Welcome back to the Becoming Your Best podcast!

This is Rob Shallenberger. I’m excited to be with you today to talk about something that is a huge deal in our lives, especially in the world today.

This particular podcast is going to transcend business and organizational success. This podcast is focused on you. Or someone you know well, and for that matter, on all of us.

Here’s a specific invitation before we go any further. I am going to ask you to be the catalyst and share this podcast with at least one person. I don’t care who that person is: family, friends, co-workers. It doesn’t matter who it is. I’m going to ask you to share this podcast with at least one person so that you can be the catalyst for good in someone else’s life.

Now, here’s where this topic came from. This past week, my close friend’s boyfriend who had two or three young kids, so this is a female friend of mine, she’s about 33 or so. Her boyfriend who, as I just mentioned, had two or three young kids, just took his life last week. Nobody saw it coming. And in its wake, he left a trickle of pain and tears. He certainly didn’t realize how many people’s lives he was going to impact that decision. Now, his kids are left on their own to fend for themselves. These are young kids. How many stories like this have been repeated around the world?

A two-star general in the Air Force, a couple of years ago, did the same thing. And there are countless other people who have done this, unfortunately. Maybe it’s happened in your school, your neighborhood. I know it has happened in your community, and it’s something that’s…It’s much more of a rampant issue than we might like to imagine that it is. And as I think about why, why did this happen? I mean, this trail of destruction is left behind when someone takes their own life. And I’m not here to discuss why this happens, that’s a different discussion, rather point out that in some way, each of these people lost hope. In some way or another, it all comes back to hope. And how many people are out there in the world right now fighting battles that we know nothing about and secretly feel like they’ve lost hope?

Hope is powerful and these people that I just cited in the example. My friend’s boyfriend, there’s a two-star general, nobody saw it coming, no one even had a clue that it was a thought in their mind. Yet, what battle must have they been fighting internally that cause them to lose hope or feel like that was the only option. Now, this is why I’m asking you to share this with someone because we just never know. And you’re the catalyst to lift someone. And think about this, you have a purpose. You are unique. There is not another person in the world like you. You are irreplaceable. I mean, did you hear that? You are irreplaceable. There’s nobody that can replace you in whatever sphere you are in.

Now, sometimes events happen that shatter hope in our lives. Maybe it feels like you can’t even see tomorrow. I mean, when you’re in survival mode and just trying to take a breath of air, it’s hard to even see the next day, let alone a month, or a year from now. Yet, here is the truth, the sun will rise. Every day is a new day to start again, that’s one thing I love that’s symbolic about the sun rising. Every day comes up as a new day, a new glimmer of hope, a new opportunity. You know, it’s interesting as I thought about this, hope, and how powerful it is. There’s story came to mind of a close family friend, I’ll just make up a name and say, “James.” He’s close friends with my brother. Well, he told my brother that he just didn’t feel like life was worth it anymore. Now, on the outside, this is a successful person if you were to look at him. Yet, he was going through a divorce in his family. He had several kids. His wife had an affair and was…basically run off with someone else, and he just felt like he had nothing to go on for. And so he shared that, and this is not the person you’d expect to hear this from.

So, my brother shared it with dad. And this family, as I mentioned, is close, they are close friends with us. And so my dad took, again, the imaginary name James, he took James to lunch. And as they were talking, James was just, I mean, you could tell his life was really at a tough place at that point. He had hit rock bottom for himself emotionally, physically, spiritually across the board. And he just didn’t feel like he had any hope left. He had lost that hope. And so after listening for about 30 minutes, my dad paused the discussion and asked him, “James, what is your vision? What is your vision for you? What is your vision for James?” And once he asked that question, James paused and started getting teary-eyed, he started crying. And his comment my dad was, “You know what, I had not thought about that question in over a year and a half.” He said to my dad, “I’ve been so consumed with all of these problems, with all of this stuff that I haven’t thought about what my vision is.” What his vision was.

And it was that question that changed the conversation for him. He started, now, discussing what are some things that he could do? What does his vision look like? What can he still do in life? Instead of being so wallowed and centered in all of the problems. As soon as he shifted up to the vision, everything about that conversation started changing. Hope started to flow back into his veins. That’s the whole point of the context of the discussion… That as soon as he started to feel that glimmer of hope again, this idea of taking his life was gone. No longer there because he had hope again. And it started with him thinking about, what is his vision? What’s left for him to do? And that’s a powerful way to start.

And so as I thought about “What are five things we can do to bring hope to our lives?” Here are just a couple that’ll share with you and let’s see what impact they may have in your life. So, here are five things, just a few that I’ve come up with, there are certainly more than five, I am not implying that these are the only five things out there, but these are five that have had an impact in my life and I know can have an impact in yours. Number one is simple. It’s watching the sunrise. There’s something powerful about watching the sun come up in the morning. Close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. It’s refreshing, it’s inspiring, it breeds hope. When do you feel that there’s just something about that that says, “You know what? I got this. It’s a new day. It’s a fresh start.” And so watch the sunrise. If you have to get up a little earlier, maybe you’re in an apartment somewhere, it’s not easy to necessarily watch the sunrise, maybe you have to make a little drive to the mountains, or to the hills, or to a beach somewhere. Watch the sunrise. See how that feels.

And number two is to feel God’s power in your life. Now, sometimes we try to be too politically correct because we’re so worried about what others might think, or that they might get offended because of a comment that we make. Well, there’s power in being able to have a conversation without the other person getting offended and being open enough to at least have the conversation. So, in that spirit, let me share with you my strong personal belief that God lives and he loves you. And there are people who tell us not bring up anything spiritual on these podcasts because we might offend someone. Yeah, how could we not bring up something spiritual when I feel it is so directly connected with hope? And so I hope we can do this with an open mind, regardless of what your beliefs are or your background that we could just temporarily pause and have this open conversation.

