Michael: Hello everyone and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And this is the podcast that works with you entrepreneurs, business leaders who want to build a Passion and Provision company full of profit, purpose, and legacy. And our goal on this is to just give you ideas, to think about what would be a good idea to work on, tips, tricks, encouragement, and hope. And today we've got a guest with us, Mr. Jeff Gephart.
Kathryn: Yes. Do we call you Dr. Gephart because you're working on this doctorate? Are you a doctor?
Jeff: I am a doctor now, yeah. But please do not refer to that. My family, whenever somebody calls me doctor, I usually say that's my father. That's a little bit of the dynamics, my dad is the true doctor in the family. But yeah, I got a doctorate in education about five years ago, six years ago now.
Michael: And when they gave you the diploma, they called you Dr. Gephart, right?
Jeff: They did. Yep, they called me doctor.
Kathryn: Did they use your middle name, Dr. Jeffrey something Gephart?
Jeff: Dr. Jeffrey Reed Gephart.
Kathryn: Very nice.
Michael: I was hoping his middle name wasn't something.
Jeff: When you do the doctorate, everybody struggles with, man, I bombed that class or whatever, that kind of experience. You know what they call you. The story that helped me get through my doctorate was basically when you're done, they call you doctor. They don't say-
Kathryn: Almost doctor.
Jeff: You're a doctor, but you had a 3.2 on that one class or you got a C plus on your statistics class, they call you doctor.
Kathryn: They just call you doctor.
Michael: They call you doctor.
Kathryn: Just completing
Michael: Yeah. I had to remember that when it came to graduating from college even, it's like this is not-
Kathryn: You know what his mantra was, Cs get degrees.
Michael: I did better than get Cs, but I was like, my back's up. Because I went back to college at 30. When I first met you, I was probably in college because I had left full-time ministry and gone back to school. Give everybody a little history on how we met, Jeff.
Kathryn: Dr. Gephart.
Michael: I'm going Jeff Reed.
Kathryn: So we've known you a long time Jeff. We haven't been close, but are a really dear friend of our best friends. So we've been around and about you for a very long time. Jeff used to be in Chico. You're on staff at Bidwell Presbyterian Church for a long time with our friend Greg Cootsona. And then-
Michael: So we've known Jeff for probably 23 or 4 years. When did you move to Seattle?
Michael: Oh, it was that late.
Jeff: Yeah. We moved back because I'm from Seattle area, so we moved back in 2008. It was right as the Chico real estate crisis, the worldwide real estate crisis is happening. It was a rough move, rough timing. But yeah, we moved back here to pursue some other dreams, be closer to family. It was hard to leave Chico, it was so good to be in Chico.
Kathryn: Here in California we call real estate crisis just the crisis dejure really. The real estate crisis of which year? Goodness sakes.
Michael: All right, so let's talk about several things here. Let's let everybody know who's listening today, why is Jeff on our podcast except for a walk down memory lane? It's not just about memory lane. So Jeff has been studying leadership for a long time, which as you all know is an important part of our entire process as we think about growing a healthy life and growing a healthy business, you've got to have strong leadership. And it's more than just a token word, it's more than just a hot topic at Harvard Business School. It's a real deal that talks about how we grow and mature as people. How do you define leadership, Jeff?
Jeff: That's a great question. I love to think of leadership as primarily just about influencing people towards a common vision. Leadership is the practice and the art of coming alongside people and with people to create a compelling vision that's worth doing, something that's worth doing. And I also think leadership is ethical leadership too. I always have struggled with the definition of, can you be a leader and lead people towards evil ends? It's the kind of the classic, was Hitler a great leader? And I think that, yes, in a sense. Technical, yes. The ethical definition of leadership is that it produces good in the world. And so being a part of a process where great things happen and a leader works with people to create the kind of culture and cultivate the kind of ground where good things come. For me, that's part and parcel to leadership. It has to be about that shared vision and accomplishing something, but it also has to be doing it, in my opinion, in a virtuous way, in a good way, in a healthy way, a beneficial way. Does that make sense?
Kathryn: Yeah, totally.
Michael: So you didn't say it, but let me put you on the spot because I think this is what you're saying. If it's not towards a common good, it's not good leadership.
