Lewis Howes: The Single Biggest Killer Of Relationships | E134 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Lewis Howes: The Single Biggest Killer Of Relationships | E134".
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Could you do me a quick favor if you're listening to this? Please hit the follow or subscribe button. It helps more than you know, and we invite subscribers in every month to watch the show in person. - Am I doing everything in my power to live the way I wanna live? Because if it could be over in a moment, I gotta shift my attention to things that really matter. - Our next guest has right to the resume. - Former professional football player turned lifestyle entrepreneur. - Who was making millions of dollars and helping others achieve their dreams. - New York Times bestselling author. - School of greatness. - Please welcome Lewis Howes. - You have been very, very open about the abuse you suffered when you were five. - I mean, I knew something was wrong. I knew something was off. Every single day for 25 years, I thought about it. I needed to heal the memories of the past in order to create a healthy relationship with myself and others in the present. The challenge is most men have not been taught how to effectively communicate their guilt, their insecurities. Constantly working on yourself is huge in intimacy and relationships. - What is the single biggest killer of relationships? - I'm gonna say something right now that you're probably not gonna like. - So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett and this is the diary of a CEO. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. Lewis, I have to start with a point of gratitude, which is thank you so much for doing this.
Personal Journey And Relationship Insights
Healing my childhood trauma (01:23)
You are, and I don't say this lightly, but you are one of the real inspirations for me in this whole podcasting content space because you're like the goat in my eyes. You're the guy that did it first in our space and did it best at the same time. But not just that, when I got to meet you maybe a month ago in Dubai, I was pretty much in awe of a bunch of things that I noticed about you that really set you apart. One of them was this real unbelievable self-awareness, which I talked to my team about before you got here. I said, "He's one of the most self-aware guys that I've ever met because he's done and doing the work." And the second thing is, there's actually probably three things that come to mind. The second thing is your genuine curiosity about humans on a very deep level, because we were having a conversation at 2 a.m. in a bar, and if there was a moment of silence, it would be interjected by you with like a, "Tell me three things that your biggest failings in life or three things..." And I just thought, "This is a guy that doesn't want to mess around at surface level with small talk and things that don't matter." And then the third point, which kind of links to those two in some way, is your unbelievable ability to speak and deliver a concept or an idea with wisdom and a personal anecdote attached in a way that's captivating to the point that people don't tune out when you're talking. And I'm not blowing smoke up your ass, but I genuinely was like, "I need to learn this." Specifically that delivery of ideas, and having seen you on Jay's and Tom Billu's podcasts, I saw it then again. And it's a combination of all that self-awareness and practice. But there was something else which you showed me when we were in Dubai, having that conversation at 2 a.m. in the morning, which is where I wanted to start our conversation today, which was the screensaver of your phone. That really stayed with me. - Yeah. - Can you tell me what the screensaver of your phone is? - This is, yeah, I don't know if you guys, for those watching on YouTube, I don't know if you guys can see this, but this is a photo of myself, when I was probably about five years old. And I put it on there a year ago because I was doing some intensive, I would say inner child healing with a therapist I was working in, in another relationship that I was ending. I was ending a relationship. And I realized that in relationships in the past, I was repeating a pattern of people pleasing, of saying yes to things that I didn't want to say yes to, of changing and shifting who I authentically was in order to try to please or make someone else happy. And a lot of it came from the dynamics of my childhood, from being sexually abused, from having just a challenging, let's say, family dynamic with parents and things like that. And so for years, I was never taught on how to deal with my inner child. I never was taught how to heal the things that I was really wounded as a child. And so having these experiences of intensive emotional intelligence and therapy, training on dealing with previous relationships, and then in a current relationship was extremely helpful for me. And my therapist said, we gotta heal that part of your life that is attached to a memory of a wound. And unless you heal that, you're gonna keep repeating certain patterns. And so that's why I had that on there. And I'm actually gonna change it to a different period of time in my life when I was about 11 to 12. That's the next phase of growth for me is to actually heal that next stage. So that's why I do it. - What was the world and the perception of the world that that five-year-old Lewis Howes saw and felt? What was he feeling and seeing? - Oh man, he was abandoned, he was abused, he was taken advantage of, he was unworthy, he was unlovable, and that was what I believed. And so it's hard to create a meaningful relationship with myself and with another person if that story or narrative or belief was still there for me, which it was unconsciously. So I needed to heal the memories of the past in order to create a healthy relationship with myself and others in the present. - And where did that story come from that he was unlovable? I've heard you describe yourself even as thinking you were dumb, thinking you weren't worthy of friendships and things like that. Where did all of that? - I mean, it was all from real life experiences and results that I was experiencing. So just getting picked on as a kid, feeling neglected from parents and family members, feeling, again, sexual abuse that I dealt with, and struggling throughout school, my entire childhood, until it took me seven years to finish college. I was in the bottom of my class in school, elementary, middle, and high school. And so the narrative was there were real world results that were showing me that I was unlovable or being taken advantage of or abused or these things. And so that stayed with me. And this is why I built a persona or really a mask. I tried to mask it and defend myself by becoming a great athlete, by getting bigger, faster, and stronger so that I could defend myself against the feeling of being taken advantage of or abused. But that didn't leave me feeling fulfilled. It left me feeling angry and resentful. - When you were, you have been very, very open about the abuse you suffered when you were five from a babysitter's son, I believe. Did you understand at the time that it was abuse? - No, I had no idea. I mean, I knew something was wrong. I knew something was off, but I didn't know. I mean, as a five-year-old, I don't think anyone really knows how to emotionally handle that or emotionally regulate or understand what's really happening at that time. But it was something that I lived with for every single day for 25 years, I thought about it. I thought about the instant, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, it was coming up. It might be a second or it might be minutes long of a memory, but it came up pretty much every day for 25 years until I went through at a transformational workshop experience that got me to finally face it. And it wasn't until I faced it and started to integrate the healing of that moment that I felt like I was a prisoner for so long until it set me free of actually talking about my shame, expressing it, communicating it with my friends, my family. And then eventually I did a podcast about it, which took me about six months to publish because I recorded it. And I waited six months because I said, if people knew this about me, no one would love me. My business is over. I'm gonna have no friends. If people actually knew how shameful this thing was for me. And I think that was the biggest fear. But what I realized, this was back in 2013, maybe the end of 2013, early 2014. And I thought my, I literally thought my life was over. I was like, no one is gonna love me. But I also thought to myself, I can no longer be a prisoner inside with this information. I need to let it out. And if I can help one man heal from what they've been through, then it's worth it. I'm happy to lose everything if I can help one man. And it was one of the most profound experiences and really spiritually freeing experiences of my life was opening up and talking about it. And the aftermath was so powerful. For weeks, I was getting essays from men, opening up saying, I'm married. I've got three kids. I'm 55. My wife and kids don't know. And I've been holding this with me for this long. It happened to me when I was 11. Men opening up about all the different experiences of sexual abuse or trauma that they face with. The challenge is most men have not been taught how to effectively communicate their shame, their guilt, their insecurities. There's not many guys that grow up. I don't think you had guy friends when you were 12, 15, 18, 23 saying, you know what? We just have a coffee and talk about how shameful I feel about my past right now, or I don't really feel that good today. Let's talk about it. Or my body image is kind of off. We don't do that generally as men. We're not taught how to do that in society. But when you ask women, how often do you meet with a girlfriend on a weekly basis to talk about your shame, your insecurities, the challenges you're dealing with in your relationships, struggles at work, whatever it might be. Women typically say they meet with their girlfriends every week, if not every single day, they'll have a conversation with a girlfriend, a sister, a mom about a challenge or just what's on their mind. But we just haven't been taught that. So I really wanted to change the narrative and be a model. There was no one that looked like me growing up that talked about these things. There was no athlete that I admired that was like on TV saying I've been sexually abused or I went through childhood trauma or I didn't love myself or I struggled with insecurities growing up. I just didn't see that growing up as a kid. So my goal was to be a model of saying, I'm willing to lose everything if I can help men heal because I truly believe a lot of the pain caused in the world is caused by men who have massive wounds, who are reactive because they don't know how to handle or regulate their emotions. And so they react in certain scenarios, whether it be domestic violence, domestic abuse, war, just reactions on social media, causing more stress, screaming in a workplace, whatever it might be, driving here in London, just people honking at the horn 'cause they don't know how to handle their inner wounds, their emotional regulation. And I feel like if all humans, but men specifically can continue to learn these tools, it'll be powerful. But we weren't taught this in school. There was nothing in school that was like, okay, emotional regulation 101 class. There was none of this. It was just suck it up, be a man, toughen up. We don't talk about these things. And I think the world has been shifting over the last four or five years as well where it's more acceptable for men to talk about it with social media in a good sense, allowing men to be more vulnerable and kind of lifting these conversations up about mental health. So I'm seeing that shift, but I just didn't see that or have a model when I was growing up. - Terms of models when you were growing up.
