When you’re on social media, do you ever feel like you’re in the spotlight?
Now that we all carry cameras in our pockets, it can feel like we’re in the spotlight pretty much all the time, especially considering the new pressures of social media. And with that comes public scrutiny, and the dreaded trolls.
Returning to the show this week to help us figure it all out is my buddy and ABC co-star, a true rock star of health and fitness, Mr. Shaun T.
Shaun, in case you don’t know, is one of the greatest motivators. Whenever I’m feeling down, he definitely gets me in the right mental state to feel like I can do anything again.
On this episode, we talk about how Shaun has dealt with trolls over the years and his advice for anyone who is subjected to negativity on the Internet, social media, or even in real life.
He’s got one critical piece of advice that I think will really help you out.
In this episode with Shaun T, you’re about to hear:
- How to keep your sanity with 10-month old twins
- How to be yourself even when you’re staring on a reality TV show (easier said than done)
- What it’s like to gain 50 pounds in your 20s, drop it in your 30s, and keep it off
- How to deal with trolls on social media
- And much, much more…
Let’s hang out with Shaun.
Shaun T: Insanity to “Twinsanity”
We got to know each other actually co-starring on an ABC TV show, which you may or may not remember, called,“My Diet is Better Than Yours,” which I’ve got to say, was a really crazy way to get to know somebody.
Shaun, it’s been way too long. I’m so glad you’re here.
Thanks, man. So happy to see you. I’m glad I’m here, too, talking and speaking with you, and your… I don’t want to say your followers, but your extended family, if I will, is always great.
So thanks for having me, I appreciate it.
Abel: Speaking of family, congratulations on “Twinsanity.” Tell us a little more about the new additions to the family. Let’s catch up with Shaun.
Oh man, that is layer beyond layer. So they’ll be 10 months on September 17th, so that is pretty spectacular. The first three months were hell on earth.
I don’t ever like to say that having one child is easier than having two at the same time, but I will tell you that having two children, and on top of being a new parent, was one of the craziest experiences ever.
As slow as it went in the first three or four months, now looking back, it went by so fast.
And I understand why people say, “Oh you know, I’ll have another one.”
Because when people told Scott and I, “Oh, you’ll have more.” In the first three months, we were like, “Never again.”
Now they’re hitting a stage where they go to bed a little easier. And we’re like, “Oh ok, I could do this again.” Because the second time around, you kind of understand that they’re going to be ok.
Because when you have a new child, you check to see if they’re breathing every 15 seconds. If they don’t make noise for 5 minutes, you’re running in there. If they make a noise, you’re running in there.
It’s the craziest thing, but it’s great. Full disclosure, it’s extremely hard. The first three months, Scott and I never fought so much before in our lives.
Abel: Is that right? Wow.
Yah, it’s very hard to understand this if you haven’t been through it, but your reactions are amplified. Your reaction to anything; to the kids, to your spouse, to yourself is amplified by at least 20.
Your happiness is amplified, your stress is amplified.
The fact that you aren’t sleeping is amplified because you probably only get one good night’s rest every 20 days.
So, you’re having a conversation that might be a little uncomfortable where you can say, “Oh, I didn’t like this, so I did like this,” or “Can we communicate this way?” And a disagreement might last three to five minutes.
This is layer on layer of no sleep, trying to take care of a kid, nervous that you’re doing the right thing, and these two people going into a new experience, trying to raise two kids.
You’re taking the baggage from when you were raised with into this experience, and you were raised in two different places, with two different households, two different parents. Now, all this experience is happening at one time, and it was crazy.
We did great because Scott and I have an amazing foundation. He’s my best friend. We had such an amazing foundation, however, this really tested us.
Not like we were going to get a divorce, or something like that, it just tested us in terms of how well we actually need to communicate for the next 18-plus years, and beyond.
Abel: You have new twins, not sleeping at all. How do you start the day and then go and get hundreds of thousands of people psyched up with a right mental attitude when you’ve been fighting, and you’re strung out? How does that work?
So, I will tell you this, it was crazy ’cause our boys were born two months early, so we were actually in the NICU for three weeks, in another state. Then we get home, and then right away, about a month after we get home, is when I go on my book tour.
One of the things that I learned the very first day that I taught my very first group exercise class, was I had to realize that teaching a class is not about me.
A lot of people who speak or teach a class make the mistake and go, “Hey when I teach a class, I’m getting my workout, too. Or when I go and speak, I’m building myself up, too.”
And so the only way for me to actually get through that book tour was to go back to the foundation of who I was in the very first day of teaching.
Which is, “Shaun, this class is not about you, this class is literally to motivate and inspire, and take from what you know that’s going to get you through this workout, or get you through this experience, if it’s vocal.”
I think Louise Halls talks about serving. Not a servant, but serving others.
Kind of a missionary to the people. That’s how I’m able get through the day even now, because all of the content that I put out. In order for people to understand that this is coming from an extremely transparent place.
Just like yesterday, I was going through an on-my-own issue and Scott helped me through it, and I posted about that.
Not like, “Oh my gosh, I’m having a great breakfast with my husband in a smiling photo.”
And that’s how maybe I get through stuff even today with the babies and owning a business, being partners with different businesses and companies, and come in to be on your show. How do you gather the energy to do that?
You find exciting things about why it is that you do what you do.
So it doesn’t matter what you do in your life, you have to go into every situation with that mindset.
If it’s your job, “How am I going to make the company that I work for the best that it could be?”
Even if you hate it, because at the end of the day when you leave there, you’re leaving your legacy behind.
And so instead of taking negative energy into my day just because I didn’t sleep or whatever the case may be, I’m going to say, “I need to leave a positive imprint on this situation.”
I’m not going to go in to work with a bad attitude. If my employees see me have a bad attitude, or my coworkers, then what happens?
Then that coworker tells the other coworkers, “Oh my God, Shaun T has a bad attitude.”
And then it filters through the room.
