped everything. From LA to Vegas, it’s about a 3.5 to 4-hour drive. I drove to Vegas twice a month for the next seven years.

I realized that whatever is being studied on sex and relationships isn’t accurate. You can’t get much from a lab when people are filling out a form because they’re not going to be brutally honest. By me going to Vegas, I got to observe human behavior. I’m the professor who’s a fly on the wall. I’m with a pimp, six women, a multi-millionaire amount of cocaine and pizza being thrown all across the room at 4:00 in the morning in this high-roller suite at the Palms. For me, I was saying, “This is some interesting human behavior.” I was taking notes in my mind because I know that guy is married. That guy is a government official. That guy is a celebrity. All this stuff that’s “behind the scenes.”

There’s something about human behavior that we’re all ignoring. That ignited the spark in me. What I started doing was I would do all that on my drive home. I would listen to podcasts on neuroscience. I would buy audiobooks on neuropsychology, going into a deeper bit and then piecing all of these pieces together in what I think is modern dating and sexual expression. It boils down to radical acceptance and understanding who the F you are.

Is it identity?

Yes. An identity that’s unfiltered. If somebody grows up and they think, “I’m going to get married. I’ll have two kids and a wife.” Where did that idea come from? Have you looked at the history of that idea? Have you looked at the amount of oppression for females that that idea has caused? “My religion said.” “Which religion is it?” I don’t want to bash religions. I think they all have their purpose, but there are certain religions where, at least for the first 1,000 years of their existence, they thought that women didn’t have a soul. Why are we still practicing that same thing?

The metaphor I give is like in the’70s and ’80s, everybody thought they had to take karate because with karate you’ll learn how to fight. If you ever see karate in a street fight, don’t do a damn thing. Now, we have mixed martial arts. We say, “That could probably work in a street fight.” It’s beautiful and an artistic expression. I get it. I’m not knocking it, but it’s a solution for something that’s not accurate. I think we’re doing that with dating and relationships. Through all of my experiences in Vegas, thinking of it from a scientist’s perspective, that’s what led to this book. I chose to write it as a story instead of a step-by-step guide because I think people learn better through a story. Studying the brain, the brain opens up a lot more to absorb the information when we feel like we’re the character living it. That’s why I chose to write it this way.

BYW 29 | Simplify Things
Simplify Things: Sexual expression is a superpower that most people have not tapped into because we live in a system that wants to keep that at a minimum because it makes us easier to control.

 

Let me ask you a question. You went to Vegas. Do you feel like you studied typical normal everyday people?

Yes, I gave an extreme example and that’s to keep the reader’s attention, but also very regular people. A married couple who are real estate agents from Kansas, but they came there to swing a little bit, meet somebody and bring somebody back to their room that you would never know. There were also people who went to have a good time and a couple of beers and listen to some music. That’s fine too. I had a great laugh. I learned about them as well. I’ve seen all types. I’m not saying that if somebody is married with a white picket fence and all that stuff that there’s nothing wrong with that. No, that’s great. My whole thing is if you did that and it still doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to explore the why and look for other options.

One caveat as we go deeper into this is everybody has a different level of sexual expression or sexual comfort. On a scale of 0 to 10, some people are a ten, meaning they want to get into adult films. They have no psychological issues. It’s just in them to express themselves that way. Zero would be completely asexual where there’s nothing there. Age can play a part in that as well. Wherever somebody is on that spectrum, I hope that they’ve explored. If somebody is an 8 out of 10, but they’ve lived a life following a doctrine that wants them to only be a two, there’s going to be a lot of discomfort, insecurity and not knowing the self there. This book is for those people who don’t quite know where they stand and they’d follow what everybody said, but it doesn’t quite fit. That’s the angle I’m taking.

What did you learn from your studies?

Sexual expression is a superpower that most people have not tapped into. It seems that we live in a system that wants to keep that at a minimum because it makes us easier to control. You can go way back in history and find examples of this. I know that on a lot of shows, they want hardcore science and things like that. It’s hard to measure sexuality through science. I’ll tell you, here’s a future thing to worry about. Sex robots are coming.

