Chris Widener has been named one of the top 50 speakers in the world, one of the top 100 leadership speakers by Inc. Magazine, and one of the top 10 sales speakers by Success Magazine.
He is the author of 23 books, a number of which have been translated into 14 languages. His best-selling works include “The Angel Inside,” “The Art of Influence,” and “Better the Second Time.”— which he co-authored with his wife, Denise Widener.
Chris has given more than 2,500 speeches all around the world to crowds as large as 25,000 people. And now he joins us in this episode to share with us his amazing stories of success through failure.
Don’t miss as Chris talks about what it’s like to have worked with John Maxwell, Jim Rohn, and Zig Ziglar, and the secrets to success he learned from the masters of the game whose books you’ve probably read, videos you probably watched, and even quotes you may like to share.
If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode or if you hear something that you like but don’t have time to write it down, be sure to grab your free copy of the Action Plan from this episode— as well as get access to action plans from EVERY episode— at JimHarshawJr.com/Action.
[00:00] Chris Widener: What do we do once a year? Once a year, we call our doctor up and we go in for what we call a physical. Why don't we go to a counselor once a year and have an emotional? Why don't we go and sit down with our pastor or our rabbi once a year and have a spiritual
[00:19] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Welcome to another episode of Success Through Failure, the show for successful people and those who want to become successful. The only podcast that reveals the true nature of success through conversations with world-class performers. While also sharing my own lessons of success through failure. This is your host, Jim Harshaw, Jr. and today I bring you Chris Widener.
[00:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Chris has been named one of the top 50 speakers in the entire world. He's one of the top 100 leadership speakers by Inc Magazine and also one of the top 10 sales speakers by Success Magazine. He's the author of 23 books, a number of which have been translated into 14 different languages. Chris has given more than 2,500 speeches all around the world to crowds as large as 25,000 people.
[01:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: In this episode, he reveals what it's like to have worked with John Maxwell, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar. Like Chris is a guy who has learned the secrets of success from the masters. I mean the masters of the game, people whose books you've probably read, videos you've probably watched, maybe quotes you'll like to share on social media.
[01:28] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Chris was introduced to me by Ruben Gonzalez, who you've heard on the podcast a couple of times. Ruben's a great friend and has some of his own amazing lessons of Ruben's, a four-time Olympian in the luge. But this episode is incredible. He reveals some really interesting stuff. If you'd like the episode, please give it a share on social media.
[01:46] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: It helps this message reach more people, helps it impact more people. And I see when you share these, so your support does not go unnoticed. Thank you for. For the shares, for the likes, for the retweets, and for the comments, et cetera. I appreciate those. Thank you in advance for your shares. Now let's get into my interview with Chris Widener
[02:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Let's start from the beginning. You know, you lost your father. You were just four years old. You said you turned to drugs earlier in your life and in just the sixth grade. What do you feel turned you?
[02:18] Chris Widener: Well, yeah, you're right. I mean, it was a tough job. My dad, 1969, made $90,000, which is a lot of money in 1969.
[02:26] Chris Widener: Uh, but he only had $30,000 worth of life insurance. So that began a downward spiral. My mom sold a house that we were living in, which, uh, just recently sold for like 3.2 million. She sold it cuz she couldn't afford the $400 a month mortgage. and so it began a downward spiral. We moved a lot. I lived in 28 homes, went to 11 different schools, started drugs in the sixth grade and summer before my senior year of high school, I got invited to go to Sunday school, which is kind of funny if you think about it, because here I was, you know, I was making my money growing up.
[02:57] Chris Widener: Batten the horses at Long Acres Horse Track, and I was smoking a lot of weed and you know, all this kind of stuff. And I'm at my best friend's house on Saturday night and Sunday morning, his mother, all four 11 of her barged through the door and she says, uh, get up. We're going to Sunday school. And I, I kid you not, I had.
[03:14] Chris Widener: No idea what Sunday school was. I'd never heard the term before and I'm like, uh, Sunday school. But then I think, I thought to myself, what the heck? I've tried everything else. I may as well try this Sunday school thing. So it was a little tiny Lutheran church in North Bend, Washington. It was called Mount Si Lutheran Church, right under Big Mount Si.
[03:32] Chris Widener: And uh, there was a youth minister there. And the youth minister was exactly what I needed at that point in my life. He was a good old boy from Helena, Montana, and he was about 30 years old, and he had two things. I needed. Number one, size, 11 cowboy boots. I needed somebody to kick me in the rear hand. And he did cuz he was a good old boy from Montana.
[03:54] Chris Widener: But the second thing that he really showed me was a sense of purpose and the fact that God loved me and that God designed a life for me and planned a life for me. And all of a sudden I had a purpose. I was like, oh wow. I'm here for a reason. And that's really what turned me around. I was like, I'm gonna quit messing my life up and I'm gonna go do something that's valuable.
[04:12] Chris Widener: And you know, I don't think that I was super deep at 17. You know, I wasn't thinking about a whole bunch of esoteric thoughts, but I did know. , I wanted to make a difference. I did know that I wanted to succeed in life, whatever that might be. And so that was originally what sort of turned me around from going this direction to going this direction.
