Our guest today: Chris Michel
Chris Michel have over 30 years of sales and leadership experience, as both an individual contributor and team leader. Chris provides advice and counsel in the areas of sales processes and management techniques. He has sold in Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) situations, gaining, developing, and honing skills in the areas of customer service, customer needs and manufacturing demands to meet short-term and long-term sales cycles. He has applied this knowledge moving into management where he continued to develop effective tools to coach others in the service industry to succeed.
Chris Michel’s book: The Red Chair Experience (Daily Inspiration For Success In Life & Business), inspired by his own life, lessons, and his brother who passed away from suicide in 2019.
Watch our interview
Hi, everyone. This is Fei from FeisWorld Media, and it is almost 11:40, a.m. Eastern Standard Time here. And I’m here with Coach Chris Michelle, who I met through Michael Roderick and Jason Lennon wharton’s Group podcasting group. And I think we kind of hit it off right away. There were 50 other people in the group, but it was so lovely to catch up with you. There’s something about your presence, your voice, your demeanor and your book that really captured my attention. So it’s going to, like, take over the screen right now for people. And I had a lot of questions looking at this cover and thinking what might be about. And since then, I have made the purchase link in description while we were watching this. So welcome, Chris. I’m so glad we could share this conversation today.
Oh, thank you. I’m looking forward to the conversation. And like you said, we’ve had a couple of conversations, kind of an intro and just the initial meeting, I was like, oh, I need to talk to this person. There’s so much there. And so I’m a fan, by the way, so I’m trying not to fan out on you.
I have to this is so interesting, right? I just want to take a moment. Something I learned today in a conversation about when two people come together and the third person is created, is born because we have different personas, but I also think we bring out different aspects of ourselves when we’re in conversation with one another. And I have to tell people that I have been a fan of your work, not even something that you’re currently working unknown for in this moment. But when it comes to HVAC, I didn’t even know what that word meant until I bought a house. And currently, for people who don’t know, I’m going through this not a crisis, but because of Chris, now I fully understand all the proposals, all the things that are presented to me, and I don’t want to again position Chris here as the HVAC expert because he truly is just for everyday people to understand it from a business perspective, what are the options? How do you break down something that frankly is so complicated that you need decades to study for and every component that you need to understand to make a decision that’s truly a form of art?
So I’m really thankful to have met you and then you spend an hour walking me through all those options. Very well.
You’re certainly welcome. It’s really funny. I had a conversation with my brother, my older brother, a couple of months ago. He doing something similar, right? But he’s renovating his house and he had questions, but he’s got this turn of the century house, like from the early 1900. And so they literally pulled this thing down, right? They tore it down to the bare bones and they were replacing HVAC. And he said, can you have a conversation with me and he wanted to pay me. And I’m like, no, we’re just having a conversation. And so when we finish the conversation, one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten, he said, you made this so easy for me to understand. You put it in late terms that anybody can understand and really having conversations with people like you, Faye, and others, that’s what I love doing and I love to take this, what we think is this horribly complex situation and just break it down. And you do that with the YouTube videos and Zoom meetings, right? I mean, the things that you do. And that’s where I became a fan, right? Because I was like, oh my gosh, look at all this stuff that she can teach me.
So I understand that and I appreciate that. So thank you for the kind words, but it is what I do, and that’s why I work in the business that I do. I’ve been in and around HVAC for 18 years, so it’s kind of what I do.
Yeah. So as a clarifying question, that’s something we didn’t even get to catch up about. Like people we’re watching right now, no matter where you are, drop by, let us know, just say hi. We’re going to be talking about book life, some of the heavier subjects that people don’t actually talk about. Just as a heads up, probably we’ll be talking about topics related to starting your business, but all suicide and writing a book and all that effort. Chris, is that something, is HVAC Consultation service? Is this something that you still actively pursuing or that’s kind of in the background now in the past?
So for the first, I started in HVAC in about 2004. In 2004. And I started out as a person that would go into the home and have a discussion with you, right? So you’ve had those conversations with the people that you met with and I would be that person. I would come in, we’d have the conversation, I would break everything down and try and make it as simple and understanding as possible. I got into management. I started doing sales and general management. I ran heating and air conditioning companies and operations and all of these things. So I got to see kind of all sides of it. And then I went to work for a manufacturer and a global manufacturer, one of the top ones in the world, and that another eye opening experience, right. So I have all of this understanding and when you spend that much time around an industry, you see all sides of it and you really get to understand it and hopefully you continue to learn along the way. Right? So that’s kind of my journey in heating and air. And so, yes. Do I still do it. Not really. I don’t still meet with homeowners, but when I do ride alongs with some of my clients or with some of the people that I do get to work with.
I do get to meet with homeowners still, and I get to have some of these simple conversations.
Right, so that’s interesting. And then how will you spend the majority of your time these days? Writing, speaking? I want to not just, you know, we’re not just having a conversation to promote it. I think this is such a unique opportunity for people to actually understand who you are and what you do, what you currently are focusing on.
Sure. So about a year and a half ago, I got an opportunity to start my own business, and now I’m a sales and business coach for the home services. Really? So it’s not just heating and air in HVAC, but heating and air, plumbing, electrical, roofers, I mean, anything to do with the home services, I get to help them. And I look at it from a holistic standpoint because sales is sales in a lot of ways, sales is sales. Now, I have to understand about landscaping, which I do, but I also have to understand about roofing. And I do work with Habitat on the weekend. So I understand about the construction business in general. Right. So because I understand all of these different aspects of the construction or home services industries, I’m able to speak to each one of those and help each one of them to develop a better sales process. Maybe they don’t have one. Or Metrics or KPIs, different things like that. I get to help with to develop that particular piece of their business so that they can be more profitable and so that they can work on the things that they love to work on, which is really helping homeowners and getting them more comfortable.