Where if I have a bad day, of course I had a bad day, but if I come in saying, “I’m going to utilize the energy of creating and inspiring and motivating.”
Then you’ll have people come to you and instead of them saying like, “Oh my gosh, this person has a bad attitude.”
It’s like, “Oh, thank you, is everything okay today. How are you feeling?”
And you could say, “You know, I’m going through something.”
And then it becomes more like, “Oh this person worked really, really hard, and I didn’t even know that something was wrong with them.”
And then it causes people to want to help and bring positive energy to you, instead of you bringing negative energy to a place.
But I say all that to say that’s what having a kid and being a new parent… kids, plural, twinsanity, is like, because you are, as they say, burning the candle on both ends.
Well, this end, you have to burn the candle and on this end you can actually add wax to the candle, you really can.
Carry the Day: Getting Out of Your Rut
Abel: I was doing a livestream today, and one question came in that I think would be good to ask you actually.
She basically said that during the day she does well, she eats what she wants to, she does a good job at work, everything is cool, but at night when she gets home, she is mentally and physically exhausted. Raids the fridge, eats a bunch of things that she knows she doesn’t want to, but she does anyway then she feels even worse.
So how do you get out of that rut, especially for someone who is not necessarily getting great sleep, and someone who is just exhausted. How do you just still keep it together?
Carry the day.
In my book I talk about the secret backpack, and I say everything you’ve been through in your life, you’ve learned something from it. And so there’s a positive to it.
If you’ve gotten through it, you can put it in your secret backpack.
So if you got a divorce, you know that you’re resilient, if it was a bad divorce. You’re like, “I’m resilient, I got through it, things are great now.”
Or if you got fired from a job and you got a new job in a higher position, you can say, “I dig deep.”
You can have your dig deep tool.
So I say, carry the day.
If you have a great day, there’s two things that are happening. When you have a great day, there’s a lot of great things that are happening because you ate well, you may have communicated well, boom, boom, boom, all these things.
And then you have the opposite of that, which is the energy depletion, right? So now you have to balance that out.
This might sound easy for someone who’s single, but if you have a family and you have a spouse or even if you’re a single parent, it’s about communicating with the people in the household.
In order to have a great evening, when you get home, you can say, “Hey, I had a great day today. This is what I did, family. I need your help. I need to rest.”
But in the meantime, what you can do is say, “Let’s eat healthy, let’s do something really great tonight, because that’s what I did during the day, so I’m carrying the day.”
Other thing that you’re doing by carrying the day, is having great communication and having a positive attitude when you’re talking about these things to the people that are home with you, or yourself if you actually live alone.
And then you can say and be honest, “Ok, I need the rest, I need to turn off my phone, I need to put my phone in another room, I need to get an old school alarm clock.”
Because if the phone is in your room, you’re going to scroll through Instagram, or whatever the case may be. So you have to carry the day.
Everything amazing happened during the day, that needs to be the first line of defense when you get home, to be able to create good energy in your house, and then you go to bed half an hour to an hour early.
One of the things that Scott and I started to do was we would be awake in the very beginning, it was every three hours the kids had to eat.
So you feed them, you burp them, you only have an hour or 45 minutes to pretty much to go to sleep. To try to get yourself to sleep and then wake up again.
And so you’re on this cycle when you’re going through that, and you just got to dig deep. I use my dig deep tool, I’m like, “I pledged the fraternity and I still got honors, I still made the Dean’s List.”
I’ve got to pull that tool out. I’ve done this before.
Abel: Yah, that’s a good point.
But then when I move into the next stage of, now the kids are sleeping through the night, I put them to bed at a certain hour. There’s a balance between wanting to spend time with my spouse.
So we put the kids to bed at 7:30pm, and we would go to bed at 10:30pm or 11pm because we just wanted to spend time together.
But then we realized, “Oh my gosh, we’re still tired.” So then we had to say, “Alright, so we have to go to bed at 9:30pm.”
So we cut back an hour of the time we spend together, but we make that time so much more valuable. So it’s two hours of us on the couch or making dinner or whatever the case may be. You have to be smart with your day.
Take that positive energy because if you think like, “Oh my gosh, I’m tired and I had a long day, nd you people need to understand that.”
I’m like, “They don’t need to understand, because you know what? They had their own day.”
So, if you had this great day then, you need to carry it home. And if you had a bad day, the better part of your day should be coming home.
So, what if you say, “Hey let’s sit down. Can I tell you guys about my day, it was a crazy day. This is what happened. Let’s do something fun, let’s walk around the block as a family, or for you put on your headphones, and go out for a stroll in the park.”
You have to literally take everything that happens for you during the day, put a tool in the secret backpack and carry the day into the evening, and maneuver and do whatever you can to have a great evening.
If you eat healthy, you can get enough rest and you can wake up tomorrow and do what it is that you need to do. But more importantly, and I don’t want to go too deep into this, but you should be waking up doing what you want to do anyway, because then it becomes a much easier day, a much more manageable day.
Abel: What are some things that may have surprised you, that you’ve had to change or give up or make adjustments with? Just because it’s such a monumental life change.
I didn’t really change anything. I said I was going to change. I was like, “I’m not going to travel, I’m going to do this.”
But I’m traveling more. Now the boys and Scott come with me when I travel.
Scott always came with me, but in the beginning Scott and the boys didn’t travel with me and I realized that was one of the things that super stressed me out.
His dad gave Scott and I a very great tip. He’s like, “When your boys come, the boys need to become a part of your life, not change it.”
Because a lot of parents, they need to be home, they need to sleep. And I get it, I understand schedule, and we keep them on a schedule even when we travel, we just travel at the right times.
And now they come with us and they get on the plane and every single time we get off the plane, people are like, “Oh my gosh, your kids are so happy and they’re so good.”
I’m like, “It’s because we travel at the right times.”
We’ll take red-eyes because we want them to sleep or we won’t travel after 4:00pm, because we know they get antsy because it’s getting toward the end of the day.
