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Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe with another edition of the weekly podcast, “Conversations with Top Personal Development Bloggers.” Every week we have a conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development. There is so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you’re looking for. What’s unique about each blogger, why they started writing their blog, how their personal experiences inform their blog, why you want to be reading it, and a lot more.
Today the subject of our interview is, me, of all people. I’ve been interviewing other people for the last few weeks and giving you a sense of who they are and what’s different about them and why you ought to know more about them, and it generally occurred to me I’ve actually never answered most of the questions I’m asking everybody else. So I thought maybe you’d be interested in finding out some things about me that I haven’t revealed in any other place. And rather than ask myself the question, which would be pretty boring, I’ve decided to have one of our certified Lefkoe method facilitators, one of our trainers do the interviewing. And it just happened to be my daughter Brittany.
Many of you already know her from the webinars that she leads, the courses that she works on, her sessions with people, etc. So Britney’s got the list of the question and I’m going to be the subject today rather than the interviewer. Take it away honey, it’s all yours.
BRITTANY: All right, thanks Dad. Hi everyone. I’m happy to be here. Me and my dad are on Skype right now so I get to see his smiling face, that’s pretty great. Okay, Dad, what was the impetus to start your blog?
MORTY: Basically I’ve got a lot of ideas about what people do, why they do it, how they get stuck, how they need to get free, etc. And I had written one book a long time ago and I was thinking about writing another one and trying to find the time to put aside to write a whole book, and then blogging started. And I actually was pretty late to the game, but I wrote a few of them back in 2008, two or three, and then I got busy and put it aside, and then in 2009 I realized that this is a good way to every week talk a little bit more about how the Lefkoe method can be useful to people. That’s basically what this is about and that’s why I’m doing it.
BRITTANY: Good. Do you think that you had the idea of trying to turn it into a book or you had the book in mind when you started writing it, or do you think that it was independent?
MORTY: No, I actually had the blog in mind. I thought maybe I could write a book and started thinking about all of the different topics, all the things I could write a book about, and there were three or four different things I could have written a book about, all the things I had learned since my last book Re-Create your Life back in ‘95,’96, ‘97, something around then. So I just started writing. In the beginning I wrote what is Lefkoe belief process and how does it work and the obvious things. And when I picked it up in 2009 I just had so many different things that I could write about, how the Lefkoe method was relevant in so many aspects of life.
BRITTANY: And what’s one thing that you feel like is different, a freedom that you have in blogging that is different from writing a book, and getting to cover so many topics, or just in terms of your relation to each blog that you write?
MORTY: The book is a long format, you have to take one topic with several sub-topics and you’ve got two to three hundred page, fifty to a hundred thousand words. My blog posts are relatively long, some people’s blogs are three to six hundred words, I try to do whatever it takes, I don’t look for a length, but more often than not they come to be twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen hundred words. So it’s just one narrow little piece that I can address each week but, conceivably, I could a write a whole book on, but it will be a whole different way of thinking about it. So this is something I can write in one day.
BRITTANY: What is your background in personal development?
MORTY: It was something I had no interest or knowledge of or concern about for most of life. I was a business person, a management consultant, I just wanted to make a lot of money and be famous and successful. I think it started with the est training in 1975, and I was involved with est for a while leading some seminars there. And I started changing. Before that I had tried all kinds of therapy to deal with a lot of the personal issues that I had, but personal development for me was what I learnt form therapy, what I learnt from est, and then a whole lot of books and other workshops and courses. So basically what I discovered that I was able to change in myself is what I started to write about.
BRITTANY: Interesting. What personal experiences have you had that have been useful in writing your blog?
