The world seems to be changing at a faster pace than most people can keep up with. And with the addition of ChatGPT and the advancement of AI technology, a lot of people have concerns about what the future looks like.
This seemed like the perfect time to have a chat with my good friend, Jon Berghoff. He is the founder of the XCHANGE approach and is the best in the world at teaching people a unique skillset that enables you to exponentially increase your impact and income by creating transformational experiences for groups.
In today’s podcast episode, we explore how reframing the questions you ask can make you a more effective leader, partner, and parent. You’ll learn how to use those frameworks in your life and work, and step into your wisdom in a way that transforms your life and the lives of those around you.
As a bonus, you’ll also learn more about the FREE Workshop Jon and I will be hosting for our community on April 26th to dive even deeper into this topic. If you’re interested, you can reserve your spot by clicking here.
This conversation was profound, and I hope you not only enjoy it, but that it plants seeds that change your life for the better.
- Characteristics that a great leader must have before they can help others unleash their potential.
- How to ease people into being more courageous.
- How the power of asking the right questions can be harnessed for creating real change in organizations and communities.
- Тhe quality of our thinking and actions reflects the questions we ask ourselves.
- Why the right questions can strengthen your bond with other people.
- Your past (successes and failures) leaves clues. Learn from it.
- How asking the right questions helps you better deal with stress, fear, and self-doubt.
- How to find meaning amid struggle and pain.
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
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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. :^)
- Jon Berghoff on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter
- Conscious Leadership XCHANGE Workshop on April 26, 2023
- Brianna Greenspan
- Amy Edmondson
- Jeremy Reisig
- Jon Mackey
- Victor Cho
- Conscious Capitalism
- Dan Casetta
- Benjamin Hardy
- Kelly McGonigal
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Hal Elrod: Holy cow. Okay. You guys, I’m a little frazzled. Oh, yeah. By the way, welcome to The Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. You’re in for a treat today but I have to admit, this has got to be my 14th time recording this introduction, attempting to like my 14th take and I just keep messing it up. And I get three, four, or five minutes in and I screw up right at the end and I… Oh, you ever had one of those days? I don’t know if I had too much caffeine maybe or what but I’ve been struggling and I don’t know what to do. You know what, I’m going to ask for grace. Can I get grace? Like, I can’t do a 15th take. I can’t do another one of these. So, can I get some grace? Just stick with me. If the introduction is too long, forgive me. If I repeat myself, forgive me. If I mess up in any other way, please forgive me. I need you to stick with me to the end of this introduction because I cannot do another one of these. All right. Are we on the same page? Because this is in a way, it’s all about you, right? I’m making it about me right now but let’s flip it over because this is about you. Why should you listen to this episode? That’s really the only question that matters.
And this episode is about how to create transformational experiences. It is with my good friend, Jon Berghoff. By the way, transformational experiences for yourself and others with the emphasis on others. This is with my good friend, Jon Berghoff. When I say good friend, I’m talking good friend. We’ve been friends since I was 19. I’m 43 now and he was 17. And so, what is that? 23, 24 years. And you may know Jon a couple of different ways. He’s been a part of my community, our community, for a long time. He and I’ve been business partners. We ran the Best Year Ever Blueprint Life event from 2014 to 2019 for six years around the Quantum Leap Mastermind. And during that time, Jon developed the ability to create transformational experiences because that’s what he was doing for our community, for the attendees at our live event, and he developed an entire approach that he calls the XCHANGE Approach, and that’s his company.
He’s the founder of the company, XCHANGE, and they lead transformational experiences for groups, companies like BMW and Google and Keller Williams, and Facebook. All these come big companies bring Jon in to facilitate transformational experiences so their companies can solve problems, create solutions, get ahead, become the best they can be, serve their customers better. And Jon’s the leader that other leaders trust to do this. Now, Jon, also you may know, he led the podcast when I had cancer. Jon stepped in for me as a huge favor for our community because I was getting chemo. I was sick all the time, and Jon stepped up and he led the Achieve Your Goals podcast for about a year, year-and-a-half, and you may know him from that as well.
Today, we’re going to talk about the trends right now in the world. Oh, Jon’s also a father of three, by the way. I think I should mention that. I think it’s important. I think that often gets forgotten. Like, oh, yeah, and by the way, they also have a family. It’s like, no, it’s the most important part of anybody’s life is their family. And Jon has three kids, two boys, Kai and Ace, and then a daughter, Sierra. And what else? So, what we’re going to talk about today is we’re going to talk about the trends right now that are happening in the world. You may have noticed that the world is changing. At least it feels that way. And I think it is that way. It’s changing at a pace faster than most of us can keep up with. And that creates a lot of uncertainty And even fear, right? It’s how am I going to stay relevant? You know, ChatGPT came out, the artificial intelligence engine, and a lot of people are concerned that that can replace a lot of jobs. And over the last 50 years or longer, technology has replaced a lot of jobs.
And you’ll hear me say today to Jon that what Jon is teaching, I believe, is recession-proof, like he’s equipping people with skill sets that are going to be needed in every company, in every nonprofit, in every school, in every political organization indefinitely. What Jon teaches is teaching people how to bring out the best in their organization, in their people, which kind of is one in the same, right? Your organization’s made up of your people. But if you want to make an impact in the world, if you want to recession-proof your skill set, today’s conversation is for you. And one last thing just to mention this, I know we’re going to mention it throughout the podcast, but in case for any reason you turn this off right after I stop talking here in a second before Jon and I start talking, which would be really weird, I encourage you to listen to conversation all the way through. But I wanted to let you know that Jon and I are co-hosting a live workshop totally free for our community. We do this usually once a year, sometimes twice a year, but it’s going to be a conscious leadership event.
It’s April 26th. You can get all the details and secure your spot right now. In fact, it almost always fills up. So, we’re offering two times because last time it filled up, we had to scramble, open them up a second time. Both times are open. Go to XCHANGETMM.com. That is spelled the letter X, the word Change, and then TMM dot com. You can get all the details for the workshop there. Totally free. No strings attached. You can register there. Two different times are offered. All the details are at that page. Anything else? Oh, the last thing I want to say is a real-life example of how what you’re about to learn and the skill set that Jon and the XCHANGE Approach teach how these are kind of recession-proof and needed now more than ever. Brianna Greenspan, who is the Director of Education for the Miracle Morning, she is the person that is bringing the Miracle Morning into schools. She has brought the Miracle Morning in over 1,300 schools in New York City alone. They used New York City as a pilot city, and now they’re rolling it out in Chicago and in Florida and California cities and all over the world, rolling out the Miracle Morning.
Well, here’s the thing. Brianna is certified through Jon Berghoff and his company, XCHANGE, in the XCHANGE Approach. And she uses the XCHANGE Approach to bring the Miracle Morning into schools. Now, she is so in demand, the feedback she has gotten and the reputation she’s created in New York City, it’s so in demand that she’s had to hire a team and have them go through Jon’s training to learn how to apply the XCHANGE Approach because she’s only one person. She has to duplicate herself. And it’s like she can’t even keep up with the demand. So, again, if you want to develop a skill set that is recession-proof, if you are a coach, a consultant, you lead a community, you’re an executive at a company, if you impact other people professionally in your line of work or your desired line of work, if you’re out of work right now and you’re looking for a new line of work, this is for you. This is for you. This could literally Jon Berghoff may be the most important person in the world for you to listen to right now. So, without further ado, let’s see, how I do on the intro. Oh, seven-and-a-half minutes. That’s like the longest introduction I probably ever done but I hope you allowed grace. I hope you stuck with me. I think I got you all the relevant info.