If you think of The Jetsons, the house cleaning robot. What most houses are going to have in probably 5 to 10 years is a house-cleaning robot that’ll also watch the kids. If you pay an extra couple thousand dollars, it will look like a supermodel. I’m going hypothetical here. We’re going to have a chip in our brain that if you choose to have sex with this robot, it will also measure what’s going on inside of your brain, the different things that are firing up and all this stuff. It will give you a printout of what you’re going through. The hypothesis is they’ll be able to figure out then, “What parts of your body need to be touched that are lacking sensory connection?”

One thing I learned was that the erotic sensory experience wakes up a part of your brain that might be dormant. It brings an awareness to life that you may never know existed. What I was talking about with the sex robots is, if you have a partner who can’t quite figure it out, we’re going to get to where we have these things that are almost like a therapist. If there’s post-traumatic stress or if there are things like that, they’ll know how to touch your body or to speak to you in a way that builds your brain up in a way that you can’t necessarily do it yourself. That’s one thing that people are craving to be touched. In the pandemic, we see a lot of examples of how powerful that is. Not just touched, but touched in a way with hands that care.

The example I gave is if you’ve ever gotten a massage, you can tell when the masseuse genuinely cares about your experience versus when they’re going through the motions. If they go through the motions, you could walk out of there with more knots than when you came in. The other thing that I’m dabbling with is studying ancient civilization like ancient Egypt and things like that. They’ll show on the walls all these hieroglyphics of very erotic scenes, but they seem to skip over it and try to get to, “This King did this. They were praying to the sun.” I was like, “What about all these erotic images?” If you try to figure out, how are these pyramids built? Maybe they were more connected because they had orgies all the time. Maybe there was something there if you look at the brain when it’s in a sexually aroused state.

If our conversation was about money and motivation, you see a tiny part of the brain light up. A lot of people go through their lives ignoring their sexuality and sexual expression. They have to use willpower and grind it all out. If we bring in erotic energy, you’ll see the brain light up a lot more. This is the sex brain. It’s a big exaggeration to prove the point, but what I’m getting at is there’s a superpower that most of us have been conditioned to ignore. If somebody on that sex scale is a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and they’re not in tune with that, they’re going to always feel like something is missing. For me, being an HSP, it hurts so much to see people go through that.

It sounds like you’re feeling like they should do. They should live in alignment with how they’re wired sexually then what?

It’s self-knowledge. There will be a better understanding of stuff. A lot of issues are rooted in sexual expression, whether it’s sexual abuse or not allowing this kind of beast to come out. We’re the only animals on the planet that do erotica. We’re the only ones that have some type of artistic expression with our sexual expression where it’s not only for reproduction. I think there is some hidden power there. The reason why I say that is I’ve experienced it. People who have read my book who ran away from cults and heavy structures from small towns that have kept them bound, they have this sense of freedom like, “I’m me.” It’s the equivalent of somebody who comes out of the closet and all of a sudden, they feel alive. That’s what I’m getting to.

Again, not everybody has to do this. This doesn’t mean you go to be single, go off and have an orgy. You can be in a relationship. You and your partner can explore that more. Is sex the same thing over and over again? They say, “Change it up in the bedroom.” Even when I hear that, I’m like, “Let’s go deeper. What are some of the ingredients?” If you do it in the exact same room, the exact same house with the same smells and everything, it won’t feel all that different. A lot of couples when they travel, when they’re in a hotel, all of a sudden, it’s real spicy. There’s something about the hotel. Why is that? You’re away from everything. The hotel is totally different. In that room, the smell and design of everything are completely different. You forget about the inhibitions of whatever is at home in this kind of cocoon that you built at home. Part of it then is me seeing that in Vegas where people let loose. That’s why I can’t help but think, “There’s something there.” I haven’t figured it out yet because the research is hard to do.