Right. And getting them into a safer environment. Sometimes we just don’t realize how dangerous the situation is. Right. So that’s what I do now. I work with individuals. I also work with companies. As you were talking about my book, I wrote a book, it came out, The Red Share Experience, a couple of months ago. And so there it is. I wrote that, and that is taking on a life of its own, because as you and I talked briefly about this and we’re going to talk a little bit further today, what’s coming about from the book is this persona, as you said, that there’s an audience for this book, and this book talks to people about the emotional side of things. And that’s really what I’ve learned over the last probably five years, really in depth as I’ve gone through these different life experiences that we all get to go through. Right. But they talk about the top five things you shouldn’t do, right? You shouldn’t move, you shouldn’t get divorced, you shouldn’t get married, you shouldn’t have babies, you shouldn’t right. You shouldn’t do all these things, change jobs. You shouldn’t do all these things.
Birth, death, you shouldn’t right. And I say shouldn’t, but they say those are the top five stressors, right? Well, guess what? I’ve done in the last, you know, three years, right? So I’ve literally gotten to see an experience, almost every one of those, and some of them were like back to back to back. So it was almost like the hits just keep on coming, right? So I got to learn from an emotional standpoint how to listen, surrender. I read a book called The Surrender Experiment by Mickey Singer, Michael Singer, and that taught me a whole lot about how to surrender to the things that are in your life, right? What’s happening and what’s going on. It doesn’t mean you’re defeated by it. It means you accept where you are and what’s happening around you and you find the positive things around you, right? And you learn from those things and you move through them. So that was a long winded question or a longwinded answer to your question.
Oh, no, I love it. And thanks for sharing. The book recommended by Chris. So here you go. Here’s an Amazon link for people who want to check it out as well, both Chris’s book and this new one you mentioned, Michael A. Singer the Surrender experiment. And I think one thing, Chris, there’s a lot to break down. So for people who want to learn more about HVAC, let me just say, in my family, there has not been a single plumber, electrician people in these jobs. And until I got a home two years ago, I thought to myself, everybody, to all my friends, my family, you guys are in the wrong business. What a fantastic skill to have growing up or at some point in your career to learn about all those things, because literally seeing cooling on the ground in the basement, running around like, mom, hide. It is 20 degrees outside. We’re all going to die. Let me call somebody. And, you know, it is you can freak out not having those skills. So I just want to highlight how important some of those skills are. And I wish that we can learn more in school and teach our kids more about it.
But then maybe we can elaborate more on making the connection to part of your work today. Which is in the past few years. Especially for some people. But like you said. In the past decade. Maybe for you. For people you’re close to. You’ve experienced. You’ve experienced a lot of things that are unpredictable just happened in front of your eyes and having to deal with them. So I think your book is a fantastic guide, and I think we should maybe talk about that and give people an idea of what it means. So to connect all the dots. I think based on what you said, it’s like show, don’t tell. But can I actually, you know what? I was thinking that maybe I can just quickly share. Unable to have permission to upload. Okay, so it’s like, it’s so funny. Kindle may or may not allow us to actually share this. Right.
That’s okay. What day are you looking at? I have my copy of the book right here.
What day are you looking at?
You know, my birthday is on the 24th. Well, I started reading a book a few days ago, so I was looking at like, June 18, 19th. Right. So this book that Chris has written called The Red Chair Experience where people were like, what is this? I don’t know what’s going on. Link in the description. You can check out the Kindle version. There’s a physical copy as well. It is so lighthearted because as I was reading, like, for instance, on my birthday, June 24, which is in just a couple of days. I love the fact that you always start with a quote to help people visualize a book. The good part about getting older is that you stop trying to prove anything to anyone, including yourself. All you’re in the pursuit of is a collective experience. Beautiful, fragile little soap bubbles that you store in your heart. And every once in a while, you pull one out of the gaze and the delicate pictures shows you twinkle. Kanna. I don’t know who that is, but it sounds really interesting. And you go into your own experience, your own writing, and it ends today. There’s an action item.
There’s not a todo, but there’s something to reflect upon. Such as on the 24th. Today, I’ll find the experiences that I have wanted or needed and plan to start living for those experiences. And I was thinking, oh, my goodness, this is the exact reminder that I need. So you have parts of that every single day. And I like the structure of that. And yeah. How did you ideate this book to kind of connect all the dots?
So part of it came about because I had been reading books like this that were similar to this. And the book came about as a result of the death of my brother, who he died by suicide in September of 19. And six months later, we started the pandemic. Right? We started what was this? We didn’t know what it was. And all of a sudden it’s hitting us like a freight train. Right. And so two months after the beginning of the pandemic, in May of 20, a buddy of mine sends me a meme and it says, if you’re not during this pandemic, if you are not working to better yourself, working on a side hustle, doing something to improve yourself, it’s not that you didn’t have time, it’s that you wasted your time. And that, to me, was kind of the catalyst. So shout out again to Mike Dixon every time I mention that story. Mike Dixon was the guy who did that, and he shared it with me. And I don’t think he was looking for some deep ethereal meaning, but that’s just Mike right. Mike just wanted to share that and encourage me with that.