And again, stay. I don’t know if I said this already because when you do 15 introductions, you forget which one you said which thing on but the one more thing I want to say is make sure you stay until the end of the conversation today because the last 10 to 15 minutes I think are the best. I think the entire conversation with Jon is really valuable. Jon’s one of the most brilliant people I know but it really builds and builds and builds. And then the last 10 to 15 minutes of the conversation, you’ll hear me tell this to Jon. It was a masterclass in how to use questions to transform your life and the lives of those you love and the lives of those you lead. So, stick around until the end. I think you’re going to love this conversation with my good friend, the one and only founder of XCHANGE, creator of the XCHANGE Approach, Mr. Jon Berghoff.
Hal Elrod: All right. So, let me set the intention for today. The reason that I brought you on is I’m thinking through what our community, the Miracle Morning community, the listeners of the Achieve Your Goals podcast, what do they want? What do they need? What have they expressed to me? And when I say expressed to me, I’m often sending out surveys and assessments, trying to understand how we can best serve the Miracle Morning community. And two things to me come up for most people, not everybody but a lot of people in our community is they want to help people like we have a really heart-centered community. Miracle Morning practitioners, I feel like just the practice itself makes them elevates their consciousness. They’re more aware and intentional about the impact that they’re making in the world. And that I think creates that desire of, “I want to serve. I want to help more people.” So, impact is a big one. And then the other one, and I think it’s true for anyone that lives in an advanced society, which is income. I want to make sure I have financial security and I can pay my bills and hopefully save money and be secure.
I think that right now, one of the things that I thought about with you is and your work is the recession that we’re I guess most of all say we’re in it or it’s coming or it’s getting worse. I don’t exactly know how to define that. I’m not an economics expert but I feel like what you teach is somewhat recession-proof. And I sent you an article a few weeks ago, and I think you text me back saying, “I’ve seen this article. It’s what our work’s based on. Thanks, though.” And the article is basically that the people that are going to be successful in the future, the companies, the individuals, the industries are not those with the answers. They are those that know how to ask the right questions. And the reason being the answers are now available for all of us at our fingertips. They’re one Google search away. They’re one ChatGPT question away. So, answers are a dime a dozen, right? They are a commodity. Whereas asking the right questions that get people to think and go deeper and reflect and enter into introspection, that’s where it comes and that’s what you do, right? You are an expert at teaching people how to ask questions to bring out the wisdom, really, of groups, right? So, anything that I said there that you would add on or that wasn’t accurate?
Jon Berghoff: Well, you had me at hello, Hal. You know, I think there’s, first of all, the role of questions and curiosity in our work is central. And if we get to talk all about that today, that’s awesome. I think actually what caught my attention is just listening to you describe your audience who could be listening to this conversation. And it’s fun for me to acknowledge that you and I have a relationship that goes back 20 how many years? 24 years?
Hal Elrod: 25, 27, 24. You were 17 when I met you.
Jon Berghoff: We’re not here for math, everybody.
Hal Elrod: No. I was 19. 43, so 24 years.
Jon Berghoff: Well, I raise that because I was actually just sitting here listening to you describe the Miracle Morning community and/or the listeners to this conversation and then being folks that are wanting to make a difference led by their hearts mission purpose driven. It’s actually one of the things, and you and I didn’t talk about this in our prep but it’s something I can acknowledge about you, Hal, is from the very, very beginning, you’ve always been inspired to ask the question, how can I be of service to others? Which might not sound like a very complex or sophisticated question but if listeners are getting to know me for the first time today, no matter where our conversation goes, I do think that is one of the most important conversation, questions that we could all be asking, especially heading into whatever our future could look like is how can I really be of best service? And the other thing that I want to bring up is you and I first met 24 years ago, and we have all sorts of fun stories about that that maybe we will or won’t come back to.
But you and I had about five or six years where we didn’t really connect our lives and our careers took us different directions and we got reconnected. When you called me in November 2014 and you said, “JB, I have sold a bunch of tickets to an event and I sold it out, actually.” You remember this?
Hal Elrod: Yes.
Jon Berghoff: You’d sold a bunch of tickets to this event called The Best Year Ever Blueprint. And anyone who’s listening right now, if you’re curious about whatever conversation we’re about to have, as you heard Hal say, my passion and our company, XCHANGE, our passion is around teaching others how to design and lead transformational experiences, learning experiences, all different types of events. And so, if you have any curiosity around doing that or you currently do it, hopefully, this is all interesting. But how you called me and you said, “JB, I got all these people coming but I don’t really know what to do when they show up.” Humbly, you said that. I think you would have been fine but you knew that I had been going around the world leading different types of events. And what’s cool, what I want to thank you for is your humble openness to combine strengths with me led to one of the best six or seven-year experiences of my life where you and I got to run years of events together.
And so, as you know, through all those events and everything that we’ve learned together and everything that I now have the privilege of getting to do today in teaching others how to design and facilitate these awesome experiences like the questions that we ask do sit in the center of that. So, happy to come back to that and talk about it any way that you want. But those are the things that come up for me but it is actually just some of the fun memories, many of which we probably should not talk about but many that we should in all those journeys.
Hal Elrod: We should spend a few minutes just sharing a little bit. For those that don’t know our history, we should give like the CliffsNotes version. I want to do this before we go into this. You and I both talked about how we better mention this early or we’re going to forget, as we often do. Part of the reason I brought Jon on today is he and I are co-hosting a live workshop for the Miracle Morning community in about probably a week or two from when this comes out. It’s on April 26. And if you enjoyed this conversation and you would like to spend 2 hours with Jon and go deeper into… Jon, what would you say going deeper into? What’s the topic of that workshop?
Jon Berghoff: Well, if you hear this chat and you want to meet, I’d love to meet you personally. Hal and I are going to show up and I’m going to lead a live experiential introduction to our approach and our method for designing and leading transformational group experiences. So, yeah, if you want to meet after hearing this and go through a live introduction that I will lead personally, Hal will be there. We’ll give out the URL to go grab a seat. We will shut down the registration for this, Hal, because last time we did this with you, a year or two ago, we capped the number of people that we can have in this kind of workshop. So, this sounds interesting. Find the URL, whatever it’s going to be.
Hal Elrod: I know what it is. Jeremy sent this to me. It’s XCHANGETMM.com. We do this usually once a year and last year the workshop filled up and we had to open a second one. So, this year we’re just getting ahead of that and there’s going to be two of them. And this really is just such a great partnership with the Miracle Morning community and XCHANGE because, again, our community, they want to make a difference in the world and you’re teaching them how to do that. So, here’s a quick CliffsNotes version, Jon. I’m going to give it and then you can insert anything that I miss.
