Episode 188 | October 1, 2019

Influence, Authenticity & Success with David Essel

A Personal Note From Orion

For many people, there is a sort of skepticism when it comes to the “woo-woo” concepts of manifesting your destiny. Ever since The Secret came out, there was a group of people, led my questionable “coaches” who really believed that they could will a “magic check” into their lives. 

But the law of manifestation, of attraction, doesn’t work so easily. Otherwise, we’d all be writing big fat checks to ourselves. The law of attraction really only works when you combine it with action. It’s more than just thinking positive, it’s getting up off your butt and actually doing, not just dreaming. 

Because of the popularity of The Secret, there were many coaches out there who sold false hopes to people desperate to change their lives. And today on my show, I have an incredible coach who admits to doing just that but has done a 360-degree turn in his life once he realized that self-help was just that – you need to want to change from within, and be willing to put in the work yourself. David Essel joins me today in an honest and open episode that will surely shock you with his guru confessions.


About Today’s Show

Hello and welcome to the Stellar Life Podcast. This is your host Orion. I’m super psyched, super happy about my guest today, David Essel, who is a #1 bestselling author of multiple books, a TV radio host, a master life coach, and an inspirational speaker. He’s been doing the self-growth and self-help theme for over 40 years. And now he’s coming from this beautiful place of “I don’t need to prove anything because I already did. I already transformed hundreds of thousands of lives.” Maybe more, I don’t really know, but he’s probably touched so many lives and helped them. He’s also coming from a place of honesty and vulnerability and shared some self-help guru confessions on this show that will probably shock you. 

Super easy to talk to, super wise and knowledgeable, and very generous with his knowledge. And his knowledge is not only the self-help woo-woo like, “I’m going to dream about something and something’s going to manifest.” It’s also about actions because, in the universe, there are so many laws. There is the law of attraction but there is also the law of action. So you need to combine them. 

We also spoke about finding your purpose through taking risks because if you don’t take risks, slim chances that you’re going to reach exactly where you want to reach and achieve your dreams and it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to move forward. And then we talked about the one thing you don’t want to face. That one thing that you shove under the rug and you don’t want to deal with but that one thing can transform your life. Here is some advice from a real-world personal growth master. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this conversation as much as I did. And now without further ado, on to the show.

Hey, David, and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. It’s wonderful having you here.

Orion, it’s awesome to be with you and I know you are multifaceted as a host and that’s going to match my background and interests as well. Great to be a part of your program, absolutely.

As a person, too.

That’s right.

Before we start, can you share a little bit about yourself, your passion, and why you’re doing what you’re doing in the world?

It started out when I was a little kid. I’ve always had a desire to lead. It’s innate. It was a gift. It started out in the world of sports. I went on to play basketball at the division one level for several years and then after that, it was a natural flow into leading people. I started out in 1980 in the world of fitness, health, and sports psychology, which was perfect.

I went from athletics in college to coming out of college and doing sports psychology work with athletes. Then, I burned out in 1989. In the first 10 years of my career, I was working very heavily in the world of health, fitness and, as I mentioned, sports psychology, traveling 40 weeks a year as a speaker and it really just crushed me. I ended up becoming exhausted and I became bored. That was something that I’ve never experienced in my life.

After being in that industry for 10 years, I was absolutely bored. So in 1990, I transferred over to the world of general counseling and what we call back then lifestyle coaching. Life coaching wasn’t even a word back then. It was lifestyle coaching and I started working with every potential goal-setting individual that you could imagine.

Some people needed to recover from rape or incest. Other people needed to build their business to multimillion-dollar businesses. Then, we had people that wanted to lose 100-200 pounds. It’s just over the past 30 years from 1990 to today, it has become the most amazing gift that I’ve been given to do this work, for now, 40 years.

I became an author without any background in literature. We have four number one best-selling books. I hosted a nationally syndicated radio talk show for 27 years on platforms like SiriusXM, without any background in broadcast journalism. I say that because, for our listeners today, so many times we limit our ability to explore life because we don’t have the right education, or we don’t think we have the right money, or we don’t have the right body or something.

Those who find their true purpose are the ones who go through multiple risks and failures. Click To Tweet

What I found in my existence is that almost everything I’ve done outside of the counseling, which I did go to school for, has been just something I had a passion for and I went after it very naively in most cases, not thinking that because I didn’t have a degree in journalism, I couldn’t host a radio show for 27 years. I never thought of those things and maybe that’s the main reason that we’re talking today is to encourage your listeners that it’s not about being prepared and having everything in alignment. It’s about following your heart of service.

I love it. I followed my heart so many times in my life out of girly, silly courage or being really naive. I traveled to Japan, I gave a two-week notice when I was 21 in a very good job and I travelled to Japan with $700 in my pocket, which was like two days in Tokyo over those days. I was planning on staying for three weeks, I stayed for 3½ years.

Then, I traveled here and there. I really follow my heart but it seems like now that I’m a little older and wiser, I do it, but it’s a little slower. It’s not as impulsive and I love what you’re saying about the fitness industry because I can relate. I used to be a personal trainer a long time ago. When I put my clients on the stretch table and stretch them, I would put an embedded command in their subconscious mind and get them into a hypnotic state.

