424. The ONE Truth with Jon Gordon

Oct 30, 2023 | 0 comments

Welcome back to another episode of The ONE Thing Podcast. Today, we have the honor of hosting the esteemed author, John Gordon. John’s literary journey has always captivated readers, with bestsellers like The Energy Bus leading the charge, boasting over 3 million copies sold. His other notable works including The Carpenter, Training Camp, Power of a Positive Leader, and Power of a Positive Team, have also left an indelible mark on readers worldwide.

In today’s conversation, we delve into John’s latest masterpiece, The One Truth. This book encapsulates the essence of transcending the ordinary to reach unparalleled heights of personal and professional success. With John’s profound insights, we explore how embodying the core message of The One Truth can significantly impact your life and the world around you.

If you’re keen on discovering a transformative narrative that propels you into a realm of higher achievement and fulfillment, this episode is your gateway. Join us as John Gordon unfolds the layers of The One Truth, igniting a path of purpose, positivity, and potent change.

Find out how The One Truth could be your ONE Thing. Purchase the book today at getonetruth.com.

To learn more, and for the complete show notes, visit: the1thing.com/pods.

We talk about:

  • The importance of state of mind
  • Oneness vs separateness
  • How to see a positive future and cultivate a positive mindset

Links & Tools from This Episode:

Produced by NOVA Media


Nikki Miller:

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The ONE Thing podcast. I am so privileged and excited to be here with the one and only Jon Gordon. You probably know him from one of his many best selling books, The Energy Bus, which has sold over 3 million copies. And I have to thank you personally, Jon, for The Energy Bus for Kids, which I read to my daughter. And you might also know him from The Carpenter, or Training Camp, or Power of Positive Leadership, Power of a Positive Team. But today, we're going to be talking mostly about his newest book, The One Truth. Welcome, Jon. I'm so excited to have you here.

Jon Gordon:

Nikki, great to be with you. Thanks for having me.

Nikki Miller:

So, you've written so many books. Sometimes I look at authors like you who are so incredible and have so much to say, and I'll ask them, What have you left unsaid? What was the inspiration for this book? Why did The One Truth come to be?

Jon Gordon:

That's such a great question because each book I write, it's because there is something I haven't said yet. And I often think I'm done writing, and then new ideas come, new principles come, new experiences come. And I'm like, "Okay. I've got to write a new book." When that book starts to be on your mind, the ideas, the thoughts, and you start teaching them and people benefit from them, you're like, "Okay. This is a new book."

That's what happened with The One Truth. I was being filled with all these different insights in terms of oneness and separateness, and positive and negative, and high state of mind and low state of mind, and helping people through their challenges, the adversity, the negativity they're dealing with, the anxiety that so many people are facing today, people are struggling with their mental health.

And I started teaching these ideas that were coming to me to a lot of professional athletes, a lot of NFL coaches and NBA coaches, Major League Baseball coaches. And then, different friends said, "Hey, can you help my son? Can you help my daughter?" And then, I started to share these ideas with them and they benefited. I'm like, "Okay. I've got to share this book."

And, basically, it teaches how to elevate our state of mind instead of allowing all the negative thoughts to bring down our state of mind. And once you understand how it all works and how thoughts work, you literally become a Jedi in this world, to be able to master your thoughts and master your mindset and take on this world with more power, instead of all the fear, anxiety, and worry, and stress that so many people are going through.

This is not like your typical mindset book. I tell people all the time this is really different. People have called this profound and revolutionary and it's very unique. It's like nothing I've ever written before. I've written mostly fables and different general principles on positivity. This is just different. And, you know, I never thought I would write a book like this, but it was just these ideas that came to me, and I felt like everything in my life prepared me for this moment to write this book at this time.

Nikki Miller:

Well, I love what you just said, Jon, because I think so often when we hear this idea of it's another mindset book, and then you jump in and you're going to think to yourself, well, someone's going to tell me how to think or someone's going to give me a bunch of principles, and then I'll walk away maybe feeling better for a little bit, and then I'll go back to how I actually am.

But what I want to dive into is that that's not what this book is. This is a very straight to the point actionable. Like, my favorite thing about the book is that you actually end it with an action plan. What do I go out and do with all of this information? How do I actually apply this to my life and to better my mindset? But sort of the subtext on the book is it's The One Truth, but it's talking about elevating your mind, unlocking your power, healing your soul.

And if I could, like, immediately summarize it in one sentence, it's really this idea, to your point, of getting to this higher state of mind. And then, you just mentioned that in that higher state of mind, there's a difference between high state of mind, obviously, and then alternatively, a low state of mind. Can you walk us through like what is the actual difference? What does that even mean? How do I know if I'm in high or low?

Jon Gordon:

Yeah, that's a great point. Well, I always tell people you don't want to ask yourself in the present moment am I in a high state or low state right now. Because if you ask yourself that, what you're actually doing now is thinking. And then, as you think more, you rev up thought, and all that thought creates clutter.

Here's the summary. You ever notice that when we talk about overthinking, we never say that someone has too many positive thoughts? Overthinking is always associated with negative thoughts. Why is that? Like, "Oh, man. I have too many positive thoughts in my mind, too much goodness, too much gratitude."

Nikki Miller:

That's such a good point. Overthinking, it's always negative, it's always bringing you down.

