When starting to grow a business, we start to think that we’re the only one who can get things done properly. Taking that next step in business often means teaching other people about our vision ….. and then trusting them with it. Trusting other people with our vision can be scary, taking you out of your comfort zone. Owner of Leon Smith Publishing, Keith Leon, also known as “the book guy”, learned to let go of this fear and take control when he started to do one scary thing every month. He compares asking “Why would I trust my team with my business?” to the question, “Why would I jump off a perfectly good plane?” and shares his perspective on the answers. This includes the belief that in order to get to the next place in our lives and business, we need to stretch out of our comfort zone and let go of certain things… including the belief that we are the only one who can get things done properly.
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Taking The Next Step And Stretching Out Of Your Comfort Zone with Keith Leon
I am so thrilled, honored and feel so grateful to be here with you right in this moment. I never listened to my dad growing up when he said, “Eat your food slowly, chew your food, digest your food, taste your food.” I never listened to any of that because what does my dad know? What does anybody know when we’re in our 20s, 30s even sometimes? I have adopted that ritual. Rituals are very powerful in our lives. They can add great quality to our lives. By ritual, I mean the things we do on purpose consistently in a ritualistic way, in a very conscious, but a way that is also not intermittent or random or just occasional. These are conscious habits, intentional unconscious habits, master habits. One of mine is to pray into my food to put energy. It’s how I envision putting this love into my food, this gratitude and appreciation into everything. All the animals, all the people, all the services and all the moving parts that it took to bring that food to the point where I can nourish my body, my mind, my heart, my soul with that food. I had a beautiful but quicker than normal lunch. I’m so excited to be with all of you. I so feel so blessed to be in this space with you. We always start our shows with gratitude, so in this moment, that’s what I’m grateful for. As long as you’re not operating any heavy equipment, close your eyes if you want and feel for just a moment what it is that you are grateful for now, that you are appreciative of in this moment. For me, sometimes it’s so simple because just the breath. I say, “Just the breath,” as though it’s something insignificant, but we do and I do take the breath for granted. Imagine breathing in and not being able to breathe out. We wouldn’t take that breath for granted very long would we? We know what that’s like when we’re underwater. I’m a Pisces and I spend a lot of time in the ocean and pools. When I’m holding my breath or I’m under the ocean or I’ve been slammed under the ocean from the surfboard that I was previously riding and I’m under a wave, I very much appreciate my ability to breathe and to breathe with ease and with grace and without a lot of fuss. This breath is special and I receive this breath with all of you together. We are one in this breath and that feels great. What a great reminder that we are so connected. I have a guest who I love dearly. He’s a brother and I do mean that. Brother in all the truest sense of that. I’ve known this gentleman for a long time, so happy that I get to have conversation with him in your presence, that you get to be part of that and experience his energy, his love, his light, his presence, as well as his wisdom. He is a very wise man, far wiser than his years. I know he’s not a kid. He’s not a kid. We’re not old men either. He’s gained a lot of wisdom and he’s going to share a lot of that with all of us, which I’m excited for. His name is Keith Leon. Keith Leon is a multiple bestselling author. He owns a successful publishing company and he’s a world class trainer. He is well known as “The Book Guy”. Keith has appeared on many popular radio and television broadcast. His work has been covered by Inc. Magazine, LA Weekly, the Huffington Post and Succeed Magazine, just to name a few. He’s also spoken at events that included Jack Canfield, Neale Donald Walsch, Barbara De Angelis, John Gray, Michael Beckwith, Adam Markel, and Marianne Williamson. Keith’s passion is teaching people how to go from first thought to bestseller and create what he calls the world’s greatest business card. Wherever you are right now, open those eyes, perk right up because I get to bring on this amazing gentleman and a dear friend, Mr. Keith Leon. Keith, welcome to the show.
Adam, I am so grateful to be in your presence.
The bio is great and I love it because it’s easy to read for one thing, and it’s succinct. It says a lot about who you are, who you’ve been in the world. What’s not in the bio that you’d love to share with our audience?
I didn’t notice the words ‘heart centered’. Anybody who knows me would definitely claim that that is the truth about me. I’m always leading with my heart.
Anything else you want to supplement?