Jeff: Yeah. And I almost sometimes want to say, it's not leadership. I want to say it's something else, it's manipulation or it's ... I guess maybe that was my education at Seattle U, Seattle University. It is a Jesuit school, and so the strong emphasis of virtue was part and parcel to how I thought about leadership. And I cut my teeth on leadership as a pastor. So really thinking about what is it that I'm trying to help people experience in their lives with what God is doing in their lives? And so a lot of my thinking has always been shaped towards nurturing the good in that way. I get very hesitant to even call those kinds of things leadership because I just think that it's really about creating positive ends, beneficial ends, healthy ends. It's a little different probably than we most talk about it.
Michael: No, absolutely. So we're talking about, we've already dug up ethics and we've dug up Hitler.
Kathryn: Well, let's not dig him up for real. Let's leave him be.
Michael: We're hitting this hard really fast. I want to go a little bit deeper into because-
Kathryn: After a very soft intro, let's dive real deep.
Michael: This is where my brain is right now. So if we're saying it's an ethical issue, first of all, one of the arguments of ethics on a regular point is how do you argue good? In any given good debate, you're going to have people have different perspectives about that was a good outcome, that wasn't a good outcome. That was for the better good and disagreements that that wasn't for the better good. So let's say Hitler wasn't a leader because we're not even going to say he's not a good leader, we're going to say he's not a leader because he didn't lead towards an ethical good end. Therefore, are we saying that Winston Churchill is a leader, and is that the good in the World War II conflict or was it because there was war involved? Especially from a theological perspective, where do you draw that line? And I'm pushing a little bit, and I don't know if you've thought about this-
Jeff: No, that's great. I don't know if there's a bright line, and I think that's the ... Because there is a sense that what we should really maybe talk about is also leadership rather than leader. Because when we talk about leader, is that person a good leader, we start to want to ask questions about their specific character and their quality and that kind of thing. One of the things that I think is really true is we are not either or, you or I are not a mix of good and bad. I mean, we're not either good or bad. We're a mix of areas where we have unhealthy patterns in our life, where we have insecurities and fears.
Jeff: And I know you guys talk about this a lot, I'm really big about this self-awareness like, where am I growing? So I think if we think of it more as on a continuum, but I think that's an important distinction is to think about that. It's thinking about to what ends. Most of the time, I'm willing to talk about it as good leadership and bad leadership. But hey, we're having fun on a podcast, so I think it's really important sometimes to put out there, is that really leadership? Is it really leadership if we lead somebody towards a bad end or is it some other form of social manipulation or control or activity?
Jeff: So I think trying to recapture that space for leadership. In today's day and age, we hear a lot of like, "Oh, that person is a great leader, but, man, a terrible person." I think that's what I'm getting at is, can we say that? Can we really say that person was a great leader but a terrible person? We can say maybe they did some good things, but I don't want to surrender that category of leadership because I think it's important. But we also don't want to split hairs on just the semantics of it.
Michael: Well, this is an area where we think about a lot, we've talked about a lot. And you start asking the question, okay, let's switch the term from leader to business person. We know plenty of people, oh, he's an amazing business person. He's a crook.
Kathryn: He made lots of money.
Michael: We have one person that we did business with over the years that had interactions with, we did one business deal with. We were adjacent to them for a long enough time to watch how they did business. And we watched them getting awards, the honorary this and always in the amazing and all that. And all they would do is listen to the hype that he was generating about himself and listen to how much people said he made, and actually how much he said he made. But what doesn't come up is the lawsuits he's in with multiple people. What doesn't come in is the people that were investors that he took their money and he's lived large. And they don't have any money left anymore because that didn't work out. And you start getting into this place of, we've got to be careful what we set as our benchmarks and the models we have for leadership, for what does it look to good business?
Michael: And I would argue in the midst of this that good business has to be something that isn't just money based. Even if you do make a lot of money, that doesn't necessarily mean you're a good business person because I think the core of business sits at a place, and with Passion and Provision we argue, that it sits in a place where business is actually meant to holistically be good for all of us. It's meant for me to serve you, and it's meant for you to be an opportunity to pay us, and we can earn a wage. Therefore, if we've done something good that contributed to everybody's wellbeing and didn't tear down the world, then it's good business.
Jeff: And it feels like in today's day and age of cynicism, we need that kind of definition of leadership. We need that definition of a business because, what does business usually get? It usually gets a bad rap of, well, that's just people who are just out there to be greedy and make money for themselves and become rich. But they don't really care about people empowering their lives, having better lives. They care about themselves. And that's the classic ... What's that guy ... Remember that famous 80s movie about Wall Street? Gosh.