[04:30] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Later in your career, you worked with some pretty incredible mentors. Like how important are mentors in your life? Were they in your life and and do you feel they are? I mean, you worked with. Gosh, two of the biggest names, big, biggest influencers in the personal development industry before the term influencers probably was ever even created.
[04:49] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You know, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar. How important were they in your life?
[04:53] Chris Widener: I, I think mentors are amazing and I think that God brings people into your life. I mean, I told you that I became a Christian the summer before my senior year, and I was a rabble rouser my sophomore year of high school. I had 47 written referrals to the principal's office.
[05:06] Chris Widener: My senior year, I had three classes from the same. And I was a TA in one. And then I did commercial foods, which was two classes over lunch. We ran the restaurant. Well, she was a Christian teacher and she mentored me by challenging me to actually begin to live like one. So here I was still a rabble-rouser, even though my faith sort of change.
[05:26] Chris Widener: And she's like, yeah, but when your faith changes, you need to change your life. And then as I got into the speaking world in the early two thousands, I ghostwrote for John Maxwell for about two years. I didn't work closely with John. I knew John and, you know, still do, but not a close relationship. I wrote his nationally syndicated column for a couple years and then I was asked to, to write with Jim Rohn, not under a ghostwriting scenario.
[05:51] Chris Widener: A co-writing scenario. So I ended up spending a lot of time, the last seven years of Jim's life working with him. And then I had a television show in Dallas and that network, they asked me to co-host a TV show with Zig. So Zig, Ziegler and I, for about 18 months, two years, we had a television show together.
[06:07] Chris Widener: So, I would say that mentors are extraordinary. They're very important. They can be a formal mentor, like a coach. You know, you hire a coach. I do coaching for people. Never really have more than about 10, cuz I really wanna focus in on people and know who they are. It can be something formal like that, or it can just be another business person who's maybe a little older than you in your hometown.
[06:29] Chris Widener: And you take 'em to lunch once a month and you learn from 'em and they cut your learning curve and they encourage you and they challenge you. And you know, and, and I think mentors are willing to do two things. They're willing to challenge you and they're willing to encourage you. So there's the side that says, you know, you can do it.
[06:44] Chris Widener: You, you've got the skillset, there's that rah rah kind of side, but then there's the time when they need to look you in the eye and say you're being a numb skull. One of my favorite Bible verses is wounds from a friend can be. And I believe that wounds from a friend can be trusted wounds from not a friend can't be trusted , but if your friend, your spouse, you know, somebody is saying something to you that might seem sharp or it might cut a little bit.
[07:11] Chris Widener: I think if we know that they love us and they care about us and they want what's best for us, we can trust those things even though they might hurt. And so mentors can take that role. They can give you both sides of the. What
[07:22] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: was it like to work with Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar? What were those guys like?
[07:26] Chris Widener: It's funny. That's the number one question I get in podcasts, and I'll tell you what it was like to work with them, and then I'll tell you the, the lesson that I learned from them. Well, I'll start with the lesson I learned from them actually, because you could not have picked two more different human beings than Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar.
[07:42] Chris Widener: Jim was professorial. He stood behind the lectern, right? He had his readers on like this, you know, and he would be talk, always go to the events, you know, don't miss an event. He was very professorial, and we knew that he was getting really amped up when he'd make his power move, which was. Taking his glasses off.
[08:02] Chris Widener: Like, whoa. Oh, he stepped away from the lectern, right. He was very professorial. He was an introvert. He would come down a, a short period before his speaking and then he wouldn't stay there very long. He'd go back up to his room. He was an introverted, sort of professorial type. Zig was a dynamic. He could have been a politician if he wanted to.
[08:21] Chris Widener: You know, he was out shaking hands and kissing babies and, you know, all those kinds of things and, and slapping you on the back. And how are you doing today, Zig? If I was any better, I'd have to be twins, and if I was somebody else, I'd be jealous of myself. You know, all these kinds of things. You brighten a room when you walk in or you brighten a room when you walk out.
[08:36] Chris Widener: He was just always on, and he was the same person on stage as he was off. I liked him both. Zig was probably the one of the best men I ever met in my life. He, he was just a tremendous man, tremendous family man. I'm still friends with his, uh, one of his daughters and his son and, and his lifelong manager, Lori, you know, I think she's still working for Ziegler Corporation and she's gotta be well into her seventies, if not into her eighties.
[09:01] Chris Widener: But just great family, great corporate culture, all those kinds of things. And here's what I learned based on what I just told you, I learned to be. . I wasn't gonna beat Jim Rohn and I wasn't gonna be Zig Ziglar, but I didn't have to be because Jim Rohn was Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar was Zig Ziglar completely, totally opposite different kinds of people, and yet they became two of the household names of our industry.