Jon Berghoff: Some corrections and edits. Yes.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Jon and I both met selling Cutco cutlery. And it was a weird, awkward meeting because I had been selling Cutco for about two years and then Jon comes in at 17 years old and he breaks the record that I set two years prior. So, it’s a very awkward handshake, “Hey, nice to meet you after you just broke the record I set.” And then like a year-and-a-half later, we were at a conference in Vegas, and Jon invited me to come live with him. And I did not know literally like we’re not details, guys. And I show up at his house and he lives in his parent’s pool house, and it’s a little pool house, one bedroom with a queen-sized bed. And I walk in, I go, “Dude, this is a one-bedroom. Where am I going to sleep?” And he goes, “Oh, I didn’t really think that through.” He’s like, “You can sleep in bed with me if you’re comfortable with that. I’m okay with it.” And so, Jon and I literally had met like three times at conferences. It’s the weirdest story whenever we like look back and we articulate it. And then we lived together, slept in the same bed, attended the same college classes, and competed as the number one. We competed for the top spot in the country for Cutco during that fall, and we were arch-rivals that became best friends. So, it’s a really… Did I miss anything there? Is there anything to add? I mean, there’s 20 years of history beyond that but that was how it started.
Jon Berghoff: No, it’s funny. Yeah, pool house is a generous description. It was a bed and a closet and you had no idea what you were showing up to. But now the coolest thing is we were friends. And I think we spoke at that time in our lives about like, what could it be like if we’re still friends and we still act like we’re 17, 18, 19 years old years from now. And, oh my gosh, we’ve shown up to that moment, Hal. It’s been a great journey.
Hal Elrod: We manifested that. It is funny. Whenever we talk, we like get to resort back to kind of our younger, more carefree lives that we were living at the time being 21 years old and 19 years old, I think. Awesome. So, we can tell entertaining stories this whole podcast. You and I should probably just do an entertaining one day we should just do it.
Jon Berghoff: If we get enough requests for it.
Hal Elrod: Enough requests. Yeah. Yeah. Leave it up to the audience.
Jon Berghoff: We should satisfy that demand. Yeah.
Hal Elrod: All right. So, let’s get into some serious discussion about this. And the first question I want to ask you is, what are the trends right now? What are the trends in our world that you’re tackling like that you’re solving these challenges that humanity is facing, that organizations are facing, that individuals are facing, that are part of organizations, right? I mean, I think that what you do, and actually I want to say this because Brianna Greenspan, our mutual friend, she articulated this in a really unique way. She always says, “You and Jon Berghoff are the two people that are changing the world more than anybody else that I know.” And she says, “What’s unique is you’re doing it for individuals and Jon’s doing it for groups.” So, she said, “The Miracle Morning specifically is doing it for individuals. It’s a morning practice. And then the XCHANGE approach is what teaches people that are leaders, whether they’re coaches or trainers or executives at a company, and anyone that is leading or facilitating a group of people.”
And then you in XCHANGE are teaching how do you create transformation, not on the individual level but at scale for the entire organization, how do you do it quickly. And you do it with some of the biggest companies in the world, BMW, Facebook, Google, right? I mean, on and on and on. Some of the biggest companies of the world trust you to come in and transform their organization rapidly. So, long context for this question but why is your work, why is the XCHANGE approach, why is what you’re teaching at the workshop on the 26th, why is that so needed right now?
Jon Berghoff: Well, I appreciate the question. I appreciate the compliments. Some of the questions you’re asking, I would say are very big questions and I know that I do not have all the answers to what are all the things happening in our world. But one of the things that many who are listening can probably relate to, Hal, I’m sure you can is back in March of 2020 when the pandemic kind of flipped our world inside out, and many who are listening can probably relate to. For me, in our company at XCHANGE, we had to like reinvent. We had to reimagine how are we actually going to survive because we used to train our method in physical spaces. Right?
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Jon Berghoff: And what’s interesting is from that moment until now, we’ve had, and I use the word “privilege” very purposefully because I consider it to be a privilege anytime any of us are ever given the opportunity to influence other people, let alone the way we get to in group settings. But we’ve had just since the pandemic got here, and I say this just so that the listeners can understand the significance of the data that we have, we’ve had over 13,000 people, individuals who’ve come through our live introductory trainings. These are, like you said, coaches, consultants, folks that lead mastermind groups who want to build a community, professional speakers, authors, anybody that wants to make a difference with a group. And one of the things that we’ve seen in all of the people that we’ve met and all these workshops we’ve led is that there is a shared sense that is visceral. We can see it, we can feel it, we can hear it, that we are absolutely living in a time right now where the world seems to be changing far faster than we as human beings feel equipped to deal with that change.
If someone’s listening, I see you’re nodding your head. I can relate to what I just said. My guess is there’s folks listening right now and if I were to ask a follow-on like, hey, in your life, either personally or professionally, just in the last few years like how many of us have navigated challenges that we’ve never navigated before? And it’s fascinating. It’s almost universally everybody. And so, you asked about trends in the world. And so, I’m starting even just outside the domain of the work that we do because if we can see our world at a really high altitude, we can also see the intersection between these big trends and how each of us individually might make a bigger difference or be a bigger service. So, for us, what we’ve noticed is that at a moment like this one where that rate of change is probably not going to reverse or go back, it’s probably going to increase. What we’ve noticed is that the levels of stress, the levels of self-doubt, the levels of reactivity that we operate with, and all of the consequences that is bringing forward, what it’s doing is it’s making it so that any of us who either are in a position to lead or teach others or bring groups together or who aspire to learn how to do that, we are needed more than ever before.
And not only are we needed more than ever before but it brings me to the other trend that we are seeing, which is the way that we bring groups together needs to dramatically change. And I could give many examples of global leadership conferences that I get the privilege to design and lead and how in that space they’re completely changing how they spend time but all the way down to just a local entrepreneur who wants to bring their customers together, realizing that when we bring groups together, especially in a group setting, a workshop, a conference, an event where learning is the purpose, the realization that the way that we convene and what we prioritize and knowing how to do it in a way that creates deep, meaningful human connection but also ultimately a sense of belonging and even safety and how those things actually help learning to happen more effectively and faster, these are the things we’re seeing. Like, the value of information, I’ve heard you say this, the value of information you said it a few minutes ago is going down. The need for human connection is going up. The need for belonging and community is going up.
So, in all these places where we come together to teach or to learn, how do we take a step back and say, “Well, maybe we’ll actually be better at learning and transforming and living better lives or leading better businesses if we actually prioritize how we connect to learners in a human meaningful way and do it in a way where people can feel a sense of belonging.” These are the kinds of things I get really interested in. So, you would ask, what’s going on in the world that’s supporting our growth? It’s seeing that people want to have meaningful human experiences and how many places we can take this skill set into and to help people to have better transformational group experiences.
Hal Elrod: You know, one example of that in real-time that’s happening right now is Brianna Greenspan. I mentioned her earlier. Brianna, for anyone listening that doesn’t know who Brianna is, she is the co-author, co-creator of the Miracle Morning Art of Affirmations Coloring Book, and she’s the Director of Education now for the Miracle Morning. And she was trained by you in XCHANGE and now she has taken the Miracle Morning. She’s brought it into 1,300 schools in New York City, along New York City.
Jon Berghoff: That’s so cool.
