Zach Schaefer – Think in terms of time design, not time management.

Zach Schaefer
Zach Schaefer is a CEO, Founder, Speaker, Author, and Professor. He shares how to “Live a meaningful life”, how “Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle” and tells us why we should “Share your scars, mistakes”. Hosted by Robert Hossary.

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About Zach Schaefer

Dr. Zach Schaefer (Dr. Z), Founder and CEO of Spark The Discussion, is a speaker, author, professor, and consultant. Spark works with growing companies to provide Data Driven Talent™ solutions. Spark specializes in diagnosing, designing, and deploying a variety of workplace programs focused on solving internal talent challenges from hire to retire.

In addition to working with corporate clients through Spark The Discussion, Dr. Z was also an Associate Professor of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he researched the relationship between successful workplace cultures, conflict management norms, and leadership behaviors.

Dr. Z’s knowledge and passion for communication is contagious and creates the spark that drives his entire consulting philosophy.

Dr. Z’s passion for communication is contagious and creates the spark that drives his entire consulting philosophy.

Conducted extensive primary research regarding mediation, conflict management, and workplace communication

Widely published in both academic and professional outlets

Commentary has been featured in a wide range of high-quality media outlets including the Harvard Business Review Blog, MSNBC, and Fast Company

Dr. Z is co-creator of a mobile app called the ClashCoach (available on iTunes).

He authored a book called American Creativity (available on Amazon).

In short, Dr. Z knows that effective communication is a building block to happy, healthy, and wealthy lives – and he vigorously shares this message with all his clients!

Service is also an integral component of Dr. Z’s life. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister organization for nearly 10 years, he is on the Communications Committee of the St. Louis Organizational Development Network, and he is a member of the St. Louis Sports Commission. He is also a former board member of the Association for Missouri Mediators.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Master “no” to unleash your implicit yes 04:21
Lesson 2: Think in terms of time design, not time management. 07:42
Lesson 3: Listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as often as possible. 13:34
Lesson 4: The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life. 16:17
Lesson 5: The most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of TDJ: Talent, Discipline, and Joy 20:09
Lesson 6: Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities. 24:22
Lesson 7: Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle. 32:38
Lesson 8: The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing. 37:48
Lesson 9: Share your scars, mistakes, and fears when sharing knowledge with others. 41:02
Lesson 10: Isolation is amplification, giving a microphone to your thoughts. 44:08

Zach Schaefer – Think in terms of time design, not time management.

[00:00:08] Robert Hossary: Hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to sages and gurus, leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense their wisdom for your career, business and life, to make the world a wiser place, lesson by lesson. My name is Robert Hossary, and I’m your host for this episode.

[00:00:29] Robert Hossary: Today’s guest is Dr. Zach Schaefer or Dr. Z, founder and c e o of Spark. The discussion, he’s a speaker, an author, a professor, and a consultant.

[00:00:39] Robert Hossary: In addition to working with corporate clients through Spark the Discussion, Dr. Z was also a professor of applied Communication studies at Southern Illinois University. Edwardsville widely published in, both academic and professional outlets. He has been featured in a wide range of high-quality media outlets, such as the Harvard Business Review blog, MSNBC, and Fast Company.

[00:01:05] Robert Hossary: He’s also the author of American Creativity, which you can find on Amazon.

[00:01:10] Robert Hossary: Service has always been an integral component of Dr. Z’s life. He has been a big brother through the big brother, big sister organization for nearly 10 years. He’s on the communication committee at the St. Louis Organizational Development Network, and he’s a member of the St. Louis Sports Commission.

[00:01:31] Robert Hossary: Welcome, Zack, welcome to the show.

[00:01:33] Zach Schaefer: Thanks, Robert. Really glad to be here. Appreciate it.

[00:01:35] Robert Hossary: Look, we talk to a lot of people from all over the world. obviously, your background is very impressive and, what you have to offer our audience is very valuable. So, before we get to your 10 lessons, let me ask you, what would you have told, with all the knowledge you’ve got now, what would you have told your younger.

[00:01:55] Zach Schaefer: Well, it depends on how young the self is. I’m talking to, you know, I just turned 40 in August, so I’d give 30 year old Zach. Different advice than 20-year-old Zach, I think. Which one do you want me to give advice for?

[00:02:10] Robert Hossary: let’s go with, let’s go with 20-year-old Zach.

[00:02:12] Zach Schaefer: 20-year-old Zach. I would say, live the life that’s true to you and not the one that’s expected of you.

[00:02:19] Robert Hossary: Isn’t that true.

[00:02:21] Zach Schaefer: And that to me was really, I took a U-turn. I always loved academia. but I knew in my heart I was not a scholar or professor as my occupational identity, but I met great people. they kept paying me to go to school. I enjoyed learning. And, you know, finally they’re like, hey, you want to become a professor?

[00:02:39] Zach Schaefer: And I was like, eh, I guess, you know? But that gave me an opportunity to build my entrepreneurial ventures on the side. looking back, I wish I would’ve just been bolder and believed in myself, from the get-go. And, yeah, so that’s what I’d tell my 20-year-old self.

[00:02:54] Robert Hossary: And that’s excellent advice. I mean, I’m with you.

[00:02:56] Robert Hossary: I wish I would’ve told myself that. isn’t it the case that as younger, developing adults, we always try and please everyone else, we live by society’s rules of us as opposed to what we think we should do.

[00:03:12] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, I’m a, I mean, I’m a, you know, first one to stand up. I’m a recovering people pleaser.

[00:03:16] Zach Schaefer: you know, very quickly if you start to pay attention, you learn. You can’t please everyone all the time and you’re going to upset yourself all the time. and that was another lesson I learned. I’d say probably in my early thirties, one other le I’d give my 30-year-old self a different lesson. I’d tell my 30-year-old self, the most effective fishing is often not fishing at all.

[00:03:36] Zach Schaefer: And that is all about patience. Stepping back instead of diving into the river, trying to get one fish to feed yourself right now, build a fishing pole, build a fleet of boats, employ other people to fish for you. But that takes patience, vision, boldness, and courage. Oh, huge courage. Yeah. But I always. I always tell people I have a bias for action.

[00:03:58] Zach Schaefer: And that’s not always a good thing because if you don’t have the direction and vision for where you’re trying to go, that action can get you in trouble.

[00:04:06] Robert Hossary: This is so true. This is so true. Look, this is, they’re wonderful lessons, wonderful things that, you know, even I wish I would’ve known at that age, but let’s move on to your 10 lessons because I’m very excited about these.

[00:04:19] Robert Hossary: they’re, they’re just wonderful.

[00:04:21] Lesson 1:     Master “no” to unleash your implicit yes.

[00:04:21] Robert Hossary: Let’s start with lesson number one, master No. To unleash the implicit. Yes. Now, as a sales professional, I learned a long time ago, it’s okay to say no, but I just love the way you’ve put it here, so I’m keen to hear more.

[00:04:38] Zach Schaefer: this has been one of those ideas, Robert, that’s been percolating and it does kind of come out of being a recovering people pleaser, always trying to please everyone.

[00:04:46] Zach Schaefer: And to be very honest, I’m sure that goes back when my parents got divorced as a little kid. You know, always trying to do everything to keep everybody happy. but now I see it with my CEOs. the number one thing that I think business leaders need to improve is their ability to say no. , and I actually call it the art of saying no, because you can say no, but the way you say it can come off quite differently.

[00:05:10] Zach Schaefer: So, it’s much more of an art than a science. How you say no to people, simply not responding is one way to say no. and that happens quite a bit, but this is the important part. Saying no is actually one of the most honorable things you can do for yourself, for your business, and for your family. If you’re strategic about what that no, then allows you to do with your time, energy, resources, and money.

[00:05:35] Zach Schaefer: And that’s the implicit. Yes. So, the problem is when leaders or people in general, when we say yes to everything, trying to keep everyone happy, that usually is a signal. Either don’t have a strategy or a game plan for success. or we have a really bad one and we spread ourselves too thin. So, in my thirties, I was out on every board, you know, oh, I’ll join everything.

[00:05:58] Zach Schaefer: I’ll help everyone out, and just totally overscheduling myself. And it was ineffective. Like no one got the best version of me and definitely not my family. they got the leftovers by the time I got home. So, mastering the art of, no, it increases your effectiveness. and it allows you to offer a more strategic approach to creating value in the world.

[00:06:19] Robert Hossary: I can see that, I can absolutely see that, and you’re right, just saying no is not a strategy. it’s not a good way to be unless you’ve got, another alternative or unless you can say no with some degree of respect.

[00:06:38] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. Yeah. here’s a perfect example. Very low-level risk, but being on, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn and because I have CEO next to my name, lots of people like to do cold call type email connections on LinkedIn, and I’m constantly getting hit up for stuff that I have no interest in.

[00:06:56] Zach Schaefer: But I always respond, every time. And my response is very clear. I’m not interested in your services. Good luck with business development. It’s not. No, but it’s both and I’m not interested, and I wish you well. I don’t like to just ghost people or ignore, cuz I can’t stand when that happens to me. So, to me it’s really you.

[00:07:17] Zach Schaefer: We can say no in a lot of different ways and I think you can creatively say no and still honor people as a human being. But sometimes the quick note, nope, that’s not a good fit with what we’re doing right now. That’s just as effective as well.

[00:07:30] Robert Hossary: Yeah, totally agree. and I wish more people understood that lesson.

[00:07:34] Robert Hossary: So please, people, if you’re listening to this and you still don’t get it, rewind, listen to it again because I’m sure that you will get it.

[00:07:42] Lesson 2:     Think in terms of time design, not time management.

[00:07:42] Robert Hossary: Well, let’s go to lesson number two. This one l confused me a little bit because having. a lot of my corporate education through the eighties and nineties, time management was always the big thing.

[00:07:57] Robert Hossary: There were time management gurus out there who told you how to do it. So, when I read this, I went, So I’m really interested in hearing what you have to say. So, lesson number two, think in terms of time design, not time management. Take it away, Zach.

[00:08:13] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. I would’ve disagreed with all of those gurus, and again, this has been percolating for a long time.

[00:08:18] Zach Schaefer: Time management’s tactical. that’s operational. That’s what tool can I use to help me better use my time efficiently? that’s like low hanging fruit. Any manager or leader should be doing those things on their own and if they have to waste time to have someone to teach them how to better spend their time, there’s probably a signal, like what’s your overall purpose?

[00:08:38] Zach Schaefer: Like what are you trying to achieve? A design-oriented mindset doesn’t accept defaults for anything. They’re constantly thinking what, why, where, when, who? Not just how. How’s the easy piece with time management? Here’s an app that can do this. Here’s a great scheduler. Have an accountability buddy. there’s nothing new there.

[00:08:58] Zach Schaefer: For me, what’s new is tying it back to strategy and both of these lessons I kind of grouped under the heading strategy and goals. Strategy is so important. It captures why we’re doing what we’re doing, the direction we’re going, and there’s just a variety of implications there. So, I actually have a little program I created called Own Your Time, and it breaks down how to think like a time designer and how, the smallest part of that system is about the tools that we can use to manage our time.

[00:09:27] Zach Schaefer: The most important piece is it’s a mindset shift. I’m a time billionaire. Robert, do you know what that is?

[00:09:33] Robert Hossary: No, I don’t. I would love to know.

[00:09:36] Zach Schaefer: as long as I live to the, expected age here in the us, which did just get bumped down to 76. From 70.

[00:09:42] Robert Hossary: I noticed that. Yeah.

[00:09:43] Zach Schaefer: Because of Covid a time billionaire means I have over a billion seconds left on Planet Earth.

[00:09:49] Zach Schaefer: 31. It’s actually about 31 years, 259 days. that’s, you asked me any billionaire on planet Earth, how much would you trade? To become a time billionaire again and think of how much they’d give away.

[00:10:01] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:10:01] Zach Schaefer: Like that is that strategy. There’s only so much time. Everybody wants to point to money as the most important resource.

[00:10:09] Zach Schaefer: You can’t buy a second back, with that money. So, for me, it’s all about really thinking how do all my daily choices add up? How I’m using my time, what’s the purpose of my time, my bigger purpose or calling or vocation here on earth? and it really is a total mindset shift, which goes back to my first lesson.

[00:10:28] Zach Schaefer: It makes saying no way easier when people start asking me for time or for a, I just need to pick your brain. It’s a great scenario in my career with the management consulting. I have some long lead times for some of the services that I offer, so I, it can be eight or 10 months, but that can lead to a five-figure project.

[00:10:50] Zach Schaefer: Early on in my career, I didn’t have the patient, I didn’t have a design-oriented mindset. It was just like quick volume-based stuff that didn’t lead to deep relationships or additional value creation. And to me it’s like, you got to think about your time. Not just quantitatively, but more importantly qualitatively

[00:11:08] Robert Hossary: Couldn’t agree more with a lesson. And as you said, lots of CEOs just don’t get it. it’s a case of now, you know the immediate plan. And yes, I know the business changes. I know that the world is changing daily, every second. Systems are getting better and more sophisticated, so therefore the older executives don’t know how to deal with it, and they just fall back on their old ways, knock on doors, make the call.

