AS Seen On

By: Stephan Spencer

Introduction

It was such a treat to be a guest on New York Times bestselling author Anna David’s podcast, Launch Your Book.

In this episode, I talked about my journey from poverty and foster care to success and love. I shared some unbelievable life experiences that made me not just resilient, but antifragile. I also talked about my spiritual awakening, and how that tied in with me meeting my amazing wife, Orion.

I hope that this episode will inspire you to face your circumstances or struggles head on without fear so that you can achieve the success you want.

Stephan Spencer GYO

Jump to Links and Resources

Transcript

Have you ever said, God damn, this podcast is awesome, but boy do I wish Anna would just tell me in 45 minutes, the 5 steps to launching a best-selling book? Well, your dreams have been answered because that’s exactly what I did. Yup, I recorded a masterclass that reveals all the secret steps we take at Legacy Launch Pad to write and launch best-selling books for clients, some of whom pay up to $100,000 and I’m giving it to you for free. Just go to launchabestsellingbook.com and get it while you can. 

Hey, there. Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Anna David. I’m so glad that you’re listening. If you’re new to the show, this is where I talk to people about their struggles, their success, how they have found, how they’ve hustled their light out of the dark. And I want you to know that this particular interview I arranged with somebody not knowing anything about his personal life at all. The fact that we got into some heavy-duty struggles from minute one was a great revelation to me, so I’m hearing it at the same time you are. 

The Art of SEO by Stephan Spencer

Let me tell you about this guy. He’s somebody I’ve long admired. I’m one of those people who fangirls over big marketing people, and he’s considered one of the leading if not the leading SEO expert. He’s published three books about SEO, the ones that are studied in school, the classics. He founded the SEO agency, Netconcepts, which is now part of a multi-billion dollar ad agency. He hosts two podcasts himself, which is how I discovered him. One is called Get Yourself Optimized and one is called Marketing Speak

You are going to hear about how you can come from really nothing and build this empire, and how you can find that coming from nothing is actually your greatest strength. So without further ado, I am giving you Stephan Spencer. 

Okay, so we are chatting away. As you know, when I met you, I was not just a fan, but I had implemented something on my website specifically because I heard you talk about doing it and that is the timeline. It’s funny, I get a little starstruck by marketing heroes, it’s a bit embarrassing. I live in Hollywood, as you know. I don’t care about meeting Brad Pitt—I care a little bit about that. 

It was so great to realize you’re a part of the Genius Network community, so let’s talk. I was reviewing your own timeline, and when we talk about a timeline, anybody who has not seen one, it’s images. It’s rather than one of those long bios. It really walks you through the journey of the person. Let’s talk about your journey. You allude in this timeline to being a nerdy kid, so let’s talk about that. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a ghetto. I’m not being hyperbolic about that. It was an actual ghetto. As a little kid, I made the mistake of going around the block once and I was almost abducted. I ran away. The guy tried to get me in his car, but I ran. I was raised by my grandparents, my grandmother and grandfather, until my grandmother died. I ended up in a foster home by the end of my childhood, but this was all a huge gift. 

In retrospect, it was challenging. I bounced around from place to place when I was a kid. I went to live with my grandparents, went to live with my aunt, then she moved to another city with her, then back to Toledo to live with my grandfather, then to my mother’s, then back to my grandfather back and forth, and then foster care. It was an interesting ride. 

When you are given adversity, you can either turn that into something amazing, or you can let it just crush you and be a victim of it. Click To Tweet

The idea here is that when you are given adversity, you can either turn that into something amazing or you can let it just crush you or be a victim of it, so I chose to do something with it. When I lived with my mother, she was mentally ill. She worked the third shift so I’d be spending all nine minutes by myself as a kid. Not great to be in a house by yourself all night long every night. 

