Disappointment is hard. Today’s episode is so important and the story you’re about to hear is POWERFUL. Let’s see if we can rise above those clouds of disappointment and thrive today...

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I’m so excited to have Steve Taubman with us today, a magician, author, and mindset expert, Dr. Steve helps people discover their blindspots and awaken to their true potential. Steve has a very diverse background and brings lots of perspective and experience to our conversation. He's definitely making big waves of positivity and I can’t wait for you to meet him!

This Week’s PRO TIP is: 

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show


Dr. Steve Taubman is a bestselling author and world class speaker who has dedicated his life to showing people how to thrive through their challenges. He's written extensively on the application of contemplative practices in stressful situations and has spoken worldwide on mindset mastery for goal-oriented and helping professionals. 

Having endured crippling anxiety and low self esteem early in life, Dr. Taubman made it his mission to understand the nature of happiness and the remedy for emotional turmoil. His search led him to neurology, holistic health, mindfulness, positive psychology, and hypnosis. Each of these disciplines is represented in Dr. Taubman's system for living a balanced life, free of neurosis and rich in accomplishment. 

Dr. Taubman's works include his bestselling book, UnHypnosis, his sales mastery program, The Magic of Inner Selling, his online productivity masterpiece, Procrastination Annihilation, and his latest book on thriving through stress on life's battlefields, Bulletproof. He's also written hundreds of articles for major publications and has produced specialized hypnotic programs for business professionals to remove mental barriers to success.  

Dr. Taubman continues to enrich his understanding of the science of happiness and its impact on achievement. When not writing or speaking, Dr. Taubman enjoys spending time in and around his home on the beautiful Burlington, Vermont waterfront.


[00:00:00] Neal Hooper: [00:00:00] I am so excited to have Steve Taubman with us today. A magician author and mindset expert. Dr. Steve helps people discover their blind spots and awaken to their true potential. Steve has a very diverse background and brings lots of perspective and experience to the conversation.

[00:00:21] And he is definitely making big waves of positivity. And I cannot wait for you to meet him. Steve, welcome to the show.

[00:00:30] Steve Taubman: [00:00:30] Neil. Thanks for having me. Wow. That's a great introduction. Thanks.

[00:00:33]Neal Hooper: [00:00:33] I'm just so excited to sit down with you. We have, we've had a few conversations now and each time it's just been so fun. You're just, full of light and have so many. Things to bring to the table. And I'm just exploding here with questions. So I'll try to stay on track, but I just want to dive right in here and you've just got so much value to add.

[00:00:55]I think a great place to start would be with a little background. [00:01:00] So let's get to know Steve a little bit. What's your story?

[00:01:03]Steve Taubman: [00:01:03] I was a chiropractor for many years. I had a sports medicine practice for about 14 years. And I hit a point in my career where I decided there was something calling to me to try something new, to do something different. And I had no idea what that was or why, although I did have a fascination and a passion for magic.

[00:01:23] Which was the way I was inflicting pain upon my patients. I was practicing my craft for them while I was learning to be halfway decent at it. And I started developing a side, a side hustle working with corporate groups and in restaurants and whatnot doing close-up magic. So I knew I had another skill and other interests, but I wasn't sure where I was heading career wise.

[00:01:45] But I did know at that point, after 14 years in practice that something was calling to me and that I needed out. And so I I ended up selling my chiropractic practice, taking a year, traveling all around the us and Central [00:02:00] America had some really interesting experiences along the way. And when I came back, I had essentially begun the reinvention process to reclaim some of my interest in entertainment and Oh humor and just, just being in the world in a different way and continuing to offer something of value.

[00:02:19] But rather than it being something of physical value, like what you do as a chiropractor, Something more of a mental, emotional, spiritual value, which is what you do when you're presenting something that creates either humor or laughter astonishment any of those things. So that's how my life has unfolded.

[00:02:35]Neal Hooper: [00:02:35] You've you mentioned one of your books on hypnosis but you've also written Buddha in the trenches and then Bulletproof. And these are just. So neat. Is there anything you could share about your books that might be interesting to know at a high level before we dive into the principles here?

[00:02:51] Steve Taubman: [00:02:51] Sure. First of all the first of the series was on hypnosis and I wrote that book about 15, 16 years ago. [00:03:00] And it came on the heels of an experience kind of a funny experience if you want to share it.

[00:03:05]Neal Hooper: [00:03:05] Please.

[00:03:05]Steve Taubman: [00:03:05] So I was I was performing hypnosis shows for MTV spring break. 30 jobs. Somebody has got to do it. And at the same time I was pursuing my spiritual practices and, learning to meditate and all that sort of thing. So I had already begun to look at things through the lens that we're talking, that we're looking through right now. And I was doing the hypnosis show in Jamaica in front of 2,500 semi inebriated college students.

[00:03:34] I use the word semi very loosely. And I was doing all the things that one does in hypnosis show. I've got people, they think they're milking a cow or conducting an orchestra. I've got one guy thinks she's pregnant. Another guy thinks he's the father. And. Yep. And so in the middle of the show, I decided I'm going to try something new and I which is what we're asked to do.

[00:03:59] Whereas, [00:04:00] whether you're a comic or a hypnotist or a magician, things are going well, and you're gonna take, you're gonna, you're gonna try some of your experimental material in front of a good craft. One of my subjects. And I said to him, I said you wake up three, things are gonna happen.

[00:04:13] And I said, number one, you don't believe you're hypnotized, even though you are. I said, number two, this is the worst show you've ever seen. And you're pissed at me. And I said, number three, there's an invisible wall, three feet in front of you. So I woke everybody up. I said, how's, everybody's doing how's everybody doing?

[00:04:29] And this guy screams, you suck. And it was him thankfully. And I said, what's the problem? He says, the show is terrible. I said, then leave. And the guy gets up and he takes three steps as if to leave the stage. And he hits this invisible wall.

[00:04:47] Neal Hooper: [00:04:47] No way.

[00:04:49] Steve Taubman: [00:04:49] Stop straight in his tracks. And he just looks very concerned and they started pushing and pushing and he can't get through it. And he finally sits back down and he crosses his arms and he starts to pout. I, And I [00:05:00] said, what's the problem. He goes, nothing. I said, are you hypnotized? It was no.

[00:05:04] I said, are you having fun? He goes, no. I said, then why don't you leave? I thinks for a minute finally goes, I'm not going to give you the satisfaction.

[00:05:16] Neal Hooper: [00:05:16] Oh, so big.

[00:05:19] Steve Taubman: [00:05:19] it was just, it was the funniest thing. And at the same time I had this epiphany in the moment and I realized, God that's all of us, we're all trying to get somewhere. And then we hit our invisible wall and we stopped. And we, and then what do we do? We first we tried pushing harder.

[00:05:35] So you've got this notion of what your life is supposed to be, what you want it to look like, what goals or dreams you're trying to accomplish, and you start moving toward them. And we all know that moment where we're all that enthusiasm suddenly stops dead in its tracks. Because of something inside something between our ears and it could show up as, as fear or frustration or overwhelm or boredom even.

[00:05:59] And we [00:06:00] just, somehow we don't go a step further. We start to sabotage ourselves and we try to use effort to push ourselves through that barrier. And you can't because the barriers in your head and, and it's also your head that's deciding to push. So you're pushing against yourself. And it becomes this vicious cycle this unwinnable conquest that you're trying to experience to move through your own barriers.

[00:06:25]And so what I realized was here's this guy who is clearly hypnotized and, this is obvious to everyone except for him. He's the only one who doesn't know that he sit in the ties. Are you hypnotized? No. Why don't you leave now? He's got to make up an excuse why he's not going to leave because the truth makes no sense.

[00:06:48] So I thought wait a minute. What if that's all of us? What if all of us are hitting with ties and as a result, we're all, moving toward [00:07:00] this thing we want. And then we hit our invisible wall. If that's the case, then. The only way to move through it. The only way to rise above it is to wake up. There's no other way, it's like being in a dream and you can't get out of whatever's going on in the dream. You've got to wake up from the dream in order for the dream to end. And you've got to wake up from the illusion of this barrier in order for the longer hold you back.

[00:07:28] Neal Hooper: [00:07:28] Wow. What a great story. And that, again I'm loving all the metaphors and analogies. You're bringing into the conversation. I'm a very visual person. And so that's so helpful to understand things and yeah, I think we can all relate to that feeling of almost being hypnotized. I actually last year I left the job in corporate America for.

[00:07:54] Fortune 100 company. I was there for two years and hypnotized is a [00:08:00] great adjective or that feeling of just being, sleep. You're just going through the motions and just totally miserable. And so I love that verbiage and that what a fun story to, to launch into that concept.

[00:08:13] But that is that's awesome. And I highly recommend. Everyone go pick up the books. We're going to link to the website in the show notes where you can go and find all of Steve's work. And so we highly recommend you go check that out. There's so many projects you're working on right now.

[00:08:32]And is there anything else exciting going on that would be fun to know about.

[00:08:38] Steve Taubman: [00:08:38] Yeah. I'm really fascinated by this concept of ritual. This is a really interesting area for me, because the first book on hypnosis was really about reinventing your life. Taking a look at taking a new look at yourself, comparing where you are with where you want to be, not just in terms of the job you have, but in terms of like how it's feeding, how whatever you're doing is feeding you on the inside.

[00:08:59] And [00:09:00] so that book was written with the presumption that, you're maybe doing something that isn't really. A good outer reflection of who you are on the inside. And then what I then evolved into was that second book, you mentioned Buddha in the trenches, which was much more about not necessarily reinventing your life or trying something new, but how do you bring your greatest resources to whatever it is that you are doing so that you could bring the maximum amount of inner peace and happiness and joy and productivity.

[00:09:28] To that. And so Buddha in the trenches to me was first of all, I think that's the best name for any book ever written

[00:09:34] Neal Hooper: [00:09:34] it's really good.

[00:09:35]Steve Taubman: [00:09:35] But unfortunately the business marketplace did not agree with me because, they're very sensitive to anything that sounds potentially religious.

[00:09:44] Neal Hooper: [00:09:44] what do they,

[00:09:45] Steve Taubman: [00:09:45] Yeah, exactly.

[00:09:47] I figured, I'm not going to buck tradition. So I essentially re-released the book with a few modifications, including the modification to the title. And that's what Bulletproof is. So Bulletproof is asks the [00:10:00] question. What if everything that bugs you that blocks you, or that brings you down didn't you know, what will your life look like if.

[00:10:07]You didn't hit that inevitable place where what used to be fun and purposeful and passion inducing was now causing you misery. How can you be more resilient? And the resilience is this quality of, I could keep going. I could keep going in a positive way. I can enjoy the process.

[00:10:26] I could be a good a good teacher to those around me. I could be a good example to others. That could be a good leader that, that's resilience. And when I looked around, I noticed that the conversation around resilience is now framed as mental toughness. So there's a whole thing called mental toughness, and I thought that's bullshit. Yeah, if you want, the that's BS and the reality is that resilience isn't about toughness. It's not about developing a thick, outer shell and, dogging, [00:11:00] determination and pushing on, despite all odds. There's a certain amount of sticktuitiveness and grit. That are necessary and that are part of it, but there's also a lot of emotional intelligence and equanimity and inner peace and self-awareness and flexibility.

[00:11:16] That need to be part of it. Those things are not taught typically to the business community when it comes to resilience.

[00:11:25]Neal Hooper: [00:11:25] No. There's a lot of work to be done there. You just shared some really neat things. I think also it's a great example of of one of the play three principles, except the build. Commonly known as yes. And the improv community in terms of, you release your book, you called it Buddha in the trenches.

[00:11:43] And instead of just, you want to talk about grit or uh, resilience instead of just, giving up or saying it was a flop. You went back, you accepted and built on that and released it with the new title and really, came out, swinging [00:12:00] and improved it. I think that's a great example of that.

[00:12:03]That's the segue into the question I want to ask you now, which is how does accept and build, help us reach our potential.

[00:12:13] Steve Taubman: [00:12:13] Good segue. Wow. I'm honoring you here in my mind. And thanks for, for noticing that w that story is a reflection of that. That's so true.  I think, first of all, and we're going to talk about inner parts and things like that as we go along.

[00:12:28] But I think, part of us has this tendency toward enthusiasm and invention and positivity, and then there's another part of us that's like waiting for the next good excuse to give up. And I think we're always, there's always that part there. And at times much worse than others. When we first spoke was just coming off, like the tail end of the worst two months of my life, having just lost my dog and use my travel and my bone is next.

[00:12:55]And so the idea of being productive [00:13:00] or creative was just. I didn't want that. I don't even want to think about that. It was just so in it. And I think one of the things I have noticed about being on that kind of journey of consciousness is that it does give you the faith that when you're in a big, deep, dark hole, that there is a place outside of the deep dark hole, but it doesn't necessarily take you right out of the hole. Sometimes it's good to have consciousness to know that you are where you are, but it's also sometimes you have to embrace where you are before you can move on. So that's a long way of getting to a point. And the point is yes. And isn't the same as no end. It's you don't disclaim the reality of what is.

[00:13:44] You just build on what is, yes. I'm depressed and there's more work I have yet to do in the world, yes. I wrote a book that had wisdom in it that wasn't accepted for based on the title. And [00:14:00] there's a different way of framing this. So the yes. Part, I think speaks to the the acknowledgement of what is and what isn't always necessarily pleasant and there's more beyond it.

[00:14:14] Neal Hooper: [00:14:14] and that's the part that's hard to remember. And I love how you share that. Each part of ourselves is working overtime to protect us. And I love that you bring that angle into it as well, because that's in those moments where it's really hard to accept this situation. Do you have any thoughts around how to get through those?

[00:14:36] And I know you're coming off a really hard chapter of life. And so how, when it's really hard to accept and build on a scenario, you mentioned a few things that, that help with that. I'm just curious if you have any other thoughts for those those situations specifically

[00:14:52] Steve Taubman: [00:14:52] Yeah, when you're in a deep dark hole and it's hard to pull yourself out of it. There, there are a few things that I always, you know, and these are definitely like the [00:15:00] resilience lifeline skills. And, one of them is other people. I think that's important. We don't exist in a vacuum.

[00:15:07] And when you can't be your best self by yourself, Sometimes you need to have the the wisdom, the insight, the perspective of others when yours is not particularly resourceful. So part of it is a willingness to lean on, rely upon open to the love, the acceptance, the feedback of others.

[00:15:29] But again, when we do that, we need to be careful about who those other people are. No. It's like you don't do yes. And you don't do improv games with people who are used to saying no all the time. You just don't, you don't do it. It's the same thing with this. Like when I, when Woody died I ended up deciding to do a celebration of life.

[00:15:48] For him. He was a very, he was not just a dog. He was an evolved soul and people would stop me on the street at least once a day to, to comment on him because [00:16:00] there was something very special about him and went everywhere together, all over the country and people knew him.

[00:16:05]His speakers would come into conferences. I spoke at, from other countries. So people all over the world knew Woody. And so I wanted to do a celebration of life. We had people from as far away as South Korea and Australia and New Zealand on this this virtual celebration of life for him.

[00:16:22] And several of those people were very conscious wise. People who said the right things, who whose way of being supportive was really spot on. And it was touching and helpful. And then there is still those other people who they mean No, it's not like they're trying to like to say the wrong thing, but they'd say things like, Oh, he's not really gone, or he's in a better place.

[00:16:46] I'd say, make up your mind. One of those things were helpful to hear, it was helpful. I'm so sorry, man. He was awesome. You had a great relationship with him. I remember when he did this or when you did that or, like reality stuff and what I realized is not that [00:17:00] people don't have something to offer, they don't care, but that when we're in a dark place, it's really important to choose our support system wisely.

[00:17:11] Neal Hooper: [00:17:11] I love that. And that is so key because if it is a dark hole that you are struggling to climb out of, and you need that rope to get thrown down to you. You need the right people to help you out in and, it's so important what you said too to know, it's hard cause there's the intent and then there's the action.

[00:17:34]You want to make sure is it Stephen R Covey, he wrote the book. The speed of trust. And he talks about character and competence. We may, and I love that, but surround yourself with people who are good people and they got the character and competence to help you in those moments.

[00:17:52] That's great.

[00:17:53] Steve Taubman: [00:17:53] Yeah, that's two great words to, to to think on. And that's, so that's one part of it, you asked what are the things [00:18:00] that you get you through these dark times? Another one is acceptance. Equanimity, the ability to know I'm in a really dark place. It's a really hard place to be.

[00:18:10] It's not permanent. There's gotta be in the midst of the darkest of times. There's got to be a shred of consciousness, a shred of what we call the witness. There's gotta be a part of us. That's able to see us in all of our pain and despair and know that it's not the sum total of who we are. There's gotta be the part that watches it, and that is unaffected by it.

[00:18:34] Almost like a loving parent, watching a kid, having a tantrum, the kids having a tantrum, you're the kid having a tantrum, but you've also got to be the loving parents, seeing the kid, having a tantrum.

[00:18:43]Neal Hooper: [00:18:43] I love that for a lot of reasons. And actually this is perfect because I'd love to shift gears now and talk about the present, because I think this is really where you start getting deep into that concept of mindfulness and how that can help [00:19:00] you really be resilient and get through these dark times.

[00:19:04] And so to build on that. I know you've mentioned ifs and you're talking about this inner child concept. Again, building on this idea of getting through the hard times and really striving for that happiness, the elusive, happiness and wellbeing that we want and that connection.

[00:19:21] What insights do you have around the benefits of being present and how that also helps?

[00:19:25]Steve Taubman: [00:19:25] I will use mindfulness and presence as essentially interchangeable concepts. And so being mindful, being present, being in the here and now, and not letting yourself be drawn off by, by thoughts and emotions of the past or future. But rather just really sitting like a like a Regal presence on a throne as things come past you.

[00:19:47]Whatever they are, they don't knock you off the throne. You don't cower. You just sit with sort of elegance and stateliness as all of these things present themselves to you. And so when we become mindful, when we [00:20:00] meditate, for example, or use other tools like meditation to develop mindfulness, what we're developing is this remarkable capacity to to sit in the eye of the storm.

[00:20:11] It's like all this commotion and turmoil is happening around you. And unless you've done mindfulness practice, there's literally no separation between the feelings and thoughts that are tumultuous, really making the way around your experience. And you don't know that there is a, you. Until you start doing mindfulness practice that you can, feel whatever you're feeling, whether it's anxiety or anger or whatever that is.

[00:20:37] And that it's possible to literally sit silently in an upright posture and notice those feelings, not as who you are, but merely as sensory experiences that are being played out, on the screen of your life. Like sitting on the side of a stream and watching the debris float down the stream.

[00:21:03] [00:21:00] Neal Hooper: [00:21:03] in with the analogies again. I love it. This is perfect. And that is so hard to do. I think, especially nowadays. Distraction is the name of the game. Everybody wants your attention. You're getting pulled so many directions and I think it's really easy if you're not careful to just default to that constant state of distraction almost to the point where if you do have some downtime, you're you just crave filling it with.