Hal Elrod: This is one state, one city, and what she does is these schools have bought 85,000 copies of the Miracle Morning in the last year or different Miracle Morning books, Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, Miracle Morning for College Students, The Journal, all these books for different people in their ecosystem. But what’s amazing is Brianna realized that selling books to schools who buy books all the time, it’s different from an individual that might not buy books. Now, if you’re like me or you probably, I buy more books than I can read but that’s kind of like a school. They’re buying so many books that the odds of them actually getting to that content and implementing it and having it make a difference is possibly minimal. And so, what Brianna realized is I have to go into these schools after they buy books, and I’ve got to use the XCHANGE Approach to facilitate growth and learning. And you mentioned safety, and I think you call it psychological safety. Brianna’s always talking about how crucial that is in a school environment creating this psychological safety. And it’s true in any environment. Let me pause real quick. Just define that. What is psychological safety as it applies to reading group interaction?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah, happy to. And I’d love to credit Amy Edmondson out of Harvard who 24 years ago published, I think that was the time when she first published her research on this topic. And the fascinating thing about psychological safety is, look, if you’re listening to this chit-chat and even if you have no interest in leading groups, understanding this concept can be powerful just in every human interaction we have. Every conversation we have at work, at home, everywhere. So, the best definition I could give is it’s an experience where people feel safe speaking up. And if I were going to unpack that a little bit further, they feel safe taking risks because oftentimes speaking up can be a risk, especially if what I’m sharing is either unpopular or counter whatever is being said or it’s a risk in some way. So, safety is not. There’s a lot of misconceptions. People hear that and they think, “Oh, does that mean we’re all nice to each other?” Not at all. Safety is the conditions that allow people to feel free to freely contribute their thinking, their perspective in any particular context. That’s one way of thinking about safety. I’m happy to talk about how do you actually enable it because that’s what we wake up in, good or bad, teaching people every day. How do you enable safety in groups is really important.
Hal Elrod: That’s my next question is give us a crash course in how would you establish psychological safety.
Jon Berghoff: Oh, my goodness. Well, I think the first and most important thing to understand is why is safety important because we don’t understand why it’s important. Then whatever I say won’t even get utilized. So, let’s just talk for a minute really practically. Like, how you and I, we ran events together for years. BYEB, Best Year Ever Blueprint was one. We had 500 people come together for three days to transform themselves and to have the best year of their life. And anyone who’s listening who does or ever has or wants to lead any gathering where you might say the goal is to help people to learn to better themselves, to have a better future, I want you to consider something and we’re going to get a little bit into the neuroscience here, a little bit into the biology of being in a group and learning. But this learning I think goes a lot of other places too. You might say, Hey, people came to that event that we led, Hal, because they wanted to learn, right? And if you wanted to be a little bit more bold, you could say they wanted to have a transformational learning experience.
The interesting thing is, remember the chat you and I were having like 10 minutes ago where we acknowledge that both you and I and many who are listening have probably dealt with greater challenges than they’ve ever dealt with?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: We’ve probably dealt with greater levels of stress and self-doubt than we’ve ever dealt with. I know for me personally, in the last few years, I’ve had times, Hal, where I was stressed out about how stressed out I was. And I can say that with a smile now, which is great, but there’s a lot of implications to that that are not healthier, enjoyable. So, what does that have to do with learning? Well, we have to, when we lead a small group experience, give respect to the macro moment that we’re living in, which is if people just learning itself is a demand. Learning itself is a challenge that can raise stress and doubt as to whether or not I can actually change my future or do something differently or change myself. We have to understand that if we look at the brain and we take the triune model of the brain, which was first presented in I think the 70s, and the triune model of the brain is one way of trying to make sense of how the brain is organized into different systems and areas. And I’ll try and make this really understandable for anybody.
This part of the brain that I’m like holding the front of my head, the prefrontal cortex, this is where like executive function, you could say, getting into that state of flow, doing complex thinking. A whole bunch of the learning that we might think about, you might think of it as happening or needing that part of the brain to really be online and there’s a lot of truth to that. Then there’s this middle part of our brain where like our emotions and the concept of love or belonging, you could argue, kind of hangs out in that. And by the way, this whole idea that if we look into our head that we’re going to see three sections, it’s not how it actually looks. It’s just a map that can make things a little bit more useful. But here’s the important part. There’s the lizard part of our brain, the part that’s been around the longest. That part of our brain is the part of our brain that’s always concerned about, “Am I safe?” And we live in a time right now where more people biologically, neurologically, even though they don’t know it, are walking around not feeling safe. Walking around, not feeling safe. They’re living in fear and uncertainty. And, look, let’s just say rightfully like understandably, at least.
So, what does that have to do with running a workshop? Well, everything. And here’s why. Because before we can actually get the learning full parts of ourselves online, people need to feel safe first. This learning full part of myself won’t come online fully if I still feel unsafe but I don’t even know that I feel unsafe. So, here’s a question, Hal, for everybody listening to write down and to think about this. Everyone of us is asking some version of one or two questions here. When we show up in any group setting, we’re all asking some version of do I belong? And here’s another version of that question. Can I be myself right now, any group setting? Any group setting, can I be myself and still fit in with this group of people? We are all asking some version of that question because that question, in a sense, helps us to know if we’re safe. So, one of the things that we’ve learned about the importance of psychological safety, you ask how do we do it. I wanted to make the point that if we don’t understand how important it is, we will never do what we need to do to enable it.
Once we understand how important it is, we realize we need to help people to feel safe so that they can learn, right? So, how do we do it? How do we do it? Well, I’ll give a couple of examples. And there’s literally a dozen things we could talk about and there’s a lot of nuance to this but let me try and give one example. One example of how we can help people feel safe in a group experience is, for me, the teacher, trainer, coach, leader, whatever my title is, as soon as I can for me to stop talking and create the conditions where every voice in that room is equally invited, not controlled or required but equally invited into some type of experience or conversation. It’s like the workshop that we’re going to lead together for your community coming up in a few weeks, they’re going to see I’m going to welcome everybody and then literally I’m going to facilitate a conversation. Even if there’s 500 people at the workshop, they’re going to break into groups of three or four. They’re going to have a small group conversation because in that conversation, based on the question and how we have that conversation, that is in many ways one of the fastest ways for people to feel seen, heard, felt, or safe.
And this honors original research of Amy’s going back 24 years, the equality at which voices of a team, a group, any setting are invited in is a key indicator to where we have the conditions for safety. It’s not everything and it’s not binary, and it’s not a box that we check. It’s not we have it or we don’t. We did it and we’re done. Safety lives on a spectrum and it can be undermined in an instant, right? Because, for example, I could be as the teacher, coach, trainer, facilitator, doing things really well but I could say one thing in one way that can immediately undermine the safety of others in that group. I’ll give you one other quick point on how to help safety in a group. We talked about risk earlier. So, when we facilitate, when we teach others how to facilitate, we’re teaching them how to enable conversations to happen where learning is happening and ideas are being shared and problems are being solved and beautiful things are happening. In those environments, one of the things that we’re doing is we’re inviting voices to come into the room, so to speak, even large conferences.
Our training, you sat through one of our three-day trainings recently. A three-day training, you were there, a couple of hundred people attended, 70 to 80 times voices are coming into the room over those three days in front of the whole room, not just in breakouts. When that happens, people are taking risks. As a facilitator knowing how to acknowledge somebody or speaking up, even if I don’t agree with it, even if it’s unpopular, acknowledging the risk, especially when people take the kind of risk where they say something that’s against what everyone else is saying, knowing how to appreciate somebody for taking that risk. Last thing I’ll share, Hal, around safety is we train all these tools and I’m starting to talk about a few of them so that in a group we understand how we can almost architect and engineer the experience of safety. Yet there’s another factor that has nothing to do with those tools out there as a meeting planner, as a leader, as a group coach, as a mastermind creator, but how we manage our own internal experience of safety.
