Why are your beliefs so important? Because they determine your actions and ultimately your results.
I would argue that one of the simplest yet most profound statements ever made was by Henry Ford when he said, “Whether you think (believe) you can or you think (believe) you can’t, you’re right either way.”
When life is tough, staying positive and optimistic can seem impossible. But here’s the thing – what we choose to believe has a massive impact on our outcomes in life.
In today’s episode, I had the honor to be interviewed by the talented Jay Scherr. Jay has a knack for bringing out the best in his guests, and this conversation was no different.
We discussed how beliefs shape our realities and how to cultivate an unstoppable mindset even in the harshest circumstances. You’ll also learn how to challenge negative beliefs and replace them with empowering ones.
You’ll also hear me talk about my mom, how much of a rockstar she really is and the documentary that is in the works to show some love to the woman who means so much to me. Enjoy!
- The ONE belief that made me one of the top salespeople in Cutco Cutlery’s history.
- We will find evidence to support whatever beliefs we have.
- Being aware of the dark side of extreme positivity.
- How pain and trauma can be our greatest teachers if we allow them.
- Progress is rarely a sudden leap but often the result of small steps taken daily.
- Recognizing that only you are responsible and have the power to create your reality.
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Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
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Hal Elrod: Hello, friends, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today, I’m talking with Jay Scherr. Actually, he’s talking with me. Let me explain what I mean. I met Jay at an event a few weeks back, maybe a month ago, and we really hit it off. And he asked if I would be on his show, allow him to interview me. His show is called Business Minds Coffee Chat.
And I, again, really like Jay. I said, “Absolutely.” And what I liked about him is how good of a conversationalist he was. He was very thoughtful and sincere and interested. And I thought, well, man, if I’ve enjoyed talking to Jay this much off, without recording it, why not give that a shot? And I’ll tell you, Jay and I started the podcast before we started recording, and he asked me what would make our conversation a huge win. And I said, honestly, just ask me meaningful questions that I don’t get asked all the time, that prompt me to talk about things that I don’t usually talk about that are valuable to whoever is listening to this.
And either that must have already been his plan or he’s just extraordinary on the fly because he proceeded to ask me a variety of unique, thought-provoking questions that made for what I hope will be a meaningfully helpful episode for anybody who listens, including you. And when I thought what’s the title of the episode, we kind of went all over the place, but I landed on the consequence of belief because he asked me what was the belief that changed within me. At one point in the interview, probably midway through somewhere, he asked me what belief changed from me believing I was a very mediocre, unspecial, average, below average human growing up to the shift in the belief that I realized, you know what? I’m actually capable of anything and everything. And like you, we are all just as worthy, deserving, and capable of extraordinary success, however we define it as any other person on earth.
And so, today, I felt so good after the conversation with Jay that if you’re listening to the podcast, I do this probably every few months or so, I’ll be interviewed by someone that will ask me a bunch of different questions. Of course, for some of them, there’s definitely some overlap. I’m sure you’re not going to hear everything that you’ve never heard before, but for the most part, Jay took the conversation in a really meaningful way. So, hopefully, this is helpful for you to identify what beliefs you might need to shift that will transform your life, right? The beliefs on the inside create the results on the outside.
All right. Before we dive in, I want to take a couple of minutes to thank one of our sponsors. And then I want to remind you of something if you’re not aware regarding the Miracle Morning app. So first, our sponsor, Organifi, our long-term sponsor. This morning, of course, I made my smoothie as I make every day. The smoothies got a handful of pecans and homemade almond milk. And what else does it have? Green tea for a little bit of energy and focus. It’s got moringa leaves that I literally get from this company Mountain Rose Herbs. They’re actually the leaves, they’re not like capsules where the leaves are completely ground up. Whenever I can, I would love to get– anyway, I’m going into much detail on that.
The point is Organifi, there’s a couple of products, first, their Vanilla, vegan protein powder that I put in my smoothie every single day. And then early in the morning, typically, and sometimes again in the afternoon, if I want a little noncaffeinated energy boost or I combine it with caffeine, but I use Organifi’s Red Juice. It’s a powder. You scoop it into water, juice, almond milk, your smoothie, whatever it is, and it makes for a nice, clean, subtle boost of energy and mental clarity. So, if you would like to increase your protein or increase your focus, your energy, etc., head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal, and then use the discount code H-A-L as a listener to the podcast. You’ll get 20% off anything and everything on that website.
And then last but not least, I wanted to take a minute or less to let you know, if you don’t have the Miracle Morning app, there is a free Miracle Morning app. We’ve continued to develop the free version of the app for the last year. It now has a built-in journal with either a free writing option or prompts if you want help getting started and a little guidance on your journaling. Same thing with affirmations. There’s an affirmations creator within the app. There is a 30-day challenge tracker. You can track all of your SAVERS and your streaks and so on and so forth. There is a handful of free audio tracks in the app from Lucy Osborne, the voice of the Miracle Morning app, and all free. And so, that’s the free version.
And then if you haven’t yet, you can try, there’s a seven-day free trial of the premium version of the app, which has over 100 guided SAVERS tracks from Lucy Osborne on everything from how to be more productive, more confident, happier, sleep better, make more money, you name it, there is a track for that. So, head over to the App Store or the Google Play Store to get the free version of the app. Or if you already have the free version, consider giving the seven-day trial a try. And so far, the reviews are off-the-charts positive. So, without further ado, let’s talk about the consequence of your beliefs with my new friend, Jay Scherr.
Jay Scherr: Hal, it is so great to see you. Thank you so much for being here today.
Hal Elrod: My pleasure, Jay. Man, we met in person, and you made this offer to have me on the show. I couldn’t turn it down, man. I’m excited to chat with you.
Jay Scherr: As am I. Well, I am super excited about the conversation, so let’s dive right in. There’s so much to cover here. First, I would love to find out from you what your favorite trait is about yourself.
