Elephants make bad pets. If you read Terry Weaver’s new release Making Elephants Fly, you’ll realize why. The “elephant in the room” for too many people is that they have dreams they aren’t pursuing. There’s no simple answer to what we ought to do with our dreams, but in this interview, Terry explains the havoc these “elephants” cause in people’s lives. Sometimes the greatest risk is to let an elephant make it’s home in your living room, where it doesn’t belong. What dream is chasing you? Who needs you to be a Timothy Mouse in their lives by offering a feather to help them believe in themselves?
You can find Terry on his website, www.terryweaver.com.
Making Elephants Fly is now available at makingelephantsfly.com,
and information about his live event “The Thing” at thething.live.
Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Full Interview Transcript
Andrea: Terry Weaver, it is so good to have you back on the Voice of Influence podcast.
Terry Weaver: I’m a fan. I’m excited to be back, a fan of your work, and it’s exciting to be back again today.
Andrea: Yeah, thank you! When we were talking back, gosh, I think your episode came out May, maybe even April last year or of this year, 2017 and we were talking about some of the things that you were working on your book. And now I have it in my hands and it’s so good, Terry. It’s great!
Terry Weaver: Thank you! You know, there are courses that you take how to write book in a month. I did not take that course. It’s just more like how to spend way too long writing a book. It’s good to get it done and get it out of the world and start telling people about the stories. I feel like I’ve been treating this animal for the last five years and now I’m ready to take it off the press so that it’s out in world and hope that it helps people and doesn’t kill me.
Andrea: You’re asking people to be audacious so you’ll never know.
Terry Weaver: Exactly! I mean, I’d rather them die living the best possible life than to wither away living the life that was not worth living.
Terry Weaver: Yeah. My friends give me a hard time because sometimes I kind of lead towards that morbid…but you know, we live in a world right now that it’s just seems like it’s going mad like Alice in Wonderland. And I was like “Has the place gone mad? Yes, I think it has.” And there’s just a lot of chaos. There’s a lot of hurt. There’s a lot of pain, and our time on this planet is really limited, so I want to do my part to encourage people to go on and live now and stop waiting for…
As you’ve read, you know, the beginning of the book really starts with the permission like literally. I’m giving people just permission to chase those big audacious dreams. There’s never been a better time to do what you want to do from where you are. And I’m not here to show and go that at the end of the journey is going to be easy. It’s going to be 10 times harder than you ever imagine.
But yeah, it’s so much work to make these things happen and to make these things become real and big dreams come with a lot of late nights. I’m ending a season of living from one season of hustle as I call it with a little tiny break in between. Now that I’m in my 40s, staying up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, or 6:00 in the morning working and getting things out the door hurt a lot more than it did in my 20s.
Andrea: Oh yeah!
Terry Weaver: So the bounce back is you know when you’re in college and you did those things and it’s like two cups of coffee the next day, you’re good. Now, it’s like in the middle of the following week, you still feel like you’ve been run over by a train, but we’re here proceeding.
Andrea: That’s right. The book is called Making Elephants Fly. So Terry, where did you come up with this title and why this title? And this is the title of your podcast as well, so why this title?
Terry Weaver: I was sitting in a Starbucks one day and a friend of mine was having a conversation online. And he was kind of talking about Walt’s quote where he said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And I was just like “Yeah, but…” and I said something to him that I was like “No, no, what you miss is the fact that Walt Disney believed in the idea that if he can make an elephant fly in a cartoon that the imagineers can make an elephant fly at a theme park.
He believed that if there was an idea that he can get a team or process a way to move that idea forward. Really, all of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them and we really chase to go after them. If we don’t give up, when trial comes and tribulations come. And if you know Walt Disney’s story, his story was one greater than pain and hurt and struggle.
So I was sitting at the Starbucks, at the time I really wasn’t writing much. I was blogging and I would write my blog there. I begin to just start talking to all the baristas that day because one of them said “Hey, what are you doing?” I was like “Oh, I’m just writing my blog.” That always leads to a longer conversation. I discovered everybody working in that building had no desire to be a barista. All of them had moved to the city of Nashville to chase a song-writing dream.
They came here to work on the production team or they came here because they knew there was a creative environment here. They came here because they wanted to get on in the medical field and they knew there was a lot of opportunity here because there was a big healthcare area. All these people were doing nothing how to do with their dreams and I was just like “Man.”
And then the thought kind of crossed through my head at the beginning there, imagine the elephant in a room that they’re living with. I switch sometimes working in the music business and I remember all the artists that quit right before things started. They were on the edge where the pain was real, the work was incredibly hard but they were moving to the phase where things were going to start to get a little at least differently and a little bit easier and the door is going to start opening a little wider for them but they quit.