So I took the kids and Scott with me, I’m like, “Let’s go.”
What that did was it caused me not to have the energy of, “Oh my gosh, I miss them.”
And then I’m constantly calling Scott like, “What’s happening, what’s going on?”
And then he’s like, “Well, I’m feeding the babies.” Like, “I don’t got time to give you a full low down in the next 13 minutes.”
Because that’s what you do.
So you just monitor and adjust your life so that it literally works. It just has to work, but you have to do the work.
You have to bring your world, the new world, into your world. So that really helps out a lot.
Social Media: How to Keep it Positive
Abel: Now to shift gears a little bit. I want to make sure that we cover technology, because it’s so prevalent in our lives now in a way that it certainly was not 5 – 10 years ago, or even decades ago.
It’s changed so much. And we were talking about before this interview.
When everyone or most everyone has a Facebook account, an Instagram account, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, or what have you, any of these, it’s putting them in the spotlight and they’re subject to public scrutiny, and public trolls.
As someone who’s been dealing with negative feedback, harsh criticism and the other things that come along with that for a really long time, what sort of wisdom do you have to offer others who are being hurt emotionally by social media?
I’m not sure if you’ve ever listened to it, but there’s a podcast episode on This American Life and one of the segments is, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say it in all caps.”
And it is absolutely brilliant how the narrator takes you on this journey that she had of being trolled and how it ended up. It’s amazing, and that segues into this.
When I started this entire fitness thing, the only thing that literally was there was MySpace, right? But it was so early in the days of social media, that it was almost like you were in a closet. You could create a little safe space for yourself, right?
And then it started to grow and grow and grow.
I remember when the lights would come on, for my very first shooting of Hip Hop Abs, I didn’t have to act like anything.
It’s one of the reasons why I got the job actually because they were like, “Cameras rolling.”
And I’d be like, “Ok, let’s get it.”
For me, there was no change in who I was from when the camera was off to when the camera was on.
I’m like, “I have no idea who you think was going to come up on that screen, but this is who I am.”
And if you watch all of my workouts from Hip Hop Abs, Insanity, Rockin’ Body, and so on, you see the change, the growth of Shaun, right? You see who I was and you see where I was going, and the confidence I have in myself.
I didn’t do that to get people to comment on every single thing that I put out.
I didn’t have that fear of, “They didn’t like what I was wearing or they didn’t like my hair or that I acted too gay.”
However, there was this website called Infomercial Reviews that I looked at maybe five times. And when I saw a couple of negative comments—it would be like 99 positive comments—but that one negative comment, it would ruin my entire day.
So I was like, “I’m not looking at that.”
But then social media came out, and it was like, “Holy s#*t. People can say whatever they want.”
People make a lot of mistakes when they get an Instagram account or when they start to promote on Instagram, or they start to just show who they are.
Just like I did when the lights came on with Hip Hop Abs, I’m like, “This is who I am.”
The more you show who you really are without that photo being filtered, the more you show the person on the other side, and the less trolls you’ll get. That’s the recipe.
And you want to know why? Because not everybody is as beautiful as Beyonce when she gets made up and her hair done on the cover of a magazine with her multimillion dollar businesses, right?
She’s beautiful and Beyonce will probably tell you this, but when when she wipes off the makeup and takes the bobby pins out of her hair and she’s home in her pajamas in that shirt that she had for five years, because it’s just comfortable, you guys are following a legend who is branded, to say…
“These are my songs, this is where I come from, this is my life. But this is my life in the spotlight.”
But the majority of people in this world can’t afford the expensive makeup, and they can’t get made up every day.
When you try to make yourself look like something that you’re not, that’s the biggest mistake you can make, because that’s when people start ripping on you.
And if people start ripping on you, saying things that you know are not even true about you, you filtered the photo.
So you’re going into this entire situation not being authentic to who you are. So you’re going to get mad that somebody commented on it.
But if you go into the situation being like, “This is me, this is what I look like going to work.”
Be it in a suit or your uniform or whatever it is and you’re like, “This is me.” People relate to that real you because there’s a lot of people to go to work in a uniform and there’s a lot of people that go to work in a suit.
Most of the time I post photos, I look like a hot mess. A lot of times, especially videos. I posted a video today of me sweating.
I looked at that video, I was like, “Oh my god, if I actually looked like that on screen all the time I wonder if I would sell as many streaming workouts that I do.”
But at the same time, I’m like, “I refuse to care.”
And it’s easier for me to not care because it’s who I am.
So be transparent. If I were to post a picture of this coffee cup. You see this coffee cup has stains on it. Most people would wipe that coffee cup clean because they wouldn’t want that stain to be running down the side.
And if you seen the show Black Mirror, the episode where people can rate you on social media. The woman bit the cookie and made sure the bite was perfect and the heart was in the froth of the top of the coffee cup and she took the photo.
If you have to always filter your life like that, then you’re going to always be miserable and trolls are going to bother you even more.
And I say all that to say that if you are 100% authentic to who you are or let’s say 95%, because, you know, we all want to look good once in a while.
If you’re 95% authentic to who you are, it doesn’t matter what the trolls say because this is you and you can’t deny your truth and no one else can deny your truth.
And is it easy? Absolutely not. It’s not easy to do that, it’s not easy to put yourself out there.
But it’s called social media. So, if you’re going to put yourself out there, then you have to deal with what comes your way.
The flipside of that is, if you are a troll and you had your account private, you need to stop talking crap to people when people can’t say anything back to you.
But, it goes back to the whole thing, sticks and stones may break my bones but words never hurt me.
If you’re being you, then no one can penetrate your force field of positivity.
I’ve been called every name in the book.
People don’t like me because I’m gay, people don’t like me because I’m black, people don’t like me because I’m in a same sex marriage with two kids. They’re like, “Oh my god, the kids need a mother.”