MORTY: I use them all the time. The most recent one is when I was diagnosed with cancer and I wrote a whole bunch of blog posts on how I’m not giving it meaning, that I wasn’t experiencing stress, how I was dealing with it, some of my feelings that I had about intuition. I was depressed most of my life up until the time when I created the Lefkoe method and was able to use it to get over my depression. So I understand what it is and how it affects people. So a lot of the problems that our clients have and that I write about in my blog are things that I’ve experienced myself. So basically what I’m doing is taking what I’ve learned with my own problems, and how I’ve learned to overcome them is basically what I’m teaching.
BRITTANY: I just want to throw in there from my personal experience as his daughter that it was really incredible, there’s no words that can really describe what it feels like to have your dad be diagnosed with cancer and then to give it no meaning, and watch him not be scared and to be so confident and so happy, and not feeling like he’s even being courageous. It was really something, and it was his intuition. If he had given it meaning he would have made a lot of very different choices, but because he wasn’t coming from a place of fear he was able to see things really objectively and make choices that he never would have made. So it was pretty incredible. I talk about you a lot in my session, Dad. Who is your typical audience?
MORTY: From the analytics we’ve looked at, it’s slightly more male than female. 54% to 46%. Less than half of our audience is in the United States, 48%. So half of our audience comes from around the world, the UK is the second largest with about 10% of our audience. But I’m very proud of the fact that we have people in 154 different countries that have read our material, they’ve seen us online and worked with us in one form or another. They’re generally college educated, but we have people, even though there is a majority of people in a particular category, we’ve got people who’ve been teens, who talked about how it affected them and how they were better able to deal with their parents. Then we have had people who talked how they were able to deal better with their children. We’ve had senior citizens. So we’ve had people of all ages with every kind of issue that they might want to deal with. So there is a typical audience, but then there is a wide, wide range of people. So the work we do and what I write about is actually useful for almost anybody.
BRITTANY: That is probably one of the many things that is unique about your blog because you have such a varied audience you are able to talk about so many different things and include all of those different interests, because there are so many different problems that you face. Which brings me to my next question, what do you think is unique about your blog?
MORTY: I think that the one main thing that’s unique about the work we do and the blog which reflects it is that so many other blogs give tips, give information. If you want to do this here are five tips. In fact so many of the headlines of the blogs are “three ways to do this,” “20 things not to do to get what you want,” etc. So basically it’s information as to what to do and how to do it. We focus more on how to remove the barriers to doing what you want to do, how to get people to be more freed up. So we talked about what are the beliefs that are in the way and how do you get them out of the way, what conditioning do you have, how do you give meaning.
So basically when we take a look at issues and basically giving people not information to use but a technique or a process or something they can do to themselves to eliminate a barrier. So our main focus is not on what to do but on removing the barriers to be able to do things you’ve learned from other places and already know.
BRITTANY: Great. And how often do you post?
MORTY: We post once a week, usually Tuesday night, and we send a link out on Wednesday morning to our mailing list and also put a note up on Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus and LinkedIn, all that kind of stuff. But it’s once a week.
BRITTANY: And I like this question, I think it’s my favorite one, who influenced your thinking? Do you have any role models, I know you talked a little bit about est you can maybe include that, but anything else you can think of?
MORTY: There’s so many people I’ve read where I got useful ideas, gave me insights. The only one person I would say actually influenced me was probably Werner Erhard, the founder of est. Before that time, as I indicated a moment ago, I was mainly interested in business success, making a lot of money. I did very little introspection; I was not interested in personal growth as such. I had done some therapy but that didn’t seem to help very much. But it not only a shifted my thinking to be more as to what is possible in my life, more concerned with other people, more of a concern with the world, making contribution to others. It also gave me the idea that there were ideas and the importance of ideas, so I became much more interested in ideas. So I would say the only individual that had a personal impact on me was Werner, although there’s a lot of people I’ve read whose readings have influenced me along the way, there’s probably a couple of new ones every year.
BRITTANY: What about those who influenced you in other ways, beyond just creating the process or creating any given process like the Lefkoe Freedom Process, has anybody influenced you in terms of the direction that you want to go in the future or any ways that you thought about your work? Beyond just developing processes were there any role models or people who have influenced you throughout the process of the last 25 years?