I thought about all of them living with the pain of “What if.” Those two words can haunt your entire life, “What if? What if I never do this? What if I would have done this?” So I just started kind of thinking about the idea of an elephant. I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of ideas maybe too many. But when I do get an idea, I tend to kind of let it live with me and this idea of “making elephants fly” just would not freaking go away.
I had really, I mean honestly, no desire to write a book. I never did well in English in school. If you tell every teacher that I would be writing a book, they would laugh in your face, but this book just begins and just come out of me and so I started. I started but I was just like, you know, I’m a person of faith so I was like “So OK, God, if this is really something you want me to do, I’m going to call the Nashville Zoo and they’re going to let me hangout with the elephants.”
That totally seems like something that normal people would say no to, right? “Nope,” then next they say “Hey sir, we love to schedule the time. We love to have you. This is normally where they cost thousands of dollars but we love what you’re doing, we want to support you.” So I go to the zoo and get to interview the head zoo keeper and the guy stood out there and talked to me forever. It was literally like a 100 degrees in Nashville. It was incredibly off out of the normal day. And he was like “Hey man, it’s hot out here. Can we go back stage; I’d like to show you where the elephants live when they’re not on the zoo.” I’m like “Are you kidding me right now?”
So we go back and we get to spend time with the elephants and he was like “Hey, let me take you into their enclosures.” So we go there really through the bars into the elephants’ cage where they stay, which by the way, is freaking scary but it was also scary for the elephant. So I met an elephant by the name of Juno and she’s a beautiful elephant. She has since passed out of a disease elephant’s in captivity and they get a lot of diseases which is why it’s much better where they could be in a place out of the zoo and be out open and moving. A lot of zoos are moving more towards that.
As soon as I walked into the cage, she had to pee. And we’ve all heard the phrase, “You got to pee like race horse.” Nope, that statement should be, “You got to pee like an elephant.” Because let me tell you, the only way I could describe it, it was like a fire hose coming out of a 55 gallon bucket all at once and that was kind of her reactions to me coming in there. He said “No, no that’s normal.” I’m like “Man, there was nothing normal about what was coming out of her right there. That was the most fluid I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”
So that moment I truly understood and I really had a pretty clear picture of what is like to live with an elephant that you should have in your house. I just started to think of all my friends and all of the people that I kind of knew that have these big crazy ideas and are doing nothing about them. You know in my head, I’m just imagining this elephant going around and peeing all over furniture and I was like “Man, that’s a mess.” Then I begin to realize why they’re miserable, why their marriages were struggling, why they weren’t happy, or why they hated their job and so I wanted to write a book for these people.
Obviously, the idea of Making Elephants Fly inspired by the story of Dumbo in Walt Disney in desires to make elephants fly, and you can go to every theme park. Everywhere they’re located you can go and ride an elephants fly. I still get an elephant ride like a crazy person that go up and down and just to remind myself of like “Wow, someone at one point thought this was impossible to do,” but one man’s dream and one man’s passion for an idea made it happen. And now Tim Burton is actually in production of doing a live-action Dumbo movie, which you know, I love Tim Burton, so I hope that’s going to be cool.
But yeah, we all have these elephants. We all have this big dream. We all have these big passions; but the difference is a lot of us are just living with them. I’ve seen the other side of how inaction would do more damage than actually taking the risk of actually breaking free than actually doing the things and giving them a try. We’ve been taught at a young age that failure is a bad thing. You don’t want to be a failure, but one of those things that makes you a failure is when you don’t get back up when you do fail. We’re all going to not succeed at something. We’re all not going to achieve the things that we set out to achieve. But when we’re actually are pursuing those things, there’s going to be a lot of failure but it’s a lot better than just asking yourself at the end of your “What if?”
Terry Weaver: One of the big ideas in the book is even if you are nearing the end of your life, if you’re not dead; you’re not done. That’s one of the big ideas in the book. If you’re here and you’re living and breathing, you’re here with a purpose. You’re here with something to do and it’s never too late to accomplish those big dreams that you’ve been wanting to accomplish.
Andrea: Boy, I can relate to this idea of the elephant that is trapped and still in captivity inside, because that’s definitely how I felt a few years ago. I can tell you, I affirm what you just said about how it can just cause havoc. I actually read the part, about the elephant peeing, like that page to my kids. They just died laughing. I thought that was hilarious by the way, but I think that that picture I just get it. It resonated with me and I think a lot of people don’t realize it that they don’t see it probably because of the other thing that you talked about towards the beginning of the book was that the elephants that follow each other in captivity with their tails. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that because that’s pretty good too?
Terry Weaver: So you’ve mentioned your kids, you know, the very first thing your kids learn when they go to school is what? They’re taught to stand in line.
