September 2

Lee Baucom, Ph.D. on How to Survive and Thrive in Life


Lee Baucom, Ph.D. is a Thriveologist and Life Coach. For the past three decades, he has studied how people thrive, applying that information in his writing, teaching, and coaching.

He is the author of seven books, three focused on how to thrive. And he is the creator of the Thrive Journal, a daily process to steadily increase thriving in everyday life. Lee is also the host of the Thriveology Podcast, providing weekly lessons and interviews on thriving since 2013.

As a teacher and speaker, Lee discusses the importance in finding meaning and living purpose, so that people create the impact desired in life. His focus is on taking responsibility, assuming personal control, and forgiving.

After a health scare in his mid-thirties, Lee believes that during his “bonus time,” his task is to teach others how to thrive in their lives and their relationships.

In his spare time, Lee enjoys trail running, paddle boarding, scuba diving, and jiu jitsu.  He is married, with two adult children and two active dogs.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies, and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you. Do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed not only remove it but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you too much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes. Click on it to find out more. All right, let's get started.

Lee Baucom 0:40
Hello, everyone. Today I have the pleasure of having Lee Baucom here with me today. He's the Chief Thriveologist at Aspire Coaching. Lee, welcome to the program.

Lee Baucom 0:50
Thanks for having me, Umar. Great to be here.

Umar Hameed 0:52
A, I love your website. If you're talking about being minimal and simplistic and getting the point across whoever did that did a genius job.

Lee Baucom 1:00
Yeah. We try to make sure we're on the message of simple as best.

Umar Hameed 1:05
Is not always the case. It's a but sometimes we have this need. But you don't understand Lee, we needs to be fancy, we need to do this and we end up muddling the message. What do you think that human need is to look more pretty than we are sometimes and we kind of muddle things?

Lee Baucom 1:21
I'm not sure it's necessarily about looking pretty as much as we always are looking for a more complicated thing. When I was a teenager, I was a magician did a lot of magic shows, and learned a lot more about psychology doing than I ever did in graduate school or anywhere else. And one of the things that always surprised me is the complicated ways that people would come up with how I was doing my trick sometimes is a very simple, straightforward thing. And they would come up with the most convoluted ways to explain it. And I think that's just kind of human nature that we try to find the most complicated thing when we think we're simplifying.

Umar Hameed 1:59
So I'll take a side tangent just for a moment. I was on stage just before COVID hit. I was in Orlando, Florida. And I was staying at this motel. And they had this little Magic Castle there. And they had a show Monday evening in the my tech my sales show started the next day. So Magic Show. Gotta go to that. And so saw the magic show, which was brilliant. But then they invited me to sit down with a group of magicians. Some of them were like in their 70s and 80s. And there's like that guy there. He invented this trick that went worldwide. It was such a magical time hanging out with people that create illusion for a living. It was like one of the highlights of a pandemic.

Lee Baucom 2:41
You must have been in LA.

Umar Hameed 2:42
No, this was in Orlando.

Lee Baucom 2:45

Umar Hameed 2:45
It was a little motel that was kind of like a little rundown kind of family thing just outside of Orlando. But their Magic Castle was pretty cool. I'm not sure they call it a castle. But it looked like one to me.

Lee Baucom 2:58
The Magic Castle that all of you. Yeah, that's LA. So just was curious.

Umar Hameed 3:05
So what's kind of amazing, these two things that have transcended the time because pretty much if you show a kid these days, you know something in technologies like Oh, that's so yesterday, and literally you might have been yesterday, but still to this day, adult or child if you show them some fireworks, there's still magic in their eyes. And of course, the magician still transcends time and space. So that need for wonder is like, almost hardwired within us.

Lee Baucom 3:30
It really is. I mean that it ties into our need for something spiritual something, some sense that there's something bigger than us. And you know, I find that myself, I put myself in situations where I have to stand in awe, just you know, I go for trail run and look at the beautiful scenery. When I walk my dogs in the morning, it's usually right around sunrise at some point during that walk. And just yesterday, I was just standing there going, Man, what beautiful colors there are there and just kind of stood and stared at it. And I think that part is just part of the human need to be connected with something that's bigger than us.

Umar Hameed 4:06
Nobody listening to this program is going to go, well, Lisa nuts, but they are going to go Yeah, touchy-feely who's got time for that. And at the end of the day, you realize that ability to see beauty and wonder not only when you see nature, but when you hang out with people and you're used to looking for it and finding it you find wonder and beauty and the people around you.

