Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our podcast listeners, wherever you may be in the world today! This is Steve Shallenberger, your podcast host with Becoming Your Best. This podcast is dedicated to our granddaughter, Bella, whose birthday is tomorrow, along with all of our wonderful grandchildren and to you, who will go on to change the world for good.
Ralph Waldo Emerson gave this great quote, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character and sow a character and you reap a destiny.” That is why the title of this podcast today is the mighty power of Positive Thinking.
William James also added another great quote, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their mind, their thoughts.” So, how can you organize your thoughts that are meaningful and essential for you, to have a life that you desire, and want, and hope for?
One important answer is to train your thoughts – positive thoughts, winning thoughts – through a personal vision. If you don’t have a personal vision it’s far easier than you might think to create one, and if you have one already, it is worth going back and being sure that it reflects all that you want and hope to be and do.
Now, your mental creation, that’s what this is really, it’s a mental creation, literally precedes the physical creation, the reality and that is what your vision is, it captures your thoughts, it precedes this physical reality – first the thoughts, then the act, and you’ve created a new, current reality, a new life, and a new way.
Recently, I have been listening to several audiobooks, it’s been so fun! And for the fun of it, I decided to listen to Becoming Your Best – The 12 Principle of Highly Successful People and Leaders. Having been the author of that book provides an interesting perspective. And this has reminded me of the tremendous value of reviewing the principles, which are timeless and in themselves quite amazing! And as I listened to the chapter on Lead with a Vision, I was impressed with the examples, the characteristics of a meaningful vision, whether it’d be for your organization or for you, personally. This is a great chapter for every one of you to go back and review, to study together in your family and with your team, to assign somebody to teach to your group.
Let me just quote from page 27 and 28 – these are examples of a personal vision: Now, this is why is so important – just think about each one of these, they’re the thoughts that we entertain, these are the attitudes that we have and as you have these thoughts, think about the acts, the habits that they produce and the fruit that comes from behaving this way.
Here you go, I’m just going to quote right out of the book some of these examples of a personal vision. “I am an individual of unquenchable curiosity and feverishly inventive imagination.” This is by one of the all-time great inventors in the history of the world. “I shall not fear anyone, only God. I shall not bear ill-will towards anyone, I shall conquer untruth with truth and in resisting untruth I shall put up with all suffering.” That one happened to be from Mahatma Gandhi. So, these are just really wonderful and good examples of things that we may consider putting into our vision. That’s why this chapter is just chock full of great resources that can be of help to us.
Alright, I’ll just go through the rest of these examples: “I shall live this day as if it were my last.” “I achieve the seemingly impossible. I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I am a person of total integrity. I am physically fit and take care of myself. I work to maximize my health, energy, and peace of mind.” Again, just think about the power of these thoughts. “I am a game-changer, I am making a difference for good personally, in my relationships, and within my organization. I am leaving the world a better place than I found it. I consistently ask myself what my best or my organization’s best looks like and I work doggedly, to get to the best that can be. I am not complacent. I am vigilant and keep looking for ways to improve.” And here is the last example: “I am a faithful and loyal spouse and enjoy a deep relationship with my family.”
So, as you can see in these examples of vision, it doesn’t really have to be long or worthy and sometimes there’s great power in being short and concise. Other times, your vision might need to be several paragraphs. Again, the power is in actually having a vision that’s written and clearly understood. This is what’s put in the thoughts in front of us, creating the ideas, the action.
So, how can you do this? Okay, here we go, it’s really quite simple. Number one is, get a piece of paper, and down the left-hand column write six to seven of your life’s roles. And may I suggest that there are a couple of fixed roles for all of us. The first one I’d recommend is your role of you as an individual, “personal” is how I’d describe it. And within that one, it encompasses the different dimensions or facets of our life – physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional, financial perhaps. So, that’s the personal aspect with the dimensions, and how do you see this, what are the words that describe you in those areas?
And here is another one, among those six or seven you may consider, that’s common for all of us and this is a new insight that I had, just a couple of months ago, and that is describing one of those under your vision, as dreams. What are some things that you would like to accomplish? And that’s different in describing, for example, what kind of a parent you are or what kind of a business person you might be, how you interact with other people or how you give civically or in your church. So, those are different roles, of course, but those, too, we all have in common. We have some dreams and they’re extremely powerful. So that’s number one – just get a piece of paper and write your roles down, include in those commons ones.
Number two, with this clean sheet in front of you, with your roles sketched out, simply listen to your heart and mind and inspirations. Describe how you choose to live and treat others. Conduct yourself personally and professionally and what dreams do you want to accomplish? This is a fun process. It make take an hour or two – you don’t have to do it all in one sitting and you may come back to it time and time again until it’s complete and the stakes are high. It is your life and influences you and everyone around you. So, don’t be afraid to think big on some of these things.
And the third step on this is, may I suggest that some components are enormous for you and will have a huge impact on your life. One set of words for you to consider is this – and just think, again, about the impact of something like this in your vision – “I have a positive frame of mind. Ever positive. I do not allow negative thoughts into my being in any way. I dwell only on the good and the positive. I dwell on the joyful side of life, even in adversity because in truth, negative cannot help me, in a single way. The positive allows me to consider helpful solutions and ways forward that are useful. Although there are challenges, setbacks and the fiery furnace can get hot, life is good, and I work to make the best of it in every situation. I soak up knowledge and information. I read, study, and listen. I love gaining new thoughts and ideas. I review my favorite books – my faithful friends that inspire me over and over.”
You see, this is what Highly Successful People and Leaders do, as they align with these powerful principles. I hope that this is something that you say to yourself and whatever leadership capacity you’re in, what is the vision? What are we going to do? What do you hope to be and accomplish? So, whether it’s a civic role, or a family role, a parent, a grandparent, or even a son or a daughter, what’s the vision? We set the vision, include the whole group. If it’s professional, whether it’s your team, or a company, whatever it might be, bring those around and say, “What’s the vision? Let’s talk about this. How would you describe it?” And you are the catalyst to bring this to fruition, that people gather around and it brings passion to what they’re doing. This is what Highly Successful People and Leaders do.
Now, let’s just see a few examples today, in leading both your life and organizations you may be associated with, including your family. Here’s one example: I have been associated with the America’s Freedom Festival, and it is a 4th of July celebration in Provo, Utah that’s gone on for probably 100 years. Particularly in the last 30 or 40 years, it’s developed into a very significant celebration of maybe 30 different events, most of those simmered in about a 10-day period during the 4th of July.
One of those events is called, “The Hope of America” This event is 5th graders singing patriotic songs. It’s a whole program of about an hour and 15 or 20 minutes. It’s amazing! We now have over 8,000 5th graders participate. It’s in the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus and of course, the place is packed. It now goes over three nights in a row, so that we can accommodate all these students. They wear red, white, blue and yellow shirts and make up the American flag. It is something to behold. And so inspiring, as they sing the songs of Hope of America and they get how powerful freedom is.
Well, in our capacity, and thinking in this line that we have, the Leadership of the America’s Freedom Festival set back and said, “What’s the vision that we have?” – and this includes our National Advisory Board. One of the visions that we have, that we can see in the future, is called, “The Hope of America 50 States” and that is having 5th graders throughout the entire country, sometime around this time, singing these songs in an hour or an hour and a half program. This is going to be so inspiring.
So, first comes the vision, right? The thoughts. And then, it becomes an action, and then it finally starts taking form and it will become a reality. And so, we’ve put a plan in place, so won’t this be fun, in five years from now, to see how we’re doing. Will we have 5th graders in all 50 states singing these wonderful patriotic songs? This is the power of a vision! So, this will be fun because we’ll be able to watch it happen, but I can tell you from being involved, as soon as the vision was hatched, the ways to do it started becoming organized and now we’re putting together a plan that we can all interact around together and you can just feel the energy.
Okay, here’s another example of this. I was teaching – this was four years ago, taught together with Rob a three-day breakthrough leadership conference, entrepreneur leadership conference in Kigali, Rwanda. Our wonderful friend, Emery, helped set this up, he is amazing, and we had over 200 young entrepreneurs there. I’ll never forget, as we covered these principles of vision and annual goals, one of the fellows came up to me and said, “My goal, my vision, is that I want to get my MBA from a University in the United States!” He said, “I had that idea today!” Well, what was so powerful, if you don’t have the idea in the first place, it’s very difficult to ever be able to achieve anything like it, unless you have the idea. It was just about a year later, I was sitting at my desk and received a phone call. And he said, “Hi, this is so and so from Rwanda.” He said, “I want you to know, I’m calling you from the University of Oklahoma, where I’m starting my first day of class in their MBA program.”
This is how it happens. So powerful! I’ve got a number of other examples. Also in that class is an extraordinary woman by the name of Lydie. Oh, my Goodness, fabulous lady – probably 40 years old, give or take a little bit, could be younger. I mean, she looks a lot younger but anyhow, I think in that range. She said, “One of the visions, goals I’ve always had, is to create some schools.” And she said, “So, I’ve got it! I’m going to do this.” We went through a process called, “The six steps of planning and execution” so actually she left with a defined plan of who would do what, when.
It was interesting because I went back two years later and she could not wait to come up and report. She said, “I not only have one school, I now have two schools, with over 800 students and these are state of the art, wonderful schools.” Think of the world as being changed because of Lydie. Last year she just finished, by the way, graduated from the Harvard Business School. And returning to her country will have a great impact.
I know our sons, Rob and Steven, when they were teenagers, were sitting in the Stadium of Fire, a part of this 4th of July celebration, and 45,000 people there and the F16s flyover, a four-ship formation. They looked at each other right then, and said, “One day, we are going to fly those F16s right over this stadium!” This was such a compelling vision! It impacted everything. They had to get good grades and they had to point themselves in a certain direction, which they did. It was life-changing and just a few years ago, we were fortunate to sit in that stadium, and watch those jets come over, where Steven was flying one and Rob was flying another one of them. Oh, my goodness, it was thrilling! And this is the power of a vision. It’s a very big impact. They got permission from the Pentagon to do that because brothers in the same family, by rules, are not permitted to fly in the same formation, in case there was an accident. In this case, they gave special permission. Isn’t that amazing?
And now we look at the next generation. Rob’s son, Robbie, has an interest in perhaps being an Airforce pilot. Or being a doctor, going through the Airforce. See how this can have an intergenerational impact? Another one of Rob’s children, Bella, a daughter, her vision is to be an author, a poetess. She’s already completed her first book, which she did at 12, and she is so talented in this area. This gives us the chance to develop these thoughts, these talents that we have, and put them into a defined reality.
I’ll just tell a quick story about David Shallenberger, another son of ours. David is so talented, but he also is a cat with nine lives. It seems like he’s lived a little bit on the edge. It’s interesting because I know that one of his visions is to be a finisher, is to live life in full. But also, to never give up and hang in there and to try to lift others. He graduated in engineering and had been accepted in the Law School, was married and had two children, at the time, and they were visiting our home in Provo Canyon. At this particular evening, he went out and was riding a skateboard, a longboard, if you will, and one of his brothers was behind him on the four-wheeler going down an inclined there, on the road, and he had a plan that if he got going too fast, that he would bail, just jump over and jump off.
Well, he did get going a little too fast and so he didn’t want to stay on the longboard, and, as he was coming to that point where he needed to come off, he jumped off and he rolled down the hill, but what he didn’t see, was the 15-foot embankment that he rolled down in the field. And as he rolled down this, he saw a flash of light and he knew that something had happened. His brother quickly called us and we came down and his brother started to pick him up, he said, “No, I need to lay here.” And so, we came, we called the ambulance, it took 45 minutes for them to get there, they stabilized his neck and we got him to the emergency in hospital. The neuroscience physicians, specialists saw him, they took the X-Rays and put him up on the wall and there, as clear as anything you can see, they said, “You can see it right there, he has broken his neck, on the C1 and the C2.” This is the one that Christopher Reeves broke and really controls the breathing and 90% of people die when they have this type of an injury.
We knew it was very serious and life-changing. They put a halo on Dave – this is this big, metal apparatus that goes around the neck and holds the skull in place so that it can’t wiggle and gives it a chance to recover. There were clean breaks on all four sides of that vertebra for both of those. Oh, my goodness! I looked at that and of course, just a fraction in one way or another, may have severed the spinal cord, but in this case, he had his feeling and he could move around.
Well, he had been accepted into Law School, which was scheduled to start in seven or eight weeks, and now he had a broken neck. What are you going to do? Well, his vision was to never give up, was to be a finisher. He said, “I am going to start law school, with all the rest of my classmates.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what he did. We traveled up there with him and helped him do the moving. He said, “I look like Frankenstein, walking around with this halo”, but he did start Law School and graduated with his class. The halo came off about eight months later, I guess it was. Now, he has this wonderful background of both being an engineer and a law degree and this has been very helpful for him.
But you can see the impact that this has on life! We have seen this application in the lives of each of our children and I see this in the lives of our employees, as I watch them grow and progress, professionally.
One of our amazing coaching clients with Becoming Your Best is a fabulous woman, and one of her sons worked in her organization as a key leader. Unfortunately, over time, things went south. She had to fix this situation. Her vision was to resolve the issue with him leaving the organization – which you can imagine how tough this must’ve been – and, maintaining a loving relationship as a mother for him and his family. This is a great example of leading with a vision, and managing with a plan. And when will this be outdated? Never! These are powerful principles! What’s the vision and what’s the plan? I’m so happy to report in this case that this had a positive outcome and she’s been able to do both of those. At least, it is a work in progress.
Another example is my business partner’s vision – think of the vision. Dave Cark, who is really an extraordinary, remarkable fellow, earlier in our career, 25 or 30 years ago, had a vision, a dream, and it was to help those not in the position to help themselves to get out of poverty. And this resulted ultimately in him coming up with the idea, with the help of his father and a couple of our advisors, to set up a school in Central and South America that would do exactly that. It is now, all these years later, successfully functioning in 11 different countries, blessing the lives of thousands of people each year, who are graduates and including their families.
