Today’s episode format is very different, in that this is an interview that I just did on the top-rated Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast, where Cathy Heller interviewed me. Cathy has interviewed major names such as Tony Robbins, Alicia Silverstone, Andy Grammer, Mel Robbins, Gabby Bernstein, and Matthew McConaughey, to name a few.
This was one of the best interviews I’ve ever done and quite different from how I normally talk about The Miracle Morning, so I want to share it with you!
Here’s a comment from someone who already had a chance to listen to this interview:
Diana Kates – Wow!!! Thank you for sharing. This was one of the most impactful interviews that I have ever witnessed.
In our conversation, I’ll dive deep into how to make meditation, visualization, and affirmations a meaningful part of your daily practice, and how we can all work together to transform the world.
- How I transformed my life by getting over my fears and giving Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, a copy of The Miracle Morning book.
- What the art of visualization is–and isn’t–and why it’s so different from something like The Secret.
- Why affirmations are the most misunderstood, underutilized, and effective form of personal development.
- How the 5-Minute Rule helped me to accept, experience inner peace, and ultimately recover after major traumas in my life, and how you can do the same.
- And much more!
- “The problem with visualizing your ideal outcome over and over and over is it can be counterproductive in that it can trick you into thinking it’s a foregone conclusion independent of your effort.” – Hal Elrod
- “Whether it’s our own wisdom or wisdom from God, higher consciousness emerges in silence.” – Hal Elrod
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- Cathy Heller on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube
- Don’t Keep Your Day Job Podcast
- A Fresh Perspective On The Miracle Morning with Hal Elrod and Cathy Heller (YouTube)
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Rich Dad Poor Dad (What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!) by Robert Kiyosaki
- Wayne Gretzky
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- Joe Dispenza
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- Joe Rogan
- Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament by Michael A. Singer
- Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and thank you for tuning in today. We’re doing something quite different. We’re flipping the script, turn on the table. This is actually an interview that I just did. I was interviewed by Cathy Heller. And if you don’t know Cathy, she hosts an extraordinarily popular podcast that I admittedly never heard of. It’s called Don’t Keep Your Day Job, not Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Don’t Keep Your Day Job. And she had me on the show and her show has 40 million downloads. I mean, she’s interviewed Tony Robbins and actors and actresses like Alicia Silverstone and Harry Connick Junior, and who’s the other one? Oh, Matthew McConaughey and all these folks. So, she had a bunch of big names on her show, and she had me on. And it was just, I don’t even know, magical. I don’t know how to explain it other than that. It was like we were just in flow. And I shared the entire interview. She’s a phenomenal interviewer. But we talked about the Miracle Morning. I shared stories I had never shared before. We just approached it in a really different way than I normally do.
And I put it up on YouTube. I don’t know if you follow my YouTube channel. I don’t post too much there but I put it up on YouTube recently and a gal left a comment and she said, “Oh my gosh, wow, thank you for sharing. This was one of the most impactful interviews that I have ever witnessed.” So, I thought, “Alright. You know, there’s something to that. Maybe I should share that with our audience.” So, I’m excited to share this episode with you. Again, very different than normal in that I’m being interviewed and this episode comes out on Cathy’s podcast, I am not sure, like in the next couple of weeks and if you don’t listen to her podcast or subscribe, I encourage you to. She’s, like I said, a phenomenal interviewer and she has phenomenal guests as well. It’s Don’t Keep Your Day Job, so check that out. I’ll put the link in the show notes and all that good stuff.
Before we dive into the episode in the interview, a few things. Number one, I just finished today was the first ever Miracle Morning community monthly gathering. Now, if you’re wondering, “Wait a minute, Hal, I didn’t hear anything about that. This is the first I’m hearing of it. That is because it was a very select group of people that we had come to the first wave. In fact, it was only 50. We have 450,000 people on our email list. Our community is growing every day and we only limit it to 50 of like really long-term community members because this was kind of a test run and we wanted to really make sure it was valuable. It incorporated, we did a live Miracle Morning SAVERS led by Lucy Osborn, who is she’s phenomenal. She is going to be the voice of the Miracle Morning app. We have a new version of the app coming out with Guided Meditations and all of the SAVERS really. She guides you through silence, through affirmations, through visualization, through exercise. She guides you through reading, believe it or not, through scribing. She’s phenomenal. So, she led a live SAVERS, which we’ll do that probably every month.
I then shared about 25, 30 minutes of insights around improving your consistency, your accountability. We broke into groups and had people in the community share with each other what they were learning, what their experiences were. Actually, I led an exercise on crafting your affirmation, and then we actually had you write the affirmation real time and then break and get into groups of two and share it with each other. And there was a lot more than that. We had dance parties, all sorts of stuff. It was high energy. We sent out a survey at the very end real-time so we could get feedback and the meeting was rated a 9.75 out of 10. So, I would say that the first one was a huge success and we are going to open this up to the entire community moving forward. So, I’m really excited. If you want to actually mark your calendar tentatively, right now the plan is to do these the last Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern. So, if you want to mark your calendar for September and we’ll be sending out invitation here in the next probably week or so, but it’d be Wednesday, September 28th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern Time, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Pacific Time.
And then, of course, we had people on the line from Belgium today and South Africa and Australia and Brazil, I mean, all around the world, of course, here in America. So, I know your time zone may be very different from those two that I shared but that’s what you can base it on. What else? Any other announcements? I mentioned Lucy Osborn. The Miracle Morning app is we’re going to be launching a membership version of it, which is, of course, completely optional. But we brought Lucy and we had dozens of people that we were considering to be kind of the voice of the app. And Lucy just has a gift. I mean, people experienced it this morning. She is so talented at combining the SAVERS. Her voice, I mean, she really cares. You just feel loved. You feel nurtured. She takes care of you. She’s phenomenal. I have the advantage of actually I have the app version with her tracks in it right now. So, I do it in the morning. I’ll tell you more about that as we get closer to it being officially released. It’s in the beta version and we’re testing it right now.
Before we get started, I just want to thank our sponsor for today, Organifi. And if you are a longtime listener in the podcast, you probably are well familiar with Organifi. You probably use their products on a regular basis like I do but Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional whole foods supplements in powder form. So, instead of taking a capsule like a vitamin, you tear it open or grab a scoop and you put it in your smoothie or a glass of water or juice or oat milk or nut milk, whatever, and it gives you a boost of energy, vitality, mental cognition. And they have products for all sorts of things. I use their protein powder every day. I use their Pure. They’ve got a variety of products to help you sleep, again, for your energy, for your health, and vitality, etcetera. Check out their products at Organifi.com/Hal. And then if you find something there that you love or that you want to try, use the code “HAL” at checkout and you will get 50% off. I’m sorry. What did I say? 20% off. I don’t mean to over-promise there. You get 20% off your entire order with the discount code “HAL” for listeners of the podcast.
All right. Before I get more tongue-tied, let’s dive into this interview that Cathy Heller, host of the Don’t Keep Your Day Job Podcast. She had me on and you’re getting kind of an early preview of this interview, and it is really a fresh perspective on the Miracle Morning and I sincerely hope it adds value to your life and that you really enjoy this.
Cathy Heller: Thank you so much for coming on here, Hal. I’m really excited that we get to have this chat.
Hal Elrod: Cathy, you’re so sweet. And from how you’ve described your audience, your listeners, they seem sweet, too. I’m excited. Yeah, I’m excited for the talk today.
