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  • Tom: Everybody welcome to Impact Theory.

  • You are here because like me you believe that human potential is nearly limitless but you

  • know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it.

  • Our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that

  • are going to help you actually execute on your dreams.

  • All right, today’s guest is one of the most popular on air commentators and opinion writers

  • for CNN and her unique brand of raw and relatable advice has made her one of the most sought

  • after speakers and media personalities.

  • Watching her you get the feeling that this mother of three is just getting started.

  • Her well researched and really powerful insights into what it means to be a human come wrapped

  • in both science and lovely mid-western charm, allowing her to cut through the formality

  • of typical business jargon and grab her audiences by the emotions.

  • She has made a name for herself by being; blunt, unapologetic and yet totally vulnerable.

  • She says what everybody is already thinking but is just a little too scared to say and

  • it makes people absolutely love her.

  • It is not hard to understand why her Ted Talk titled; how to stop screwing yourself over

  • is one of the most watched Ted Talks of all time.

  • It’s also easy to see why she is an award winning talk radio host who is trusted by

  • some of the biggest brands on the planet to help motivate and advice their teams.

  • She has appeared on everything from Good Morning America and The Today Show to Dr. Phil and

  • Oprah.

  • Somehow she has also made time to found an inspirational news site called inspire52.com

  • and found and sell a retail and internet tech company.

  • Please help me in welcoming the former criminal defense attorney who has been called an explosion

  • of inspiration.

  • The bestselling author with a brand new book titled; The 5 Second Rule.

  • The master of motivation herself; Mel Robbins.

  • It’s really good to have you on the show.

  • Mel: Oh my gosh thank you.

  • Tom: Absolutely.

  • Mel: You called me the master of motivation and I think motivation is complete garbage

  • so maybe we should start there.

  • Tom: That is a perfect place to start so I totally agree with you but why do you say

  • that?

  • Mel: You do?

  • Tom: I do 100%.

  • Now I said that in the spirit of I know what you are trying to do so it is meant with absolute

  • reverence, but why do you say that it’s garbage?

  • Mel: Well and well talk a lot about this but I think it’s garbage because at some

  • point we all bought into this lie that youve got to feel ready in order to change.

  • We bought into this complete falsehood that at some point you are going to have the courage,

  • at some point you are going to have the confidence and it’s total bullshit frankly.

  • Are we allowed to swear on this show?

  • Mel: Absolutely.

  • Tom: Okay, it’s complete garbage so there are so many people in the world and you may

  • be watching this right now and you have these incredible ideas and what you think is missing

  • is motivation and that’s not true.

  • Because the way that our minds are wired and the fact about human beings is that we are

  • not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult.

  • Our brains are designed to protect us from those things, because our brains are trying

  • to keep us alive.

  • In order to change, in order to build a business, in order to be the best parent, the best spouse

  • to do all those things that you know you want to do with your life, with your work, with

  • your dreams you are going to have to do things that are; difficult, uncertain or scary.

  • Which sets up this problem for all of us, you are never going to feel like it.

  • Motivation is garbage, you only feel motivated to do the things that are easy right?

  • Tom: Why do you think that is?

  • Mel: I know exactly why that is because I’ve studied this so much, because for me one of

  • the hardest things to figure out was why is it so hard to do the little things that would

  • improve my life.

  • What I’ve come to realize and what well talk a lot about today is that the way that

  • our minds are designed is our minds are designed to stop you at all cost from doing anything

  • that might hurt you.

  • The way that this all happens is it all starts with something super subtle that none of us

  • ever catch and that is with this habit that all of us have that nobody is talking about.

  • We all have a habit of hesitating.

  • We have an idea you are sitting in a meeting you have this incredible idea and instead

  • of just saying it you stop and you hesitate.

  • Now what none of us realize is that when you hesitate just that moment that micro moment,

  • that small hesitation it sends a stress signal to your brain.

  • It wakes your brain up and your brain all of a sudden goes, “Wait a minute why is

  • he hesitating he didn’t hesitate when he put on his killer spiky sneakers, he didn’t

  • hesitate with the really cool track pants, he didn’t hesitate with a NASA t-shirt now

  • he’s hesitating to talk something must be up.”

  • Then your brain goes to work to protect you, it has a million different ways to protect

  • you one of them is called the spotlight effect.

  • It’s a known phenomenon where your brain magnifies risk, why?