Jon Gordon:

It always goes towards the negative. And why is that? Well, when you move from oneness to separateness, you move from positive to negative. All mental health disorders report feelings of isolation, alone, and disconnection. And the root for the Greek word of anxious means to separate and divide. And so, when you feel anxious, you feel separate, you feel divided. And the more you feel separate and divided, those negative thoughts are wreaking havoc on you. What happens is negative thoughts create clutter and we have all this clutter and revved up thinking. And that clutter lowers your state of mind.

High state of mind is a lot of clarity, a lot of focus, a lot of positivity. And that's why when people practice meditation or mindfulness or prayer, you're able to get to that higher state of mind. You have less clutter in your mind. And so, that's something that's really important. The key is to understand one day you're in traffic and it bothers you, the next day you're in the same traffic and it doesn't. Is it the traffic that's making you feel a certain way? No. Because if it was the traffic, you'd feel the same way every single time.

Let's look at the pandemic. Some people really struggled during the pandemic and other people thrived in the pandemic. We often blame the pandemic, but it wasn't the event. It wasn't the circumstance. It never is. It's always our state of mind. When your state of mind is low, the circumstance happens and it bothers you. When your state of mind is high, the same circumstance can happen and you rise above, you move forward, you keep going.

If you're in sales and you get that rejection, low state of mind, you start to question your sales ability, you question your future. You wonder if you should quit this job, there are days you feel that way. High state of mind in sales, you get the rejection, you're like, "No big deal. I'll make the next one. Let's go."

And so, our state of mind determines how we perceive the world, how we interact, and how we respond to it. And that low state is a ton of clutter, a lot of anxiety, a lot of worry, fear, stress, and doubt. All those negative thoughts, all the overthinking. The high state is that elevated state, and that's a lot of clarity, focus, being in the zone. When you've been in the zone and everything is flowing, you're having an amazing day and everything is working, and you're just feeling so confident and you have all this courage, that's the ultimate high state experience.

And when you understand how thoughts work, you can see how negative thoughts lower your state of mind and positive thoughts elevate your state of mind. And this is the battle of our mind. Once you understand that this is going on every single day, and the brain is an antenna, not like an antenna, it literally is an antenna - that's why this book is very different - because you can actually tune into a positive or a negative frequency. And those are the two main frequencies. There's no other frequencies. Two major frequencies. That's why everything ultimately comes down to, Man, we have a positive environment. Man, we got this positive team. Man, things are going in a great direction. Or things are really negative. There's too much bitterness. There's a lot of anger. There's a lot of division.

And think about teams, right? A team that is united and connected and positive is a powerful team. A team that is separate and divided becomes a very weak team. And it's the same thing with us. Individually, when we're connected and one, we feel powerful. When we feel separate and divided, we feel weak. And the negative thoughts create that separation. Positive thoughts begin to create that unity and uplift you. And that is really the key.

And like as I teach you in the book and I teach you ways to apply this, and as you said, the action plan, you literally start to think more powerfully and this is already on a mental health standpoint. Like, I've literally saved a bunch of kids who were suicidal and depressed just by teaching them this. Again, not me, just the principles and teaching them these ideas. And once they understood how thoughts work, they no longer beat themselves up, they no longer feel broken, they stop thinking something's wrong with them. They realize, "Oh, this is actually normal to have these high states and low states, and this is normal to have these negative thoughts coming in. But guess what? I'm not meant to stay there." Staying there is not normal. Having negative thoughts is normal, but staying there is not normal. And I can actually now elevate my state of mind by doing this, this, and this. And once you do, everything changes.

One of the kids who was suicidal, I reached out to him the other day. "How are you doing?" "I'm doing great, Mr. Gordon. High state of mind." We're talking a year later. And the day after we talked, his parents said, "What did you do? He's fine now." I said, "I just shared with him the truth, The One Truth." And once you understand the truth, it sets you free and you're able to truly take on life in a more powerful way, instead of being a victim of life.

So, anyway, I'm really excited about it. I'm passionate about it. But not just mental health, like mental toughness, high performance. Once you understand these principles, this gets you into a state where you will perform at your highest level. And that's what I've been doing with NFL quarterbacks, also Major League Baseball players, NBA superstars, and CEOs and top salespeople, like you want to get to a higher state, here's what's going on.

And when I talk to these top leaders of companies, for instance, it's interesting, we'll talk about the things that bring down their state of mind and lower their state. And they're like, "Yeah. That happened. This happened," and then it helps them get to that higher state.

Nikki Miller:

Jon, first and foremost, I love so much that you're doing this with kids. Because I think that one of the biggest gaps in this next generation, especially, I think one of the biggest gaps in raising young people in general, is that the differentiator - and you correct me if I'm wrong because you operate in this space on a day-to-day basis - what I see is someone who coaches a lot of high level entrepreneurs, high level executives, I see this clear delineation between people who have a high level of mental resilience and those that don't.

And when I interview people, it's very rare that they're able to pinpoint how that even came to pass. Why does this person have the ability to remain mentally resilient in this situation and this person will allow those negative thoughts to take over? And it's the thing that we don't teach young people, and yet will be the deciding factor, not only in their trajectory, but also usually in their happiness too.