Cathy Heller: Me, too. I feel like what I’ve been saying so often now is when people ask me, “So, Cathy, you’ve done 650 episodes of your podcast and it’s all about people who’ve become successful entrepreneurs like what do they all have in common?” I’m finding myself saying that they all have a morning practice. I’m not joking. Like, I’m not saying that to get brownie points from you.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah.
Cathy Heller: I mean it. I’m like they’re all doing something like meditation or they’re doing some cardio or they’re grounding in the dirt with their walks outside in the forest bathing. I’m like, but everybody has a freaking morning practice and along you come with, as you say in one of your books, The Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: The Miracle Morning. Tell us about this. What the hell do we need to know that really is what’s up that some of us didn’t get the memo on?
Hal Elrod: So, I’m going to share the way that you just started and shared what you shared is going to change the way I normally share what I share, which is good because I share things. You know, I share this message, this story. It’s often kind of follows the same sequential trajectory. So, I actually want to start kind of almost like in the middle sort toward the end and then maybe work backwards.
Cathy Heller: I like it. I like that we get you out of the predictable.
Hal Elrod: Totally, which feels good. I feel so much better. So, I’m going to start with Robert Kiyosaki. For those that don’t know, Robert Kiyosaki is the author of one of if not the best-selling personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I got to open up for him at an event. So, I was like the warm-up speaker and he was the headliner and I got to have dinner with him afterwards but it was like a group dinner with all the guys that were putting on the event. And I had brought a copy of my self-published Miracle Morning book. This was like six, seven years ago and I had signed it to him and like it was in my computer bag on the floor. And the voice in my head I’m like, “I don’t want to be like a goober and he’s not going to read it like this guy’s worth…” I had googled him. He’s worth $80 million at that time. I go like, “He’s not going to read my little self-published book. You know, I’ve listened to his stuff. I know he reads a ton.” And I heard the Wayne Gretzky quote, “You miss all the shots that you don’t take.” I’m like alright. I’m just going to give it to him. I’m going to look like a goober and whatever happens. So, I gave him the book. You know, I’m like, “Robert, your book changed my life.” And three weeks later, I get an email from his assistant and his assistant says, “Hal, Robert has read the Miracle Morning three times.”
Cathy Heller: No way. This does not happen.
Hal Elrod: Right? My jaw dropped. Like, you imagine that like someone that you look up to, one of your favorite authors has read your book three times in three weeks. And I’m like, “That’s crazy.” She said he does the Miracle Morning every day now most often with his…
Cathy Heller: I just got chills. I can’t take it.
Hal Elrod: Most often with his wife. They actually were doing it together and he said it is totally transforming his life and he wants to have you on Rich Dad Radio on his show. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is like too good to be true.” I go tell my wife. She’s like, “Who’s Robert Kiyosaki?” I’m like, “God, it’s no fun to share stuff with you. You don’t know who these people are.” So, I’m doing the interview with Robert and he is just like advocating for the Miracle Morning so hard and like telling his listeners like, “Look, you got to take action. Go buy that book,” like da, da, da. He’s such an advocate. And here’s what he says. For those of you listening that don’t know what the Miracle Morning is and we’re going to like, again, work backwards to that but it’s made up of six of the most timeless, proven personal development practices in the history of humanity that the world’s most successful people in all walks of life have sworn by for centuries. There is nothing new. What’s new is that you’re doing all six of these practices in one ritual. And the practices are organized by an acronym to keep it memorable, and I owe my wife for that. It was her idea.
I was frustrated writing the book one day and I was like, “These six practices have no rhyme or reason or connection.” And she goes, “Why don’t you get a thesaurus and see if you can swap out some of the words for synonyms and then make an acronym that people could remember?” I’m like, “That’s brilliant.” And the acronym ended up like being almost like a God thing where it was like, “Oh, this is literally the acronym I would want to come up with.” It was S-A-V-E-R-S, and I lengthened that by calling these are the life SAVERS. And they literally are the six practices that saved me from missing out on living life to my full potential. And they’ve done that for millions of people now. So, it was like such a perfect thing. And originally, it was meditation which became silence, the first S in SAVERS or it would have been MAVERS, right? The A is for affirmations. And if you think you know affirmations, put that thought on hold. Your belief about affirmations, they’ve been taught incorrectly to us, I believe, for I don’t know as long as I’ve known about them. The V is for visualization.
The E is for exercise. It doesn’t mean you have to go to a full-blown workout in the morning. It means do 5 minutes of jumping jacks and some stretching like get the blood flowing throughout your body to your brain, wake up your nervous system first thing in the morning. It’ll increase your energy and mental clarity. The R in SAVERS is for reading. No rocket science there but we’re all one book away from changing our life. And that book is The Miracle Morning. No, I was kidding.
Cathy Heller: Not kidding. Not kidding at all.
Hal Elrod: Kidding but not kidding. And then the final S in SAVERS was originally journaling, but again, that would have been the acronym SAVERJ. It would’ve been really weird. It became scribing, right? Which was not even in my vocabulary but it means writing. So, journaling. And the reason I opened it up with the Robert Kiyosaki kind of his story is, well, there are two reasons. Number one, he was worth $80 million. When I created the Miracle Morning, we’ll get into the story, but I was at rock bottom and I was desperate and I was like, “What are the world’s most successful people do every day for their personal growth and development so they can become the person they need to be to create the life that they want? I need to do those things.” That was where the practice was created. So, I was at rock bottom and it changed my life. Robert Kiyosaki was worth $80 million and changed his life. So, now I can say if you’re anywhere between zero and $80 million, this applies to you. Now, if you’re outside of those realms, you might just shut the episode off.
Cathy Heller: Good luck.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Right? But here’s what Robert said in the interview. It was toward the end of the interview, and I’ve never forgotten it because I had never thought of it this way. He said, “Hal, before I read the Miracle Morning,” he said, “Every successful person on the planet attributes their success to one of those six practices, one of the SAVERS.” He said, “But I’ve never met anyone, until the Miracle Morning, I had never met anyone that was doing all six of them.” He said, “If you meditate every day, it’ll change your life. It’ll lower your stress. It’ll help your clarity. If you exercise every day, it’ll change your life. If you read every morning, it’ll change your life.” He said, “Doing all six of these timeless practices, you named it correctly. It’s the Miracle Morning. It literally is creating miracles in my life.” And by the way, if you go look back at pictures of Robert Kiyosaki in 2015 before he read the book, he was heavyset. He was bloated. He did not look healthy. Look at him today. He’s lost all the weight and he has said it in his speeches. It was because of the Miracle Morning. So, yeah, I don’t know where to go from there, but that gives you a broad overview of what we’re talking about.
Cathy Heller: I mean, that was so fun to listen to and so many mike drops. So, let’s unpack this. Why is it that it winds up feeling doable when so many people they hear what you say and they’re so lit up right now but then they get to the first one and they’re like, “I don’t know. Meditation is so anxiety-provoking for me. There’s no way I can start even because the first one already like I’m out.” So, how can we make this feel attainable and sustainable even though those things feel a little bit out of reach? Let’s unpack them, especially as you went on and you were like, “And affirmations are not what you think.” So, let’s unpack a few. We don’t necessarily have to do all six but let’s do the first two. Let’s unpack the first two and we’ll see where we go after that.
