The Happy Engineer Podcast

058: Lies You Believe that Limit Your Wealth and Happiness with Robert Peterson

Are you a liar? Is the negative voice in your head really you?

Where does the devil on your shoulder come from?

In this episode, we examine the stories of your life with Robert Peterson. He is host of the Add Value 2 Entrepreneurs Podcast and Founder of Add Value 2 Life Coaching.

He began his own entrepreneurial journey after 20 years in ministry and before that, service as a United States Marine. Now Robert helps you shift your mindset and reach your dreams. 

With over 20 years of coaching leaders, Robert offers a unique perspective guiding professionals to get out of your own way as he helps you see what is written on the instructions outside the box that you’re sitting in.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to find the true story of your career and life!

Then join The Happy Engineer Community online and get access to bonus content and coaching in our free group >> 


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In this podcast episode Robert mentioned the concept of the Emotional Scale.

The Emotional Scale

The Emotional Scale is an incredibly useful framework that engineering leaders need to look at for a couple of reasons.

The first is that there are a lot of emotions

A lot of different emotions that we want to understand and explore in our life. And a lot of engineers, including myself, come into our adult lives with the eight color crayon box of emotions. 

We’re painting the color of our lives with only a few emotions to pick.

And when this is your reality, your emotional vocabulary, and your emotional understanding is limited to only a few words. 

This creates a bias in your emotional life towards a very limited range or in some cases, creating situations that become more extreme because of the vocabulary. So let me give you an example.

Let’s say one of the emotions that you are familiar with and use to describe a lot of situations is “I’m mad.” 

What can happen when mad is the only word that you use to describe that emotion of anger, right? 

When you use mad, you might say, “Ugh, I lost my stapler. I’m so mad that I lost my stapler.” 

You might also say. 

I am so mad that Billy lied to me about his work on this project. And now we’re two weeks behind.” 

Those are completely different situations. There’s a very different level of emotion, a different intensity of emotion between those two situations.

And if the picture we paint around it, in both cases, is just with the term “mad”, what happens is that the less intense situation around the stapler will escalate in its emotional intensity to match the kind of situations like someone lying to you.

Subconsciously you only have one pattern, one emotional pattern, and that’s the pattern around being mad.

So anytime you decide, ‘‘I’m mad about something” you’re gonna fall into the same emotional pattern in your experience of life and the way you act. 

Another simple example would be worry

You might be worried about your presentation tomorrow. Or you might be worried that your best friend was just diagnosed with cancer. 

Again, two totally different situations.

And when you say “I’m worried about both…” Well, you’re definitely overdoing the emotion that relates to your upcoming presentation.

But here’s the thing. As you build your emotional vocabulary, it allows you to experience things where they actually belong. 

You might say, “Wow, I’m a little bit irritated that I lost my stapler. And I am in absolute rage that Billy lied to me.”

You see those two words are different points on this emotional scale, and they communicate very different levels of emotional intensity. 

Now your life starts to have more vibrancy, more color, more meaning because you’re not bucketing everything under just one word.

Going up the emotional scale

Once you understand that your emotions are distributed across a horizontal spectrum, or a vertical scale, it is easier to understand why sometimes we fail to control the way we feel. 

It’s very difficult to jump way up or way down the scale quickly.

If you are in a state of depression, grief, powerlessness, or some place low on the emotional guidance scale, it is a huge leap for you to move from there up towards optimism or even passion, enthusiasm, joy or love. 

That is way too big of a step for you to make in a single moment. And this is where a lot of people get stuck emotionally.

And it certainly doesn’t help if you’re in a negative place, when somebody comes along and says, “Hey, cheer up, have a positive outlook. Just feel better. Be more enthusiastic.”

It doesn’t really help because, well… Easier said than done. 

In any given moment for you to just immediately jump from a low point on the scale to a completely different vibration is extremely difficult.

So when you have mastery of the emotional guidance scale, what you know to do instead is move up bit by bit. In other words, if you’re feeling fearful, if you’re feeling insecure, ask yourself, what would be a different thought, a different way of approaching this situation that might just feel a little bit less negative.

You can reframe your thinking around your emotions. What’s better, you can separate yourself from your emotions. You start to look at the way you feel as what they are, only momentary modes of experiencing your reality.

You might say, “I’m just a little frustrated.” And then you get to that point of saying, 

“Actually, you know what, I’m just bored with this situation.”

“I’m ready to move on to something else.”

“I’m feeling contentment right now.” 

“And actually there’s a bit of hope.” 

“I have some hope that this situation is going to improve” 

And, just like that, optimism and enthusiasm start to flow. And you slowly move up the scale. 

When you have this understanding, it really opens a lot of doors for you to experience life in a new way and to build emotional mastery, which I believe is one of the important skills for every engineering leader to spend time with. 