Andrea: Oh yes! Don’t even get me started.
Terry Weaver: They’re taught to follow along. They’re taught to comply. In fact our entire education system is set up so that we will comply. If you don’t believe me in the story, go read books by Sir Ken Robinson and go read Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams. One of the best things I’ve ever read and it’s a free. It’s just a free PDF. But kids, you know, you’ll learn at an early age that you should just follow the person in front of you and you kind of march through your childhood like that, right?
I met a fifth grader a few weeks ago, he was talking about college. You know, when I was in fifth grade, the last thing on my mind was college, right? I was just trying to figure out how to stop picking my nose, you know what I mean? I never wanted to grow up. And so I rode my big wheel. It was a chips big wheel. It has had the wheels that literally fell off of a thing, right? It’s very interesting how society and I think even the idea of the American dream, I talked about in the book is one of those things that tries to keep us in captivity.
You know that idea that you go to school and you go to college and then you graduate college and you have two and a half kids, too bad for that 0.5 child, right? Then you go on and you live your life and you’re working on a job that you really don’t like but you do it because it’s a safe thing to do and then you retire and then you move to Florida and you wait to die. That’s kind of the American dream. I was just listening to a podcast for speakers with Ken Davis. He’s on his late 60s he’s like “I’m not retired.” He’s like “Retirement for me is death.” There are a lot of us that are starting to say “I wanna get out of that life. I wanna stop complying.”
So elephants in the wild will sometimes do a practice called “tailing.” If you’ve ever seen the elephants in the circus or elephants in the zoo, you’ll see the elephant’s trunk will grab the tail of the elephant in front of them. That’s mostly a practice that’s used with elephants that are in captivity not because it makes them safer, but it does keep them in-line and it gives you the illusion of safety, right? “OK, these elephants are complying, they’re following instructions, and they’re just following along.”
I think we march through life with the illusion of safety. We march through life with the illusion that we’re going to get a job and it’s secure. One of my coaching clients, her husband just lost his job that he was nearing retirement for. He worked his entire life for the safety and security of a job that he really didn’t like. And now here he is when he’s kind of cutting on his job, you know, he’s kind of at the red zone of life trying to get across the goal line and the same that he had been doing something he didn’t love, he ended up giving up because they let him down.
I think of Jim Carey, if you haven’t seen Jim Carey’s speech. He’s like “You can fail doing something you hate, so why would you not try to fail doing something you love.” And man, get on the line and be the kid. Luckily, my mom kind of allowed me to be that kid growing up. I got a lot of trouble in school. I acted out a lot. I was the kid in second grade that discovered that if you throw pencils on a teacher, you can get out of the class.
Andrea: Oh no!
Terry Weaver: I was the kid that learned that it was even better if you could keep the pencils really sharp. So my poor second grade teacher, they’ve told me had a nervous breakdown and quit teaching after that year. I got to do second grade again the next year. Kids, if you’re listening, I’m not telling you that’s how you should act. My parents had just gone through a divorce, I was acting out. I was wanting attention, but even at an early age, I started to go “I’m not really one for following the rules.”
Obviously, you’ve got to be a law abiding citizen. There are some rules that you have to follow, right? Or they put you away. But there’s no rule that says you have to go and work at a job you hate. Obviously, you had to make a living and as you know put in together a portfolio of opportunity that allows you to make a living, that’s easier said than done, right? For me, the alternative of going through life hating what I do is just not something I’m willing to accept.
We’ve got one shot at this thing called life like there’s not a second act. There’s not a sequel to life. We live in a Hollywood culture where there’s a sequel to everything but there’s no sequel to life. You don’t get to do this again. You don’t get to fix what went wrong in your first one the second time. We get one shot at it. Man, I believe that getting at a line as soon as you possibly can in chasing and doing.
I’m so jealous of kids that are in their late teens, early 20s and the world that they’re coming into of opportunity. When I was in my 20s, the internet had really just become a thing. We were still on AOL where we wanted the internet; we had to hear this (ahh ehh err) sound in the internet. The internet crawled along and you could basically send email and chat. That was really it. You really can’t book an airplane ticket online. You could barely sell anything, right?
Now, we’re having a conversation of over a thousand miles away through the internet. It can be posted and people are going to download this and listen to it in their car on the internet. But it’s just crazy if you think about that, right? People can go online and buy your book, buy my book on the internet. They don’t have to go to Barnes & Noble to buy, they can go to a website and put their credit card in and in a couple of days, the mail will show up and put that in the mail boxes.
There’s so much opportunity that there’s just no excuse to not do what you want. I’m not one of these guys that’s like “You can do it and it’s gonna be easy.” No, I’m telling you, “You could do it and it’s gonna feel like it’s impossible.” It’s going to be the most fun that you’ve ever had, but it’s going to be the hardest work that you’ve ever done but the reward is going to be incredible.
