Joe Scales approached 40 wondering why he wasn’t happier. He had a job that paid well, two incredible kids and he had been married for 20 years. He wondered why he didn’t have “it” all figured out yet (when it seemed like everyone else did), which led him to questioning many of his decisions along the way. He realized that the problem was himself and his focus on questions that began with “why.” There were plenty of other questions that he could ask that might help him shake loose of his malaise, like: Who do I want to be? How do I get there? What do I need to feel fulfilled at the end of the day? Answering those questions, and spending an entire year saying “yes,” led Joe to a much better place.

Guest Bio 

Joe Scales grew up in Kansas and Oklahoma. He has two kids, 30 and 27 and was married to his high school sweetheart for 25 years. They eventually ended up getting divorced and he took a year to work on himself before he started dating again. He’s been remarried now for almost two years. Joe has worked in marketing and advertising for his entire career, including stints in Print, Radio, and Television. Today, he owns a poker media company that merges two of his favorite past times, marketing and poker. He publishes a weekly podcast and a monthly magazine that are dedicated to the everyday poker player. Both can be found at www.anteupmagazine.com.

Turning 40 and Saying Yes for a Year

In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie talks to Joe Scales, who reflects on his early marriage and parenthood, the pressure he felt to make ends meet and how he started questioning his own happiness as he approached 40.  Joe began to rethink his life choices; he had a burgeoning feeling of wanting to make a bigger impact in the world. At the suggestion of a friend, Joe committed to saying yes to new experiences for a full year. He discovered a passion for acting and found a new sense of fulfillment in giving back to others. Joe also talks about how important it was that he found a partner who allowed him to be himself and supported his personal growth.

Highlights:

  • Joe reflects on getting married and starting a family very young and the pressure he felt to make ends meet.
  • As he approached 40, Joe wondered why he wasn’t happier. He also felt a burgeoning desire to make a bigger impact in the world.
  • Inspired by a friend, Joe said yes to new experiences and opportunities for an entire year.
  • Joe discovered a passion for acting and found fulfillment in giving back to others through charity work.
  • He emphasizes the importance of self-care and self-reflection in finding happiness and purpose in midlife.
  • Joe discusses the significance of finding a partner who supports personal growth and encourages positive change.

Joe’s story highlights the power of changing perspectives in finding happiness and purpose in midlife.

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast.

Guest Resources

Find Joe on Facebook

Find Joe on Instagram

Do you have the Midlife Ick? 

Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from this insidious midlife malaise. www.fortydrinks.com/ick  

Listen, Rate & Subscribe

Apple Podcasts 

Spotify

Amazon Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Sponsor

The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications

Transcript

Stephanie: Hey, Joe. Thanks for joining me today.

Joe: Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Stephanie: Oh, it's truly my pleasure. It's a pleasure to meet you. And, and can't wait to jump into your story.

Joe: Yeah, you too. I think I mentioned before I've listened. I love the show and, you know, I'm excited to be here.

So

Stephanie: a lot. Thanks. That's that's humbling. You never know right when you put these things out in the world. So I appreciate that so much. As we usually do, why don't we start by telling me how we get to the beginning of the story? What's your prologue to your 40 story?

Joe: So I actually graduated high school in, in 92. And then I immediately got married, immediately had a child the next year. I think I grew up really fast, but before that, even if, I guess if we went even further back than that, growing up, I've always in some ways had to be the caretaker, so to speak.

I've always had that. I don't want to call it a burden, I've always been. Um, a little more, apt to take that role, I think.

And so that kind of leads you into other things. You know, your childhood, I guess, follows you.

Stephanie: Yes. Yes, until we can shed it.

Joe: Yeah, exactly, exactly. In 92, I graduated. 93, I was married. 94, I had my first child, February of 94. And so as I was just trying to figure out my life, you know, how I'm supposed to be an adult and at the same time, how I'm supposed to raise a child. I was really just concerned with how do I make enough money to make ends meet? How do I pull this whole thing together and feel like it's a successful life?