So I took that, and it really hit home for me. And I said, you know, I’ve always wanted to write a book. What’s it about? Well, these daily inspirations really kind of came around, right? And so that’s what it was for me, was this daily inspiration, and I got the opportunity to start writing it, and so that’s really where it came from. But I love the idea, and I was fascinated by these different quotes, right? So there’s a quote in there from Snoop Dogg, right? And he talks about the gap, and there’s Haya Cletes is also and I’m not sure I’m pronouncing that properly, but these great philosophers in years gone by, right? And you’ve got these Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Right. I mean, people that we know, but then there are others you’re like, who’s that person? Just like you said, who in the world is that? I looked at them, and when I pulled out these quotes, when I was just searching for them and I really looked for something that inspired me, that said, oh, man, that really kind of hits home. And that relates to, like you said, open to opportunities, right?
So on your birthday, you’re talking about open are you open to opportunities? And so that, to me, kind of just hit home. And it made sense to use that, or a lot of the quotes really do, just they kind of tie into the topic, if you will. But that’s where the whole idea came from. It was something I’ve been reading for years, and it was just one of those things where I was like, you know what? I kind of meshed them all together, if you will, and kind of came up with my version of it.
And I also like the fact that the book kind of opens in the middle. I downloaded sort of the e version because I wanted to be able to access that right away. I would probably prefer the physical version, but I like how even in the browser, it opens in the middle. Did you structure all the pages to be exactly like two pages were a little less. So every day is kind of opening to a full new page.
So I really didn’t structure it that way. Some of it works out that way. Some of it really works out that way. But the reality is some of them are no more than 300 words. Some of them are 800 words. Right. So what’s fascinating to me was when I was writing the book, the number of words. This is actually 130,000 words, 400 pages. Okay.
Wow. Longer than I thought.
Okay, right. So if you take that 130,000, divided that by 366, you come up with about three. I think it’s 350, close to 300 and 5350 words per. So that’s really what it is. It’s a blog post. Right? I mean, it’s a short blog post, but it’s a blog post. And that was kind of the inspiration, too, was, is this something I wanted, something that I could share on a regular basis with LinkedIn or Facebook or with, hopefully my audience or what I thought was my audience, right? And just put that message out there. And like I said, the book is really taken on a world of its own because there are sales things in it, but it’s not specific to sales. And so if there is a sales thing that day, you may be able to apply it to whatever you do, whether it’s marketing or HR or finance.
Interesting, when we have interviewed a lot of authors on this podcast, and I always try to kind of leave the audience with something like something related to learning or teaching. And obviously, like, everyone processing information differently. It’s not like I don’t actually believe in replicating success with some of that can really be done in a very straightforward way. But I was thinking, like, when you wrote the book, who did you think were your audience versus who are you witnessing as your true audience? People are really learning a lot from the book. Is there any gaps or discrepancies?
So, honestly, when I wrote it, it was for therapeutic or Catholic reasons, because, again, it was my brother. And then we hit this pandemic, right? And so I’m writing the book from May of 2020 to November of 21. That took me about a year and a half to write it. And so every day I wasn’t thinking, who’s my audience? I was thinking for me, personally, I was kind of writing what I realized after this was all said and done about three weeks ago. I realized through having conversations with people that this was written to ten years ago, me. And this is a book about understanding the emotional side of life, right? That as young men in society, we’re not taught to be emotional. Now, granted, some households, they do a fantastic job and they really show the softness and the hardness, right? I mean, they show both sides of things. And it’s not just about the logic. It’s about the emotional, right? But for a number of us men when we grew up, we weren’t taught that emotional side. We weren’t taught the touchyfeely kind of stuff and how to let emotions wash over you and to sit in them and to experience them, and then to move forward.
Not to move on, but to move forward, right? And so that’s what I started to learn when all of these things were going on, because I had been through this divorce, I lost my job, or not. I lost my job, changed jobs, moved my daughter got married. I started a health journey because there was a lot of things that were going on with my gut health. And so I ended up going gluten free and kogan, or mostly plant based. Yeah, we didn’t talk about that yet. I know. Yeah. But I did it because I’d seen all these things that were going on with my life, right? So all of this stuff is happening, and then my brother dies, and then we hit the pandemic. And then in February of 21, my dad died, and then in March of 21, my grandson was born. So my oldest daughter had her first son. And literally days after he was born, I’m in the hospital with COVID pneumonia and dealing with that for a week. And then I get out, I finish the book, and here we are, right? And it’s like all of this stuff has gone on during this short period of time, during this couple to three year window, and that really is what spoke to what I was trying to do.
So I didn’t have a person in mind other than probably me, right. And it literally just became this therapeutic type of conversation that I was having. So I was going through therapy at the time because of all the things we’re having, but I was talking with somebody and writing this book, and it really just became, if you will, kind of an extension of journaling right, for me. And so when I first exposed, if you will, some of the pages of the book to people, they were kind of taken back by it. They’re like, wow, that’s really vulnerable. Are you sure you want to do that? Right? And I was like, yeah, I am. I’m okay with doing that. Because, again, I was learning to be more, if you will, emotional. Right. I was learning to be this other version of myself that was there, but just never really came out.