I love life and I love helping people get to their next place, whatever that is, because we’re all in a different place. Any time that I could do anything that offers somebody that next step is something that I’m grateful for and appreciate.
I’d asked Keith what his intention was, his intention for the podcast, and what the audience would receive, what he intended for them to receive. That came up, these wanting folks to be clear and being able to move forward and take the next step. I don’t know if you’ve heard this from me before, but the title of the next book is called The Next Pivot. It’s about that next pivot, which you’re pretty familiar with next pivot.
Every success that’s ever happened was a series of baby steps all strung together. For years, I’ve been doing a process what people call The Reverse Action Plan where you start with what you want to achieve and say what would be the last thing that would happen right before that happen, and you write that down. Then what would need to happen in order for that to happen? You keep coming backwards until what you write down is your next baby step. When you start with that list in mind, you’ll never feel like you’re doing anything more than your next baby step, but before you know it, you’re standing there going, “I have that,” or, “I am that. How did that happen?” That’s where I show you the list, “Because you’ve followed this.” It’s all one baby step at a time and the next thing you know, you’re there.
How important is it just to be able to take the next step in terms of the pivot process? How important is it to be willing to take the next step?
It’s everything. One of the rituals that I love to do is at least once a month, I do something that scares the crap out of me. Something that’s like so big of a stretch that I go, “I’m not sure I want to do that.” That’s what keeps me willing to brave the smaller things as they come up. To see those things that in the past I might have seen as a big hurdle compared to this other thing I like to do once a month, these things are like, “That’s no problem. This too shall pass. I’ll get over this. Next thing I know, we’ll be through this.” It’s all levels for me, but the next step and especially bold next step is mantra.
You’re declaring out loud that you find ways to scare yourself? Most people are looking for every way out of anything that brings up fear for them. Fear is the worst possible feeling for most people. You seek it out on some level, that’s a pivot of a magnitude. Mindset-wise, it’s a pivot for sure. Why is that the case and what started that?
I had this recurring nightmare from childhood because my father was someone who loved to jump out of planes. He parachuted. I had this recurring nightmare that I was an adult and then I would be in this plane, all strapped up and ready to jump, and I get to the door and I couldn’t do it and I wouldn’t do it. I’d have to ride the plane down frustrated. Why didn’t I do it? I had that nightmare and I kept having it. I was like, “What is this about?” Then I realized that I had a fear of heights and I couldn’t even get up on a ladder. What could I do to get through my fear of heights? I jumped out of a plane because I figured if I could do that, if I could get up to the door and get out the door and skydive and then land on my feet, how on earth could I ever be afraid of going up the ladder again? I did. I jumped out of a plane, a perfectly good plane. That indeed cured my fear of heights because I couldn’t be afraid of being on the ladders when I had done that. That was a switch in my brain. I also grew up with an experiential growth company called Insight Seminars. They did have you do some stretching during that seminar and doing things that were bold and that you would normally not do. Stretching right out of your comfort zone because everything that’s worth its salt is right outside of your comfort zone. That’s what I do. One year, on Valentine’s Day, my wife, Maura, and I, instead of doing candy and flowers and dinner like everyone else would do, we were like, “What could we do that would be completely different and would be a stretch, would be a little scary? What could we do?” We made one of those little cootie catchers they have in school. It has numbers and things and ultimately, you end up opening up and there’s a message inside. That’s when we were relationship experts, my wife and I.
We made a cootie catcher and it had numbers and then it had colors and numbers on the inside. The message inside we’re actually relationship questions. We went into a mall and said, “Would you like to play the love game?” They were like, “What’s the love game?” I said, “Do you want to play it or not?” We would sit there with this cootie catcher and ultimately, they would end up answering a relationship question vulnerably and honestly. It was scary to go to a mall and walk up to people that we didn’t even know and asks them if they wanted to play a game that they didn’t know. We did that and we had more fun and even when the security guard came up and we’re thinking we’re going to get kicked out because we’re harassing people. He came up and said, “I heard you’re doing something called the love game. Can I play?” We were like, “Yes.” We did it with him and the question he got was so profound for him and we had half an hour of the most heart centered connection that we had had in years, let alone that day with him because he was willing to come up and try. When we left that night, we felt like, “Was that so much more rewarding than just flowers and candy and a dinner?”
