Podcast

Episode 72 – Simon T. Bailey, Fearless Breakthrough Strategist

There are two things you’re going to notice about Simon Bailey. First, his laugh – it’s the best! And second, his unwavering belief that for people to build the future they’re hoping for, they must be fearless. Today, Jessica and Simon have a really fascinating and wide-ranging conversation on attitude, relationships, divorce, and going scared!

Simon T Bailey

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is your host Jessica Honegger, founder of the social impact fashion brand Noonday Collection. Are you ready for honest and vulnerable conversations that will inspire you towards action? Join me here every week for conversations on living lives of purpose by leaving comfort and going scared.

Today’s guest for you is a treat. His name is Simon Bailey. I met him at a conference that I spoke at, and I was just struck by how I experienced him. I think a lot of motivational speakers can really be amped and fire people up, which is awesome, but he had a true, genuine spirit about him. I could tell that love is his fuel. He calls himself a breakthrough strategist, and his life purpose is to teach one-billion-plus people how to be fearless and create their futures.

He’s the author of nine books, and his Building Business Relationships course for LinkedIn Learning has been viewed by over 750,000 professionals. He’s been named as one of the top 25 people who will help you reach your business and life goals by Success  magazine. And honestly, you’re going to have to put your seatbelt on for this one. There are so many one-liners in this podcast that I could just chew on and chew on and chew on, and I wanted to have him on because I’ve been thinking so much about attitude. I’ve been thinking about how you can have the best strategy and the best tactics, but if you don’t have the right attitude, that could be what is blocking your breakthrough.

I firmly believe that, and that is what a lot of our conversation is about. But we also got vulnerable when he shared more about his divorce and the man he could have been in order to avoid that divorce. It’s a rich conversation. Like I said, we cover a lot of ground in this one. You’re going to want to get out your pen and paper.

By the way, if you value this conversation, could you go leave a review on iTunes? I know I ask you that almost every week now, now that we have our new season, but it really does help more people find the show. So, if you could go share it wherever you hang out on social, and if you could just give a it a review. It takes like five seconds. Even if you don’t want to leave a review, you can just click the little stars, give it a rating. More and more people will find us that way, and I deeply, deeply appreciate it. Alright. Here is our conversation.

A lot of us are moms, our kids are back in school, we’re out there, we’re hitting the pavement with our businesses. It’s kind of that new season and we’re kind of in that starting season right now. And so, I wanna talk about how can we end well and how can we really approach our businesses and our life with the right attitudes?

 

Realizing What Is Going Right

Simon: Yeah, it’s so amazing and almost serendipitous that we would have this conversation. So, I wanna start with a story. This morning, I was driven to school by my 17-year-old daughter. She just got her learner’s permit and she said, "Dad, I’m gonna drive to school," and I said, "OK," and she said, "I wanna pull in the senior parking lot," she’s a senior, and I said, "OK." And I was a bit nervous, but I said, "You know what? We’re gonna go for it," and she says, "Mom lets me drive her car all the time." So not to be outdone, "Absolutely, baby girl, you can do it."

And it’s about a 20-minute drive and, halfway through the drive, Jessica, she says to me, "How am I doing so far?" And it wasn’t so much the question of, "How am I doing so far?" The question behind the question is, "Dad, do you see me?" and, "I want the validation that I’m doing good." That was the deeper part. So, when I heard her, I said, "Baby girl, you’re doing awesome." And we got there unscathed, everything was fine, and I got out of the car and she got out of the car and got her backpack. And this is in the senior parking lot, and my 17-year-old daughter gives me a hug, I give her a kiss on the forehead, and I say, "Have a great day."

What I recognized is so many times, when it comes to attitude, we don’t answer the question truly, "How am I doing so far?" And we go down the side of the road, and we focus on everything that’s not working, what didn’t come through. And the story becomes more powerful than the successes and wins that we’ve had. So, for everyone that is listening to us, I invite you to, first of all, call just a timeout and evaluate, "How are you doing so far?" And I want you to intentionally focus on, "What is going right?" What has given you the win? What has pushed you over the edge? What has allowed you to succeed? And I want you to celebrate in that because, guess what, there are going to be negative things that’s happened, that’s life. But I assure you, if we focus on the wins and the successes, it will literally give us the kickstart from the inside out to continue to move forward.