Hal Elrod: That’s a new one. I love that question. Favorite trait about myself. I’d say it’s my positive energy. For me, I view every aspect of life through a positive lens, including the most difficult experiences we face because I feel like those are our greatest opportunities for growth, to learn to grow, to become better than we were before we encounter the challenge. And you mentioned the car accident. When I was in the hospital, I came out of the coma and I was told I would never walk again. And the doctors called my parents in and they sat them down. They said, “We want to give you an update on Hal. Physically, he’s stable,” because I had flatlined, I had technically died three times, lost my heartbeat three times.
And so, they just were concerned of me living. And they said, “He should be with us a long time.” And my parents breathed a sigh of relief, they said, “but we’re concerned with his mental state.” They said, “Every time we interact with Hal, he’s always smiling, laughing, joking.” He said, “It’s only been two weeks since he was found dead, one week since he came out of a coma. We’re telling him he’s never going to walk again. And we believe he’s in a state of delusion that he cannot accept what has happened to him, and so, he’s just checked out. And we need you to talk to him because we can’t help him heal until he faces reality.”
So, my dad came in that night, expressed the doctor’s concern, and I said, “Dad, I thought you knew me better than that,” because he said, “The doctor said, you should be sick, scared, depressed, angry.” And I said, “I’m none of those things. I thought you knew me better than that.” I said, “I live my life by the five-minute rule that I learned in my sales training. It says it’s okay to be negative, but not for more than five minutes. Set your timer on your phone. Give yourself five minutes to feel sorry for yourself, be angry, upset, whatever it is. But when the timer goes off, you say this mantra, can’t change it. You acknowledge, I can’t change what happens. There’s no point in feeling sorry for myself. There’s no point in wishing that it were different than it is. The only logical choice I have is to accept reality, be at peace with it, no matter how difficult it might be, and make the best of it.”
And I said, “Dad, I might be in a wheelchair the rest of my life. The doctors are right. I promise you, though, from this day forward, I’ll be the happiest person that you’ve ever met in a wheelchair or otherwise.” And so, that was it. It’s like I really learned that we can choose how we experience every moment of our lives, even when we’re facing our greatest challenges.
Jay Scherr: What an incredible perspective and mindset to have. Did you have the same conversation with your mother?
Hal Elrod: I mean, I’m sure my dad relayed it. And I’ve heard my mom and dad talk about when they tell their side of the story of getting the call that I was in the hospital in critical condition and had flatlined. And they always say that Hal let us through it. We were scared. We were nervous. We were depressed. We were angry with the drunk driver. And Hal was just smiling the whole time and saying, “It’s fine, mom and dad, I’m going to get through this. I’m going to learn from this. I’m going to–” so on and so forth. So, yeah, that was the mindset.
Jay Scherr: Yeah, very powerful. Well, you’ve written that you lacked confidence and discipline and belief in yourself when you were growing up. And yet, at the age of 19, you went to work for Cutco Cutlery, which you’re alluding to here in terms of the five-minute rule. And I want to expand on that for just a moment, because in a relatively short period of time, you became one of the top salespeople in the history of that company. So, you come into it with a certain belief set, and yet you transform over a relatively short period of time. So, share with us, what changed about you.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, it’s a great question. So, yeah, my whole life I was pretty mediocre. I didn’t get good grades, I wasn’t disciplined. My only strength was I was kind of funny. I was the class clown in school, but that got me in trouble. I would always get in trouble. My parents were always getting calls from my teachers. My mom always told the story how she was on the phone with my algebra teacher, Mrs. Aoki. And then she goes, “Hold on. I have another call on the other line,” and it’s my principal talking about a completely different topic that he’s upset about. So, that was me growing up.
And on the second day of my Cutco sales training, essentially, we were presented with what’s called the Cutco Fast Start contest. And it’s something that Cutco does for sales reps for their first 10 days. It’s a bunch of prizes. If you sell $1,000, you get this prize. If you sell $3,000, you get this, on and on and on and on and on. And the highest level was if you break the Fast Start record, if you sell more in 10 days than anyone and it was the western region of the United States, we’ll take you skydiving, limo night out to dinner, also plus you get every prize below, right? So, that was the initial just motivation. I thought, oh, that’s amazing. That would be so cool to win all of that.
And then here’s the belief, though. This is the belief that shifted, and I think it’s one of the most important beliefs for any human being to adopt, to be able to be more successful than you’ve been up until this point and keep taking your success to the next level. The girl that had broken the Fast Start record, coincidentally had broken it three weeks before I started. So, this is a 50-year-old, 49-year-old company at that point. So, the most anyone had ever sold in 49 years, that record had just been set or broken and set three weeks prior by a girl who was my age. I was 19. She was roughly 19. She lived 45 minutes south of me, and I lived in Fresno, California, which if you know anything about Fresno, it’s not like Beverly Hills. It’s the Central Valley. It’s not known for being a wealthy area, right? She was in Bakersfield, which is like Fresno’s cousin. So, we’re both in cities. So, I’m doing the math in my head and I’m going– and here’s the belief. I went, If she could do it, why couldn’t I do it? We both live in relatively similar demographic areas and we’re both the same age. We both never sold kitchen knives before. I’m assuming she had never sold kitchen knives before, in college. I thought if she could do it, why not me?
And I think it’s one of the most important beliefs for us to adopt that if another human being has done something that’s evidence of what’s possible for us and we tend to do the opposite, we tend to look for the differences and the reasons that they’re better than us. Oh, they’ve got more experience than I do. Oh, they’re older and wiser than I am. Oh, they’re younger and more energetic than I am. Oh, they’re more charismatic than I am. We look for separation and we need to flip that around and go, no, no, no, no, no. They’re a human being. And they have more in common with you than different, right? They deal with the same self-doubt and insecurity.