Because at the end of the day, especially when you do the stuff online, when we do this online and I’m leading a group of 50 or 500 people, it doesn’t matter, my face is huge on the screen, my voice is clear and resonant through their headphones and whatever’s going on in my world and I mean my inner world, I can’t hide that. And there’s a whole scientific principle around this called reciprocal causality, that whatever’s going on inside of me energetically, literally, measurably, will affect what’s going on with others. So, any of us that get the privilege to be in front of a group, learning about our own triggers, learning about our own unconscious biases and invisible reactivity, especially in the face of a group, is really important because if we don’t do that inner work to navigate our own nervous system, as goes my nervous system and my biology will go the rest of the group at some point. So, we have to also learn a lot about ourselves if we want to build mastery in holding beautiful spaces for others. I’ll stop there because as you can tell, I get carried away.
Hal Elrod: Something just came up for me when you were talking, which is a reference point for people listening. So, Miracle Morning community, if you attended any of the Miracle Morning community gatherings that we ran in 2022, the last five months of the year, and I know there are some people listening that are like, “When are those coming back?” And I know we haven’t done them for a few months and we’ve got a lot of emails from people going, “When?” People love those. And what I want to mention is, and this just occurred to me, I should have opened with this but, guys, that’s the XCHANGE Approach. So, Jeremy Reisig that ran those events for us, he facilitated those events, he’s Jon Berghoff’s and XCHANGE’S head facilitator. And so, you’ve experienced all of what Jon is talking about in terms of coming into an event that you knew very little about, especially if it was your first one. A lot of you came for all five but you knew nothing about, right? You maybe didn’t feel psychologically safe. You were asking some version of that question, “Do I belong here? Can I be myself? Can I speak up? Am I going to sound stupid?” These are all different versions of that question that Jon mentioned.
And then you may notice, remember that you were immediately or very quickly put into a breakout room to connect with other people and be vulnerable and open. And all of a sudden it created this bond, this sense of belonging that Jon talked about, and this psychological stage where you went, “Oh, these people are just like me. They’re members of the Miracle Morning community. They do that practice. They’re open. They’re here to learn and grow and contribute and serve. Wow, I can be myself.” So, Jon, I just really wanted to point that out that a lot more listening right now have actually experienced the XCHANGE Approach firsthand. And they may not have even realized that that’s what they were experiencing.
Jon Berghoff: That’s awesome. Yeah, I love that. That’s cool.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Speaking of belonging, you mentioned that a couple of times. I just mentioned it. It sounds really important. You know, even if I don’t lead groups, so I want to hear from you. What have you learned about creating an experience of belonging? How does that apply for people listening to this?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Well, I think when we come into a group environment to pick up on where we started that, we all want to know whether it’s conscious or unconscious. Like, do I belong here? That’s one of a handful of fundamental questions that people need to find answers to. It’s really important. We talked about safety, psychological safety, in particular, as a contributor to that answer, “Do I belong here?” I’ll share a couple of other things that contribute to whether or not somebody will feel like they belong in a group. And it has to do with not only how do we facilitate the way participants or learners or team members are interacting and conversing with each other but it’s also understanding a different relationship, which is what we would call like a vertical relationship, which is the relationship between me and the whole group. In other words, what’s the bigger purpose of this group? What’s the higher, transcendent reason that this group exists? And the concept and the topic of purpose is something that is talked a lot about these days, and that’s good.
What’s interesting is I think there’s very few who would hear this conversation and disagree in the value or the importance of any group having a powerful, transcendent, positive purpose, a reason for existing. However, the way that a lot of groups aim to achieve a sense of shared higher purpose from what we’ve seen, a lot of well-intentioned, good-hearted, purpose-driven leaders and conveners, they don’t yet have the tools to know how to enable that shared purpose to come alive, not just a little bit but like exponentially. So, I’d love to just give an example of how we do that. And let me use a real-world example. So, one of the organizations that I have the privilege of getting to work directly with when I’m not training all of our community and our trainers and facilitators, I get to go into some cool places and often leadership summits. There’s one that I’ve led last year and they asked us to come back and maybe we’ll keep working with them into the future is a community called Conscious Capitalism, and they happen to have a CEO summit that they lead.
And in one of the gatherings that we got to lead for them at the CEO or around this CEO summit last year, we facilitated a question actually at the beginning of the summit. And so, just imagine this for a second, Hal, there’s a couple hundred highly purpose-driven CEOs in this room. And by the way, I’m looking out at the crowd and there’s Jon Mackey sitting next to the founder of Whole Foods, sitting next to Victor Cho, the CEO of Evite, and I could go on and on. It’s companies that we all know of and they’re in this room. And I, as a partner of theirs, as a designer and facilitator, one of the first conversations that I want to facilitate in that room is a conversation around why are we in this room, which is really fundamentally a question of purpose. And what’s interesting is this is an organization that has a powerful purpose. It’s about unleashing business as a force for good in the world. They’re using business to unleash this heroic spirit of humanity to solve our world’s biggest problems. And I’m paraphrasing but it’s along those lines. So, they have a sense of purpose.
And you could think, “Well, Jon, shouldn’t the CEO of Conscious Capitalism or one of these great CEOs just stand up and just remind us all what our purpose is?” You could do that. But what we found is that there’s an approach that’s it’s exponentially more powerful and what it looks and sounds and feels like and, actually, I know when it comes to our workshop, we’ll actually facilitate this exact activity with anybody that wants to come to the workshop we talked about. But the opening conversation, Hal, was inviting the whole room to first reflect on why is it important that we’re in this room. Now, that question sounds embarrassingly simple and it is, and that’s by design. There is a whole art and science to how to present a question and then how to have people reflect on a question because you skip those things, you don’t get the value from it. And then they go into small groups. And when I say small groups, I’m talking about turn to your neighbor and get a group of three. And they shared their answers with each other. And then after that, I pulled five or six or seven of their voices into the room.
And I’m going to tell you verbatim an example of some of the things that were said into the room. The first person I called on after facilitating this little 15-minute conversation at the start of the annual CEO Summit for Conscious Capitalism, the first guy I called on, he raised his hand, he stands up and he says, “What came up for me and what our group discussed is that we are here this week because our consciousness is being tested as a civilization.” Word for word, that’s what one of the participants said in the room. The next person stands up, takes the microphone, and says, “From my perspective, I’m here and I think we are here because if we’re not here, I don’t even want to think about the world, the planet that my grandchildren might be growing up in.” Now, let me just stop for a second. These are verbatim what these CEOs are saying in this room. I just want anyone who’s listening to try and imagine this if you can.
I want you to think about the difference between me as the facilitator of these three days where some other person with a title, “I can stand here and I can tell you everything I can about why it’s important to be here.” But how much different is it to have those kinds of comments come from the audience in anchoring the whole room in a deep sense of meaning? And because their voices are coming into the room, we’re weaving this geometry, this thread of cohesion and connection that is extraordinary. The difference between me telling everybody why it’s important to be here versus them reflecting, exploring, and then voicing it almost in a ceremonial way, that’s not an incrementally different experience. That is exponentially different. So, you asked about belonging. And one of the points I wanted to make here is that for people to know they belong, they have to understand what does this group stand for. What do they stand against? You call these parts of our identity. In the most beautiful, natural, effective way for any group to discover who it is, is through an approach like what we’re talking about, where the group gets to co-explore together and even co-create together answers to why are we here, how do we behave, how do we treat each other. These are identity questions.
