As a Certified Life & Business Coach, Eric M Twiggs conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions, helping executive leaders & entrepreneurs who struggled with feeling overworked, underpaid & frustrated . . .
Catastrophic-stroke survivor, inspirational keynote speaker, university lecturer & CEO of The Heartly Center for Mindfulness and Self-Mastery, Valerie Sheppard uses the principles in her multi award-winning, #1 international best-seller, Living Happy to Be ME!©, to guide teens & adults, executives & entrepreneurs to happiness, success & fulfillment . . . more.
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As a Certified Life & Business Coach, Eric M Twiggs conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions, helping executive leaders & entrepreneurs who struggled with feeling overworked, underpaid & frustrated.
He has also led organizations of 500 or more people in corporate America & shared his message with corporations, associations &congregations across the country.
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Catastrophic-stroke survivor, inspirational keynote speaker, university lecturer, and CEO of The Heartly Center for Mindfulness and Self-Mastery, Valerie uses the principles in her multi award-winning, #1 international best-seller, Living Happy to Be ME!©, to guide teens and adults, executives and entrepreneurs to happiness, success and fulfillment.
Valerie’s ground-breaking life-mastery curriculum at the University of California,Irvine is getting rave reviews. She’s been featured on the cover of My Authentic Life Magazine TM, published in 11:11 Magazine TM & is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and success.
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Full Episode Transcript
Welcome I’m your host, Tony DUrso. I interview some of the most successful people in the world and I thank you for joining us. I broadcast every Friday at 2:00 PM Pacific on Voice America Influencers channel and you can listen to all of our shows on most podcast platforms. If you have apple podcast, please subscribe. And before we get going, here’s a big thank you to some amazing sponsors of our show. Please stay tuned for an important message from Pantheon to build, manage and optimize your most important brand asset your website, and listen for a vital message from LinkedIn on how the right hire can make a huge impact on your business. More Info on them just the head. So please stay tuned.
Today’s show is with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Sheppard. Your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to be Me. All right. Here’s some info on Eric Twigs as a certified life and business coach, Eric M Twiggs conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions helping executive leaders and entrepreneurs who struggled with feeling overworked, underpaid, and frustrated. Here we go, welcome to the show Eric so great to have you on with us.
Hey, great to be here Tony. Thank you for having me.
Pleasure is ours. I can’t wait to talk about how to unleash our innate potential to succeed. And before we go into that and talk about procrastination and it’s prevention. First things first Eric I’d love to know, how did it all start for you? What’s your backstory?
It’s interesting I started out in corporate America and it’s funny I talk about this in my book, The Discipline of Now. I started out in Corporate America and worked my way through the ranks and I got to a point where I’m this district manager. I had these 17 locations and I was successful if you looked at me based on outward appearances, but I vaguely remember this. I’m driving one day and I just happened to look in their rearview mirror and the reflection I saw looking back at me with someone that dreaded the idea of going into work.
I know that story.
I was miserable. And it really started this like soul searching journey for me. And I started thinking about what it is that I really want to do? Yeah, making money. I’m successful, but am I really being significant? And as I look back over my career and I realized that I felt the most passionate when I was up talking in front of people. And when I was a corporate trainer, when I was facilitating something, I really felt like this is what I should be doing. And I just followed that passion. So I started out, I would do things in my local church, little talks. I joined toastmasters international and worked on presentation skills, competed in contests, and it just built to this point and I found that I was just passionate about the topic of improving your productivity and overcoming procrastination.
I love it, and by the way, I’m a fellow toastmaster and I just did a couple of keynotes speeches for them, including one at the world’s most prestigious Caltech.
Yeah, that’s excellent, that’s excellent. I mean, toastmasters give you an excellent foundation that there’s anyone that’s looking to become a professional speaker that’s listening. I would highly recommend going to your local toastmaster and really own your skills.
Oh yeah. I can’t say enough about what a change it’s done in my podcasting, on my radio, in my interviews and so forth. Quite a difference and it’s so simple in a way, but it builds upon each other and it’s so inexpensive. So very cool on that, all right very interesting. Now we’re going to talk about unleashing our unlimited potential and your very cool book. The Discipline of Now, and as I understand it, Eric, this book is about dealing with procrastination. So let’s say first things first, tell us about the book and why is it so different from perhaps what others write about?
