Jason Hartman hosts Mike Robbins to discuss mental health and how to deal with grief. The two discuss how we are all grieving together. Mike discusses the importance of reflection and how we can and should focus on the moment.

Announcer 0:03
speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and info marketers unite. The speaking of wealth show is your roadmap to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you’re looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand and become the go to guru. The speaking of wealth show is for you. here’s your host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman 0:40
Welcome to the show. This is Jason Hartman your host and every 10th episode we do something kind of special kind of different. What we do is we go off topic so regardless of which show it is on the Hartman media network, whether it be one of the financial shows economics, real estate, investing, Travel, longevity, all of the other topics that we have every 10th episode, we go off topic, and we explore something of general interest, something of general life success value. And so many of our listeners around the world in 164 countries have absolutely loved our 10th episode shows. So that’s what we’re going to do today. And let’s go ahead and get to our guests with a special 10th episode show. And of course, on the next episode, we’ll be back to our regular programming. Here we go. It’s my pleasure to welcome Mike Robbins, he’s a New York Times best selling and international number one best selling author of several books, including focus on the good stuff, the power of appreciation, and his latest. We’re all in this together. And I think these are very topical. He’s he’s got other great books as well, but very topical nowadays with what’s going on in the world. He has got a huge list of corporate clients including Google wells, Fargo, Microsoft, Charles Schwab, LinkedIn, the Lloyd, US Department of Labor, the gap, Harvard University, Coca Cola, and a zillion others you’ve heard of. So I don’t need to go into all of them. But what’s interesting about Mike, is he turned down an opportunity to play for the Yankees to go play college baseball at Stanford University, where he pitched in the College World Series. But then he was recruited by the Kansas City Royals, and he’s a lefty pitcher. So let’s hear from him. Mike, welcome. How you doing?

Mike Robbins 2:35
Thanks, Jason. I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on the show. I appreciate it.

Jason Hartman 2:38
Yeah, it’s great to have you. So you know, there’s a lot of people right now around the world. Billions of people quite literally sitting at home. Worried about the future? Yeah, possibly very lonely and very isolated. You know, what, what can you say to them?

Mike Robbins 2:55
Well, I mean, I think the first thing is, I get it. It’s, you know, we’re dealing with something that None of us have ever dealt with before. And you know, one of the things I find myself saying to a lot of people, Jason these days in my life personally, and a lot of the leaders and teams and people that I work with is just like, there’s no right way to feel right now. And I think we’re all sort of collectively going through, you know, a bit of an emotional roller coaster. And I read something in HBr in Harvard Business Review A while back, it was an interview with David Kessler, who’s an expert in grief. And he said that what’s happening for a lot of us right now, whether we’re fully acknowledging or not, is we’re collectively grieving all of the loss, not just the loss of life, and what’s happening, but the loss of jobs and the loss of life as we know it in certain ways. And well, we all hope and believe that, you know, we’re going to get to the other side of this in some way, shape or form. There’s just a lot of loss. So if you think about the different stages of grief, right, it’s, you know, denial, its bargaining, its anger, its, you know, that sense of sort of sadness and depression and ultimately acceptance. And so and again, having

Jason Hartman 3:59
those are Literally the stages of grief. Okay? All right.

Mike Robbins 4:03
And they’re not they’re not linear, right? They don’t go you don’t go from one to two to three to four, five, and then you’re done. Anyone who’s ever grieved any loss of any kind, you know, I’ve had significant people in my life passed away. My baseball career ended when I was in the minor leagues with Kansas City after starting at seven and playing into my 20s. And playing professionally, I blew my arm out. three surgeries later had to retire from baseball. That was a huge loss that I had to grieve. And it took me quite a while actually to grieve that loss. So I mean, part of what I can say right now, we’re in the midst of this thing that is so unprecedented and so challenging, but feeling lonely, feeling isolated, feeling depressed, feeling scared about the future, even if you’re a relatively confident person, even if you look around in your life and say, I have had some success. I know some things I’ve learned some things like, it’s totally okay to be feeling any of those, if not many other emotions right now.