So, when you're speaking with young people about this who are probably like, "What the heck do you mean positive thoughts, negative thoughts?" how are you explaining this to them? How are you helping them to interrupt that thought pattern? Because to your point, it's not that we can remove and eliminate these thoughts completely. We don't necessarily control our first thought. It's very much the stoic philosophy that we don't control what happens, we get to control how we respond to it and what our next thought is going to be, how are we going to respond to the thought that came through. So, how are you teaching this to young people in order to start to build that mental resilience because it's so important?

Jon Gordon:

I'm so glad you said that. And resilience is like the key word here, because when you have a high state of mind, you will be more resilient. When you have a high state of mind, you actually have more grit. And so, high state of mind and consciousness, and level of awareness and understanding, and be able to overcome your circumstances is what makes you resilient. So, you just nailed it in terms of when we talk about what kids are going through, what people are going through, and mental toughness, it's that higher state that allows you to be gritty, to be resilient, to be mentally tough.

And here's the deal, when you're in a low state, you believe your circumstance has power over you. When you're in a high state, you know the truth. You have power over your circumstance. And I always say what you just said, we don't have the power of the first thought, but we have the power of the second thought. My good friend, Jesse Bradley, actually taught me the second thought philosophy.

But before him, I learned from Dr. James Gills, he gave me the greatest advice ever. He's the only person on the planet to complete six Double Ironman Triathlons. It's a Double Ironman, which means you do an Ironman, a day later you do another one. And the last time he did it, he was 59 years old. And he was asked how he did it, he said this, "I've learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself."

Nikki Miller:

I love that.

Jon Gordon:

This is great for kids. "If I listen, I hear the fear, the negativity, the doubt, all the reasons why I can't finish this race. But if I talk to myself, I can feed myself with the words and the encouragement that I need to keep on moving forward." In my audiences, I always say, "Who here needs to talk to themselves more?" And everybody raises their hand. If they don't, I say, "You just don't feel like raising your hand right now because we all know we need to talk to ourselves."

And in that talking to ourselves, what we do is we overcome the negative thoughts and we speak truth to the lies. Because what I teach kids is, and also adults, I teach this to everybody, everything I've written --

Nikki Miller:

Which is no different, right?

Jon Gordon:

No different. I taught this to an eighth grader. I taught it to a sixth grader. And guess what? They all got it. They get this because it's so simple, it's so intuitive, and it is the truth. So, the truth resonates within them. Like, I draw two circles, just like I did in the book, and I'll show them 1,000 dots in one circle and three or four dots in the other circle. And I'll say, "Which mind performs at a higher level, this one with the 1,000 or this one with the three?" And everyone gets it. Everyone intuitively knows that the one with the less dots performs at a higher level. That's the clarity instead of the clutter. How do we intuitively know that? Because we deep down understand high state and low state.

And that's why this teaching is so profound, because some people read the book and go, "Yeah. Of course, this makes sense." And other people are like, "Whoa," because they realize that it actually is complex, but it's actually so simple when you understand the truth. So, I love teaching kids that and adults this.

But here's what I also teach adults and kids. I always say, "Do your negative thoughts come from you?" And then, they say, "Yes, of course. They're in my head." But here's the next question, "Who would ever choose to have a negative thought? Would you ever choose a negative thought?" And then, I say, "When you're dreaming, having a nightmare, are you choosing those thoughts?" No.

So, I've talked to neuroscientists, no one has ever found a thought inside of a brain. I believe we're going to find out in the future, and we need to look in this direction in terms of mental health, in terms of science that the brain is where the activation happens, the brain is the antenna. And actually when you have this thought from consciousness or a spiritual place, no one actually really knows where they're coming from. But they do come in, there's like this field of consciousness, this internet cloud of thoughts.

When they come in, the thought initially comes in and it will tell you lies and tell you things about yourself and your future that just isn't true. You're not enough. The future is hopeless. You should give up. You're not going to make it past this. The relationship isn't going to improve. The health diagnosis is not going to get better. We're going to go bankrupt. Whatever it may be, all these thoughts will come in, and most of the time they are negative and they are lies.

And the thing is, we believe the lie, then we reinforce it, then we speak it out loud, and then we have guilt and shame for the thoughts in our head. And we beat ourselves up. And young kids think they're broken. They think something is wrong with them. And this is what I teach them, "Nothing is wrong with you. You're not broken. You're just believing the lies. And would you ever choose those thoughts?" "No, I wouldn't." "Exactly. So, let's not choose them any more."

Let's have the power of the second thought. Let's talk to ourselves instead of listen to ourselves. Let's be more positive instead of the negative. Let's elevate our state of mind. And you know what happens? They stop beating themselves up. They stop feeling the guilt and shame. They realize that there's a battle going on in their mind between the negative and positive. And it's the battle in the world. Every major epic movie is about positive and negative, and there's resistance, and there's things holding you back. There's a force that is always trying to divide and separate you and keep you from your destiny.

And that's what happens, those negative thoughts at the psychological level actually create the separation we talked about. And as we move people towards oneness and wholeness and healing, they elevate their state of mind when we move them towards the truth and positivity. And I give the acronyms and the action plans of TUNE, T-U-N-E, Trust, Unite with love because love casts out fear, Neutralize the negativity on a daily basis, Elevate your thinking with meditation and mindfulness and prayer and positive thoughts, literally, and optimism and belief and gratitude. When you appreciate, you elevate. You elevate your mood, your performance, the people around you.