[00:11:37] Robert Hossary: That kind of thinking. Now, I’m not saying that thinking is not right, but I’m just saying strategically they’re not looking to that future. They’re not looking to the design of right, of the work time. they’re just falling back onto the old tools, So I think this is.

[00:11:54] Robert Hossary: An incredibly important revelation, time design as opposed to time management. Love it. I would love to know more about this, and I’d love to know more about your,

[00:12:06] Zach Schaefer: I’ll send you that little program. It’s an e self-paced e workbook, 29 pages, but. It’s really, I think it’s neat. It lays it out. And it’s not just an individualized approach.

[00:12:16] Zach Schaefer: You have to have key partners that you select that help you stay accountable. I mean, you’ll learn some other things. I do, you know, outside of being a consultant, I’m also an owner of a sports bar. We have over a hundred employees, four locations, do about 7 million a year. Like I have a lot of things pulling on my time.

[00:12:34] Zach Schaefer: And the number one reason I’m able to is cuz I married the right person a hundred percent.

[00:12:38] Zach Schaefer: creates stability. She pulls me back when I’m being spread, when I’m spreading myself too thin. she’s, she helps me be, the timekeeper.

[00:12:46] Robert Hossary: Isn’t that always the case? Isn’t that always the case? You have the right partner and

[00:12:51] Robert Hossary: The world opens up. So, Zach, this Own Your Time program that you were, you discussed, is that something that’s available for our listeners on your website?

[00:13:00] Robert Hossary: can they purchase it? Can they get on there and get this program from you?

[00:13:04] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, absolutely. They can either get a hold of me through, like going to https://www.sparkthediscussion.com/, or https://newstorynewscore.com/. Either one. They’d be able to, to bump into that.

[00:13:16] Robert Hossary: Fantastic. And so, listeners, if you’re looking to design your time and be more productive, I’d urge you to visit, Zach’s websites that he’s just mentioned, which will be in the show notes and, you know, go at it, make it happen for you.

[00:13:34] Lesson 3:     Listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as often as possible.

[00:13:34] Robert Hossary: Let’s move on to lesson number three, which I love, by the way. I think it’s brilliant and I wish I could do more of it. And maybe if I apply the time, your time design, I could do this. Listen. Number three, listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as much as possible.

[00:13:52] Zach Schaefer: Yep. Yeah, So my last name’s Schaefer, and so we always talk about the Schaefer household, the Schaefer team.

[00:13:59] Zach Schaefer: That’s kind of how we talk about ourselves. And from the time I’m up at about 5:15 AM to the time we’re hitting the beds at like, you know, roughly 9:00 PM there’s pretty much music constantly going the whole time. a famous quote from Charles Darwin. When asked what were his major regrets, he of course paused for like a full minute, you know, thinking and said, I wish I would’ve read more poetry and fiction.

[00:14:25] Zach Schaefer: For me, music is that, and so we get that energy. We have different types of music for different types of the day for the type of emotions we’re trying to cultivate. But I do think for me, and my family, that music piece or laughter and having a meal, it’s way better with friends. Robert, if I get to whatever, 80, 90, a hundred years old, I want the full table that’s a successful life.

[00:14:51] Zach Schaefer: People that want to eat with me. By their own choice. Have some fun, tell some stories. If I get to that when I, in my old age, I’ve done what I needed to do.

[00:15:00] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:15:00] Zach Schaefer: and one of the anecdotes that really drove this home, one of my uncles passed away pretty unexpectedly about three years ago from a heart attack.

[00:15:08] Zach Schaefer: And at the funeral I now was very close with him. I learned a lot from him. And one of the things that one of his buddies said just hit me and it stuck with me. He said, you know, your uncle Pat made life more fun. Spending time with him lifted my spirit. And I was just like, oh my goodness. Like if, so, if I can have somebody say that at my funeral, I’ll have done a good job.

[00:15:32] Zach Schaefer: You know? And I’ve been to about 15 funerals. I tried to add him up and you know how many times I’ve heard somebody say he had a big house, he had a lot of money, he had a fast car. Zero. Cause nobody gives a shit about that stuff. It doesn’t matter. But in your thirties, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, it’s all comparing to spare.

[00:15:52] Zach Schaefer: And look what he got. Oh no, I’m feeling like I’m not getting ahead. And never once is it ever mentioned at the end, cuz it doesn’t matter. It’s that social aspect. and even folks that are introverted, they create that social online. Like, it’s not like you have to be in person for these things, but social, I got lucky, very young age.

[00:16:11] Zach Schaefer: I knew that people and connecting and communicating and sharing ideas, that’s who I am. it makes life better.

[00:16:17] Lesson 4:     The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life.

[00:16:17] Robert Hossary: It leads in beautifully to lesson number four. Lesson number four, the meaning of life is to live the meaningful life.

[00:16:28] Zach Schaefer: Yeah.

[00:16:29] Zach Schaefer: I mean, I like when people talk about it. Cause I enjoy thinking philosophically. That’s one thing I do miss from academia. We could have some really engaging conversations that don’t have a lot of practical application, which I can enjoy. You don’t get that as much in the business world, unfortunately. but I mean this, like, I don’t believe there’s a formula, there’s an elixir, there’s something we can take that just says, ta-da, here’s your calling.

[00:16:55] Zach Schaefer: Here’s your meaningful life. Life is about figuring out how to carve meaning and create meaning with others. Yeah. Like that’s, and it’s unique and different for each person. And I think that’s why society loves to turn to people like a Martin Luther King or a Mother Teresa or an Elon Musk or an Oprah.

[00:17:15] Zach Schaefer: They found their calling early on and I think the rest of us are a little jealous. Right. Damn it. Like, that’s awesome. I want to know my one thing that I’m put here for. But I think that’s okay if we keep grinding and pushing and trying to create meaning and value and share things with others that is a meaningful life.

[00:17:32] Robert Hossary: Totally agree. I totally agree. And it took me till my fifties to find my meaning. Now, loving father, of course. I have wonderful children, all adults now, that I love dearly. But I found my calling, as I said in my mid-fifties when I started working with people who live with disabilities, and I realized how inspirational these people are.

[00:17:59] Robert Hossary: I’d get pissed off because someone took my parking spot, right? These people are in wheelchairs, they’re suffering a lot of different, disabilities, and they’re happy. And they’re smiling and they’re pleased to see you. And it was in service to them that I found my calling, I found what I wanted to do.

[00:18:22] Robert Hossary: So, yeah, it takes time. It takes a lot of time for some people like me to find that purpose. But I’ll tell you, when you find it, your life is fulfilled.

[00:18:34] Zach Schaefer: Yep.

[00:18:34] Robert Hossary: So, don’t stop looking. Don’t stop looking.

[00:18:38] Zach Schaefer: I mean, Victor Frankl’s book, man’s Search for Meaning about his experience when he was in the Holocaust, I believe at Auschwitz, and how he just wouldn’t let his mindset be given over to the atrocities of what was going on.

[00:18:53] Zach Schaefer: His wife was killed. His children were killed. And he wouldn’t let it break him. And it was all about searching for that meaning and creating it, actively choosing to create it. that’s a really powerful book. And then more of a personal example of this, a dear friend, family friend of mine just passed away within the last three weeks.

[00:19:11] Zach Schaefer: His name was Steve Ellison, A fantastic human being like a second dad to me growing up. And so I call it the Ellison Effect. just a wonderful family man, but also built a thriving business and changed, the world for many people. Like that’s the thing, to change the world, to say that it sounds big, but you can change many people’s worlds because we all put ourselves at the center of it.

[00:19:35] Robert Hossary: Yep.

[00:19:35] Zach Schaefer: and that’s what he did. He changed so many people’s lives just by being himself and exhibiting what I call loyal humility. Like when things weren’t going well, he cut everyone’s salary at the company, including his own. So, he didn’t have to fire a single person. And then when it got better, he reinstated, all of that.

[00:19:51] Zach Schaefer: Like, choosing to live that way is really important. And he helped create that meaning just by the small things.

[00:19:57] Robert Hossary: And that’s it. Just by the small things and being selfless, it’s a wonderful lesson now that really is so people lead a meaningful life, try and figure out what that is for you.

[00:20:09] Lesson 5:     The most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of TDJ: Talent, Discipline, and Joy

[00:20:09] Robert Hossary: no, Zack, that, that’s fantastic. Let’s go to lesson number five. you’ll have to explain this obviously, but lesson number five, the most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of T D J talent, discipline, and joy.

[00:20:29] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. This is definitely, people won’t understand this without having me explain it.

[00:20:34] Zach Schaefer: It’s funny, I had it sitting right here. So, we just, we actually had a logo created custom for this concept.

[00:20:40] Zach Schaefer: So there’s a much more in-depth concept called Ikigai. It’s a Japanese concept that means a person’s reason for being, discovering their calling. And if it’s like a Venn diagram. So, you can think of four different circles, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, what society needs and what makes you happy.

[00:21:00] Zach Schaefer: And depending on how those four circles overlay, there’s lots of different ways you can exist in the world. That’s fantastic, but it’s complicated.

[00:21:09] Zach Schaefer: When I tell my kids, you will have a wonderfully fulfilling, meaningful, and happy life if you can hit the bullseye for where T D J crossed, meaning what you’re naturally good at, you’ve got some skill in something, is the T talent discipline, what you’re willing to commit lots of time, energy, and persistence on to get better at discipline.

[00:21:33] Zach Schaefer: And then joy. It brings you joy and it creates joy for others when you can find something that blends those T D J, rock and roll with it, whatever it is. And so, we’ve got these framed up. I’m actually, this is my next tattoo. I’m getting, I’m, I got a lot of tattoos, but it’s important I think a lot of people create their own anxieties and depression because they’re choosing to live lives that where they’re not thinking about their T D J at all.

[00:22:00] Zach Schaefer: They’re thinking about the money or the status or whatever.

[00:22:03] Robert Hossary: Yeah. So, yeah, I, and I used to be one of those.

[00:22:08] Zach Schaefer: I think everybody is to some degree at some point in their life.

[00:22:11] Robert Hossary: it’s a really simple concept, but it’s something that a lot of people haven’t thought of. And that’s the beauty of what we do in this show. Yeah. Is we bring them concepts from people like you, Zach, people who have given this some thought, who have proven it, who have seen this.

[00:22:29] Robert Hossary: This is a lesson that you’ve learned and a formula, if I can, that you designed that now is being shared with our global audience so they too can start to piece together something that makes sense to them. I mean, I think. Talent, discipline and joy. The joy part is what a lot of us forget.

[00:22:52] Zach Schaefer: Yep. And it’s not, for me, the point, the way we talk about it, is I say, does it make you happy?

[00:22:58] Zach Schaefer: And do you get to make others happy by doing it? And it has to be both.

[00:23:02] Robert Hossary: It has to be both. that, and that is the secret. If you’re just making yourself happy, I think that’s a delusion.

[00:23:10] Zach Schaefer: Right, right.

[00:23:11] Robert Hossary: Eventually.

[00:23:12] Zach Schaefer: A hundred percent. Yeah. And clearly, it’s not like my kids are only nine and six and I really wanted to create this for them.

[00:23:19] Zach Schaefer: I want my kids to think about what am I naturally good at? What am I willing to work hard at to get better? And the joy piece. And it’s not like I want to, I could care less what career they go into. To me, it’s more about critical thinking, reflection, and character building.

[00:23:34] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

[00:23:37] Affiliate Break

[00:23:37] Robert Hossary: We’re going to take a quick break. we’d like to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned, books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in one place. You can start your free That’s right. I said Free 30-day trial by going to audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned with Audible, you can find your favorite lesson while at home or on the go. Once again, that’s audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned, all lowercase for a free 30-day trial. The link, again, will be in the show notes. our guest today is Dr. Zach Schaeffer, sharing his 10 lessons with us.

[00:24:19] Robert Hossary: Zach is a speaker, author, professor, and consultant.

[00:24:22] Lesson 6:     Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities.

[00:24:22] Robert Hossary: So, lesson number six, Zach. Freedom from money, time and desire lead to limitless opportunities. Let me read that again because I want people to hear what I just said. Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities.

[00:24:45] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, this one has been cemented for me in the last five years.

[00:24:48] Zach Schaefer: So, I, I actually think of a human life, Robert, in terms of being like a story. And I think more people should own their story and think about themselves as the main character and think about what traits do I want my main character to have and how can I move in that direction. But I divide the, my life into five-year chapters.

[00:25:07] Zach Schaefer: And for me, chapter that I’m in now, which is about chapter eight, was about financial freedom. And so, when I say freedom from money, you can think of it two ways. the way that I was thinking about it for myself was to get financial independence. So, I am not dependent on any employer, and we live debt free.