Stephanie: I said just a moment ago before we started that you and I are contemporaries. I think you're right between my brothers in age. You know, we grew up around the same time. When you graduated high school, did you intend to get married so young? Did you intend to have a baby so young? Was that the plan?

Joe: I think I intended to get married. We were high school sweethearts, we had dated a long time. So in that sense, I did intend to get married soon. which I'm glad of because when we did end up and finding out she was pregnant, there was no sense of, Oh, they just, we just got married because right. So I was glad that that was the case, but we had been married for two weeks and found out she was pregnant.

Stephanie: Okay.

Joe: I think the, the reaction was, Oh, no,

Stephanie: Yeah.

Joe: You know, when we looked at that pregnancy test, but I mean, wouldn't have changed any part of that. But at the same time, no, to answer your question, that was not the, the intention was to get married, but no, the intention was not to have a child that young.

Stephanie: yeah.

Joe: Um, I can remember when my daughter was born, I remember leaving the hospital, and I walked out to my car, it was freezing cold. And I pulled on the handle to open the door and the handle came off in my hand.

Stephanie: Oh, no.

Joe: And I'm just sitting there going, how am I, how am I supposed to be a father? There was a lot of, things going around in the head there for sure.

Uh,

Stephanie: Well, it's interesting because, my parents were 20 when they had me. So I am your eldest daughter. and my mom always said, you know, through my teenage years and teenage 20s, that we grew up together. But, you know, she felt like she and I had grown up together.

Joe: Sure. Yeah,

Stephanie: I'm familiar a little bit with, the other side of that situation, but, but, as a child of the 80s, that was not the plan our parents pushed us to right. We were supposed to go to college. We were supposed to get a good job. We were supposed to do all of that stuff. So, so your story stood out to me, even from that, that first moment, because, you know, it's, it's a different path than many of us took. Most of us took. Maybe. Yeah.

Joe: Right. And, and I did still continue that path. You know, I can remember we would schedule our classes so that one was getting out of class while the other one was going into class. So we would just hand the child off and go to class. Still tried to make sure we were continuing that for further, you know, because then college was the path. Like you said, that was, that was what you needed to do.

Stephanie: So by the time you come around to your late 30s, you have a 15 year old, 17 year old, you have another child and you've been married by the time you turn 40, you've been married for like 20 years.

Joe: Right. That's kind of crazy to think about. But yeah.

Stephanie: It really is. Again, it's my parents. So I totally understand being 20 when my parents turned 40, you know, it's, uncommon.

Joe: Right. And then you start to reach that, age, you know, when you start to reach 40, you start to question the decisions that you made in the past. How do you make things better? Why don't I have it figured out yet? That's the biggest question I think in my head anyway, it was like, why? What, how, how am I still asking these questions?

Stephanie: What did you think you didn't have figured out?

Joe: Everything.

Stephanie: Come on, wait, wait, wait, we got to back up. You're, you're married. You're a dad. You've got a couple of teenagers. You're all alive and functioning. So you've got some stuff figured out,

Joe: Right. And at that time I had a job that was paying me decently. I was, I was making good money. That part, I guess, was going the direction that it, I guess, society tells you it should go. But at the same time you come home and you, you feel like there has to be something more than what I'm experiencing, I mean, maybe some of that comes from taking on that caretaker role forever, and so you start to go, I think maybe, um, I need a minute.

All of that kind of leads to, if, if you're not happy, somebody else probably isn't going to be happy with you either. So I think that's the biggest thing that I learned is that, if you don't take care of yourself, then it's hard for anybody else to love you the way that you want to be loved. I think that was the biggest thing that I learned from that marriage.

Stephanie: What started bubbling up around 40 for you? Were they questions? I mean, beyond just why don't I have, my shit together? What kind of questions were bubbling up? Do you remember?

Joe: I just remember looking at everybody else and, you know, this is not really, social media thing either because it wasn't as big of a thing, but, but I just remember looking at everybody else going, they seem like they have it figured out. Why don't I?