[09:22] Chris Widener: They rose to the highest levels being completely different. There will never be another Tony Robbins. You know, Tony Robbins. Part of what makes Tony Robbins is he's six six and weighs 275 pounds and he's got hands the size. Catcher's Mitz, you know, and he's got that big booming vo like I always say, would Tony Robbins be Tony Robbins if he was five two with a squeaky voice?
[09:44] Chris Widener: No. He wouldn't be, you know, he is who he is and I don't have to be, Tony and I will never be Tony. There'll never be ano another less brown. You know, you could go one by one through all of these people who are just unique, but you know who they were. They were themselves, and it was in being themselves that they found their success.
[10:02] Chris Widener: So that's the biggest lesson. What was it like to work with Jim and, and Zig? Well, the first time I ever walked into the studio was Zig. I'd never met him. I'd done a lot of work with his son Tom. I had a business where I was selling about 50,000, 75,000 boxes a month of personal development stuff through Costco and Sam's Club, and Zig always got the biggest check cuz he was in all of our boxes.
[10:23] Chris Widener: So they liked me cause I sent him a check once a quarter. But I remember walking into the studio that first day and I, I always tell people I felt like a priest who'd been called to the Vatican to serve communion with the Pope. Like I walked in, I was like, wow, look at this. And I'm with. There he is, you know, because he's legendary.
[10:41] Chris Widener: He was the guy, Jim, the first time I ever met Jim, we were in Houston, I think it was June 19th, 2003. And he had just given a speech at the Astrodome. And uh, we went across the street to the hotel and the hotel had one of those bars in it where you eat peanuts and throw the shelves on the floor, but it was a hotel bar.
[11:02] Chris Widener: It wasn't like a Texas Roadhouse or whatever. And we sat there for two hours eating peanuts, drinking. And talking about the Bible and it w cuz you know, his dad was a pastor. He grew up in a pastor's home in, in rural Idaho. That was the first time I met both of those guys. They were very different guys. I wasn't close to either one of 'em.
[11:21] Chris Widener: It's not like we went on vacation together or anything, but, you know, it was a big deal for them to pick me. Because in a way, when you pick somebody to work with, you're sort of putting your blessing on 'em. You're handing the mantle. You know, Jim, Rohn's last statement about me, public statement was Chris Widener's the leader.
[11:37] Chris Widener: A new generation of personal development and leadership experts, and that was a big deal for him to sort of anoint me that way. And, uh, I am forever grateful for it.
[11:48] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Quick interruption. Hey, if you like what you're hearing, be sure to get the notes, quotes in links in the action plan from this episode. Just go to jimharshawjr.com/action.
[11:59] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: That's jimharshawjr.com/action to get your free copy of the action plan. Now back to the show. For the listen. Is this the first time you've ever heard somebody tell you that mentors are important in your life? Probably not unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere. But the question is, are you doing it?
[12:17] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I bring people like Chris on this podcast because I want you to hear this over and over from different people, from different perspectives. Like when I was wrestling, uh, I learned a double egg take down from. 20 different coaches, and guess what? I gained something from each time I learned it from those different folks.
[12:33] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So you're hearing from somebody who's, who's reached the highest level of success and he's talking about the same thing and he actually did this. So are you doing it? Like if you're figuring out, you know, why can't I get from where I'm at to where I want to go? That might be one of the keys. Chris, you've said that everyone, when we get really down to it, wants the same things.
[12:51] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You know, we want financial security. We want someone to spend our lives with. We want for our children to do better than we've done. Some people get it. Some people don't. What's the difference?
[13:04] Chris Widener: Well, I think a few things. I think one of the things I've been studying a lot the last few years, I'm trying to decide when I'm gonna write a, a book on it.
[13:12] Chris Widener: I just had a book come out and then I've got a, my next book already just did a deal for my next book. But I, I gotta write this book cause I believe it's so true. It's about identity and it's about who we believe that we. You know, and the classic example would be, you know, your parents tell you what are you going to college for?
[13:31] Chris Widener: We're not college people. We're blue-collar people. You know, I'm a welder. Your grandpa was a welder. Your great grandpapa was a welder. You're gonna be a welder. You know? No, no offense to the welders. I'm just saying, you know, that's sort of the mentality is, is this is who you are. and I first started thinking about this when I wrote the book, the Angel Inside, cuz it's about Michelangelo and in the early 15 hundreds artists were not well respected.
[13:54] Chris Widener: It, it wasn't like, oh wow, go be an artist. That's fantastic. Politicians were respected and Michelangelo's dad wanted him to be a politician. Florence, in the early 15 hundreds was the birth of citizen government really, which is where Machiavelli. You know, was in the citizen legislature there, and of course his famous book, the Prince, but he decided to go and follow his own dreams.
[14:17] Chris Widener: He didn't choose his identity based on what his father wanted, which is really interesting because imagine if Michelangelo would've decided to do what his dad's chosen identity was for him, he would've been a half rate politician. We never. Instead, he is listed in the top three, maybe greatest artists of all time.
[14:39] Chris Widener: Certainly. When you say statues, the greatest statues of all time. There's really only a few. There's the thinker, there's the Venus de Milo stature, liberty, if you consider it a statue, and there's the David. I mean, it's a short list because he saw himself, he saw himself. Artist. His dad saw him as a future politician.