[00:25:23] Zach Schaefer: and I, that unlocks lots of opportunities to do and create experiences for my kids, to learn in different ways that I didn’t get a chance to, A different way you can have freedom from money is, and this is the harder way, I think, actually, is to just not participate in the rat race. to just say less is more.

[00:25:44] Zach Schaefer: I don’t need these things, these big homes, what everybody tells you need at the different phases of your life. and I think that’s actually harder than trying to actually get financial independence, like the fire, financial independence, retire early sort of movement. There’re ways, if you want to make money, you can do that.

[00:26:02] Zach Schaefer: I mean, you work hard and get it. I actually think to convince yourself not. That stuff’s just not for me, is a much more difficult endeavor. but that’s step one. And you can, so you can go two ways with that. Step two is the time piece. I define wealth as, not having really anything to do with money.

[00:26:21] Zach Schaefer: I define it, having, any to do with time. So wealthy people have discretionary time. You can spend your time how you want. And now again, if you’ve chosen to not worry about that rat race in certain ways, but you can pay your bills to a degree, but you’ve got a lot of time, then hey, you’re wealthy because you’re getting to spend your time how you want to.

[00:26:41] Zach Schaefer: the third one’s the hardest one. And that’s freedom from desire. That’s Buddhism, that’s stoicism. That’s the illusions that we create, that the next thing will lead to my happiness. The bigger house, more square footage. The bigger engine, the promotion, the fancier title. And it’s smoke and mirrors.

[00:27:01] Zach Schaefer: Like it, it never ends. So if you don’t get a handle on the freedom from desire piece, then the first two are never going to matter, even if you have them momentarily. And so again, it’s not like that’s a finished project for me by any means, but I always try to think about those three things I explain to people.

[00:27:20] Zach Schaefer: The last few years I’ve been luckily to be in the, what I call the goldilocks zone. Time to money. Things are going really well money-wise. Things are going really well timewise. I have, I don’t miss the things that are important to me with my family. I could travel a lot more; I could do a lot more international speaking.

[00:27:39] Zach Schaefer: I don’t get a do-over my kids while they’re young.

[00:27:42] Robert Hossary: Well learned by the way. it was too late for me. I don’t get a do-over. And I missed those years, because I was chasing, the rainbow. the freedom from desire, I think is the third truth of Buddhism, the third great truth of Buddhism.

[00:27:58] Zach Schaefer: Yep. and it is, the four noble truths,

[00:28:00] Robert Hossary: that’s four noble truths and it is very important. everything you said is spot on the first way. Sure. You know that’s work hard, save and become financially independent. The second way is a lot easier in my opinion, than you made out to be.

[00:28:17] Zach Schaefer: Oh good. Tell me.

[00:28:18] Robert Hossary: everything in life is a choice. You must consciously make the choice in your life that it doesn’t matter. And that helps you then get into the freedom of desire. And the problem with human beings, as I see, is we’re addictive. we’ve all, we’re all addicted to something. And you can see that in, in the divisiveness of our society today.

[00:28:44] Robert Hossary: We are addicted to conspiracy theories. We’re addicted to non-truths. We’re addicted to truths we’re addicted to, and we are trying to force all of this on everyone else. The reality is it doesn’t matter. What’s important is what matters to you and how you live your life. And this is what you’ve been saying in your lessons.

[00:29:07] Robert Hossary: This is, you know, how you interact with the people around you is what’s important. So, if you can manage to say to yourself, I don’t need the latest iPhone because the one I’ve got still makes calls, I can still access the internet. Then that’s all you need. You don’t need to spend an extra $2,000 for what, and that’s how I think of it.

[00:29:31] Zach Schaefer: iPhone eight. iPhone eight folks.

[00:29:34] Robert Hossary: Yep. Yep. I’m with you.

[00:29:35] Zach Schaefer: well, I love what you said, Robert, and Yeah. No, the way you framed it makes sense. I’m a huge, I’m pretty big into sort of libertarian philosophy, and so I’m all about choice. Everything boils down to the choices we make on a daily basis.

[00:29:49] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. And the add up. so yes, what you said is excellent.

[00:29:52] Robert Hossary: Look, I love this lesson and it’s, again, it’s been supported by many of our other guests. especially the happiness factor of it, waiting until I get the big house waiting, you know, everything will be fine when this happens or everything if I’m, that’s no way to live your life.

[00:30:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, really it’s not, you are wasting time. You’re not. What is it that you said before? You’re not designing time. You are wasting it.

[00:30:23] Zach Schaefer: if you looked at me like I almost made this, but then I thought step back and thought, ah, that’d look really egocentric. But if you think of your career, right, when you, when we put out resumes and somebody’s trying to get a job, it’s basically your baseball card.

[00:30:35] Zach Schaefer: So, you might as well just have a picture of you in a suit and then on the back have your key stats. I mean, that’s what it is. And so I wanted to make a version of that, but for the metrics that were important to me. But the front of it would be like me standing there with my kids pulling on me on, then on the back, I actually collected all the stats of all the practices I’ve seen all the time.

[00:30:54] Zach Schaefer: I’ve spent how many books I’ve, and then I was just like, man, like it’d be cool for me. But then somebody else reading, it’d be like, what an asshole, like, you know, but that’s how I thought about it. And to be very honest with you, I didn’t get that clarity until you met, were mentioning addiction until I got sober.

[00:31:11] Zach Schaefer: So I’m a recovering alcoholic and I crossed my five year mark of sobriety on in January 1st.

[00:31:16] Robert Hossary: Congratulations.

[00:31:18] Zach Schaefer: Thank you. And, and for me, I believe that at the heart of any addiction, no matter what it is, is pain. And I think a big part of that pain is not facing who we are. What’s our point of being here?

[00:31:30] Zach Schaefer: What’s my T D J? And I think a lot of people get self-loathing Yeah. That aren’t living the life That’s true to them.

[00:31:38] Robert Hossary: Yeah. and that is so true with everybody. I don’t care who you are. everyone has that. It’s just some of us control it. and I include myself, some of us control that better than others until we hit that self-awareness factor.

[00:31:56] Robert Hossary: And then we start looking deep until you start looking deep into what it is about yourself that you don’t like. Until it was a poem, and I’ve forgotten who wrote it, but it was called The Man in the Mirror, and it’s brilliant. And you know what, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll put it in the show notes. I’ll find it and I’ll put it in there.

[00:32:15] Robert Hossary: but when I read that poem, it was basically until you have the respect of the man looking back at you in the mirror right? Then you have nothing. Yep. So, in other words, love yourself, learn to forgive, learn to love, and start with yourself. Look, I, again, fantastic lesson. I can talk about it forever.

            The Man In The Mirror

When you get all you want and you struggle for pelf,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.

For he’s with you right to the end,
and you’ve passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

– Dale Wimbrow, 1934

 

[00:32:38] Lesson 7:     Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle.

[00:32:38] Robert Hossary: but let’s move on. Sure. Because lesson number seven is also brilliant. Lesson number seven, forgiveness massages, a pulled mental muscle. Love the metaphor. Talk to us about that.

[00:32:52] Zach Schaefer: I love communication. So, I have a personal mission statement, action, catalyst through communication. That’s what I’m put on earth to do.

[00:33:00] Zach Schaefer: I’ve always been strong at being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, especially over really uncomfortable topics that nobody wants to bring up. That’s kind of my gift. So of course, chicken or egg, who knows? But what did I study at? In my PhD? I became a mediator and studied the process of mediation and how that’s very useful alternative to traditional courts.

[00:33:21] Zach Schaefer: And what I learned really quickly is, man, people have to work really hard to not forgive each other . I mean, it’s like really hard work. And it’s, and I mean that, like we put hate on a replay because we have to hit replay to recreate the scene of the crime, to keep those hate feelings of resentment fresh.

[00:33:43] Zach Schaefer: And we have to do that over and over and over. But when I got to see people finally letting it go and I got to see people at their worst, you know, major divorce mediations, huge business issues going on. Things that have split families for 30 years. but when that forgiveness would eek its way in finally.

[00:34:02] Zach Schaefer: It’s unbelievable. Like it just changes everything. They drop the weight that they’ve been carrying around and it actually really helped me with myself, like you were talking about earlier, to just forgive yourself for things. And that’s usually one of the most challenging things, probably. And so, then they project all of these things onto other person cuz they haven’t forgiven themselves for what they did.

[00:34:24] Zach Schaefer: So, mediation and if anybody wants to go improve their communication skills and really stretch, you can do a couple things I’ve done, become a mediator, go answer, suicide hotlines. I did that for two years during covid. And then go spend time in, what we’d call in the US nursing homes or, extended living care facilities and speak with the elderly that you’re not a relative to.

[00:34:49] Zach Schaefer: Those three things will stretch you as a communicator, in ways that you don’t know. And forgiveness, interestingly, is part of all three of those venues that I just mentioned, because I always ask the folks, when I go visit as a guest, Hey, I’m 40. Like, gimme some advice. what would you do?

[00:35:05] Zach Schaefer: And many of these folks in their seventies, eighties, and nineties talk about forgiveness and the healing part of forgiveness.

[00:35:12] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. And it is a healing tool.

[00:35:15] Robert Hossary: it’s, this is a huge topic though, Zach. I mean, forgiveness is definitely something a lot of our guests have spoken about. We interviewed James Pennebaker, who was a psychiatrist, who did huge studies, on trauma.

[00:35:33] Robert Hossary: And one of the things that, that Dr. Pennebaker’s talks about is journaling, writing this thing down. Even if it’s just in the air. He said the action of repeating that, daily will expunge those feelings eventually. And I found that accidentally. I found that when I’d get really upset, I would have the narratives going on in my head about what I’m going to say.

[00:35:59] Robert Hossary: And you know, next time I see, yeah, next time I see Zach, I’m going to say this and that. And I’d play the whole thing out in my head and then it’s gone. Those feelings were gone because I expunged them. I lived it. Now that’s me. Other people will do exactly what you said and just keep regurgitating the hate until it becomes palpable, until it becomes a solid entity within them.

[00:36:27] Zach Schaefer: self-fulfilling prophecy.

[00:36:29] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. I’m definitely with you. Get it out. Just get it out one way or another.

[00:36:36] Zach Schaefer: Journaling is great cuz you can expunge it, you can look at it and you can step away from it, come back to it and be like, wow, that’s silly. You know? Now some things aren’t, they’re big issues.

[00:36:46] Zach Schaefer: But yeah, forgiveness is freedom. It’s self-freedom.

[00:36:51] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. and understand People understand that what Dr. Zack is saying that forgiveness is freedom means that everything that is said to you they’re just words. You know, unless someone’s plunging a knife into you, they’re just words. Right?

[00:37:10] Robert Hossary: The old sticks and stones thing, you choose to be upset about it or not. It’s your choice. So, make the choice to just, call them out as children and move on. Don’t associate yourself. One of our very first guests said, avoid psychic vampires.

[00:37:29] Zach Schaefer: Ooh, I like that.

[00:37:30] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Isn’t that good? That was Andre Alphonso.

[00:37:33] Robert Hossary: Avoid psychic vampires of people who suck the energy out and people who do that to you. You want to avoid them in your life.

[00:37:42] Zach Schaefer: Yep, absolutely.

[00:37:44] Robert Hossary: I love that forgiveness massage is a pulled mental muscle.

[00:37:48] Lesson 8:     The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing.

[00:37:48] Robert Hossary: Let’s go to lesson number eight. The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing. Love it.

[00:37:57] Zach Schaefer: And again, I first saw this in mediation, that was just a microscope to just see Wow. When you have a disagreement in life that you’re not able to deal with on your own and you have to turn to a professional like an attorney, the first piece of advice they give you is don’t communicate with that other person.

[00:38:15] Zach Schaefer: That’s the first thing you’re told to do. So, then what occurs? A space forms that’s already there and we just fill it with negativity more and more. So, there’s layers upon layers of conversations that probably should be being had, but a new formal process is created where we don’t have any of that. So then when we get together, it’s like, oh my goodness.

[00:38:37] Zach Schaefer: The number of conversations and things that we wanted to talk about and misperceptions about what the other people are thinking, it’s truly unbelievable. so that’s in a very formal setting, like mediation, it becomes very clear. We choose to avoid or be told not to talk about things, but in a business situation, in family situations, when people are sick, when our kids are misbehaving at school, A lot of people avoid those difficult conversations, and there’s plenty of books out there about like, how to have those conversations.

[00:39:08] Zach Schaefer: My point is that those conversations that are missing are usually the most important ones that will lead to, strategy, to action, to positivity in the world. Yes, it’s going to be tough to talk about some of them. so that’s actually my next writing project is this very topic.