If you're ignoring sexual expression in your life, you're ignoring a big power source of motivation. Click To Tweet

When the sex robots come out, it will be easier to get data on it that’s accurate. I know it sounds crazy. If you’re like, “I don’t imagine it.” Everybody has a sex robot. Everybody has one. It’s their phone or laptop, watching adult films on that. It’s the same thing. You don’t touch it. The technology is there. The brains are being shifted as a result. I’m looking forward to the research that’s going to come out because of that. In the meantime, I’ll keep spreading this message that, “We have to get connected to it. Study the history on why systems are trying to keep you down.” Hitler did a good job of that. He changed his whole country’s belief system. As a result, he made masturbation illegal, arrested women who had sex who weren’t married and created a bunch of fear around that. That’s one of the key factors. He was able to switch the brains of these young men and to get them to believe what he believed.

Are you feeling like people should give in to any of their feelings? Let’s say in this case, it’s a sexual feeling. It could be anything else, stealing something. Whatever the feeling is, that’s what I should do.

They’re bringing the moral aspect?

Yes, exactly.

That’s where it’s tricky. I think by exploring, “What is sex? It’s just two people touching. How bad is that?” If you’re in a committed relationship, there are all these other dynamics. I get it. We may have an impulse to steal, let’s say a candy bar, but then the thing comes up in your brain, “No, I’ll get put in jail. It’s probably not the right decision.” With sex, if that thought comes up once, no big deal. If it comes up twice, no big deal. If it’s 30, 40, 50 times to where it never goes away, maybe not act on it, but seek help to understand, “Why is this there? I’m in a committed relationship, but there’s something in me that wants to explore. What is that?” You might go to a therapist and depending on how they’ve been trained, they’ll either guide you to stay in the relationship or help you to sit down and have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

The caveat with this and let’s see if I can answer from another way. I watched the Tiger Woods Documentary. They covered his whole “sex scandal,” which I thought was laughable. They forgot to skip over. That was when he was the most successful golfer on the planet. When he was flying women to Australia to be with them the night before the Australian golf tournament so he’d win the tournament the next day. He’ll fly women or a girl from New York to Australia, not his wife, but that. Kobe Bryant won three in a row, but on that fourth one when they had Karl Malone and everything, that was the year that he got busted for the whole Colorado incident. We know he was probably playing around well before that. I’m not saying these men were doing the right thing by cheating on their wives. I would hope they had a system in place that says, “If you’re having these urges, it’s probably better to get a divorce and then seek it out.”

There is a benefit to your performance based on your sexual expression. If it is with multiple women, we can scan the brain and you’ll see it light up like crazy. As far as how the amygdala responds when it’s in pursuit of a reproduction opportunity, it becomes a superpower. On the moral aspect, those men should have had an open conversation with their partners. If it means to go to divorce and then get to divorce and then they can play around and still be super successful athletes and maybe settle down after their career. That’s the angle I take. It’s a tricky thing. Certainly, what’s worse? To be in a relationship for 50 years that you know you should have got out of after year two, but toughing it out because it’s the right thing to do? I feel bad for people that do that.

Tell us about your book then. What is your book about?

My book is about a college professor. It’s semi-autobiographical. That college professor at 29 years old who teaches dating and relationships walks in on his fiancé and realizes that everything he’s learned in academia is not an accurate match towards what he thinks human behavior should be. He runs off to Vegas. This is where then it becomes a little more fictional. He ends up meeting a gentleman at a bar, who is on the surface, looks like a pimp. He’s got the fedora and all this stuff but he’s brilliant. In neuropsychology, he drops these bombs on him that he did not see coming that he never read in the book. The man says, “You learn this through observing human behavior, not all that stuff in academia that are made by people that are just looking to boost their ego by publishing some paper.” It is not all, but there is a lot of that in academia.

This gentleman who we think is a pimp, his name is Wish. He’s learned all these secrets that he needs to get out to the world, but because of the people who he’s involved himself with, both breaking laws and things like that, he can’t get these sexual secrets or secrets on just overall well-being out. He needs to get into a young man who is credible. He finds this professor. They agree that, “I’ll teach you my secrets, but you’ve got to pass these tests because this knowledge can be used for abuse. You can take advantage of women with these things or whatever it is.”