I envisioned my life being so much different when I was younger and, I spent so much time just trying to find the career and find the, the money. And so when I finally had a job that was paying me well, I was like, well, I feel like I should be happier with that.

Stephanie: Mm. Yeah.

Joe: But it wasn't fulfilling so to speak. I was in marketing, which is where I still am today, I just didn't feel like I was making a big enough difference in the world.

Maybe I'm not alone in that, you know, when you start reaching 40, you start going, what kind of impact am I making in the world? I started trying to figure all of that out on my own a little bit and finding my own place, which I don't know, I mean, maybe that helped push away the marriage a little bit too.

After what, five more years of marriage, then we got a divorce and we were separated before that and then a divorce. That was a big switch right there.

When we eventually got a divorce, I was, I really had to take a long look in the mirror and start to go, what, what about me is necessary to be able to find what I'm looking for? Right? You really have to start to, deconstruct your own self so that you can build it back up. So that's what I did. A little bit of therapy and a little bit of, of, self therapy, I guess.

One of the best things, I have a, I have a friend that, he said, look, you've had to worry about your family for so much. You've had to worry about all these other things for so long that you've said no to everything.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Joe: Go a year, just say yes to everything. And that's what I did. I just, I took the year. I said, yes. My friend actually came and got me and he was like, we're going to go and do this, improv thing at a local theater. It's a Saturday. So we just, we go. We go to this local theater and do this improv and it was a lot of fun, first of all. But then afterward they approached me and they were like, so we have a play that's coming up and we're casting and we think you would be fun to have as the bartender in the play.

I said I was going to say yes, so I'll come. So I went and I tried out and I got the role and it turns out it was a much bigger role than I, I'm like, it's the bartender, how bad can it be?

Stephanie: Right. Right.

Joe: But it turned out it was a pretty big role in there. I met a whole different group of people and had a great time doing it and, um, discovered that that's a whole world that I, I didn't know existed, you know? I remember the last night of the, the play, it was it was so overwhelming because, you know, the, the crowds cheering and everything and you come out and you take your bow and I realized, you know, just kind of a culmination of everything that led me to that point. All of the, the, the rest of the people in the play just kind of surrounded me and, and it ended up being a huge hug and moving on. It was really an incredible experience for me, for sure.

Stephanie: Wow. What else did you say yes to that year?

Joe: Hey, we're going to go to this place or whatever. I just experienced, it was, it was food that I've never experienced. It was, just taking a minute for myself, you know, and, and seeing an aquarium or, going in and watching a ballgame by myself without, um, or with a buddy without, any other distractions, you know, and just really taking time to experience my own life, so to speak. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like a lot of people did that, in their twenties and, and early thirties. Right? And, and I never did. So it was, it was a different experience for me.

Stephanie: Right. Right. Because you didn't have the same 20s and 30s that I did as a single, carefree, footloose kind

Joe: Right, right,

Stephanie: Yeah. You had obligations. You had responsibilities. You had, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So during that year, As you were saying yes to things, what kind of things did you start learning about yourself?

Joe: Being able to learn how to, self care, for lack of a better word. Just learning how to, not give myself a hard time because I made a mistake or something, you know. I always felt like if I made a mistake, then it was the worst thing ever. If you made a mistake, no big deal. Right. But if I made the mistake, it was the worst.

Stephanie: Where did that come from, do you think?

Joe: That's a good question. Um, I think

Stephanie: oldest? Are you an oldest child?

Joe: no, I'm the youngest actually. Um, yeah. Um, I've, I've got one brother and, um, but I, I, I was more of the, the caregiver and he was more of the, I'm going to go live my life.

Stephanie: Responsibilities.

Joe: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that. I learned how to well, you asked how, where that comes from. And I, I, I don't know exactly, I wouldn't say, you know, my parents were cruel about things, but if I made a mistake, I could always hear my father's voice, right? It's always like, oh, why did you do that? You know, well, that's, a let down, you know. And, and so for whatever reason, that meant that my father was somehow disappointed.