Yeah, because you’re a football player. I saw that, and I assumed the way that you brought up, I assume we make a lot of assumptions when we meet people for the first time. I know that you have tremendous respect for your stepfather as well, which you’ve written about. But even as a woman growing up in the Too, remember how vulnerability is seemed to be a bad thing, that you are supposed to hide your emotions. You’ve been instructed specifically to do so. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, we all know it was stage three suffrage cancer. Really. Still don’t have a ton of a breakthrough experimentation. You know, I remember myself landing in Beijing, China, after a 24 hours flight. Everybody saw me is like, we’re driving to the hospital now. Don’t cry. Don’t cry when you see your dad.
And then, you know, lately, just last night, I was watching a film. I think it’s called The Old Man. I do recommend Song Hulu. I’d really look forward to it. Of course I know it’s not about the old man. Of course he’s got some special abilities. One of the scenes was about this grandson losing his parents, and then the grandpa like, oh, how to run away and then cry. And then the grandma came over and said, have you ever thought that you might be able to cry with him? Can you? Maybe you can cry in front of him. It was so transformative for me to hear that. And, yeah, I’m going to pause because I really want to get into therapy. I had to write it down so I don’t forget. I do want to talk about therapy, but any thoughts from you?
So I just watched the show last night. Some friends had told me about this, and my girlfriend had mentioned it as well. It’s called hustle, right? It’s on Netflix. And it’s a really cool movie about basketball. And the main character gets the opportunity to stand up for himself, but also for somebody else who had he had this unfortunate experience in his life that he was raising his daughter. He was living with his mom. So the three of them are living kind of in this poverty stricken situation in Spain, and this guy comes over from the US. And he discovers this guy. He’s a phenomenal basketball player, but he needs some work, right? He needs to do these things well. Towards the very end spoiler alert. But towards the end of the movie. Mom and son are talking. And he was disappointed about where he was in his life and what was going on. But the storyline really kind of took a hook for me right there. Which was. Mom said. When I got here and saw you. You were the person I knew you could be and you wanted to be. You were so different.
You had changed so much. You had taken the weight off of your shoulders and put it on this other guy, this American, right, who came over to help him. And he said and she said, he became the mighty oak for you. And the cool thing for that was how often do we as people think that we have to be this tough person, right? To your point, don’t cry in front of dad. Yeah. He’s dying, or these things are going on. Don’t make it worse by crying in.
Front of don’t make it worse. Right?
How am I making it worse? I’m showing the love that I have for this person. I’m showing the emotion that is being brought out by these things. Right. And so I can sit and watch these movies now and be brought to tears, right? Because I see the emotional side of it, and it brings chills to me about the conversation and wanting that for my kids. And I want to make sure that I have those conversations and tell them how proud I am of them and how much I love them. And I do that on the regular because that wasn’t something that was provided for me when I was growing up, right? Yeah. I’m proud of you. I think you’re awesome. You’re doing amazing. Things. And I do. I love my kids. They’re doing amazing things and watching them grow and flourish into the women that they are becoming. Amazing. It’s really, really cool.
Yeah. I can tell just how proud you are of both of your daughters. And that’s a beautiful thing. Like, I just have this sense of like, you’re accepting them as who they are and they can share these real conversations with you. They don’t have to hide or filter or change the narrative somehow. That is beautiful. So I want to touch upon the therapy. It’s something that I feel so admitting. Therapy. Oh, by the way, I have a session coming up right after this. Literally. Not kidding. Yeah, I mean, a big shout out to mental health, actually. M-E-T-T-L-E-I can’t believe I actually get to say this, but I have a session in an hour with Dr. BJ. Miller. All their therapists are just amazing for me. They specialize. A quick shout out. But I wanted some information, speaking of the issues of where the challenges of suicide, disability, palliative care, grief. There are things that are anticipatory grief, as in that could be happening when your friend is sick and while you’re in the middle of it. I don’t have to elaborate further on that. I remember that I finally understood what being in the trenches meant.
Like, really for real struggling, everyday struggle, everyday fear. When my dad was sick, especially towards the end, the whole year I was down to £105. I see the pictures of myself. I couldn’t I was eating, I was more or less sleeping. I didn’t even think twice about it. But man, I’ve never been that light ever in my life. And just frail and then post this traumatic stress that was also so real. Not being able to process that and have it be part of your body is tremendous. So I would admit first and foremost that my dad passed away when I was 26. I started therapy immediately. I couldn’t really tell my family and some of my friends in China, they didn’t get it. They would be worried about me. That would be my choice. And I did it again towards my late twenty s. And I had this gap of no therapy, nothing. Oh, phase world is thriving, business. And then I realized, you know what? Now in this moment, my mom is here with me, safe, we’re in good health. Now is the time for me to really ramp up, learn as much as I can to be in a good place.
It’s a privilege. So that’s what I’m doing. And I encourage everybody to not think of therapy as in I’m okay. Nobody is dying right now, actively dying. So that’s kind of my experience. I want to be vulnerable first. Chris, please share what you have learned in therapy or why you started that.
Well, first of all, thank you for sharing that, because a. Lot of us, we feel like it’s shameful for us to have that conversation, right? And I know that a lot of the Chinese culture and Japanese culture is about honor. It’s always about saving face and that kind of stuff. And so I appreciate you sharing that, because it’s not an easy thing, right, for us to stand up and say, hey, you know what? I’m getting help, right? I’m raising my hand and saying, yeah, things are going well. But to your point, I’ve had a bit of a gap where I felt like, okay, I’m in a good place and things are moving in the right direction, and I can go ahead and take a break, but there’s been something calling you back to say, hey, it’s time to check back in, and it’s time to have those conversations again. And even as good as a relationship that you have with your BFF, right, it could be your parents, it could be your mom, your dad, whatever. But as good a relationship as you have, there’s still some things you may not be able to have that conversation with them about, right?