Andrea: I love that. I love that when you’re talking about story time with the elephants and you bring this exercise that I think is really interesting, the storyboarding your life. Tell us about that. What are the steps and what do you actually tell people do?
Terry Weaver: So it is something that I did several years ago. I had a coaching client really before I was even doing coaching. That guy met me in a coffee shop and was like “Hey, man, I’ll talk to you for five minutes and you tell me to figure out more in five minutes than I have in my entire life. I live in another city. I’ll fly you in. I’ll pay your expenses. I know how much you get paid to speak, I’ll just pay you that for three days, each day, and can you help me figure out where to go from here? Can you help me get unstuck?”
And that was kind of the first time I had really done that, so I was like “OK, I want you to go to Wal-Mart or wherever you go or send someone…” He was pretty wealthy individual, obviously if he can afford to hire some kids sitting in a coffee shop. So I had him give out index cards and we did the process like he would storyboard a movie, and we did it with his life. He figured out what are his roles and his goals.
I’m actually kind of turning this into a course that I’ll be recording. My wife has actually had me take her stuff through it. She’s getting a really good deal because she kind of personally pays me. So I’m doing it for free, the things we do for our spouses. When you storyboard a movie, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen like a documentary, The Pixar Story, which is a Pixar movie.
It’s a great documentary by a lady name, Leslie Iwerks. Her grandfather was Ub Iwerks, which was Walt Disney right-hand man. If you’ve ever seen Mickey Mouse, Ub was really responsible for Mickey. Walt kind of had the idea and Ub made them real, and they’re doing the same thing about Disney imaginary called Imagineering Story that’s supposed to come out soon too.
In the Pixar Story, you can see what storyboarding is. If you’ve ever seen an image of an animated movie because of so much cost and expense goes into every frame, even with computer animation, someone still has to literally touch almost every frame. So when you storyboard, you figure out what’s to going to happen intentionally in every part of the movie. And so storyboarding your life is really just that where you take your story of your life and you figure out how do you go to the process of what you want your life to look like.
You know, storyboarding is something you use a brainstorming. I used that when I wrote the book. I carry about a deck of index cards. There’s another author by the name of Rob Bell and I saw him did that with index cards, I’m like “Do that and that’s the best.” I had every kind of part and piece of the book in every story that I wanted to tell and I’d begin to put them together like a puzzle. It’s just a process that allows you to kind of look, it allows you to kind of hover over a big idea and see the whole thing.
What I want to do when storyboarding your life is I’m going to hover over your life. You know, with Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits talks about one of the habits is beginning with the end in mind. There’s an amazing story he tells in that book about, you know, imagine you were going to your own funeral in a few weeks and what would you want people to say about you. And man, that’s a jacked up exercise right there when you start thinking about the end of your life and those terms.
But when you start to look at how you want your story to end, it will have a great amount of impact of how you actually lived your life. The part of this process is really identifying your goals. When a movie is made there are a lot of people who watch the end credits. It’s unbelievable how many people it takes to make a movie. There’s hundreds and hundreds of you know, key group, craft services, and all of these things, right? Just really identifying all the people who have a role in your life and who of those people, who they are, and do they really matter both professionally and personally. What are your roles? What part are you playing in your own story?
A lot of people find out through this process that they’re the bystander in their own story. They’re kind of watching their life go by from the sidelines, much like a team that’s losing in a football waiting for the game to end. What I want this practice to do is to help people to get off the sidelines to get on life and figure out, “Let’s make changes. Let’s tell a great story. Let’s live a great story.” A lot of people really believe that life is an accident for them and life shouldn’t be an accident. Life should be something you do with purposes.
I think I talked about like defining what success is, establishing your why, clarifying your what, determining your how, assembling your who’s, and scheduling your when. Those are just the few things. For me, these things kind of helped because I’m all over the place and for me to have a blueprint or map, an outline, something to go back to know like “Wow, where am I going? How am I getting there? Who’s helping me get there?” Because I think one of the things that really helps you do is it helps you know who you’re going to need to help you make your story better.
When a movie gets to be a production, they bring in other people. They bring in other storyboard. There’s a great story of Walt Disney making the movie Snow White. It was the first kind of movie I like that was animated so firs animated movie and people were just like skeptical. So what Walt literally got his entire team together and he literally acted out the entire movie for everyone so everyone can see “Here’s the big picture guys,” and you know the next day, everybody went back to work and they got it. They understood the mission because the vision had been laid out. And most of us do that when we project-manage, we do that in our job but we don’t do that with our own lives. We don’t know where we’re going and we surely don’t know how to get there.