I really had to give myself some, free reign to make mistakes. And I won't say I've made mistakes on purpose, but I definitely pushed the edge a little bit more than I normally would. Uh,

Stephanie: And chose things you wouldn't normally choose.

Joe: Yeah. Absolutely. I really started to realize that I was focusing on the wrong questions. I was asking why. Why don't I have this figured out? But there's a whole lot of other questions, right? I really asked myself, who do I want in my life? Who do I want surrounding me? And, and, and I did kind of clean house a little bit, you know. Um, There were people that, for lack of a better word, just negative energy.

Right? Um, and, so that needed to go, I needed to be around more positive people. Not that they were bad people, but that's not what I needed. and I started to think about, well, you know, what do I need to be happy? How do I get there? You know? And, when is it that, that I'm gonna focus on myself, or if not now, when am I going to focus on myself? So I really started asking these other questions and as a result, I had made a conscious decision in the beginning that I was not going to date anyone, at least until I figured out some of this stuff.

I actually had gotten involved in a marketing program where I was volunteering my time to help business owners that maybe needed help with marketing. So in that process, I ended up dating somebody through the program and we went out on, I think one date and I was like, well, this person, isn't the person that I'm going to, you know, want to carry on with, but at the same time, I think I'm ready to date.

Then I ended up meeting my now wife, but, that was the next person that I started to date. I think I felt like I could be myself, more than I had felt like I could, because I had resolved all these other things. It wasn't so much a reflection on my previous wife or, my current wife even. I had put in the work and I had figured things out a little bit more than I did before.

Stephanie: Can you give me an example of how, in your current marriage and in the current day and age, you feel like you can be yourself compared to what you might've felt in your first marriage and in a younger decade.

Joe: A perfect example actually is, now I have this business of my own. I bought the business from, from two other people. They have a podcast and I listened to the podcast. They said they were selling it. I immediately sent them an email and was like, I'm interested. I came home and I said, they're selling it. Before we were even married, I had said, well, they're selling it. And she's like, who's selling what?

Stephanie: You started in the middle. She needed the front of the beginning of the conversation.

Joe: And I was like, well, the yada yada, the people that I talked to and, or listened to their podcast and whether they're selling the business. And she said, you reached out to them, yes. And I was like, I did. And it was one of those things where I realized in that moment right there that, that this was different because I didn't feel like I could pursue those things before, whether I had the money or I didn't, didn't matter. It was still this feeling of, I have this responsibility. That's a risk. I can't take risks. That was a whole different mindset. Right. And then at the end of the day, we still will just kind of download the day and talk about, okay, well, where are we on this? And where are we on that? And how is this? And, and those are all conversations where I felt like I had to keep them close to the vest, right? I couldn't express those things. If I was worried about something, if I was concerned about something, I had to keep that inside. Now it's, it's, it's a whole different mentality now.

Stephanie: Yeah.

And so you think that's a you thing? Like you, meaning when you were younger, did you not feel comfortable enough in the relationship or did you not feel comfortable enough in your own shoes or do you know what I mean? Like, what's the difference?

Joe: I think, I think, I didn't feel comfortable in the relationship because I didn't feel comfortable in my shoes, so to speak. Yeah. Someone else can't love you the way you want to be loved unless you can learn to figure it out yourself, right? You've got to love yourself. And if I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin, how was someone else supposed to be comfortable? I was always thinking, they're going to react this way. I never gave them a chance to react because I was afraid they were going to react a certain way. It was really a change in my mentality more than anything.

Stephanie: That's really interesting. Yeah. I, I definitely, my husband now is, the relationship that I have felt the most comfort in, in my entire life. Um, And I, I did a lot of dating. My husband will always say that I kissed a lot of frogs and then he'll go, um,

Joe: That's funny because my wife says the same, because she dated more than me also and

she says the same thing. She says I kissed a lot of frogs as well. That's the term she always says

Stephanie: Yeah, well, I, my path was exactly the opposite of yours in that I didn't meet him until I was 40. So my twenties and thirties were, a lot of experimentation, a lot of bad relationships, a lot of, still trying to work through some of my motivations. That comfort level and the being myself is something that I have only ever found with my husband. You know, we will sit in the living room in our house and we'll, we'll just be like, you know, these four walls, this house is such a safe space for us, because even though, you know, you leave the house and you put on your, you know, you still put on some level of armor and you still put on some level of facade to deal with, whatever, whether it's, you know, family or business or, you know, whatever. And at home, we just get to be, ourselves and it's it's something that we've been commenting on lately that, that, or I've been commenting on lately that the house, our house is just such a safe space for us.