[00:39:22] Robert Hossary: it is a recurring theme run towards the fire, run towards a wrecking ball. As two, two different guests have said, I subscribe to this. I’ve always met challenges head on. So, if Zach said something, I disagreed. Zach, what’s going on? What, what’s happening?

[00:39:41] Robert Hossary: And get it done. Sort it out because those conversations, I mean, you, I just love the way you put it. Those conversations, those gaps that, or conversations that are not had, those gaps are filled with all sorts of conspiracies, all sorts of thoughts that are negative. So, you are spot on and have the damn conversations people.

[00:40:05] Zach Schaefer: and here’s the other thing, Robert, I think the most, one of the most common ones, and probably the most difficult one, is the one with ourself. Our self-limiting beliefs that we, oh, I, you know what, I’m not going to write this book, Robert. I’m not that smart. There’s better, smarter people.

[00:40:23] Zach Schaefer: there are other similar books, or the addiction piece, like as you said, we all have addictions, whether it’s a formal substance abuse problem like I used to have, or just bad thinking. addicted to the next piece of technology, having that conversation with ourself is important. yeah, awareness

[00:40:40] Robert Hossary: and have it with yourself.

[00:40:42] Robert Hossary: it’s hard to have it with other people if, you know, because self-awareness as different levels for different people.

[00:40:49] Zach Schaefer: Right.

[00:40:50] Robert Hossary: So having it with yourself is the only, is the only control that you have.

[00:40:57] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. You never fully know what the other person’s thinking. That’s for sure.

[00:41:01] Robert Hossary: Exactly .

[00:41:02] Lesson 9:     Share your scars, mistakes, and fears when sharing knowledge with others.

[00:41:02] Robert Hossary: Alright, lesson number nine. and I, the reason I love this so much is because you’ve pretty much summed up our podcast in this lesson number nine.

[00:41:12] Robert Hossary: Share your scars, mistakes and fears when sharing knowledge with others? Absolutely right.

[00:41:20] Zach Schaefer: I think if action catalyst through communication, that’s what teachers are. I find teaching, as a profession to be a very noble profession because in life, no matter what we’re doing, we’re, always teaching.

[00:41:34] Zach Schaefer: And for me, the best teachers and lessons that I remember, and I know when I was a professor, what students liked the most is when I shared all my mess-ups and all my mistakes and all the things that I did wrong, rather than this tidy, idealistic, theoretically tight, perfectly organized model cuz that ain’t how shit works in the world,

[00:41:57] Zach Schaefer: And that’s also why I didn’t fit into academia really well. I’m not a great theorist, to be blunt. I enjoyed the research and the applied part of things. But I didn’t enjoy the theorizing because I like living in the trenches, man. I like getting down and dirty and then sharing, hey, here’s not what you should do, but here’s what I might have done if I was in your shoes, and here’s where I did it wrong.

[00:42:20] Zach Schaefer: People love those stories.

[00:42:21] Robert Hossary: they do. And as a parent, I wished I’d done more of that. I mean, I did do that. You know, I would talk to my children and say, you know, when I did this, this happened, but I wish I’d done more of it and been more, descriptive. And in a way I wish my parents had told me what went wrong as opposed to, don’t do that.

[00:42:44] Robert Hossary: Yeah, that won’t work. Which is my generation’s way or my parents’ generation’s way of parenting.

[00:42:51] Zach Schaefer: I’ve found that the more I don’t get uncomfortable very easily, to be very honest. However, I know when I am uncomfortable sharing things with people instantly in my gut, it’s like, man, yep.

[00:43:03] Zach Schaefer: This is going to be meaningful to them. This is going to be, you’re being vulnerable, you’re opening yourself up. Yeah. It’s going to be important. so, I try to do that with my kids a lot. I don’t who, they’re young. They’re nine and six, so who knows if it sticks, but they get to hear a lot of, they’re probably like, geez, my dad really messed up a lot in his life at this point.

[00:43:21] Robert Hossary: Yeah. But you know, I’m sure you went through it, and I’ve gone through it. As we get older, we go, oh yeah, you know what? Dad was right.

[00:43:30] Zach Schaefer: Well, the best business lessons are when you lose money, easily. So as a business owner anyway. And so, I love to share those when I’m talking with my kids or students about entrepreneurship and I’m very clear like, oh, here was a $8,000 mistake and that drives it home.

[00:43:46] Zach Schaefer: The other thing is when your pride gets hit, your reputation gets sullied. Yeah. you pick trust. When you’re able to share those things with folks, they, their eyes kind of open up and they’re like, whoa, I don’t ever want to do that. Exactly. That’s the lesson.

[00:44:00] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Look, I hear you, and as I said, you summed up this podcast in that one lesson, so thank you.

[00:44:08] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:44:08] Lesson 10:    Isolation is amplification, giving a microphone to your thoughts.

[00:44:08] Robert Hossary: Well, we’ve hit lesson number 10, Zach. So, lesson number 10, isolation is amplification. Giving a microphone to your thoughts. I had to read this several times and it dawned on me how true this is.

[00:44:25] Robert Hossary: So, I’m going to read it one more time before you explain it. Isolation is amplification giving a microphone to your thoughts.

[00:44:37] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. Yeah. This is from a very social person. Right. So, if you throw in a friend or family member that I like, any experience is already better. We’re sharing, we’re talking, we’re pointing things out. We’re raising our energy levels. I understand that’s not how everybody functions. So, when I wrote this, I was thinking when we’re isolated, even if we enjoy that, we’re given a microphone to what’s in our head.

[00:45:00] Zach Schaefer: So, it’s not always a bad thing. I wrote it almost from that negative point of view of if I get the blues, everybody does. But I definitely can catch the blues and get a little depressed every now and then. And if I do what I call hibernate, one of my friends, he calls it monk mode. He goes, monk mode.

[00:45:18] Zach Schaefer: We’re not responding to friend reach out. We’re kind of just doing our thing, going home, being guarded, not being as open with our family as, as well. It’s not a good spot. I’m behind enemy lines. In my head it’s amplifying. I’m focusing on my self-limiting beliefs rather than things I’m capable of sharing with the world.

[00:45:37] Zach Schaefer: So that kind of isolation for me is not good. However, there can be a positive side for people who enjoy. Cuz, I think there’s a difference between, you know, being lonely, and solitude. So, like, if you enjoy solitude, and that’s something I’ve had to learn to do with Covid, to be quite honest, that can be great.

[00:45:55] Zach Schaefer: It actually gives you time to think. You give your thoughts that microphone, and you can do deep analytical work, so that’s a good thing. But when you start to have the depressive thoughts, I think isolation’s a really bad recipe, even for people who are introverts.

[00:46:10] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. that is such a powerful lesson and especially for me, it took me back to my mid-teens.

[00:46:19] Robert Hossary: where I was a very depressed young man, and it’s because I was isolated and because those thoughts just kept going round and round. And I, you know, the amplification bit here is exactly what I was experiencing. I got out of that, obviously. Yeah. and you know, my late teens, I was fine, but it was a really bad spot and I understand how people can get into that.

[00:46:42] Robert Hossary: And especially when I read this lesson number 10, I thought, wow, because this is the reality. This is a secret. All these people that are at home, with different issues, all these people who are suffering different levels of depression, anxiety, it’s because. In my mind, and I’m not a psychologist and I don’t profess to be, but in my mind it’s because that’s all they’ve got in their heads.

[00:47:07] Robert Hossary: these voices just keep going round and round. these negative thoughts just keep permeating through everything they say. So, I think it’s a brilliant lesson. I think it’s powerful. what, how would you say we should avoid

[00:47:21] Zach Schaefer: this? I don’t know if it can be avoided. in modern world, the more we saturate ourselves with technology, the more isolated we actually become, and we assume we’re not because we have all of these connections.

[00:47:35] Zach Schaefer: And actually, it’s quite opposite. This is what I took away from answering the crisis hotlines. Yeah. For people that were suicidal. Unbelievable man. A lot of lonely folks out there that have no one to talk to. and not everyone that called was suicidal, but some people just needed a voice on the other end to listen so that they could get out of their own head.

[00:47:57] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. it’s just powerful and was quite sad. but it was a lesson. And I want to share that with everyone because it’s like, man, there are humans out there willing to just listen. Like, don’t go down that path. Have a conversation again, if it’s important, like suicidal thoughts. Talk to someone, in the US this year.

[00:48:15] Zach Schaefer: I believe you can call. I’m pretty sure it’s 8 1 1 now, kind of like 9 1 1. And you get, you can talk to a crisis lines person if you’re having suicidal, ideations, which is so important. I’ve learned that mental health. People don’t know how to deal with it, how to talk about it, including the medical industry, in my opinion.

[00:48:34] Zach Schaefer: We know how to treat a broken arm or a broken leg or a heart issue, but we’re having depression and anxiety. That’s a trickier thing to deal with. Yeah. Yeah. And I think having conversations with someone, whether it’s a professional or just a friend, is a great first step.

[00:48:49] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. talk to someone and I suppose the importance of this lesson is that now you know, now you’ve heard it.

[00:48:57] Robert Hossary: Now you understand. So spread the word. Think about it yourself and spread the word.

[00:49:04] Robert Hossary: Well, Zach, we’ve asked you all of these 10 lessons. We’ve asked you what you would ask your, or what you would tell your 20 and 30 year old self. Now I’m going to ask you one final question. What have you unlearned?

[00:49:18] Zach Schaefer: More is always better.

[00:49:20] Zach Schaefer: It’s not.

[00:49:21] Robert Hossary:

[00:49:21] Zach Schaefer: The USA motto might as well be bigger, stronger, faster, like that, that would be, you know, flying under the Eagles talents that banner and more is not always better. So, for me, and unlearning that in US, in American modern life, that’s a hard thing.

[00:49:39] Zach Schaefer: Oh, would you upgrade to the next house? Get the new, oh, get the newer version of this car man. Like less is more for me, less is more minimalism. I look at everything around me and I try to say, does it make me happy and do I use it on a weekly basis? If it’s not both, yes, it’s gone. It’s out. I’m at a spot at 40 where a lot of friends are like housing up and doing this and that, and it’s just, we view our personal finances very differently.

[00:50:07] Zach Schaefer: Like we don’t want to have some ridiculous. Mortgage that we then have to fill the house with more debt with furniture. That’s not how we want to rock. but boy, that’s hard to unlearn. And it’s, I haven’t mastered it, you know, like it’s, the grass can be greener, and you go over to somebody’s house, they’ve got this, they’ve got that.

[00:50:24] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, we could afford it, but we’re choosing not to. Cuz, it doesn’t, I haven’t been to a funeral where they’re like, oh man, I got the new gadget in the kitchen and they were great. Doesn’t happen.

[00:50:35] Robert Hossary: But that’s the point you just made. You choose not to remember that people, it’s a choice. And if you, if you want to support this lesson, I would suggest, listening to Peter Thornhill episode with us, where he says, rent, rent your lifestyle.

[00:50:55] Robert Hossary: You know, you want to live in a villa? Go rent a villa for a couple of weeks. There you go. You fulfilled that need. I, but more is not better. What a great unlearning. I love that. Well, thank you.

[00:51:11] Zach Schaefer: It’s not across the board. I’ll, I mean, more love that, you know. Yes. More love.

[00:51:15] Zach Schaefer: More love. Right. But in general, I’m talking about materialism,

[00:51:18] Robert Hossary: materialistic. Yep.

[00:51:20] Zach Schaefer: It’s not always better. In fact, it’s often worse. It’s more insurance, more things to buy to fill the space. Now I got to be worried that somebody’s going to take it from me. Or steal from like, it just adds and keeps going.

[00:51:33] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Zach, this has been absolutely wonderful. do you have anything to add?

[00:51:38] Robert Hossary: w where can people find you?

[00:51:42] Zach Schaefer: Sure, yeah, the two easiest spots are either on my, management consulting website, spark the discussion.com or just on my LinkedIn page. If you just search Zach Schaefer, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn as well.

[00:51:55] Robert Hossary: Well, both those links will be in the show notes, so, you know, please feel free to drop by and, you know, see Dr. Z on at, spark the discussion.com, or drop him a line on LinkedIn. Yep. And with that, we’ll finish here today. You’ve been listening at 10 Lessons Learned. Our guest today has been Dr.

[00:52:15] Robert Hossary: Zach Schaefer, sharing his 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can even email us at, podcast@10lessonslearned.com. That’s podcast at number one zero lesson learned.com. And while you’re at it, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.

[00:52:37] Robert Hossary: leave us a review, hit the like button and turn on that notification bell so you don’t miss another episode of the only show on the internet that makes the world wiser. Lesson by lesson. Thanks for listening.  

 

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
Zach Schaefer

Zach Schaefer – Think in terms of time design, not time management.

Zach Schaefer is a CEO, Founder, Speaker, Author, and Professor. He shares how to “Live a meaningful life”, how “Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle” and tells us why we should “Share your scars, mistakes”. Hosted by Robert Hossary.

