Episode 188 – How to Find Peace and Happiness
Rob Shallenberger: Good morning or good afternoon! This is Rob Shallenberger, your friend, your host today, and wherever you’re at in the world, the hope is from us that you’re having a great day! We just looked at a map of people who listen to this podcast and there are very few countries that are exempt. I mean, Russia to Australia, to China, South America, all over the place! So we welcome you, and the hope is that these podcasts are helpful to you in a way that we can just get one idea from the podcast. When we do this, that’s the intent, it’s just to share one idea. When I go into a mastermind or conference or anything, I’m going into that with the hope that I can walk out of there with just one idea. And if anything on top of that comes from it, then I consider that to be a bonus. So that’s the hope from this podcast, is that you can just get one idea, something that will have an impact and help you in some way in your life.
Rob Shallenberger: I’m going to share with you something a little bit personal to me, today, because often times we don’t get the chance to really have deep, personal conversations in our current culture because everyone is so afraid of being offended, it seems like. And so, we’re so guarded in our conversations, at least that’s been my perception. One of the observations that I’ve made as I traveled the world working with different organizations, whether it’s Africa, whether it’s Central South America, the Philippines, throughout the United States, there’s a few things that it seems like almost everyone is searching for, and that’s happiness. Almost everyone is searching for a sense of peace and satisfaction in their life. And what’s interesting is, I find people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, who seem to spend their entire working days and lives looking for it, but never really seeming to find it.
Rob Shallenberger: I don’t like to use absolute words, like ‘always’, but it seems like, oftentimes, people are always looking at the fence or over the fence and say, “Man, the grass sure seems greener over there!” And they sometimes – I say they, it happens to everyone at some point for most people, and that is – they kind of get in the funk, they get stuck, maybe in a little bit of a rut. And so far, amongst all the people that I’ve associated with around the world, there are very few people exempt from this. And so, on this podcast, I want to share with you two, what I would call, Secrets to Success. They’re not really secrets, we’ve all heard them before. It’s just a matter of actually living them and thinking about them. So, although, ‘secrets’ may not be the right word, it’s probably something that almost everyone, including myself listening to this, could do a better job of focusing on in our lives.
Rob Shallenberger: I’m going to take these from the Bible. It doesn’t really matter to me if we’re Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, who we are, I’m going to share what I would consider to be two very powerful directions to help us find peace, satisfaction, true happiness, that’s sustainable and lasts, rather than being this moving target, this allusive thing that’s out there, that we never seem to find. For those that have read the Bible you’ll be familiar with the Two Great Commandments: “To love God” and “To love thy neighbor.”
Rob Shallenberger: Let’s start with why I believe those are two very powerful recipes for happiness, peace, and success in our lives. And again, it doesn’t really matter what your current beliefs are, I’m just going to ask you to approach this conversation as if we were two friends talking with an open mind and we’re sharing our different backgrounds and experiences and learning from each other. So let’s talk about why I feel like those are two powerful directions, directives, commandments, whatever you want to call them.
Rob Shallenberger: Number 1, Love God. Why? Well, #1 just inherit in there, there’s a deference to a higher power. In other words, just simply by acknowledging that, we realize and acknowledge that the world doesn’t revolve around us. To go back to the fighter pilot world, where I spent 11 years as a fighter pilot, one of my observations of the best pilots is that they were confident but not cocky. And there is a big difference! I like to call it humble confidence. They were confident because of their preparation, yet, they were humble because they knew that that jet, the F16, could reach out and kill them any given day of the week. It’s a powerful machine! So, likewise, if we look at our lives, there’s something that comes with being prepared, with putting in the work and the effort that allows us to be confident, but the second that shifts to cockiness, or that we allow ego to start to dominate our lives, that’s a big difference. So, think about that difference. Ego can be one of the greatest detriments to our success because ego tends to blind us, it tends to put on the blinders.