The results that I saw in their progress were extraordinary and I found out that what was interesting to me, yes, I love the body. I’m still very passionate about body and fitness, nutrition and health, and all that and what I’m more interested in is what makes people work. How can we influence people to be better, to feel better, and to see their greatness?

In our experience, we see the only way that happens is via risk-taking. I don’t know of anyone that tripped into their existence of why they’re here and there could be. Everyone’s wanting to hear a story of someone that had suddenly woke up and said they’re going to be a nun, or a fireman, or a doctor, and they became that. Most of us find our way through risking. We’re almost at 300,000 counseling sessions.

It’s incredible. We have done almost 300,000 counseling sessions in the last 30 years and with that amount of data working with people, in the beginning, it was seven days a week, but working with clients from all over the world is five days a week on average now. I see the same pattern and that is those individuals that find their way to their purpose normally do so through multiple risks and failings. The cool thing is, in the world of an entrepreneur, if you’re born with that entrepreneurial mindset, that you don’t even recognize the word failing because it’s just part of the path.

The outside world looks at failing as, “Oh my God, I tried this relationship and it didn’t work. I’m not going to go back there” or, “I tried to do this new business and it didn’t work. I’m never going back there,” but the entrepreneurial mind is quite the opposite. The entrepreneur looks at it, “Oh man, that didn’t work. Okay, let’s try this.”

I love that and it is the entrepreneurial world where we can learn so much because we are programmed through mass consciousness to play it safe. I’ll describe mass consciousness as advertising, the internet, speakers, authors. All of these things have to do with mass consciousness and the real purpose for most of the work in this world is to keep people in alignment. If you don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, mass consciousness will tell you something is wrong with you and you need to go find somebody because your only half of a person. It’s a bunch of crap, it’s a bunch of bullshit, but it really rules more people than they think.

If we’re not happy and if we’re not happy in a relationship, not happy in a job, not happy with our body, not happy with our money, if we’re just underserved in regards to our own happiness, we need to look at this one major role that we’re talking about and that is, “Have I just become a duck in the back of the line? Have I just become a follower?”

I’ll tell you an interesting story. From 1980 until 1996, I used to teach the law of attraction and a lot of the stuff today that I am fully against. Now, I see the light, as they say, and I look at the ridiculousness of what I used to teach that is still being taught today. From 1980 to 1996, I traveled the world with these beautiful quotes, “Whatever you believe, you can achieve,” and, “If you put positive energy out there, it must come back in kind.” It’s a bunch of bullshit, it really is. If it was that accurate, if that worked, if that whole nonsense about the law of attraction worked, you and I would not have this show. There would not be one more book ever written.

There are multiple rules to the universe. There is the law of attraction but there is also the law of action.

Yeah, but let me tell you something. This is my wake up. Are you familiar with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi?

The people you surround yourself with holds a huge effect on how far you’ll go in life.

Slightly, yes.

Okay, I trained and went through in the 80s. I went through the training for transcendental meditation. Then in 1996, one of the greatest gifts that ever happened to me was that Maharishi selected our nationally syndicated radio show, which back then was with Westwood One, to be the only outlet to celebrate the 40th anniversary of transcendental meditation. And it was amazing.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM is no longer with us but he founded it in 1956. In 1960, he turned the Beatles onto it. The Beatles still to this day. Paul McCartney, just a number of years ago did a free concert in Central Park that he paid for to promote transcendental meditation.

I have this guru on my show and I’m freaking out. I am going, “Oh, my God. I have Maharishi.” So, we get him on the show. I requested and asked him. He was like 5 foot 3, long gray hair down the middle of his back. He looked like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family TV show. He was adorable and every time I’d ask him a question, he goes, “Oh David, that is so wise.” He would have this little Indian voice and he would giggle constantly.

We’re off the air and I am waiting for a break. We’re talking and he said, “You know? You’ve mentioned the word affirmation several times.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Are you a fan of that?” I said, “Oh my God, I love them. I scream them out, I use outrageous emotion.” We are already using the words “I am” before the affirmation back then—this is in 1996—and he said, “I have a question for you. Your affirmations, are they your reality? Are they in your life presently?” I said, “Absolutely,” and I was lying.

He said, “Tell me one of your most favorite affirmations,” I said, “Maharishi, I have been saying this affirmation for 20 years now and I love it. I say first thing every morning with more energy than I could believe I can muster at that time. ‘I am David Essel, a child of God, happy, healthy, and sober today.’” He said, “That is beautiful. Is it your reality?” and I said, “Yes,” and I lied again.

I was a raging alcoholic and cocaine addict for over 25 years, doing the work that I’m doing right now, helping people to get sober while I wasn’t. I never used obviously during the daytime but at [8:01] at night, at the end of my last session or if I’m on the road, at the end of the speaking gig, I started my decompression to numb myself and it works perfectly. I didn’t have to face my low self-confidence, low self-esteem, and insecurities. I didn’t have to face anything. He said, “Well, that’s great,” he said, “As long as you’re stating affirmations that are in your reality then continue to do it,” and I said, “Thanks, Maharishi.” We got done and after the show, I said, “Oh man, there’s no way I could tell him the truth.”

