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What can we do to bring out the best version of ourselves? We have to start at the very beginning. Do we know ourselves? Do we believe in our capabilities and skills? Sean Whalen is the founder and CEO of Lions Not Sheep and the person behind the coaching program, “The Lions Den.” The realization that helped Sean to drive change within himself started when he was 30 years old. In this episode, he shares his Core 4 Program, giving us an inside glimpse of how to live in every moment to become the best physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, and family-focused versions of ourselves. Tune in to know how we can enhance these areas of our lives.
Sean Whalen Shares His Core 4 Program – Giving Us An Insight Into How To Live To Become The Very Best Version Of Ourselves
In this episode, which you will definitely want to read from hello to goodbye, my friend, my colleague, my hero, Sean Whalen whose social media posts have over 100 million views, and his clothing line, Lions Not Sheep generates millions of dollars in monthly revenue. His coaching program, The Lions Den, has thousands of subscribers. He shares his core four-program giving us an inside glimpse of how to live in every single moment to become the best physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, and family-focused versions of ourselves.
Start from the beginning. Who are you? What do you believe and why do you believe it?
My prayer is when people meet me, they want to ask questions. It opens up a dialogue in a line that they hadn’t thought of and explored before. I spent most of my life lying and hiding. I gave the rudimentary answers that were politically, socially, religiously and morally correct, based on what I was told was correct, and it was never me. It was never burned inside of me. My entire life from being a child to an adult, I did what I was told to do. I followed what was “normal.” This is what success and happiness looked like, so I followed that model. This is what a father in a marriage and a religious community looks like. This is the model that I followed.
I found myself at 30 years old, a self-made multimillionaire with three kids, a house, a car, a wife, a business, the entire thing, saying, “What am I doing?” I didn’t know who I was. I had never planted my own flag. I had never explored who I was. I never asked any questions. I was raised in an environment where when you asked a question and dad said, “I’m the adult and you are the kid. This is the way that it is.” I never questioned anything. Thereby, I never found anything. I never established anything. I never figured out who Sean Whalen was.
It took me burning my entire world to the ground to then start asking questions. I realized one of the most powerful and vulnerable things a human being can do is ask a question because that entices people to believe that you don’t know or may not know is a sign of weakness. I have found through my own personal discovery, one of the most powerful things that a human being will ever do is ask a question.
It’s my prayer and hope that when people meet me, whether you like me or you don’t like me, you believe the politics or don’t believe the politics, whether you are like the beard, the tattoos, the cigars or whatever it is, is irrelevant. I want you to ask more questions. I want you to look deeper. My goal for people is to explore on their own to truly figure out who they are and establish it for themselves, not because of what mom and dad, the church, or what’s socially acceptable. Why do you believe what you believe? Why are you the way that you are? Why do you speak the way that you speak? What burns inside of you? Not what you were told to have burn inside of you but what burns inside of you? That’s prayer.
Do you agree that one of the reasons why we don’t ask questions is because we are afraid of the answer we are going to get, so we continually run and hide?
No. As I have traveled, coached and worked with thousands of people, people are terrified of being judged. I ask people all the time, “How many of you fail?” We think we are afraid of failure. No one is afraid of failing. Every single person reading this has failed. Like me, I raise both my hands. I have failed many times financially, emotionally, spiritually, and in relationships. We are not afraid of failing. What we are terrified of is being judged. That’s why people play small. That’s why people don’t ask questions because if you ask a question, you might be laughed at, ridiculed, mocked or made fun of.
What people are deathly afraid of is being mocked by their peers, laughed at by their family, ridiculed by a church or talked down to by some social group of people. What we do is we stay in these little teeny boxes. One of my favorite books by Debbie Ford is The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. She talks about how we are born and we are born into these infinite mansions.
Have you ever seen a small baby? It sticks forks in outlets. It pulls things down. It endangers itself every single day because it’s full of curiosity and wonder. These small little children haven’t been programmed with what’s right and wrong, what’s good or bad. A child doesn’t pick its own name. You didn’t pick your own name. You were told what your name was. You didn’t pick your morality. We were told from a little child what was good, bad, right, and wrong. This will get you to heaven and this will send you to hell. This will make you happy and this will make you sad.
I have found as I have traveled that people have never stopped to ask, “Why am I doing this? Why do I do what I do? Why do I believe what I believe?” Truthfully, at the end of the day, it’s the fear of judgment. It’s the fear of these things. For me, the entire journey of life is asking more questions. It’s the wonder, the curiosity of things that truly is not only what keeps me alive but it’s what keeps me growing.
Let’s itemize life into nine segments to garner the Sean Whalen’s spontaneity and deep wisdom. Out of curiosity, I have read one book a week for more than sixteen and a half years, and I still don’t have your wisdom.
What does that mean? You are not me and I’m not you. You are never going to be Sean Whalen.
No. I’m taking it deeper than that. It’s the ultimate compliment that you are in tune with. In the nine aspects of life, most people want to present a balance wheel. I want to talk about your four steps, four keys, or your whole philosophy of life that dissects what it takes to be a real man or a real woman. As one of my songs says, “Any male can be a father but it takes a special man to be a dad.” We can go in all those directions.
Most people have a balanced wheel that dissects life in only six categories, physical, mental, spiritual, social, financial, and family. As I read your words, as I listened to your lives and follow you, you are firing at more on more than all cylinders. There’s a spiritual connotation to you. I have dissected my life, my balance wheel, and my expectation in my world into nine categories.
They are not labeled as nouns that evoke no emotion. They are labeled as action verbs. I want to dissect all nine and ask for your counsel. You are going to coach me on behalf of the millions of people who will read and change their lives because of this. Area number one, it’s not a physical goal. I’m going to lose 20 pounds and gain 30 back, celebrating that they lost twenty. I have changed it to physical fitness. Give us a snapshot view of, if you have ever been out of shape, how did you break your back? The question is, “Why did you go into the gym relentlessly chronicling and documenting your physical change not as a physical goal but with the goal of physical fitness?”
