Listen to my latest podcast episode:

TMHS 769: The Surprising Truth About Menopause & Lifestyle Changes for Menopause Symptoms – with Dr. Lisa Mosconi

TMHS 666: Let Go Of What’s Holding You Back & Design Your Dream Life TODAY – With Lewis Howes

Every single person on this planet possesses unique gifts, talents, and unlimited potential. But sometimes our circumstances, our past, and our mindset can hold us back from tapping into our greatness. On today’s show, you’re going to learn exactly how to overcome the mindset blocks that are preventing you from living your best life.

Lewis Howes is a New York Times bestselling author, engaging podcast host, and entrepreneur. Today, he’s back on The Model Health Show to share powerful insights from his new book, The Greatness Mindset. You’ll learn about creating a meaningful mission, how to reframe your traumas, and how to define and find your own version of greatness.

This episode contains empowering conversations on overcoming the obstacles and fears that hold you back, how to make decisions that are in alignment with your purpose, and how we can all learn to love and accept ourselves. Lewis’ story of healing his past and finding success is incredibly inspiring. I hope you enjoy this interview with the one and only, Lewis Howes!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • How automation works in the brain.
  • The difference between success and greatness.
  • Why having a meaningful mission is so powerful.
  • The three P’s you can combine to create your meaningful mission.
  • How the fear of failure can hold you back.
  • Three main fears that can cause self-doubt.
  • Why failure is part of the process of success.
  • The importance of building the right mindset around success.
  • How the fear of judgement can drive you toward people-pleasing behaviors.
  • The power of changing the meaning of your past traumas.
  • What victim consciousness is.
  • How choosing forgiveness can allow you to heal.
  • Why trauma perpetuates trauma.
  • How to define your greatness goals.

Items mentioned in this episode include:

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


SHAWN STEVENSON: Welcome to the Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. What if comfort was the killer of your success? Humans are comfort-seeking creatures, and it's something that is deeply embedded into our DNA. We're always looking for ways to optimize and to automate things. It's really how the human brain is wired up. It's always looking to automate behaviors. And so, as we do a certain thing again and again, we're laying down more myelin and that connection, those nerves firing so it just becomes automatic. Think about when you first learn to drive and it's so much to take in. You're worried about this, where your feet go, your hands go, all the stuff. You're hyper-sensitized to the environment. Over the course of many years, before you know it, you can eat a burger and talk on the phone. You shouldn't be doing any of this stuff by the way, okay? This is not a sign-off on doing this behavior, but you can do so much because your brain has automated the process of driving and the awareness of your environment, so much of it.


And this is happening all the time. Our brains are always finding ways to automate, to minimize our potential output of energy so we can do more stuff. Now, here's the rub, because we're always seeking comfort, it can limit us as to what we can achieve, and for many of us today, we start to shy away from problems, we start to shy away from that process of learning how to drive metaphorically in a new thing, in a new area of life. We become not content, but complacent. And so, today's episode, we're really going to look at the mindset of greatness, we're really going to look into our own psychology and start to unpack and rewire things so that we can start to make choices that stretch us, yes, but also create the results and the life that we truly want to have. Because in order for us to have the happiness, the health, the success, the relationships that we truly want to have, we are going to have to become someone else. No, not someone else, but more of our true selves. And that is the mission today, that's the mandate, and we have the very best person to help us to deconstruct this mindset, to give us the greatness mindset, so that we can live life on our terms.


Now a really interesting story about our special guest today, he and I have so many different intersecting places. His show, his podcast, one of the top podcasts in the world, has been around about 10 years, and I'm inching closer to our 10th-year anniversary as well. His third book is now being released, and my third book is on the way very soon. Shh, don't tell anybody. It's going to be really, really special. He's from the Midwest, I'm from the Midwest. He actually went to school in my city in St. Louis for a nice chunk of time, but originally, he's from Ohio, but we're Midwest connect. And where we actually met, we met face-to-face, was at this incredible gym opening in Austin, Texas of all places. And it was the grand opening of Onnit Gym. Onnit is well noted for their incredible nutrition and human performance supplements, but they also have one of the very best gyms in the world. Their facility is just out of this world. If you're ever in Austin, I highly encourage you dropping by Onnit HQ. And so, he and I met there, and it was just like bond at first connect. I'm not going to say it's a bromance, but we definitely linked up and we've spent a lot of time over the years having incredible conversations, competing against each other. He's a very competitive person, and I'm not going to say that I'm not.


And just really admiring and getting to know each other and seeing each other, rooting each other on along our journeys. But I'm so grateful for Onnit creating that space and that opportunity for our worlds to collide. And by the way, if you're like, "What is Onnit? Who is Onnit?" These human performance supplements, well Onnit, is one of the few organizations that actually invest in peer-review trials to prove the efficacy of their supplements. As a matter of fact, their pre-workout supplement is based on earth-grown nutrients, and one of the primary things in their formula is Cordyceps medicinal mushroom. And their product, Shroom TECH Sport was a subject of a double-blind placebo-controlled 12-week clinical trial performed at Florida State University utilizing collegiate age men. And the results of the trial show statistically significant improvements in performance as following, number one, they found that the use of Shroom TECH Sport led to an increase in bench press reps by 12% versus a placebo. Remarkable. They also found that the test subjects had an increase in combined bench press and back squat reps, talking about supersets here, by 7%. They also found an increase in cardiovascular performance of 8.8%. Alright. Again, this is all versus a placebo. Notably better performance and what's that going to equate to?


Notably better results. I love Onnit's fitness equipment as well. We have so many of their pieces at our house, and I've just been picking up pieces along the way, and I've got their Primal Kettlebells. They look so cool. I utilize those every week. I've got steel clubs and maces; I've got their battle rope as well. It's usually out of stock, the battle rope. People absolutely love it. It's a big boy. I've got the big red. But right now, you can get access to their incredible performance supplements, their remarkable fitness equipment, all for 10% off. Go to That's for 10% off storewide at Onnit. Alright. This is exclusive with the Model Health Show. Alright. So, off their fitness equipment and their human performance supplements, so check them out, And on that note, let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.


ITUNES REVIEW: Another five-star review titled “Informative” by DB1N. “Such an easy to comprehend and interesting show. I love how every bit of the show, even the ads, are designed to teach about being one's healthiest self. I'm an undergraduate student studying dietetics, and these episodes help expand the concepts I'm learning in school. Thank you to everyone that goes into making these. Y'all are inspirational.”


SHAWN STEVENSON: Amazing. Thank you so much for leaving that review over on Apple Podcast, and I'm so grateful to have you working in this field. The world needs you very, very much right now, so thank you so much for sharing that and being a part of this mission. And on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day. Lewis Howes is a New York Times best-selling author, keynote speaker and industry leading podcast host. He's also a two-sport All-American athlete, former professional football player, and member of the USA Men's National Handball Team. His show, The School of Greatness is one of the top podcasts in the world with over 500 million downloads. He's also recognized by the White House and President Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country under 30, so he's been in the game doing this for quite some time. Right now, he's knocking on the door of his 40th birthday and also 10 years of podcasting, and this conversation is incredibly powerful. Let's dive into this interview with the amazing Lewis Howes. Alright. Got my brother here in the studio, Midwest kid.


LEWIS HOWES: Let's go.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Good to see you, man.


LEWIS HOWES: Good to see you, brother. Thanks for having me.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course, my pleasure. And for people that can see us on the YouTube version, check out his shoes. Fantastic.


LEWIS HOWES: Shout out to Martha for getting them for me.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yes. And we're going to talk about love, we're going to talk about relationships, we're going to talk about Martha, because in your book, in your latest book, you actually opened up and shared some of your experience from your past relationships, and it was really refreshing to see because I know you in those moments and I felt like you were different, and it's just like I got to really see behind the scenes. And I'm loving your book so much and I'm so happy and grateful for you, man.