It’s the hero’s journey story. He goes on this through all these trials and tribulations. The young man learns a lot about himself and the power of experiencing sexual freedom because he was very censored. I was very censored, not for any other reason, not religion or anything like that. I have no idea why I was censored. I’m still trying to figure that out. The only thing I can think of is because of being an HSP. I knew there was a power there that I was hesitant to go because it was so strong. I didn’t know what to do with it.

The character, the professor, does all these things. Meanwhile, FBI agents and detectives are chasing them. They’re trying to avoid breaking the law to bring it all together. You find out that the people who you think are “the good guys,” the law enforcement are the bad guys. This isn’t a knock-on cop. It’s just one specific character in the book. The “pimp” who’s supposed to be evil ends up being brilliant and you see the character come to success at the end. It’s a wild story. This story as said by people who’ve read it and the emails I get, it’s a non-traditional way of self-growth and self-understanding. Even if you’re not into the sexual side, there’s still a lot of neuroscience in there that’s presented in a way that if there is some arousal going on, you’re going to memorize it more than if you were just studying a self-help book on how to make money. That’s why sex and advertising work so well like. The Super Bowl just passed. In the 1992 Diet Pepsi commercial, who was the woman in that commercial?

BYW 29 | Simplify Things
Simplify Things: When we accept our sexual self, it’s so much easier to accept everything in the world. Most of our insecurities come from that because it’s the strongest thing.

 

I’m going to guess it’s Cindy Crawford, but I don’t know.

When was the last time you thought about that? It’s probably been forever. You nailed it. Yes, it was Cindy Crawford. Do you remember where you were when you saw that?

No, I can’t. I don’t know.

I put you on the spot and that’s okay. Here’s the whole thing. I remember because I was eleven years old and the whole room froze. Men and women stopped and turned. She got out of this red Lamborghini. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you can find this commercial on YouTube. That led to the highest amount of Pepsi sales in the history of the company. It was that one commercial. She didn’t do anything. She wasn’t dancing or anything. She just got out of the car and cracked open a Pepsi. That was it. She was the most attractive woman on the planet at that time. What’s going on at that moment? We’re all at the Super Bowl. Craziness was going on. Everybody stopped and watched it. While they see this attractive woman holding a Diet Pepsi, everybody’s amygdala in their brain said, “Reproduction opportunity.”

Even if you’re a female, the brain says, “There’s somebody that is getting all the attention. I better pay attention to that.” It activates all of these parts of your brain that memorizes whatever is taking place. “What’s going on here? She’s drinking a Pepsi. Pepsi equals reproduction opportunity with an attractive woman.” It’s what’s going on in our non-conscious brain. I was going to do a TED Talk on this before the pandemic. You may not think anything at the moment. The brain memorizes that Pepsi equals reproduction opportunity. Next time you’re in the grocery store, all of a sudden, you’re going to check out. The non-conscious brain will turn your head and say, “There’s the Pepsi. There’s the thing that’s going to lead you to either Cindy Crawford or somebody that looks like Cindy Crawford.” Another part of your brain might say, “Pepsi is not healthy. I’m not going to buy it.”

The fact that’s how sex works in advertising. It’s understanding just that concept. If you’re ignoring sexual expression in your life, you’re ignoring a big power source of motivation. Even some of the women that I coach and they’ll come up with these ideas. There was one, she said, “I had this big meeting with a bunch of CEOs of some mega-corporation. I wore my sexiest lingerie under my business suit.” It wasn’t showing. She wasn’t trying to flirt or anything like that, but she wanted to activate that part of her brain going into the meeting so she was hyper-focused, able to take in all of that stuff and have her power on standard ground with whatever it was she was doing. There are ways and that’s how some of the things are covered in my book that you can use your sexual energy not to flirt. This is not crossing that line at all. It’s more for yourself that there’s an untapped energy source there. Can you connect to it? Again, if you’re a 5 out of 10, 6 out of 10 or 2 out of 10, maybe it’s a little overwhelming for you. I understand. It’s not for everybody. The big part of the book is learning that.

You have simplified it right down to one thing. If you can deal with and figure out this one thing in your identity, how much more energy can that give you? How much more passion, direction and excitement will your life have if you can focus on that part of your life?