In other words, we don’t begin with the end in mind, which forces us to focus on a destination that’s impressive. Do our best to manage people, and reward results. You have taught the world to begin with the why in mind, which allows us to enjoy the journey, manage expectations, and reward effort which means there’s no destination. Take us back on the physical fitness journey. What triggered inside of you that it was time for you to fight through the pain and do what you needed to do to go to the gym to put yourself in a position to be a physical specimen? I would rather see it being sermon preached in here. I want you to take us back.
On December 5th, 2018, I had a major spine surgery. I had played football, 5 MMA fights, and done 2 Ironman races. I had never been in a statically strong shape. Meaning, I have never had a six-pack and chiseled chest, the biceps in the arms. I had always been in shape if you will. I had always been able to perform but I have never been in the aesthetic shape. On December 5th, I had major spine surgery. I had two compress discs. For almost a year, it was one of the most emotionally and physically painful things that I had ever been through.
The day after my birth, December 5th, I had major spine surgery. I came out of that in a dark place in my life. I was going through a relationship change. I was in this place where I was dark and alone. One of my good friends, Andy Frisella, started a program called 75 Hard. It was this challenge that he had come up with. It was emotional and physical.
I took on the challenge, and the truth is, it sucks. Truth is getting in shape is difficult as hell. It’s hard. It’s meant to be hard. It’s supposed to be hard. Conversations with your lover are not supposed to be airy-fairy, Skittles and kittens. They are supposed to be difficult. Growing a multimillion-dollar business is supposed to be difficult.
We hear all the time, “It’s the journey.” The truth is, I had never pushed myself. I had all of the excuses. Both of my parents were overweight and neither of them was in shape. The programming that we are talking about, the social conditioning from when I was a child is like, “In order to be this specimen of a human being, you have to spend six hours a day in the gym, and you only have to eat chicken, rice, and, all of these other things.” That was what I had been programmed to believe since I was a child. I had never gone on a journey to push myself.
Aesthetically and physically, could I do this? In that darkness, I said, “Screw it. Let’s go. Let’s try this. Let’s test this.” I had everything in my mind keeping me from building a monster. I had every single reason. I had spine surgery, the parents, and the genetics. I had all of these things that had been programmed in my brain for over 40 years. Over those 75 days, I did the most difficult work that I had ever done.
It’s one of the pillars of my life, the real beauty of fitness and the power portion of my Core Four is because it’s me and me alone. No one controls that. There’s no relationship, mom, dad, wife, and no children. No one forces me to put anything in my mouth. I put the food there. I put what’s consumed inside of my mouth. I choose when I sweat, how hard I go, whether I will quit at 8 or 12 reps.
It was such a mental challenge for me and I knew that it had to happen because I was in such a low state and there was no one that could screw with me. There was no one that could throw me off track. It was me versus me alone. I remember vividly, part of the process of 75 Hard was you had to do two workouts a day. You had to do an indoor workout and you had to do a 45-minute outdoor workout.
As a single father who has kids, an ex, businesses and employees, and all of the same things that everybody reading now is saying it up, “I’ve got kids. I have bills. I have responsibilities and all that other crap.” It’s the same thing. I remember vividly those nights when it was 10:00 or 11:00, I was exhausted and I hadn’t done my outdoor workout. This is part of the program, either you agreed to do it all or you didn’t.
I would sit on my couch, have my shoes laced up to go outside to do my 45-minute walk and everything in my mind was telling me, “You need rest. Your body needs rest.” I had heard this from everybody my entire life, “Take it easy. You need a break.” I had all of those things in my brain telling me the same thing that it had been telling me for over 40 years, “You are going too hard. Your body is sore. Take it easy. You don’t need to do this. Go to bed now and you could go twice as hard tomorrow. I will double it up tomorrow.”
I found in those moments was, “What will I do? Where will I go? Who am I more committed to? What am I more committed to? Am I committed to myself to explore something that I had never explored before? Am I willing to go into the deep end of the pool?” Many of those nights I was doing my walk half asleep because I was so bloody exhausted. Some people will chime in on this and say, “That’s not healthy. That’s not this.” I’m over 43 years old and I’m in the best shape of my life. I look better than most twenty-year-olds. I’m not talking about my capacity to lift heavy weights but my aesthetics, how I look, how I feel, and my energy.
There isn’t a single person reading this that doesn’t want to be able to take their shirt off at the beach and say, “I look good.” Not one. That personal journey for me catapulted my life. I exited a relationship that I knew I didn’t want to be in anymore. That was a long-term relationship that was extremely difficult and painful. I made radical changes to my business and my personal life.
In those 75 days, I rewrote the story. That’s my main message to people. It’s knowing that you can rewrite anything, it’s possible for any person reading this now, to build a six-pack. There are no excuses. You can rewrite every story. You have bumps, bruises, you have this, college injuries, you’ve got knee injuries, back injuries, and the entire thing. The physical aspect of your pillars and my pillars are important because it’s the one thing and the one thing alone that you have complete control over.
As a country songwriter, you have inspired a new song. There’s a six-pack in there somewhere.
I don’t care what you have done. I don’t care how bad you are. If you go on my Instagram, you will see that I was shredded. I was 7% body fat. I’ve got shredded out of my mind. That is immediately after spine surgery. That’s seven months. My doctor told me, “You won’t be touching a weight for six months post-spine surgery.” Those pictures of me on social media, I’m in the best shape aesthetically I have ever been in was when I had a six-pack. It was seven months post spine surgery.
You have never made a lion look better. You’ve got a lion’s head tattooed on your chest and there are lions at Hogle Zoo going, “I don’t like where this is going.” Second of the nine categories. You have already alluded to it. Continuous education. Talk to us about your coaching program and why you epitomize, no matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future. You can’t always control what happens but you can always control what happens next. What are you doing to invest in yourself? Take us to the lion’s den.