[00:21:30] Distraction and to be intentional to, to engage that mindfulness muscle and it is a skill to develop one that I'm still working on. I've got the apps that got. Headspace and these great apps to try to work on that, but it really is a skill and a muscle to develop. And I love what you're saying, about watching the debris float down the stream, because when you can remove yourself and like you mentioned earlier, train yourself to be the witness and not [00:22:00] be so much, the recipient of everything that's said happening.

[00:22:04]That is a very powerful state to be in.

[00:22:07] Steve Taubman: [00:22:07] It is. And it's something that I love. The fact that you use the word it's a muscle it's so much is a muscle. It's basically what you're doing by training. By practicing a meditation, mindfulness meditation is you're exercising, your focus muscle. You're exercising your ability to bring your attention into a particular, to a particular point, whether it be your breath or your physical sensation in your body or whatever it is.

[00:22:31] But without having developed that muscle without the capacity to direct your focus, your awareness to a particular point, you are therefore going to be much more. As you said, distractible, it's a computer or the TV, the phone, or whatever is going to distract your attention. It's going to do it much more effectively if you have no ability to bring your attention right back to the moment.

[00:22:56] And when you do, when you can start doing that and bringing your attention back into the [00:23:00] moment, then it starts to Dawn on you that all the things that you thought were crises. Usually aren't all the things that you thought I need to be fixed. Usually don't all the fights. You feel like you needed to win.

[00:23:12] You really didn't, it's just all stuff, right? The stuff becomes less fixed and less important. And yet at the same time, we know going into it that the ego, the thinking mind will always try to convince you that whatever it's thinking is vitally important and you must be thinking it now.

[00:23:32]Neal Hooper: [00:23:32] When your focus, is derailed, it's just that skill of just bringing it back letting that debris float down the stream and then just getting back on course. And that happens repeatedly.

[00:23:43] And it does take practice. Do you have any tips I'm getting practical here or tactical? I should say about developing the skill of mindfulness

[00:23:52]Steve Taubman: [00:23:52] For me, the one point of view, focus in meditation, that's been most valuable and useful for me is his [00:24:00] physical sensation. There are so many different ways to meditate, right? You could be meditating on a sound or a mantra or of candle flame or the sport or your breath as it goes in and out.

[00:24:10] There are so many things that you could cook. You could focus on On the image of a guru or on God or whatever, there are secular and non-secular choices you can make. But for me, what I find to be most effective is if I focus on physical sensation in my body now, what does it feel like at the top of my head?

[00:24:29] Where does it feel like in the palms of my hands? What does it feel like in the skin over my, or my torso and I just gradually move my attention down, like a scanner. Looking at what do I feel and not reject it. It's always awareness. Plus equanimity, meaning awareness plus acceptance. What is I feel this, I don't reject it.

[00:24:49] I just let it be. If you just stop for a moment, regardless of what you were doing, even if you were in the middle of grand central station, or you just had a big fight with your girlfriend and you just sat and you breathe and you sat [00:25:00] quietly and upright and just started to move your awareness in small chunks.

[00:25:06] Down your body, you start to dismantle the the momentum of whatever it was. That seemed so big. Now it's just little things at a time. It's, the inch by inch, it's a cinch constant. Yeah. So it's just okay, so now, maybe I was really angry a minute ago, but now, what does it feel like in my forehead?

[00:25:26] What does it feel like in my chest? And as you start doing this, w what happens is that you start developing this new, almost like a new set of eyes. That will that'll change everything in your life. Where before, anger was something that would trigger a whole set of thoughts that would trigger more anger, that would trigger more thoughts.

[00:25:45] And it was a vicious cycle. Now anger reminds you to go back into your body and to notice what you feel and whatever those feelings are, become less and less objectionable. They're just okay. So you just start to notice the feelings in [00:26:00] small doses throughout your body, and they start to dissolve, and then suddenly the things that were really, so over the top and so frustrating and aggravating and in need of your immediate repair aren't anymore, they're just, it just goes away.

[00:26:16] Neal Hooper: [00:26:16] And when you're in that state, you're in a state of power and control and intentionality is so easy to future trip and to get so concerned and that anxiety creates. You sin. And if you're not present, we like to say here on the show, if your anxieties in the future regrets in the past, but life is in the moment.

[00:26:37] And that really takes some intentionality for people that are not good at mindfulness, or just haven't developed that skill yet. That are starting out. Do you have practical tools or were there apps maybe that you recommend to people when they're first starting out or any other resources?

[00:26:56]Steve Taubman: [00:26:56] It depends how neurotic they are. If you're me, then you're starting out pretty [00:27:00] neurotic and you've got to, you've got to work with what you got. If you're, if you're just somebody who tends to be distractible, but you're fundamentally, pretty content and happy in life and yeah.

[00:27:10]You're just like living a little bit out of balance. Then those apps could be really useful because they're offering you a sound or a, an image or something to focus on. And anything you focus on is better than not focusing. Now if you're somebody who's, coming from historical trauma, And maybe you've got anxiety or depression, or you tend to err on the side of low self-esteem or you just tend to get really frustrated easily.

[00:27:37] Those are wonderful things. Yeah. We don't, we, I think that the idea of mindfulness or meditation is I've got to choose this external thing to put my focus on where the reality is that life is happening every minute. And if what you're experiencing is [00:28:00] irritation or aggravation, rather than saying I'm really aggravated, I've got to go sit down and I've got to stare at a candle to make the aggravation go away.

[00:28:07]Stare at the aggravation, just what where's aggravation in my body. What does it look like? What does it feel like where, how has it, how it moving through me? And, you just change it into a neutral inquiry and anything could become the subject of a neutral inquiry.

[00:28:25] Neal Hooper: [00:28:25] that is gold. That is awesome. I love the verbiage. Are you using there? A neutral inquiry? there's no need to judge it or label it. Just observe it. I love that. That is so good. 

[00:28:38]Steve Taubman: [00:28:38] As the guests and there is to just observe it and to observe it from the perspective or from the distance that is most useful. If you're. Really upset about something and you've got, know, you can try to move really far away from that almost as if, like, how would I feel about this?

[00:28:57] If I were looking at it from a different planet, it would probably [00:29:00] lose some of its momentum, or you could look at it from very close the way that, you know, in the old days, when they had billboards and the billboards were painted and they were a little dots of color that, when you step away from it, it turns into a big image.

[00:29:13] But as you move towards it, it just becomes lots of little dots of color and those little dots of color have no visual significance anymore. So the distance from which you observe your experience determines like how much power that experience has. If I move toward my pain, if I move toward whatever physical experience I'm having.

[00:29:38] And now, instead of looking at it from a distance where I see my whole body, now, I'm just looking at it from the distance. If I could only see four inches of my left side of my chest, what does it look like? There's no place where it looks bad.

[00:29:48]Neal Hooper: [00:29:48] Oh, that is so good. And I love the distance. I've never thought about it that way. That is a very good factor to add to that ingredient. [00:30:00] Or to the recipe of mindfulness and observation. I love that so much. I want to make sure we get to these last two questions and there's been so much good stuff shared already.

[00:30:11] We get in here and it would be well worth the price of admission, but I want to touch on let, go and play. And we've already, we've touched on that a little bit here and there, that is one core principle of play theory that we discuss here. And I just want to know, how can we leverage the power of letting go and playing and really leaving that comfort zone to pursue happiness?

[00:30:37] Steve Taubman: [00:30:37] Play is something that invites presence play is something that, if you're playing, you're not thinking about what else you're doing. If you're playing, if you're really enjoying what you're playing. Then, when the moment is completed in of itself and usually play involves other people.

[00:30:51] And so there's also the collaborative aspect of play and it, from a psycho neurological or immunological standpoint, we're releasing dopamine and all that other [00:31:00] stuff. So finding opportunities to play means finding opportunities to be more present and to to have a better neurochemical client climate inside your body.

[00:31:11]My first book was called hypnosis and it was about waking up from the hypnotic trance that we've all essentially fallen into. By virtue of the way we were raised. And we were all raised with this paradigm that you've got to grow up and go through school and get a certain kind of job and stick with that job.

[00:31:28] And that's the way it's supposed to be. So when we start to confront the possibility that there's something else there, like we've got another another way of expressing ourselves in the world, we smack right up against all of our childhood messages. You can't do this. That's, what are you crazy?

[00:31:44]You're successful. How can you leave the thing you're successful at? And so what I've noticed is that, that, although this transformational process is so powerful and it makes for better people. It also raises a lot of [00:32:00] discomfort. It causes people a lot of fear and anguish to think about the possibility of jumping into the void.

[00:32:05]The path through life is not that much different from a plane trip that you take, where you're getting from, the East coast to the West coast. And as you travel from the East to the West coast, the airplane is virtually never OnCourse.

[00:32:19] The entire time, it's either a little, a degree or two off to the right or a degree or two off to the left, or maybe it's a couple degrees or a couple of feet above its designated altitude or a couple of feet below it. And it's constantly making course corrections. It's an ongoing process. Now the problem with us is we don't make ongoing course corrections.

[00:32:38] Generally we wait until we're about to crash into a mountain and then we try to make them we're heading into the sea matey. Oh, okay. But why not? Why not make our course corrections moment by moment and become adept and and attentive enough to realize [00:33:00] when whatever we're doing. Isn't moving us in the direction we want to be going in.

[00:33:03] Neal Hooper: [00:33:03] Oh, that's such a good metaphor, Steve, because it's all about just rolling with the punches when we get so rigid. And we're just, digging our heels in to the direction without being open to the change. I think that's when when we're so afraid, it's really hard.

[00:33:23] Like you mentioned it, we're afraid to course correct because of, that void that we're jumping into, but really. Happiness, the skill of happiness. And that's, the topic of the day, every day, hear on the happiness playbook, but is being able to roll with the punches.

[00:33:37] And I love what you're sharing because, and not just from a professional perspective, but that applies much more broadly as well. To being able to make those little course corrections. And I love that analogy of the airplane because, from a distance, if you're looking on the literal tracker on the map, on the screen, it looks like a straight line, but it is not at all.

[00:33:55] And I love that. You're bringing that in very important.

[00:33:58] Steve Taubman: [00:33:58] Yeah. [00:34:00] And you brought up the thing about anxiety that, that getting rigid, it causes anxiety which brings up the fact that anxiety. Although we like to think of it as a pathology or a diagnosis, isn't, it's only a symptom of being off course and being unwilling to move back onto course.

[00:34:16]There's anxiety is not as, as we've created in our society. This is a, it's a disease and we've got a medicated. Now it's a it's a sign that that something is amiss, that something's out of balance that maybe you haven't been in touch with yourself and the way that you need to be in touch with yourself.

[00:34:33]And some of that has to do with where is the plane going? What's if we're trying to correct chorus constantly, which is what we should be doing, of course, to what, where are we heading? And I think if we think we're heading to some kind of wealth and fame, and that's where we're actually trying to go, then it's gonna be a lot of harder to make those course corrections.

[00:34:53] Then if we realize what we're heading toward is ultimate happiness. Where am I trying to go? I'm trying to stay on, I'm trying to stay on course [00:35:00] toward a happy life. And that means that I might make millions, of course, corrections that might mean career changes. Or changes in the way I interact with somebody else or changes in the way that I view something that I just did.

[00:35:12] These are all tiny course corrections, but all in the name of happiness. And so we always say choose happiness first so that every, so that all the course corrections are being corrected for the purpose of bringing you back on course toward happiness. Yeah.

[00:35:27]Neal Hooper: [00:35:27] Just dropping bombs of truth and nuggets, man. Thank you. That is so good. And yeah. Something that everyone needs the year. So I'm so glad that you dove into that. And they all tie together, don't they? So I love that you're tying that in because when we're in a state of play, that is the essence of presence and in, being in the moment and And that's so important, I think, to lower the stakes. And when you engage that, that playful nature, it's a lot [00:36:00] easier to leave that comfort zone.

[00:36:03] And when you can reframe the situation from being this high stakes, serious environment where the consequences are. Permanent and dramatic and instead view things in a more playful nature. We talked recently actually about the super Mario effect, which is a Ted talk.

[00:36:23] That's really good. But the guy talks about Mark Grover. He talks about. When you're playing a video game, you're playing super Mario brothers. When you fall down the hole, you don't just give up. It's it part of the game is to start over and then just use that as a data point and say, okay, I'm just going to jump a little sooner and get over there.

[00:36:40] And I love what you're saying though about this playfulness and how it really helps us be present. I love what you've shared also about letting go of the thought loop and that's a really powerful concept here as well that I don't know if you want to expound on that too.

[00:36:53] Steve Taubman: [00:36:53] Sure. First of all, I love the idea that we say, what, if this were a game, right? If [00:37:00] you're, if something is challenging you in life, If it were monopoly, you wouldn't get up and freak out and, you get in and start a new game. It's not that big a deal. And I often find that, just getting people to think along those lines that, Oh, it's just a game is a good way of reframing that.

[00:37:16] As you said, the seriousness of the situation. And in contrast, the thought loop is what do we do when we're addicted to an outcome? Then what we do is we start beating ourselves up. We start thinking about what we could have done differently. We get caught up in this thinking thing.

[00:37:33] And the thought loop is thought creates some kind of an emotional experience or a mood. And that mood becomes the. The fertile ground for the same kind of thought to reemerge. And then that thought creates a little bit more of the same mood and it's a vicious cycle. So we got caught in that loop of thought.

[00:37:48] And and the characteristic of that loop of thought is a sense that we know and believe that what we're saying to ourselves is actually true. And I always say don't [00:38:00] believe everything you think. Don't believe everything you think because as long as you play this, as if it were real, then you've got to justify all of your aggravation and you'd have to justify it through the next set of thoughts.

[00:38:12] And it becomes a cyclic thing you can't get out of.

[00:38:17] Neal Hooper: [00:38:17] And I love just taking that curious in playful. Approach and saying, okay, that's an interesting thought. What if, and when you add that element in there that is when the magic happens and it really allows you to maybe take a little more risk and to be a little more bold. Don't believe everything you think that is definitely going on the quote wall.

[00:38:41] I love that. And you've shared also in the past if you can't believe everything or if you're asking yourself really, if I can't believe everything, I think. Can I get out of my head and into my body. I love that approach as well, because that's really now helping you again, that ties into the mindfulness and the presence.

[00:39:00] [00:39:00] But as you're letting go of that thought loop and bringing in the curiosity and the playfulness that helps you really step into that observational role that we were talking about earlier.

[00:39:10]Steve Taubman: [00:39:10] That's why I advocate for a. Physical based mindfulness practice one where you're observing your physical sensation, because it just becomes much easier because you've been doing it that when you start getting into a thought loop, you immediately notice, Oh, that's a thought loop that thought is causing them an emotion, which is causing a thought, which has caused a good emotion.

[00:39:29] And I'm heading down the rabbit hole. And I know from practice that the only way out. Is to shift my focus away from this impenetrable, cycle of downward momentum and shift the focus instead to physical sensation. And Hey, I've been doing that for the last year and I'm pretty good at it now.

[00:39:46] So let me just do it now. And so now you get out of your head and into your body, you get out of the. Thought loop because your attention is now going back to this thing you've been practicing, what are my hands feel like? What am my feet feel like? What is it, w what happens if I allow myself [00:40:00] to breathe into this?

[00:40:01] Just, how has it shifted? How is it changing? So it's a really powerful strategy for breaking it, breaking the cycle and the reality here's the best analogy and probably chew on as we get ready to wrap things up here is think about sitting around a fire. And if you sit around a fire long enough, eventually a fire is going to go out.

[00:40:25] Unless you throw another log on the fire. And every time you throw a log on the fire that fire could keep going a little bit longer. And the logs in this analogy are your thoughts. So if you could learn to just sit and observe your emotions the way you would observe a fire. Oh, that's good. That there's anger.

[00:40:46] There's fear. How interesting. And you just watch it and watch for the tendency to want to throw a log on the fire, to start throwing thought into the mix. Because every time you do that, you're just making it go on longer. And some people will do it, their whole [00:41:00] lives. They've got a big stock of they've got a big woodpile.

[00:41:03] And they'll get in a fight with a family member that goes on for like decades or generations, because they never stopped throwing logs on the fire.

[00:41:11]Neal Hooper: [00:41:11] You guys listening to this? Oh, Steve. You're adding so much value for audience. I cannot. Thank you enough. These are all great nuggets. The last question we ask every guest. That comes on. The show is we always share a pro tip, which is a tangible way to apply a principle.

[00:41:28] And we've already talked about a number of those, but if you could narrow in on just one pro set that you'd like to share with our listeners, what would that be?

[00:41:38] Steve Taubman: [00:41:38] Okay. You're right. We went for a lot of this stuff already, but I think the, what I would say is, start out with the idea that everything that happens in your life. Is happening for you? Not to you. This is happening for me. Thank goodness that you know that my mother just insulted my girlfriend.

[00:41:57] Thank goodness. Yes. [00:42:00] It really aggravated to me and I really needed an operator Trinity to feel, to remind myself what aggravation feels like. So they could work on that. So I don't have to feel it so much anymore. It's every human being, every experience that you have that causes you outrage and is actually a teacher is actually a guide.

[00:42:18] And that's why on my wall. I've got, the, my house was funky swayed, and I have the wall where you've got pictures of all the the people who have had a spiritual impact on your life and right alongside of pictures of rom DAS. And the Buddha is a picture of this woman who used to work for me, who basically made my life a living hell. Because she was one of my spiritual teachers. And so the pro tip is to take a look at the things that aggravate you and bless them and thank them for being there. And then start going inside and letting yourself work the emotion the way you would digest your food. Just, be, just let it pass through.

[00:42:56] You just metabolize it, let it be grist for the mill as rom DASA.

[00:43:01] [00:43:00] Neal Hooper: [00:43:01] That is amazing. What a great pro tip to end on Steve. If our audience wants more of you, they want to support you and learn from you. Where do we send them?

[00:43:12]Steve Taubman: [00:43:12] I would say head on over to either my regular website, which is just Steve tubman.com. And there, you learn a little bit of in my speaking and some of my writings and whatnot. You can find all my stuff on Amazon or if you go to best of steve.com you could sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you a free digital download of the first chapter of Bulletproof.

[00:43:33] Neal Hooper: [00:43:33] Wow. Awesome. Freebie, awesome gift for our audience, Steve, I cannot thank you enough. This was beautiful. You are a beautiful soul and we are so grateful to have you on our team. Thank you for coming on today.

[00:43:49] Steve Taubman: [00:43:49] Thanks for having me, Neal, this has been great.

[00:43:51] Neal Hooper: [00:43:51] My pleasure.

What is the secret to being charismatic?! What animal sound are we going to hear today? And what is the chief cause of failure? Find out today on the happiness playbook! Today we tune into Russell Brand for some wisdom on how to be more charismatic through the power of presence! We go deep in this episode on the first principle in the Play Theory principle lineup.


This Week’s PRO TIP is: The next time you are having a conversation, ask yourself: “Who is this person before me?”