Now, what would’ve happened if Dave did not have that vision early on? The world is such a better place because of this. And in our business, we regularly pause to reflect upon our vision and goals. We talk about them, we make adjustments and we go. The question is always, “How can we be among the best at what we do?”
Well, the last example I’ll share today, is the Young Presidents Organization Forum, that I’m privileged and honored to be part of. And two weeks from now we will have a forum retreat for a few days in a remote location. And I am this year, the forum moderator. So, as we’ve talked about what we might do, one of the things we are going to do is an activity doing exactly what we were talking about today. It’s focusing on our visions! And the activity is this: What are your hopes, dreams, and vision for the next 3-5 years.
Now, this is an extraordinary group. There are seven of us, each one, of course, is a president of an organization, each one is civically involved in different organizations, each one has a family, and is very conscious about their own life. So, this is going to be an extraordinary experience! Right now, each one is preparing and then, when we get together, we’ll be given 30 minutes to report on what they’ve come up with. They’ve done exactly what we’re talking about today. A clean sheet of paper, roles down the left side, and now think three to five years out.
Now, we’re not as young as we used to be, this is not an old group, but we’re certainly not young as we were in the early parts of our careers. So, many things have changed. So, what will that look like? The answers will be in total confidence. And this will be a great haven to share what really matters. I’ll give just a couple of mine because I’m in the middle of doing this, just to give you a flavor. But, I’m just thinking three to five years out, and by the way, this is all in rough right now, I haven’t finished it, but certainly one of these, part of my vision and my role, personal, is to stay steely-eyed positive. In the background of what we talked about, you know what I’m talking about here.
Another one is to stay physically fit and maintain a healthy diet. Here are some other things I’m thinking about, is to take piano lessons and to continue tennis lessons. I’m blind of one eye, and so I’m trying to figure out how to do this better with one eye. Another one is to take a look at art lessons. So, those are some of the areas just kind of impersonal but I’ve done this for husband, which is to make the best of the time with Roxanne. How about a father and a grandfather? I’ve got certain things in mind there. Some family trips we’ll set up. How about with companies? You know, Synergy, Becoming Your Best. How about with the Freedom Festival? I’ve talked about one of those. Hopefully, I can play some small part in the Hope of America 50 States. I’ve got some other thoughts there.
Here’s another one I’m really pumped about, is on our property, is to create a secret garden, a place where you can go in, it’s a secret garden and it’s just a little haven that’s amazing. With family and friends to stay in touch, with regular reunions, and to stay in touch with family and friends. So I’m looking at these and I’m 68 today. Five years from now, that means I will be 73, give or take a little. Oh, here’s another one I put – be in the position to live to 95 to 100, in good shape. Well, I’ve got to make it through the next five years and kind of maintain that, so that I have the opportunity, at least, to keep these things up.
Well, these are the kind of thoughts that we can have that will have a giant impact on our lives. The fruits of aligning with this principle of Lead with a Vision, simply cannot fully be put in words. However, the influence of this practice will impact every area of your life, including health, happiness, and prosperity. And the reason I’ve provided so many examples today is to encourage you to be thoughtful and deliberate about your vision and annual goals and to move into action. And from this podcast today, here are some leadership actions that you can take:
Number one, take a look at your vision. Get it in place, review it. Adjust it as needed, and observe the impact that it has on your thoughts and life. You are taking charge!
Number two: To help you do this, invite a friend or family member or coach into your circle to help, let them know what you’re doing and that you would like to share with them your vision. Let them know a draft that you’re working on will be done in the next two weeks, and ask if you can share it with them. This accountability will bless both of you.
Number three, print out your vision and put it in a place where you can review it frequently. Number four, once you have that complete, then you can think about your annual goals. They, too, are simple to capture. It’s just a clean sheet of paper, roles down the left-hand side, just like with the vision, and by each role, what will you do this year to realize your vision?
There’s a big difference between goals and visions. Vision is the direction, the goals are what you are going to do this year. And try to make them smart goals. In other words, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to your vision and also time-sensitive. These will have a big impact! Once again, you could share these with a friend, family, member or coach. Your thoughts organized this way will literally become a reality. And this is how you lead a life by design versus living a life by default! And remember, the vision of one, can influence many.
I’d like to finish today with where we started – Ralph Waldo Emerson – and maybe these will even have a deeper meaning. “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; and sow a character and you reap a destiny.” And by William James, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
I would love to have you share your vision with me if it would be helpful. And if you’re inclined to do so, this will be held in total confidence! I would not share it with anyone. Just send your vision to me, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get it, you can just write to that email and feel free to direct it to me, and I’ll get it. Let’s learn and grow together!
What we discussed today is a practice by a very small percentage of people. It reminds me of the quote by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens, can change the world! Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” These are small groups, it’s a small group of people and they’re the ones with a vision, they’re thoughtful and committed to change the world. It’s not only their world, but it’s also the world of those around them in both seemingly small ways and big ways.
This is Steve Shallenberger, your host with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day!
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you might be in the world today! This is your host, Steve Shallenberger and we have a terrific guest with us today. He went from living in poverty in India and collecting and selling cow dung to ringing the opening bell at Nasdaq. Welcome, Andrew Samuel!
Andrew Samuel: Thank you, Steve!
Steve Shallenberger: Oh, man, we are excited to have you! And before we get started today, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about Andrew. He serves as the Chairman, CEO, and Director of LINKBANKCORP, Inc. and also LINKBANK, and has a long track record of industry success. He has helped take banks from insignificant to really being listed on the Nasdaq Global Market and has been involved in the Mergers and Acquisitions of more than 10 companies, with an aggregate deal value surpassing $1.5 billion. Andrew has shaped workplaces that are listed as the best to work at in their region, and created cultures centered around servant leadership. Andrew lives in the Central Pennsylvania area, with his wife of 36 years. They are blessed with five daughters, four sons-in-law and 12 grandchildren. Way to go, Andrew!
Andrew Samuel: Thank you, Steve!
Steve Shallenberger: Well, that’s quite a bit of an experience. To get us rolling, Andrew, tell us about your background, including turning points in your life that have had a significant impact on you, what you’re doing today, on your experiences and, yeah, what’s your story? It is so fun of a background!
Andrew Samuel: Yeah, I’ll try to condense that a little bit. I was actually born in India, right on the foothills of the Himalayas, in the northern part of India – I spent my first six years there. I have three sisters, our dad was a military man and was gone for probably 11 months out of the year, he fought in two wars with Pakistan. My mom has really raised us on her own with her brothers and her sisters. We lived in what I would consider more of an extended family environment. So, I lived with all my cousins and my uncles and aunts. We all lived together, we had a 14m by 14m room, in which 16 of us slept, lived, cooked – everything was there, and we didn’t have indoor plumbing of any form, so every morning my aunts and uncles would have to go at the well for water. But it was a very, very happy time for us and I learned a lot during those years. When you don’t have much, there’s a level of desire and persistence that evolves, and I’m very fortunate that I was able to develop some of those things.
Andrew Samuel: One of the things that I learned at a young age, at that time, was the spirit of entrepreneurialism that was alive in our extended family. I mean, my uncles, and aunts, and cousins – we would actually collect cow dung and actually sell them to neighbors and other families in the form of dung patties which really burn well. So, we sold those, we also sold fresh cow dung to other families because when I was growing up, the choices were, you either had a dud floor or a cow dung-covered floor and the cow dung floor was better because it sealed the dust and a lot of our neighbors saw that too. So, we learned very early to be resourceful.
Andrew Samuel: My father was fortunate that, when he retired from the Indian army in 1969, he was one of the few people that was recruited to Zambia, Africa, to be a defense specialist to help organize the Zambian National Defense Force. Zambia had just gotten its independence from the British and wanted soldiers from a neutral country to help establish their defense forces. So, we moved from the subcontinent of India to the continent of Africa. Never having left India at those times, we didn’t have TVs, so I hadn’t really experienced anything outside of my small village that I lived in. But we moved to Zambia and things got a little better – my dad made a little bit more money but in the social scheme of things, we were still on the lower spectrum of resources. I spent about 11 years in Zambia, graduated from there, and I was fortunate that I was able to get to a small Christian college called, Messiah College, in Central Pennsylvania that I came as a freshman too. When I came, you know, I had some interesting experiences – not having used the silverware was one of the first experiences, to sit in a cafeteria not sure what to do because I was so used to eating with my fingers, and now I had to transition to using the silverware. And I did it, by mimicking people.
Andrew Samuel: But college was a great experience. So, one of the biggest things was, I met my wife 40 years ago, in college, I was a freshman and as you mentioned earlier, we’ve been married 36 years. So, that was a significant experience – meeting my wife there. One of the things I really learned while I was in college, was just that my background of being Indian, having lived in Africa, coming here, served really well because I was very adaptable and very social and learned a lot in that educational environment. But, one of the biggest things that I learned there, was just – people are different and I quickly began to realize that one of the things that I really enjoyed using my background, was the ability to engage people and influence their lives in a positive way. So, as I was coming out of college, that was kind of the purpose that I had in my mind, to really have an influence on people’s lives. I just didn’t know how I would do that.
Andrew Samuel: I ended up starting my career in banking, and I applied that whole concept of influencing people’s lives positively and so, everywhere I was, that was my goal, which kind of led to opportunities and I was fortunate that over my career I’ve probably been CEO of half a dozen companies, and it’s interesting that all of those companies, their mission statement was always very simple – to positively impact people’s lives. And we carried that, and that mission has really helped us grow companies at a much faster level than most companies and that has led to a lot of investor interest and leading to taking a couple of companies public during that time. So, it’s been a remarkable career, humbled by the opportunities, especially, if I were to summarize it – a skinny poor little kid from India coming to America and being able to do whatever he set his mind on. And that’s why the book is called “Our American Dream” because, in our nation here, you can do anything you want as long as you put your mind to it and are committed to it, and are willing to make the sacrifices to be successful in doing it. So, that’s a little bit – I know I covered a lot very quickly, but I’m sure you might have some specific questions there.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, that was wonderful and Andrew, thanks for taking a few minutes on that background. Did you live in Lusaka?
Andrew Samuel: Yes we lived in Ndola, which is the capital of the northern region and we lived in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, yes.
Steve Shallenberger: Got it! That’s great! That’s a very interesting country. We have visited there. Beautiful people. We were able to hold a seminar in that country and then visited Victoria Falls, which is so beautiful!
Andrew Samuel: Absolutely! You know, one of the natural wonders of the world.
Steve Shallenberger: Yes, how true! And then, going back to the description of living with your cousins, your uncles and your aunts and all of those people in that room, multi-purpose room – and I loved your comment that you said, “And we were happy”.
Andrew Samuel: Yes!
Steve Shallenberger: You mean you can be happy with not a lot of material things?
Andrew Samuel: That’s right! Just the security of the family and just simple things like having a meal. To have a day was more than enough for us. And really, really times that were very fulfilling, challenging, but at the same time, a very, very happy childhood.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, that’s good to keep in mind, that we can be happy without the material things or things far more important. Thank you for pointing that out! Now, let’s get back to Our American Dream! Wow, talk about building upon that American dream, you have a book that just came out recently. Tell us more about your book.
Andrew Samuel: Yeah. So for years, particularly as I’ve spoken at the industry conferences and other meetings, which I’ve done pretty actively, people always said, after I spoke, people would always say, “Andrew, it would be great if you wrote a book because your speech was so encouraging, so inspirational, so motivational.” And they said, “You know, it would be so nice that you had a book because then you could reach so many more folks.” And of course, with my priorities with the company, with my family, I kept putting it off, and about 15 months ago, after the sale of another bank that I had been a part of, I decided this was the time to take some time and write a book.
Andrew Samuel: I spent some time thinking about what the topic would be. And the thing that really spoke to me was how do we impact the next generation of leaders? I’m 57 years old, and I have quite a bit of time left, but the reality is 15 years from now, 20 years from now, who will be the next generation of business leaders and are they going to run businesses and treat people with the same values that have helped me have a fulfilling career over the last 30 years? As I began to think about that, I felt like I wanted to write a book where just from my heart I could just lay out, “Here is a little bit about my background, but here are some simple principles that can help you focus on having a purpose-filled life.”
Andrew Samuel: That’s what the basis for the book was – to have an impact on the young leaders and young business folks, as they developed their reputation and their career and just to give them some insights into what they could focus on, that would help them be successful because I found that a lot of 20 something, 30 something, and early 40 something, are seeking purpose in their life, in their careers, they are wondering how to do it, they’re making excuses why they can’t focus on something, stick to something, they’re looking for immediate gratification, etc., and this book focuses on just helping them see that you do need to put work into it, you need to have a purpose that’s pure in terms of what you’re doing. If you’re solely focused on making more money, that’s not going to be fulfilling but if you’re focused on growing your career to impact people, and in the process, you create wealth for yourself, that’s more fulfilling.
Andrew Samuel: So, that was the motivation for the book, to really have an impact on people. And so far, the feedback has been very, very good, from a number of people that have read it, just to say, “I love that principle on focus” or “I love that principle about being bold.” So, it’s been fun. The other part of this was, there’s been so much negativity about the topic of immigration and I don’t address the topic of immigration directly here, but what I wanted to point out to people is, I am an immigrant that came to this country, I came here legally and the country has opened up its doors to allow me to do whatever I want. The things that I’ve accomplished here, in terms of my banking career, the ability to grow companies, the ability to do mergers and acquisitions, take companies public – has been a privilege and it’s not something that you can do in any country, but our nation allows us to be whoever we want to be, as long as we put hard work into it.
Andrew Samuel: So those were the two really driving forces – impacting the next generation of business leaders and secondly, showing an appreciation for the American Dream and the American opportunity, which is very, very alive.
Steve Shallenberger: That is fabulous! And let’s just jump into the book here, the subtitle, by the way, is “Cultivating a Life of Success, Joy, and Purpose.” Well, right on! That’s the right focus, isn’t it? It pretty well hits it. What are some of the favorite principles or ideas for you, from this book?