This is how I turned my life around. I was really negative years ago and this is what led me to do this work. And I took a walk of gratitude everyday because I read you can't be stressed and thankful at the same time. This was during the emerging field of positive psychology. And I started writing these ideas of what I was doing, and that's what led me to write and speak on these very topics. But walking everyday, what was I doing? I was tuning my antenna, my brain, into the positive, into gratitude, which rewired my brain, tuned into more positive thoughts, and then overrode all the negative thoughts that were coming in my way. And literally turned the anxiety I had, the worry, the fear, the depression around by doing it day in and day out for now, 18 years.

But I noticed a difference within a few months. My wife noticed a huge difference six months, a year. And now, years later, I'm a different person. I am so much more positive. Why? I am feeding my body and brain positive thoughts which are nourishment and actually have energy to them, just as the food you take in has energy. If you eat a bunch of junk food all the time, your body's going to feel like crap. You give your body life and what it's meant to have, organic vegetables, organic fruits, organic protein, and you take in that protein, wild salmon, incredible for brain health. You do all of that and what happens? Oh, you now feed this great energy. You feel better. You feel nourished. Well, positive thoughts work the same way.

Nikki Miller:

Jon, so much to unpack there.

Jon Gordon:

I know there was a lot right there. That was a lot all at once.

Nikki Miller:

No, it's amazing. But foremost, I want to just mention a word that you just said because I think it's really important. It's funny, I read this book and I gave it to a friend of mine who I thought could really use it. And she said, "Well, what were your thoughts on the book?" And I couldn't think of a word to describe how I felt after I read it. So, I said I felt nourished, which seems like such a weird thing to say after reading a book. And yet, when you just said it, I was like, "Oh, my gosh. That is exactly how I felt after I read this book." I felt nourished. I felt like my mind was nourished, my soul was nourished, my heart was nourished.

And so, the principles bring you to this place, to your point, of this idea of wholeness. And I want to spend some time on that, because I think if I'm listening to this and I don't have any experience with the book or your writing or in this space, maybe I'm new to this idea of positive psychology, what do we mean by this idea of oneness versus separateness? Like, what is the difference? How do you explain this to someone?

Jon Gordon:

Yeah. The best way is to give examples. Like the word integrity comes from the word integer, which means whole and complete. So, a leader with integrity has wholeness and completeness. They feel one, it's why they actually have a lot of power. A relationship, when you and your significant other are taking walks together and connecting and having meaningful conversation, you feel more one, you feel more connected with each other.

When we are in a team that is really discussing things and having meaningful conversations and talking about our fears and our successes and our goals and our hopes and our dreams, and uncovering those issues and dealing with the challenges that we face ahead, that team starts to become much more united and connected, they become more whole. They actually heal. Relational psychology says we heal in a loving relationship. And even when two people are having a meaningful conversation and there's a connection there, two hearts literally start to beat as one. There's a synchronization that happens, an entrainment that happens between the two hearts. It's incredible.

So, we are meant to be connected with others. We're meant to be connected with ourselves. And I would argue we're meant to be connected spiritually as well. And most spiritual traditions believe in this idea of oneness. Namaste says the spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you. So, we're both spirit and we're recognizing that oneness.

And it's like traffic. When you're driving in traffic, if you feel separate from someone else, you see them as the cause of the traffic. They see you as the cause of their traffic. But really, there's a sign in LA that says you are the traffic, which means we're all part of the traffic, we're all one. And when you really see someone as yourself, someone who's connected to you, you care more about that person, you want to help that person.

And so, from a standpoint of leadership, for instance. A leader who's a narcissist is not a great leader, because a narcissist actually believes and feels separate. They feel separate. They feel disconnected from other people. And as a result of that disconnection and separateness, they don't care about others. They're about themselves because they're actually about their own survival. And in most cases, they've been through some trauma or painful experience in the past.

And at the neurological level, there's actually a separation that happens in the brain where they actually cut off other parts of the brain. The neurological separation is a manifestation of the separation that they actually feel.

Social media, when we look at social media, if we're in a low state of mind and we're looking at social media, we will feel separate from the person we're looking at, and we will see their qualifications, their success, and we will feel bad about our own life. And that's the problem with social media, it's not social media, it's the fact that we feel separate and that has a result and an impact on us.

Or ego, we often blame the ego. Ego is not the enemy. What's the enemy? Separation is the enemy. When you feel separate, that gives rise to the ego. And the ego then has to have a sense of power because you actually feel powerless because you feel separate. But, actually, ego is weak energy. And leaders with big egos are weak leaders, although they seem powerful because they're connected to self, not others or something greater. They're not connected to the greater mission and the greater purpose. And as a result of feeling separate like that, they don't connect to others and they separate themselves from others. And that's why leaders with big egos don't have sustained success and don't last long.

So, you can see how everything comes down to oneness and separateness. And then, to us at the psychological level, I said earlier the root for the Greek word of anxious means to separate and divide. So, think about it, when you feel anxious, you feel separate and divided. You feel separate from others. Mental health disorders report feelings of being separate and disconnected. I don't feel connected to myself or to others. I feel like I am by myself. And as a result of that, I feel powerless. So, the more that you feel one and connected, you feel powerful.