Three weeks later, I’m in Orlando, Florida speaking at a large conference. I get on stage, there’s a group of people asking questions and at the very end there’s this tiny little woman waiting patiently. I finally get to her and I said, “I am so sorry. It has taken me so long to get back here. Can I help you with anything?” She goes, “Well, I just flew in from Iowa. I have 20 minutes now to interview you and I got a fly right back out. We got 20 minutes and I got to get out of here. Let’s go grab a coffee.”

We’re walking and I said, “What magazine are you with?” thinking that she must be with a magazine. She said, “I’m not, I’m with Maharishi.” I said, “What?” She said, “Yes, I’ve been with him for 36 out of his 40 years. I listened to the interview, we all loved it, and Maharishi called me into the office and said, ‘Fly down to Florida, find this guy, and interview him.’” I said, “What does he want to know?” She said, “We have only one question. What do you remember from the interview?”

With the affirmation thing.

Listen to this, Orion, this is such a trip. That came to my mind right away and I did not admit it. I didn’t say, “Well, the affirmation thing,” because I lied. Here was the truth. I interviewed Deepak billions of times and Wayne Dyer. I had interviewed all these people and after the interviews, as if it was a month later and someone said, “What was it that you talked to Wayne about six months ago?” I would say, it was the four keys to this. I could remember everything, but with Maharishi I couldn’t remember a darn thing.

Always be true to yourself. The number one thing that will take you down is the lack of integrity. Click To Tweet

Except for that one.

Except for that one, but I didn’t want to remember that so I did not say it. I said, “You know what? This is so weird. I can’t remember,” and she goes, “Oh David, you must remember something.” And then it hit me, the second thing I can remember was his joy. I said, “Well, the only thing I can really remember is that the guy had unbridled joy. He giggled and laughed at every freaking question I asked, even if it was a serious question. He was just a bundle of joy.” She hesitated and she said, “I’m going to tell you something that you may not want to hear but it is the truth. At some point in the future you’ll realize the truth, but here is the answer I’m going to give you. The only reason you remember Maharishi’s joy is because you don’t have any.”

Ouch, stab.

You’re blocked. You have no joy. I looked at her and I said, “What?” She said, “David, listen before you get real defensive, I want to tell you this. In 36 years of being with Maharishi and almost every couple of days we’re at his feet as he lectures us for six, seven, eight hours in a row, there will be a small group of us, the inner circle that will go out and starts talking. Some of us will say, ‘I couldn’t believe Maharishi spent so much time talking about X.’ I would look at them and say, ‘I don’t remember that at all. All I remember is him talking about Y.’ Someone else would say, ‘No, he spent most of the time talking about Z.’”

“What we came to realize is that the only thing you remember from Maharishi is that which is lacking in your life.” It was powerful because that’s called reality and it’s this really amazing space to be. So, I said, “Okay, you know what? It’s been fun interviewing you. I love Maharishi. I’m not quite sure I love you as much as I love him, because you basically just told me that I’m way behind even though I live on the beach and have the show and write books,” and you get all defensive. A lot of us do. I did it in 1996 for sure.

We left. Three weeks later I wake up, [2:30] in the afternoon, still 1996 after a four-day incredible binge. I looked in the mirror and I said, “David Essel, you have no joy, number one.” Then the next thing that came up was, “You have to change your entire philosophy on teaching, goal achievement, success. You have to rip out everything you’ve done, all these nonsensical affirmations that are lies,” and this is what I found. I had been lying to myself from 1980 to 1996 with an affirmation.

In 1996, we created what’s called the One Thing Theory, and this is all due to Maharishi’s experience on me or what happened with me. The one thing theory states that, “At any given time in life, there’s only one goal to go after. It’s the one we’ve denied, delayed, procrastinated. It’s the one we don’t want to face. And when you attack that goal, your whole entire existence will be raised to the next level.”

What was your goal at the time?

Back then, it was only about success until I realized that I was a raging alcoholic and cocaine addict. Then, that became my number one goal. As I really got clear, I started to realize that all of the teachings I had been giving people, which I was just a parrot. I had my gurus ahead of me that were downloading information into my brain, I was just taking it because they were famous. I realized that the world of affirmations is a world of lies. If we are waking up in the morning as these books tell us to and claiming I am earning a million dollars a year when you’re earning $50,000, you are lying. If you wake up and say, “I am a size 8 when you’re a size 16,” you are lying. Now, the number one thing that will take you down, you, me, everyone, quicker than anything in life is a lack of integrity.

Yeah, I understand your experience with affirmations. I had a different experience with affirmations. I did a lot of Louise Hay’s work and yes, I followed Dr. Wayne Dyer, I love him. I wish I had the chance to meet him in person. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Tony Robbins’ world and incantation and all that. I have a whole book of affirmations and now looking back, a lot of them came true, but the way I say the affirmations are in integrity with who I am. I won’t say if I’m making $5, I wouldn’t say I’m making a million dollars. I’m going to say my income is getting better and better. Every day I get stronger and stronger. Every day I learn how to love myself more.

I did do mirror work at the time of my life where I got over an abusive relationship and I hated the person in the mirror. Every time I go to the mirror and try to do that, my reflection, the girl in the reflection started crying. I couldn’t look in my eyes and say, “I love you.” There was no way, but I did it over and over and over again. It didn’t work, it didn’t work, but slowly but surely, I started to love myself and accept myself and started with little things. Maybe I couldn’t love everything about me, but I started loving little things about me and slowly progressed. This tool for me specifically in my own personal life was very beneficial, even with attracting the love of my life.

