How to Tap into Your Soul to Find Significance #65

Warwick Fairfax

April 27, 2021

Your soul is the you that you don’t have to think about, where your essence, your truest self, lives. But how do you discover what your soul reveals about you? More important, how can drawing on the insights you find there help you bounce back from a crucible and lead a life of significance? Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax and cohost Gary Schneeberger take a deep dive into those questions, offering up 7 ways to live with your soul top of mind. The beliefs, values and passions you find there, Warwick says, will allow you to begin living your legacy today.
To learn more about The One Thing Core Values Deck discussed in this episode, visit www.the1thing.com/shop/corevaluesdeck/

Highlights

  • The importance of understanding your soul (2:29)
  • Your soul is the “you” you don’t have to think about (4:16)
  • Why discussing soul is important for Crucible Leadership (5:56)
  • The first mention of doing “soul work” on BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE (7:38)
  • How Warwick’s soul was no fed in being groomed to take over the family media business (10:39)
  • Why you must recognize you have a soul (14:07)
  • Why you must examine your fundamental beliefs (19:01)
  • Why you must reflect on the values you most cherish (23:44)
  • Why you must examine whether you live in harmony with your values (30:43)
  • Why you should visualize what living in greater harmony with your beliefs and values would look like (40:35)
  • Why you should ask trusted friends and family what they believe your values to be (45:43)
  • Take one small step to live in light of the real you today (53:14)

Transcript

Warwick F:
Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership. If you’re doing something that’s not in line with your dreams, aspirations, skills, your personality, whether it’s personally and professional, what tends to happen is, the more you ignore who you truly are in your soul that leads you into the desert. There are these words that people have used, like the land of smoldering discontent. Day by day, you die. Your inner self dies and your passions, and you become just this almost like this robot, this hollow man, hollow woman of just nothing. There are people that they don’t feel joy or pain. They’re just numb. They’re just numb to life.

Gary S:
Wow! That sounds pretty depressing. Doesn’t it? But don’t worry. This week’s episode is all about how you can avoid what Warwick just described. It’s a roadmap for how you can, as he puts it, begin living your legacy today and the joy and fulfillment you’ll find when you do. Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger, co-host of the show and the communications director for Crucible Leadership. Pull up a chair or listen wherever it is you may be multitasking as we discuss how to live in a way that’s true to the real you, the inner you that is aligned with your essence, your soul.

Gary S:
We cover seven practical steps in all, each one, a stone to lay in the road that will carry you to your life of significance.

Gary S:
Listener, we have a great show today. We always know it’s going to be a great show when we’re not exactly sure what we’re going to call it. Whatever name was on this podcast before you clicked play, we’ve thought of after we’ve recorded it, because we don’t know exactly what to call it yet. A working title at some point was soul work, but Warwick explain to folks what it is that we’re going to be traversing today, the subjects that we’re going to be talking about.

Warwick F:
Yeah. Soul is an interesting word. I think we often talk on Beyond the Crucible, and indeed, as part of Crucible Leadership as, how do you live a life of significance? We talk about, well, it starts with how you’re designed and wired, and your skills, abilities, and talents, and then lining them up with your fundamental beliefs and values, finding a vision that you’re off the charts passionate about, getting a team together and living a life of significance. That’s all good and that’s all true, but one of the things I think we’ve come up against in chatting to guests and in reflection is there’s something maybe beyond just wiring and design.

Warwick F:
It’s our inner essence, our soul, and what is that? I mean, in a sense, philosophers and religions and spiritual folks have been talking about the word soul for probably thousands of years. It’s not a new topic. The sense of a soul is it makes you, you. Every human being that’s ever lived has a unique soul. It’s a combination of wiring, but more than that, personality, perspective, passions, characteristics, quirks. It’s what makes you as a conscious human being. Human beings have consciousness. So, what makes you, you?

Warwick F:
For want of a better word, and as I said, theologians and philosophers have been talking about it for thousands of years, it’s your soul, it’s who you are. We wanted to chat about what is soul and how do you get more in touch with it? And how do you live your life more in touch with your soul? If a soul is who you are, shouldn’t you be paying attention to it and living in light of it?

Gary S:
Right. Two points based on what you just said. We were talking about what to cover during the show here, and something popped in my head that I said that your soul is the you that you don’t have to think hard about. It’s the you that is just you. It just kind of comes out, and to make your point about the thousands of years that talk of soul has been waged, I found a quote that goes back to Aristotle, who said this, “The soul is the first activation of the potentiality for life that is in organic, physical, or natural bodies.”

Gary S:
Back in Aristotle’s time, back when people only had one name a piece, they were talking about the importance of soul as it pertains to how you live your life.

Warwick F:
Yeah, and that’s true. I mean, it’s funny in the Christian tradition and others, you talk about the body may die, but the soul doesn’t. The sense of the soul being eternal, which is a hard thing to get your head around, that’s not an uncommon thought within religious and spiritual tradition. This concept of eternity and soul, it’s a fascinating topic. It’s not easy to understand, to be honest, but it’s an important one of understanding, what is a soul and what does that mean? Do I know what mine is, and how do I live in light of who I truly am? While it may be difficult, I don’t think these are questions you want to ignore.

Gary S:
Right. It’s a critical aspect of Crucible Leadership, because when we describe crucibles, there’s a lot of words you can use for a crucible experience. It was devastating, it was life-changing, it was soul-crushing, is one of the things people use to describe a truly traumatic crucible. The idea, in the context of Crucible Leadership, this conversation, how do you get in touch with your soul? How do you sort of elucidate what’s in there? Your soul is that thing that gets crushed sometimes, that gets wounded, that gets battered when you go through a crucible experience. That’s fair, isn’t it?