That’s another key element to, do we belong? Which even if someone’s listening to this saying, “Wow. That makes sense and that’s inspiring and that’s cool,” and you’re thinking, “How do I bring this from this inspiring example down to my everyday life?” You know, just keep in mind that every time you’re at home and someone else in your family walks through those doors that the next question you ask or the conversation you have or how deeply you choose to listen or not can contribute to their own sense of safety and belonging even just in that moment. I try and bring these types of questions. Of course, you change it a little bit to our dinner table with the kids and even if they don’t answer the way that we want them to, we still come back to the table the next night with some sort of question. And over time, it’s fascinating to see them start to appreciate what it means to have one conversation as a family. I’ll stop, Hal, because I’m going to go way far away from whatever you are asking if I don’t stop.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Well, no, I think that’s important. You mentioned like you use examples of the Conscious Capitalism event and the CEOs and how it’s exponentially more powerful when someone else gives you the answer. And I just encourage anybody listening if you’re a parent, don’t punish your kid and lay a punishment down. Say, “Hey, this is what you did and there’s got to be a consequence. What do you think would be a fair consequence we would be adding?” And I found that it’s a lot more when they go, “Gosh, you’re right. I guess I should be grounded and have this taken away.” It’s like, “All right. Do you think that’s fair?” So, yeah, telling someone something versus having them tell you it’s always infinitely more effective if they’re telling you.
Jon Berghoff: Can we follow the train, Hal, of asking powerful questions? You brought that up at the start of our conversation here. And for whatever reason I acknowledged it but we didn’t go deeply into it. And now…
Hal Elrod: Well, that was my next question. So, yes, please.
Jon Berghoff: Well, I mean, the only thing better than me interviewing myself is you.
Hal Elrod: We’ve known each other so long, we’ve got this psychic connection. You knew what I was about to ask so you just saved some time.
Jon Berghoff: Well, then let me let you ask it because I want to honor whatever your curiosity is but please do.
Hal Elrod: Well, I mean, so much of what XCHANGE centers around is the power of the questions that we ask. And I think it’s interesting, like, if I look back when you started talking about this, I’m a slow learner and I was like, “Dude, who cares? Like, questions, answers like, I’m just going to tell you the answer. I don’t need to ask questions.” I was really very much even as a coach, like I look back to and then you were probably a much better coach than me because you were already on this the question train and like, “Hey, I’m going to let the person tell me,” and really take the long route, long yet much more effective route to getting them to come to their own conclusion when I would just cut them off in the middle of their question like, “Yeah, yeah, let me tell you the answer.” And you’ve known me long enough to know that’s very true.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: So, I have gotten better I feel like. I’ve tried to learn from you around the power of the questions that we ask but what can you share with everybody listening about how we use questions in our lives and more in group settings?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Well, as you know, this is a question about questions that I’m really curious about. This idea, the power of the questions that we ask, it was first introduced to me by a mutual mentor of ours, Dan Casetta, 20-plus years ago when we were young entrepreneurs. I’ll always remember Dan introducing this concept of like the quality of our thinking and our behaviors and our decisions and our actions. All these things are a reflection of whether we know it or not the questions that we ask ourselves. And like you, I don’t think I fully understood that initially but something felt meaningful about that. And years later, it does sit at the center of what we do. So, I think one way to anchor this conversation is to keep coming back to like why are questions useful? And then we can talk about how to use them. So, let’s go back to this idea of there’s a group that has come together for a training, a workshop, a mastermind group, and if someone’s listening and they already do it and they do it well and they want to get to mastery or they’ve never done it but they want to learn how to bring a group together and create group transformation.
Good for you. The world needs this. The opportunity for people to build this skill is absolutely unfreaking limited. It is infinite. So, buckle up. If you want to lean into this skill, there’s so much opportunity. That being the case, let’s ask this question first. Hal, when you and I ran that event for years, Best Year Ever Blueprint, and we ran our own mastermind event, if we start with, well, why do people come into that room? They come into that room, I’m going to say for three reasons. Number one is they want ideas. You can say content. Sometimes we’ll call it intellectual capital, which is just fancy speak for they want some ideas to make their life better. We might talk a little bit later about why we need to rethink that as a priority when people come into the room, not get rid of good ideas but we got to be careful around how much time we spend just giving ideas because, I mean, we all stopped watching TV a certain way 30 years ago because we knew we could get it on demand. People have treated information that way for a long time.
So, we have to just remember that how we prioritize when we gather, we’ve got to be thoughtful about that. So, ideas and information is one of probably the most common reasons someone comes into a room where one of our students is leading a group, right? The second reason is social capital. I want to meet other people like me. I want to build relationships. Great. Maybe someone’s here because they want that. Maybe they don’t. They just wanted the ideas. That’s fine. Those are often the two reasons someone shows up. In our opinion, there’s a third reason, which is why they will come back, which for anybody who either is or wants to build any kind of business or maybe your inner intuition is hearing the saying, “That actually sounds like a smart idea.” A business where people wanting to keep coming back is important, which is very common in many of the different settings we’ve been talking about. And we have to understand there’s a third source of value, which is not the intellectual capital. It’s not the social capital. It is communal capital, which we’ve already talked a lot about this, a feeling of belonging.
And so, understanding these three sources of value and realizing that if I actually learn how to connect people in a way that builds community will actually get more transformational learning, that’s its own thing for all of us to sit with for a long time, think about how do we keep learning how to do that better and better. But this question about questions and what role do they play in unlocking, learning, connection, belonging, as you might notice throughout our conversation today, I’m continually referencing those as three priorities, objectives, sources of value. I want to learn. I want to connect. I want to belong. The fascinating thing about what we’ve kind of stumbled into, Hal, and largely thanks to you, you gave me a privileged opportunity over the years to experiment with the Miracle Morning community. We led all these events, right? You’re like, “Do whatever. I’d be up until 2 in the morning coming up with ideas for what to do the next day.” And then I would leave my notes, remember? And you’d wake up at 4 and then I’d go to bed and I’d wait up and you’d say, “Yeah, I like your ideas. Let’s figure this out.”
Now, you were with me back when this was over a decade ago. This was just like tinkering. Like, how can we design questions in conversations? And what I don’t think either you or I, Hal, can take credit for, I think we stumbled into this, is the realization that there’s one methodology, which is give people a well-designed question, have them talk about it, and then bring their voices into the room. It actually enables learning, connection, and belonging to happen simultaneously. That’s super cool. It is as cool as it might sound to somebody. So, anchored in that kind of context, questions are important, and here’s why. They do sit at the center of how do we create meaningful connection, how do we create transformational learning, and enable belonging. And we’ll unpack this. So, first of all, here’s the power of questions. You’re wearing glasses right now. I’m wearing contact lenses. Anybody who’s ever put a lens in front of their eyes and I’m talking about a prescription lens, we’ve ever put a lens in front of our eye.