And like for me as a person of faith, when I'm praying and I'm connected to God, the Creator of the universe, in those prayers and in that connection, I now feel a oneness and a sense of power and peace because I feel whole. I feel like I'm home. The other way, when I feel separate, I feel like I'm trying to find my way back home and I'm seeking and I'm looking for the answer. And when you feel separate, what happens is you try to fill this separation gap with all sorts of stuff to make you feel better. But everything, ultimately, leads to more and more separation if it's not the thing that's meant to restore you, to nourish you.

So, we will do drugs because we actually feel separate. People will drink because they feel separate. They'll play video games because they feel separate. They try to achieve power and have fame and get success because they actually feel separate.

I had a leader say to me, "Jon, every time I stop building a business, I actually get really negative, and down, and start to falter, then I start a new business after that." So, she keeps on starting new businesses and having a ton of success, but she's doing it because she has the separation gap. And I told her, "It's because you don't feel connected. And in that separation, you're doing it to actually try to feel this oneness that you are trying to achieve through your success and your performance." And that helps you be positive, but you're not really being positive, you're just stopping the negativity from coming at you in the moment.

Nikki Miller:

So, you're band aiding it. You're not really solving what sounds like is the root of the issue.

Jon Gordon:

It's not a bad thing. I mean, at least it's a positive addiction, not a negative addiction. So, she's building businesses and making wealth, but it's actually the same root, like perfectionism and unworthiness are actually the same root. Because I feel unworthy, I strive to be perfect. Because there's that gap and the separation and the unworthiness, I now try to fill it with success and accolades and perfectionism so that I can validate myself and my self-worth. So, it's actually two sides of the same coin.

And, again, this is what the book explains, it gives you all of these examples so you'll now be able to approach this life really understanding how these thoughts work, how separation works. And then, you can start filling in the gap with things that nourish you, that make you feel whole, that restore you. Not just give you temporary relief, but obviously the first key is awareness.

So, this one leader that I talked to where she was feeling separate and starting new businesses, she said, "Yeah, you're right. You're right. That makes so much sense. And I do feel separate, it's because I just have trouble trusting." I said, "Because you've been hurt in your past." She goes, "How did you know?" I said, "Well, if you were feeling connected, you wouldn't be coming to me telling me you had all these negative thoughts. You would be feeling powerful, having peace, having joy, tons of courage, tons of confidence and excitement. The fact that you're actually having these symptoms of separation tells me you feel separate."

And the symptoms are always there, you can see it. So, that's why I work with leaders that can literally tell where they are, what their issue is, and what they need to do. And it's not a long process. That's the thing, once you understand it, it's really clear what it is, let's get to the root. A lot of people treat symptoms. I get to the root and then give you the solution, and I think that's more powerful.

Nikki Miller:

Well, into your point, I think an important distinction here is that sometimes these sort of Band-Aids or addictions that we have to resolve what is the real core issue don't always manifest in a negative way. I know a lot of high, high, high achievers who are high achievers because they just don't want to not be busy and have time for those thoughts to actually bleed into their mind. They're occupying their time, occupying their focus so they don't actually have to think about the fact that they are maybe a little bit negative or unhappy or whatever it might be, because they're solving their problem with their success.

And I think the other important distinction here, Jon, that you talk about - and forgive me, I told you this was going to happen. I was telling Jon at the beginning of the interview, I said, I've read all your books, I'm going to probably pull an example and I don't know which one it's going to be from - you make this distinction that when we're leading teams and the difference between oneness and separateness, sometimes when people hear this idea of oneness, they think it's Kumbaya, like we all get along and we're all happy all the time.

And, no, that's not always the case. You can still maintain oneness as a team and disagree. You disagree without ego. You discuss the problem or the challenge or the solution or path forward, or whatever it is, without ego. But it doesn't create separateness and it doesn't always mean that everyone is Kumbaya together. You can still operate a very high level organization and resolve real problems and maintain your oneness. Can you talk a little bit about that? I think it's a really important distinction.

Jon Gordon:

Two thoughts there. When you're trying to create success because, again, to not be busy, that's not such a bad thing at all, right? But, also, power can be addicting and money can be addicting and fame can be addicting. And at some point in your life, I do think it serves growth. And it served me in my journey. That's what drove me to be successful, to get recognition early on in my life.

But eventually I hit a wall and I came to the place where I crumbled and I could no longer pursue it that way. It had to be about others. And that's when I decided to write and speak. It was actually during that time I lost my job during the dotcom crash. I was going to make a fortune. My identity was tied to performance and success. And I was climbing the ladder and I was crushing it. I was going after it. But when we went under as a company, we went bankrupt, everything crumbled for me and my identity.

At some point you will have to face yourself and your soul and the hole in your soul. And at some point you will have to heal the hole in your soul. Every leader, every person will have to heal the hole. Everybody has one. I don't care what your background is, we all talk about it. Every time I talk to a leader, a person everyone admits, yes, they have a hole in their soul. And the key is how do I heal it?

Again, it's called constraint theory. The constraint that you have pushes you and drives you and it makes you successful. But at some point, you'll hit the wall and you'll hit the ceiling. And if you don't heal the constraint, it then becomes your demise. So, the very thing that serves you and makes you successful will be your demise if you don't address it and you don't heal it. So, heal the wound, heal the constraint so you can go to the next level of your life.

And people think I can't have both. Yes, you can. You will actually have healthy ambition. You will be focused on the right things and the right way and you'll be more successful than you ever thought. People are scared of this because they often think, "No. This is what drives me. This gives me the edge." No. You can have both. You can actually be a driver and passionate and also going towards wholeness and healing and oneness.