Warwick F:
Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, soul-crushing is a good word. If it’s soul-crushing, you must have something to be crushed. What is that thing that’s getting crushed? When you say to somebody, boy, was that soul-crushing. He said, I’ll absolutely, but why? Why was it soul-crushing? What was it that got crushed? And how do you maybe stop it getting uncrushed or revamped, redeemed, if you will? Yeah, it’s an important question. I think most people, whether they’re religious or not, have a sense that they have a soul. They have an inner essence that’s beyond just wiring and gifts.

Warwick F:
It’s more than that. It’s deeper than that. It matters hugely. People intuitively have a sense that they have one and that it matters, even if they don’t fully understand it, because if philosophers and religions grapple with this subject, it can’t be easy.

Gary S:
Right. Now, although I often say I’m a word guy, so I’m definitely not a scientist, but I did, Warwick, a little bit of an archeological dig to find out, when’s the first time that this idea of doing soul work came up in Beyond the Crucible? I found in the March 10th podcast with Bryan Price. I remember the moment. I had to look up the date, but I remember kind of the moment and the discussion. You and Bryan Price, who’s a leadership … He runs something called the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University.

Gary S:
One of the things he does is he has a crucible class with his students where they talk about their crucible experiences. But as that conversation was wrapping up, Bryan had talked a little bit about what he calls, what others call imposter syndrome. This idea that I don’t deserve the things that have happened to me. I’m an imposter. I’m living falsely in some way. I have a transcript from that end of that conversation, and this is what you said to Bryan Price when we were talking with him. “None of us are perfect. Getting over the whole imposter syndrome, I mean, that’s really important. It’s almost, I’d say soul work. To be really effective leaders, you’ve got start at the root.”

Gary S:
“That’s often at the soul level. You’ve got a good foundation at a soul self-image level, you’re going to be so much more effective and compassionate. You have a bunch of weeds or some issues at a soul level, you’ll find it very difficult to care for other people. So, you’re really dealing with what I’d call soul work.” That was the first time I remember you talking about the need to care for the soul. One of the things that we talked about is that you can’t really, because the soul is your essence, you can’t really sort of shape your soul or change your soul, but you can discover it. You can peel back layers of the onion to find out what’s in there, and then how do you manage those things that you find there?

Warwick F:
Yeah, I think that’s true. I mean, just understanding that you have one is important. I think you can nurture it and help it flourish. On the other hand, you can ignore that. Sometimes parents, maybe their kids went on a path that wasn’t helpful, whether it’s drugs or getting involved with people that lead them into a life of crime. You’ll hear parents say, Johnny or Mary, they’re a good person. They’ve just been around the wrong people and they’ve gone down the wrong path, but I think often the case, that’s often the case, of what is that soul? I think sometimes, and we’ll get into this, sometimes we ignore who we are and we live somebody else’s life or somebody else’s path and that direction lies misery.

Gary S:
Right. That’s part of your story. I mean, that’s a part of your story, the idea that as the fifth generation, heir to the family media dynasty, that’s what you were designed for by family fiat or however that worked, that was your role, and it didn’t take into consideration your talents, passions, things that you wanted to do, let alone, did you have the soul? Was your soul one to be a media tycoon? That was a question that no one ever asked and no one ever thought to ask, right?

Warwick F:
Yeah. I mean, that’s true. I mean wiring and soul, it’s sort of interweaved. I’m basically a reflective advisor, probably more on the shy, introverted end of the spectrum, and to be this upfront leader where I’m having to make a hundred decisions before breakfast, the way that your average media tycoon does, and you’re responsible for thousands of people, I mean, that just wasn’t me, but yet, because growing up at 150-year old family media business and having dearly loved my parents and my father, I didn’t want to let them down, or let my dad down and ancestors. I found that I was trapped.

Warwick F:
I mean, I’ve mentioned on another podcast recently, it sounds like a strange analogy, but it’s almost like the Royal family. It’d be like asking Prince William, who is the heir apparent after his dad, Prince Charles, has he ever thought about doing something else? He would say, “Well, no,” because if he did, his father and grandmother would be devastated. So, the issue of, what does your soul want is irrelevant. Yeah, I mean, it never seemed to be an option, and the challenge is, when you’re living somebody else’s life, that can, maybe it’s not soul crushing, it erodes the soul. It starts getting eaten away. It’s almost like acid.

Warwick F:
It’s just sort of it erodes it. When you’re not helping your soul flourish, watering it, nurturing it, and letting weeds grow, it’s really almost a guaranteed path to misery. Happiness and joy and fulfillment won’t happen.

Gary S:
Right. The reason behind this podcast is that we’re about to turn a corner. We’ve already, if this were a court of law, we’ve entered into evidence, the fact that we have souls, and that living in line with those souls is important. I’ll finish this aspect of the discussion before we turn into seven ways to stay true to yourself, seven ways to live within the parameters, live out of your soul. Here’s a quote that summarizes a little bit of what you were just saying by the author, Daniel Defoe, wrote this. “The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished or the luster of it will never appear.” What we’re going to talk about, these seven items that you’ve identified that are in a blog of yours, that if not already available at crucibleleadership.com, will soon be available at crucibleleadership.com, is basically things you can do to polish the diamond that is your soul, to make sure that that the luster of that essence is not lost.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I mean, I think that’s true. Really, the first step is recognizing that you have a soul, that all humans have a soul, as we’ve been talking about, and in essence, that makes them different than any other human being. You need to ask the questions of, why was I put on this earth? What gives my life meaning? What are my passions? I mean, what is life about, and in particular, for me? And realize that you have a God given soul, at least from my perspective, and you have every right to live in line with it.

Warwick F:
One of the things that why this is so important, because a lot of people will say, oh, soul I don’t really get it. Who cares? I just want to get a job.

Gary S:
It sounds all oogity boogity.