What were the dynamics with your parents? (11:59)
Could you tell me a little bit about the dynamics of your parents as well? Because I've heard you describe early life and yeah, the quote that I read from you was that they were miserable times and the tension in the house impacted you and your siblings. - Yeah, I mean, I grew up, it's challenging because my father just passed away a month and a half ago. And for 17 years, he got in an accident 17 years ago with a car accident where a car came up on his car, hit him through the windshield and split his head open. He was in a coma for a few months, had severe brain trauma, stayed alive miraculously, but just had a challenging 17 years where he never fully recovered. So it was an interesting dynamic with my dad the last 17 years. Growing up as the youngest of four, my siblings, I feel like probably had it worse than me. They had to deal with 20 year old parents. My parents were 20 when they had my brother and then 24 when they had my sister and then 28 when they had my other sister, then they had me at 31. So they had to grow up with parents who didn't have these tools either. So I have a lot of grace for my parents because they didn't have the tools of emotional regulation or how to communicate effectively or how to process wounds. And I think if you don't know how to process wounds, it's gonna be hard to just interact without being defensive or reactive or all these different things, passive aggressive. So I grew up for the first 13 years of my life in fear. In fear, I knew my parents loved me, but there was this like energy that felt fearful and I was afraid of my father. - Why? - He was pretty angry. He was an angry guy and he was super loving, but then he would explode at times because he didn't know how to process emotions. And he had wounds. And so that was the challenging thing. It was confusing. And they weren't loving towards each other. So I didn't feel safe. My brother went away to prison when I was eight years old for four and a half years. So every weekend we would travel two hours to go to a prison visiting room and see my brother for a few hours. So I was exposed to things that I probably shouldn't have been exposed to at eight years old until 12, which expanded my mind and my worldview and my perception of people, but also it was just challenging to have a sibling in jail for that long and dealing with the dynamics of that. Yeah, it was just a, it was a challenging time, but at 13, I begged my parents to send me away. I went to a private boarding school at 13 for middle school and high school, and I couldn't get away fast enough. They didn't send me away 'cause I was a bad kid. I begged them to send me away because I didn't feel safe at home. - I really want to dig into that. What was it, your dad's anger and his anger directed, I guess, at you or your siblings or your- - All of us, yeah. - All of us? - But it wasn't all the time. So again, he was a loving guy. He would tuck me into bed at night. He would play catch with me in the backyard. - But then there'd be- - But then there'd be an explosion, and we just didn't know when it would be. And so the beautiful part about my dad is he had a massive transformation when I turned 13. He started to dive into the emotional intelligence training, workshops, and seeking wisdom on how to process his emotions. And he had incredible healing transformation. So from 13 to 21, I had this incredible relationship with my dad. He would fly out to all my games. He would be so loving and supportive. He wasn't angry. He wasn't reactive. He had this transformation. So it's almost like I had two lives with my dad. The first half of, first 13 years, I loved him, but I was also afraid of him. 13 to 21, he was like my best friend. And so when he got in his accident when I was around 21, it was devastating. 'Cause now I didn't have a mentor that now was showing up in a different way, was loving, was vulnerable. I saw him cry a lot more. I saw him just be sensitive. So when he got in his accident, I didn't have that anymore. He wasn't able to have that relationship with me because of the brain accident. And this was a time when I felt like I needed it the most. I went to go play arena football. I went to go chase a dream. I got injured at the end of the first season, had a surgery with my wrist. And at that time, it was end of 2007, 2008, the economy was crashing in USA. People weren't hiring those who had master's degrees. I barely graduated with just a general degree. I'm living on my sister's couch for a year and a half. I've got no money. I've got no mentorship from my father. And so in a sense, it was almost like, this is the weird thing when I reflect back on it, because I don't think I would be the man I am today without his accident. Although I wish he didn't have the accident. I don't think I'd be in service. I don't think I would care about people as much. I don't think I'd be on a mission to wanna change lives and serve millions of people around the world. I don't think it'd be doing an interview show or a podcast. I don't think it'd be writing books or all these things. But something shifted within me 'cause he was physically alive, but emotionally and mentally not there. So I didn't have that access to a relationship. Something shifted in me where I couldn't rely on him for money, for kind of that wisdom. I had to unleash something new that I didn't think was inside of me. And I don't know if your parents are still around or if your dad is still around. Something shifted in me 17 years ago when my dad got in the accident. And then something shifted even more in the last month and a half when he passed that is hard to explain. I don't know. I haven't really fully processed it. It's still kind of a processing time. And there's some, a lot of gratitude and memories, but a lot of sadness tied to it. But I just don't think I'd be the man I am without his accident because it made me unleash something inside of me that was untapped. - When I met you in Dubai, every topic you talked on, you talked on as if you had processed it and done work on it and you had a perspective on it.
What was the impact of your dad’s accident on you? (18:17)
And then when you spoke about your dad, it was like the end of what we call a cul-de-sac, getting to the end of a street where there's nowhere else to go. It was like you hadn't, the conversation ended there and you would look down at the floor. And I'm so sorry to hear of your loss by the way, but I could see that it was still something that you're, there was two kind of suspicions I had. One was that you were still processing it, of course. But the second was that there was a profound lesson somewhere there because of the pause you took and the way that you looked at the floor. But on every other topic, you were like illuminated is the best way to describe it. You see what I mean? - Yeah, I think one of the things that it taught me 17 years ago was that my dad also felt larger than life. I don't know if your father felt that way. It feels that way as well, but he felt larger than life. He was extremely intelligent and smart. He was very charismatic. He was resourceful, talented. He was a big lover. He loved people and he gave his heart in a big way after this transformation. And he cared deeply about relationships. Like I witnessed things he did that brought smiles to people's faces all the time, which is probably a lot of things that I've like translated in my own life. But one of the things that taught me was that if this can happen to a guy who feels larger than life in a moment, when he was on vacation with his then, you know, partner at the time, not my mother, they got divorced, but they were on vacation, having a great time. If this can happen in a moment at any time, then it brought so much urgency to my life to make sure I pursue the things that really are meaningful to me. And for years, there were things that I had to do that I wasn't like, I had to work really hard to get to that place. When I was broke and had no money on my sister's couch, it wasn't like this all just unfolded perfectly. It was years of effort, work, late nights, all that stuff. But it made me just say, what is my mission? What is my intention for this season of my life? And am I doing everything in my power to live the way I wanna live? Because if it could be over in a moment, I gotta shift my attention to things that really matter. And so that was a big, powerful shift for me. And when he passed last month, it made it even clearer. You know, there's so many opportunities for someone like yourself and myself at this stage of our life and our careers. And a lot of opportunities can seem incredible. Here's a big money-making opportunity. Here's a cool project I can do with someone. Here's these things that are coming my way. But if it's not aligning to my mission of something greater, if it's not aligning to my ultimate level of joy and authentic power, then should I be doing it right now? If it was all over in a day, in a month, in a year, is this something I would say yes to? And so it's just bringing me closer to that awareness, that how it could all be over in a moment. And it brings the energy back to like my relationship with my girlfriend. I'm like, if it was over tomorrow, am I doing and saying what I need to say today? And that's been a powerful thing for me. - There's a real, I mean, I always reflect on this, that brony way, who was the palliative nurse who interviewed people in their last days. And the retrospective clarity people must have in their last days about what they did and didn't do right is so, so empowering. But as you say there, one of the things that terrifies me is my dad is ill. He's like not in good health. And he's outlived his siblings. And his life, if you look at it in any kind of comparative measure, was way more stressful than them and his brother died of a heart attack and his brother died younger than he is now. So this thing is haunting me almost in the back room. And the haunting thing is like, what should I be doing now? My relationship with my dad isn't particularly strong. You know what I mean? - How often do you see him a year? - Through three, four times. - Okay. This is my friend Jesse Etzler, made this example one time to me. And to like the audience. And he said, and his father just passed away actually a couple of weeks ago. And he said, my parents are old. They're in their 80s or something like that. And maybe they have five or 10 more years, but it's really five or 10 more times with them if you only see them once or twice a year. It's not five or 10 years. If you see them two, three times a year, maybe you have three times if it's a year. Maybe you have 10 times if it's four years that you experienced a moment in person with your dad. Hopefully he lives 10, 20 years, but two, three times a year is really 20 times left with your dad. And when we put it in, I just got chills thinking about that. 'Cause when we put it in perspective like that, are we giving as much as we could to the relationship? Are we opening up and healing certain things that maybe aren't healed yet? Are we having the conversations that are unspoken? And I think I feel like I did the best of my abilities to do that with where he was at emotionally and mentally. And I would encourage you or anyone listening or watching to ask themselves on a scale of one to 10, how is my relationship with my father, my mother? And if it's not above a seven right now, what can you do? Not about them, even if they're the parent, what can you do to reach out and communicate? How can you take responsibility for your part of that relationship? And you just never know in any moment.