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show

You do not want to miss today’s episode...Clair Mellenthin is a very accomplished spreader of light. She is first and foremost a mother, a wife, a sister, and a friend. She has three rambunctious kids who she refers to as “her insanity makers and her sanity savers”.  She is married to her best friend and partner in all she does. Aside from those important details, she is a best selling author and has written several books and courses, she’s a world-renowned play therapist, and above all has touched thousands of lives for the better.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Carry out a playful event or activity for your family (eg. Nerf gun battle with your family, ice cream party, spontaneously play). Don’t put it off, just start practicing PLAY! “Do or do not, there is no try” - (not baby) Yoda

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show


Neal Hooper: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]

[00:00:31] you do not want to miss today's episode. Claire Mellenthin is a very accomplished spreader of light. She is first and foremost, a mother, a wife, a sister, and a friend. She has three rambunctious kids who she refers to as both her insanity makers and her sanity savers. 

[00:00:54]She is married to her best friend and partner in all she does. Aside from those [00:01:00] very important details. She is a best selling author and has written several books in courses. She's a world renowned play therapist. And above all has touched thousands of lives for the better. I cannot wait for you to dive into this game changing conversation. It really did change my life and I'm so grateful that she was willing to come on our show. 

[00:01:25] And speak our language and enlightened us. So let's go.  

[00:01:30] I am so excited for our guests today. And I have been wanting to have Claire on the show for a while now, because she has such a unique perspective about so many things that we hold dear here on the happiness playbook.

[00:01:47] She is an expert in many areas, but she really has. Double down on play and using that in therapy to help families, children, [00:02:00] and individuals really get the most out of their life and manage conflict and communication and so many things. So there's a lot to cover here, but Claire, we are honored to have you on the happiness playbook.

[00:02:14] Welcome to the show.

[00:02:16] Clair Mellenthin: [00:02:16] Thanks so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.

[00:02:20] Neal Hooper: [00:02:20] We are so happy to have you, and you know, there's a lot to unpack here, so I want to just dive right in and a good place to start is, what amazing projects are you working on? You're up to so many cool things. So just help us understand what you're doing, what you're passionate about and how did you get here?

[00:02:39]Clair Mellenthin: [00:02:39] I'm so excited. I have some amazing projects that are brewing. My latest book that I'm co-editing with some amazing play therapists is about to be in final production with our publishing company Rutledge. And that is un-group play therapy and contemporary.

[00:02:57] Life of just what we're experiencing and then [00:03:00] how clinicians can help children and families in a group therapy setting while we're harnessing the power of play to work through trauma, family, navigating family's circumstances, school hospital, like all of these things that impact families and children's and just everyday life and being able to really. Hone in and harness how play and playing together can help promote healing and connection and repair relationships. And this has been one of my little brain tiles. That's been brained for the last couple of years. So it's so exciting to be in the final stages of production and that should be out this fall.

[00:03:39]Yeah, I'm so excited. And then my other. A huge thing that's happening is we're putting together, I'm headlining a conference in a couple of months called the attachment summit. And this is, we've invited some of the biggest and brightest Names in the field and we're all coming together to talk about how we can [00:04:00] repair and understand attachment and create healthy bonds of communication and connection and families harnessing attachment centered play therapy, which is the model of that I've developed over the last several years, but really looking at how we can use play.

[00:04:15] To promote healing and repair and family relationships, especially between the parent and child. And so this has like the culmination of my life's work at this point. And coming together with some of, like with some of the names and humans have really created such a huge difference in our understanding of how the brain works.

[00:04:35] So like Dan Siegel and Sue Johnson and Daniel Hughes, and several other people are part of this. And it really is just one of the most exciting things I've ever been able to do. So I'm really looking forward to some of these things that are coming up in that both of these, AR will be open and available to the public.

[00:04:51]And. Even though they're geared for therapists. I think parents can get so much from really beginning to understand, what [00:05:00] happens internally, what's happening in the brain and what they can do in their own homes to incorporate some of these ideas to have healthy, happy homes and safe places for their children to grow up in.

[00:05:11] Neal Hooper: [00:05:11] Wow. That is awesome, Claire and that is so exciting. We're definitely going to get information in the show notes for anyone listening that wants to participate and sign up. And, view any of these things. And obviously your book, when that comes out will be a huge resource that we're excited about.

[00:05:30] So you are up to so many good things. You're just scratching the surface. That's just what Claire's working on now. But you got to look at our website, which we'll also put in the show notes. There's a lot to unpack there and you've just been such a force for good and really leveraging play, which obviously at the happiness playbook, we use play theory to foster connection and growth and development. And so it's something we're passionate about. I want to just take a second though and let you expound on what exactly is play [00:06:00] therapy. How would you describe that to someone who's never heard of it before?

[00:06:03] Clair Mellenthin: [00:06:03] That's a great question. So what play therapy is we are using the child's natural language, which has play in a therapeutic modality. And, the belief behind this is children, especially when they're young. They use play to make sense of the world around them. Like they, they play out, family life, they play out school life.

[00:06:28] They play out, all of the things that they're exposed to because that's how they're going to learn and grow. And it's what makes sense in their brains. And so if we can go down to the child's level and engage with them through play. That's where these connections are going to be made. And when we can then bring in the parent, and use play, and within these different therapeutic modalities, we can really improve family functioning, child, emotional and behavioral distress even mental illness, [00:07:00] that can come about through trauma or developmental disorders.

[00:07:03] It's through the use of play and really being trained in how to use this therapeutically, that we can make the biggest strides and in helping children and families.

[00:07:12] Neal Hooper: [00:07:12] Wow, that is so cool. And I, we have so many angles that we're going to take as throughout this conversation. And so I don't want to jump the gun here, but, I think, and we talked about this in a previous call children. Use play like that is their language, I think is you even said that, right.

[00:07:31] That is the language of children is play. But I would go out on a limb there and say, just because adults forget how to play or they get bad at it. I think it can. The concepts and the principles are still very effective at any age. Is that fair to say?

[00:07:49] Clair Mellenthin: [00:07:49] Absolutely. I use play therapy and expressive arts across the lifespan and with every client that comes in to see me in some capacity or another. [00:08:00] And I think that you nailed it on the head, of, as we grow up, we're socialized out of playing, but so much of what we experienced. There's no words to adequately articulate what that experience means to us, but when we can create it outside of us, like through Sandtray through art, through me, as that, whatever medium that we're using and make it a tangible thing that we can see in process that helps the words come.

[00:08:27]And that is important at any stage of the lifespan, and I think. So often as adults, we forget how important play really is because we get so busy and, it's frowned upon and considered weird if we're out, engaging in childlike play and we're in our forties, unless we're playing with a child and then it's appropriate, but the power of play, I think, is still so very critical.

[00:08:50] And it's, what's missing in so many adults life, which is where we have this out of balance. Conflict , that happens with us.

[00:08:59]Neal Hooper: [00:08:59] That is [00:09:00] huge. And I think that has led to a lot of. Issues. And again, I we're going to keep unpacking, play in how it benefits everyone from all walks of life here. But I think as we, it's an expression too, it's a way to express herself and get out emotions. And when we don't do that and you can bottle things up and it causes all kinds of problems and I'm not.

[00:09:26] The expert here, that's just based on things I've studied and researched, but I want to dive a little deeper into what are some of the core elements of play therapy or maybe walk us through a little bit of the journey you help take people on , to improve their situation through play therapy.

[00:09:45]Clair Mellenthin: [00:09:45] With play therapy has been used really for throughout the last century. And it has ebbed and flowed, in, in pop culture and, and the regular understanding of everybody. But play therapy has actually been around [00:10:00] for a really long time. And so all those many moons ago, it started in Europe with some of the more famous psychoanalysts that people are familiar with. Freud had a daughter named Anna and she was one of the first, known psychoanalysts that started working with children for, I did actually some work with children as well. But she started looking at how children played and noticing.

[00:10:24] The different quality of play and how that was based upon the child's functioning level, in a sense. And then it has spread throughout that time, during, the world Wars, Bowlby came in into the scene of through the attachment lens, but also looking at and observing how children had been exposed to significant trauma or prolonged separation or hospitalization.

[00:10:46]Sorry, what we had back then was like a silence where children who had developmental or neurological disorders were removed from their homes and sent to live in a silence, far away from their families. And looking at, and beginning to understand that children [00:11:00] aren't blink States.

[00:11:01] Right. Like the world impacts them and what they experience stays with them. And what we've found over time is that, when that's unprocessed and unacknowledged, that's what leads to so many distresses and dysfunction and adult life and their ability to navigate the world around them and relationships.

[00:11:23] And to make sense of, even having any type of words to articulate, what the experience has been. And so, you fast forward several years and, coming from Carl Rogers, like person centered therapy, that was adopted into the use of kids of really allowing it to be.

[00:11:40] Child led and what's referred to as child centered play and really empowering the child to be their own storyteller, to bring their stories and their experiences. And then we use toys and we use play therapy. I always tell people like these coy is like a vocabulary word for [00:12:00] a child and what they choose to bring into their play actually has meaning and importance.

[00:12:07] And when we can allow permission for the child to be an expert in their story, so to speak, they can begin to make sense of the world around them. The things that they've experienced, the emotions that they feel, even if they're not able to cognitively or linguistically, have verbal vocabulary words, or storytelling around it.

[00:12:28] They can make sense to start processing through this with, a trained therapist and those things that, that can help them to find reconciliation, to find hope and healing, to find an ability to integrate these different parts of their life into a coherent story. That makes sense.

[00:12:47] Neal Hooper: [00:12:47] Wow. And that is so interesting. Cause you don't really think about when you see a child playing. You may not even be. Looking into it that, from that perspective. And I'm just [00:13:00] curious, what's an example of that, where the toy actually has meaning that they're choosing to, to play with. Can you just give us an example?

[00:13:09] Clair Mellenthin: [00:13:09] Sure. An easy example as this is, I think globally for most of the parents is, in those patients. School kindergarten ages when your Sheldon starts playing house. And all of a sudden you hear your words coming out of their mouth for better, for worse, whatever that is. Right.

[00:13:30] And this is your title, like making sense of family life and parent roles and the dynamics between parents and how parents. Yeah, their own kids, and so we see this when they're playing house, when they're playing doctor, when they're playing school, this is actually your child processing their different experiences throughout the day and throughout their lifetime.

[00:13:55]What we've seen in the pandemic when there has been the absence of school is [00:14:00] kids have been playing zoom calls. Or in family life, playing house, you see this more and more frequently. It's like, hold on penny. I have to get on a call and they pretend to get on the laptop. Right. And they're making sense.

[00:14:12] And this is making sense of what is happening in their life.

[00:14:16] Neal Hooper: [00:14:16] Yes, that literally just happened to me  it was just last week. My older daughter looked at her sister and said, I got to go to work and then went into the closet. Cause that's where I'm working out of a room, and it was just so interesting to see that, but it is so cool because They are adapting, that's like you said, that's an example of their environment impacting their psychology and their imagination.

[00:14:45] And as things change around them, you can see that play out even as they're playing. And I'm curious obviously the pandemic has changed so much of the way we go about our day-to-day lives. Is that a concerning [00:15:00] trend with the children and their ability to play and interact with others.

[00:15:05] I'm just curious on your thoughts. Real quick on that.

[00:15:09]Clair Mellenthin: [00:15:09] The answer is it can be, and not necessarily how's that. I think so much of how our kids are making meaning and adapting and connecting really has a lot to do with how we are as the adults. You see this, for example, a mass green, right?

[00:15:25] Like it's a normal, natural, no big deal thing. Like, Oh, that's just what we do then it's a normal, natural, no big deal to the kids. But when there's that like, ah, this is so wrong. It's so suffocating me, coming from the adults, we see that being reenacted, right? The kids behaviors and emotional responses to that as well.

[00:15:43]One of my little kiddos that comes to see me, it's actually a really cute, but he's a little four year old and he's always brought his stuff, like one of his stuffed animals with them to play therapy. And the last couple of times his stuffed animals were in a mask. Like Kevin he's like, well, we just have to keep everybody safe.

[00:15:59] I'm [00:16:00] like, yep, you're right. We just have to keep everybody safe. And this is the most important person in his world. And so his little stuffed animal, like his cute mom made his most important toy, a mask too, which I just thought was such a beautiful way to create that connection and really valuing the child and their worries.

[00:16:21] And. As well as like that empowerment of, what we can be safe. Like we can still live our life. We can still go outside and, because you have asthma and your lungs sometimes not work very well. These are the things that we can do to keep us safe so that we can do all these fun things.

[00:16:39] And I just thought it was such a great way for the parent to create that holding space around that too, of like the world doesn't have to be big and scary, even in the middle of a global pandemic.

[00:16:51]Neal Hooper: [00:16:51] As a parent myself, it's really hard to not. Let your opinions or thoughts become [00:17:00] more important than the, the psychological state or the emotional wellbeing of your children. Regardless of how you feel about masks or the situation, being able to help your child feel like.

[00:17:13] Like, it's not, something's not wrong that that it's and it's okay. That it's safe. That can have a huge impact. Is that fair to say?

[00:17:21] Clair Mellenthin: [00:17:21] Absolutely. Yeah. And I think that a lot of times we don't recognize how important and how deeply in tune our our children are with what comes out of our math. And what meaning our kids make from that, I mean, earlier in the spring when this, really felt super scary, but just if anything, to look back on, I'm like, Oh, we were freaking out.

[00:17:40] Cause I was 35 cases in Utah instead of how many thousands of cases that we've had now, 

[00:17:45] Neal Hooper: [00:17:45] it's

[00:17:45] Clair Mellenthin: [00:17:45] But I know for me, even as a parent, I got mad at one of my kids for, going out with a group of friends and I was like, you can't do that. Cause I was scared and stress and watching that translate into the world is scary and I can't [00:18:00] leave really took some, a lot of repair around that.

[00:18:03]And that's what the big kid, right? That's what the teenager let alone with the younger children. And so I think that. I think that is just so important for us as parents, that we are really being mindful about the language that we're using in our home. And know that, our words actually really do matter.

[00:18:20] Even if you don't think your kids are listening or they're brushing you off or they're, rolling their eyes, like whatever you're old, you don't know what you're talking about. I worked in actions do matter and our kids are paying attention. And I think that, that's not something to be scared about as a parent, but I think it's something to be really mindful about.

[00:18:37] Neal Hooper: [00:18:37] Yes. And one of them. Principals. We're really passionate about here at the happiness playbook is accepted and build. And I think it really ties into the conversation we're having, as a parent, especially, but I think, this applies much broader than just that parent child relationship.

[00:18:55] And so, but just, accepting where they're at and. [00:19:00] Building upon that and not trying to impose your perspective or your emotions even onto them, I think is huge. And the other principle that, obviously applies to a lot of different things, but is look outward. We talk about that a lot here on the podcast and, just keep them in mind, when you're feeling big things and wanting to react away, especially if it's a charged emotional topic, and again, I love that you said don't let that scare you because I think every parent at some point, or at multiple points in, On a daily basis, in some cases are so worried about traumatizing their kids. I know I have that thought in the back of my head all the time is like, Oh my gosh, did I just traumatize my kid?

[00:19:45]My, my messing them up. And, it's, I don't think it's helpful to dwell on that energy either, but it is important to recognize and be proactive in how you're translating the world and what's going on for them. And in trying to do that in a healthy way.

[00:20:00] [00:20:00] Clair Mellenthin: [00:20:00] I love that. And I think that comes into, so much of my approach, in my own life, as well as in, in my clinical work is. It's okay to mess up. Like we are all going to make mistakes. We are all going to say something. That's like, ah, how did that come out of my mouth?

[00:20:17]And that repair piece that coming back to rebuild, I really love that analogy of that. I think it's so important, for us to be modeling that for our kids. Cause it, it teaches them that, you know what, it's okay to make a mistake it's we can rebuild and repair. And when we can be accountable as the adult to have, what I messed up, I am so sorry.

[00:20:39] I lost my temper. I'm so sorry. I yelled at you. I didn't mean to say that word and actually sincerely apologize. I think that's something that as adults we've really have a hard time doing that on a regular basis, but it's so important to do because what we're modeling for our kids is that there's room for [00:21:00] you to grow in here too.

[00:21:01] And there's room for you to make mistakes and we can repair and we can keep coming back and circling back and connecting and just because a mistake happened, it doesn't mean that we're broken beyond repair too.

[00:21:16] Neal Hooper: [00:21:16] Oh, Claire, this is really important, what you're saying here. And I hope any parents that are listening to this right now are really marinating in this principle and topic because I think there in lies so much opportunity to really help foster and develop and grow. Children. And it's really hard to not let that perfectionism creep into your parenting and you want to be, respected and viewed as the authoritative figure.

[00:21:45] I know I'm speaking for myself. And maybe others, when I say that, But to be able to, and we call it, let go and play right. On the show, but to be able to let go of those imperfections, and again, accept and build on [00:22:00] them too. Right. Because it happened and what.

[00:22:03] That's okay. But now I need to build, and I love the word repair that you're using there. Because again, going back to the am I ruining my child. There's no such thing as a perfect parent, but your ability to really. Just accept what happened, take ownership and then make it right. And try to repair that. I love that.

[00:22:23] And I've seen just the times I have chosen to do that with my children. It's just been such a positive experience. And in the long-term, as you said, I love. This idea of you're modeling a behavior that I think all parents want their children to have, which is, we're all gonna make mistakes.

[00:22:40] That's okay. Get back up, make it right and move forward and don't spend so much time dwelling on it. And I love that you brought that up. Thank you.

[00:22:49] Clair Mellenthin: [00:22:49] Oh, absolutely. I believe in it.

[00:22:53] Neal Hooper: [00:22:53] When you're there on the front lines making this happen and teaching it and seeing the results firsthand. So I can only imagine the [00:23:00] stories you must have working with children and parents and adults too, and all these principles. While we're on the subject of parent child relationships and how to approach that.

[00:23:12] We talked about a few things already, but I'm curious, what other expert advice or tips would you give parents on how to leverage the power of play? To help their children become their best selves.

[00:23:28] Clair Mellenthin: [00:23:28] Oh, this is my favorite thing to talk about because not only can play help a child become. Their best self, right? It doesn't mean they're the best at it, but their best self in it. And what play is also doing is says actually, it's a critical attachment meek in family life and in parent child relationships.

[00:23:51] And what that means is that we can actually create healthier, emotionally safer relationships when we are [00:24:00] playing together. And what happens, just neurologically if I nerd out for just a second but when we're playing together, when we're engaged in that spontaneous, joyful experience, and we're being silly and goofy and engaging, and you're not thinking about the report that's due to your boss or what you're going to make for dinner, and you're actually present with your child in that moment of delight.

[00:24:24] We have these huge burst of oxytocin that happened in our brain and oxytocin's job. That's really, its only job is to create neurological bonds of connection between the two people in that moment. And so what you're literally doing is you're creating new neural pathways in your brain and in your child is amazing and overwhelming to think about that.

[00:24:50] But our brains are these amazing. Amazing organisms. And there's so much power in that, but what we're also doing is [00:25:00] we're creating space to truly see one another and for a child to experience their parents just delighting in them for who they are as they are, where they are. There is nothing more powerful that you can do.