[15:01] Chris Widener: And I think that, you know, people, they say, well, I'm a blue collar person, y you know, I think it's why people can lose weight and then they gain it all back again because they say, I'm not a thin person, I'm a fat person. I'll give blue-collaryou an example. My son is one of the best salesman, if not the best salesman I've ever met.
[15:16] Chris Widener: And he's made a career in sales. He's been the top salesperson in every organization he's ever been in, and he was being interviewed by a mattress company. They had 300 stores from Seattle to San Diego. He goes in for the interview and it just so happens that when he went in for the interview, there was the district manager who had asked him in for the interview.
[15:35] Chris Widener: But the state manager was also there cuz he happened to be in town and he happened to be in town because the owner of the entire company was in town and they were going to visit and the owner said, let's stop in and let's sit in on a few of these interviews. So at the very end, the owner of the company says to my son, he says, all right, last question.
[15:52] Chris Widener: If you do 50% of your goals, you'll make 50,000 a year. If you do 80% of your goals, you'll make $80,000 a year. If you do a hundred percent of your goals, you'll make a hundred thousand dollars a year. And if you do 120% of your goals, you'll make $120,000 a year. Which one are you now? My son at the time was 20 and my son laughed at him and the owner of the company sat back in his chair and goes, you think that's funny?
[16:14] Chris Widener: And my son goes, uh oh. , is that a serious question? And he goes, yes. It's a serious question. And my son goes, oh, 120. And then he leans in, he goes, does anybody say anything else? At which point the guy laughed and he broke him up that my son said, does anybody choose $50,000 a year? And so they wrapped it up and the district manager says, I'll let you know.
[16:40] Chris Widener: And then a couple weeks, well, 10 minutes later, he is driving down the road and the phone rings, picks it up. It's the district manager. And he said, Dan, that's the guy that owned the company. Dan loved your answer, you're. 10 minutes after he left the, the thing, well, he gets home and at the time we were living in my dream home.
[16:57] Chris Widener: I had driven by this house for 21 years. It was on 10 acres, half a mile at riverfront, 1800 bottle wine cellar, swimming pool, gazebos, a veranda that has a hundred, it can hold up. A party with 150 people on it. I know because I had a party with 150 people on it. So he pulls into this giant estate, you know, the, my front gate was 500 feet long.
[17:17] Chris Widener: It was wrought iron pillars, wrought iron in between big brick pillars. It had the big open gates, you know, circular driveway, the whole thing. He gets home, he walks into the house and he tells me the story and he goes, dad, why would anybody pick anything else? And I said, it's because it's who they believe they.
[17:34] Chris Widener: You've been raised in this atmosphere and I said, think about my three best friends. Look at, uh, Tony. He makes over a million dollars a year as a real estate agent. One of the top agents state of Washington. Look at Kevin. Kevin is the president of a major league baseball team and, uh, you know, quite wealthy and.
[17:51] Chris Widener: Part owner, and look at my friend Dino, who's, you know, probably worth 50 million in real estate. And when they're around, they talk at big levels, you know, oh, I just bought a 20 million apartment complex. And so that was always who you saw yourself as. Like you saw yourself as belonging to this group that became your identity.
[18:11] Chris Widener: And I said, but there are probably people who are applying for that job who don't know a single family member or friend who makes six figure. So to them, they have chosen their identity or it's been molded or crafted into them that that's who they are. So for them, it might be a stretch to say a hundred.
[18:30] Chris Widener: If they've got a great powerful self-esteem, they might say a hundred, because they don't know anybody who makes more than 75. So I think identity is a huge, huge part of it.
[18:39] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Sure. So here's the question for the listener who's sitting there going, well, crap, I guess I'm outta luck because I was born into a family that was poor, or I was born into a family that everybody was overweight, or I saw nothing but broken, unhealthy relationships in my life, like.
[18:56] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: How do you change that? Like what do you do like today, tomorrow, next week? Like what are the mechanisms for changing that paradigm? Because that's, that's deep-rooted.
[19:05] Chris Widener: Oh, absolutely. I think there's a couple things. Internal, there's, there's things you put in and there's things you put out, and I think that it's combination of those two things.
[19:13] Chris Widener: Putting in, I think there's a few things you can hang around with the right people. You become like the people you spend the most time with. In fact, I have long. That I like to be the dumbest, poorest guy in every room. If I'm the dumbest, poorest guy in every room I walk into, that's a pretty powerful room.
[19:32] Chris Widener: And what happens is, is it lifts me up. I begin to feel like, oh, I belong in this room. So, you know, surrounding yourself that, because it's the input, right, reading the right things, listening to the right things. I would suggest if it's really deep-rooted to do some counsel. . You know, it's funny. People say, oh, counseling.