I’ve been told I’m a waste of a man. I’ve been told everything in the book.
And so my response is, “So what do you want me to do about it? Because if I try to please you and everyone else that didn’t like me, I’d be miserable. So I’m going to be happy being me. And you can stay miserable. Because I’m me.”
You can be as mad as you want, and if I ruined your day because I’m in a relationship with an amazing guy who doesn’t cheat on me, and is extremely honest with me, and we have a great relationship…
Abel: Scott’s the best.
If you’re mad at that, and your man or girl is cheating on you… you know what I mean?
You’ve got all this other stuff going on and you don’t even have a perfect, quote unquote, “heterosexual life,” but you’re mad about the fact that I’m super happy in my homosexual lifestyle, then, good for you, I’m so happy that you’re mad.
I’m so happy that you’re mad because I’m not. I’m like, really great.
I have a shirt on my apparel line that says, “Kindness is my ammunition,” because what do I need to be mad for?
Why am I going to be mad because you got mad at who I really am? Sorry about you.
Abel: Especially if they’re just typing with their thumbs or on a keyboard. They would never tell you that in person.
I might be being a little optimistic here, but maybe technology is going in a direction where it’s becoming more human instead of less, right?
The Instagram filter has been going on for long enough and people have been looking down at their phones in their hands for long enough.
I realized this doing the livestream today. In between interviews, I went on Facebook Live for the second time ever, and I did not get a single hateful comment. I didn’t get a single troll.
I wonder if part of that is because it’s live, because I could actually respond in real time and be like, “Oh, I can deal with this.”
Being a performer for a while, you deal with the hecklers, and if you have to do it in person, we’re more experienced than the people heckling us.
But like you said, if you can’t ever address it or comment back, it somehow feels unfinished and a little bit gross.
But for anyone who’s listening to this or watching this and experiencing some of that, just like what Shaun said, you get the 99 positive things and that one little negative comment, whether it’s based in any bit of reality or not, somehow, just like stabs you in the heart, and you can’t get it out, is what it feels like in the beginning.
Well, I think the biggest issue is like, I call it hiding behind the keys.
Abel: Yah, well, that’s what it is.
And the biggest issue is that if you’re a person like me, who, I’m not afraid of confrontation at all.
Like, there’s 0% of me that’s afraid of confrontation.
Abel: You’re ready for it.
I’m here for all of it. So for you, you change people’s lives every day by the information you provide and what you provide to people, right?
Like people who say, “Abel, you changed my life.”
When they give you all of these things that literally enhance their life and their power, when they finish typing that message, they feel really good. The feel really good, right?
And you can rest assured that because they wrote that message, you changed their life or you could be their hero or whatever the case may be. You helped change the way they eat, they’re sharing it with people in like a great way.
And that’s how people get to know who you are and they get to experience your positivity.
Let me tell you what happens when the trolls roll through.
They’ll be like, “Shaun T, I don’t like Insanity, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Guess where they’re going, they’re going to the next page, and writing another comment.
They’re not going to their friend and be like, “You know, I don’t like Shaun T.”
They’re not doing what I call it the positive tree. Like when you’re impacting someone’s life in a positive way, it’s a tree, you know? On social media.
But when people are leaving, a message like, “Oh my god, I don’t like you,” or whatever the case may be.
A real friend would be like, “Why are you telling me this? Why are you trying to bring me down?”
Unless it’s a friend that likes to gossip. This isn’t based on science, this is based on 40 years of experience.
When you have a bunch of people who gossip, there’s a point at which that gossip circle stops, because they’re going to eventually encounter somebody who’s going to say, “Listen, I don’t care.”
Or they’re going to be what I call the white noise. White noise drowns out sounds around you. Like they’re not giving you anything back, ’cause they’re like, “I don’t care. I have no connection to that.”
And that’s when negativity does this. Eventually, it’ll implode, because you’re being negative.
But positivity, you have to focus on those people who are saying great things about you, and who are even giving you positive feedback, because that’s the word that’s getting out.
Abel: That’s right.
Even this entire thing that happened with Serena, I’m not sure if you heard about that?
Abel: I did.
She goes to court. If people listen to the commentary in the very beginning of what she was saying. They heard her say, “I would never do that. I’ve never cheated. I’d much rather lose than cheat.”
And if they saw the beginning of that exchange, then people would have a much better way.
Even at the end of the day, at the end of the ceremony, when people were booing the announcer, and everyone was like, “They were booing the girl who won.”
No, they weren’t booing the girl who won. They were booing when the guy started talking. When they got to Osaka and Serena, the players, they would have cheered for them, because they know that.
Of course, people have a different opinion of me, and it’s totally fine. I’m saying all that I have to say. You look on social media, and it’s amazing how people have wrong information.
Abel: That’s a good point.
Because they just want to get involved, and being heard saying things that are negative.
I’m telling you, if you’re focused on saying such positive things… Positivity is so unbelievably amazing.
And for people out there who have a hard time doing it, I’m saying, “Do it.”
Speak positive, your life will be so much better. It will enhance in such a great way, great things will happen to your life.
For people who are religious out there, my grandfather was a pastor. So, let me tell you, I was in church for Sunday school. I was in church in the 11 o’clock service. I was at the service. I was in church on Wednesday, prayer meeting. I was in choir rehearsal.
But one of the things that religion and positivity have in common, is that when you are putting out a great energy, great things happen.
And the same thing in a positive world. In a positive world, when you, and two or three people are gathered together to talk about positive things, and positive change, and being able to take a negative situation and be it positive, what are they doing?
They want to filter that out into the world.
And so, we have the power to be better than the negativity.
But negativity is going to happen. And the very last thing I want to say, because I know I talk a lot.
Abel: That’s why you’re here, man.
Let me tell you why reality shows that are super dramatic, and fighting, and stuff like that. Let me tell you why they work. Because the human always wants to feel like they’re better than the other person.