Hal Elrod: All right. You’re a great interviewer. Great questions. And I’m not just getting brownie points. I’m sincere. So, actually, I want to start a little bit. I want to create a little context around this, which is not just the practices but the morning routine like there’s two parts to this. There’s should I wake up before I have to? Like, is there really value in waking up before I have to be somewhere, do something, or take care of someone? So, I got to be sold on that, right? And so, if I get sold on that, then it’s okay but how do I beat the snooze button? I’m like addicted to snoozing in the morning until the last possible minute. How do I overcome that? So, we got to address that, right? Like, these are all things I was writing the book. I’m like, okay, I’ve got to convince people that this is life-changing to start your day with the practice. Then I’ve got to go, “Okay. Well, I got to handle the objections. I don’t know how to get up in the morning. I don’t know how to do it. I’ve tried my whole life. I’ve never been able to do it.” And then it’s once you figure those out, what do you do to maximize that time? And that’s kind of where we started with the last one.
Like, you do the SAVERS, right? So, working back from there, why do I have a morning ritual? In fact, one of the questions I often get is, couldn’t I do the SAVERS any time of day and get the benefits? It’s a really fair question. The answer is yes and no. Yes, you’ll get benefits. If you meditated any time of the day, any time, meditation, journaling, any of those are going to benefit you. Here’s the thing. The benefit of meditation, for example, it lowers your cortisol levels, right? And I’m not a neuroscientist but it does things to your brain that allow you to actually if you gain clarity, in fact, what sold me on meditation was an article that I read back when I was researching this Miracle Morning thing in 2008 and it was Fortune 500 CEOs who swear by meditation. I’m like I scratched my head back because I go, “Wait. I always pictured meditation as like a spiritual pursuit, monks meditating all day, not CEOs so they could get in a peak state to go crush it at work.” And that’s how they talked about it. So, the premise of this is how you start your day, sets the tone, the context, and the direction for how you show up to the rest of your day. If you win the morning, you are in a peak position to win the day.
And so, these six practices will benefit you any time of day but the thing is, when you do them in the morning, you’re putting yourself in a peak physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state. And then you get to take on every aspect of your day as the best version of yourself, as a better version of who went to bed the night before. And it makes you a better parent. It makes you a better leader. It makes you a better employee. It makes you a better entrepreneur. It makes you a better podcast. Like, you fill in the blank. Whatever you’re doing, if you start your day, so let’s say you waited till the end of the day to do these practices. You would have missed out on the benefits all day long. You’ll probably sleep better. Awesome. But so that’s why to do it in the morning. And then we can go into this if you want but there’s an entire chapter in the Miracle Morning book called The Five Step Snooze Proof Wake Up Strategy for the Recovering Snoozaholic. It’s the longest chapter title, I think, in history. But it’s literally like because here’s the thing, I wasn’t a morning person when I started this, so I actually had to google how to beat the snooze button like I had to figure it out.
And then I just combined the best of the best of the best and I tried some stuff. I experimented with some stuff. I had this realization that our last thought before bed is almost always the first thought we have in the morning. Think about when you were a kid on Christmas. And if you didn’t celebrate Christmas, think about the day before your first day back to school, a vacation, whatever you were excited about waking up. Was it hard to wake up that morning? No. And it didn’t matter if you didn’t get much sleep or if your sleep was terrible and you were tossing and turning, right? Like, I think no time was I more excited than Christmas Eve and I went to bed. I didn’t even get good sleep because I kept waking. Is it morning? Is it morning? So, it was terrible, interrupted sleep but once it was morning, I sprung out of bed with so much energy and motivation and I had this theory. I thought, “Wait a minute, what if I could create that every single day?” And then I dissected, “What is it about Christmas Eve that allows me to wake up Christmas morning as a kid feeling unstoppable?” And then I just broke that down and made it duplicable so I could do it every single day.
So, yeah, so we can get into How to Beat the Snooze Button. There are some tips and tricks in there and we can also go on to the SAVERS. That’s actually what you asked and I diverted it and I was like a politician on this one.
Cathy Heller: Yeah. You’re a politician. I love the last thing you said so much, which is how could I make every single morning feel like Christmas? And I’m a Jewish girl. I still am obsessed with Christmas. We have like so many Christmas lights at my house on Christmas that I always blow the fuse and then have to add to the GFCI.
Hal Elrod: You’re like Chevy Chase, National Lampoon. I love it.
Cathy Heller: 100%. I love Christmas music, so much of which was actually written by Jews as well. So, everybody gets how cool Christmas morning feels. And I love that as a question like how can I make every morning feel like Christmas? What if we could? So, I do want to break down even I want to like change the thing I ask. I want to break down the first three, the meditation, affirmations, and the visualization. But because you started this episode saying, “Let’s go out of order,” I want to go out of order. I want to start with visualization and then affirmations, and then we’ll talk about meditation. Why is it so important to visualize and what’s the precursor? Like, do you have to actually believe there’s a potential for your life to be better? Do you actually have to be aware that there is more expansion possible before you visualize? Or can you just start visualizing? And how do you suggest to do that? Do we like cut out pictures from a magazine? Do we just close our eyes? Let’s talk about visualization and then affirmations.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And I’m actually going to ask to go visualization, silence, then affirmations because affirmation is my favorite. So, let’s finish strong. So, visualization, so in terms of your question, do you have to believe first? I think the answer is no. In fact, we believe what we repeatedly think, focus on, ruminate over. So, if you haven’t thought about what’s possible for you up until now, you’re not going to believe it’s possible from day one. Like that’s putting the cart before the horse. You need to see it a few times. You need to affirm it a few times. You need to imagine it, and then it starts to feel kind of real. Visualization, similar to affirmations, I think that we haven’t been taught the most effective way to do it. We’ve been taught to visualize the ideal outcome, period. That’s it. Like The Secret ten years ago was like you said, “Cut out pictures. Make a vision board.” I always joke that like my vision board became an invisible board because it just sat on the wall and I never looked at it and I just walked by it every day.
Cathy Heller: Can we talk about that for a second? Because you just mentioned it. I’m allergic to The Secret. Every time someone mentions it, I feel allergic to it. And when it came out, I didn’t want to watch it. I wasn’t interested in it. And then meanwhile, cut to like I’m a huge fan of meditation and have been to several Joe Dispenza events. Love the idea of visualizing, but for whatever reason, I intuited that like not that way. Like, I was like, “Not like that.” So, I found my way to doing it and I want to do it even better, which is why I love that I get to talk to people like you. So, tell us why that way no? And what way yes?
Hal Elrod: So, the problem with visualizing your ideal outcome over and over and over is it can be counterproductive in that it can trick you into thinking it’s a foregone conclusion independent of your effort. You see it over and over and you go, “Oh my gosh, I just know it. It’s coming.” It gets in the realm of like manifesting in such, which that’s a whole another topic that I do believe there is some merit to. But I think that people hang their hat on the metaphysical without focusing on the practical. And to me, the practical actually leads to the metaphysical, but not always the other way around. So, for me, that’s one of the things I think that made the Miracle Morning sticky is I took these concepts like visualization, which is like, “Oh, just see it,” and affirmations, which we’re going to talk about. But these practices that were kind of woo-woo the way they’d been explained and you couldn’t really grasp them, they weren’t very practical and my brain just doesn’t work that way. I’m like, no, I need it to be practicable. Practicable? I made a word. Practical, actionable, and results-oriented. Like, I don’t want to just feel good and trick myself into thinking something amazing is going to happen. I want to see measurable results from the practice that I’m doing.