Andrew Samuel: So, one of those that I’d like people to walk through – there’s a number of them but I’ll just touch on a couple – one of those is, in the book I talk about taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way because you don’t know what that training is preparing you for. And I’ll use again the cow dung example. The seeds of entrepreneurialism were embedded in me at a young age, when my family was involved in that, not knowing that it would come into play later in life. A second thing is, I’ve had a number of different jobs and roles, and every one of them, I’ve approached as an opportunity to excel in. You know, you learn from that and you take that on into the next role and the next opportunity.
Andrew Samuel: My favorite chapter is the one on ‘focus’ because a lot of people today, really struggle with being able to be focused and part of it is obviously, with today’s social media, and technology environment, it’s very easy to get carried away from things. One of the things that I really enjoyed as I was documenting the focus piece is, so much of this, if you learn to just channel your energies into something that has purpose and something that you’re passionate about, and just focus on that and not deviate from that, as things come at you – because too many times today, business leaders, what’s happening is, this is a good strategy today and then, six months later, somebody else thinks of another strategy and so there isn’t a focused effort on what your purpose is and what you’re trying to accomplish. My favorite chapter is sharing with our readers the powerful effect of being focused and giving it time to excel.
Steve Shallenberger: Good! And while you’re on focus, I noticed that you talked about eliminating distractions. What have you found the best way to do that? Because that’s a big part of the focus.
Andrew Samuel: Right! It really is and I think the first thing is to be intentional about it to be aware of the distractions. I’ll give you an example: in my career, I meet a lot of people. We have a bank now called Linkbank and I meet a lot of people and I want to impact people positively. Our company’s philosophy is to impact people positively. That means you give people the attention and you engage with people and you invest in people but, at the same time, you realize too, that people that can’t help you move your purpose forward, you need to find a way to limit your time with those individuals. So, meaning, those that can help you move your purpose forward are the ones that you want to spend time with. Those that can’t, you treat them well, you treat them with humility, etc. but don’t get carried away with it, if it doesn’t channel your energies into achieving your purpose. So that’s one thing. Time limits on email, etc. One of the most difficult thing today is that everybody wants to be connected all the time, checking their text messages, checking their email, etc. I believe it’s better to put time aside and be focused on saying, “During this time, I’m going to focus on getting this done, and I’m putting the phone away, putting it on silent, whatever it is.”
Andrew Samuel: Another one – I’m a big sports fan. With the technology that’s available today, I can go look at sports scores, and before I know it, it’s two hours later and I’m still looking at sports stories and scores. So, what I do is, I say to myself, “Look, you have half an hour a day, and it’s usually in the evenings, where you can go catch up on your sports news because you love that, but don’t distract yourself by looking at those scores during the day, because you do become less focused then.
Steve Shallenberger: That’s great! Good advice, that’s just one of these principles. The book is really broken into two parts. Part one is the American Dream formula, which is awesome, focus – persistence – faith, and then part two, principles for enduring success. And this is actually, Andrew has listed a number (six, seven or eight, somewhere in that range) – One of those happens to do a service. Being a servant leader. And I love that whole perspective and idea. So, how do we learn to serve others when we live in a world where everyone wants to be served?
Andrew Samuel: Yeah, absolutely! That is one of the big issues we’re dealing with, today. You’re absolutely right! Everybody wants to be served and they want to be served quickly and the interesting thing is, I found in my career that, if you look in one of the pages in the book, I talk about the Inverted Pyramid. And the bottom line there is, it has got to start with what I consider a pure purpose. And my purpose has always been, I want to be willing to serve people before desiring to be served. And that has always been the purpose and that purpose has been driven – if you want to impact people’s lives positively, you need to be willing to serve them. And in order to serve them, you need to be willing to make sacrifices. And I found, as a leader, I’ve made sacrifices in terms of time and resources, where I poured into people and made sacrifices to pour into them, and that has led to longtime loyal employees.
Andrew Samuel: The whole process here is really more about the other’s need and showing a certain level of empathy because when you invest in serving others and winning their heart, it’s amazing how the productivity levels naturally raise the bar and how you can accomplish so much more with a loyal group of people, because it all started with your willing to have a serving heart, not just from the beginning, but also on an ongoing basis. It’s a powerful tool that we don’t realize. The paradigm has shifted to where people want to be engaged and one way to engage them is to really have a humble, humility – filled approach, that lets people know that you are willing to serve them and invest in them, because in the long run, that comes back to benefit you and the purpose that you have for your life.
Steve Shallenberger: So well described! What a great focus! And it does make a big difference, doesn’t it?
Andrew Samuel: Yes it does!
Steve Shallenberger: Trust is so fundamental to building vibrant, effective, positive cultures and when you have that, you’re far more effective together than you might be alone in what you can accomplish. Team is so powerful, so this is a big deal that you’re talking about! Way to go!
Andrew Samuel: Absolutely, it is! And it’s been around forever and it’s just that I think somewhere along the way we lost our way and when you look around, some of the greatest leaders, leaders that had a humble spirit as serving heart, have been iconic leaders.
Steve Shallenberger: Absolutely! Oh, what a great example! Our listeners or most of our listeners, anyhow, are quite aware about the background of the story of Becoming Your Best. One of my early companies – we had many employees and managers who would come and say, “How can I be among the top managers?” And this led me to really do research that ended up taking over 40 years and it’s interesting because as I’ve been thinking and listening to Andrew Samuel about his book, “Our American Dream”, what I found as I went all over and interviewed top leaders from around the world, people that were quite successful, what we observed is that there were certain things that they did, that allowed them to be among the top performers, producers. And here is what I found – is that what Samuel is talking about in this book and what he has done throughout his life, are among the 12 Principles of Highly Successful People and Leaders. So, way to go! I mean, this has been so fun to just look at this and this is a book that helps you continue to be familiar with those types of things and the result is so predictable, isn’t it, Andrew?
Andrew Samuel: Absolutely! It is very predictable!
Steve Shallenberger: When you have focus and persistence, and faith as you’ve outlined, when you’re honest and authentic, these are all the principles that Andrew has talked about! I love the meaning of family that he talks about – he had just referred the focus. Maybe one more before we get to the end of our podcast – and I’m always amazed how fast time goes, but you talked about boldness. Do you mind just talking about that and how does that play out in our success? Why is it important?
Andrew Samuel: That is an important piece because nobody prepares us to be bold. Bold does not mean being just foolish and foolhardy. What it means is to do your research but not be paralyzed by not making bold steps. An example that comes to mind here is, when you look at your career, it’s okay to make those bold steps and not be paralyzed not wanting to make a decision in your life. Sometimes you’ve got to take that calculated risk. I’ll give you an example: recently, in the last five years, I was the CEO of a bank, it was a great job, it paid a lot of money, it created a lot of wealth for my family, and everybody thought, “Andrew, you’re going to do this forever. This is what you ought to do.” But I felt like the company as a whole, was not delivering on the purpose and therefore, I didn’t feel fulfilled in the role so I just said to the board, “Listen, I’m done. I don’t feel this is where I need to be, this is where I’m called.”
Andrew Samuel: And I took a bold step in leaving what I would consider – to give you an idea – an $18 billion company, to move down to run a $190 million company. It was a bold step, there were a lot of people who said, “Andrew, you’ve got to be the dumbest guy we know, to give up everything and go do this.” But I did it because I knew that the purpose that drives my life and my fulfillment was here, it was a calculated decision. And when I went down there, we grew that company, we grew it exponentially in three years, with certain values, etc. and at the end of the day, I was better off financially from making that transition, than not making that transition. But in the process, I was more engaged, I felt more fulfilled. But I could’ve easily said, “I’ve got a really nice job here, and I’m just going to stay.” But I would’ve never been fulfilled the way I was by leaving that to go to another job, that was a much smaller bank. So rather than focusing on the prestige and the ego of running a larger company, I focused on who am I, and what is my purpose – and by taking that step, it was a bold step, but it was one that was important.
Andrew Samuel: Now, I can name five or six different times in my career where I’ve done that and that’s why I would encourage folks in business to take calculated, bold steps, and not be afraid of them because there’s an awful lot of benefit in that, if you are willing to be bold in your thought-process. And dream big! Don’t limit yourself! And as I’ve always said, if you have a pure purpose, and you’re bold, you will be fulfilled and you will be very successful at that.
Steve Shallenberger: That’s great, yeah! So, have a clear vision, what is your purpose and then, be bold about your goals and then take the steps to achieve them!
Andrew Samuel: Right, absolutely!
Steve Shallenberger: Oh, good going! Well, that’s an inspiration! It’s been so fun having you on this podcast show today. Tell us how people can find out about what you’re doing?
Andrew Samuel: The book is available on Amazon – on Kindle as well on paperback, and you can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I hope you’ll find inspiration and just take the time to read the book!
Steve Shallenberger: Wonderful! That’s Andrew Samuel and that’s what you’ll look for. Thank you, Andrew, for being part of this show today, it’s been such a really fun and productive visit! Compliments to you on being this skinny little boy who’s done so well, and building upon the American Dream! Great going!
Andrew Samuel: Thank you, Steve!
Steve Shallenberger: And we wish you, our listeners, all the best, as you’re making a difference in the world every single day! This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day!
Rob Shallenberger: Okay, welcome back to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners. I’m grateful for you, wherever you’re at in the world today. This is going to be a fun podcast, this is going to be a little bit different than what we would call, maybe, a normal podcast. We’ve got our friend, Justin Strahan, on here. He is an amazing person! I talked with him for the first time last week. He moved from Minnesota to California; he and his partner started the company called, “Joovv” and we’ll get in all of that and what that is, but this is going to be a fascinating podcast and this is really going to be divided into two sections.
Rob Shallenberger: So, the first is going to be about Justin’s journey and starting Joovv and what that was all about because anybody who’s been in the world of starting a new business, in a business or just going after a dream, in general, you know that there are ups and downs along the way, there are so many things that we can learn. Some of those can be very costly lessons, others not as much, but we can learn from others in that process. And so, I’m going to have him share a couple of his experiences and then we’re going to get into something very specific that I knew nothing about until about four weeks ago. And I’m going to save that part of the podcast for what we’ll call part two, after he talks about his entrepreneurial journey, how he started Joovv, how this all came about, but this has been fascinating to me. In just the four weeks that I’ve learned about this, just absolutely fascinating. Not necessarily something that’s new, but it really is new. What I’ve learned is that very few people know about it, even though it’s been around for years. So, with all of that being said, Justin, welcome to the podcast!
Justin Strahan: Thanks, Rob! It’s a pleasure to be here!
Rob Shallenberger: So let’s jump right into this! Tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey, or at least about how Joovv came about and what the company is and how this started. And then, along the way, you can take a few minutes here, whatever you feel good about – any key lessons learned that you had as you started the company and got to the point where you are now, which is a global company. You’re shipping these products – which we’ll get into. What the product is – you’re shipping them all over the world. So, walk us through how this came about and anything that you think would be valuable as far as lessons learned to our listeners.
Justin Strahan: Yeah, certainly! So, we really got started with my wife’s personal health journey and her interest in really taking care of all of our family members’ health – so, myself, we’re blessed to have six children, five boys and a girl – and in her quest to try to further better our own health and wellness as much as possible, actually shortly after we moved to the twin cities area, she had heard about this thing called, “Red Light Therapy” and she thought, “Oh, that is really interesting, I should try this out.” She was interested in it for a number of reasons, mainly just kind of the overall health benefits but also kind of some specific skin health, things that she wanted to get assistance with. So, she was able to find a local salon that actually had tanning beds that have been converted for this purpose and this was kind of in the dead of winter in the Minneapolis area, so as you can imagine light felt really good, and she didn’t have to worry about the harmful effects of a typical tanning bed.
Justin Strahan: So, she was really impressed by the experience – she signed up for a two-month package and she faithfully went, essentially, every single day, driving across town to this salon. And the benefits that she saw were so overwhelming from a skin-health standpoint that she immediately signed up our oldest son, who was 17 at the time, for his own package. So, now they’re both going across town and by this time she’s also got her sister going as well, and we’re starting to see these amazing things from this red light therapy. After she completed the session, she really loved the therapy, wanted to continue with it, but from a cost standpoint, it was difficult to keep that up. The primary issue was just the matter of time, so it was really something that there wasn’t enough time in the day with everything we had going on as a family, to be driving across town for this therapy.
Justin Strahan: So, she started to scour the Internet, trying to find something that she could use at home, that now she could share with all of us, that all of us could start using. And she was really disappointed to find that there was really nothing available on the market, really, for consumer use for this kind of full-body type light therapy treatment. All she really could find were some small hand-held type devices where, if you used them long enough, you could probably get some benefits on your face, but really nothing that you could use for your whole body.
Justin Strahan: So, that’s really how we got started. She had come to me – my background is in engineering, I’ve been fascinated by science my lifetime growing up in high school and as a university student – my favorite courses were the calculus and physics. She knew if she could get me interested in this, which was a big ask because I was the biggest skeptic of anybody, I think she thought, “Hey, maybe you can come up with something that we could use at home.” So, that initially was the plan – was to try to come up with a way to have a device that we could use at home – and that quickly led us to start talking with my wife’s sister and her husband, Scott – his background is in the med-tech space, working with companies like Covidien and Medtronic. We started to think, “Hey, this could actually be a business opportunity. There’s clearly a gap here, where no one is providing an option for at-home light therapy use.”
Justin Strahan: So, we started to explore this concept, we started to dig into the science and all the research, which was overwhelming, just the sheer amount of it, of nailing down to specific types of wavelengths of light, specifically in the red and also near infrared wavelength ranges and we started to look at ways that we could bring a product to market and kind of strategize how we could make inroads from a marketing standpoint so that we can bring awareness to light therapy in general and really try to take it beyond where companies had done to that time.
Justin Strahan: So, the research has really been around for decades. Some of the original studies have been back in the ’60s and so forth. We were able to harness a lot of work that had been done ahead of us, but really just fill a gap in the market, that hadn’t been addressed before. So, we launched our website in early 2016, kind of slowly started to build market awareness and really had a strategy of building our SEO by producing content, and really connecting with affiliate marketing relationships that could help bring awareness to red light therapy.