About Zach Schaefer

Dr. Zach Schaefer (Dr. Z), Founder and CEO of Spark The Discussion, is a speaker, author, professor, and consultant. Spark works with growing companies to provide Data Driven Talent™ solutions. Spark specializes in diagnosing, designing, and deploying a variety of workplace programs focused on solving internal talent challenges from hire to retire.

In addition to working with corporate clients through Spark The Discussion, Dr. Z was also an Associate Professor of Applied Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he researched the relationship between successful workplace cultures, conflict management norms, and leadership behaviors.

Dr. Z’s knowledge and passion for communication is contagious and creates the spark that drives his entire consulting philosophy.

Dr. Z’s passion for communication is contagious and creates the spark that drives his entire consulting philosophy.

Conducted extensive primary research regarding mediation, conflict management, and workplace communication

Widely published in both academic and professional outlets

Commentary has been featured in a wide range of high-quality media outlets including the Harvard Business Review Blog, MSNBC, and Fast Company

Dr. Z is co-creator of a mobile app called the ClashCoach (available on iTunes).

He authored a book called American Creativity (available on Amazon).

In short, Dr. Z knows that effective communication is a building block to happy, healthy, and wealthy lives – and he vigorously shares this message with all his clients!

Service is also an integral component of Dr. Z’s life. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister organization for nearly 10 years, he is on the Communications Committee of the St. Louis Organizational Development Network, and he is a member of the St. Louis Sports Commission. He is also a former board member of the Association for Missouri Mediators.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Master “no” to unleash your implicit yes 04:21
Lesson 2: Think in terms of time design, not time management. 07:42
Lesson 3: Listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as often as possible. 13:34
Lesson 4: The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life. 16:17
Lesson 5: The most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of TDJ: Talent, Discipline, and Joy 20:09
Lesson 6: Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities. 24:22
Lesson 7: Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle. 32:38
Lesson 8: The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing. 37:48
Lesson 9: Share your scars, mistakes, and fears when sharing knowledge with others. 41:02
Lesson 10: Isolation is amplification, giving a microphone to your thoughts. 44:08

Zach Schaefer – Think in terms of time design, not time management.

[00:00:08] Robert Hossary: Hello and welcome to 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to sages and gurus, leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense their wisdom for your career, business and life, to make the world a wiser place, lesson by lesson. My name is Robert Hossary, and I’m your host for this episode.

[00:00:29] Robert Hossary: Today’s guest is Dr. Zach Schaefer or Dr. Z, founder and c e o of Spark. The discussion, he’s a speaker, an author, a professor, and a consultant.

[00:00:39] Robert Hossary: In addition to working with corporate clients through Spark the Discussion, Dr. Z was also a professor of applied Communication studies at Southern Illinois University. Edwardsville widely published in, both academic and professional outlets. He has been featured in a wide range of high-quality media outlets, such as the Harvard Business Review blog, MSNBC, and Fast Company.

[00:01:05] Robert Hossary: He’s also the author of American Creativity, which you can find on Amazon.

[00:01:10] Robert Hossary: Service has always been an integral component of Dr. Z’s life. He has been a big brother through the big brother, big sister organization for nearly 10 years. He’s on the communication committee at the St. Louis Organizational Development Network, and he’s a member of the St. Louis Sports Commission.

[00:01:31] Robert Hossary: Welcome, Zack, welcome to the show.

[00:01:33] Zach Schaefer: Thanks, Robert. Really glad to be here. Appreciate it.

[00:01:35] Robert Hossary: Look, we talk to a lot of people from all over the world. obviously, your background is very impressive and, what you have to offer our audience is very valuable. So, before we get to your 10 lessons, let me ask you, what would you have told, with all the knowledge you’ve got now, what would you have told your younger.

[00:01:55] Zach Schaefer: Well, it depends on how young the self is. I’m talking to, you know, I just turned 40 in August, so I’d give 30 year old Zach. Different advice than 20-year-old Zach, I think. Which one do you want me to give advice for?

[00:02:10] Robert Hossary: let’s go with, let’s go with 20-year-old Zach.

[00:02:12] Zach Schaefer: 20-year-old Zach. I would say, live the life that’s true to you and not the one that’s expected of you.

[00:02:19] Robert Hossary: Isn’t that true.

[00:02:21] Zach Schaefer: And that to me was really, I took a U-turn. I always loved academia. but I knew in my heart I was not a scholar or professor as my occupational identity, but I met great people. they kept paying me to go to school. I enjoyed learning. And, you know, finally they’re like, hey, you want to become a professor?

[00:02:39] Zach Schaefer: And I was like, eh, I guess, you know? But that gave me an opportunity to build my entrepreneurial ventures on the side. looking back, I wish I would’ve just been bolder and believed in myself, from the get-go. And, yeah, so that’s what I’d tell my 20-year-old self.

[00:02:54] Robert Hossary: And that’s excellent advice. I mean, I’m with you.

[00:02:56] Robert Hossary: I wish I would’ve told myself that. isn’t it the case that as younger, developing adults, we always try and please everyone else, we live by society’s rules of us as opposed to what we think we should do.

[00:03:12] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, I’m a, I mean, I’m a, you know, first one to stand up. I’m a recovering people pleaser.

[00:03:16] Zach Schaefer: you know, very quickly if you start to pay attention, you learn. You can’t please everyone all the time and you’re going to upset yourself all the time. and that was another lesson I learned. I’d say probably in my early thirties, one other le I’d give my 30-year-old self a different lesson. I’d tell my 30-year-old self, the most effective fishing is often not fishing at all.

[00:03:36] Zach Schaefer: And that is all about patience. Stepping back instead of diving into the river, trying to get one fish to feed yourself right now, build a fishing pole, build a fleet of boats, employ other people to fish for you. But that takes patience, vision, boldness, and courage. Oh, huge courage. Yeah. But I always. I always tell people I have a bias for action.

[00:03:58] Zach Schaefer: And that’s not always a good thing because if you don’t have the direction and vision for where you’re trying to go, that action can get you in trouble.

[00:04:06] Robert Hossary: This is so true. This is so true. Look, this is, they’re wonderful lessons, wonderful things that, you know, even I wish I would’ve known at that age, but let’s move on to your 10 lessons because I’m very excited about these.

[00:04:19] Robert Hossary: they’re, they’re just wonderful.

[00:04:21] Lesson 1:     Master “no” to unleash your implicit yes.

[00:04:21] Robert Hossary: Let’s start with lesson number one, master No. To unleash the implicit. Yes. Now, as a sales professional, I learned a long time ago, it’s okay to say no, but I just love the way you’ve put it here, so I’m keen to hear more.

[00:04:38] Zach Schaefer: this has been one of those ideas, Robert, that’s been percolating and it does kind of come out of being a recovering people pleaser, always trying to please everyone.

[00:04:46] Zach Schaefer: And to be very honest, I’m sure that goes back when my parents got divorced as a little kid. You know, always trying to do everything to keep everybody happy. but now I see it with my CEOs. the number one thing that I think business leaders need to improve is their ability to say no. , and I actually call it the art of saying no, because you can say no, but the way you say it can come off quite differently.

[00:05:10] Zach Schaefer: So, it’s much more of an art than a science. How you say no to people, simply not responding is one way to say no. and that happens quite a bit, but this is the important part. Saying no is actually one of the most honorable things you can do for yourself, for your business, and for your family. If you’re strategic about what that no, then allows you to do with your time, energy, resources, and money.

[00:05:35] Zach Schaefer: And that’s the implicit. Yes. So, the problem is when leaders or people in general, when we say yes to everything, trying to keep everyone happy, that usually is a signal. Either don’t have a strategy or a game plan for success. or we have a really bad one and we spread ourselves too thin. So, in my thirties, I was out on every board, you know, oh, I’ll join everything.

[00:05:58] Zach Schaefer: I’ll help everyone out, and just totally overscheduling myself. And it was ineffective. Like no one got the best version of me and definitely not my family. they got the leftovers by the time I got home. So, mastering the art of, no, it increases your effectiveness. and it allows you to offer a more strategic approach to creating value in the world.

[00:06:19] Robert Hossary: I can see that, I can absolutely see that, and you’re right, just saying no is not a strategy. it’s not a good way to be unless you’ve got, another alternative or unless you can say no with some degree of respect.

[00:06:38] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. Yeah. here’s a perfect example. Very low-level risk, but being on, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn and because I have CEO next to my name, lots of people like to do cold call type email connections on LinkedIn, and I’m constantly getting hit up for stuff that I have no interest in.

[00:06:56] Zach Schaefer: But I always respond, every time. And my response is very clear. I’m not interested in your services. Good luck with business development. It’s not. No, but it’s both and I’m not interested, and I wish you well. I don’t like to just ghost people or ignore, cuz I can’t stand when that happens to me. So, to me it’s really you.

[00:07:17] Zach Schaefer: We can say no in a lot of different ways and I think you can creatively say no and still honor people as a human being. But sometimes the quick note, nope, that’s not a good fit with what we’re doing right now. That’s just as effective as well.

[00:07:30] Robert Hossary: Yeah, totally agree. and I wish more people understood that lesson.

[00:07:34] Robert Hossary: So please, people, if you’re listening to this and you still don’t get it, rewind, listen to it again because I’m sure that you will get it.

[00:07:42] Lesson 2:     Think in terms of time design, not time management.

[00:07:42] Robert Hossary: Well, let’s go to lesson number two. This one l confused me a little bit because having. a lot of my corporate education through the eighties and nineties, time management was always the big thing.

[00:07:57] Robert Hossary: There were time management gurus out there who told you how to do it. So, when I read this, I went, So I’m really interested in hearing what you have to say. So, lesson number two, think in terms of time design, not time management. Take it away, Zach.

[00:08:13] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. I would’ve disagreed with all of those gurus, and again, this has been percolating for a long time.

[00:08:18] Zach Schaefer: Time management’s tactical. that’s operational. That’s what tool can I use to help me better use my time efficiently? that’s like low hanging fruit. Any manager or leader should be doing those things on their own and if they have to waste time to have someone to teach them how to better spend their time, there’s probably a signal, like what’s your overall purpose?

[00:08:38] Zach Schaefer: Like what are you trying to achieve? A design-oriented mindset doesn’t accept defaults for anything. They’re constantly thinking what, why, where, when, who? Not just how. How’s the easy piece with time management? Here’s an app that can do this. Here’s a great scheduler. Have an accountability buddy. there’s nothing new there.

[00:08:58] Zach Schaefer: For me, what’s new is tying it back to strategy and both of these lessons I kind of grouped under the heading strategy and goals. Strategy is so important. It captures why we’re doing what we’re doing, the direction we’re going, and there’s just a variety of implications there. So, I actually have a little program I created called Own Your Time, and it breaks down how to think like a time designer and how, the smallest part of that system is about the tools that we can use to manage our time.

[00:09:27] Zach Schaefer: The most important piece is it’s a mindset shift. I’m a time billionaire. Robert, do you know what that is?

[00:09:33] Robert Hossary: No, I don’t. I would love to know.

[00:09:36] Zach Schaefer: as long as I live to the, expected age here in the us, which did just get bumped down to 76. From 70.

[00:09:42] Robert Hossary: I noticed that. Yeah.

[00:09:43] Zach Schaefer: Because of Covid a time billionaire means I have over a billion seconds left on Planet Earth.

[00:09:49] Zach Schaefer: 31. It’s actually about 31 years, 259 days. that’s, you asked me any billionaire on planet Earth, how much would you trade? To become a time billionaire again and think of how much they’d give away.

[00:10:01] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:10:01] Zach Schaefer: Like that is that strategy. There’s only so much time. Everybody wants to point to money as the most important resource.

[00:10:09] Zach Schaefer: You can’t buy a second back, with that money. So, for me, it’s all about really thinking how do all my daily choices add up? How I’m using my time, what’s the purpose of my time, my bigger purpose or calling or vocation here on earth? and it really is a total mindset shift, which goes back to my first lesson.

[00:10:28] Zach Schaefer: It makes saying no way easier when people start asking me for time or for a, I just need to pick your brain. It’s a great scenario in my career with the management consulting. I have some long lead times for some of the services that I offer, so I, it can be eight or 10 months, but that can lead to a five-figure project.

[00:10:50] Zach Schaefer: Early on in my career, I didn’t have the patient, I didn’t have a design-oriented mindset. It was just like quick volume-based stuff that didn’t lead to deep relationships or additional value creation. And to me it’s like, you got to think about your time. Not just quantitatively, but more importantly qualitatively

[00:11:08] Robert Hossary: Couldn’t agree more with a lesson. And as you said, lots of CEOs just don’t get it. it’s a case of now, you know the immediate plan. And yes, I know the business changes. I know that the world is changing daily, every second. Systems are getting better and more sophisticated, so therefore the older executives don’t know how to deal with it, and they just fall back on their old ways, knock on doors, make the call.