You know how you never teach a baby how to yawn, they just do it, and you’re like, “Oh my god, that’s so cute.”
The first time your baby yawns, I think, because of the fact that we are humans, we automatically want to be better.
It goes back to the barbaric days. People used to gather to see people bash each other…
Abel: They still do.
We had that, that innate feeling of wanting to be better. To compete. To make money to put food on the table. We have it, but people are using it in the worst way you can.
They’re using it to make people feel bad about themselves, or watch these shows, so that they’re like, “Oh my gosh, the drama of it all.”
And it becomes amazing, because people want to feel better than the other person. But they’re also watching it, especially, these housewife shows, they’re watching, because these women are portrayed as having millions of dollars, and these great businesses, and these awesome cars.
And I’m like, “You can’t have both. You can’t have both of those things.”
So, I want people to know that, “Do you watch those shows?” It’s like, “Ok. I get it, you watch for entertainment.” Hashtag, no judgement, but kind of.
But the flip side to that is, ok, do you think that they acted like that in a meeting to get that million dollar deal? They probably didn’t.
They probably had to be somewhat likable, and then they have to morph into this person. So, it’s not really reality.
So, I say to you people out there, first of all, don’t give power to the trolls. Because you know what, they’re forgetting about you the minute they go to the next page.
And don’t feed into what you see on TV. If you use it as mindless TV, great. I get it. I watch “Big Brother,”and “Survivor.” Drama happens, or whatever.
But I’m not going out there to be like, “I’m going to act like that person acted.”
So just be mindful of other people and how they feel and I think it’ll help.
Abel: Well, yah, and that’s another good point, too, because we get confused into thinking that when we’re excited or when we’re in this anxious state that it’s better or that you want more of it.
And that’s one reason why I think you can read through, it’s just like, “Oh, Shaun, you changed my life.”
And they’re like, “Shaun. I lost 50 pounds,” and, “Shaun I’ve been watching your stuff forever, and I love it.”
And it’s just like, “Shaun, I hate you.” And it’s like, “What!”
Yeah. Well actually for me, when someone says, “I hate you.”
I say, “Congratulations. That means you’ve been doing it correctly.”
Abel: When that happens you feel it. You feel something happen to your body where it’s almost fight or flight, it’s almost like you’re getting ready to have a physical altercation with someone.
And in the same way that you can get confused watching a horror movie, that you’re like, “I liked this, and it’s all exciting.”
But no, it’s arousing, but in kind of the wrong way. It’s grabbing your attention more than other things. So, negativity grabs more attention.
If it were a reality show of little children together, and the cameras are panning around.
You’ve got all of these cameras and these kids, and five of them were being really good. They’re just hanging out and cooing with each other and cuddling or playing with a little toy. And one of them’s freaking out, clawing at the walls, jumping up and down.
Where do you think the camera’s going to go?
They’re going right to that crazy child, which is one of my kids.
Which is Sander. He is that wild child. He would be the one going around wanting everyone else’s pacifier. But yah, they’re going to go to that.
Abel: He’s going to be a star.
That was the first TV show that I had been on. So, watching the people around me or the people in my life after that, the way that I was treated differently after being on TV was a real trip to me.
Because people seemed to believe what they saw on TV, more than like a podcast, or a video call, or an actual speech that I would do.
And that little bit of conditioning or I don’t know what that is, really freaked me out a little bit.
Abel: That people know that what you see on TV is showmanship, entertainment, kind of playing it up. It’s designed to get your attention.
Whereas reality is more like us talking right now because we’re just having a conversation and we’re recording it. That’s all that’s happening.
I know, I always say in reality TV, what they should really do is say, “We’re recording now.” And the minute they say “Cut,” that’s when it should start filming.
Because you know I’m not going to say I have favorites. However, you were like my favorite on the show. I couldn’t say that on the show.
Abel: Oh, come on, you were my favorite.
I know, I know, I know, we were each other’s favorite. We had a bromance. It’s fine. But I was just like, I was mad that I couldn’t hang out with you.
You know, and I feel like, “Oh my gosh, like, I’m in Atlanta for this amount of time, with this amazing guy. We could have fun.” And they’re like, “You can’t talk to them.”
Abel: We had to stand next to each other and not speak for hours on end.
But yah, I mean from the outside in, you know, obviously they edited you the way they want it to be.
But I mean, I mean you’re still likable, but I wish, I do wish people would have saw our conversations that we just had, just natural, it would have been so great.
Abel: And the way that you coached the people there. I’m getting chills now just thinking about it, because it was so powerful for everyone including the trainers, including the production staff, I’m sure there was energy in that room.
And you could feel it. But that doesn’t really show up, or translate to TV.
It’s not even to fault the people who are making TV, really. That’s just not what TV is for, yet. I think maybe, hopefully, where social media is going, or where we can bring it, is more like that.
Maybe we can have real interactions, and help share them with other people, as well.
It doesn’t have to be all glitzy with perfect teeth, and bling and all shine.
I’m glad that the world is going away from that to some degree.
I have a new program coming out in January, called Transform: 20, and one of the portions of this new production we’re doing is a reality portion of it.
And the first meeting I had with them, I said, “Listen.” I’m like, “This ain’t going to be no get pretty, have the best lighting and makeup reality.”
I’m like, “This is real. I want people to get real life… Not sit down and tell me how great your week was, ’cause I want to know… ”
I was like, “I’m coming in hot. I’m coming in exactly how I am. And that’s what we need to see. We don’t just need to see tears of people struggling, we need to see real life. Like what are people really doing?”
And with the experience, obviously, that we had on the show and obviously seeing it after, and how pretty it was, I mean pretty’s, great. But from my experience being in fitness for 20 years, people want to see what’s really going on, like how can I really relate?
Speaking of reality, I tell people, I’m like, “I could care less about the before and after program because I have the picture.”
Because you’re not losing 80 pounds in six weeks. This program is six weeks. So if you think you’re going to lose 80 pounds in this six weeks, then you need to go somewhere else where somebody’s going to promise you something crazy like that.