In conclusion

Look at these two things. The number of colors in your emotional crayon box and thinking about moving up and down the scale a bit more gently, being easier on yourself in how you experience life, moment to moment.

 All right. I wanna hustle on point number two, cuz I already spent more time on emotional scale than I meant to, but it was the point around imagination.

Hey, if you wanna talk about this more, join our new community that we’re building on. We’ve got The Happy Engineer, a private group there where you can jump in, ask questions, share your action plans as a result of the podcast, or dig more into concepts like the emotional scale.

I would love to see you there.

In the meantime, though, keep crushing comfort, create courage, and take action.

Until next time.

Previous Episode 057: You Do You – How to Unleash Your Authentic Superpowers with Erin Hatzikostas




Robert Peterson is the host of the Add Value 2 Entrepreneurs Podcast and co-founder of Add Value 2 Life Coaching. Robert helps entrepreneurs shift their mindset and reach their dreams. 

Robert started out in Christian Ministry as a church planter, pastor, and mentor. He began his own entrepreneurial journey after 20 years in ministry and aimed to help individuals use the tools he’d gathered. 

Robert is trained in conflict coaching, relationship coaching, speaking, training and coaching. He uses his vast tool box to coach business owners as they struggle and aim to grow their businesses to the next level. 

With over 20 years of coaching leaders, Robert offers a unique perspective guiding professionals to get out of their own way as he helps them see what is written on the instructions outside the box that they’re sitting in.






Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Robert, awesome to have you on The Happy Engineer Podcast. I can’t thank you enough for making time to be with me and the happy engineers out there, man, welcome!

[00:00:09] Robert Peterson: Zach, thank you so much for having me. I am just, I feel privileged to have this conversation. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:14] Zach White: Well, I’m excited because what you do and the life that you have lived brings so much to the table for this conversation.

[00:00:22] I’m gonna be hard pressed to limit us to, 30 or 40 minutes today, but I wanna read something I found when I. Just getting to know you and the material of the incredible work you do with add value to entrepreneurs. Because when I read it, I thought to myself, wait, is Robert talking about entrepreneurs or engineers?

[00:00:41] And here it is, you said, entrepreneurs get stuck in their head, challenged by their thoughts, the voice in their head and their beliefs. We help them get out of their own. And I read that. I thought, wait a minute, you could just replace the word entrepreneur with engineers, who I coach and the work we do at OACO and it would make perfect sense.

[00:01:03] Engineers get stuck in their head, challenged by their thoughts, the voice of their head of their beliefs. Robert, can you just tell me a little bit about what is it that makes that true for entrepreneurs? And I want to get curious. How much the engineer and the entrepreneur may be more the same than I’ve ever considered.

[00:01:24] But tell us about that idea. Where does that come to life and what have you found in coaching entre? 

[00:01:30] to be honest, I think it’s a human idea. so, so the reason it applies to entrepreneurs and engineers is because so far they’re all humans , um, and 

[00:01:41] Zach White: so far good distinction, right. You 

[00:01:42] Robert Peterson: know, it’s shifting fast and iRobot could be the next iteration, but.

[00:01:49] I think that there’s this human condition and it really the longer I’ve worked in this, the more I I’ve recognized that the things I learned in ministry, and in ministry, it was the battle between good and evil The focus of, for people to shift their habits and shift their thinking to do good, is really the same battle that’s happening in everybody’s mind, in trying to apply themselves to their work.

[00:02:15] And so there’s this negative voice inside your head that’s telling you, you’re not good enough. You can’t do it. You’re not strong enough. or you shouldn’t make money or it’s never gonna work that way. All of these lies. Because that voice inside you and I, I just use the devil, but the negative voice is not you.

[00:02:37] It is not your voice it’s coming from outside of you. and I, that’s hard for people to grasp it’s coming from outside of you, but that voice is trying to limit your potential. And some might say, it’s your subconscious trying to keep you safe. I don’t, you know, if you wanna blame that. But when I was a kid, we had cartoons, right.

[00:02:53] And the cartoon had, dappy duck in the evil devil outfit and, bugs bunny, angel outfit encouraging you and, basically. The war in your head is between the positive and the negative. And the majority of people are living by default and allowing that negative voice to be the one that’s in control.

[00:03:13] And so the things that lead to burnout. Like you’re talking about on your shows. Most of the time is living by default feeling like life’s outta control. I have to do all the things my boss tells me to do. I have to do all the things my wife tells me to do. I have to do all the things my HOA tells me to do.

[00:03:28] I have to do all the things my government tells me to do. I have to do all the things that, that are just required for me to just get up and survive on a daily basis and they’re miserable, but there’s another side. Where you get to choose and you get to wake up every day and you choose joy and you choose to love your wife and you choose to do the things that your boss is telling you to do.