So, part one of visualizing, seeing the ideal outcome, there is merit to it because, and it goes back to your question, when you see something over and over and over, when you vividly imagine it, you feel it, it starts to become real for you. So, I’ll give you an example. I hated running. I’ve hated running my entire life and I still hate running. I do not identify as a runner. Not at all. However, when I started doing the Miracle Morning way before it was a book idea. This was 2008. It was my own practice. When I was $50,000 in personal credit card debt, my house was being foreclosed on. Basically, when the economy crashed, I crashed with it like millions of Americans. That’s what led me to figuring out what can I do differently to change myself and change my life. And when I got like as I started doing Miracle Morning, I just started thinking bigger and bigger. I defined what I call level 10, right, which is this isn’t rocket science but I went, what do I look like at a level 10 in every area of my life? What is level 10 health look like for me? What is level 10 motivation? Like every aspect of my life, what would it look like for me to be level 10 fulfilling my potential in every single area?
And physically, a friend of mine, he founded a charity called the Front Row Foundation and he hosted an annual run for the Front Row Foundation. And he called me. He had called me right before I started the Miracle Morning and he said, “Hey, we’re doing the Atlantic City Marathon again this year. You’re going to come out and run with us.” I said, “Dude, I’m not a runner. Like, I’ll donate some money. I am not running.” And once I started the Miracle Morning, I don’t know if he pinged me again or I just thought about it, but I’m like, “Wait a minute. I hate running. I’ve never run more than a mile. What if I were to run 26 miles in a day? What if I were to run a marathon? That is so far outside the realm of who I’ve ever been, what I believe is possible for me.” Again, I did not believe in, like, running a mile, which was only required P.E. class. That’s why I did it, right? And I hadn’t run once since high school, ten years before. But I thought that would force me. If I committed to that publicly, I would have to become a level 10 version of myself. I didn’t even know who that guy is that could run that but I’m going to do it. And then I decided to double it and commit to a 52-mile ultramarathon. And I’d never run more than a mile.
So, it’s a long way of getting to here’s how I incorporated visualization. Every day I would visualize crossing the finish line of the Atlantic City Marathon. In fact, I kind of went Secret style and I actually printed off an 8.5 x 11 image of the finish line. So, I literally knew what it would look like as I was approaching it to cross it. Now, visualizing that every morning and literally for just like 60 seconds, I would visualize it and then I would create a compelling emotional state around that and I would affirm it. I go, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to train. I’m going to work. I’m going to run 52 miles. I’m going to cross that finish line. I’m going to do it.” That’s the value in visualizing your ideal outcome is that it becomes real for you and you want to attach it to a compelling, emotional state. But here’s the second step that I’m going to share with everybody. This to me is what makes visualization effective, and it’s rarely taught to us, or at least it’s not in The Secret, that kind of thing. Number one, yeah, visualize your ideal outcome. Get excited about it. Make it real for you.
Number two, visualize yourself engaged in the necessary activity today, the training, the phone calls, the writing, whatever you have to do today, literally close your eyes and picture the time that your alarm on your phone goes off, that you got to do that thing. And it’s often the thing you don’t like doing that you always procrastinate on that’s going to get you where you want to go, right? So, you visualize. So, I would visualize myself. Here’s how it played out. I would close my eyes and I would see my phone alarm going beep, beep and I would hear it in my head. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. I pick it up. It was 7 a.m. because that’s when I committed to train, to run. I would picture myself in my mind. It was like a little movie. I would turn it off. I would walk into my bedroom, I would picture myself putting on my clothes to go running, and then I would visualize myself. I would picture myself walking across my living room. I mean, like literally it was the whole thing into the room, into the closet, get dressed, head out the front door. I would open my front door. I would visualize seeing my sidewalk in front of my house. And then I would say something like, “Hell, yes. Like, this is going to be the best run of my life today. I am going to be a better version of myself because I’m following through with something that I don’t really want to do but I’m going to enjoy this, right? I’m excited.”
I would get myself in a peak emotional state while I visualized getting ready to go for the run. That is the most important, powerful, effective technique I’ve ever discovered for visualization because here’s what would happen. When the alarm went off at 7 a.m. and if you’re listening right now, I want you to imagine anything that you need to do in your life to get where you want to go that you might not like doing. There might be rejection involved. It might be painful. It might be uncomfortable. It might be whatever, out of your comfort zone. So, when the alarm on my phone went off at 7 a.m., I picked it up. And guess what? I didn’t visualize putting it back down and going, “I don’t want to run. I’ll just do it later.” No, no, no. That’s not what I rehearsed. I rehearsed getting up, going into my closet. So, guess what happened without even thinking? I looked at it. It said 7 a.m. I got up. I went in my closet. I changed my clothes. I went out front. I opened the front door. And I was flooded with a rush of positive emotions as I looked at that sidewalk because that’s what I rehearsed. That is the way to effective visualization. Spend one minute visualizing your ideal outcome and 4 minutes walking through the activity that you need to do today that will get you to that outcome and feeling, picturing, imagining that emotional state that is so compelling that when it’s time to do the activity, you won’t think twice. You’ll just do it.
Cathy Heller: So good. And I mentioned before that I’m Jewish and something that’s Jewish that a lot of people know in the zeitgeist is the word mazel tov like people have heard it in like movies and whatever. And people don’t really know what it means, so they think it means good luck, right? “Oh, mazel tov!” But mazel is a word that’s actually an acronym that stands for makom z’man la’asot, which makom is place, z’man is time, and la’asot is action. And so, a friend of mine who actually created a TV show called Third Rock from the Sun read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers. And I had Malcolm Gladwell on a couple of times, and I reminded him of this. My friend read that book and said Outliers, which is about how the most successful people in history became outliers, my friend read the book and sent Malcolm Gladwell a note and said, “Your book basically outlines what Mazel is. It’s being in the right place at the right time but having done the work so that when you’re in the right place at the right time, all of the action you’ve taken makes you the person for this role,” which is where he talks about in Outliers, The Beatles.
But before The Beatles were The Beatles, they had been a band for eight years performing together, and they were so coherent and so tight that when they then went to be The Beatles, they read each other in seconds. Their harmonies were amazing, right? Like we forget all of that stuff. So, I like what you’re saying so much because, again, people are like, “I’ll just sit here and think about a red bicycle,” and it’s like what are you going to do today? It’s not going to show up in your backyard. So, for it to show up in your front yard, do you need to go to Amazon? Do you need to go get the $390 for the red bicycle? So, what do you need to do for the $390? And that’s where there’s like your inspired action is so helpful and compelling. And like you said, we bow out of the game so fast when things become uncomfortable because you haven’t rehearsed the part where it’s like, you can tolerate the process, you can tolerate making the brownies, and actually having to stir and wait for them to rise in the oven, and then the brownies will be there because you tolerated the patience of the process. And that’s what you’re saying, like show up for it.
But my question to you is, what if somebody has this thing where they’re like, “I want…” this just came to me, “I want a podcast as big as Joe Rogan?” I just talked to somebody who said that’s what she wants. What if then she doesn’t know what the steps are? So, she’s like, “I don’t even know how. I would visualize for 4 minutes the steps because I don’t know the steps. I could understand the steps to learning how to run the marathon, but I don’t know the steps to that.” And so, then what do they do?
Hal Elrod: I mean, so it’s always if you don’t know what the steps are, then you google what the steps are, right? I mean, but really like google how to get started.
Cathy Heller: Like, they’re there. They’re there. They’re like somewhere.