And now to your other question, yeah, oneness does not mean sameness. We need to be unique. We need to be different. We need to have unique and different perspectives. We need to value everyone on the team. People come from different ethnicities and backgrounds and races, you name it. We have to bring everyone to the table and value everyone on the team. It's about connection. Knowing that we're all connected, we're all aligned, and we're here though for a purpose and a mission. Every organization, every team has to have that same purpose and mission.

Now, it might mean something different to each person, but we're all working in the same direction, towards the same goal because we are here to do something together and something amazing. But we're going to disagree along the way. And guess what? Those disagreements, if we make them healthy, will serve the team. They will serve our growth. They will make us better in the long run.

And it's so funny you said that earlier because Amy Kelly and I, my colleague, we're writing Difficult Conversations Don't Have To Be Difficult. And we're actually writing how teams need to have difficult conversations. This is not like the books where crucial conversation is another thing from an individual standpoint. This is how do teams have conversations as a team that allow them to grow. And we've created a model for that, the Star3 Model, where the team could actually now have these difficult conversations and grow from them. So, we call it positive conflict, and it actually leads to our growth.

And we deal with the elephants in the room. And we have the small ego and the big mission. And we tell the truth. And we assume positive intent. And we focus on the relationship. And we have respect. And we make sure we have rules of engagement on how we're going to actually have these conversations. So, we don't allow bitterness and envy and division to take hold, because that's what happens, right? So, that's what will make a team separate when you start to get angry, when you get upset, when you get frustrated, when you don't respect each other. But if we can have these healthy conversations, it brings about more oneness.

So, we move from like to love. We move to greater intimacy. Because the biggest challenge I hear today is no one wants to rock the boat. No one wants to seem like they're negative. I always say, "No. This is not about Pollyanna Positive." We've got to have the constructive conversations in order to get better. We've got to address the negativity. We've got to deal with the complaining, deal with the energy vampires so that we can all move to a higher level of oneness. You got to clear out the debris. You got to clear the debris so the river can flow more smoothly.

Nikki Miller:

And I think that this is such a great representation in this book what you're talking about is happening inside of you too. Because we can't help to bring it to our team if we're not able to get clarity with ourselves. People say the problem named is a problem solved. I'm like, "No. That's not how that works." It's the problem named and the problem taken action on that's the problem solved. And I think to your point, there's so many people who just aren't taught how to have these conversations in a way that is constructive, in a way that is positive, and in a way that makes everyone feel safe enough to actually have an open conversation about it.

So, I say all that to say this, Jon, I want to be on the early list for the release of that book. And I'm really excited because I know it's going to be powerful for a lot of people.

And you said something earlier I want to come back to. In the book, you talk about your TUNE model. And in that model, the T stands for Trust. And I remember reading it and I was thinking to myself how many times I've had this conversation. And the T in Trust is really about your creator, whomever that may be for you, understanding that they or it or that, whatever it is, has a plan for your life. And making peace with the fact that whatever's happening, there's a greater plan for it.

And I thought to myself, I was in a really good headspace when I read this book, but I could see myself, for those that are listening, being in a bad head space and saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't think there's a plan for right now when stuff's hitting the fan and it's easy to get to that place." So, walk me through how you help people to see this or how you saw this when you were building out this model and how you got out of that. Because I know every achiever is like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it and stuff's hitting the fan right now, I can't see the how there is a plan for this."

Jon Gordon:

You know, as you said earlier, which I love that you said this, it does start with you. We're talking about connection and oneness at the team level. But individually, it's all about you and how you see the world and your perspective. And how you see the world determines the world that you see. So, what is your perspective? How do you view the world? How do you take on the world? How do you view challenges? Are they opportunities or are they things that will actually bring you down? Do you think the universe is here to conspire against you? Or do you believe that there's a greater purpose that's moving for you and towards you and has a plan for your life?

Every addiction program, every one believes in a higher power, because what they have found is that, by yourself, you're not strong enough and your will is not strong enough. You need something greater and to be connected to something greater. That's that greater power. I can look in my eyes. I can look at my brain and realize I have 86 billion neurons in my brain, and every neuron has a transmitter and receiver on those brains.

Well, guess what? Someone designed the actual antennas that we see in the world and the transmitters and receivers. Well, there has to be some creative genius design that created the neurons and the transmitter and receivers in our brain. So, I don't want to get too deep into that in the weeds on that. But I believe it's easier to believe in a Creator and a Greater Power than it is to believe that we're here by accident and random and chance.

And guess what? If you're here by chance and it's just some randomness, then guess what? You are an accident and there is no plan for your life. So, you're right, if you believe that, then there is no plan. And then, nothing matters. Then, why do you even care? Then, why do you even want to show up to work? And why do you even want to actually do something positive and something good? It should all not matter, right? So, why does it matter? Why do we care? Because there is something greater. There's something more meaningful because we're meant to help others, because we are all one.

And a great example of this is like, "You know, I lost my mom." And people say, "Oh, nothing's bad has happened to you, Jon." "No, I have lost my mom. I've lost my dad. I've seen them pass away." And you go through that struggle and it makes you question what's really important in life. And for me, it's about living a life of intention and living a legacy and making a difference because I know I'm going to die one day. So, how can I make this world better today? And knowing how you want to be remembered helps you decide how to live and lead today.