Warwick F:
It’s all ethereal, and who cares? Let’s get a good job and do something that at least I don’t hate and enjoy the weekend and I just keep going, which is obviously, in the world of Crucible Leadership and life of significance, so we think life should be focused on others and for a higher purpose, but really at a soul level, it matters because if you’re doing something that’s not in line with your dreams, aspirations, skills, your personality, whether it’s personally and professional, what tends to happen is, the more you ignore who you truly are in your soul that leads you into the desert.

Warwick F:
There are these words that people have used, like the land of smoldering discontent, day by day you die, your inner self dies, and your passions, and you become just this, almost like this robot, this hollow man, hollow woman of just nothing. There are people that they don’t feel joy or pain. They’re just numb. They’re just numb to life. You don’t want to be this numb automaton that’s like, it’s given up and his soul has been crushed in this eternal purgatory of frustration. That’s what can happen if you ignore your soul and don’t live in light of it and listen to everybody else. You don’t want to be that person. That’s a land of pain, and you don’t want to be that person.

Gary S:
That is great advice for the listener and falls in line with another quote that I have that I found from, I don’t know why this is sort of the literary episode of Beyond the Crucible, but this is from the poet, Walt Whitman, who said exactly what you’re talking about. He said it this way, “Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.” Dismiss that which just does not feel right, does not feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. Again, the reason we’re having this discussion on Beyond the Crucible for Crucible Leadership is because what you were just describing about living life as an automaton, that’s the antithesis of where crucible leadership aims to aim people, which is to a life of significance.

Gary S:
A life on purpose dedicated to serving others, where there’s joy and there’s happiness and there’s meaning, and to live outside or contrary to your soul is the opposite of that. It’s those things that Whitman says, insult your soul. Those are things we should dismiss from our soul.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. I may have got it wrong. It might be Thoreau, but I think somebody like that said, that people live lives of quiet desperation. They’re not yelling and screaming or crying, but it’s just, we all have known them. There’s just this deep inner sadness, and it gets worse as the decades go by and you feel sorry for them. Boy, they just seem, they don’t necessarily complain but they just seem unhappy at such a deep spiritual level. Maybe it comes out in sarcasm, maybe they’re negative, maybe they’re pessimist, but it’s just, there are always reasons. Maybe that drives them to substance abuse.

Warwick F:
I mean, I’m no expert, but people who get into substance abuse, there’s always a reason, and it’s probably a soul-crushing reason. These things matter. Anyway, I think we’ve probably outlined if you have a soul, why it matters.

Gary S:
Right. Lest you think listener that this is going to be a depressing, if you found that to be sort of a downer, we’re not trying to be a downer. The idea is to sort of set the stage for why is soul so important, and what Warwick’s talking about. That’s why this discussion is important, not just in general, but in the concept or in the construct of Crucible Leadership. This is an important conversation to have. Now we’re going to turn the corner and to help you understand ways to discover things that do not insult your soul. The first one of those is what, Warwick?

Warwick F:
Yeah. I mean, we’ve been talking about recognize you have a soul and we all have them. Hopefully listeners, you understand this now of, we have one and why it’s important. I think really, after you recognize that you have one, the next step is really to examine your fundamental beliefs. We live in a fast-paced world, technology, people are climbing the corporate ladder, and we typically, we don’t take time to think, who am I? What do I believe? What does it matter what I believe? Well, if you don’t know what you believe, how in the world can you figure out what your soul is and live in light of it? I mean, to make this practical, you can say, okay, great, I have a soul, but I have no idea what that is, and what do I do with it?

Warwick F:
The first step is, we all have beliefs. Now, it could be a religious tradition. It could be spiritual or philosophical. You’ve got to do some work, and it matters. What you believe matters. It’s not about what other people believe or what other people think you should believe. That’s not the relevant thing is, every human being, because we have consciousness, we have beliefs. I think pretty much everybody has strong convictions, a set of strong convictions.

Warwick F:
Well, figure out what those beliefs are. Now, maybe you were raised in a religious tradition and you don’t buy into all of it. You may buy into some of it. Maybe you don’t go to church every Sunday or synagogue or mosque, or whatever it happens to be your religious or spiritual tradition. But there may be parts that you like. For instance, in the Christian tradition, maybe you like this whole idea of servant leadership and the golden rule, do unto others as you’d have them do onto you. You might say, you know what? That part of the Christian tradition, well, I buy it, I like that.

Warwick F:
Well, examine the parts of your religious, spiritual or philosophical traditions, and ideally write them down, think about it. What are those things that I feel like at the core of what I believe as me as a human being? That’s the first key step. Know what you believe and honor that treasure that. I mean, let’s assuming you don’t believe in something you think is … Hurt everybody or self-centered. I’m an idealist. Most of us, if you ask people their fundamental beliefs, it’s not typically rip people off, cheat, steal, kill.

Warwick F:
I mean, if you’re a psychopath, okay, but let’s assume that you’re a vaguely sane person, I honestly believe that people have fundamental beliefs that should be honored and treasured, almost without exception. At least for sane, functional human beings, which I think is most of us, I think that’s true.

Gary S:
Those beliefs are, I mean, if … Let’s use a metaphor, if your soul’s a plant, it’s in a planter, your beliefs are one of the seeds that is dropped in there. Your soul grows from those beliefs, and identifying what those beliefs are, really taking the time to think about them helps you understand your soul better, helps you live out of your soul better. Again, it’s not like you can adopt new beliefs that will change your soul. You can adopt new beliefs all the time, but you can see the beliefs that are embedded in your soul and live within the parameters of those. That leads to a life that’s far more joyous than the opposite, what Whitman was talking about.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. I think one way of looking at it is, if you asked, hey, just met John on Mary, tell me about them. Who are they? That’s a common question. Well, this will be a little bit more direct or curious, if you said, so, tell me, what is it that they believe? I don’t mean just so much religion, but in terms of their fundamental beliefs, who would you say they are? Well, if you were told over the next five, 10 minutes, this is fundamentally what they believe, and you would be a fair ways along the path to understanding who they were as a person.