[19:50] Chris Widener: Oh, can't do counseling. I mean, that means you're mentally unstable or you know, something like that. And I always say, you know, what do we do once a year? Once a year we call our doctor up and we go in for what we call a. Physical. Why don't we go to a counselor once a year and have an emotional, why don't we go and sit down with our pastor or our rabbi once a year and have a spiritual, and the same way that a doctor pokes and prods and checks and you know, asks questions.
[20:16] Chris Widener: Why don't we let somebody do that for us emotionally? Or do that for us. I still go to counselor at least once a year. I have a counselor friend of mine, he's become a friend of mine in Seattle, and at least once a year, I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Now I call him up, I pay him his 150 bucks, and I just let him ask questions, you know, how's this working?
[20:33] Chris Widener: How are the, how are you feeling? Because I need that input. And then I would say the output is making incremental change. So let's take weight, for example. Let's say you're, everybody in your family's overweight and you say, I'm an overweight person. That's how we view ourselves up.
[20:50] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And by the way, most people aren't seeing that outright.
[20:52] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: They may not be saying like, Hey, I'm just an overweight person. That's who I am. It's more of a.
[20:58] Chris Widener: Sometimes it's deep-rooted. Sometimes they would never articulate it. They couldn't articulate it cuz it's at a subconscious level. But you can start changing. So let's say you weigh 250 pounds and you probably should weigh 170.
[21:12] Chris Widener: So you kind of say, I'm a 250-pound person. I'm not a 170-pound person. I'm a 250-pound person. And again, could be at a conscious level, could be at a subconscious level, but that's what's driving you, our identity and our beliefs are like a thermostat. If it's set at 70 and you open the door and it's 60 outside, it turns the heat on to bring it to 70.
[21:32] Chris Widener: If you open the door and it, and it's whatever, the opposite way I just said, cold or whatever, it turns on the air. Uh, too hot, it turns the air conditioning, it brings it down to 70, right? And. Our beliefs are like a thermostat. So what I would suggest is we turn the thermostat gradually, right? And so don't tell yourself I'm 170-pound person.
[21:52] Chris Widener: Say I'm gonna lose 10 pounds. and then stay there for a while, and then you, you begin both consciously and subconsciously. Say, I'm a 240-pound person. Well, then you go to two 20. I'm a 220-pound person. I wonder if I could become a 210-pound person. And if you stay there, all of a sudden you're going, oh yeah, I'm a 210-pound.
[22:11] Chris Widener: And you can incrementally move it down and you slowly adjust your belief system. And I think that that's a good way of doing it as well. Whether it's monetarily, I mean, unless you inherit. You know, millions and millions of dollars. Most people get rich slow. Most people do not get rich quick. They get rich slow.
[22:29] Chris Widener: When I graduated from college, I drove a 74 Camaro, a 1974 Camaro. I graduated college in 1988. That was my car, a 74 Camaro. I didn't think to myself, you know what my next vehicle's gonna be. My next vehicle's gonna be a private jet. I didn't. I might have wanted someday to fly in a private jet, but I just wanted a new.
[22:47] Chris Widener: Like I had to stretch myself to believe in a new car. Cause I was too broke to fly anywhere I wanted to go. So once I got a new car, then I was like, maybe I could fly the next time I needed to go home for Thanksgiving. And then you're sitting in the back of the bus, right? You're way in the back next to the toilets, in the middle seat.
[23:04] Chris Widener: You know two guys next to you. But when you get on the airplane, you start walking, what's the first thing you have to walk through? You have to walk through all of the wealthy people who are sitting in the first class. And what do they do? You walk in and you start looking around and what do. They put the newspaper up like this, like they don't wanna see the channel on their way to the back of a bus
[23:22] Chris Widener: And so you go, I wonder if I could maybe sit in first class someday. You know? So I'm a big believer in incrementalism. I know that, you know Tony Robbins, who is also mentored by Jim Rohn you know, he's more massive action. And I believe that there is a role for massive action, but I believe that most people succeed best in incremental.
[23:42] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I just wanna reiterate what you said there, Chris, about getting around the right people, like when you get around the right people. We call this in my, in my coaching program, it's called The Environment of Excellence. And for anybody, any listeners who wanna go back and kind of dive deeper into this concept, episode 355, 355.
[23:59] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: But when you think about an Olympic gold medalist, right, do they train? Average athletes, are they surrounded by mediocre people? No, they're not. Right. And if they are, they're not going to become an Olympic gold medalist. Right? They might have the potential, but you have to get yourself around the right people.
[24:19] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And if, if you can't. Say, if you can't get around those people, you gotta find other ways, whether it's podcast episodes where you listen to guys like Chris or you're reading books, but you can find ways, right? There are people in your community. There are ways in, in this virtual world that we live in now, you can become part of mastermind groups.
[24:35] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: I'm in a mastermind group with 10 other business owners who are all doing a lot of them in the tens of millions of dollars of revenue, and it. Those are the people I wanna be around, right? Those are people who are thinking at a high level, and when you're around them, you just unconsciously start operating at that level.
[24:50] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Now, I was a guy who grew up, you know, I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I grew up in a wrestling program who, you know, my coach convinced me that I wasn't good enough to win a state championship. Uh, and I didn't. And then I got into a program. I had coaches tell me, you know, the sky's the limit and it changes everything.