Lee Baucom 4:31
Yeah, I mean, I think this is it is touchy-feely. And you know that the interesting thing is as I talk to people who are going well that's touchy-feely stuff that's where life happens. You know the salespeople tell me. Oh, that's such a feeling well, sales happen on an emotional deep level on not it's you can show them all the facts in the world. But if you don't have their faith, if you don't have some connection with them, it's not going to matter. It same with science. I mean, I think if we look at COVID one of the failings of getting information across about the scientific findings is that we forgot that human piece. And so while it is the touchy-feely and EQ people will tell us, that's where everything happens anyway.

Umar Hameed 5:15
Absolutely. And if you take a look at the greatest leaders, the good ones and the bad ones and the bloodthirsty ones, it was nobody's spectacular strategy, that one, because you could have given that strategy to me, and I would have screwed it up. But it's that connection with their emotions, their beliefs, that human stuff, that touchy-feely stuff, was the engine that drove change on this planet.

Lee Baucom 5:37
And if we boil it down, I think it really is people who can connect us to hope. And that's the big thing of EQ, can we move people past fear, which keeps us trapped, keeps us stuck, and move us to hope to something again, back to that it's bigger than us. It's beyond us. So yeah, I mean, the leadership that can show people a way of hope is always going to win over leadership that argues points.

Umar Hameed 6:04
Absolutely. And when I'm working with someone, I often think of this metaphor, right now you can see this because it's an audio podcast, but I'm holding a pen in my fist. And if you were here, Lee, it would take a lot for you to grab this pen out of my hand. And I think people hold on to their reality in the same way. And it's my job. And perhaps your job is not to change their reality, but loosen their grip on it. So they have the possibility of change. Seems to be the first step.

Lee Baucom 6:33
Yeah. I mean, if we are convinced that we are A right and B nothing's going to change, then we'll be right. And nothing's going to change. So whenever there's a possibility of change, it's because we see the potential for it before we step into it.

Umar Hameed 6:49
Do you remember that movie, Young Frankenstein? So this is one beautiful scene that I love. They're in the penitentiary graveyard digging up corpses. And Dr. Frankenstein is basically saying, Oh my God, my career has come down to this. And his trusty assistant,

Lee Baucom 7:06

Umar Hameed 7:06
Igor says, well, it could be worse. He says, How could it be worse? And he said it could be raining, and the sky opens up? And I think, A that's wonderful. And B the opposite of that is if things are going well, they can always get better.

Lee Baucom 7:19
Yeah, yeah. And you know, the question is how we tap into that for ourselves. And so I spend a lot of time talking with people about what they have in their control. And the starting point, there are three, three things we have in our control. And that's it. And its aspirations, attitude, and actions. And the first one, the aspiration, that's what we dream about, you know, where do we want to go with this? And, to me, that's always the beginning point of building hope. Do I have a place that I want to move to? If someone comes to me and they just don't know where they're going? That's the first place we're going to spend some time what are they dreaming up? What is what is their hope? What, what place do they want to move into? And until they find that, it doesn't matter what else we do, we are never ever going to get to the action part of what you can control until we get past the aspiration part.

Umar Hameed 8:05
And number two?

Lee Baucom 8:06
So number two of that what we have to control.

Umar Hameed 8:09
Yeah, so is aspiration. Right? And was that attitude?

Lee Baucom 8:12
So one of the places that people confuse attitude is they think I'm talking about being you know, having a positive attitude, like being in a positive mood. It's really not that it really is more about Carol Dweck talks about having a growth mindset, which carries us through because we say, I can get better I can figure this out. And so attitude, which is a choice of hours is to go, okay, you know, wherever I am right now, I can figure out how to move to something else I can keep moving forward. Now, I said it's in our control. So we can also choose to say, Yeah, I can't figure it out. I give up. Now. That's a choice.

Umar Hameed 8:50

Lee Baucom 8:50
So we can choose where we want to go. We can choose the stance that we're going to figure it out as we go. And the last thing is our actions, what we say what we don't say what we do what we don't do, those, that's it, that's only three things we can control. The big help of that is, then you can begin to go, Wait, I'm dealing with something that's not in my control, like how somebody else is feeling what somebody else is doing, what they dream about. That's not in my control, not my responsibility.

Umar Hameed 9:19
I'd like to add to your list, if I may?

Lee Baucom 9:20

Umar Hameed 9:21
So in what we control, the very first thing we can control is our breath. And I think if we can do that, it gives us that moment to take the right actions that we need to take or get the right attitude. So that's a very literal thing in that moment when somebody is making me so angry if I could take a breath, or we've got a challenge instead of getting hyperventilated. If I can take a breath, it gives you that little break state that allows you the possibility to remember what you suppose,

Lee Baucom 9:54
So what you'll notice is that's an action.