Warwick F:
It wouldn’t fill in everything, but it would fill in some core elements of who they were when you start asking that question. Think of it that way. If that’s true, then we should know what we believe. That’s really the next key point, I’d say.

Gary S:
Yeah, and then, hand in glove with that, beliefs. I mean, we say that, if you did a search on the Crucible Leadership website for these two words being together, beliefs and values come together a lot. Then the third one would be the third point to make sure that you’re living in line with your soul, is it involves your values. Explain that a little bit.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. You’re right, Gary. We talk a lot about beliefs and values, and it’s funnily enough in the book that I have written, Crucible Leadership, which comes out in October this year.

Gary S:
Look at you, bravo. Way to go, October 19th, Crucible Leadership.

Warwick F:
There you go. It’s funny, I have a couple chapters that track exactly these two points. I have a chapter called faith, which is really … I’m a very open about my own Christian faith, but I talk about your leadership needs to be anchored in some fundamental belief system. It could be a religious, spiritual, philosophical tradition, but then I talk about how those beliefs work themselves out in your life, is the next chapter, which really talks about character. That’s a similar way of talking about values, which is, what are your fundamental values? Which is sort of like, how do you live your life, is what values are about.

Warwick F:
Like I mentioned in the blog, two of my highest values are integrity and humility. For me, that comes out of my Christian faith. Those are two of the early disciples, Jesus highest values. There’s a link between my beliefs and values, but it could be different for others. It could be kindness, generosity, compassion. I mean, those are all, I would argue biblical values as well, but your values is part of the outworking of your beliefs in your life. Understanding your beliefs is important, but understanding your values, that paints some more brush strokes on your painting of understanding what your soul really is. The two do work together.

Gary S:
Yeah. And I want to talk to listeners right now who are like, well, okay, that sounds great, but well, how do I know what my values are? I mean, how do I figure that out? I want to share just a little bit, and we haven’t talked about this before because I wanted to surprise you with it. But I did an exercise probably a month ago with this thing. If you’re on YouTube, I’ll show it, but I’ll say it if you’re not. There’s this little deck, it’s called the One Core Values thing, which is done by a book called The One Thing Core Values, but they’ve worked with a company called The Best-Self Thing. All this deck is, is about 200 cards with words and phrases written on them and what your values can be, making a difference, wealth, wholeheartedness, wonder, resourcefulness, responsibility, self-expression.

Gary S:
They list all of these values across a spectrum. The idea behind how this works is you go through the deck of all these words and the ones that resonate with you, put them in a good pile. The ones that don’t, put them in the discard pile. If you have more than eight or nine or 10, whittle them down. The idea behind doing this is to continue to revisit those words until you identify the three words that are the three most fundamental core values that you have.

Gary S:
I went through this exercise and I actually created a little bit of art for my house with my three. My three are hope, grace, and legacy. Those are the three governing values of my life. Now, you don’t have to go out and necessarily listener and spend money on this particular box, but you can consider words, consider values, consider things, and really ask yourself the question, is that important to me? Discard those ideas that aren’t important to you and lean into the ones that are, and you can whittle down through … There’s a lot of values in the world. There’s a lot of people with a lot of different values, and there’s a wide swath of differences between them.

Gary S:
Take some time, do as Warwick said, back on March 10th, the soul work to discover, what are your most deeply held values? It’s not necessarily going to be something you can get to in a minute and a half if you just do some thinking that … A red light. You may have to dig in a little bit, and I’m telling you, from my perspective, learning that hope, grace, and legacy are the three values that govern my life has already, in a month, been revolutionary for me as I move forward.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I mean, Gary, that is an excellent suggestion. We might put that in the show notes. If you Google core values, and because I’ve done a lot of executive coaching, I’ve done this from time to time, you can find a number of different books, a number of different lists on the internet of core values. What they do is what that One Core Value concept that Gary mentioned, is they’ll start with maybe a hundred and they’ll say, get your top 20, or top 30, top 20, top 10. Then they’ll say, get your top three, probably no more than three to five.

Warwick F:
As you whittle them down, I think pretty much everybody, certainly the vast majority, you know when you’ve found the right one, you just know this is me. I look at it. This is who I am, I believe passionately. I think what you mentioned, grace, hope and legacy, you look at those words, and you go, that’s who Gary is, so at least, that’s certainly part of how you would describe Gary, right, because of those three words.

Gary S:
Right. What’s interesting about it is that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked these three words if I was just grabbing … If someone asked me, before I did the exercise, what are three words? I would have picked some … I’d probably gone easy. I’d have picked faith or things like that. Going through the exercise of however you do it can help because you’ll discover, not only what feels right to your soul, what is born there, but you may surprise yourself at what’s in there when you go through those words and how you react to them, just as you described Warwick, how you react to those words when you see them, you’ll know, and it may surprise you. That’s a good kind of surprise to have because it can help you moving forward.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. The homework assignment for this aspect, it’s clear whether it’s the One Core Values, which we can put on the show notes, or you can Google values lists. There’s several of them. Find a list and do the exercise of 20, 10, and ideally there’s three or five. Several people do this. They all tell you do the same method. Start with a big list and whittle them down to the few and you’ll know when it’s there. That’s absolutely mission possible. Gary did it. We can all do it. Right?

Gary S:
This hangs on the wall next to the couch where, if we’re watching television or something, so I’m constantly reminded of those are my values.

Warwick F:
That is a good thing to do.

Gary S:
The next point, sorry. I am so lost in my values that I forgot to enter, play my role of moving the show along. The next point then, that was the third point, the fourth point again, to live out of your soul and to make sure that you’re staying true to yourself, Warwick. What’s the fourth point for listeners?