“There are going to be negative things that’s happened, that’s life. But I assure you, if we focus on the wins and the successes, it will literally give us the kickstart from the inside out to continue to move forward.” Simon Bailey

Jessica: You know, I am curious, you have such an interesting career path, so I’d love for you to, first of all, just share a little bit more about your own career path. And then, I’d love for you to share a time when attitude really did make the difference for you.

 

Believing in the First Step

Simon: Sure. So, when I was in high school, I went to high school in Buffalo, New York, McKinley High School. And my freshman year, I went out for the football team, I got cut. Went out for the basketball team, they said, "You are not the next Magic Johnson," and I got cut. And I went out for track and field and they said, "You’re too slow, you need to run cross-country." I mean do you feel my pain already, right?

Jessica: I feel it, I feel it. I feel your teenage insecurity.

Simon: And in Texas, they would say, "Bless his heart," right? And so, my parents decided to transfer me to another school, and it was at that school I met my English teacher, Ms. Rita Lankis, and she said to me, "Young man, I want you to write a speech and give it before the entire school." Ms. Lankis  saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And 35 years later, I am living out and I have seen the harvest of that seed that was planted by a teacher. And every single time that I have fear or I’m not sure, I go back to that moment in time where someone believed in me but they needed me to believe that they believed in me. So, my belief had to kick in. And when my belief kicked in, it was like, "Whoa, amazing."

So, fast-forwarding to how did I come to this point in life right now? So, I was working at Disney, and I decided that I had reached a place at Disney where it was time for me … So, cashed in my entire 401(k) with significant Disney stock, took out a line of credit on the house at the time…

Jessica: And where are you at in life right now? Family? What’s going on…

Simon: At the time, I was 34. Daniel was 20, he was actually 4 years old, and Madison was 18 months. And their mother didn’t work outside the home and we had just bought our first house, so there was no plan B. All right? And we launched when the country’s going to war with Iraq for the second time and corporations were laying off by the hundreds of thousands. And we said, "OK, if we’re gonna do this entrepreneurial thing, we’ve got about a 3-year runway to make this work." 3 years of savings, and if it doesn’t work, I gotta go back to Disney and say, "Please, Mickey Mouse, give me my job back. I need to work."

So, I literally launched out, and what I recognized every single day, and this is something my father taught me, "The best hand that will feed you is the one at the end of your wrist." So, I made a list of 75 people that I had met over 15 years, and I just started calling them and said, "Hey, this is what I’m doing now. I’m speaking, I’m coaching, I’m training, I’m consulting." I hadn’t even written a book then. And I didn’t make it past the 25th name until I started getting calls back. And literally, within 18 months, many would’ve thought we would’ve been out of business and certainly in the red, we were in the black. But what I recognized is I had to get up every single day with the attitude that nobody is going to do this for me. We have to do it. We have to make it happen. And that’s what we did.

“What I recognized is I had to get up every single day with the attitude that nobody is going to do this for me. We have to do it. We have to make it happen. And that’s what we did.” Simon Bailey

 

Figuring Out What We’re Good At

Jessica: So when you look back at your career at Disney … because I don’t want the listener to have this narrative that you … there was this high-school teacher who was like, "You’re gonna be a speaker," and then, there was this linear line … it just became clearer. “This is my passion, this is my impact.” Because I think a lot of us even are still wondering, even me, which I know that’s bizarre because I’m the CEO of a successful company, but I still sometimes am asking myself the question, perhaps that’s because I’m a typical entrepreneur who’s kinda good at a lot of things but not necessarily like a real master at any of them, I think, "What? What am I good at?"

In fact, I had a conversation with the CEO over the weekend, and she’s a CEO of about a hundred-million-dollar company, and I was just getting some mentorship from her. She’s ahead of me in years and in experience, and she said, "When I was around where you’re at, around 9 years in, I remember making a list of all the things that got me to where I was. How did I get success? What was I good at? Where was I spending my time in those first couple of years of building? And then, I just did that again, I just started doing more of that." And so, I’m kind of in that place of like, what are those things that I know I’m really good at?