MORTY: There’s nobody who stands out. I actually thought about this when I asked everybody else all the time the same question. No, there actually is no one person. Let us say every time I read a book I get some ideas about myself, about life, about the Lefkoe method, about what’s possible. I just read an article, a cover story in Fortune a couple of weeks ago about this woman nineteen-year-old of Stanford University who had an idea for significant improvement in the healthcare system. When she sat down with her professor and said I would like you to form a company with me in this, the professor said who the hell is this nineteen-year-old sophomore asking me to partner up with her? But when he listened to what she had to say he got interested and they did.
And ten years later now, she’s twenty-nine-years-old, she’s formed a company, hasn’t gone public yet, but based on the several hundred million dollars she’s raised she has a company that on paper is worth nine billion dollars, with thousands of employees. This was inspired by the way she, instead of saying let’s just take one little niche or how can I get a business started or how can I make some money right now, she basically said I want to take on changing the world, at least the healthcare system in the world, in the United Sates, and how do I go about that? I’m going to need a lot of money, so I need to raise money. She got a very prestigious board of directors.
So it actually made a lot of sense to me and I’m actually going to take some of that advice and I’m actually thinking about a new way for us to look at our business based upon being inspired by the way this woman looked at her business from the very beginning. And there are a lot of people like that, where I read an article about somebody or by somebody that inspires me to look at myself, or life, or my work in a way that I hadn’t before.
BRITTANY: So maybe you get inspired by particular actions, you get inspired by certain viewpoints, certain stories more than any one person’s life or any one person’s ideas?
MORTY: Yeah. And I get inspired a lot. I am inspired on a regular basis. I’m inspired by you a lot, things that you do, just blown away by things you do and I say if you can do it then anybody can do it, I can do it. So I get that a lot.
BRITTANY: Well, thank you. Do you have a long-term goal for your blog?
MORTY: Yes. Not specifically. For the blog itself is number one is to get as many readers as I can, I’d love to end up with millions and millions of people reading it. But I have actually two goals. One of them is to help in some way the reader every single week. I want them to be better off, I want them to have a tool for change, to have an insight to see a distinction they hadn’t seen. Basically what I want them to know is, change is possible, and no matter how hard they’ve tried and failed up until now, there are things that exist, there’s techniques, there’s processes, there’s assistance and that no matter how difficult things have been, change is possible. So I want them to get that, that’s the basic message. And then specifically is that here is one particular tool or technique or distinction. So that’s one thing.
The other thing is since I’m not just giving miscellaneous tips, I’m really looking at what is human behavior and where does it come from and what does it take to change, and I’ve discovered that a lot of things that people consider to be human nature, because almost everybody has them or does them, are not human nature at all, that they are the result of our beliefs, our conditionings, etc. So things like the fear of rejection, everybody is afraid to be rejected, everybody is worried what people think of them. Fear of failure, everybody is afraid of failure, nobody wants to fail. And I’ve discovered that that’s not true at all. So basically because of that, part of me feels that when I write something I get the sense that it’s not only for this week’s audience, it’s like my legacy. I have a sense that psychologists or therapists or people years from now after I’m gone will go back and look at these, as if they were books, since they’re not books. They’ll take a look at the hundreds and hundreds of blog posts and say here is some really interesting ideas, some real innovations here, there are some things that are contrary to what most people in the field of psychology think, and what I think and why. So that’s a second long-term goal.
BRITTANY: Interesting, that’s cool. I like that one. Do you accept comments?
MORTY: I do. I love to have comments, I encourage them. I don’t necessarily judge the effectiveness of a blog by the number of comments, but I’m excited that I wrote something in some way that stimulated people. I want people to question things that they assume had to be a certain way and get them to see it isn’t. And I actually specifically say I don’t care if you agree or disagree I just love to have your comments, what’s your reaction to what I’ve just written? So I love comments and I love it when sometimes I’ve had as many as a hundred. It takes time to read but I’m glad to get them.