Not to say that life doesn’t throw you curveballs but things are changing and things are moving. Then you want to be moving in such a way with intention and live life with a sense of purpose in knowing how to get to that goal and knowing what that end of the movie. Because we’ve all been in the movies and been like “Man, that ending was the worst.” My mom is the best of that like if she gets to a movie, she’ll start yelling at the screen or yelling at the TV at the end that’s like “I’ve been sitting here for two and a half hours and they died. That’s what you did to me.”
We should want to take a great deal of control over the things and we can’t control everything that happens with our story. We can’t control the things that just happen that are part of that, but we sure can control how we plan or how we prepare and how we live with a great deal of intention with our own life. And that’s why I think storyboarding your life is a really powerful tool. I planted the seeds for people in the book and I’m excited to begin to even take that process.
I think I’ve done it with about three hundred or four hundred people and kind of gone through that process. So now it’s time to really take that to another level and make it with people who do that online and really just understand the process of knowing what where they’re going and what their stories going to be about and who’s involved. I think people, like you, who are available as a coach, you know, having a director and having someone that’s helping you guide the process who’s invaluable.
A lot of us think that we don’t need a coach or we don’t need a director. Man, the more people I coach the more I realized that man, it’s just a help to have people who can help us navigate. You know, we’re kind of sailing through life without a GPS and having people…and even if it’s just a couple of steps down the road, at least they know, at least they’ve kind of seen where we’re going and know at least what’s the weather going to be like when we get there and kind of prepare us and help just be ready for what’s coming. And help us really make sure we intentionally get where we’re going.
We talked about the “road less travelled” where a lot of us tried to take that path, right? It’s really easy to get lost in the road less travelled. There’s no other way that I would choose to go but I definitely know that I’m going need a guide; I’m going to need some help on that journey. I’m going to need a community, I’m going to a need a tribe. And so yeah, I think knowing your story, knowing where you’re headed in life, and knowing who’s going to help you get there is really what separates success or failure for a lot of people.
Andrea: Terry, I know that sometimes people feel like their dreams are not worth investing in or they aren’t worth the time and energy and even sometimes money that it takes to be able to move forward and to make their elephant really fly, what would you say to that person?
Weaver Terry: What’s the alternative? I think a lot of us when we think about chasing ideas and dreams, fear as kind of bars of the prison that keep us back. You know, I was like the exercise of like “OK, I get you, it’s scary.” What’s the worst possible thing that’s going to happen if you make this move and make this jump? OK, you’re going to quit your job, great. So you’re going to quit your job and you’re never going to be able to get another one? Is that what you’re thinking that’s going to happen, because that’s not what happens? That’s now how life works.
People quit their jobs all the time realizing this isn’t for them and they go back to do something else. And I’m not saying that everyone needs to go and quit their job to be entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur, I know that it’s not for everyone. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you may not have something that you do on the side, you know as Chris Guillebeau’s of the Side Hustle. You know, that’s a healthy thing.
I know a lot of your audience as mommas working from home. You’ve already got a fulltime kick raising children and then you’re also probably raising your husband. So you know, man, I just keep always going back to the idea you know, “Sure, chasing your dreams is going to be expensive, right? But what’s the cost if you don’t.” I thought that cost is much higher. You may not necessarily be financial, but it’s definitely emotional.
Terry Weaver: Let’s just pick someone in history, imagine if Michael Jordan had said, “Duh, getting up every day and shooting free throws is too work, I’m gonna to quit.” Imagine if Einstein would have stopped the light bulb number 2,998. Imagine if Steve Jobs would have said “Yeah, it’s sounds like a good idea, _____ everyone wants to make it, but I still wanna do with telecom companies.” Imagine if Walt Disney had after he went bankrupt said “Nah, I’m not gonna get on a train and go to Hollywood with $40 twinning.”
I think we could do the entire podcast or read stats like this about everyone that you probably think is cool and they all have them across every field. It’s just story after story, after story, after story that you could say that the people that…imagine if they had to quit too soon. Don’t be reckless that you’ll put yourself on a bankruptcy over it, but there’s going to be some risk and there’s going to be some inconvenience. I’m not challenging people to do something that I haven’t done either. I realized that if you’re looking for an eight-hour work day, this is not the pathway here.
I’m coming off of season of a lot of 18-hour work days. You can probably hear it in my voice but that’s the season that I’m in, right? To make big things happen, big sacrifices required. We’ve been talking with my mastermind group about someone asked me what my business plan was. I kind of giggled with that you know because the idea of a business plan, most of the time you’re just try a business plan when you want someone to give you money. It’s people who make up numbers and like “Yeah, we’re gonna be doing $4 million in 18 months.” For me, I realized that the way that I do business was more tied to my core values than anything.