[00:11:37] Robert Hossary: That kind of thinking. Now, I’m not saying that thinking is not right, but I’m just saying strategically they’re not looking to that future. They’re not looking to the design of right, of the work time. they’re just falling back onto the old tools, So I think this is.

[00:11:54] Robert Hossary: An incredibly important revelation, time design as opposed to time management. Love it. I would love to know more about this, and I’d love to know more about your,

[00:12:06] Zach Schaefer: I’ll send you that little program. It’s an e self-paced e workbook, 29 pages, but. It’s really, I think it’s neat. It lays it out. And it’s not just an individualized approach.

[00:12:16] Zach Schaefer: You have to have key partners that you select that help you stay accountable. I mean, you’ll learn some other things. I do, you know, outside of being a consultant, I’m also an owner of a sports bar. We have over a hundred employees, four locations, do about 7 million a year. Like I have a lot of things pulling on my time.

[00:12:34] Zach Schaefer: And the number one reason I’m able to is cuz I married the right person a hundred percent.

[00:12:38] Zach Schaefer: creates stability. She pulls me back when I’m being spread, when I’m spreading myself too thin. she’s, she helps me be, the timekeeper.

[00:12:46] Robert Hossary: Isn’t that always the case? Isn’t that always the case? You have the right partner and

[00:12:51] Robert Hossary: The world opens up. So, Zach, this Own Your Time program that you were, you discussed, is that something that’s available for our listeners on your website?

[00:13:00] Robert Hossary: can they purchase it? Can they get on there and get this program from you?

[00:13:04] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, absolutely. They can either get a hold of me through, like going to https://www.sparkthediscussion.com/, or https://newstorynewscore.com/. Either one. They’d be able to, to bump into that.

[00:13:16] Robert Hossary: Fantastic. And so, listeners, if you’re looking to design your time and be more productive, I’d urge you to visit, Zach’s websites that he’s just mentioned, which will be in the show notes and, you know, go at it, make it happen for you.

[00:13:34] Lesson 3:     Listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as often as possible.

[00:13:34] Robert Hossary: Let’s move on to lesson number three, which I love, by the way. I think it’s brilliant and I wish I could do more of it. And maybe if I apply the time, your time design, I could do this. Listen. Number three, listen to music, laugh, and break bread with friends as much as possible.

[00:13:52] Zach Schaefer: Yep. Yeah, So my last name’s Schaefer, and so we always talk about the Schaefer household, the Schaefer team.

[00:13:59] Zach Schaefer: That’s kind of how we talk about ourselves. And from the time I’m up at about 5:15 AM to the time we’re hitting the beds at like, you know, roughly 9:00 PM there’s pretty much music constantly going the whole time. a famous quote from Charles Darwin. When asked what were his major regrets, he of course paused for like a full minute, you know, thinking and said, I wish I would’ve read more poetry and fiction.

[00:14:25] Zach Schaefer: For me, music is that, and so we get that energy. We have different types of music for different types of the day for the type of emotions we’re trying to cultivate. But I do think for me, and my family, that music piece or laughter and having a meal, it’s way better with friends. Robert, if I get to whatever, 80, 90, a hundred years old, I want the full table that’s a successful life.

[00:14:51] Zach Schaefer: People that want to eat with me. By their own choice. Have some fun, tell some stories. If I get to that when I, in my old age, I’ve done what I needed to do.

[00:15:00] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:15:00] Zach Schaefer: and one of the anecdotes that really drove this home, one of my uncles passed away pretty unexpectedly about three years ago from a heart attack.

[00:15:08] Zach Schaefer: And at the funeral I now was very close with him. I learned a lot from him. And one of the things that one of his buddies said just hit me and it stuck with me. He said, you know, your uncle Pat made life more fun. Spending time with him lifted my spirit. And I was just like, oh my goodness. Like if, so, if I can have somebody say that at my funeral, I’ll have done a good job.

[00:15:32] Zach Schaefer: You know? And I’ve been to about 15 funerals. I tried to add him up and you know how many times I’ve heard somebody say he had a big house, he had a lot of money, he had a fast car. Zero. Cause nobody gives a shit about that stuff. It doesn’t matter. But in your thirties, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, it’s all comparing to spare.

[00:15:52] Zach Schaefer: And look what he got. Oh no, I’m feeling like I’m not getting ahead. And never once is it ever mentioned at the end, cuz it doesn’t matter. It’s that social aspect. and even folks that are introverted, they create that social online. Like, it’s not like you have to be in person for these things, but social, I got lucky, very young age.

[00:16:11] Zach Schaefer: I knew that people and connecting and communicating and sharing ideas, that’s who I am. it makes life better.

[00:16:17] Lesson 4:     The meaning of life is to live a meaningful life.

[00:16:17] Robert Hossary: It leads in beautifully to lesson number four. Lesson number four, the meaning of life is to live the meaningful life.

[00:16:28] Zach Schaefer: Yeah.

[00:16:29] Zach Schaefer: I mean, I like when people talk about it. Cause I enjoy thinking philosophically. That’s one thing I do miss from academia. We could have some really engaging conversations that don’t have a lot of practical application, which I can enjoy. You don’t get that as much in the business world, unfortunately. but I mean this, like, I don’t believe there’s a formula, there’s an elixir, there’s something we can take that just says, ta-da, here’s your calling.

[00:16:55] Zach Schaefer: Here’s your meaningful life. Life is about figuring out how to carve meaning and create meaning with others. Yeah. Like that’s, and it’s unique and different for each person. And I think that’s why society loves to turn to people like a Martin Luther King or a Mother Teresa or an Elon Musk or an Oprah.

[00:17:15] Zach Schaefer: They found their calling early on and I think the rest of us are a little jealous. Right. Damn it. Like, that’s awesome. I want to know my one thing that I’m put here for. But I think that’s okay if we keep grinding and pushing and trying to create meaning and value and share things with others that is a meaningful life.

[00:17:32] Robert Hossary: Totally agree. I totally agree. And it took me till my fifties to find my meaning. Now, loving father, of course. I have wonderful children, all adults now, that I love dearly. But I found my calling, as I said in my mid-fifties when I started working with people who live with disabilities, and I realized how inspirational these people are.

[00:17:59] Robert Hossary: I’d get pissed off because someone took my parking spot, right? These people are in wheelchairs, they’re suffering a lot of different, disabilities, and they’re happy. And they’re smiling and they’re pleased to see you. And it was in service to them that I found my calling, I found what I wanted to do.

[00:18:22] Robert Hossary: So, yeah, it takes time. It takes a lot of time for some people like me to find that purpose. But I’ll tell you, when you find it, your life is fulfilled.

[00:18:34] Zach Schaefer: Yep.

[00:18:34] Robert Hossary: So, don’t stop looking. Don’t stop looking.

[00:18:38] Zach Schaefer: I mean, Victor Frankl’s book, man’s Search for Meaning about his experience when he was in the Holocaust, I believe at Auschwitz, and how he just wouldn’t let his mindset be given over to the atrocities of what was going on.

[00:18:53] Zach Schaefer: His wife was killed. His children were killed. And he wouldn’t let it break him. And it was all about searching for that meaning and creating it, actively choosing to create it. that’s a really powerful book. And then more of a personal example of this, a dear friend, family friend of mine just passed away within the last three weeks.

[00:19:11] Zach Schaefer: His name was Steve Ellison, A fantastic human being like a second dad to me growing up. And so I call it the Ellison Effect. just a wonderful family man, but also built a thriving business and changed, the world for many people. Like that’s the thing, to change the world, to say that it sounds big, but you can change many people’s worlds because we all put ourselves at the center of it.

[00:19:35] Robert Hossary: Yep.

[00:19:35] Zach Schaefer: and that’s what he did. He changed so many people’s lives just by being himself and exhibiting what I call loyal humility. Like when things weren’t going well, he cut everyone’s salary at the company, including his own. So, he didn’t have to fire a single person. And then when it got better, he reinstated, all of that.

[00:19:51] Zach Schaefer: Like, choosing to live that way is really important. And he helped create that meaning just by the small things.

[00:19:57] Robert Hossary: And that’s it. Just by the small things and being selfless, it’s a wonderful lesson now that really is so people lead a meaningful life, try and figure out what that is for you.

[00:20:09] Lesson 5:     The most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of TDJ: Talent, Discipline, and Joy

[00:20:09] Robert Hossary: no, Zack, that, that’s fantastic. Let’s go to lesson number five. you’ll have to explain this obviously, but lesson number five, the most fulfilling life is built by consistently hitting the crosshairs of T D J talent, discipline, and joy.

[00:20:29] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. This is definitely, people won’t understand this without having me explain it.

[00:20:34] Zach Schaefer: It’s funny, I had it sitting right here. So, we just, we actually had a logo created custom for this concept.

[00:20:40] Zach Schaefer: So there’s a much more in-depth concept called Ikigai. It’s a Japanese concept that means a person’s reason for being, discovering their calling. And if it’s like a Venn diagram. So, you can think of four different circles, what you’re good at, what you can be paid for, what society needs and what makes you happy.

[00:21:00] Zach Schaefer: And depending on how those four circles overlay, there’s lots of different ways you can exist in the world. That’s fantastic, but it’s complicated.

[00:21:09] Zach Schaefer: When I tell my kids, you will have a wonderfully fulfilling, meaningful, and happy life if you can hit the bullseye for where T D J crossed, meaning what you’re naturally good at, you’ve got some skill in something, is the T talent discipline, what you’re willing to commit lots of time, energy, and persistence on to get better at discipline.

[00:21:33] Zach Schaefer: And then joy. It brings you joy and it creates joy for others when you can find something that blends those T D J, rock and roll with it, whatever it is. And so, we’ve got these framed up. I’m actually, this is my next tattoo. I’m getting, I’m, I got a lot of tattoos, but it’s important I think a lot of people create their own anxieties and depression because they’re choosing to live lives that where they’re not thinking about their T D J at all.

[00:22:00] Zach Schaefer: They’re thinking about the money or the status or whatever.

[00:22:03] Robert Hossary: Yeah. So, yeah, I, and I used to be one of those.

[00:22:08] Zach Schaefer: I think everybody is to some degree at some point in their life.

[00:22:11] Robert Hossary: it’s a really simple concept, but it’s something that a lot of people haven’t thought of. And that’s the beauty of what we do in this show. Yeah. Is we bring them concepts from people like you, Zach, people who have given this some thought, who have proven it, who have seen this.

[00:22:29] Robert Hossary: This is a lesson that you’ve learned and a formula, if I can, that you designed that now is being shared with our global audience so they too can start to piece together something that makes sense to them. I mean, I think. Talent, discipline and joy. The joy part is what a lot of us forget.

[00:22:52] Zach Schaefer: Yep. And it’s not, for me, the point, the way we talk about it, is I say, does it make you happy?

[00:22:58] Zach Schaefer: And do you get to make others happy by doing it? And it has to be both.

[00:23:02] Robert Hossary: It has to be both. that, and that is the secret. If you’re just making yourself happy, I think that’s a delusion.

[00:23:10] Zach Schaefer: Right, right.

[00:23:11] Robert Hossary: Eventually.

[00:23:12] Zach Schaefer: A hundred percent. Yeah. And clearly, it’s not like my kids are only nine and six and I really wanted to create this for them.

[00:23:19] Zach Schaefer: I want my kids to think about what am I naturally good at? What am I willing to work hard at to get better? And the joy piece. And it’s not like I want to, I could care less what career they go into. To me, it’s more about critical thinking, reflection, and character building.

[00:23:34] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

[00:23:37] Affiliate Break

[00:23:37] Robert Hossary: We’re going to take a quick break. we’d like to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to consume 10 lessons learned, books and other podcasts, allowing you to build a library of knowledge all in one place. You can start your free That’s right. I said Free 30-day trial by going to audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned with Audible, you can find your favorite lesson while at home or on the go. Once again, that’s audibletrial.com/10lessonslearned, all lowercase for a free 30-day trial. The link, again, will be in the show notes. our guest today is Dr. Zach Schaeffer, sharing his 10 lessons with us.

[00:24:19] Robert Hossary: Zach is a speaker, author, professor, and consultant.

[00:24:22] Lesson 6:     Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities.

[00:24:22] Robert Hossary: So, lesson number six, Zach. Freedom from money, time and desire lead to limitless opportunities. Let me read that again because I want people to hear what I just said. Freedom from money, time, and desire lead to limitless opportunities.

[00:24:45] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, this one has been cemented for me in the last five years.

[00:24:48] Zach Schaefer: So, I, I actually think of a human life, Robert, in terms of being like a story. And I think more people should own their story and think about themselves as the main character and think about what traits do I want my main character to have and how can I move in that direction. But I divide the, my life into five-year chapters.

[00:25:07] Zach Schaefer: And for me, chapter that I’m in now, which is about chapter eight, was about financial freedom. And so, when I say freedom from money, you can think of it two ways. the way that I was thinking about it for myself was to get financial independence. So, I am not dependent on any employer, and we live debt free.