[00:25:17]To help build a sense of self and a sense of worth and a sense of belonging, then giving permission to let go and be in these moments together. And we know as your child gets older, it's harder and harder to find the time. And sometimes willingness of the child to do that,  we laugh and we're like, okay, there's forced family fun.

[00:25:39]With a lot of eye-rolling and like, I don't want to be with you. Cause I have a house full of teenagers who they would much rather go play with their friends and they have less permission to go do that because that part of their development is so critical to you and there's that and in there, and we also have to create space for this to happen.

[00:25:59] Not [00:26:00] just a parent child, but we also have to do that between partners. So my husband and I, what we find is when we have stopped giving that space to really be together and to play and to be spontaneous and silly and just laugh together, what we find as we are at much higher levels of friction. And there's a disconnect and we're like ships passing through the night as like I missing you.

[00:26:25] And like, literally I am missing you. That happens across the lifespan.

[00:26:30]Neal Hooper: [00:26:30] There is so much good in all of what you just shared and. It's something so important I love. And you use the same verbiage we do, right. Be present. It's simple, but it can be challenging. Right. And I think a lot of, just like you said, not letting your brain wander over into your professional life or the stresses of adulthood.

[00:26:53]And the busy-ness I love, you mentioned that earlier, the busy-ness often is what takes us out of  our [00:27:00] practice of play. And if we allow that busy-ness to creep in, we're missing each other, that is such a powerful visual. It's like you are in the same room, but you're not connecting. And that oxytocin getting into the psychology. I love that you shared that because that really helps us understand what's happening at a neurological level, but we can feel it. At an emotional level too, when we have those moments. As a parent, when you really do, let go of all the worries and you just get present with your child and there's the laughter and the imaginations are running wild.

[00:27:38] It's just, it's magic. That's how I would describe it. And I love how you pointed out exactly what's happening and why that's important with the oxytocin in that bond that's happening there because I think that's what most parents want is a bond. And I think that pays dividends later in life too at the later stages.

[00:27:57] Is that fair to say 

[00:27:58] Clair Mellenthin: [00:27:58] yeah, it [00:28:00] hugely, because, you think about like our whole goal as a parent, is to raise a child who is going to ultimately become a healthy, successful member of society. And who can launch and make it work in their world. And when we've created a foundation of health of security, And connection in our home.

[00:28:18] That also means when they launch and they leave, there's a place for them to come back to maybe not like physically, like we don't want them to move into our basement, but in the heart. And in that connection, there's a place to come back to. And so you can have those conversations cause their safety in there of like, mom, I lost, I don't know what to do or.

[00:28:40]My mom's favorite is we have really had lots of conversations that she laughs about when I'm like, I'm sorry, I was such a Brown when I was a teenager.

[00:28:51] But that, there's this moment, there's this, there's a built in security and safety for those emotional connections to last throughout the lifespan, [00:29:00] which is what we also want. Right? Like, It's so painful to be the adult who launched and because you launched, there's been that emotional consequences and there's not a safe place to come home to.

[00:29:15]And that can be devastating and so crippling and, again, as a parent, really thinking about like, why am I doing what I'm doing is so important. Cause it's natural and normal and we want to like bubble, wrap our kids and make them not have to go through hard things in life. And it's it's so painful when they are, and we feel so helpless to do something different.

[00:29:36] And I think, a lot of the behaviors and a lot of the ways that we parent is actually rooted in good intent, but it can have the opposite or Well, maybe opposite. I don't know. It can have

[00:29:49] Neal Hooper: [00:29:49] Unintended,

[00:29:50] Clair Mellenthin: [00:29:50] an unintended consequence to it. Yeah. Like if our message is the world is scary and you can't go explore and you can never leave home.

[00:29:57] And if you do, you're abandoning me, right? Like these [00:30:00] messages, they do get played out and then they become internalized versus, like that example of, Hey, the world is safe. We can make a mask for your Teddy bear shirt. He can wear my wedding. You can wear one. And we can still like. It's okay for us to be present in the world, even if it feels scary, like we got this, like that kind of messaging and empowering is so very different.

[00:30:23]And I think it's, again, it's like that idea of allowing for mistakes to happen, allowing your kids to have a voice and an opinion, even if you don't agree with it or appreciate it as that maybe But that again, we have to be mindful about who are we trying to help these kids become?

[00:30:41]Neal Hooper: [00:30:41] I love that question so much because it gets, it just cuts to the core. And I think informed so much of what you do and how you do it. So I know there are I tend to be. More on the playful side, it it comes naturally to me. Not always, there are definitely days. That's not the case. [00:31:00] And sometimes to my wife's chagrin or disdain when it's bedtime and I'm getting, kids riled up and that's not the moment to do that, but that aside I want to know your opinion on, parents that maybe it doesn't come naturally,  I'm not saying I'm perfect at it either, but just maybe for those where it's not natural or it just is uncomfortable to really let go and play.

[00:31:25]And leave those worries behind. We talked about being present and I'm sure mindfulness really helps with that. But do you have any other tips for that, that demographic who might fall into that category?

[00:31:36] Clair Mellenthin: [00:31:36] Yeah, adults who, who experienced that way. And part of this is it's you don't know what you don't know. If you haven't been taught it. I mean, some of this, goes back into our own childhoods and like how our parents engaged with us or, the family circumstances of how much, playfulness was allowed.

[00:31:57] And I think sometimes, there's personality, parts [00:32:00] of this. You may tend to be a little bit more serious or you might not really understand like, well why do I need to go do that? Like emotionally, even though it's like, intellectually like, okay, I'm being told to do this, but it doesn't really make sense emotionally.

[00:32:11]And the things that I would suggest for parents, is be curious about what's coming up for you in those moments to be curious about. For those of you who were raised in non playful homes, cause that happens right. And sometimes it just is what it is. But to be curious about what would it mean for me, if I let go and took the risk to be vulnerable and present with my child, what would it mean for me to sit down and shut off my phone and have a tea party? What would it mean for me to. Allow, a mess and to be okay with that. And sometimes, as adults, we may need some extra support and help and guidance and doing that. And I think that this is where it's so important to [00:33:00] make sure that you have a good support system in place and your own safe places especially when some of this may be rooted in your own childhood and in your own past experiences and relationships.

[00:33:12] I think not being afraid to look at that and seek out help and support when you need it. Especially, for the parents who are being the change makers and so many parents out there, you are the ones who are making the family change and saying, you know what? I don't want to repeat what I experienced and I am going to do something different and it's like, Going out on a journey without a map.

[00:33:38] And you're trying to like bushwhack your way of creating something different. You're breaking the chain of abuse or, the intergenerational transmission of some of the trauma that you've been exposed to. And I think in those circumstances, and to one degree or another, all of us are being change-makers as parents, cause we're really changing the next generation [00:34:00] as we learn more and understand more about brain behavior, the relationship.

[00:34:04] But I think, especially when it's the harder scarier parts of things that we're trying to change to not be afraid to seek out some extra help and support so that you're not alone in the journey of doing that.

[00:34:18] Neal Hooper: [00:34:18] That was beautiful. And. Happiness is a skill. I think playfulness is a skill too, and it takes practice. I love everything you shared. Thank you so much. So we talked about the parent child elements, and that was so good. I love that you mentioned, a partner or a significant other and the role that play has for a relationship in that regard.

[00:34:40] And so I would love to shift gears a little bit and dive deeper there too, because. And I love what you shared too, that you can feel that it's that same disconnect, right. If you're not taking time to, to be playful and present and in connect on that level with a significant other I think it has a similar impact.

[00:34:59] Is that fair to say

[00:35:00] [00:35:00] Clair Mellenthin: [00:35:00] Yeah, it is. It's so interesting when you can sit back and think about, when's the last time, like we just did something fun together. When's the last time we just laughed together. And if it's been a moment, like a little season in your relationship, it usually, you can feel it because you start to feel disconnected.

[00:35:21] You start to feel more lonely, I think, in, in your partnership. And it's easier for the little things become big things because you don't have the safety of connection present in that moment with you. And so. One of the things, with adults, whether it's friendships or romantic relationships but as to allow for playfulness to be part of the relationship and sometimes in adulthood, that's more. A traditionally structured activity, like, okay, like, let's go take a fun cooking class together, or let's go on a hike together. Let's but the idea is we're doing it together and we're [00:36:00] creating these new novel experiences. And sometimes especially after a rough patch or you're in the middle of some repair work, having something new to focus on.

[00:36:11] And connecting can be some of the most important parts of healing. So you're not staying stuck in the things that have happened before. And it's like we're finding each other all over again and remembering like, Oh yeah, this is why I liked you. This is why we decided to be together, and.

[00:36:31] And remembering what it feels like, to see the sparkle and the twinkle in your partner's eyes, or to hear that belly laugh when it's just like that spontaneous, just joy in that moment. And those same neurological neuro biological factors are coming into play then where it's like, even if it's just these glimpses, we're having these moments of connection again.

[00:36:52] And this is where we can start to repair my build. When we feel like our house of cards got knocked down a little bit, or maybe we're, we're missing something in our [00:37:00] foundation. And those, of the listeners who aren't in a relationship right now, clay is still so critical for connection and to build friendships and a community.

[00:37:09]And I think that, this is where getting outside of yourself. In the sense really can make such a big difference in how you're feeling about your life, how you're feeling about yourself, as well as what you can contribute, and bringing joy and connection in somebody else's life.

[00:37:28] Neal Hooper: [00:37:28] Wow. And it really is so universally applicable, isn't it play is just enhances enhances every interaction and the concepts there. And we teach, let, go and play as a principle. And I'm putting you on the spot now. But I'm just curious in your opinion, what are the things that we're letting go of that allow us to play?

[00:37:54] Clair Mellenthin: [00:37:54] So it's letting go of your defense mechanisms and that fear of vulnerability [00:38:00] and showing up. That allows us to really connect in and play in for a lot of humans. That is not a comfortable thing. It's actually terrifying. Right. And this is where things like, for some people it's so interesting, like where they can do a lot of theater work and they can be this big boisterous, brave, vulnerable person on stage.

[00:38:22] Where they can let parts of themselves come out. And then as soon as they're off the stage, they revert back to, a more protective stance in their everyday life. But you know, the same process is happening, but I think finding your Avenue for them, outlet of what feels safe enough, what feels good enough?

[00:38:42] What feels playful enough? Is going to vary from person to person, and yet we all need it so much. And so desperately.

[00:38:52] Neal Hooper: [00:38:52] Oh, these are just man. I am. I'm just trying to, I'm [00:39:00] seeing if I can block out the next three hours. my calendar, I don't know about you, but well, we can keep going. This is so good. Claire. This has been so amazing and you've already shared so many amazing, tangible concepts with us. We do ask every guest that comes on , one last question, and that is what pro tip can you share with us about applying any of the principles we've discussed?

[00:39:30] Clair Mellenthin: [00:39:30] I think part of this. Comes from Yoda, right? Like there is no try, just do, and I, butchered that, but that part of starting to include and bringing play into your life yes. To start it and, go so by every member in your family and Nerf gun and go have a battle, like start it right where it doesn't have to be.

[00:39:57]Like, okay, I'll wait until we go on our family [00:40:00] vacation and then we'll go play in the ocean. No, like you start it now and get permission for it to happen now. And that is scary. And it's vulnerable to do that, especially if it hasn't been part of what has been present. Right. But I think in these small little ways, you just have to dip your toe in first. And so, having an ice cream party night, one night for dessert, where you just bust out, like, as okay, here's five different kinds of ice cream, and we're going to have all these toppings and we're just going to go play in this, right? Like it's just these spontaneous,  fun moments together.

[00:40:39] And every home and every family and every person that's going to like differently, for some families, it's gonna look like playing a board game for some families, it's gonna look like taking a hike for some families is going to, be a full-out Nerf battle.

[00:40:52] And but what's happening is you're allowing yourself to be present in that moment with the people you care most about. And for those of you who [00:41:00] are listening, who aren't in that life spot right now, like that's not part of your life or you're single, or, you're in more of like just the adult world.

[00:41:08] And outside of family life, what I would encourage you to do is actually something similar, find something that looks interesting and signup, yeah. Something new that you haven't done, or something that you used to love to do that you've forgotten. Even in the midst of this pandemic that we have, there are so many places, even if it's remotely where you can find connection with other people.

[00:41:31] And I think that's really what. We're all yearning for and looking for, and this is just an Avenue to do it.

[00:41:37]Neal Hooper: [00:41:37] that is so important. And I love what you're sharing. And getting really clear about what quote unquote play might look like because we hear play. And we might have, I have an idea, we're going outdoors and we're throwing a ball, but I love the example of an ice cream party, right.

[00:41:54] Just that spontaneity, that presence that that. Just being together [00:42:00] intentionally is a great way to foster that same connection. And that is at its core, a version of play as well. I'm grateful that you brought that into it. Claire, thank you so much. This has been amazing. We want to make sure our audience can find you.

[00:42:16] How do we connect with you? Where do we go to get more of this amazing concept, the play therapy and Claire

[00:42:26] Clair Mellenthin: [00:42:26] So you can always find me online. My website is just Claire Mellon, team.com and you're welcome to follow me on social media. I have several platforms that I'm on. And those of you who are local to salt Lake city, I'm just over at Westside family therapy. And so you can always find me locally as well.

[00:42:43] Neal Hooper: [00:42:43] That is awesome. And we will definitely put all of the social links in the show notes and the website and all that. Goodness. Claire. It has been an absolute delight. I mean that, thank you so much for coming on, taking time out of your day to share all of this goodness with us [00:43:00] and help us develop that coveted skill of happiness.

[00:43:04] Thank you so much.

[00:43:06] Clair Mellenthin: [00:43:06] Thanks so much for having me. It's been a pleasure.

[00:43:09]  Neal Hooper: [00:43:10] Wow. Isn't Claire just delightful. This conversation with Claire was, as I mentioned, just the total paradigm shift for me and my life. And I hope it inspired you as well. This week prioritize, play. Whether it's your children. If you're a parent. Friends family members, or even strangers who might need a spark of light in their day. 

[00:43:35] Be present and spontaneous with those around you and leverage the power of play to connect with everyone in your sphere of influence. 

[00:43:47]Practice happiness this week and never forget that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport. Catch you next week.  

Today I sit down with a very special guest, David Butler, to discuss everything from leadership, employee engagement, and how to live a fulfilling life. You don’t want to miss this one! David has over 30 years of leadership, consulting, and enterprise growth experience. His international business portfolio is impressive. He is the founder of Spanvest, an organization focused on helping “Companies Get and Keep People Motivated & Enthusiastic Even When Things Are Constantly Changing”. He’s been in top positions for renowned organizations such as Franklin Covey, Brian Tracey International, and is a certified global leadership coach, stakeholder leadership coach, and certified partner for everything DiSC. David received a Master in International Management from Thunderbird Global School of Business, and an MBA from Esade Business School from Spain.

It is my sincere pleasure to sit down with such a qualified and stellar human being. David welcome to the show!

This Week’s PRO TIP is: We want you to go through David’s list of 7 tips for happiness and just pick one to really focus on and incorporate into your life this week. The list is

  1. Serve others
  2. Get regular exercise to move.
  3. Express gratitude
  4. Live in the moment
  5. Define true success (hint: success is not happiness when you have more money)
  6. Surround yourself with positive people
  7. Make the choice to be happy

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

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Mandy is a wonderful and daring soul who can be found at any moment chasing, and often catching, her dreams. She is helping others do the same through her health and lifestyle coaching program. She is thrilled to be living out her dream life with her family and helping others do the same.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Take a break from watching the NEWS and reflect on what sets your soul on fire!

BONUS PRO TIP: Make a vision board and share a picture with us!

Come join the conversation and play with us!

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Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show


Neal: [00:00:00]   [00:00:00] We have a very special show and guest today. Joining me is Mandy Mahon, and she is a master dreamer and has a lot of very exciting things to share with us. Mandy is a wonderful and daring soul who can be found at any moment chasing and often catching her dreams. 

[00:00:56]helping others do the same through her health in transformation [00:01:00] coaching program.  She is thrilled to be living out her dream life with her family and helping others do the same. 

[00:01:08] I can't wait to dive deep into all the things with you, Mandy. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:14]Mandy: [00:01:14] Hey, Neal. I'm so excited to be here. What an honor to get to chat for a few minutes and have a dream session.

[00:01:22]Neal: [00:01:22] This is where it's fun because it's a topic or several topics that we were both passionate about. So I am very excited, but before we dive in, I want to just make sure we start things off, right? With this train of happiness, can you give us just a little train horn sound for us?

[00:01:42]Mandy: [00:01:42] I will Neal. All

[00:01:50] Neal: [00:01:50] You are awesome. She did that in our conversation before we got going. And I was like, man, we got to share that gift with our listeners. So thank you for that. [00:02:00] Mandy, I know how awesome you are, but I want you to share your story with our listeners so they can get to know the awesomeness themselves.

[00:02:07] So you're a master dreamer. But maybe you weren't always that way. Take us back on your journey. What's your story?

[00:02:15]Mandy: [00:02:15] this is my favorite thing to talk about Neal. So I'm going to try really hard, not to get too excited and talked too fast. Cause I get really excited. So six years ago, I started my first vision board and I was nervous about it because I really was in a job that I was in for many years.

[00:02:39]And I liked my job, but I always felt like there was something that I was meant to do, but I didn't know what it was. And so I started reading the book. The success principles by Jack Canfield and Jack Canfield heavily goes into vision boards. I don't know Neal, if you've read that [00:03:00] book before, but if you haven't, you should.

[00:03:02] Neal: [00:03:02] I just added it to my audible list so I will get there, but I know who Jack Canfield is. He's amazing.

[00:03:10] Mandy: [00:03:10] Yeah. He wrote the chicken soup for the soul. And so he wrote a book called the success principles and. I will say, if you need, if you want something that will lay it out, what exactly to do, he like maps it out for you. It's awesome. And so highly recommend that book. So I was reading the success principles actually with the people that I work with in my office, where I worked and we all decided to make a vision board.

[00:03:35] And so we all,  we started like dreaming what we wanted to create in our life. And I want to like pause for a moment and talk about during the, so I feel like most of us, we lose that ability to dream as we become an adult, when we're kids. If you would ask a [00:04:00] child what they want, they could tell you in less than two seconds, like they know exactly what the work looks like.

[00:04:07]They could go into detail of exactly what they wanted for Santa Claus, probably what they want even next year. But if you ask an adult, they might pause for a moment and be like, not sure what to say. Because we, as an adults, we I've, especially as a parent, I feel like often we give that to everyone else in our family.

[00:04:27] And we put ourselves on the back burner. Luckily though, I am a child at heart, so dreaming very naturally. I was able to awaken my inner child really easily. And. So we made our vision board and I remember one of the things I wanted to put on there was I really wanted to become a mom.

[00:04:53] At the time I was about 38 and 37 38, and I wasn't a mom yet, [00:05:00] and I really wanted to be a mom, but I was scared to put babies on my vision board because I was. Scared of being disappointed, but I, one of my coworkers was like, why are you resisting? And so I put it on my vision board. I put a boy and a girl on my vision board and I put on there.