I’m not saying don’t do affirmations. I’m just saying that if you’re lying to yourself, if you’re using affirmations the way we’re taught, the law of attraction and all these people tell us that what you’re supposed to do is affirm what you don’t have, and that’s called a lie.

There’s a conflict. There is a war between your ears if you do that.

Oh my God. Well, let’s look at the difference between the conscious mind and the subconscious. The subconscious isn’t in control. The odds of turning the subconscious mind when it is a saboteur—let’s say with addiction, overeating, lack of self-love, whatever it might be—that pattern has been set into the subconscious mind that you do not feel you’re worthy of living a clean and healthy life, you don’t feel you’re worthy of being deeply loved, you don’t feel you’re worthy of loving yourself.

Focus! by David Essel

Let’s say those patterns are set in the subconscious. You can do all the affirmations in the world unless you’re doing action steps to change that subconscious mindset, and unless it’s a miracle, the affirmations will not work. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and to do things to back the affirmation that you want. But here’s the thing that concerns me. One of our most recent books, with the last four books we’ve written, have all gone number one bestseller. The one I’m going to mention right now is called, Focus! Slay Your Goals. That book was just selected by bookauthority.org as one of the top 100 goal-setting books of all time. We are so honored. It just happened last week. We’re right next to Dale Carnegie and all the other people that have been writing for years.

Hooray. Congratulations.

Thank you, it’s just really exciting. In there, we talk about the appropriate use of affirmations because I love the thought of a cascade of neurochemicals in my brain that happens every time we say a powerful affirmation. There’s a rush of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.

That’s pretty good.

It’s great. However, that rush is not sustainable. If you’re not doing something to back that affirmation, that feeling good is going to become shorter and shorter. This is what we found via people that we work with now, that were trying to follow the law of attraction forever. The way that they state it is that when you’re actually making an affirmation that is realistic—we teach people how to do it in the book—and you’re using in that affirmation the steps that you’re taking to prove that affirmation to be real, now you’re starting to move because you’re not just doing thought processes, but you’re doing action in the physical world.

Yeah, that’s so important. We are physical beings. Our mind affects our body, our body affects our mind, and it works together. If I’ll just sit in my bedroom and think about, “Oh, my God. The laundry is cleaned, the house is clean, everything is wonderful,” and I won’t move, nothing’s going to happen. I can’t manifest this into the physical reality but I do believe in quantum physics and I do believe in our abilities to affect our reality through our thoughts and our consciousness. It links with action. We need to take action.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

In all the years, all the athletes, the bodybuilders that I interviewed, the mega-million-dollar bestselling authors, Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, I could probably list a billion people that we’ve interviewed and here’s the fascinating thing. Not one of them in any interview ever said that they attracted their success, their body, their love without doing work. Even Dr. Joe Vitale who was one of the stars of The Secret.

I like him. I like his dimples.

You know what? He is one of my favorite people, but when he was on the show and I said to him, “All right, Dr. Joe. In this book, supposedly you were homeless, supposedly through the power of thought, you attracted checks in the mail. Supposedly you became a millionaire while sitting on the bench corner,” and he started laughing. I said, “All right, tell us exactly what you did, Joe, because I’m having a hard time buying this.” He was laughing, I was laughing, and he said, “Well, David, you’re right. The Secret left out a big part of the story, about 95% of the story.” He said, “I was homeless. I’ve always had a positive mindset that this was going to change. What made me my first million dollars before The Secret ever had heard about me was working seven days a week 14-hour days for years.”

I like that. This was one of my manifestations about 15 years ago when I was thinking about Dr. Demartini. I was like, “Oh, I hope one day I’m going to get to meet him” and not only I got to meet him, I know him personally and I interviewed him for the Huffington Post. He was on the podcast, I can contact him if I want. He’s such a brilliant man and such a kind man. When he spoke about The Secret, he said, “You know, we filmed for 10 hours, they took out five minutes and then they made it sound like there is a magic pill and you just think about things and everything is going to manifest,” but that was not his story as well.

I know and this is the power of mass consciousness. Remember what I told you earlier, I used that word? We become ducks. That’s what we are in life. We become ducks. Now, I did a summit on intuition with a woman in Australia a year ago and I tell the story in our book Focus! Slay Your Goals. She said, “Okay, David, I’m bringing you on because we need someone to shake up our world.” She had read a post I have done about how, in the personal growth industry, we’re all just a bunch of parrots and ducks, including myself until I broke out. She said, “We got to get you out,” and so I’m on the show and she goes, “Tell me someone who has really good intuition what they would say about The Secret in Law of Attraction.” I said, “Oh my God, it’s so easy. If you are really in touch with your intuition, you would say, ‘This is way too good to be true.’ Period. End of statement.” Mass consciousness says Oprah talked about The Secret. It must be real.

Focus on the now. The past is irrelevant and tomorrow is yet to come.

It was on Instagram, it was on Facebook, it must be real.

Exactly. This is my work in this world. I am the balance between fantastical thinking, affirmations, the power of thought, and hard work. That’s really the separation that I’ve made in regards to my career.

There’s no way in the world that you would be where you are today without super hard work. There’s just no way.

You have a company, you have to manage people, you have to conduct people, you have to get leads, you created so many courses, you have to think about your next big goal, you wrote books, you can’t do it if you’re just thinking about it.