Explore who you are.
Before I dive into that, I want to post this for people to contemplate. If you look at education and experience, it’s perfect knowledge. We try to avoid touching the hot stove because we know that a child, somebody without education, doesn’t know that the stove is hot but you only have to touch the stove one time to know that it’s hot.
I strongly encourage my clients and people to understand that every single thing that has brought you to this point is perfect knowledge. It doesn’t matter what you did, how much you lost, how much you lied or cheated. You have a perfect knowledge of everything you have experienced now. You and I don’t know what’s going to happen later today, let alone tomorrow, next week, or next month. We think we do. We let the ego tell us, “Here’s what’s going to happen.” The reality is we have no idea. We might be dead by dinner.
First and foremost, people understand. One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas S Monson, who was the Mormon President. He said, “You are who you are today because of the choices and decisions that you made yesterday.” I firmly believe that. For many years, most people and me, we are like, “I’m a piece of crap because I made these bad decisions and I did these things.”
I shifted that. I rewrote the story and realized that I have the marriage that I have now because I had a terrible marriage in my first marriage. I am the father that I am today because I was not the father that I should have been yesterday. I am a specimen of human in physical form because I was not that for 37, 38, 39 years of my life.
Before anybody goes on that journey of re-education of learning, it’s realizing that you are who you are now, a perfect creature. You have perfect knowledge of every single thing that’s come before you. As long as you have learned something, there is no such thing as failure. Failure doesn’t exist. You don’t lose. It’s not possible to lose as long as you learn. Did you learn that the stove was hot? Absolutely. It wasn’t wrong touching the stove because now you have perfect knowledge that the stove is hot. Have you lied? Have you cheated? Awesome. Do you now know what you didn’t know before? Yes.
For me, it’s understanding that we haven’t found the edges of the universe yet. We haven’t found the bottom of the ocean. What do we know? What do you and I truly know? We know what we think we know. We know what years and how many years it’s brought us to but the reality is, the more questions they ask, the more I realize that there are so many more questions to ask. That’s not wrong. That’s not bad.
That’s not weakness. That’s pure strength because knowledge is perfection. What’s beautiful is knowing that, God willing, I’m alive tomorrow, there will be another chapter. There will be more inspiration and revelation. There will be something new. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring but it is going to teach me something.
I have committed myself as someone who lived most of his life not asking any questions. I’m over 43 years old and I ask why more than an eight-year-old. I want to know why. I’m obsessed with why. Why is it that way? Why does it need to be that way? What does that mean? For me, I have found more joy and happiness in constantly searching and looking. It doesn’t mean that you are lost.
It’s constant education and constantly putting things in your brain. People say, “What books should I read?” Read all of them. Read every book under the sun. What are the best books? I don’t know. I love every book that I read. Read everything that you can. Talk to every person that you can. You are in a religious situation, talk to everybody else in every other religion. If you are not in a religious situation, talk to everybody. You are an entrepreneur, talk to all the other entrepreneurs.
It’s so simple but yet it’s so complex for most people. We haven’t found the edges of the universe. I always go back to this, “What do we know?” That’s exciting to me. That might be hard for some people. A lot of people need definity. A lot of people need to know. I need to know this. I need to know that. Do you? Once you plant your flag in something, and say, “This is the only way,” you excluded everything beyond that. To me, that’s sad and demoralizing. I’m in a constant place of thirst.
With my clients, with what I talked about, with what I teach is to ask more questions, read all the books, watch all of the podcasts, listen to what everybody is talking about, and take it in. Does it work with you? Does it not work with you? Does it make you bigger, better, faster, stronger? Great. Does it bring you closer to God? Great. You will know as long as you don’t ask any questions, as long as you are not absorbing and bringing things in.
James Allen wrote the best book ever written, As a Man Thinketh. If I was stranded on an island, I would love to say that it’s a book that I would take with me. I would take As a Man Thinketh. It’s the most powerful book in my opinion that has ever been written. In As a Man Thinketh, he talks about how your mind is a garden. As long as you are putting seeds in there, it’s going to keep growing. I want to have an infinite amount of fruit trees and fruit growing and producing in my brain. If you put nothing in your brain, it will grow noxious weeds. Something will grow.
He talks about in that book to be constantly pruning that garden of the mind and putting things in there. They will grow. They will take root and grow. This will grow and you will go over this way. That will grow and you will go over this way. You would constantly be feasting on knowledge, ideas, experience, and excitement.
You validate what psychologists remind us about us. If any of you who are in the sounds of our voices, have a hard time living in the present, most likely it’s because your presence sucks, so you want to change time zones and live in the past. It’s uncle Rico. I remember when I threw that 40-year-old past in high school. We live in the future, which is way bad. Someday, when I finally do this, then I will be happy. When I finally accomplish this, then I will be happy. You are reminding us to live in the moment to be present now. What else exists? Nothing.
This is something that I dive into that is important. If people are struggling with depression, it’s a 100% guarantee that you are focusing on something from yesterday. If you are depressed, struggling with depression, you are focused on yesterday or on something that hurts your heart, something that’s demoralizing, something that you have no control over. On the flip side of that is you are struggling with anxiety. If you are constantly in this anxious state, this anxiety state, you are focusing on the future. You are focusing on something that you have no control over now.
People say, “It’s my life. What am I supposed to do? Am I not supposed to dream?” You are. At one of my Lions Not Sheep experiences, I had a woman who was in tears and she was sitting on the front row. I stopped and asked her, “What are you emotionally about? What are you sad about?” She said, “I don’t know my purpose.” I said, “What do you think your purpose is?” This has been my quest. As I went through my divorce and my midlife crisis when I wanted to end my life at 31 years old, this has been my quest.