[00:05:21]I wanted a house, just the generic things like I wanted babies. I wanted a house. I wanted a way under 200 pounds. I think those were like the first big things I put on my vision board, which is probably a common thing. People want, they want a house. They want to lose weight.

[00:05:38] They want to have kids. 

[00:05:39] Neal: [00:05:39] The car maybe

[00:05:41] Mandy: [00:05:41] Yeah, the color, just the basic things on there but it was things I really wanted. And so I put it on my vision board and then my vision board just sat on the ground for a couple of weeks. I never hung it up. Number one is hanging up your [00:06:00] vision board because you gotta you have to be able to look at it.

[00:06:04] So I didn't do that for awhile, but it probably took me like six months to hang it up to be completely honest. But within a couple months I became pregnant and within a couple of weeks after that or months, however long it takes to find out. I found out I was having twins. And then I found out I was having a boy and a girl, which was exactly what was on my vision board.

[00:06:30] And when that happened, all of a sudden I was like, Ooh, I better hang up my vision board

[00:06:36] Neal: [00:06:36] I better get that at eye level. Oh, wow.

[00:06:41] Mandy: [00:06:41] on my vision board. And then I was like, wow. Wow, this is amazing. And it humbled me a little bit to be like, okay, When you put it out there into the universe and when you really start visualizing what you want while a lot can happen. And so I was really excited about [00:07:00] that. So that's how it started for me.

[00:07:03]Neal: [00:07:03] So exploding with questions. I'll try not to ask too many. I am curious there's a lot of approaches to doing vision boards and I don't want to get overly tactical right here at this portion of the conversation. having done lots of vision boards, myself, like how do you go about a vision board?

[00:07:24] Are there any best practices or like things you feel strongly about and how to do one ha how to do one in the, in in the most effective way. 

[00:07:33] Mandy: [00:07:33] I really liked that question, Neil, because I feel like that's what holds a lot of people back is they feel like it has to be perfect. They feel like it has to be this grandiose thing. And my biggest advice is you need to do what resonates with you. Some people have a whole wall that's efficient board, tons of things, other people.

[00:07:53] I know this one of another mentor that I really appreciate. Kirk Duncan who has three key elements. [00:08:00] He literally,

[00:08:00] Neal: [00:08:00] courage.

[00:08:01] Mandy: [00:08:01] yeah. He just puts masking tape on the wall. And then he just puts what he wants in that. That's an example, like there's no right or wrong way to do this. And I feel like I really do feel like most people, they hear the word vision board and it scares them because they think it's going to take all this work and they think it's going to be overwhelming.

[00:08:21] And a lot of people, when you say even if you say to somebody, Oh, you're going to have your annual conversation with your boss. It's like dun dun dun! You like are dreading the minutes until you have to meet with your boss and talk about your performance appraisal.

[00:08:36] And I think a lot of people may be put vision boards in that category of a daunting task. But what my biggest thing would say to, to whoever's listening right now is make it, you make it fun. And some people resonate with pictures. Other people resonate with words. There's no, I [00:09:00] promise you there's no right or wrong way to do this and it will evolve.

[00:09:04] And what I use is I just use a magnet board. So I can just constantly be putting things on it with magnets. And I have a lot of things on my vision board, but one thing I do is most of mine have a really big theme of what I want. And what I do is within that, I break it down into miniature goals.

[00:09:27] So I can constantly be taking things off my vision board. 

[00:09:31]Neal: [00:09:31] Really like that.

[00:09:32] Mandy: [00:09:32] yeah, I chunk it down. If I have a huge business goal, I have a bunch of little things on there too. I have the big thing on there, that's what works with my brain is to have a big goal and then have little goals to help me reach that goal.

[00:09:46]Neal: [00:09:46] And the power behind that it's so important to do that because what you have when you go about it that way, by starting big with the ultimate outcome, or I like to use the [00:10:00] metaphor of scaling a mountain, right? You got to define your mountain. And from there, when you break it down into milestones and where you want to go but based on that long-term vision, then you have alignment and that is where you get momentum, because you're excited about the direction.

[00:10:19] And now you can tie back this action, right? This day-to-day grind. When you have clarity about where those actions are taking you, and you're excited about it. That is when the light bulb really turns on for people. And that was something I experienced as well. In corporate America .

[00:10:39] I was in a fortune 100 company and it was a great company, but my day-to-day grind, I couldn't connect where that grind was getting me and I wasn't excited about the direction it was taking me. And so I had all kinds of mental health. Problems and physical health problems creep in because of that misalignment and [00:11:00] the depression and anxiety that comes along with that is it can be very damaging.

[00:11:03] And so I love what you're saying here, because, and again, tying this into play theory and the principles that we teach on this podcast, you have to be present, but you also have to let go of the directions and the goals that are imposed on you, that, that aren't exciting to you because if you don't and you're giving into the social compliance of what others feel you should be doing, then you're not going to have that alignment.

[00:11:32] You're not going to be excited. And that day-to-day grind is going to cause lots of problems.

[00:11:39] Mandy: [00:11:39] Yeah. I feel like the universe dropped me a bone in the beginning. They gave me like a big goal. Like they dropped a boy and a girl on my lap and I was like, Whoa, okay. I'm a believer. And there's a couple of lessons to be learned and I'm those of you listening.

[00:11:52] I'm a very open person. So I'm going to share some things that are really personal and. I, my [00:12:00] intent and sharing it is hopefully just to inspire people to never give up. And so vision boards are great. And sometime things happen really fast. Like my pregnancy happened and it was amazing.

[00:12:12] So the next big things I had on there was the house and I wanted a way. Under 200 pounds. And so I wanted to share just a little bit about my babies. So I became pregnant. Like I talked about with the boy and a girl. And I was so excited and at asked right before a week before they were born, I found out that my little boy had down syndrome and I was so excited.

[00:12:38] It sounds weird, but I was so excited because I know how special those souls are. And I was so excited to get to Have that experience to share a life with my little charming boys and after they were born and they were born two months early and it was a really scary pregnancy. My little boy, Charlie ended up having hydrops and they had to [00:13:00] do an emergency C-section and he did end up passing away after eight days.

[00:13:05]And that was really hard for me because here I am a new mom. My little girl, I lost my little boy and my little girl Rosie was in the NICU for two months and I just lost it a little bit emotionally with food. And I started really turning to food a lot and emotionally eating because that's always been my go-to when I'm stressed, I eat.

[00:13:30] And I actually had an appetite to eat cause my whole pregnancy I didn't. And so after I got to bring Rosie home I remember looking into her big, beautiful eyes. And at that moment I was like, Oh my goodness, you deserve a healthy mommy. And at the time I weighed about 320 pounds and I had swollen ankles.

[00:13:54] The doctor was giving me water pills. He was talking about me needing to wear compression [00:14:00] socks. And here I am a new mom, almost I was almost 39. And I was like, I'm not going to wear compression socks. This is ridiculous. So I decided I always had it, my vision board that I wanted to weigh under 200 pounds.

[00:14:15] And if you remember, I talked about, I started vision boards six years ago. So years went by and I would look at that on my vision board. And it would just almost seem impossible. Most of the things I had on my vision board were pretty grandiose, big things. And I didn't do what I talked about in the beginning that I would break them down.

[00:14:33] This is what I do now. But back then, I just had those on my vision board and I would just look at them and I would just stare at them and I would be like, okay, I had my baby, so I know this can happen. So I would just look at him and dream about it and wait patiently. And yeah , I knew I needed to make a change to my health.

[00:14:52] And I was like, okay, I think I'm ready to focus on this goal. Like really focus on it. And so I started this Epic journey of health now [00:15:00] with a new motivation and my little girl Rosie was my motivation, but also my little boy, Charlie, that passed away, he's actually been my biggest cheerleader up in heaven because he's always wanted me to be healthy for Rosie.

[00:15:14] And so every single day, At 11, 11, 10, and one, one, one he chairs for me to keep going. Whether you believe that or not, it fills my heart with joy every day. I see those numbers and I know that's Charlie being like, mommy, you could do this. So I started my journey of health 320 pounds. And. I was terrified because this time I knew I knew I couldn't fail cause I needed to be healthy for my little girl.

[00:15:44] I needed to be able to be the kind of mom she deserved. My heart changed when I became a mom. And so I started this journey of health and quickly I realized the biggest transformation I had to make, where the six inches between my ears, it was mine [00:16:00] because I'm such an emotional eater. And so I had 170 plus pounds to lose and that was daunting. And so I started this journey and I actually became a health coach.

[00:16:15]For this incredible program that I've been doing, and I was a 300 pound health coach. And I remember thinking who would ever want me to be their coach? Because here I am over 300 pounds, I've struggled with my weight, my whole life. But I was like, I knew I had a passion for helping people. I knew I loved helping people and I knew that it would help me.

[00:16:37] So I started coaching. And helping other people and hundreds of people linked arms with me and together over the last few years, I've been able to lose. So far I've lost 135 pounds. I dropped under the 200 Mark, which is, I was able to take that off my vision board,

[00:16:55] Neal: [00:16:55] That is awesome, Mandy.

[00:16:57] Mandy: [00:16:57] which was to take that off my [00:17:00] vision board because I worked on that for my whole life. Pretty much.

[00:17:04] Neal: [00:17:04] Wow. Okay. So this is so cool because I think it gets to a point. With some of us with all of us where we might have, whether they're on a vision board or in the back of our minds or deep in our hearts somewhere, we have these long-term hopes, these dreams. And as time goes by, I think every year that goes by That we don't see substantial progress toward those dreams.

[00:17:36]We log it as like a data point against our ability to do anything about it. And those negative voices start to creep in. And so I'm just dying to know obviously. There's a lot of factors that played into how you were able to break through that. And I'm just curious what other thoughts you have for our listeners and the role of letting go of [00:18:00] those negative voices and how to do that in order to get the new results and to chase those dreams.

[00:18:05] Mandy: [00:18:05] Yeah, I love that question, Neal. And. It would probably take me a long time to answer that because there's so many different strategies that I've learned. But I will say because I've been working on my health, I want to be completely transparent. Neal. I want to be very upfront that this did not happen to me overnight.

[00:18:26] I'm a food addict. I'm an emotional eater. I'm a binge eater. I turned to food for comfort and. Over the last few years I've as anyone life has happened, there's been some struggles that we've gone through as a little family. And what I'm the most proud of is that I haven't given up.

[00:18:46] And the biggest thing I've done is I've turned off the word diet from my mind. I no longer say I'm on a diet. I say I'm making changes. I'm [00:19:00] creating. I'm creating a new life for myself. I'm creating these new healthy habits for the rest of my life. So number one, Neal, I would say that has been the biggest help for me is recognizing that this is going to be a lifestyle change and that it's not going to happen fast.

[00:19:19] The second thing that's helped me a ton is that I've messed up. It's been good. That I've messed up. Because every time I've messed up, I get back up and I get back on again. And if I did it perfectly and I never messed up, I don't think I would be able to have sustained it, but I've proven to myself over and over again that I can do it.

[00:19:44] And it's taken a lot of pitfalls and learning and being open. And I follow an amazing program that has an educational piece that really helps you rewrite your story. And I have a [00:20:00] coach, that's my accountability partner, which really helps. There's like a lot of tools that I've used.

[00:20:05]Neal: [00:20:05] How neat is that? Because I think the airwaves are flooded with people that it's all in the past tense. And I love your humility. I love your transparency. And I think that is so refreshing to hear that right? Because, and this also ties into what needs to be let go of, we talk about let, go and play.

[00:20:29]And it is so important that we let go, not only of those negative voices. And we talked about that a little bit, but of the perfectionism. That thoughts are progress. And like you said you have fallen down and, but you've gotten back up and that's the important thing.

[00:20:50] Perfectionism is like the Achilles heel of progress because. The second you mess up, or the second year not [00:21:00] you meeting this impossible standard, then your perceived capability, plummets, your self-esteem goes down and you're tempted to give up. And so I love that you brought that up and that we need to just let go of all of that and play and fall forward and stumbled toward the light.

[00:21:19] I love everything that you're sharing and it's just so good.

[00:21:23]Mandy: [00:21:23] And Neal, like I coach, I've coached almost a thousand people the last few years. And the biggest thing I tell them, and I tell myself, as I'm telling them is this is about imperfect progress. It doesn't matter. Even when you mess up, you're progressing because you're not giving up.  And I have clients that want to lose five pounds.

[00:21:46] I have clients that want to lose 200 pounds and it's been fascinating to see everyone's the same. They all are struggling with emotional eating and they all are. They don't feel good about [00:22:00] themselves and not to go too much in a tangent about this. But I do feel passionately that. When we allow food to control our life, we literally are imprisoning ourselves.

[00:22:13] And when we realize that we are imprisoning ourselves with our habits and we break free that's when we feel freedom. And so if you're ever feeling trapped, when you think of the word diet that's why you feel trapped because diet is like food jail, but when you. Awaken your mind and be like, no, this is I'm freeing myself.

[00:22:36] Cause I'm actually empowering to make a choice. I'm not letting my emotions rule. I am choosing what I do and that does not just happen overnight, but it's what I love and it's what I fall in love with. And so it's something I do a lot and so I'm working on, I'm working on my last. I don't know how much weight I need to lose.

[00:22:57] Cause I've never been thin before. I'm like in the one [00:23:00] eighties right now, I'm thinking I want to be in the one fifties. And now on my vision board, I took off the 200 and then I put on there. Okay, you can do it. And it says one 50 by June 1st. I do want to talk for a minute about dates. I don't like to date some things because I don't like to disappoint myself, but. I think it's good to do every once in a while, use your discretion. But for me, when I say June 1st, it puts that out there that I'm serious about it. Like I'm putting a date on it and I put dates on things before and I didn't reach it and I'm fine because I just update it when I don't reach it.

[00:23:42] I'm always closer than I would have been. And so don't shy away from putting dates on things, but just know that. It will happen when it's meant to happen, but it will get you closer to your goal. And so now I have on there, I want to get to my goal weight. I have [00:24:00] seven little things on my vision board to help me get there.

[00:24:03] And so as those things happen, I can take them off. And then I have a little book that I would like, she protectors that I put the things in my book that I achieve. And the other thing I want to say about vision boards is sometimes you have to put things back up. Like I did gain weight and I got back over 200 pounds and I hated putting it back on the vision board, but I've now taken it back off again.

[00:24:31] And now I'm like committed to not doing that again. But I think it's important to have humility, to recognize that it evolves and it changes and it's okay if it has to do that.

[00:24:44] Neal: [00:24:44] And I love this concept too, because I think especially right now, we're still January, we're just barely what, two weeks in, not even two weeks in.   We have the resolutions on the mind and goals, and [00:25:00] it's so important that.

[00:25:02] We accept and build on our progress, whatever that progress is. And so yeah, you set a date. We're afraid to do that because we don't want to fail right there's the let go and play principle that needs to come in there. But once we get rid of that perfectionism and we are moving forward, we're setting goals, we're taking actions.

[00:25:25] I think like you mentioned, it is so important to just adjust it.  You set a target, you strived for it, even if you didn't get there. That's okay. Except that don't reject it. Don't put up the wall. You just have to build on that and keep moving forward. And so in goal setting, I want to just.

[00:25:44] Take one more pause here. And if you were already going to share more about goal setting and forgive me, but what can you tell our listeners about goal setting? And and I know you've already shared a lot, but I know we have the vision board and then you say you break it [00:26:00] down. Into smaller pieces.

[00:26:02] Are you treating your vision board as your goal setting dashboard as well? Or is it a formal process? Talk to me a little bit more about the goal setting part in particular.

[00:26:14] Mandy: [00:26:14] That's a good question. I guess I just haven't really analyzed what I do that much now, but I think I just, my brain is naturally. I guess you're right. I guess my vision board is just like a work in progress and I constantly update things. I take things off. I put things on, I chunk it down another thing, I think that's really powerful about goal setting is to have an open mind and sometimes you just have to pause and you have to ask yourself because we know ourselves the most, what we need to do. And. I think it's important to check in with ourselves and check in what we need to do.

[00:26:54] And we have to be aware. The other thing is if we're not [00:27:00] constantly updating what we want in our life, like Jack Canfield talks a lot about the haves do's and B's things you want to have things you want to do, things you want to be. And if I think it's important to constantly be updating that.

[00:27:15] And so as we're goal setting, we can make sure they're aligned with what we want. But I will always say simplify it don't make it. Don't make it hard. Make it fun. I think it's fun now. I really don't think it's daunting anymore. Goal setting is fun and. It just comes, the more you do it. It's like priming the pump for the water.

[00:27:39] The more you do it, all of a sudden it's just, it starts coming and you start having more clarity of what you want to create, but it didn't happen overnight. It's taken me years. It's really cool. One thing I do want to mention Neil, about that, I really like about how vision boards work is often things come [00:28:00] in flashes. So I reached under 200 pounds. Then within a month, we were able to buy our dream house. That was on my vision board. I was a huge one. And those things happened within a few weeks of each other. And then another big goal I had was I wanted to be able to stop doing my corporate America job.

[00:28:21] And I wanted to be home working from home with my daughter. And that was on my vision board for a few years. And then that happened within a few months after that. So it was like, I spent years. Dreaming of these things, dreaming of my dream house, dreaming of weighing under 200 pounds, dreaming of being home with my daughter, all of these things.

[00:28:41] And all of a sudden they just all happened. And so I just want to infuse hope in people that it's so possible and you just have to believe, and you don't, you won't always know how it's going to happen. You [00:29:00] won't. So don't overthink it. Just be with it and just allow the universe to help it happen.

[00:29:09]Neal: [00:29:09] I appreciate you sharing that to not overthink it to not overcomplicate it. I'm a very process driven and detail oriented person. And so I think Actually, I also, I have a program called the purpose driven professional, and we talk about life mapping, vision boards, it's all a part of there.

[00:29:30] And sometimes I think the approach can be overly complicated and daunting which is not good, especially at the beginning for someone who's really transitioning into this as a habit and an approach to life. And I love that don't overthink it. Just, get familiar and bought into the concept and believe in it, but don't let the mechanics get to scare you away.

[00:29:56]So I really love that tip. Thank you so much for sharing.

[00:29:59] [00:30:00] We talked a little bit about. Mindset and, I think it's so important to, to factor in mindset and to change those things that are preventing us from moving forward.  Do you have any tips for first time, vision boarders, who,  they're getting warmed up to the idea that there's hearing these stories about results.

[00:30:24]But they still have a lot of that doubt or the mindset's not quite there, or maybe as a coach and you don't have to give away any of your secrets, but I'm just curious, how do you help those people that are getting into this world for the first time?

[00:30:42]Mandy: [00:30:42] I think it's just baby steps. And that's how I was when I started. We have to remember I didn't hang it up for months. Remember that I was a little skeptical of it and it was daunting to me and it wasn't fun now it's fun, but it's taken time for it to be fun. [00:31:00] So you don't get to walk into it, feeling confident.

[00:31:03] You know what I mean? That's just not how life works, anything. That's going to be amazing in your life. It takes work to get there. And I'm not saying that to deflate anybody I'm saying it to hopefully make you realize that. Yes, I'm talking to, I'm talking about it from a stance of doing it for years and it's completely, my life is completely unrecognizable than it was six years ago.