[00:03:52] And you choose to do the things that you need to do to take care of your kids and your family. But in the choice is so much power and freedom. that it alleviates some of the misery that’s on that other side, that feels so outta control. Mm. 

[00:04:06] Zach White: So let me back up to this idea that the negative voice is not you that’s a really, I important statement that I’m not sure everybody would agree with or not. And it also begs the question. what is the difference then between the voices that are me and are not me. So is the good voice, always me and the bad voice, always not me.

[00:04:29] And so Robert, let, tell me a little bit about how you distinguish what is me. What’s not me. And then the good voice, the bad voice, is that the clear line or let’s unpack that a little bit, cuz I think it’s super interesting how we’re relating thoughts to kind of a core identity. 

[00:04:50] Robert Peterson: Absolutely. Well, and I think the negative voice does become you.

[00:04:53] If you allow it to. Mm. so I can’t say whether the negative voice is somebody else or not wholly because they become, they become what they believe. They become the stories they tell themselves those become your beliefs. And then those beliefs stop you from taking action. Typically, instead of being beliefs that encourage you to take action, right?

[00:05:14] So 95% of our decisions are made by our subconscious mind without us controlling them. And without us having any role in. So if 95% of the choices that you’re making in a day, are those choices happening for you or against you? Yeah. And the majority of people aren’t taking control of those, they’re not intentional in their living.

[00:05:36] and then. They feel like their life’s totally outta control, because guess what it is, there’s some grain of truth in that because their life’s totally outta control. 

[00:05:46] so this idea of adopting the negative voice as a core belief, you know, whether it’s, you just repeated it enough times that it becomes something.

[00:05:56] Zach White: You believe by default to your point, or, maybe it’s even a conscious decision to buy into that, that negative voice. Is that the core concept that you would say that separates? What is me from what is not me? that taking it on as something that I deeply believe, or is a conviction now, whether that’s conscious or SUBC.

[00:06:15] Robert Peterson: absolutely. I think our beliefs are at the foundation of everything and our beliefs are based on the stories we tell ourselves. And the only way to change our beliefs is to change our stories and change our actions. The way we program our subconscious mind is through repetition and action. So if you wanna change a habit, you wanna, you wanna become a runner.

[00:06:35] Well, guess what you need to. Hey, you gotta start telling yourself, Hey, I’m a pretty good runner, but you gotta start putting on running shoes at some point. And then you gotta put on running shoes every single day for 21 days. I don’t care if you go out and run, but at the end of 21 days, your brain is gonna say, I think I’m a runner and you’re gonna put on the running shoes.

[00:06:54] And then you’re actually gonna go out and run. because that’s how the brain understands your identity. Mm-hmm , mm-hmm and it’s founded in our beliefs. one of the failings of the church and, and, and religion in general, I think is because they get caught up in programming us for these beliefs around salvation or these beliefs around 

[00:07:13] Who we’re following, but we’re not questioning some of the beliefs that were planted in us, by our parents and our teachers and, important people in our lives or the boss that told us, you know, what, I don’t think you’ve got what it takes to get us to the next level.

[00:07:27] Wow. And a boss, a person of influence says that. that impacts that puts a limitation, right? A, a limiting belief. That’s holding you back that unless you explore your beliefs, unless you explore why you believe that. You can’t undo it and it holds you back. And I guarantee the majority of your audience has limiting beliefs around money.

[00:07:44] They have limiting beliefs around time. They have limiting beliefs around their self worth. And all of those, the majority of those were planted by somebody else. they were planted in a moment of frustration a lot of times. Right? Mm-hmm when your parent says something to you in frustration, well, you’re never gonna be good enough or , you’re never gonna be able to do that.

[00:08:04] Right. And, and it’s a moment of frustration or a moment of protection, right. I’m gonna be an NBA player and your parents says, well, maybe you shouldn’t aim so high . and so the majority of these beliefs have been planted by one simple statement that are subconscious grabbed onto and has held onto for years.

[00:08:20] Yeah. And made it a story of who we are. One of the biggest challenges, especially for engineers is now they’ve gone to school now they’re hired and their identity is based in I’m an engineer. and so many of us, we go to networking events, we go to these events and what’s the first question. Anybody asks you, what do you do? And what do you answer? I’m an engineer. I’m an engineer. Well, that’s not true. You’re also a husband and a father and a, and a, you know, a churchgoer potentially, and a mountain biker. And why do we pick the career as the one thing that we identify with in, in front of other people?

[00:09:01] Instead of the impact we’re leaving on the world. Right? So now I wanna ask, what are you doing to change the world? Because engineering may or may not change the world. There’s some really cool engineering out there that absolutely has changed the world. Yes. But the majority of it’s bread and butter engineering, that’s just keeping us alive and safe.