Michael: Oh yeah, Wall Street.
Jeff: Wall Street. What was that guy's name?
Kathryn: Was it Leonardo DiCaprio?
Michael: No, no, no, it was Michael Douglas.
Jeff: Michael Douglas, yeah. That's the typical. But I feel like there's been a change in many ways in our culture. In many ways, we're moving into this place where the triple bottom line that business will benefit people's lives. In fact, to be honest, we haven't really gotten into my story. For a long time, I wat not really sure about business because I was committed vocationally to being a pastor. And I was like, "I want to serve people, I care about matters of the heart." And that happens. And I didn't see that that was business. In fact, I even struggled with this idea of, I don't want to be that guy who's like selling something to someone.
Jeff: And it wasn't really until somebody challenged my thinking on money, and they helped me understand that when somebody gives you a dollar for something, they're saying that that thing is valuable to them. And so if what you're creating is something that is of great value in their lives ... And again, to go back to that virtue thing, if it's not just meeting some sort of hedonistic need, which there's nothing wrong with that from time to time. But it's really having some value to somebody's life, then that's worth a dollar. And I can feel good that I've served somebody. So it really wasn't until my mindset changed that in having a great business, I can actually make somebody's life better. Along the lines of the things that I talked about as a pastor for so long, things about just having great relationships and having a sense of purpose in your life.
Jeff: Not that every product that we sell or service that an individual sells gives all that, but it contributes towards that. I think that's really a powerful definition. And I think that in many ways in culture right now with all the cynicism, I think we're ripe. Some of the transition or transformation that's going to happen over the next 20 years is going to be more of the focus on that kind of emotional purpose, emotional fulfillment, purpose that business can bring.
Kathryn: Yeah. It's interesting because ... I finally feel like I have something to contribute, all this talk about Hitler and World War II. Okay, I'm in. Obviously, and you've just started reading it, but that's a big piece of what we talk about when we're dealing with the book is that work is meant to be your contribution, it's what you have to give. And much like you, we had the ministry background and it was like, how can work be that? 19 years in now, there's this sense in which this contribution that we get to bring by using the gifts and skills and talents that we have to shore up the places that other people need help. It's really quite a privilege, and it is worth being paid for. But it's an interesting mindset shift for sure because as we create what we've called this Passion and Provision idea where you actually get emotionally fulfilled because you're doing the things that you love to do, you're doing it well. And then you get to build a team around you of people that you're doing it with.
Kathryn: And then that impacts their family because they're coming home from work not feeling completely spent and this sucks the life out of me. Work actually becomes something that is a little more life-giving than it has traditionally been viewed as. And all those things are really what we want to be leading people towards. So that's good stuff.
Michael: All right. So how did you get here? Let's jump into the fact that you are now moving into the world of being one of us evil business people.
Jeff: Yeah. I've worked in organizations now my whole professional life, and I basically have primarily worked in two places. I've worked in a church, that was for eight years and then preparing for that in the seminary. And then I've worked in a school. So I've been in those two environments, two nonprofit environments. It actually was probably about maybe, I don't know, six, seven, eight years ago when I started thinking about the idea of just long-term future. And I started thinking about what are some things that I would love to be a part of? I've always thought I'd like to consult and coach people professionally. I had done that in work context, in church and school context and just loved it. To be honest, I also was thinking a little bit economically for the future and recognizing that right now the entry into being an entrepreneur in certain areas is probably the lowest threshold it's ever been.
Jeff: Particularly when it comes to the digital online world, which is what I'm exploring right now. I'm still trying to build a little bit of coaching and consulting services, but I'm really spending a lot of time working on creation of content that I can provide. And I can say more about that. That specific idea, I literally started thinking about passive income like, how could I create something that would be of value, and then I could move on to something else and continue to market that thing? Because coaching and consulting while that's really fun, and you guys know this, it's very labor intensive. And you're only limited by as many hours as you can spend with somebody until you develop a staff or whatever. So part of that for me, I jumped into it thinking about the world of scaling that and creating something that could be sustainable for me in the future.