I know, and see this is what’s great about being interviewed by you on your show right now. We still have a lot of radio and podcasts host that are loving the fantastical thinking, the illusion that via thought, you can become a millionaire, that via thought, you can lose 110 pounds. And yet, when you talk to logical people in the world, like Rich Gaspari is a friend of mine and he’s an international bodybuilder. You can just imagine, you talk to a bodybuilder about visualizing your body to get on stage and to see it change in front of your eyes without outrageous discipline and sacrifice? It’s just not going to happen.

It is a part of it but it can’t happen without all the sacrifice. You can mold your body. When you train, you can think about which muscle you want to activate, and how you want to activate it, and how you want it to look, but it has to come together with the action of the bicep curl, or the chest press, or whatever you’re doing.

It’s a real different story, though, in the world of bodybuilding, at that level. Any bodybuilder would tell you, it’s outrageous discipline. It’s suffering and sacrifice.

I know. I wanted to do a fitness competition; I gave up. I actually worked with a previous Mr. California as my trainer. I know a thing or two about bodybuilding world and these guys are mostly not healthy, actually.

There’s an extremity. There’s an extreme approach to certain things that can be unhealthy. I have a client, a female that just took first place in bikini bodybuilding competition two months ago and now she’s going for nationals in four weeks. The discipline that this young girl has….

I love to eat so much.

It’s real. Here’s this temple we have and when people say things like, “I am not my body. I’m a spiritual being having a physical experience,” all I say is, “Wait until you age. Let’s see that you’re not your body. Let’s see you pull that off.” All of this woo-woo nonsense about, “I’m not my body.” Well, okay. When you have your first heart attack because you aren’t paying attention, when you’re on insulin because your blood sugar level is through the roof.

I’m sorry. It’s not funny but the idea is funny.

It’s crazy. You know who Ram Dass is, right?

Ram Dass was one of my earliest teachers and that’s one of the things, 99% of what Ram Dass teaches and used to teach I love, but there was one thing he would say at all of his seminars is that, “I am not my body.” He would have the whole room saying, “I’m not my body and I am a spiritual being blah, blah freaking blah.” Every time he went to his doctor, his doctor would say, “Hey, you know I’m a little concerned. Your blood pressure is really high, your cholesterol is really high.” Ram Dass would say, “Doc, you don’t get it. I’m not my body. I’m not here on the physical plane as you are. I am a spiritual being and this is just the carcass that I have to carry around.” In 1999, Ram Dass had one of the worst strokes you could ever imagine a human being having.

There's only one goal to go after in life and it's the one you don't want to face. Click To Tweet

Maharishi had a stroke, too, right?

Yes, and Ram Dass was overweight, he had not paid attention to anything with his body because he kept blowing it off. Then he had to have 24/7 care. He had to have people take him to the bathroom.

That’s so sad.

It was so sad and he even said in an article, “This is my body talking back to me.” So, we have to be very careful. Again, mass consciousness. You get sucked into the vortex of a guru and you just take everything they say as I did from 1980 to 1996.

I did the same thing with a few gurus. I did that, and then years later, I saw some darkness or I saw things like the more I was closer to the inner circle, the more I saw things that I did not want to see, and all of a sudden it was the delusion of the guru. We want to put people on pedestals. We want people to be gods, and kings, and teachers, and show us the way, but the more I was exposed to more gurus, more knowledge in closer proximity, some are really aligned with what they say, and some are not.

Some are very power-driven, ego-driven, and money-driven. They do things that are not in integrity. I learned to separate the guru from the method. If the teaching is good and if it’s like you said, if it resonates with me, with my intuition, if it serves me, I’ll take the things that will serve me and I apply those things in my life without putting the guru on the pedestal. We’re all human and we are flawed, even the most enlightened people. This is my approach now that I am wiser. Interactions with the famous and successful gurus where I’m like, “Okay.” I always looked for the human being behind the façade and I connect to that on a soul level.

Well, this is what I say to people and I’m doing this myself so I can tell you it works is that, when I realized that I had misled people from 1980-1996, I have been making amends ever since, I’ve been apologizing.

You know what? That makes me love you more.

Thank you.

By just saying that, just being that honest. That is just so beautiful.

Thank you. I appreciate that, and it’s a really important part of my growth to be able to come out and say, “You know what? I made mistakes guys. I am so sorry. I was just regurgitating. I was a parrot. It wasn’t working for me, but because famous people said it was, I was selling the same nonsense to you. Now, let me talk about the truth.” Buddha had this beautiful statement. He said, “Follow me, and if it doesn’t work follow someone else.” And I love that.

I think every religion, every teacher should be saying that. What we do in my work is that we say to people, “Here’s my purpose with you if you’re going to be a client of mine. My whole role in your existence is to empower you to not need me. That’s my role. My role is not to continue to keep you hanging on in the world of therapy as so many therapists do for 4, 6, 8, 10 years and not seeing improvement.”

I say to all my clients, “I want you to achieve whatever is for your highest good, whatever is your best interest and I’ll tell you right now, it ain’t going to be fun in the beginning. That’s okay, but I’m going to empower you with everything I know so that you have the tools. When our work is done, you just keep using the tools that I gave you that work for you, and you carry on. If you need me in the future in a different area of life that we haven’t worked on comes up, come back to me.”