Importance of communicating with your parents (23:56)
- What if someone's sat listening to this now and they think, well, my parents or my dad or my mom or whatever was abusive or toxic or whatever to me? - I think you gotta ask yourself, if they died today, would I be happy with how I communicated, how I showed up? And maybe that means you need to disown your parents for a season of life because you're not able to get along. But are you still happy if you did that with everything you tried to do from a loving, calm, healed place? It's your healing journey. It's not about what they do or what they didn't do. It's about your healing journey. And I look at it as a gift from everything that I experienced from my childhood. I don't look at it as a painful thing anymore. And I'm not living in fear from the memories of my past anymore. I look at it as, God, I'm so grateful that I grew up feeling insecure, unlovable, and really dumb because I care deeply about loving other people. I care deeply about being a good listener and showing people how much I care. I care deeply about wisdom and knowledge in a different way, not just from school and books, but from interactions with human experiences, adventure, learning new skills and hobbies, and just progressing as a human. And I think, even from the sexual abuse, I'm not mad at it anymore. I'm not hurt by it anymore. I hope it never happens to anyone in the history. I don't wish it on anyone, but I also know that it gave me an incredible gift because I've healed from it. I've taken my power back from that. And I know that it's benefited me now because I've rewrote in the story about what it means about me. And I think if we can rewrite those stories in an empowering way, then we are not powerless. We're powerful. - To that point of your healing journey, then, you describe your life in these three sort of sections.
Learning the art of emotional regulation / Allowing myself to be vulnerable changed my life (25:44)
You've got the, I think it's the preteens, and then it's like the teen to 22, and then it's the, oh, is it four, and then the 20s and then the 30s. The 20s phase, as I read it, as I read through all the experiences on your sister's sofa, the LinkedIn stuff you'd done, felt a little bit like you were finding yourself a little bit, right? - Yeah, of course. - And then post 30s, it feels like the work really started to begin. - I mean, 30 is when everything started to change because that's the moment I allowed myself to be vulnerable for the first time. I just thought I had it figured out. And what I realized is I knew nothing. - There were symptoms of an internal conflict that suggested to you that you didn't have it figured out. - Of course, yeah. - What were the symptoms of that? - I mean, getting in fistfights on a basketball court in a pickup game that's supposed to be fun and reacting so much to someone jabbing me in the ribs or smack talking me, talking bad or just talking trash and being so reactive. - Just getting it like your father? - So explosive, extremely explosive. Again, it was more of like, I didn't heal a lot of things from my childhood. It wasn't like one thing from my dad or the sexual abuse. It was kind of like the entire childhood. All the stories and all the examples that made me feel like I'm not lovable or I'm someone to be taken advantage of was still inside of me. So it wasn't just one thing or one experience. It was all of it that was building a case for me to be reactive and explosive and feel like the world was just out to get me or something. And when I learned the art of emotional regulation, that's when everything started to change. And I learned a part of that at 30 until 37, but in intimate relationships, I still hadn't learned how to fully love and honor my authentic power. I still gave in 'cause I deeply wanted people to like me. I deeply wanted the person that I was giving my heart to to love and accept me. And yet I was choosing people based on a wound still from my parents, from my mom giving in, from my mom not feeling probably loved and accepted and kind of repeating that pattern of her. With my dad, I was finding partners like that. And I was taking on the mother role, like kind of what my mom was taking on. And I was giving in, I watched her give in over and over and over to my dad and never stand up for who she truly was. This is all unconscious. It wasn't until about a year ago when I started to learn this and process it. So I was choosing partners that after a period of time, they would get upset at me over and over of lots of different things. They just weren't happy with who I was or the actions or decisions or things I did in my business or whatever, whatever it was that made them feel like they were insecure or something. - Same. - And so I would say, okay, I'll change this to make you happy. Okay, you don't like me doing this? Okay, I'll stop doing this. Okay, you don't like me salsa dancing? You don't like me traveling? You don't like me speaking? You don't like me doing okay. Like whatever's gonna make you happy because there was love there. And I thought that when you love someone, you'll do whatever you can to make that love stay, to make it last. And so I would give and give and give up who I was in order to create peace and love. And what I was doing was creating incredible pain, resentment and anger and frustration with inside of me of the person, of the relationship and of myself. - Because you were abandoning yourself. - Abandoning myself over and over again. And I didn't know how to say no and how to be around someone who was unhappy with me in intimacy. I could do this in business and friends, but in intimacy when there was love, I didn't know how to say no. And so I just gave in to create peace. And what I realized is that I was looking to create, to buy peace by abandoning myself, but you can't buy peace. We must be peace. And if someone is okay with that, great. And if they're not, then maybe you're not in alignment and that's okay. But I was not willing to let go of the feeling of love. It was a false love. It wasn't authentic love because authentic love is accepting the person for who they are and them accepting you for who you are. It's not trying to change the person. If you're trying to change someone, you shouldn't be with them. We should be elevating each other to grow. But if there are fundamental things about you that I don't like, and I'm trying to change you, why am I in a relationship with you? Go find someone that you don't need to change and vice versa. And so my girlfriend, Martha, I was like, listen, we started dating and I'd done months of this healing work and finally started the process and feel this inner peace. I said, listen, I'm gonna be 100% authentic to who I am. I'm going to obnoxiously be myself around you. And I'm letting you know, I wanna be so obnoxiously myself that I hope you run away. Hope you run away because I'm never gonna change. I'm not gonna change for you or anyone else. I'm going to evolve. I'm gonna constantly improve, grow. I want you to be willing to give me feedback, but I'm not gonna change of something you're unhappy about about me. Here are my values. Here's my vision. Here's my lifestyle. This is what I'm gonna be doing. I'm not gonna change this stuff. Just letting you know. And it's been a beautiful journey because it's amazing to see what it's like having authentic trust and someone receiving you for 100% who you are and feeling like I can be myself. I never felt this until now. It's beautiful. - It's such a important conversation. - It's crazy, man. - You described the reasons why and your trauma that made you a people pleaser. And do you know what's really interesting is when you told me that you were a people pleaser, I couldn't believe that.
Why I didn’t compromise my core values (and being honest in your relationships) (31:46)
I'm like, what, you big tough athlete, man? People pleaser, carrot, you know what I mean? But it goes to show that that trauma in us is kind of agnostic to our mask. And I, when you told me that, 'cause we had a little bit of this conversation, just a hint of it when we met in Dubai, I realized that I had been a people pleaser, but I never thought I was. In all of my relationships, I think the significant reason why they failed is exactly what you've described. I've gone in trying to compromise everything. - Really? - Oh my God. - For love. - My God. - Just to keep the peace, keep the love. - Just to keep them and try and keep them happy with me. And in the short term, that day, fine. You go any kind of mid to long-term time horizon and it's resentment, it's anger, exhaustion, arguments. - It's a weight. - A weight. So exhaustion, man. I take full responsibility for every relationship I've chosen and been in and stayed in because I could have gotten out of any relationship at any moment, but I was afraid and I lacked the, really the self-confidence to step away because I was afraid of losing love. But it's not real love if it's inauthentic. If you're having to change who you are to make someone happy, I just don't feel like that's real love. I'm all for making adjustments in alignment with certain things, but it shouldn't be changing your core essence of who you are to make someone happy. That's not real love. - You said something to me which really puzzled me because I've never heard it before, which was when I said, I started talking to you about what things I should be compromising in my relationships and you went, no compromise. - I mean, for me, I don't believe in compromising who I am. If you're like, listen, this week I wanna go to this place for restaurant and next week you can choose, that's I guess a compromise of like activities, but not compromising your core values and your authentic power. If we are compromising our authentic selves, we're essentially saying, screw you to our creator. You've created us for who we are and no, I don't wanna be this way for one human being 'cause it doesn't make them feel good or it makes them unhappy or they're afraid or scared as opposed to who can I be if I'm 100% myself in life. And I'm not saying like, if you've got flaws, adjust those, improve those. Like I'm willing to improve and adjust all my flaws, but if it's something that's at my core is my personality, I'm not changing for anyone. Why? I wanna be changing for one person? That just doesn't seem like a good, I don't know, situation. And I've done it for too long. - And with Martha, your current partner, you had a conversation very early on about your unwillingness to compromise your core values. - Yes, and my priorities. - And your priorities. - Yes. - So tell me exactly what you mean by your priorities and how that was received. - Man, I told her probably like three months in. As we, I knew in the first night I met her, I go, I wanted to be single. I was like, just got done this healing journey, get out of a relationship. I was like, I really wanna be single for like a year and just be single. And I met her before that time. And I remember thinking, oh crap, there's something unique and special here on a different level, more than just sexual attraction. There's a spiritual connection, there's something deeper that I can see a vision of something incredible that I couldn't do on my own, right? And I was like, let me just string this along as far as I can before I get committed, right? Let me just give it some space, not jump into this thing too fast. Like let's just take it slow. And after about three months, I said to her, I go, listen, I'm gonna tell you something that I don't think you're gonna like. And I said this many times to her, I go, I'm gonna say something right now that you're probably not gonna like. And I don't think any woman wants to hear this from a man. I'm just letting you know. And she's thinking I'm about to drop a bomb or something. And I'm like, you may not wanna continue dating me after you hear this. She was like, what is it? She's freaking out. I go, you will never be my number one priority, never. And I had an explanation. I said, listen, my number one priority needs to be my health because without my health, I can't fully show up for my number two priority, which is my mission or my calling from God. - Oh God, you wasn't even number two, Lewis. - And I said, you're not number one and you're not number two, you're number three. And no woman wants to hear I'm the third priority in some man's life. They need to make me number one. I need to be thinking, they need to think about me all the time. I'm number one priority, otherwise I'm out of here. And it's not that she's not a number one top priority, but health needs to come first at all times. That doesn't mean all day I'm doing my health. It's just, I need to make sure every day I'm taking care of it this is a top priority. If this is number two, number three, number 10, I'm not gonna be good for you in our relationship. I'm not gonna have energy. I'm gonna be more moody. So I need to make this a priority first for the second priority, which is my mission, my calling from God, the universe, the world, whatever you wanna call it, whatever's speaking through me into the existence. Because if that is not a high priority for me, then I'm gonna be unhappy. 