[00:31:27] And in every way, I could keep going. There's more things, but we don't have enough time. But it's just  it's like living, it's like living a fairy tale.  I love Cinderella. She's my favorite Disney princess, because she's not girl because she always talks about, a dream is a wish our heart makes when we're fast asleep.

[00:31:49] And that shows to me. No matter how your heart is grieving. If you keep on believing your dreams that you wish will come true. And I feel like when we [00:32:00] start, we are grieving. We're grieving, disappointment, and life, especially this year, man. This has been one of the best years of my life. There you go vision like here it's this has been one of the best years for me because I'm literally getting to live the life of my dreams and even everything in our climate has been going on.

[00:32:24] Hasn't even diminished my joy because I'm living the life of my dreams and I've created it. But to back up a little, cause I know I'm talking up in the clouds. I tend to live in a place called Mandy land.

[00:32:36] Y'all get to visit Mandy land for a few minutes. But I didn't start that way, Neil. I didn't start. I was just what you described and I just had to trust Jack Canfield, Kirk Duncan, other people, Rachel Hollis, Oprah Winfrey, other people that have gone the path. What's the actor's name? Oh gosh. He's always doing vision [00:33:00] boards and he's hilarious.

[00:33:01] Dumb and dumber. I'm caring. He's big and busy or it's too. So there's all these people that are really big vision boards. And I just had to go into a believing that if it works for other people, it can. So maybe you just have to believe my story and be like, okay. And it can just start with one thing.

[00:33:19] It can start with one thing and you don't have to, you can  follow somebody that's done it. And like Jack Canfield, he breaks it down for you. And I appreciate that as well. So I don't have to make up the process for that.

[00:33:34]Neal: [00:33:34] I love so much of what you shared. I don't want to leave Mandy land. This is fun.

[00:33:40] Mandy: [00:33:40] Okay.

[00:33:41]Neal: [00:33:41] One last thing that I want to make sure, I at least point out and you can add any comments you want to, but I love how in your story, we've all been through the school of hard knocks.

[00:33:52]You have been through a lot and have made some incredible changes in your life, but what I love and your story [00:34:00] was. A huge catalyst for a lot of the change. Was really your children and your daughter and your son were huge catalysts for you to really take on that.

[00:34:13]I'm assure daunting goal, especially the health and getting that where you wanted it to be. And so I hope, and again, look outward as a principal the crown Juul, if you will, of the principles that we teach here on the happiness playbook. And it's so important. And I think when we double down on that outward focus on that charity on, that service part of our souls, that can really be the bigger catalyst for the change we want in our lives.

[00:34:46] And I think I'll go out on a limb and say all of the truly impactful and longterm. Positive change that we can do in our lives will always result [00:35:00] from a place of love and charity and outward focus. And so I love that you brought that in as part of your story.

[00:35:08] Mandy: [00:35:08] and one thing with it really at some it really, if you want to summarize that, it's the WHY it's when, when you're asking them about goal setting and how do you do goal setting it's and this definitely means a lot. For health is I'll use health as an example, because that's what I focus on a lot, but you can use it for every goal that you're setting is when your, WHY is so strong.

[00:35:34] My babies are my why and one's on earth, one's in heaven, but they're my why. And they're when I made that so strong, when you have something that you're working towards, it propels you forward and. It makes all the difference. And so that definitely is near and dear to my heart.

[00:35:53] And that's when I finally could make a change. And so if you're feeling like you keep [00:36:00] trying using health as an example, but if you keep trying to lose weight, losing weight, you're just, yo-yoing really what I recommend you do is there's a thing you can find. If you Google it, it's called seven levels deep.  And you just, it asks you the same question over and over again, but it helps you identify why you want something. And the more you can be crystal clear on that , in those moments when. You really want to be lazy and you, your natural man comes into play and your natural, lazy self comes into play challenge and choose. And you can get more intentional about what you want and the more you do that, it becomes really easy and it becomes second nature. And that's really been what has helped me the most.

[00:36:48] And I love helping other people. I love helping people find their happy and find that freedom for themselves. It's truly been, [00:37:00] I can't believe now I get paid for it. And every dollar I earn means somebody's life is being impacted. And that blows my mind. It's again, it's like , I'm living in a fairy tale that I get to help other people do the same thing.

[00:37:13] And it's amazing and love it so much.

[00:37:15] Neal: [00:37:15] that is so cool. You're amazing. Thank you so much for these Mandy. I wish we could just sit here and just stay in Mandy land, all th all good things must come to an end. I just made that saying actually 

[00:37:30] Mandy: [00:37:30] you could just come to my page. Mandy Florence Mon is my Facebook page. I'm mostly just posted by Mandy land. You can follow anyone that wants to follow me feel free. Mandy Florence, man. That's my Facebook and I pretty much just post about living in Mandy land all day. So

[00:37:48] Neal: [00:37:48] yes. And this is perfect. I'm just going to ask if our listeners want more Mandy land, how do they get in touch with you? So go to the Facebook page she just described and we'll put it [00:38:00] in the show notes as well. 

[00:38:01]Mandy: [00:38:01] You can just text me. And we can connect. My phone number is (801) 899-5591. So you can text me. We can be friends.

[00:38:16] Neal: [00:38:16] Yeah. Wow. Everyone's got her phone number now to, to tap into Mandy land at a moment's notice. That is so fun. Thank you so much for sharing. One last question and we've shared lots of very good tips. But we always like to end on maybe one more. We call them. Pro tips.

[00:38:37] One thing that our listeners can apply in their lives to really get traction and to develop the skill of happiness. So what pro tip would you share or reiterate with our listeners?

[00:38:49]Mandy: [00:38:49] So my pro tip for you is that I really feel strongly. That positivity is the key. There's a book called the happiness [00:39:00] advantage by Shawn Achor.

[00:39:01] I don't know if you've read it

[00:39:02] Neal: [00:39:02] Love that book.

[00:39:04] Mandy: [00:39:04] I, again, I love being happy. I love being a Mandy land. I love positivity. And Oh my goodness. When you can just look at life out of , what I can learn. Even when you go through trials, the more you can look at life as, how can I learn? How can I grow? What can I find good out of this?

[00:39:27] I promise you're going to be so much happier. And if you're watching the news and you're just getting depressed, I really don't watch the news. And I just really focus on growth. And I focus on love and I focus on positivity and how I can help other people.

[00:39:46] It just makes me happy. And so my tip for you would be , if you're spending a lot of time in the news, just take a break from it and just look inward and look at what sets your soul on fire. What makes you happy and spend [00:40:00] some time there and you will shine.

[00:40:04] Neal: [00:40:04] Yes, that is a great pro tip. Mandy, thank you so much for coming on and opening your arms, opening the Gates of Mandy land for. For a little bit here. This was amazing and we are so lucky and grateful to have you on our team because life is a team sport. So thank you so much.

[00:40:29] Mandy: [00:40:29] Of course. Thanks, Neal. This was so fun and. I really hope you make a vision board. And I really I'm saying this to anyone listening, and just do it and hang it up and don't overthink it.

[00:40:43] Neal: [00:40:43] And we want to see anyone who's willing to share. If you're listening to this right now, make a vision board, just something super basic. And again, we mentioned Kirk Duncan. He says, if you don't have anything fancy yet, just get paid painter's tape and make a square on your [00:41:00] wall with the painter's tape.

[00:41:01] And just start putting pictures up on the wall if it needs to be that basic, but make a vision board and share it with us, we would love to see it. I'm sure. Mandy would love to see it too. So

[00:41:12] Mandy: [00:41:12] I would totally love to see it. So you guys are awesome and I can't wait for you to live a life of your dreams because you're going to have so much fun.

[00:41:20] Neal: [00:41:20] thanks again, Mandy.

[00:41:23] Mandy: [00:41:23] Okay.



[00:41:23]Neal: [00:41:24] wow. I hope you enjoyed being in Mandy land as much as I did. Accept and build on where you are right now. Let go of the pessimism. And those negative voices inside your head that are holding you back. Articulate your dreams make a vision board and chase those dreams at full speed. Practice happiness today and always, and never forget that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport. Catch you next week. [00:42:00]   

It’s a new year! We have big plans but a lot of us are still shaking off 2020 and struggling to be present… and therefore productive.

Today I’m gifting you a master class in Being Present but more specifically in productivity. We’re going to discuss how eliminating distraction, changing your environment, and not relying on your finite willpower, is the game changing step toward actually BEING PRESENT and getting stuff done.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: For this week’s pro tip, I want you to give strong you the wheel of life and make the changes in your environment that weak you is going to hate you for. Delete an app, throw out some candy, write out a workout schedule...do whatever it takes to move the needle on your productivity in the right direction!

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show


It is a new year and a lot of us have big plans, but we still might be shaken off 2020 and struggling to be present in there for productive. Today, I'm gifting you a masterclass in being present, but more specifically in productivity. We're going to discuss how eliminating distraction, changing your environment and not relying on your finite willpower is the game-changing step toward actually being present and getting stuff done.

And I could not be more excited to share with you today,

400 families woke up on Christmas to $250 gift cards left on their porch. With a poem. That's $100,000. With all the hardships they endured in 2020 many people found it more difficult than usual to believe in Santa Claus. That's why Santa went out of his way for some folks in the Canadian city of Edmonton to make sure they knew he still believed in them.

A Saint Nick who chooses remain nameless left envelopes containing an inspirational rhyme along with $250 gift cards on approximately 400 doorsteps. Bringing unexpected, cheers to many families in the area. As we saw over the year, just past, even when things looked their darkest, there have been generous people around the globe who stepped up in big ways to fill SANAS snowy boots time. And again, whether or not you believe in Santa Claus. This spirit of giving has the potential to shine in all of us. What a great story and very generous gift for so many people in the area.

Time for coach Neil to give an update on operation. Domination. Okay. So we had some awesome team players, again, we're getting those numbers up and we want to share a really exciting milestone, but we need some more sharing to happen. And as we go into 2021, we really want to take the momentum from 2020 on the podcast and really move forward. So we need your help there.

But two quick posts that I wanted to share with you first, we had happy Mrs. Gardner on Instagram share about our last episode.

Some lessons learned from 2020 and positive outcomes from 2020. She said so many good things. I snuggled more with my family, talked more with my neighbors, spent more time in nature, turned an old barbecue into a planter, and found joy in the simplicity. Of curbside pickup. Awesome. Updates. Thank you. Happy Mrs. Gardner for sharing, and we are so grateful to have your contribution to the community. Thank you for pointing out the good things of 2020. Next up, we have Laurie who shared. I choose to see 20, 20 as a gift. I was gifted time with my family minus the normal interruptions time with myself to reflect and get better acquainted.

Given the opportunity to find new ways to connect and communicate. She started a YouTube channel for moms thrown into home, learning with their children, wrote letters and mailed them to friends and family. Played a lot more games, read more purposefully, stepped back and gained a great deal of perspective.

So we are so excited for you, Lori. Thank you for sharing. And we're going to link your YouTube channel in the notes for anyone who's interested. So I hope you can head over there and check. And check out Laurie YouTube channel for moms who were thrown into home, learning with their children.

Okay, so productivity let's dive in. How fun is it that we now get to say hindsight is 2020. Well folks, how fun is it now that we get to say hindsight is 2020.

Now there is some truth to that. 2020 is now behind us. And what was a very difficult year. That had lots of challenges also had some great lessons. If you haven't already checked out episode 20.

Our open letter to 2020, then you've got to do it. It's a quick one. It's 18 minutes long. And there's a lot of great insights there.

But now as we look forward to the future with hopes, aspirations, goals, resolutions. We got to be effective and to present in order to make the progress we want. And that's really hard. We want to be present and in the zone this year to make magic happen, but we have to eliminate distraction in order to do that. And that's what we're going to talk about today.

Clyde Beatty was a pioneer in the circus industry and the man who created one of the most daring acts in circus history where he mixed 40 lions and tigers of both sexes. And tamed them all in front of a crowd. Clyde Beatty was born in Bainbridge, Ohio in 1903. When he was a teenager, he left home to join the circus and landed a job as a cage cleaner.

In the years that followed BD quickly progressed from a lowly cage boy to a popular entertainer. And now to the legend that we all know him for. BD became famous for his fighting act in which he would tame fierce wild animals.

PDs act included a segment where he brought lions. Tiger's cougars and hyenas all together into the circus ring and taint the entire group. But the most miraculous part of Clyde Beatty story is his survival in an era. When the majority of lion Tamers died in the ring, BD lived into his sixties. In the end, it was actually cancer that took his life. Not Elian.

How did he manage to survive? It's very simple, actually. Clyde Beatty was one of the first lion Tamers to bring a chair into the circus ring. What does the chair have to do with taming Elian? You might ask. Well, Everything actually. The classic image you see of a lion Tamer is one of the entertainer holding a whip and a chair in facing down a ferocious lion. We often focus on the whip.

But it's actually mostly a prop. In reality, it's the chair that does the important work. When a lion Tamer holds a chair in front of the lion's face, the lion tries to focus on all four legs of the chair at the same time with its focus divided. The lion becomes confused and is unsure about what to do next.

When faced with so many options, the lion chooses to freeze and wait, instead of attacking the man holding the chair. As crazy as it sounds, this majestic powerful beast is diverted by a small chair with four legs on it. The powerful part of this story and metaphor. Is that we are each just like the lion with all of its majesty power and potential, but we to get distracted. By this four legged stools of life.

What are the four legged stools in your life and how can you overcome them? As we dive into this topic, I want to start by letting you in on a little secret. The very concept of motivation is bogus and almost all engagement techniques used today. Are embarrassingly outdated.

Now that might seem like a bold claim, especially coming from someone who has a high ticket program called the purpose driven professional. That's all about engagement and drive, but let me tell you a little bit more and explain what I mean. If we are, depending on our willpower to get us where we need to go, we have a lost before we even began. Willpower is a limited resource or at least our brain thinks it is. And resisting temptation and distraction. Actually weakens it. How many times have you hopped onto your computer?

With all the good intentions in the world to get something done. And two hours go by. And you look at the clock and realize you've done nothing except browse the internet. YouTube, social media, whatever your weaknesses. And let the time go by. The important thing to remember is that your environment has everything to do with your ability to execute. And your willpower actually has very little to do with it.

Ben Hardy, the author of the amazing books, willpower doesn't work and personality. Isn't permanent said most people, mindlessly and reactively walk through life. They are unaware just how much their environment is shaping them. They're unconsciously becoming something they wouldn't want to be. This happens when we're not present. When we're not in the moment we just washed down the stream of life and are not intentional.

The truth is if we are allowing our environment to be full of distraction. Disorganization and chaos, we will never be able to be fully present for the task and projects at hand.

So what are some ideas to eliminate distraction in your life and be fully present? Well, here's just a few. First off limit internet use with apps and filters. We all have our weaknesses online. Mine is YouTube. There's something about those recommended videos that just keep rolling in auto-playing that just get me every time.

I probably account for at least half of all the views on the daily dose of the internet. A channel. Whether it's YouTube, Instagram, Tik TOK, or the news setting limits on these websites can be a total game changer. I use an app called SelfControl for my Mac book. That allows me to create a black list of websites. I go in there and I enter every website that I just want to block.

And then it has a timer that you can set and you can go all the way up to 24 hours in length. But it prevents you from visiting all of those sites for as long as the timer is going, it's very powerful and I've been using it a lot. If you have an iPhone, the screen time app is a total game-changer as well for your mobile device. I found that implementing these changes allows me to be free from the temptation.

And decision fatigue that comes from relying on willpower alone. There's also an app called forest for Android and iOS, which is kind of funny. It's a, you gotta lock your phone and as long as your phone's locked, there's a little tree that grows for however long you set the timer. And if you open your phone, it actually kills the tree and it's weird, but it's actually very motivating to keep your phone locked.

Another thing you can do if that's not working. Is just put your phone in a different room altogether then where you are working or trying to be present. If the site blockers and screen time, isn't enough. Try just charging your phone in a different room. This is actually very helpful at night when it's time for bed. And it's something I've tried doing is you know, just charging my phone in a different room, or if I'm using it for my alarm, I actually just turn it on airplane mode and that's been very helpful as well.

Research shows that just having your phone in the same room as you. Can be a distraction to your focus, not to mention when you get that little buzz for an email or text. I don't know about you, it's nearly impossible to not check in. Even if you do resist the temptation, that thought is in the back of your mind, wondering who was that or what was it?

And that is taking up mental real estate.

The next tip is to start your day with some quick wins. Now, this is a little controversial, this recommendation of making, because a lot of people will tell you to eat the frog, right. To take on your biggest, most hairy task first. And there are days where that may be the right strategy, but more often than not.

I have found that in order to really gain momentum for my productivity, I do a brain dump of all the tasks I have to get done that day. And I do this every day. And then I categorize them, not just by what's most important, but by what will take the least amount of time to do. And then I start my work session by setting a timer for 30 minutes and I get as many of these little tasks done as possible. And you can do less than 30 minutes. If you want. Even 15 minutes could be a huge help.

But when the timer's up. I transition then into my most important task, but I do so with momentum and a boosted perceived capability, getting in those quick wins up front helps you stay present. And in that state of flow, because you're getting that dopamine hit as we check off those quick wins, but also because your mental real estate is no longer weighed down by those undone tasks in the back of your head. So I found that to be a very

Approach , to be present with those important tasks. Is that plan out those 15, 20, 30 minutes? Of quick wins in order to get momentum and my productivity.

Designing your environment for success is also key. If you want to work out in the morning. Why not set out your workout clothes next to your bed. This will be creating an environment that makes it easy to do the things you want and need to do. If you want to read a book at night, find an easily accessible place next to your bedside to place it. If eating healthy is important, throw out the junk food or give it away.

I know that it's easier said than done, but it will be the small movement. That becomes momentum and really empowers you to level up. There's a great concept called activation energy that Shawn Achor shares in his book.

The happiness advantage. And it really comes down to, you know, how much energy is it going to take you to do a task? And he talks about increasing the activation energy or friction. And for the things that you don't want to do. And that might look like. You know, burying an app that you don't want to have easy access to in a bunch of folders on your phone or deleting the app. Right. That would be an example of increasing the activation energy.

If you don't want to be really extreme. I know a guy who actually has a. Admin change the password on all of his social media accounts. During the week. So Monday morning she changes all of them and she doesn't let him in until Friday after work. And so he only checks his social media on the weekends.

So that would be an example of increasing the activation energy for things you don't want to do, but you also want to decrease the activation energy for things that you want or need to do. And again, we shared a few examples of those setting out your workout clothes that makes it easier to put those on a, you know, make it really easy to eat healthy. We just invested in a juicer actually, and that makes eating healthy, exciting, and easier because we have this produce and we just juice it and drink it on the go.

So those are some examples of designing your environment for success.

Another big one is to simply organize your environment. If you are surrounded by clutter and chaos, it is going to be incredibly difficult to stay present focused in on task. Even just five minutes of picking up is enough to really impact your environment and productivity.