Warwick F:
Yeah, it’s really … This sounds so obvious, but sometimes the important things in life are, but we don’t do it, you want to live in harmony with those fundamental beliefs and values. There are times when I’ve coached people, and as a coach, I say this with a straight face. I say, “Okay, so help me understand what your fundamental values are.” Fundamental beliefs and values. And they’ll tell me something. I’ll say, “Okay, great, so to what degree are you living your personal and professional life in harmony with those beliefs and values?” “Well, not very.” Then I’ll say with a straight face, “No joke.”

Warwick F:
What would you prefer to do, to change the direction of your personal and professional life or to change your values and beliefs? As a coach, I’m not judgmental. It’s not my life. You have every right to change your beliefs and values if you want to and make them more in harmony with what you’re doing professionally and personally. Well, 99% of sane people aren’t going to say, oh, good point. I’m going to continue the way I’m living personally and professionally, and I’m going to change my belief and values. I mean, who does that? I can’t think of too many sane people. Again, I’m just asking, honest to goodness with a straight face, I’ll say, “Well, gee, I guess I’m not living in harmony with that, with my beliefs and values, is that a problem?”

Warwick F:
Well, now that I think about it, yes. It’s not like they’re idiots. They just haven’t thought about it. Who does? Everybody’s too busy. As a coach, what are you going to do next week? What’s plan for moving in a direction of living in harmony? Intuitively, rational human beings understand this is a problem. Therefore, you don’t want to change your fundamental beliefs and values. You have every right to if you want to, but if they truly are your fundamental beliefs and values, trying to change them might mean, oh, I’m not going to live in line with my soul.

Warwick F:
I’m going to reject my soul. Well, you can try that, but that way lies almost guaranteed pain and suffering. Why do that?

Gary S:
That in itself can be a crucible. That in itself, living outside of your soul can be a crucible.

Warwick F:
Right. You want to think about, okay, let me look at my career decisions, my personal, my family decisions, what am I doing? It’s funny. I think of a podcast we recorded just a couple of days ago that’ll come out here at some point in the not too distant future with John Sikkema. He was an Australian business guy working 80, 90 hours a week. He was doing incredibly well, but he was coming home exhausted, having migraines, and he had zero quality time with his family and kids. He was just a hollow shell. His marriage was not looking good. It probably wouldn’t have lasted if he hadn’t changed directions.

Warwick F:
He was a person of faith, but really, I don’t think he felt like he lived his faith day to day, at least certainly not … He didn’t bring his whole professional and personal life in harmony. He wanted to be successful and the thrill of the deal. But when he started realizing, gosh, I’m not really living in harmony with what I believe and he started moving in harmony with that, he still worked a lot of hours, well, actually, he worked less hours, but then he did a lot of volunteer work, but when he was at home, he was more fully alive.

Warwick F:
His marriage got better, his relationship with his kids. When he was living in harmony with his fundamental beliefs and values, his life completely turned around, and his business was just as successful, maybe more. There’s a tangible example of the pre-living in harmony fully with his beliefs and values and the post was dramatic, and that’s true for, I’d say most, if not everybody. Not only are you miserable, you make everybody around you who love you and who you love miserable if you’re not living in harmony with your fundamental beliefs and values, because you’ll be angry, snarky, people at work won’t like that either.

Warwick F:
It has massive consequences personally and professionally. You want to get that in gear. You want to get that in harmony. Your life won’t change overnight, nobody’s does, but just begin to think, we’ll talk about later about how you do this, but start to make some changes so that your life is in harmony. You can’t ignore this.

Gary S:
Right. One of the things you said early on in what you were just saying Warwick is we have these fundamental beliefs and values and then we don’t live out of them because we don’t remember them or we don’t think about them. One of the things I like to do, which is why I hung hope, grace, and legacy on the wall next to where I sit most of the time when I’m just sort of chilling out for the night, but the stoics, who no one will confuse of being Christian religious people necessarily, folks like Seneca and guys like that, they have all kinds of wisdom. One of their sayings from the stoics is memento mori, which means, remember you may die like now. There’s a coin that the stoic society, there are cells where it says memento mori on it.

Gary S:
I keep this in my pocket because this is a reminder to me, if legacy is a value of mine, how am I living right now, knowing that I could … On the back of the coin that says you could leave life right now, knowing that’s true, am I living right now in a way that would make my legacy one that I, my step-kids, who will live on after me, can be proud of? Am I living in light of that? There are little tips and tricks and things you can do to keep your values in front of you, to keep your values top of mind so that you are indeed living in harmony with those values.

Warwick F:
Yeah, and sometimes the concept is simple, the execution can be difficult, but I think for most people that have families, that are part of a family, that have kids, have a wife, have a husband, have parents, have uncles, brothers and sisters, that includes most of the population. We have family somewhere. Not everybody, sadly, but most do, is am I spending time with them? Do I care about them? Am I asking how they’re doing? I’m always complaining about how badly I’m doing? It’s not wrong to share what’s going on when you’re in pain, nothing wrong with that. But am I spending at least some time saying, well, how are you doing?

Warwick F:
If I have young kids, am I with them in their soccer games, their dance recitals? Or was it like, mom and dad, how come you’re never there at my game? Well, I’m sorry, work was busy. Those years are precious. You will lose them for 99% of people. I don’t know too many people that ignoring their kids and spending zero time with them is part of their fundamental values and beliefs.

Gary S:
Correct.

Warwick F:
I don’t know pretty much anybody who would stand up and saying, let me explain why I will defend this perspective and I will ignore my family. I’d say then don’t get married. Don’t have kids. But if you’re going to make that decision, that contract, and sort of another point to this is, you can have a blessing, and I’m certainly not perfect, but certainly one of my fundamental values was spending time with my family, Harvard Business School graduate, not everybody does, and I was fortunate that I just made that choice, had some flexibility. I was pretty much at all of my kids’ soccer, dance recital, plays, not every one of them, but the vast majority.