Hal Elrod: Here’s the thing. Well, yes and no. There’s definitely no steps to how to get as big as Joe Rogan, right? And then my dream is actually not to be as big as Joe Rogan. Maybe. I mean, sure it is. But that my podcast that I can just talk about anything I want like Joe Rogan, like I’m always worried I’m going to offend half my audience if I say this or that.
Cathy Heller: Hal, you just nailed it. That’s what my agent said. I asked my agent in Kurdish, “Why do you think his podcast is so good?” She goes, “Unapologetic, period.” That’s it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Cathy Heller: Being unapologetic is a very high, it’s a high vibe.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.
Cathy Heller: No, we’re all pleasers and I’m sure he was at one point too.
Hal Elrod: So, it’s simply dedicating time to figuring it out, right? And this is where in that case and this is actually a great question that there’s a broader question of do I have to do all the SAVERS every day? Which is the best? Like that kind of thing. I don’t visualize every day. In fact, that’s one of the only SAVERS, that is probably the only SAVERS that I don’t do every single day. I do it as needed. I do it when there is something that I need to put myself in that peak state for. If I’m giving a speech that day, I’ll always visualize taking the stage, embodying my best energetic self, like I’ll just rehearse that so that when I’m there, I’ve already done it. But I don’t visualize every day. So, in the case of her, she might go, “I’m going to visualize just the end result, and then I’m going to open my schedule and I’m going to commit one hour to figure out how to grow my podcast.” That’s it, right? That’s it.
Cathy Heller: And I think what you’re really saying is visualize for 4 minutes when you do choose to do this visualization a few times a week that you’re tolerating being in the process of this, whatever that is. You’re tolerating like I’m in this process and I’m up for figuring out this process piece. I’m not skipping over it. Okay.
Hal Elrod: Let me say the word tolerating doesn’t resonate with me just because. I get where you’re going with that. But to me, I really want people to be rehearsing, being in a peak state, being excited to do something. Fake it until you make it like I hated running, right? So, I didn’t visualize tolerating running because that wouldn’t have compelled me to go on the run. I was like, “I’m going to be a better version of myself. I’m doing something that I hate that’s difficult because it’s making me better.” So, I was like that’s something I can get excited about, you know?
Cathy Heller: I love that note. I love that note. Okay. And now I want to hear what you had to say because you mentioned, “Oh, we don’t know what the affirmations really are but I know you want to save that one.” So, tell me why people you think are going to be able to meditate when they hate it.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, meditation, and I do love that when I use the thesaurus, that meditation became silence because it’s such a broader term and it gives so much kind of room. You might pray for 5 minutes in the morning. Prayer might be your silence. There may be no meditation involved. But however, there are over 1,400 scientific studies. That was years ago. It’s probably tripled since then, who knows, on the benefits of meditation and benefits in terms of emotional, physical, mental. I mean, there are so many benefits of meditation. I just read Michael Singer’s book, Living Untethered. Have you read that?
Cathy Heller: Yeah. It’s amazing.
Hal Elrod: God, it’s so good. But anyway, Living Untethered, he defined meditation so well and then he addressed the frustration that most of us have, which is like, “I can’t quiet my mind.” Like, I suck at meditate. Like, the first time I meditated, I’m like, and not just the first time, for like weeks, you know? It was like…
Cathy Heller: Yeah. Me too.
Hal Elrod: I suck at this. I’m not doing it right. My mind’s flooded with. And Michael, he goes, “Many people would say I’m terrible at meditating because my mind is flooded with thoughts and I can’t stop thinking.” And he said, “Oh, most people are flooded with thoughts but they’re not aware of that. They’re not conscious of that. Now, you are. Beautiful. What a powerful meditation that you had to be aware of how your mind is out of frickin control. And now that you’re aware of it, you’re no longer under its spell. Now, from that higher place of consciousness, you can keep watching your mind and what it does.” And then I’ve experienced this, you know, the longer you do anything, the better you get at it, right? And the more you can meditate. And the simplest meditation is counting your breath. Actually, Michael Singer talked about that in his book, too, and he says, “Count to 25, 25 breaths, each inhale and exhale. That’s one. And then you go to 25.” And then if you get to three or four or five and all of sudden you notice that you’re thinking about what happened yesterday and you totally even forgot you’re meditating, which is what happens to me. And it still happens. Years later, it still happens, right? You can either just if you remember where you were counting, go back to four or five, six, whatever, or you can start over again.
There is value. It’s kind of one of those things where they say like, “Even if you don’t know it’s working, it’s working.” And so, quieting your mind or even not even just quieting it. Just observing it without judgment.
Cathy Heller: Witness. Exactly.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Being in that witness consciousness, that’s transformative. It’s that separation of, yeah, my mind’s frickin crazy. But as Michael talks about in the book, “But I am not my mind. I am not my body. I am not my name. I am not my age. I am the one who notices it all. I am witness consciousness.” I am the one that notices, “Oh, I have a crazy mind,” and you sit back in that seat of consciousness. And silence, it allows you to calm your nervous system, to get centered, and there’s physiological benefits in terms of lowering your cortisol levels, that kind of thing. And let me just say this, let me talk about the way the opposite of how most people start their day, which is not silence. Most of us start our day with chaos, right? Yeah. We reach over. I mean, how many seconds are you waiting before you grab your phone and start scrolling something, checking email, one second, Facebook, whatever. I have a rule. I do break it sometimes, but my general guideline is I’m not allowed to check my phone until I’ve finished my meditation. My affirmations are on my phone. The Miracle Morning app is now a thing. So, I do use it. And I say use the affirmations and we’re about to launch a like membership side with guided meditation so I’ll be using those at some point.
Cathy Heller: Oh, cool, Hal. So cool.
Hal Elrod: It’s been on our list for like ten years. It’s really cool. But the point is I’m not allowed to check my phone for at least like 10, 20 minutes when I’ve been up and I’ve gotten centered and I’ve made my tea, right? Like I’ve gone through this ritual and most of us start our day with that mental overstimulation, right? We grab the phone and we’re stimulated from day one. And if you think about it, back in the day, moments of peaceful, purposeful silence, where we could reflect, where we could really think, where these brilliant insights came to us, they were built into our lives, whether you were waiting in line or you were staring out the window of a business or you were on a train to work. And now our smartphone has all but made that extinct. And that is when our greatest brilliant insights, our wisdom emerges, whether it’s our own wisdom or wisdom from God, higher consciousness it emerges in silence. That’s why your best ideas often come in the shower because you can’t have your frickin phone in there, right?
Cathy Heller: I was just talking to someone about that, the same girl who wants to have that podcast. She’s like, “I was in the shower last night,” and I’m like, “Of course because you finally stopped trying to figure it out by busying your mind,” and there it was. Yes.
Hal Elrod: I’m glad you said that because that is an aspect of it, is trying to figure it out versus quieting your mind and allowing like where do ideas come from? Whenever somebody says, “Wow,” when they compliment me on the Miracle Morning, “It’s amazing what you’ve created.” I’m like, “Eh, thank you,” but the idea came from somewhere.
Cathy Heller: The download.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, right? It was a download. I’ll take credit for I’ve been working hard for the last ten years to share it but I don’t take credit for any ideas. I don’t know where they come from. I’ll take credit for I give myself the silence that allows for the ideas to come, right?