Jason Hartman 4:52
Yeah, I agree with you. You know, one of the things that I think really will help people but it’s hard To do while you’re in it, right. But you know, we have only been in this Mike for a very short time that you can count in weeks. It hasn’t been that long. And I think we’ve all just got to like, step back, and maybe cut off the news media for a while. And except my podcast, of course, which is the exception to the rule. And just step back and look at the big picture. And remember, this is just a little blip. It’s, I mean, so far, okay, so far now great. Like it could maybe it’ll become longer. Maybe it’ll become worse. Let’s hope not. But so far, this is a little tiny blip in life. It’s really just no big deal so far.

Mike Robbins 5:44
Yeah, I mean, I think look, perspective is important. And the challenge with perspective is when we’re in the middle of something, it’s hard to have perspective on it. So things right when they’re happening. We don’t know the outcome. Everything that you and I and everyone listening has ever been through challenging in our lives. We made it through Those things when we’re in the middle of a challenge, and right now we’re in the middle of a collective challenge. We haven’t made it through yet. So we don’t know exactly how the story ends. And look, the reality is without getting to sort of grim and negative about it, like we don’t really know what’s going to happen. We don’t know how we’re going to be impacted physically, am I going to get sick or people around me going to get sick, we don’t know how we’re going to be impacted financially. What’s the impact of the economy and what’s going on in the markets right now going to be on me on my business, on my life on the people around me. And we also don’t know fully how we’re going to be affected mentally, psychologically, emotionally. And that to your point, though, right now, if we think about the amount of time we’ve been in this, it is relatively short, and will seem quite short, even if it lasts for a lot longer. Once we’re further away from it. I remember as a kid growing up, my mom used to talk about being in college, and she would talk about college like it was this thing, just like this little story, this little blip in the story of her life, which you know, my mom was probably in her 50s at the time when I was starting to pay attention to this, and that college was four years way back When she was young, in her 50s, but for me as I was going through high school and then wanting to go to college, and then in college when I hear my mother talk about it, college was like this big expansive thing, you know, I mean, so some of it is literally perspective. And one of the things that I also think we can do in a really practical way right now is someone said something to me about 10 years ago, I was going through a pretty tough time, personally, pretty tough time financially, we, my business got hit pretty hard by the recession. We were in a difficult situation with our house and I was just going through a lot and my friend Theo said this thing to me, he said, Mike, even though it may not seem like it right now, it’s important to remember that you have more than this requires. And I said, What do you mean? He said, You have more within you more strength, more resilience, than you even realize to get through this thing. And what he challenged me to do was to think about all the difficult things that I had persevered through in my life up to that point. And he said, Look, it’s not going to be a fun list to make, but if you actually sit down and write it out, like in your journal and think about the stuff that you’ve gone through, that you figured out your way through, it’ll To remind you how resilient you are. And as someone who myself and my work focuses a lot on appreciation and optimism, I’m not saying go back in your past and dig through all your skeletons and all the terrible things that ever happened to you. But for the most part, most of us have been through some stuff in life, some of us some pretty significant stuff. And we’ve made it through. So again right now as well. If you find yourself in a place of wondering how am I going to get through, how are we going to get through sometimes I think about the country and the world too. It’s like the world and our country have been through a lot of stuff as well. I think we forget sometimes how strong and resilient we are, especially when we get scared.

Jason Hartman 8:32
I agree with you. And you know, your book, focus on the good stuff, the power of appreciation, let’s talk about how that interplays with all of this because I think one of the things that happens, I’ve certainly noticed it in my own self is that when we are down press, grief stricken, whatever you call it, we’re focusing internally, we’re focusing on ourselves. Yeah. And one way to cure that is to Do something nice for someone else to volunteer for someone else. It makes you focus outwardly. And appreciation or gratitude is another way to do that, right? Because the common element seems to be that if we are experiencing difficulty, we are focusing internally rather than externally. What do you agree with?