And so, I went, “If she could do it, why not me?” And I approached my manager after training and I told him, I said, “Hey, I want to break the Fast Start record.” And I thought he was going to be jumping up and down for me. And he goes, “Okay.” He said, “Hal, I’ll tell you, I hear that every week in training. Somebody approaches me at least every week, one person said they’re going to make the record. I’ve been a manager for X amount of years. Can you guess how many people have broken the Fast Start record that I’ve trained?” I went, “None, maybe, right?” And he goes, “Yeah, none.” He said, “It’s easy to say it, but to do it, you have to be committed at a level you’ve never been committed to anything before in your life.” And Jay, remember, I’m a kid that’s never been committed to anything in my life, except for being funny. And he goes, “I believe in you, Hal, and I can tell you exactly what to do, but you have to be prepared to work from morning until night, literally morning until night, like 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the next 10 days. Give it everything you have, regardless of your results along the way.”
And honestly, Jay, I was totally intimidated, totally scared. Everything inside was going, okay, never mind. But I was embarrassed to say anything other than, “Yeah, okay, I’m in.” So, literally, out of embarrassment to say anything else, I said, “I’ll do it.” And he put his hand out and he goes, “Are you 100% committed? Because I’m going to tell you to do things. They’re going to be out of your comfort zone.” And I’m going, my hands shaking, “Yeah, of course.” And I shake his hand. And that was it. That was the shift.
And I’ll say this. There’s a quote from Tony Robbins that really describes what happened here. Tony Robbins says, “It’s in our moments of decision that our destiny is shaped.” And it was the moment I shook his hand and decided, I will do everything in my power. I will give it everything I have, even if I don’t feel like it for the next 10 days, regardless of my results along the way. And I’ll tell you, I don’t care who you are. If you set a goal and you commit to give it everything you have until the last possible moment, regardless of the results along the way, you are going to astound yourself with what’s possible. You’re either going to reach the goal, you’re going to exceed the goal, or you’re going to fall short. But you’re falling short will be more than you’ve ever done before as a result of that decision and that commitment to give it your all until the end.
Jay Scherr: Well, Hal, I mean, you’ve got my energy level up to 15 by now where 10 would have been my maximum. And it goes to the trait that you said at the very beginning of your favorite trait, that positive energy. And I just want to pause for a moment just to highlight a couple of things for our audience here. So, I’m taking notes. I’m listening. Because for all of you that are watching and listening right now, you should be doing exactly the same thing, right? Listening, but active listening, so taking notes so you can apply the lessons that you’re learning here.
So, I’m hearing about belief, I’m hearing about commitment, I’m hearing about discipline. And what’s really interesting about what you said when you talked about belief and you said this, I’m just going to say it in a slightly different way, we will find the evidence. We will find the evidence to support whatever our belief system is. It could be a negative belief. It could be a positive belief. But one way or the other, depending on which way what our belief system is, we will find that evidence to support that belief. So, knowing that, why don’t we and why shouldn’t we go ahead and attach that belief to something positive that’s actually going to move us forward?
And as you’re telling me this story, it reminds me of the Roger Bannister story, right? So, no one had done this before. And in your case, no one had done this before. But the moment that someone breaks that record, the moment that someone achieves something, all of a sudden, it becomes real. It becomes real. And to say what you were saying to yourself, if she can do it, why can’t I? And for all of you, we should all be saying the same thing.
You can achieve anything that you set your mind to. You surround yourself with the right people. You follow what we’re going to talk about here in the Miracle Morning and you work on your belief system. There is nothing that you can’t achieve. And Hal, what an incredible story and a great way of articulating that. And thank you for sharing that. I appreciate it.
Hal Elrod: Thanks for the invitation.
Jay Scherr: Absolutely. So, I’m curious, but speaking about belief, what is something that you believed about yourself early on in life that you later discovered wasn’t true?
Hal Elrod: I love the question, but I love the answer that just came up for me. And here’s what it is. So, my superpower, if you will, that positivity, is that even in the face of the most unimaginable adversity, the car accident, or you mentioned cancer years later that I’m not going to allow the outside uncontrollable forces that have happened to me, the things that happen that I can’t change that are out of my control, right? Once I got in the car accident, I couldn’t undo it. It would happen.
But it’s my positive response, that I’m going to see the silver lining. I’m going to choose to be happy, choose to be grateful, choose to be proactive, even in the midst of these difficult circumstances, and never use anything that’s out of my control as an excuse as to the one thing that’s in my control, which is how I choose to experience every moment of my life and by what I focus on, by what I do. So, I thought, I don’t really experience negative emotions, at least I used to not. And I thought that was a superpower. And in many ways, it was.
However, after I went through cancer, I did chemo for a few years, I stopped sleeping, I went through really the most difficult time in my life. It was actually November or December 2019. I slept for two hours one night, and after two hours, I woke up and my body was flooded with either cortisol or adrenaline, but it was like I woke up and I was wired and almost like a fear state of wired for no apparent reason. And it happened to me before I had to speak at an event. I’m like, this is the worst night to not sleep. I’m giving the keynote in the morning, right? It was what it was. But that set off a cascade of about five to six months of averaging two to four hours a night of sleep and waking up, flooded with adrenaline or cortisol every single night.
It got to the point after a few months, probably less than that, maybe a few weeks, where at dinner time, as I started to think about bedtimes in a few hours, my hand would start to shake because lying awake at night or waking up and either not being able to fall asleep or waking up and not being able to go back to sleep, it was just horrific. And I got to the point where, because of the chronic sleep deprivation, I was hallucinating. I thought that my business partner’s husband was going to kill me. I mean, I was a mess. I was a mess. I was depressed. I developed severe anxiety. I had to fire all of my employees because I couldn’t lead them anymore. I was a mess, and my marriage was on the verge of falling apart because my wife was supportive and empathetic for as long as she could be. And then she finally goes, “I don’t know what to do with you. Like, I don’t know what to do anymore. You’re not my husband. This isn’t who I married.” So, she hung on as long as she could. So, I’m sleeping in a separate room because any noise wakes me up. We haven’t slept in the same bed for four or five months. I was a mess. And I started doing a lot of inner work. I tried everything I could from plant medicines to therapy to– you name it, I tried it all.