Rob Shallenberger: Yes, great background there, Justin! I’ve got to tell you how I came about finding about photobiomodulation light therapy – you know, Joovv and what you do – is I have a really close friend in Alaska, he’s an endodontist, and we were up there fishing just a few weeks ago, like I mentioned, and he started talking with me about Joovv and light therapy. And I thought, “I’ve never really heard of this, so tell me more!” And before we left, he took us in his house and showed us his setup, and in his words, he’s just had this amazing experience with it. I know he’s listening to this podcast or will listen to it. He said his eyesight has come from 2020 to 2010, he no longer has recovery time after working out, it’s just, he recovers so quickly after working out and he directly correlates it with this, light therapy.
Rob Shallenberger: So, we’re going to spend the rest of the podcast on what light therapy is because this has been, like you said, Justin, fascinating for me to learn about, coming from a place of knowing nothing about it, to seeing the impacts can have in people’s lives. Before we jump into that, though, where we’ll spend the rest of the podcast, you’ve really kind of lived the entrepreneur’s dream here, in that you saw a needs gap, you’ve created this company with some of your family and it’s really exploded on ya, and you’ve had success. With any company, we know that there’s success and there’s challenges along the way. What are one or two of your key lessons learned as you’ve built this company?
Justin Strahan: Yeah, that’s a great question. As you referenced, anytime somebody grows a company, essentially from nothing, they’re going to face a whole onslaught of challenges, but I would say one that would be a great personal lesson for me is I tend to, you know, once I am in charge of something and running something, it can be very challenging to let go of areas that I’m used to running, and I think that’s one of the biggest challenges as a company grows, you know, when it starts with one or two people, you’re wearing a lot of different hats and you’re controlling a lot of different things, you have a lot of responsibilities, but as the company has grown, it’s absolutely necessary to recognize the talents of other people that have been added to the team and to hand things off. A lot of times it’s easy to think, “Hey, no one can do this better than me” but I guess one of the best lessons that I’ve learned is not only can people do it as good as me, just, in every case that I can think of, that work has been delegated, they’re doing it at a much higher level than I could have ever done. So I think that’s one of the best lessons that I’ve learned.
Rob Shallenberger: That is a great lesson, too, and I think one we can relate to. Anybody who’s in a business can probably relate to that to a degree and I’ve heard people say many different times that, you know, when you start a business, it’s not hard to let go of some of those things that had been yours, but you’re right – the ability to delegate is huge in a business. So, with that lesson learned, thank you, I’m sure that resonated with someone – you’ve got to trust other people at some point if you’re really going to grow your business, setting up the systems, the structures and allowing the people to take the company to the next level is key, so thanks for sharing that, Justin!
Rob Shallenberger: Alright, so let’s get into this light therapy. We’ve talked about it now already, and referenced it several times. What exactly is light therapy?
Justin Strahan: You know, that’s something that, if you were to ask me that question eight or nine years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to give you any kind of an answer, just like you, it was something that it was totally not on my radar, but what I’ve witnessed and seen from both a clinical study standpoint, and also just witnessing the lives of myself, my family members and friends and obviously now customers from around the globe, is that light plays an incredible role in health, and I think a lot of times, when we think about improving our health and wellness it’s easy to focus on things that we put into our bodies, such as food, the liquids we drink, the food that we eat, the nutrition we put in our body, but I think a huge gap that most people have, from a health and wellness standpoint, is the light that they are subjecting their bodies to.
Justin Strahan: And we’ve seen, in the US, the average person spends about 93% of their lifetime indoors, separated from natural light. So, it’s no wonder that as we’re spending most of our days under highly blue-light centric, indoor, unnatural lighting, that this has had a detrimental effect on our health. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why light therapy has become so popular, so quickly.
Justin Strahan: Essentially what light therapy is, and you referenced the term photobiomodulation or PBM for short, is it’s basically using specific wavelengths of red and near infrared light, to help boost healthy cellular function. And there’s a whole lot of theories, quite honestly, on how this works, and the science of cellular respiration and these processes that generate ATP in the body, but essentially what we do know is that when we give the right wavelengths at the right intensity, we’re really able to dramatically improve some pretty amazing benefits for overall health – you mentioned recovery, is a big one, but the list is just about endless in terms of the different types of benefits from light therapy.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, and I want to get into a few of those benefits! Before I do, can you just clarify – because I’ve been researching this a lot over the last three weeks, I mean, I just went to Joovv and bought a big system that they have, it’s showing up on Thursday so I can’t wait to start using this! My wife is excited and we’re going to have our son – he’s a senior in playing football – start using it for his own recovery because he’s limping around every Saturday after their game, so I’m excited for all the benefits. Before we jump into those, though, you mentioned blue light. Can you just briefly describe what blue light is, versus, say, red and near infrared?
Justin Strahan: Yeah. So, in sunlight, we have a whole range of wavelengths of light – everything from the UV spectrum to the visible lights spectrum, to near infrared and far infrared and you have the wavelengths that generate a lot of the heat that we feel on a hot sunny day, for example. And what we’ve done to our bodies in terms of – you know, since the industrial revolution – is we’ve created these unnatural sources of light, that by their very nature tend to be very heavily centered on blue light wavelengths. And the reason for that is actually quite simple and it comes down to how the human eye registers light.
Justin Strahan: And our bodies register wavelengths of light in the blue and green spectrum as being much brighter on a per energy consumption basis than red wavelengths. So, if you go to buy a light bulb at your local Home Depot, for example, you’ll get a lumen rating on the light bulb and that is basically recognizing how bright that bulb is going to appear to the human eye. And the fact is that’s much cheaper and much more energy-efficient to actually produce a heavily blue-centric lighting.
Justin Strahan: And so, the result is we’re affecting our hormone production as we’re taking in these blue wavelengths throughout the day, and it’s starting to become much more well-understood and much more recognized in the industry – companies like Apple, that are introducing night mode on the phones, you have companies that are introducing technology to help reduce the blue light in the screens that we’re constantly looking at often times after dark – they can really dramatically affect our sleep production, our hormone production, and quality of sleep. So, there’s a lot of different ways that the blue light affects the quality of our health, both from the way we’re taking it through our eyes, as well as through the tissues in our body.
Rob Shallenberger: Good! That was helpful actually! So let’s jump back into some of the health benefits now, that you were alluding to. What are some of the health benefits that people see? And I can already go off to some of the testimonials – my friend in Alaska who we fished with, his eyesight, his recovery time, his skin – he’s been telling me, “Man, I’m going to use this for the rest of my life! I’ve been using it for over a year” and based-off of his testimonial alone, I made the purchase.
Justin Strahan: Yeah.
Rob Shallenberger: And talking with you as well. But, in doing my own research, I’ve looked at a lot of clinical trials and studies and seen, like you said, there’s a huge list. What are some of the most common that you see, as far as health benefits?
Justin Strahan: Yeah, that’s really an exciting thing about this. I mean, quite honestly, when we launched our website, it was heavily beauty-focused and female-centric and it was really when some videos were put out by one of our affiliate partners, Ben Greenfield, back in the fall of 2016 – he was talking about studies light therapy had been conducted with, using red wavelengths and some of these near infrared wavelengths, that have been shown to help boost testosterone production in men. So that kind of brought this onslaught of interest in that avenue and now we’ve had unbelievable anecdotal evidence from customers on that front.
Justin Strahan: But you mentioned, recovery is a huge one, but I guess there’s really kind of three main buckets that I would say that our customers fall into. The skin and beauty benefit is a huge one – it’s one of those sneaky things, because we oftentimes have a couple where the husband gets it for the recovery but then, his wife or maybe he hasn’t seen some family members for a few weeks, and they’re pointing out “how great your skin looks” and “it looks younger” and all of these things. So, it’s something that all of us – who doesn’t want to look young, right?
Justin Strahan: So that’s been a huge one, the performance, the muscle recovery thing has been huge – it’s really one of the ways that we think will build and help take it to a much, much broader audience – this market is really still in its infancy, but it’s amazing to see where it has come from in just the past three years, but the interest in the professional athletic community – we have athletes in every major, professional sport using our devices now to help improve recovery. And as you mentioned, it’s something that it’s a noticeable benefit.
Justin Strahan: So those are a couple of them, and then, the kind of the third bucket I would say would be the pain inflammation – reducing joint pain inflammation – there’s some really impressing studies that have been conducted on arthritis patients, just in general, just kind of overall health and wellness. Most people that purchase one of our products, we’ve had some really amazing statistics – the vast majority of them are actually seeing the benefit that they purchased the product for, but there’s a whole other segment that are seeing some other benefit they hadn’t really even been planning on – so it’s something that most people can see or feel some sort of benefit from getting these types of dosages of red and near infrared light.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, and that’s great, Justin! You know, it’s interesting, I’m just thinking in my mind, who is listening to this podcast right now? And most people are familiar with the 12 Principles, we’ve done this research and you see, 12 Principles that High Performance focus on, over and over, the top 10% in any industry. And one of those, Principle #10 is to Apply the Power of Knowledge – the very best people, the top 10% in their industry, across the board, whether athletes, coaches, leaders, they have a hunger and a thirst for knowledge. They know that what could be our greatest concern, our greatest threat are our blind spots, the things we don’t know about. So, instead of being cynical and skeptical about everything, they’re actually very open-minded and they’re saying, “What is it out there that I don’t know about yet?”
Rob Shallenberger: What is it out there? And this is one of those that, when it showed up on my door four weeks ago, when talking with my friend in Alaska, I thought, “Let me learn more about this!” So, instead of being naturally skeptical or cynical, we become naturally curious and say, “This is something I didn’t know a lot about. Let me go find out more about it!” Some of the things you just listed there, it’s almost like some people are numb to these by hearing them on the radio. We get quick recovery time – does this really work? But I’ve done my due diligence, Justin, in two to three weeks, based off of the testimonial of my friend, and I can tell you, every single person who has used this up to this point, will talk about how huge of an impact it’s had in their life.
Rob Shallenberger: So that’s one thing I love about the people listening to this particular podcast, is they typically apply that principle, apply the power of knowledge. And so, they’re very open to this. So I would encourage you to continue to do this, and Justin will share some ways that you can do that, at the end of this podcast. But I want to go a little more in-depth, after just pausing there briefly, as to how does this actually work? I mean, you talked about the benefits, and that was great. How does that happen? How does light therapy work?
Justin Strahan: Yeah. So, it’s very interesting! So, this has been studied, as I referenced, for decades. We have Dr. Michael Hamblin, researcher at the Harvard’s Photomedicine lab, has served on our advisory board since early 2016. He himself has actually participated in over 400 published papers on this topic. As I mentioned, just a wide range of benefits. But one of the most widely accepted theories on what’s actually going on at the cellular level, comes down to cellular respiration and essentially at the fourth phase of cellular respiration, there’s an enzyme called Cytochrome C oxidase or CCO for short, and due to just an onslaught of negative impacts that our bodies are constantly faced with, whether it’s stress, being exposed to high levels of blue light, electromagnetic radiation from the electronic devices we’re constantly surrounded with, the toxins in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath. The human body is faced with an unbelievable amount of toxic type stressors more than ever before.
Justin Strahan: And what’s basically going on at the cellular level, is that Cytochrome C oxidase binds with nitric oxide and basically slows down the cellular production of the cell, or you’ve heard of ATP – which is basically cellular energy. And essentially, what light therapy does is the photons of light, I mentioned specific wavelengths – red and infrared light which we can dive into that a little bit as well – basically, help break that bond and help restore healthy cellular function. So that’s kind of the most widely accepted theory and that’s one of the things that we really sought to do from the beginning is to bring awareness and demystify what’s going on, why is light therapy important and help people understand this is a well-proven science. It’s not one of those gimmicky type things you often see in the wellness industry – it earns a bad rap for that at times. So we really focused on the science from the beginning and sought to bring awareness and education so that people can understand what’s happening and why they are seeing the facts that they are, from this therapy.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, you just brought up something interesting – they’re the highlight – and that is that this has been around for a long time – light therapy – there’s been a lot of research, clinical studies, and trials, yet it’s not something that has been publicly aware. Up to this point, it’s still not.
Justin Strahan: Yeah.
Rob Shallenberger: That’s why we’re doing this podcast.
Justin Strahan: Yeah, I would say it’s still not. I mean, they’ve been using cold laser or low-level laser therapy since the ’60s for recovery and for physical therapy type applications where you’re treating joints with lasers and it was really with the advent of some research done by NASA in the ’90s, that demonstrated that LEDs could be just as effective as lasers, only now you don’t have to worry about overheating tissue, the price of the devices drops dramatically and now you have something that’s much easier to get into someone’s home to use on a daily basis. But, yeah, it’s very interesting, because even after that, all of the products in the market were really geared towards this almost consumer electronics, beauty space and there was really a lack of anyone bringing awareness to the overall health benefits for the deeper tissue when you use the right wavelengths of red and near infrared light.
Justin Strahan: So, just to jump into that real briefly, on those wavelengths, typically you’re looking at red wavelengths in the range of 630 to 670 nanometers, so the red to deep red range, and then near infrared wavelengths between about 810 nanometers to 880 nanometers. And the main difference between those two ranges, although they are thought to essentially have very similar effects on the cellular production of energy, the near infrared wavelengths are much more effective at reaching deeper tissue. So, if you look at most of the studies, they’re looking at joint pain, inflammation, reducing pain, improving recovery, those are typically in that near infrared range. So, one of the things that we did very early on – our first products, by the way, were all red devices and then, in 2017 we launched the equivalent of the system that you purchased, that uses both red and near infrared and we really saw a dramatic increase in the effectiveness of the therapy at that point.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, that’s a good clarification on the difference. I noticed that in researching it, is that it’s important to have both of those, right? And that actually brings me to the next question here, which is I didn’t have to look long to search out light therapy and other things to see that there are infrared saunas.
Justin Strahan: Yes.