  • To pull you away from something that it perceives to be a problem.

  • You can truly trace every single problem or complaint in your life to silence and hesitation,

  • those are decisions.

  • What I do and what’s changed my life is waking up and realizing that motivation is

  • garbage I’m never going to feel like doing the things that are; tough or difficult or

  • uncertain or scary or new so I need to stop waiting until I feel like it.

  • Number two, I am one decision away from; a totally different marriage, a totally different

  • life, a totally different job, a totally different income, a totally different relationship with

  • my kids.

  • Not like one decision I’m divorcing you in a marriage example but one decision on,

  • you could be having a conversation with your spouse and you feel your emotions rise up

  • and within a tiny window those emotions can take over and can impact how your marriage

  • goes.

  • You can learn how to take control of that micro moment and make a decision to act in

  • a way that actually shifts your marriage.

  • Your life comes down to your decisions and if you change your decisions you will change

  • everything.

  • Tom: That core concept comes through so powerfully in your book which is phenomenal and I would

  • love it if you would take a second to tell people the story of how, and by the way I

  • wore the NASA shirt because of the imagery.

  • Mel: Oh is that why you wore it?

  • Tom: Of course.

  • Mel: Oh my God I’ve like falling my glasses off that is, I did not even get that.

  • I was going to ask you why you wore that shirt oh my gosh, wow.

  • Tom: Break it down.

  • Mel: You actually do your homework.

  • Tom: Of course Mel absolutely.

  • Mel: Let me just take you back, so what you are talking about is the five second rule

  • which has become literally my life’s work and it was all a gigantic mistake.

  • I read up on you too and understand how quest like was born out of misery.

  • The five second rule and my life now and my 20 year marriage and everything that I’m

  • doing and the companies that I’ve built and sold and the company I’m building now,

  • it all comes back to a point in my life that completely and utterly blew.

  • I was 41 years old I was unemployed, my husband had started a restaurant business which was

  • his dream this is actually a funny story.

  • When he got laid off from a big job in high tech and I think he was really relieved, you

  • know how a lot of us wait to quit our jobs and then we get laid off and are like, “Yes.”

  • He said, “I’m not going to look for a job I’m going to go into the restaurant

  • business,” and I think I said the most famous lines of our marriage at that point.

  • I looked at him and I said, “Listen buddy inspiration is for strangers you get your

  • butt back to that job and you pay the mortgage.”

  • Again micro moment whereTom: That is amazing.

  • Mel: ... I’m being a jerk instead of being a supportive wife.

  • That’s an example of where when he said he was not going to go get a job but he was

  • going to start a business, the first thing that was there was fear.

  • Fear was making the decision for me.

  • Tom: God I love that you could share that though, that’s so powerful.

  • Mel: What happened is the first restaurant was a home run and of course what do you do

  • when things are successful?

  • You grow it, you grow it really big.

  • They decided to raise money and we threw in our home equity line, the kid’s college

  • savings, they tried to open a second and a third and at the same point a grocery store

  • chain.

  • I encouraged them to go into wholesale, so it basically got way too big way too first

  • and the wheel started to come off.

  • They came off so badly that the second restaurant failed and they held on to it for too long

  • like a lot of us do.

  • It’s another trick our brains play on us called [inaudible 00:09:18].

  • When you throw a ton of time and a ton of money at something it’s really hard to let

  • go of it and if you haven’t done it in business, we all had a relationship in our past stayed

  • way too long that was a trick your brain played on you.

  • By the time that they closed the second restaurant it was an $800,000 loss.

  • Tom: Whoa.

  • Mel: I mean that meant our entire home equity line gone.

  • It meant kid’s college, I just choked just thinking about how terrifying it was.

  • I found myself at the age of 41 like just feeling like a complete failure and so did

  • Chris.

  • To make it worse not only had we lost all of our savings, but so many friends and family

  • members had invested so there was this real tension between the truth of what was happening

  • and what you had to do in public because it was public business; shame, failure, embarrassment

  • and the lien started to hit the house.

  • The phone started to ring and it was nothing but collection calls.

  • I just remember feeling this tremendous shame and at some point I think we all hit that

  • moment in life where things just are not going how you thought they would go.

  • What’s amazing about those moments is we all respond very differently.

  • My husband he would spring out of bed and he would head right out that door six o’clock

  • in the morning and he would go meet his partner and they would go to the bank and they would

  • dig right in and they would face their problems head on.