Umar Hameed 9:57

Lee Baucom 9:58
So it is still within those three things. And we can choose to take, take that small moment. Viktor Frankl talked about that, that last moment between, you know, an action and our response to it that we get to choose. And that's really I mean, our all of our actions. And this is the one that many times I have a discussion with clients about when they, you know, they'll do something, and then they'll tell me, they couldn't help it. I couldn't help that. And so I had a couple with me in my office one day, and he was braiding his wife, and really was just not being nice. And so I called him on it. And he said I can't help it. I mean, you just heard what she said. And I said, Oh, you, you absolutely can help it, you can absolutely control that. He said, No, I can't, she makes me say that. And I said, Okay, let's say that this continues on, you can't you can't get yourself straight in your relationship. You can't get control of yourself and you end up in court, you're in divorce court. Now you're in front of the judge, would you say these things, same things in front of the judge? And he said No way. And I said, why wouldn't you? And she said, he said, Well, I'd get in trouble. And my responses, if you can control it in front of a judge, you just admitted that you have control? We just don't like to admit that.

Umar Hameed 11:10
Absolutely. It's a brilliant example. Thank you for sharing that. But here's a question for you. I noticed your voice and your tonality. Did this guy have that same kind of disbelief or wonder? No, I could never say that in front of the judge. Did he kind of go into fall into that?

Lee Baucom 11:25
Oh, he was convinced that you know, of course, I mean, that would be ludicrous for him to do that in front of the judge and proving my point. You know, I mean, it's the same thing. I've talked with people the same thing, you know, if a police officer is in front of you, would you be saying what you're saying? And of course not. Why? Because I'd be in trouble. That's control?

Umar Hameed 11:47
Absolutely. What really amazes me is our ability, what you just did, was for that conversation, you channel this guy like you had so much empathy with him that as you're retelling the thing, you're actually stepping into his space. Because I could hear that, like, I could never do that. For a judge. It wasn't like data you were sharing. It was like he was stepping into kind of his mindset just for a moment. And kind of your thoughts on that our ability when we care enough and connect enough that we have the ability to do that.

Lee Baucom 12:19
You know, we humans are interesting creatures we take so long to develop. Because we have to take in all of the information, the further you go down the kind of, the animal kingdom, the less they need care as they grow up, because they're kind of born with their instincts. And so,

Umar Hameed 12:40

Lee Baucom 12:41
To act in ways that will keep them alive. It's just it's inborn. It's part of their DNA, we humans have far less of that. inborn, we have to learn it. And so in order to learn it, we have to see it and mimic it, which is part of what scares all of us as parents, where we're the place that kids are watching that mirror. But the reality is, we have more mirror neurons in our brain. And that's part of the heart of empathy. You know, when I'm working with people who are feeling disconnected from somewhere.

Umar Hameed 13:13

Lee Baucom 13:14
They're mirror neurons, they've cut them off. They don't want to be in empathy. But we are naturally built for that we're naturally built for empathy, for understanding for being able to feel what somebody else is feeling. You know, when when you see somebody else and they are injured, you have a visceral response that almost mimics their injury, someone hits their hand, you yank your hand back. And so we are already connected to other people around us, we sometimes choose not to be or choose not to attend to that.

Umar Hameed 13:47
So let's explore that in a minute. But I wanted to explore another topic just for a moment. My role view is, kids, grow up. And they reach these stages of wonder because they're growing so quickly. And they have compassion. They connect with people, they can read people, and they know if I want x, I need to go to mom, rather than dad and they also get some strategy in there. But as they get older, they unlearn a lot of those things and go more into conformity, and shut themselves off from those magical gifts that make us amazing humans. A, do you think my statement is true? And then B, if it is, why do you think that is? Why do you think we lose touch of that ability to connect in that way and to read people?

Umar Hameed 14:32
But you notice, conformity is it starts with how we're raised, I mean, conformity basically those mirror neurons are set up so that we do what others around us have done. And I think evolutionary-wise, you know, if, if you're alive, the information that kept your love is likely to keep it at least in the evolutionary theory, somebody else alive your child alive, and so they naturally mirror that. So, we're mirroring conformity right off the bat. So I think there's a piece that's there. But the question is how much we bless that as parents versus blessing, creativity, blessing, curiosity, and I'm one of the things I count as myself very fortunate is that my parents allowed me to explore all kinds of different subjects. They let me follow my passions. And as part of that was, yeah, I think that they, they were aware of that for in their own life of their place of passion points. And so I had lots of hobbies when I was growing up lots of interest points. And to this day, I would tell you that my kind of my superpower and also my Achilles heel is curiosity. When I was teaching it, cause,

Umar Hameed 15:44

Lee Baucom 15:44
Go ahead,

Umar Hameed 15:45
Oh, it's a blessing, curiosity.