I write down that my business plan was to be someone that was empathetic, someone that value others. If you don’t think that business plan works, go to a fast food restaurant and take an order with someone who doesn’t care. We’ve all had that experience, or we’ve gone to some place like Chick-fil-A with their they’re trained to believe in excellence and to believe in customers’ care, and they care. They’re like “Hey, my pleasure. Thank you for coming in today,” and you know, the other thing is about generosity.
You know, on the flipside of generosity is also being selfish. Being generous with yourself, taking care of yourself, self-care saying “You know what, I’m gonna go with that massage.” “I’m gonna take this day off. I’m gonna take this trip,” because rest is part of the process. The third thing was integrity, and I think integrity is the key differentiator of success and failure that your yes is yes and your no is no.
We all have banks and investments that we make at other people and when you say yes and you actually don’t follow through, you’re making huge deductions out of your relationships. I think this integrity comes back to yourself, right? I love what Jon Acuff says, I went to his book launch. He said goals are promises that you make to yourself and so the integrity of reaching your goals. And even if you don’t reach someone you said you would but that you still follow through it. I wanted to have this book of like three years ago, but things happened. The timing is right now and the opportunity is right, and so I’m finally following through on that goal and I haven’t given up, and believe me I’d quit a lot. I normally quit a couple nights a week, you know, I’m just like “Done. I’m over.”
When you get back up the next day and you’re like “Alright, I’m back at it.” I also said imagination was a key part of my business plan that I want to be someone that’s, you know, if you noticed that I talked about Walt Disney a lot because it greatly inspires me to dream bigger and to have an imagination. Or I think, you know, we live in a world with big problems and I want the people that are going to be great leaders of our generation are going to be the ones of the best in imagination. We have a lot of problems that require a lot of creativity to solve.
And the last one is this and I think this is the one that is a real differentiator, and it’s really the generosity and empathy and that’s this to always be the one that brings the most value, to add the most value to every relationship, to every meeting, to every opportunity to come upon, to be the person that’s just adding values to other people. We live in a world where everything feels like it has to be transactional, right? Everything feels like “You’re a coach. I’m a coach. We get paid to talk to people all the time and sometimes you have to do things just because you’re generous and you want to add value. And once you do that, once you are generous, I believe that success and the financial rewards begin to come.
This guy reached out on LinkedIn and said “Hey man…” he mentioned the list of all three of my podcasts. I was like “OK, I’ll give you some time.” He was like “Do you have just a few minutes so I could pick your brain?’ And I don’t know, I always say yes to that. Most of the times I’ll just kind of send you to my coaching page and say, “Hey man, we can schedule some time here.”
But I was just being generous; I wanted to help him out and really would know a gender, right? I kind of, most of the time, give everything in return, I was just like “I’ll talk to this guy and give him 30 to 45 minutes.” It turned out to be like an hour and I really wasn’t expecting anything then he started asking me about my coaching program. He started asking me about the conference I produced. So by the end of the conversation, I’ll make way more than I can ever imagined just because I was generous, just because I added value to him. He’s probably going to attend my conferences of VIP and sign up for a coaching program next year when he has the budget to do it. That wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have showed up. I think 90% of success is just showing up.
Andrea: You know, the last time that you were in the podcast, I actually got quite of a feedback, really positive feedback in how people were so inspired by the things that you were saying. I think the book and everything that you’re saying, it’s really not just about like you said before, it’s not just about entrepreneurship, but we’re talking about just taking a step towards something. I mean, going for it and being vulnerable in your relationships or maybe realizing that your job is not what you want it to be and maybe there is something out there for you. Why not go find it?
You know, letting go of toxic relationships or trying something new, some new exercise plan or diet or something, people don’t want to change. They get kind of set in their ways but what your inspiring I think is just an openness of mind like you said and your ability to imagine of what if life was something different. I love that this message reaches so many different kinds of people in so many different levels.
Terry Weaver: And I’ve learned to listen. Oprah has come up before we got in the call; I was watching a video that she was in it. Trust me; I’m by no means like a member of the Oprah Winfrey fan club, although one day I hope she gets a free car because that would be cool. But I do study her a lot as a leader. She’s probably one of the people in our generation that’s effectively led more people than anyone there alive. There was a season there that every woman in America at 4 o’clock, or whatever time she came on, was watching her. And if a product was announced on her show, a lot of people give the success of the iPad to Steve Jobs, but it was one of her favorite things that year and it blew up.
