“Self-care is fundamental to not only our personal well-being but also to our relationships with the people closest to us.”
Mike Robbins shared these important words at a recent workshop I attended, yet I still struggled to keep my eyeballs open from the exhausting (yet rewarding) sleepless nights of having a newborn baby, and far too many energy drinks to make up for it. “Self-care,” I thought? “Sign me up!”
Mike is a keynote speaker and he’s delivered multiple inspiring TEDx Talks
on various topics like the one I heard on “Authenticity”. He’s written three books and his latest is titled Nothing Changes Until You Do
. It’s filled with short stories that serve as a guide for self-compassion and getting out of your own way. In one of my favorite chapters he discusses how it’s important to take good care of ourselves, and how we often perceive self-care as being selfish or something we should do once we get everything else done.
It empowers us to be more available and generous with the people around us in an authentic way, while modeling to them how we want to be treated. As Michael Bernard Beckwith says, “The Golden Rule is ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Mike Robbins relays The Platinum Rule which is ‘How I treat myself trains others how to treat me.”
Prior to his speaking career, Mike played baseball in college at Stanford where he was later drafted by the Kansas City Royals. After a few seasons in the minor leagues, Mike injured his arm which abruptly ended his baseball career.
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I recently interviewed Mike to learn about his journey
from being an athlete to becoming a self-help guru. Mike said the defining moment for him was when he read a book by Richard Carlson titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
; it changed his life. It helped him make the transition as he started a new chapter in his career by learning not to take things too seriously and avoid getting too stressed out. He was so inspired by Richard’s work that soon thereafter he launched his business to empower people and organizations through speaking and writing.
Admittedly, Mike was so busy trying to make it
as a ball player he didn’t appreciate the journey. “If who you are is what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t,” he said. “As an athlete you’re singularly focused on mastering your craft. Your identity is tied to your external accomplishments, and when my career suddenly ended because of my injury I felt deflated.” It sparked the idea for his first book about appreciation because he forgot to appreciate his journey as a ball player until it was over.
Mike felt compelled to get in touch with best-selling author, Richard Carlson. He wrote him a letter expressing his gratitude and told him about his dream of becoming an author and speaker. Richard was kind enough to respond and offered his advice. Richard became Mike’s mentor early on in his career, and he wrote the forward for his first book, Focus on the Good Stuff
“One of the things I ultimately learned from Richard’s life was the importance of presence. He really lived what he taught. He was a very grounded, peaceful, and present guy. You wouldn't have known he's a mega best-selling author. What he was really interested in was who you were, and connecting with you in the moment.”
Tragically, Richard passed away at the age of 45 when he suffered a pulmonary embolism during a flight. It’s a relationship Mike is deeply grateful for and his legacy lives on through his work.
Mike’s book proposal for Focus on the Good Stuff
was rejected 25 times. Three years into the making his literary agent said it’s time to move on. Mike had an epiphany, he was waiting for permission.
“I’m writing this book and publishing it myself if I have to, he exclaimed." His agent said she had three more publishers she’s waiting to hear back from and to hold off for a few days. Suddenly, the same proposal that was rejected 25 times was accepted by all three publishers!
“Something shifted inside of me and I was finally ready. Everyone can relate, when we’re really ready the universe aligns.”
I couldn’t help feeling inspired as I concluded my interview with Mike. His life experience of working hard to play a professional sport only to lose the dream because of an injury is common, yet Mike gained powerful perspective that led him to continue on and impact many more lives than he ever could have by simply playing ball. It was obvious that his passion from speaking comes from having fun, connecting with his audience and “focusing on the good stuff.” When I concluded the interview with the question, “What do you think defines an impacting speech?” he shared his philosophy that there are three kinds of speeches:
“There are the ones you plan to do, the ones you actually do, and the ones you wish you would have done when it's over. No one knows what you plan on saying, they only know what you do say. An impacting speech comes from authenticity and is really about trusting and being in the moment.”
So with that sound advice, I gave my own “authentic” speech to Mike, trusting him in the moment and saying, “Brother, I appreciate your time more than you know and I’m walking away with many valuable nuggets; however, I need to give myself some of the self-care you evangelize and go get some rest! There are more diapers to change tomorrow!”
Interested in hearing the entire interview? Click this link for the podcast episode on iTunes.