Mike Robbins 9:20
For sure, you know, one of the stories so focus on the good stuff was my first book that I wrote a number of years ago. And one of the stories that I share in that book is often a story that I still share all these years later, when my baseball career ended. So again, I was 23. Right? You mentioned in my introduction, right. I didn’t sign with the Yankees when they drafted me out of high school. I went to Stanford, I get drafted by the Royals. I go into the minor leagues Kansas City I’m you know, on my way to make it to the big leagues. That’s been my lifelong dream since I started playing baseball and I was seven. I got to pitch one night and throw one pitcher tear ligaments in my elbow, I blow my arm out. I career essentially ended. The I didn’t end instantaneously. I spent the next day I was 23. When I got hurt spent the next two years had three surgeries, finally forced to return Hire 25. And when I was in that process of transitioning out of baseball trying to figure out what I was going to do next, Jason, I was going through a tough time. Sure. I was questioning a lot of things. And I was reflecting on the experience. And I remember asking myself this question over and over again. Did I have any regrets? Like, if I could do it all over again, would I do anything different and I didn’t regret a lot of the stuff that I thought I would have liked the games that I blew or the times that I you know, this, we didn’t win this championship or I didn’t, you know, I, whatever, all the stuff that I got super upset and stressed out about when I was playing, none of that stuff mattered to me anymore. The only regret that I had was I didn’t fully appreciate it while it was happening. I was too busy trying to make it right. I was this kid from Oakland, California, raised by a single mom, we have a lot of money, I was gonna make it to the big leagues. I was gonna make some money, I was going to be important. I was gonna be successful, you know, but up to that point in my life, even though I was actually pretty good. I spent most of my time thinking that I wasn’t good enough, comparing myself to everyone around me and literally like holding my breath, hoping that I didn’t screw it up. And when it was all said and done, and I hadn’t made it, I thought to myself Oops, I think I missed the point. Mm hmm. And I think in the look, most people listening to us right now probably did not blow out their pitching arm in the minor leagues trying to pursue a professional baseball career. But all of us and many of us right now, collectively, we lose things in life, whether we want to or not. And one of the things about being human and our human nature is that we’re so focused on where we’re headed, or what we’re trying to accomplish, or how is this business you know, project gonna work out or this investment or this, you know, risk I’m taking I want, and when things don’t work out, as painful as it is one of the things that we can do when we have a moment like we do collectively, one of the silver linings of this and I don’t want to over you know, I don’t want to minimize it or sugarcoat it, one of the silver linings of this moment, even if you’re sitting there and you’ve lost your job, or things have really gone sideways for you financially or health wise or otherwise. This is the world has intervened in a way and forced all of us to stop and pause and reflect what matters who matters. It’s kind of back to the Greek thing you know, When both of my parents passed away as painful as that was, when I’ve had other people in my life pass away or has been really sad, the thing about grief that I have experienced is it does stop us mid track of life and knock us out of life in a painful way. But for me, there’s always that what it boils down to is, what matters and who matters. And why. And it gets really, really basic. Who do I want to talk to? What do I want to talk about? What do I want to focus on because a lot of the BS and superficiality of life kind of goes away in the face of grief in the face of loss. And right now what I’m trying to do as best I can, you know, manage my business and take care of my family and, you know, launch my new book and all the practical parts of my life, but I’m also trying to take this time and this opportunity to take a step back and go, Okay, I don’t know exactly what my business and what the world’s gonna look like when all this is over. I hope I’m gonna be okay. I hope everyone around me is going to be okay. But what can I learn from this experience and how can this impact me? We’re going to be different on the other side of this The question is how And that’s really up to us.