LEWIS HOWES: Thank you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: In the book, you talk about how so many amazing people out there are living lives they're unhappy with because they're living by default, not by design. Let's talk about that.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, man. For me, I wanted to find out... This is the 10-year anniversary of The School of Greatness podcast last week. And so, 10 years ago, I was on a journey of trying to figure out how to find more joy and meaning inside of me, because I was accomplishing a lot of success externally from sports to business, money, all these different things, accolades, but it wasn't giving me the feeling I wanted. And for years, I was driven to succeed, I was driven to win, to win at all costs, to do whatever it took, to work hard. So, I was never afraid of taking action in order to get results, but I realized that success was not enough, success was more selfish, and I was trying to figure out what is greatness versus success. Success was about going after your goals and dreams and accomplishing them for you, but it's never enough, it's never fulfilling enough or has enough meaning behind that. And greatness is about going after your goals and dreams, but lifting others up in the process, being of service and impacting people around you in a positive way in the pursuit of your goals and dreams, but success alone by itself is a selfish endeavor, and I realized I had it all wrong.


So, I've been on a 10-year journey of unwinding and rediscovering my authentic, higher self, what I and I believe we're all truly here to do, which is to live in harmony, in alignment with our higher self. And I got off track early on based on different wounds, based on different events that caused me to feel triggered. It's like things would happen and there was an open wound, a sore, pain, and it's like I never mended those moments, I never created meaning of healing from those wounds that were opened from different stages of life. So, every time something would happen in life, it's like I was poking and digging in these wounds, and therefore I was trying to feel better about myself by masking it as opposed to mending it, as opposed to healing it. I was trying to drive for success to make me feel better based on these wounds as opposed to again, creating new meaning behind the pain, forgiving, letting go, addressing the shame, the guilty, the security, all of it, so that I could create from a space of service as opposed to selfishness. And so that's been the journey of creating and developing the greatness mindset. This is the book I wish I had 10 years ago when I was stuck, trying to figure things out.


This is what I wish I had when I was 15, 21 struggling at different seasons of life, and it's the book that I'm glad that I have now, and that I'll have in the future for myself as I evolve into different seasons of life as well. And so, I wanted to create a simple game plan, a simple roadmap backed by research and science like what you do for anyone to understand how to get unstuck in any season.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. I love it so much. And throughout the book, the thing is, you couldn't have written this book 10 years ago...


LEWIS HOWES: I couldn't.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Because what's sprinkled throughout this book is the wisdom of all of the interactions that you've had the past 10 years and interviewing the most remarkable minds and their wisdom is sprinkled throughout, and so it's so refreshing. This is a book we can go back to and read parts of it over and over again. And so really, this got me thinking about, as I kick this episode off with asking this question, we truly are... And you had a phase of your life where you were living by default, but then you consciously created, you consciously designed your life. And I don't think a lot of us realize that we have that power.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, and I think when we're not clear on a meaningful mission... I start of the book with getting clear on your meaningful mission. When we're not clear on that, then we are more reactive as opposed to designing, like you said. When I think about our military, leaving the military are men and women who leave the military and go on into being civilians again, they don't have a clear mission right away, unless they have some program or a clear game plan of what they're going to do after the military. And you see them struggling, the ones without clear mission, creating a new identity, designing their life after that meaningful mission. And I think that happens for a lot of us when we're in transition, when we're just trying to figure out why are we here, what's the purpose of our life, what's the meaning of my existence? It's a question I think we all have as early on as kids. And if we don't discover or create that or design it like you said for ourselves, that meaning, it's just going to be a lot harder to experience day-to-day life. And so, for me, it's figuring out how do we discover and develop that meaning and then be in alignment with the decisions daily towards that mission on a consistent basis, but step one, you got to get clear on your meaningful mission. Without it, it's going to be confusing.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. You just mentioned folks coming back from being in the service. They disproportionately make up a significant percentage of homeless population as well as folks who are dealing with mental health issues, and this is largely so overlooked in our society today, and like you just said, really amazing people who are driven to do something great are then suddenly... It's like ripping a Band-Aid off or detaching from a part of yourself. If you're not pointed directly at something, you're going to struggle to find that meaning. And so, let's talk more about that, that meaning mindset, or the greatness mindset in that meaningful mission.


LEWIS HOWES: Well, I think in order to discover what your mission is... And there's different seasons. Just like an athlete, we have different seasons in sports, and at the end of every season is a time to reflect. You see Tom Brady just finally retiring for the second time, but the season ended, and he had a couple of weeks to sit and think and reflect, "Do I want to play again? Do I want to continue on this mission?" And he's decided, no, he doesn't. He's done everything with this season of life, this mission of being an athlete, playing in the NFL. And we need those moments to reflect on do we want to keep going? I remember when I was in St. Louis, I was playing four sports at Principia High School. In my junior year, going into my senior year, I had to make a decision, do I want to keep playing baseball?


It just felt like a grind, my junior year. It wasn't as fun. And so, I had a reflection moment. I was like, "I don't think I want to do this. I just want to focus on track," and I stopped. I had a moment to reflect. I stopped doing that mission and I went into a different mission. When I was done playing pro football, I was on my sister's couch for a year and a half. I had to realize that my identity had to die from an old season of life. I was no longer able to play football based on this injury. It's really hard to accept that old identity is no longer going to be part of your new identity, so I had to go through a phase of acceptance, which was painful, ripping off the Band-Aid and being in that phase, that season, but in that reflection, I got to say, "Okay, what is my new identity? What is my new mission I want to create?" I have no clue.


And there's really three ways of discovering what that mission is, the three Ps. The first one is passion. And for me, that's what am I interested in and curious about, the things I'm excited about, curious about leaning into and exploring, so the first one is the passion. The second one is what is my power, the things that I have some type of talent or assets around, or even invisible assets. I didn't know that having a second grade reading level in eighth grade, feeling insecure most of my school days, being in special needs classes and not knowing the answers to things was a superpower. I thought it was something that was making me powerless, it's what it made me feel like, but it was actually a superpower in the fact of now that I have this podcast, I ask questions that I'm curious about 'cause I don't have the answers, and so I lean into that thing that made me feel powerless as a superpower now. So, what are the invisible assets that maybe you don't think are something you can lean into, those talents that can really be powerful?


Never did I think that that invisible skill would turn into an eight-figure business impacting the people that we're able to impact with our show and books and everything else. So, it's figuring out what are my powers, my talents, my gifts, and also making a list of all your fears and insecurities, the things that make you feel powerless and starting to go all in on those fears. Public speaking was a big fear of mine. It held me back in a big way, so every week for a year, I went all in on practicing public speaking and joining a club to help me with public speaking. So, the thing that was a fear now becomes another superpower, another skill set, another tool in my tool belt of confidence. And when we overcome our fears and insecurities like that to where they're no longer holding us back, it makes us even more powerful, and it makes us even more capable of moving forward. So, the second P is the power, and the third P is finding a problem you want to solve. And when you can marry those three Ps into creating a meaningful mission, it just makes life much more in alignment with who you are, with what you're supposed to do for this season of life.


I'll give you an example. The first episode I ever did on The School of Greatness was with Robert Greene. I don't know if you've interviewed Robert.


SHAWN STEVENSON: I haven’t. I know who he is though.


LEWIS HOWES: And he is multiple New York Times best-selling author, and... I don't know, sold millions of copies of books. Wrote a book called "The 48 Laws of Power." He knew his passion. He was curious about books, he was curious about reading, he was curious about writing, he loved literature, things like that, and he knew his power. Well, he was a good writer. So he tried first newspaper writing. "I'm going to go write for a newspaper." He didn't like that. But he leaned into the curiosity of, "Well, I like writing and maybe I'll do newspapers." He did that for a while. That didn't work out. Then he said, "Let me try magazines." And he was still writing using his gifts, his power of writing through magazines. Didn't work out after a while. Then he's tried script writing in movies and didn't like that. Then he tried to write novels. Didn't like that. Then he tried TV script writing, so he did movies and TV. Didn't like working with people in writer’s rooms. Then he was like, "I have this idea. I want to go down and research this idea and create a non-fiction book about power and where it comes from, and I want to create it and mold it, and shape it, and format it in a unique way that's never been done before." And publishers went into it.


They were like, "No, we don't like this concept. It's not... It's weird, it's different." And he leaned into this. He leaned into his curiosity, his interests, his experiments. He tried a bunch of stuff. He leaned into his power, and he was like, "But this is a problem that I want to solve. I want to create something in this unique way, 'cause I don't see it out there." And he ended up writing "The 40 Laws of Power," which has become a mega best-selling hit, creating these quirky types of books that he's built an audience around now that have really helped people find solutions to problems. And I think we have to go through seasons of trying things too. We may not figure it all out the first time. Your son's back here filming and helping out, and he's going through a season of experimenting and trying different things. "Okay. I'm going to try a video; I'm going to try... Maybe I'll do a podcast someday, maybe I'm working out a lot. I like fitness, I like these different things," and eventually he'll figure out how to marry these three Ps into what's his meaningful mission of the next season of his life. So, we've got to be willing to try different things at different stages and see what we're most curious about and interested in and exploring it, use our talents with our superpowers and overcome our fears and the things that make us feel powerless, and then try to find problems that we want to solve that are meaningful for us.