Lee Baucom 15:47
It's also an Achilles heel. Everything that is your superpower is also your Achilles heel. So I've got to be careful that I can, you know, end up chasing lots of different things without being effective in a certain area, it is certainly allowed me to explore and pull together from very different fields, lots of pieces. But, you know, wherever you're strong, also ends up being, you know, kind of the danger point you've got to be aware of.

Umar Hameed 16:15
Could be potentially dangerous. But so Lee, I'm about to tell you what, what turns me on, don't be disturbed. What turns me on is, when you find something in one domain of knowledge, let's say chemistry, and then you're focusing on leadership of humans, and you take a concept from chemistry, and you map it over to human development, like that cross pollination when that happens, I think that is just a spectacular thing.

Lee Baucom 16:42
Well, paradigm theory says that's where innovation happens anyway, because people who are in the field or stuck in the paradigm, and so people from the outside, bring something in from their place. And that's where the big jumps happen in most paradigms. At some point is SharePoint, even experts are going to move away from the worldview. But the big shifts often come from outside.

Umar Hameed 17:08
True, and also hobbies, like you describe that, you know, you're interested in many different things. And I've heard of people, you know, launching satellites in space, and their hobby is origami, and then all of a sudden, they figure out how to fold a satellite in a smaller space. So they can actually get a more efficient payloads so that cross-pollination is pretty amazing.

Lee Baucom 17:28
I still use magic of I took up jujitsu several years ago, and I realized sometimes, you know, it kind of doing something one place to have the attention one place while I'm setting up something else somewhere else. It's pure misdirection, from magic days.

Umar Hameed 17:46
That is brilliant. So earlier on, in the conversation, you mentioned that you know, we've got this empathy built in, we're hardwired for it. I think there's a quote from Queen Elizabeth, they went something like, I learned just like monkeys do, I watched my parents, you know, on how to be a queen. So we learn by those mirror neurons, and we quickly develop, and then some people that empathetic side of things, they shut it down. And how do you think that happens? And why do you think that happens?

Lee Baucom 18:18
So many times the empathy we shut down, is for people who are different than us. And it's easiest to disregard that because that would be a challenge to us, you know if we took all that in. And so sometimes we can focus our empathy somewhere similar to us and miss it somewhere dissimilar to us. But even further than that, I think one of the places that many people shut down empathy is because of their own emotional pains, their own emotional hurts, I watch this with couples, where they lose empathy with each other because the hurts build up. And they've created a narrative in their mind about who the other person is. And, so it's easier to cast them into a kind of a negative space, than to work from a place of empathy. And so we just shut it off, because it's a disservice to our bigger thought processes at that point.

Umar Hameed 19:17
Yeah, I think human beings are meaning-making machines that things happen, we make meaning around it, and our past determines the meanings we make. And we can easily get caught up in a loop where we just lock into our worldview of this is the way it is when in fact, that's not the case at all.

Lee Baucom 19:35
Yeah, for sure. I mean, that I think that is the meanings that we may I mean, if we look around, at in a world that you know, a belief a meaning can be flashed around and a tweet or a post or, you know, Ram or whatever. We realized the power of that before we were doing it, but we weren't seeing the differences because we were with such similar folks. And I think this the past like year or two years or so has escalated how visible it is. That the meanings that we draw from something can be almost polar opposites from each other.

Umar Hameed 20:15
Absolutely. I was working with this young girl, her mom called me up and said, she was maybe nine years old. And she said, you know, all her best friends are all friends. And all of a sudden, they picked her as the bad guy. Now, all those girls are shunning her, and it's just devastating. So rather than do a session at my office, so let's go for ice cream. And as we're having ice cream, I take it through a process to let go of the emotions around that. And then it was like, How do you feel now when you think about your friends treating you this wage goes? Feel okay. I said, you know, they still hate your guts. How come you're feeling okay? And then she goes, cuz other people don't decide how I feel. And I said, Oh, my God, if adults could understand that, it would change the frickin world.