It’s a multibillion-dollar industry. There are infinite amounts of books that have been written, podcasts that have been talked about, about what your purpose is? How do I find my purpose? What’s fascinating is we have a culture where we are so sad that we drug ourselves to not feel sad. We have so much anxiety that we drug ourselves. We take pharmaceuticals, so we don’t feel anything from yesterday or tomorrow.
I asked this lady, “What do you think your purpose is?” She’s like, “I don’t know if it’s to be a mom.” She’s hysterical in tears. She’s truly struggling with what her purpose is? I said, “How far down this rabbit hole do you want to go?” We took this entire group of people in a direction that truly changed my life and change theirs in a radical way.
I posed the question and said, “What if your purpose is not to be a mom? What if your purpose is not to be a wife?” We have this idea where we are constantly struggling with what our purpose is. She looked me in the eyes and said, “What’s your purpose?” I chuckled because I finally figured out my purpose through thousands of hours of exploration, many tears, a lot of strife, and turmoil.
My purpose is to live in a singular moment, and another singular moment because when I find the most peace, I’m present. I’m here now. Tomorrow doesn’t exist. The conversations I’m maybe going to have over dinner are not happening yet. I could put all of the money in the world on this desk now and say, “Change yesterday,” and you can’t. It’s physically impossible for you to change yesterday. What’s the true purpose? My belief in God and being here on this planet is to truly live in a singular moment. We live in moments where we watch sunsets but we are trying to put it on the gram.
We are worried about tomorrow’s brunch reservation while we are trying to watch the sunset or playing with the children while we are trying to close deals at work, and all of these other things that we have never found a way to be present. Yet the most peace that any human being has ever found didn’t happen tomorrow and yesterday.
It’s in a singular moment. What would it look like if our purpose, me, you, the millions of people reading this, the billions of people across the world is to eliminate every single thing besides this singular moment? What if that’s the quest of man? What if the quest of the mind is to become so powerful that the only thing that exists is a singular moment?
You bring to mind the quote, “Today you have never been this old before and now, you will never be young again. Every right now matters.” You remind me of a story, Man has a Dream. The genie appeared to you and said, “You lived a noble life. I will grant you one wish.” The man thinks for a moment he says, “I wish that peace, happiness, and prosperity fill the whole Earth.”
The genie smiles, and he says, “That’s a noble wish but we don’t deal in fruits here. We only deal in seeds.” You are planting the seeds. You are Johnny Appleseed. Now matters. With continuous education, what we learned, ladies and gentlemen, is echoing the famous words of Dr. Jim Rohn, “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.” When you are answering the question about continuous education, you went on for a few minutes to say the world is your library and to enter every day with child-like curiosity and wonderment.
That brings us to a deeper spirituality, the third phase. Albert Einstein says, “I am not an atheist. I approach life in the mindset of a child who walks into a library and immediately acknowledges someone must have written all of these books.” I love that quote. One of the things that intrigued me, and I’m not putting words in your mouth by putting Clark Six into interpretation into the words of your writing. What you teach the world or what you remind us about is that religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell. Spirituality is for those of us who have already been there.
Let’s bring the trifecta to fruition now. You addressed physical fitness, not physical. You address that continuous education is your responsibility to learn now in every right now. In your purpose in life, I will amend what you said because I’m such a fan. It’s to live in each singular moment but for some reason, it’s in the service-before-self mindset that it’s not about you in that singular moment. It’s when you are true to yourself and authentically standing in your personal truth. You know for experience that’s how you preach, teach, help, and serve. That’s how you become the hands of Jesus. Talk to us about that and tie the three together as we move on.
First things first, you talked about the self. We have demonized the word selfishness. You hear the word selfish and you naturally think it’s negative. You naturally think of something that’s not good. You think, “I need to stay away from that. Selfishness is bad.” We have been programmed since we were children that selfishness is bad. I beg to differ.
In fact, I am vehemently the exact opposite of that belief system. I know this because I did both. I lived 30 something years of my life giving and putting everyone, and everything before me, my employees, my family, my children, my wife. So much so it ran me to a place where I wanted to end my life. I did not know who Sean Whalen was. I had never invested in Sean Whalen. I invested in everyone else. I put everyone else before myself.
I found myself in the most depressed state that I have ever been in. When you talk about selfishness, it’s got this negative connotation but the truth of the matter is I am the father that I am now because I put myself first. I am the husband that I am now because I put myself first. I invest in myself more than anything or anyone else. I put myself above anything or anyone else.
That’s a hard statement for people to hear because most of us, me included, were raised the exact opposite. We were programmed and we have this belief system. There are many people who will open up the good book and say, “The Bible says.” I’m fine with that. You can read all the books that you want but the truth of the matter is, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We have a culture and a society of empty cups. We have a lot of people that have poured every single thing that they can out and don’t know how to fill their own cup. We have men that are working twenty-hour days saying, “I’m doing this for my family.” What you are saying is that you are never home with your kids, never coaching their teams, never doing anything.
You are showing your sons and daughters that you are letting life kick all living hell out of you and somehow that’s supposed to be noble because you are sacrificing your own physical, mental health, is that nobility? I completely disagree and do disagree vehemently because I was that guy. I did that. I was that man for many years and ran myself ragged to the point that I did not want to live anymore.
People are terrified of being judged.
My thought process became, “If that’s what this ended up giving me, what would it look like if I put myself first? What would it look like if I invested in myself more than anything else? What would it look like if I cared more about my mind, heart, soul, body than anything else?” That’s what’s allowed me to be the leader, the man, the entrepreneur, and the father that I am. We could go down the rabbit hole for hours on this conversation. That has come because I have truly put myself at the deity’s feet and I truly believe that when you look at the talents, go back to the story of the talents, we talk about wealth.