I heard a quote on social media. I can't remember who said this, and I'm going to paraphrase it. "One of the worst things you can do is win at the wrong thing and be successful at the wrong things." I'm not sure who said that, but I'm paraphrasing it. And I saw it and I was like, yeah. It's like going and making money at something that you don't actually enjoy making money at. Going and spending all your time doing something trying to win and look good to impress people you don't care about. It's like making sure we win at the things that are actually meaningful to us is much more fulfilling than winning at the things that don't matter. So, I think when you can discover those three Ps for yourself... And in the book, I give a lot of exercises on how to figure out what are those invisible assets for you as well to help you try these things. Then it allows you to get clear on a one-sentence meaningful mission, and I think the more clear we can get at each season and stage of life, the better.


So, when I was on my sister's couch for a year and a half, I couldn't think beyond making enough money to get my own apartment. I wasn't able to think beyond that, 'cause I was in survival, just make it mode. So, I was just, "My mission is to make enough money to get my own apartment, and what do I need to do?" I'm truck driving during the day, I'm freaking interning for people, I'm try... I'm side hustling, I'm doing everything to make enough money to get my own apartment, 'cause I didn't feel like I was at that time, able to take care of myself, and I was 24 years old. So, I was like, "I got to figure this out." So, we got to be willing to try these things and figure out what is our meaningful mission in one sentence, so we are clear on the decisions we're making. So right now, my mission is to serve and impact 100 million lives weekly to help them improve the quality of their life. It's one sentence, I'm clear, and it allows me to say yes or no to things on my calendar that either support that or they don't. And if you're not clear on what that is for you in one sentence, again, we go through prompts in the process of how to do that for yourself so that it feels in alignment and harmony with this season for you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, man. Reading your story this time hit me different. You shared when you went to Toastmasters, for example, and you were back there literally stealing food to take with you.


LEWIS HOWES: Stealing food, man.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Stuffing food in your pocket.


LEWIS HOWES: I had no food, no money.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And the speaker came off stage that you were just enthralled with, and he caught you and he ended up being a mentor for you.


LEWIS HOWES: He caught me. He saw me. I had a cast on then, so this was after I had the surgery and I had this full arm cast on, and I just look like... I kind of look like your son with like a ball cap to the side, like baggy sweatpants, just kind of like a... Just showing up like, "Hey man, what's going on?" [chuckle] Looking like I'm about to get into something. And I think he was just so confused that I was there, 'cause everyone's in suits, and I'm showing up in baggy sweatpants and a ball cap to the side with a cast on, and he was more curious about what I'm doing there. And he sees me stuffing food in napkins into my pocket, and he goes, "What are you doing?" I go, "This is my food for the day, man. I don't have any money. I'm trying to learn; I'm trying to overcome stuff." And he took me to lunch right then, and he was asking me questions, and I was so inspired by his speech that he gave that day that he ended up mentoring me, and then we ended up a year later writing a book together.




LEWIS HOWES: 'Cause he had written many books, and so I was like, "I need to find coaches in my life, because all I know is sports." And I know that in sports, you need great coaches to get you to the top. And when you get to the top, Kobe and Jordan, LeBron, they don't say, "Oh, I've won a championship. I'm good. I'm going to need a coach anymore." They never say that. They say, "Actually, I need greater coaches to help me in other deficiencies in my life, so let me find an even a better team, or optimize my team of coaches to support me in staying at the top." They never say, "Okay, you helped me get here. I'm good. Time for me to do this on my own. You don't need to coach me anymore." It doesn't happen that way. So, I said, "I need to make my life a sport," and I started finding these mentors and guides, and he helped in a big way.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. The seed of that eventual tree growing of mentorship, and even creating a book together, that seed was you showing up there at a place that was probably radically uncomfortable for a purpose that was uncomfortable.


LEWIS HOWES: Very uncomfortable.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And this is what you're directing us to in the book, is we... These are the things, these are the action steps towards greatness, and the reason we don't do what you call these things out, one of those things, is the fear of failure. And you really deconstruct that, because a lot of us are living our lives through a lens of fear, trying to avoid pain. When you're flipping this around, as a matter of fact, let's talk about this because... And just to summarize these really quickly. So, we got the three Ps, passion. You know this, I know this. There's a framing in personal development to make your passion into profits. It's not going to happen for everybody and that's okay. Your passion could be something that just gives you joy.




SHAWN STEVENSON: But we need... It's an ingredient to human wellness. We need to honor our passion. But adding that with power, your unique gifts, talents, capacities, which in your story, something that would seem to be a disadvantage, right? You being in this situation in school became your superpower. It was born out of that, and I got to tell you, man, something that I really love about you is you ask genuine questions. You ask questions because you actually want to know stuff.


LEWIS HOWES: I'm very curious.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, when I'm hanging out with you whenever we do your show, it is some of the best times that I have because you're asking genuine questions.


LEWIS HOWES: Thank you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, then we combine that with problem, and this is what I really want to talk about, because in the book, you talk about how most people spend their lives running from problems. The very thing that can cultivate a life of greatness, we run from it, and you talk about this, and I love this line. You said that "Every good story requires a problem and a hero willing to solve it. Otherwise, there is no story."


LEWIS HOWES: That's it, man. You don't watch a good movie when there's no conflict. Every great movie has some conflict that the hero has to overcome, or the character has to overcome in order to become the hero. And I think we all have different challenges and adversities, whether they are given to us in early childhood, or we're facing as adults. There's always going to be some conflict we need to overcome. Complacency could be the conflict. Maybe you had a really good childhood and good life, but you don't know what your drive is, you don't know what drives you, and that's the thing you got to overcome, whatever it might be. And I think self-doubt for me is the killer of dreams, and that's my thesis of this whole book and really my whole life, that when you can learn to identify what causes you to doubt yourself and you can master it, you can do anything.


But most people allow self-doubt to hold them back from acting on what they want, from taking action in the relationship they want, from taking action on getting right with their health, from taking action in getting their finances clear, launching the book, whatever it might be. We can't attract anything without acting. We must be willing to act. But if the fear of failure, which is a big one for so many people, holds them back from acting, then we have to get to the root of the fear of failure. There's two other fears that cause people to doubt themselves. I call 'em the enemy of greatness. These three fears. First one you talked about is failure, the second one is the fear of success, the third one is the fear of judgment. I never understood the fear of failure or success, because as an athlete, you learn this, you must fail in order to get to the path of success. You're not going to make every shot.


You hear about the greatest baseball players fail 70% of the time, and they're Hall of Famers. So, failure is a part of the process to succeeding and learning your craft in sports. Of course, you don't want to fail, but it doesn't hold us back the fear of failure as athletes, 'cause we just... You mess up every day. Every play you're messing up on something. It's never perfect. You're striving to be perfect, but it never is. So, failure was just a mechanism for getting feedback information to help me get closer to my goals. Success was never something I was afraid of either, because it's what I wanted, it's what I wanted, but I was driven to succeed based on a wound, so when I would succeed, it never feel like enough. It felt like I needed more. And I would actually be angry when I would succeed after five, 10 years of planning and developing goals and accomplishing it. It's almost like I was more frustrated once I accomplished it.


I'll get to that. I'll get to why in a moment. But my fear of failure and success was never a big fear for me, but when I would speak about this... Again, over the last 10 years, I've been researching this about overcoming self-doubt. And when I would speak about this in front of audiences, and I'd ask people, 500, 1000 people, 2000 people, "Raise your hand if you're afraid of failure and it's ever been the cause that holds you back from doing what you want." A lot of people raised their hand. Probably 70, 80% of the room will raise their hand and say, "Yes, I am, or have been afraid of failure." And then I would ask them why, okay? And then I would say, "Alright. How many of you are afraid of success?" An almost equal amount of people would raise their hand with the fear of success, and it never made sense to me, 'cause they're at an event to learn about how to accomplish something, or succeed in something, but they're afraid of it. So, 60, 70% of the audiences would raise their hand in saying, "I'm afraid of success." If we are afraid of something, why would success come to us? Why would we attract it? Why would we create it in our life if we are afraid of it? So, resisting the things we want to step into, we're just making it harder for us to manifest and create what we want.