[00:09:20] yeah. Which is true and important, 

[00:09:21] Zach White: but such an interesting distinction you’re making and, you know, came up in the context of faith. It comes up in the context of career and family. And I see this a lot as well in the work I do, Robert. Organizations, whether it be, religious groups, be companies parents, whatever authority or thing we’re talking about, focuses a lot on what beliefs they want you to hold that align with the values and the, you know, what we stand for the identity of that thing.

[00:09:53] But we don’t spend a lot of intentional time. Asking the questions about which beliefs we’ve been programmed with that are not the ones that are gonna help us in our lives, in creating what we wanna create and how many were put there unintentionally by somebody, who meant well, but it could actually be a huge problem or limitation for us.

[00:10:14] So. For the work you’ve done. And just your approach to this, how does somebody get out of the, the endless loop, the default setting, what’s sort of step one to break out of default mode and actually begin engaging with beliefs in a productive way that moves your life forward. 

[00:10:33] Robert Peterson: Yeah, for the most part, I, don’t go backwards.

[00:10:35] Right. And, and if somebody’s experienced trauma and some of those negative things, I want to help, ’em rewrite that story, but typically you need a therapist for those things, but the way you tell the story to yourself about your life, about who you are right now is really important, Because our self worth is so powerful in what we’re doing and future pacing, right?

[00:10:57] Figuring out what is the future that you really want. What is the thing that can drive you to. make some changes. Change is hard. Everybody says they don’t like change, but the truth is they just don’t wanna work very hard. mm. but you don’t have to work very hard to change your mind. It’s actually really easy.

[00:11:15] Zach White: it just takes repetition and action. . Yeah. And so, so you’ve gotta know the story you wanna tell yourself about what’s true for you.Well, and, but let’s pause really quick, cuz I think this is an important concept and I wanna take it out of the conceptual.

[00:11:31] We’re talking about your story and I think it’s a bold assumption that everybody actually know. Like, what does that mean? What does that look like? So can you actually make it as tangible as possible for us? Robert, if I was to say, what is the story that you’re believing? What does that really mean?

[00:11:49] And look like, and what would even the process of questioning it or changing it involve. 

[00:11:55] Robert Peterson: All right. So one of the exercises that I’ll do is create a timeline and if the middle of the timeline is. normal and then you’ve got the positives, right? So I got my Eagle scout. I got promoted to Sergeant in the Marine Corps.

[00:12:12] Right. Those are high points. Right. I got married. Ooh, I got divorced. That one goes down here. Right. So, create this timeline and you can draw it however you want. You make it a bar graph, but you’re gonna have the highs and lows of your life. Got it. and then ask yourself the question. How is the feelings I feel about this event impacting who I am today,

[00:12:38] right? So you and I both have experienced divorce. And then I went into Christian ministry where a lot of people say divorce is a disqualification. And so there were people in my circles that believed I was disqualified to do the job that I was doing. . And so I’m a firm believer in the power of forgiveness.

[00:12:57] I’m a firm believer in, in mistakes. Don’t define us. And I believe that both on my faith side and in the world, right. If you’re still breathing, you’ve got a chance to make amends and you’ve still got a chance to, to do something better. But I also know that I can’t, change my divorce. I can’t undo it.

[00:13:14] I can’t, it’ll never go away. But if I live every day of my life since then, In shame or guilt, which are super low vibrational frequencies. Mm-hmm , I will live the rest of my life in Missouri and yuck. right. and you can, your listeners can download the emotional scale and look at, um, you know, it’s rated, right?

[00:13:36] There’s our bodies vibrate and the power of forgiveness is a me and me deal. It’s regardless of what my ex-wife feels it’s regardless of, I have to forgive myself for the mistake that I made and then I have to move forward and move forward means that I’m gonna let go of it. I’m not gonna talk about it.

[00:13:53] and I’m not gonna beat myself up over it. And that’s a commitment that I make to myself about that event. Yes. And there’s people that are still can go back to those events and, and simply make that commitment. Right. Well, I’m not gonna talk about this one anymore. until I can get past it.

[00:14:08] Robert Peterson: Right. And now you can talk about it because a it’s a long ways back and B I’ve forgiven myself. And so there’s, there’s huge power in being able to tell others the same story. Right? So look, you need to let go of this piece. You can’t undo it. You don’t, you have no control over the past, but the story I tell myself, what did I learn?

[00:14:28] What did I learn from that marriage that makes this marriage so much better? 

[00:14:32] Zach White: So I wanna make sure I’m tracking with the exercise we’re looking at this timeline of our life. We’re capturing. Peak experiences and these valley, you know, negative experiences, you know, as we think back and Robert, is this something you would just go back as far as you can remember?