Cathy Heller: It’s very brave, you know. I think that the reason people are constantly running from silence is because there is a whole bunch of identifying with that mind, that monkey mind. And that monkey mind is not just thoughts, right? Thoughts don’t stay in our mind. They become feelings that cortisol creates stress and anxiety. And then we’re like, “If I’m silent for even 40 seconds, I’ll be caught in that and then I’ll be thinking about my past and my ex, my mother, and my this,” and it’s like terrifying. So, we just keep running. But if we learn what you said so beautifully, you’re not that. You were the witness to that. And you have even one pause to be in that witness state, you will be free for a moment of constantly being reactive to that which isn’t even essential to you. It’s just your mind. So, before you are going to be hopping off soon, tell us a little bit about the affirmations and why you think they’ve been taught incorrectly and what you think they really are.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Affirmations I think are the most misunderstood, underutilized, and effective form of personal development. There’s multiple reasons. One reason they might be misunderstood, if you grew up when I don’t know, we look about the same age, I’m assuming back in Saturday Night Live when Stuart Smalley had that segment.
Cathy Heller: I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it…
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And doggone it, people like me.
Cathy Heller: People like me and I have friends.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, it was positive affirmations with Stuart Smalley. So, it made a joke out of it. He used to look in the mirror and say a lot of positive stuff to himself. But here are the two main problems from my vantage point. Number one, we’ve been taught one of two strategies, either lie to yourself, like affirm that something is true that is not true, so you have tricked yourself into believing it. Example of that is, if you want to be wealthy, we’re taught, just affirm I am wealthy, just own it, embody it. I am a millionaire.
But if you’re struggling financially, then you’re smart enough to know the truth and the truth will always prevail. So, if you’re like, I am a millionaire, your subconscious is like, dude, you’re not even a thousandaire, like, you need to stop lying to yourself. And you’re like, shut up, I’m doing my affirmations. You’re literally creating an internal conflict that doesn’t need to be there. So, lying to yourself is never the optimum strategy.
The second problem with affirmations, the way that we’ve been taught is we’ve been taught to use this flowery, passive language that similar to visualizing the ideal outcome, it promises a result independent of any effort. I’ll give an example that most of us have probably heard some variation of this affirmation, so a financial affirmation. I am a money magnet. Money flows to me effortlessly and in abundance. If you affirm that, now, why are you people, actually, why is that affirmation stood the test of time? Because it gives you temporary relief from your money woes.
If you’re struggling financially and you’re like, oh my God, I’m so stressed looking at my bank account balance, I need to do my affirmations. And then you pull them out and you get in a state of delusion and you go, oh, I’m a money magnet. Money is magically going to come into my life out of thin air and solve all of my problems. And I’m going to be a millionaire and everything’s going to be okay because I’m a magnet and I’m attracting it all. And then you go, oh, that feels way better than when I was looking at my bank balance and I was super stressed. Oh, thank you, affirmations, you give me relief.
Like, it’s delusional, though, and it doesn’t produce results. It makes you feel better for a moment, and then it deludes you, and then your finances don’t improve. And then the next day, you have to do the affirmation again. It’s like taking pharmaceutical drugs that are handling the symptoms for a few hours and not solving the root cause.
I’m going to give you gals and guys three steps to create affirmations that will produce measurable, meaningful results and make you feel good. But I don’t want to just feel good for the sake of feeling good, I want to feel good to an end. Number one, affirm what you’re committed to. Don’t affirm something that’s not true, don’t affirm what you want because in life, we don’t get what we want just because we want it, we get what we want if we are committed to it and that’s it.
So, if you want to be a millionaire, say, I’m committed to becoming a millionaire. You can even have a date, by this date. Here’s my affirmation formula. Step one, I am committed to _____, no matter what, there is no other option. I am committed to running 52 miles, no matter what, there is no other option. When I had cancer which we haven’t got into that, I can go a little longer by the way, let’s just keep going. I get 15 more minutes. I had forgotten that we were talking about finishing– so, yeah, let’s keep going. But when I had cancer, I affirmed I am committed to beating cancer and living to be 100 years old alongside Ursula and the kids, no matter what, there is no other option.
And again, we give what we’re committed to. And I was given a 20% to 30% chance of surviving, this was about five years ago. And when I would feel fear that I might die despite doing everything in my power to survive, I thought, what if I die? Like, what if I’m in the 70% to 80% of the people that die from this? I would pull up the affirmations. I had them everywhere. They were printed on my bedside table. They were on my phone. They were with me at all times. I’d pull up the affirmations, whenever I’d feel that fear. I would acknowledge this fear is not serving me. I’d pull the affirmations and I would go, I am committed to beating cancer and living to be 100-plus years old alongside Ursula and the kids, no matter what, there is no other option. I would read it with such conviction and such passion and such emotion that it became my reality, and eventually, the fear disappeared. I didn’t even really feel the fear anymore because I replaced it with that faith.
So, step one, affirm what you’re committed to. Step two, affirm why it is a must for you. Why is it a must? Why are you committed? And for me, I like to list bullet points of the most compelling reasons why I am committed to that outcome. So, going back to the affirmation, the cancer affirmations, I said I’m committed to beating cancer for Ursula because I promised her forever. Sometimes, I get emotional whenever I say this. I’m committed to beating cancer for Ursula because I promised her forever and a day. I’m committed to beating cancer for Sophia and Halsten because they need their dad’s love, guidance for the rest of my long life. I’m committed to beating cancer for my mom and dad because they don’t deserve to lose another child. My sister died when I was eight. I’m committed to beating cancer for myself because I deserve to live a long, happy, healthy life. And I’m committed to beating cancer for the millions of people who are themselves battling cancer or some other disease and were not blessed with the knowledge or resources that I was and they desperately need my leadership and guidance. And I’m committed to helping as many people as I can.
So, that was the fuel that powered the affirmation. As Simon Sinek says, it’s the why, the why that I’m committed to this because this, this, this, this, and this. And without step two, step one can fall flat. You can forget why are you committed to that thing that’s so far outside of the realm of what you’ve done before. It’s so far away from where you are now. It’s so far away from what people are telling you is even possible. Step two is where you fuel that.
And then step three is what are you committed to doing and when? What are you committed to doing and when? That’s where the rubber meets the road. Step one, you’re affirming what you’re committed to. You’re affirming it, you’re embodying it, it becomes your reality. That commitment is your reality. Step two, you are affirming why, why, why, why, why, why will I do everything in my power? No matter how I feel, or I don’t feel like it, I don’t care what I feel like, and I committed. And here are the reasons why.
And then step three, and so, I will do these things on these days. If you’re writing a book, I will write every morning from 7 to 8 a.m. If you’re trying to run a marathon, I will train from 7, whatever. When I was in sales, it was, I will make 20 calls a day, five days a week from this time to this time, no matter what, there was no other option.
And so, when you follow that formula, you are programming your subconscious mind for success. You are programming your conscious behavior, you’re literally setting your behaviors up for success. I mean, that’s the reason affirmations are my favorite of the SAVERS. And I believe they’re the most effective form of personal development is how precise you can be in designing the exact mindset that you need and the actions that you must take and then tweaking it. I edit my affirmations all the time. I’m like, ooh, actually I’m going to tweak this. Ooh, I’m reading this book and this quote. Oh, that will fuel my why even more. So, my affirmations are always evolving as I’m evolving, and I think they should for all of us. So, those are three of the SAVERS. And like Robert Kiyosaki said, any one of them will change your life when you do all six, the Miracle Morning, it will create miracles in your life as it has for millions of people around the world.