BRITTANY: This question might seem a little bit straightforward, but what is your expertise, what is your area of expertise?
MORTY: I can answer that in a bunch of ways. My specific area of expertise is the ability to help people make fundamental, permanent change relatively easily. That’s the general. And we did it by creating a bunch of processes to eliminate or unlearn long-held beliefs, decondition all kinds of conditionings, stop giving meaning to events that we feel there is a meaning to. So there is a whole bunch of techniques or ways, but basically I think I have the ability to help almost anybody produce a permanent, radical change that most other techniques and processes and people that I know of are not able to do.
BRITTANY: Great. And I would say for you, your areas of expertise probably is really in the ideas and creating the processes, developing the processes, and consistently working with them to improve them and make them better. So you’re kind of our ideas guy.
BRITTANY: Great. What’s your mission?
MORTY: Our mission, I’ve changed words fifty times in the last thirty years or so, and I’m not sure these are the best words, but basically I want to do two things. Our mission is to empower people in two ways: to free themselves from their stress and suffering. Basically most people walk around stressed and emotionally suffering a lot of the time. So my first mission is to create ways to help people free themselves from that stress and suffering.
And number two is, when you eliminate beliefs, decondition conditioning, stop giving meaning, you create possibilities for your life that were impossible before, which just couldn’t exist before. So the second thing is to help people create new possibilities for their lives and enable them to be happier and more in relationship to people and experience love more. And anything good that you want you can achieve, you’re more innovative, more creative. So basically I want to help people create possibilities. Free themselves from stress and suffering, and create new possibilities.
BRITTANY: Sounds like a worthwhile mission.
MORTY: Keeps me busy.
BRITTANY: I feel like you’ve already answered this, but how does writing a blog help you to further your mission? Like you said it is helping to get a sense of mission into people’s hands.
MORTY: Basically in every one in some way or another I’m talking about how people can free themselves from stress and suffering by creating new possibilities. Almost every one of the blogs in some way reflects those two goals.
BRITTANY: And what makes you uniquely qualified to help others, Dad?
MORTY: Well I’m the one who developed these processes, these ways of doing it. Actually I’m not uniquely qualified in the sense that you couldn’t do much of what I do. I’ve developed it, but once I’ve developed it people can learn it, and you’ve learned it and you’ve become a great facilitator and so has my wife Shelley and Rodney, and there’s other people that have been trained that are as qualified to help people as I am. I guess what I am unique about is I’ve had the ability to create the processes and improve them along the way and keep creating new ones, and then a lot of people can learn how to implement and use them.
BRITTANY: The next question I want to qualify, what is the essence of your message? I want you to be just a little bit more creative with it and to think about what really is the essence of your message beyond that you can eliminate your suffering and live as the creator of your life, is there anything else in your message that you haven’t said before?
MORTY: It’s another way of saying the same thing if you go down one level, it’s that people can be free. Things that people feel this is the way life is, everybody argues in relationships, nobody is really always happy, so it’s the things people consider human nature, this is the way life is. So my basic message is life can be how you create it, not the way it shows up. You can make fundamental, radical changes in almost any area of your life and have it be almost any way you want. So that’s the basic message.
And then obviously specifically you can get rid of stress and so on, but almost anything is possible. And we live with so many assumptions that relationships are this way and work has to be this way and I’m limited in these way and this is the way the culture of the world is, or politics are, or education is. And just to get a sense that most of the things we think have to be the way they are, don’t. And almost anything, not literally anything, but then you can’t run a mile in two minutes because you say you want to, but most of the kind of things that would be your vision or things you’re passionate about or committed to, most of the things that we want we actually can create.
BRITTANY: Is there anybody that is not included in this message?