I’ll just read you this from a book, it reads with no quote, we get to choose what voices we listen to and once that we surround ourselves would change everything great leaders understand. And that Oprah Winfrey said, one of the best news is to surround myself with friends instead f asking why are quick to say why not and that attitude is contagious. She understood and that needed to surround herself with the right people. Most people who get stuck in this cycle that can’t get off, can’t make moves, or can’t go forward, the people that they’re surrounding themselves are responsible for the main captive, because they’re surrounded by a bunch of people who doubt everything, who question everything, or people who are OK with saying what if later in life.
But when you make the shift and you start surrounding yourself with people just giving you the permission of at least encouraging the conversation when you say “why,” they say “but why not?” It’s just such a paradigm shift when you move your life to the place where you allow yourself to be surrounded by people who are pushing you forward rather than holding you back.
Almost everyone who has had great success was surrounded by an amazing team of people both that are kind of in a frontline, behind the scenes, and people that you never see or hear about that are just there pushing you forward. That could be a spouse; that could be a mastermind group, that could be a mentor, and that could be a coach. In an ideal world that’s all of those things, working together in synergy encouraging you, pushing you forward, and not allowing you to quit when you quit everyday but saying “Hey, you can do this. You can make it.”
You know, I do thank you so much that I have heard from a lot of your listeners and love knowing that I’m inspired them.
But I would be a failure if I just inspired you today. I want to inspire you to do something. I want to inspire you to act. There’s a lot of inspiring people in the world. I want to be someone that’s inspiring people to act, inspiring people to do. And I hope that if you read Making Elephants Fly that you’re inspired, but I hope that you’re uncomfortable enough that you’re going to do something about what you’re inspired to do. Because there are a lot of people walking around in this planet with big dreams, but a lot of them are going to go to the grave with them.
They say that the biggest collection of dreams is sitting on the top of your casket as you’re buried. Man, I don’t want to live this life with anything undone. I want live it out on the field. I want to live this life. I want to do the things that I’m here to do. I want to make an impact. I don’t want to be that guy that dies with a bucket list of things that you wanted to do but never did. I want to get out there and live and do.
In my world that’s entrepreneurship, it’s chasing dreams, but it’s also taking both of our moms to Hawaii over Thanksgiving instead of cooking a dinner that costs $500 that makes us fat. We’re going to go in the beach in Hawaii instead and so it’s doing those things. I’m sure the timing of that is horrible for me right now, but if we wait for the right time for everything, we’ll never actually do anything. I don’t want to be the person that just talks about doing things; I want to be the guy that’s known for doing things.
I may fail miserably and embarrass myself, but man, when I get to end of my life, I want to be able to say, “You know what, at least I tried, at least I got up to the plate, I stood there and I kept swaying. I hit some balls, I miss some balls, I threw the bat and hit the bat boys, I struck out a couple of times but I stood there and I left it all in the field and I did what I’ve been put here to do.
Andrea: Yeah, yeah! I’ve got one more question for you for before we wrap up, is that OK?
Terry Weaver: Yeah, yeah, I’m good.
Andrea: You mentioned that you have ADD or that you might have ADD, and we talked about students and being in school earlier and I want you to speak to somebody right now. If somebody is struggling, maybe they’re students or maybe they’re in a job, and it’s not just going very well. They’re not very good at it maybe and other people around them are better and even their friends. Even the things that they’re really good at, the things that they are good at, their boss or their teacher, it’s like an inconvenience you know. It’s causing problems instead of being something of way that they can share who they are and use their gifts they’re not able to use. Those are squashed they’re just feeling down in the dumps. What is that look like for them to make an elephant fly?
Terry Weaver: Well, I think we live in a culture now more than ever where personal responsibility has gone out of the window. It’s really easy to blame everyone your circumstances, your peers, your boss, your teacher, or your environment. But personal responsibility says “You know what, this is my thing. I’m gonna do this. I’m utterly responsible for what I do with my life. I’m not going to worry about what anybody else’s things.”
If you go back to Dumbo, that story; Dumbo was very much that kid, right? You know, Dumbo was laughed at. The elephants didn’t want him. That’s the reason why I wrote this book because I was that kid, right? The elephants didn’t want Dumbo. The clowns didn’t want Dumbo. Nobody thought Dumbo could do anything. And staring at Dumbo with its giants ears which everyone would say was this “massively-ness” and Dumbo was able to take what everyone thought was his greatest weakness. It actually turned out to be his greatest strength because no one could see it except for one person and that was Timothy Q. Mouse.
I would actually like to speak to the people that have those people in their lives, be Timothy Mouse. Be the person that finds the good in someone and helps them believe in themselves because if you look, everyone had that person. I had that teacher. Luckily for me, my third grade teacher changed my life. She made me think, dream, imagine, and do things that I never thought I could do. Be that person. Be that Timothy Mouse. Be the person that everyone else that is holding them back and help them find a way to breakthrough.