[00:14:48] Is there any point? Well, I mean, 

[00:14:49] Robert Peterson: significant memories, right? Significant to the person. Yeah. Right. And, they’re gonna do it and they’re gonna figure out they missed a couple and they’ll go, oh, this one was really important. Right. And they’ll go back in and, draw it in. But the exercise is really the intentionality of what stories am I telling.

[00:15:06] Got that’s the recognition that starts to come out of this. What stories am I telling myself? 

[00:15:11] Zach White: And that key question. So what’s the story I’m telling myself about this event, or it was something about how are my feelings about this? How do I, how is how I feel about this event impacting who I am today, 

[00:15:23] today?

[00:15:24] And so that’s the key. Connection to make in terms of what the story is, is taking that thing from my past and asking how the story or feelings around that, which are in some ways synonymous for this exercise impacting me today. so not how did I feel back then? Right. and how did it impact me then?

[00:15:46] It’s the question about this being a part of my life story? How have I pulled. Meaning into the present. And what does that say about who I am and, what I believe today? 

[00:15:59] Robert Peterson: Exactly. And, and what it starts to do is raise your awareness. And so then all of a sudden you have the memory of my dad saying, well, you’re not very smart.

[00:16:09] you’ll never do that. You’ll never be good. And how does that make, how did the feelings from that impact me mm-hmm and being able to, so now it gives me a chance to change the story. Now, this isn’t therapy, this isn’t, this is changing the story to serve me rather than allowing the story to hold me back and make me a victim.

[00:16:30] Right. And so I can’t change the event. I can’t undo the divorce. , but what I can do is start to recognize the lessons and how that’s made me a better man. Yes. And so now I turn the story to, how does it serve me? How can this event serve me? And even how can the statements my dad made serve me, 

[00:16:50] Well now I’m mature enough to recognize. Maybe dad had something going on that day, maybe dad was struggling with something in his past and maybe it had nothing to do with me at all. Maybe I was just irritating him in a moment of, of his busyness. Right. Because now I’ve been a father and I recognize the things we say, aren’t always what we intend.

[00:17:13] Yeah. And the consequence of things we say, aren’t always what we intend. And so. And I have a great relationship with my father. He was a fantastic man and yeah, he spanked me and, and yeah, he yelled at me and his bark was far worse than his bite and I deserved most of it. So , so 

[00:17:32] Zach White: maybe to use that example, Robert, what was the process like for you in choosing a new story around that area of your life?

[00:17:40] Would you be able to share an example? 

[00:17:43] So. One of the biggest is money and it’s even been recently. So I spent 20 years in Christian ministry. I spent 10 of that in south America, serving as a missionary, we raised our own support and there was this idea that missionaries should live on less oh, you’re living in another country.

[00:18:02] Robert Peterson: You can, you can do it with less money. and then even missionaries to the level of, We spent this week, eating rice beans for the glory of God. this idea that you’re sacrificing for the glory of God, well, 98% of the church population is living their normal life, but throwing, throwing us their pennies and, so it, the money mindset issues.

[00:18:26] the church uses some of the Bible verses, right? so the idea of, root of all evil, the love of money, but you tie money to evil scripture also says that you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and money, but what they don’t talk about is that money doesn’t have to be your master money.

[00:18:47] Doesn’t have to be the computer against God. Mm-hmm you can love God and still earn money. And so wrestling with those stories and the stories that I told myself about money, were very challenging. Yes. And, once I recognized the limitation, then I have to change my relationship to money and I have to change the story that I’m telling myself.

[00:19:07] And so part of my morning routine for months was, I love money, money loves me. I can do more for God’s kingdom with more money. God wants me to have money. In fact, earning more money is a way of honoring God. I don’t need to play small to honor God. Um, and so changing the story for in my own life, it has a huge impact.

[00:19:31] Yes. That’s awesome. On my ability to raise money and earn money. Yeah. And, and the crazy thing is the more you dig into the scripture and you look at the truth of it. It’s the negative voice. I will say the devil that manipulates that Bible verse, the minute people hear it, that you can’t serve two masters God and money.

[00:19:52] Satan has you. He’s completely taken that Bible verse and church is teaching it in good faith, but everybody listening to it, doesn’t hear it in good faith. They hear it in fear. And if you’re hearing it in fear, then that’s the negative side. That’s winning. Cause fear is such a low vibration, but you hear what Jesus says.

[00:20:11] And Jesus talks about the parable of the talents, which is very clearly a money verse. And he’s very clearly talking about multiplication, talking about using money to earn more money. For the good of the kingdom. Yeah. And so we need to be willing to say, no, no, you don’t, you’re missing it. You can, you have to earn money.

[00:20:29] And, and I, I wrote my book. Last actually between Christmas and new year’s and I, the very first thing I start out with is you became an entrepreneur. You became an engineer to earn money. It’s okay to earn money. You wanna earn money. In fact, I want you to say it right now. I want to make money, 

[00:20:45] Zach White: period. I want to make lots of money.