And so it’s always good to have that check in with the mental health, right? And one of my dear friends from high school, her name is Carmen, shout out to Carmen. But Carmen, she chose to walk into that profession, right? And good on her, and I appreciate all of her work around that. And people like her, right, that step out on the front lines and say, hey, I can do this. My aunt is another person who does this on the regular. She helps people. She really does help people. And I love going to visit her. She’s kind of therapy every time I go visit her. It’s kind of cool, but yeah. But yeah, for me personally, I’m a huge believer in it now. I didn’t understand it before, and again, it was a sign of weakness, right? It was the sign of, well, you can’t do that because then people think you’re weak, and you can’t be tough. Being a football player growing up in an all male household, I grew up in a single parent household with all males, right? So it was just me and my two brothers and my dad. And again, not a lot of touchy feeling, not a lot of expressions of love going on there other than, here, let me provide a roof over your head.
Let me feed, make sure that there’s food on the table, and that kind of thing. Those kind of things kind of stunt that growth, if you will. And so learning these things and seeing them, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect. We’re all not perfect, right? But we all get the opportunity to raise our hand and say, hey, I do need some help. There’s nothing wrong with that. And we’re seeing that more and more. I love the fact that some of these main athletes are stepping out and saying, hey, I’m not okay. I need to take a break, right? Someone vials. When she stepped out of the Olympics, I mean, that was her shining moment. And she does what? She steps back and she goes, not right now, I just can’t. And good for her, right? And we all have that opportunity. Sometimes we have to step back and say, not right now, I need a break. I need to spend time on my own. To your point, after my brother died, there were many days where I caught myself just kind of in this funk, right? In this place of like, what am I doing?
Right? It happens to all of us if we understand what’s happening. Same thing. I was going through my health journey at the time, and I went on total elimination diet, and my brother died. And then I’m starting to learn about this stuff with my body, and I literally got to a size that was pre high school, right? I mean, for me, I’m six foot five. Okay, let’s start with that. I’m six foot five. So if you go by all the charts and everything, I should be somewhere between, what is it, like, 209 and £185, which is a bunch of junk anyways.
Yeah, there’s no wrong. But I did. I got back down to under £210, and I had never been that small since I was in high school. And so I’m healthy. I’m fine. I’m really at the weight that I played college football at right now. So I’m in a healthy spot. I’m in a good spot. I do Bikram kogan on Sundays, right? I do all kinds.
Good for you. Well, I just want to take a moment and say, like, all these virtual meetings and Zoom meetings, I notice, right, if I just lean in, we’re like, the same size. And it’s just so interesting, I got to say, in the past three years, and frankly, like, I’m just going to derail for a quick second the five, seven years because of the Internet and meeting different people. Dore Clarke, Seth Go, and a huge shout out of these communities all around the U, even around the world. I never get to meet these people. I so want them to be, like, close to me by proximity, be part of my life. And I see them on Zoom or some Google meet, and until I meet them finally, or, like, we start talking about describing ourselves and be like, what? We had another, like, Stephen Thompson is yours. Six four. The entire group was shocked. Like, this very kind of, like, average size. It’s just so funny that people with or without masks on these days, you can’t tell who’s who anymore. Like, they’re introducing myself and Jessie’s. Like, what if I didn’t know each other?
I didn’t recognize this with you. It’s so weird. I love it. I love it.
Yeah. And I’m doing the same thing I’m just now getting out to some meetings where we haven’t met forever, right? We’ve been on Zoom meetings and people see me and I’m like, I met this woman at an event, probably it’s been a year now, but I met her at an event and she was like we looked eye to eye. She was six foot one. She is six foot one. Six foot one. And I was like, wow, Iris, I had no idea. And it was really kind of cool, right, because we were having this conversation. But yeah, you don’t get to see these people and we all look the same size, right? We all have the same screen, right?
Yeah, exactly. I could be 64 right now. Exactly. This is another thing. The other day I was just reflecting on when you are I’m five four, so I’m like, I’m not tiny or anything, but it’s like there’s part of my life I look back on. I was like, I always wanted to look and appear to be more intimidating. Like, I always thought it was really cool. Like, people look at me once I turn around. It’s like I want them to take a step back and not to mess with me. Obviously, it’s never, ever happened in my life. So I’m still waiting for that moment that’s not in a taekwondo do genre or something. That’s like a fantasy for me. But yeah. So, Chris, based on what you said, it actually reflected one of the articles. As much as I love your writing on my birthday, June 24, there’s something that hit me on June 21, which was what? Yesterday, as I was preparing for this, this kind of worked out beautifully, because literally in that moment, five minutes before, my mum shared a WeChat article with me, according to all in Chinese, so I had to listen to it says, according to the Washington Post.
And of course, I couldn’t find that actual article. Is that the ten most luxury items that you could possibly possess in life? And I immediately was going to turn it off because I didn’t want to hear another talk about Louis Vuitton bags or something, right? And then, of course, none of those ten things has anything to do with goods or expensive items. Instead, it was all about your peace of mind and a healthy mindset, a belief system, being able to sleep well. And then there’s one thing that really hit me. The final thing was the ability to light up other people. So it’s a very short quote, a very short article. I’m not going to read the whole thing, give it away. But.