And so, I think a lot of us have, honestly, a hard time answering that question. We feel a little bit unsure where, you know … This high-school teacher … it took almost someone else seeing it in you for you to see it in yourself. So, if we’re in that place a little unsure of identifying those things, what are some of the things we can do to kinda get more clarity?

Simon: Yeah. So, I think it comes down to four questions that we have to answer. Question number one, "Where have I been?" And that question looks at, "Where have I been? How did I get to this point? Why did I make this decision? What has allowed me to succeed?" Question number two, "Why am I here?" So, the “Why am I here?” question, which is the age-old question that thousands of philosophers for thousands of years have been asking, but the “Why am I here?” question anchors you that, "I’m where I’m supposed to be right now." Right? And then, that third question, which is probably the most important question, "What can I do?"

Now, let me tell you why the "What can I do?" question is so important. Dr. Christian Mirescu, who is a psychologist at Princeton University, says in his research, "When the brain is worried because of uncertainty, the brain slows down. When the brain slows down, it doesn’t create neurogenesis, which is the process of growing neurons which grows the brain." So, if the brain slows down because of worry, worry has a BFF called stress, and stress has a first cousin called fear. And when stress, fear, and worry get on the same page, we kinda slow down, and we skew towards the negative side and the story of what’s not happening and that becomes bigger than the possibility of what can happen. So, the "What can I do?" question becomes the control-alt-delete question that deletes from our mind drive and our heart drive those things that prevent us from breaking through and having just a break-out experience.

And then, the fourth question is, "Where am I going?" So, when I put those four questions together, "Where have I been?" "Why am I here?" "What can I do?" and "Where I’m going?" What you discover is that it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not that holds you back. And are you going to invest time, energy, and brilliance in who you think you’re not or are you gonna invest time, energy in who you think you are becoming? And making that shift literally allows you to break through.

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not that holds you back. And are you going to invest time, energy, and brilliance in who you think you’re not or are you gonna invest time, energy in who you think you are becoming? And making that shift literally allows you to break through.” Simon Bailey

 

Breaking Through to Create the Future

Jessica: I mean it really does. It really does. And I would like to offer that sometimes I would say you might have different answers in different seasons to those questions. Like the new mom who might be staying at home for a little bit might be asking that in a new way then maybe she did when she was career. Or maybe the gal who thought she would be married by now but she single is asking that in a different way than maybe she did in college. You know, what would you say about that?

Simon: What I would simply say, God would never put you in a place where you do not have the capacity to achieve something. God believes in you, He’s just waiting for you to believe that He believes in you and that, whatever season you might be in right now, that you have the capacity and the ability to literally create the future. And creating the future is being present to the moment to understand that your best days are in front of you.

“Whatever season you might be in right now, that you have the capacity and the ability to literally create the future. And creating the future is being present to the moment to understand that your best days are in front of you.” Simon Bailey

Jessica: Tell me a little more about … I know you gave the high-school example, but when in your career, when you kind of broke out on your own and you’re calling 25 people … and I know it wasn’t just like that people started calling back and it’s been unicorn’s and rainbows ever since … Yeah, tell us a little bit about how your attitude has helped you be resilient during a challenging time in your career.

Simon: Yeah, probably one of the most challenging times in my career is when I submitted a video to the Million Dollar Round Table, which, in the financial and insurance space, to be on their stage in front of all of their customers, 10,000 people from 72 nations is a really really big deal, and I had submitted a videotape to be on their stage along with almost a 1,000 other men and women in this space. And for 9 years straight, I was rejected … 9 years straight. And what I recognized, I just gave up, I just absolutely gave up and I asked for feedback. And they said to me, they said, "Yes, we did receive your information but … you’re a nice guy but you’re not that good." And to receive that direct feedback was very humbling because up until that time, I thought I was the creme de la creme.