[25:08] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: So you've got to be very conscious about this. And again, you've heard this before. What are you doing about it? Like what are you doing today, tomorrow, next week, next month? I mean, what phone calls are you making? What's, well look at your calendar. Like is there anything on your calendar that is moving you towards that, towards these incremental steps that Chris is talking about?
[25:25] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: You've got to take action on this stuff. So Chris, what's the difference between, you know, there, there's these temporary changes. That people can sometimes make. And then transformation because we can make these temporary changes that maybe stick for a week or a month. You know, this episode's probably gonna drop the beginning of the new year and you know, maybe people have New Year's resolutions.
[25:49] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: We know those are temporary posts of them, right? What's the difference between making temporary change versus making long-term, lasting transformation in your life?
[25:59] Chris Widener: Well, I quote the Bible a lot cause I used to be a minister and I know that there's people, you know, watching or listening that aren't necessarily people of faith or, and which is totally fine.
[26:07] Chris Widener: But truth is truth. Whether you find it in the Bible or you find it in a textbook or wherever you find it. And I really believe that this is true. And in the book of Romans chapter 12, it says, Do not be conformed to the pattern of the world any longer, but rather be transformed by the renewing of your.
[26:26] Chris Widener: And I think it's really interesting because he compares and he contrasts conformity with transformation and then he gives you how it's done, the renewing of the mine. So I was raised by, um, a mother who loved words. My mother could do the Sunday morning, New York Times crossword puzzle in 11 minutes in.
[26:43] Chris Widener: And I say that because I saw her do it once and she taught me to love words. She taught me to love root words. She also taught me to love how prefixes and suffixes changed what the root word means. So if you think about those two words, con, form, and transform. So con is a, uh, is a prefix that means width.
[27:04] Chris Widener: And I know that it means width because my mom sold real estate when I was growing up and I was a latchkey kid and I ate a lot of chili con car. chilly with meat Con is a prefix. It means with, so con form means with the form, so with the form of everybody around you. And that's what we do. We tend to conform, which is why.
[27:26] Chris Widener: If we hang out with five people better than us, we will naturally conform, but we conform to that one. It's not our form of everybody else or where we're currently at. We have to get to a different form. How do you get to a different form? Will you transform and you transform by the renewing your mind.
[27:45] Chris Widener: Now, what does trans mean if I say to you, I took a Trans-Atlantic flight? What does that mean? It means. Went across the Atlantic or the Transcontinental Railroad. Does the Transcontinental Railroad go from New York to Boston? No, it goes from Boston to San Francisco or New York to San Francisco. It crosses over.
[28:07] Chris Widener: And so I love those words because you can either be with everybody else or you can cross over to something better. That's how you transform your life. How do you do that? You just ask that question by the renewing of your. Your mind is, this is the centerpiece of everything. It drives everything. Like I, I'm sitting here, both my hands are on my, on the desk and my brain says, pick your right hand up.
[28:32] Chris Widener: You know, pick your left hand up. It controls my body, it controls my words. And the brilliance of it is, it's instantaneous. It's so fast. It's the fastest computer ever, but it all starts here. And so I would say that true transformation is changing your. And believing the right beliefs and thinking the right thoughts, and I believe that belief.
[28:53] Chris Widener: Start, they become thoughts, and thoughts become actions, actions become results. So you start by changing those things that you believe by incremental, changing, by reading new things, you change your thoughts. Instead of saying, oh, nobody's gonna like me. You know, I, I don't wanna go to the party because you know it won't be any fun.
[29:11] Chris Widener: Instead you go, you know what? I'm gonna go there. I'm gonna meet some new people. I'm gonna go there and I'm gonna meet some new people and I'm gonna enjoy the conversation. And, uh, you change your thoughts. So then when you change your thoughts, what do you do? You go to the party and you change your actions.
[29:23] Chris Widener: Now you go to the party and you bump into some guy and you hit it right off, and next thing you know, you've got a business going or something like that. The results are different. So, beliefs, thoughts, actions, results is how it works. But it all starts in that beliefs and thoughts, which is all wrapped up in the mind.
[29:38] Chris Widener: So don't conform. Transform. Transform by renewing.
[29:43] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: We've talked a lot about success. Chris, let's talk about failure cuz failure's part of it. We look at a guy like you who, you know, you talked about how you've been, you know, sort of anointed by the, the godfathers of the industry of, you know, the original influencers.
[29:58] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Has there ever been failure in Chris's career?
[30:01] Chris Widener: Oh, there's been tons of failure. Failure in my life, failure in my career. My son told me once after a failed business partnership, he said, dad, I think your partner picker's off and uh, or you got a bad partner picker. That's what he said, . So I've been pretty bad at picking partners in a way.
[30:18] Chris Widener: I'm a little naive, I think because I'm so altruistic and I think, well, I would never lie to. So I just assumed nobody would lie to me. Well, bingo, there's your problem. You know, people lie to you. I've had some failures in terms of business, in terms of picking who I get into business with that have had.