We’ve all had some version of this where even before we open our eyes, that lens will affect the world that I see. You could argue it determines, it changes whatever I see, the lens in front of my eye even before I open my eyes because it’s going to have that effect, right? That lens is kind of like a metaphor. If you think about the questions that we ask or you think about the conversations that we have, which whether or not we realize it are either unconsciously or consciously guided by thoughtful questions or not, our questions in any situation are like a lens in that the questions are so important, they change the future even before the answers arrive because they’re like that lens that’s going to determine what we look for, what we search for, what we find. So, if they’re that important, then what do we need to know about great question design so we do it right?
Hal Elrod: And real quick, I want to insert. Something came up for me. Sorry to interrupt you.
Jon Berghoff: Please. No, please.
Hal Elrod: Just a super simple example of what Jon just said. What’s wrong with this situation? What’s right with this situation? What’s wrong with this person? What’s right with this person? The opposite question creates a completely different lens. And the answer is going to, like you said, it’s change the future or answer even arrives. So, continue, please.
Jon Berghoff: Well, I’m going to pick up with exactly what you just said and here’s why I love that example. So, how do we design great questions? Let’s take a lesson from the page of Mother Nature. So, mother nature is and there’s a lot of science behind this and I’ve got to be careful that this doesn’t lose people but mother nature is a living system. Human beings and groups of people are living systems. If we treat ourselves like mechanical systems, we’ll get that kind of outcomes and outputs. If we treat ourselves and each other and what’s possible as a living system, there’s a totally different set of possibilities. So, your example right there is a classic example. Everything in nature grows towards what? It grows towards the sun. There’s a name for that. It’s called the heliotropic effect. That will not be on the written exam at the end of this episode. The heliotropic effect, and what does that mean? It means we grow towards that, which gives us life. Now, anybody who’s listening, we grow towards that which is life-giving.
Anyone who’s listening, they knew this intuitively, right? Like, I want to be around people who when I interact with them, I’m energized. I feel better even if I don’t know why. And I want to be around people a little bit less if when I interact, I’m drained even if I don’t know why. We all know this intuitively. So, what does this have to do with question design? When we design questions, we have four types of questions. We’ve already talked about one, which is one that connects us to a sense of purpose. The other three types of questions are questions that examine our past to mine our past for wisdom or learnings, questions that study the present so that we can multiply all the richness in the present, and questions that help us to explore a different future that help us to change who we are, how we behave between now and that future to create a tomorrow that’s different from today. So, there’s these categories of questions. But here’s the example you just gave is one of the most important lessons, which is a generative life-giving question is really important. I’ll give you a classical personal example.
My daughter, Sierra, comes home with a report card. This happened. This was a couple of semesters ago and it had mostly As and I think it had a couple of Bs. It may have had a C, something like that. I, as a parent, I teach all day long at work about what do you focus on and what kinds of questions you ask. And do we get fixated on what’s broken, what’s wrong, what’s missing? Like your example, Hal, do we get stuck on problems? Because biologically, that part of our brain is very active right now. We human beings need no further training on reactivity. We’re very well dialed in on reactivity and on finding what’s broken, what’s wrong, what’s missing. There’s a biological explanation for that was let ourselves off the hook but then let’s get better, too, right? Even with, I mean, knowing all that, just because we know something doesn’t mean we still do it. I look at Sierra and I know I should focus on the good but I ask her, of course, how do you get the C? What happened? Now, true story. How do you all think that conversation went? I’ll just tell you exactly how it went. I’m pretty sure, she said, “Ugh,” and walked away, and then 5 minutes later we went to soccer practice and that was the end, right?
That was it. There was no conversation. Why? Do you think she was motivated to talk about the C? No. And that conversation, interestingly, parallels, Hal, so much of what we experience every day at work because often our everyday conversations we only have a minute or two. We only have one chance to ask a good question. And if we do or don’t, we got to move on to something else no matter what. That conversation parallels reality. What my experience and what the research has shown, there’s a ton of research that shows that when a group of people comes together, if we can tilt to be more curious in a certain way, we will thrive. And when I say in a certain way, here’s the example. With Sierra, what I’ve learned is that if instead, in the precious time we had, if I just would have just asked instead, “Hey, how did you get these As?” Even if that was the only question, think about it for a minute. She probably would have been more interested in that conversation. If I would have said, “Well, hey, how does it feel to think about that?” And then even if the conversation ended there is a better chance her Cs will improve if we just study excellence.
So, in that example and I could always ask a follow-on if she stays in the conversation, well, hey, how did you get those As? What did you do? What strengths did you bring to that? What did you learn from that? And even if I never even acknowledged the Cs, think about the difference there. So, that little example really plays out in all the questions we design. So, when people come together for a transformational learning experience, we can intelligently ask questions about our past. I was on a long call with Ben Hardy yesterday, a mutual friend of ours because we have the privilege of designing and leading Ben’s mastermind events. He doesn’t do it very often. He’s got one this year and we get to come in and lead it. And Ben and I love talking about transformation and questions. And one of his teachings is that we can have mastery in the present by actually changing our past. How do you change your past? Well, you could say that your past is either good or bad. But what Ben has taught me is that, no, actually, the meaning that we give to our past can either make that past full of wisdom to leverage right now or a history that has nothing useful for us.
So, you think about right now all the people coming together who’ve dealt with a lot of challenges, who’ve navigated change, we lead events every single day where we ask questions, where we ask people to think about how have you navigated change in the last few years and in ways that maybe you’re proud of or surprised by or share a story with each other of your own resilience. What’s a challenge that you’ve dealt with in the last couple of years that you didn’t even think you could make it through but here you are? What can you appreciate right now about having made it through that challenge? In our questions about the past, we can study any experience, even the difficult ones. And of course, we can learn a lot by asking when have we been at our best? When has something worked? In the present moment, same thing. We can study what’s not working, study by asking those types of questions. Or we can constantly ask ourselves what can we appreciate right now? What opportunities are in front of us that maybe we’ve lost connection with? What within our relationships have we just forgot to notice or appreciate? And maybe we need to express that.
And of course, questions about the future where we invite ourselves at any moment to ask, “What would I like to be celebrating one day, months, years from now?” But to even go further and say, “What would it look like? What would it sound like? What would it feel like?” And to give ourselves space to actually be with those types of questions. And there’s always another question, right? How might I make those come true and what do I need to do now or what do I need to do next? Do I need to enlist as an ally, a mentor here, whatever? There’s always more questions but the essence of all of this, Hal, comes in your example, which is when we do remember to be curious, can we remember to ask a life-giving version of a question? It doesn’t mean we’re ignoring a problem. No. It can actually be a faster way of solving the problem but just being a little more mindful about the types of questions. So, I’ll stop and see what this brings up.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Jon, the last 5 or 10 minutes were to me that was a masterclass in the power of questions and it was just as applicable to an individual. When you’re doing your Miracle Morning and you’re saying, “What’s great about my life right now? What do I have to be grateful for? What am I excited about? What strengths have I brought in the past when I face challenges that I’m facing now that have gotten me through them that I can currently apply? These are life-giving, life-changing questions. And then you go into an organization and I love the example of Sierra, right? You said, “Hey, some of these As,” she would have lit up. I mean, the impact, number one, your relationship would have been strengthened, right? Her self-esteem would have been increased. And to your point, that C, she’s like, “You know what, I reminded myself that I am capable of getting As. I’m going to apply that to that C and I’m going to change that.” It’s incredible. It’s like it feels better. You get better results.