So, instead of going negative and saying, "Well, you guys just don’t appreciate me," I decided to invest in a coach. I decided to invest in not just one coach but two coaches. And I am forever grateful for the two coaches that came alongside me … one lady, her name was Sam, the other lady was Susan. And what they helped me understand is sometimes you can’t see the frame when in the picture. And they invited me to let go of what wasn’t working and to let come what wanted to emerge.

So, they began to specifically help shape my content, my style, how I was showing up. And they said, "Here’s the deal, you have to be you. You cannot be anyone else but you. And the reason you were rejected for 9 years is because…" John Mason in his book called An Enemy Called Average, says, "Most people are born originals but die copies." And literally, when I made that shift, the 10th year, I submitted the video and was accepted out of almost 800 people that they vetted to be their number 1 person to open up in front of 9,000 people from 72 nations in Toronto, Canada.

And what I recognized, I came to that place where I had to stop beating myself up because they didn’t say yes to me and I need to go really and do the deeper work to say, "Is there a problem and am I willing to acknowledge that my attitude absolutely is negative about what they were saying?" and now be open, "what do I need to do to get better?"

 

Feedback: How Do We Own It?

Jessica: I love that a lot of your turnaround came from receiving feedback. I think that when we are in a negative space … and I mean this has been a journey I’ve been on the last couple of years because I did my first 360-feedback from stakeholders in my life around … probably it was a year and a half ago, 2 years at this point. And I remember being so afraid going to my executive coach, it was the first time I’d ever hired an executive coach, and I was so afraid to get this feedback. And even when I describe it to people, they cringe. And I’ve talked about it quite a bit on this podcast when I first was going through it … and it was kind of ironic, the day I received the feedback, and then, the next day I had an interview for this podcast with a self-compassion expert, that was no accident, thank you God for that one, and actually receiving the feedback, and then, combining that with this self-compassion expert … her name’s Dr. Kristin Neff, Brene Brown has used her research quite a bit and all of her work. And I realized that it’s because I hadn’t been compassionate with myself, or I didn’t know how to get in touch with that compassionate voice, and so, I was afraid of feedback. And so, I began to change that narrative and see feedback as a gift. And one of the pieces of feedback that I got is that I don’t like receiving feedback.

Simon: Right. Exactly. And what you just described is when a person evolves in their personhood and they experience that personal evolution, they understand, number one, "How do I own it?" number two, "How do I create it?" and number three, "How do I love it?" So, “owning it” is hearing the truth that literally makes you free. "How do I now create the next step? What am I gonna execute within the next 24 hours to act upon what I’ve heard?" and then “How am I gonna love it for who I am becoming in the process?"

“Owning it’ is hearing the truth that literally makes you free.” Simon Bailey

Jessica: Let’s go back to this, "How can I own it?" I actually have a whole chapter in my book called "Owning Your Worth." And I do find a lot with women, which I work with a lot of women, that is almost the first obstacle is people are not necessarily willing to own what they have to give, they are focused more on either what they don’t have or they just feel a lack of clarity. So, dive me a little bit deeper into that step number one because I have a feeling that that’s probably a chapter in one of your books, too.

Simon: So, what I’ve discovered when I have interviewed and studied high-performing female entrepreneurs, one of the things that they have this uncanny ability to do is to be gut honest real with the state of their world. And when they are gut honest real, they’re not pointing the finger at anyone else, they have the ability to admit their mistakes. But understanding just because you make a mistake, that does not mean you are a mistake. Just because you fail, it does not mean you’re a failure. So, they have the ability to reframe it as a teachable moment. All right? That’s the first thing that I’ve discovered.

The second thing I’ve discovered is when you really own … and I hate to use the word stuff, but when you own where you are, all of a sudden, you stop saying, "I can’t," and you start saying, "I can." You stop saying no and you start saying yes. Research says that, by the time a child is 17 years of age, they have only heard … or they have heard only … they’ve heard no 150,000 times and only yes 5,000 times. So, the ability to find the yes when it looks like an no starts with that individual. Right?