'Cause I'm gonna feel like there's something calling me in the world and I'm not doing it because I'm giving more time and attention to one person. But if I'm healthy and working on myself, if I am putting energy and time into my mission, then you're gonna have the most incredible relationship of your life because I'm gonna be of service to you in such a high, beautiful, authentic way that you're gonna be feeling like you're the number one priority. But you just have to be an awareness that this is where I'm coming from. And it doesn't mean I'm not gonna be spending all my time with you when I'm free and we're not gonna have an amazing life, but you gotta be aware that this is my priorities. And the crazy thing is, right when I finished, she said, "That's the most amazing thing I've ever heard because that's exactly what I've been looking for." I've been dating guys with no purpose. None of them had a purpose, they made me their purpose. And I was like, "No, what's the thing you wanna do in the world? What's the calling you have?" And none of them had a calling. They had stuff activities, they had hobbies, but it wasn't like a main calling in the world. And she was like, "You're the perfect match for me because you have a mission to serve the world." And I'm cool with that. - Were you trying to scare her off based on a previous relationship? - I was trying to scare her off by saying, "I'm never gonna change who I am." - Based on a previous relationship? - Based on five previous relationships. It was based on every relationship before where I abandoned myself to try to make one person happy and create peace in an environment because there was never peace. And it's my responsibility, it's my decisions by choosing these relationships, by staying and by not leaving sooner. And so it's never... 'Cause I just wanted to fix the relationship. I was like, "Okay, how can we make this better?" - What mask have I gotta wear? - Exactly. And so, man, it's liberating and freeing. And the only way this works is because this sounds bad. I'm gonna say something that probably sounds bad. I think my girlfriend would be okay with me saying this, but the only way this works is I'm willing to walk away at any moment. I don't wanna walk away. I wanna be with this woman. She's incredible. She's a gift in my life. But if it's not in alignment with her values, her vision, her lifestyle, my values, my vision, my lifestyle, and we don't fully accept who we are, then we shouldn't be together. And I want the best for her and I want the best for me. So as sad as I would be, I'm willing to walk away at any moment if it compromises giving up who I am. And it brings me peace 'cause I'm not attached. I'm committed. I'm holding it loosely. You know, I've got my hands wrapped around the relationship, but I'm not suffocating the relationship. I'm not squeezing it to death. I'm like, "Okay, you can--" - You want it, you don't need it. - Yeah, I want it. I'm committed. I'm all in, but I'm not going to change who I am to force it. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. My girlfriend came upstairs yesterday when I was having a shower, and she said to me that she tried the Heul protein shake, which lives on my fridge over there. And she said, "It's amazing. "Low calories, you get your 20 odd grams of protein, "you get your 26 vitamins and minerals, "and it's nutritionally complete." In the protein space, there's lots of things, but it's hard to find something that is nice, especially when consumed just with water, and that is nutritionally complete, and that has about 100 calories in total, while also giving you your 20 grams of protein. If you haven't tried the Heul protein product, do give it a try. The salted caramel one, if you put some ice cubes in it, and you put it in a blender, and you try it, is as good as pretty much any milkshake on the market, just mixed with water. It's been a game changer for me, because I'm trying to drop my calorie intake, and I'm trying to be a little bit more healthy with my diet, so this is where Heul fits in my life. Thank you, Heul, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is the one my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one. When you talk about priorities, I was trying to, in my head, think of a use of words that might be more received better, and it's funny, 'cause I was thinking about this table.
The power of honesty in relationships (41:23)
I was thinking there's, this table now has two levels, right? The first foundation of this table you could call health. Without that, nothing else can sit on the table. The second foundation could be mission, and then the relationship sits on top of both, and it's enabled by the foundation of my health and my mission. - Absolutely, man. - I think if you kind of flip it, it kind of sounds better, like, 'cause effectively, you're putting your health at the bottom, which is also still your foundation, but I completely get that, because at any time in my life where I've abandoned my sense of mission, I can only do that for a short period of time. I can only fake that before I start to lose orientation in my mind. - And you resent yourself. You resent the person, you resent the relationship, and you're like, you're not in love as much with the relationship, 'cause you feel like you're not, it's not lifting you to your highest calling. - Amen. - And I think the beautiful thing about Martha and our relationship, I think she'd be open with me talking about this, but every relationship I've been in, I was like, I wonder what it would be like to start therapy in the beginning when everything is perfect. So with Martha, I said in the beginning, I said, "Listen, I'm doing therapy every two weeks. I did this for the last year on my own individually. I'm gonna be doing it for this next year and years." Just as emotional accountability for myself in life, business, friends, family, like anything I need to process, it's just good for me to clean the energy and not let things pile up. And I said, I'd love for us, and she was doing this individually. I said, I'd love for us to do this together as we start to develop our relationship when things are great and actually see if we are in alignment. And so two weekends ago, we did a five hour session together with my therapist talking about expectations, agreements, values, dreams, vision, and just processing anything we needed to process. And it was such a powerful experience that when things are going good, to continue to talk about vision casting, what we wanna build together, not when things are going bad. And it's really to talk about things that maybe we haven't fully been comfortable talking about yet and putting it out there, as opposed to hiding things or waiting for things to come out later. And it was such a powerful five hour experience. I mean, it's very emotional and you're processing a lot. And we're diving in deep exercises, eye gazing, talking about things like, it's an emotional relationship workout. You'll save a lot of time and headache by going to therapy when things are great, as opposed to when things are bad. - It's like that prevention versus reacting to once it's Rita's ugly head and there's been some bust up. - You go to the gym, not because you're sick, but because you're healthy, to stay healthy. You know, not when you're waiting to get sick, now I need to go to the gym. And I think who does that in relationships? I don't know anyone who's done that. You hear people say like before marriage, we do like a premarital, maybe relationship training with the churches or like a therapist, but that's after a few years usually. I just wanted to experiment. I have no idea where it's gonna go, but I feel like something's happening underneath the surface by both of us doing this together when things are good. - Men just don't do this stuff, Lewis. I'm thinking about my guy friends and I can imagine some hesitancy towards them. - 100%. - Because they just not, it's all the things you've described that they've worn a mask of toughness. We keep the emotions in the back room. You know what I mean? And also, do you know what as well? Guys don't love conflict with men. So they would probably see that as, oh my God, I'm gonna get told off. Oh my God, she's gonna give me shit for that thing I do. - It's so hard, man. - What you've described though, that doing the making the roots go deeper. Again, something I have to thank you for because we had a conversation about vision, values and lifestyle. And when I got back from Dubai- - How'd it go? - I had a conversation with my girlfriend and she was all for it. So we sat on that table there and I said, I spoke to Lewis and he talked about vision, values and lifestyle. So we sat there one night on the weekend, lit a candle, we were making some pottery stuff. And we said, after we've done this, we'll just write down our visions, values and lifestyle. And we'll go through them one by one. So like, I speak on one, you speak on one. - That's beautiful, man. - It took about three hours and there were tears. - Oh my gosh. - There were moments of joy. - That's horrible. - But the conclusion was exactly what you've described. There was all these little things. I'll give you some detail. - Give it to me. - When we go to sleep at night, I like to go to sleep a certain way. So I like something playing, she likes silence. - But you hadn't talked about it, probably. - Hadn't talked about it. And it was one of the things just about like, our sleep routine, we're obviously gonna have to sleep in bed for many, many years. And we hadn't discussed it and I knew it was conflict. I was getting in bed and knowing if I play that, she's not gonna be happy, but she might not say anything. And so just talking it through and going, look, babe, the reason why I listen to something when I go to sleep is because I've had 29 years of doing that. When I lived in the countryside in Plymouth, I had a radio in my room and the kid in me found comfort in hearing a voice when I went to sleep. You've had 29 years of