What a beautiful example of what that could look like. People may have heard something like that maybe before. They don’t necessarily even trust that that’s truly the case when people say, “I do something that scares me every day or every week.” Then to talk about it in the context of jumping out of a plane, it’s like, “Now I’m completely disconnected from this conversation because there’s just no way on this earth that I’m going to jump out of a perfectly good plane.” People will be like, “I’m going to do that,” or, “I’ve done that,” or, “I’m going to do it.” Randi and I have not jumped out of a plane, but we’ve bungee jumped off of a very tall bridge in British Columbia. There’s that, but it doesn’t have to rise that level, that gradient is too steep, but yet to be on your growth edge or outside of your comfort zone can be something like what you described.
Or reach out to somebody who you know can help you get to your next level on your business. Just thinking of calling that person might make your heart beat a little fast, but to make the call anyway because there’s nothing that can come from it whether they say yes or no because you have a great connection and you got some feedback. Sometimes when they say no, that’s great feedback. Tweak the language. A little bit of a language change can change everything.
In a sales context, ‘no’ is a wonderful feedback because if you hear ’no’ enough, you get to know well what doesn’t work, what’s not working. When you know what doesn’t work, you know what does work at least if you’re paying attention. Saying no is not necessarily a bad thing. It might not make us build up our need for approval or need to be liked or a need for self-gratification to fulfill the egos, agenda in the moment, but no is a great and valuable word. Keith, would you share a little bit about your experience in pivoting because you’re a pivot expert in many ways? We featured one of your pretty profound pivot stories in a business arena, in the arena that you’re in currently, which is publishing. It’s featured in the book, Pivot. I asked you before, “What’s something else?”
The most recent pivot that is incredible, it still does have to do with business, but it was that for so many years, it was me. I was the sales team. I was all the things that I wanted to hold onto and hold control of because I didn’t feel like I trusted anybody else to do it. If you’re in the publishing world, my name is on the book. I always held on to the book cover. Designing that and made sure that the layout was the way I wanted it. The words were the way I wanted it. I was overlooking the layout and I was doing the frontend and the backend. It’s all Keith all the time. As we began to grow and grow, it became harder and harder to do all of those things. I had to look at, “Why am I holding onto these things? What is it? Why am I holding onto this?” I realized that I had a fear that someone else would let me down if I gave that to them, if I gave them the pieces that felt the most important and represented our company the most. People do judge a book by its cover. I had to control that, but it was my fear. I looked at that once I had that information. Once I looked at it, I realized that it was a template that I had created that I want all of our books to be and that template was teachable. I realized that my layout artists had been doing layouts for us so long. Whoever was working with him, all they had to do was send it and get it back and work with the client. It wasn’t rocket science, any of it. It was just my control and wanting to hold on to that. I’ve been able to replace myself in all the busy work that I used to do. That time has allowed me then to seek out a sales team because I was holding onto that too, seek out and train salespeople and be available to train salespeople. I go on calls with them while they’re talking to people and to be creative. To have time to be creative again and to take a break in the middle of the day and write a song for my wife because I can do that because I’m not now doing all those tasks that I held on to for so long. It was a huge pivot in letting go of control, in trust, in allowing the universe to do its work through me and through the team members. Now I am free to do more things that I love to do. Free to speak more, free to take a break in the middle of the day if I want to do that. It has been so empowering for my soul, which was overtaxed and overworked up until the point that I did that.
The holding on to that task or to any task and wanting to control and your fist was made when you were doing it, that’s a symptom of something else. Where there’s the need for control in one area of business or in life, there’s certainly other areas where we’re holding on to something. I’m more interested at the moment in what the root of the control or the desire for the control because it could be that in that moment, releasing, letting go of the control and turning it over to other people, trusting, training, following up, and delegating, but with follow-up, not advocating, but truly delegating, that created a solution to the busy-ness in the business in that moment. Yet it might be that because it’s symptomatic of something else that you’re still hanging on and controlling and still dealing with that in some other area of your life. I’d love to know, at a deeper level, what was the control. If you know what it is, what was the root of the need for the control and did the releasing of the control in that context change something on a broader scale for you personally?