I share my success and businesses on social media, and people demonize that. You don’t talk about money, millions of dollars or any of these things yet. If you go right back to the Bible, there were a couple of guys who were given some talents, and one of them put it in the ground and the other one didn’t do jack with it. The one dude went out, and double, triple, and quadrupled it. Who is the faithful servant? Who was the one who was poured into? Who was given more? The man who multiplied the talents, the physical talents, the actual tangible money.
My relationship with God is powerful. I can’t prove it. I was born and raised Catholic. I was Catholic for many years. I was an altar boy. I grew up that way. My dad was Catholic and my mom was Mormon. When my parents split up when I was a young kid, we went with mom and joined the Mormon church. We served a Mormon mission, got married in the Mormon temple, and did all that. After my divorce, I went on a journey and wanted to get to know God. I wanted to get to know my relationship and connection to him. I’m far more spiritual than I have ever been in my entire life now. Religion doesn’t fit in that equation for me. I don’t demonize it in any way.
Religion is phenomenal for the people that need it but God wants us to thrive. I believe that with every fiber of my soul. God did not put you here on this rock that’s flying through the cosmos to suffer. He did not put you here to “endure to the end.” Bull crap. You are going to have to beat that out. Whatever you want to do. I don’t want to screw up your show. That is absolute garbage. God put you here to thrive. He puts here to taste, see, touch, experience everything there is to experience. Yet we are so scared to take that journey of selfishness, to put ourselves first.
In my personal opinion, that’s what is fundamentally cancer in our culture and society. We would rather invite people to be beaten and trodden down with all of us than live in this low level versus raising the vibration and say, “I want to experience it all. I want to touch it all. I want to see it all. I want to show my kids.” Something that I talked about frequently with Lions Not Sheep is as a father, I don’t want to tell my kids how to live a life. I want to show them. I don’t want to tell my children how to live dreams. I want them to see their father living his dreams.
I don’t want to tell my kids to go out and build a big business, live their lives to become entrepreneurial, give to charity, and all that. I want them to watch me doing it, so it means I have to do it. I must step up. I must create the life that I want and live my dreams so then my children can do it. This isn’t airy-fairy hocus pocus. I grew up in a single-parent home. There’s no silver spoon around my mouth. I built this. I went down into hell to figure out what the light looks like. I have had to spend time in that darkness to truly appreciate the light.
I had the lie most of my life to understand how powerful, liberating, and freeing the truth is. Jordan Peterson talks about this frequently, “The greatest remedy for every ailment on Earth is truth. The single greatest remedy for every ailment that you have, personally, emotionally, physically, psychologically is truth.” What I have found is that what brought me closer to deity, connection with God, the universe, and this hunger, thirst for true life is truth.
It’s because I’m the quote guy, you reminded me and what you taught me is that if you spend your whole day wondering, whether or not your glass is half empty or half full, you have missed the point. It’s refillable.
Drink it. Who cares if it’s half empty or half full? Drink the whole thing and fill it back up.
Thinking positively or negatively doesn’t fill up the glass. The pouring does. It’s easier to act your way into positive thinking than it is to think your way into positive action. For those of you who are devout religionists and subscribe to a religious tradition, may I remind you of what I heard Sean Whalen teach us? Truth is truth where it’s found on Christian, Jewish, Islam or heathen ground. If we can be disciples of truth, you will find truth in every religious tradition, at least a little bit. You will find truth in every philosopher. You will find truth in every part of your life if you are seeking truth and not worrying about what is labeled as. Is that what you taught me?
I heard this quote years ago. It took me hearing it a handful of times before I truly understood it, and realized the power of it. The quote is, “Live your life, so those that know you but don’t know Christ, want to know Christ because they know you.” That changed me because I didn’t understand. I was a Mormon missionary. I understand going out preaching and teaching, “This is what we believe. This is what will get you to heaven.” I understood all that.
I participate in that reality. Specifically, over the last couple of years, I found that when I sit with a human being when we are sitting, whether we are talking over a desk on a podcast or whether I’m standing in front of 5,000 people, I want to radiate what I am and I can’t make that up. You can’t fake that funk. If you are not a good person, you could speak all the preachy words and the good things but that doesn’t resonate. I have chosen to live my life completely open. This is a scary thing for a lot of people and truthfully, this was scary for me.
One of the reasons that I went this route in exposing my testimony and talking about the things that we don’t typically talk about like sex, money, politics, religion, divorce, depression, suicide, all these taboo topics that no one wants to address or talk about because it’s not socially acceptable. I found the most freedom and inspiration in talking about these things because this is what my life is. This is what I’m experiencing every single day. Why would I talk about anything else?
I went down that path and truly opened up. I started having a deeper conversation about God and faith. I found more comfort in telling people. “I don’t know,” because I truly didn’t know other than trying to flex the “alpha” and pretend that I knew everything. I started showing up in a conversation saying, “I have no clue what we are talking about here but this is fascinating to me. Let’s keep going.” That’s power to me.
You asked the question at the beginning of, “How, when somebody comes up and they meet me?” I pray that when people meet me, they have something inside of them go, “What was that?” I don’t know what it was. Maybe it pissed me off a little bit. Maybe it excites me a little bit. Maybe it causes me to question a little bit. I’m not sure but I like it. I want more of it because I truly believe that there’s that spark inside of us.
We want more. Everyone wants more. We want deeper. We want deeper love. Everyone wants more money, freedom. If you say you don’t, you are flat out lying. As I live my life, I want it to be so radically open that I can talk about Jesus, my belief in Christ, my connection to divinity, the miracles that I have seen, and the things that are constantly happening in my life to where this is my reality. This is my truth.
You give us permission to ask the same questions and be as vulnerable. When you made a comment, one of your counterparts seems to validate that there’s no one more self-righteous than the newly converted. We won’t talk about names. In that same week, when you came out from behind the curtain as the true Wizard of Oz, you quantified the solution and that is you spent two years telling people to ask God themselves. They don’t believe you but to go and ask God if there’s a God, that deeply moved me. You have the answer, to help people find God, define their relationship with Him, and live in their truth. Thank you for that. You touched millions of lives and I want you to know that.