But why does that matter? Because I'm meant to live with love. I'm meant to share purpose and passion and joy. And I'm meant to share that love with others. Love is eternal. Love is the essence of ultimately who we are. Appearance is temporary, but essence is eternal. So, when we're actually sharing love with others, we're sharing an eternal essence that's so powerful, more powerful than anything in the universe. So, to me, that's how I approach life, that's my perspective. But, again, I believe there's a bigger plan.

And just the other day I got a ticket. I got pulled over and I got a ticket. And I was so angry I got this ticket, because I got up at 7:00 a.m. to go get my wife milk for her cup of coffee, because we were on vacation. So, I drove to the store, I'm thinking she's going to call me Saint Jon because I went and got her milk for her coffee. I'm all positive. I'm driving back and I'm in this great state, like, "Oh. She's going to just love it. She's going to be excited." I get pulled over. I'm like, "Are you kidding me? Here I am doing something nice."

Nikki Miller:

My good deed.

Jon Gordon:

Yeah. And I even said this, no good deed goes unpunished. Like, come on. And I was mad for a second. And I said, "All right, Jon. You're supposed to be positive, right? All right. How do we turn this around?" I said, you know, I actually believe this is going to lead to something positive. I don't know what it is, but it was so weird how it happened. I'm like, it's got to lead to something positive.

Literally, that day, I'm at the gym and I'm talking to this guy and the woman he was training, he was a trainer and he was training this woman, and I'm talking to them next to me. And I asked her and him, "Do you know someone around here that's an attorney that can help represent me in traffic court because of this ticket?" Because I won't be back in town, I was on vacation, so I'll need someone to represent me.

Then, it turned into I played lacrosse at Cornell. Her son played lacrosse in college. We played at rival high schools. He was a lot younger than me. I mean, she was about my age, so he was much younger. And here's the kicker, he passed away in college from cancer. And in that conversation, I was able to help her and comfort her and give her a lot of words of thought that made her feel better, and she said began the healing process for her.

If I don't get that ticket, we don't have that conversation. And so, I really look at the bad things in my life believing that they will lead to good and that there is a bigger plan that something will happen. And I can look at everything in my life that has been negative, but it helped me grow, it helped me learn. I looked at the failure and that made me stronger, that made me better.

The partner in our growth is adversity, negativity, and obstacles. Think about it, we always grow by being refined and being tested along the way. And so, as you're being tested, as you're facing your rivals, as you deal with businesses that are coming after you, they make you stronger. Adversity causes you to grow. It makes you stronger. It's all part of the curriculum and the plan for our growth. Because if there was no test, no obstacles, no setbacks, we would never have grit, we would never learn as much as we learn, we would never develop humility, we would never ultimately have the character, probably, that we needed to truly handle success without going through the tough times.

Nikki Miller:

Yeah. It's such a beautiful story, Jon. And I think what's so vital here is that when we're in it, it's so hard to see. When you're in that moment of no good deed goes unpunished, it's so hard to see because we're just in that negative state of mind, and it's so hard to see what good could come of this. And yet, when you ask yourself a different question, when you start to believe a different thought, you reframe and potentially can see what good can come of this, why this is actually happening.

And I love what you just said that so many people want to avoid the hard, whatever the hard may be, the challenge or the struggle, or whatever it is, not realizing that in order to get to the next level, in order to get to that bigger life that they want to live, you have to go through that.

I always give the example when I'm talking to people about this, you know, there's a reason that almost 90 percent of people who win the lottery will go bankrupt. And it's not for any reason other than they just quite simply have not built the skills that are needed to acquire and to maintain and to invest that type of money. That's a skill just like anything else. And they never went through the hard work of learning that.

Jon Gordon:

Yes. Nikki, do you have a rival? Like growing up, did you have a rival in high school? Did you have a rival in your life at all ever, ever, ever?

Nikki Miller:

Oh, gosh. Yeah. I'm a female from California, Jon, of course I did.

Jon Gordon:

Right. So, I had rivals too. And everyone has rivals. Those rivals make you stronger. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, they needed each other to be the best they can be. So, they always make you stronger.

Nikki Miller:

Yeah. And at the end of the day, we need that. And I love what you're doing, which is taking these things that can sometimes hold high achievers back from going and being whoever they want to be and you're putting them into actionable models.

And I know you're going to be bringing days of development out to the public very soon, so can you talk a little bit about that, what it is and how people can learn from it and access it?

Jon Gordon:

Sure. Well, it's going back to what you just said, we have to tune into the positive. When you're dealing with the adversity and the struggle, what are we tuning into? You can tune into the negative and allow those negative thoughts and perceptions saying that you're saying to yourself to affect you. Or you could say, I'm going to tune into the positive, I'm going to tune my antenna, and every day I'm going to take walks of gratitude. I'm going to choose to believe this happens for a reason. I'm going to expect something great to come our way. I'm going to work through the challenges knowing it's making me stronger.

And by tuning into that positive, what happens? We create that reality as a person thinks they become. The thoughts we think and the words we say become the reality that we live. Pessimists do not change the world. It's the optimists. When I wrote The Power of Positive Leadership, I interviewed Alan Mulally, who turned around Ford and Boeing, one of the greatest leadership feats in history. Iconic Ford, Alan was able to turn around. He defined his leadership style as positive leadership.