It boiled down to fear, fear that I was the only one that could do it. I was so special that I was the only one who could do this. Letting go of that and looking at that helped me see that I had fear running. I feel like in so many places in my life, I’ve let go of the fear right down to doing something once a month that scares me. Why would I bring that into the thing that I’m the most passionate about, which is my business? Why would I bring fear of anything into that? It helps me look at what does that fear about and just keep digging underneath and underneath until I got to the control piece. It went round and round. What’s underneath the control was fear, but then what was underneath the fear was more control. It was going around and around on itself. As soon as I gave those things up, I felt this huge sense of relief because I faced the biggest fear that I felt was getting in my way.
You confronted the fear that nobody could do it as well as you, but at the same time, released control, let go of control to give some evidence and action behind the desire or the intention of overcoming the fear.
That spilled into everything where in my relationship where there things that I was holding on because I thought that I was the one that could do it the best. Perhaps I can let that go, “Would you like to do this?” Or in the fact that I make music, being able to trust a band member or somebody who’s on the supportive team as opposed to trying to micromanage that too because I’m an engineer. If I play, it’s easy to say, “Can you play this and do it this certain way?” as opposed to just step up to the mic knowing that it’s going to sound good and if it doesn’t, it’s okay.
I had Alan Cohen on and we were talking about some spiritual practices and what we’ve been practicing. He’s been practicing it longer than I have. We talked about letting go and you’re describing letting go. It is a wonderful thing to practice letting go, and not necessarily something that comes as second nature to lots of us because we hang onto stuff because it brings us safety. I hang on to things primarily because I feel safer when I do, my physical safety, emotional safety, whatever version of safety. I hang onto things for that reason and letting them go, I have to challenge being confronted by that fear that’s always the root. I definitely believe in that theory that there’s basically two ways of being in life. There’s fear and there’s love. You could find millions of different ways of describing each of those states of being and how they manifest, but the root level of causality is fear or love. My hanging onto things or controlling things is all rooted in fear and letting go is such a wonderful practice. I’d heard some time ago, and I’ve shared this with folks when we do our masterminds at some of our other programs. We occasionally take people out for a process or an exercise and sometimes, we’d go someplace like a beach to do a walk. I’ll share this, “The whole of life is a process of letting go.” All of life is just about letting go and when we think about when we get to the end of our days, we’ll let go of everything. We’ll let go of how we look, what we think of ourselves, what we think other people think of ourselves, our titles, our positions, our money, our possessions. All of that we will let go of. None of it we will take with us as far as we know. It might make some sense. It could be a good idea to begin practicing the process of letting shit go, your anger, your resentment, the image that we have ourselves sometimes that hasn’t really changed much since we’re eight years old and to be able to let go of those things that don’t necessarily take us where we want to be in the moment. Keith, you’re a very spiritual person. Have you always been that way? Has there been a pivot in spirituality and your spiritual path?
I’ve been spiritual since I was a child. I knew what I believed in and it wasn’t in agreement with the religion that I grew up in. All of my family is with one particular church. Even from childhood, I wasn’t feeling that. My thoughts were more universal. My thoughts were more cosmic. My thoughts were more of my personal relationship with my God than a dogmatic way of being, which is what I was seeing all around me. I’ve always been spiritual, and it wasn’t until later that in my adult life, three different people came up and told me about this one spiritual center. Three different people, “I went to this place and it made me think of you. You should check it out.” Once I heard that name, Agape, three times. I said, “I’m going to go check this out.” I went, and it was like, “That’s everything I’ve been saying since I was a child coming from the stage.” It was just an amazing transformation. I also have a whole another level in that I have known about guardian angels and angels since I was a child. I could hear my guardian angel’s voice since I was a child where people thought I was just a nutty little kid that was hearing voices. That guardian angel saved my life a number of times. It’s eight now, but number of times when I was a child.
As in eight times your life has been saved by your guardian angel?