[00:25:23] Zach Schaefer: and I, that unlocks lots of opportunities to do and create experiences for my kids, to learn in different ways that I didn’t get a chance to, A different way you can have freedom from money is, and this is the harder way, I think, actually, is to just not participate in the rat race. to just say less is more.

[00:25:44] Zach Schaefer: I don’t need these things, these big homes, what everybody tells you need at the different phases of your life. and I think that’s actually harder than trying to actually get financial independence, like the fire, financial independence, retire early sort of movement. There’re ways, if you want to make money, you can do that.

[00:26:02] Zach Schaefer: I mean, you work hard and get it. I actually think to convince yourself not. That stuff’s just not for me, is a much more difficult endeavor. but that’s step one. And you can, so you can go two ways with that. Step two is the time piece. I define wealth as, not having really anything to do with money.

[00:26:21] Zach Schaefer: I define it, having, any to do with time. So wealthy people have discretionary time. You can spend your time how you want. And now again, if you’ve chosen to not worry about that rat race in certain ways, but you can pay your bills to a degree, but you’ve got a lot of time, then hey, you’re wealthy because you’re getting to spend your time how you want to.

[00:26:41] Zach Schaefer: the third one’s the hardest one. And that’s freedom from desire. That’s Buddhism, that’s stoicism. That’s the illusions that we create, that the next thing will lead to my happiness. The bigger house, more square footage. The bigger engine, the promotion, the fancier title. And it’s smoke and mirrors.

[00:27:01] Zach Schaefer: Like it, it never ends. So if you don’t get a handle on the freedom from desire piece, then the first two are never going to matter, even if you have them momentarily. And so again, it’s not like that’s a finished project for me by any means, but I always try to think about those three things I explain to people.

[00:27:20] Zach Schaefer: The last few years I’ve been luckily to be in the, what I call the goldilocks zone. Time to money. Things are going really well money-wise. Things are going really well timewise. I have, I don’t miss the things that are important to me with my family. I could travel a lot more; I could do a lot more international speaking.

[00:27:39] Zach Schaefer: I don’t get a do-over my kids while they’re young.

[00:27:42] Robert Hossary: Well learned by the way. it was too late for me. I don’t get a do-over. And I missed those years, because I was chasing, the rainbow. the freedom from desire, I think is the third truth of Buddhism, the third great truth of Buddhism.

[00:27:58] Zach Schaefer: Yep. and it is, the four noble truths,

[00:28:00] Robert Hossary: that’s four noble truths and it is very important. everything you said is spot on the first way. Sure. You know that’s work hard, save and become financially independent. The second way is a lot easier in my opinion, than you made out to be.

[00:28:17] Zach Schaefer: Oh good. Tell me.

[00:28:18] Robert Hossary: everything in life is a choice. You must consciously make the choice in your life that it doesn’t matter. And that helps you then get into the freedom of desire. And the problem with human beings, as I see, is we’re addictive. we’ve all, we’re all addicted to something. And you can see that in, in the divisiveness of our society today.

[00:28:44] Robert Hossary: We are addicted to conspiracy theories. We’re addicted to non-truths. We’re addicted to truths we’re addicted to, and we are trying to force all of this on everyone else. The reality is it doesn’t matter. What’s important is what matters to you and how you live your life. And this is what you’ve been saying in your lessons.

[00:29:07] Robert Hossary: This is, you know, how you interact with the people around you is what’s important. So, if you can manage to say to yourself, I don’t need the latest iPhone because the one I’ve got still makes calls, I can still access the internet. Then that’s all you need. You don’t need to spend an extra $2,000 for what, and that’s how I think of it.

[00:29:31] Zach Schaefer: iPhone eight. iPhone eight folks.

[00:29:34] Robert Hossary: Yep. Yep. I’m with you.

[00:29:35] Zach Schaefer: well, I love what you said, Robert, and Yeah. No, the way you framed it makes sense. I’m a huge, I’m pretty big into sort of libertarian philosophy, and so I’m all about choice. Everything boils down to the choices we make on a daily basis.

[00:29:49] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. And the add up. so yes, what you said is excellent.

[00:29:52] Robert Hossary: Look, I love this lesson and it’s, again, it’s been supported by many of our other guests. especially the happiness factor of it, waiting until I get the big house waiting, you know, everything will be fine when this happens or everything if I’m, that’s no way to live your life.

[00:30:14] Robert Hossary: Yeah, really it’s not, you are wasting time. You’re not. What is it that you said before? You’re not designing time. You are wasting it.

[00:30:23] Zach Schaefer: if you looked at me like I almost made this, but then I thought step back and thought, ah, that’d look really egocentric. But if you think of your career, right, when you, when we put out resumes and somebody’s trying to get a job, it’s basically your baseball card.

[00:30:35] Zach Schaefer: So, you might as well just have a picture of you in a suit and then on the back have your key stats. I mean, that’s what it is. And so I wanted to make a version of that, but for the metrics that were important to me. But the front of it would be like me standing there with my kids pulling on me on, then on the back, I actually collected all the stats of all the practices I’ve seen all the time.

[00:30:54] Zach Schaefer: I’ve spent how many books I’ve, and then I was just like, man, like it’d be cool for me. But then somebody else reading, it’d be like, what an asshole, like, you know, but that’s how I thought about it. And to be very honest with you, I didn’t get that clarity until you met, were mentioning addiction until I got sober.

[00:31:11] Zach Schaefer: So I’m a recovering alcoholic and I crossed my five year mark of sobriety on in January 1st.

[00:31:16] Robert Hossary: Congratulations.

[00:31:18] Zach Schaefer: Thank you. And, and for me, I believe that at the heart of any addiction, no matter what it is, is pain. And I think a big part of that pain is not facing who we are. What’s our point of being here?

[00:31:30] Zach Schaefer: What’s my T D J? And I think a lot of people get self-loathing Yeah. That aren’t living the life That’s true to them.

[00:31:38] Robert Hossary: Yeah. and that is so true with everybody. I don’t care who you are. everyone has that. It’s just some of us control it. and I include myself, some of us control that better than others until we hit that self-awareness factor.

[00:31:56] Robert Hossary: And then we start looking deep until you start looking deep into what it is about yourself that you don’t like. Until it was a poem, and I’ve forgotten who wrote it, but it was called The Man in the Mirror, and it’s brilliant. And you know what, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll put it in the show notes. I’ll find it and I’ll put it in there.

[00:32:15] Robert Hossary: but when I read that poem, it was basically until you have the respect of the man looking back at you in the mirror right? Then you have nothing. Yep. So, in other words, love yourself, learn to forgive, learn to love, and start with yourself. Look, I, again, fantastic lesson. I can talk about it forever.

            The Man In The Mirror

When you get all you want and you struggle for pelf,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.

For he’s with you right to the end,
and you’ve passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

– Dale Wimbrow, 1934

 

[00:32:38] Lesson 7:     Forgiveness massages a pulled mental muscle.

[00:32:38] Robert Hossary: but let’s move on. Sure. Because lesson number seven is also brilliant. Lesson number seven, forgiveness massages, a pulled mental muscle. Love the metaphor. Talk to us about that.

[00:32:52] Zach Schaefer: I love communication. So, I have a personal mission statement, action, catalyst through communication. That’s what I’m put on earth to do.

[00:33:00] Zach Schaefer: I’ve always been strong at being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, especially over really uncomfortable topics that nobody wants to bring up. That’s kind of my gift. So of course, chicken or egg, who knows? But what did I study at? In my PhD? I became a mediator and studied the process of mediation and how that’s very useful alternative to traditional courts.

[00:33:21] Zach Schaefer: And what I learned really quickly is, man, people have to work really hard to not forgive each other . I mean, it’s like really hard work. And it’s, and I mean that, like we put hate on a replay because we have to hit replay to recreate the scene of the crime, to keep those hate feelings of resentment fresh.

[00:33:43] Zach Schaefer: And we have to do that over and over and over. But when I got to see people finally letting it go and I got to see people at their worst, you know, major divorce mediations, huge business issues going on. Things that have split families for 30 years. but when that forgiveness would eek its way in finally.

[00:34:02] Zach Schaefer: It’s unbelievable. Like it just changes everything. They drop the weight that they’ve been carrying around and it actually really helped me with myself, like you were talking about earlier, to just forgive yourself for things. And that’s usually one of the most challenging things, probably. And so, then they project all of these things onto other person cuz they haven’t forgiven themselves for what they did.

[00:34:24] Zach Schaefer: So, mediation and if anybody wants to go improve their communication skills and really stretch, you can do a couple things I’ve done, become a mediator, go answer, suicide hotlines. I did that for two years during covid. And then go spend time in, what we’d call in the US nursing homes or, extended living care facilities and speak with the elderly that you’re not a relative to.

[00:34:49] Zach Schaefer: Those three things will stretch you as a communicator, in ways that you don’t know. And forgiveness, interestingly, is part of all three of those venues that I just mentioned, because I always ask the folks, when I go visit as a guest, Hey, I’m 40. Like, gimme some advice. what would you do?

[00:35:05] Zach Schaefer: And many of these folks in their seventies, eighties, and nineties talk about forgiveness and the healing part of forgiveness.

[00:35:12] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. And it is a healing tool.

[00:35:15] Robert Hossary: it’s, this is a huge topic though, Zach. I mean, forgiveness is definitely something a lot of our guests have spoken about. We interviewed James Pennebaker, who was a psychiatrist, who did huge studies, on trauma.

[00:35:33] Robert Hossary: And one of the things that, that Dr. Pennebaker’s talks about is journaling, writing this thing down. Even if it’s just in the air. He said the action of repeating that, daily will expunge those feelings eventually. And I found that accidentally. I found that when I’d get really upset, I would have the narratives going on in my head about what I’m going to say.

[00:35:59] Robert Hossary: And you know, next time I see, yeah, next time I see Zach, I’m going to say this and that. And I’d play the whole thing out in my head and then it’s gone. Those feelings were gone because I expunged them. I lived it. Now that’s me. Other people will do exactly what you said and just keep regurgitating the hate until it becomes palpable, until it becomes a solid entity within them.

[00:36:27] Zach Schaefer: self-fulfilling prophecy.

[00:36:29] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. I’m definitely with you. Get it out. Just get it out one way or another.

[00:36:36] Zach Schaefer: Journaling is great cuz you can expunge it, you can look at it and you can step away from it, come back to it and be like, wow, that’s silly. You know? Now some things aren’t, they’re big issues.

[00:36:46] Zach Schaefer: But yeah, forgiveness is freedom. It’s self-freedom.

[00:36:51] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. and understand People understand that what Dr. Zack is saying that forgiveness is freedom means that everything that is said to you they’re just words. You know, unless someone’s plunging a knife into you, they’re just words. Right?

[00:37:10] Robert Hossary: The old sticks and stones thing, you choose to be upset about it or not. It’s your choice. So, make the choice to just, call them out as children and move on. Don’t associate yourself. One of our very first guests said, avoid psychic vampires.

[00:37:29] Zach Schaefer: Ooh, I like that.

[00:37:30] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Isn’t that good? That was Andre Alphonso.

[00:37:33] Robert Hossary: Avoid psychic vampires of people who suck the energy out and people who do that to you. You want to avoid them in your life.

[00:37:42] Zach Schaefer: Yep, absolutely.

[00:37:44] Robert Hossary: I love that forgiveness massage is a pulled mental muscle.

[00:37:48] Lesson 8:     The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing.

[00:37:48] Robert Hossary: Let’s go to lesson number eight. The most important conversations are often the ones that are missing. Love it.

[00:37:57] Zach Schaefer: And again, I first saw this in mediation, that was just a microscope to just see Wow. When you have a disagreement in life that you’re not able to deal with on your own and you have to turn to a professional like an attorney, the first piece of advice they give you is don’t communicate with that other person.

[00:38:15] Zach Schaefer: That’s the first thing you’re told to do. So, then what occurs? A space forms that’s already there and we just fill it with negativity more and more. So, there’s layers upon layers of conversations that probably should be being had, but a new formal process is created where we don’t have any of that. So then when we get together, it’s like, oh my goodness.

[00:38:37] Zach Schaefer: The number of conversations and things that we wanted to talk about and misperceptions about what the other people are thinking, it’s truly unbelievable. so that’s in a very formal setting, like mediation, it becomes very clear. We choose to avoid or be told not to talk about things, but in a business situation, in family situations, when people are sick, when our kids are misbehaving at school, A lot of people avoid those difficult conversations, and there’s plenty of books out there about like, how to have those conversations.

[00:39:08] Zach Schaefer: My point is that those conversations that are missing are usually the most important ones that will lead to, strategy, to action, to positivity in the world. Yes, it’s going to be tough to talk about some of them. so that’s actually my next writing project is this very topic.