A big part also is radical acceptance of who you are. I think when we accept our sexual self, it’s so much easier to accept everything in the world. Most of our insecurities come from that because it’s the strongest thing. Our brain is designed for two things, get you to reproduction and keep you out of danger. The danger part, we live in a relatively safe society most of the time so there’s an untapped force there. I hope people read this and find a way to connect to it.

The last question, what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten or the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

In the self-help and wellness industries, what drives me nuts is people say, “You’ve got to work hard to get it. You’ve got to grind it out. You’ve got to be scheduled and all this stuff.” That never sat well with me. I’m like, “There’s got to be a better way.” The advice I would give is if you’re following Tony Robbins or whatever it is, if you can’t see yourself being good friends with that person, if their path doesn’t connect with you, there’s a chance that you’re wasting your time with it. There are going to be some valuable tidbits, but for me, it takes no mental stress to get up in front of 3,000 people and talk. That’s extremely comfortable for me.

Would you come to me for advice on how to feel comfortable talking in front of 3,000 people? I wouldn’t know what to tell you because it’s natural. When I see a lot of these self-help people, they look like they’re just excellent marketers and I can’t stand good marketing. If something’s well-marketed for me, I turn it off. It bugs me. The best advice is, you don’t have to follow what everybody else is following. I’m a gentle rebel. Maybe those of you who like to rebel against the norm and use your sexual energy, then come check out my book. If you’d rather go with Tony Robbins, that’s great. They help a ton of people. That’s fine. You don’t have to do it that way. There are lots of ways. That’s probably the best advice I seem to share the most because then if you don’t take my advice, at least you can do that and find somebody that’s a match for you.

Brandon, if people are wanting to get in touch with you or wanting to find your book, I don’t think we’ve even talked about the name of your book. How would people find you?

The Experience, I know it’s coming up backwards. It’s on Amazon, if you type in The Experience Brandon, it will come up. You look for these eyes here and you can see it. You can go to my website, BrandonWadeBooks.com. Through that, there are links to my social media, @BrandonWade_Author. If you just like the music stuff and you want to check that out, @DJBrandonWade is my Instagram. On SoundCloud, it’s DJ Brandon Wade. I passed over nine million downloads. It’s growing and lots of good stuff there. Any of that is great. The one-stop shop is BrandonWadeBooks.com.

Brandon, thank you so much for being here. I wondered how our conversation was going to go. I had no idea. I was looking at your bio and I was thinking about our conversation. I was like, “I wonder where we’re going to go here.” I didn’t have a good sense, but it turned out awesome. Thank you for being here.

I appreciate it. I love a good improv. That’s part of the fun. I think a show is not so structured. Let’s see where it goes. It’s a conversation.

You’re doing some great stuff.

I appreciate it. One last thing, your message is something I vibe with. It breaks down into personality types and all that stuff is awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing.

If I were to look at your why, how and what, if I were to take a stab at it, what I think just based on our conversation, I would say that your why is to make things simple and understandable. Break them down to where people can do something with them. How you go about doing that is by challenging the way things have always been done, thinking outside the box and imagining extraordinary. What you ultimately bring to people is a better way to move forward, understand themselves and understand their sexuality. How does that feel to you?

It’s spot on.

It would be your why is to simplify things and how you do that is by challenging things and what you bring is a better way.

There’s lots of fun with that.

Thank you so much for being here. I’m going to continue to follow you. I’m going to check out your music as soon as we’re done.

It sounds good.

Thanks, Brandon.

Thank you.

BYW 29 | Simplify Things
The Experience

If you were to get in front of an audience, which you’ll be doing more and more of as this opens up, and you talk to them about your why, how and what, they will see what you’re doing from a different perspective. They’re going to be trying to figure you out just like I was because I didn’t know. I knew your why, but I didn’t know anything else. If you said to your audience, “My why is to make things simple and understandable. Take this concept that’s very challenging and break it down to something that’s simple and useful. How I do that is by challenging what everybody says about it. Challenging the way it normally is done and ultimately, what I’m going to bring is a better way to help you move forward, understand yourself and create your identity so that it works for you.” If you started with something like that, then everything you say after that is going to be proof of what you just told me. I will see it from that perspective versus trying to figure you out.