And I didn't understand it, so I started asking these questions over the last 10 years, and it started to make sense once I heard the answers. A lot of people are afraid of success, because of the pressure, the pressure success comes with. You start to make money. Over time people start asking you for money. People come out of the woodworks and say, "Oh, now you've got money, now you've got fame, now you've got credibility, something. Give me something." So, more people are asking you for things. People start pulling you down from your community, your tribe, your friends, your family. It's the old crabs in a bucket analogy. I don't know if you've heard the story about how when a crab tries to get out of a bucket, the other crabs try to pull them down. It's like, "No, stay down here. Stay safe where it's comfortable. Stay in the comfort zone of our community, our town," things like that. Oftentimes, you must... You have to leave the community at some point that you're in, you have to leave your town, you have to leave your family to go beyond where you're at right there to try something. The hero goes on a journey, and usually they said, "Why are you going on this journey? Stay with us."


So, you must overcome some obstacle of friends, family, peers, schoolmates, whatever might be, teammates, being upset or questioning you, your decision to go somewhere else. It's really... It's scary, 'cause you have to go out on your own for a period of time and be criticized, judged, critiqued, picked on, talked about, all that stuff. And also, there's an amazing documentary called "The Weight of Gold," which is about Olympic gold medalists. You should watch this. It's fascinating. It's sad, but it's fascinating. The psychology about all these Olympic gold medalists who have either overdosed, committed suicide, or gone through extreme depression within six to 12 months after winning a gold medal. They spent their whole lives searching for gold, trying to win a gold, and then after the mission was complete, they weren't clear on the mission afterwards. Their identity shifted. They weren't clear, they didn't have the same regimen, and identity moving forward, and also the pressure. No one teaches you how to manage success, how to manage emotions, how to manage money, how to manage the limelight, how to manage the platform. No one teaches you how to deal with the criticism. All that. And so, the weight of success is a lot for a lot of people, and you hear the stat about...


I don't know if it's the same stat anymore, but we used to hear this stat about 78% or 79% of NFL players go bankrupt four years after they retire, is the stat I heard in the past. It might have changed now that everyone has heard this stat and more wealth advisors are going in, but if you go in and you get a lot of money quickly, and you don't know how to manage it, you're more likely to lose it unless you have a good team or good support around you. So, there's a mindset around success that you need to develop, a greatness mindset that you need to develop in order to not blow it. So, I understood, after I started researching it, the fear of success if you're not ready for it. Those two weren't my things. My fear was the fear of judgment, was the need to be liked, loved, and accepted by other people. It was a massive fear, wound, and insecurity that drove me to people-please my whole life, to try to fit in, to wear masks, to make sure people liked me, or I said the right things, or did the right things, so that I was accepted and felt like I belonged in a community.


It made me terrified of getting critiqued and negatively judged online when I started 15 years ago, kind of building an online business and social media. I felt like I had to defend myself of every negative comment that came through, and it felt like it was a personal attack on me, and I was like, "People don't understand me. Let me reach out to them." It was a huge wound that I faced that caused me to doubt myself, that caused me to hold back of my authenticity, that caused me to be out of alignment on my actions, because I spent so much energy trying people-please as opposed to just focused on the meaningful mission from a place of peace, harmony, and freedom inside.


So, I wasn't free, and I wasn't peaceful, and I was driven to prove people wrong, I was driven to win, to look good, to make sure my image was taken care of, and it got me results externally, but left me feeling very unfulfilled internally. So, the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of judgment at the root. We got to get to the root. In the book, I talk about how to find the root for you. We got to get to the root, and the root is, "I am not enough," but each one of us needs to identify where we believe we are not enough. "I'm not worthy enough, lovable, beautiful enough, smart enough, talented enough." I had a lot of 'em, a lot of the I am not enough. That stacked up, which made me so fearful in relationships, fearful about what people thought about me, which caused a lot of pain in intimacy.


In intimate relationships as well. And when we can identify and get to the root, then we can start to say, "Okay, where did this stem from, where did this start? And where was every memory that caused me to believe this story?" So, it wasn't until I went back to my youngest memories and came all the way to where I am today where I started to address and heal the wounds of these memories. Again, they're memories, and sometimes memories, we make them more vivid than they actually were. Sometimes we have a memory that didn't even happen. We blow it so out of proportion. It becomes such a big deal. Sometimes it's... We diminish the memories. We block them. So, I've been going back over the last couple of years and mending these memories and creating new meaning around the memories. "Man's Search for Meaning," Viktor Frankl was a powerful book. He went through some of the most horrible stuff in the Holocaust, and saw horrible things, but he was able to create meaning from those experiences, and I think a lot of us don't create meaning enough that empowers us. We hold on to meaning that dis-empowers us, that keeps us playing small, that keeps us in fear of stepping into our greatness. And once we're able to mend and create new meaning from our old stories and create different memories, then we don't need to stay in the past and look back anymore.


We need to start remembering the future, as our friend Dr. Joe Dispenza says, create new memories from the past and step into your future now, and remember who you are from your most highest, authentic self, where your harmony flows into the future. What is that identity that you want to step into? Who is that person you truly are? And bring that person closer to you currently by start acting with different behaviors than you have from past beliefs. And so that's really where it starts, identifying what causes you to doubt yourself the most. And when you can follow the framework, it's all backed by research science and multiple case studies on how to do this. It will support you in again, creating peace from the past, freedom from your past so you can be full expression of joy, light and love in your present and remember the future and bring it closer to you now.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yes, yes. And if anybody knows this roadmap, is you, man. Your story is just absolutely incredible, and you hear this statement a lot, if I could do it, anybody can, but truly, for you to be sitting here after the life that you've had, of course there's... All of us, we have this kind of patchwork quilt of experiences, and some of us make a really badass throw blanket with it. Some of us, it's for the dogs to use the bathroom, but to see your story unfold and to see you sharing what you have over and over again, this is really getting to the heart of things. You said this a little bit earlier. Humans are meaning-making machines. This is what we're doing all the time, and that meaning, we can be attached to a meaning of something that completely keeps us trapped and we need to change it.


LEWIS HOWES: And something that maybe it didn't even fully happen the way we think it happens. There might have been something that happened from childhood that you put so much meaning behind it that you just interpreted it the wrong way.


SHAWN STEVENSON: We often don't get permission... You talk about this, giving yourself permission in the book as well, to change the meaning. We don't even know that we can. It's just, this is what it is, this is who I am, this is what happened. And the reality is, we can change the meaning of things at any moment.


LEWIS HOWES: Any moment, any moment, man. And so, we've got to learn how to give ourself that permission, and I really think it's hard to do it all on our own, it's hard to step into greatness on our own. I think, again, I look at the great athletes who've sustained success over time. No one even in an individual sport does it alone. They all have coaches, even Novak Djokovic who I've had on a couple of times, it's an individual sport, but he's not training on his own. He's got multiple coaches, multiple teammates that are supporting him to stay at the top, to stay number one in the world consistently. He doesn't say, "I've made it. I don't need you guys anymore." He's like, "How do I refine it? Make me better." And so, I don't understand why most of us will never look for support emotionally and mentally. Fitness coaching, nutrition coaching, business coaching, or finding accountability in those areas is something that people talk about a lot at least in our space.


It seems like people are open to having coaches in those areas, but not as much open in having an emotional coach or a mental coach. And I think it's starting to happen more and more now, but I feel like that is the game, understanding your thoughts and emotions, and asking yourself, "Why am I reactive in situations? Why am I triggered?" And if you are triggered, there's nothing wrong with you. I was triggered most of my life, but it's something that's going to hold you back. So, this isn't about right and wrong, good, and bad. It's just about what is going to support the alignment of your highest self, and being triggered means there's a wound that's open and something is poking it. So, we got to mend it. It doesn't mean there's not going to be a scar and a memory of that and it's going to go away eventually, but you've got to mend the wound. You're in health and science. It's like you would never tell someone to work out with a broken leg. They got to mend the wound first. We have so many emotional and psychological wounds that are little t and big T's traumas, and it may not seem like that big a deal.