Jeff: It's been a process for me of really honing in what that looks like. And it's kind of like, Kathryn, forgive the analogy here because I have no idea what this is literally like, but the metaphor works. It's like birthing a child in a sense that when you go through that process of realizing something's growing in your body and you're preparing, and then it happens. And then you go, "Wow, I didn't realize raising a child ... I do have experience with that with my two sons. You don't really know what that's going to be like until you actually experience it. So that's where I am now. It's like there's this dream, and there's this heart of creating something that would be of value in people's lives. Really I've realized you guys have probably experienced this when, and I'm sure your listeners have experienced this, where you realize you look back on your life and you see there were pieces in your life, there was this emphasis on leadership for me, and then there was this moment where I was thinking about sustainable change and intentional change. And that got worked into my dissertation.
Jeff: I'm an Enneagram five, so I can be like this person who's just constantly collecting information all over the place. I was just building this idea in the background of someday, maybe I'll launch a business, but what would that be? And then the final component for me was back last spring, I was diagnosed as diabetic. And at first, that was just crushing just kind of going through that experience. I went through that personal transformation. And then as I started reflecting on the personal transformation and I lost a lot of weight, and I had all these goals for exercise that I started meeting. I had this personal transformation. I looked back on it and I realized that I was using the process in my dissertation for intentional change that I had studied.
Jeff: I hadn't really intentionally jumped into it, which is funny because it's called intentional change theory. But I think I had subconsciously used it. Long story short, I ended up kind of pivoting in the fall and started working on building a business. I'm really working on launching a class right now for diabetics that has coaching involved, that really takes the idea of sustainable life change and works that into a process that will be directly relevant for type two diabetics. What I'm doing is not necessarily nutrition-based because I'm not ... Well, I'm a doctor, but my dad's a real doctor. I'm not a physician, I'm not a nutritionist or whatever. But one of the things that I think is missing for anyone, and I see this out there in the diabetic world is why would I want to change anyway? Why am I doing this? What does it look like to self lead myself and actually start with who am I, what are my passions and dreams? What is it that I want to do in the world?
Jeff: And, oh, by the way, I'm also diabetic, which is going to get in the way unless I figure out a way to create positive change in my life so that I can pursue those things. So I have a lot of different strands coming together for me right now that have just been these little threads that I've realized have been a part of my life, and I'm starting to apply it in this new way. It's weird because my part-time gig right now is to manage a $2 million budget as basically an executive pastor at a church. And then on the side, I'm starting from the ground up, just literally from nothing. No money in the checking account right now for the business, just-
Michael: And how different are those two for you? Talk about the difference there.
Jeff: Yeah. They're massively different, and yet they're the same at the same time. Like we said, I was not in the business world until recently. I was a pastor, I was managing program, I was building relationships and leadership teams, but I was learning how to do projects with people. And then as an administrator in a school setting, in a high school basically, I was working with students on their psychosocial spiritual wellbeing. I was learning how to do projects in that sense. So I took all that. But when I jumped into this role in a church, all of a sudden now I'm actually looking at things like our contributions every month, where our expenses are going. I'm looking at all the things that need to happen for HR because we have a staff of about 30.
Michael: That's a heck of a payroll nut.
Jeff: Yeah. What I had seen from afar, from a leadership but not directly responsible, it's like all of a sudden somebody is like, "Okay, now you're the one who has to do all this. You have to manage IT, you have to manage HR. You have to manage our finances, and all that kind of stuff." I love to learn, so I was up for the challenge. And I basically was like, "Look, you're not going to hire me because I have lots of years of business experience, you're going to hire me because I know how to lead people in the church. I'm a great study, I'm a quick learner." So that's been really energizing for me. But I have to tell though, so all of that stuff is applied, then I just pivot that into myself, just me.
Jeff: You guys know this, you work with people all the time, and you talk with people all the time. It's like, yep, I'm the chief executive officer, I'm the COO, I'm the marketing person, I'm the bookkeeper. Whereas in the church situation, we do have other staff that are working on some of that. And I'm working through other teams and other people to manage some of that. Then I go home for the other half of the week, and it's just like I'm the one doing it all. What I'm realizing, it's the same core concepts. But the difference is that when you're ... And this is probably the piece that I think I'm learning the most is like, what does it really mean to be that person who is just doing it alone?
Jeff: That's a new experience for me. When you publish a dissertation and you do a doctorate work alone, you definitely learn how to grind it out, it's just up to you. But I hadn't had that experience in a while. So it's like I had been working in teams where you just have that constant motivation and stimulation, and you have bosses telling you you need to deliver this project at this time. When you're an entrepreneur and it's just you, there's nobody saying, "Hey, did you write the copy for that sales page today?" It's just you. So that's different. I think that's the biggest difference for me right now is just to figure out what does it take to really build a sense internally of the things that you have to do when you're the only name that's next to it. I'll admit, that's a struggle right now. That's something that I just am working on every day trying to get better at.