Something that I found on my mission is in one of my favorite scriptures, James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.” Here I was as a Mormon missionary going door-to-door preaching this word and sharing my testimony. Here I am now doing the same thing.
A couple of years ago, they were writing with feathers on scrolls, and now I type words on a computer screen. The reality is if you want to know about a Porsche, you don’t go ask a Ferrari guy. If you want to know about a Ford, you don’t go talk to a GMC guy. If you want to know about God, you can ask me, you, your bishop, your ecclesiastical leaders, your minister or your preachers but why wouldn’t you ask? The reality is the scripture says, “Ask and it’s not going to shove you up.” It’s so simple, yet we have created so much dogma around it and that’s the journey that I’m on now. It’s conversational. This little conversation daily with God.
James 1:5 didn’t say, “If one of you lacked information or knowledge instead of if any of you lack wisdom.” Wisdom is applied.
I have definitive wisdom that if I touch that stove, it will burn my hand. That’s the beauty of life.
There are nine aspects and we are through with three. The cool thing about this, ladies and gentlemen, is that you tie and link each one to the next, so they are not mutually exclusive. They are simultaneous events, in balancing our lives and becoming the best version of ourselves. To use my coined phrase, when they meet and leave you, they say, “I like me best when I’m with you. I want to see you again.” I’ve got to go and ponder this. I’ve got to figure out if he pissed me off or if he enlightened me to ask better questions. Whatever happened then, I’m glad I met, followed, and read Sean Whalen. What an honor to participate.
In the nine aspects, emotional is the number four but we don’t need to talk about that because you keep inculcating that in every discussion. The fifth one is financial. Talk to us about your financial gains in your core four when someone comes in. Define the core four by title, by category, and let’s get into the financial.
I learned core four from one of my original coaches. It’s Power, Passion, Purpose, and Production. They are the Four Pillars. Every single thing happening in life falls into one of those four categories but every single investment that I’m making falls into 1 of those 4 categories. Power is the body, passion, relationships, not intimate, but every relationship and interaction with human beings. The purpose is the mindset and the spirituality, and production is the money. Everything happening in my life 24/7, 365 falls into 1 of those 4 categories.
If they sign up for The Lions Den for coaching, you have group coaching calls and Zoom, but you also have a live event that so far you have held in Utah, and perhaps you will take it to other parts of the world. In that experience, you have covered the four Ps, the core four.
Right before we came here to do this, I was on my coaching call. We’ve got 2,200 members around the world and this call was on purpose. On the first Wednesday of the month, it’s power, the second Wednesday of the month, passion. The third Wednesday of the month is on purpose. Fourth, it’s production. We are coaching and teaching each of these principles.
I shared a meditation that was powerful for me. It’s this meditation that I have been doing for a handful of years. That’s truly helped me change my life. I have severe ADHD. I’m chasing squirrels 24/7, 365, so the mindset and the control of the mind is a major thing that I’m constantly investing in. I’m looking at my own mind, so I found this meditation. I help guide the group through this meditation. We were on the call, did this meditation, and got back on the call. It was one of those experiences.
I’ve got people in there who are making $40,000 or $100 million a year. We have school teachers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, gardeners, and auto mechanics inside of this group. My entire philosophy is around, whether you are an auto mechanic or a lawyer, your mind is still the same. We are still after the same basic needs.
We still want control of it. When we are angry, we still want to be able to not be angry. When we are sad and not be sad, we still have the same basic needs, whether we are rich or poor. My whole philosophy around teaching core four, power, passion, purpose, and production is investing in every single one of those areas every single day.
If you want a great relationship, it’s not throwing a Hail Mary every ten years and taking a trip to Costa Rica. It’s small little investments with your lover every single day like notes on the mirror, sending text messages, kind words snuggling, and hugging. These are the small daily investments. If you want to build a big business and make a ton of money, it’s not going to happen by trying to exit one company one time but it’s getting small singles every single day. It’s building and investing every single day. In a nutshell, that’s what core four is but the financial is without question a big part of it.
To tie that into living in every singular moment with the spiritual connotations is when we went there. You reminded us that faith without works is not faith at all. I loved how you change hope to pray because French philosopher Pascal says, “Too many are living their lives hoping to be happy but because they only hope they never are.” If you are waiting for somebody to ask them to the senior prom, and they have never even taken the time to learn how to dance.
We hope we will become wealthy. We hope we will live in abundance. We hope one day that we will win the lottery. All the while, those small little nuggets that you could be picking up and learning to make yourself more valuable to truly increase again. I go back to the talents. It’s Biblical. We can fight it and say, “Money is this and money is that,” but it is absolutely biblical. In my book, a lot of people got offended by it because they flat out said, “There’s no nobility in being poor. There’s no nobility in being broke.”
You are who you are today because of the choices and decisions that you made yesterday.
I believe in everybody, no matter who you are, where you are Black, White, red, green, gay, straight. We all want to help people. We all want to be someone that can brighten somebody else’s day, lift them up, and at the end of the day, if you are poor, you can’t help the poor. If you are broke, you can’t help the broke. If you are needy, you can’t help the needy. One of the pillars of mine, which I know is yours as well as the financial abundance.
Every single day I am building value and building businesses that truly allow me to live an incredible lifestyle but it also allows me to change the world around me and change human beings’ lives. It allows me to do things that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do and experience things with other people. It allows me to show my children and other people’s children what’s possible. Every single day I’m investing not only my time and my energy but my money in the same way the talents are multiplying and increasing them. That’s something I’m incredibly passionate about. It’s a difficult conversation for a lot of people but it’s needed.
The nine categories are physical fitness, continuous education, deeper spirituality, emotional stability, financial literacy, social networking, family togetherness, fun and recreation, and charitable giving. instead of us belaboring the rest of the nine, I want to put you on the hot seat and ask for your nugget of wisdom. Be the counselor now.