Joe: And kind of to your point, though, you know, maybe, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's not so much about, a change in my own perspective as much as it is, finding also someone that allows you to have your own perspective. Right? The two kind of go hand in hand where I had to, I had to change my perspective, but at the same time I couldn't be with somebody that would shoot you down if you had a certain perspective. Right?

Stephanie: Right. Because when you're changing your perspective, you're exploring and you're trying new things. And you might even just be trying new language or new ideas. And so you need to have the space to do that, whether it's successful or unsuccessful, but to your point, if you get shot down immediately or closed down or told no, then you just don't have the space to do that.

Joe: Right.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Joe: The phrase that my wife uses is, this is my love language. So she's, you know, this is exactly what I need from you. And this is exactly what you need from me. Or, I'll say this is exactly what I need from you. And this is exactly what she needs from me.

Stephanie: Okay, so you're able to be really really clear and thoughtful with each other on what you need and what you're looking for.

Joe: Right. Right.

Stephanie: Were you able to do that in your first marriage?

Joe: We didn't. There's a lot of things that, that I wonder, you know, if, if I just would have, known these things about myself earlier, would that have changed anything?

I think that the two really go hand in hand where you, you have to really feel like you can, you know, no matter how much work you do here, if you don't feel safe enough in the relationship to be able to say those things, then you, you're not going to be there anyway.

Stephanie: One of my cousins, and I have lots and lots and lots of cousins, got married when she was, right out of college. I think she was 23, maybe, or 24. And, you know, I remember talking to her a decade or more ago and, and her saying, you know, with, with her husband, they're still together. She said, you know, we got really lucky because when I met my husband, when I fell in love with my husband and when I married my husband, you know, the most important thing to me was that he was cute. Right? When you're so young. And so we've all seen people who, you know, started in a relationship young and then people moved in different directions because we're, we're just not even fully formed, in those late teens, early 20s years. So with your first marriage, did you feel like you guys were going in different directions or did you

Joe: At some point, at some point we were, and, and I really couldn't pinpoint a time, you know, I couldn't pinpoint a moment when things kind of split.

Stephanie: Mm hmm.

Joe: I think it's probably more gradual than that. But yeah, at some point my ideas and my goals, and her ideas and her goals were not jiving, so to speak. We're still able to have a good relationship. You know, we have two kids that we are still, even though they're older, you still are their parents. Right. And so we have a, we have a good relationship as far as that goes. And I think that we probably, we made the choice to separate and eventually divorce because we didn't want to lose that. Eventually, we, one of us was going to be like, okay, this is,

Stephanie: Yeah, somebody was go scorched earth.

Joe: Yeah, exactly.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Joe: Because we were adults and able to make that decision, then we were able to, still have a good working relationship with the kids and stuff

And my current wife is, is able to have a relationship with him as well. We've both been remarried now and, I think we're able to find what both of us are looking for. And so,

Stephanie: Everything is as it should be.

Joe: Yeah, there you go. That's a better way of saying it. Exactly.

Stephanie: I like that. I like that.

I love the concept of changing your perspective, but I want to know, one of the first pieces, this midlife transition kind of comes at us out of the blue. I think the concept of the, the midlife crisis is not as prevalent today as it It had been in past generations. Like when our parents were turning 40, like the midlife crisis was the thing, right? And then I think the Gen Xers have moved away from it. You know, I always sort of say the Gen Xers, like we couldn't be bothered to participate in a midlife crisis. And then the millennials have moved even further from it. There's just no connection to this concept of midlife crisis, which means that when we get to midlife, and we start feeling these icky, muddy, yucky things inside of us when these questions start bubbling up that we can't even say out loud, we just don't know what to do with it. We don't know what it means. We have no idea that it's part of a, a developmental stage that most of us go through. And so the first piece of any change or transition is awareness. Do you remember how you started noticing that you weren't happy? Because you said earlier, you couldn't figure out why you weren't happier. What made you notice that you weren't happy? How did you know?