So I designed the Discipline of Now it’s designed for that person that’s looking to go from good to great it. They’re trying to get to that next level. I wanted to put a useful tool together, it’s simple but it’s not easy. A lot of the books that I was reading or on procrastination, it was a lot of the same one size fits all solutions. Like you had to stop checking email at a certain time, it was all that a lot of the same thing. So I designed that. I’ve done over 28,000 coaching sessions with entrepreneurs and executive leaders and I noticed certain patterns. And so the book is based on the research I’ve done and it’s tailor-made. You’ll find solutions based off of your personality type, based off of your genetics. So specific thing that you can apply that aren’t one size fits all and it’s pack within 100 pages.
I’ve never interviewed anyone on the subject of procrastination. And it’s a very interesting subject to tackle. And the first thing I’d like to know is, does a person who procrastinates, do they really know who they are? Do they know that they have an issue or is this something enlightened them to understand that this is something they need to deal with for success?
Well, I think a lot of times they know that they procrastinate, but they’re not clear on the things that trigger them to procrastinate. What I’m finding out that most of the time it’s fear-based. There’s usually some anxiety that they’re dealing with. And so they said they’re afraid of something. And so as a relief they put it off. So let’s say you’ve got a project. Let’s say you’ve got a presentation that’s coming up. I’ve got this toastmasters presentation coming up. Wow, I’m feeling anxious about it, so I’m going to procrastinate. So the fact that you’re procrastinating, it builds the anxiety. So it’s like a vicious circle. So we need to get, get inside of what specifically are you afraid of? That’s what I find. And the book is designed to really heighten your awareness as far as what triggers you to procrastinate. Is there a common thing that you procrastinate on and really what is it costing you?
Eric, this is sort of like people who kind of put things off and wait till the last minute because they think that perhaps because they’re spontaneous when push comes to shove sort of thing that they can do better instead of planning and preparing now. And they feel perhaps that they think better under pressure. These are some of the reasons that I’ve run into for people to procrastinate on some project or endeavor.
Absolutely, and so in the book I talk about there’s a link between innovation and preparation and the bottom line, especially if you’re doing a creative project, is that it’s going to be better if you put the right plan in it. But what happens is we don’t really understand the cost. So let’s say, you wait till the last minute, you do a presentation, people tell you that it went well. Now you start telling yourself, well, I work better under pressure. And really what that is. That’s just justification for procrastination because here’s what it really but there’s a cost and it’s not as good as it could be if you really took the steps to plan.
I’d like to add on that and not to argue or not to disagree, but to add on that and get your point of view and understanding is you’re the expert on this. So I want to talk about overwhelm and let me give you my story. I get literally some 50 sometimes a hundred emails a day of people who want to be on my show and I just get all this stuff and it’s so much to deal with and I know who I want to interview, I know what I like to interview, I know what I’d like to talk about, so it’s not something I can hand to someone. Now if I don’t take care of those, it quickly builds up to literally thousands of unanswered emails every week. I have over a thousand emails unanswered, and I’ve had this issue for a while and it’s not really procrastination, but it’s overwhelmed.
And I would do as I could try to deal with it. And it just built up every day, another 50 a hundred emails every day. And I forced myself to get into this routine where one of the first things I do in the morning is I go through all my emails and flag them and decide who I’m going to interview or who is acceptable, who I like, think is interested enough to move through the process and I knock everything out. And by lunchtime, there are just a couple emails to answer and it’s just amazing what it’s done to my world because it’s taken this anxiety and this overwhelm from me. Now it was never a fear, it was never really procrastinated, it was just so much volume. So it’s a little bit different. And I would like to know if you tackle that because sometimes people just can’t get to something. They’re not really procrastinating, they’re just so darn busy.
Yeah, so sometimes I worked with a lot of people that say, well I have got so much to do, I’ve got so much to do. I find the problem really is that a lot of times we don’t know what to do next. That truly to keep that so much of having too much to do. So it’s really about getting a system in place to prioritize which it sounds like you have when it comes to picking your radio guests. And for example with email is one of the things that stress people out big time. So a lot of times if you get so many, you have so many emails almost like you don’t know where to start. So one of the things that I help people with is making use of like the automatic filters that are in email, for example.
