Do you want to change your life, but don't have the right mindset? In this series you will learn from Jim Cathcart how to take the first small step to help you improve your mindset so you can accomplish your goals.Sign Up to Watch
- You will spend one hour a day studying your chosen field, you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less.
- Jim, I'm so excited sit next to you today.
-This is fun for me.
-You're here Tulsa now. You came from LA. This is obviously the tourism capital of the world here.
-Is it like a shock, coming from the slow pace of LA to Tulsa here?
-It's really nice to be back here. I lived here for six years.
-That's right. And this is what I want to do in this episode. You're a Thrive mentor here. And this is our opportunity for you as a Thriver to really get to know Jim. And I want to go back a little bit here to the early years.
-You got it.
-OK? And so we know now you're a famous speaker that has worked with some of the top companies in America. Who are some of the top companies you've worked with so far?
-Well, name the top companies, and probably them.
-I love it.
-Yeah, seriously, I've worked with 3,000 different clients over the years. So name your industry and I can start rattling them off. But associations in all the various fields, corporations, everything from American Airlines to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
-Some huge ones. But what I want to do here is, did you always grow up wanting to become a speaker, become a well-known author? What did the early years look like for you?
-Well, I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. And my dad was a telephone repairman. Mom was a housewife who took care of my sister and me, my younger sister. And my grandfather had had a stroke and was completely disabled. Couldn't talk, couldn't move for the rest of his life. And so for seven years, he was in our front bedroom. And my grandmother was there helping take care of him. But Mom had to take care of me, my sister, my grandmother, and my grandfather. And my dad was on the road as a telephone lineman for awhile. And so he'd be gone all week. And we kids were underfoot at home.
And I just expected I'd grow up and I'd work at the phone company or something like it. And I was thinking, maybe I'll be a manager and I'll work in an office. And that would be cool. But that was the height of my aspirations, except that I always really got in character when I was playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. If we were playing cowboys, man, my outfit was complete, and it was genuine. I wasn't a Hollywood cowboy. I was a real punching cows cowboy.
And if I was doing Davy Crockett, which was back in my day, then that was--
-You were just all in and everything.
-I had a coonskin cap made from a coon. Really, my dad was a hunter. And he killed a raccoon. And we made me a coonskin cap out of that.
-I love that. Let me ask you this. If you were to think back to a turning point in your life where you could pinpoint this is when my life started to change, the direction started to change, what does that moment look like? When was that?
-For a lot of people there weren't specific moments. For me, there was a specific moment, absolutely. I remember in 1972, I was working-- well, first off, I was born in 1946. So do the math. 1972, I was about 26 years old. And I'm working for the Little Rock Housing Authority, urban renewal agency. And I was a clerk. I was assistant to a man named Bob Moore. He was in the next office. And he wasn't busy.
-He was not a busy manager.
-Yeah, and I was his helper. So I got nothing to do. And it's the urban renewal agency. And I'm looking for work. And so I'm bored to tears. I'm newly married. Got married in 1970. We had a son by that time. Jim, Jr. was a tiny little baby. And I weighed 200 pounds. I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. I ate a very unhealthy diet, because it was normal. Nothing intentional about any of this. I had just accumulated a pretty unhealthy lifestyle.
-So 26 years old, 200 pounds, two packs.
-And no college degree. And no money in the bank, no connections in the community. And had never been an athlete. And so I'm sitting there at the housing authority, and I'm thinking, this isn't the way I want my life to be. I want to do something that matters. I want to make a difference in the world. But I didn't think I was the kind of guy that could ever make a difference.