I was going to say, say if you’d like, I’ll read it.
Oh, yeah, please do.
I’ll read it.
June 21. Selflessness it is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. That was Harry S. Truman. Do you go about your life seeing what you can get out of everyone else? Or do you find ways to use your talents and abilities to help others excel or progress? Often we are more concerned about our next promotion, our credit for doing the right thing, or our self promotion versus lifting other people up. Do you look for ways that you can help others grow or are you just making yourself look better? Learning the value and joy of helping others to grow and mature is incredible, especially when done with no ulterior motives. This can be a hard lesson to learn when most of what we hear is, what’s in it. For me, being selfish means loving others more. Being selfless means loving others more than yourself. The other side of this is codependency, where you are reliant upon helping others in their bad habits or character traits. Being able to find the balance is a good thing and can be a refreshing reward. Today, I will look for ways to lift up others with a pure heart and see the selfishness that I can put aside for others.
Yeah, that’s one of the shorter ones too.
How’s that for a different approach? That just kind of hit me because I feel like what really in a selfish way? The projects. The projects that the events, not just projects. People and things that I’m doing that gives me such a tremendous amount of satisfaction and energy are the ones that I get to light up something in someone else, especially in ways that they may not be able to do it on their own. So that is just I have to say, I always feel selfish to feel that tremendous amount of joy. One of the projects I have to give a shout out is Gustavo Sarfini’s Unable Disabled project. We started in April last year. And at this point, I can’t believe the project. I told them just now, like an hour ago, a year and two months, we’ve interviewed more than 50 people with people who recognize identify themselves as with a disability, some with invisible disabilities. And now, I mean, guys at this point go to the website Unable Disable.com. But then in July, for instance, you know, Gustavo is invited not only beyond the Omnium Circus, which is the only circus to feature people, everyone with some sort of with a disability to be in a circus act.
And they’re not yet a traveling tour. I really hope they become one. And now, you know, Gustavo is on the board as a board member and he’s invited to speak at the New York Public Library in the four week series in July to talk about, you know, all these things. It’s just like, wow. It’s just incredible. So when I read this, I was like, every word resonated with me and made me think about what I want to do, start doing, continue doing that sort of thing.
Yeah, well, and this is what I love about the book, right? Something that hits you today, it may not resonate with you tomorrow, right? You may have had your fill of learning about those things for tomorrow, right? But one day you pick it up and you go, wow, okay, this really hit home. And that’s what I tried to describe in the introduction, right? And I don’t know if you got a chance to read that, but that’s what I really described in the introduction, is just take it for what it is. Some days it’s going to hit you and other days not so much. And that’s okay, but keep coming back to it because you’re going to find things every single time. By the way, I do read this every morning, and it’s now out of what powerful words did I have to say? It’s nothing to do with that. I literally read it and I go, okay, that was good. That really hit home for me, that resonated or not so much. Let me pick up one of the other books I read. So I read four different books every morning. This is just one of them.
Wow. So what has hit you the most recently? Whether it’s from your own book, don’t Worry, shout out is fine or other books, is something that kind of hit you, something you need recently.
I think the thing that keeps resonating with me is this being honest with yourself and the ability to be in touch, be present, be aware of what’s going on around you, and not just kind of do your own thing, right? Just go about your business and forget about others, but really thinking about what’s going on, what’s happening around you. Our anxiety is caused by this fear of everything happening or collapsing around us, right? Or these feelings that we get that are sometimes justified, but most of the time, probably not. And I’m not speaking for anybody in their anxiety. I’m speaking to myself. But for me, my anxiety is brought about by this fear of what I should have done or could have done, or what about this and what about that? Could this happen? Could that happen? Right? And then I start thinking and worrying about all these things that are really out of my control. And then when I look at my feet and I realize that I’m planted firmly on the ground and I’m okay, right, and I’m safe, I’m in a safe spot, it can really remove a lot of that. So for me, it’s the continued ability to stay present and where I’m at right now and what’s going on around me and being mindful of that, are aware of that and what’s happening.
Could you give us an example or like, maybe a practice where, you know, maybe sometimes for specific reasons where we’re like, oh, we’re really upset, something that, you know, it’s there, like the boiler broke or something. But also sometimes, you know, I’m actually, in the past month or so, there was, like identified I’m very lucky to say that doesn’t occur to me all that often, but there was one time I was just everything was fine, and I walked around all of this, and I just had this, like, a very quick sense of sadness or, like, emptiness. Like, what? I’m here. What am I gonna do? What did I do today? What am I going to do next? And then it did go away fairly quickly, but I also know some of my friends are kind of living in it pretty continuously. Have you experienced those moments? And how do you like I hate to use the word snap yourself out of it. What do you do? What do you be in the present? Do you move? Do you choose to be in nature?
So it’s going to be different for everybody. We all have our own tips and tricks and tools that work, and I would encourage everyone to do that, to find out what works for you. What typically works for me is recognizing it first and foremost, right? It’s like anything they say, if you don’t recognize that you have a problem, then you won’t do anything about it. Right? So it’s recognizing, wait, this is happening. And it’s not necessarily a problem. It’s something that’s coming up, right? It’s an awareness that you go, hey, this is happening. I feel sad, okay? Why am I sad? What’s happening? What’s going on around me? And the other day I woke up and I was completely overwhelmed. There was a lot of stuff going on, and I was thinking about everything around me, and so I sat in my chair and I read, and then I just meditated, and I kind of just washed everything away. It’s not that you forget it. I still had the same problems as when I sat down and did that, but it was the ability to be able to say, okay, I’m aware of this. This is happening now.