Aim to live an honest life and be as accepting of yourself in the best possible way.

I don’t want to create codependent followers. There’s no need to have people using that term “guru,” with people following you around. I would much rather have people be successful with our program, move on, and say to people, “Oh my gosh, I just followed this guy’s stuff and it worked. If you want to check him out, check him out.” That’s the mindset that we have, is that I’m going to give you every ounce of energy, every ounce of experience, everything that I’ve gone through and I want you to choose what works for you. If what I tell you to do, you do 100% and doesn’t work for you, it’s time to find someone new.

Nice. Talking about energy. You have so much energy. So much, I love it. It’s nice, it’s refreshing and it makes me happy.

I’m glad. That rocks.

How do you create, how do you generate your energy? What do you do?

Orion, that is such an interesting question. The answer is, I am involved and have only ever been involved with what I love. The downside of that is that there has been no security in my life when I say financial. I worked for a hospital for six months in 1979. That was the last job I had, and then in 1980, I opened up my own business. My energy comes from being gifted and blessed enough to do what I love every day. The other thing is I have a healthy lifestyle. I don’t drink, smoke, I don’t eat sugar, I work out every day. That has a lot to do with energy, too, but even more than that, it’s that I made a decision a long time ago that I’m only going to do those things I’m drawn to. Now, that might mean I’ll fail a ton. I wrote books for 20 years before we got a number one bestseller.

Twenty-years of writing books, but here’s the thing, I didn’t even know I love to write. I don’t have a background, but when I started writing, I fell in love with it. When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, I know that sounds bizarre to a lot of people, but you can find minimal or moderate success for 20 years doing whatever it is that you’re really drawn to and it doesn’t affect your attitude. You’re so blessed that you’re working in a position, it might be for a company.

There are a lot of people that have great jobs working for people they love, or it might be opening up your own business. Look at how much time, like 7 or 9 or 12 hours a day that we’re putting into a career. To me, if we’re not doing what we love, we won’t have the energy that I have. Part of it could be genetics and part of it could be who knows, but I’m going to say the main thing is that I am so fortunate for 40 years to be able to do this kind of work that I believe that’s what generates that internal energy that comes out in everything I do.

That’s beautiful. I want to talk about your award-winning book about goals. Tell me a little bit about that.

I was just telling one of my assistants the other day that it’s funny. She said, “What motivates you?” and I go, “That’s a great question.” Here’s a guy that teaches motivation and I can’t even give you the answer of what motivates me other than the fact of doing what I love every day. When we get awards, or our income increases dramatically, or anything like that, I am so grateful, but those aren’t the things that motivate me. However, as she asked that because we just got this award. She said, “What does it feel like to be your book Focus! Slay Your Goals to be selected as one of the top 100 goal-setting books since the beginning of time, for God’s sake?”

That excites me but I’ll say something about that. That excites me because we’ve created something that works in the physical world. It’s not a theory, it’s not this might work with some people, it might not work with others. If you follow the principles in the book of Focus, it will work for everyone. There’s a great story about a guy, Ray Higdon, he wrote his own story in the book Focus about how he met with me and it was when the real estate market and the banking market had crashed around 2007-2008 and he contacted me and said, “Hey, I have no money. I’m a single dad. I have two kids. I’ve lost every penny to my name. My house is getting foreclosed on. I need help. I can’t pay you. Would you meet me for lunch and would you buy me lunch?” Don’t you love that?

I love the guy right away just because he is such a straight shooter. “Hey, I need your expertise and I’m starving. Can you give me both?” I said absolutely. We went and met for lunch and at the end of the lunch I looked at him in the eyes, I said, “Ray, you have so much natural energy and so much passion, and I know you’re hurting right now, but the only thing I can tell you is to find a product that you believe in to sell. Get behind it 110%, walk through walls and you will become successful once again.” Well, from what he told me later, he didn’t like that advise, so he went to the store and picked up The Secret, went home and read it, created vision boards and affirmations, and 30 days later, he was in worse shape than he was when he met with me.

Then he took his notes out and he said, “Okay, I got to find a product to sell.” He found a network marketing product. He started selling it and he wasn’t getting anywhere and so he contacted someone in network marketing and said, “Hey, I’m dying on the vine. I’m not making money. I found a product. I actually love it and I want to sell it, but I’m not getting any positive feedback.” The guy’s advice was this, “Go after 20 rejections a day and you will become a millionaire.” Ray said, “What?” He said, “I want you five days a week to get 20 people to shut the door in your face, to hang up the phone to say no. When you do that five days a week you will become a millionaire.”

For those of you who are listening right now, that have never been in sales let me tell you, that’s a daunting task. You are purposely looking for rejection because this wise man that gave him this advice knew that if he was going to get 20 no’s a day, he was eventually going to get yeses. Listen to this, in a year and a half, Ray Higdon was making $50,000 a month. Today, he makes over $1 million a month. It came from doing what he doesn’t want to do and that’s one of the big messages in our book that we outlined Focus! Slay Your Goals.

Once you attack your goals, your whole entire existence will be raised to the next level. Click To Tweet

Throughout the whole book, we are telling people that what you shy away from, what you procrastinate is destroying your joy, your finances, your health, everything. Where most goal-setting books going to, “What do you want? Let me be your cheerleader. If you want to make a million dollars? Hell yeah, you’re making $25,000 don’t worry about it, I’ll get you in that.”