[00:20:47] Robert. I’ll tell you that right now, but Zach, 

[00:20:49] Robert Peterson: it can’t be about the money. Amen. That’s the challenge. Yeah. And that’s the challenge for so many people is because money’s become the end. money’s become the end game. You get a job. The first thing you talk about is how much is the salary, right?

[00:21:03] And of course we don’t talk about it cause we’re told not to talk about money. So we’re not allowed to talk about our salary, which is why we have salary separations and, disparities between mm-hmm genders and races. And you know, what, if we talked about money, Those disparities would all 

[00:21:16] Zach White: go away. So Robert, let me ask this question, cuz this is an interesting topic in one way, the conversation’s going all over, but what’s interesting is we’re hovering around the same core, really important reality that every engineering leader needs to ask themselves you know, what are the beliefs that I hold in these domains that really matter to me, like money, like faith, like my career, like my family.

[00:21:39] But I’ve heard before. And I’m curious, I, I feel like you have to have encountered this with your clients as well, or the people you interact with people who struggle to adopt this idea that it. the right thing to do or it’s okay for me to just change my story about something, because that’s in higher service of the life I wanna live.

[00:22:03] And somehow by brainwashing myself and changing my own beliefs, if that’s even possible, you know? Woo, woo. Craziness here. That’s the road to happiness and success and wealth and all these things that I want. And a lot of the engineers that I work with really value this idea of, well, I’m a, realist and I don’t just make stuff up.

[00:22:24] And how is lying to myself? You know, cuz that actually happened or this is the truth or. there’s just this resistance to the idea that somehow I can just change these things and my life will shift. I’m gonna pretend that this stuff, you know what I’m saying? I kind of play in devil’s advocate here, but when you encounter that kind of person, of course, how do you.

[00:22:45] How do you help them to see that we’re not talking about just lying to ourselves maybe you take it, like what, what would you 

[00:22:51] Robert Peterson: say they’re already lying to themselves. cause they’re already lying to themselves in the idea that they have control The majority of the stories they’re telling themselves are already lies.

[00:23:03] in fact, I would challenge him to believe that the majority of the stories they’re telling themselves aren’t really true either, but they’ve never questioned them. Yeah. 

[00:23:15] Zach White: Maybe this bombshell question than Robert, but I feel like what comes out of that is then how do we individually discern which stories are true.

[00:23:26] Robert Peterson: Well, I’m gonna say you get to choose, and if you get to choose, why not choose the one that leads to your destiny and your dream and your impact and joy rather than choose the one that leads to misery and death. 

[00:23:40] Zach White: Woo. That’s a powerful answer. You get to choose. Okay. Use. Okay. So let me take that and run with it.

[00:23:47] Then earlier we talked about the default versus the choice.

[00:23:53] other than the pure scientific answer that the subconscious mind is driving the bus, 95% of the horsepower between our ears is the subconscious. And we can easily just blame that, that setting of our psychology as the reason. But why do you think so few people exercise the 5% the agency, the choice to go change the story and make this happen when the prize.

[00:24:18] Is clearly worth it. What do you think it is? that holds us back from getting into that freedom of choice. So 

[00:24:25] Robert Peterson: the brain’s default is survival. that lizard part of the brain defaults to survival and it’s content with comfort mm-hmm . And so we have so many comforts, right? You and I aren’t going out hunting for water or you and I aren’t going out and hunting for dinner.

[00:24:40] You and I don’t have to do any of that hard work. And so the brain is very content with that because we’re safe and so challenging that survival instinct of the brain. is unique. Yes, it’s different. And most people don’t feel like they have control. Most people don’t feel like that voice in their head is outside of them.

[00:25:04] And so once you start to recognize that, that negative voice saying, stop, don’t do it. It won’t work, blah, blah, blah. Isn’t you, you can change it and you can shift it. My challenge for the scientific types is let’s do an experiment. Yeah. I want you to try it. I challenge you to try it. 

[00:25:25] Zach White: Be an engineer, run the test.

[00:25:27] Yeah, I think 

[00:25:27] Robert Peterson: that’s great. Cause, cause I know what will work. I’ve seen way too many results, way too many results to doubt 

[00:25:35] Zach White: I love your story. And I wanna actually unpack this because part of why your conviction around this is so strong is you have lived it, you have experienced it and now you’ve coached others to success through this.

[00:25:45] I’m curious for you. One of the things Robert that I coach my clients in is, you know, I believe that we, as humans are, three parts and not everybody would agree with this, maybe some people would say spirit, soul, and body. You could say, you know, faith mind and physical or nature, like whatever.

[00:26:01] Zach White: However you wanna split it. And again, not everybody agrees with this breakdown, but it’s how I coach my clients. And I think about these three things is separate. the part of me that is spiritual or faith based the part of me that is my conscious mind and will, and then this part of me that is my physical, the touch and feel part of my body.