“I want to get you to commit.”
But just speaking of reality, I’m saying this is what it is. I want you to see what it is so you can get what it is and experience the real, real situation.
How to Maintain Your Me-Time
Abel: Just touching on that a little bit, what are the things that have continued to work for you, especially up against not sleeping that much, being more stressed, I’m sure, than you ever have been?
How do you still make sure that you’re reaching your own goals, having enough me time to actually do your own workouts or your own meditations or whatever?
So there’s two parts, and I might need you to remind me of some of that question after I get done talking
Digestive health has completely changed my life in such a way that it gives me… This is going to sound really weird and being able to correlate the two, but digestive health has given me, has added like six hours to my day.
I feel like before, I had 24 hours in a day and it was cut short because I had a crying baby or two, and it was cut short because I had a meeting and it was cut short. But when I changed the way I felt on the inside, it was like time expanded.
And that’s why what you eat is so important. And I’ve always known that, but I’ve always kind of also fought against, “Well, this is what I should be eating because the world says this is what I should be eating.”
Or, and what I should be eating because my body is saying, “This is what you should be eating.”
And when I changed that, when I changed in the beginning of this year, because I was like, “Something has to change because I refuse to go back to eating McDonalds with zero time in a day,” right?
Obviously I wouldn’t do that, but I was eating tons of foods with preservatives in it, which is not going to help me have more energy for these kids.
And I was like, “What do I have to do?”
And so I just started changing what I put in my body. And I went to a super high plant-based diet.
Because I don’t know if it was the kind of meat I was eating or how my body was digesting it, but I basically reset my body. So I went to a high plant-based diet.
I ate wild fish and whatever, and it completely changed my brain, my energy.
I would be at the end of the day, and I would be driving and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I need to go to the doctor because I’m going to need glasses now.”
And I changed some of the foods that I ate. And I literally, it was in a car, I think it was in a car with my assistant Sam, and I was like, “Yo, I can see so clearly.” Like it was crazy.
From cleaning up my diet.
And not like cleaning up ’cause I never really ate bad. It was like, “What am I actually putting in my body?”
I’m not an extreme person. I’m never the person who’s like, “I’m never going to eat meat again,” or “I’m never going to drink alcohol again.”
But, I went for a year-and-a-half without drinking alcohol at all. And then I didn’t eat meat for about five months.
But not because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you shouldn’t eat meat.”
It had nothing to do with that. It was, I realized when I ate meat, it was like my body wasn’t digesting things the right way.
I even went to a point where I was like, “I’m going to cut back on the amount of coffee I drink.”
I was like trying different things to give my body a break. You know, I wanted to feel great.
And I’ll tell you what happened. And this might be, I’m sure you probably talked about this on your podcast before, but poop, right?
It was like my body completely changed the way I processed what I put in it.
And going to the bathroom for the first time in my life after 39 years was a pleasurable experience, where before it was always like… And I would go out to dinner and even I would try… I would say, “Oh, I want the salad. I want this.”
It was always something that was happening inside and I would get in the car and I would say to Scott, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, my stomach hurts so bad.”
So whether it was gloom and whether it was grains, whether it was meat, and I’m not like, again, I don’t want to share too much about my diet because I don’t think it’s about what I eat.
I’m saying like for people to pay attention and take the good information and apply it to what you eat and create a sense of your own nutrition plan with the great stuff that you know.
Obviously knowing you helped a lot because you’re so motivational about what to put in your body, and you don’t make it a chore, which I think it was.
And you’re not a bully about it because there are a lot of people out there that are bullies about, “You should eat this way, you should do that,” and you’re not.
You’re just very matter of fact and you get the science. And so obviously you’re a great source for me.
Abel: Thanks, man.
So that’s the first part. If you feel really good on the inside, not only are you going to clean up your nutrition, but your energy level is going to skyrocket to a point where you do feel like you have more time in your day.
When do you feel like you don’t have a lot of time? When you’re tired. When you’re tired and you’re like, “This day.”
It’s kind of like a catch-22 really, it’s like, “This day is taking forever.” But the day is taking forever because you don’t have the energy.
But imagine if you had the energy to do a lot of stuff, your day expands, because you feel like you’re actually being productive. And you get more work than sitting there like this, waiting for that next cup of coffee, with your hand on your head.
You’re moving. And so, for having kids, people are like, “Well, I don’t have time. So I’m only going to stop at McDonalds or Subway.”
And no shade, because I know it tastes good. So, I’m not a nutrition bully, I’m not.
However, I would just have you ask yourself, “When I eat that does that give me the energy? Does that give me that power energy that that pre-workout gives me?”
I mean like, what are you putting in your body?
And it’s a journey, like people say, fitness is a lifestyle change, the journey, and so you have to constantly monitor and adjust what you eat, so your body feels good.
So, anyway, that’s the first part of your question. The second answer is, for me, for the first time in my life, I didn’t know when I had to ask for help.
For the longest time, it was Scott and I, and we have people in our company and we obviously have, we have a great team. But I had to make a point to hire new people and you know, I would say most of the time our superpower is also our kryptonite.
And so you could say, “I’m really successful because I can do this, and I have a talent of writing or speaking.”
And have all these things. But a lot of times that person doesn’t like to get help from other people because they feel like they can do it all.
And I feel like that’s something that Scott and I both had in a different way. We had this idea that we were supermen, you know what I mean?
Abel: But doing different jobs right?
We’re doing different jobs but what we realized is, and what I realized is, “I can do it, but I would expand my day if I had help.”
And so not being afraid to ask for help, especially bringing in two boys. So I hired an online manager for my online business. And then I hired an executive assistant.
Most people look at an executive assistant as an assistant. But I feel like this person should literally manage your life, your energy. So we hired some great people.
And so, it may be you’re not in a situation where you can hire people, but you are in a situation where you can control who’s in your life. And that’s what I’m going to.