Rob Shallenberger: For example, when it’s about us, that’s our ego, and in many cases, that ego can cause poor decision-making. For example, I really see this often in the business world, a certain manager or a certain leader lets their ego start governing their decision-making and it’s one of the beginnings of a death spiral in the company. Let’s just take one that we’re all familiar with. I’m not being critical to the person, but I am being critical of the comment. The CEO of Blockbuster in 2009 said this, “Neither Netflix, nor Redbox, are even on our radar, in terms of competition.” Well, the very next year, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy because of those two very companies that weren’t even on their radar a year prior. A lot of that is just ego. There was a blind spot, there, in the leadership of Blockbuster, that they weren’t able to pivot to the threat that was right there at the doorstep, because of that ego. It just blinded them.
Rob Shallenberger: The other part of this deference to a higher power is, it will give us hope. If we lose hope, man, it seems like we lose everything once hope goes out the window. And I believe there is a God. Yes, bad things happen all the time on this Earth, it’s hard to explain why some of them happen. It just seems like there’s always something going on that’s not just, not fair. And if we asked why, and really focused on the “why”, that’s a never-ending rabbit hole. We just don’t see the big picture. What I do know is that bad things will continue to happen to good people. It’s just part of our earthly experience here, but someday we will see the big picture. Right now, it’s like trying to evaluate this and make decisions looking through a soda straw. We just simply don’t see the big picture. We see just this little microcosm of what it’s really all about. And if we truly believe in God or a higher power, and we’re not just going through the motions or saying the words, but it’s real to us, and we actually believe that it should govern our entire decision-making process. We should be more honest with the people we do business with. We should be more honest with our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends. We should strive to help others because that’s what is innately inside of us, if we believe that. And it should also cause us to want to look internally and take care of ourselves, our bodies, our minds and not let that stuff go, you know, ride along with this.
Rob Shallenberger: So we’re going back to that first Commandment, “Love God.” These are some of the reasons why I believe that this will help us find true happiness. Let’s just take prayer. A person who believes that is a lot more likely to pray. Just this morning I looked through the research, there are a few studies from Washington Post, there are so many studies that support the power of prayer in helping a person be happier, healthier and have significantly stronger relationships and a deeper sense of purpose, as they move towards their vision. Prayer is simply powerful in the results we get in our life.
Rob Shallenberger: The other thing that’s going to be a part of our life, if we’re really sincere about this, is gratitude because if we’re deferring to a higher power, then we should be grateful for the experiences that we’re having here, the learning opportunities. You’ve heard us say on these podcasts, “What a blessing!” In other words, we take lemons and we make lemonade. Sometimes bad things happen to us, we don’t know why they happen. My mom is going through early-onset Alzheimer’s right now. It’s a tough thing for the family, but we’re making the best of it. We don’t know all the “whys” associated with this, and if we went down that rabbit hole, it could be really discouraging. Instead, let’s turn this into something we’re grateful for, we’re grateful for all of the wonderful memories, for her smile and her laugh. So, by deferring to that higher power, it should help us be more grateful in our lives. And you see why hope, gratitude, focusing outward, rather than inward, these things are all foundational to happiness and peace and satisfaction. So that’s number one.
Rob Shallenberger: Number 2 is, to love our neighbor. Well, let’s take a little closer look at that. In my opinion – I’m going to use the word “secret” again because it seems to be a fading thing in our society – this is one of the secrets to happiness. When we genuinely serve others, we tend to be happier. And if you look back through your own life, wouldn’t you agree with me that it’s really difficult to stay in a funk and it’s really difficult to stay in a low place, when you’re actually out doing something good for someone else, or doing something kind for someone else. I imagine that you would agree with me if you have ever been in that situation.