And here’s what I uncovered. So, when I was eight years old, I had a baby sister that was born. Her name was Amery. She was born when I was eight. When I was nine, I woke up in the morning to my mother screaming across the hallway from her bedroom, and I ran in and she was giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to my 18-month-old sister. And I ran to the neighbor’s house to get help. I called 911. I came back, the ambulance showed up. My dad came home from work. My mom, dad, and my baby sister went in the ambulance and I thought, okay, they’re going to be fine. Like, that’s what ambulances do. They save people, so they’re going to save her. Well, she had already died, but I didn’t know that.
And my mom and dad had a family friend pick me up and take me to their house. I figured I didn’t need to be at the hospital. And so, I’m over there. I’m playing with my friends, thinking everything’s going to be fine. And I get a call from my dad and first time I think I’d ever heard him cry and he says, he tells me that Amery is in heaven now. And I don’t remember what I felt. I can’t remember exactly what I thought. I just know what I said next. And I got off the phone with my dad. I’d imagine I was feeling a lot of weird, confusing emotions, right? Wait, my sister’s dead. Like what? So, I’m never going to see her. At eight or nine years old, imagine that’s hard to process.
And I went out in the living room and I said, “Hey, everybody,” in a really positive, upbeat voice. I go, “Guess where Amery is?” And I remember the mom looking at me and furrowing her brow. I think she already knew. My friends, they had no idea. And I said, “She’s in heaven. Isn’t that great? Heaven’s supposed to be the best place, right?” And so, I think that at that moment, I developed this so-called superpower, that I thought was a pure superpower that I flipped a switch and I went, oh, if you’re just positive, if you just focus on the positive, you find the lightness in the tragedy, I don’t have to feel all these weird feelings that are coming up that I don’t like.
And I went through my entire life never feeling or not feeling much emotional pain. In fact, I don’t recall, and I’m sure I probably did cry, but really, I don’t recall crying for my entire life until I got cancer. I was 37. I didn’t cry through– anyway, I started crying with cancer journey. But the point is, I thought that I was almost an ego place of like I’m superior to most people and that I don’t feel emotional pain. It wasn’t so much, but that was a part of it. But it was like, I’ve got this superpower. I don’t feel emotional pain, right? I’m enlightened. That was the ego. I’ve figured it out. I’m enlightened.
And while there is a lot of value to that superpower, I’ve empowered a lot of people to overcome their emotional pain and learn how to transcend it and be at peace, and so on and so forth with the five-minute rule and can’t change it, a lot of these things. However, upon a lot of deep investigative inner work, I realized, oh, I’m not superior. I’m weak when it comes to feeling emotional pain. I can’t handle it. And my wife, she had pointed that out for years. And I go, “You’re wrong. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.” And then it took, I think I was with a therapist or whatever, but we finally figured out, oh, I actually can’t handle emotional pain. So, I’ve got all these ninja tricks and this positive mindset toward everything, not because I’m so strong. It’s actually because I’m weak in regard to handling the pain. And so, I figured out how to never have to feel it. So, it’s the dark side of the superpower, if you will.
And so, I went into, I used plant medicine, I used meditation, I used a combination of techniques, I used some therapists, some coaches. And I finally got to the point where– I mean, I literally, like, Jay, I couldn’t cry. I used to always brag. I go, if my mom died, I would set my timer for five minutes. I would feel the pain, but there would be no value in dwelling on it. So, I would say, can’t change it. I would accept it and I would move on.
Jay Scherr: Wow.
Hal Elrod: And I literally couldn’t cry. And so, one day, with the help of plant medicine and deep meditation, I said, “God, let today be the day that I cry.” And I’m trying to cry and I’m trying to cry and I’m trying to cry. And I go, “God, my wife’s right. I’m a frickin robot. I literally can’t cry.” And I go, “What will it take?” And I’m imagining my kids dying, I’m imagining my wife dying, like I’m trying to think of the worst things I could ever imagine happening. And finally, the seal breaks and I start bawling.
And I got to tell you the funny part of the story, Jay, my wife has never seen me cry in our entire relationship at this point, right? And she always says, like, “If I left you, you wouldn’t care. You wouldn’t cry. You’d set your timer for five minutes, you’d say, can’t change it.” And I go, “No,” and I’m literally thinking, God, she’s probably right. But I’m going, “No, no,” I’m sure, I think she’s right. So, I think it’s got to be– I started this journey. I wake up at 3:30 in the morning every day. I started this journey at four in the morning. I’m probably crying by 4:30 or 5:00 and I am crying and I go, “Oh, I’ve got to tell, Ursula has to see this. My wife’s got to see that I can cry. And it’s over the loss of her.” So, I go, she’s never– so if you could imagine being her, I wake her up from a dead sleep. I’m bawling my eyes out. Her first thought is the kids are dead or in some– I’m going, “Sweetie.” “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” I go, “No, no, no, nothing’s wrong. Look it, I’m crying. I’m crying.” And she wants to murder me.
But what’s interesting is that began probably 6 to 12 months of me crying almost every single day. Now, keep in mind, I was in the middle of my sleep deprivation, so I was in a bad spot already, mentally, emotionally, and physically. But Jay, every day, the most common question we actually ask each other is, how’s it going? How’s life? Well, when I’m sleeping two to four hours a night, I’m suffering from PTSD, sleep deprivation. I’m on chemotherapy for the cancer. I’m in bad shape. And when you ask me how is it going, nothing but the truth is what comes out. And I just would start crying to stranger, anybody.
I went from one extreme to the other. But the beauty of it is– I became so depressed, I was suicidal through the sleep deprivation, these six months. I literally was thinking of how I could end my life and not have it hurt my family, which thank God, I never thought of a good solution to that inquiry. But what I realized is, as I’m meditating and I’m praying on why, why can’t I sleep? Why am I so depressed? Why have I lost control of my mental and emotional well-being? Then that was my identity. That was the thing I always had total control over.