If you don’t have someone that does that, you’re just going to have to find that belief in yourself. I had some great teachers growing up and I had some horrible teachers. Well let’s call him Mr. E for short, in case he listens to this podcast, but he was a horrible man. And I remember him pulling me out at a seventh grade one day at my Christian school, that’s the whole other subject and just telling me that my life was never going to amount anything. And I was just like “Wow dude, I’m gonna so prove you wrong.”
And sometimes you just have to be the one that proves everyone else’s wrong. Sometimes, you have to make your mess your motivation. You have to make that struggle and that pain… I mean, Dumbo can easily sat around and just cry about his problems. When you see a scene of the movie where he’s literally sitting there, it’s the saddest part of the movie where he was sitting there. His mom was in the car locked up and you heard the song Baby Mine. That’s why a lot of people don’t like Dumbo because you’re sitting there on your couch trying to watch this happy movie about an elephant and weeping your eyes out. It was a low point for Dumbo but he used that up to breakthrough, to find out what he could do to make him soar.
It was Timothy Mouse that gave him a feather that allowed him the strength to believe in himself and to actually find…that feather wasn’t magical but it was that nudge from someone else that pushed him over the edge, that led him into his destiny, that led him into doing what he was put here to do and that was to soar. We’re all supposed to be the elephant that can fly. We all have weaknesses. We all have things that maybe we’ve been told that’s going to keep us in doing what we want to do. We have this weakness or the shortcoming, it’s our size, it’s our lack of size, it’s our whatever, whatever your blank is that you’re facing.
Sure, I’ve got ADD. If you listen to me talk, I still have that. But you know what; we live in a world that really is kind of giving an extra dose of ADD because the idea of just doing one thing is kind of a thing in the past. Jeff Goins says on his podcast the Portfolio Life, “We’re building portfolio of things that we did.” When I told my wife I was having this book, she was like “You spend plates incredibly well.”
So I talked about a little bit about spinning plates in the book, you know but you got to learn how to take those things that really aren’t weaknesses. You just been told they are and I firmly believe that you should focus on your strengths but sometimes the things that we believe are weaknesses, like Dumbo’s ears, turned out to not be.
I think in closing this thought and this last question you wanted to ask, you know, this goes back to that storyboarding your life idea that we can either choose to let people define us or we can choose to be the one that gets to define and gets to set the rules moving forward. McNair Wilson, a Disney imagineer read the book and he was like “Dude, I can’t believe that you told some of those stories that you told about your childhood going through. I never heard you told those. Those are dark places that you had to go.”
I was like “Yeah, and I wanted to go there because I wanted to let people know that even through the pain that I went through, that even through some of that hurt that I can either sit here and look at those things and learn and make that a motivation to help other people or I can let that be that holds me back. I can let that be the chain on the elephant’s leg that keeps me in captivity.
What other people thought was going to be a weakness for me, actually it’s a strength. I’m going to own it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to accomplish it. I’m not going to let anyone else stop me because that’s what great about the elephant. If you’re going to herd elephants together, if you’re going to group people that believe in something, you’re not going to ever stop a herd of elephants, they’re unstoppable. So find some other people to fly with you and you will not be stopped.
Andrea: Yes, love it! Thank you, Terry. OK, I want to make sure that we cover The Thing 2018, would you tell us a little bit about that and where we can find information about that and you book?
Terry Weaver: So you can always find always find everything about me at terryweaver.com, you can find everything there. I hosted of it for people who were chasing “their thing” and people who have “a thing” and everyone has “a thing,” right? And so we want this to be the place for people who had a thing to think how to do it better and how to refine their message and get inspired. Probably, by the time that this gets posted, registration will be open for The Thing. It’s thething.live, you can go there and we’ll have registration information there for you to register and for you to sign up for our 2018 event. We’ll be announcing the day. It’s very, very soon!
If you want to get a copy of Making Elephants Fly, you can just go to makingelephantsfly.com. You can get your copy there, depending on when the show gets put up. You may even able to get some of the presell benefits and all the tips. Actually, we leave them up until I know the shows but that’s for a week or so.
Andrea: November 6th.
Terry Weaver: Yeah, so we’ll leave it up for a few extra days so you guys can get some of the perks. I’ve credited a few some extra things. I’ve got the storyboarding your life stuff coming. Just be sure that you can obviously hear my podcast, Making Elephants Fly. That’s all in my website. Be sure it’s set up on my email list. That’s just a great way to keep track of what’s going on. I really do appreciate. I love hearing from you guys. I love knowing that you’re going to be inspired. I want to know what you’re working on and I want to see you actually not just dream it, but actually do it.
Andrea: Hmmm love it! Thank you so much Terry for your time and good luck with this book launch. I’m so excited for you!
Terry Weaver: Yeah, it’s an adventure.