Warwick F:
One of the things we do in my family is to write cards to each other. On birthdays, we talk about what we admire about the person’s birthday. When it comes to me, whether it’s father’s day or birthday, all of my kids, my boys are more athletic. They’ll say, dad, you were always there at my soccer game. You were there at my tennis match. They’re now in their 20s, every single birthday for, I don’t know, as long as they’ve been able to say these things, which is a long time now. These things matter, your kids, your family, these matters. You want to be able to, and as the decades go by, have those good memories.

Warwick F:
You don’t want to say, I’m so sorry, son, I’m sorry, daughter. I blew it. Forgive me. I will try and live different now. Redemption is always possible, but do you want to have that conversation when your kids are in their 20s, 30s, 40s? I think you want to avoid that. Building a legacy starts now, not at the day before you die. That’s not the right time to change course. It’s better than never, but that’s why these things matter.

Gary S:
It’s true that you can … It’s never too late to begin to live in harmony with your values. Because there’s always an opportunity. One of the things, it occurs to me about this discussion, soul work is like housework. It’s never done, and that’s a good thing, right? It’s not necessarily a good thing for housework, because it’s like, geez, the house is messy again? You always got to keep cleaning the house, but in the same way, soul work is like housework. It’s never finished. You can keep working at it. It’s never too late. It’s never too late to continue to dive in and discover and live out of that essence of who you are, and that’s what you’ve been describing, and what point five of your blog also describes. Share that with …

Warwick F:
Yeah, it’s funny. It just occurred to me, as you were saying, maybe this should have been another point in there, but part of living in line of your values and beliefs is there’ll be times when you don’t, even if you’ve tried to turn a corner, and that’s where apologizing and forgiveness can be helpful. Maybe it should have been in the points, but I didn’t think about it, but so-

Gary S:
As you go to point five, it’s kind of … I can place it in point five. Explain what point five is and I think we can place that.

Warwick F:
Well, absolutely. Yeah, good point. Basically, you want to visualize, what would your life be like if you were living in harmony with your fundamental beliefs and values? What would your career be like, your personal life? This sense of, what do you feel God or the universe is calling to you? What makes you, you? What is your purpose in life? What do you want your legacy to be? This is part of the directional aspect. What are your passions? I think every human being wants to feel like, on their death bed, or as people have often said, in their eulogy, you want to feel like your life mattered, it counted, you made a difference.

Warwick F:
We talk about, in Crucible Leadership, a life of significance, a life on purpose dedicated to serving others. What do you want your life to be like? That’s part of nurturing your soul, is your soul, I believe, wants to make a difference in the world. I think that’s where we’re wired. It’s funny, in the Christian Faith, they say, we’re born here, we’re here for God’s glory or to live that out in some sense in our lives. I think, more generally, whatever light you feel like the universe has put in you, you want that light to flourish. You want that light to illuminate the world to make a difference.

Warwick F:
We’re wired for idealism. Just ask these questions, and they might seem big, but you start asking yourself these questions, thoughts will come into your head. What do I believe matters? What do I feel called to? You may not have every answer, but you’ll have the beginnings of it. I mean, it can take a little time, but ask these fundamental questions in life, and just briefly back to forgiveness, I think part of you got to forgive yourself for making poor decisions, and part of the soul work of the weeding is, I can be impatient at times, and I wouldn’t say I’m … I don’t get massively angry or anything, but I can get a little short.

Warwick F:
Well, over the years, when I’ve done that with my kids, or my wife for that matter, certainly, I’ll say, look, I’m sorry. I was a little short, I’ve had a bad day. I was impatient. That’s like weeding, just apologizing is part of keeping that soul healthy. If you have a lot of weeds cropping around, that’ll make you feel bad, and how to achieve your life’s calling. But yeah.

Gary S:
That fits in with what point five is, what would your life look like if it was in harmony with your beliefs and values? Well, I would think most people’s beliefs and values don’t involve treating your family poorly, so when you do living in line with not wanting to do that, is to apologize, is to do better next time. That’s one of the things that you want to do. To your point Warwick about how you want to be remembered, one of the reasons that I picked legacy is one of my top three core values.

Gary S:
Have you ever had that thing, where if a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for? It’s always, I’d ask for three more wishes, right?

Warwick F:
Right, exactly.

Gary S:
For me, having legacy there allows me to put any other word in there, because my legacy is going to be, do I value people? Is friendship important? Is uniqueness important? Is advocacy important? All the words that are in this deck will be reflected in my legacy, and that’s one of the reasons why I chose it and one of the reasons why living your life in light of what your legacy is going to be, what you’re going to leave behind is such an important thing to do, we believe at Crucible Leadership.

Warwick F:
It’s funny, as you’re talking, the phrase occur to me, live your legacy today. Today is the day you want to live it. If you have lived your legacy each day. I think it can look back in your 80s, 90s deathbed, however long you have, and you’ll say, you know what? I made some mistakes, but I lived my legacy, and in the Christian tradition, we all want to meet our Maker and have him say, “Well done, good and faithful, servant.” Whatever your spiritual belief that you want, the sense of some eternal beings, certainly of friends and family to say, “Well done, you lived a good life. We’re proud of you. You made a difference.”

Warwick F:
That’s really what living in light of your soul is and finding that calling. Yeah, I mean, that’s part of that. It really sort of dovetails into the next point.

Gary S:
Right. I was just going to say that’s a perfect transition point. Bravo for you.

Warwick F:
Exactly. That point is really about, because it might seem, gosh, what does God or the universe want? What’s my calling? What’s my legacy? Wow, those are big questions. I think you asked trusted friends and family, who was the real me? What do you feel like lights me up? Why do you think I was put on this earth? What do you think matters to me? Those close friends and family, they know who you are. I think, those of us who have kids, I mean, you get an idea of how their wired, but what matters to them, what they believe.