Like you can have certain emails if it’s coming from a certain person or it’s got a certain subject, you can automatically go to certain folders. So that’s just one less thing that you have to process. And like for me, for example, if I’m CC on an email, I have a special folder for that. That means it’s not something I need to react to right away and I can focus on the specific things that I know that I have to deal with. And the other thing to think about is it is okay to delegate. Like I work with different virtual assistant type services that are really saved me tons of time and then that’s one less thing that keeps me from feeling it. Cause you’re right that feeling of overwhelm will definitely cause you to procrastinate.
Thank you for that information. And I’m going to ask you for more tips on that, but I’d like to know, Eric, is this something that you wrote from a personal point of view because you procrastinate and you’ve dealt with it and conquered it, or you wrote this because you find virtually everybody suffers from this. If we want to use that word, I like to understand more of what the issue is because sometimes we’re in our cubicles doing our thing and we don’t know how prevalent this may be in society. I know you touched a little bit upon this, but I’d like to understand more of how serious is this? How significant is this in the world today?
Well, let me address myself because people ask me this all the time. Well, Eric, you’ve written the book, so obviously you don’t have a procrastination issue. Let me put it to you this way. It took me six years to write a book about overcoming procrastinate.
That should tell you everything you need to know. Okay, so now there is a study from the University of Calgary. It’s is that 95% of the population has some issue with procrastination.
So it is very common. So, I mean the important thing is awareness and really putting certain discipline. I know I named the book, The Discipline of Now because we can put certain disciplines in place and become aware of those things that trigger us so that we’re less likely to procrastinate on our priorities.
That’s very interesting indeed. I made it a rule a long time ago from my corporate America days, being an executive and founding various companies that the rule was when something passes my eyes to deal with it then and there. And sometimes they take time and sometimes you may have to put it in a pending state. But I just forced myself because there’s just so much stuff, especially when you’re a busy executive, there’s so much that comes along. I just forced myself when it comes, when it passes my eyes, that’s when I deal with it. So if I don’t know about it, it’s okay. But as soon as I know about it, I got to do something about it. And that was very interesting and I believe that changed from being this overworked, overloaded, overwhelmed executive to pretty much staying on top of it.
Because you look at some executives in the world today and you go, how can they afford these vacations and being on the golf course, and I still don’t understand that one. I don’t know how anybody can golf as a separate story. How do you find the time for that, I don’t know. But, but aside from that, you have to put in some discipline so I understand and we’re not necessarily perfect.
This is the Tony DUrso Show just the head. The chat continues with Eric and Twiggs and Valerie Shepherd; Your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy To Be Me, but first, it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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You are listening to the Tony DUrso Show with key influencers. We’d love to hear from you via email. Be sure to send questions and comments to Tony at tonydurso.com now back to Tony and his guests.
All right, we’re back on the Tony DUrso Show. Today’s show is with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Sheppard, your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to Be Me. Eric has also led organizations of 500 or more people in Corporate America and shared his message with corporations, associations, and congregations across the country.
All right, and now back to the chat with Eric, but I really loved that title, The Discipline of Now. When something comes up, you have to take care of it and I think that’s good. I’m going to ask you more about that, but one thing I did want to check, is this true. You’ve conducted over 28,000 coaching sessions. That just blows my mind, Eric. That’s a lot of coaching.
Yes absolutely, it’s a much larger number than that. 28,000 is a conservative estimate, but yeah, so talking to entrepreneurs and executive leaders, and so here’s what I found, right? You can have two people. So one person gets good results and the other person gets great results. And what I find, if you go to those two people, they usually know a lot of the same things. They usually have similar levels of know-how, but what separates the good from the great. The great, they just have this uncanny ability to do those things they need to do. Whether they feel like it or not,
Accent on whether you feel like it or not because it’s like you have no choice. You do it or it just doesn’t get done
Right; Like I have a colleague who gets great results he is pulling in 7 figures. If we go to a conference and he gets a good idea, I would bet my house that he’s gonna jump on it like that following day. He’s gonna move on it immediately.
Now of these 28 plus thousand people, we talked a little bit about emails and perhaps that’s it, but what are some of the common denominators, let’s say, what are some of the biggest areas that people procrastinate because we want to jog the audience like, Oh yeah, that doesn’t apply to me but we want to start mentioning things where people go, oh, I could use help in this. Oh, maybe I can fix this. So can you give us some common denominators of what you see people having the most difficulty with?