[30:37] Chris Widener: You know, catastrophic problems for me. So, you know, I think that that's one way that I've had failure in business. You know, in life I went through a divorce. One of my goals I have, I have a list of, you know, a hundred goals that I wanted to achieve in life. And one of them was to be married for a hun, uh, for a hundred years, on a hundred years.
[30:54] Chris Widener: I wanted to be married for 60 years. I wanted to celebrate my 60th wedding anniversary. You know, without going through everything, there was just failure there. After 27 years, we ended up divorced, and that's a long time, you know, to be married and, and all. We had four kids, four wonderful kids, and now five grandchildren and those kinds of things, but I really viewed it as a failure.
[31:17] Chris Widener: And, you know, there's no one reason, there's lots of reasons, but as you go across 27 years, or even four or five years, there's mistakes that are made. There's assumptions that are made. There's, you know, things that are said that can't be taken back. You know, all those kinds of things. And that was truly the, the greatest failure of my life and something that I'll live with the rest of my life.
[31:38] Chris Widener: But then you learn from it, you know, the I love the old saying, you. It's a takeoff of sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn is the one that I like because when you lose, you know you learn something. I remember I coached my son in little league football and we were getting a slacking.
[31:56] Chris Widener: It was 55 to nothing and like the end of the third quarter. And I had these parents coming up to me screaming and yelling at me and I played football, baseball, and basketball growing up. And I looked at one of the parents and I said, you know what? I have learned some lessons by beating somebody 55 to zero.
[32:14] Chris Widener: I've also learned some lessons getting. Beat 55 to zero. So in this game, you know, we're gonna help 'em learn something. Sometimes you get your hend end handed to you by somebody who's better than you. And so, you know, I wanted to learn from the mistakes of my first marriage. In fact, my second wife and I, who I'm married to now, Denise, I just prayed to God gimme a second chance.
[32:36] Chris Widener: and I met Denise and we ended up writing a book, and the book is called Better the Second Time. So if you're in a second marriage or even a third or whatever marriage, pick up the book better the second time, how to have an amazing Second Marriage. And it starts out by saying, don't make the same mistake again.
[32:53] Chris Widener: Now it's not what most people think I'm talking about. Most people, if you ask the average man, why did you get a. . He'll say, oh, my wife was unbearable. Or if you ask a woman, why'd you get a divorce? My husband was the biggest jerk to ever walk the face of the earth. It's always that person. What I said was, you need to look in a mirror and you need to say, don't make that mistake twice.
[33:17] Chris Widener: Because I figured that if my first wife didn't like it, my second wife probably wouldn't like it either. And so funny story, while I was writing the book, I texted my ex-wife and I said, would you tell me what are the three things that I did that most contributed to the demise of our marriage? And she wrote me three things and I texted her back and I said, thank you.
[33:39] Chris Widener: For that, at which point she texted me three more things,
[33:47] Chris Widener: and then she said, I'm tired of helping you. So that's all you get. But you know, we have to be reflective in loss. We have to be reflective in failure we hit, because if you don't figure it out, you're just gonna keep doing it. . So you know, the things that Denise and I have, we read a book once together called Cherish, I think this book called Cherish is probably the best marriage book I've ever read in my life.
[34:07] Chris Widener: And we've read it two or three times together and I remember the first time we read it together, Denise would say, you know, I never did that with Jim. And, uh, it probably would've made a difference. And I would say, you know, I never did that with Lisa, and that probably would've made a difference. And so we both learned from the failure of our marriage, we changed and we brought ourselves together in a better place and a place where we don't wanna make that mistake.
[34:34] Chris Widener: Denise and I rarely argue because we've just decided we don't want. It doesn't bring peace to the home by arguing. So we have a deal and when there's a problem, we sit down on the couch, we face each other. We literally physically face each other. We make an agreement to keep our voices low and to discuss and to give each other the opportunity to respond.
[34:54] Chris Widener: We don't interrupt. Like we have all these sort of rules that kind of corr us into a state of something good, and that's things that we learned from.
[35:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: What are the lessons in your new book?
[35:05] Chris Widener: Four Seasons. Four Seasons is a Meaning of Life book. It's, it's actually the first book I ever wrote. I wrote it in 1995, and for a long time it carried it around on a floppy disc before they invented the cloud.
[35:17] Chris Widener: And then it's been in the cloud for, I don't know, 15 or. 18 years, something like that. And when my 22nd book came out, my publisher said, what do you wanna do for your next? I said, I got this old book, you know, that I wrote, what do you think? He said, send it to me. Two weeks later, he said, it comes out in, uh, November.
[35:32] Chris Widener: So it's the story of a billionaire. He lives in northern New Jersey in a small town called Far Hills, New Jersey, horse Country. And, uh, he's a billionaire. He sold his company. He was a media mogul. He owned 55 newspapers, sort of regional, local news. and he finds out he has one year to. Four seasons. He has four seasons left and we all know we're gonna die.