But what I would do is in the summers that I lived with her for maybe two years, I would code all night as a kid. I taught myself how to program, not just in Basic but also Assembly language. I was coding in hexadecimal, super geeky little kid. I wrote my own bulletin board system. A BBS back in the day before there was the internet, the World Wide Web, and everything. There was CompuServe and then there was BBS that you would have to dial into, and so I ran a BBS from my home phone line, which really ticked my mother off.

She’d pick up the phone, then she’d hear a modem sound, and she’d scream up the stairs to get the modem off of the phone so she could make a phone call. I saw this as an opportunity. I had so much freedom when I lived with her. In retrospect, it’s crazy to think about all these things that I would never allow my kids to have done at that age, but I would hang out with guys that were 10 years older than me. As a 12-year-old, I would go hang out with 23- and 24-year-olds who were trading software and stuff on Commodore 64 software.

The experience of having so much freedom and the ability to create my own destiny and build stuff started a whole trajectory for me.

I could have gotten abducted, kidnapped, or whatever. I could have gotten molested. All sorts of really bad stuff could have happened. Thankfully it didn’t, but that experience of having so much freedom and ability to create my own destiny and build stuff, that started a whole trajectory for me. For example, as a 17-year-old, I managed to scrounge. I bought a car for $65 and it ran. I figured out how to go to a junkyard and get an alternator from another car—the same make and model—and replace it myself. So I replaced my own alternator with a junkyard alternator and it worked. The car was a $65 car.

That’s how I got around in the world. I just hacked the system. I got married at 19 years old. I started building websites in 1994. I dropped out of a Ph.D. program, in biochemistry to start an agency without ever having any business experience, any kind of business classes or marketing, classes, or anything. I just winged it. I’m like, I’m going to figure this stuff out. I can thank my grandparents and my upbringing that was pretty difficult as setting me up for that kind of success.

That struggle was a huge gift. My wife, Orion, likes to say, sometimes you get a gift and the bow’s on the bottom.

Oh, I love that. And to be clear, I didn’t know any of this. I had no idea what your struggles were, so this was all in Ohio, or were you moving all around that entire time?

An awakening is a permanent shift in your brain, in your biology. You can't go back to the previous version of your brain anatomy after an awakening. Click To Tweet

All around. A lot of it was in Ohio, but I spent a year with my aunt in Florida, a year in Connecticut. I would spend summers some years with family friends in Chicago, friends of my aunt. I was bounced around so much. It’s hard. It’s really hard. Are you familiar with ACE?

Yup, Adverse Childhood.

Adverse Childhood Experiences, yes. You get a score and every time you have a major turmoil in your life, let’s say you have to move cities or whatever, I’m sure my ACE score is off the chart. I don’t see any benefit in adding all those numbers up, but I just know that it was tough but I got through it. I am super resilient now.

In fact, this was a huge kind of epiphany moment of clarity for me when I realized I’m not only resilient, I’m antifragile because there’s this book called Antifragile by Nicholas Taleb and he talks about economies, immune systems, and mother nature being antifragile meaning that they actually get stronger because of the stressors in the system. 

I realized I’m not only resilient, I’m antifragile, meaning I get stronger because of the stressors in the system.

If your immune system was only resilient, you’d be dead. If the economy was merely resilient, our economies would be in shambles, but they’re antifragile. They actually get stronger. They need those stressors in order to really blossom, and that’s how I see myself now as antifragile, not merely resilient, and I think that’s a game-changer for a lot of folks.

What do you think it is in you that caused you to be like that? Other people probably would not have had those experiences and would have gotten addicted or killed themselves, God knows what. Do you think you were just born with that resilience or that antifragility?

I don’t know. That’s a hard question to answer. But what I can say is there were some moments of clarity that I was given as a young child that gave me a perspective. There’s this expression that goes something like, I don’t know who discovered water but it certainly wasn’t a fish. You’re immersed in a dysfunctional environment and you don’t see it. You don’t see the mental illness, you don’t see the abuse. It’s just the new normal or the old normal that you were never not accustomed to.

There were some moments of clarity that I was given as a young child that gave me a perspective.