And a bonus tip here for those working from home, especially is if you have work to get done. And your home environment's really distracting. You might consider going somewhere else. And if you can't leave your home, maybe try a different room, but if you can. You know, try a coffee shop or just go somewhere else. And

And change your environment and that separation and change of environment can also have a huge impact on your productivity and an additional.

Action. You can take with this tip is to actually leave your laptop charging cable at home. This will force you to work harder and it might seem dramatic. But knowing that your battery is going to run out, can actually create the urgency needed to produce the results and help you stay focused.

At the end of the day, there are hundreds of ideas and tips for being more productive and staying present when you're trying to get things done. But the key is taking action. And setting aside five brave minutes to actually change your environment and give strong you the steering wheel of life to make those changes.

Stop relying on that willpower. That's not getting you where you need to go. You've got to change your environment. And doing this will pay dividends in the long run and help you change your environment. Eliminate distraction, and stop relying on willpower to accomplish your goals. If we want to make the progress in 2021 that we so desperately want to, and really develop the skill of happiness, we need to take action and change that environment.

For this week's pro tip. I want you to give strong you. The rains and the steering wheel of your life and make the changes in your environment. That week you is going to hate you for. Okay. So five minutes of courage. And an action can have a huge impact. So I want you to set aside five minutes, set a timer.

And just start changing your environment. Delete an app, throw out some candy, right out a workout schedule. Do whatever it takes to move the needle on your productivity in the right direction.

As always, we want to hear from you. If you have a story, an idea, or feedback, head over to play theory.org. And leave a comment on one of the episodes we would love to hear from you. And if we've benefited your life in any way, if any of these tips were helpful to you. I hope that you'll look outward and send some love and leave a five star review on iTunes or share the podcast with your friends. If you know someone that's really struggling to get ahead with their goals or productivity, share this episode and let us know so that we can give you a shout out.

In our operation, joy domination update.

To wrap up today's episode. I want to share a poem entitled farewell mediocrity. Some lives are riddled with impulsive in short sighted efforts. But not mine. Some people have trained their subconscious to seek out the path of least resistance and reach for the mundane, worldly and enslaving. But not me. Some lik colorless dreams and the currents of mediocrity sweep them away down the stream of disappointment. Some let distraction, deception, and pleasure derail their golden train off the track of dreams and wonder. But not me. Not me. I live the higher law. I breathe in the magic freedom that inspires my soul to reach higher love, deeper and unleashed that determined the lion who relentlessly pursues my dream life.

As flashy and cheap thrills tempt me to meander off the trail that leads to my majestic summit. I will fix my gaze on celestial glory and that which is of true worth and joy. I don't feed the alligators. I starved them. I don't hesitate building my empire. I do the next right thing and move forward. I don't lose my way. I kill mediocrity one disciplined and focused step at a time. Let mediocrity die.

Let it die.

That is my invitation to you. Let's let mediocrity fade away into our memories like 2020.

Let's bid farewell to mediocrity once and for all and let the distraction and disorganization and all the other massive roadblocks to our progress and to being present. Drift down the stream and fall out of our lives. I can't wait to see what you achieve this year. As you get productive is you eliminate that distraction and get present. 📍

Let's eliminate distraction shape our environment and be present practice happiness this week and never forget that happiness is a skill and life is a team sport catching next week

Today's episode is PACTED with great insights from Robin Towle into overcoming darkness in our lives through grit, mindfulness, and connection. You don't want to miss this one!

In July of 2019 Robin Towle was thrilled to be crowned Mrs International 2019. This was the perfect opportunity to share her platform for suicide prevention internationally. Robin is the founder of Wolf Pact. A nonprofit organization that teaches emotional life skills to teens . She started this out of her passion for her suicide prevention and hopes to help teens live happier healthier lives. She has written and produced “Room Enough”, a short film for her platform and is also the founder of Hope on the Hill, a suicide prevention event for veterans . Robin is an ambassador for NAMI Utah, Safe UT and a member of the State Suicide Coalition. Robin is a dancer, actor, director and writer. Robin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a minor in Dance from East Carolina University . While in college she was an ECU cheerleader and Pure Gold Dancer. Robin is the mother of six beautiful children. Robin feels being a mother has been her greatest accomplishment. She has home schooled her children for sixteen years and as a family they toured all 48 continental United States in an RV. Robin and her husband Kevin recently celebrated their twenty fifth wedding anniversary.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Observe, analyze, and improve your interactions with others.

Come join the conversation and play with us!

WEBSITE https://www.playtheory.org 

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/playtheory/

Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1652343491608927/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/playtheory4life/ 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show


[00:00:00]Neal Hooper:  [00:00:00] I am so excited for our guests today. And this has been in the works for a while. And I can't tell you how excited I am to have Robin towel on the show today.

[00:00:13] She is a powerhouse in so many ways and has so much value to share with us today. In July of 2019, Robyn towel was thrilled to be crowned Mrs. International 2019. This was the perfect opportunity to share her platform for suicide prevention. Internationally, Robin is the founder of Wolf pact, a nonprofit organization that teaches emotional life skills to teens.

[00:00:41] She started this out of her passion for her suicide prevention in hopes to help teens live happier, healthier lives. She has written and produced room enough, a short film for her platform. And is also the founder of hope on the Hill. A suicide prevention event for veterans. [00:01:00] Robin is an ambassador for NAMI, Utah, safe, Utah, and is a member of the state suicide coalition.

[00:01:08] Robin is a dancer, actor, director, and writer. Robin has a bachelor's degree in economics with a minor in dance from East Carolina university. While in college, she was an ECU cheerleader and pure gold dancer. Robin is the mother of six beautiful children and she feels being a mother. Has been her greatest accomplishment.

[00:01:30] She has homeschooled her children for 16 years. And as a family together, they toured all 48 continental United States in an RV. Robin and her husband, Kevin recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. in the few interactions I've had with Robin. I've been blown away by her strength, confidence, and big heart.

[00:01:54] Everything she does is geared toward making the world a better place. And you're going to. Feel that as we have [00:02:00] these conversations today,  robin, welcome to the happiness playbook.

[00:02:04] Robin Towle: Hi, Neal. Thanks for having me. 

[00:02:07]Neal Hooper:  there's so much depth to you and everything you're involved with. So I can't wait to dive 

[00:02:12] Robin Towle: in, 

[00:02:13]Neal Hooper: I just want to know. And for our listeners, what sparked your passion for the topic and what are you doing about it? 

[00:02:21]Robin Towle:  Well, it sort of built up. I had, several close friends and relatives experienced suicide in their family. And so that was like on the forefront of my mind. And when our local high school had eight suicides in a two year period, and I had two boys at that high school, towards the end of that, one of my children became depressed and I knew that.

[00:02:50] Those kids would still be here, had their parents known. And I knew that there was no way I could really know he was safe. And [00:03:00] so, I think I had some PTSD from worrying about him and also from the other people stories that were close to me. So I was really paranoid and, very worried. And so, we worked through that and when I did, I felt.

[00:03:17]one thing, I felt like if I had some of the tools from Wolf pack to help my son, that, maybe I could help him. But at that point he really wasn't open to that. So I wanted to create it for other parents so that, they could give their kids something that they didn't get to the point we were at.

[00:03:37]Neal Hooper:  Now Wolf pack is your organization and, it's just doing so much good. Where did that name come from? Wolf pact. And what's the idea behind that? 

[00:03:48] Robin Towle: Oh, I'm so glad you asked because that's part of the story behind it. So when my son was struggling, there was a story that meant a lot to him and gave him inspiration.

[00:03:58] It was the story of [00:04:00] the two wolves, the legend of the two wolves, native American chief tells his grandson. I have a war going on inside of me. Everyone does two wolves are fighting. One is. Greed and envy and self-loathing and the other is kindness, resilience, and love. And the grandson asked his grandfather, which will win.

[00:04:23] And the grandfather's reply is the one that you feed. And so my son found some strength in that, and it meant a lot to him. And it meant a lot to me, for him to have that. And, whenever we were having multiple suicides, it went around.  don't have the  children dress up because they felt like it was  the contagion, And it made me sad because I felt like these kids didn't get the recognition they needed when they were here, and they deserved to be remembered. And why, why did I feel this was happening? Did I really feel that it was being glorified [00:05:00] and. What my inspiration or revelation that I felt came to me was that when we're exposed to suicide, the curiosity of the human nature, we're always saying, well, how did it happen?

[00:05:13]what were they thinking?  if this happened to me? How would people feel? And so planting those questions, plants a seed. And as we. Say things to ourselves, the talk that we give ourselves, it gives that seed nourishment for it to grow. And so we have to be really careful what Wolf we're feeding.

[00:05:35] Right. we have to make sure that things that we're saying to ourself are feeding the right Wolf. We have to be strong enough not to go down that road because. Negative thoughts travel our neural pathways faster than positive thoughts and they're strongly reinforced. So the more negative we are, the easier it is to be negative.

[00:05:57]Neal Hooper: I love the origin there of Wolf pack, [00:06:00] because that is such a powerful metaphor. And if we're not being intentional about what we're exposing ourselves, who we're surrounding ourselves with the kind of media we consume, all of those.

[00:06:14] Things are whether we like it or not feeding the Wolf's right. And so we have to be really intentional about that and especially our thought patterns and all of that plays in. So I love that metaphor. here on the happiness playbook, we're all about connection, confidence and communication. Those are kind of the three CS of what we try to promote here.

[00:06:36] And I noticed a slogan for the Wolf pack, your organization. Is be real and connected, which I love. And I just wanted to dive into that a little deeper in your opinion, how do we achieve that authenticity and connection? 

[00:06:52] Robin Towle: Well, I think it's really hard because, I've always thought of myself as a person.

[00:06:56] Who's real that you could, maybe sometimes too real for some [00:07:00] people it's hard because when you feel like someone else is not real with you. It's very hard to be real with them. Right. Because they have their guard up. Then you've got your guard up and, I think it is a tricky thing, but I think for me , I saw something recently and it said, no, some people change because they.

[00:07:24] Reach a spiritual awakening. And some people change because the pain, because this becomes so great, they have no choice. And for me, I think it was the ladder, it just, it just got to a point I was trying to fit in everyone's box, that I thought they wanted me and my parents, my husband, my friends, my church, my children.

[00:07:48] And I wanted to fit in this, their boxes and they were all at different box and the truth is Neal, I didn't even know. I mean, I could think I knew what their box was, but do [00:08:00] we really know what someone else's box they expect you to fit in is there's no way that you can do that is exhausting. And it makes, for me, it made me feel like I was always looking for approval that I was never going to get.

[00:08:16] And. it just got to a point. I couldn't do it anymore. I just could not try to fit in everyone's box. And so the realization I came to was that God made me who I am. He made me like am, and that's not an excuse for me to go out and, engage in all my vices or engage in all of my weaknesses, but I need to love who I am and embrace who I am and those who were supposed to be in my life are going to be here.

[00:08:43]So, I just think really getting to know who you are and loving who you are and being okay with that is the best way to be real. 

[00:08:56]it ties beautifully into one of the four [00:09:00] principles of play theory, which is let go and play, which we're going to talk a little bit more about too, but sometimes in order to go outside of that comfort zone and to really grow and become and serve in the ways that we need to, and to build our communities, we have to let go of what others.

[00:09:17] Are thinking and saying, those boxes, right. That you mentioned and their, that they're putting us in, because until we do that, we can't really play and really build and develop and grow and serve in the ways that we need to. And so that's really important and really sets you up to be real and connected as you pointed out.

[00:09:39] Neal Hooper: And it's scary to do that. And especially if you've grown up in environments where. the opinions of others are highly valued. that can be a really scary thing to S to tell yourself, what I'm going to do. What I feel is right, regardless of those opinions, in those boxes that people are trying to place on me, but it's really [00:10:00] important to do that.

[00:10:00] And I love what you shared there. Very good. Can I ask you a question? What do you think? if someone. If you're in a situation where you feel you cannot be real with someone like you can't connect, like there is just not going to happen. What do you do? 

[00:10:21] That's a great question, because I think we find ourselves in those situations.

[00:10:25] Right. And especially if you are wanting and you crave a deeper, more authentic connection with somebody, but they're not allowing you in. I think that can be for a number of reasons. the first thing I would say is if that person doesn't feel safe, letting their guard down in order for that real connection to take place, sometimes it's really powerful , to help show them that it is safe to do so.

[00:10:57] An example I will reference, was [00:11:00] actually my wife and I, when we first got married, we had to learn. How to come together in a lot of ways, but I'm a very direct person and I love feedback and so that was really different from my wife who grew up in an environment where, feedback was considered a negative thing.

[00:11:20] And it was hard for us to come forward and for her to even give me basic feedback, I would ask her, Hey, I, I noticed, there was a little tension back there. Did I do something wrong or help me understand how I can be better moving forward. to me, they were just little course corrections, but those were really big deal for her.

[00:11:38] And so what I ended up doing was providing these little micro experiences where she could feel safe giving feedback. as she saw that it was safe to. To connect in that way and, to give me feedback and to see my positive reaction to it.

[00:11:55]then I think we built upon that and now every week we have a [00:12:00] feedback session on Sundays as part of a weekly planning session that we do. And it has just been such a foundation in rock for our marriage, but I think. people who are afraid to become vulnerable in order for that connection to take place, it goes a long way to help, help them have these micro experiences to feel safe doing that.

[00:12:21] Robin Towle: Yeah. I think sometimes it's hard because you may be the one who doesn't feel safe, and, it is a little bit scary sometimes. And when you don't feel safe, one thing that you mentioned is that you have a weekly session on Sundays. if you go on Wolf packs website, we have a family council that you can download, which I loved, which I think, and you can add your own things to it.

[00:12:48] Like you could add your, weekly feedback, so like we will do thing on there for our  family. We do things like, cute things the kids said, so we could remember [00:13:00] them and we bind it. we bind it and then we have like a family history  of the week. 

[00:13:05] Okay. We will definitely link that in the show notes. So you can check that out. 

[00:13:09] one of the questions is family achievements this week. And, you're acknowledging. And even if it's a small achievement, like, got up for school and didn't come clean or got your Eagle scout award, it could be a huge range, but you're acknowledging, the chief moments that your family had during the weekend talking about them.

[00:13:28], after I had my son go through his things and I had some issues as well with, different people in my life and my not be able to deal well with things.

[00:13:39] And I was bitter and I was bitter for several years. And my last baby that I had. I was in a hospital for 71 days in a different state where I ended up in emergency and I was in bed, on bed, rest in a hospital, in a different state for 71 days. And when I came out, I just was more [00:14:00] bitter than ever.

[00:14:00] I just felt like, maybe I had some depression from that, that manifest itself as, just being bitter, but I was really bitter. And so I would go to church and I didn't want to be there. I didn't feel valued for some reason or another and  so I opened a journal.

[00:14:21] I started a journal on my phone and I started a gratitude journal. And so what I started doing was finding things. I was grateful for in the things that I wasn't grateful for. So I was, and, I would write down why I was grateful for being in the hospital for 71 days and why I was grateful to be at church, and I just started journaling  it was very therapeutic and it was a good way. To switch my negative thinking to positive thinking.  

[00:14:54]a lot of things that I was unaware. We're good things, when you're looking [00:15:00] for it, because like I said, the negativity travels so fast and if you're already down a negative path, It's taken over your thought process, but to consciously try to be grateful.

[00:15:12] And it was really interesting, I loved my nurses. Why was in the hospital? They were so, so good to me and those relationships, I will always cherish. And so I had that and I had the fact that my life was actually saved. And even with my son , my son's depression and worrying about him, at the time I felt like.

[00:15:31] There was nothing to be thankful for. I felt like I was forsaken, like, where was God during this time? But as I look back, my son self-medicated with Reese's cups Kool-Aid and Netflix, I mean, what a bigger blessing it could have been drugs, So I have a lot of blessings during this time.

[00:15:52] Oh, and that paradigm shift that happens when you really get grounded in gratitude is huge. And like you [00:16:00] said, whereas before one could look at the resistance, peanut butter cups and Netflix, and be like, Oh my gosh, what's he doing there's life. but then your perspective changes and you say, wow, 

[00:16:09]what a great thing that it was Netflix and Reese's peanut butter cups. And not like you said something much more, harmful, I want to shift gears just a little bit here, because it would be a shame to have Mrs. International 2019 on a podcast and not ask a little bit about that. So, just to start off that part of the conversation, I'm just curious.

[00:16:32]that's a big deal. What does it take to become Mrs. International? 

[00:16:37]I can go into a lot of different ways. So first I'm going to hit it on the head with your purpose. my purpose was strong with what's going on in the world today.

[00:16:48] I knew it was coming. I didn't know what it was going to look like. But about four years ago, I felt a force of people gathering for mental health and suicide [00:17:00] prevention, like never before. And I knew God was gathering people to do a work. People, he had prepared people who had struggled and knew what it was about people who were service-oriented and had a lot of empathy and emotional connection was important.

[00:17:19] And I could see very like-minded people gathering to do the same work.  There was a miss also named the year that I was in her platform was also suicide prevention.  I think your message is huge. number one, number two, I think for the girls who are wanting a national title or any title, pageantry sometimes gets a bad deal, but the truth is, .

[00:17:45] It basically promotes women to do good things in their community to have a platform to serve. And if you're there to look good for picture ups and things like that, you're going to get what you went [00:18:00] into it for, but if you really want to win, find your purpose from God. And fulfill that purpose with all of your heart and with all of your energy to serve.

[00:18:12] And it shows when you put that into it, when you go into your interview, you're not. You're not trying to sell them on you. You're telling them from your heart, what means so much to you and why you want to do this because you have a message that you want so many people to share. And when you go on an interview powered by that, your scores are going to be great.

[00:18:40]so that would be, my, Foresight on it, but my personal hidden, lastly, on my personal experience, I just got to a place where I couldn't fit in everyone's box anymore. And I realized God had created me and I had to be happy with myself, comfortable with myself [00:19:00] and to come from a place of love, always.

[00:19:03] And it's hard, I still fall. many times and every time I do, I'm like, ah, I'm supposed to be coming from a place of love because,  I'm pretty sure that was one of the key things that helped me achieve this is that when I went in it, I was full of love for everyone, including myself.

[00:19:26]Neal Hooper: just like you alluded to happiness is a skill, love is a skill as well, and we're not going to be perfect at it. But you mentioned a key ingredient here of happiness and love and that's looking outward, right? You were focused on building your community and helping those who are in a very dark place and really shining a spotlight on that.

[00:19:49]to serve that group. And I know when we look outward, others do feel that, and they can't help, but want to, to get on board and promote and [00:20:00] support that. So that is a very cool insight. And what an awesome experience that must have been, as a contestant for Mrs. Utah, and then Mrs. International, I'm sure you experienced a great deal of pressure.

[00:20:14] And I'm just curious, what did you do to be present in keep that anxiety under control in those moments where you had to go up in front of all these people  promote your message. 

[00:20:26]Robin Towle:  Well, I think one of the things was I stopped trying to fit in people's boxes, in stopped caring what people thought about me.

[00:20:33] And I went up and just authentic. And I think that my anxiety was really leveled before I went into it, because I was. To the point. I just wanted to be authentic. I just wanted to be me. I didn't care if people were like, Oh, what is she doing? why is she doing, or I don't approve of this, or I don't approve of that.