And then the third thing that I’ve discovered is they surround themselves or create what I would call a surround sound of men and women who will give them a perspective that doesn’t necessarily agree with making them look good or right. Now, some would call that critical feedback but what it does is it allows you to hear from someone else who sees you from just a different angle, and then you have the ability to say, "Do I agree or do I disagree? Are they projecting or are they giving me something that’s gonna help me become better?"

We’ve often heard, "People don’t see you as you are, they see you as they are." So and receiving that feedback from people that are trusted advisors, your core group, your posse or squad, "’How open am I to the feedback that I don’t necessarily agree with, but could be the very thing that I need to embrace for who I become in the process."

Jessica: I mean imagine even just … if we sat down with our spouses, for those of us that are married, and said, "Hey, what could I do better this school year to just support you?" I mean, we never do that. Right?

Simon: So yeah, yeah. You know what? So, can I just share with you a failure story? So, a part of why I went through a divorce after being married for 25 years is because I wasn’t really willing to own how I was showing up in the house and I was emotionally unavailable. So, she said to me one day, the mother of my children who we were married for 25 years, she said, "You give everybody the best of you but you give us the rest of you, and I don’t want the leftovers anymore." And what I discovered, I wasn’t willing to own it because of like, "Oh, you’re just trying to tell me that I’m not doing it right and that’s all you do." But the truth of the matter is I wouldn’t own that I needed to be home and fully engaged in the house not just to be an empty suit wanting to watch ESPN.

So, after not owning my stuff, I built a house but lost a home, made money but had no meaning, and was pursuing power but had no purpose. And I didn’t keep the main thing the main thing because I wouldn’t own my stuff. And here’s the reality. I started to go to a counselor by the name of Anita, and Anita, who has more degrees than a thermometer, has been doing therapy for 40 years, and she said to me, "Whatever you don’t deal with and take ownership of will eventually deal with you and will show up in other areas." And that was my wake-up call where I was being invited to let go of who I thought I was to really embrace that, "You know what? You just need to be a better dad and you could’ve been a better husband if you owned it."

“After not owning my stuff, I built a house but lost a home, made money but had no meaning, and was pursuing power but had no purpose. And I didn’t keep the main thing the main thing because I wouldn’t own my stuff.” Simon Bailey

 

Listening, Being Available, and Transforming Relationships

Jessica: Wow. And would you say then that that journey of transformation … like that set you on a journey of transformation?

Simon: Oh my goodness, it has made me so emotionally available to Madison. And her mother and I get along really well, we were great co-parents. But what I recognized what could’ve saved the marriage is if I stopped hearing and listening. Because we all hear through filters. So, when she was talking, I was hearing what I thought she was saying, which was like a personal attack, instead of listening. See, the same letters that spell the word listen spell the word silent. So, if I would’ve listened to what was behind what she was saying, it was really the invitation, "We wanna make this marriage work, we wanna save it but I need you to get this." And because I was just being ultra masculine and testosterone and, "I’m right, you’re wrong," right, my ego edging greatness out got in the way and caused us to divorce because I didn’t own it. But it’s made me a better person because now, when Madison would say to me, "Dad, so how am I doing so far?" I can hear the deeper part, "I need to affirm my daughter in this moment, to say ‘You’re doing great, baby girl.’"

Jessica: Gosh, I feel like the dynamic that you described is such a prolific dynamic in a marriage between men and women. I think a woman’s like, "I need you to be more available," the guy feels so easily criticized. Oftentimes men just, you know… What would you say to a woman who might be in this exact marriage dynamic right now? What would you say to her?

Simon: Wow… Oh my goodness, so many things I could say but…

Jessica: Because I know what you’d say to the dude but most of my listeners are women.

Simon: Here’s what I’d say to ladies, just real talk. Men—our ego is so paper-thin. I mean, you could just blow us over. But here’s the first thing, first of all, how is your husband wired? Is he a visual learner, auditory, hands-on? And if you want to get through to him, describe it in the way that he learns it and gets it and be mindful of tone. And when you’re talking, slow down the rate of your speed and affirm him to say, "Here’s what I appreciate about you." Right? It’s almost like that emotional deposit, the emotional bank account as Dr. Stephen Covey taught us years ago. Right? And so, now, "OK, you affirmed me. And, oh by the way, here’s an observation," and it’s all in language because language is the software of the mind. So, when you have affirmed me, and say, "Here’s an observation that I’ve made and I’d like to help you think about, ‘Do you want me to see you that way?’"