Warwick F:
Our friends and family, they know this, and that can help you figure that out. We’ll get into this in the last point of … Because it can sound esoteric, but as you begin to get at least the idea of what continent, what country is my calling, then you can begin to explore how to get there. But you got to at least know what continent or country is, your calling, and what … I mean, you might feel like, I just love kids, and maybe it’s teaching them, maybe it’s counseling. Maybe it’s helping kids who are disadvantaged, have some advantages. I don’t know. I don’t know quite what it is, but I know it’s got to involve kids because I love kids.

Warwick F:
You found the country. You might not have found the exact city or zip code, but you found the country. Then you begin to explore that. I think for many of us, if you ask the big questions, we might at least be able to figure out what country that we want to begin explore in. Your friends and family, to use this example, might say, well, John, Mary, boy, I see the way they’re with kids or they love coaching kids on the soccer field or baseball. I don’t know, they just have this pied piper, this magic ability to connect with kids.

Warwick F:
Something like that sure seems like some calling in some fashion, whether it’s being a teacher, a coach, a counselor. I don’t know what it is, but then you’re beginning to make headway in terms of what you feel like is your God or universe given calling.

Gary S:
Yeah. I loved this point from the blog and this discussion here, this idea of asking trusted friends and family members who they see as the real you, because it’s up until now, we’ve been talking about identifying sort of what’s in your soul, what are the … Then somebody else’s observations can be again, like the exercise of looking through words that describe values. Oh yeah, that one fits me. When people ask you questions who know you well, it can elucidate those things as well. I went on the website called Psych Central. I have no idea if that’s a good website or not, but one of the things that I was looking up is, what are some questions to help you know yourself better?

Gary S:
Here’s some things that your friends and family can have insight on about you that you may not have. For instance, have them ask or tell you what they think your strengths are. Interesting. They can tell you, what do you like to do for fun? Ask your friends, “What do I like to do for fun,” and see what they say back. Ask your friends and family this idea of what are my values is one of the questions this Psych Central article has. I love this one, if I wasn’t afraid, I would fill in the blank. Imagine what your friends and family would say to that and what that could unlock for you as you do the soul work we’re talking about.

Warwick F:
Yeah, that’s a great one.

Gary S:
Yeah, what do I like about my job? What do I dislike? I love that one too, because our friends and family are the ones that we go to and complain about our jobs about. We tell them the good things, but we also sort of unload on them so they can come back to us and they can describe for us and help us see, you don’t like when this happens, you don’t like when that happens, you don’t like when this happens, all things that help move the ball down the field as you’re trying to do this soul work and live in light of who you truly are.

Gary S:
Then the question that we talk about a lot at Crucible Leadership, what are you, I’ll add Warwick’s adjective, what are you off the charts passionate about? What am I off the charts passionate about? You have an idea what that is, the seeds of that are in your soul, but your friends and family have observations that can help you unlock that.

Warwick F:
Absolutely, and this is one we’ve talked about beforehand. There’s the reverse of what you’re passionate about or what really fills you with joy, there’s the negative, right? Which is, what is in the world that really makes you angry, that really frustrate you, say that this is wrong? It’s funny, this occurs a fair amount in Crucible Leadership in the sense of, it’s not always the case, but often you’ve gone through a tragedy, whether it’s abuse or physical or emotional, and there can be the sense of the Crucible Leader, if you will, they’ve been through it, and they might say, I don’t want another living soul to go through what I went through.

Warwick F:
It’s wrong and I’m going to do everything I can to help others bounce back, get through it, and hopefully, still others avoid going through it. Often, negative experiences can be the birth of a calling, a soul-driven calling, if you will, that sense of wanting to help people avoid the pain that you went through. So, it can either be positive, or even from a negative, they can still lead to what you feel is your life’s calling, your life’s work.

Gary S:
Well, that’s your story. It’s why we’re here. That’s why there’s a Beyond the Crucible Podcast because something very traumatic, very soul-crushing happened to you, and out of that, out of the ashes of that, was birthed a calling.

Warwick F:
Well, that’s true. I think most listeners would know having grown up in a 150-year-old family business for a variety of, in hindsight, stupid reasons, having done a $2.25 billion takeover, lost a family business, didn’t help family relations, employees. I mean, the business went on, but it was traumatic. I felt like I was living somebody else’s life. Yes, now, out of that pain, I want to help people understand their true purpose, live lives of significance, significance lives on purpose, dedicated to serving others.

Warwick F:
I want people to live in light of their fundamental beliefs and values, accomplishing a calling that will make a difference in the world. Yeah, I mean, which I like to feel like as best I can, I’m doing … I want others to, so having lived through a lot of pain and at least emotional and financial, I suppose. Yeah, out of that pain, it gave me a vision, a calling of how I want to help other people. We always talk on Crucible Leadership and this podcast, you can’t compare pain. I mean, we’ve interviewed people who suffered physical abuse, who are paraplegic, lost a financial business, somebody that had Parkinson’s, but all these people, they’re using their pain to help others. It’s just amazing.

Gary S:
We’ve gone through the six points in a seven point blog, which will be on, if it’s not already there at crucibleleadership.com, it’s called Seven Ways to Stay True to Yourself. We’ve gone through what we … If we’re in an orchard, we’ve gathered the apples, they’re in the basket. What is step seven? Is baking a pie with the apples. What do we do with all this information that we’ve gleaned about how to live true to ourselves, how to do … We’ve done the soul work, now how do we apply that work to our lives?

Warwick F:
Change isn’t accomplished in one day, but rather than saying, it’s all too hard and do nothing. Real change, like turning an ocean liner, happens in small increments. You want to think to yourself, what’s one small step I can do today to live in light of the real me, in light of my soul? What’s one small step I can take to bring my life personally and professionally in line with my fundamental beliefs and values? To use my example earlier, maybe you have an idea that I love working with kids, well, start talking to friends and family, where do you see that? Start, gee, I haven’t really been a teacher, but let me understand that, being a coach.