Jason Hartman 13:03
Yeah, no question about it. So your earlier point in that segment was this orientation of living in the future, right? Well, we basically had three orientation choices in life, right? We can live in the past, the present or the future. And we all have to live in both, right? Yeah. But if we spend too much time, dwelling on the past, maybe we’re dwelling on bad things that happened and beating ourselves up over them, or we’re dwelling on like nostalgia, and it used to be so much better in the good old days. I kind of find myself doing that, honestly, it’s great. But you know, generally speaking, I’m a very future oriented person. I’m always about the next thing. So either way, you’re missing the thing, you’re in the middle thing. And what’s interesting about the situation, Mike that we’re in now, and I just said this on on today’s episode of my podcast, it’s the one time in my life interestingly, where I don’t have really any sense of FOMO fear of missing out, you know, I travel constantly I’ve been to 87 countries I’m, you know, probably someone like you I’m going to mastermind groups I’m doing speeches I’m, you know doing all this stuff and you know, it’s like I don’t look at social media now and think oh my friend has such a great life and I’m stuck here at home. Everybody’s equal on the level playing field now.

Mike Robbins 14:24
It’s funny you say that because there is something Oh, no one’s going out to dinner. No one’s doing

Jason Hartman 14:29
anything now. Yeah,

Mike Robbins 14:30
no, it’s true. I mean, it’s like it’s, it’s, it is an odd experience to then the leveling is a leveling. It’s like it doesn’t matter. I’ve been appreciating you know, some of these late night hosts are doing their shows from home and they’re having people sort of Skype in or zoom in and he’s funny, I know, you know, and even and even these big celebrities with their fancy homes and whenever you realize they’re at home with their families like trying to figure out what to eat and what to watch on TV and how to get stuff done. And you know, it is it in a way it is it is leveling us. And I do think though, that there’s something about it forcing us to be in the present moment. I was talking to my own team actually earlier today about this. And we were all sort of reflecting on how we were feeling. And this conversation came up, I was kind of wanting to know, when is this going to end? Like, when are we going to get back to quote unquote, normal, whatever that is. And I said to my team, I was like, Look, I don’t know, I’m reading different things and different models and different projections. I was like, but the truth is, we just don’t know. And what we do know is that we’re here today with each other. We’re focused on what we’re focused on. And yes, we need to plan for the future and have some scenarios if this happens that Yeah, of course, we all do. Even when there’s not a pandemic, we do that. But I think a lot of us to your point, we’re either stuck in the past or we’re so focused on the future that we miss out on the present moment. And maybe one of the things that we can all do, a better job of through this experience is bring ourselves into the present moment because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or how long this is going to last but we do know right here right now. You and I are talking to each other and as people are listening, they’re, you know, in their house or walking around their block or doing whatever they’re doing with themselves by themselves or with their families. And there’s something oddly, not only leveling about that, but but there’s a way in which that can actually be peaceful if we choose to let it. But so much of this comes down to choice. I have a friend named Robert Holden, who’s a psychologist. And he likes to say that by the time we get to 30 years old, most of us have more than enough reasons to be miserable for the rest of our lives. That usually, if you’ve lived enough life, even just to get to 30, maybe some people listening are under 30. Maybe many of us are older than 30. But you’ve had enough stuff happened to you that you could have a story for the rest of your life that would allow you to justifiably be miserable. And what he’s basically saying and sort of a tough love kind of way is, look, it’s a choice. How are things going to be how’s your life going to be like, how are you going to say it is what’s the story, you’re going to tell yourself and everybody else and one of the things I’ve been saying to my own team about this pandemic, is, hey, let’s have a really great story that we get to tell when this is all over about how we showed up about what we learned about What happened about what the experience was like? Because that’s going to be the story. And I’ve been saying to our daughters who are 1411, even though they roll their eyes at me a little bit like, Hey, girls, I know this is scary. And this is hard and weird, and you’re not at school, and you’re missing out on a bunch of stuff. But you’re gonna be telling this story for the rest of your life.

Jason Hartman 17:16
Yeah, yeah. to you to your kids and grandkids. And yeah, it’s pretty amazing. Okay, so I’m sure 99% of the people listening agree that we should focus on the moment, try and be in the moment. Try and enjoy the moment. Appreciate the moment. But the question is, how do we do that? How do we do that? So there’s a couple of you, right? It’s easier said what’s the technique? Okay. We agree. Yes. Yeah. That sounds it’s like, exercise more, eat more vegetables. Yeah, that sounds good. Do it.