“If you want to get through to [your husband], describe it in the way that he learns it and gets it and be mindful of tone. And when you’re talking, slow down the rate of your speed and affirm him to say, ‘Here’s what I appreciate about you.’ … It’s all in language because language is the software of the mind.” Simon Bailey

And what you’re doing, ladies, you’re doing reverse psychology because you’re not telling us we’re wrong, but you’re asking what you would like for us to do in the form of a question. And that question causes us as a man to think to say, "She just said, I wonder…" And then, here’s what he’s gonna do. He’s gonna go and talk to his boys. He’s not gonna talk to you in that moment because he’s gonna just like, "Yep, yep, yep. I hear you," he’s just gonna give you the screensaver face that he got it because he wants you to shut up, but he’s gonna be thinking, "She put this question on my mind. And you know what? Let me ask Charlie." "Hey, my wife said to me," or if he has a female in his life, a family member, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, even his mother, he’ll say, "You know what? Here’s what she said. Give me the female perspective on what she meant."

Now, it all depends on the relationship. He may not go deeper with you to say, "Give me the meaning behind that." If you have a good relationship, he may say, "Tell me more." And if he says, "Tell me more," give him specific concrete examples of how, whatever happened, made you feel or what might be missing. Because we need something to kind of put our arm around, "Whoa, that’s great." And then, most importantly, it’s all how you end. And say, "You know what? I just wanna remind you that you are a good man, you are the father of my children. And I don’t wanna do life without you, and I believe we can get better together because I am your biggest cheerleader. So, I’m only coming alongside you to say, ‘Babe, here’s what we can do.’" And when a woman approaches a man from that angle, we like … oh, snap, we will find our inner superman to say, "You know what? She’s not really tearing me down, she wants to make me better. I need to listen, and I need to execute."

Jessica: Man, I wish you could just go back and get married again. Like get a big redo, get a redo.

Simon: You know, what’s interesting? You know what? Distance gives perspective. And after going through what some would call the dark night of the soul of divorce, which is like death by a thousand cuts, when you are doing your work, and so I am doing my work and have been for a few years, I just have these epiphanies along the way to help other couples, other men, other women to say, "Here’s what I learned the hard way, you don’t have to repeat history." And, Jessica, it comes back to attitude. It comes back at the core attitude. My attitude was holding me back from being a better husband and a better father.

Jessica: Yeah. I mean it’s like there’s that Chuck Swindoll quote and it says, "Life is 5% of what happens to you and 95% how you respond to it.”

Simon: I believe that. And I love that quote.

 

Finding and Giving Support

Jessica: And it’s true. You talk a lot about being believed in, I know you’ve had some managers at work that have really believed in you and you’ve got this high-school teacher, I’d love to hear about someone else who’s really believed in you and then, I’d love to hear someone you’re really believing in right now.

Simon: So probably the person who’s had the greatest impact on my life is my pastor, the gentleman named Dr. Mark Chironna. And when I met him 20 years ago, he said to me, "You weren’t born to fit in, you were born to be brilliant." And when he said it, it just unlocked something in me because I thought I was average. And I said to him, "How can you say that to me? You’re a white man." And he said, when he and his wife first got married, they adopted two young African American boys, and he said, "We told our boys what they could be instead of what they couldn’t be. And he said, "You’re stuck in your mind and your body thinking the pigmentation of your skin creates and shapes who you are and I’m telling you you were born to be brilliant."

And that started me on a 7-year journey that changed my life because he was inviting me to a higher viewing point of how he saw me and invited me to rise to the occasion. So, what that has done for me today, I have a number of mentees around the world that I pour into free of charge, and I tell them, like my mentor told me, what they can be instead of what they can’t be. Because I understand that language is the software of the mind. So, if I’m gonna pour into another individual, I have to upgrade my verbal software for them to really get, at a gut level, how I see them and what I believe in them. Because what I discovered, sometimes you just need somebody to believe in you until your belief kicks in and allows you to make that attitude adjustment and have a brilliant future.