[00:39:22] Robert Hossary: it is a recurring theme run towards the fire, run towards a wrecking ball. As two, two different guests have said, I subscribe to this. I’ve always met challenges head on. So, if Zach said something, I disagreed. Zach, what’s going on? What, what’s happening?

[00:39:41] Robert Hossary: And get it done. Sort it out because those conversations, I mean, you, I just love the way you put it. Those conversations, those gaps that, or conversations that are not had, those gaps are filled with all sorts of conspiracies, all sorts of thoughts that are negative. So, you are spot on and have the damn conversations people.

[00:40:05] Zach Schaefer: and here’s the other thing, Robert, I think the most, one of the most common ones, and probably the most difficult one, is the one with ourself. Our self-limiting beliefs that we, oh, I, you know what, I’m not going to write this book, Robert. I’m not that smart. There’s better, smarter people.

[00:40:23] Zach Schaefer: there are other similar books, or the addiction piece, like as you said, we all have addictions, whether it’s a formal substance abuse problem like I used to have, or just bad thinking. addicted to the next piece of technology, having that conversation with ourself is important. yeah, awareness

[00:40:40] Robert Hossary: and have it with yourself.

[00:40:42] Robert Hossary: it’s hard to have it with other people if, you know, because self-awareness as different levels for different people.

[00:40:49] Zach Schaefer: Right.

[00:40:50] Robert Hossary: So having it with yourself is the only, is the only control that you have.

[00:40:57] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. You never fully know what the other person’s thinking. That’s for sure.

[00:41:01] Robert Hossary: Exactly .

[00:41:02] Lesson 9:     Share your scars, mistakes, and fears when sharing knowledge with others.

[00:41:02] Robert Hossary: Alright, lesson number nine. and I, the reason I love this so much is because you’ve pretty much summed up our podcast in this lesson number nine.

[00:41:12] Robert Hossary: Share your scars, mistakes and fears when sharing knowledge with others? Absolutely right.

[00:41:20] Zach Schaefer: I think if action catalyst through communication, that’s what teachers are. I find teaching, as a profession to be a very noble profession because in life, no matter what we’re doing, we’re, always teaching.

[00:41:34] Zach Schaefer: And for me, the best teachers and lessons that I remember, and I know when I was a professor, what students liked the most is when I shared all my mess-ups and all my mistakes and all the things that I did wrong, rather than this tidy, idealistic, theoretically tight, perfectly organized model cuz that ain’t how shit works in the world,

[00:41:57] Zach Schaefer: And that’s also why I didn’t fit into academia really well. I’m not a great theorist, to be blunt. I enjoyed the research and the applied part of things. But I didn’t enjoy the theorizing because I like living in the trenches, man. I like getting down and dirty and then sharing, hey, here’s not what you should do, but here’s what I might have done if I was in your shoes, and here’s where I did it wrong.

[00:42:20] Zach Schaefer: People love those stories.

[00:42:21] Robert Hossary: they do. And as a parent, I wished I’d done more of that. I mean, I did do that. You know, I would talk to my children and say, you know, when I did this, this happened, but I wish I’d done more of it and been more, descriptive. And in a way I wish my parents had told me what went wrong as opposed to, don’t do that.

[00:42:44] Robert Hossary: Yeah, that won’t work. Which is my generation’s way or my parents’ generation’s way of parenting.

[00:42:51] Zach Schaefer: I’ve found that the more I don’t get uncomfortable very easily, to be very honest. However, I know when I am uncomfortable sharing things with people instantly in my gut, it’s like, man, yep.

[00:43:03] Zach Schaefer: This is going to be meaningful to them. This is going to be, you’re being vulnerable, you’re opening yourself up. Yeah. It’s going to be important. so, I try to do that with my kids a lot. I don’t who, they’re young. They’re nine and six, so who knows if it sticks, but they get to hear a lot of, they’re probably like, geez, my dad really messed up a lot in his life at this point.

[00:43:21] Robert Hossary: Yeah. But you know, I’m sure you went through it, and I’ve gone through it. As we get older, we go, oh yeah, you know what? Dad was right.

[00:43:30] Zach Schaefer: Well, the best business lessons are when you lose money, easily. So as a business owner anyway. And so, I love to share those when I’m talking with my kids or students about entrepreneurship and I’m very clear like, oh, here was a $8,000 mistake and that drives it home.

[00:43:46] Zach Schaefer: The other thing is when your pride gets hit, your reputation gets sullied. Yeah. you pick trust. When you’re able to share those things with folks, they, their eyes kind of open up and they’re like, whoa, I don’t ever want to do that. Exactly. That’s the lesson.

[00:44:00] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Look, I hear you, and as I said, you summed up this podcast in that one lesson, so thank you.

[00:44:08] Robert Hossary: Yeah.

[00:44:08] Lesson 10:    Isolation is amplification, giving a microphone to your thoughts.

[00:44:08] Robert Hossary: Well, we’ve hit lesson number 10, Zach. So, lesson number 10, isolation is amplification. Giving a microphone to your thoughts. I had to read this several times and it dawned on me how true this is.

[00:44:25] Robert Hossary: So, I’m going to read it one more time before you explain it. Isolation is amplification giving a microphone to your thoughts.

[00:44:37] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. Yeah. This is from a very social person. Right. So, if you throw in a friend or family member that I like, any experience is already better. We’re sharing, we’re talking, we’re pointing things out. We’re raising our energy levels. I understand that’s not how everybody functions. So, when I wrote this, I was thinking when we’re isolated, even if we enjoy that, we’re given a microphone to what’s in our head.

[00:45:00] Zach Schaefer: So, it’s not always a bad thing. I wrote it almost from that negative point of view of if I get the blues, everybody does. But I definitely can catch the blues and get a little depressed every now and then. And if I do what I call hibernate, one of my friends, he calls it monk mode. He goes, monk mode.

[00:45:18] Zach Schaefer: We’re not responding to friend reach out. We’re kind of just doing our thing, going home, being guarded, not being as open with our family as, as well. It’s not a good spot. I’m behind enemy lines. In my head it’s amplifying. I’m focusing on my self-limiting beliefs rather than things I’m capable of sharing with the world.

[00:45:37] Zach Schaefer: So that kind of isolation for me is not good. However, there can be a positive side for people who enjoy. Cuz, I think there’s a difference between, you know, being lonely, and solitude. So, like, if you enjoy solitude, and that’s something I’ve had to learn to do with Covid, to be quite honest, that can be great.

[00:45:55] Zach Schaefer: It actually gives you time to think. You give your thoughts that microphone, and you can do deep analytical work, so that’s a good thing. But when you start to have the depressive thoughts, I think isolation’s a really bad recipe, even for people who are introverts.

[00:46:10] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Yeah. that is such a powerful lesson and especially for me, it took me back to my mid-teens.

[00:46:19] Robert Hossary: where I was a very depressed young man, and it’s because I was isolated and because those thoughts just kept going round and round. And I, you know, the amplification bit here is exactly what I was experiencing. I got out of that, obviously. Yeah. and you know, my late teens, I was fine, but it was a really bad spot and I understand how people can get into that.

[00:46:42] Robert Hossary: And especially when I read this lesson number 10, I thought, wow, because this is the reality. This is a secret. All these people that are at home, with different issues, all these people who are suffering different levels of depression, anxiety, it’s because. In my mind, and I’m not a psychologist and I don’t profess to be, but in my mind it’s because that’s all they’ve got in their heads.

[00:47:07] Robert Hossary: these voices just keep going round and round. these negative thoughts just keep permeating through everything they say. So, I think it’s a brilliant lesson. I think it’s powerful. what, how would you say we should avoid

[00:47:21] Zach Schaefer: this? I don’t know if it can be avoided. in modern world, the more we saturate ourselves with technology, the more isolated we actually become, and we assume we’re not because we have all of these connections.

[00:47:35] Zach Schaefer: And actually, it’s quite opposite. This is what I took away from answering the crisis hotlines. Yeah. For people that were suicidal. Unbelievable man. A lot of lonely folks out there that have no one to talk to. and not everyone that called was suicidal, but some people just needed a voice on the other end to listen so that they could get out of their own head.

[00:47:57] Zach Schaefer: Yeah. it’s just powerful and was quite sad. but it was a lesson. And I want to share that with everyone because it’s like, man, there are humans out there willing to just listen. Like, don’t go down that path. Have a conversation again, if it’s important, like suicidal thoughts. Talk to someone, in the US this year.

[00:48:15] Zach Schaefer: I believe you can call. I’m pretty sure it’s 8 1 1 now, kind of like 9 1 1. And you get, you can talk to a crisis lines person if you’re having suicidal, ideations, which is so important. I’ve learned that mental health. People don’t know how to deal with it, how to talk about it, including the medical industry, in my opinion.

[00:48:34] Zach Schaefer: We know how to treat a broken arm or a broken leg or a heart issue, but we’re having depression and anxiety. That’s a trickier thing to deal with. Yeah. Yeah. And I think having conversations with someone, whether it’s a professional or just a friend, is a great first step.

[00:48:49] Robert Hossary: Absolutely. talk to someone and I suppose the importance of this lesson is that now you know, now you’ve heard it.

[00:48:57] Robert Hossary: Now you understand. So spread the word. Think about it yourself and spread the word.

[00:49:04] Robert Hossary: Well, Zach, we’ve asked you all of these 10 lessons. We’ve asked you what you would ask your, or what you would tell your 20 and 30 year old self. Now I’m going to ask you one final question. What have you unlearned?

[00:49:18] Zach Schaefer: More is always better.

[00:49:20] Zach Schaefer: It’s not.

[00:49:21] Robert Hossary:

[00:49:21] Zach Schaefer: The USA motto might as well be bigger, stronger, faster, like that, that would be, you know, flying under the Eagles talents that banner and more is not always better. So, for me, and unlearning that in US, in American modern life, that’s a hard thing.

[00:49:39] Zach Schaefer: Oh, would you upgrade to the next house? Get the new, oh, get the newer version of this car man. Like less is more for me, less is more minimalism. I look at everything around me and I try to say, does it make me happy and do I use it on a weekly basis? If it’s not both, yes, it’s gone. It’s out. I’m at a spot at 40 where a lot of friends are like housing up and doing this and that, and it’s just, we view our personal finances very differently.

[00:50:07] Zach Schaefer: Like we don’t want to have some ridiculous. Mortgage that we then have to fill the house with more debt with furniture. That’s not how we want to rock. but boy, that’s hard to unlearn. And it’s, I haven’t mastered it, you know, like it’s, the grass can be greener, and you go over to somebody’s house, they’ve got this, they’ve got that.

[00:50:24] Zach Schaefer: Yeah, we could afford it, but we’re choosing not to. Cuz, it doesn’t, I haven’t been to a funeral where they’re like, oh man, I got the new gadget in the kitchen and they were great. Doesn’t happen.

[00:50:35] Robert Hossary: But that’s the point you just made. You choose not to remember that people, it’s a choice. And if you, if you want to support this lesson, I would suggest, listening to Peter Thornhill episode with us, where he says, rent, rent your lifestyle.

[00:50:55] Robert Hossary: You know, you want to live in a villa? Go rent a villa for a couple of weeks. There you go. You fulfilled that need. I, but more is not better. What a great unlearning. I love that. Well, thank you.

[00:51:11] Zach Schaefer: It’s not across the board. I’ll, I mean, more love that, you know. Yes. More love.

[00:51:15] Zach Schaefer: More love. Right. But in general, I’m talking about materialism,

[00:51:18] Robert Hossary: materialistic. Yep.

[00:51:20] Zach Schaefer: It’s not always better. In fact, it’s often worse. It’s more insurance, more things to buy to fill the space. Now I got to be worried that somebody’s going to take it from me. Or steal from like, it just adds and keeps going.

[00:51:33] Robert Hossary: Yeah. Zach, this has been absolutely wonderful. do you have anything to add?

[00:51:38] Robert Hossary: w where can people find you?

[00:51:42] Zach Schaefer: Sure, yeah, the two easiest spots are either on my, management consulting website, spark the discussion.com or just on my LinkedIn page. If you just search Zach Schaefer, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn as well.

[00:51:55] Robert Hossary: Well, both those links will be in the show notes, so, you know, please feel free to drop by and, you know, see Dr. Z on at, spark the discussion.com, or drop him a line on LinkedIn. Yep. And with that, we’ll finish here today. You’ve been listening at 10 Lessons Learned. Our guest today has been Dr.

[00:52:15] Robert Hossary: Zach Schaefer, sharing his 10 Lessons Learned. This episode is supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can even email us at, podcast@10lessonslearned.com. That’s podcast at number one zero lesson learned.com. And while you’re at it, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.

[00:52:37] Robert Hossary: leave us a review, hit the like button and turn on that notification bell so you don’t miss another episode of the only show on the internet that makes the world wiser. Lesson by lesson. Thanks for listening.  

 

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

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