And especially when the pandemic hit, I went, “Oh, I believe I’m enduring this horrific ordeal to the point of being suicidal so that I can develop a level of empathy that has escaped me my entire life because I never knew what it felt like to suffer this badly. And now, as this mental health crisis is brewing in the world with the pandemic and the lockdowns and not seeing loved ones and all of these things, I now will be able to be a much more effective servant leader because I will now understand what it’s like to be in such a dark place that the five-minute rule, the can’t change it mantra, they might be helpful, but they’re not turning it around for me.”
And so, I embrace as difficult as it was, I embrace the pain because I knew that once again, my positivity, it was an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to evolve to a place I had never been before that could help me be a more well-rounded human being and help serve other people through their tragedies.
Jay Scherr: Wow. Well, I want to point out to everyone right now that you do, when it comes to sleep as an example, for those that are challenged with sleeping, you put out an episode recently on your podcast, which we’re going to link to the podcast itself, but you do a great job of walking everyone through what you did, the tools and strategies that you use. As a matter of fact, I’ll just mention this, that as a result of listening to that episode, there was a product that you mentioned that I believe Dr. Michael Breus had recommended to you that I went ahead and purchased as a result of listening to your episode because there are some challenges that I’m facing there as well.
So, I mention that because for all of you that are– obviously, everyone’s working very hard, right? There are a lot of things happening right now that are adding additional stressors and some anxiety in certain people’s lives. Always know, and you’ve heard right here in the past few minutes that help is available. You do not have to go through this alone. So, no matter what it is you’re facing, whether it is lack of sleep, whether it is challenges that you’re facing, processing issues in your life, whatever it happens to be, find a resource because resources are available. And you talk about, Hal, the therapy that you went through, plant medicines, etc. Out of curiosity, was cognitive behavioral therapy part of the therapy that you were utilizing?
Hal Elrod: It was not. It was on my list. It was recommended. And before I got there, I started to feel better. And by the way, the biggest thing was I got off chemotherapy against the doctor’s orders. My doctor wanted me to take it indefinitely. My cancer was very rare and aggressive. It was a 20% to 30% survival rate. So, in the first eight months, I did 650 hours of chemotherapy. I mean, I was in the hospital for five consecutive days every three weeks doing intravenous chemotherapy, 24 hours a day for five days.
And then they had me on this maintenance plan afterwards. And I was very anti-chemo, but I reached out to some of the best holistic oncologists in America and they all wouldn’t treat me. They said, “Your cancer is so rare and aggressive that no one’s going to be able to cure it naturally.” And I thought, well, if the best, world famous holistic oncologists that have cured a lot of people naturally are saying like you got to go traditional because your cancer– my cancer kills people in usually one to three weeks. When I’m in the hospital, my heart was failing, my kidneys were failing, and my lungs were failing. And the doctor told me, “If you don’t start chemo right away, you’re going to die.” And I went, “Ah, I’m not going to listen to your scare tactics.” And then I actually verified it with some people that are alternatives.
But anyway, so I emailed my doctor after these six months of sleep deprivation. I said, “Hey, what criteria are you using to determine when I get off the chemo?” And he said, “Your cancer is so rare that we’re making the best guesses that we can. And I want you to stay on it as long as you can tolerate it.” And I emailed him back. I said, “I’m planning my suicide right now. Okay? I can’t tolerate it anymore. So, I’m done.”
And I got off, and that was May of 2020. And I went 100% natural. I don’t think I’ve taken a single pharmaceutical drug in the last two and a half years since I got off. And he really warned me. He goes, “Well, I don’t advise this. You’re on your own.” And I’ve never felt better. I’ve never felt healthier. Even the sleep deprivation, I refused to take pharmaceutical drugs because I believe they were all Band-Aids. They’re not curing the problem, right? Yeah, you might sleep better for a few months, and then you end up sleeping worse. And now, you got an addiction, and on and on and on. I mean, it’s a whole ‘nother topic. Yeah, but that was a big piece. It was getting off of pharmaceuticals.
Jay Scherr: Wow. That is absolutely incredible. So, I want to share with you, Hal, and to our listeners as well, you talk about not feeling certain emotions. I’ve grown up that way as well, not to the same level that you’re describing, but I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I’m going to say it. Anyway, before my wife and I were married, we met with the priest and the pastor. We had a very interesting wedding, but nonetheless, we sat down with them, and the one who knew me best mentioned to my soon-to-be wife, “Your soon-to-be husband, he’s nicknamed Stonewall,” because I just don’t show emotion and I can maintain similar to what you were describing, that level of positivity. I can look at things a certain way and it’s a defense mechanism, right? I push the emotions down so often.
So, I’ve had to learn similar to you going within, doing the deep work to discover more about myself. Why do I do that, right? What is causing that? What are the triggers? And how can I feel more emotion? And I’m in a much better place today than I was, but it’s a really interesting situation. And I think the fact that you finally got to a place of awareness and once we have some awareness, because we’ve reached such a level of pain that we have to do something different. And the fact that you are aware of it and then took the appropriate actions and there were a lot of things that you did, obviously, but that really is remarkable because it shows that no matter what the situation is, you have the ability, we all have the ability to change. We have the ability to recognize an issue that we’re facing. And we can change if we’re willing.
And I’m going to go back to what you said before if we’re willing to be disciplined about it, to be committed to it, to doing the work and having the right mindset. So, just an amazing, amazing story. So, take us through, tie the thread to where the Miracle Morning finally comes to fruition. So, there are seeds that are being planted here, right? But then finally, it comes to the surface and you create this incredible piece of work. Walk us through that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, obviously, after the car accident, I left and I go, “I want to be a speaker. I want to help people.” That was my– going into the car accident, “I’m going be the top Cutco manager in the history of Cutco.” And then I was like, “Wait a minute. This car accident is telling me I’m meant to do something else.” So, that’s where that seed was planted.
And then in 2006, I published my first book, which few people have heard of, it didn’t sell a lot of copies, Taking Life Head On! That was about my head-on collision with a drunk driver. And then I wasn’t planning on writing another book. And in 2008, when the US economy crashed, I crashed with it. I was a coach, so I was coaching business people. And when the economy crashed, all their businesses either went out of business or they suffered. And so, they couldn’t pay me my coaching fee because they weren’t making enough money. So, I lost over half of my income in a matter of months.