The gift that I got very early on, I was a young child and I remember opening the drawer in the upstairs of my grandparent’s house and seeing a huge pile, like the whole drawer was full of soap slivers—little bits of soap that are leftover from when you use the bar up and there’s hardly anything left. They kept those and that was a pivotal moment for me. I looked at that drawer full of soap slivers as a little kid and I said to myself, wow. They’re crazy.

That gave me this new perspective like, okay, I’m not the fish in the water. I’m looking outside of it seeing the insanity and this doesn’t compute, and that freed me from getting sucked in. My grandmother was trying to convert me to Jehovah’s Witness. She’d read me Watchtower and Awake! instead of reading children’s books and stuff. It was like I was in The Matrix and suddenly I had the red pill.

Wow. Those moments in childhood that we look back on now where really, we just go, wait a minute, this actually isn’t right. I’m not the crazy one. I may be six years old or whatever… Yeah, I have those too. Do you have siblings?

No, only child.

An only child. When you so escaped this environment, are you in touch with anybody from your past? Did you make a conscious decision not to be? Where are you with that?

I took to heart one thing. There are plenty of things that I learned from Tony Robbins. I had some really life-changing epiphanies from going through a lot of his programs. One thing that he taught that I think is relevant here is you don’t want to necessarily write off your family, but you want to spend time with the people that you want to become more like, right? 

Don’t write off your family, but you want to spend time with the people you want to become more like.

That time and attention are very valuable, and you’re the average of the five people that you hang out with the most. So if you want to become a better person, hang out with higher quality people. Love your family, but choose your peer group. So that’s the bottom line of this lesson from Tony Robbins is to love your family, don’t necessarily write them off or whatever. Sometimes you do, but if you love them, that doesn’t mean you have to spend lots and lots of time with them. But love them and then choose your peer group because they are not your peer group. They’re not the people that you want to become more like.

I mean, this is no offense to anybody with wonderful parents and childhoods, but I will say, the longer I’m alive, the more I observe that the truly successful and striving people I know did not come from those loving and perfect supportive families. Just my casual observation, not a scientist. In terms of financial success or success in the eyes of the world, was that happening right away?

It came pretty early. I was struggling for quite a while in college because I had young children. I was married very young, 19, first child at 20. Another child 17 months after that, and I had a stepdaughter as well. As a college student and my wife at the time were also going through graduate school, it was pretty challenging financially. We were on food stamps, WIC, and stuff at the time, and I was up to my eyeballs and student loan debt just to pay the bills while we were both in school. 

I was going to the University of Michigan as an out-of-state student. You might as well be paying for Ivy League tuition because it’s crazy expensive. It was a very, very good school, but I was just over the border in Toledo, so that made all the difference in extra $15,000 a year for four years because of that five-mile difference. I really enjoyed going to college and getting the degree, which I don’t use for anything. I studied molecular biology then I went to graduate school in University of Wisconsin-Madison for biochemistry after that. But for undergrad, I was dirt poor, like broke, living off of student loans, and all that. 

Then two years into my graduate studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, I built some websites for fun on the site and so forth. I decided to quit school. I was kind of pushed to the precipice. It wasn’t just like, you know what, I see this great opportunity. I’m going to just go for it, and that’s usually the positioning that you’ll hear like success upon success upon success. I’m pretty transparent with this sort of stuff that it’s not all easy peasy. 

You’re the average of the five people you hang out with the most. So if you want to become a better person, hang out with higher quality people.

I had a run-in with my advisor where he said, “Look, you got to show up longer at the lab. I see you leaving at 5-6 PM, and your colleagues are staying until 7-9 PM. You don’t have your priorities straight. This is not important enough to you. You’re either going to start showing up like everybody else or you’re going to find yourself another lab,” which means start all over again. New research, new advisor, being kicked out of a lab, it’d be really hard. I’d lose the year easily. 