Rob Shallenberger: So what’s the difference between an infrared sauna and say, the Joovv system and the setup between red and near infrared and what’s the difference between those two?
Justin Strahan: Yeah, that’s a very common question. We have a blog post on our website to address this in detail, but essentially with an infrared sauna, the whole purpose of a sauna is to raise the temperature of the body’s tissues. So, the most effective saunas are going to be using wavelengths that are in excess of 3000 nanometers and the reason for that is those wavelengths generate much more radiant heat. One of the things you probably found from your friend’s Joovv system is there’s very little heat delivered. Now, LEDs, of course, put off the heat so you have some kind of convection heat going on into the device itself, but in terms of the actual wavelengths, there’s very little heat delivered.
Justin Strahan: Whereas with a sauna you’re dealing with wavelengths in excess of 3000-5000 nanometers that are delivering high amounts of radiant heat, raising the body’s tissue, inducing those heat shock proteins and you get the benefits related to… Most of the studies with saunas are showing benefits related to the cardiovascular system, so you generate effects very similar to physical exercise. Whereas with light therapy, rather than putting kind of a stress on the system in inducing cardiovascular response, you’re actually giving nutrition to the body at the cellular level with these specific wavelengths. So, there are really two totally different therapies and you’ll find saunas that have red LEDs in them and so forth – but the intensity or dosage, if you will, of those wavelengths, is so minuscule to be essentially non-existent in terms of photobiomodulation.
Rob Shallenberger: Great description there, because I didn’t know what the difference was. I was looking in this, saying, “Well, do you get the sauna or do you get this?” Great clarification there. So, last question, and I think this is going to be one that applies to all of us because, what is the future of this? And what do I mean by that is, you know, we’ve been talking about how this is really something that even though it’s been around for a while, people don’t know about it. They don’t know what it is, but in new health – I don’t want to call it fad because I hope it’s something that sticks – in this new health direction that our society is moving, over the last 10 years where people are becoming much more conscious of their food, their body, their health, their exercise – this seems to have a big impact on that and, like you mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why it’s probably not well-known, is because it wasn’t something that was really available to the average person before. Whereas now, through the company you’ve started and with what you’ve developed, it is available to someone in their home. And so, this is something that could really be a big part of our future moving forward, not only with our diet, our health, our exercise and everything else, but this is a whole other arena that up to this point most people haven’t been aware of. So, what is the future of this going forward, into the 2020, 2025 and 2030 arena? What does that look like to you from your perspective?
Justin Strahan: In the words of Dr. Michael Hamblin, one of the things he mentioned one time, that just cracked me up, he said, “You know, in five to 10 years, I don’t know exactly how long this is going to take, but I see in the US, that virtually, every household would have some sort of light therapy device and I don’t see any reason why it can’t be you, guys.” I said “I like that answer!” So yeah, we really do see this as the future. People have beat to death all the different ways that you can exercise your body and that you can put nutrition in your body, but I really see light as kind of the third leg of that stool that many, many people are missing out on. And the cool thing is, it’s so effective that the vast majority of people are able to notice some sort of benefits very quickly.
Justin Strahan: So we are certainly going to continue to do our best to bring awareness to this. I don’t know what percentage of, if you were to pull 10 people in the street, what percentage have heard of any kind of light therapy products, it’s a pretty low percentage. So we’re excited for what the future holds and we’re doing our best to make inroads and provide education to bring more awareness to this therapy that we think, from what we’ve seen so far, has an incredible potential to dramatically improve people’s lives. So, I have to admit, the therapy works much better than I ever dreamed it would, which is I guess a good thing, but it’s been really just overwhelming, just the stories that you hear from people and the difference that our products are able to make in their lives.
Rob Shallenberger: Well, and that’s exactly, Justin, why I wanted to have you on this podcast, is to bring this type of awareness to our listeners. Part of Becoming Your Best is to stay on the leading edge, to be on the front edge and to be aware. And I can just tell you in my informal polling that I’ve done in the last two weeks, less than 10% of people have any idea what light therapy is. And I was in that category four weeks ago. Hence, the reason why we’re doing this podcast is to bring that awareness of what this is and the benefits that it can bring to a family, to a person, to an organization.
Rob Shallenberger: You mentioned that athletes are using this. So, my wife does Crossfit a lot, I do Crossfit; our son, like I said, played football, so we’re excited just to use this for the recovery alone, let alone all the other benefits that it’s going to bring. So, why don’t you, Justin, if you could, share where people can learn more about this, because we’ve had this brief introduction into what light therapy is and hopefully it’s peaked the interest in some people because it will make a difference in their lives, simply based on the people who have used this, I can say that. So, where could they learn more about this, specifically from Joovv? I mean, you’ve put together some great videos that can help people learn more about what Joovv is, light therapy, red versus near infrared. What’s a good place for them to go so that they can learn more about this?
Justin Strahan: Yeah, definitely. We appreciate the opportunity to make this available to your audience. Our website is joovv.com and I would encourage your listeners to check out the learn page and they can dive into as much science as they would like or stick to the basics in terms of how light therapy works and the various benefits that can be received. I will point out that every article on there, lists multiple published clinical research studies to back up the information that’s there, so definitely encourage you to check that out. Another fun thing to look at on the website is the customer reviews, those are 100% direct from our customers and that’s a great way, too, to get a snapshot of what people are seeing, as far as the impact in their lives by adding light therapy as a part of their daily routine.
Rob Shallenberger: And you talked about the testimonials – a part of the reason we’re on this podcast, again, is my friend in Alaska who I whole-heartedly trust. His testimonial was so overwhelmingly positive and amazing, that I said, “Man I really have to look into this as soon as possible.” Hence why we’re here and why I bought one and why I’m looking forward to setting it up on Thursday. So, excited for people to take a look at this, it’s just another piece of awareness that can really have a big impact. It’s part of becoming your best. So, again, that’s joovv.com, and Justin, one of the co-founders of the company. Justin, again, thanks for taking a few minutes today, this has been awesome to learn more about light therapy. Any parting comments that you want to make?
Justin Strahan: I just encourage people to take an active role in your own health. You only get one body so making investments in being your best, obviously taking care of the health of your body is a huge way you can do that, so I encourage you to check out the science and see for yourself.
Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, awesome! Well thanks, Justin, for being on the podcast today. Just a reminder, if you haven’t done it already, with yourself and your teams, you can take a personal productivity assessment on becomingyourbest.com and that will give you an objective score to see where you’re at. This light therapy is just one more area that’s going to play into that overall score and we just want to remind people that that is up there. If you haven’t taken it, go take it. And again, thanks, Justin, for being on the podcast today, for sharing your insight, your knowledge about light therapy. We encourage all of our listeners to go joovv.com, check it out, learn more about this, because, again, it’s one more thing that can have a big impact on our lives. So, to all of our listeners, we wish you the best and hope you have a great week!
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our podcast, listeners, wherever you might be in the world today! This is Steve Shallenberger, your host with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, and we have a powerful subject that we’re going to talk about today. There’s no doubt that each one of you listening, has a significant influence on those around you, on your team, and organization, your families. And today, we’re going to talk about a subject that helps us really build strong, professional and personal relationships that thrive. And also, it helps us bring out the very best in the people that we work with.
Steve Shallenberger: Now, as I introduce this today, just imagine, for yourself, sitting down in a room with a new employee, and you’ve decided to hire this person. One of the very best ways to do this is to introduce something that we call, “The Triad of a Relationship.” Now, one of the best ways to think about the triad of a relationship is to think about a milk stool. A milk stool has three legs, and what happens if you knock one of those legs out? Well, of course, the stool is going to fall over. And so, each one of these three legs, are vital and essential. You can’t do without all three of them together, it’s how these come together.
Steve Shallenberger: So, this is a basic, fundamental agreement, with every employee that you work with. And it goes two ways: when we sit down and we imagine sitting down and orienting this new employee, this new associate, well, what we can literally do is just say, “Listen, before we get going, I’d like to share with you a commitment we make to each other. There’s three things, it’s called, The Triad of the Relationship. Essentially, what this is, here they are.”
Steve Shallenberger: Let’s just imagine we’re now conducting that interview. Number one is that you commit to being trustworthy. In other words, this is honesty and integrity, in big things and small things, and that we have character to live the principles that guide your life, that are correct principles. And if you blow it, you apologize, and work to fix it, and move on. This means that if you say you’re going to do something, you do it. And then, it also means we make a commitment to being loyal to the absent. And that is that we agree that, first of all, if we have a problem, we’re going to take it to the person we have the problem with. We’re not going to go talk about this with other people, it just undermines relationships. And, as a matter of fact, if we’re in the absence of this person, that we commit that we will never say anything negative about another person, that we will speak positively of that person. We’ll actually go out of our way to find something good to say about them.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, all of these things build trust, right? And so, I would ask that person, “Do you have any problem with this one? Can you commit to this?” “Oh, yeah, I can commit to doing this.” The minute somebody commits to doing this, it’s a game-changer because it builds a stronger foundation for relationships. It brings higher trust within the organization and with each other. And so, it’s extremely powerful.
Steve Shallenberger: And then, I would look at them and say, “Okay, the second one is that we have a commitment to be the best at what we do.” And so, this is at the very heart and soul of Becoming Your Best. It is a magnificent attitude and journey towards that direction of becoming our best. It’s the mindset, it’s how we look at our job and whatever your job is, whether it’s a parent or a coach or a CEO or a warehouse person or a sales rep, it’s a commitment to yourself to be among the best anywhere, at what you do.
Steve Shallenberger: And so, this is very powerful. And so, you just say, “Okay, I’m going to do whatever it takes, in terms of figuring out how to build these skills, in my life.” But that’s the commitment – it’s a commitment to excellence! So, I would look at that person, and say, “Do you have any problem with this?” “Oh, no! No, I commit to that!” Okay. Well, that’s one of the things that we want in our organization and I likewise commit to it because, you see, we all are going to make this commitment.
Steve Shallenberger: And third, and last of all – for some people, this one is the most difficult – and it is to be fun to work together with. It’s easy to work together with someone when things are going well. What we’re talking about is not only when things are going well, but when the pressure, the heat, is turned up and things aren’t going well. Mistakes are made, and perfection isn’t obtained; revenues or profits start going down. This is when we are especially committed to being fun to work with. We commit not to yell at one another, that just doesn’t help at all, but more importantly, we are committed to working together, to solve the problems together, that we’re far more effective working together and solving a problem than we are at each other’s throats. Life is simply too short to be upset at one another.
Steve Shallenberger: And so, we find ways to make things go great, to have fun to work with one another. We have an office manager in one of the companies in Northern California, they’re an absolute market leader, they’re amazing and this is one of the parts of their core values, is we have fun. Things happen all the time, but they still make it fun. I just love working with them, they’re so good! And then, I would look at this person that I’m sitting down with, and say, “Do you have any problem with this one?” And they say, “No”. They kind of laugh and say, “I can do that one, that’s what I want to do!” And I say, “I commit to do that as well.”
Steve Shallenberger: And then, from there, now you have a foundation as you work together, that is profound and if there’s ever a violation, in that you let them know that it’s a big deal, it’s not a small deal, these are three fundamental very simple things, but they’re fundamental to successful relationships and working together.
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, so what I’d like to do in this podcast today, is just go over three case studies, one with each one. But that’s how it is, it’s that simple, okay? Do you just sit down? And here are the three things and are we good to go with that? And if they are, great! If not, my recommendation is, do not hire them, it’s not worth it.
Steve Shallenberger: Alright, well, let’s just go over case study number 1 – you commit to being trustworthy. Here’s the first one, I’ll tell you about the story – Bill, an employee, was concerned that – he’s the leader – that one of his employees on his team, Mike, wasn’t pulling his fair share. And he seemed to come in late, going home early, and Mike had spurts of greatness, but Bill felt like his punctuality was hurting the team.
Steve Shallenberger: So, what can Bill do to be loyal to the absent? In other words, this commitment to being trustworthy. Well, one is he can be sure there is a relationship agreement in place to spell out expectations. As, if you’re an experienced listener to the Becoming Your Best podcast, you know that the Relationship Agreement is actually a formal agreement, that’s typed out, that has four parts to it and it has to do with your work relationship, primarily. It could be also personal, it could be children and the job that they’re going to do around the house or they want to take a trip to Alaska, or do a humanitarian project in Central or South America, or Africa. Well, the Relationship Agreement can spell all of that out.
Steve Shallenberger: And here are the four parts: What’s the vision – what are we both trying to achieve here; what are the reward systems the investment to cost, how does this work, how are people paid, etc. Number three what are the guidelines, focus and no-no’s for our relationship, this work or whatever you’re working on, and last of all, accountability. So, if there is a Relationship Agreement set up, in this case, with Bill and Mike, there could be an expectation for “Here’s what time we start and here’s what time we end.” So, if you have a Relationship Agreement in there, that’s significant.
Steve Shallenberger: Another is, be committed to bringing out the best in Mike, if you’re Bill, by engaging Mike in the vision and the contribution that he’s making on the team. Talk with Mike personally and privately about the expectations and getting his thoughts on things. So, that’s as significant. The results of this approach, which is Bill versus Bill sharing his frustration with others, is Mike is the only one that can solve this problem of behavior, right? So it doesn’t help for Bill to be talking around with others about it. Just take it to Mike and let’s go to work on it. He’s got a framework here. Handling this privately is an opportunity to not only build trust, but to build Mike.
Steve Shallenberger: Another part of this case study is, if you say you’re going to do something, deliver. And if you cannot, communicate this, that you have a problem, and give the people an update and what to expect and then deliver on the revised plan. All of these things help build trust.