In that mindset, we are missing what’s going on that they’re struggling at $25,000. What are the belief systems? What are the self-sabotaging behaviors? Where are the expenses going that maybe are unnecessary? This is the stuff that people don’t want to face when they want to earn $1 million a year. That’s what makes our books so different is that we go into the core self-sabotaging habits. We go into the core beliefs in the book that we need to eradicate in order to become successful.

The cool thing is, Ray Higdon has a high school education making over $1 million a month. A friend of mine, there is a woman’s clothing chain that’s around the world called Chico’s. Chico’s is very famous, they’re a billion-dollar company, and my friend Scott used to be the CEO and the president of the company and he had a high school degree. High school degree running a billion-dollar company and how did Ray Higdon do it? How did my friend, Scott, do that? How about in the book Focus, we talk about my friend Evelyn Keeling who lost 245 pounds in her 40s to become a bodybuilder in her 50s?

What we tell in the book is what’s the secret? What’s the connection? The dot connection, dot-by-dot with every person in the world that we write about and that we’ve interviewed, is that they’re willing to walk through the walls. Do you know who Harv Eker is?

Yeah, I met him before.

Yeah, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. I had Harv on my show when his book went number one. It was the fastest personal growth book to number one in the history of the New York Times. It went number one in 48 hours. I interviewed Harv and on the show, I loved his book and loved him so much that I kept saying to him, I’d ask a question he’d answer and I’d go, “Hey Harv, I’d love to hire you as my business coach,” and he would go, “David, I’m really busy, I can’t do it,” I’d ask him another question.

He’s very savvy.

And then I go, “Hey Harv, have I asked you recently to be my business coach?” I did this for a complete hour. I had him on the show for an hour and, at the end, he goes, “Oh my God, okay.” He goes, “I’ll give you an hour.” I said, “Fantastic.” We booked it and he says to me, “All right, what’s your financial goal?” I said, “I want to double my income,” He said, “What’s your income?” I told him and he said, “How long do you want to take to double it?” and I said, “Twelve months.” He said, “That is a huge undertaking,” I said, “Harv, that’s why I’m going to hire you. I’m smart enough to know that I won’t do this on my own, but I am smart enough to know I’ll do it with your help.” He said, “Okay, look it. I’m going to turn you into one of the people that I train personally to be your business coach. I don’t have the time, but I’m going to ask you a couple of questions. Have you done in the last year or two years everything possible to double your income?” I said, “Yes,” and he said, “David Essel, you’re lying.”

Isn’t it funny how all these people call me out, Orion? What’s this about? I said, “What do you mean I’m lying?” He said, “If you’ve done everything possible in the last two years to double your income you would have doubled it. Quit lying to yourself. If you quit lying to yourself, I can actually help you,” Isn’t that interesting? He said, “David, it’s the same for everyone I talk to,” He goes, “People say I’m putting in 12-hours a day when you really break it down, they’re actually working six out of the 12 hours.

It’s not deep work, it’s busy work.


They’re busy without focusing on what really matters.

Thank you, Orion, you nailed it, which is what we talk about in the book, Focus. If you’re not focusing on those tasks that you’d rather not do, and I know this sounds negative, Orion.

I can do the task, but I hate to do the task I don’t like to do, and I don’t like rejection. How can I get over that?

That’s where it comes to this really cool point that if all your listeners have a pen and paper to write this down. When I start attacking the task on a daily basis that I hate doing, I don’t want to do, I’d rather procrastinate… over time they effortlessly become simply a part of my day.

What about rejection? I experienced a lot of rejection throughout my life, so much so that I don’t know, I don’t like to be rejected. I take it personally. How can I get over that hurdle?

Okay, I would need more time than we probably have to explain it all, but let’s start with this. The number one thing I would have you do is write down the role that you’ve played in the rejections. There’s usually a pattern. If we’re being rejected on a regular basis, there’s usually a reason. There’s a pattern. I’m just going to throw stuff out. This isn’t aimed at Orion, but it’s just in general. Are we needy? For love, for attention, for affection, for money, for what? Number one is are we needy? If we’re needy, we’re going to take rejection really personally. Are we overly sensitive? Now, I’m not going to get into using labels and all that because I’m not a big fan of labels, but there are certain people that come into the world such as myself.

Me too, yeah. I’m very empathic. I sense everything. I see through people. It could be a blessing. I take it personally because I see things.

See, you and I are very identical here. My sensitivity level is so high that that’s why I went to alcohol and drugs because I couldn’t handle the brutality of the world. The world is a very brutal place. If you’re born with these outrageous sensitive sides—everything has a yin to yang—there is this I would not give up my sensitivity for anything. I cry at the drop of a hat and I freaking love it.

Empathy is my first strengthsfinder’s quality and then I have another one that is to do with empathy, it’s a little crazy.

First of all, when you understand that we have a gift and that gift is sensitivity, has the yin to the yang, in other words, that the beauty of it is going to have a curse, what these highly-sensitive person, where we are cursed is that we take everything personally. It’s just like what Don Miguel Ruiz wrote about.

You don’t take things personally.