In my book, I talk about, “You’re the average of five, five of the closest people to you.”
And so you have to do an assessment of who is actually in your life, because in order to get things done and to be productive, the people around you have to be providing you with positive energy.
And I’m not saying that every day is going to be a great day or the people you surround yourself with are not going to have a bad day.
But when those people have a bad day, if they’re people who are positive and inspiring to you and they have great energy, helping them is not going to be a chore.
It’s when you have to help the people that don’t want to help themselves, that drains from you. That’s when it becomes a chore, and that’s when it takes away from your day.
Whereas when you have great people around you, when everybody’s feeling good, you are so productive, because everybody’s feeling good.
And if one person’s not feeling good, you’re still productive because you’re going to be productive, and want to help this person be productive to bring yourselves back to the top.
And so food, and being able to open myself up to help, have been two major things that have helped me.
How Can I be the Most Successful Me?
Abel: On that second point, especially because there are a lot of Type A personalities. I’m a recovering one myself. How do you come to that moment where you realize that you can take the horse blinders off?
Where you said, I realize that I had or I needed to ask for help in one way or another. I really should because everyone’s lives would be better. How do you get to that moment when you realize that your head is down?
Because that’s one of the biggest challenges. It’s like you’re doing everything, and you’re too busy to realize that that’s what you’re doing, and you’re neglecting other things.
You literally have to ask yourself, “How can I be the most successful at ‘X’? Whatever ‘X’ is.”
How can I be the most successful father?
For me, I say I have to invest in, I call them world class babysitters. People who are going to teach my kid. I have to invest in that. So, boom.
If I want to be the best boss, which I don’t even like the word, but the best team leader, if you will, I have to have people who are committed and are passionate about the same things that I want for my company.
How can I be the best husband? I have to not always make it about what I want in the relationship, but how much I can give and what I want to give and the energy and how happy I want my spouse to be.
So, if I had these goggles on, you know what I’m saying, I would be like, “You know, I can take care of my kids. My mom did it, she was a single parent, she could do that.”
But my mom didn’t have the same career that I had.
Or as far as my job, it’s like, “Oh I can do it, I can build a website. I can teach myself how to do it, I can go to the store and do this.”
Or, “I can plan out my day to keep my energy good.”
It’s like, “No, I can’t do that, I need to have someone who’s willing to do that and has a passion to help people feel great about themselves.”
And then in terms of my life with Scott, if I have my horse blinders on, I’m like, “I want to get, I want to get, I want to get.”
But not realizing horse blinders make the other person in your life not visible and their miserableness not visible, right?
But when you take those goggles off, then you get help with your kids, you hire amazing people who help you thrive, and you give as much as you can to your spouse, because you realize that it’s a reciprocating relationship.
Abel: It’s basically getting to the point where you can admit your weaknesses, isn’t it? That’s an emotional thing.
When you come to the transformation center, you’ve been there. The third word up at the top is transparency. Truth, Trust and Transparency.
The more transparent you are with yourself, the more you can admit to yourself your shortcomings. You can admit the great things about you, because some people don’t even like to pat themselves on the back.
I’m like, “Forget that, I’m going to the mirror.”
And I’ll be like, “You know Shaun, you look really good today.”
Or I have to be honest and be like, “Bro, you need some sleep.”
You know what I mean?
But the more transparent you are with yourself, you can fill your cup or you can say, “Alright, I can, I have something to give, or let me empty this out, because the cup is actually almost overflowing.”
It’s like you have two sides of it. So transparency is just so important, and one thing I’ll say when you are in a situation, this is more of a relationship thing, but when you’re in a relationship, the more you can blame yourself before you blame your spouse, the better the conversation is going to be.
So if you and I, as friends, I’m going to bring up something that’s real, but I’m being a little dramatic, I’m like “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen Abel. He hasn’t called me. Like I’m really upset about it.”
I’m not really upset about it because I know you’re busy.
But before I call you and be like, “Abel, I can’t believe we haven’t seen each other in a year and a half or whatever.”
I’m going to be like, “Well Shaun, you had kids, you hired new people, you wrote a book, you had a book tour, you’ve been… ” You know, I’m like, “Oh well, I can’t really blame Abel for that.”
Because if I look at the amount of months that I’ve been busy. And did I pick up the phone?
So before you go to your spouse and be like, “You did this, and you did this and you did this,” or “We haven’t had sex or whatever.” It’s like, “Well, what have I been doing?” You know what I mean?
Because if I came to you and I was like, “Abel, I can’t believe you haven’t called me.” You could be like, “Well, you ain’t called me.”
You know what I’m saying? It’ll be different if I was like leaving all these messages for you and you not calling me back or whatever.
So anyway, if we’re more transparent with ourselves, I don’t want to say blame, blame’s a hard word, but if we can blame ourselves before we take our issues out elsewhere.
Then we could see where our weakness lies. And when you are honest with yourself about your weaknesses, then you can make that better and build on it.
Abel: Take responsibility for your own negativity, before you give it to someone else. That’s what it feels like.
I don’t know if you hear that, people. But that’s the snap.
Abel: Alright, let’s ruin it now and end, because we’re almost out of time, with a really weird question, because I can’t really stop thinking about it. You hear about it all the time.
It seems like that’s the direction that some people want to go in, you have very small infant children right now and they’re going to be coming up in the world where it sounds like people are going to be plugging computers and the internet into their brains.
How do you think you’ll handle the wackiness of the future with the next generation coming up? How have you thought about that?
It’s very interesting you said that, because Scott and I talk about that every day. So what we can’t do is make our kids use a rotary phone, right? We can’t do that.
Because if I went back to my grandparents and they saw how I’m actually being productive today, by talking to somebody through a screen…
My grandfather talked about when he used to court my grandmother, date, you know we call it online dating… When he used to court her, they lived in two different cities. He would write a letter, have to send that letter, she would write a letter and respond.