doing it another way. We've got to ask ourselves, is it really a problem? And that was the discussion, like, is it a problem? If I put an AirPod in, because I'm not gonna compromise, and you wouldn't even hear it, is it really a problem? And then we discussed why she thought it might be a problem. Does that impact her intimacy? Well, intimacy is a separate, you know, and eventually we came to this conclusion and it's not an issue anymore. And it was an issue in our relationship for about a year. It was that niggling little, you could feel the contempt and resentment slowly building. - And you guys were long distance too, right? - We were long distance, yeah. - So it wasn't like, it wasn't every day for months. So you were like a couple of weeks at a time in space, but when you're gonna be more together consistently, it could be a problem. - Yeah, that's one of the list of about 30 things that we addressed and worked through. And more than anything, coming out the end of that exercise, which is something I've never done with any partner I've ever had. I've never even had the conversation. You just crack on. - We don't think about these things. - No, you don't. - I didn't learn this until like two years ago, man. - You just get on with life, right? - You just try to keep having fun experiences. - And avoid-- - Conflict. - The conflict. - I've had so many uncomfortable conversations with Martha that it's like a muscle. You gotta practice it. And every time an uncomfortable conversation comes up, I have to breathe. I'm like, oh man. - You feel tense. - Yeah, I don't wanna do it. I don't like it. I don't think anyone likes it. But the more we do it, here's the thing. We've created a safe space where, and the reason I don't like to do it or haven't liked to do it until now is because every time I would have an uncomfortable conversation before, the partner I had could not handle it. So I'd say, here's how I'm feeling and they couldn't handle it. Or they'd be an explosion or reaction or something. So it didn't make me feel safe to have the uncomfortable conversation. So I'd avoid it. - Amen. - And with Martha, I said to her, listen, like the first uncomfortable conversation, I go, she asked me a question about something that was kind of like, I can't remember exactly what it was, but I remember being like, hmm, should I tell her the truth or should I kind of a little bit of the truth? And I go, do you want me to be 100% honest with you? And she said, yes, always. I go, are you sure you want me to be 100% honest? She said, yes. And I go, okay, let me ask you one more time. And the reason I'm asking you is because I've never met someone who can hold the space for my honesty without reacting or crying or screaming or running away. So are you saying you're emotionally available to hold the space for my honesty and truth? She said, yes, I'm a grown woman. I go, interesting, okay. Well, here it is. And she was like, thank you for your honesty. And it built a one step. Okay, let me try this again one more time and make sure she can really handle it. And the more steps of her holding the space for my honesty, my vulnerability and not exploding or reacting, makes me feel like, okay, I can say anything. And she may not like it. It may be uncomfortable, but she's not explosive. And that's a powerful thing of how can I be comfortable in the discomfort while also feeling safe. That's huge. And you've got to learn to practice that yourself in a relationship and not be reactive. If a partner is telling you stuff about their past you don't like or what they did or this and that, you've got to be okay and practice it. And they've got to be. And that's where constantly working on yourself is huge in intimacy and relationships. And if one person's doing that and the other person isn't, there's gonna be conflict. - Yeah. Do you have a trainer when you work out? - Yes. - Have you had a business coach in the past or mentors? - Yeah, so many. - Would you stop getting coaching in business? Even though you've been so successful, you wouldn't stop even though you've got all this money and businesses and startups and investment dollars, dragons then and all. You keep hiring a coach or have a mentor in business. Why would we not do that for our emotions and our heart? It is the most powerful energy that we have. Emotions and our heart. And yet we have a stigma around having a coach or mentor or a guide or a therapist, whatever you wanna call it of emotional regulation and accountability. And people make so many mistakes in their lives by not having that regulated. Their reactions can have consequences for years. People go to prison for one reaction. People lose their entire business for one reaction. People lose their marriages because of one emotional reaction. This is one of the most powerful currencies in the world, in my opinion, is having power over your emotions. Not stuffing your emotions, not saying they don't exist, not acknowledging them, but expressing them in a healthy way and in a healthy environment. And when we learn that, and I've been learning that over the last couple of years, it's been an incredible shift in every area of my life. And I also just feel an incredible sense of peace. I'm not saying that I'm always gonna be perfect in the future around this, but showing up to someone twice a month and processing makes me a whole lot better. - You just reminded me of something that really stuck out to me when I first met you was when we were sat there and you're doing it again today, you've done it three times today, is you would say something and then you'd say, and that's my responsibility. So even when you were talking about previous relationships you've been in or whatever else, you would not blame the other person, you would like aggressively not blame them in a really remarkable way. So you'd say this happened, this happened, this happened, this happened, where any other human being I've ever met was in their right to attribute the blame to the person. And you would always end the sentence, as you've done three times today with, and that's on me, and that's my responsibility. Why? - 'Cause I chose it. I chose those experiences, I chose those relationships, I chose the environment, I chose those people, I chose to stay, and it's my responsibility on how I show up and how I react, how I respond and how I stay or leave. - But even when someone was toxic or whatever to you, you say that was on me. - It's my responsibility because if someone does that and I stay with them, that's on me. That's me not standing up for myself, that's me abandoning myself. That's not on them, they're living their life. They're doing what they do naturally. It didn't line up with me, but I stayed, so that's on me. I can't expect someone else to change. I can't expect someone else to respect my values, my vision and my lifestyle. They have theirs and they're showing it through their actions and their behaviors. And so for me, if I'm able to witness that and be aware and not have the false sense of love and be attached to the false sense of love that I'm feeling, I'm having this feeling about this person and I want to get back to this healthy environment with this person, I got to learn to let that go. And that's why I say I can hold love in my hands loosely, committed and excited about it, but if it's not meant for me, I shouldn't hold onto it and abandon myself. And I think I did that too many times, so that's 100% my responsibility. - Can you run me through then?
Knowing your values and vision (54:03)
'Cause I know there's gonna be people listening to this that I've just had, we've both done this exercise and it was amazing. And they're now thinking, what is the values part? What is the vision part? What's the lifestyle part? - Yeah, I think the values is really about, for me, the values is like, okay, I value health in my life. I'm gonna be focused on my health. I value my mission, my team, my business. Like that's a conscious mission. I value spending time with friends. I value all my hobbies and activities. That's salsa dancing, that's traveling, that's all these different things I enjoy doing. I value conscious conversations. Like I wanna have conscious conversations. I can't have superficial conversations. I literally met someone this morning before I came here who was a part of a big company here in London. And within two minutes, I probably like shouldn't do this, but I don't know if all British people are this way and it's not a bad thing, but it's very good with like surface talk. Oh, how was the flight and the orders and tea and crumpets or whatever it is, you know? And it's like, which is fine, but I just can't handle it after a few minutes. So right away, I'm the person sitting next to me. I was like, how's your marriage? You know? I was just like, how long have you been married for? You know, and she was like, "I've been married for like six years." And I go, what's three questions you wish you would've asked? I literally did this. I go, what's three questions you wish you would have asked the day before you got married that you didn't ask? 'Cause I'm just fascinated by people. You know, I'm curious. I'm like, how amazing has the marriage been? How has it been? Has it been healthy? Have you had challenges? Is there anything you wish you would have changed or talked about sooner? And right away, she's like opening up and like being vulnerable. And I was like, sorry to put this on you right now, but I'm just fascinated. 'Cause I wanna learn from everyone. And so I was like, I wanna have conscious conversations. It's one of my values. So we have these deep intimate talks all the time. And so I write down a list of all my values. The vision is, this is the vision for my personal life. So personally, I wanna be working out. I'm gonna be healthy as an individual. My vision is my mission, which is building a conscious business to serve millions of people, to help them improve the quality of their life. And this is a major priority to me. This is my one and two priority. This is my vision. And also our relationship vision, which I think is extremely important to talk about with your partner. Here's the vision I have for our relationship for these couple of years and for the future. This is what I see. With flexibility, nothing's set in stone, but this is what I see. What is your vision for our relationship? Because maybe her or his vision is different. One person wants to have kids, the other person doesn't. One wants to get married, the other doesn't. One wants an open relationship, the other one doesn't want that. One wants their family around every weekend. The other one's like, I don't want to be around your family every weekend. So what is the vision of our shared relationship? And then lifestyle. I love traveling. Do you like to travel? I love to watch these types of movies. I like to eat these types of foods. I like these types of experiences. This is a lifestyle that I live. If you have a completely different lifestyle, that's going to be hard for us. If you like to do none of those things, if you like to stay at home every day where I want to go out and network with people and travel, that's just going to be a tough, we're going to be butting heads a lot. And there might be, maybe it works, but it might cause some friction and distance in the future. So are we in alignment of values, vision, and lifestyle? It doesn't have to be 100% perfect, but is there alignment in each category? And I think the more alignment you have, the more potential for a better, healthier relationship. - And on things like work, this is obviously a big one for ambitious people.