Rob Shallenberger: If you take this from a leadership perspective, we’ve had the chance to do keynotes and workshops and seminars for more than 200 organizations around the world, so let’s just take this from a leadership perspective. The best leaders, in my opinion, are the ones who know their team members. They know their stories because they care. The employees and team members are loyal to them, as the leader, because they know their leader cares, hence the name, servant leadership. You’ve heard that term, I’m sure, at some point. This is where it emanated from, it’s how do you serve the people who you actually lead, rather than the dictatorial approach. We lead, inspire and pull, rather than push and tell. It’s a big difference in leadership styles there.
Rob Shallenberger: To be a dictator, for example, that person can get limited, temporary success, as you would call, “success”. Maybe a better word would be “results”, but it won’t sustain long term. I mean, even Hitler, take a look at that – you could say, well, from a German perspective, he had short-term success, but it didn’t work out for him in the long term, and it never will. Even if the success is sustained for, say, 10-20 years, well, here’s a question: if that person is a dictator, how many people will be with them in their old age? How many people will be at their funeral, to pay respects to him or to her? So, it’s much deeper than just what we see on the paper. Isn’t it ironic, that when you talk about servant leadership, the very best leaders, the ones that are able to help and inspire their team members to achieve their best, are the ones who have loyal team members who work hard because they know their leader cares? Now, I’m not going to say that that works in every single situation. Some people, it just won’t work out for, but by and large, to be a servant leader is a thousand times better than to be a dictator leader.
Rob Shallenberger: I love what Maya Angelou said. She said – right along with this thought of loving our neighbor – “People won’t remember what you said or what you did. What they’ll remember is how you made them feel.” And it’s my opinion, the older I get, you know, we just keep learning the older we get, it seems like, and I just realized that so much about this life is how we treat people and the relationships that we’re forming. A lot of that is what we’re going to take with us after this life. The cars, the homes, all of that has its place and it’s certainly important, but it all stays here, it doesn’t go with us. And so, what are our relationships like? What do people feel like when they’re around us? Are we developing bonds? Do we lift and inspire?
Rob Shallenberger: The idea behind this principle, this commandment, is that it takes us outside of ourselves. If you want to do something fun with this, this is kind of a cool little activity we do on our seminars when we’re talking about how to create a world-class customer experience, how do you focus on the customer and help lift and inspire them. Well, take a spoon, a regular metal spoon, hold that up and look at your reflection. Hold it so that it’s facing inward toward you first, and what you’re going to see is everything is upside down. Now, take the same spoon and turn it around, so it’s facing outwards and now, what you’re going to see is everything in its proper perspective. You looking at you the correct way, your reflection. And isn’t that an interesting, what’s this called, a parable of life, where if we’re looking inward, and that’s exclusively where we spend our time and energy is, on self, we tend to see life skewed, we tend to see it upside down and our perception reality is most likely off, versus if we can flip around and think about how to serve others.
Rob Shallenberger: And I’ll just quote Mother Theresa. Look at Mother Theresa, her entire life was devoted to others, and I can’t think of many people happier than she was. She just radiated goodness everywhere she went, it seems like. Now, I’m not saying that we neglect ourselves. If you know anything about Becoming Your Best, you know that taking care of ourselves is absolutely a priority, and pre-week planning, and our roles and goals. One of our most important roles, in fact, THE most important role is personal or self, taking care of ourselves, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. So I’m not at all implying that! I’m just suggesting that when we turn our focus outwards, it’s much more difficult to be unhappy with life, there’s just something about that.
Rob Shallenberger: I’ll just share one or two brief examples of this. Last week, a friend of ours brought some cookies to our house. It was late Sunday evening, they visited us, we stayed on the porch and talked for a few minutes, we gave each other a hug goodbye, it was awesome, we felt great. I imagine that they felt great as well! And it was just fun! I mean, it didn’t take a lot of effort to make the cookies and they brought them over and it was just a great experience. So simple, yet our bond, our friendship deepened just as a result of that simple act. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last, maybe four to five months and this is one of the reasons I’m doing this on a podcast, I think it’s important for all of us to be reminded of this.