[00:26:17] Right. Well, what I think’s amazing about your story is you’ve, you’ve done. What I believe is work that requires incredible courage and confidence and a willingness to challenge. That survival instinct on all three of these. If I was gonna say like, what’s the most demanding physical domain of courage, the Marine Corps would be on that list and you are a Marine.

[00:26:41] If I was gonna say, uh, take the faith one, you know, what’s the hardest place to go challenge, courage and faith. being a full-time, you know, in ministry as a, overseas missionary, like that’s as tough as it gets. And then in mind, Coaching entrepreneurs and being an entrepreneur, you know, the journey of entrepreneurship probably as courageous, a domain, as I can think of.

[00:27:04] And that. So like you’ve lived all three in big ways. And I’m curious for you, which of the three would you say if you had to pick one was the place where you actually were forced to develop this skill? Of awareness of lies, changing the stories and, shifting your mindset in this whole world, which of the three was the toughest.

[00:27:29] I’m gonna say faith because the spiritual side, I could see the spiritual truths in the teachings of thinking girl, rich and of, Wallace de Wattles and of James Allen. And then the Bible. Which has been my guidebook for, 20 plus years of leading and there’s many people in the world saying that those two were incompatible, that this is new age thinking and, self determination is, is against God.

[00:27:58] Robert Peterson: And I think the truth is there’s, this huge overlap obviously. and these people are speaking truth and the Bible is speaking truth. And when you, when you allow both to be in their space, it’s like, okay, now I, I see this right. And there’s many in the new age and self development side that don’t believe in God and believe in universe, there is definitely a spiritual element, regardless of whether you believe in God and want to acknowledge that you’re missing out.

[00:28:26] On a huge aspect of this. And so I appreciate, we are, spiritual beings, I believe put into a physical body, given a mind to think, and that’s what differentiates us from everything else that’s been created on this planet or lives on this planet. But that ability to. Is the one that we don’t use.

[00:28:47] and I know the engineers are listening to this going, I use my brain all the time. You’re right. You’re using it like a calculator or a computer, but you’re not thinking new. Creative imaginative. and that’s what the brain is really designed to do. and yes, there’s lots of people that do it.

[00:29:05] Robert Peterson: You can look in the room around you and everything that was invented in the room around you was invented by a human being who was using his brain to think of something that didn’t exist before he got there. and that’s the power of thinking. Mm. Right. That’s where creation really comes in. And that’s where your engineers are gonna be tapping into greatness.

[00:29:22] Right. when they can tap into that mastermind and they tap into spirit and they’ve aligned their spirit and their mind, and they have a healthy body to use it. That’s when amazing, incredible new things happen like suspension, bridges, and skyscrapers. And, airplanes.

[00:29:39] Right. It took engineers a great deal of courage to step out of. Well, this is how we’ve always done it to what if we tried this? Mm. But that only happens when you tap into the 

[00:29:52] Zach White: thinking side. Yeah. Yeah. So Robert, if Becky, the engineering leader is out there listening and, she’s asking the question right now, like, wow.

[00:30:01] What Robert just. Sounds amazing. I wanna tap into more of that, but I don’t know where to begin. how do I stop using my brain, like a calculator and start using it for this kind of visionary, imaginative. creation, power that Robert’s describing. What would you say to Becky? what’s the first step moving toward that kind of life?

[00:30:25] Is there a resource? Is there an action? Is there a place to go? Like what, what do 

[00:30:29] Robert Peterson: you recommend? I mean, there’s, there’s tons of resources, obviously, Tony Robbins takes cold baths. He has meditation time. He has thinking times, you know, learning to write with your opposite hand, learning to brush your teeth with your opposite hand but allowing yourself to recognize and openness to the imagination.

[00:30:47] I think one of the biggest challenges in our culture is just giving yourself space to, to be creative, to be artistic and. One of our challenges, I think in the Western world is, is we’ve Lim we’ve limited creatives to artists, dancers, and actors. Hmm. And painters. and if you don’t, you know, I can’t draw and I can’t dance and, and I can’t sing.

[00:31:09] So I’m, I’m not very creative. Right. And so I think a lot of the folks in the engineer space, right. They’re very. Maybe spreadsheet oriented they’re analytical. That’s the word? Yeah, sure. Very analytical. and they don’t spend a lot of time in the creative space. And so allow yourself some time in that creative space.

[00:31:29] I think it’s even as simple as spending some time in an adult coloring book, give yourself the freedom to do something that, even simple things that are outside of the ordinary. But I think it’s space. Just give yourself space. I have two thinking days a week, I spend 30 minutes on my calendar and it’s just thinking time.