Michael: So let's talk about that for a minute as people are listening. Some of them are small one-man, two-man shops or woman shops. Human shops, that sounds so odd. So we were talking before the show about the idea of you grabbing ahold of some of those things from doing your dissertation and some of those lessons you learned about just grinding it out and applying that towards disciplining yourself. Now, where does self-leadership fall in that? What are some of those things that you learned that you're pulling on that are helping you at least become somewhat successful as you inch forward?
Jeff: Yeah. I can't say enough about the importance of self-leadership, that's just come back to me again. I think I was mentioning looking at what you guys wrote about perseverance. Reminded me on my email that I wrote last week, I talked a lot about this idea of mental toughness. And I've been returning back to that. I was first introduced to the idea of mental toughness because my youngest son was a competitive soccer player. He was playing with the best between like the ages of sixth grade through ninth grade. And so we were talking a lot about what does it mean to just be mentally tough? And I started realizing this applies actually to my professional life, my personal life and my professional life.
Jeff: And so coming back to the key components of what does it mean to have mental toughness? And sometimes when we use that word toughness, we automatically think tough guy, just grit it out. And I think there is an aspect of that, but there's so much mental toughness is about, what's the story that you tell yourself, what's the narrative that you have? You guys talk about just the inner and the outer game. I've always believed that to be true too, that image of an iceberg. It's like 90% of what's happening under the water is probably the most important. Recently I've come back to how can I really up my game in the inner world? How can I just be mindful of when my emotions, when I start experiencing fear, when I'm struggling to get my website to load correctly and I'm just like, "This is so hard"? And I'm swearing at the machine, and I want to step away. How I can calm myself down and come back to it.
Jeff: I think those aspects of mental toughness, just the story that you tell yourself, the idea of keeping a positive mental attitude, the idea of saying there's only certain things that I can control. The reality is when you're an entrepreneur, it's like, you go, "Well, there's a lot I can control because it's all me right now." But I can't necessarily control that that website is not working the way I want to. I've got to pause and go, "Okay, who can help me with that?" That inner dialogue that I tell myself and how I renew myself every day in that like practicing gratitude on a daily basis. So right now I've been really big on just taking time to sit and think and pause. I've been trying to take time throughout the day to do that. That's something I'm trying to work on right now.
Jeff: I'm a big proponent of journaling. I like to use Day One journal, which is a digital journal so I can kind of type stuff out there every day. And it gives me an automatic prompt, what did I read? What am I excited about? What are my priorities for the day? So those are some of the practices that I would categorize as the mental game, the inner game that I think have been the biggest to try to persevere.
Michael: Well, and one of the things you were saying that I thought was actually a really good idea is because you've got a full-time gig still, right? Starting your own businesses is a side gig.
Jeff: Feels like a full-time gig.
Michael: Even though it's not full full-time, but the responsibilities are full-time. And you're working on starting the business and you realize, "Okay, I'm going to get up early," which hats off to you because neither of us are early people. Although Kathryn has been doing really good this last year with an early morning before we get going mentality. I was listening to a podcast on the way in this morning to the office, and this guy starts reading the stages of grief. And then he says, "Do you know what that is?" And everybody in their mind is going, "Stages of grief." He goes, "The steps to waking up in the morning."
Kathryn: I do feel like that every morning, even on the mornings I make it out of bed and go work out.
Michael: The room he's in is howling.
Jeff: I think that I experience the stages of grief at the end of the day that I look back and feel like I didn't accomplish the things that I want. I wake up every morning and I'm like, "I'm ready to go." This is what we were talking about Michael, I'm a firm believer in habits that set you up for the day like creating a ritual. But one of the things that I realized is that I'm also right now the proud owner of a puppy toddler, a black Labrador Retriever that takes a lot of my time and energy and distraction in the morning when he gets up at seven o'clock. So I went back to something that worked for me in the dissertation stage when it was grinding it out, which is I started waking up at 5:30, no routine other than coffee. I've got to have freshly ground coffee and my Chemex pour over. So I get that all set up and get that rolling. That takes about 15 minutes to process through. And then I sit down, and I just start writing.