What can I do with it? Right? And we all have that opportunity. If we continue to feed it, what happens to the monster? It gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and all of a sudden you’re out of control, and you’re hyperventilating. You can’t breathe, and now you can’t function. It’s recognizing first and foremost, and it’s becoming aware of it and then moving through that, right? And you don’t move past it. You move through it with whatever works for you prayer, meditation, reading your Bible, reading inspirational books like this, listening to music, right? Sometimes for people, it could be listening to reiki or meditation music, right, or classical music or whatever, right? Some people just need some sort of thing to help kind of ground them. That’s what I do. That works for me. And I would encourage people to find out what that is for them and kind of gravitate to that, recognize what’s going on, and then gravitate to what you know is going to help you to move through what’s going on.
I love the tips, like reading, meditating. Something else I found for me, for instance, if it resonates with anybody who’s listening here, is visuals really help me. I have stickers in front of me right now. Like certain mantra I just have to remind myself, like letting go. Like, for instance, letting go. Relationships that no longer serve us in the right way. It doesn’t mean you have to go out there and announce it to people. I think that’s really hard for me, being an only child and all that, and traveling and moving and saying goodbyes constantly. There’s a sense of like, okay, I’m alone. I’ve been an only child. But at the same time, it’s like I don’t have a ton of very close, intimate relationships and I kind of want to nurture. But then sometimes you’re like, you gotta let go sometimes. People always travel through your life. Like, they might be super close now, you’re distance for a while, they might come back in. And for us, of force certain relationships is not helpful. But I also wrote down, be patient with yourself. Do less work. Focus on you. Meditate twice a day. Meditating twice a day.
I learned from David G recently because I love for you to check out his work as well. We always sometimes rely on that one meditation morning, evening. But then he said, giving yourself like, that two times, like twice a day, that chance you hit the core more easily. And for me, I’m not a great guitar player or a ukulele player, but it’s visually, it’s there. I can even see it when I go on a zoom call. So when I’m stressed in between to you be like, know what? Let me just hit some chords. Let me just learn one thing, five minutes a day. And that really transforms me. But obviously the best, if possible, is for me to I take two walks every single day, each at about like 45 minutes to an hour. And then sometimes I listen to music. I try not to listen to podcasts. I keep thinking and working, and then I turn my AirPods. Pro is needed on a transparency mode. So I love to hear the wind, the bird, and sometimes just walk. Just listening to nature. So very therapeutic. Highly recommended.
Yeah, absolutely. I love getting out and walking in nature. Right. Some people really love nature, others don’t. Right? And so I love what you said, even getting away from the podcast. One of the things that I was in an a capella group in college and was a huge fan of Take Six and The Nylons and other a cappella type groups like that. And so Pitch Perfect was a great movie for me. I really enjoyed that. Right. But for me, even to be able to listen to a cappella music now, or one of my favorite songs is Blackbird by the Beatles. I was listening to it this morning and harmonizing and listening to it. And for me, that’s to your point, it’s very therapeutic. Right. That kind of resonates with me. That kind of stuff resonates for my boss, my internal person. Right. And it works with me very well.
This is so lovely. Oh, my God. I know that I booked 45 minutes. If I may, I want to do, like Chris, anything that people should know, feel free to throw it in. For sure. And look at this. Look at that. Robin. Robin, thanks so much for your comment. We love it.
I love the fact that maybe that’s in the work. My mom’s an artist. I don’t have dogs or pets. I’m obsessed with dogs. I live in a neighborhood where they’re just the most adorable dogs running around. I would literally run on somebody else in front of their houses and then start playing with their dogs. I couldn’t do it for the longest time during Coba. Now with vaccination, I’m like, it’s awesome. As a reminder that people are that you have to go out, and it’s fantastic. So my people love it. And so I want to talk briefly about gluten free, and that is a discovery for me real quick. People have heard this before on my YouTube channel even, but I did not want to believe I needed to be gluten free. I grew up eating some of these things, and I stole. I have a sweet tooth, for sure. And, you know, what the heck? I’m just gonna try it. I did it many times. For those who are listening, 30 days wasn’t enough for me. For me, it actually started to really transform everything. About 60 days in, and for my friend Sean, is about 80 days.
So I hate the fact that this is not like, a two day, two week thing for you to actually see the difference. And it was huge for me. What was it like for you, Chris?
Yeah, so the reason I did it was because obviously, there was a lot of gut health that issues that I was having, and I struggled for, I don’t know, 20 plus years, almost 30 years with gout, and so a lot of inflammation, a lot of things happening. And so my girlfriend, who has Celiacs, she helped me to understand it and kind of get a part of that. And what I’ve seen as I continue on this journey, every once in a while, I’ll have some gluten. I can do that. She can’t, but every once in a while, I have some gluten. I’ll have a pizza or whatever. Right. But I know where I’m healthiest, and I know where I feel the best. And really, it’s about the inflammation. It’s about the gut health. And what I learned for me is I can’t do those things continuously like I used to, because it really messes with my body. Now, some people are fortunate they don’t have those issues. Other people, they do have those issues. They don’t realize it, right?