Balancing work and relationships (57:50)
When they're running a business, they're career-driven, they're vision or mission-driven, and they have a partner, I want to know from a work perspective, what kind of conversation you've had with Martha and vice versa, because I know you're a guy that travels a lot, does a lot of speaking, is very in pursuit of yourself and your potential. So how do you then balance being a boyfriend, being present, going on dates and stuff? What's the conversation? - When I first met her, I said, one of my values is alone time. That's one of my values as well, is having alone time, having enough space in our home so that I can go in a room and do what I want to do and watch sports or chill, and you can do what you want to do, and I feel like we have space. Doesn't mean I don't want to be around her all the time, but I also value my space and alone time, and so does she. So it's having those conversations. And with business, I said, listen, if you can come on any trip, like you're more than welcome to come, I'd love for you to come, but she's doing her own thing. She's traveling as well, back and forth from Atlanta. So, and she'll be filming two movies later this year and gone for two months at a time. So I'll need to travel at those times, and she'll travel with me. And that's the season of our life right now. - And you're anticipating another season at some point, I imagine. - At some point, yeah. I mean, it may evolve, may change in the family and all these other things. So it's like when that season happens, there may be less travel for her. - How do you feel about that? - About what? - About the next season of the family. There's a smoke on your face. - Well, this is something that I say to her. I go, listen, I'm really intentional about building a deep, strong foundation. Let's keep building a strong foundation and everything else will follow. If I feel a sense of peace, I feel a sense of safety in this relationship, just like you, then all these other things are gonna happen naturally. And they'll probably happen fast naturally once we both have a deeper foundation and just experience life more, so. - Have you historically had a commitment challenge? - 100%, man, 100%. Well, actually, I haven't had a commitment challenge because I've always been committed. I've been in very long-term committed relationships. But I've had a commitment challenge in seeing around family and kids because I never trusted the person I was with fully. So I couldn't see myself having kids with them. And I kept waiting to see something to shift to where I felt like, this was kind of where my head would go. This is maybe weird, but I would say, if something ever happened to me, could I trust this person would take care of my kids? And I just never felt that 'cause I never felt like I could trust them with me. Like, again, I take full responsibility and accountability because I chose people that didn't accept me fully, that weren't happy with who I was. And so that's on me. And I never felt like I could go to the next level with any of them because I was like, something's off inside. And I feel like, ah, I'm changing who I am to make them happy and they're still not happy. So I can't have kids with, I can't see myself living like this for 20 years with someone, so. - And that kind of trauma, that niggle, is that still inside you there somewhere? As you think about this? - I think it was in the first maybe few months of us dating, but I don't feel like it is anymore. Yeah, I feel like every day I create more and more peace and connection and safety. And she's just an incredible person. Like, she's just a great human being and trustworthy. And so it's like, even if something happened to me, she could be an incredible, you know, incredible mom, so. - Of all the things you've learned from your good and bad relationships, if you were to have, if I had to, if I said to you that, what is the single biggest killer of relationships?
Biggest killer of relationships (01:01:26)
What would your answer be? - I would say the biggest killer of relationships is being out of integrity with your authentic power and abandoning yourself to create peace in the relationship. Because if one person's doing that or two people are doing that, there's some type of codependency, there's some type of wound of why we're doing that. That's creating that. So for me, the biggest killer is not healing. That's the biggest killer. Whatever wounds we have, be on the healing journey. It's not gonna happen overnight. It's not like a moment. It's a journey of healing. And I think the more people are willing to dive into their heart and their emotions and whatever insecurities, wherever they feel triggered, that's where you need to lean into. Because that trigger's gonna come up in a relationships big time if you haven't healed it. So it's the emotional healing, I think is one of the most powerful things. It's funny, I interviewed a brain surgeon who'd done over a thousand brain surgeries and studied the brain. And he's also a PhD in neuroscience. So he studies the mind and thoughts and he was a brain surgeon. And I said, what's the number one skill you feel like human beings should learn to master? And his answer was beautiful. He said, emotional regulation. And I was like, I 100% agree. Because if we don't have the power to regulate our feelings around a situation and environment, something that happens in events, then that event has power over us as opposed to us over that moment. And if it has power over us to where we react so strongly, we need to ask ourselves, why am I so triggered? Where is that wound? That's a wound somewhere. Where is that wound? And how can I start the healing journey? I'm not saying that things are gonna happen in life and you're never gonna feel something, but just not react and be overwhelmed emotionally to where it takes you away from love and takes you away from your mission. But if something is so strong that it causes you to lose sleep for three days or causes you to react in a negative way, it's pulling you away from your heart, from love, and from your meaningful mission. And I think we just gotta get back to, okay, why is this stressing me out? How can I process this and integrate healing in a healthy way so that when life happens, it doesn't pull me off my mission. And that's something I've experienced for the first time in the last three months is really like, life has happened in a big way for me. It's sidetracked me a little bit, but it's not pulling me off. Like I'm needing to face it and deal with things and process, but it's not like defeating me to where I feel like I'm exhausted. And that's because I'm holding myself emotionally accountable and doing the work. - If someone's listening to this and they don't have a therapist, they don't have the resources or whatever to have therapy, how else can they go about developing the self-awareness required for that emotional regulation journey? - There's definitely things you can do on your own. I would read a book called "How to Do the Work" by Nicole LaPara, which gives you a lot of exercises and practices and things like that on how to do the work yourself. So you can get the book for 25 bucks and start there and start your own ritual and healing process, whether it be journaling, whether it be, you know, other types of meditation, things like that. She has different rituals in there you can do. But I would recommend, I don't think there's anything more powerful than sitting in front of a human and talking to someone about how you feel and what you're going through. So whether that's a priest or a parent or a teacher or, you know, a friend that you trust, someone you feel like who has a little bit more wisdom than you, I would start there until you can afford the therapy. - And in terms of emotional journeys, you cite that you're still on one. - Absolutely. - What are the things that you're now talking to your therapist about that you were trying to solve in yourself? - I had this photo for the last year. I'll just show the camera, the photo of my five-year-old self. And in the last session I did with her, it was all about healing the inner child, right? It was all about healing the inner child and doing the work. I mean, I did some weird stuff, like putting myself in spiritual and mental environments where I'm talking to my five-year-old self and looking at my five-year-old self, hugging my five-year-old self, integrating my five-year-old self with my adult self and kind of re-parenting that psychological child. Some weird stuff, but for whatever reason, it's worked for me. Because now I can look at a situation and say, okay, do I feel triggered? Oh, where's that coming from? Is it from that hurt child? If so, all I need to do is have a conversation with that part of my mind and say, I'm an adult now and the adult is here and I got your back. I can take care of this. I know how to process and soothe things in a healthy way. I don't need to lean onto an addiction or a reaction or whatever it may be to process. I know how to handle this. I know how to breathe. I know how to take a walk. I know how to have a conversation and process. You're safe, you're okay. It's all gonna be okay. Whereas before I didn't have that ability to communicate with a wounded part of myself. And so now she said, we've healed the five-year-old version of you that was sexually abused because I don't get triggered about it. I don't get reactive to it. I'm not defensive and guarded anymore. And I'm also shifting the way I don't please people in relationships anymore. So I've done a lot of things to do the work about intimacy and relationships and just in life. She's like, now, and I go, okay, am I done? 'Cause this is a lot of work. It's a lot, you're diving into your emotions. You're tapping into uncomfortable stuff. You're like crying. It's all these things. She was like, this is a journey. Do you wanna go to the next level in your life or are you satisfied? I'm like, okay, you gotta keep going. There's always something else. And so she's like, we wanna tap into the 11 to 12-year-old self. And she's like, find a photo. That's my next homework is to put a photo of myself when I was 11 or 12 and start healing that part of my life. And there was a bunch of different stuff that happened in that phase that I haven't fully healed or forgiven myself. And so that'll be the next work to do. And it'll be like stages of life until I meet myself to where I am now. - Interesting. - And heal it and working on the evolution of all the memories of the past that wrote a story and developed chapters in a book that did not serve me. - It's like a script, wasn't it? - Yeah, and rewriting the script. Not diminishing the things that happened, but acknowledging them and healing them in a different way and processing it in a healthy way so that I can meet myself where I'm at now and then really start elevating. - How much has doing a podcast where you sit with these people, but also you're like, yeah, right. - It's a game changer, man. It's a game changer, man. I get the biggest like neuroscience. I've had so many, and this year has been like the year of therapists and neuroscientists and spiritual gurus and just being like figuring out more and more about emotions, about regulation, about healing, about inner child work, because I have people on there where I'm like, when I'm struggling with something in my life, I bring those people on and they're like, teach me how to like overcome this. - Free therapy, right. - It's incredible, yeah. And so my audience would be like, oh, Lewis is going through stuff with this. Oh, Lewis is going through a breakup. Oh, Lewis is in a relationship. Oh, Lewis is hanging out. - It's amazing. The other thing I know a lot of people will struggle with is the confidence to overcome some kind of fear. You talked a little bit there about our self-story and how that limits us. One of the fears I know you had in your life, which is almost impossible to imagine based on the man you are sat in front of me today was that fear of public speaking. - Huge fear, man. I could not stand in front of two to three friends in school and really even have a conversation. Like I didn't know how, if someone asked me a question, I would get nervous. I couldn't even respond with really a small story just 'cause I was so, the story I told myself that I was so used to being made fun of and picked on growing up, that I just didn't wanna speak that much 'cause I didn't wanna be made fun of. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. As you might know, Crafted are one of the sponsors of this podcast and Crafted are a jewellery brand and they make really meaningful pieces of jewellery. The really wonderful thing about Crafted Jewellery is it's super affordable. It looks amazing. The pieces hold tremendous meaning and they are really well made. I think I've worn this piece for almost a year. It hasn't broken, hasn't changed colour 'cause it's really, really good quality and it costs roughly 50 quid. People will be surprised when they hear that. They'll probably assume that all of my jewellery is like solid gold and costs thousands and thousands of pounds. But what's the point when you can achieve the exact same effect from a piece of jewellery that's high quality and costs 50 quid? That's why I buy Crafted.