  • He is also a smart guy I mean he did not want to be in the house when yours truly woke up

  • because I was a raging bitch at that point in our lives.

  • The reason why is because when you are scared and you are afraid and you are jealous and

  • you are overwhelmed with emotions, it is so much easier to point the finger at other people.

  • That’s a decision by the way one you may not be aware that you are making but you are

  • still making it.

  • What would happen to me is the exact opposite, is Chris would be gone the alarm would go

  • off at six o’clock in the morning and I would lie there.

  • I would think about the lien on the house and I would think about the bankruptcy that

  • we were facing and I would think about how much we had fought the night before and I

  • would think about the fact that I was unemployed.

  • I would hit the snooze button I mean why would you get up when your life is like that?

  • Why would you?

  • I needed confidence, I needed courage I was so tapped out.

  • In the scheme of life hitting the snooze button is not that big of a deal but here is the

  • thing about life; none of us wake up and say, “Today is the day I destroy my life.”

  • What we do is we kind of check out because it feels overwhelming or we check out because

  • were afraid or we check out because we start listening to self-doubt and then we

  • make these teeny-tiny decisions all day long and we don’t even realize it.

  • Decision to not get up on time, a decision to not eat the right thing, a decision to

  • snap at your kids, a decision to not speak at a meeting, a decision to not look for a

  • job, a decision to not deal with your finances, a decision to not call your parents like whatever

  • it is.

  • All day long these tiny decisions that take you so far off track and then you wake up

  • like I did and you look at your life and you think, “How the hell did I get here,”

  • and more importantly how do you get back over there and you have no idea.

  • I was to strapped and I know from your story you felt the same way, like you knew that

  • there was more in store for you but you couldn’t figure how do you close that gap.

  • How do you find the power that’s in you, how do you discover your greatness, how do

  • you solve these problems I feel so overwhelming.

  • When you can … I mean I would go to the grocery store and the items would scan and

  • I would be sitting readying my excuse because there was no way that my check card was going

  • to clear.

  • Tom: Wow.

  • Mel: I got in this struggle with myself that a lot of us find ourselves in and that is

  • you get trapped in what I call the knowledge-action gap.

  • You know what to do but you can’t seem to make yourself do it.

  • I mean every one of us is one Google search away from a list of instructions that if you

  • follow any of themTom: That’s a really good point.

  • Mel: ... it will change your life.

  • How do you get out of your head and stop thinking about what you need to do and actually do

  • it.

  • In my case this stuff was pretty easy; get up on time, make breakfast for the kids, get

  • them on the bus, start looking for a job, be nicer to Chris, don’t drink so much.

  • Instead of isolating yourself pick up the phone and call a friend, get yourself out

  • into the woods and go for a walk, start running again.

  • Like all these little things that I was capable of but I couldn’t get out of here, could

  • not get out of here and if you are stuck that’s the problem.

  • The problem is you are in your head, your thinking.

  • That is the universal problem and it all starts with this knowledge of what to do and then

  • you hesitate and you think about whether or not you feel like doing it.

  • For a couple of months I was really stuck, Chris would get up at six I’d hit the snooze

  • and then I’d hit the snooze and then I hit the snooze the kids would miss the bus.

  • Then every night I’d do the same thing I’d go in bed, have ever had one of those nights

  • probably before you started your company where you would go in bed and you are like, “All

  • right Tom that’s it tomorrow it’s the new me, tomorrow.

  • Tomorrow I am going to get up on time, I am going to go to the gym, I am going to look

  • for a job, I’m not going to drink so much it’s going to be amazing.

  • The new me, the future me whoa let’s do this,” right?

  • Then you go to bed and you wake up seven hours later and you are like, “I don’t feel

  • like the new me.”

  • Tom: Who was that?

  • Mel: Who the, that’s the stupidestSee motivation is garbage, it’s never there

  • when you need it ever.

  • Here is what happened to me and thank you for wearing the NASA t-shirt.

  • Tom: Of course.

  • Mel: It’s a really stupid story.

  • Tom: It’s a powerful story.

  • Mel: One night Chris had gone to bed I had been struggling, we still had all the same

  • problems.

  • I we still had the lien on the house, still facing bankruptcy, still fighting like crazy,

  • I was still unemployed.

  • They still hadn’t figured out the solution yet for the business and I was about to turn

  • off the TV.