MORTY: No. I think it’s actually for anybody. I think that if it’s from a marketing standpoint, the people we reach are people who are interested in change. Somebody who was like me maybe 35, 40 years ago might not have responded to this at all. It was just not where my mind was, I wasn’t focused on this. So anybody who does any introspection, who is aware of any barriers that they have, who says I’d like to be able to improve myself, I’d like to grow, I’d like to create new possibilities, I’d like to reduce my stress, anybody like that this is for. Anybody who is looking for some answers, looking for some help, we are the people that can help them.
BRITTANY: And one thing that I actually do want to add to that is what I’ve see you say before is that there’s ways to talk about the barriers that people have in their lives in a way that is kind of like speaking their langue. So if people don’t have to be interested in personal growth, so to speak, but again people that are aware that there are things that they want to improve on, so they don’t need to be interested in personal growth, they just need to be willing to admit that they have areas in their lives that they need to improve.
MORTY: That’s true. That’s an important distinction. Most of the people that come to us or that read my blog are people that are interested in growing in a lot of areas, but we have been able to help, and certainly can help people with very specific, narrow problems. For example the fear of public speaking, there are lot of business people who aren’t necessarily interested in looking at working on all areas of their lives but they’re certainly interested in getting over one particular barrier, that fear. And I think we’ve had over four thousand people as clients just to deal with that area. So anybody who is open to or interested in some type of radical change that’s our audience who might be interested in reading my blog.
BRITTANY: Yeah. And from my own experience something I found working as a financial adviser is that very often they come with very specific, narrow views of what they want to work on, and after working on that and seeing the way it has impacted not just their career but also their lives, their sense of themselves, their relationship, they end up wanting more and continuing to want to work on other areas. They become almost in a sense interested in personal growth, even though that’s not necessarily where they were when they started. And I like this question a lot, what is the single most important thing that you’ve told people that you think has made a difference in their lives? It might be the same as your message, but it may not.
MORTY: It is. It is actually something I said. I think the single most important thing is to give people hope. And basically so many people who want a change have tried so many things, and so many people who show up say I’ve been trying for years to get over this fear or overcome this particular thing, or handle something, like procrastination or whatever it happens to be. So the main thing that I try to do in my blogs is to give people hope, there is a solution, there is an answer. No matter how many things haven’t worked in the past we don’t know what might show up in the future. And I think the Lefkoe method and what I am writing about this week or next week or the following week will give you some indication of what’s possible.
So basically I think the most important thing is to let people know that no matter how bad things have gotten, change is possible and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
BRITTANY: What is the URL for your blog?
MORTY: It’s just my name, real simple, MortyLefkoe.com.
BRITTANY: Is there anything else that you would like our audience to know about your blog, anything else you want to share?
MORTY: No. I love writing it. Sometimes I have a hard time finding a topic for the week. I’ve written close to three hundred and sometimes I can’t think of anything else. But once I do I really get into it. I spend a lot of time on it, I spend anywhere from two to three to four hours writing it. And I do many, many edits, I try to let it sit overnight, do a couple of edits that day, let it sit overnight, look at it the next morning, then I generally show it to Shelly and get some feedback from her, and then we put it up the next day. So the total amount of time I normally spend can be anywhere from three to five hours working on it. And if there is any research involved, statistics or facts or figures, it can be even more.
But I think it’s worthwhile even though it is almost a full day each week. Because I think there is something unique every week, as we’ve been talking about for all this time, there is something useful for people, and that’s what I want to do, provide something useful.
BRITTANY: Thank you.
MORTY: You’re welcome. Thanks for the interview. This was fun, I now have a chance to see what it’s like on the other end so maybe I can be more compassionate when I’m asking my questions in the future. I’ve seen what it’s like to be put on the spot and have to come up with what exactly do I want to say.
Thanks, honey, for doing the interview. And to all of you listening, this again is Morty Lefkoe signing off as the host of this show, although I wasn’t today, today I was the subject and it was my interview. Till the next week when I will be interviewing somebody else, have a great week.
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