Overcoming my fear of public speaking (01:11:00)
- To put it in context of where you are today, you're an international speaker. You're getting paid big six figure numbers to speak once. And I just wanna put that in context 'cause you went from someone that basically couldn't have a conversation to an international public speaker. - Yeah, I don't know if it was like this in school in the UK, but in America, at least in Ohio where I grew up, the teacher would sometimes say, "Okay, we're gonna have you guys read aloud." And, "Okay, Lewis, open up chapter one, paragraph one "and stand up and read in front of people." And it got to the point where it was so terrifying because I would get up and I was not able to read until really about 10th grade, no joke. When I went into eighth grade, that private boarding school, they tested me reading and comprehension and everything and I had a second grade reading level. So when I was in school, it was so hard for me to stand in front of the class and read aloud because the simplest words, I didn't know what they were, dyslexic, so it was just challenging to read and then I'd feel nervous and then I would sabotage it and then kids would laugh because I couldn't read. And so it was just kind of like a traumatizing thing that I had to learn how to let go of and heal. And so I just never wanted to speak in front of people. And I remember, this is funny, I was also, I was also terrified to dance and I started salsa dancing obsessively because I wanted to overcome this fear. And when I was learning this skill of salsa dancing to overcome that fear, I met a guy who was a public speaker and he got paid to speak around the country. And I said, how do you do this? And he said, meet me tomorrow at this coffee shop and I'll answer any question you have. 'Cause we're literally like in the middle of the dance floor and I'm asking this. So I meet him at this coffee shop, McClellan's Ohio. And he was like, if you wanna overcome the fear of public speaking, you need to practice it every week. And I recommend joining this thing called Toastmasters where you can practice in a safe environment where they're not gonna laugh at you. And he said, go every week for a year and come back to me when you're done. And that's what I did. I went to a Toastmasters club every week for a year. And I remember it was terrifying for the first few months, but the more I did it and just messed up, I just kept messing up, but I found someone to mentor me there. I practiced it consistently every single week. My next speech, I would put myself in uncomfortable conversations to just be made fun of or just feel like I'm so stupid around these people. But every week I'd show up, I would get a little bit more confidence, a little bit more confidence to the last week of the year. I remember I had no notes, no props, no nothing. And I was extremely poised and confident and got like the standing ovation at the end of the year because they saw my journey. The first speech, I had everything written out word for word, word for word. I looked down behind a podium and read word for word. I didn't look up once on my first speech to the point where I was like, okay, I'm writing a speech and then looking up a couple of times while reading it. To then it was like just note cards, to then it was bullet points, to then it was a slide, to then it was nothing. But it was mind blowing because it took a year to kind of get a baseline of confidence. And it took every week showing up. But I'm telling you, if I could do something like this, it's possible, but you've got to be willing to be so uncomfortable to overcome these fears sometimes. - There's two things I was reflecting on as you were speaking then. The first is how that repetitions, rewrites this new kind of subjective evidence about who we are and what we're capable of, which results in mastery. But it starts with repetition, which creates new evidence, and then you've got the mastery point. But also just that wasn't just a lesson about public speaking. It's a general lesson about what happens when in life we arrive at the crossroads of fear. And one side says, turn right to go back to comfort, which is never do this thing ever again 'cause it's humiliating. And the other is like, the lights are off down that path, but it's like into the fear. And this happens every week in everyone's life, in your job, in your relationship, in someone offers you, oh, do you wanna come and do this thing? And you go, that's not, I don't salsa dance. - Or you go through a hard relationship and you're like, I can't open my heart up again to love. - Vulnerability. But so evident in your story and even the fact that you write down your biggest fears every year, it's so clear that you continually chose to go into the fear and that resulted in tremendous growth. - Yeah, it's always, it's always. And the amount of confidence I have over the last 15, 20 years really of just taking on these different fears that I thought I would never be able to do. Let's talk salsa dancing. I started that 17 years ago. It's opened up a world to me. I've traveled the world. I've salsa dance in every major city around the world for the last 17 years. I've met incredible people. I had so much fun. I get to just go and dance and have fun. And it gives me an incredible sense. It's a tool that I can take out at any moment whenever needed. It's a language that I can speak to so many people that speak that language. And it's given me a level of confidence that I never had without that because it was a fear. And now it's something that's fun that I've mastered. It's incredible. Same thing with public speaking. I remember thinking before I started Toastmasters, like if I wanna get a job, I need to learn public speaking. If I wanna like improve in the career that I go into, I need to be able to communicate in the boardroom and get my ideas across. Even if I'm an employee, I just need to be able to communicate. Or if I'm a CEO one day, I need to be able to inspire. If I wanna be on stage, I need to be able to get a message across to influence and impact people. So I was like, if I wanna accomplish my dreams, I need to overcome this fear. And it's brought me so many opportunities because I spent a year obsessing over this and failing. Again, it's brought me incredible financial resources. It's put me in front of, I've traveled the world because of speaking. It's brought me business deals. I've met and collaborated with other speakers that I met on stages at these events. It's given me confidence by having this skill. So every fear that I have, if I master it and I go all in on it, something magical and beautiful happens on the other side. Same in relationships. After the previous relationship, I was like, okay, I can be afraid and be single for a year and like guard my heart, or I can open my heart, keep it expansive, not closed after this pain and challenge, keep it open and see what's possible. And when I met her, I was thinking to myself, ah, I don't know if I wanna like go into this, but I was like, let me keep it open and explore. And it's been magic and beauty on the other side because I've gone all in that as well. Every time, it's just something magical happens. - When I think about that crossroads analogy, where you've got, you arrive at the crossroads of fear and it says, turn right if you wanna go back into certainty and comfort, or turn left, it's dark in there and it goes, go into the fear and address it and work through it. I think the people, the reason why people turn right into certainty and to comfort or really go back, right, is because they've miscalculated what the actual risk is. So in the case of say, being vulnerable in your relationships, it seems like the low risk path is to like keep the mask on, just please them and whatever. However, when you zoom out, that is the existential risk of the relationship is faking and being inauthentic to yourself. That was actually the risk. But people like they don't know what the risk is. And generally in life, it's people that when they say to me, oh, you're so courageous for dropping out of university and starting this business, I've reflected on that over the years. And 'cause I've really struggled with this concept of people thinking I was courageous. In my mind, the risk was staying in university, going into the corporate rat race and not pursuing myself and then having a midlife crisis when I'd abandoned myself. That was the risk. The easy cowardice thing to do was leaving university and pursuing myself. And I think the reframing of it is really probably the most potent way of getting people to understand that in fact, the dark left side of that fear crossroads is actually the least risky path to take if you zoom out. - Absolutely. And you see what's on the other side. What's possible for you, what's available on the other side. - Yeah, exactly. Or even if you see what certainty and comfort will deliver you. - It's about having a short period of pain versus long period of pain. And the short pain is diving into the fear. Maybe the pain is a week, a month or a year in order to overcome that fear until you overcome it and transcend it. Or having this numbing low level pain for the rest of your life by not choosing that. Which one do you want? You know, for me, I just can't live that way.
How do I find meaning and happiness? (01:19:51)
- And it's not just a one, right? So if you fake it in work and then your relationships, then your friendships, then you're gonna have-- - And your health and all these things, yes. - You're gonna have 10-- - Exactly. - Which is gonna be what happens then. Depression, crippling anxiety. - Exactly, panic attacks, all that stuff. - Impulsive behavior, all these addictions. - Addictions, everything, man. As you look off into your future then, Lewis, you're thinking about how Lewis House shapes his future, what he's pursuing, how he finds his meaning and happiness on an ongoing basis. What is the answer? - Everything is based on mission. The mechanism is kind of irrelevant. How I do it is irrelevant. The mission is to serve 100 million lives weekly to help them improve the quality of their life. That's the mission. - That's your mission? - That's the mission. That's been the mission for about eight years. It's been consistently that. - Why 100 million? - People ask me that. I think when I came up with that number, it's 'cause I'd already impacted millions at the time. And whenever I ask people like, "What's your dream?" And they say they wanna change the world, it just doesn't seem real. Like, okay, what does that mean? And then some people say, "I wanna change billions of lives." Okay, it just seems like it's hard to-- - Measure. - It's hard to measure that quickly. Like how fast is that gonna happen? But I'd already impacted millions. And I was like, okay, what would it look like? How long would it take me to reach 100 million people at once, like in a year? And then how could I, what would it look like to do it in a month and then in a week? And then how could I repeat that every week? What's the mechanism? Right now it's podcasting, YouTube, social media, books, events, all those different things. Maybe in the future, there's another mechanism. For me, I'm not attached to the mechanism. I'm committed to the mission. And so I'm flexible and open on how. I wanna make sure that I'm a messenger and I'm a facilitator of messages with other messengers. And that's the mission for this season of my life. Until something shifts inside of me where it says, that's not your calling anymore, then I'll listen to that next mission. - Two questions then.