Steve Shallenberger: Okay, that’s one case study, as we think about these three parts to the Triad of the Relationship, which is, commitment to being trustworthy, doing what you say, being loyal to the absent. Number two is you commit to be the best at what you do. You look around and you say, “Okay, here’s the job, and I’m going to be among the very best anywhere.” Here’s the case study on this one:
Steve Shallenberger: We have a client that has a division manager, of a major division I might add, that had previously been an estimator for another division of the same company. He had worked hard to become an outstanding and consistent producer as an estimator, a sales generator for the company. And he was part of the Executive Operations Committee of this company, of his group. Well, he really also had a desire to work in management and to make a greater contribution in the organization, as he could. So, he expressed that to the leaders of the company, and he continued to be excellent in the position that he had, being among the best.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, the opportunity came up in the company, to take over a division that was struggling in a significant way. It had big-time problems. And over a 10-year period, even though there were stumbles and issues, he learned from each one of these learning experiences, and some of the mistakes were quite costly I might add, but he took responsibility for them. He says, “Well, I’m the top guy here, in this division. I’ll take responsibility. We’re going to learn from this, and move forward, and try not to ever repeat it.” He went to seminars, he was dedicated in applying the Becoming Your Best Principles, and continues to do so, the 12 Principles, the behaviors, habits, and tools of High Performance, right?
Steve Shallenberger: He taught others within his division these principles, he worked hard to bring out the best in his associate to set the vision, he said, “Here are our core values, here’s our annual plan, here’s our quarterly meetings, and to keep the boat on track.” Very powerful! And the result is this division has grown 600% over a 10-year period and has become one of the top divisions in this company, with revenues in the solid eight-figures. He’d be the first to say he’s grateful for the success but he still has much to accomplish. And this is the mindset of someone that is trying to be the best at what you do. You keep working at it. You know, we’re never done with it, and it’s a delight, actually, to work with this individual. Okay? That’s the second one, that’s the impact when we keep working on these things.
Steve Shallenberger: And last of all, the third case study that I have today is, we have a client that shared this experience: One of the company’s key employees, Jim, we’ll say, sent out an email to many clients, that ended up having errors in it. This was upsetting and embarrassing to his line manager. And the line manager, Mary, wrote a stinging rebuke to the individual, pointing out the problem and asked that individual to simply do what she had asked him to do. No errors! “Just send out what I gave you!” And now we have something that went out to thousands of people. That’s what the email said.
Steve Shallenberger: So, first of all, how did Mary, the line manager feel when she saw the error that had already gone out? Well, of course, she was upset, she was embarrassed ticked off, to say the least, right? And how do you suppose Jim felt when he received this email from Mary? Well, he probably felt bad, probably felt upset, probably felt maybe fired up also that he had been treated so harshly, maybe. It’s not that the problem was okay, but the real question is, is this climate being fun to work with?
Steve Shallenberger: Well, see, we each have a responsibility to create that climate. So, how can you keep your commitment to be fun to work with and maintain a high standard of no errors and excellent communication? And by the way, this very same situation can show up with many different phases and circumstances. Errors, problems, failed expectations – they show up all the time, don’t they? Really, every day almost, every week we see them. So, how do we ensure a high standard of excellence, while at the same time, really creating a fun environment? And I think that’s the challenge: how do we bring a problem, an error, to another’s attention? And improve and motivate the other person, at the same time?
Steve Shallenberger: Well this is the opportunity of Highly Successful Leadership and your answer to this question can be profound and have an enormous impact on people and the culture of your organization, to be a high-performance organization and team, individuals, and a pleasant place to work, at the same time?
Steve Shallenberger: So, let’s just kind of dissect this issue here – what can you do if you’re Mary, with this kind of situation? Well, one thing that you can do, is you can see the long term. Maintain your high standards, but also motivate and bring out the best in employees or associates at the same time. Peter Drucker was fond to saying, “90% of problems are caused by systems and 10% by people.” People want to do the right thing, and if you want to correct most problems, correct the systems. And we are the ones that can impact the systems, design the systems and prove them.
Steve Shallenberger: Be thoughtful of what caused this problem in the first place. Is it an overworked person? Wrong assignment? They don’t have this capability? Is it a training issue, grammar spelling skills? Are there checks and balances on a document that’s going out? In other words, let’s look at the systems that cause this in the first place. Thinking that way as a leader, really helps it put in a different perspective when we see problems coming along. It’s not that we tolerate problems, errors, mistakes, at all. We can maintain a high standard but it’s also keeping the bigger picture of how do we solve them permanently. That’s what we want to do. Create a system that’s sustainable, of excellence. And although the immediate email going out is frustrating, it may be a symptom of a bigger problem that needs to be dealt with.
Steve Shallenberger: So, rather than blaming or criticizing, Mary could take responsibility for the errors and with a healthy degree of patience, attack the problem, and how can we eliminate this type of problem in the future? Situations like these can be frustrating and upsetting, but the best solution is often, “How do we fix this problem permanently?” And that is what Highly Successful Leaders do. You are best off when you accept the responsibility for the error and look at ways to prevent it in the future, all while bringing out the very best in the people that you work with.
Steve Shallenberger: As a matter of fact, Harvard Business School recently completed a study that demonstrated that criticism doesn’t really help solve problems. So, going after the root of the problem, together, does. Working it, solving it together. Recognizing the good in others really helps solve problems, and that is really what helps us get to a better system.
Steve Shallenberger: Now, what can you do if you’re Jim? You’re the other side of the quotient. Well, one of the things that you can do is say, “Thank you, Mary, for writing the email. I’m going to work on this. I appreciate the awareness.” You can indicate that you’re going to investigate to see what happened. And don’t take the email personally, just maintain a commitment to excellence. Be grateful to your direct manager that they would be so clear with you about the errors – what a blessing this is! And what can you do to be sure that this will never happen again? What can you do to fix the system? Is this a training problem – in other words, grammar or spelling skills that you need to build? See, this is part of being among the best is you’d get the grammar, you learn how to be perfect in spelling. Use the spellchecks but also take the time to do the due diligence. Being in a hurry? Could that be it? Is it a division of responsibility issue? I’ve got too much to do? Is this a reoccurring problem? How do we get to the root? And what are the 12 Principles that help you get to a new level of excellence?
Steve Shallenberger: So, not only for you but for the entire team or organization, come up with a plan of action of how to get to a better place. When you take that kind of an attitude, no complaining, no criticizing, going after the problem, thanking Mary for the email, isn’t that the best? That’s what helps you be true to these three things, the Triad of Relationship: being trustworthy, being committed to excellence, and number three, you being committed to being fun to be with. It’s not dependent upon somebody else. That’s kind of hard sometimes, isn’t it?
Steve Shallenberger: Well, the Triad of Relationship is ever so simple, yet enormously powerful and having a culture of solid relationships and teams. This can be one of your shared core values – to unleashing a magic genie of outstanding performance while having a great time together in the process.
Steve Shallenberger: I’ll tell you one last story, as we wrap it up today. One of our wonderful friends and a coaching client is the president of one of the major marketplaces of a National Bank. Everybody would recognize the name. His market service territory, which encompasses a major part of the United States has been among the top, including being ranked as number one in the whole country. So, he’s got high standards, high performance, this mindset of what we’re talking about. And he is true to the Triad of Relationship, I might add.
Steve Shallenberger: As we were visiting a couple of weeks ago and had a great coaching visit, fun to catch up and then go over his goals, the things he’s working on, he indicated that one of the things that he’s working on is forgiveness, being non-judgmental, not just making quick judgments, but taking time to learn somebody’s story and being compassionate. Now, isn’t that interesting, that these would be traits that a top CEO or President type would be working on while maintaining high standards?
Steve Shallenberger: Well, that is exactly what we’re talking about here with the triad of the Relationship. It is this commitment to being trustworthy and doing the things we’ve talked about, doing what you say. But it’s also being among the best at what you do, and number three, being fun to work with. It’s being considerate, it’s cutting people slack, it’s being compassionate, non-judgmental, while maintaining a high standard. And I would suggest to you, you can have both.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, it’s been a delight being together today on this podcast. You’re an extraordinary group that are listening to this. You’re committed to improving, to applying these type of things, and as a result, you are making such a difference, in your own life, and also in the lives of countless others. This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day!
Rob: All right! Welcome back to our Becoming Your Best Podcast, listeners, friends, family, wherever you’re at in the world. We have a special guest with us today who I consider to be one of my dear, close friends: Thomas Blackwell. We’ve known each other for several years. He is our Master Trainer at Becoming Your Best. He just returned from South Africa, from Johannesburg and Durban, where he certified a bunch of other trainers for Becoming Your Best, many of whom will listen to this podcast.
Thomas is just an example, in so many ways, of someone who lives the principles, who has a big impact for good on the world. I don’t want to overstate this—we’re all human—but he’s just an amazing person. Really. He’s been married for quite some time. Thomas, how many years?
Thomas: 20 years this month.
Rob: 20 years. He’s got some beautiful children, a beautiful wife, and he’s written a book called The Liberty of our Language Revealed, for which we’re going to talk about a lot on this podcast, and why he wrote that what it’s all about, the power of our words—our language, our thoughts.
I had the chance to spend several days with Thomas in South Africa a few months back, and we just had a chance to really connect across the board. I mean, he has all the accolades. He’s delivered more than a thousand keynotes around the world, and just a vast resume of teaching tennis, of starting different businesses—an entrepreneur, but more than all of those things, it’s who he is as an example to me. I just really respect Thomas as an incredible person, as an example who’s blessed my life in a lot of different ways.
So, Thomas, grateful to have you on this podcast.
Thomas: Thanks, Rob. It’s exciting to be here and excited to see what’s happening in the world as a result of Becoming Your Best and so many people taking those action steps.
Rob: You know, the purpose is…
Thomas and I talked prior to this, as we mentioned, is to really dive into the book that he just recently released called The Liberty of Our Language Revealed, and get into why I feel like this could be such a benefit to so many people who listen to this podcast, anywhere in the world, irrespective of culture, age, gender, race, religion. You know, it doesn’t really matter what’s in this book; it’s so powerful. So, we wanted to devote an entire podcast to his book, which will be on our website. We’ll talk about how to get it at the end of the podcast and what goes along with that. But, let’s just jump right into this, Thomas.
As you think about the book, what inspired you to write The Liberty of Our Language Revealed?
Thomas: Yeah. That’s a great question, Rob.
What happened, early in my life, I realized that when I said I could, or I can—whether it was in athletics, school, a job, a task—I could. When I said I can’t, I couldn’t. So, I applied these to goals early in my life and businesses. I’ve trained organizations on it. It’s just a common theme: I always knew that someone was going to succeed. I knew if they were going to succeed or not simply by their language. It’s if they said so or not. I could tell their belief system very fast by their language. I could tell the direction they were heading very quickly. So, I knew this common theme was going to be one that I would speak about and attribute to many different successes, so I knew I wanted to get a book out there to the world, at some point, to help change their language so they can change their results, change their environment. You know, and their life. Now, Rob, I thought I was going to be—I would have it done 10 years ago. I started, because I had all these ideas and things in my mind, but it has taken 10 years to write it, and it was interesting that many of the experiences that I had inside of the book, as you read through the story, happened inside those 10 years. So, it was a lesson for me, and great that I listened to those promptings and things. But, it’s just been an amazing experience. Very humbling and inspiring, how it all came about.
Rob: Yeah. That’s a great background. So, since we’re talking about the book, there’s so many options of things to listen to—on Audible, so many books to buy and invest in. This is a big deal, and I highly recommend that anybody listening to this podcast read this book. It will transform the way you think about your words, your language, and certainly your thoughts.
From your perspective, Thomas, why should someone buy this book? I mean, what impact would it have on their lives? Why should someone read this?
Thomas: Yeah. It’s great.
So, my thought there: I’m a big advocate in investing in yourself. You know? Like you mentioned, that’s the first word that I would change. When people think about it from buying to investing, because when you invest you get a return on your investment.
Thomas: So, the reason that someone should invest in a book on the power of language is because the moment someone decides to change their language to what they actually want, it manifests itself. I found that many people are unconsciously going through life saying what they don’t want, Rob, and it’s coming to pass. So, I relate this example in the book. To put it simply, the captain and the crew example. Our mouth is the captain, our words are the captain, and even our thoughts. When you think about our thoughts, Rob, all our thoughts are, are just silent words. Either way, the words are the trigger. So, when the captain says it, the crew goes to work to accomplish that. You see, the brain’s a goal-achieving machine. The crew’s a goal-achieving machine. So, whatever the captain says. If the captain says, “Sail toward the Promised Land,” the crew goes to work to sail toward the promised land.
Thomas: If the captain says, “Sink this ship,” the crew goes to work to sink the ship. There’s no filter where the captain says, “Okay, sink this ship,” and the crew doesn’t say, “Secretly, we’re going to sail toward the Promised Land.” They only know to obey. So, that’s the power, and I talk about the science behind it, and the proof behind how that all works out in our manifestations of who we are.
So, we’ve adopted the sayings throughout our life and throughout our history, where people just say things unconsciously—sort of numb—and what they don’t realize is, it’s happening. It comes into play because of that.
We were on a trip not that long ago in the Caribbean. Someone said, “Oh, the weather’s changing. I would get sick when the weather changes.”
I said, “You want to get sick when the weather changes?”
“Well, no, but that’s just what always happens.” So, what happens is his crew goes to work to make his body sick because the weather changes.
Doctors love this. There are 6 seasons. Oh, it’s flu season. It’s this season. Like, sickness has a season. So, people say, “Oh, it’s time to get sick.” You know? That’s the stuff that’s been unconsciously going, where you and I have talked about health a lot. We don’t get sick. We don’t have time to get sick, you know? Especially when running our businesses. We stay healthy because we need to, and we tell our crews that we’re healthy, and that’s exactly what happened.
So, back to your point is, when someone wants to change immediately their results, their environment, change their language. That’s the power of it. So, that’s what I why I would ask them to invest in themselves in this way.
Rob: Really, you just summarized it right there in those two statements. Change your language, change your results. “What we talk about is what we bring about,” is this tagline that you often use. That’s the perfect case and point. How many times do we know someone who’s either said that, or we’ve been the one who said it. You know, “I always get sick this time of year.” Indeed, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the person gets sick. It’s amazing, Thomas, as soon as we really start looking at our words carefully, how often we use words that are setting ourselves up for a desired outcome or an undesired outcome, and the power of how those words will fulfill themselves.