I couldn’t pay the mortgage. My first house that I had purchased about a year prior, it was foreclosed on by the bank because I wasn’t paying my mortgage, I couldn’t afford it. I started living on credit cards. I went from being like a Dave Ramsey debt-free student to living, not literally, in six months, I had accumulated $50,000 in credit card, personal credit card debt, moved back in with my dad, and so, I’m depressed. I’m broke. I’m struggling to find my way. Again, because that time, identity is like I can make anything happen. I was successful, blah, blah, blah.
And a series of events led me to hear a Jim Rohn quote. Jim Rohn said, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.” And in that moment, I realized that everybody wants a level 10 success on a scale of 1 to 10. And success, I don’t just mean professionally, I mean level 10– and if you’re measuring success in your health, your relationships, your energy level, your fitness, your business, fine, you name it, we want level 10 in every area. It’s human nature, right?
But my level of personal development at that time where I was so desperate to try to make money that I wasn’t reading books, I was waking up, working until my eyes bled into the night and I couldn’t look at the computer anymore. And then I was going to bed and it wasn’t working, I was declining. And I went, my epiphany was I need to create the most effective, extraordinary personal development routine so that I can become the level 10 person that I need to be to create the level 10 success I want in my life. That was my theory.
And I went home and I studied. I just Googled, okay, what are the world’s most successful people do for personal development? I was looking for one or two things that I could incorporate into my daily routine. I ended up with a list of six practices. The first was meditation or what I call silence. The second was affirmations. The third was visualization. The fourth was exercise. The fifth was reading. And the final, the sixth was journaling or what I call scribing. That’s an acronym now, SAVERS, Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. It didn’t start out that way, but that’s eventually what it came out when I was writing the book.
But I looked at those six practices and they had all come about where I read an article on Fortune 500 CEOs that swear by meditation, like, I got to meditate. If these Fortune 500 CEOs swear by it for their best ideas and clarity and peace of mind and all of that, I got to give it a try. And then I saw a video where Will Smith, this was pre-Chris Rock slap of course, back when all you saw him as was almost flawless, right? This guy is nice and he’s successful. And he was being interviewed on, I think it was The Ellen DeGeneres Show. And she said, “Will, how are you so successful at everything you do?” Music, movies, TV, you name it, right? And he said, “When I was 15 years old, I learned about affirmations. And I basically learned that you write out exactly what you want to accomplish, and then you articulate who you need to be in terms of the qualities and characteristics. And then the third step is you write down which specific actions you’re going to take and when. And every day you read, this is what I’m committed to creating in my life, this is who I need to be, and this is what I’m going to do.” And he said, “Those affirmations were my blueprint. I read them every day. I lived in alignment with them, and I became the person that I needed to be to create the success I wanted.” I’m like I got to do affirmations.
And the case for the other four of the SAVERS, visualization, exercise, reading, scribing, they were just as profound. So, I’m looking at the list and I go, “Which one of these is the best?” And I couldn’t decide. I got overwhelmed. Also, this is something to consider if you’re listening to this and having the thought I had, which is like, none of these are new and we’ve been conditioned in our society to look for the new. If it’s not new and I’ve heard of it, it must not be important because otherwise, I’d already be doing it. It would be changing my life. And I’m going, “None of these are new. I need something new.”
And then, thank God, I caught myself and I went, “Wait a minute. These are the six practices that the world’s most successful people have sworn by for centuries. And I’m not doing them, not consistently.” And then the epiphany, Jay, was, what if I did all of these? What if I woke up tomorrow an hour earlier, even though I wasn’t a morning person? And if you’re not a morning person, if you don’t think you are, stick with me. At one point, we surveyed hundreds of thousands of Miracle Morning practitioners and said, “Were you a morning person before you did the Miracle Morning? Or was this your first introduction to like you had to overcome the limiting belief of I’m not a morning person?” I didn’t know the answer, what it was going to be. 72% of Miracle Morning practitioners around the world said they had never in their life believed they could be a morning person until they read the Miracle Morning. 72%. And now, it’s their daily five, six, seven-day-a-week practice.
So, I woke up the next morning, I did all six of the SAVERS. I did them poorly. I didn’t know how to meditate. Affirmations were goofy to me. I mean, right? I didn’t know how to visualize, and even doing a subpar morning routine, I mean, for the most part, I felt so much clarity and motivation and energy. And I was reading again, I was learning something new. And I went, “If I start every day like this, it is only a matter of time before–” as Jim Rohn said, your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development. I thought, if I start every day like this, it is only a matter of time. It’s inevitable that I will continue to become a better version of myself every single day and eventually become the person that I need to be, the level 10 person, if you will, a level 10 version to create and sustain the level 10 success that I want.
And Jay, the last thing I’ll say on this is I was imagining it would take me a year, the compound effect, 1% better every day in less than two months, and an important distinction, this was in the height of the recession. This was when the economy was getting worse and worse and worse and worse. And I want to highlight that because for anybody that right now is listening and you’re concerned with the recession that we are in, that is arguably– I mean, it’s going to get a lot worse, right? I mean, I think that’s not an argument. We haven’t even seen what’s going to happen.
But in 2008, when it got worse and worse and worse, I realized that, oh, if I get better and better and better, in less than two months, I more than doubled my income. I didn’t change jobs. I didn’t add an income stream. I was still a coach, but I bought a book called Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. I did my affirmations every day and my visualization and my meditation and my reading and my journaling, all of it. And I implemented the strategies I learned. And in less than two months, I more than doubled my income in the height of the recession. I went from being in the worst shape of my life physically, having never run. I hated running. So, I thought what better way to become a level 10 version in my fitness, then to commit to run a 52-mile ultramarathon when I’ve never run more than the high school mile that they made you run once or twice a year.