Well, one of the things is people struggle with saying no. The inability to say no is a common thing. And, this applies even in work environments. This applies to requests that they get, you know, and their personal life. I mean, I’ve worked with people that literally they were the chairman of the PTA. They’re the president or their Sorority and the Vice President of the Homeowners Association. There are so many meetings, they don’t have time to address their time management issue because they have this inability to say no and this was just in my working with people, people that I worked with there at a very high level, they make no like their default response. Like if you say, hey, you know what? Can you do this for me? Their default is no until they really get other information to find out how this really lines up with their priorities.
How interesting my default is. Yes, so I stay away from people because I wind up buying everything. Just a joke but it used to be true. It used to be true. It was like please don’t call me. It was not don’t call me, but I don’t want to hear about it because I know I’m going to buy it.
Right saying no is critical. The other thing that I see as a commonality and this impacted me. This is why it took me six years to write the book is this professionalism, it has to be perfect. I need to, I have to do with attitudes. I talked to people, I had to do this research. I’ve got to plan, it doesn’t have to be perfect. And here’s something that I tell my audiences. I tell my coaching clients that you can’t allow perfect to become the enemy of progress.
Ooh, that’s a great statement, I like that.
Sometimes you just have to move forward. Sometimes you just have to take the next step.
Very inspirational, very inspired. We talked about no, and we talked about emails, anything else, which is a major common denominator you find in people who by handling it, taking care of it would experience more success.
Yeah, the other thing is just making you, so just the different tools that are out there. I mean a good thing as far as the age we live in, there are all kinds of technology. There are apps you can use that can really help you to stay on track. Like for example, I use a habit tracking app, it’s called coach.me. And it allowed to, if there’s a certain habit that you know you want to do, you know on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, whether it’s writing a blog, update, your newsletter, whatever that thing that you know you need to do, you can actually put it in the app and then the app, every time you do it you check it off and it’s like you get a green dot every time you do it. It’s a psychological thing. You don’t want to break the string of green dot. So that kind of motivates you to do it and then it gives you updates as far as how long your streaking is of doing the task. So something like that, like a habit tracking app is something that can really help to keep you on track with the things that you should be doing.
I like that, that’s very cool. I use my calendar program and I put in items that I need to do, you know, send out my newsletter, send out something, do this, and I put it in my calendar, but I don’t get any green dots.
Coach.me, it’s a habit tracking app.
All right, well, very cool. Now I believe a lot of what we’ve discussed is in the book. Is there anything else that you find is very important that we need to know about your book, The discipline of Now?
Yeah; The other thing that causes people to procrastinate is not really being clear. And I say in the book how clarity is the starting point of success. So really getting clear on what it is you want. So, I mean it can be just as simple as you’ve got a meeting coming up. What specifically do you want to get out of that meeting? Why are you going and not knowing and knowing? It’s a game-changer when you really get in the habit of really getting clear on what your outcome is, what your desired outcome is, and you’ll find that you’re more productive. You know, what’s your purpose? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And in the book, I go through different exercises that help you gain clarity. That’s a lot there, once you really get clear on your purpose and your why and what you want, you’ll find that you can get up. Like I didn’t get up at four o’clock every morning without my alarm clock. Where before, I would always hit the snooze button. The snooze button was my best friend, but since I’ve gotten clear, it really makes a huge difference.
You’ve already hurt my ears, four o’clock in the morning. I used to do that a long time ago. No more, I can’t do that anymore.
This is the Tony DUrso Show. Just the head the chat continues with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Sheppard, your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to Be Me, but first it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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All right, we’re back on the Tony DUrso Show today shows with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Shepherd; Your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to Be Me and now back to the chat with our guests.
Eric, I understand that we can find you at Eric M, M as in Michael, let’s say ericmtwiggs.com and Twiggs is T w i g, g. s, is that right?
That is correct, that is my website, yes.
And we can get your book there if we go there as well as we can go to Amazon.
Yes, yes. And there’s also on the website, The Discipline of Now 12 Practical Principles to Overcome Procrastination, that’s the name of the book. thedisciplineofnow.com is a direct link to take you to the book. It’s available in kindle, paperback and in audio.
Ooh, I liked that. You know to the audience, ladies and gentlemen, when an author has a book in audio, I can’t stress enough to get the audio audition because I find authors when they read it, they give you more of the story and sometimes they put in additional information, which is really cool so I always get to audio. It makes it a lot easier to hear, to read while you’re doing whatever and you just get so much more out of it. I am a huge fan of the audio, so guys go to ericmtwiggs.com and get his book. The discipline of now get the audio is very cool. You are our Procrastination Prevention Partner, the three Ps.