Why does helping people matter to you? (01:21:55)
The first question is, why does that matter to you? Why does helping 100 million lives a week matter to you? What are you gonna get if that happens, if you succeed? - Well, helping one person matters to me. When I wrote my book, "The Mask of Masculinity," I remember thinking to myself, this probably isn't gonna sell 100 million copies, right? It's about how men can be vulnerable. Like most men don't wanna buy that book. - It's this one here. - Yeah, so "The Mask of Masculinity," once I started opening up about my healing journey and seeing the impact and the responses that men were having, I was like, gosh, I need to write about this, don't I? Internally, I was like, this needs to happen next. My book agent was like, let's go do another book about business or marketing. And I was like, I just can't do it. Like, even if I make no money, this has to come out of me because if we can help one man heal their internal relationship with themselves and then heal their relationship with their family and their marriage, whatever it might be, then it's worth it to me. And so I just felt like I needed to put it out. And so I'm happy to help one person and I feel accomplished. I feel purposeful, useful. I feel like my talents were for something meaningful, but I know there's something more inside of me. And so I'm striving to serve 100 million lives. One of the reasons that's meaningful to me is because I believe that we're all here for a reason. I believe that we all have a certain unique set of gifts and talents. And I wanna see how far those talents can spread. I just feel like that's part of my calling at this season of my life. And I'm 100% happy and fulfilled with all the efforts I've had to this moment, because it's everything I've been able to do, but I know there's so much more. So this is just something for me to aim towards, to reach towards. It gives me a target. It's something I can measure. It's not too unrealistic. It's a big number, but I feel like, yeah, how things are going, maybe it could happen in a year, maybe it's 10 years, I don't know. But it gives me a focus and it keeps me in alignment on the things I say yes and no to. Does this decision, project, interview, partnership serve 100 million lives or get me closer to it? Or is it a distraction? So it helps me get clear on saying yes or no to things as well. And what happens today if you get an email when you leave here and it says, "Lewis, good news. "We're now reaching 100 million lives a week." I say, great, we gotta repeat this over and over again for a while until I feel like, okay, what's the next goal? I mean, if we get 100 million lives weekly, then I'll be like, awesome. It's been, I'm doing this podcast for nine years now. It's like, I've been doing this for a long time. Last year, we got over 100 million views just on our YouTube channel alone. So we're in the hundreds of millions a year of, and I don't calculate it as like a like or like a one second view. I'm like, what's a 20 minutes of some interaction? We had over 100 million just on YouTube of 24 minute watch time. So for me, that's a deep encounter of someone introspective, learning, diving in, overcoming something and trying something new. That's meaningful to me. And so if we can do that weekly for a while, then I'll take an assessment and say, okay, where am I at in my life this season? Am I striving for more? Am I maintaining? Am I shifting? I'll reassess it then. - Would it be a really happy day? - I'm happy today. I'm really happy today. - 'Cause Gary Vaynerchuk said to me, he said, my goal is to buy the New York Jets. And in the same breath, he said it will be the worst day of my life. - Right, because then there's no more chase. It's no more thinking to work towards. And here's the thing, I'm happy today 'cause I have inner peace. And I think there's no goal that I've accomplished in the past that has brought me inner peace when I accomplished it. I felt depressed and anxious with a lot of goals from the past. Now I feel happy with just showing up and giving my best day to day. As lame as that sounds, the healing work has allowed me, it doesn't mean I'm like satisfied. I still am driven and I'm hungry for more, but I'm just in such a beautiful place in my relationship with myself and my relationship with Martha and my relationship with friends and family, my team. I just feel like, man, if this was it, I'm in a peaceful place and that's beautiful. - Amazing. And I truly feel it. I truly feel it in everything you say. - Yeah, and it doesn't mean I'm perfect and it doesn't mean I have it all figured out and it doesn't mean I'm not gonna make mistakes in the future. It just means that's the path I'm on. - We have a closing tradition on this podcast, which is the previous guest writes a question for the next guest onto the diary. What is the most frequent piece of advice people ask you for and what is the answer?
Our last guest's question (01:26:45)
- I mean, what do people ask me for? - What is the most frequent piece of advice people ask you? - Like the question they ask me for like a piece of advice. - Yeah, what's the most frequent piece of advice? - I mean, it's like, what would you do if you were starting all over again? If you were 21 or you started your podcast again or you were getting started again in your business, what would you have done differently is what I get asked. And then what's the answer? I mean, the answer is, I don't know if I would have done anything differently because it's all given me a lot of wisdom and experiences to where I'm at now. I guess I wish I would have like known this stuff sooner, but I think we all need to learn things as they come to us. I guess what I wish I would have known differently is how to have inner peace. I wish I would have had that skill because I think I'd be farther ahead and I would have been happier sooner inside had I learned that skill of healing, of inner peace, emotional regulation, all these things that kind of held me back from being 100% my authentic self and in my power towards building everything that I'm doing. - I sit here with people a lot and I remember speaking to Gary and Gary talked to me about the importance for him of legacy. Is this something that's important to you? The concept of legacy? - I think yes and no. It is in a sense that like with my dad passing, I think about his legacy, right? And I've had a lot of like sad moments and I've also had a lot of beautiful, grateful moments thinking about his life and his legacy and how he lived, what he taught during his life and what he left behind in terms of wisdom and lessons. And I think it's important to, for me, that's valuable in the sense that I'm gonna be around, my siblings are gonna be around, his grandchildren are around who experienced him. They're gonna have, we are gonna have memories and an imprint based on his life and how he lived with us. And now it's all about how we show up through his legacy. I'm a part of his legacy. He was a part of my foundation and I'm gonna be a part of that. And I think about that because I want to make sure that my last name is meaningful and it would make him proud. You know, I wanna make sure that am I doing things in alignment with what he taught me would make the world a better place, would be good for our community, am I living to the highest level of the values? Not the stuff that he didn't do well, but the stuff he did do well. And so I think it's important because we're gonna be interacting with people. And when we're gone, they're either thinking of us in a positive way or negative way, and they might be acting like we acted in either of those ways. So I think it's valuable and important. And I think about it in that sense, but I also think about that it's not important because in 200 years, no one's gonna remember. Maybe, you know, like someone has like a memory of a history book and they talk about you, but no one you know is gonna know you in 100 years. No one you interact with is gonna know you. So in the big scheme of things, you know, it doesn't matter after 100 years really, but it matters because everything is a reflection of our past. - It's like domination. - Yeah, my grandparents influenced my parents, their traumas and their beauty influenced them, which influenced me. And I felt like I had to heal the traumas of the past legacy as well, just like I'm carrying with me the beautiful parts of the past and leaning into those, but also healing things that were brought down that they never healed. So there's an impact with the legacy. - Yeah, my answer is very similar to yours in the sense that I've never understood why people care about what people will say about me when I'm gone. - Right, right. - Because again, if I engaged in that thinking, it's the same as caring too much about what they think about me now. Like I'm not gonna be there, I'm gonna be dead. But I've never heard it and it's really refreshing to hear that kind of dominoes analogy where like actually the way that I show up is gonna impact my kids. They might impact 10, then it's 20, then it's 50, and then that's how the world is created. - Yeah, and I think the traumas that our parents had or didn't heal are gonna be felt in our childhood until we heal it. So, and that might be their grandparents and their grandparents who'd like pass it down. So we either need to heal it now or otherwise we're gonna pass it down to our kids. - Lewis, thank you. - Thanks, bro. - You're a very special individual for so many reasons, but I think having had this conversation with you the most, and also, it's a reflection of your book as well, The Mask of Masculinity, is your ability to be open and vulnerable is I think like the most powerful service, especially men, can be doing in this world for all the reasons we've described, because that like being emotionally in touch and being willing to be open is the foundation of all of our interactions, our happiness, our mental health, even our physical health. And as is the case in this country at the moment, the thing that is unfortunately killing most men under the age of 45 is themselves. Suicide is the biggest killer of men in our country under that age group. So, and it's a reflection of, I think, the lack of vulnerability. - Absolutely. - And the lack of openness and the lack of ability to process and regulate our emotions. So having a light like you in the world that is leading that crusade in such an open way, even though I know the feeling of discomfort, it even gives me to talk about things like my mental health or how I'm feeling, all those things, inspires me. And you've inspired me to be more open. And in fact, you've actually inspired me to go on the journey of like having therapy just for the sake of, not because I'm like, I need to fix this, but because of the prevention and because of all the unknown unknowns. - Absolutely, man. - So thank you. - I appreciate it. Thanks, brother. - You're an inspiration to me and so many others, and it's been a joy to have you on my podcast. - Thanks, brother, appreciate it.