And so, I committed to that. I started training for it. And my depression went away, not in two months. It started going away on day one. Not that it was gone, but one of the biggest causes of depression is hopelessness. In about six months, nothing worked for me. The economy got worse and my financial situation got worse. And I felt hopeless. Nothing was working. My very first Miracle Morning, a spark of hope was ignited. And again, I thought, if I do it every day, I’m going to change. It’s going to change.
And in two months, everything changed. And I went to my wife, I said, “Sweetheart,” I remember, I could picture it. I caught her in the hallway. Right outside her bedroom door, I said, “Sweetheart, I just signed on two more coaching clients. We’ve doubled our income in the last two months all because of this morning ritual, literally.” I go, “It feels like a frickin miracle.” And she goes, “It’s your Miracle Morning.” I go, “I love it, Miracle Morning.” I started writing in my schedule every day, my Miracle Morning.
And I never thought it was going to be a book. I taught it to my coaching clients. There were 14 of them. Almost all of them, except for a few, said, “I’m not a morning person, Hal. I don’t know.” And I go, “I know. You pay me money to challenge you to get out of your comfort zone.” I said, “I wasn’t a morning person either.” I gave them some logistical tricks. Move your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That makes it 10 times easier to stay awake, right? I gave, drink lots of water right away, rehydrate, give your brain what it needs, on and on.
And two weeks later, 13 out of 14 of them came to the call, said, “I did the Miracle Morning five days a week. I am becoming a morning person or I am a morning person. Hal, I’m having the best week in my career. I’m running again. I’m exercising. I’m reading.” And that’s when the next bulb went off and I went, if the Miracle Morning changed my life, I mean, in two months and I was in the recession and I wasn’t a morning person, if this is changing my coaching clients’ lives in two weeks, 13 out of 14 of them, the 14th one didn’t do it, so whatever. He said, I tried, I couldn’t get up. All right. I thought, I have a responsibility to share this with the world. I can’t be selfish and not share it. What’s the best way to do it? I guess, I got to write another book.
And I’m a slow writer, Jay. It took me three years, but I self-published the Miracle Morning book on 12/12/12, December 12, 2012. I was an unknown author, but I committed, I’m going to change one million lives one morning at a time. I tried to do it year one. I only sold 13,000 copies. I was 987,000 copies short of my goal. But I was like, “Oh, that sucks. I’m going to keep going.” And it took six years to reach a million readers, and now, somewhere upwards of four million Miracle Morning books have been sold in 100 countries and so on and so forth.
And so, yeah, my mission in life, I’ve never created anything, the can’t change it philosophy, the five-minute rule, they’re a close second. That’s empowering. That’s helped a lot of people realize, oh, I’m in control of accepting reality moving on, but nothing has ever made an impact as deep and as broad as the Miracle Morning. So, my mission in life is to elevate human consciousness one morning at a time for the rest of my life and keep sharing the Miracle Morning.
And now, there’s a Miracle Morning movie for people that aren’t ready to read a book. They’ve never read a self-help book maybe. So, they go to MiracleMorning.com and watch the movie. That’s easy, right? There’s a free Miracle Morning app for people that are techie and they want to track their SAVERS and journal on their phone and whatever, right? So, I’m trying to just create resource after resource after resource, as many of them as I can that are free and some, they’re paid, of course, you got to pay the bills, but that empower people that have never thought they could be a morning person to watch the movie, download the app, read the book, and millions of people realize, oh, wow, if I make just a few shifts first mentally, and then logistically, I can do this. I can wake up a little earlier, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, an hour, I can do these six practices and I can change my life faster than I ever thought possible.
Jay Scherr: So, so good, Hal. And I’m going to share this with all of you that are watching and listening right now. And Hal and I talked about this a bit before we started recording. That was about how we started our day and what’s making this such a great day for us. Hal and his writings and his story have absolutely changed my life. And a matter of fact, the Miracle Morning is a book that I gift as well as some other books. But I actually delivered this book to a client of mine today. So, what it does is it creates a ripple effect.
Now, I want to make sure that everybody heard something here that is an important aspect of this. And we talk about this on this show and that is taking action. So, everything that Hal just talked about, the six steps, there is action tied to all of that. So, yes, go out and buy a copy of the book. Yes, go out and watch the movie, but do something with it, right? Do something with it. Use the information and then apply it. That is where you’ll start to see the change is happening. And it truly is. It’s a miracle, right? I mean, there is certainly science. There’s brain science behind it, but at the end of the day, you have been able to, Hal, simplify this in a way that is applicable to all of us. And it applies no matter what your business is, no matter what’s going on in your personal or professional life, you can apply this. And I want to just express my gratitude to you for bringing this book to life.
And what’s amazing and what I love to see is that you have created an entire ecosystem around this, right? It becomes foundational to your keynotes, to the movie, to the coaching and app and all the work that you do today. It really is quite phenomenal. So, we’re going to link to all of that in the show notes. I want to ask you about one of the things, and then I’ve got a final question for you. You are also in the process of creating a documentary about your mom. Tell me about that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, my mom is a rock star. I mean, so she was a flight attendant for Horizon Air. She retired recently. No flight attendant on Horizon Air ever saying their announcements. She’s saying them so much so that the CEO had her sing, I think, happy birthday to him at their company party, their national convention, or whatever. The news came on her flight. They put her on the news, I mean, right? But that’s really not it. She’s remarkable in terms of she’s the definition of one person changing the world in her little way.
She believes in taking care of the planet and minimizing trash. So, she’s got one of those tiny little wastebaskets in her kitchen. And her commitment is to– for an entire week, she won’t put more than that amount of trash. What else does she do? She sits with people that are dying in hospice all the time. She gives blood and she has for decades. She fights for good. She volunteers at the Elks. She does everything in her power to live by her values and make a difference in as many people’s lives as she can. And it’s not a– I mean, it’s a small amount. She’s got her little neck of the woods, but if every person on the planet lives like my mom, the world would be a radically different place.