Joe: I was in a job. It was paying me well, but I was working so many hours. I mean, it was not uncommon to be there 60, 70 hours in the week. There was always some flexibility. I always made sure that I was going to take the time, you know, if my kids had a ballgame or a play or something like that, I was able to leave, but there was always a responsibility to come back.

I was so overworked, I think. And I remember one night just sitting at my desk at work. It was probably eight o'clock at night. And I just remember thinking, what am I doing here? What am I, is the paycheck really this important? Again, the question that popped into my head was, what impact am I making on the world? I don't think when you're younger, that's even a thought. Some people I've,

Stephanie: For most of us, I agree with you. I agree. There are the outliers, for sure. Uh, but, you're right. Most of us when we're young, we're just trying to figure it out.

Joe: Right. Right. And, and so all of a sudden I had this new perspective that I should be having an impact. I should be making a difference in some way. That's to your point earlier, you know, that's when there was also kind of this, this different road that we went on because I was like, I want to do more charity work.

I want to do more things to give my time to other, pieces. And we had built a routine, right? And that routine was important to her. You know, that routine was, don't mess with, don't, don't mess with my routine. This is not, this is not my comfort zone anymore. That's when there was definitely a visible difference in, the paths that we were kind of going on as well. So,

Stephanie: What kind of difference did you feel like you wanted to make in the world?

Joe: Well, at the beginning, I really didn't know. I was really just like something. I just want some difference. And to some degree, my wife and I have talked about this actually quite a bit. To some degree, I still don't know exactly, but I know that I have time and time is what I can give.

I'm not in a job where I'm making as much money. I'm self employed now, so I don't have, I don't have a ton of money to just throw out there at problems. Right. But I do have time. And so anywhere that I can give that, that's what's important to me. And, one of the things, and I'm not trying to throw a plug in here, but one of the things that we do in our business is we have charity poker tournaments and, I know at the end of the day when we can help a charity raise money, you know, our slogan is bet on better and, so if we can continue to use what we do every day to help in some way. And it doesn't matter what that charity is, I'm able to give my time and make it better for somebody.

Stephanie: Right? Right. So you haven't picked a theme or a cause that you're passionate about. You're actually supporting them all.

Joe: Yeah, to a degree. To a degree. In my previous job, I remember so many people you know, they always get sent to the marketing person. They always come and they're asking, well, can you support this charity? Can you support that charity? Can you support this charity? And I was like, I, how do you choose?

Stephanie: Right.

Joe: How do I get to sit here and be the one that, you get money and you don't. I actually had developed a, a campaign with the local radio station that we call the charity cheerleader. People would submit their charities to it, and we would pick one person that then their job was to raise the money still, but we would match it. So it wasn't, it was no longer on me to be the one.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Joe: We had a panel of people that, that chose who was going to get that money. I just remember. That being a relief, like, because I didn't have to be the one to decide, Oh, your charity is more important than that charity or, whatever. And there's, there's also so much politics that goes into stuff like that sometimes. And, and I wanted that to be all removed. It's all about this person raising money and we're going to help you.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. I worked at a law firm for a short amount of time and, I was the person who was, external affairs and doing those things. It was a little bit more clear, you know, the older the partner, the more value the charity,

Joe: Yeah.

Stephanie: right? There was definitely a hierarchy there. So I didn't have to make many tough decisions because it was, uh, they all came with their own champions.

Joe: Right.

Stephanie: So how was your life different today? Now that you're on the other side of this transition, you have essentially a new life.

Joe: Right.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Joe: I have a new marriage. I have a different career. I have, I still have my two kids are still just as amazing as they were, but, uh, they're older. At the end of the day, I feel like there is a difference that I can make.