I have felt the power of prayer in my life, and it’s difficult for me to imagine having hope without a spiritual connection to God. And no matter where you are, I invite you to try this, pray, pour your heart out to him, ask him about you, if he loves you, and you will feel something if you do this sincerely. If you want to kneel, then great, kneel. If not, He will still hear your prayer and answer. In the Bible, in Romans, it says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient tribulation and be constant in prayer.” And Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”

And maybe I can just share a personal experience with you, and I won’t share all the details of this. But just last weekend, I decided to take a four-wheeler up into the mountains which are not too far away from my house. It’s about a 15-minute ride up to the peak, the summit of this nearby mountain. And one of the things I love to do is watch the sunrise, which is what I already shared with you. So I take the four-wheeler up, and it’s about 6 o’clock in the morning, and at this point in the year, it’s still fairly dark at that time in the morning. So I get up there to watch the sunrise, and it’s amazing to see the amount of light as it starts to grow and grow. And when that sun peaks over the horizon, you start to feel this warmth on your face. Immediately, darkness is dispelled by the light. And it was a great chance for me to just be in the mountains and pray and ponder.

And I felt God’s love in the mountain there. I know that He is real, that He exists, and that He does love you, and that nobody is beyond his reach. He will answer prayers and signed by you to connect with him. Talk to him and ask him about you and you will feel that connection. So, the first one is to watch the sunrise. Second, feel God’s power in your life. Third, talk with someone and share your concerns. So often we feel like that’s a sign of weakness. And when things get tough, you might be surprised to know that you’re not alone. There are others that have experienced may be different things, but similar in their feelings. And like I just mentioned, it’s not a sign of weakness to talk with a friend or family member.

And this is another reason why it’s important to surround ourselves with people who truly care about you, both in good times and bad times. When you have a circle of people who care, you can go to them. You can share thoughts and concerns. If we don’t have that circle, it’s difficult to share that thought and concern that you might have. The point is, there are people who care, and you can talk with them and they will have an interest, they want to hear about this. In the Air Force, in the fighter pilot world, there’s this, an old adage that said, “We don’t ever play the game, I’ve got a secret.” If there’s something, then we need to share it, we get it out there.

Number four, this is what my dad did with James when they went to lunch, and that is for you to start thinking again about what your vision is no matter where you’re at in life. You may be listening to this podcast and say, “You know what? I’m in a great place right now,” and that’s wonderful. Nonetheless, what is your vision for the remainder of your life? For the next five or 10 years, what do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to be in 10 years from now? What does your best look like? This is a starting point. And if you can’t articulate everything right now depending on where you’re at in your life, that’s also okay. It’s just simply powerful to start with that question, “What is your vision?” And that starts to breed thoughts and breed answers that can really accelerate wherever you’re at and bring hope back into your life.

The fifth one is to serve someone else. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something for someone else and watch how that simple act changes the way you feel. It’s amazing how service for others is a pattern disrupt for each of us. In other words, it literally interrupts the negative thinking and replaces it with something positive. It’s hard to feel negative when you’re serving or doing something nice for someone else. As simple as that may sound, think about what happens when hope is gone in many cases. In many cases, it’s because we’re so inwardly focused. Now, there are exceptions to that. However, when you serve someone else, it shifts the focus outward.

So, imagine the impact of doing all five of these things. A person who may feel like if they are without hope, getting up in the morning to watch the sunrise, to pray and feel God’s power in your life. And if you need to share your concerns with someone else, start thinking about, instead of your problems, what is your vision for you? And then go serve someone else, find something simple that you can do to help or lift someone else. And it’s a pattern, interrupt that shifts your time and attention away from us and in a positive way toward someone else. Well, we’re gonna get ready to wrap up this podcast. I told you that it would be a short one. Short, yet powerful, because these people in the examples that I’ve used, the friend of our friend who took his life last week left three kids at some point lost hope, felt like there is no way that he could go on. And that need not happen. It never needs to get to that point. And these are somethings that each of us can do, and not only do but share.

And so, what are some things that you can do right now? Those of the five but I wanted to give you one more, and that is to go to thetransformationchallenge.com, put in your name and email, and you’re gonna get a free template that you can use the six-step process. I say, start with the vision. It’s great in conceptual theory. It’s so much easier to do when you have a template or worksheet that can help you do that. And so, we are in the pre-release of our new book called, “The Transformation Challenge,” it’s the six-steps and it’s a new approach to winning in business and in life. So if you’ll go to thetransformationchallenge.com, put in your first name and email, you’ll get a free template that you can use to start this process, to transform wherever you are today and take your good and make it even better. And this will also give you a link to Amazon where you can preorder the book at a significantly discounted price from what it will be once it releases on December 1st.

So, we are excited for you. That book is a book of hope. That’s exactly what it is. Not only in the personal life, for teams and businesses, and we are confident it’s going to start transforming not only organizations but people’s lives around the world. So as we wrap up this, remember, what’s the whole purpose of this podcast? It’s to remind you that there is hope. That you have a purpose, you are unique, there is not another person in the world like you, you are irreplaceable. And let me say this one last time, you are irreplaceable. You have a mark still to live in the world and our best is still in front of every one of us. So, this is the spirit of becoming your best, have a wonderful week, and let’s go out there and find hope, and spread hope to others wherever we can. Have a great week.

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