Yeah, in the Four Agreements. I can give you the answer to how. The answer how is that when you’re rejected, to sit in the rejection, to deeply feel it and to write about everything you’re feeling. This cannot be done in your brain. Your brain is an absolute waste of time when it comes to trying to figure out life. If you try to do this stuff in your brain, it’s a dog chasing its tail. If you try to figure out your foibles—why am I so sensitive and why can’t I take it—if you try to do it in your brain, we’re chasing our tail. As Buddha said, “Those who do this, it’s like having 10,000 monkeys in a cell in your brain,” It’s like this thought comes.

You can do all the affirmations in the world, but unless you're doing action steps to change your mindset, they will not work. Click To Tweet

I have about a million.

A million, okay, there you go. Let me give you an example of what happened the other day when I was rejected and how I would have handled it 20 years or 25 years ago versus the other day. I hired a business coach, a different business coach. We’re doing work on our website, we’re doing all this different stuff, its brand new, and to me I’m pretty naïve. I don’t really enjoy internet work. I have staff that do it, but I have to know what the hell is going on.

She gives us this project. I hand the project over to my web people and I explained to them what I want done. Then I asked my coach to evaluate it. She sends a video for us to watch and she opens a video up with, “Well, that page is great if you don’t ever expect to get any business from it.” You can’t be more direct than that. If you expect to do work with me with those kinds of pages, it’s never going to work. We probably shouldn’t work together.

Now, 25 years ago, I would have shot the video off. I would have been pissed off. Who does this person think they are? I wouldn’t have thought anything about the reality of her statements, because she’s telling me basically that I screwed up, that it’s a piece of crap, it looks terrible, and it’s not going to work. Twenty-five years ago I would have been pissed. I probably would have even said, “If she would have come about it in some way, I could have heard it, I would have come up with all kinds of reasons why she was a jerk.”

But the reality was quite different and I realize this, that she was only being honest. How can I be offended by someone who is trying to help me by being honest. That’s what helped me start to understand the power and the need for being able to handle rejection. I know this is going a little overboard, but we’ve had death threats. A number of years ago I went to speak in Seattle and we had to have undercover cops in the audience. We had undercover cops at the front door taking tickets.

Talk about rejection. That’s the biggest rejection you can have in your life.

I know, but your question is an awesome one and it’s a difficult one.

I know. We need to speak for another hour about this.

We do. Whenever you want, whenever I can help you, if you get a cancellation or something Orion, don’t hesitate to reach out because you are awesome. This has been a blast and I love where you’re coming from.

Thank you. It was so wonderful. It was good for me, too. Well, we only have a few more minutes. What are your three top tips to live in a Stellar Life and then where can people find you?

Okay, number one, if it’s a massive goal and you haven’t achieved it yet, please take this just as a loving statement for me. You’re not going to achieve it on your own. If you’ve had a big goal and you haven’t achieved it yet, hire someone. An accountability partner. Get someone on your side to get you moving in the right direction.

Number two, if you desire a life different than what you have right now, the second step is going to be look at who you hang out with. If most of the people that you interact with text, email, phone calls, physically getting together are complainers, they’re victims, life is never fair, whatever it might be, you’ve got to change who you hang out with. Who we hang out with has a huge effect on how far we’re going to grow in life.

Number three, there is no tomorrow, there is only today. If you’re listening to Orion and I, you’ve got to make the plan starting today and writing to change your life. You do not have until tomorrow. If you wait until tomorrow, you won’t do it. Those are my three key tips for today. I hope you’ll take them seriously.

We have so many free gifts on our website. I want you to go, there are free video courses you can download, there are free meditation audio programs you can go after, there are free lectures you can get, there’s 10,000 hours of interview, radio interviews I’ve done that are free on the website. The website is talkdavid.com. If you want to work with me, I will work with you from anywhere in the world and we guarantee our work, 100% money-back guaranteed, and all of that is at talkdavid.com.

Beautiful. Thank you so much, David. I appreciate you. It was an honor.

Orion, I feel the same way and you have a beautiful rest of your day.

Thank you, and thank you, listeners. Remember to get help with achieving your big goals, align with people you want to be like, there’s only today so start changing your life now, and have a Stellar Life. This is Orion, until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Act on your dreams and don’t let procrastination become a habit. If you have something you want to do, don’t make excuses and start it immediately.
{✓} Think carefully about the people you surround yourself with. A support group of your peers will help you overcome your challenges better. 
{✓} Be as present and in the moment as possible. It’s good to plan for the future but focus more on the now. 
{✓} Don’t lie to yourself. Living an honest life will help you become more accepting of who you are. It will also give you more clarity when making important decisions. 
{✓} Meditate. Look for answers within as well as without.
{✓} Find a mentor who resonates with you and your values. Don’t feel obligated to stay with your mentor if you’re not getting what you need. It’s okay to move on.
{✓} Discover what motivates you the best and incorporate as much of it into your daily routine as possible. 
{✓} Don’t let rejection stop you from reaching your goals. There’s always another opportunity around the corner.
{✓} Accept that you can’t do everything alone, especially big projects. Hire a team if you feel swamped by work. 
{✓} Visit David’s website to see more of his books, content, and free offers.

Links and Resources

About David Essel

#1 Best Selling Author, TV/Radio Host, Counselor, Master Life Coach, and Inspirational Speaker.



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