For 25 years, I tried to block the idea of sexual abuse that I went through. I tried to block it and be like, "I've been told that's not a big deal. Just man up, just let it go. It's not a big deal. Don't be a wuss right up." And I tried to block it and it kept coming up. It was one of the reasons why I would just stay up at night all the time. I couldn't sleep. It was just like a memory on loop, on repeat. This wound was just still hurting me in the present, from the past, and it wasn't until I was able to mend it, let it go and have an emotional coach guide me through the process of healing, of integrating the lessons into my life now so that I wouldn't be triggered as easily, that's when I was able to create more peace. And again, a lot of us are doing things to create safety, and the belief that we have peace, but we still don't feel peace within us, and the goal is to be peace first so that we can create from that space of abundance. So, for me, it's all about having the coaching consistently, and when you find peace, it's not about saying, "Okay, now I've gotten it. I don't need the coach anymore." It's like great athletes. They keep finding coaches to support them at the top.


I still lean into emotional coaches today every two weeks, I still have a nutrition coach, health coach, trainers, business coaches, because it helps me stay at the level and grow beyond it. So that's my belief about this. We need the support and enlisting support.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. We tend to think also there's this lone wolf syndrome...




SHAWN STEVENSON: Where we're going to do it all ourselves and figure this stuff out, but you just shared it, man. The reality is if we can really understand our own emotions and our thoughts, our own mind, everything else springs from that, the nutrition choices, the business choices. Having a business coach is one thing and that can be good. A health coach, same thing, but if you're self-sabotaging, because of these traumas, right? Because of these old programs, you don't even realize they're happening, you're just going to keep on hitting your head against the wall.


LEWIS HOWES: Repeating pattern, man, repeating it. And I think I didn't have the ability to hire coaches when I was 24. I didn't have any money, but I developed my own personal advisory board of men and leaders who were doing things in different areas of life that I wanted to grow into.


So, it doesn't have to be spending money on coaches and things like that but using your gifts and your passion to inspire your own personal advisory board. Someone like you may not be able to give people as much time and energy, but you have a lot of people that watch your content that know a lot of information who could help others with the tools that you provide them. So maybe you're not able to help people individually. There's a lot of people who are more knowledgeable than who they are they could have on their personal advisory board. So, find those people for yourself and really bug them. I just bugged my personal advisors for a long time, but I thought about how can I add as much value as possible for them, and the way you add value is not by asking them for advice. You add value through asking them about their success and how they overcame their biggest challenges. People love to share those stories. They don't want to give advice, but they love to share their story about how they overcame their challenges. So, ask them about their success and they will give you advice in the answer. And also, the greatest way that you can stay on the good side of a potential mentor or personal advisor without paying them is whatever they tell you to do, you do it 100%, and you come back to them with results.


It's the worst thing in the world when someone ask me an opinion on something, and I give it to them, and they don't do it. I don't want to keep giving them my opinion and tell them, "Here's the exact game plan you can do. If you do this, you're going to get results," and they say, "Well, I wasn't sure. I was distracted or this." Well, then you're wasting my time and your time. So don't ask someone for feedback if you're not going to take extreme action. It doesn't have to be perfect, but just take that action.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. It's why you're sitting here right now too. When we talk about stuff and you share things with me, I have the speed of implementation and muscle.




SHAWN STEVENSON: You know what I mean? I'm going to do something with what I'm learning from somebody who has accomplished something. And so that's one of the greatest gifts that you can give somebody, and it just makes them want to invest more time and share with you more. And also, part of this, I want to go back a little bit because part of them sharing their story, when I used to hear about this fear of success thing, I thought it was nuts. Like what? Give me that success.


LEWIS HOWES: Right, right.


SHAWN STEVENSON: But just going back and really thinking about this, in reality, we all pretty much have some type of fear of success because we all... It's built into our DNA that we want to be loved, we want to be accepted.


LEWIS HOWES: That's it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And we're tribal creatures. And so, when I really analyze myself and looked at one of the things that was holding me back, I definitely wanted... No matter what I was achieving in the world, I wanted my family to be proud of me, and if you really dig in, just take the time, the introspection, to really do the work, it just really goes back to not having a father in my life, right, not having my biological father, for example, even though I might say it doesn't matter.


LEWIS HOWES: It does matter.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Not having that and somebody who chooses you, even has the audacity to be proud of you where you even have that circumstance, and then to have a stepfather who just really wasn't in that picture as far as giving me any type of acknowledgement. And I remember at times, for example, my mother came to maybe two of my football games ever and she would always come late. One time I had scored two touchdowns.


LEWIS HOWES: Oh, she didn't see it.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Listen, she didn't, right, first of all, and so she comes it's probably half at the half, which I still got another half to play, but right before she came, my quarterback, I'm running back, he threw an interception, and the corner was darting down the other side. We're at our 10 about to score. And so, they're running back for pick 6 all the way back, and I'm running this guy down, and I'm already... I've just ran the ball like 10 times, getting down here, every ounce of energy I had, dove at him, got his cleats after he ran 50 yards, stopped him from scoring.




SHAWN STEVENSON: I'm over on the sideline throwing up after this.




SHAWN STEVENSON: And I just can't play anymore. I'm out. I'm just like, I'm exhausted. The true sense of this word, and then I see my mom walking in and I'm just like, "Oh my God, I just did all of this, and you didn't see any of it."


LEWIS HOWES: See, this is a wound.


SHAWN STEVENSON: So, I didn't have her opportunity, I didn't have that time, that stamp of her being proud.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, and here's the thing, you remember this vividly.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Of course. Yeah.


LEWIS HOWES: You remember every aspect of this memory, and I'm assuming it's... You've mended that by now I'm assuming or maybe you're in the process, but we have these memories that will leave a mark on us and unless we create new meaning as adults from these things... And that wasn't like the worst traumatic event ever, but it was a little t and it was a number... A series of events that, man, "Mom missed a lot of games or she always was late after I made the big play. Did she really care?" Or whatever it is, the story or the belief you had around that growing up, was she really there? And maybe she wasn't and that's her... That's painful to accept and acknowledge that, but to create new meaning from it, to have compassion as an adult and as a father now, to see your mother in the light of the tools that she had available for her, the pain, the lack of education or lack of wisdom she had in order to be a better mother and to have compassion. Not saying it was okay, not saying that you wanted to go through it again, not saying you want other people to experience it.


But it happened. You can't change it, but you can change the meaning behind it, and you can solve a problem now around it. So, you can use your passion, your power to solving a problem. It's one of the things I love about you, Shawn, is how you show up as a father beautifully. You show up and you make it a point to have family dinners. I'm not sure if this guy is there at every dinner, but you show up as a point to say, "We're going to do things as a family." And that was a problem that you faced growing up, so you made this part of your mission, having new family values and new family traditions like the old, coming together, making food together, and how this actually creates harmony in your heart. When you do things as a family together around food, around nutrition, and how it actually helps you live longer and all the science and evidence you have around this, but if you didn't have that pain, you wouldn't have this problem to solve now for the world.


And so, creating new meaning around it, and if you haven't yet, accepting your mom for who she was, even though you didn't like it, even though you wish it was different, even though it was extremely painful everyday living that way. Learning to create peace with those memories will allow you to create abundance and more joy now in your own personal inner life with your immediate family and the people that are watching and listening around the world. And I think that's the opportunity for each one of us to figure out what were those big traumas, little traumas, wounds that we still vividly remember, 'cause you're telling that story like I'm on the field, watching on the sidelines and playing the game, and you're running down and getting a shoe string at the last second, huffing and puffing, throwing up in the trash can on the sideline and seeing your mom walk in. That's a painful memory, a painful memory, man.


And whether she was consciously or unconsciously doing that, it was painful for you. Just like you're probably going to be as conscious as you can with your kids. There's probably stuff that they interpret that they, "Uh, dad wouldn't show up in the best way that I wish he did," or whatever they're interpreting. And this is the best you're doing right now. This is the best she did right then, even though she could have done a lot better, but having that compassion for her and learning to accept it... You don't have to like it, will give you more peace now and harmony now as you move forward.


SHAWN STEVENSON: That's the secret that shouldn't be a secret, compassion and the reason that we go to that, of the creating that meaning that this empowers us and keeps us small, in a strange way it's comfortable because it doesn't really require me to grow and to go outside myself and I can place blame. And so even in that moment, being able to look back at the moment and change the meaning and just appreciate the fact that she even came out, like it's a big deal for my mom who's working and all these different things. I could change to a place of appreciation. And also, of course, see the way that I've consciously chosen to going back to the very first thing I talked to you about, instead of living by default, living by design. I've designed a life where I'm there at my son's games. My son knows that I've been there so many times. All those practices...