I want to thank you so much for having this interview with us. I’m very engaged, I very much like it and I wish you even more continued success.
Thank you, Tony, it was a great pleasure to be on your show.
Thank you so much.
And now we have Valerie Sheppard join us catastrophic stroke survivor, inspirational keynote speaker, university lecturer and CEO of the Hartley Center for mindfulness and self mastery. Valerie Sheppard uses the principles in her multi award-winning number one international bestseller, Living Happy to Be ME. To guide teens and adults, executives and entrepreneurs to happiness, success and fulfillment. Here we go.
Hi Valerie. Welcome to the show, so great to have you on with us today.
Valerie: Thank you so much, Tony. I’m very honored and grateful to be here.
It’s a pleasure and the honor is mine. You’ve done so much. You’ve been to so many countries, you’ve done so much with your book, so many awards. You have even a curriculum, a life mastery curriculum at the University of California. I am so impressed at everything you’ve done and I want to talk about some of these, but first things first, we’ll back up just a little bit. Valerie, can you tell us how did it all start for you and what’s your backstory?
Valerie: Sure, so my backstory, the start of this whole part of my life is that I’m a recovering corporate executive on radical sabbatical. And for me, that’s involved a fairly complete personal transformation. So that in addition to being successful and prosperous, which is what I was at a corporate executive, I could also be more wildly happy and deeply fulfilled, which I wasn’t enough of; as a corporate executive. So before this journey, this backstory, I was successful and made lots of money, but I was stressed, overwhelmed unhappy. And I really believe that the trouble was outside of me, that it wasn’t me. I was a victim of other villains, so to speak, and other things in the world that were making my life difficult, too much struggle, too much striving. And what I know now is that a lot of the trouble was inside and the way I was being, who I was being, what my interpretations were and my values and as I’ve embodied what I know, my life has gotten easier and better Hallelujah. So with me as a test case and my students and my clients as additional data into what’s possible, I’ve created a process and I’m sharing it to help others experience what that’s like. And my ultimate mission is about bringing more peace and love and joy and compassion and harmony to the planet.
Oh right. And that process is called if I want to call it a process, the training, it’s called a four-step. Happy to be me and I didn’t want to point out to the audience that your book, it’s won at least six awards that I see here just in front of me. Your book is called Living Happy to Be Me. And the reason for our title of the show you really want to dance is that Valerie’s subtitle is dancing your soul lifestyle. And I want to ask you what does that mean? Just to kind of get the dancing part out. And how that fits in? Are we spirits dancing? I don’t mean to be facetious or silly, but I just want to get this concept in our head for the rest of our interview. Could you give us a little more on what that means?
Valerie: Yes. I’ll be happy to share more about the meaning of the title of the book. I picked the words very specifically. So in the main title living is about, putting things on and doing them day in, day out 24/7-365 so it’s not a, you know, take a pill quick fix to whatever ails you. This is more about creating space to do it long term. And then happy of course is about being happy, although I really talk more in the book about the higher level of happiness called joy, which is deeply embedded in each of us in our bringing it out as the way that we express it. But I use happy because it’s so approachable and then I have to be, which is about being not doing, we grow up being conditions and do you happy do things to make happy happen and happiness is really a state of being.
The joy that I’m talking about is and being stated. So we talk about that in the book and then the (me), which many people don’t notice. It’s capital ME and that’s about a non-egoic M E it’s going with the transformation from lowercase at me that I used to in my life was mighty ego to an upper case which is magnificent essence, which is true of everybody. And then in the subtitle, dancing is because it’s not linear, you know, it’s expressive, it’s full embodiment. It comes from the inside out. And that’s the way I experienced music when I’m dancing and triggers something on the inside. And I let it out in my dance as an expression. And then the soul is calling in our higher selves that part of us that is eternal in mortal, even y while we are in these human bodies. And the last word, light-style is a word that I kind of made up instead of lifestyle. And I did it on purpose because I’m always talking about if you want to store in your life, you have to lighten up and let go of the anger is weighing you down. And so this lifestyle is about that and being your freest and most unburdened self and dancing as that being of you in order to have the happiness that you desire.
I liked that Valerie. Were you going to say more on that?
Valerie: I just wanted to say desire and deserve. That you deserve to be happy. You’re put on this earth to experience and express it, so let’s go for it.