Put the coaching hat on and let me ask you for your best wisdom. Let’s go to fun and recreation. You personally sponsor and/or the driver of the Baja team. I raced motocross for three and a half years. I was an intermountain champion. Racing in the desert scared the complete schmoly out of me because I knew where I was going on a track, when I could get there and when I was going to go. When you are in the unknown, your last post showed.
It didn’t work out so good.
The greatest all-time Sean Whalen post was the picture of your race car.
It was demolished.
I’m like, “What did you hit? You tumbled.” You are standing there with your video camera on, your hair is all messed up, and you are like, “No big deal. We are going to fix this. I’m going to race tomorrow.” Most people would say, “Wow.” As professional speakers, we both know that if people leave the audience impressed with us, we blew it. If they leave impressed with themselves, we know we did the job.
We have answered, “Can I do it too with my weaknesses, limitations, past, and strengths?” One bit of nugget wisdom. What was your mindset? What allowed you to climb out of that tumbled, destroyed more than a dune buggy race car, dirt race car, and click on like, “No big deal. Get back up and go again?”
I was in the middle of the desert with one of my closest friends doing 65 miles an hour in god-awful terrain in the freest most beautiful country on the planet with my friends and family close by. What could I not be grateful for? What would I not be grateful for? I’m living my dream. I’m driving a heavily modified Polaris RZR through the desert at extreme speeds with my friend right next to me. We are having the grandest of times. What is there to be upset about?
Years ago, that would have sent me off my rocker because I would have talked about the money and looked at the things and would have been mad. Of course, I was frustrated that I crashed but I instantly realized the mistake that I made and what I did wrong. It was one of those things where I now have the lesson but I’ve got out of that. I looked at my buddy and was like, “That was one hell of a ride.” At the time, my buddy who was with me in the car was a Navy SEAL. I’m like, “You have probably had experiences like this where you have rolled stuff over but you are getting shot at, bombs going, and people trying to kill you.” He’s like, “Yes.” I was like, “This probably wasn’t that bad.”
Think about it for a second. We have the ability, you, me, every human being reading this. You won the lottery. I don’t care where you are, financially. I don’t care what pain you are living in. I don’t care what type of remorse you have in your heart and soul, and how heavy it is. You woke up. At the end of the day, there was some guy who went to bed last night who had plans for today. He had plans to go see his daughter at school or take his son out on guys’ night and he didn’t wake up. He didn’t kill himself. He didn’t OD-ed. It was his time to go and he had plans for today.
This is what I repeat to myself every single day. This is what I think about every single day. If this was my last conversation with you, what would it be? Would I leave here going, “I wish I told him this or I wish I said that?” No. If this was the last time with my lover, the last kiss, hug, race, the last time with my son, my daughter, my wife or on stage, what would I say? What would I do? The truth is, tomorrow doesn’t exist. There are no more races. I have a schedule of races. I have a schedule of things that I’m anticipating doing in the future. If this was the only race, what would I do? I live my life that way. I send it.
I was driving as hard and as fast as I could and it bit me. At the end of the day, what bit me? I wrecked my car. Fix it and race again. My entire philosophy around life is understanding that what seems to be monumentally painful, big, hard, expensive, is a blip in the grand scheme of things. All of the pain that any person reading this has ever experienced didn’t kill you. Guess why you are here. All of the things that you thought would bury you, the amount of depth, pain and everything, you are still here. It didn’t kill you.
That wreck didn’t kill me. I don’t pray that one does. I am going to drive that damn car as fast as I humanly can and have more freaking fun than I know what to do with every day of my life. As long as God gives me a day, I’m going to do it. As long as he gives me breath, I’m going to speak it. As long as I’ve got eyeballs, I want to see it all.
That entire reality is I’ve got out of the car, looked at it, and was like, “We are not going to go anywhere on this thing.” I laughed. I looked at my buddy and was like, “That was one hell of a ride.” We are both two grown men, big dudes squeezed together in this little RZR laughing hysterically because we are like, “That was so damn fun.”
My encouragement for people is to understand that you might not have tomorrow. If you didn’t have tomorrow, what would you do today? I was in Baja not too long ago racing with my son and that’s how I’ve got into off-road racing. One of my extremely wealthy friends said, “You should come down to Mexico with me and teach me social media. I will fly down there and come hang out.” We flew down on his $40 million private jet. I had no experience of off-road racing. I had never raced off-road. I didn’t grow up around dirt bikes or grew up in the city.
I watched him cross the finish line in his trophy truck, and then go back out onto the racecourse and get into an RZR and finish the Baja 1000 with his son who was fifteen at the time. I watched him at the finish line, I’ve got super emotional. I was like, “This is what I want to do. This is life. This is the game.” I FaceTimed my son who was ten at the time and said, “Do you want to do this?” He said to me, “Hell yes, dad.”
I came home and I knew nothing about it. I called a couple of friends and I said, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” They pointed me in the right direction. I bought a race truck. I gave my son my word, “You will be my co-driver in every single race that we have.” Naturally, my friend was in the car because this is a twelve-hour race and my son can’t hang out the entire time. He gets in and the people get into stuff like that. My son has raced the Baja 500 and raced the Baja 1000 multiple times.
There was a man who came up to me at the last time we raced. My son was in the truck and we were driving through the contingency thing and they do the interviews. He looked at me and introduced himself. He said, “I have been following your social media for a long time. You must be Will. Look at my son.” I shook his hand.
He looked at me he’s like, “This is the dream. I wanted to do this. This has been on my bucket list for many years.” I looked at him and said, “Why don’t you race?” He’s like, “I’ve got kids in college and I have these things.” All of the same things that everybody would say, “I’ve got bills to pay.” Newsflash, I’ve got bills to pay. I have kids, I’ve got five of them. I’ve got 2 stepkids and 3 biological kids. I’ve got dogs, bills, companies, and employees.