[35:56] Chris Widener: Like if I say to you, Hey, are you gonna die someday? Of course I'm gonna die someday. We all die, but we always think that we're gonna die somewhere. Way out there. Like I'm convinced even 85-year-olds probably go, nah, I'm gonna live to a hundred. You know, , I think most a hundred-year-olds go, if I could get to 105, I'd think I'd be pretty good.
[36:13] Chris Widener: Like, nobody thinks this is it, I'm done. Like it's gonna go quickly from this point forward, you know? But when a doctor looks you in the eye and says, yay, you've got one year, well, what can I do? There's nothing you can do. Prepare yourself. So all of a sudden, , every event means something. It's your last Thanksgiving.
[36:32] Chris Widener: It's the last grandchild you're gonna see born. It's your last Christmas, your last Easter, your last Valentine's Day, your last wedding anniversary. And all of a sudden you say, I want to appreciate this because it's the last time it's ever gonna happen to me. And you begin to go and settle, uh, relationships.
[36:52] Chris Widener: In the book, he has a daughter. Was his middle daughter and she wasn't really into business and he, you know, his son and, and him, they fished together and, and then his oldest daughter was more of a business, you know, go-getter. And he had one daughter that he just never connected with. Not because nobody liked each other or anything, it was just, they were so different people.
[37:12] Chris Widener: So he decides I have to go create a relationship with. And so there's part of that, setting up his financial arrangements and making sure that his wife of 35 years was taken care of, and not just financially, which they were, but emotionally and spiritually and, and all those kinds of things. So I'd had many people who've read all my books tell me, it's the best book I've ever written.
[37:34] Chris Widener: I had a, a billionaire and a sixties. He's in his 60. Probably worth about a billion dollars. He told me it's the most profound book he ever read. And I think part of it might be because he really kind of is that guy, you know? So there was a connection there. But whether you're rich or whether you're poor, no matter what financial state you're in, the book is really the story of all of us.
[37:54] Chris Widener: We're all gonna die someday. And it's all about finding meaning and purpose and value and happiness and joy in life. And how do you do that? You do that by appreciating the.
[38:05] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Chris, thanks for sharing that. I look forward to reading it. I think the listeners, you know, you would benefit from reading it.
[38:10] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Reading it as well. I'm sure we can find it on Amazon, as well as on your website, chris weidner.com. And Chris, for the listener who is sitting there thinking to themselves like, I get it. I buy into what Chris is talking about, what is an action item, something they can do in the next 24 to 48 hours to really start applying what they've learned from you here.
[38:31] Chris Widener: It's really simple. I, I think life is hard, but very simple. I think decide what you're gonna do and start taking action on it. If you need to lose weight, join the gym and go. If you need to, uh, increase your wealth, sell off a bunch of your crap and put it into a mutual fund, start to saving some money if you can.
[38:54] Chris Widener: $50 a month. Great. If you can save, uh, $200 a month, great. If you can save a thousand dollars a month, great. If you can save $10,000 a month, great. Whatever it is, start putting something away. If that's your financial, if it's, uh, love and relationships, start loving the person you're with. Men. Start dating your wives again.
[39:13] Chris Widener: You know, ask her if she wants to go out for dinner and then once she picks herself up off the floor from shock that you on a Wednesday night, suggested to go out for dinner, take her out for dinner, and wind her and diner, whatever you can do, you have to. Do something. I'm convinced that a lot of my success is I just go do things.
[39:31] Chris Widener: I decide what I wanna do and I start, and I'll fail, but I'll find my, I'm a smart guy and you know, I've got good resources and I can figure things out and I'm willing to be nimble and quick and change. But you've gotta start, you know, there's the old saying, God doesn't drive parked cars. If you're parked and it's in park and the emergency brakes on, you're not going anywhere.
[39:50] Chris Widener: Pull out into the lane and start going somewhere.
[39:53] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Excellent. Thank you for your message. Thank you for what you do. You bring a lot of good into the world. Keep it up.
[39:58] Chris Widener: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. It's been fun.
[40:03] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Thanks for listening. If you want to apply these principles into your life, let's talk. You can see the limited spaces that are open on my [email protected] slash apply, where you can sign up for a free one-time coaching call. With me and don't forget to grab your action plan. Just go to Jim har show jr.com/action.
[40:23] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: And lastly, iTunes tends to suggest podcasts with more ratings and reviews more often. You would totally make my day if you give me a rating in review. Those go a long way in helping me grow the podcast audience. Just open up your podcast app. If you have an iPhone, do a search for success through. Select it, and then scroll the whole way to the bottom where you can leave the podcast a rating and a review.
[40:48] Jim Harshaw, Jr.: Now, I hope this isn't just another podcast episode for you. I hope you take action on what you learned here today. Good luck and thanks for listening.
How to Leave a Rating and Review for STF on iTunes
Ratings and reviews help a lot! Please consider leaving one. It’s really simple. Here’s how: https://youtu.be/T1JsGrkiYko
Listen on your smart speaker!
Just say… “Hey Siri/Alexa/Google… Play Success Through Failure Podcast.”