LEWIS HOWES: Oh, man, yeah.


SHAWN STEVENSON: In baseball. Baseball is a long day.






LEWIS HOWES: And even then, he may be like, "Oh, dad didn't show up one time." Maybe you made it 99% of the time, he'd say, "Oh, did he care about me today? I don't know." So, we can have the best intentions and do our best, but people are going to interpret things based on their experience as well.


SHAWN STEVENSON: But here's where it comes in for us as we evolve as people and as parents, is giving them that information early because you said this earlier, we don't get a script on how to do this sh*t. We're just kind of stumbling in the dark and trying to figure out how to create a good life and to be healthy and all the things, but we have the capacity now to pass this information on to future generations. Give them these tools. They're still teaching the same wrote memorization sh*t...


LEWIS HOWES: I know. In school.


SHAWN STEVENSON: In school, and they're not talking to kids about how their minds work, about how to develop emotional intelligence and to... And again, we see it correspondingly rates of depression, suicide, rates of just overall unhappiness. Graduating from an Ivy League school and going into the workforce and not having a life that we're happy about, because we're forced-fed this idea, if you do this, follow this map that's making money and fulfilment for other people, then you're going to be happy, but in reality, it's the things like this, learning about relationships, learning about how your mind works, learning that you have power. That's what it's really all about.


LEWIS HOWES: That's why I was like, man, school didn't do much for me. I want to create The School of Greatness. I want to learn these tools for myself because I didn't feel like I had what I needed to be successful in life.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And we're all benefitive. It's amazing, man, it's amazing. We've got a quick break coming up. We'll be right back. When people see you, the first thing that they see is your skin. We truly do wear so much of what's happening internally on the surface of our skin, and it just makes sense because our skin is a protection around what's happening internally, but also our skin is a huge component of our nervous system. When we are fertilized at the very beginning of our lives, the egg meets the sperm. One of the first things that develops is our nervous system and the outer most expression, the seat of our skin being developed, and again, that makes sense because our skin helps us to sense and to modulate what's happening in the world around us. We don't all have to have spidey senses to understand that our skin is picking up information from our environment and distributing that information to our brain and nervous system, but what's happening with our brain and nervous system moves outward to our skin as well. It's a deeply intimate connection, and this speaks to how stress can impact our skin health, but also how we're building our skin from the inside out.


Now, if we want healthier skin, our obsession as a society has been about topical treatments, trying to move things from the outside in, but the reality is to really make big changes with our skin health, we need to work from the inside out, and this starts with things that are nutritive and nourishing to our skin, but also nourishing to our nervous system. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, utilized green tea extracts for four weeks, and at the conclusion of the study, participants showed a significant reduction in acne precursors and skin irritation versus the placebo group.


Again, this is a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial demonstrating something remarkable about green tea. Another study and this was a meta-analysis of 20 studies demonstrating that compounds in green tea have been shown to be effective in treating and reducing acne, dermatitis, keloids and rosacea, among other skin issues. There's something really interesting about green tea. Part of it is the phytonutrient concentration found in green tea, and another part of it is the impact that it has on calming and supporting our nervous system. Green tea is an incredibly rich in L-Theanine. A research published in the journal, Brain Topography, found that L-Theanine intake increases the frequency of our alpha brain waves indicating reduced stress, enhanced focus and even increased creativity. Now the very best form of green tea that is most concentrated in L-Theanine is Sun Goddess Macha green tea or Pique teas.


It's shaded 35% longer for extra L-Theanine and is crafted by a Japanese tea master and they are less than 15 in the entire world. It is the first quadruple toxin screened matcha for ensuring its purity and efficacy. There's nothing added, no preservatives, sugar, artificial sweeteners and any of that other nonsense. And you combine that with the BT Fountain formula from Pique that contains proven ceramides, and Hyaluronic acid that reduces fine lines and wrinkles, that boosts skin elasticity, provides deep hydration, you could see visible results within two weeks. Go to That's You're going to get 15% off plus free shipping for life with one of their new exclusive subscriptions plus some of their packages actually come with a frother and a beaker, so you can actually make your tea with ease.


I love my hand frother. I use it every single day to make my drinks for myself and my family. Highly encourage you to check this out for better skin health and better health overall. Go to Now back to the show. So, this is something I had actually noted to talk with you about because I think people would be really surprised to see that you're talking about healing your past in order to create a life of greatness.




SHAWN STEVENSON: And the way you just even laid it out already, it becomes so obvious, so I'm grateful for that. In that specific, let's talk a little bit more about this. In the book, you talk about victim consciousness, right? Now there is a scenario you gave where we can experience being a victim, but having victim consciousness is a different thing.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, I mean, listen, you were... You experienced stuff from your mom and your dad and all these different things that you didn't want to experience, right? It was an experience, but in order to overcome that, we must take our power back, we must take responsibility for the meaning we're going to create from it, and we must learn to forgive and create that peace. So again, I went through an experience of sexual abuse that I experienced where I was a victim of that experience. It's not like I was trying to do it. It happened to me, right? And for many, many years, 25 years, I lived as a victim quietly of that experience which made me reactive and triggered and angry in certain scenarios in life. And it wasn't until I said, okay, I'm going to take my power back, I'm going to forgive, process, grieve, all of these different things, feel all the emotions, sadness, everything, hate, anger, vengeance, all of it, process it.


And say, "Do I want to keep feeling this way? No. So I must learn to forgive, I must learn to dive into my shame, I must learn to do the most uncomfortable thing for me." For me, that was revealing it to family and friends, and then revealing it to eventually the platform that I have, because I was so ashamed of it. It still had power over me. So, I realized for me... I'm not saying everyone needs to do this. I wanted to tell my family first and see if I could mend this feeling of shame and insecurity with my family. I did that step. It was extremely scary to tell my family. Then I said, "Man, okay. They're my family. They have to love me, right? They have to accept me no matter what I go through." But it created a beautiful connection with each one of us, because I opened up vulnerably, and they started to open up about stuff I didn't know about them. So, we created a better bond by being vulnerable with each other. Then I was like, "Well, will my friends accept me? This is the true test."


I started telling my friends one by one and I realized, "Oh wow, they actually accepted me." Now, you've got to make sure you're in the right place discerning when you tell people something that you're scared of or shamed of, and make sure that you think they can receive it. So that's for another conversation, but don't just open up if you feel like they're not in a good place to receive it. After that, I still thought to myself, "Huh, but I'm worried about how my community, my audience, my customers think of me still." It was still a fear of mine and an insecurity. "If they know this about me, would they accept me?" So, I just kept going down more and more levels because I wanted freedom. I didn't feel free internally, and I thought, "I just got to keep going then." So, it was... Every level was scary to release the shame, to talk about it, but when I started to do that... I remember opening up about it publicly on my podcast. This was about nine and a half years ago, and thinking, "My life is over, my business is over. No one's going to listen to me, no one's going to watch anything. It's over."


But I was like, "I'd rather it be over and me be free than living a lie, and people not knowing the truth about my shame." And once I did that, it took maybe like... It was a process and a journey. It took maybe another year and a half, two years until I felt like I can talk about this and not feel triggered. I can think about it and not be triggered. It doesn't mean that I was un-frustrated about it, and I wish it didn't happen, but I can accept it, move on, forgive it, and create meaning around it that now I have this problem in the world that I want to solve. I want to help people, especially men which is a problem. One in six men have been sexually abused. I wanted to help men create safe environments for them to mend this shame, heal this shame and let go of it and feel safe to talk about it, 'cause most men never do talk about these things, whether it's sexual abuse or any other shames, we just don't talk about it.


So, I said, now, there's a problem in the world, and a lot of pain in the world is caused by men who are angry, who don't have a safe environment to communicate. When you see about all the mass shootings in the world, most of them are by men. Most of them are by men who struggle emotionally. They don't have a safe space; they don't have a lot of friends and they don't feel like they can talk about or heal the different pains of their past. And if we can do that, I feel like men will be a lot more peaceful and cause less pain in their relationships. They won't leave their partners, they'll show up for their kids better, they won't hurt their communities, they'll show up better, in their power, not in their pain. So, I was like, here's a problem I want to solve. Something I went through, now it's a problem I want to solve. My friend, Rory Vaden says, "That we are perfectly positioned to help the person we once were." And if you lost a 100 pounds, you're perfectly positioned to help someone else who's a 100 pounds overweight. You've been through that pain; you've been through that journey. You know it better than anyone.