Rob Shallenberger: I was looking at our children and I thought, “Man, we sure do a lot of talking with our children. Are we showing them with our words or with our actions?” And I thought, “You know, we’re doing a lot of talking, so probably we’re using our words a lot more than our actions.” So we brainstormed, and we came up with this little idea of doing a Service Monday. Now, we can’t do this every Monday, I’m out of town a fair amount, so we may shift the day here and there, but this is what we called it. Not a lot of creativity in the words, but it doesn’t need to be. The point is, Service Monday. So the idea is, what can we do to serve someone else? We brainstormed with our kids, our oldest is 17, our youngest is 9, and we have four kids. So the idea was, what can we do to serve someone else? And they had these ideas, cookies, other things. We delivered cookies a week before, so okay, something else. And we thought, alright, it was my wife and I’s turns, we said, “Why don’t we drive by someone’s home and if we see or observe that it look like they need some help in the yard, then let’s just stop and help for 20-30 minutes and plow some weeds.” And our kids, at first, were just moaning and complaining, it was actually pretty funny to watch.
Rob Shallenberger: We went out in the driveway, we all got in the car and we found a house where there was a fair number of weeds. And the kids were like, “Man, this is going to be so embarrassing, what are we doing?” And we laughed, I walked up to the door, I knocked on the door, and just said, “Hey, we just wanted to do a little bit of service. Would you mind if we jumped in and helped with the weeds over there on that little island?” And the person said, “That’s so kind of you! Of course, sure!” They really didn’t know what to say but they were very appreciative and thankful. So we jumped to it, with our family, went to work, it only took us about 20 minutes. At first, the kids were not thrilled about being there, that was very clear, but by the end, something had changed within them. There was a difference, you could see it. Even after doing that for 20 minutes, and by no means am I trying to gloat to our horn, because man, there are way better servants out there, I call them servant leaders out there, who really dedicate a lot of time to serving others, and we’re just scratching the surface. And so, for our family, just that little act of 20 minutes actually had a big impact on our kids, and that’s the hope, at least within our own family, where we have some control, our words are important but our actions are far more important. You probably heard the adage, “We can’t hear your words because your actions are shouting so loudly” and we wanted our actions to reflect our words and that’s why we did that.
Rob Shallenberger: If you take a look at the business setting, for anyone who’s in a leadership capacity or who wants to be a great team member, take a few minutes to just “walk the floor”. You’ve heard that probably somewhere along the way. Ask team members how are they doing? How is their family? How is their life going? Just show that you care, and it’s amazing what happens! Just asking those simple little questions or giving them a compliment. This is the idea.
Rob Shallenberger: So, this has been a short podcast, only about 16 minutes or so. The hope is this stirs some thinking, some ideas in your mind. Love God! Why? Because deference to a higher power yields so many benefits to us – prayer, hope, gratitude – these are things that will help us find happiness, they’re at the core of it. Love our neighbor because when we turn outside ourselves, it’s amazing what that does to boost us up and change the current reality of our own life and our perception of life, really, in the entire sense of the word.
Rob Shallenberger: We sure appreciate you wherever you’re at in the world. Becoming Your Best is a movement, the vision is to reach a billion people, we’re well on our way to that. Trainer certification is a big part of this, so if you want to get certified as a trainer, or a coach, you can go to our website, click on ‘Certification’ and you’ll see the upcoming conferences, one in Johannesburg, the next one and after that is in Park City in October, then Atlanta, then Los Angeles, and then there will be other dates in 2020. And this is the way that you can get the Powerpoints and everything else so that you can take these powerful principles, these processes, back into your organization with your team, with your family. Or maybe it’s just on your own, what you want to do with other people. The point is that when you’re certified and you have all the tools, the templates, and the process, surely is a lot easier because this is a movement to impact the world and everybody is going to be a part of this. This doesn’t just happen by one or two people.
Rob Shallenberger: So again, we appreciate you, we hope you have a fabulous week, and until we talk next time, we wish you the very best and remember that one person can make a difference!