Cathy Heller: I think your vibration is what saves people’s life. Literally, if there’s two guitars on the table and I pluck the C string on this guitar, the C string on the other guitar will vibrate. That’s called the resonance. And it is undeniable how much resonance you’re being offered. It’s like very good Wi-Fi. It’s like you are somebody else’s personal hotspot. And I was totally brought to tears. And I’m saying it out loud only because you’re all listening to this so you couldn’t see that. And it’s because when we hear truth and we see truth, we cry because there’s no way to not cry because our soul says, ding, ding, ding, ding, that’s true. This is what truth feels like. This is what truth looks like.
And so, I just so honor and I’m in awe of your courage and your generosity because every one of your whys was for somebody else. And it’s interesting because people tend to feel miserable when they’re obsessed with themselves. Like, we actually don’t want to be the center of our world. We don’t want to have a lot of free time. We’re like, what do I want? What do I do this? It’s like, really, we get the most lit up for other people and we’re put here for other people.
And so, it was just so gorgeous and really inspirational to hear you talk about that’s why. And I think a lot of people give up on themselves so they have a lot of learned helplessness. But when you put it in that way, like you know I’m going to live for these kids, for my parents, for my wife, then, oh, boy, is that I think touched a nerve with everyone. Like you might think not so highly of yourself, but every one of us can think of a person in our life who we will do it all for. So, that was just so beautiful.
And it’s really amazing, Hal, like it’s one thing that people like Robert Kiyosaki admire you. And that’s another thing that you’ve been able to build this beautiful fortune and have an impact. But you literally had an aggressive form of leukemia. And now, you’re sitting here. And that is something that’s in your rearview mirror. That’s mind-blowing to people. They’re like, well, that’s not something you can rehearse doing anything about. And here you are. So, there are no excuses. Like no one has an excuse. No one has an excuse.
And for those people who are like, but you don’t understand the evidence of my situation, you’re like, you don’t understand the evidence that was my situation. So, if they’re still holding on to this self-defeatist, why would I even bother? I’m never going to win the marathon and I’m definitely not going to beat cancer. What might be the one thing that you could say to possibly convince them that there’s definitely a potential in this reality, that they, in fact, can beat it and they can also finish the race too.
Hal Elrod: I would say that one of my favorite affirmations, which is I’ll put it on, you listening. So, instead of I am, I’ll say, you are just as worthy, deserving, and capable of everything that you want as any other person on earth. And life’s just waiting for you to believe it, act on it, and prove it. But that to me is one of the most fundamental affirmations, I am just as worthy, deserving, and capable of _____. It could be specific, anything that you want, as any other person on earth. I am just as worthy, deserving, and capable of beating cancer as any other person that has ever beat cancer.
And if you’re listening to this, like you really do, I don’t know how to say it. But you’re extraordinary, like you are a miracle to the way that I look at God is God is the ocean and we are all droplets of water in the ocean that is God. There is no separation. It’s made of the same stuff, made in the image and likeness of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is within, so on and so forth. And if you’re listening to this, like we look at our past. I talked about in the book, I call it rearview mirror syndrome, that we all have this rearview mirror in our subconscious mind, and whenever we’re faced with a challenge or an opportunity, we check the rearview mirror, we’re like, well, how have I responded in the past? Or what in my past proves that I can overcome or accomplish this? And you’re like, nothing. There’s nothing. Right?
Cathy Heller: I got nothing.
Hal Elrod: I got nothing. Like when I wrote the Miracle Morning, it took me three years. I was like, who am I? Nobody’s going to read this. Like, I don’t know. And I had already written a book that didn’t sell. So, like my review, I said, Hal, you busted your butt to write a book and nobody bought it. Like, you know? So, that was my review. And I doubted myself every day, but if this changes one person’s life, I have a responsibility because this morning ritual changed my life and I wasn’t a morning person. Then I thought, it’s all my coaching clients that changed their life and they weren’t morning people. And I’m like, it could work for anybody.
And I’m a selfish as*hole. If I don’t get over my issues, my insecurities, my self-doubt, my writer’s block, whatever, if I don’t get over it, like it’s not about me. That’s been a mantra of mine since 2005. I read the book Love Is the Killer App by Tim Sanders, and he talked about selflessly adding value to the lives of other people. I don’t know if he used that words, but that’s how I walked away that became my purpose in life, to selflessly add value to the lives of every person I possibly could.
And you can be selflessly selfish because like you said, Cathy, that’s what lights you up. Guess what? I feel really good when I help others. So, it’s like a win-win, better than when I just tried to do something for myself and go watch Netflix. I don’t feel lit up and fulfilled when I watch Netflix. But if I help somebody, that’s amazing. It’s like everybody wins, but yeah, so.
Cathy Heller: It’s beautiful. I want to ask you though, this like you have such a positive vibration, like it’s more than like you’re so positive. It’s like your whole being is plus. It’s like all plus sides. And your charge, it gives charge to other people’s batteries. That’s how charged you are with life force. So, what was it like for you to be already on this journey and then have this diagnosis? Like, weren’t you like, wait a minute, I’m positive, I’m here? Like, were you blindsided by that? Or did you walk away with some wisdom of like, oh, this is how I made meaning of this out of like a moment where I was already pretty onto positivity and living a life well lived?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I had a reference. So, I was 37 when I was diagnosed with cancer. When I was 20 years old, I was hit head on by a drunk driver at 80 miles an hour and I was found dead at the scene. I broke 11 bones. I was clinically dead for six minutes.
Cathy Heller: How does anyone do an hour podcast with you? It needs to be day, or a retreat. Alone in the woods with a microphone!
Hal Elrod: Joe Rogan style. You’re like, there are three minutes left and you tell us you died in a car accident. That’s usually like the opening story I share, actually. So, we really went backwards. But I was dead for six minutes. I was in a coma for six days, came out of the coma to learn I had 11 broken bones and permanent brain damage.
And at 20 years old, I don’t care how old you are, at 20 years old, I was like, that’s hard news to take. And they said I’d be in a wheelchair the rest of my life. And I decided to maintain two opposing ideas at the same time. I thought, okay, if I’m in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I will be the most grateful person that you’ve ever met in a wheelchair because I’m in a wheelchair either way.
So, I will not let my wheelchair affect my emotional well-being and my quality of life. And I have to give credit to a mentor. A year and a half earlier, I had learned this thing called the Five-Minute Rule. He taught us that whenever something negative happens, you set your timer for five minutes and you get five minutes to feel the feelings – bitch, moan, complain, cry, vent, whatever you have to do. When the timer goes off, you say three very powerful words, can’t change it. Can’t change it. It’s an acknowledgment.
I can’t change what happened five minutes ago. There’s no value in wishing it were different. There’s no value in wishing it didn’t happen. There’s no value in feeling angry, sad, upset, depressed about it. Learn from it if you made a mistake and you feel like, great, okay, but you don’t need to dwell on it for hours or days or weeks or months.
So, I’ve been practicing this Five-Minute Rule in the context of a sales career where whenever I have a canceled order or a no-show or stuff that normally a salesperson, it would ruin their day, it would only ruin mine for five minutes. And after a while, it became 5 seconds because I would set a timer on my phone, I would go, son of a– I can’t believe this happened. And then I would get mad for a sec and then I looked at my phone, I’d go, all right, I have four and half minutes left. Like, what’s the point in getting– like, why don’t I just accept? Why don’t I say I can’t change it now and get on the phone and schedule some more appointments?