And so, I think anybody listening can think, “Wow. So, if you apply that in a group setting and you lead others with these, as XCHANGE teaches these strategically engineered, designed intentional questions that bring out the best in an organization and the individuals that make it up, I’d love to end it here and invite people to the workshop.
Jon Berghoff: But, Hal, on that note, can I just build with like two or three more real-world examples questions that could help somebody who hears this in a very personal way?
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Jon Berghoff: Because that’s what you just appreciated. I agree. I think whether or not we’re leading group transformational gatherings, that’s great. But even for us as individuals it’s one of the most important tools. At least it’s a cognitive tool. There’s a lot of other types of tools we might need to rewire ourselves but at least from the neck up, this is one, the questions we ask. I want to follow what you just shared, and I want to encourage everybody to think about some of the more difficult experiences or you could even say emotions that you might feel. And I just hope this helps somebody who hears this. So, for example, if any of you can think about a situation that for you is really stressful, I’m going to start with a word that a lot of people can relate to. And if you can relate to just feeling a lot of stress, I learned years ago from one of the great researchers on stress, Kelly McGonigal, out of Stanford University, that one of the fastest ways to really create a resolution, even a healing for some of us around stress, is by reminding ourselves that just by reframing our stress with a different question and the reframe is reminding ourselves that stress, instead of seeing it as something that’s a threat, instead, we could see it as just a reminder that there’s something at stake that we care about.
So, how do you make that a question? Well, if you feel really stressed right now, maybe you could just play with a question somewhere along the lines of, well, what is it that’s at stake here that I just really care about? And what’s interesting about that question is it brings us to a place of compassion, especially for ourselves. And that is really, really important. I’ll give you another example if I can. You know, we’ve mentioned this word, self-doubt. If you’re trying to face a challenge or accomplish something that we’ve never faced, we all have doses of self-doubt that are going to creep in no matter who we are and where we’re at in our lives or in our work. If you think about what’s the unconscious question we might be asking, it could be, “Hey, how difficult is this going to be? How bad is this going to get? What could happen if I can’t figure this out?” And you know what? Those are all fair.
You can totally rationalize why those are legitimate questions but you can also rationalize another question, which is, hey, what do I have going for me? Or when have I accomplished something in the past when I didn’t think I could make it through? When have I had doubt before but somehow I found a way? What strengths do I have that maybe I’ve just forgotten about? Or who can I turn to? Who can support me that maybe I’ve just kind of blocked out the realization that I have somebody that could help me right now? Or what about this one, Hal? This is a personal favorite, the inner voice of the judge. You could call it the critic. And how many of you can relate to either being judgmental of others or being judgmental of yourself? By the way, there’s a good chance that if one of those voices is alive, it’s close cousins with the other one. So, you might have skill in both but any of us who can relate to that self-judgment or judgment of others, this was your example, Hal, it’s like the unconscious question we’re asking is, “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them?” And of course, it’s, “Well, what’s right with them? What’s right with me?” Just that simple shift in the frame in both those questions, you could argue why you should ask them but I would argue the generative life-giving one is worth more.
One more example, last one. And this is one that for me is very personal. You know, I’ve dealt with more just personal challenge, loss, grief, difficulty, failure in the last several years in my life than I’ve ever navigated prior to that. And I think we all have to remember that even while we are being successful, like we’re very successful at XCHANGE and I feel so fortunate for that, we can simultaneously have a lot of struggles, right? It’s not always one or the other.
Hal Elrod: Mo money, mo problems, right?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah, that’s true. Well, for me it’s been very easy the last few years. If I’m not careful, Hal, with the world collapsing around me to go into a victim mentality to want to put responsibility elsewhere. And sometimes there’s an unconscious question there that’s something along the lines of, like, why me? Why is this happening to me? Even if we’re not conscious, there’s some sort of unconscious dialog that we can go into when things get tough where we are playing the role of the victim. And this is one of my favorite questions because I think there’s even, if I can use this word, I think there’s a spiritual groundedness. There’s a spiritual basis for some of these questions, or maybe all of them. And this one is to look at any difficulty in our lives and where we could be asking, “How bad is it? How tough is this going to get? Why me?” we could also ask, “How is this happening not to me but for me?”
And I think if we’re willing to sit with that question in the face of any challenge and especially the most difficult ones, and if we’re willing to sit long enough and hold that question open, “How is this happening for me, not to me?” we might find, we might not find it quickly, it might take time but that timing will always be perfect, we might find answers that help us to understand that everything that has happened and is happening and will happen is happening, and I’ve heard you say this, Hal, exactly as it should, how it should, and when it should. But sometimes we just need the right question to get us back to that remembering. Maybe all of this is happening for us, which does not take away the pain, the despair, the struggle. But it might give us a lens so that while we are navigating that despair, that struggle, at a minimum, maybe we find a deeper meaning. Hal, thanks for letting me share those last few examples. If that’s of service to somebody, that makes me appreciative that you gave me that space.
Hal Elrod: Absolutely, brother. If you’re still listening to this, I would love to invite you to go deeper with Jon. And it is for the Live Conscious Leadership Workshop, and it’s an XCHANGE-led workshop. And you can register for it. It’s totally free. No strings attached. It’s for the Miracle Morning community. We do it once a year, sometimes twice but usually once a year. And you can register at XCHANGETMM.com, and there are two different times that we are offering it on April 26th because the last year and I think almost every year we always end up filling up the first one and we have to open a second. So, we thought let’s get ahead of it. Jon, anything else to share about what people are going to learn, gain, and experience at that workshop on the 26th?
Jon Berghoff: Well, first and foremost, we’re going to have a good time. I will have music at those workshops. They’ll understand if they show up. We’ll have a good time and it would be a tremendous honor for me, Hal, to get to meet anybody who’s actually listened all the way through to this conversation. Bless your soul for this thing. I mean, that in of itself means we are meant to meet. So, yeah, we’re going to host these. Like you said, we do this like approximately once a year. It’s not a very common thing. And if folks like go to that URL, get a spot, because we will have to cap it at a certain point and that’ll happen. And I will lead an experiential introduction to our approach. And it comes to the whole workbook. There’s like a ten-page workbook. We share all of our frameworks, a lot of things you heard us talk about today. You’ll see these fill-in-the-blank handouts that kind of explain all this stuff. So, looking forward to meeting anyone who can be there. And if they can’t, maybe we’ll see them at one of our trainings one day in the future. And if we don’t, I’m glad somebody listened to this, if it helped them in any way at all. Thanks, buddy.
Hal Elrod: Absolutely, bro. It’s been a pleasure. Always fun. Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community, you know I love you. Thank you for being here today. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Jon. Jon, this is like the most, I think, attentive I’ve ever been. I’m really listening to every word. I was like I got a lot out of this. I don’t know if I’m just a better listener or you’re a better talker or a better question-asker. I don’t know. But I was really engaged, buddy.
Jon Berghoff: I think it’s you. I think we might need to do like a Part 2 follow-on where we pretty much just appreciate each other for our quality of listening and conversation.
Hal Elrod: Agreed. All right. Everybody, love you. I will talk to you next week. Hopefully, I will see you on April 26 at the Conscious Leadership XCHANGE Workshop. I’ll be there. Jon will be there. It’ll be fun, it’ll be enlightening. And we will see you then.