Warwick F:
Do I want to go in the medical side as a psychologist? I mean, start chatting to people, maybe volunteer on the side and different things. Some things you’ve got to get certified in and that’s fine, but have some exploratory conversations with folks. Gee, what do you do? What do you enjoy about? You might say, boy, that really sings to my soul and you take the next little step to explore that profession potentially. Think about what one small step will you make, if it’s personal, it might be okay, I can’t quit my job right now, and I’m working at 80-90 hours a week, but okay.

Warwick F:
Maybe I can’t make three of my son or daughter’s soccer game this week, but what one game am I going to make? I’m going to make a commitment. I will make one game this week, no matter what, and if I get fired for that … Well, nobody will fire you for going to one kid’s soccer game, but it’s like, pick one. I know you’ve got a bunch of deals going on or you’re trying to work really hard, or wherever it is. Okay, but what’s the one thing that I can drop so I can go to my kid’s soccer game?

Warwick F:
Life isn’t changed overnight, but pretty soon, one small step will link to another small step. Listeners have heard this, but I think it’s a good example. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, oh, I want to live a life of significance at Crucible Leadership. I want to do a blog and a podcast, and here we go, and here’s a book. It didn’t all roll out like that. It was, over time, as, probably the biggest significant one small step is, is I was working in a local aviation services company doing financial and business analysis.

Warwick F:
Yeah, I could do that pretty well, but I wasn’t feeling like I was living in light of my soul. I came to a point where I felt like almost had this internal conversation with God, or I felt like God, well with me is, is like, you’re not living in light of how I made you. You’re playing small. Not that it’s wrong to do what I did, but you’re not fully using your gifts and talents that I’ve given you. I felt like I was dishonoring God with not truly being who he wanted me to be. I just knew. So, I quit my job. Not everybody can do that. But fortunately, I was able to. Went to a executive coach that did mid-career assessments. She said, boy, you have a great profile to be a coach, executive coach, because I love listening and asking questions.

Warwick F:
Well, that wasn’t the end point. That was a step. As I did that, I found my leadership voice. I didn’t know that I could lead my way out of a paper bag after what … If you’d said, are you a leader? Me? I screw everything up. I am so not a leader. I wouldn’t say that now. In my own way, I think I do lead. Well, that executive coach thing led me to be on my church board and kids’ school board. I found, gosh, I can lead. I gave a seven minute talk in church one time about my experiences, and that people said, boy, your story helped me.

Warwick F:
That led me to begin to write Crucible Leadership. Well, all of those were mini steps. The first step was saying, you know what? I didn’t say it this way, I’m not living in light of my soul. I’m not fully utilizing my gifts and talents. I can’t keep staying here. Now, in my case, I was able to quit. Not everybody could, but you can at least begin to think on the side, okay, who am I? What am I being called to? That one step of listening, in my case, to, I believe was the Lord, led me on a path that I am today in Crucible Leadership.

Warwick F:
But it all started with this sense of I’m not living in harmony with my soul. I didn’t use those words, but that would be one way of translating it. That was one significance step that led to a lot of small steps that led me where I am today, and that was … I don’t know, that was a long time ago. That was like 2003, I think, is when that internal conversation happened. Think of one small step, that one small step can be a lot bigger than you think.

Gary S:
What I love about, and this isn’t the first time that you’ve talked about the power of one small step and the need to sort of break this idea of bouncing back from a crucible into small steps because it can be overwhelming otherwise. One of the reasons I love that, Warwick, is for something you said earlier in this show, where you talked about live your legacy today. One of the things that makes one small step powerful, if it’s one small step that’s moving you toward that life of significance, is that, that one small step is one stone in the road towards your legacy. Those two things go hand in hand as you’re moving forward.

Warwick F:
That’s such a good point you’re making, Gary, is we said earlier that you can live your legacy today by going to the kids’ soccer game, by maybe apologizing to your wife or husband. That might not seem like your whole life is going to turn around, especially if you’ve lived a legacy that was not very positive, might even be damaging, and they’ll say, well, great, you apologized today. I’d like to see a few more because you’ve got about a thousand to one right now. You’re really behind the eight ball.

Warwick F:
Okay, but one apology can lead to another, one soccer game can lead to another, and they can begin to see … Kids can begin to see their father or mother, for instance, or family member, differently. You string a bunch of those things together, your legacy will change, but it’s one bigger step than you realize in changing your legacy.

Gary S:
I didn’t even call for the plane to land. That was just the plane landed. It was like one of those, it wasn’t an emergency landing, but it was a landing where we were busy listening to music or reading books or doing something else while the plane was in flight. That was a great place to stop our conversation today. Let me say this, listener, to you. All of these points in written form are unpacked, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times on Warwick’s latest blog, in Warwick’s latest blog on crucibleleadership.com.

Gary S:
The blog is titled, Seven Ways to Stay True to Yourself. You know you’re in a better spot, listener, than we are right now because you know what this podcast is called as you’re listening to it. As we’re recording it, we have no idea what we’re going to call it yet. I can tell you that the blog is called Seven Ways to Stay True to Yourself, but I can’t tell you what the podcast is called, and you know that, and we don’t. So, you should feel good about that, that you have some information that we don’t have, but thank you for spending this time with us.

Gary S:
Until the next time we are together, we ask that you would remember a thread that ran throughout this conversation, that crucible experiences are indeed difficult. They’re painful, they’re traumatic. They can truly knock you for a loop, but they are not, they are not the end of your story, and they are not the end of to talk about one of the things we talked about here. They’re not the end of your legacy either. If you learn the lessons of that crucible, if you, in consultation with, and living from what you know to be true out of your soul, if you learn the lessons of that crucible, you apply the lessons of that crucible as you move forward, that crucible experience from those ashes, that crucible experience can lead to an exciting new chapter in your life.

Gary S:
Far from the end, it’s a new chapter in your life, a new chapter in the story of your life, and it can be the most rewarding one yet, because in the end, as we’ve talked about here, it can lead to a life of significance.

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