Jeff: Because my brain in the morning is like a thoroughbred racehorse that's like, "Just get me out of the gate and go." And if I waste time with a lot of distraction or a lot of other things, I just waste that energy. I was reluctant to do that because I was like, "I have a nice routine in the morning. I have a nice space where I get up, and I have my coffee, and I do my reading, and I do some journaling." And then I go, "What's my work priority for the day?" But during a season sometimes when you're trying to grind it out, I think it's okay to shake it up a little bit. And when I just said right now if I'm going to launch this class, my class has to be the biggest priority, the biggest thing that gets my mental energy. Because at the end of the day, I experience the stages of grief. At the end of the day, I walk through. In the morning, I'm like, "I'm going to conquer the world, I can do this," when I get up.
Kathryn: I would pay for somebody to inject me with whatever it is that makes me a morning person. One of the things that's been interesting about even just owning who you are and how you're put together and all of that is just coming to the place. I'm in my mid 50s. And you'd think if you could inculcate discipline into your life by now, I'd have it. And it's a wrestle every damn day, every damn day. I'm just like, "I hate waking up in the morning, I hate it." It's not just a function of not getting enough sleep, but, yeah, even being able to find any sense of peace with that is not actually how I function. So I have to work really hard not to feel guilty when I hear you need a good morning routine. I'm like, "Oh, shut up." I need to survive till about 9:00 AM, and then I'm ready to go.
Michael: When it comes to writing for me, because people are listening, we've got our listeners going. There's all kinds of different places where they're going to get their best work done. Some are morning people, my mother's a morning person, you're a morning person. My mother, if it's 8:30 and she's still awake at night, she's like, "Something's wrong." And even on a day off, she gets up at 4:00, 4:30,. If she's in bed at 4:45, she overslept no matter what day it is. And growing up with a mother like that when you're not like that is tantamount to awful. But you start looking at these rhythms and finding them and finding where you can go. My rhythms don't work with the rest of the world. We're night people.
Michael: If I could start work at noon and not feel like I was missing the rest of the world on that rhythm, I would because I get my third wind at 11 o'clock at night. If I'm not careful, it will take me till 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, and I can write like amazing. It's quiet, I can write content. I keep going, it's fantastic. But all of a sudden I'm looking at the clock at a quarter to 1:00 in the morning going-
Kathryn: And then 9:00 AM, a client needs you to actually be alert.
Michael: And you're dying. We need to pivot real quick here because I want to talk about before we land this plane, I want to talk about the actual issue of being a diabetic, the class you're writing, and what is it that you're actually doing to help diabetics, and why is it that they need this help?
Jeff: I think the thing, so going back to that discovery for me of looking through my own experience, thinking about the ways that I had been leading and coaching people and the dissertation research. One of the things that I realized as I began to scope out, what do I really want people to go through, and what are the steps that I went through? I am designing a course really not for people who are just like, "Just tell me what I need to eat, exercise," just the body stuff. I'm really am designing a course for people who want to experience sustainable change in their life. This is something that I feel like is going to be scalable into a lot of different applications. In fact, my wife and I have already been thinking about ... I want to develop this series called Diabetic Pathways. And this particular class, which is called Diabetic Wake Up is going to be like, what happens when I'm newly diagnosed, I have no idea what to do?
Jeff: Well, I am going to lead people through the process of waking up and calming down. The first thing we do when we have a journey is we have this wake-up call that creates this crisis in our life and need for change. We've got to figure out what to do with our emotions, we've got to figure out how to be present so that I can actually be in a positive frame of mind. If I'm just reacting, I can't do anything. So even from the very beginning before I even talk about what is diabetes, and what is all that stuff, we're going to talk about, what does it mean to be mindful, what does it mean to be aware of our emotions?
Jeff: The second thing we're going to be talking about is vision. What does it mean to have a positive vision for my life? That module will take people through the idea of creating a personal vision. Which is not really about diabetes, it's about who you are, and who do you want to be? What are the important relationships in your life? So helping people clarify their bucket list and dream about their life 10 to 15 years out, clarify their values and figure out what do I really want to live for? So I think those are some of the unique things about this class. Before we even get into talking about diabetes, creating that vision and that life plan. But I'm really using intentional change theory, which basically says you've got to have a positive vision of your ideal self, you've got to have a sense of what the real is. You got to start somewhere like, "Okay, my blood sugar is out of control. Here's where it should be, but it's right here right now."