And you're more credible because you were that at once, so maybe that's a problem that you want to solve in the world. You want to end... Rid the world of obesity and diabetes, because you've reversed it for yourself, and you know the freedom on the other side. And that's been a lot about the journey, is figuring out how to solve these problems. And I don't remember what we were talking about originally on this question, but it's diving into that more and more, and finding the meaning from these pains we have.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, absolutely. We were talking about the victim consciousness.


LEWIS HOWES: Exactly. And again, it can serve us in feeling comfortable and not having to overcome and face these insecurities and fears, but it'll keep making you triggered, it'll keep making you feel powerless. And so, if you want to be powerful and truly feel free, you have to overcome the victim consciousness, the victim mentality and step into your power.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. And we all have it. And the thing that I've seen the most more than anything that I see in the lives of people who are unhappy and struggling with their potential, and just feeling imprisoned really and hurting others and all the things is a very simple thing of placing blame and not taking responsibility for their own lives. And you're deconstructing why we tend to do that because it's victim consciousness, and it is the things that have happened to us and it's the meaning that we've given it. And so now what you shared in the book and I'm so grateful that you talk about this is that trauma perpetuates trauma. You just start going out and just... That stuff that you go through, you tend to pass that on into the world around you, in particular, through your children, in particular...


LEWIS HOWES: People you love the most. Yeah.


SHAWN STEVENSON: That you love the most and it's just this strange thing, but again, we can break the cycle at any point.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, there's another saying going around I can't even remember what it is exactly, or who said it, but something like, people tend to ask for love in all the wrong ways. It's like by being angry. It's like really saying you just want to be loved and accepted, but you're screaming at your kids or you're screaming at your wife, or you're getting in fights or whatever it might be, or you're lashing out online at people. Like, we're asking for love in all the wrong ways, we're showing it in the wrong ways, but we just want to be loved and accepted. But it's hard to gain love and acceptance from others if you don't love and accept yourself and this was a big one for me, because at the core, I'd never loved and accepted myself, because of these situations that happened, because of all these memories that I have vivid memories, just like you do of you're watching your mom walk in after you're throwing up, doing three touchdowns and all this stuff.




LEWIS HOWES: Two touchdowns and saving a touchdown, but you probably have dozens more like that from your earliest memory up until 25 or something, right? You probably have dozens of those memories from home and school and all these other things involving your mom, and they stack up. These things stack up, and it causes us to doubt ourselves and say, "Oh, does mom not accept me? Does she not love me? She's not there for me? God, what else do I need to do? I just scored two touchdowns. What else do I need to do to show that I'm lovable? That I'm... That she can accept me, that she actually will show up for me and be proud of me. What else do I need to do?" And it's hard when we're younger because we don't necessarily learn the tools on how to love and accept ourselves. It's just messy. Just like, "Why are we here? What's the point of all of this? Why are parents grounding us?" It's just kind of messy, right? And so, for 30 years plus, I had to learn... I had to start learning after a lot of this.


Like, oh, I'm wanting success to feel loved, but I still don't love and accept myself. And it doesn't mean I have to accept and be complacent afterwards but accept everything I've been through to this moment and accept who I am now. And it still means I can want more and change and adapt and all these human things, but if I can't accept and love myself, how am I going to let love in? How am I going to let someone else love and accept me? It's almost impossible to do that. And that's why we sabotage relationships, we push people away, we're unavailable emotionally, 'cause we're not emotionally available for ourselves. So how are we going to be there for other people? A lot of this is about, again, learning to love and accept yourself. You cannot love yourself if you hate your past, if your past is still controlling your present, if you're a victim of these different memories. And so, we must learn to mend and create new meaning, so that we can be in harmony and peace with who we are.


Again, you may have done or had horrible things done to you your whole life. You've got to learn to accept it. You may have had horrible traumas and pains and sadness and deaths and all these things. You got to learn to accept it. If you don't, it will ruin your future and your present. And you've got to forgive. That's one of the biggest things I've learned.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. And you just said it truly, you just said it, because to put the icing on the cake of this scenario with my mom and the football story, the fear of success is what if she's not proud of me? What if I do this thing? What if I write this book? What if I... Well, what if she's not proud of me? But the healing came when I decided to be proud of myself.




SHAWN STEVENSON: And I'm so... I'm living a life so rich in contentment. It's not that I'm... Like, I'm not wanting to create things, but I'm just... I'm so content and grateful for who I am and there's just... It's healing, so it healed so much, and to operate from that place, I think, again, people can pick that up from you. You start to... Not just trauma perpetuates trauma, but healing perpetuates healing.


LEWIS HOWES: Yes. And when you heal, you're in harmony, and there's a frequency of love radiating from your soul that has never happened before. I used to be a fun, loving, joyful guy, friendly guy. I'd still pick people up and hug them, I'd still want to have fun, but again, when there was a trigger somewhere in life, then I would react, then I'd get defensive, then I had to put on a mask. And it's a... Healing is a journey. It's not an event that happens in a moment. There's an awareness and awakening in a moment, where you say, "Oh okay, I'm aware this is happening." And you might feel a sense of healing in that moment, but life happens, and we've got to integrate the lessons and practice it continually until we feel like, okay, I can be peace in the storm. I can be inner peace when there's chaos around me. It doesn't mean I'm not going to be frustrated or angry or upset at times, but it doesn't rattle me. And I think that's the goal, is to get to a place where we're not rattled internally, so we can manage life externally.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah. Love it and you take us there. At the end of the book, you give the game plan for greatness, and I want to go through just a couple of these. One of them is to ask courageous questions.




SHAWN STEVENSON: Let's talk about that.


LEWIS HOWES: I remember I got in a basketball fight 10 years ago, which kind of started this whole journey. I got into a fist fight on a basketball court here in LA, and it was kind of the culmination of all these breakdowns in my life. I was in a relationship breakdown, a business partnership breakdown, and I was reacting in basketball, pickup basketball games. It was coming out there and I remember I got in a fist fight, and I went home afterwards, and I looked at myself in the mirror and I was kind of like shaking. I was looking at myself in the mirror and I didn't recognize myself, and I remember asking as I stared into my eyes in the mirror, "Who are you? Who are you?" I was 29 years old. I had made a bunch of money, I had a successful business, I had accolades, I was in good shape, all these different things, but I didn't know who I was, and I was afraid of knowing the truth of who I was. I was afraid of asking these questions.


But all these different breakdowns caused me to step back and say, okay. Some things are not working. I thought they were working 'cause I'm getting results, but why am I still suffering internally? Why am I the common denominator of all these breakdowns in my life? I had to really look back and say... And check my ego 'cause my ego was leading the way. And I think again, after that, I started The School of Greatness and I said, "I need to completely let my ego die," and I get to... And again, I'm not a perfect human being, and I've made tons of mistakes in the last 10 years, but I said, "I want to create a platform where I make it about others, not about me. I shine the light on others and lift them up as opposed to me being the focus of success, that I see others succeed, I push them forward. And I truly ask questions that can support me in overcoming myself, who I'd become."


And I think a lot of us don't want to hear the answers to the questions we need to ask, because it goes back to needing to take full ownership and responsibility for our life and accountability, and that's scary. But a lot of the questions are tied around, in my opinion, the highest version of ourselves, the highest level of harmony. The part of us that needs to go on an adventure and a journey to make sure that we are as present as possible in this moment, this day, and that we were as connected as possible to the people around us that matter the most. And when we can ask questions around that and face the answers, that's when things start to unlock, that's when we unlock the power of your mind and start living better in this moment. This moment is all we have. I saw a quick clip online of this...


I don't know. He must have been a 70 or 80-year-old billionaire, and someone asked him, "What does success mean to you?" And he said, at his season of life... Again, and he's like 70s or 80s. He said, success is your parent... Success is your kids still love you and want to spend time with you, not because you have money or not because you've done this thing, because they just like being around you as an adult. And I look at you as a great role model of that. I don't know. Maybe once he grows up a few more years, he won't want to keep hanging out with you, but I think success is like the people closer to you want to spend time with you because you've got great character, you've got great values, and because you're a present, caring human being with a big heart. And I think that's what it comes down to at the end of the day, is making sure that the people around you know that they feel loved and seen and acknowledged by you, and you're doing your best. It's not about being perfect. It's about doing your best consistently.