I don’t know. There’s a lot of great alternatives. There’s a lot of opportunities out there. Shout out to Sweet Lauren’s Cookies. Right? Yeah, write that down. Sweet Lauren’s cookies.
I’m getting it.
They are gluten free and vegan and they’re really good. Yeah, so check them out. They’re in the refrigerated section anyways.
Refrigerated, I love it.
Yeah, they’re basically what, cut and cook kind of thing. But yeah, there are plenty of opportunities and plenty of things out there that are available. And so many of us, especially here in America, we don’t realize all of the stuff that we get is processed. Right? I mean, most of the foods that we eat are processed. And so I love the European and even the Asian model, where a lot of the foods that are eating there are fresh and they’re whole. Right? They’re whole foods, vegetables, fruits, and things like that that you can actually go and pick and then you cook them and you work with them. Rices and things like that. I mean, all of those things, they’re available to us. But we’re so used to this instant world that we live in that we want to go to McDonald’s, we want to go to Burger King, right? We want to go and pick up our hamburgers and we want to make this quick and blah blah. So yeah, there’s plenty of alternatives and.
We’Re so used to the instant world that we live in. I think that’s such a quote that we can use, because not just that. Digital marketing, how to build your business, how to make money today, right now. It’s like guys extend out the timeline of it. It’s beautifully said. And for me it was a huge deal. I remember just working and consulting business for ten years, for a solid decade, of course, every day, eating rushed meals every morning, coffee, no food in my tummy. And ever since my early thirty s, I didn’t even know what it was. I didn’t know there was gerd as a reflux. A lot of people had it, but I just had the worst. Not necessarily the worst, but I had an episode that I was in the middle of rural China and I go to the emergency room and that taught me a serious lesson of oh wow, thinking I was going to die. Oh, there’s clearly a heart attack. And it wasn’t so all these things we don’t learn about our bodies in school and you don’t know like how something’s very wrong and then coming back to decide when I suffer through that.
It was literally a year, a year and a half. I couldn’t sleep through the night. I have to get up in the middle of the night here my pounding, like my heart is pounding out of my chest. Taking acid reflux pills and then always worried every time I leave the house if I leave the house without Ranitidine or something, I’m like, oh, God, I’m going to die halfway through dinner. But then going gluten free, just resolve all of that. And I’m like, you Chris? I don’t think I’m celiac. So I have my little pills and then if I need to eat, I don’t know, like a mozzarella sticks or some breading on the outside, I just pop in the pill. But even these days, I try to avoid that because it’s like there’s certain things you have to pay for. I have pizza and it’s like sciatica muscle pancakes, right. And it’s like it’s not worth it.
Yeah. And again, it’s part of the awareness, right. When we learn to recognize what’s going on with ourselves, we don’t have to live in the pain. I used to wake up every morning and I would ask myself, I’d sit on my bed and I would say, okay, what hurts today? That was the life that I was living and gotten to this point where literally every morning I’d wake up and go, okay, I do a full body assessment, right, just kind of, okay, what hurts today? And I remember waking up, doing that every morning and going, why am I doing this? Why do I have to live like this? And so that was part of my kind of turn with my health journey, right, and starting to move in a direction that said, wait, I’ve got to do something different. I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. Being a former athlete, I’ve learned to live with pain, right. I’ve learned to live with a certain level of this is uncomfortable, it’s not a big deal. Well, for a normal person, this would be excruciating, right? But I’m just going to go, it’s not that big of a deal.
True. I can barely walk, but it’s cool.
I know because I was a skater skateboarding for many years, from like age nine to 15. I even showcased look at these injuries. And then in high school, I played hockey. In college, I was doing taekwondo full time. So you’re right. Very used to tolerating pain. I was very proud of it. But, yeah, it’s actually not healthy. Not that we have the demand, like perfection or like I’m feeling perfect today, but I think we need to be very much we need to be more in touch with our bodies. For me, frankly, that wasn’t really possible. I was really doing it right until I went freelancing, that I can easily very privileged to wake up when I want and then to choose my hours to do these things and then to smell the flowers, to pause in my life. And I started to notice a lot more things going on with my body than I ever did before. So you’re right. Chris, I think something you said, whether it’s meditating or taking that time for yourself, you will uncover and maybe fix or address certain issues a. Lot sooner.
Well, and it all comes back to, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others, whether it’s mentally or physically or whatever, right? If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of other people? And too often, we get in that codependent mode, or we get in that mode that says, oh, I need to do this for other people. I know business owners, right? That’s why I help these people, is because they’re doing it all themselves, and they’re putting this huge burden on themselves, and they don’t need to. Right? You can help tremendous amounts of people just by giving them little tips and tricks. If they would just watch your videos, if they would just hire you to do some of the things that they can take that responsibility off of them. They don’t need to carry the way to the world. They really don’t. And that’s why I enjoy doing what I do. And I know you do, too. But we get the opportunity to give to other people and help them. And as I say, I contribute to other people and what they’re doing, because that’s really what I get to do.
I get to contribute to their success.
Yeah, absolutely. This is so wonderful, Chris. We went over time, but I encourage people to take a look. I included the description. There’s a link, tree link that takes you to all of Chris’s work and how to connect with him on social media. Check out his book. But I want to just take a moment to thank you for whatever time that you have you had today to spend with us live here. Different social media channels, but also this episode will be repurposed for Facebook, podcast on Spotify, Google, Apple, and other major platforms as well. So leave us a comment and look forward to continuing the conversation.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me.
Thank you so much. Going to take us offline?
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