And she’s got a little ego. She likes to be the star. She’s a karaoke singer. I thought, what’s the greatest gift I could give to my mom? And my friend Nick Conedera, he filmed the Miracle Morning movie, the documentary. And I reached out, I said, “Hey, what do you think about making a mini documentary about my mom?” And he’s met her and he’s like, “Oh, my God.” He goes, “Your mom’s amazing. That’d be great.” So, yeah, so we’re probably going to start filming here, I think, in a couple of months. So, we’re doing some of the pre-work in the conversations right now. And yeah, I’m excited.
Jay Scherr: I love that. What a beautiful gift. By the way, were you gifted with a wonderful voice as well, just like your mom has?
Hal Elrod: No. Actually, yeah, I can rap. So, I have two songs on iTunes. They’re both called the Miracle Morning. I did one with someone I didn’t know well, but he was a rapper and I met him and he offered to do a song with me, and the Miracle Morning book was coming out. So, we did a song. His name is Kosha Dillz. He’s a Jewish rapper.
And then my other friend who’s a musician, brotha James, said, “Hey, I want to do a new version of the Miracle Morning.” So, we did it a couple of years ago. But yeah, I’ve been rapping since I was in fifth grade, writing raps when I was in high school. I’d rap at parties. So, I can’t sing at all, but I’m known to rap, possibly poorly, I don’t know, but I really have fun with it.
Jay Scherr: Beautiful. Well, again, we’re going to link to all of this great information, all of your social channels. And I would encourage everyone to definitely follow Hal. You will see some of those videos. I watched one of you rapping here recently and…
Hal Elrod: Oh, yeah, on Instagram.
Jay Scherr: It’s actually on Instagram. Yes. And actually, it’s good. It’s good. So, keep that up. Keep that up. So, here’s my final question to you. What is the most difficult question or the most difficult decision that you’ve made in the pursuit of who you’ve become?
Hal Elrod: The most difficult decision, well, what comes to me is it was the decision to do chemotherapy. And I know that’s kind of an obscure answer. But again, it’s what comes up for me, where it was a life or death decision, right? And what’s interesting is the survival rate with my cancer is 20% to 30%. That means the oncologist says if you trust me with your life and do the chemotherapy that I’m telling you to do, I’m guaranteeing you, you’ll have a 20% to 30% chance of being alive for your family. Take a financial advisor that you’re debating on hiring, saying there’s only a 70% to 80% chance you’re going to lose everything if you trust me. Talk about a hard decision. But when I reach out to these holistic practitioners, the doctors, and they go, “That’s your best bet.” I’m going, “Oh, my God.”
So, I’ll tell you what I did. And this is actually– there’s a very valuable lesson in the conclusion of this story that people can apply to business, to any area of life. I said, “Okay, if I have to do chemo, I guess I have to do chemo.” I’m going to research every holistic practice known to man, and I’m going to take 100% responsibility for my survival. I’m not leaving it up to the doctor. I’m in charge. I’m in charge of my recovery. Nobody’s going to care about me being alive more than me. And so, yes, I will do chemotherapy, but I’m going to do every holistic practice known to man, in addition, as if my life depended on me doing the holistic practices.
And I told my wife the day that I was diagnosed, I said, “Sweetheart, I know the doctors are saying there’s a 20% to 30% chance. That’s the survival rate. And I know you’re terrified of that.” I said, “I’m telling you, sweetheart, in my mind, in every fiber of my being, I’ve decided there is a 100% chance that I will be among the 20% to 30% of those that beat this cancer.” And I encourage you, if you’re listening, you create your destiny. You create the statistics of you succeeding or failing in every area of life with your mindset, with your beliefs as we opened up and talked about. And so, it starts with taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life.
When the drunk driver hit me, somebody said, “Oh, man, that’s not your fault.” I go, “No, no, no, no, no. But it is my responsibility. What I do from here on out is my responsibility.” The victim mindset is my life’s ruined. It’s not my fault. It’s the drunk driver’s fault. That’s the victim mindset, right? The victor’s mindset is, yeah, it’s the drunk driver’s fault that this happened. It’s the economy’s fault that this happened, right? Whatever– okay, but I’m not going to waste my energy on whose fault it was because that doesn’t help me.
It’s my responsibility to walk again. It’s my responsibility to turn my financial situation around in the depression or the recession. It’s my responsibility to stay alive for my wife and kids and myself. And I’m going to take a 100% responsibility. And so, that’s the lesson. That was the hardest decision I made, but the ultimate decision was I’m taking total responsibility and doing everything in my power to heal. And I’m not counting on anybody else to do it for me.
Jay Scherr: Incredible. My friends, go back and relisten to this episode multiple times. Review your notes. I am sharing with you right now what Hal just laid out to you in this episode, this is a game changer. This will transform your life. You follow this, you take the appropriate actions, you will see the results. Take control. I love it. So much goodness here, Hal. I want to thank you so much. I’m grateful for you. Thank you for bringing your energy, your authenticity, your emotional connection. I mean, man, I can feel it. I can feel that energy in your body language, in the conversation, your voice, your eyes. Thank you for bringing it today and for sharing your wisdom and your knowledge with all of us. I am truly grateful for you.
Hal Elrod: Jay, sincerely, it’s an honor, it’s a privilege. And I thank you for the gratitude. I receive it and I reciprocate it, brother.
Jay Scherr: Beautiful. Thank you so much.
Jay Scherr: And for all of you, thank you so very much for watching and listening. And I’ve got a favor to ask. Would you please take a moment to subscribe, rate, and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts? That helps this podcast grow and expand its reach. And as a matter of fact, if you have not checked out Hal’s podcast, do exactly the same thing. Listen to the podcast and leave him a review as well. That helps all of us out and we appreciate that.
And to listen and enjoy more episodes, all you need to do is visit JayScherrBusinessConsulting.com, click the podcast button, and until next time. Keep learning, keep growing. Pick up a copy of the Miracle Morning. And we’ll see you on the next Business Minds Coffee Chat. Take care, everybody.