Jeff: So I've got to write that down and say, "This is where I am right now." And that gap between the ideal and the real is important because around that you craft a learning agenda. You basically decide these are the things that I am going to need to learn about. And the overwhelming thing about a chronic disease like diabetes or something like that is there's so much you don't know. When it happens to you, you're like, "I've got to learn so much." And it can be overwhelming. Sometimes people can just be like, "I don't know what to do because there's just so much that I don't understand and don't know." So I'm trying to help people craft a learning agenda that's realistic.
Jeff: Yes, I'll show you the big picture, this is where you need to go, but let's just start here with these particular things that you need to know regarding sleep and your mindset and nutrition and exercise. But really having that gap so it's a learning agenda. Intentional change is also about experimentation. So you've got to try some things and figure out what works for you. It's also about building a supportive relationship network around you, having resonant relationships that encourage you to be your best self. So what I'm doing in this class is going to bring all of those aspects of intentional change. Hoping that somebody will walk away from it, maybe they'll spend two months on the material, but they'll walk away with something that's transferable into their whole life. So we'll help them with diabetes, but they'll realize this isn't just about diabetes, this is about me and what the good Lord has planted me to do on this good, green earth and how I can make a difference in the lives of people I love and the calling that I have.
Jeff: I'm excited about it. I feel like that's a unique thing out there. I feel like people who are really excited about just personal transformation but also have this issue that they're trying to deal with specifically will be attracted to this kind of course. Plus, the other thing that I'm really trying to do is use personal technology as well, people that really want to learn how to use their Fitbit or Apple Watch and apps to track stuff and bring those things all together.
Kathryn: I was just thinking as you were describing the learning curve, the initial wake up call, the initial, oh my goodness, this is my reality. Are you familiar with the Stockdale paradox? Is that something you've ever heard of?
Jeff: I've heard of that before. You're going to refresh me, and I'll be like, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've heard that."
Kathryn: So it comes from Admiral Stockdale, he was a prisoner in Hanoi, so The Hanoi Hilton. And what he talked about is people who survive that are people who know how to face the brutal facts, which is where I happen to be but never lose faith that it's not going to stay this way. But if you don't face where you are, if you don't look at your blood sugar and go, "This is actually where I am right now," then you're not going to deal with that. You're not going to be able to handle that. It's like face reality, but then never lose faith. Then that's a big mindset challenge for people because it's like people either think I'm an optimist, it's all going to be just fine. Well, not unless you do something, not unless you're intentional about how you treat yourself, how you treat your life, how you make choices and stuff.
Michael: For those of you who are listening who don't know who Hanoi Hilton or the Hanoi Hilton was, it was a very popular prison within the Vietnam War where the Vietnamese put a lot of non-Vietnamese people.
Kathryn: A lot of Americans as it turned out.
Michael: A lot of Americans were in Hanoi Hilton. It was in Hanoi, it was not a Hilton.
Kathryn: It was nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton.
Jeff: Well, what's interesting about what you just said there is there's so much brain research on positive emotion and negative emotion. And a lot of the research that I did in my dissertation talked about how when you have somebody who comes to you and says, when your boss says, "You need to change this behavior or else." That will motivate you for a brief period of time, it gets you going, but it doesn't sustain. What we know is that when we have positive emotion about something, those are the kinds of things that sustain. And so we need both, and they have to interact with each other back and forth. The vision of who you are is that positive energy, that's the dream that ultimately fuels you.
Jeff: But if it's not countered with the reality, which is the negative emotion like I have to take the snapshot of where I am today. Diabetics, we prick our fingers and we look at the blood sugar and we go, "Man, this is where I am today." You face reality right there. And so there's this interplay that happens literally in our brain chemistry of going back and forth between engaging a little bit of that fight or flight. The negative emotion produces things like cortisol where we have that fight or flight kind of, I got to do something about this, that sense of urgency. But we can't be stuck there, we've got to get the other hormones that are going in our body that are engaged in positive emotion because those things are the things that help us actually sustain it.
Jeff: So I find that really fascinating, and I think any kind of change program that people undertake, they want to think really carefully about what are the things that are motivating me by compulsion, which are probably negative emotional experiences, reality. And what are the things that are creating positive emotion? You want to have more positive emotion, but it's got to also be countered with that reality like you talked about.
Michael: So here's what I hear-
Jeff: The Stockdale thing bow, it was that idea that the guys who were in the prison, the ones who said, "We're going to be rescued by December-
Kathryn: They were overly optimistic, it wasn't real.