“I have a number of mentees around the world that I pour into free of charge, and I tell them, like my mentor told me, what they can be instead of what they can’t be. … sometimes you just need somebody to believe in you until your belief kicks in and allows you to make that attitude adjustment and have a brilliant future.” Simon Bailey

Jessica: What would you offer to me? As you know, we have adopted a son as well, we have two biological kids and then one son who is of dark pigmentation from Rwanda…

Simon: GODIVA chocolate is what I would call it.

Jessica: And what are some of those narratives there that you, as a black man, would specifically speak into?

 

Shifts in Perspective Mean Shifts in Attitude

Simon: I think there are five. Number one is to see what’s right about them. And though no one is perfect, when they are imperfect, that you come alongside, as I’m sure you and your husband already do, and give them the feedback that allows them to still be seen in mom and dad’s eyes as a great human being but, "Oh, by the way, your future is unfolding and you’ve got to deal with this because you wanna be successful long-term." That’s number one.

Number two, really give them a personal experience where you expose them to the world beyond just the world that looks like them. What I mean by that is, when I’m exposed to a world outside of my ethnic group, it expands my worldview. Because what that does, it allows you to begin to see how you show up in the world and not be shaped by those that just look like you. So, continue that personalized experience.

“When I’m exposed to a world outside of my ethnic group, it expands my worldview. … It allows you to begin to see how you show up in the world and not be shaped by those that just look like you.” Simon Bailey

Third thing to really understand and inviting them to think about, "What problem have you been created to solve?" and having that conversation early and often. One of the mistakes that I make with my kids is, like my parents, I said, "What do you wanna be when you grow up?" because that’s what their parents said to them. What I recognized with Daniel and Madison, in a world of algorithms, artificial intelligence, automation, autonomous cars, the question is, "What problem have you been created to solve?" So, doing that for them now gets them thinking, "Oh my goodness, I can solve a problem in the world."

Number four, recognizing whoever has their ear has their life. Who are the people around them that speak into their self-esteem, their self-concept, their self-belief, and just protecting what is uploaded into their mind drive and hard drive. And having that ongoing conversation, "What did you take away?" Right? And then probably the fifth thing, and this is something that I believe, and I will go to my grave saying, "How do we hug them with our words?" Before he goes to bed, before they go to bed at night, "How do we hug them with our words?"

So when they are now in the night season, and their dreams and imaginations are stirring, they wake up with, "Mom and dad, hug me with their words and I can start today with the right attitude because I am loved, I am valued, I appreciated." And all of those things give them confidence in a world, in an America where they’re marginalized in certain areas. They can now walk out with this fortified attitude to say, "You know what? I am GODIVA Chocolate 5 because my mama told me, my daddy told me," and they just believe it. And literally they begin to live from the inside out.

Jessica: I just loved where all of that went. It went I so many unexpected places. I have just had a radical commitment lately to my time in solitude. And for me, that’s time with God, but it’s different than how my “quiet time” looked like way back in the ‘90s. I really just spend time just becoming aware of God’s presence with me and I really just get still and get quiet. I’m even leaving my phone at home and I’m having my solitude time under a tree in my car, because literally I can’t then think of other things that I have to get up and go do. It’s really transforming me, it’s what I need right now, and I love some of these questions that he left us with. What have I been? Why am I here? What can I do? And where am I going?

Sometimes I get a little freaked out honestly. I think it’s because I’m an Enneagram Seven, and feeling like I have to commit to some of these answers feels like I’m boxing myself in. But I am choosing a new attitude, and I am going to answer some of these questions for this new season that we are in right now. And I challenge you to do the same. Spend some time in solitude this week. Would you do that for me? Spend a little time in solitude and ask yourself these questions. See where it might lead you.

Thanks so much for tuning in. Thanks for sharing the show, thanks for reviewing the show. Our wonderful music is by my good friend Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.