I should have been gone and I’m still here. I’ve seen literally time reverse to keep me here, to do the work that I do in the world, and to be who I am and to step into that ministry, which is my life. Even as a child, one of the things he did was told me that this little girl up the street was going to be my wife when we got older. I told my mom, “That girl’s going to be my wife,” and she’s like, “That’s sweet.” After a while, she was even like, “There’s your wife.” In my mind, my idea of this perfect woman that would be my wife was her growing up. When I met her grown up, I knew it was her. Eventually, I told her the story and she’s like, “Okay.” I drove her to the neighborhood, “That was your house. I used to walk up the alley here. You play in your room, that was your room.” She was like, “If an angel told you, maybe I should at least check this out.” That was my wife for thirteen and a half years. I now call her my practice wife. It didn’t say she would be my wife forever, I said she would be my wife and it was good as long as it was, then we moved on and stayed best friends. We stayed good friends until she passed. I’ve always had that connection to source in profound ways. From childhood, the things that I said would come true and I noticed that at a very young age. Sometimes it would manifest quickly and sometimes it’d be a year later, but they always came true. Whatever I said would happen, whether it was good or whether it was bad. Eventually, I figured out if everything was going to happen the way that I spoke it or said it or believed it, then I probably should be aware of what I say and to try to not have venom or anger towards people, especially not to vocalize it because I felt like it would come true just like everything else that I did. It made me very mindful of the way that I spoke from a very young age. That may have been a lesson from my angel or an awareness that I had, but either way, I’ve had it for a very long time.
Becoming friends, there’s lots of coincidental circumstantial things that we could say is the reason why we met and how we start to interact and everything. You and I had met at a program and you’d met Randi and Chelsea. At the time, they were both coaches working at this life directions program that we were running and then you and I got introduced. We started to talk about the fact that I was writing a book and I was putting together an e-book and I was looking for guidance, but I’ve never written a book before. My dad is an author, a published fiction author, but he didn’t have any information in the non-fiction space. I was feeling pretty insecure anyway about writing a book, especially since my dad’s professional and worked on the craft and still to this day. I felt not especially empowered to talk to him about starting a project, especially at non-fiction projects. I went and spoke to you and you were very empowering to me. You gave me tools, you shared information. Beyond the information that you shared, you also recommended the book to friends of yours, people, colleagues as well, that might endorse the book, meaning put their name on an endorsement that said this book is worth reading, checking it out, and all that kind of thing, which was amazing.
Even with that, this generosity that I felt from you, this open willingness to jump in and offer me some help, I wasn’t in any position at the time to help you. I wasn’t a CEO of that company at the time. I was an assistant trainer just getting started. What I remember most was the connection on what I would call spiritual level, that we were in meditation while we were speaking. It felt like we were in prayer while we were speaking that very first time. Do you recall that conversation we had?
It was more like, “Beloved, how have you been?” than, “Nice to me you,” like we had done it together before for hundreds of years. I was connecting with you on this planet again. I felt instant connection. I wondered, “Am I the only one feeling this?” You told me at that end of the conversation that you felt it as well. That’s why I had looked forward to all the ways that we could make a difference together. We’re doing that now and that’s why I’m just so blessed and grateful.
We’ve been able to teach together, which is so cool. Keith has taught at our Heart of Enrollment level one master class for speakers and learning how to create some mastery in the area of speaking, facilitating and presenting from stage. At our level two program, Keith has got a beautiful part in our level two program. Keith and Maura both has been such a great addition to the curriculum and the delivery of what our highest intentions are for those students. Thank you for that. I appreciate it. You mentioned Agape and that spiritual center. I remember going to Agape for the first time and listening to Michael Bernard Beckwith. We had Michael Bernard Beckwith on our podcast. I kept running into him like, “What’s going on, brother? Are we supposed to do something together?” Out of nowhere, our paths kept crossing. When things like that happen, I do tend to want to see or feel what’s the higher purpose in what’s occurring. Is there another layer through which my lens can be adjusted to see because I don’t believe in the randomness of anything. I don’t think everything is so intentional. Do you believe in things connecting and that there’s this interconnectedness of everything or is there some place for randomness?