Abel: Yah, my grandparents too.
That’s how they got together. Now, if I told my kids, “No, that’s how you have to date the girl or guy you date.”
If I told my kids that, you’d be like, “No.”
But that’s what they think I should do, right? So there’s a balance. They have to be able to grow up in a world that they can thrive and understand what the world is.
So for me to say, when my kid is seven, and they go to school, that they can’t have a phone, it’s crazy, right?
People will be like, “Why would a kid need a phone? They have the teacher there.”
I’m like, “You know what, the phone’s only going to call Scott, me and his brother.”
“But he’s going to have a phone. Because that’s the way of the world. They have to learn how to use it.”
What if I say “No, you can’t have a phone.”
They’re stuck somewhere and only thing they have is an iPhone or something, they’re like, “I don’t know how to use it.” That’s crazy, right?
So there’s people saying, “Your kids shouldn’t watch TV until they’re two.”
Well, you know what, Little Baby Bum is my best friend and I love it on Netflix because it stops him from crying, it helps me make their food, go make their baths, and I know that they’re not going to crawl off and climb on something that they don’t need to because they love Little Baby Bum.
But I perform with Little Baby Bum and I limit it to a certain time of day that they can watch it. So it’s all about the balance.
One of the things that I hope my way or our way of instilling self-confidence into our children, is that when you do eventually get on Instagram, there’s two things that you need to do, you need to be transparent about what you post and you need to let go of the people who don’t like you.
My mother taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life, when I would be sad that some people didn’t like me.
She was like, “So there’s six billion people in the world. So these three people don’t like you, is it going to ruin your life?”
And I’m like, “Well I have to go to school with them.”
And she’s like, “Ok cool, well, that gives you more time to go deal with the people that do like you, and to do your work than to worry about the people that don’t like you.”
But moreover, “What do you love about school?”
I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m really good at math. I made the honor and I love gym class.”
She’s like, “That’s what’s going to matter in your life.”
So before my kids post on Instagram, I’m like, “You have to be self-confident.”
Are you self-confident? We’re going to do a self-confidence test. I’m not going to say you can’t have a social media account. Yes, it’s going to be blocked, yes I’m going to have the password.
But I’m going to monitor what you post and what you say and how you respond to people, because if someone says, “Oh my gosh, you’re ugly,” you say, “Thank you, I hope you have a nice day, too. Because I actually like who I am.”
You know what I mean? Like, kindness is my ammunition.
So, I think it’s being able to bring them into the world of the future, but also being able to be so confident with themselves that they don’t let the cells affect them, in a way, but you have to teach them that way.
Last thing I’ll say is, I do it now when my kids meet someone, I mean, they’re nine months old, they’ll be 10 months in a couple of days.
When they meet someone new, I let them shake their hand, every single person. If it’s a person on the plane, people are, “Don’t let them…”
I have a hand sanitizer in my bag and they’re like, “Can I touch the kid?”
I’m like, “Here you go.” You know, whatever.
But when they say “Hi,” the first thing I do is I’ll put their little hand out and I’ll say, “Shake their hand, say ‘Hello.’” They see.
Because what I don’t want is them to be looking down at their phone, or at an iPad, or whatever the case may be.
There are so many people that come up to us at an airport that don’t know I’m Shaun T or Scott, but when I’m waiting at the airport, I try as best I can, if I’m not waiting for something, to not necessarily be on the phone.
I try, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but just a couple of days ago, we were at the airport, Scott was in the bathroom changing one of the kids. I put the stroller down, I get down on one knee, and I start talking to him, while we’re waiting, he sees people waiting around.
I’d start talking to Sander, I’m like, “Hey, how was your flight, did you like it? What did you dream about?”
And then a woman walked over and was like, “Oh my gosh, he’s so cute… ”
I’m like, “Thanks.”
So she’s like, “He’s so cute… Can I say ‘Hi’?”
I’m saying, it’s, “Hi”, and I say, “Sander say Hi.”
I just started teaching him how to say hi so he goes like this, I can’t even do it, he goes like this, he puts his hand out.
But I want him to react to people. Because I still feel like the human interaction and the voice in person is the strongest communication you’ll ever have, you know what I mean?
Like seeing you through a screen right now is great or people listening to you or me on a podcast, or me on my videos are great, but when we say we’re going to be somewhere live, no matter if they listen to 100 podcasts, or done a video 100 times, they still want to come and see you in the flesh.
Abel: It’s different.
I want my kids to be real in the flesh, and understand who they are in the flesh and know that whatever they put out or whatever they experience, that they have to be themselves all the time.
And I say all that to say that I can’t wait to see you and your lovely lady in the flesh.
Abel: It’s only a matter of time, we’ll be in the same place in a couple of months. So yah, let’s definitely plan on that.
We’re almost out of time, though, I know we both have to go, so before we do, please tell folks where they can find you and what to look forward to.
If you want more of my motivation and my motivation style is being able to help you provide you with belief in yourself, there’s theongoingkey.com, which every Monday you get a meditation, every Wednesday, you get a motivation.
We have Fun Fridays and I have a special group on Facebook called “The Safe Space.” It’s a community of people that can fearlessly post whatever they want so that they can tell people about their life, and they can be transparent and everyone’s there to uplift you, be honest and fill you up.
There’s no hating in there.
And so yah, you can go to shauntfitness.com, for everything me, and I hope that people are excited for Transform 20, which releases in January, but be on the lookout because I have some new things coming out regarding early release, which means at the end of the year. So thank you.
Abel: Right on, right on. Well, Shaun, always a pleasure. It’s been far too long. Let’s make an excuse to do this much more often. Come back on any time, man.
Yah, I mean, seriously, I love you so much man. You’re like, literally one of the realest people that I know. I appreciate you.
Abel: Oh man, that means a lot, love you too Shaun, and please give a big extra hug to Scott for us.
Yah. And same, give Alyson a hug from me.
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