I looked at him and said, “I can introduce you to a company here that’s in Mexico. They will set you up with the helmet, the race suit, the buggy, the support, the gas, the team, and the entire thing. It costs you $15,000 to race the Baja 1000.” I flat out looked at this man who I met two minutes earlier and I said, “Would you even notice if you had $15,000 less in your retirement account, your 401(k), your IRA, or anything like that?”
He flat-out looked at me and said, “No.” I said, “That’s the difference between me and you. I’m not guaranteed another Baja 1000, which is why I’m down here with my son. I’m not guaranteed another race, which is why I’m racing. I don’t know if I have tomorrow, which is why I’m going to live the hell out of now.”
I had a buddy like you in college who drank so much. When he dies, if we cremate his body, we will never get the flame to go out. We both know and people who read, drinking is bad for you so they stop reading. You are the one that pulls our blinders off and says, “No read and study. Don’t believe everything that you think. Change your paradigm. Change your life. We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
If you and I are in this studio looking out a window at the same brutal snowstorm that we experienced and someone says, “What a horrible day.” You say, “What a wonderful day.” The weather does not change. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Sean Whalen. We could go on and on. I will have him back again by popular demand. I can’t think of a better way to conclude our conversation and how you bring it down to that level about, “Today matters.”
I will give you the final say. Teach us how we can get ahold of you, how we can join The Lions Den, how we can access your amazing gear and lifestyle. We win by association. Whoever wins the Super Bowl, that particular team’s gear, hats, and shirts go up over 70% in retail sales because we think we win through an association. I am a Dallas Cowboy fan and you have never watched them once in your life and now they are Super Bowl champions.
Lions Not Sheep is a brand and identification. It’s like, “This is who I am, unafraid to live and unafraid to ask questions.” What’s your closing comment to our people? Remember that the theme of this show is Power Players on purpose. You have epitomized every part of what it takes to unleash your personal power and I thank you for that. What’s your closing comment?
First of all, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. I always love chatting with you. I was asked a question years ago that was at the forefront and beginning of this journey that I have been on. I have asked millionaires and billionaires this question. I have asked thousands of people. I have asked people one-on-one. I have asked people from the stage, in front of thousands of people. It’s one of the most difficult questions for a human being to answer. The question is, “What do you want?”
Naturally, I popped off the ego, “I want to be happy. I want abundance for my family. I want to have more time.” I want to have all of these rudimentary answers. I will never forget that because I realized that I was full of crap. I realized that as an “alpha,” as a business owner, as a leader, as a self-made multimillionaire, I was supposed to have these answers, I was supposed to know. Since I was asked that question, I have been on this quest. I asked myself that question 100 times a day, “What do you want?”
I posed that question simply because it changed my life. I spent most of my life answering that question with other people’s answers. I spent most of my life answering that question with what I was told is normal. I spent most of my life answering that question with what was politically, socially or morally correct. When I was asked that question, I know without any reservation that God was asking me that question. It took me almost two years to answer that question truthfully. I have been on a ruthless journey for the years since to continue to dive deeper and deeper into that question.
I posed that question not only to you but to everybody reading. “What do you truly want? What burns inside of you?” It’s not mom or dad. It’s not my friends, my peer group, my work, my church. What do you want? As a student of History, I love reading and seeing what men did before me. I have read the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, the Steve Jobs, the Steve Coveys, and the moguls of the world.
I have read all of their works. I have read all of their biographies. All of them say the same thing at the end of their book. They talked chapter to chapter about building these empires, changing the world, coaching heads of state, and these different things. Every one of these people says the same thing at the end of the book.
So long as you’ve learned something, there is no such thing as failure.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I want to spend more time doing the things I wanted to do. I want to spend more time with my family without fail. On his deathbed, Steve Jobs said, “I’m worth $7 billion and I can’t buy back yesterday. I’m worth $7 billion and I can’t buy my health.” My entire life revolves around answering that question, “What do you want?” Also, becoming brutally honest and raw with the truth, and not attaching any relevancy to anyone else.
This is what I want. I’m living Sean Whelan’s life. I’m here for me. I didn’t put me here for you or anybody else. God put me here for me to live my life. My entire quest is to answer that question time and time again every single day, radically truthfully, honestly. If that offends you, so be it. If it means you don’t want to be around, so be it. If it means I lose people, money, jobs, whatever, so be it. It’s, “What the hell I want?”
I challenge everyone reading this to write that on their bathroom mirror, put an alarm on their phone, and have it alert you every single day. Put a repeat on it every single day with that simple question, “What do you want?” It might take you a while to answer that question. You might find yourself saying, “I don’t know.”
One of the most powerful experiences that I have had in business over the last couple of years was sitting knee-to-knee with a billionaire and asking him that question and him saying, “I don’t know.” That’s honesty. That’s the truth. The beauty of that is, now you get to go on a journey. You get to explore. You get to ask questions. You get to try things out. My final statement and thought would be to answer that question, and then ask yourself that question as many times as humanly possible. “What do you want?”
In that process, you will become a lion and not a sheep. My guest has been Sean Whalen. I challenge you to follow him and subscribe to everything he’s about. Buy his gear and lifestyle clothing line. Join The Lions Den coaching program. It has been an honor to have you in the program. We connect at so many different levels. This will clearly be one of the best episodes I have ever had.
It would be the best one that you and I have ever done.
Until again, we sign off. Lions Not Sheep. I love you. God bless you.
- Lions Not Sheep
- The Lions Den
- The Dark Side of Light Chasers
- 75 Hard
- As a Man Thinketh
- Instagram – Sean Whalen
About Sean Whalen
He is also the author of the Amazon bestseller, How To Make Shit Happen, which has sold over 425,000 copies. He also coaches other male and female entrepreneurs on scaling their businesses AND their home lives. Whalen is also the founder and CEO of the clothing line, Lions Not Sheep.