There’s purpose for everything and that it’s all connected. I even go a step further and believe that I’m personally responsible for everything that I have in my life that I either created, promoted or allowed everything that I have in my life. That’s through my words, through my actions, through my beliefs, things that I say, and the things that I believe. As I monitor that and encourage some of my students to monitor that, I’ve found that it just always proves to be true. Every interaction, every connection I’ve had, everything that seemed like a complete nightmare to me when I was going through it, including my divorce from my wife, “An angel told me I’m going to marry her and now we’re getting a divorce. What’s that about?” That was like a seeming failure. It wasn’t because then I realized, “He never said we’d be together forever. He just said she was going to be my wife,” which she was. Now what can I learn from that first marriage? What I learned was that reminded that everything I say happens. I created a list of all the qualities and everything that would be my perfect match in my next mate should I ever meet one. I wrote all of those things down and realize that if I wanted to attract those qualities, I needed to become all of them myself. There were three things on that list that I didn’t feel were me truly 100%, that I was in integrity with that myself.
Do you recall what those three things were?
One was honesty. I was working at a TV production house where constantly, when we were talking to people, the owners were like, “Tell them I’m not available,” or, “Tell them I’m not here.” They had us lying on the phone. I literally had to go to my bosses and say, “I will not lie for you anymore. If you’re not available for an appointment, then I will tell them that and then I’ll ask to reschedule them. If you don’t want to talk to them at all, then I’m going to tell them we’re not interested,” but lying to escape that is not working for me because then I can’t be in integrity with this and I’m working on this list. It took a while, but I became that list fully and completely. I was able to take the list and pray on it and let it go and go about my life knowing that because I had become all of those qualities myself that I would now attract them, and it was only a matter of time. I put things about Maura that her light would enter the room before she would and that she had long brown hair and dark skin and a big nose and a big booty. That was very specific and not only qualities, but physical features so I would know because I thought that I’ll never be in a relationship again. If I’m supposed to be, then I want to make sure that it’s the right person, so I was very clear. I got clear that I was going to meet her at Agape, so I started going to both services every Sunday because I didn’t want to be sleeping in and have to wait three months because she went to the first service. I went to both services for many, many months and then one day, I just saw the light walk in the room before she did and then she walked in. She looked like everything that was described on my list. She came over and she was best friends with the guy that I had just become friends with and got introduced. The more I spoke with her, the more I realized, “This is her,” and the rest is history. Eighteen years later, we’re still newlyweds. It was a match, everything all the way down the line. She had done a very similar process. She called it a marketing plan, but she wrote everything and then realized she needed to become those things, did the work she needed to do, and then gave it to the universe. She was so used to not being worried about it that she didn’t even realize when it was standing in front of her face. It took me a minute to get her to catch up. When she showed me hers, I was like, “Are you stalking me?” Everything that she had said, the practical and the magical, the list was crazy. It was me.
Talk about synergy, I talked to Arielle Ford and we had a conversation and did a podcast and she was describing something very similar. You’ve got to put your request out to the universe. That’s how she described it. You’ve got to put the request out for what you want. What I love is the level of personal responsibility that’s part of the mix in the recipe that you’ve just described. A key ingredient was in being the person you wanted to attract or being the qualities of the person that you want to attract, which is so similar to Gandhi’s, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That’s very different than expecting that someone else will complete you. Randi and I have spoken and taught on the topic of relationships. We love to point out is that it is not the goal to be made complete. That is not a realistic goal to have, that someone else will fix you or complete your soul. Your soul is complete. You are perfect just as you are, and yet if you are alone and want to attract someone, put the request out to the universe and then be that you wish to attract. You can’t say, “I want somebody that’s got a beautiful giving spirit,” and you’re stingy. Those two things don’t line up. You, as a stingy human being don’t attract a generous soul to you. That’s not how it works. Like attracts like and opposites attract as well. That’s polarity.