And being able to look yourself in the mirror every day and say... And ask yourself the questions you need to ask to get better there. None of this is about being perfect, about being right or wrong, good, or bad. "Can I be better? And show up for those people around me in a more meaningful way?" I think that's what it's about.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. It was a courageous question when you stood there and you ask, "Who am I?" And being honest about what you were seeing in the mirror. Of course, we might not get the answers right there in that moment, but just having the audacity to ask those questions. You just came from banging on a basketball court, White Men can't... You could be in the new one. Apparently, they're going to make a remake, White Men Can't Jump.


LEWIS HOWES: I could, I could. It's funny I...


SHAWN STEVENSON: But first of all, can White men jump?


LEWIS HOWES: I mean, I could dunk. I haven't tried in a few years and I'm kind of like... I was thinking about this yesterday, 'cause I was like, "I hope I can still dunk", 'cause I haven't tried to really jump. I've been lifting and I've been running, but I haven't been jumping and I'm kind of like... I'm going to turn 40 in March, and I want to be able to dunk after 40, so that's part of my goal.




LEWIS HOWES: Is to make sure that I get back into jumping and see if I can still dunk.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah. You know what I found recently, man? Is that it's just about sprinkling things in because what tends to happen is we'll put a whole workout together around...


LEWIS HOWES: I know, I know.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Jumping when in reality, the best protocol is just sprinkle in, two minutes of jumping here and there or like five times a week, right?


LEWIS HOWES: I like that. I like that.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And just even going into your backyard or just if you find some stairs, just practice that thing, because it's just that neuro-association, the muscle memory. You've got so many years of athletics in your body, and I also want to implore everybody because when you said jumping, for whatever reason, it sounded like something child-like is there, you know what I mean?


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, yes.


SHAWN STEVENSON: As part of being youthful and...


LEWIS HOWES: Yes, man. I used to jump a ton.


SHAWN STEVENSON: You know what I mean? Just like kids just jump. They're jumping.


LEWIS HOWES: I know. For no reason.


SHAWN STEVENSON: I just remember like, even my youngest son, when I used to... He'd go to another room. He'd run to the other room.


LEWIS HOWES: Jump on the couch, jump on the stairs, something like that.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Oh, my goodness. And then we trained kids out of doing that stuff, because also our couches are literally moved. They're not aligned correctly right now because of my youngest son jumping and diving on them. And then of course, eventually I'm just like, "Get your ass down here." But I'm aware of it too. Again, it's that conscious parenting. I'll let him dabble in a little bit, but being able to encourage a state of play, a mindset of play. I know my oldest son too, we just big time have it. We were just in the elevator on the way up here. He's just like, "Dad, I just feel like I want to hit all of these buttons for these floors," and I know... The thing is he knows that the urge is there, but he's not acting on it, thankfully, you know what I mean? But I'm glad that he has that urge to do some silly sh*t.


LEWIS HOWES: It's good.


SHAWN STEVENSON: 'Cause you want to have that, but you need to be able to tame the beast...


LEWIS HOWES: Absolutely.


SHAWN STEVENSON: At the same time.


LEWIS HOWES: Absolutely.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And then unleash the beast.


LEWIS HOWES: In the right moments.


SHAWN STEVENSON: In the right moments. So, yeah man, I just want to ask you about a couple more quick things here, because again, everybody needs to get a copy of this book like yesterday, "The Greatness Mindset", and you talk about the game plan for greatness. Asking courageous questions, we talked a little bit about this earlier and giving yourself permission.


LEWIS HOWES: Enlisting support. Oh, yeah.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And I wanted to talk about these last two things. I want to talk about define your greatness goals and enlisting support. Those are two specific things.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. I think about enlisting support, the whole lone wolf concept, I just think that's not wise. I think wisdom comes from having a team, having people support you on your journey, especially if you're taking on something challenging. Trying to do something challenging every day on your own is just not wise. It doesn't mean you can't do it, but I feel like you have to know that you need that support. So enlisting support is a part of being wise on your journey to greatness. That's the big thing. What was the last one you said?


SHAWN STEVENSON: And the other thing was define your greatness goals.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. I think I learned this in sports that it's like, you want to have goals that are meaningful for you, that challenge you, but also lift others up, that inspire others around you, in whatever it is that you're doing. So being in service to others while you're in service to your own goals is crucial. And I think it just makes it much more sustainable and renewable energy in your daily actions when you're doing that. When you've got a team of friends, family, accountability buddies, coaches, whatever you want to do, and you enlist that support and you tell people, "This is my mission, this is my goal for this season," and you're trying to impact them in a positive way while they're supporting you, good things tend to happen. If you just say, "I'm going to do it all on my own and I'm just going to grind through it," it just doesn't... You're not able to bring as much joy and ease to the process. It's going to be challenging. Make it a little bit easier for yourself with this process.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, that's so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing that. And the only sure fire way to not hit your goals is to not have any.




SHAWN STEVENSON: And so, you give us this formula for accomplishing our goals, but also most importantly, doing the inner work necessary to give the process more ease and grace.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. And I think a lot of times we don't celebrate our goals when we do accomplish them, we don't acknowledge ourselves, which is a part of the process as well. When I would accomplish big goals, I never celebrated them in sports, and then I would get angry quickly after them, because I felt like I was supposed to feel something, it didn't happen, and I was like, "Well, it's not big enough. Let me go after a bigger goal." And we get to take time to celebrate the efforts of what we had to overcome to get us here. That could be a daily basis. Every night, I celebrate what I do with my girlfriend. "What'd you do today? What are you grateful for?" And expressing that gratitude for the effort of the day. It doesn't mean you had to... Be the perfect day, but it's just acknowledging and celebrating on a consistent basis gives you more energy for the next day.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Yeah, yeah, man. Thank you so much, man. It's truly been one of the joys of my life in this space to witness you and your growth and your consistency and your heart, and how you push yourself to be even more greatness and to be the representative of it, but today, sitting there in this chair, you said the thing that really stands out. You've been working to push other people forward, right? And through that action, you've been moving right along with everybody. You've lifted up how many... You've done well over a 1000 shows at this point.


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah, almost 1400 episodes, 10 years. Yeah.


SHAWN STEVENSON: It's insane in the most beautiful way, and I'm just so proud of you, I'm so grateful for you.


LEWIS HOWES: Thanks, brother.


SHAWN STEVENSON: And can you let everybody know where they can pick up the book, follow you, all that good stuff?


LEWIS HOWES: Yeah. "The Greatest Mindset", go get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, wherever you want to get a book, "The Greatness Mindset". You can go to and check out all our stuff there, or The School of Greatness podcast and Lewis Howes on social media.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Boom, my guy. Love you, man.


LEWIS HOWES: Love you too, man. I appreciate you.


SHAWN STEVENSON: Lewis Howes, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning into the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. This is your time to create your own life of greatness. The pen is in your hand. You are writing your own story. Now contrary to popular belief, again, we are not just victims of our environment, we're not just products of our environment. We're creators of our environment. And you are so powerful and so remarkable, but again, it's not just having the audacity to choose to challenge ourselves and to experiment and to grow. We also have to let things go that are holding us back. And so, I was pleasantly surprised to see this in Lewis's book, the necessity of healing ourselves, of healing our traumas in order for us to create a life of true success, a life of true greatness. And these are things again, that we can pass on to future generations. First of all, of course, inflicting less traumas, but also providing the tools for us to heal because without a doubt, life is going to challenge you, life is going to test you.


And through these trials and tribulations, we have an opportunity. So many of us, we create meanings that disempower us, and we throw an anchor overboard and we stay put. For others, we take these challenges on, we allow them to grow us, we allow them to expand our awareness, our potential, we allow them to help us to get stronger and more resilient and we keep pressing forward. And so, we get to choose what guild of humans we're going to be in. And if you're listening to this, I already know who you are, and I appreciate you so much for being that person. We've got some incredible episodes coming for you very, very soon, world class guests and some powerful master classes, so make sure to stay tuned. Take care. Have an amazing day. I'll talk with you soon.


And for more after the show, make sure to head over to That's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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