So, here’s a different little bit of spin on this question. We just talked about why someone would invest in the book, not buy it. Why would someone invest in the book? Well, investing in a book is only step one. Step two is to actually read it!
Rob: We oftentimes have this big shelf of books. All of our readers know, this is a big deal. There’s a very strong correlation to how much we read and our success. You probably heard us share this statistic in the past, that 43% of college graduates will never read another book for the rest of their lives. This habit of reading is a very strong predictor in correlation to success. So, it’s not just investing in the book. It’s reading it. So, why should someone not only invest in it, which is a great example that you used there of the captain and the ship. Why should someone read it? What are they going to get when they actually read it?
Thomas: Great point. I’m glad you said that, Rob. It’s something that we talked about, especially in Becoming Your Best and helping people become their best for the world. We talk about this temple phrase of greatness sending greatness out; changing it from, “garbage in, garbage out,” to “greatness in, greatness out.” So, look. Rob, if people want things to get better, then they have to get better. If you want your value to increase in your bank account, then your personal value has to increase. The only way I know how to do that is to put greatness in. Reading has been proven—and we can see many, many examples of people that have been successful in many facets of their life: they’re constantly putting in great things. So, yeah. Not just getting it, but reading it.
Jim Rohn, a great philosopher, said it this way. He said, “If you want to make a living, work at a job. If you want to make a fortune, work on yourself.”
Warren Buffett even said, “The best investment you could ever make is in yourself.”
So, getting these books and actually reading them will make you better. Now, on language is the fastest, I’ve found, indicator to change something immediately, by just changing your language. So, I will tell you that it’s been a very inspiring thing to see because I wrote it in a story-form, the most common feedback I get, Rob, is, “I couldn’t put it down.” If you’ve looked at the reviews on different review sites, the number one thing is, “I couldn’t put it down,” because it keeps you intrigued. It’s a story. It keeps you all the way to the end while the principles are teaching you.
So, only if you want things to get better, read the book.
Rob: Yeah. I mean, I read the book. I would say the exact same thing. I couldn’t put it down until I finished. Even at the end, it will leave you hanging because I know there’s more to come in another book. But it was…
Thomas: By design.
Rob: By design. It’s exactly right. You can’t put this one down. The reason I asked this question specifically is, I believe that this is such a life-changing book, just like Becoming Your Best and The Transformation Challenge, but this is not a book to just simply go on Amazon and order, or from our website, or his website. This is a book to actually read. So, I would invite all of the people listening to this podcast to invest in the book and commit to read it within the next 30 days, because this can have such a substantial impact in your life, like it did with mine, and with our family. We have been so conscious with our children, of not only changing their language but changing out language as a family. It’s had a big impact in our family. So, this isn’t just about getting the book. That’s only step one. Reading it is step two. I would invite all of us to do that within the next 30 days.
To tie this back to the listeners, Thomas, and to all of us, and you and I in private conversations have had so many conversations and discussions around different stories and the impacts of language. For someone who’s not familiar with all of this, and this is brand new to them, what proof or experiences could you share that, by reading the book, the person will have a transformation?
Thomas: Yeah. That’s a good, deep question. I’m actually quite amazed. It’s only been out a year, but the stories that are getting sent—and these are just the ones that I know about. The first one that comes to mind is a gentleman, actually has a very successful business in South Africa, and when he read the book, he, for years and years, he’s had a very rocky, tough relationship with his father-in-law. After he read the book on language—one of the chapters is you tend to act how you speak to them. Another chapter is on the liberating language of forgiveness. Another chapter on the language of gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness. He said, “I’m going to change. I’m only going to speak love to him, and I’m going to forgive him upfront, and he might not even know that he’s offended me, but we couldn’t even sit in the same room,” he would say, “for a long period of time.” Since he’s done that, he said, “It’s like this little trick. It’s like this little secret. All of a sudden, I said, ‘How about we go to lunch?’ And he said, ‘Okay.’ Now we’re going to lunch, and now we talk every week. My wife says, ‘What have you done? What happened?’” He said, “’Well, it’s this book.’” He wrote me a long, kind email saying, “This has totally changed my relationship with my father-in-law that, for years, was unsavable-type-thing.” He says, “I just know that I can just speak to them with love, and they act with love,” and he got that from the principles of the book. That’s one example.
Another one is a close family member of mine. He gave me a call one day and, in his 21 years of life, has never called me in his life, Rob. I get this call and he says, “I love you. I miss you. Can you call me?” Well, it turns out that he received the book from my brother, and he said, “I work construction, and I would race home and binge on Netflix every night, and that was my pattern. I’d binge on Netflix, and then I’d go to work. I got your book,” and he said, “Uncle Thomas, I don’t even like books. You know what I mean? I was forced to read in school. I didn’t like them. But, I got your book. I said, ‘You know, he’s my uncle, I’m going to read the book,’ and I found myself racing home to read your book. I finished it, and now I have notes all over my mirror saying what I want my day to be, and commanding my crew, and I just changed the words of the captain.” Now, his relationship is so much better with his fiancé, and “everything’s changed for me,” he said. “It’s changed my world, literally.” I knew, if it was just for him, it was worth it, but then I knew that there was something to this, Rob. It was so much bigger than me, that people are getting this. It’s just been amazing.
One gal, just the other day, she got a book. This is the review she put on one of the sites: “This is a book you should pass down through your family. After purchasing, I shared with my mom. My mom, after reading, immediately ordered 25 copies for each one of her kids and her grandchildren.” So, that’s what she did, but this is common.
I mean, a gentleman who read it. He owns several car dealerships. He read it, and he bought over a hundred of them for an entire car dealership’s staff because it changed his environment so fast.
So, these are things that are happening.
One gal, she read it, and she said, “I’m terrified of planes and I’m terrified of family reunions.” I don’t know how those two things got in the same sentence, but nonetheless, she said, every year—her family has 10 siblings, and it was causing anxiety, panic. They’d have to get on a plane to do it. She read my book and she changed her language, and now she’s shown gratitude for planes, Rob. She said, “I’m so grateful I can get on a plane and go from one point in the country to another, and not have to drive. What a blessing that my family is getting together every year, all 10 of us, whereas many families may not.” So, they’re driving to the airport and she’s just this calm, peaceful lady. Her husband turned and said, “What is going on? At this point, typically, you are in a severe panic and anxiety attack.” She says, “No. I just changed my language and it changed my results. It changed my pattern.” So, her whole family noticed it. Her dad noticed it. He said, “What have you done? What’s going on here?” Gave him my book, and the dad bought a book for all 10 children.
So, these are just some things that I’ve heard back, and it’s just been very humbling and inspiring, but it is amazing what the principles are doing for people when they apply them and read it.
Rob: Well, and that’s why I asked you to share some of those experiences because we’ve seen the same in our own house. Anyone listening to this podcast is probably familiar with our quote that we use all the time, which is “good, better, best, never let it rest until the good is better, and the better is best.” This is one of those areas where it’s a thing of constant improvement.
I’ll just give you an example. I was with Thomas in South Africa. It was so funny. Let me see if I can get the exact words right. Here, Thomas. I’m sure you’ll remember this: “Hey, can you help me so I don’t forget this?” We both laughed, because look at the language there! That was said in the negative, versus, “Hey, can you help me remember this?” It’s not so I don’t forget, it’s so I can remember it. Just subtle little things.
You know, the daughter’s sitting on the table. “Get off so you don’t fall,” or, “Why don’t we get down so that you stay safe?” You know? It’s just these subtle little things. As soon as we start to recognize and pay attention to our language, this is where that spirit of good-better-best comes in. Any of us can take this, I’m confident, and improve our language which will improve our results.
I’ll just share one quick story of how much of a believer I am in our language dictating our results. I mean, I’ve been really focused on this for seven or eight years, and Thomas’ book has helped give me clarification that I haven’t seen from any other book.
So, about two years ago, we had no intention of moving. One afternoon, I came back from a trip doing a seminar. We went out and looked at a home in the east side of the valley where we lived, just for fun, just to look at the home. We walked in and said, “This isn’t it. There’s nothing to this. We’re wasting our time.”
We came back home, and I told our realtor—who I’d just called out of the blue, I said, “We’re not even looking for a home, but if you have anything that kind of fits this criteria, let me know.” To her credit, by the time I was upstairs in my office, she had sent 17 homes on instant messenger. I looked through them, and one of them caught my eye. I said, “Hm.”
So, my wife went and looked with me. My wife and I went and looked at it on Saturday, and we said, “I think this is it. We need to move.”
She said, “Well, let’s think about it.”
I said, “Well, we have tomorrow, so let’s think about it until tomorrow.” Monday, we went back, and we made an offer that day, on Monday, non-contingent on the sale of our other home. We just simply made the offer. Here’s the closing date, and it’s going to work out.
Our realtor was asking us, “Hey, don’t you want to make this contingent on the sale of your other home?” and some other questions.
I said, “No. Things will always work out in our favor. They’ll work out exactly how they’re supposed to.”
You know, I got the skeptical eye there. I said, “Just watch. Things will work out in exactly how they’re supposed to, and they’ll always work out in our favor.”
Sure enough, even though there were a couple bumps long the way, we closed on the date we planned to close on and sold our other home. It was sold within a couple days of listing it, and by the time it was all said and done, our realtor said, “I’ve never seen anything like this. The entire time you kept talking about how it’s always going to work out in our favor. To be honest, I couldn’t believe it until I saw it happen.” She was at the next breakthrough leadership conference, because she said, “This has so intrigued me, the words that had been used along the way.”
To Thomas’ point, the reason I share that is because it came exactly as we had talked about it would, and it did. In the spirit of good-better-best, even though it’s something we’ve been focused on for years, after reading the book I’ve realized that there are so many things I could say in a different way to even take what’s good and make it better. So, I’m very thankful to Thomas for that.
So, maybe in our remaining time, Thomas, just a couple more questions that I have personally, and probably a lot of our listeners have, too. I think you’ve done a great job describing how this book would benefit so many people. Who specifically would benefit from reading this? I certainly had my answer to this, you know, just like other people said they bought it for their children, for their employees. I did the same for my children. I bought a book for each one of them, as you know, and I paid each one $50 if they’ll read it and write a report on what they learned from it, and how it applies to their life. I want to them to read the book. It’s going to change their lives.
So, from my perspective, this has a pretty wide swath. Anyone can read this book. What are your thoughts on this? Who specifically would really benefit from reading and applying the principles from The Liberty of Our Language Revealed?
Thomas: Yeah, great question. Thanks for sharing that story, too, Rob. I love that, love that. I’m going to get that question, but we shared so much common theme there. If you recall my voiced message, we have this common thing in our family that everything always works out for our good, and that’s what my voice message would say—that everything works out for our good. We say that every single morning, as a family, after we have our tradition of family prayer. Together, we always say, “Everything always works out for our good.” You know? Because we love God, and it’s a scriptural thing. It’s a biblical thing. Romans 8:28. It does. It truly does.
Who, specifically, you mentioned, would benefit from this?
I would say anyone who uses words on a daily basis and wants to see an immediate shift in the results and environment. That’s who it’s for, and it’s been phenomenal to see the wide range in people, from very, very successful business owners in one category, to a teenager, to a person younger than a teenager, to a mother, a grandma. Really, if you want to change your results immediately, and want to shift them fast in their environment, then you’re using words on a daily basis. So, that could be everybody, but I wanted to give a specific answer that we all could use a shift, even a person like yourself, Rob, that was pretty keen on being conscious of what you’re saying. This fine-tunes, at whatever level that you’re at.
I think of a gentleman. He’s a successful guy. He’s traveled for over 25 years, business, around the world. One day, he wakes up with severe depression. He gets dressed to get on a plane, in a suit, and he can’t leave his room. He says, “I don’t know what happened, but I just got hit by a mac truck with depression.” They tried all sorts of things, for four, five months. Different psychiatrists. He just couldn’t get out. He just couldn’t shake it.
A friend of ours had a thought, an impression, to send him my book—not knowing what he was dealing with, but just as a Christmas gift sent him my book. His wife gave him my book, and within two days he came out dressed in his suit, and he said, “Okay. I’m good to go again.”
Rob: Amazing, isn’t it?
Thomas: I can’t make that stuff up. That’s what’s amazing. When a person recommands the crew and shifts those things in the different chapters it touches on, I’m just constantly amazed by those sorts of things. So, really, again, anyone who’s using words on a daily basis and wants a shift in their results and environment should absolutely read The Liberty of our Language Revealed.
Rob: Yeah, totally agree. I mean, if someone is in a leadership capacity where they have a supervisory role with someone else on their team, this is a book that everybody on the team should read. It’s just that simple. It’s so powerful. It can go so far in helping people change their attitude, improve their attitude, improve their demeanor, be more pleasant and fun to be around. Certainly, for your children or family members. If you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews.
Like I said, the proof is in the pudding. I did this exact same thing for my kids, and it’s had an awesome impact on our family. I don’t know if everyone listening to this just caught that, but I certainly just took a note, and I’m going to do this with our children. You know, after we finish our family prayer in the morning, we’re going to say the exact same thing, because what a great way to start the day.
We have a little bit of a different song. Can I share this with you, Thomas?
Thomas: Sure. I love when you sing, Rob.
Rob: Yeah, well that’s the problem right here. We don’t alienate everyone and have them turn off the podcast.
We sing this. It’s what we call—it’s a song that sales reps used to go out and say right before they go out and knock on the doors in the selling business I was a part of 20 years ago. We say this: [singing] “It’s a great day to be a Shallenberger. Best thing I know! Great day to be a Shallenberger, everywhere I go-go-go-go. Goodbye to no, never! Goodbye doubt and fear. It’s a great day to be a Shallenberger and be a good cheer. I feel healthy! I feel happy! I feel terrific!” You know?
Thomas: I love it.
Rob: We used to have some fun with that. I just realized we’ve gotten away from that. Our daughters were somewhat participatory. They’re like, “Oh, here we go again.” But, it’s funny, every time we finished they would smile. So, I’ve just taken something away from this podcast, and I hope that we’re all really looking at our own language.