[00:31:47] Robert Peterson: And it’s just, most of the time, it’s just writing, allowing all the thoughts in my head to just write. And I just. I wish I could just connect it to the paper. And so I wouldn’t have this weakness in between, right? The weakness is my hand and my ability to just write, but allowing my thoughts to just flow and the more that I’ve practiced that, and the more that I’ve done, that the more ideas and more things that just start to, come from that process.

[00:32:10] Mm-hmm, , mm-hmm because I’ve given myself space to allow my mind. My mind knows if I’ve got ideas, Robert’s gonna honor him. And I think the majority of people get ideas. They don’t honor him. They just say, oh, that’s not for me. And they kill the dream. They kill the idea. And then six months later they see it on a television commercial.

[00:32:30] Selling for 1995. And I’m like, that was my idea. Yeah. And they didn’t do anything with it. And so that idea goes to somebody else. I think ideas are very spiritual. Money’s very spiritual and ideas and money. They like to work. They don’t like to get stuck. And so if you’re holding onto money or you’re holding onto ideas or you’re ignoring them, They need to be honored.

[00:32:51] They need to be put to work. They need to be, they need to be used. And so writing them down and exploring ’em and sharing them. And maybe that idea is not for me, but you know what? My buddy, Zach man, he’s got that happy engineers podcast. This is perfect for him. Let me call him. I love that. And that, that allows the ideas to that’s what ideas were designed for, right.

[00:33:10] Our relationships and using just, they were designed to do stuff, not just sit stuck in your head. 

[00:33:17] Zach White: I hope Becky’s feeling the passion from this Robert. I am. I was like, I wanna go get some creative time set aside right now. And maybe there’s a temptation. Uber intellectual in me. And I know a lot of engineers get labeled as, this overthinking, very serious minded kind of people it’s like, did Robert just say adult coloring book, like I’m out, you know, that’s not having, but honestly, you know, and for those who don’t know, Robert’s work, you know, helping incredible leaders and entrepreneurs build amazing businesses and, and it really.

[00:33:45] Sometimes as simple as finding that outlet, I, I love that and I hope people are inspired to, to get after it, Robert, so much stuff to consider and dig into here. It’s hard to know, how to bring it all together into a single concept, but we always end in the same place. I’m excited to hear where you take us with this, but great engineering, great coaching, you know, the work that you do with entrepreneurs.

[00:34:10] has in common that questions lead and the answers follow. And we wanna ask great questions in our life as engineering leaders, as entrepreneurs, as husbands, as wives, as all these roles, we play asking great questions. So for that leader out there, who’s been listening to our chat today. If they want that happiness, that imaginative, creative empower.

[00:34:34] Choiceful lifestyle that we just talked about. What would be the best question you would lead them with today? 

[00:34:43] Robert Peterson: What’s holding you. What is preventing you from doing what you wanna do

[00:34:49] and then exploring of course, what is it that you really wanna do? 

[00:34:54] Zach White: What’s holding me back. Robert, if somebody wants to either explore that question with you or get connected with the amazing work that you’re doing with your podcast, with your business, your coaching, where can people reach out and get more Robert in their 

[00:35:11] Robert Peterson: life?

[00:35:12] So it’s add value to the number two And if you put in add value, the number two, um, I’m holding up a very large little book. it’s about. It’s actually 800 pages. So this is an 800 page book. My wife. And my are both authors in this book and it’s called a dose of hope and, uh, we’ll give away the digital copy of this dose of hope.

[00:35:36] It has both our stories. It has the story from Frank Hanit, who created Make-A-Wish foundation and other stories of hope and just good stuff. So dose stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins, which is what happens in your brain. When you experience joy and you experience happiness and you elevate your vibration.

[00:35:54] And so if you go to add value to life dot. Slash dose D O S E. we’ll send you guys that ebook and the opportunity to enjoy those stories of hope. we want to share more hope and give more hope in the world and add value is all about leaving the world a better place than we found it.

[00:36:11] And so leaving lives lives is better than we found them. 

[00:36:14] Zach White: So good. And, you know, I can’t say enough. Robert and his wife and their, team, the business that they’re running, you know, you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to get tremendous value from the book. It’s such a generous offer. You know, this is not like a two page ebook you get from a lot of places.

[00:36:28] It’s a, an incredible resource. So please go out, add value to I’ll make sure that’s in the show notes. All the other resources we talked about on the show today will be there. You know where to find those at the happy engineer, Jump out, get the bonus content from today’s episode. And Robert, thank you.

[00:36:44] So much for making time and really challenging our minds today and those stories that we hold. Uh, I know my story feels inspired to level up after this chat. So thanks again, and really appreciate you and your generosity and the value you add everywhere you go. It’s tremendous. Thanks again. 

[00:37:02] Robert Peterson: Well, Zach, thank you so much for the great questions and the great conversation.