I like light-style, very cool. I have not seen that before and I really appreciate you clarifying this. Now, Valerie, this book, did this come as a result of the challenging events you had in the year 2015?
Valerie: It did not, the book did not come as the result of the catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke that I had in 2015 and actually, even despite where the book did come from, I feel like I’ve lived a pretty charmed life in a lot of ways. There are always been blessings. I’ve always been grateful. The problem was that those seemed short-lived. And so this catastrophic stroke that happened in June of 2015 put the book on hold. Actually, it was supposed to be coming out in August of that year and we delayed it and at the time it was going to be delayed indefinitely depending on, what was going on with me physiologically and mentally after the brain hemorrhage. And I believe that the stroke has given me like a deeper opportunity to embody what it is that I teach in the book and to really put that fore-step happy to be me, process at work in my own life in the most serious and difficult thing that I’ve ever had to go through in my life. And it’s been fabulous. And so the stroke actually contributed to what the book is able to do through my story. I don’t think I changed the word in the book after the, after the stroke.
That’s very interesting. In my life, I’ve seen friends and family members with, strokes and my wife in her profession deal with if we want to call them victims, stroke victims on a regular basis. And the one thing about any of those stories is the recovery and the way you talk and everything that I know about you, you fully recovered, which I think if correct me if I’m wrong, this sort of an anomaly to be in perfect health again after the strokes just such a few years ago. So I think that’s amazing. Is it the book tenants and principles and so forth that you talk about, is that what helped you get through and recover so well?
Valerie: The book and the principles and tenants definitely have contributed to my healing after the stroke, Tony. I will do a one point clarification. I’m not saying that I’m 100% yet, so there’s still a whole lot of stroke. I guess stroke affect on the right side of my body. The blood vessel that burst in my brain was on the left, so that controls the right side of my physiological body and system. And so there are still, I don’t have to learn to walk again, but I’m still regaining aspects of balance, coordination, dexterity. I don’t really have aphasia, which is that thing where you can’t get words together. And sometimes it feels like I do and sometimes they don’t come. But I don’t have a really tough problem with it. And in fact, when I first woke up like on day three or four out of the coma, I couldn’t speak.
I started talking, I could hear perfect formed sentences in my brain. But the faces of my mother and my brother who were in the room indicated that I wasn’t really talking the way I thought. I was talking, I was doing gibberish, which is funny because I’m an Improv Comedian. So we used jibberish on stage all the time. And, when I can feel that, okay, so the terribly wrong here, the principles and practices in the book, how can we stay detached and in a place of neutrality and in a place of let’s wait and see. And, I really truly believe, I made a joke about it in my head, oh, I’m a speaker, teacher, healer who can’t speak. Like, what am I going to do? And then the very next thought was, well, if Stephen Hawking can do it, I guess I’ll figure it out. And then I kind of went back out for another day and when I woke up the next day, my speech just all dropped in at once. I never went to speech therapy. I still haven’t ever done that. It just all dropped in.
This is the Tony DUrso Show just ahead the chat continues with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Sheppard, your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to Be Me, but first it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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All right, we’re back on the Tony DUrso Show. Today show is with Eric M Twiggs and Valerie Sheppard, your Procrastination Prevention Partner and Happy to Be Me.
Valerie’s groundbreaking life mastery curriculum at the University of California. Irvine is getting rave reviews. She’s been featured on the cover of my authentic life magazine, published in 11-11 magazine and is the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and success. And now back to the chat with Valerie.
Valerie: I truly believe that we each have an opportunity in every circumstance to access, allow and receive, even if it’s, you know, the last thing we would want, it is and so resisting, it doesn’t change the fact that it is and in the posture of detached acceptance, we’re better positioned to figure out what comes next. And, and in some cases, this has happened more than once in my life. I don’t have to figure it out, it gets resolved. Like divine energy comes in and resolves it on my behalf. And so that’s how that is one of the primary ways that I’ve felt like living like actually embodying what I teach has played out in my life.
Valerie, you sound so good on the air that I can’t even tell that you ever had such an incident. So that’s why I think you’re totally healed. So I appreciate that the information you’ve given about that you’re still recovering but it just sounds so well no one would guess. No one would be the wiser. So you’re, I’m, I’m glad that you’re this far along. That’s very good.
Valerie: Thank you so much. And I, of course, my fervent prayer is for exactly what you described, 100% recovery. So I’m still moving in that direction as far as I’m concerned.