It’s very clear.

I worked with a guy who was one of the finalists on The Voice. I was at an event in Nashville. He came and performed. I saw this guy’s mansion and he knows all the performers. He always has a concert for us at his house. This guy came over and he was one of the finalists on The Voice. After he was done, we had this same conversation. We developed his message. Before he performs, he sits down with the audience and tells them his why, how and what. I asked him, I said, “How was that working for you?” He was like, “You cannot believe how people respond to me now that they understand what they’re hearing. Instead of just a good song or something that touches them, they know why I’m doing it.” It has a different meaning for them versus what I’m doing.

You don’t have to follow what everyone else is following. Click To Tweet

I noticed an increase when I posted a video on my Instagram on my DJ stuff where I explained the neuroscience of what I was doing with these mixes. That got the biggest response and people appreciate it even more. I can see it. Especially even now that you mentioned the music side, that people understand that “method to my madness” you could say. They’re almost looking for it and then they go, “There it is. I got it.” They text me. You’re right. It almost creates a little treasure hunt for the listeners. It’s so simple and beautiful.

That’s what you’re looking for. Simple is beautiful. If you can simplify it into something that’s useful, how much bigger of an impact can you have? If we can simplify what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to 1 or 2 sentences, people look at you differently. They can see you for the gifts that you’re bringing them instead of wondering, “What’s he all about?”

Especially in the world of sex, that can bring up a lot of flags for people. It’s important.

You happened to pick this world of sex and you also picked the world of music. You could have picked anything. It doesn’t matter what. You’ve happened to pick those two things because they were part of your life and part of some trauma and stuff that you went through. You could have easily picked working out, speaking in public or anything else, but you picked those two things and they became your focus. That’s where you’re living your why. I’m so glad we got to meet. Thanks for being on here. I look forward to following what you’re doing. I’ve got to get your book and all the rest.

That’d be great. Same with you.

We’ll keep moving on our paths.

Gary, thank you.

Take care.

It’s time for our new segment and that is Guess The Why of somebody famous. We are going to look at the why of Mark Cuban. If you know Mark Cuban, he is the Owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s on Shark Tank. People either like him a lot or don’t like him. H e’s always threatening to get into politics. He’s always got a comment. He does things that are logical and direct. What do you think his why is? I’ll tell you what I think it is, but what do you think? Stop for a minute and picture Mark Cuban, Shark Tank and all the questions that he has if you know anything about the way he manages his basketball team and the way he’s involved with all of his players. I believe that his why is to make sense out of the complex and challenging. I think he’s that guy that can solve problems and do it quickly. He takes in a lot of information and makes decisions. He’s like, “Hit me, I got it. Let’s go.”

I believe that Mark Cuban’s why is to make sense. What do you think? Let me know what you think. I want to thank you for reading. If you have not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. Go there. We launched our new website. You can use the code PODCAST50 and you can do it for half the price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using so that you can help us achieve our goal of helping one billion people discover, make decisions and live their why. Thanks, everybody.

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About Brandon Alcocer

BYW 29 | Simplify ThingsKnown as a dual-threat innovator in the world of sexual and motivational psychology, Brandon Wade Alcocer is top selling Author, College Professor, and DJ whose focus involves promoting erotic intelligence and maximizing the power of arousal states for life optimization.

During the past 12 years, he’s influenced thousands of students and social media followers with his entertaining and thought-provoking lectures, posts, and novels on improving happiness, health, social skills, sexual expression, and relationships. Aside from his academic and writing careers, Brandon has served as a DJ for 25 years.

Known for infusing neuroscientific concepts into the creation of “workout mixes” on SoundCloud, millions of fitness practitioners, fitness instructors, and gym owners throughout the world have used his productions. These music mixes follow a specific strategy designed to boost dopamine during workouts, thus increasing the likelihood of a fitness habit formation.