So, it elevated my consciousness around, I don’t ever have to feel bad. I can just choose to, whatever feelings come up, I can process them very quickly and move on. And I had practiced that in traffic, I mean, you name it, where I literally, no matter what happened, I call it emotionally invincible, kind of where I’d feel it, I would go, this sucks. Okay, what can I learn from the emotion? Why am I feeling this? Oh, I’m feeling this because I shouldn’t do that again. Got it. Lesson learned. Moving on.
And so, when I came out of the coma after the car accident, it was very quick. I mean, it was a few days of like, oh, my God. Like picturing, okay, what’s a wheelchair life? Like you, there was so much on that around my new reality. I woke up and I’m broken bones and all this, but I decided I can’t change it. So, even though this is much bigger adversity than the other stuff that I’ve been working on in the last year and a half, the little stuff, the principle is the same. I can’t change that I broke 11 bones, I can’t change if I’m in a wheelchair the rest of my life, but I can choose to be the happiest, most grateful person anyone’s ever seen in a wheelchair. That’s my choice.
But I thought I’m not going to accept that I can never walk again as the only option. I’m going to visualize what I want. I’m going to visualize walking again. I’m going to pray that I can walk again. I’m going to maintain unwavering faith that I can walk again and not be disappointed if I don’t. It’s a really interesting dynamic, where most of us, if we want something, the more we want it, the more disappointed we are if we don’t get it. And I realize that’s not the only option.
You can want something really bad, you can visualize it, you can maintain faith, and you can accept life before it happens. So, no matter what the outcome is, I’m at peace because why wouldn’t I be? Well, how does it serve me to be depressed and sad and angry over something I can’t change? It doesn’t. So, no matter what happens in my life, I’ll be at peace. But I’m going to focus on what I want, I’m going to visualize it, I’m going to put all my energy, my vibration, as you say, into that.
Two weeks after I came out of the coma, the doctors came in with routine x-rays. They said, we don’t know how to explain this, Hal, but your body’s healing so quickly. You can take your first step today in therapy. And I had broken my femur in half. I had broken my pelvis in three places. I had broken my arm in half, shattered my elbow, severed my radial nerve, fractured my eye socket, severed my ear, I mean, all of that.
And three weeks after I was found dead, two weeks after the coma, I took my first step. So, when I was diagnosed with cancer, the day I was diagnosed, my wife was out of town and I was told I had 20% to 30% chance of living. But literally, I felt very little emotional pain because I had practiced this mindset for 17 years. So, I’m like, oh, I have cancer. Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that. Okay, how am I going to beat it? Like, that’s literally where I went.
It wasn’t, oh, I feel sorry for my– it’s like there’s no value in that. And if you’re listening and you’re like, what? How do you? It’s because I practiced it for 17 years. Like, if I was diagnosed with cancer, when I first learned what I’m sharing with you now, I wouldn’t be able to do this. This is practicing acceptance, can’t change it, five-minute rule for 17 years.
But I called my wife, I told her. She broke down in tears, which caused me to break down in tears, of course. But I said, sweetheart, two things I want to share with you. Number one, I’m not scared. I have unwavering faith that I can beat this cancer. It’s a 20% to 30% survival rate, but I’ve decided there is a 100% chance that I’ll be in the 20% to 30% of those who beat it. I don’t think I made her feel much better, but that was it. So, I forgot what your original question was, but…
Cathy Heller: Oh, my gosh. You know what I realize, it’s like you are the miracle. You’re the Miracle Morning. And that’s why people keep reading the book more than one time. And that’s why God saved you from that accident because you are here to tell this story the way you tell it. You are such a generous, delicious, helpful, wonderful, inspirational, incredible person. And your very existence gives everybody exactly what they need to go make their lives into a miracle.
So, I am just incredibly grateful that I have the gift of just being witness to you and getting to feel the medicine that is every word you speak is medicines, the best medicine, and you are the best remedy for all of this. Just all of this was such a generous gift. And on top of everything I just said, you’ve done this so many times. You’ve done keynotes, you’ve done podcasts, and you treat each one with this much passion and give this much energy. Like, may you just be aware of how much this drastically changes the world, may you be aware of it.
Hal Elrod: Cathy, I want to talk to you every day. You’re the sweetest, most articulate, most encouraging human being, I think, I’ve ever met. I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten choked up so much on a podcast as I did today. So, amen to all of it. It’s beautiful. Thank you.
Cathy Heller: That means a lot. I think everyone who ever listens to you, loves you immediately. You’re very, very lovable.
Hal Elrod: You’re so sweet.
Cathy Heller: You’re so humble. It’s like that kind of humility is such a legacy. It’s amazing.
Hal Elrod: Well, there’s something about you, like the way you’re articulating and recognizing this, like I don’t know how to put it into words, but you have an extraordinary gift that you can see that and bring it out and articulate it the way that you do. So, I feel honored to be in your presence and to hear you say that.
Cathy Heller: Thank you. Well, I’ve had so many people that you and I both love on the show, including like Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins and Matthew McConaughey and all these people. And I loved every second of it, but I’ve never cried like this in 650 episodes. And all of those people brought a lot of big, beautiful things to the table. But you’re so special. If God has a refrigerator, your pictures on it, and if he would wake up, if that was a thing, he’d just look at that refrigerator and he’d go, well, I made Hal so that justifies it. That justifies it all, folks.
Hal Elrod: Of course, he wakes up. He does the Miracle Morning every day. I talk to him, like this is his practice, by the way, like he just gave it to me.
Cathy Heller: Obviously.
Hal Elrod: And he’s like, hey, go share this with the world, buddy. All right.
Cathy Heller: Obviously. Thank you for being such a conductor of that, of godliness. We love you. Tell everyone where they can find your podcast, where they can buy the books, where they can follow you on Instagram.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, MiracleMorning.com is the hub. MiracleMorning.com, you can find the app there. There are a bunch of free resources. The app is free. The podcast is free. What else? The movie is free. There’s a documentary, by the way, that captured this.
Cathy Heller: I know. We didn’t even get to that. I have all these notes. So, I’m like, forget it.
Hal Elrod: We were two years into filming the documentary when I called my director and I said, I have this really aggressive cancer. It’s not looking good. The movie’s on hold. And he said, Hal, I’m coming to the hospital with the camera. We have to film you beating cancer and sharing it with the world. Yeah, so that whole journey is in the movie. And the books, MiracleMorning.com is the hub and join the community because there are hundreds of thousands of people in the Miracle Morning Community Facebook group that wake up every day and support each other. And it’s a really, really beautiful community. So, Cathy, I love you. Thank you so much. I want to do this again.
Cathy Heller: I love you so much. Thank you for all of this. I want to hang out. Where are you? Where do you live?
Hal Elrod: I’m outside of Austin, Texas where you’re at.
Cathy Heller: Of course, you live there. That’s where you should live. You will be bigger than Joe Rogan. He’s your neighbor. I’m in L.A. And I’m sure we’re going to hang out at some point. Thank you. Give your whole family, the kids, the wife, just tell them I just love them for being the people that are in your life. You’re amazing.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Hey, my calendar invite thing, I think, or did you– I don’t know how we booked this. Text me, get my cell phone. Let’s stay in touch.
Cathy Heller: Okay. Thank you. God bless you.
Hal Elrod: God bless you. You got it.
Cathy Heller: Bye.