So, Days of Development is all about how to develop that mindset, the positive mindset, develop your leadership capabilities, enhance your leadership ability, and then build a stronger team. So, it's a one day program where people come to entrepreneurs, business leaders, coaches, you name it, we have all people there. There are sometimes top world coaches that are at that event with people, and people love interacting with them. And you come to this Day of Development and you're going to improve your mindset, which is the key to being a great leader. You can't be a great leader if you don't have a great mindset.

And then, from leadership, we teach you about not just the state of mind, but what is the state of action that helps you become a better leader and to lead others to get people to follow you. We talk about love and accountability. It's one of my favorite things to talk about, love and accountability. You got to have both. They got to know you love them, but you earn the right through loving them to challenge them and push them and help them be great. And hold them accountable to the values, the culture, and the standards of your organization, of your business, and that's essential. And then, teamwork. How do we work together as a team? How do we build a stronger team?

And that Star3 Model is in there. That difficult conversations is in there. Dealing with energy vampires is in there. All these practical tools. So, it's a one day program that people come to from Mindset, Leadership, and Teamwork.

And then, now we're also doing certification where a lot of leaders are getting certified, and that helps them in their own leadership capability to get certified. And then, they can actually teach this program or any of those three workshops on their own to their team and to their organization. So, that's really cool as well. That's Jon Gordon Certified.

Nikki Miller:

It's so exciting. And I love what you just said, that you have to build the love, build the trust, and then have the accountability. And I find that when done correctly, when done appropriately, when you can have both, it just strengthens the relationship even more. Most of us want to be held accountable. We want someone who's going to push us to our limits. If you don't have someone like that, you're probably in business with the wrong people. And we really want someone who's going to challenge us and help us to grow at the end of the day.

At the end of this podcast, Jon, we always ask someone what the one thing is that they want our listeners to know. But I'm going to ask you a little bit of a different question. I'm going to break tradition, if that's okay with you. Because when I read the book, I said, well, I'm going to ask him the question I always get asked. Because I run The ONE Thing Podcast, I'm the co-host of The ONE Thing podcast, so everyone will always come up to me and say, "Nikki, what is it? What's the ONE Thing?" And I'll say, "Well, it depends. It's what is your ONE Thing?" So, I'm going to ask you, Jon, what is it? What's the one truth?

Jon Gordon:

The one truth, that's so good because The One Truth is on The ONE Thing. And just by the way, I love The ONE Thing. I love the book. I love the podcast. And getting people to focus on ONE Thing is essential. And guess what? And I'm glad you asked me that because I was going to say the one thing is the one truth. Once you know the one truth, that allows you to focus on what truly matters most.

And here's the one truth. Here's my takeaway. Here's what I hope people get from this. You're not meant to go through life fearful, worried, chronically worried, and chronically stressed all the time. You're meant to have moments like that. That's the human experience. The highs and the lows, the ebbs and flows, the roller coaster. You're meant to have those moments. But you're not meant to go through life like that numerous days, spending your days and weeks and months and years feeling that way and being down and feeling powerless.

You're meant to go through life with power, with peace, with joy, with purpose, with optimism, with confidence, and with courage. You're meant to go through life with that clarity instead of that clutter. And when you live the one truth, you truly apply this, you'll get to that higher state of mind, and you'll be a more powerful force in this universe. And you'll better take on the challenges of this world because you're meant to be powerful to take on the challenges.

Life will break you and bring you down if you allow it to. But if you stay at that higher state, you'll move towards healing and wholeness and power, which is what is actually the intention for you and this life. Because now with that power, you can empower others. With this power, you can change the world. With this power, you can live a great life, a meaningful life, and build great success in your organization, and help others get better.

I think about the people who change the world, and they're the people who believe that the world can be changed and they have the power to do it.

And so, to me, that's the one thing. That's the one takeaway. All the tools, all the ideas, all the principles, and then the action steps bring you to that place of having that power. And just doing it for 30 days, just start with 30 days, do it for one month and then see how you feel. I guarantee you'll actually rise to that higher level, feel better than you have in a long, long time, and you'll be like, "Okay. This works."

How do I know? I've done it. All these people were doing it. My wife at home did it, and guess what? It was key for her. So, if your wife listens to you, which is not always the case, then you know this is something special that can make a difference.

Nikki Miller:

Well, Jon, I always say, if we only consult our reality for what's possible, then the world never changes. And I think one of the most beautiful things about this book is that it just allows you to see a different reality, to consult a different reality, and therefore create a different reality. So, I hope you will all pick up a copy. It's a quick read. It's so actionable. And was one of the best books that I have read in a long time. So, thank you for this gift to the world that you gave. Jon, if people want to connect with you, where should they find you?

Jon Gordon:

Well, first, Nikki, thanks for having me. You're a great interviewer. I really appreciate you. And, again, the work you do is awesome. They can go to jongordon.com, J-O-N-gordon.com, or Instagram, Twitter @jongordon11. I'm on LinkedIn. And you can get One Truth as well, the book and all the free resources we have there, that's getonetruth.com. Or if you just want to be a better leader, powerofpositiveleadership.com is another great resource as well.

Nikki Miller:

Thank you so much for being here today, Jon. We will look forward to having you back in-person, hopefully, again soon. And thank you everyone. We'll see you next time.


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