One thing that I can say about this book because I’ve said it many times already on this podcast, is that it will help you see the way that you talk and think in a whole new light. Guaranteed. No matter what position you’re starting from, it will do that for you.
So, Thomas, before we get ready to wrap up. Can you believe it’s been 26 minutes already?
Rob: Any parting thoughts, lessons learned, and then we can share with the listeners where they can get the book, and anything else that would be valuable? Any parting thoughts, lessons learned?
Thomas: Sure. Yeah. What I’ve seen majorly with this is we want our people—whatever organization we’re in. Whether it’s a family, whether it’s an organization, whether I’m a leader in a capacity, we want change to happen within them. What I’ve found is companies that have invested in this for their whole organization, and they’re giving them this book, and they’re reading it, and the key measure is to have a follow-up session and talk about it. Lessons learned from the book. It’s changing them—culture, people, attitudes, behavior—from the inside out. That’s what they want. Instead of saying, “Change your behavior. Do this better.” Instead of barking from the outside in¸ because I put it in this form, people are having internal changes and they’re coming better, showing up as a family member, a husband, a father, wife, a sister, brother, whatever it might be. As an employee. As a leader. As a manager.
So, that’s what’s happening. The book is having an effect internally, and they’re becoming better so things are becoming better for them. It’s so humbling and inspiring, as I’ve mentioned before, that this all came about and just am so excited to see what the future holds with so many more stories. It’s certainly the payoff that I see from people’s stories as they apply these principles. People want an internal change without you having to do all the work. Look, I’ve done all the work over the last 10 years. Give them the book and let those principles happen, and key measures. We talk about Becoming Your Best, is there needs to be a set time of, “Let’s debrief.” Let’s talk about certain chapters. Let’s take these pieces and how we can apply them this week or this month as an individual or organization. So, that’s what came to mind for me.
Rob: Yeah. Great thoughts. Well, you know, a couple things. We’re going to wrap this up.
Number one, we need to be bold and clear on this. This is going to be a new workshop and course with Becoming Your Best, The Liberty of Our Language. In other words, the power of our words, transforming our words, change our language, change our results. There is now an entire workshop that we’re adding to the Becoming Your Best options, along with the planning and execution, the 12 principles, the time management. There is an entire workshop that is devoted to this: the power of our language and the impact that it can have on our team. Half-day-full-day format, but this is going to be another one of the Becoming Your Best seminars. Thomas will teach that many times. He’ll be the one that leads that discussion often, when he’s available and not doing other seminars. But, this is something that can actually be done within the team and complement to getting the book.
So, as we get ready to wrap this up, Thomas, again, thanks for being on here today.
What’s the best way for the listeners to order multiple copies of the book for themselves and their spheres of influence?
Thomas: Yeah, I’m excited about this, Rob. If people just go to our website—becomingyourbest.com—they can just click on the Store, go into the Becoming Your Best Library, and they can get as many as they want.
Look, I tell people, “At least get five, because there’s you, but then you have at least a five-person sphere of influence, and as it’s larger, get them by the boxes because that’s just going to happen.” I have realtors that hand these things out as gifts, and they’re creating a whole environment.
So, go to becomingyourbest.com, click on Store. It’s right there in Becoming Your Best Library. As you mentioned, we’re also doing workshops around this, for organizations and individuals become their best by changing their language and changing their results. So, yeah. I’m excited to hear more stories and results from people.
Rob: It will be. You know, I’m excited for the people that do this workshop with their organizations and with their teams, because it’s mind-blowing. It really is. By the end of the day, people just walk out of there transformed and so introspective, just like that nephew that you described who’s a construction worker, came back and binge-watched Netflix. I mean, that was his life until he saw this thing differently. So, I’m excited about this. This is going to be a great addition to Becoming Your Best.
Thomas, again, thank you for being on here. You’re just an amazing person, and I think people get a sense for that already just after the short 30 minutes that we’ve had on this podcast. This is really the beginning of the journey. We’re going to do more podcasts with Thomas on some of these, and other things that are coming around this way, but I think the invitation from here is, go invest in the book for yourself, your team, and your family. Let’s hear some of your comments. We’d love to hear your feedback on some of your stories, just like Thomas mentioned, because—man—this stuff is a game-changer. I’ve seen it first-hand in my life and in the lives of my children, and certainly our team.
So, Thomas, thanks so much for being on the podcast, buddy. Great having you here. To all of our listeners, wherever you’re at in the world, remember that one person can make a difference—and that’s you. That’s the person. You’re the one who creates that ripple effect.
So, we wish you a great day and a fabulous week.
Steve: Welcome to our podcast show today, wherever you might be in the world today. This is Steve Shallenberger, your host with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership. It is a delight to be together with you. Wish we had the chance to just sit down and be together and talk about how to become our best, how to increase our happiness and joy and fulfillment in both our own lives and the lives of all of those that we associate with. As you reflect upon the greatest achievements, events, and discoveries of humankind—words, knowledge, innovation, ideas, and behaviors have had an enormous impact on our human experience. I mean, just reflect and think about these together. They include individuals and nations, including Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Greek and Roman cultures—including the Pax Romana, which was 200 years of peace starting with the reign of Augustus. The discovery of the Will, including its many uses, which people continue to discover more uses of the Will. Gutenberg’s Press, the Declaration of Independence, and Human Rights advances, and literature—with Shakespeare and Cervantes. Art with Michelangelo. Music with Beethoven. I mean, there’s just a few that are representative of that time. Electricity. It’s not just the use of electricity—that it exists and that we can harness it, but then the inventions that have gone along with it, like the light bulb. Also, the discovery of engines, and cars, and flight, and the industrial revolution, medical discoveries, advances, computers, and devices, and landing man on the moon, the internet. Parenting, raising good children, and having good, solid homes. Advances in education, and collectively creating a sustainable economy that is lifting the world. Every one of these achievements, discoveries, or accomplishments are a result of individuals and groups of individual. In other words, these are cultures or organizations that learned to align themselves with certain principles that produced high-performance and excellence. Your success in life, your happiness, health, and prosperity, depend upon understanding the principles, behaviors, and habits that cause that success. In our world of leadership and management and prioritizing your time and high performance, we are always thinking about these types of things. The things that can produce high-performance among its people, and the culture, and the strategy. In short, things that produce high-performance organizations. This is what we have spent forty years of research—doing this. Unlocking what those principles, behaviors, and habits are that produce sustainable, high-performance. A great acronym for that is SHP. Among our findings, as many of you know, are the 12 principles of highly successful leaders. This discovery of the 12 principles of becoming your best literally help unlock the secrets that have contributed to the greatest achievements and accomplishments of humankind and of high-performance—the SHP: Sustainable High Performance. Yesterday, I was reading a magazine. The name of the magazine is The Training Magazine, where I came across a study entitled The X-Factor in Productivity. The RAIN Group conducted research named The Extreme Production Benchmark Report. In this study, they analyzed responses from 2,377 business professionals to better understand what drives productivity. Respondents were broken into productivity groups based on their answers to the following statement: I am extremely productive. The extremely productive (the XPs is what they call them—they’d be the equivalent to our Sustainable High Performers, the SHPs—rated themselves a 5/5 on this question. In other words, this is very much like me. The question is, “I am extremely productive.” The SHPs represented 14% of the respondents, these X-Producers, these XPs as they call them. Now, the merely productive rated themselves a 4/5. Mostly like me. The productive includes 48% of respondents. One of the most surprising findings from the research was just how different people in these two groups work, and the results that they’re able to achieve. So, if you examine the key drivers of productivity, and they have included a graph with their article that I will include in the transcript of the podcast. The XP are up to 3.5 times more likely to exhibit these behaviors, compared to the productive. Across the board, the gaps are significant, with the largest gaps being among the following: the XP are almost 2 times more likely to hold themselves accountable. The XP are 3.5 times more likely to recover quickly when derailed from being productive. The XPs are 3.3 times more likely to have productive habits overall. The XP are 2.7 times more likely to regularly sustain energy for long periods of time. The XPs are 2.7 times more likely to start their day with the great impact activity. Finally, the XP are 2.7 times more likely to not react to other people’s agendas, and to drive their own. The bottom line: if you want real results, set your and your employees’ sights on learning and making these types of habits that you find in Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles, and how they will drive your productivity. A good example of this is The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, Principle 9: be accountable. Well, mastering this principle happens to be #1 on the list that makes the XP most effective. That was the #1 most rated, and we just go on and on in terms of going down the 12, and we can talk about that in a moment, but this is what we help our employees and ourselves do: set ourselves on learning and making these principles habits as the type of behavior that drives this kind of productivity. And, as a highly successful leader—whether it’s a CEO, team lead, or coach, parent, teacher, professional, salesperson, production person, admin, or a parent. So, what can you do to make these behaviors such a high priority in terms of making them a habit? Things that you can do in your organization that produces this sustainable, high performance over time. So, how can you do this/ How do you transform the people, the culture, and strategy to do the right things so that you produce the right results—these SHPs? I’d like to recommend two things. One, if you’re an individual, it’s pretty straightforward. You can do simple things, such as invest in the book Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, and start going to work on mastering them. Anyone can do that. We’re not born with these things. Two more things that you can do is that you can benchmark how you are currently doing in terms of being able to execute on these 12 principles. So, we have a free assessment that you can take—a 12 principle assessment—and you can find that on email@example.com. We’ll come back to that. In other words, you can benchmark yourself. Another thing individually that you can do is to subscribe to the Weekly Principle A Week, where you just get a principle a week in the email of the 12 principles, and it has stories, examples, and action items of ways to make these, align your behavior with these type of things. The more you think about it, the more it becomes part of you. Now, that’s on an individual basis. What can you do as a leader? Well, one of the things that you can do—and the levers that you can pull, and one of the most significant things that unlock enormous potential and capacity in a team or an organization to produce these SHPs, Sustainable High Performance—is to empower your people with the knowledge of the principles of highly successful leaders. The development of the behaviors and habits that produces a permanent transformation that comes with this knowledge, the impact is enormous. As you invest in your people, which then impacts the culture and strategy and the overall value of your organization. When I say organization, that means your family, your relationships, a team, or an overall company. So, whether you are talking about yourself, your family, your team or organizations, you can leverage the research and discoveries that Becoming Your Best has made in leadership, management, and personal development, and provide it to your family or the people that you work with. So, what are some ways that you can do that? Well, you, like other highly successful leaders, can adopt a strategy and plan to not only learn yourself but also teach your key people the 12 principles of highly successful leaders by becoming a certified organization: a CO. This is where you actually take a license on all of the properties that we have at Becoming Your Best and the 12 principles of highly successful leaders, along with the tools and processes that you then are able to utilize in teaching others. I’ll just take a quick break from this and share the experience with Henry McGovern. Henry is the CEO of a company, and they have over 1,600 restaurants, primarily serving the European Union area. It’s quite a spectacular company. Since 2005, they have outperformed every other food service company by a significant margin. They’ve increased in value over 1,700%. They have 38,000 employees, and Henry McGovern stated, “We are far more a training company than we are a restaurant company.” In other words, he understands that what makes his people great is the fact that they master these kinds of principles that we’re talking about today. So, for a relatively modest investment and especially compared to the impact on your people and the culture and the strategy and value, the revenues, you can become a licensee—a certified organization. You can certify within your company, hand-picked trainers, and systematically train not only every key employee but really every employee and associate. This is a transformational process that creates sustainable high performance. It teaches people to do exactly what this study that I referred to before, and it helps them become XPs. So, on our podcast show, we frequently ask our guests—and when we are guests on other shows—what are tips that we have for our listeners. Well, this may sound a little biased today—which we rarely do [laughs], I might add—but I will say that as I have had the opportunity to go all over the world, there’s nothing like Becoming Your Best. As comprehensive as it is and the 12 principles, and the accompanying processes, and the impact that it has, we see this over and over. So, my tip today, our invitation to you: whether you are a leader within an organization, at any level. It might be the CEO, and you can have an impact on the whole organization, or perhaps you’re a division leader or a team leader. Maybe you are a parent. Well, this applies across the board. So, our invitation is to take action and learn about the Becoming Your Best Certified Organization (CO), which is completely unique in teaching you and your employees the right things to do and produce within them the knowledge, behaviors, and habits that lead to high performance. This decision and action will transform and maintain, over time, your people, your culture, your strategy into sustainable, long-term, high performance. Individually and as an organization. The very same holds true within a family. What a great way to teach your children! You can do the very same thing: become a certified family. To teach these and use all of the assets, all of the power points and clips that we use, to teach with your organization or your children. The result is the right set of behaviors that produce this outcome. To learn more about becoming a certified organization, or a certified family, simply contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide you with the details. The process is simple. Understand that the impact of Becoming Your Best and the 12 Principles that it can have on your organization. That you can become licensed. You can send hand-picked individuals there. We have Becoming Your Best: Train the Trainer courses all around the country and world. You simply join us for a 2 ½ day conference—that’s how you get certified. Then, you roll out the training—one principle a week program—company-wide, deep, and broad, and then watch the transformation that it has. Turn your organization into a leadership university of high performance that’s rich in resource for your employees. The outcome is that your employees join the ranks of highly successful leaders that become SHPs—that become the XPs—and change the teams, the organizations, and your families, and the world for good. This will be one of the most important actions and investments in your career. Throughout the world, with highly successful organizations, we see this kind of an impact over and over. Your people and teams and organizations will be blessed by the extraordinary impact of your highly successful leadership. You’ll look back at the end of your career and say to yourself, “That was one of the most important things I did. That was one of the most important investments I made.” Well, I hope that this has stimulated some thoughts and ideas about what we can do as leaders to shift the needle, to make a difference, to make sure that our companies are not only in the top tier of performing organizations within our industries, but that they continue to be that way. This has been a delight to be together with you today, and I wish you the best as you make a difference every single day in the lives of others. This is Steve Shallenberger, wishing you a great day.
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