All right, we’re all going to send you our blessings and our love and we’re going to make that happen. Cause I can just feel that our audience is just going to, we’re going to find out more about that and perhaps getting more of your book and getting more of what you have can help get more of a bond with people as well and help you as well as help them. And that’s, I think would be great to have the win, win, win where everyone’s helping everyone on this.
Now you are a coach. I can presume since the stroke in 2015 you’ve then gone on to become a coach.
Valerie: Actually I was coaching before that for many years. So I’ve done executive coaching and I’ve coached in a number of different levels from 12 year -old, 12 and under soccer to executives and entrepreneurs. And then, of course, my students.
Very interesting, on the soccer coach. Out of all the people that you’ve coached, what some really great advice that you put into practice yourself as in addition to giving to others?
Valerie: Oh, I would love to do that. I’ve got two that I live the most:
Some Great Advice:
● so one is from the late Dr. John Capus, who founded The Hypnosis and Motivation Institute up in LA. A dear friend, he was a mentor at one point. He would say be unmoved by appearances and therefore appearances move. Which is exactly what I did when I woke up and notice I couldn’t talk. I was unmoved by it. And then later the appearance that I couldn’t talk completely transformed. So it’s not about letting the outer look of things get in and make me upset. It’s about not letting those disrupt my inner knowing and my inner peace. So to stay detached emotionally from the appearance of situations as I let the situations unfold in my life. If this was with one of my soccer teams, I would say it doesn’t matter that we’re down by two points. The appearance is that we’re losing. But what we can do is focus on how do we score a goal. And if we just focus on score one goal and when we have one goal score, a second goal, if we just focus on that instead of we’re losing and now he should come back, it changes the dynamic of the interaction on the soccer pitch.
● And then the second one that’s really important came from a former boss at Procter and Gamble and it’s still a friend. His name is Bernhard, and he taught me don’t take the monkey. I have no idea what he’s talking about. But on one of my stressful days, he and I were talking about all my projects in his office and he was like, why do you keep taking the monkey? Don’t take the monkey. And I sat there for a minute. I was like, I have no idea what you’re talking about. And he said the monkey that is on your back, which is about not taking on more responsibility than is necessary. Get that monkey off your back. And that many of us, to be seen, to be heard, to be recognized, to be appreciated, to be championed. We sometimes think we have to take on more than we really have to in order to get that. And then we tend to feel overwhelmed, fatigued, frustrated. Sometimes I felt resentful that I was always doing much more than other people. So my perception was, and that I was underappreciated as a result. And actually, it was me doing it to myself. So I just had to stop taking the monkey. And I have learned that no is a complete sentence, that it’s ok in self-care and self-love to say I’m not the one to do that.
Valerie, please teach me because for whatever reason I say yes all the time. Too many times I’m so overloaded with work, but you know what? I love it. I eventually curtail it, contain it, handle it, and move on. And I say, yes, there’s something else.
Valerie: Here you go, transformation.
I like it and speaking of that little segway, let’s talk into habits and let’s go back to the title of your book. The dance. I’m still into that dance. How do I phrase this? How do we dance into living happy to be ourselves?
Valerie: Love that. Okay, so the way that you dance into this expression of living, happy to be me number one thing that I encouraged people to do in this dance is to laugh and play more, especially in the west or heavily conditioned to be productive. When I was growing up, my mom used to say that all the time and you need to be productive. And we weren’t allowed to, as she would say, quote-unquote run the street. And even if that meant going to soccer practice, which is organized sport and some really powerful opportunities for leadership, education, etc, in that she still considered it running the street and not necessarily the most productive thing that I would want to do. And so I grew up feeling very much that the only thing I would ever be rewarded for was, working hard. And part of that has to do with the culture of being a black child in the 60s and having to quote-unquote prove my worth despite the color of my skin, which in some ways can still go on for people today.
So, fighting against that like, oh, how do I am? I’m letting that go is seeing how play and laughter have healing properties in them, that there’s power in play. It doesn’t have to be totally frivolous. You know, play kind of shades are free-spiritedness encounters the predictability and routine that is in most of our days and actually can dumb us down and make us bored and seize joy and wonder. It quiets the intellect, the conscious mind and engages a different aspect of us. The heart and the imagination, our six sense where things come to us in a lot more freedom and flow. It keeps us in the present moment. You have to be presently aware to engage in play and it shifts you to a much more empowered form of busy. So play and laughter are a very empowering way to put yourself on a path that feels more expansive. Feels more whole, you’re engaging your right and your left brain, your head, and your heart so it can give you a much greater feeling of your wholeness and your connectedness to other people. Laughter is a universal language.