And I know that I, I can go into that, and do it on my own or I can do it with my wife, or I can do it with the kids or, you know. But at the end of the day, it's, it's all about feeling good about what you've done, you know, whether it be that day, that month, that week, that year. The focus is switched to who do I want to be and how do I get there? And I think that's the biggest, the biggest thing is that perspective switch.

Stephanie: Yeah, it strikes me too that the switch was, um, also part of the transition was from a self focus. Right? And of course, there's a need for the self focus when you're young and married and have two little kids. You have to focus on the things that need to get done every day and the bills that need to get paid. But it seems like for you part of that transition was also from a self focus to kind of an outward focus. So that's an interesting switch as well.

Joe: And it's, it's something that I never, for whatever reason, you know, for a myriad of reasons, I never felt like I had the capability, right. And this is a whole other show probably. , But, you know, why would somebody want that from me? You know, when you you spend all the time being the one to show the care for other people, then you think that you're, you're not getting it back necessarily.

And so you start to think, well, why? Um, why would somebody care about that for me, or why would somebody care about that? And and so now, you know, I, I realized that, that I have something valuable to give to the world, right? Even if it's just, you know, an hour of my time or something. It's still, it's still something of value and I can give that.

Stephanie: Well, you not only have time, you have talent and expertise that you're bringing to the table for, for organizations. I mean, as a marketer myself, I know that, I've literally in my career once had somebody say to me, it's not like it's rocket science. But the flip side of that coin is that most people don't really understand it or understand how to accomplish it or any of those things. So they're important skills and valuable skills. So it's, it's, I'm glad that you are starting to, uh, recognize your own worth.

Joe: Yeah, and I appreciate that. It's, it's something that I don't know how many people need to hear, you know, that, that they are making a difference or can make a difference or that their perspective is important. But I think that, I read something somewhere where they I had put sticky notes, you know, on their mirror with words of affirmation or whatever. And I didn't put sticky notes, but I did take the time to, um, and I felt weird saying it out loud. So I just thought it, but, but making sure that I was looking at myself in the mirror and making sure that I said, even if it was in my head, you know, words that were positive for that day, you know, and, and that was the way I started my day. And then I think all of those things, they sound kind of hokey. They sound kind of weird. And, and when you first start doing that, it is kind of, kind of weird to, to do,

Stephanie: yeah,

Joe: but after a while you start to realize it makes a difference.

Stephanie: It so makes a difference. You've just touched on something that, I took a seminar. and it was really about getting to know yourself better and, and sort of learning who you are. And one of the exercises, they called it the mirror exercise. And in the class, they had, um, Um, I actually have one here. They literally just like a hand mirror on, on the table. And you had to, look and make eye contact with yourself, sustained eye contact with yourself. And if you haven't done that before, it is so bizarre and it, and it, it really makes you realize how disconnected from ourselves we, we are, and we get, and we can be. And seriously, for anybody who's listening, if you haven't tried this lately, go try to make eye contact with yourself in the mirror and hold it for any length of time, because it's a challenge.

Joe: Have you ever seen the things where you, you have to maintain eye contact for long periods of time? And and it's hard to not look away. Right. But like you said, it's it, we not only get disconnected from ourselves, but we can get disconnected from other people.

Stephanie: Mm

Joe: And so that I think that's the biggest takeaway is, is we all need to stay connected and I think now more than ever, that is important.

Stephanie: It really is. Can you imagine being a 20 year old right now, as opposed to in 1992?

Joe: No.

Stephanie: Or 1995 or whatever. I mean, I know there were so many things that we didn't have in the 70s and the 80s and the early 90s, but holy cow, you know, at least we didn't have the circus mirror of social media and the Internet at large, you know. Um,

Joe: In some ways, in some ways, like I can't even imagine what my life would have been like, with that, the pressures that you would have added pressures. Like we just talked about all these different pressures that we put on ourselves as, as kids in our generation. Imagine with social media, that's even intensified.