[MUSIC PLAYING] -I hadn't been an A student in school. So it wasn't like I thought I had some mind power that was yet unleashed. And in the next room, the radio was playing. And on the radio, I heard the voice of Earl Nightingale, who at the time was called the Dean of Personal Motivation. And he was on 900 radio stations all around the world, with a little, five-minute show called "Our Changing World." And his deep, fatherly voice was on the radio. And I remember that day like a lightning bolt moment. -Really? -He said that day, in this little broadcast, he said, if you will spend one hour a day extra studying your chosen field, you'll be a national expert in that field in five years or less. -One hour a day. -One hour a day extra, meaning not just doing your work. You say, well, during the course of my work, I spend eight hours a day. No, no, no, no, no. One focused hour of learning on your chosen field every single day. Five years, that's 1,250 hours. And that's only doing it during the week, so you don't even have to think on weekends. So I'm thinking, wait a minute, one hour a day, 1,250 hours, I could do that. I, me, insignificant me, I could do this. And all of a sudden, the world open up to me. And I thought, well heck, what do I want to be an expert at? It's not urban renewal. An hour a day, could I found an hour a day? Well, I'm a government clerk, I got eight hours a day. -You could do it all day. -I could do this by next Thursday. -So is this like an action item for you? I mean, this thought, this first thought of dedicating an hour a day to focusing on your trade that you choose, is this an action item here for the Thrivers? -Oh, so totally yes. -OK, so action item here. What's the action item, if you're talking this Thriver? What do they need to do? -Well first off, figure out what you want to become an expert at. Choose your field. -Action item one, choose your field, figure out what you want to be an expert in. -And I didn't know at first. I spent probably a few weeks thinking about that and thinking, OK, I can see that I could do that. I could be a substantial person. What do I want to study? And then it hit me a few weeks later, I want to do what the guy on the radio's doing. I want to help people grow. Now problem, I didn't know what that meant. I just knew that felt right to me. And I said, well, I got two problems. If I want to be a professional speaker and help people grow, I've never given a speech and I've got nothing to say. That kind of limits your [INAUDIBLE]. -That's a big part of it. That's a big part of speaking. -So I started thinking, well, what do I want to-- I don't know. And so I started studying. I took him at his word, hour a day of study. So I got books, classic books like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, all the classic books of the day, W. Clement Stone's Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman in the World, and so forth, later. But I also found that Earl Nightingale had a library of audio-- at the time, cassette-- audio recordings. And if you listened to those tapes each day, then that would get you going in the right direction. So I started doing the reading, I started listening to tapes, I started getting around people that seemed to know what they were doing, and studying human development, basically, what's typically called today applied behavioral science. -OK So you just dove into-- you did a deep dive into that. -Fanatically so. -OK. I love it. -I'd study one hour a day, two hours a day, entire weekends. -Wow. -My entire life changed from being the guy that everybody had known to being a guy that was a monomaniac with a mission, as Tom Peters says. Just I had one thing, and that's the one thing I wanted to know about. And my friends changed. Because my other friends were saying, really, you want to get together with Jim? Jim's gone a little weird. -It makes them uncomfortable. They can't continue their lifestyle. -Right, because they're not into it. So people that were interested in personal development found me very interesting, so I had a whole new circle of friends. And my old friends, I still was friends with, but we didn't socialize as often. -Let me ask you this, then. We've got the first action step. That is to decide what it is you want to be an expert in, choose your field. -And start the study process. Start learning. Go online. Google it, YouTube it, everything else, just find whatever it is and start seeing examples. My grandson, Jason-- he's 14 years old as of the filming of this-- and he plays piano. Well, when he wants to learn a song, he just calls it up on YouTube, puts it and his iPad right up on the keyboard, and that afternoon, he's playing it. -I love it. So you choose what you want to do, and then the second one is just to start doing it. Now, let me ask you this, for the Thriver watching-- -Third one is don't stop doing it. -Oh, a third one. Don't stop doing it. That's kind of important, too. OK, do it, and then don't stop doing it. But I guess if I'm speaking on behalf of the Thriver here, because I'm hearing you, and I'm here just to learn from you as well. And that sounds overwhelming. If you're saying an hour a day, I own a business, that's overwhelming. -Yeah, but reading one book's not overwhelming. -OK, you just take little steps, little action steps. -That's right, yeah. One book. -I know with Thrive too, the whole purpose is, we've got-- you mentioned Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends-- the goal is to be able to synthesize these main points and to be able to break them down into 15-minute videos. That's a little bit more easy to take. But you've got to actually start doing it, you're saying. -Totally got to start doing it. -I love it.