Mike Robbins 17:48
Look, I mean, I think one of the things that’s important to acknowledge is that it’s hard. Right now for most of us not like a whining complaining thing, but it’s hard. This is weird. This is different. We’re all out of sync and sort of knocked off our center and lots of ways. So as far as practices go, like, I’m just a big believer in like anything. If we put little things into practice, we take baby steps if we need to, you know, having some time where we can, you know, sit quietly, if we have some kind of meditation practice or mindfulness practice, have some time where we sit and maybe write in a journal, take a walk around the block, I mean, some time that we carve out for ourselves. It’s focused on our own mental and emotional well being. Maybe it involves something physical, maybe not. But like, I think that’s important all the time. I think it’s even more important now. And I’ve been finding it for myself both more important, but also more challenging, just because of all of the different things that are going on. I think a second thing, though, that we can also do, and this is something that most of us struggle with, in general, but especially right now is ask for help. Mm hmm. You know, Jason, one of the questions I asked when I’m speaking to groups of people, I’ll say, I’ll say how many of you like helping other people and it doesn’t matter where I am, what kind of group it is how big or small what state city country I’m in literally every One in every room raises their hand. I usually figure about 90 95% of people mean it the other five,

Jason Hartman 19:04
social.

Mike Robbins 19:06
I don’t want to be the jerk that doesn’t like

Jason Hartman 19:09
Scrooge but yeah, but I’m gonna lie and raise my hand anyway. Okay. But but then

Mike Robbins 19:14
follow up question that I ask is how many of you love asking other people for help? And usually about 10, maybe 20% most of the hands in the room will go up and even as they do people almost look around and start to think, Oh, am I not supposed to raise my hand like is this and I usually say, listen, first of all, if you’re comfortable asking for help, be proud of that keep doing it and teach the rest of us because most of us struggle with it. We get uncomfortable. We feel weird. We don’t want to get judged. We think it’s weak. We think some people reject I mean, all of these reasons, we have not to ask for help. But right now, we all need help practically speaking, there’s a bunch of stuff like just how does this work? I need to do this. I’m not good at zoom. I need it right we have we’re adjusting the way we’re working. But we also need help like mentally emotionally. And we have people in our lives that we can reach out to like hey, I’m struggling or I’m feeling lonely or I’m feeling scared about this. And if we can do that authentically the people in our lives the people we work with the people we live with the people maybe we haven’t talked to in a while, like, most of us really love to be able to help and support other people. So if we can get a little bit better, and have a little more courage to ask, not only do we get some help, we give other people permission to do the same. And to your point earlier, people who are stuck in their own experience of being stressed out or lonely or whatever, if I get a phone call, while I’m feeling really lonely or stressed or stuck, and someone says, and Jason, you say to me, Hey, Mike, can I talk to you for a few minutes? I’m having a tough time, can you give me some support, I’m like, great, I don’t have to think about all my own crazy stuff, I get to focus on Jason, and support him. So we actually are doing each other a service, good points, and we’re forced to focus out. So if you ask someone for help, you’re, you’re forcing them to focus outside of themselves, right. And so in a way you’re really helping them totally. And then the third thing I would say, and this again, is like we know this and we know how important it is, but I think it’s even more important than ever now and we were just talking about a few minutes ago. But being able to focus on what we appreciate what we’re grateful for, look, if everybody who’s listening to us, they’re dealing with different circumstances, again, from the most extreme, you could potentially be sick, you could be out of work or in a really difficult financial place all the way to neither of those things are the case, you’re completely healthy. Your life, your business financially is not impacted by all this and anywhere in between. If you’re well enough to be listening to us, and you’re engaged in this podcast in this community, I would assume and imagine there’s probably a bunch of things that are going well in your life, even if there’s some challenges. And as I’ve been talking to people who are, you know, having a hard time working from home without sort of discrediting their challenge. One of the things I’m trying to remind people is like, Hey, you know, you get to work from home. There’s a bunch of people that don’t have that option, right? Or, you know, or they’re my family’s getting on my nerves, right, which I can relate to. I mean, I love my family, but we’re all getting on each other’s nerves because we’re on top of each other in the house all the time. But again, there are people that are sitting all by themselves right now. Really wishing that They had family around them to get on their nerves, whatever the case is, is not about and