I could choose to do that or I could choose to wrap things up, take eight months to finish, get a master’s, and do something different. And at that same time, I had the opportunity that I saw to start a business and to get into internet marketing. It was 1994 and I had just been to the second international worldwide web conference. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web was the keynote speaker. I got to talk to him for a minute or two after his talk. 

I met Rob McCool. None of your listeners will know who the heck that is. I didn’t know who it was either. Marc Andreessen was the guy who started Netscape with Jim Clark. Well, Rob McCool was the guy that they hired to create Netscape server. He was the creator of NCSA HTTPd server, and he’s also the creator of Apache webserver software, which runs most of the web servers of the internet. He created that.

I met him, we talked, and I had never heard of Netscape. It was 1994. Everybody was still using Mosaic browser and I’m starstruck. I’m like, oh my goodness, there’s Netscape. There’s this guy who just was plucked out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and now is part of this massive startup that’s going to change the world. I was starstruck.

I took a part-time job at the university, and then I had my big break — but it wasn’t an easy break.

Within four or five months, I dropped out of the Ph.D. I did the masters thing, I finished that up, and then I started a business. The funny thing about how I was able to start the business and get my first clients, it was really tough at the beginning, I was charging like next to nothing to get really terrible clients building websites and stuff for them. I couldn’t even afford to run that business so I had to have a part time job. I took a part time job at the university and then I had my big break, but it wasn’t an easy break. It was a very embarrassing one. I’m just going on and on and on. 

Do tell, no. Embarrassing break, don’t you dare stop. Go on.

So I talked my way into a conference called How to Market on the Internet Conference. It was put on by IQPC, which is a big conference organization. It’s a $2000 conference back in 1995 and it was impossible for me to even dream of going there and spending $2000 to attend. I didn’t have it. So I talked my way in as a volunteer. So I’m volunteering and they give me the job of mic runner. 

Well, I’m a really cheeky 23-, 24-year-old. So I’m running around with the mic and I’m listening to these panelists and speakers who are not that smart, not that skilled in my perspective at that time. I decided I was just going to jump in and add my two cents because I have the mic, right? I’m the mic runner. I’m upstaging some really pretty famous people like GM O’Connell, the founder of Modem Media, a big agency back in the day. 

By the end of that first day of the event, I had a big stack of business cards. People came up to me afterward and said, “You know more than the panelists and stuff. I’m really impressed with you, I want to hire you.” I had no clients, I had so little revenue. I could buy candy bars with it sort of thing. By the end of it, that first day, I had—out of that stack of business cards—two companies that became my foundational clients that added up to a million dollars of customer lifetime value, and I was also de-invited from participating in the second day by the conference organizer. Apparently, it was not cool that I was upstaging the big-name speakers.

That was kind of devastating. I was not expecting to be de-invited from day two, but I’m so glad that I took that liberty and just put myself out there in that kind of way, even though it wasn’t socially appropriate. 

That same conference organization contacted me not even three months later and invited me to speak.

I didn’t have to get funding. I didn’t have to take on angel investors. I didn’t have to struggle at a part-time job until I finally had my big break. That was my big break. It was incredible. The irony of all ironies, that same conference organization contacted me not even three months later, and invited me to speak. It was How to Market Educational Programs on the internet. I was the chairperson, I was a speaker, I had a general session during the main conference, and I had a post-conference workshop. That started my speaking career and I was terrible.

I was the worst speaker, terrible. I was even worse at chairing a conference than I was at speaking. I had never been trained in speaking. I didn’t know how to keep people on time and keep things light and moving. It was a train wreck as far as my speaking ability and sharing ability, but I was just focused on getting that mastered. Repetition is the mother of skill as Tony Robbins likes to say. 

I just keep plowing at it until I master it, and I did that. I’ve spoken 1000 times in the last 20 some years and I’ve gotten really good, but I’ve also gone through training as well. But just that repetition and keeping at it. And the funny thing about when you get a speaking gig even if you’re terrible at it and you’re like on the speaking roster, you’re in the brochure, all the different conference organizations poach each others’ speakers. I would start getting calls from conference organizations I’d never heard of and I just said yes to everything, so I have my calendar full of speaking engagements, even though as a terrible speaker. It was pretty funny.

A lot of people have this delusion that a break is going to happen to them. You bestowed your break upon yourself. And then despite the fact that you knew you weren’t good at something, you learned on the job. I think a lot of people maybe don’t understand that’s an opportunity.

Yeah. What I didn’t understand in those days, I mean, I had that hustle and the drive and all that. Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee, he’s all into hustle. I have copious amounts of hustle. What I didn’t have was that kind of spiritual perspective. I was agnostic until I was 42 years old and then I had a spiritual awakening in India on a Tony Robbins Platinum Partner trip and that changed everything for me. 

Repetition is the mother of skill.

Now, I’m coming to the things with a lot more wisdom, surrender, trust, and belief that life happens for you, not to you. It’s not all about the hustle now, it’s about allowing. That we live in a friendly universe and to trust in that. I didn’t believe in any of that. I just thought, oh, there’s so much darkness and there’s so much evil. That’s a lonely, sad existence to believe that everybody’s out to get you or that you have to be on guard 24/7, that there’s really nothing, it’s just emptiness out there. 

So now, I’ve got this new perspective that I didn’t have, and that makes life a lot more joyful and alleviates some of that need to hustle.

It’s so appropriate, this podcast is called Light Hustle because it’s all about combining the hard work with the spiritual, and the light, in terms of lightheartedness, humor, and all of those things. Because the truth is, with the hustle and the success, if you don’t have the joy, who the hell cares? Sure, you can pay your bills, but who cares? How long ago was that?

While the spiritual awakening happened in 2012, and then just all the miracles started happening after that. It was incredible, like crazy stuff. First of all, you know it’s a spiritual awakening when it’s like an LSD trip. I don’t have any experience with LSD or any other drugs, but it was an out-of-this-world, kind of out-of-body experience. 

I got touched by this oneness monk and I felt so blissful and connected to the Creator. Remember, I was agnostic, practically atheist for my whole life. I felt connected to the Creator like I was suddenly plugged into the universal Google or something. It was just incredible. And then I walk outside after that and I see the trees, the grass, and everything. I’m just thinking to myself, wow, this is so beautiful. The color of the green was just bizarre. It was technicolor like in a cartoon. I’ve never seen stuff glow like that. I’m just like, wow. This is a pivotal moment in my life. I’ve suddenly discovered my higher power. 

Life happens for you, not to you. It's not all about the hustle now; it's about allowing. Click To Tweet

Afterward, the monk explained to me that the divine is an experience, not a belief. We believe in God, we believe in a higher power, the Creator, whatever we want to call them, or the universe. Whatever our belief is, it’s a belief. But when you experience God, that’s a whole other ballgame. I got to experience God, then it changed everything, and then miracle upon miracle like crazy stuff you’d never, that doesn’t even compute. That stuff doesn’t even happen, it started happening to me.

Okay, so this was in India. You arranged to be touched by this monk?

Tony had brought these monks from Oneness University outside of Chennai to this palace in Udaipur, it’s beautiful. They have these little islands in Udaipur. There are palaces on each one of the islands. So we were at one of these palaces, which is a hotel, a very fancy one, and he had arranged for all these monks to come in. The whole topic or theme for that intensive was oneness. 

Oneness is like the sugar that you can add to your coffee, your tea, whatever your favorite drink is, whatever your favorite religion is, it doesn’t matter. It’s compatible with oneness. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity doesn’t matter, Judaism, it all is compatible with oneness. We got to experience oneness through these Dikshas, these oneness blessings, and that one, in particular, that was from a particular monk who is super high vibration like wow, I got zapped. That opened a portal or something. It was pretty wild. 

Oneness is like the sugar that you can add to your coffee, your tea, whatever your favorite drink is — whatever your favorite religion is; it doesn’t matter.

How long did that feeling last?

Well, the feeling was kind of fleeting in that hour later, I’m kind of back to my new normal. But having had that experience, I was a different person. I was completely transformed permanently. They explained that an awakening is a permanent shift in your brain, in your biology. You can’t go back to the previous version of your brain anatomy after an awakening.

What were these miracles? What have these miracles been that followed?

Well, meeting my wife. I wrote my relationship vision two months later on a poster board at Date with Destiny, another Tony event, and I prayed for my soulmate to show up. As I was writing it or right after I finished writing it, I prayed for her to show up. I connected to the Divine, my Divine, and asked for her to show up right away. You get what you ask for. If you say, well, I would really love to have a partner in the next couple of years. Well, okay, you just asked for it to happen in a couple of years. 

I specifically asked for right away, 12 hours later we were mutually introduced, 18 hours after that we said I love you to each other, 9 days after that I proposed to her in a hot air balloon. She did say no. Well, she said, not yet, which was all perfect. We were together, inseparable the whole time. Then nine months later, I re-proposed to her and she said yes, but we were inseparable that whole time. It’s not like it destroyed the relationship that she said no. 

It was a little impetuous or very impulsive I guess to propose and have the ring and everything nine days after meeting her, but I knew, I knew. The way I knew was because I had learned in India to give these oneness blessings, the Dikshas myself so I could put my hands on people’s heads and zap them too. 

At Date with Destiny, there’s this evening, the last evening where everybody gets touched, or if you’re a blessing giver, then you can be the one who’s blessing people. I was doing the Dikshas to people while the lights were turned down and the music was playing and so forth and she hadn’t gotten touched. A lot of people don’t get touched because it’s kind of chaotic and you’re not directed like, okay, this row has not been addressed yet, go deal with them. So there are a lot of people get touch more than once. She didn’t get touched at all. 

So I met her. Like I said, she was mutually introduced, and she mentioned that she wasn’t touched. Within the first 10 minutes I’m meeting her I’m like, would you like me to give you a Diksha? Yeah, I’d love that. That’d be wonderful. Because I knew how to do it. When you do this, you are connecting to your higher power and you are asking for divine grace to pass through you. You are a conduit, and the more you want it for the person that you’re praying for, that you’re touching, the more divine grace that passes. So I’m praying for her like she’s my soulmate and it was 10 minutes into meeting her, knew she is the one.

The purpose of life is to be happy. It's not to create; it's not to save the world; it's not to atone for your sins of past lifetimes. It's just to be happy. Click To Tweet

How long have you been married or how long have you been together?

Well, we’ve been together since December 2012, so that’s 6 ½. We’ve been married for 2 ½ years. It was a long engagement and we have a baby on the way.

Congratulations. 

Thank you. Three more weeks.

How long? 

Three weeks.

By the time you guys hear this, he will be a father yet again. We should mention that her work is in the relationship realm, doesn’t she teach how to find your soulmate?

Yeah, she’s a love coach. Before that, she was a life coach, and before that she was a personal trainer. She’s gotten a lot of training and learnings from Tony Robbins. That’s how we met was at a Tony Robbins event, but she had done Unleash the Power Within, she had crewed Unleash the Power Within, and we’ve done a lot of events together after. But we do a lot of personal development stuff. We don’t do Tony Robbins events anymore, but we’re doing other things. 

We’re seminar junkies, we’re mastermind junkies. We’re in Genius Network together, for example. She’s not going to any meetings right now because she’s so pregnant, but she went to several Genius Network meetings earlier this year. Yeah, it’s fun.

What we haven’t even talked about is that you are the leading SEO expert, can I say that?

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I’m not going to correct you, but I wouldn’t say that myself because that kind of sounds pretty arrogant. But I do have kind of the Bible on SEO that I co-authored with several other folks. It’s called The Art of SEO, it’s 1000 pages, and it’s used as a textbook at universities and published by O’Reilly. It is the go-to book on search engine optimization. If you have a website and you need to get it to the top of Google, that’s your book. 

And you also have two podcasts.

I have two podcasts. I also have two other books. I’m kind of an overachiever. I’m prolific with content creation. The podcast that’s all marketing-related is called Marketing Speak, but then I have a personal development podcast that was inspired by my journey and all the development stuff that I’ve done, all the self-help stuff. It’s all biohacking, productivity, spirituality, relationships, all that, it’s called Get Yourself Optimized.

Are they both released every week? 

Yeah.

Okay, this has been fantastic. We are going to get right now to the lightning round, which just means say the first thing that comes to mind, don’t think about it too much. What is your morning routine?

I connect, do a Kabbalah prayer. I’m big into Kabbalah. It’s called the Ana Beko’ach Prayer, and it helps me connect to the Creator, to my certainty, to the bigger picture, and to the 99%. The 1% is what we experience. This table is hardwood but it’s not, it’s actually mostly space. You got to connect to what’s outside of the normal realm of our senses and I do that every morning. That’s the main and most important thing that I do. 

I also do three absolutes that I write down in my online journal, not online journal, but on the computer. I use the Day One app and I put my three absolutes down. I’m probably way over time with that lightning.

It’s okay. There’s no time limit. Are the three absolutes just three things you’re going to do that day?

Yes. It’s taking a massive to-do list and winnowing it down to like what are the three attainable things that I’m going to do? And not try to do everything, not try to overwhelm myself. I’ll look at the to-do list, but the three absolutes are the three must-dos.

What is a book that has changed your life?

The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama

Wow, there are so many. One of the books that have changed how I see my purpose in life before I had the spiritual awakening epiphany is The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. The point of the book that I got out of it is that the purpose of life is just to be happy. It’s not to create, it’s not to save the world, it’s not to atone for your sins of past lifetimes. It’s just to be happy. I got a lot out of that.

And what is one of your favorite quotes?

It’s from The Art of War by Sun Tzu, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” 

I love it. 

I’m all about strategy, and if you’re very tactical, you can be a great tactician, you will lose because you’re not seeing the bigger picture. You will be slaughtered on the battlefield.

Have you had a mentor? Is it Tony Robbins?

Not really. He was more of a coach and a seminar leader, and you don’t get much time with Tony directly, like you don’t get any time. I had very limited conversations with him one on one, which is almost impossible even to get a minute talking to him, so I wouldn’t consider him a mentor. 

I’ve had plenty of mentors and many of them were also coaches. If I see somebody that I want to learn from and kind of emulate how they are in the world in a particular area, then I will seek them out. Some mentors have been just helpful and not charging me, some have been serious investments. It just depends on the situation. 

If I see somebody that I want to learn from and emulate how they are in the world in a particular area, I will seek them out.

I’ll give you one example of somebody who has been a great mentor and coach to me and that’s Ephraim Olschewski. He is a guest on both of my two podcasts. I’ve gotten some incredible insights from him. You can catch some of those about things like intentionality, responsibility, and so forth from the episodes.

We’ve touched on this a lot already, but if you could break it down, what is your spiritual practice?

So I’m really big into Kabbalah. I really get a lot out of oneness as well, but I kind of shifted to Kabbalah. I take a lot of classes at the Kabbalah Center. So I’ve taken Kabbalah 1, 2, and 3, and then 1 and 2 over again. Then with my wife, we go through these classes together. Then we stopped at three and got married, and then we didn’t end up doing 3 a second time. So these are 10-week courses. Amazing. 

By the way, I’ve interviewed three of my Kabbalah instructors on the Get Yourself Optimized podcasts. So if you’re wondering, what the heck is this Kabbalah thing? Why is Madonna so into it? It’s awesome. It’s like the most ancient self-help movement. And again, you don’t have to be Jewish or anything. It’s like a mystical branch of Judaism but it’s like an ancient self-help movement. It’s like the sugar you can add to your coffee, tea, or whatever, so it doesn’t matter what your religious bent is or if you’re not even religious at all, just go for it. 

There’s so much wisdom and insight from Kabbalah.

At least listen to those episodes. There’s so much wisdom and insight from Kabbalah. I love Kabbalah. I’ve taken Practical Kabbalah. It’s another class from Kabbalah Center. I love it. It’s awesome.

What is your best quality? 

My best quality is honesty, I guess. Honesty, transparency, and just being real. There’s no pretense. Sometimes there is. I mean, we all have egos, but I work really hard on keeping my ego in check. If somebody wants to hear the real story of how I got from A to B, I will tell them. I’m not going to sugarcoat it.

How do you define dark?

My best quality is my honesty, transparency, and just being real.

Absence of Light, and when I say Light I mean like the Light of the Creator. If you are revealing Light, which is something I do and try to do all the time, I’m thinking about how am I going to reveal Light in this podcast interview, for example. When I’m interviewing a guest for my shows, how am I revealing Light in this, or if I’m doing a speech at a conference, how am I revealing Light? It’s how I gauge my success and what I’m focused on.

So if you are focused on the negative like, oh my God, Trump did this again and what the heck? Or you’re like, oh, the environment it’s all just on fire and all these species are just being wiped out. You focus on the dark and you get more dark, you attract more darkness. You focus on the darkness in your relationship and you bring in darkness like a magnet to your professional life, and to other relationships, and so forth. You got to focus on the Light. 

When you focus on the Light, you are a beacon of Light to others and people have hope, they get inspired, and they change the world. You don’t have to change others, you just have to change yourself. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

You focus on the dark, and you get darker; you attract more darkness.

And so then, how do you define Light? Is it the Creator?

I use the definitions that I learned from Kabbalah. There’s the Light of the Creator called the Light of Wisdom. And then there’s the Light that we reveal as humans or as souls, and that’s not the Light of Wisdom, that’s the Light of Mercy. So when we’re merciful to others, like somebody really deserves to get cut off because they just cut me off, but no, I’m going to let that go, that’s the Light of Mercy.

Well, Stephan, this has been fantastic. You have brought so much Light. What is the best way for people to find you?

Stephanspencer.com is my main website. My two podcasts are Marketing Speak and Get Yourself Optimized and each of those have websites. You can go to getyourselfoptimized.com if you’re interested in the spiritual side and personal development side of what I’m up to, and then the Marketing Speak website is marketingspeak.com. That’s not just SEO, it’s Facebook advertising, ecommerce, analytics, paid search, all the stuff that relates to marketing, online and even offline.

When you focus on the light, you are a beacon of light to others. You don't have to change others; you just have to change yourself. Click To Tweet

Well, thank you so much. Thank you guys so much for listening and I will see you next time. 

Thank you.

Important Links

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

  • Choose to turn things into amazing outcomes. When adversity comes, don’t let it crush me or be a victim of it; instead, turn it into something amazing.
  • Spend time with people I want to be associated with. I’m the average of the five people I hang out with the most. If I want to become a better person, I need to hang out with higher-quality people.
  • Take risks by putting myself out there. Stepping outside my comfort zone will lead to my growth. If I see a great opportunity, go for it.
  • Take time to master my skills. Mastering skills is an important part of growing and excelling in my career. Success, fame, status, and money typically follow skill mastery.
  • Allow myself to trust what’s happening in my life. Life happens for me, not to me. Believe and trust that I live in a friendly universe.
  • Connect to what’s outside of the normal realm of my senses. Connect to the Creator, certainty, the bigger picture, and the 99%. Only 1% is what I experience.
  • Have a journal. Write down my thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. It can help me gain control of my emotions and improve my mental health.
  • Be happy. The purpose of life is to be happy. It’s not to create; it’s not to save the world; it’s not to atone for your sins of past lifetimes.
  • Be real to myself. When I’m true to myself, I allow individuality and uniqueness to shine through. Respect the opinions of others but do not conform to stereotypes or the expectations of others.
  • Focus on changing/improving myself. I don’t have to change others; I just have to change myself. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Download Printable Checklist

 

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