It’s very much a sexual polarity. It’s a thing that attracts people to continue to propagate the human race. There’s something very different between that form of attraction and the type of compatibility or the type of thing that creates a loving relationship long-term. Short-term, passion and interest in someone, all well and good. I’m not against that, but at the same time, to have a long-term loving relationship, I wouldn’t want to spend time with someone who’s out of integrity. If you’re out of integrity and you want to attract somebody who’s in integrity, meaning you lie, cheat, and you are okay with it, you just do it again and again even though it doesn’t make you feel good. You want to attract somebody who’s a very honest, forthright and trustworthy person, somebody that’s not going to betray you, but you are the kind of person who betrays people and gossips and talks about people behind their back. You might attract somebody to have a couple of weeks or months of fun with, but that’s not going to be a person that will be with you long time. That recipe of being and attracting that which you are being, you can’t be something physically different. It’s not a question of, “I want to be taller.” On your list is, “I would love to attract a mate that’s taller,” you can’t be taller. We’re not talking about superficial, but a physical thing. The thing that we’re talking about is the qualities of the human being.
I said spiritual, not religious. I said drinks occasionally, not professionally. I’ve always been a question asker and I remember being at my aunt and uncle’s 50th anniversary. I was just a teenager at the time and there were a lot of people there that were their friends who had 50, 55, 60, 48 years of marriage. I went to all those couples and was picking their brains because I was curious like, “How did you last that long?” When you saw the surface stuff, that’s why I was saying on the surface, opposites attract. On the surface, I would just look at these people and I’d be like, “How are they even together?” The woman would be really sweet, and the guy would be like cratchy. The woman would be like, “Let’s go dance,” and he’d be like, “I don’t want to dance, you know that.” Opposites attract on the surface, but when I asked them the real questions and got underneath to the good stuff, their qualities, their core beliefs were the same. The qualities of who they were underneath, like the tough guys under their tough exterior, they were just teddy bears. They just all wanted to love and be loved. There were different ways of saying that. They found the person that they felt loved them in the way that they would want to be loved and the way that they would want to love themselves. I realized at a very young age that piece, the stuff underneath is all the same. That’s what you want to attract. You want to attract the people where the stuff underneath is a match to you. I ask people who’ve passed to the other side, they’ve died, and they’ve come back. I read a lot of those people in my life and I asked every one of them, “What did you get when you went on the other side? What happened for you?” They all had something different. One guy was like, “It was completely black and there was nothing.” The next person is, “I went to a light and it was just heart music and it was gorgeous.” Another one was like, “I was met by my family.” All of those people, after they shared what they saw or what happened, I said, “What did you believe was going to happen when you died?” The guy who said, “I believe that I had black,” said, “I believed in nothing, total blackness.” The person who said, “I believe that I’d be met by my family,” and was met by their family. The person who said, “I went to the golden white light and it was all light and it all feel good,” that’s what they believed. Every one of them had proven what Jesus said, “It happens as you believe as you believe that it’s done to you. Pray, believe and that you have, and you’ll receive.” He said it all day long. It proved for me that it happens as you believe, so believe in yourself. Believe in good stuff. Learning to love myself could be the only way that I could truly, unconditionally attract someone who would love me unconditionally.
That’s the most important message that I and our company wants to share in the various ways that we get an opportunity to share it. Unconditional love is the beginning, is the middle, it’s the end. It’s the whole enchilada as we love ourselves, learn how to love ourselves. That’s crazy to think about it, that we have to actually learn and be trained even and get help to love ourselves more fully. As we do, as we are able to love ourselves unconditionally, we then get to love others unconditionally. That’s the true gift to the world is our ability to give unconditional love to others, but we cannot give that which we do not have ourselves and certainly not that which we have not learned.
At the same time, we’re practicing and that’s part of how we do learn is to practice things that are tough and practice things that we’re not good at. We just begin, that’s the thing. One of the things that you help people to practice and become good at is helping people to get their book written and to create a very simple process and ways to help people support them in getting their message, their core message out into the world, so they can not only share that message, but also use it for the betterment of their business, the betterment of reaching more people, touching more lives. It’s the best marketing tool I know at the moment is a book. You’re featured in our book, Pivot, but you’ve given me lots of help and books that I’ve been involved in along the way. They don’t call you “The Book Guy” for no reason. You have helped so many people get a book written. A lot of those people too being ones that wanted to do it but had every conceivable reason why it wasn’t the right time. They didn’t have the skill. They didn’t think they have anything to say. They didn’t know how they can get it constructed because it’s too costly, all the usual impediments or obstacles. What I love about you and Maura and your team is how well you remove those obstacles and make what could be a daunting task simple, and the support that you give folks. I want to thank you for doing that. Anything you want to say about that?