Jason Hartman 22:03
just realize, you know, it’s human nature to want more you don’t have right? married people want to be single single people want to be married, you know, it’s just that’s just the way we’re wired. Okay, but I was looking at the greener grass, right,

Mike Robbins 22:14
totally. And if we remember that, but bring it back to in this moment, like one of my most important practices throughout the last 20, some years of my life, has been keeping a gratitude journal, and just reminding myself, even when I’m stressed and pissed and annoyed and frustrated and tired and all these things. Can I stop for a moment and just write down a few things that I’m grateful for? Yeah. And there’s always stuff there. And once we open up that box, if you will, of gratitude, what we find is in the healthiest, most positive way, it’s kind of a Pandora’s box in a good way of Oh, there’s so much more there once we start to go down that path, if you will. Yeah.

Jason Hartman 22:47
Yeah, absolutely. What else should we cover that, you know, maybe from one of the other books or anything and just hurt to wrap this up? Well, probably something I just didn’t ask you about.

Mike Robbins 22:58
I think I mean, look One of the things that I think is important from a mindset perspective right now is to try to focus on the things that we can control. I had a baseball coach years ago, who I adore say something to me that I never forgot. He was talking about this in the context of baseball and he was giving me some coaching some feedback on you know, my challenge at times as I would get upset I would get frustrated umpire made a bad call, the second baseman missed the ball, the team didn’t score enough runs and all the normal things you could imagine I was a pitcher in baseball, right? And he said to me, Mike, there’s only two things you can control in baseball. This is also true in life, by the way, you can control your attitude, and you can control your effort. Everything else is some version of out of your control. You can’t control your teammates, you can’t control the weather, the umpire the outcome that you can control. What’s the attitude you bring to the field to life? What’s the mindset and how hard you work? How much are you willing to put into it? Everything else is some version of out of your control. And it was simple advice, but really important wisdom for me at that time. And I think about that now, even in this situation with this pandemic. It’s like I Can’t control how long this lasts, I can’t control the decisions that are made by people in positions of power in the government. And otherwise I can’t control whether people abide by the stay at home orders or not, or whatever all the things are, I can’t control what happens with the stock market and the economy and how many people get laid off. I can’t control any of that. What I can control what we all can control is our attitude and our effort. And if we focus on those things, then we have more autonomy, then we’re more empowered if we’re focused on all the stuff that we can control. Then again, we’re riding the crazy roller coaster of watching the news and watching the stock market and all of these things that are just happening. And then we decide, oh, it’s a good day or it’s a bad day based on whatever we hear, as opposed to how do I choose to focus and what do I choose to focus on and how much effort Am I willing to bring?

Jason Hartman 24:48
Yep, it was said decades ago, in by Viktor Frankl and you know, his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning I’m sure you’re quite familiar with and that he called it the last human Freedom, the last human freedom if everything else is taken away from us, food, physical comfort, shelter, whatever. We always get to choose no matter what, how we take any experience, how we think about it, we always get to decide how we process it. Nobody can take that away. It’s the last human freedom. And I think that’s a that’s a very good point. Mike, give out your website, tell people where they can find out more about you.

Mike Robbins 25:30
The best place is our site, which is just Mike bash, Robbins, calm.

Jason Hartman 25:35
Excellent. Mike Nash Robbins, calm. Thank you so much for joining us today and stay well. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Thank you so much for listening. Please be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any episodes. Be sure to check out the show’s specific website and our general website Hartman. Mediacom for appropriate disclaimers and Terms of Service. Remember Guests opinions are their own. And if you require specific legal or tax advice, or advice and any other specialized area, please consult an appropriate professional. And we also very much appreciate you reviewing the show. Please go to iTunes or Stitcher Radio or whatever platform you’re using and write a review for the show we would very much appreciate that. And be sure to make it official and subscribe so you do not miss

Mike Robbins 26:26
any episodes. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode.