How to Become a Superhero with Jeff Gibbard

You can receive coaching to help you increase your revenue and reach your full potential. You can go from being polite and mild-mannered to discovering your superpower and transforming into superheroes and humans. Then, to transform the world, observe the ten rules of the superhero code.


Listen Here, scroll down for the full transcript​​



{01:23} Who is Jeff Gibbard?
08:30} What it takes to become a superhero
18:00} Discovering you have a special gift
29:49} Once you see your ability, you can transition into being superhuman
43:00} Live by the CODE

It's up to you to take responsibility for your life, move forward, get healing, and then choose what you're going to do with the rest of your life.

A superhuman is the ability to learn multiple superpowers to continually enhance and grow

Vulnerability is what allows you to connect with others.

Almost every single superhero and every super-supervillain have experienced trauma

Jeff Gibbard Bio

Formerly known as “The World’s Most Handsome Social Media & Content Marketing Strategist” our guest today now goes by another title: Superhero.

Jeff Gibbard (”Gih-Bird”) is the author of The Lovable Leader, a professional speaker, and the founder of several companies including Super Productive, and The Superhero Institute, a certification program for coaches that want to help their clients grow revenues and unlock their potential to make a positive impact on the world. Jeff is also the host of his popular podcast called Shareable.

Full Transcript

I’m here today with Jeff Gilbert, the Lovable Leader author and founder of this superhero institute; he will teach us how we can all be superheroes today.  Jeff, how are you? 

I am doing quite well. Thank you for having me  

Hey, I’m always glad to have a fellow podcaster on the show. Can you give us a little bit about your background? Also, tell us about the show that you have. 

Yeah, sure. So, podcast hosts. I have a show called “Shareable.” I have another one I’m developing called Rogue. Both are just about showing what’s extraordinary about people? Their stories have valuable bite-sized practical takeaways. I just wrote a book called The Lovable Leader. It’s about bringing trust, respect, and kindness to work and building teams where love is a fundamental element, great workspaces with great cultures. And things like that excite me. I am proud of it. It’s my first book, and then I’m also a consultant and strategist, and I run a coaching certification program called the Superhero Institute, where I teach coaches. The superhero methodology, how to become superheroes? 

Who is Jeff Gibbard?

That’s great. I love the superhero concept. I know that’s big and plastered all over the movie screens right now. Many people are kind of worn out on the whole superhero thing, but let’s be honest, superhero stories are some of the best ones out there. In all of Iron Man three, Tony Stark is having this breakdown from all the craziness he had to go through launching a nuke through a wormhole, and he’s having panic attacks and anxiety attacks. And he’s just trying to get it together to accomplish the mission. And aren’t there, many people out there, just trying to get it together for ten minutes so they can do whatever the thing is? 

Yeah, I think what I’ve noticed is that I, study this stuff. I’m not just being a nerd and having fun. I’d like to look at it from a multitude of different perspectives, thinking about it from the psychology of superheroes, the hero’s journeys, and all those, sort of the narrative structures of it. But the thing that I have found that’s most interesting about superhero stories is that we rarely talk about them. Almost every single superhero and every super-supervillain have trauma. Is there something that happened in their lives that caused a pivotal change? 

They must change something in their life, and they choose one of two directions: either to protect people or to do what they think is protecting people or making a better world, but often harms people. And sometimes those that choose the path of protecting people are people. It’s a complex world that we often think of as black and white. But what I find fascinating about the whole world of superheroes is, what’s the intent and what’s the actual outcome of it. And really, looking at different superhero archetypes and seeing what they have in common, what are the lessons we should take? That is, positive. And one of the things we need to watch out for.

And I love the two things that you said there. You said they’re born out of trauma, and then they choose to be good or bad when we talk. I just spoke at a mental health conference, the Global Bipolar Disorder Conference, where I’m the child of a mother with bipolar disorder. I got to give my perspective on how to stay healthy most of the time. Most people don’t understand that there will be things that happen in your life. 

It’s going to be good. It’s going to be wrong. It will be whatever; there’s minor T trauma, such as people saying hurtful things about you, and significant T trauma. In the month, we won’t get into all that stuff, but at the end of the day, regardless of who’s responsible for the trauma, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your life, move forward, get healing, and then choose what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. And I love that you brought that in there right at the beginning, talking about superheroes and their origin stories. And how they have the choice to do good or evil. 

I agree with everything you said, and I am completely on board with the aspect of choice and individual responsibility. But I’m also very much into looking at systems and how systems influence our choices. I try to think of it on a deep level. Why would somebody make this choice or that choice? It’s that whole story of, the twins who grew up with an alcoholic father. One grows up and never touches alcohol; the other grows up to be an alcoholic. It’s the same environment, but different choices are made. But then there are all the different experiences that both individuals probably had that made them choose one way or the other. 

I never want the whole superhero thing, which I think often gets boiled down to individual heroism and all of that. I try to think about the systems surrounding that person and the communities they’re part of. Sometimes it lifts them to allow them to be heroes. I think one of the most exciting parts of any superhero story is its origin. 

For me, the part that I spend a lot of time talking with my therapist about is the moments where the superhero is down. They’re knocked down, and somebody seemingly mild-mannered and normal, not super, comes and saves them, and it just shows the resilience, the strength, it’s and the whole, Spiderman -Anyone can wear the mask -thing. 

It’s that we can all just make one different choice and step up for somebody else. And that’s something I just find inspiring, and I try to live every day through that.

Oh, that’s fantastic. For those of you who do not know, watching the video, I did a big fist pump in there when he talked about the twins with their alcoholic father. I say that story all the time, the precipice of the story is when they begin describing their life. They both say, “As you see, my father was an alcoholic. I had no choice”. 

Both thought that the other option was completely available to him. Because the option to touch alcohol was completely unavailable, they chose to never touch it. The other says, “I don’t know how I could see it any other way.” I don’t have a choice but to do anything other than what I’ve been doing. Despite having slightly different experiences there, they both chose. I’d love that. 

But the systems and communities, and you’re right, the superhero always gets down; it doesn’t matter what architecture. Going through it doesn’t matter if it’s In the Lord of the Rings, the weight of wearing the ring gets you down. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Star Wars and you’ve got to get your X-wing out of the swamp. It doesn’t matter if you’re like Harry Potter and you start getting attacked and your friends don’t want to talk to you when something happens and you go through everyone’s story, whether you’re a superhero or not. Consider yourself a regular person. There’s going to be those times when you get knocked down, and there’s always someone going to come along. I’m going to speak into your life. I am going to speak into your world. That will turn it around for you and help get you back up on your feet and back to work. I just love that. I love that. 

Yeah, I’m 100% with that, and I think we must look for those people, not just when we’re in the quicksand. And we’re saying, “Help, Help Get Me Out of Here,” but we’re proactively thinking about the people in your life. 

Who are the superheroes in your world? I have had a couple of good friends with whom I had been having a really difficult time these past few weeks due to a variety of factors. They’re going on in the country, and I wasn’t in a good headspace to write or be super productive as a businessperson. And I knew who I had to reach out to, my friend Yvonne. I reached out to her, and she just, filled my cup emotionally and spiritually to have a moment where I saw that it was OK for me to be vulnerable and open for me to be. 

We went down, and we just talked through it, and at the end of it, this file hanging over my head for a couple of days was gone.  I think it’s important to think about the people already in your life who will fill your cup when you need it and who can step up to be your superhero. And then, how can you be that for other people? Do you know? I always try to make everyone I interact with feel good about themselves.  That’s a core principle. 

That’s my Ted talk. Thanks, Jeff. We need to make that happen. I’ll put that on my list because I know people that organize these events. We’ll get you on stage, and I haven’t done mine. I got to figure out which one of the million things I enjoy talking about, but I’m going to do my TEDx talk? 

Yeah, I’ve got two ideas from that line. One is called becoming superhuman, and the other is, why do we need lovable leadership? Those are the two. I don’t know which one I’m doing, but I will do it. 

Well, who says you? I can’t do both; 

I’m more concerned with sequencing. I’ve got to focus on one at a time. 

What it takes to become a superhero

Yeah, that is truly one at a time is always better. Tell us about the framework of what it takes to become a superhero. 

There are different phases. I think that you go through. It’s not like a binary; you’re either a superhero or not. I believe there are stages; the way I see it, you start mild-mannered or mild-mannered, and people think there’s nothing special about them.

They’re just average, normal people, nothing amazing, and the first step is to recognize that you have a superpower. The very first step towards becoming a superhero is to recognize that you have some form of superpower, and I think that this first realization is the thing that unlocks the rest of the path in front of you because, after all, the upper with our recognition, you can then become a superhuman. 

A superhuman is the ability to learn multiple superpowers to continually enhance and grow yourself until you are superhuman, and that’s superhuman in terms of your abilities, but not in terms of who you are as a human, how you interact with other people, what your values and goals are, but you can fall off the path, and you’ll go from super humanism to super-villainy in no time if you don’t have a code. 

And that’s where I think that the superhero code comes into play, and that’s what keeps you on the straight and narrow, there are a couple of frameworks throughout that. I’ve got the superhuman framework, which is how I think you become superhuman. And then we’ve got the superhero code after you’ve understood what it takes to become superhuman. How do you become a superhero? You must follow these ten rules to the letter. 

If you think about yourself right now and you feel like you’re mild-mannered, that would be it. It’s safe to say you don’t feel like there’s anything special about you. I lead a routine life. Maybe you’re on the hamster wheel of just going to work, getting stuff done, going to and from work, and getting some money. Then you can spend money on the weekend. Then you go back to work to get more money to do the same thing. Is that what you mean by mild?

I think that’s mild-mannered. I think somebody is truly extraordinary in 100 gazillion different ways but does not recognize it themselves. Mild manner is a state of mind more than anything else. It’s not actually about the number of skills you possess or anything like that. It’s about how you see yourself; I think mild-mannered is the state of mind before recognition. 

What are your unique gifts, and those unique gifts can be anything as small as how I can make people laugh in a tough situation? It could be something as extraordinary as me being able to walk into any room in that room. Pitch the heck out of an opportunity, then close that deal on the spot. That could be a superpower. 

So, I think that we are often conditioned by the way our education system is structured. Maybe it’s how our parents talk to us, or maybe any of the different things in our culture cause us to think we’re not as extraordinary as we are. And that’s not to say every single one of you is a unique snowflake; we’re all amazing, perfect, and super. I just mean to acknowledge that we all have gifts. That’s it.

It’s a very simple little thing to start with.  I’ve acknowledged some of my superpowers over time. It is who you are. It’s in your very being. I’ve gotten curious about how they happened, how they developed, and how some of them are natural. I like to think that all superheroes are born in one of three different ways, right? 

You can be born with it all, a kind of Superman. 

Is that in your very been? It’s something about you.  If you’re tall, you’re going to be able to dunk a basketball, probably more easily, at least correct. You’re born with it. Something happens to you. 

Some sort of disaster could occur, such as a mutation or being bitten by a radioactive spider. There’s a trauma that happens and you can’t see things the same. A lot of mines come from that. A lot of mine come from a traumatic event that caused me to think differently.

And then the final one is that you train for it. You’re Batman, you’re Iron Man. You learn the skills you need. Krav McGaw, you become the world’s greatest detective. You commit. You can all dedicate yourself to a cause. I think those are three pathways, and your kind of must figure out everybody. Blend of all three, right? There are things that you’re naturally born with. There are things that something happened to you, and you decided to do something different and lean into something. And then there are things that you decide. I want to get good at this. Become great at this? How do I get better at that skill of becoming better at it? Everyone will become one. You will either be a Superman, an X-Man, or a Spiderman. Or maybe Batman. 

Yeah, that’s very interesting

Sorry, I didn’t mean to gender all of those as many characters. There are plenty of the others. 

Well, those are commonly wide known and widely and often understood. 

Yeah, they’re just; they’re easy archetypes to point to. 

I’m going to talk about another man, Michael Jordan, who had some basketball ability but had a traumatic event by getting cut from his; I think it was a high school team. Then he went into Batman mode, and really, it’s saying, how am I going to do? I’m going to outwork everybody. They went on to be the superstar that we know. And, saying everyone else, understand as Michael Jordan. As for some type of that journey, I know Jeff said you get to read a little bit of my bio before hopping on today. And if you haven’t read my bio, you should. You’d be saying, “Oh.”

Man, yeah, you really should if you haven’t. 

This is a hit to the gut. This is a thing, those experiences. They are heavy and can weigh on you quite a bit, and it took me a lot of growing. Many maturities, a lot of counseling, and many ways to get out of it. That stuff, but also, I understood that I would be completely different if those things hadn’t happened to me. What kind of person would I be? 

One of the stories I don’t tell very often because it sounds self-serving. I was seeing my alphabet backward when I was a kid. I was three or four years old, and my mom was saying, “I want to know how smart he is”, she had me do an IQ test, and it came back that I was either the top kid under 10 or, shared that same level of ability. 

One of my biggest traumas was knowing that my family couldn’t support me in that pursuit of knowledge and cultivate that for me. But I often wonder. If the trauma and the different things I used to say held me back. If they weren’t there and I could use my unbridled intelligence, what would that look like now? 

Could it be amazing? Could it be wonderful? Could it be what some of these bigger entrepreneurs are doing, Elon Musk getting into electric cars, trying to take us to Mars, and all these different things? Or would it have been used for evil? Do that else I have that unbridled intelligence that was cultivated? But I didn’t live by them. In your example, it didn’t live with a code and without essentially just storing people. I’ve been watching suits lately in USA and. I’m getting into suits. Have you seen suits lately? 

I have not

My wife loved the show, and she tries to get me. I’m limited in what I watch on TV, but unsurprisingly, it’s all the Marvel shows and superhero shows. And that’s mostly what I set aside my time for, and then occasionally something like an Ozark. But yeah, I have not seen suits, but people have told me I’d love to.  what else comes up all the time, people tell me? Okay, billions of people adore it. People. All the time, or   Jeff, you would love billions. I’m saying, that conceptually, it just doesn’t ring with me. I don’t know. 

I’m not a big TV guy. If I sit down and watch something, it’s to watch the whole series now. After all, I have something every week that I want to go see. I’m more of a movie guy because you can get a small bite. You can disappear into their world for two and a half hours and be engrossed. And a movie is just like a TV show; that’s a lot of commitment to get up over the TV show, but I’ve been watching suits a little bit, and it starts mundanely. However, how they work with different countries and backdoor become quite disable—channels news and such.

And I can kind of go back into my world, and if I had the unbridled pursuit of whatever I was pursuing, I could see myself being diabolical. I remember being a manipulator when I was younger because I just needed it. I largely needed to survive and be that kind of person full-time, as it turns my stomach now to think about it. 

But I think that’s the point of, the kid the twins with the alcoholic father had, that the environment you’re immersed in provides a substrate for something to grow, right? And then there’s a piece of that you influence on, but you only influence it as you understand the different choices available to you. Or just being intelligent, for instance, doesn’t necessarily mean that you would go in one direction or another. It doesn’t mean that you would have the awareness to understand the consequences of your choices. All that comes from a variety of different influences or things that you choose to investigate to learn more about. And there’s a whole discussion about, how far down the rabbit hole we go. 

Can we possibly go beyond free will? But I know, at the end of the day, I think that the point is taken: We all the conditions to do certain things in our world, and we can look back on them and say, “What if, but?” I look at it as if we’re here right now. This is what we got. This is where we are. How much time do we have left? What are we going to do with it? 

Oh, there are many ways to go back and look at the potential regret, or we should have made another decision. Well, if I only knew, I would have changed my look. Here’s the deal: You never will. You have changed your mind because you made up your mind at that moment with the information you had, the desires you had with the mentors, and all the information you had. You chose that one, and you would never do it anyway. 

Another way, and you would never need to do it any other way, and if certain things keep recurring in your life that may not be what you would prefer, well, would you go ahead and learn that lesson already, you can move on to learning the…

Next lesson yeah 100% man. 

Discovering you have a special gift

People are in this mild-managed stage, and they finally get exposed to or hear the idea of being shown that they have a superpower and ability, something that’s just a little bit different than most people. What does that stage look like? 

I think it’s the introduction of belief. It is the concept that we are capable of more than we previously thought we were, and that’s a watershed moment for a lot of people, you know. When I was younger, much younger, much younger, in elementary school going up to almost junior high, I was in all the advanced classes; everything was advanced.

In junior high, my family moved to a new town, and suddenly, I wasn’t smart anymore, and it wasn’t because I was a different person or anything. It was just that I had different priorities. I wanted to make friends at that point, and I was led to believe that we’re much smarter here than in the district you came from and this and that. And I just got a different idea in my head of who I was, and I carried that with me for a long part of my life, and it wasn’t even until after I graduated with my MBA in my early 30s. I realized I could learn things, and I was very smart, which was part of the problem I had in my earlier years. I had undiagnosed ADHD, and none of the systems I was in were well suited to deal with the way that my brain works. And when I finally realized, here’s how my brain works. 

Here’s what I need to thrive. I started to be able to thrive, and I think at that moment. For me, that was what I was saying.  I’ve been selling myself short of what I might be capable of, and I think that’s what it looks like for people in a lot of ways. When you. I have a superpower, and I consider my ADHD a superpower. It’s a disability, but it’s all a superpower. And when I recognized that, I was saying, OK, let’s get curious. How can I get better at things? 

What works with my systems? That is how I lead to developing the superhuman framework, which is learning, thinking, communicating, leading, and realizing. For action, it’s a five-step process of learning and becoming able to do almost anything to unlock potential. You must first learn it and be able to think and process it critically. Think about it creatively. Think about it. Go through it. To learn those two types, you must swim around learning and thinking for a while. Think about the things. Develop your new ideas then. Test your skills by communicating with people. Share with people and then establish yourself by showing leadership in that space. And once you have all those skills at your disposal, you can act. 

You can act with people, grow movements, and make significant changes in whatever it is that you’re trying to do; you don’t always need all. For those five pieces, I think you will need some elements of five. But that’s if you want to become superpowered in a particular area. Those are the five meta-abilities that you need. If you get better at learning, if you get better at thinking, if you get better at communicating, leading, and acting, organizing your work, organizing your thoughts, and organizing people, you’re going to have the capacity to take on just about anything, and that only begins when you realize you can take on something. Or that you did take on something, you’ve already got an ability; that’s how I tend to think about it in my head. 

There’s the learning and then doing and then the ability to teach the thing to a person and then teach it to a group or a team, and you walk through that little process there. You must understand something at a different level to teach it. I remember being younger, probably in my early 20s I would. I’m trying to have a conversation with somebody, and I would say It is like this. And when I said that I got these confused looks because I had gone three, four, or five levels beyond the conversation and had continued it in my head, and by the time I came up with the thing I was saying, they were completely lost. They weren’t with me anymore because I had gone past the discussion, and I had that someone that came along and said, hey man, it sounds like You’re continuing this thing in your head.

Is that what you’re doing? I’m saying, Am I not? Saying that out loud, they’re saying, “Yeah, no one else is hearing what you’re hearing; you have to.” Be very cognizant of what it is that where you’re going in your head. You’re playing chess 12 moves ahead, but you can’t have the conversation. That way, you must be able to speak with them, communicate with them where they are, and make sure that they understand exactly what you’re talking about before moving them down the path. I’m saying I. They didn’t realize I was doing that. They’re saying, yeah. Yeah, you’re right. 

Yeah, and I think that’s a good example of the importance of communication. I think, especially in a world where growing up with ADHD, I found that many people who grew up with similar neurodivergent ways of seeing the world learn to put on masks and pretend to say, ” Oh, we’re thinking just the way you’re thinking. Oh no, no, no, we can’t do that. No, no, we don’t. And I believe that the challenge of constantly keeping that mask up is harmful. Internally, you feel constant; you don’t know who you are or why you keep struggling with it.”

It’s a lot like that. Querying your value and things like that, but the minute that I started communicating with people saying, “Hey, here’s what’s going on in my brain”, and realizing, oh, that’s not actually what’s going on in their brain. They begin to better understand me. I can better begin to understand them, and we can get into a conversation together as opposed to kind of the saying you like. My brain is always moving at a trillion miles an hour.

When somebody comes to tell me a story, I’ve already figured it out, 10 seconds into the story, 20 different possible outcomes of whatever that story is. I’m already there, just get to it or give me something that’s a change of direction that throws me off to keep my attention. But, if you’re just going to get to the destination, I already know you’re going to like, can you please just tell me that that’s what’s going to happen, right? But if I don’t tell people, what’s happening in my brain? They just think I’m overtalking or interrupting them because I’m saying rude or something, but it’s saying no, I’m just eager and excited, and I have much going on; I have a business partner. I have a business called Super Productive. We provide productivity consulting and set up a sauna workspace with sauna-certified professionals. We do Monday and click up, and all that stuff, and my partner is neurotypical, and I’m neurodivergent. And I think that makes us well suited to work with the companies we work with. Because I’m saying, you, they’re going to have people that like me, and they’re going to hate what Sarah is going to design. And then we’ve got people like Sarah, and they’re going to hate what I design. The fact that we communicate those two things and that we communicate them to our clients allows almost everyone to be included in that. Communication is such an essential element of being able to express whatever that superpower is. 

Oh yeah, using common language, being on the same page as the same book simultaneously. All this stuff makes less sense. You mentioned wearing different masks, and I think that realizes by everyone.  I’m a different person with my kids. I’m a different person from my spouse. I’m a different person at work. Hey Jim, I’d love to be here today. I’m excited about doing whatever garbage you’re going to do. It was shoved down my throat and forced me to do and work overtime on the weekend. I’m glad to see it. You can have all these different masks and. I wanted to make sure I covered this by wearing those masks. Because it’s not your authentic self, it takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort and can cause a lot of pain. 

Those masks don’t fit seamlessly on our faces, they cause pain, and you can see it in people when they have the mask on and when they have the mask off. If the people in your circle and your area, you can tell the difference. Based on what they’re doing, I was having a conversation with a friend, and I just noticed you go into business pitch mode. When I asked you about this thing, she’s saying I don’t like it, it’s not you, there’s got to be a way to convey that stuff that you do it with your mask off, and I love having people in my life that can show me the behind the scenes of who I am. Because I. I get lost sometimes. I don’t know. Who am I all the time? 

I think that’s a fair point, and I think these are momentary; it’s where you’ve been more willing to let that mask down; I can speak for myself. Moments where I know where I’m more willing to let the mask down. This is where I’m showing the courage to be disliked, which is why I’m not trying to pretend for you anymore. I’m going, to be honest with you, and I’m willing to let you dislike me for whatever that thing is, and I’m putting my faith in you so that you will not dislike me. Simply because I refuse to fake it for you, and it’s not to say that I don’t wear masks in different situations. 

We have different rules. Sometimes that requires you to know different ways of showing up, I’m not ripping on the idea of wearing masks, but I think getting closer to being more of our authentic self more of the time requires courage. To say I’m willing to be disliked in this situation if it means me being honest. 

Oh, absolutely, and one of my favorite ways to showcase that is by asking questions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a room when someone was teaching something and being in the military was long. Still, there are many acronyms, and many acronyms are fantastic if everyone knows who they are and what they stand for, and it is a shortcut to the next thing. Those are fantastic. 

Where it’s not cool is when you’re in a very diverse crowd of different experience levels, different backgrounds, different stuff, and everyone is already not up. The speed that’s when acronyms can hurt you. 

I’m saying, no kidding, raising my hand; hey, what does that stand for? What exactly does it do? This means, hey, why are you doing that? And I get some dirty looks saying, “Dude, you’ve been around for 19 years, or you don’t know what this stuff is.” I’m saying “no”.

I’ve been in a different world. A different section of the Navy is air and land. We’ve got seals. We’ve got Construction work done by Seabees. We’ve got all these different segments of the Navy to make it work because We can do it. Anything the world needs us to do. But I’ve been in the strategic world where we deal with nuclear weapons. I’ve got no idea what you do on your ship all day. I’m dealing with nukes in the Air Force. 

Do you want me to do some of my acronyms and see how you see how dumb you feel they’re saying yeah, no, let’s not do that? I was saying,” I’m going to have some more questions, and I’m perfectly OK saying that I am never.” I can’t remember the last time I felt it. I am uncomfortable or ashamed of not knowing something. I can’t possibly know everything. 

I can’t do it, but I would argue that in the conversation around superpowers, that’s a superpower dude, saying the courage to ask not to know, to be willing not to learn. It takes a lot of self-confidence and self-assurance to do that in those same scenarios. I often, even if I know the acronym, if I’m in a room with many people, especially if I know I’m saying somebody whose word or opinion carries a lot of weight. I’ll sometimes ask what the acronym means even if I know what it is because I know there are people in the room that don’t, and they’re not willing to show up as not knowing. I don’t want them to be excluded, and I don’t want them not to be able to contribute their amazing ideas simply because they don’t know what we’re talking about. 

Yeah, no, I love that. Someone saying what do you mean you don’t? Know with this. Stuff like that, you speak with such confidence. A long time ago, I decided that I could confidently say any word I knew how to pronounce with confidence, regardless of whether I understood the concept. Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong or whether I have any idea. What’s going on? 

I can choose to speak the words I’m going to use and talk to them about confidently, even if I have no idea what’s going on. 

Another superpower, man, see, I’m going to go ahead. I’m going to deem you as potentially superhuman officially. 

Ooh, the jury is still out, but I’m seeing all of them. 

Signs well; it’s saying I’m a superhero in training right now. 

Yeah, I was going to say that’s a potential for a bad acronym, but I think that’s a possibility. 

Oh, that’s wonderful. We were talking before the show got started about some of this. And something I brought up was that superhero in training makes for a not-pleasant acronym, and it’s a great way to rain somebody in. It’s kind of out of control. 

That was a good call back just. 

Once you see your ability, you can transition into being superhuman 

For us, yeah, I’ll let you guys at home do the work to see what superhero in training could stand for. And it does not sit; I’ll tell you that right now. Then we’ve recognized that we have the ability. We have a superpower. We have an ability. What’s the transition into that next step of being superhuman? 

The superhuman framework is where I would start in terms of how to get there, but I think even before that, you’ve got to pick what you want to do with your world. Man, what are you? And I think it’s important for people to do a little soul searching, saying what my purpose is? What am I about? What am I trying to do in the world? I feel I’ve been lucky to be very clear on the type of impact I want to make in the world. 

And again, I mentioned it earlier, but I think that came out of trauma for me. My dad was a funeral director on my last day of high school. My mom got into a catastrophic car accident. Traumatic brain injury 9 pints of blood I just immediately was struck with the impermanence of life, and that, we don’t get a lot of time here, and we don’t know when our number is going to be called, I feel an urgency for the self-improvement. And I, too, feel an urgency to leave behind a better world than I had; that is what drives me. And it was brought about again by a lot of traumas. And a lot of the environment that I was surrounded by.

I think for most people, it makes sense to look at the things that have happened to you in your life. The things that have been challenging have been traumatic. Any of that and try to think about the lesson I’m learning here and how I want to take it? The experiences I’ve had and tested ensure that other people don’t have to suffer the same misfortune to learn the lesson. I think once you want to cover what it is that you’re after, then you can start to develop your kind of lesson plan for yourself. What do you want to learn about what? What is your goal in life? What positions do you need to have? What kind of work do you do? You need to do what kind of volunteering? What kind of relationships? What kind of skills do you feel like? You need to round yourself out as the type of person to be the type of superhero to go on the missions you’re trying to go on. I have met the missions I’m trying to go on, and I know that I need to understand people, and I need to understand the process that others have gone through to try and improve the material conditions of everyone on Earth. I like how that works; I’m constantly trying to learn about that. I think a lot about that.

I think a lot about ethics. I think a lot about the environment. I think a lot about a lot of different things. And that’s part and parcel of what’s driving me towards my goal. I’m not saying everybody should do that; I’m saying that’s what mine is.  I would say if you discovered that you have a superpower of some sort, that’s awesome. That’s a step in the direction of realizing you can do more. 

Now the question is, what more do you want to do? What do you think? After you develop your lesson plan and implement it, learn, think, communicate, lead, and take action to grow that ability. And that’s a starting point. You just keep looping through those steps, and once you’ve got that, you can start taking on more things and more abilities. That’s where I would go with it for people, learning to me is the big one. That’s where it all starts. You’ve got to pick up a book. Take a course from YouTube videos, talk to smart people, but don’t get static. 

Yeah, it’s hard to do something if you don’t know that it’s available, and if you do know it’s available, it’s hard to do something if you don’t think it applies to you; you got to know it’s available. It’s kind of applied to you. You’ve got to figure it out and learn something about it, and then even at that point, it’s largely in nothing until you do something until you action: Get out and do it again. 

We were talking beforehand about doing stuff, and I was talking about Jeff’s over in Philly. He’s an Eagles fan and, surprisingly, a Maple Leaf fan, and he’s not happy right now. Because the hockey playoffs aren’t going well for him, he’s a Flyers fan, and I told him I got to spend a week at a ranch playing football. And hanging out with Fletcher Cox was an awesome D-lineman from the Philadelphia Eagles. And he’s just saying you, doing some crazy stuff. I’m saying yeah, I just want to do stuff. I want to go. I want to be with people. I want to be myself and want to go do it, we get to experience things, and many things can hold us back from taking those actions.

I was talking to a client earlier today about podcasting, and he’s been stuck in his haste. The voices in your head tell him that he can’t do it or shouldn’t do it. Those voices in there are there to protect you, protect your ego, and make sure you stay safe. But just because they’re in there squawking at you. Staying safe doesn’t mean that they’re right. 

I agree, man, and I think this comes back to courage. You got to pick where you’re going and then have the courage to. I’m curious about this because you’re in the military. Do t a difference between courage and brave? Because they’re used synonymously, this is an interesting thing I looked at. 

Are there a couple of differences, but I want to hear your take? 

I investigated it because courage is one of the ten elements of the superhero code. And it was originally about bravery, and I got curious. And I wanted to just investigate the definitions. Of the two, here’s what I found. Bravery is about heading into a situation without fear. That’s bravery. Courage is seeing a situation without feeling fear and going anyway. Those are two very different states of mind. Bravery is, in some ways, like a crazy, naive state of mind to or just you. It’s just something broken that you don’t feel fear of.

A lot of young men, right? Bulletproof!

Yeah, or you get to a point where you’re so seasoned that how to be brave in that situation because you’ve done it many times, right? 

That is a different thing. That’s a level of mastery or insanity. That just didn’t resonate with what I was trying to say. What was I trying to say, and why did I put in the code? Is that where you’re headed? 

To be scared throughout your life. Any time there’s a significant change or obstacles in your way that seem insurmountable, you’re going to feel that fear. You’re going to feel that desire to stop, and the courage is saying, “I acknowledge.” You fear me seeing you, I appreciate the lesson you’re probably trying to give me, but in this case, I’m going to move forward anyway because of what I value in what I’m after. And I think that courage comes into play when choosing to go head-first into an experience. It’s all part of what’s going to allow you to persevere as you’re running into the challenges of becoming superhuman in any way. 

You’re trying to learn something. You’re going to come to a point where you’re saying, “Man, I’m not as good as this as I thought I was,” or “This is getting tough, and you’ve got to push through it.”

Yeah, you might start something with a little bit of natural ability or inclination towards something good, but by and large, when we try anything, anything, we suck. We’re not good at it. The first time you do a fundraiser, let me tell you, you’re probably not going to be very successful. The first time you send an email, you will probably get some messages, “Do what are you trying to say?”  I don’t understand what you’re trying to say the first time you play soccer. Picture the kids; largely, they’re picking daisies. They’re staring at the sun. They’re waving to their mom, or the herd is chasing them. After the ball, no one got it. Soccer at that age, whatever the thing is, whatever you’re going to start, whatever you’re Chances are you’re going to be terrible at it. 

And I know that because I’ve done 140 episodes of my own and 60 or odd guest appearances on other people’s platforms. And when I started, I wasn’t very good at being a podcast host because I had never done it before, I didn’t know what he was trying to say. I wasn’t sure how to ring the guest in or direct them. On a path, I wasn’t sure of a lot of things. And it wasn’t until 2020 that it all came together. They started understanding my voice and what I was trying to say was trying to convey. But most people stop before they hit that first 25, and they never get to enjoy fully and be in the flow of the thing they tried because they tried it twice just to ensure they didn’t like it the first time. And now they’re down. They’re never doing that again, and how far will you get in life? If that’s your mantra for anything, they’ll try it twice and then be done. 

Yeah, and you got to have resilience because I don’t know about you, but I find that as I’ve been on any journey of learning a thing, let’s just say drawing, you want to learn to draw, right? You’re going to draw at a certain point. You’re going to get to the point of progression, and you’re going to look at what you did, and you’re going to be saying, “Wow, that’s.” If you keep going, what’s inevitably going to happen is you’re going to get to a point where you’re better, and you’re going to look back on what you did. 

Did you and you’re going to say, “Man, that sucked?” I’m not very good at this. You may want to stop because you’re not looking at the progress you’ve made. You looked at the previous iterations of success, right? And you do not appreciate that journey; I think it requires a bit of resilience to look at the progress, especially if it doesn’t feel like it’s happening fast enough, and to keep pushing forward, to keep getting back up and getting back on the horse to get to that. Next level and keep moving forward. Yeah, I think it all requires resilience. 

No, it does. My daughter was one of those oddities. The first time she tried something, she just crushed it, like her first year of bowling. She won the league the first time she wrote poetry. She wanted a contest and got it published in a book when she was 12. The first time she did a bunch of stuff, she crushed her attempt was better than most people. She got into high school and tried out for cheerleading, but she didn’t make the team. And it’s heartbreaking when someone tries out for something, and they don’t get selected. I was, I don’t think, happy; it was the right thing. But I enjoyed it. I appreciate it. I don’t know what the right is. I understood the process of life. And I was. “Happy is not the right word. Mom says, happy that she didn’t make the team, and people look at me like I’m crazy. She did make the team. I was saying she knows that she can’t just. Give half an effort, and everything is going to be okay. Magical in her life. 

Well, it wasn’t about what happened; it was about the lesson, right? You weren’t happy she didn’t make the team. You were happy that she had an opportunity to not succeed at a thing but to learn how to get back up and keep moving Forward

Exactly. Happy that she had the lesson. It wasn’t extremely painful. I’m sure it was a little painful, but it wasn’t like a house came down on her. That made me happy. She got that opportunity to learn something like that while she was still under our umbrella of care where we could help her through that process.

And it’s just many people give up.  They quit 3 feet from gold. Yeah, they get discouraged. I don’t see the benefit. They’re stuck in obscurity. No one knows who they are. 

Many people in the nonprofit world are like that. They’ve been pushing; they’ve been pushing; they’re bringing some people around, trying to do good things or listening to the nonprofit architect podcast and learning how to do some of these things. But they’re getting in there, and they’re close to hitting that next thing that’s going to bring them to the public eye and the next level. That’s going to have money flowing for years, and they’re saying, “I just can’t do it anymore.” And they quit. 

It’s such a shame, though, because the thing that keeps you going in there, and my heart goes out to nonprofits because they’re the people in this country putting purpose over profit, and they’re They have no profit, but I’m saying they’re after something more important than. 

They have profit. 

What I mean by that is that the profit goes back into the business. Yeah, I’m saying yes. You’re just here to serve the mission, right?  On the one hand, my heart goes out to them, and they’re doing that thing, and focusing on that thing is what keeps you going. 

However, when you have in your mind a certain level, and you’re beating your head against the wall trying to get there, and you don’t, it can be stressful. I think focusing on the process is the same sort of thing in the same way. Focusing on the process can be discouraging, but when you focus on the process itself, this step-by-step, day-to-day thing that you’re doing, you get lost in the process of whatever it is that you’re after. 

I would encourage every nonprofit to continually focus on the mission of what you’re after and get obsessed with it. The practice is going after what it is that You’re after. You can look at those two things in two different ways. You can look at the practice and say we’re not making enough progress, and you can look at the goal that you’re after and say we didn’t get there, but the purpose isn’t to get there; it’s to continually improve. And you do that by showing up day in and day out.  because it’s important to work and you don’t want to see it go slowly. 

Jim Rohn is a great motivational speaker from the 80s, and I think he got into the 90s. It said to set a goal to become a millionaire, not for the money. The money is great but set the goal, the things you need to do and learn, as well as how you need to change, to make that a reality. 

That’s the benefit of setting the goal of ensuring the money is nice and that I don’t need the money. I’ll take the money. But it’s the journey. It’s the growth; who are you becoming to make that thing a reality in your world? That’s the real goal of what it is. It’s not the result.  Many people get to the peak, the pinnacle, the goal. That they’ve set, and they said, “Now what?” Or I got here, and I don’t feel any different. 

They ignore the journey. They don’t acknowledge the beauty of the journey and the things they had to do to get there I’m not the same person. I was 22 years old when I retired. It was on the day I started. not the same person. First off, I just look better, obviously, but there are all these lessons you must learn throughout that time and many trials and tribulations and triumphs that make you into the person you are now. And that’s the beauty of the journey. That’s the beauty of these big goals that people set for themselves. 

Yeah, man, absolutely a great 100% double. Stamped, underlined, bolded. 

Just in his head right now. He’s saying Oh yeah, just. Preach, brother, let’s hear it. 

Live by the Code

We’ve gone through these phases of superherodom. We’ve been mild, mild-mannered, and nice; we have a superpower and become superheroes and humans. And then what’s next? 

You’ve got to live the code and, you know. So, say I gave you all the powers in the world, and they say that absolute power corrupts absolutely, or something like that, whatever it is. Is that saying that with great power must come grace? “Absolutely yeah,” but whatever it is, with great power. There must all be a great responsibility, right?  I think, to a certain extent, it’s important to have a code that kind of keeps you in line with what you’re out to do with your abilities with your gifts. And try to keep it focused on other people.  I came up with ten attributes that I think are important for every superhero. I’ll list them all for you. You’ve got responsibility. I define that as if you have the power or privilege to make a difference that you use. That, and you provide protection.

I think it’s very important to think about the ability to create safe, emotional, and physical spaces for others. Taking accountability and rectifying actions in case something gets messed up, there’s self-sacrifice. I believe that every superhero must be able to put the team first and sacrifice their comfort for the safety and well-being of those around them. It’s outward; it’s in service, you know. So, self-sacrifice is such a critical element. To that courage, as I mentioned before, even though you’re scared, you’re going to move forward, and resilience, sometimes you’re going to get knocked down. You’ve got to get back up. You’ve got empathy. 

Empathy is super important because you can’t help someone unless you can see through their eyes. You can’t influence them. You can’t connect with them. You must be able to engage that empathy muscle and can’t commit to it. With compassion, you must be able to see people in trouble, and you see the humanity in all the vulnerable people you deal with. I think this is important for every superhero because it’s very easy when you feel powerful and have many skills. You’re on top of the world. Vulnerability is what allows you to connect with others. It keeps you down to earth, and it reminds you not to get too far ahead of yourself because we all have vulnerabilities. We all have things that are imperfections, that are things that make us vulnerable. 

And then the last two are honesty in action.  I think a superhero must remain honest. You have to say true things. I don’t think lying is very heroic. And I think you must commit to action. It’s not enough when you go through that superhuman framework to constantly keep growing yourself, growing yourself, and then not acting in the world. 

Those are the ten I have hanging on my wall. I was just referencing them because I have them in a specific order and I think about them regularly. Try to think that I am. I am living these superhero values in my life, the superhero code, and I think that as you develop new abilities, you must constantly keep yourself in check by checking against these things, and that’s how you can go out there and make the world a better place. Not just for yourself but others. 

Oh yeah, I fully agree. I remember being a young man, and my ego could get out of control. Some of it was me being funny, and some because I felt that way, and I had a guy saying, “We got to bring in our head deflator kit. Travis can get out of the building and get back to his house today.” I don’t know how that whole head of his will fit in the car if we let some of the things, we do well slip away from us. It can cause a lot of problems. 

I used to say if you wanted to knock me off balance, just compliment me. All the negativity fueled me about the way you can’t do this. You’re not going to be able to do this. That fueled me, and that drove me for a long time. For a long time, that drove me, and if someone messed up and complimented meant, you’re doing a good job, I completely would wreck my day because everything I was focused on was being fueled by the negative.

Dude, I got to tell you that resonates hard with me because the best thing anyone could say to me is, “you can’t do that.” I’m saying I will show you. But the minute someone acknowledges or appreciates me, I don’t know about you. How do you handle this? But I just ran through a script in my head when somebody gives me compliments; I do because I can’t, I’m working on this, but I have trouble still with it. Receiving a compliment from someone when I appreciate something I am saying. 

I must default to my fallback script where I’m saying. “Thank you. That’s kind of you to say; I appreciate it.” I just got to click words and go into the routine because I’m uncomfortable with saying I did a good thing. I want you to tell me to say no; you can’t do it so that I can act to where I’m comfortable. 

It took a long time to change that. That part of myself and creating more attention to something like podcasting was one of those things that helped me do it. And now you’ve been podcasting for the shoot, what, 10-12 years? Nine years? 

Yeah, nine years. 

The more it happens, the more frequently you’ve started to believe it. And not that you think that you’re terrific, but you believe that it’s possible. I don’t know how this lady is talking to you, right? You ladies are well-known for watching these romantic comedies. And I would just wish you could say something nice to me. I’m all about it’ it’s wonderful. And then you say it to them in some other context, and they don’t believe you. “Oh, that’s not true, or you’re just saying that, or you’re saying that because You have to”, 

It makes them feel amazing. It happens in real life, and they can’t accept it because they don’t believe it about themselves. 

It’s interesting; I would argue that I don’t know if that’s a lady thing. I mean, I have isolated examples that I can do too. I don’t know if I would call it a trend because I can all see to myself that’s times when my wife will say to me like you’re such a good father and I’m like. 

You instantly think of all the reasons you’re terrible, father. 

Yeah, I was. So, all that time that I got so. I was upset with her, and this was, yeah, I went through all of it, right?  I watch romantic comedies with my wife, right?  I know the stuff that’s going on in there. And I see the way that the two characters might interact, and my wife is a Disney Princess. She’s like unicorns and rainbows and stickers. And it’s amazing, but she’ll say things to me.  We are very much out of that. And when I hear it, even though I want to like it as I hear it, I do. I do sometimes all react very similarly to “you’re a great father”. I’m saying, “Oh God, I don’t know if that’s true.”  I could have. I could do this, and I think it’s a human thing, more than anything else. 

Yeah, that’s a human thing. That’s a human thing. I can’t say this just lady, but the example that popped into my head was the differences between how I and my wife look at ourselves in the mirror. I know a lot of guys are going to walk by them here, and they’ll catch a little light, and they’ll be like, Look at that. Look at that trap. I see that like they instantly picture themselves as this big, powerful person, and my wife will look in the same mirror and not see what I know that she’s a…

Beautiful amazing Oh well, we have the benefit of not constantly having all the bombardment of signals telling us that we’re not. 

A talented, powerful woman. Yes, yes. 

Good enough, we got all the signals telling it to think about the movies that we have, where it’s the most average dude can get complete, the full package lady saying that’s the media that we get to consume no you can do it even from your basement, yeah but women have you know. Unfortunately, there’s the entire beauty industry that magazines. 

These are all the things wrong with… the top ten things that are wrong with you in the mirror. 

Exactly, it’s just a constant self-critique and a standard that’s impossible. Live up to what we do. Don’t you know? For better or worse, it appears we do not have as high a standard of living. And I don’t think they should have too either, right?  because I hear you. 

I get up and get on camera, saying, “Yeah, hashtag woke up like this” because I don’t do my hair, put on any make-up, and run this stuff, and then I have guests that are Gals…

You look great. 

Thank you. Yeah, are you not watching the video? I don’t know why you’re not watching the video. I’m a gorgeous man. 

Mine is just a filter; yours is just a filter. Yeah, it’s just. He’s the snap Cam. It avoids all blemishes. 

Oh, that’s perfect. It’s crazy the way that we talk to ourselves. One of the things I learned over the last year. People will rarely treat you better than the image you have of yourself. 

Will rarely treat you better than the image you have yourself. See interesting. I think a lot of the time; people will treat you better than the image You have yourself.

I’m talking about personal, deep relationships. Your significant other won’t treat you. Consider the woman who goes back to the husband, the wife-beater, or the abusive person. The reason that they’re stuck in that is the image they have of themselves. They might be able to break free and get away from that, but they will find similar things until they raise their image. 

I think that’s one factor, but again, from a systems perspective, I think a lot of it. Times a lot of those women don’t have anywhere to go. There’s not a support network; there’s just a gazillion internalized messages and things that people in those relationships have had. 

Have they attracted the same people when they meet people in a different place? They attract the same type of person. 

It is out of my area of expertise.  I’ll. Refrain from commenting on it, but.  it seems something that’s an extremely complex problem, and rising your self-image is probably 1 component of it, but I would venture to guess that it is a cocktail of different elements. 

None of us are experts in the opinion section of the podcast today. Yeah, there are many elements. It’s almost like we’re getting political, right; you can. All this is for this, and this is for that. And if you don’t believe me, you’re against me or whatever; there are many different layers or ways to get into this. And as we’re talking about this, it probably will not end. But not in the show, Jeff; I wanted to thank you very much for being my guest today, talking about how we can all find the superhero within ourselves. Cultivate how you can do that and apply it to your nonprofit. I appreciate you being here today, Jeff. Check out his book Lovable Leader at or wherever books are sold. Thank you again, Jeff. Being here with me today

My pleasure, man, thanks.  

I’m a professional podcaster if you like this and like what we’re doing. You can find our resources at Ultimate Incomplete the Podcast Guide is a complete DIY do-it-yourself guide to doing exactly what we do, and if you like that, be willing to take the next step. You can do the actual Forbes School of Business Technology offers an online accredited course. You can take it on your own, get it transferred to the university, or attend. Or you can just. Take it for fun because it’s a lot of fun. You get to hear me speak into your life and teach you how to do all the great things. 

Thanks much. I look forward to hearing from you next time. 




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