So true, so true. I love the play in laughter and I’m going to listen to this again and soak it up even more. That just hits it right on. I believe that’s why we’re here, here to play. I firmly believe that I was made to play, but also play with others in a proper fashion. Of course, you know you only one person can play and take everything right? That would be fun for everyone. So allowing others to play and playing. I believe that’s, that’s like my purpose in a way though I am very simple about it. That’s not really my purpose but simplified it is to play and I think that alone propels us up higher, so very cool on that. I like that.
And perhaps that answers this next question, but I wanted to comment on what you said earlier from a different angle. We talked about, for example, soccer, the team is down. Instead of saying, oh, we’re down, we’re losing focus. Just get one goal, just one focusing on one item, and I like that. But there are times where it’s not so easy to get a goal. We have a defeat in our work or our life, something’s wrong. We’re not sure, we’re doubtful. Is it good as a bad, we’re vacillating on something we don’t feel good about it? Or even health challenges. Did we already discuss how to deal with that? Is that the play or is that just go get one or do we have another angle on that? I hope I said that right.
Valerie: Sure. I feel like I’m hearing you ask about like how do we handle things in our lives when it seems like our lives are going off the rails, sort of.
Yes, exactly but it is not necessarily a simple case of just go get a goal or something, so it’s going off the rails, we’re not happy with it. Do we just pour on the play? Did we already address that or is there another angle on that facet?
Valerie: I that we’ve covered a little bit but I want to go a little bit deeper into it. So one of the things that people used to say to me when I first got out of the Rehab Hospital after the stroke was, don’t worry, you’ll get past this setback. Don’t worry, it’s only a momentary defeat. Don’t worry, you’re just on a detour. And I kind of rejected all of those words because they have in them this sort of like undoing nature, you know the vanquished feeling, it’s like deprived of something that I really want and I wasn’t really feeling that. I feel like when we hit these curve balls that get thrown at us. I wrote a blog on the curveballs of life. When we get these curve balls thrown at us, whether they’re a separation from a loved one, a dynamic where our job disappears or we lose all our money or other aspects that can really kind of like shake us down to our core.
I think it’s, it’s better to go to a special place where we move into this thing I mentioned before about accepting, allowing and receiving. So it requires a deep connection to gratitude. So even in the things that we don’t understand about a situation like this question that can throw us into a downward spiral, why did this happen to me? Why is this happening to me? A much more powerful, empowering, enabling question is what is this coming to show me for me, from me for my highest good, like what? What’s inside the situation that is divinely designed to actually propel me forward, to carry me to that next victory line. And so I spend a lot less time analyzing all the defeats and worrying about how to recover and spend more time focused on what I want. And that’s what you heard in the comment about the soccer game.
You know, let’s concentrate ongoing to get a goal. That’s what we want rather than the fact that we’re down by two goals, which is not what we want. And when we as beings focus our energy, put our energetic attention on things we don’t want. We are creating those. That’s universal law 247, 365 whether you like it or not, know it or not, understand it or not. We are governed by more than just the physical laws of the universe. There are these other laws and so when we move into this place of acceptance and allowing and then receiving what’s inside the situation that can propel us forward, we set ourselves up for receiving our highest and best, even if in that very moment we can’t see what that is and we don’t understand all the ramifications and the internal aspects of what’s going on.
Wow! Dear audience, I ask you to rewind, replay. Valerie says it all right there. That’s hot. Just get into the zone into it. This is the essence. This is the core. Great, great stuff, Valerie. I love it. You really want to dance. I love it. You can find Valerie Sheppard at happytobeme.net very inspirational, motivational, insightful, so much more to talk about. I ask everyone, check it out. She’s got some great stuff, get her book. You can get it at Amazon. Of course, you can also get it at happytobeme.net. And Valerie, if anyone wants to communicate with you, they can reach out to you and contact you through that site, right?
Valerie: Yes, they can and I would love to hear from you.
All right, everyone, don’t hold back. Get in touch with Valerie and dance with her.
Valerie: Lets dance, lets dance.
Valerie, thank you so much for your time. It was wonderful. I really enjoyed this, very uplifting.
Valerie: Thank you, Tony. I appreciate being here, many blessings.
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