[00:20:57] I didn't care what anyone [00:21:00] thought. What I cared about is how I felt. If I felt like I was doing the right thing, if I felt like I was doing, God's will. And if I felt like my relationship was building with God, I know I'm not perfect. And I can't always, be what I know God probably wants me to be, or, but that is a progress.

[00:21:20] It's not one thing for me to get there. And so, I gave myself grace and knew that God loves me no matter what. And as I gave myself, grace, it. Allowed me to have a relationship with him, a good, healthy relationship with him without feeling judged or, it just helped me know. He loves me.

[00:21:44] And he knows I'm on a path and I'm trying, and I just stopped really caring what other people thought. So I think that took away a lot of the anxiety. I also feel like Wolf pack actually prepared me to be Mrs. International, the skills [00:22:00] within Wolf pack, I hired a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in teens and told her what I wanted.

[00:22:08] In this program and helped her write it because of what I felt like my son needed and, work in those skills. Help me. So when I was on stage, just for an example, one of the things, I'm on stage and my biggest fear, like I did not know going into Mrs. International, that I had to answer an own stage question.

[00:22:29] That was a current event. And I don't like that. I don't like not knowing what my question's going to be when it's not a personal question. When it's something that has to have. an educated view and you can't prepare for it. And we've all seen those girls go viral. And so I had a coach that helped me with it and I just would say, Oh, Susie, don't let me go viral, please.

[00:22:58] I can't go viral. [00:23:00] I was really freaked out about it. And so when I may top 15, I had to answer this question. You didn't have to answer it unless you may talk 15. And there were hard questions about things like how you feel about Brexit or specific questions about Brexit or about fracking. And if you don't know that word, like if you're not familiar with Brexit or fracking, .

[00:23:21]how would you even answer that? Except for, I don't know. I've never heard of that before, which was really what I was going to do, because the truth is I didn't want to get up there and be asked something and look like a fool. You know what I mean? So I'm waiting and all the girls are answering their questions and I'm like trying to remember what they're answering and their questions were hard.

[00:23:44] And I was like, this is like making it worse. And I'm like, Robin. This is not helping you. So I go around and behind the curtain, I go behind the curtain to like, say a prayer, get some peace. And I look [00:24:00] in the mirror and when my kids were little, and they would play football. I would say, guys, you gotta be the go-to guy.

[00:24:07] You know what the go-to guy is? The go-to guy is the guy they know they can always count on.  you have to get to that point where you are self-confident enough. You've practiced enough that whenever they throw you that ball, you're not like, Oh, I hope I catch it. You are like, I'm going to catch this ball.

[00:24:24] It's coming to me. It's my ball. you gotta be the go-to guy. And that story came to my mind. And I looked in the mirror at myself and I said, You are the go-to guy, you are not going to drop this ball. And I turned around and walked on the stage.  my answer to the question actually came from another question I had prepared for. So I could use that information and the question I was asked, that was grit, which is one of Wolf packs.

[00:24:52]Chapters. And it was also, how to persevere. I used the grit and the positive affirmation, from Wolfpack [00:25:00] and was able to go on stage and answer that question. So I think Wolfpack definitely was a big help for me being ready. 

[00:25:09] Wow, what a story. I'm putting myself in that scenario and I'm just freaking out, don't go viral, don't go viral.

[00:25:17]what a great example of accept and build and really tapping into, , information you'd already prepared and then applying it to that specific question and, preparation is an interesting thing for a season of life, I would do stage improv.

[00:25:35]and people would always say, Oh man, how do you come up with so many things on the spot? how do you do that? And I would always tell them, preparation is the price you pay for that. Inspiration or, agility in the moment, you can't draw water from an empty well, as you prepare that helps you bring more to the [00:26:00] table and gives you more to build with in any situation, just like you shared.

[00:26:05]thank you for those stories. Yeah. And I did notice in the curriculum, as I read through that for Wolf pack, that grit is, it is one of the chapters and I think grit is something that we've all been working on this year.  during 2020, we've all had to.  develop if we didn't have it or expand our grit.

[00:26:27] I'm just curious if you have any additional thoughts surrounding grit and how that's important, for these times we're in. 

[00:26:35] Yeah, I think it all fits together. The positive affirmation with grit is a great team. It's like a marriage,  and I've just decided myself. I'm going to have a good life.

[00:26:46] I'm going to embrace whatever I go through and love it, and enjoy it. . have you ever read the hiding place? I haven't. And that's a wonderful book. It's probably one of my most [00:27:00] favorite and the most inspiring books by Corrie 10, boom. And she was in a concentration camp and just her sister said, we have to be grateful for everything.

[00:27:11] And she's like, I can not be grateful for the fleas. And the sister said, yes, you have to be grateful for everything. And after her sister died, they, went out and told the guards. They're like, you need. To come in and get this woman. Well, just a little hindsight first during it, they were smuggled to Bible and every night they would read from the Bible and the women would sit around to listen and it would give them strength.

[00:27:35] And so when this woman died, they go and they tell the guard, you have to come in and get this woman . She died. And the guard said, no way, am I going in that flea infested place? So then they knew. That they were grateful for the fleas, because the only reason they were able to read their Bible was because the guards wouldn't go in because of the fleas.


[00:27:58] I think that personally is the [00:28:00] key to grit I get one shot here on this earth and the heck with it. Whether, it's all doom and gloom. Well, I'm going to embrace it and just enjoy what is here. Enjoy the people around me. Enjoy every thing I do  every food.

[00:28:15] I taste every conversation I have, just try to embrace it. 

[00:28:20]Neal Hooper: And it's so much easier to do that when you are living in the moment and being present instead of forecasting, like you said, the doom and gloom and giving into that anxiety about the future or regret from the past. So that's a huge part of that as well, with grit is being, present and just keeping your head in the game and looking for the good in each moment as it comes.

[00:28:41]Robin Towle:  One thing that I do too for mindfulness is one of the.

[00:28:45] Topics in Wolf pack. And I taught to the kids and I tell them, if you're looking to the past, you can be depressed. You can think, Oh, I wish my friends still lived here. I wish my grandparents were still alive. I wish I hadn't done that. I wish I [00:29:00] had made better choices. If you're looking at the past, it can make you depressed.

[00:29:04] If you're looking at the future. Saying? Oh, I hope I get in. I hope I get a husband. I hope I get a boyfriend. if you're always looking to the future, what if I don't make enough money? You're going to have anxiety, but the way you can find peace is living in the present and then I share with them one way you can do that is by using your senses.

[00:29:27]to ground yourself in the present, you use your sight, see what you see around you really connect with your eyes, your smell. What do you smell? Like if you're having a hard time being grounded, bake something light, a candle use, aroma therapy or oils, touch hugs, and I found out that I was actually doing this, like in the mornings I would wake up.

[00:29:50] Anxious every morning. Cause I had so much to do and my little girls would always come and get in bed with me sometime between two and eight. In the [00:30:00] morning. So I'd wake up and have them next to me. And I'd look at their pretty faces  and hug them and hold them.

[00:30:06] And it would calm me. And so his actually, doing that technique, not knowing that I was doing it, but that using your senses can help ground you in the present. 

[00:30:17]Neal Hooper: that's worthy of the pro tip for the episode. That is so good. very practical application. speaking of children, 

[00:30:25]how does let go and play specifically help you be a better parent? Well, I'm not sure my kids would say I was very good at that growing up, hence the anxiety and the breakthrough I had, letting go and playing, I think.

[00:30:42] Robin Towle: I was more of the control and fear type mom. And that's where some of our downfalls came, that's what we needed to grow from. And, I think just letting go of troll and fear is huge and being able to play. 

[00:30:59]Neal Hooper: that is [00:31:00] so hard am speaking as a parent as well, because that's like your legacy, right?

[00:31:04] I think of it that way as a father, that your children it's like one of the most important things I will ever do is be the father. And you so badly want to control the outcome of that experience. But it does lead to problems because if that fear and control are in place, it can be, detrimental for the progress, growth and connection of your children.

[00:31:29]I met the earlier stages of Parenthood.  I have a four year old, two year old and a nine month old, but, I've already seen that. factor into my parenting. So I'm glad that you brought that up. 

[00:31:40] Robin Towle: It wasn't because I didn't love them. It was because I loved him so much. I thought I could control the outcome by everything I did by worrying. I thought worrying would control the outcome, And I got a book about the time I was really starting to become a little more  awake by [00:32:00] all of it.

[00:32:00] Someone gave me a baby book with one of my babies. I think it was my fourth child. And it said, I hope you turn out to be as beautiful as you were when God thought you up. our job is to give them. The security, the love, the happiness, the self-esteem to be able to reach what God has in store for them.

[00:32:26] And, I think when we are so worried about our kids, what we're saying to them is we don't believe in you and that does not build self esteem. Self-confidence when we're so worried. a saying to them,  we don't have confidence in you. Wow. And, I think just realizing that our job is to nurture them, not to decide what their outcome is going to be, but is to nurture them in the most healthy way possible that they can become what [00:33:00] God has intended them to be.

[00:33:02] Neal Hooper: Wow. That was so good. We could have a whole episode about just what you shared. And I know there are parents listening to this right now that are grateful. You shared that. I know I am. 

[00:33:14] Robin Towle: I had to learn the hard way, so my kids were practice kids. You can just. What is it, smart people learn from their mistakes, smarter people learn from others, right?

[00:33:27] So, no, that's, we're all like, and that world together and parents can relate to the struggle and the failure and, hopefully repairing that happens. But thank you for sharing that. What advice do you have for those who know someone that is struggling with self-worth mental health or who have even contemplated suicide?

[00:33:49] Well, like you said, connection is key. One of the biggest things that we've found that has been found with, suicide is that they don't feel connection. A lot of times [00:34:00] they have a hard time feeling connection, but it doesn't mean they don't need it. And, so connection is key, holding space for someone, letting them, giving them a place, they can talk and get out what their feelings are.

[00:34:16] That's hurting them. I think is key.  another thing that, 

[00:34:20]happened with my son is. I was scared to death to even think or say the word suicide. And what has been found is, a lot of people don't want to ask it. They don't want to put the thought there, but if you are worried enough that Don't want to put the thought there is probably already there.

[00:34:41] So it's important that we just, that you just come out. And so some of the classes that I've taken for training to be able to help people is, one is safe talk and the other, QPR question, persuade and refer.  I am trained as a [00:35:00] facilitator for QPR question persuade and refer. And in those you are encouraged to come right out and ask, are you contemplating suicide? have you been thinking of suicide? Because it's not something that they need to keep silent. And keep hidden is something that if they need to get it out, it's important, so you can, persuade them to get help and then refer them how to get help.

[00:35:33] So, it's just, I would say that things like to my son, you're not thinking about suicide. Are you well, what do you think his answer would be? If I say that. No, I'm not, I'm going to answer it the way you want me to answer it, but I think it's very important to have open dialogue and to be able to know where a person's at and if they are at that point, [00:36:00] you can ask them, have you been thinking of ways?

[00:36:02]And so like, if they are suicidal and they have a gun, you would want to say, Would you, let me keep your gun until you're feeling better. I'd like to  hold your gun for you , till you're feeling more like, like yourself and then refer them to get some help.

[00:36:19] So I think open dialogue, communication, connection, holding space, which means just listening and letting them tell you, instead of trying to fix it, but just listening is huge. 

[00:36:32] Neal Hooper: Wow. And so just to be really clear, probably the less helpful way is you're not thinking of suicide. Are you? And the more helpful way. what would that more helpful way be to ask the question? Just to be really clear, right. 

[00:36:45] Robin Towle: Well, the thing, when I took the class, you had to role play, and I couldn't even say it in the role-play to someone who wasn't struggling.

[00:36:53] It's a really hard thing to say. Are you suicidal? Have you thought about suicide? And [00:37:00] the second class I took, I think it was safe. Talk is the name of it. They gave a way to approach it. I thought was comfortable by saying sometimes when people go through divorce, they think about suicide. Do you ever think about that?

[00:37:17] Or sometimes when people feel like they have no friends, they feel suicidal. Do you ever feel that way? I thought that was a, an easier way to approach it then just to come out and say, are you thinking about suicide? it's sometimes when people go through what you're going through, I've listened to what you've had to say.

[00:37:40]It seemed to me to be a little bit easier way to approach it than to just sort of. Cue someone or make an accusation is to say, and sometimes other people, when they feel this way, I thought that was a really nice way to approach it.

[00:37:54] Neal Hooper: That's awesome because you can pretty much just insert whatever struggle [00:38:00] they're going through in a hypothetical almost. And that's maybe a  Less abrasive way, but still direct, of getting to the bottom of it.   And I think that can be helpful depending on the relationship you have with the individual too, if you're really close, maybe that more direct, out in the open approach of saying, are you suicidal or are you having suicidal?

[00:38:21] Thoughts is appropriate, but maybe somebody you don't have that strong of a relationship with, that approach you just mentioned is really effective. 

[00:38:30]Robin Towle: and also, Makes them not feel alone or like something's wrong with them, lots of other people, when they go through what you're going through, fill this way, not, it makes them feel understood and not, isolated, like something's wrong with them.

[00:38:47]Neal Hooper: That is so, so huge. And I'm so grateful that you are addressing that because I think the stigma around suicide for so long has been don't go there. don't nourish that [00:39:00] thought, because it's going to get worse when in reality, it's already there.

[00:39:04]if you're concerned about it, most likely. And so that point, the connection is you said is important and it's hard to address it unless that, is just 

[00:39:13] kind of taken head on. And so I love that you're addressing that so what advice do you have for the individuals themselves now who are struggling with these dark thoughts  who may have contemplated suicide themselves?

[00:39:28]Robin Towle: Look for your toolbox they're tools that are there to help. And there are things that you can do to turn your life around.  a lot of those are mentioned in Wolf pack, but like the mindfulness being present, connecting, No one what your core values are, is also part of it.

[00:39:48] I think core values are huge because if you know your core values, then, that can help, where you want to go in your life. And for someone who's dealing with anxiety that could, help make better [00:40:00] choices. Cause a lot of times when we are depressed, it's because we're not aligned with.

[00:40:06]Where we want to be going or what we know is right . So it can cause depression and lead you. So knowing what your core values are, narrowing those down to like five and then making sure that you're making your choices along your core values.  you know, I think we have to be careful that we don't lose sight of who we are.

[00:40:29] And what is ingrained in us. So a lot of times I think as people are becoming healthy, I'm just going to give a scenario. So say, I told you I went to church and I didn't feel valued and I didn't feel happy there. And I felt judged and I felt like I didn't measure up. And when I was going through my growth process, my healing process, my emotional journey of emotional growth, I was very careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

[00:41:00] [00:41:00] And what I mean by that is I could have blamed all my problems on my church. I could have said it's an unhealthy place. They're unhealthy people. I don't feel the spirit when I'm there. I don't feel good. But what I knew was is my problem were causing me. To not be able to deal with the other circumstances around me that were unhealthy.

[00:41:28] So if I could get healthy, I could be okay there. Right. Because other people's unhealthiness or things that I had misconstrued, like having to fit in someone's box or not being valued were my issues. They weren't because of. My religion. And I think, it's super important as we're getting healthy to know what our core values are.

[00:41:54] And for me, my faith, my relationship with God, my spirituality [00:42:00] was one of my core values that I did not want to lose as I was getting emotionally healthy and dealing with the things that I had to deal with my own weaknesses, my own shortcomings, my own, Need for growth. I think a lot of times people will find like maybe a parent or a religion or something that, Triggers them.

[00:42:23] Right. And they're just going to throw it out. But those things, your parent , your religion, those are grained in you. And if you really, when you throw those out, you can always feel like part of you is missing. So I think it's just really important to know what your core values are and to realize that maybe I need to get healthier, to have a healthy relationship with this parent.

[00:42:49] Maybe I need to have boundaries. I need to have communication, but, to really just shove it out of your life, I think a lot of times is more harmful than helpful. 

[00:42:59]Neal Hooper: That [00:43:00] is a very important concept that doesn't get a lot of attention. And in our. Quest to improve. Sometimes we do sacrifice our communities, relationships and, things that are helpful and key might, as you said, be core values.

[00:43:18] And so I love that you brought that up because when we are in a. Dark place. We are seeing life through cheap sunglasses and it's tainting our perspective, but as we perceive more accurately and we get healthier that often is what the issue was.

[00:43:36] And so I love that you brought that up well, and when you're dealing, when you learn how to deal with unhealthy situations, like there may be unhealthy situations right. In relationships, but when you're healthy and you learn how to deal with that, you can still have that relationship. You can just not participate in the unhealthy part of it.

[00:43:57]Build upon the good and [00:44:00] let go of the not helpful parts of it. Thank you for bringing that up. Robin, this has been jam packed with so much. Goodness. And I can't tell you how grateful we are that you came on to share these amazing concepts and principles with us and to share your light, we need as much light as we can get.

[00:44:23] And, we can just feel that through what you're sharing through your message. Everything that you shared today is helping shine a light in our lives. And I cannot thank you enough for that. And, we have just one last question that we ask all of our guests on the happiness playbook, and that is what is your pro tip for applying any of the principles we discussed today for our list?

[00:44:52]It's all about love. If you come from a place of love and whatever you're doing, no matter where you're at no [00:45:00] matter, where you are in your journey, if you're just starting to work on your emotional health or you feel like you've learned a lot of tools wherever you are, if you can come from a place of love, you cannot go wrong.

[00:45:15]That is so good. We had several pro tips from you throughout the episode of very practical ways to be happy and to connect. And so we are so grateful for that Robin. You are amazing. [00:45:30] Robin Towle: Thank you for having me. I have learned a lot from your partner read.

Today, we are going to address the timely topic of civil discourse, why it’s important, and how we can do it better! So excited to have LaRee Florence with me today on the show! 

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Engage in civil discourse with someone who does not hold the same view or opinion as you do and find the COMMON GROUND. Go in with the intent to learn and love and share what happens 🙂

Come join the conversation and play with us!

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Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together!

LINKS From Show

Today we explore the crown jewel of Play Theory, Look Outward. This principle is a powerful lens we can use to see the world more positively. We also ask if it's enough to simply decide to see things differently? Is happiness a skill that can be DEVELOPED just like Pickleball and playing the violin. Tune in and enjoy this volley of info where we explore the difference between a negative mood and a chemical depression and talk about the power that comes from thinking of others. We are reminded that as we practice looking outwards and seeing others' needs we can be a positive force for good for in their lives and our own.

This Week’s PRO TIP: We’re going to start RIGHT NOW. I want you to take 20 seconds to think of a few people you haven’t connected with in a long time. Now, I want you to pick ONE name from the list and send them the following text that simply says: “Was just thinking of you and hoping that you’re having a magical day.” That’s it. I guarantee that this simple text will absolutely make this person’s day! 

Remember that Life is a team sport, so let's play together! Join the PLAY THEORY team on instagram, our facebook page and our PLAY THEORY facebook group.

Find more of The Happiness Playbook episodes at PlayTheory.org.

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