Jeff: It didn't sustain. The other ones who were like, "They might never come back, we have to learn how to live with today." They had that vision of like, "I know that they'll rescue us, but I don't know when. And I don't think it's going to be this week."
Kathryn: Or next week or next Christmas maybe. Yeah, you got it.
Michael: Here's what I'm hearing from you. I'm hearing that there's this whole concept of I have just now been diagnosed or someone I know has been diagnosed with being diabetic. There's the initial shock of what am I going to do? Then there's the, how am I going to readjust? Am I going to choose to readjust to this new life or not? And part of that's based on, do I think it's possible for me to change? And you're dealing with the issue of how do we handle all of the mental and emotional aspects of dealing with such a major shift in our life, the steps to getting you to a place where you can actually live a healthier life and it's possible to sustain it. Is that fair to say?
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You have to be on that lifelong journey, it's the recognition of. Now, there are some people who can be newly diagnosed and reverse their diabetes, but most people are probably going to be challenged with living that for the rest of their life. We talked about stages of grief, that's really important for people who are diabetic or other chronic illnesses to walk through the stages of grief where you have to fight it and then you have to accept it, and you have to integrate it and bring it into to your life. But that constant learning. I love learning, of course that's something that I'm big at. I think that leaders who continue to lead well and I think that people who continue to flourish are constant learners. I want to give people who are diabetic or newly diagnosed some tools that they can get a pathway of beyond the content that they interact with, that they can teach themselves how to learn what they need to learn to make those changes.
Jeff: And it's not really unless you're able to come back to those foundational pieces. All of us no matter what we're doing in life, whether we're leaders or we're just people trying to create positive change, in a sense we never grow past being a beginner. In fact, the older I get, the more I realize I'm just a beginner. And returning back to some of those key foundational things are I think in many ways the things that give you the power to sustain yourself. Because inevitably we get off track, we lose a sense of self, we lose our purpose, we make some bad decisions. We've got to return back to square one and restart again.
Kathryn: Well, the other thing I think that really helps us learn is hearing the stories of other people who have gone through what we're heading into and come out the other side. And hearing not just I succeeded, I made it, but the ups and downs, the times where I didn't feel hopeful, the times where I really thought it was all going to fall apart because those are real. So the more stories even as you're gathering your data and stuff, the more stories you can tell about people who have made it through and succeeded and are living really healthy lifestyles and living into it, I think those are also super helpful tools for people to connect and understand that where I am doesn't need to be where I stay.
Michael: Absolutely. All right. Wow, that was a lot, that was good. We covered some ground, huh?
Jeff: We covered some ground, yeah.
Kathryn: And some interesting directions.
Jeff: Like I said, I'm Enneagram five. For those of you don't know the Enneagram, that whole world, Enneagram fives love to cover ground, love to talk about a lot of different things. I will come on your podcast any day and talk about anything, I love it.
Michael: Well, thank you so much, it was so good to talk to you. Thanks for being willing to come on the show and share the story. How do people get ahold of you if they're interested in learning more about what you're doing?
Jeff: Yeah. I think if people just go to Jjeppgephart.com, so J-E-F-F, G-E-P-H-A-R-T, .com. Go to jeffgephart.com, and you can subscribe to my weekly email or you can email me directly there.
Michael: Fantastic. And we'll have that on our website too, on our show notes page. Well, thanks ladies and gentlemen, I hope that was interesting and helpful. There's a lot of things that leadership can do for you. You have to be engaged in the idea that you're going to grab ahold of your company, grab ahold of your personal life. Because as we talk about the inner and outer game of leadership, we're talking about this idea that you've got to be a good self leader so that you can lead others. It's one thing when we're talking about the business and dealing with numbers and even things sometimes as business people we can put out at arms length and go, "I can control that." But when it comes to things like our health issues, serious things like diabetes, when it comes down to self-management and leadership becomes more critical than anything else.
Michael: This isn't just a I promise myself I'm going to go work out and work out. This is a life-threatening illness that can affect you and change the way you impact the world around you. This is where leadership really hits, the rubber meets the road in so many ways. And it's just a great example. So I hope that gives you some thoughts, some parallels to your business and maybe your own personal life so you can continue to grow and make the impact you want to make in your life so you can experience change in your life and the people around you because that's really what a Passion and Provision company is all about. So thank you for joining us today. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: Have a great day. Bye-bye.