Stephanie: Right, right, because now you have to put on a good face for everybody else. Yeah. Oh my goodness. Yes, this is gonna be a very interesting generation to watch.

Oh, and now I've lost my train of thought. I had something fabulous for you. Well, I think where I was going was it, it, this point of connecting with yourself is how you're going to get to know yourself, is how you're going to feel grounded, is how you're going to know, how you'll be able to, once you, once you start connecting with yourself, you can start listening and you'll hear things like, and I, I use it sometimes like, you know, stupid things like, do I want another cookie? Cause my brain says I want another cookie. But if you're quiet for a moment and you listen, it's like, you're good. There'll be that tomorrow, you know, like it's everything from that to, do I want to take the trip to, do I want to take on this client to, you know, you know, do I want to have this conversation with somebody? I mean, it's, it's unbelievable. Once you can start tuning into yourself.

Joe: Right. Yeah. And to take that, I guess a step further, whatever, but, um, that's the point when I realized the, um, negative talk that, that I have toward myself and you start realizing, um, how, you know. You, you go on through your day and you have this negative talk to yourself and you don't even realize it. You don't realize you're doing it. It's not until you do this exercise where you're looking at yourself in the mirror and you're, you're having positive thoughts that you realize once one of those thoughts pops in your head, you're like, wait, that's not what's supposed to be in there.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Now let me go one step further from that even. There was, a friend and mentor, in my mid twenties, who was also a psychic, who gave me an exercise to do because, I always said that I had two voices in my head and, you know, one was nice and one was very mean and the very mean one was very loud. The nice one, you could barely hear her. And so the exercise that he gave me was, at night before I went to bed, I was to, grab a journal and, and write down the things that had happened that day that pleased me. Not that I had accomplished, not that, you know, we're successful, just the things that pleased me. Could be anything from, you know, today it would be my pink. Like, I'm, I'm like did the full pink outfit today. And like, I love that. Um, to. I noticed a flower and it smelled great. To, you know, had a great encounter with someone. So he, so he said, first step, go make the list of all the things that pleased you. The next step is to, is to one by one, go through that list and identify the talents, skills, qualities, or abilities that you brought to the table that made that thing go well. So now not only are you noticing the things that are going well, you're taking ownership of why they went well. Even if it was just, I noticed, um, or, you know, my sense of style and my love of pink, you know. And I did that exercise for about a year and a half straight. And It changed my life. It changed, it changed the volume of the voices in my head. It gave the nice voice room to bloom. Whereas the mean voice, it showed her that she wasn't always right.

Joe: I love that. I love that exercise.

Stephanie: It, it, it worked like a charm for me and it's something where if I find myself sort of, you know, down in the well, anytime I'll just pick a notebook back up and just start it again. And even if I do it for a couple of nights, it's like, it's just sort of like a reset. So it's a great, great exercise for anyone to do.

Joe: I love that.

Yeah.

Stephanie: Yeah, bring a little more positivity and a little bit more, um, ownership to, to things going well in your life because we just focus so much on all the things that go wrong and all the things that upset us or piss us off or whatever. It's like, you know, it's just like a garden. You have to, uh, tend to it, you know.

Joe: We never regret having a different perspective on it. Right. So when we, when we go back and we look at things, we, even if it's just sometimes I'll be telling the story of my day at the end of the night and, and having a different perspective saying, well, they were probably thinking this. Or they might've been doing this. Or, you know, and I'm like, I didn't even think about that.

Stephanie: Right. Yeah. Yeah. That's such a great takeaway. That, that the change of perspective, looking from different places and seeing other points of view. I love that.

Joe, I just want to thank you so much for joining me today. I've really enjoyed our conversation. I'm so thankful to you for sharing your story with me and all the listeners.

Joe: Absolutely. I'm glad that you had me. Uh, and I just want to say to you, I appreciate what you do here on this show and, and all of the great people that you have on here. Um, and, and learning how they have grown, that helps me grow, helps others grow.

Stephanie: I appreciate your kind words. It means a lot.

Scroll to Top