Lee Baucom 20:58
Yeah, so one of the things that was affecting her was, she was taking it personally. And that is, it's, I found that to be an interesting topic to work with people too, to work from not taking things personally to take nothing personally, that whatever is going on, can be feedback can be, you can have some important information for us. But to take it personally, meaning we take it to mean something bad about us. That gives a the other person power that don't deserve and b reduces our own volition, our own capacity of acting, in certain ways. And so, you know, I'm constantly working with people saying, Don't take it personally. I had a client that said, q tip one day, and I said what he said, quit taking it personally. And he had a Q tip that he carried with him as a reminder of that quit taking it personally, I like, it's brilliant. You know, we, we need reminders. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 21:58
But the thing is, you know, Lee, you know if I was in session with you, and you said that, it's like, Lee, you're a nut. What do you mean, don't take it personally. Because at that point, that person, it's hitting the core of who they are. And a lot of people go into that fight or flight mode, like, deep, deep state. And then what you're saying is very intellectual and all truths. How do you cross that, that bridge when somebody is in that place of being wounded? And they can't hear your advice yet? Or it just sounds like you're just being glib when you're not? So how do you guide your clients to cross that bridge? And they finally realize, Oh, my God, Dr. Lee was right.

Lee Baucom 22:37
Yeah. So I don't start there in the midst of pain. Yeah, you're not talking about this on a podcast where everything is calm. And, you know, we're not struggling, it's easy to have an intellectual discussion about that. When somebody is in pain. They need to be heard, First of all, second, they also can begin to wonder why it's bothering them, you know, why did that affect them? What's hooking them about that. And then they can begin to back away from it just a little bit. I mean, the fact is that everybody has moments in the day when it feels personal. And so quit taking it personally is not an oh, instantly over with never happening. Again, it's a reminder, at every turn, there we go again, I've got a buddy who has a book that got a one-star review on Amazon. And he comes in, he says, I don't know what to do about it. And I said, leave it alone. Just don't worry about it. And he said, but you know what they said about the book, and I'm like you, I mean, you're taking it personally, I just want to notice for you, though, that you've got 25, four, and five-star reviews. And one-star review. And yet you haven't told me anything about those 25 top reviews, you're stuck on the one. And the fact is that's true for us every single day, you know, we hear something and it hurts our feelings, and we miss the rest of the day. That was not that was the opposite of that. And so, you know, we have a propensity as humans to look for the threats. And that's,

Umar Hameed 23:39

Lee Baucom 23:58
That's part of the leftover of that, that we're better off evolutionary, survival wise, of going Oh, that's a threat, then to go Oh, look at how everything is I'll celebrate the day when a threat really, you know, is coming at you. So part of the process is for somebody to be heard somebody to then wonder why it matters so much. And then to begin to slowly back away. To recognize that probably it has more to do with that other person and where they are their projections, their state of mind, and less to do with them. And even if it you know, is some useful feedback. For instance, in this case, I'll ask the author Is there something that's true about that one-star review that you might take back with you in an edit? Or in your next project? I mean, is there something there? And he said, Well, yeah, I mean, I, they didn't like one thing that he had done. So that's useful feedback. But you have to give them control of your emotions, renders that whatever feedback you could have gotten from that kind of useless.

Umar Hameed 25:23
You know, what's kind of interesting is that person that did the one-star review, forgot about it, as soon as they hit enter.

Lee Baucom 25:28

Umar Hameed 25:29
And we had this illusion that they were out there holding on to the thing that we've done. And it turns out that we're the ones holding on to it, not them.

Lee Baucom 25:37
Not always the case. I mean, there's that 20 40 60 you know, in the 20s I was so worried about what people thought of me in the 40s I realized that didn't matter. In my 60s, I realized they were never thinking to me anyway.

Umar Hameed 25:48
So there's something similar to that that I heard that I always loved is like the three stages of life. You believe in Santa Claus. You don't believe in Santa Claus. And you become Santa Claus?

Lee Baucom 25:59

Umar Hameed 26:00
Well, Lee, this has been a delightful and formative conversation. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Lee Baucom 26:06
Thanks for having me.

Umar Hameed 26:07
And before we parted company is are there any last thoughts and how can people get a hold of you?

Lee Baucom 26:12
I have lots of last thoughts as much as I've written about talked about but you know, I think the big thing is that we have to survive first in order to thrive but surviving is kind of the checkout the point and then let's get on to thriving which is to me finding that deeper meaning doing your purpose in the world and making an impact in the world. Contact us you can find me I've got a thriveology podcast and you can find me at thriveologypodcast.com if you want to check out my books go to thriveology.com/books.

Umar Hameed 26:49
Brilliant. Lee, have a great rest of the day. And thanks so much for coming on the show.

Lee Baucom 26:53
Thanks for having me. Take care.

Lee Baucom 26:59
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro-linguistic programming. And that is the fastest way to get better results.


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