-You know, step one for a Thriver is Thrive. You know you've got to watch these videos. -Set a set time for it. -You got to learn from these various people and figure out what resonates with you. What's going to help you make your life the way you want it to be, deep inside. -OK, so this was the moment. You heard that on the radio, you said I want to help people grow. And then you chose what you wanted to do, and you started actually working on that skill-- --but first, I had to what it meant, because I wasn't even sure in my own mind what that meant. -So fast forward to today, what's the success in your life that you can point to that you feel most proud of? Maybe it's not-- we know the Golden Gavel Award Winner, it's something that very few people have won. What's the most-- what are you most proud of? -Proudest accomplishment? -Yes sir. -The way my son turned out. -Really? -Seriously. -Really. -My son is 44 years old, and he's a man I admire. And if you notice in my book, Relationship Selling, I dedicated it to him. I said I want to grow up to be just like you. -I'm guessing that was a goal, that wasn't an accident? That was something you were intentional about? -That was absolutely intentional. When we were he-- this was here in Tulsa. And as we were teaching him and grooming him to become a self-reliant adult, everything I could do intentionally, I was very focused on that to help him get the right kind of thinking, develop the right values, develop a right personal habits, to get thoughts in his mind that would resonate and make a difference in the way he saw the world. -I love it. How about if we're thinking back to a moment in your life, in your career, where you were like, I ju-- you just had to pinch yourself? Like, how did I end up here? From that moment, that turning point in your life. You've worked with the Napoleon Hill Foundation, Og Mandino. You told me that Brian Tracy asked for your help when he started his speaking career here in the States-- -Well, not so much for help in his speaking, but with his business. He lived in Canada. -Yeah. -And he wanted to move to the United States, and he came to La Jolla. And we went to dinner together and talked about what it was like working in California and living there and having your business based there. -But he sought you out? -Yeah. Yeah, well, yeah, he was early in his own career and I was fairly well established at the time. And we've been friends for decades. -I love it. So what's the big pinch me moment. What's the moment where you're like, how did this happen? -Big pinch me moment was, I was in Dallas at the Anatole Hotel, National Speakers Association convention, 1993. And it was the evening banquet, the big awards banquet. And my wife Paula and I were sitting there with our friends and colleagues. And about, I don't know 1,500 people in the audience. Zig Ziglar's in the audience, and Art Linkletter, who was friends with Walt Disney. And all kinds of just big name, powerful people, and a lot of people that you wouldn't know by name, but substantial folks. And they said, OK folks, it's time to give the Founders Award, the Cavett Award. Cavett Robert was the founder of the National Speakers Association. And so Cavett's standing up there. And he gets the envelope, and he opens it up. And he looks at it and he goes-- [SIGH] And he smiles, he says Jim Cathcart. -Wow. -And I thought, gosh, it almost sounded like he said my name. You know, and I thought, clearly, he didn't. -Very similar sounding. -It sure sounded like my name. He was probably saying Jim Tunney, or somebody else you know, he was an NFL referee speaker. And then I noticed everybody standing up and cheering, and they're all looking at me. -Oh my goodness. -I thought, oh my gosh, it was my name! -Oh my gosh. -And so I got up, and I grabbed Paula in a huge embrace. And I kissed her. And the photographer captured that moment. I have the photograph of that moment on the wall beside my bed at home. -And it all started with-- -And all my friends, just a second, all my friends are standing around me like this. And their faces are glowing. And I got on stage and I got up there, and I looked around the room. And Art Linkletter is applauding me. When I was this tall, I was applauding him sitting at home in my living room watching him on TV. -Unbelievable. -Zig Ziglar is applauding me. All these people, my heroes are in the audience. And it's my moment. And I've got my son up on stage with us. And just hahhh. -Talk about a pinch me moment. -Oh and it's even bigger than that. The Anatole Hotel is right next to what used to be a Holiday Inn, that was the only hotel in that lot. -OK. -It was a big empty space with a Holiday Inn. That's where I spent my wedding night. -No way! -In 1970. -It's all happening right there. -Yeah. -And so you came, and we got to see what that turning point moment was. And then we get to see that moment where you were saying, I had to pinch myself. -Humongous moment.
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