I love what I do and I do what I love. Part of my purpose and part of the reason that my life had been spared all of those times is for that, to help people get their mission and their message out to the world. When I think of all the books that have helped people to write, the ones we published, I add that up together there are millions of lives that have been touched because my life was spared because each of those books reaches so many people, including mine. That is part of my purpose and why I’m here. I get to step forward in that. Each time I get a book from one of our authors and they can get them mailed to me and I open that up and then I read it, there’s just no greater feeling for my soul because I don’t just think, “Here’s another book done.” I think, “How many lives will be touched by this book alone?” As I hold that, and be with that energy, it just brings me back every time to why I do what I do.
What is something that you call a ritual for success that you practice that brings you back to that knowingness?
I start off with gratefuls immediately, “I’m grateful for…” and I do a list. Then a daily prayer and meditation. When you read my story in Pivot, that ‘go within’ process completely changed my life and everything I know about it. Mantras throughout the day. I’ll choose a phrase or a mantra to run for the day that will keep reminding me of the truth of who I am and it’s always going to be all right no matter what it looks like, no matter what gets thrown at me. My wife does this thing that I just love, and this is different. What Maura does, and I love this, is she’ll say in the morning, “Wasn’t today great? Don’t you just love how.” Then she fills in, like how this happened and that happened and how incredible today was and how we got to the end of the day and we just felt like, “We made a difference.”She speaks at the end of the day as if it’s already happened and says, “Wasn’t that great that that happened?” Then I say, “It was great.” Then I go with her and just visualize and see us there at the end of the day and everything has went exactly the way that she stated it. It’s like future visioning and we do that in the mornings. I love that because it’s a piece that she hasn’t heard a lot of people ever say or speak to that she came up with. “Wasn’t it great how today this happened?”
What a treat to envision ourselves in the future, which we know we snap our fingers and the future is upon us. Future’s now. It’s happening every second, so wouldn’t it be great to be in gratitude and feel what it feels like to be so appreciative of something great happening that will be more likely to happen because we’re intending it and future casting it and future visioning it? If we did none of the above, we just said, “It will happen. What will happen is going to happen. I can’t change that. What can I do about the future? I’m in the present.” What a pleasure to have you on the show. What a blessing. This divine breath we get to share together. Knowing as we take this breath, as we received this breath and receive it when we wake up tomorrow, that’s my hope. It’s my prayer. It’s my wish for all of you that we wake up, that you wake up, that I wake up, Keith, that you wake up, and all of our families and friends and everybody, that we all get to wake up tomorrow, wake up our minds and our spirits and our bodies, wake up our consciousness a little more tomorrow than even today. That’s a good trajectory that we’re on if we intend and are grateful for that. Wake up tomorrow, be grateful for that breath knowing that as you take that breath, there are people taking their last breath in that moment and there are babies also being born taking their first breath. It’s sacred, it’s holy, and it’s celebratory, so breathe, be grateful. If you’re wanting to say it and you feel like saying it, I hope that you want to say it, you’ll say, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” Thanks for joining in and being a part of the show. We’d love to continue to get your feedback. Please leave a review on iTunes, subscribe to the podcast. You can get access to more episodes at AdamMarkel.com. Please join our Facebook community because it’s just itching for your presence. If you’ve not gone in there yet, it’s the Start My PIVOT Community on Facebook. The shortcut to that is PivotFB.com. We’ll see you very soon. Love to hear from you. I feel blessed that we get to be in this community together. Ciao for now.
About Keith Leon
Keith Leon is a multiple best-selling author, owns a successful publishing company and he’s a world class trainer. He is well known as, “The Book Guy.” Keith has appeared on many popular radio and television broadcasts, and his work has been covered by Inc. Magazine, LA Weekly, The Huffington Post and Succeed Magazine just to name a few. He has spoken at events that included Jack Canfield, Neale Donald Walsch, Barbara De Angelis, John Gray, Michael Beckwith, Adam Markel and Marianne Williamson. Keith’s passion is teaching people how to go from first thought to bestseller and to create what he calls, The World’s Greatest Business Card.