>> david nasser: we have michael hyatt backin the house today. come on; put your hands together for the great michael hyatt. michaelis an author. honestly, he was an enabler of authors. he was the head of thomas nelsonpublishing for a long, long time. now he's a best-selling author, a new york times best-sellingauthor. he's more than that. about a half a million people go through his website forleadership training and kinds of ideas that will help you with every day life. and michaelhas a brand new book that's coming out next tuesday, but his team has graciously workedit out where we could get the book before it's available to anyone else on the planet.and so we get to have it today with us here, and then it will be in the bookstore. thebookstore worked all night with michael's
coo who's with us, megan, and they were ableto get all that stuff here for us. we know you're going to want this book, because we'veasked michael to speak a little bit out of some of the principles of this book, thisbrand new book, living forward, that will be released next tuesday, all right? he'sgoing to speak to us about that a little bit today. not about the book, but about the principle,the driving principle in the book. and then, after that, it will be available to you. i do want to just say, since she is here,megan, michael's coo of his entire organization also happens to be his daughter. megan, thankyou for making this happen. i know that michael only speaks about five or six times a year.it's a big deal for us to get to have him.
we're grateful to you. can we welcome meganas well? all right, come on; put your hands together, the great michael hyatt. >> michael hyatt: it was the perfect day forfishing. i was about six years old. i was with my dad, 70 degrees on a beautiful, smalllake in western nebraska - perfect day for fishing. we only brought 20 crappie - or 20minnows that day. we weren't very optimistic, but i did have my lucky khaki shorts on andmy trusty red cowboy boots, and my dad had a white t-shirt, khaki shorts, and his standard-issueblack, dad socks and some old dress shoes. and i mean every cast into that lake we caughta fish, and we quickly went through those 20 minnows. so my dad, being very creative,sat down on a rock, cut off a piece of his
t-shirt, put it on a hook. i threw it intothe lake and caught a fish. the fish didn't know the difference. we must've caught a hundredfish that day, and at the end of the day my arm was so tired, but my heart was so full.it was an idyllic day. but my dad taught me some really importantlessons. he taught me how to build model cars, and planes, and trains, and he taught me someof my very first lessons on creativity and the importance of perseverance and patiencewhen you're trying to be creative. and one of the things i still can remember him sayingto me is, "son, don't force it. let it click into place." he also insisted i join the boyscouts. you know you survived a lot of therapy when you can show a picture like that in frontof 13,000 people and not cower. but he helped
me get some merit badges in camping, and canoeing,and leather working, and stamp collecting, and some other things, but eventually, i discoveredgirls. and one of the things that i noticed in my observant sort of adolescent mind isthat the guys that seem to be getting the hottest chicks were baseball players. i know.but my dad bought me my very first baseball mitt. i can still smell that leather. he taughtme to pitch, and to catch, to bat, and even though all the other parents were yellingat our games- i don't remember my dad ever missing a game. i could still hear his voiceover the crowd saying, "son you can do it! go for it!" and just cheering me on; it wasawesome. and so i had this idyllic childhood where my dad was my constant companion, myever-present friend, my guide.
but then, as i moved into the teenage years,something happened. my dad took a job as a traveling salesman, trying to make ends meetfor our family, and he was away a lot - sometimes for a week at a time, sometimes many weeksat a time. and i also noticed during this time that my dad began to drink. and so iwould often come home from school, and when my dad wasn't traveling, when he was home,there he would be passed out on the couch- a six pack of beer cans, sometimes more, emptyaround him. and the time when i felt like i needed my dad the most he wasn't there.and i don't know all that was going on in his life at that time, but i know, and felt,the absence of my father. well, as his life careened out of controland his drinking escalated i thought, you
know what, two can play at this game. i myselfbegan drinking at the age of 14, and then at age 16 i smoked my first joint. and mybest friends were so angry with me when they heard about this that they cornered me inthe parking lot of my school, threw me up against a car. my best friend, nose-to-nosewith me, said, "if you ever do this again you will answer to us." i had all of thoseguys smoking weed by that next friday. that's when i first suspected that i might have thegift of leadership. perverse, i know. that laugh was worth the whole thing. but it wastough, and as my dad drifted, i drifted. and this all came to a head one night in my senioryear. my sister and i were out with some friends, and we came in past midnight. i never hada curfew growing up. i'm not sure why, but
i didn't. so we came in past midnight. myfriends were laughing; we were laughing. they left us off in the front yard, and we walkedup to the house, and there we saw - as we got closer to this dark object - to our horrorthere was my father on the sidewalk passed out. now my friends who had been laughingwith us, were laughing at us, and my sister and i were embarrassed. we were humiliated,and as we knelt down and picked up my father and helped him stumble to the house we gotincreasingly angry. we put him on the sofa where he went to sleep, and began snoring,and my sister, crying, went to her bedroom. and i stood in the shadows looking at my father,and i said to myself i will never be like that. and that silent vow became the drivingforce of my life.
i had really long hair then, but almost immediatelyi got it cut off, put on a suit, and got down to business. when i was in college i was thekid that got up at 5 am to study. i talked the librarian at baylor university into givingme a study carrel, which was usually only reserved for graduate students, to give thatto me, because i wanted to treat school like it was an office. when i wasn't in class iwas in my study carrel studying. when i got out of college i got a job as a salesman,because i knew that's where the money was. and my family had always struggled with money,and i thought this is the way to fix everything. and i was very aggressive. i made more moneythe first year out of college as a salesman than my dad ever made in a single year, andi was proud of myself. but i was driven, and
after a while that began to show up. i wentthrough a massive business failure in the early 90s. my family floundered, and my healthfaltered, and i was at a place where something had to change. and i think these two waysof living, represented by my father and myself, represent two ways that you and i can approachlife. there's, first of all, the life of drifting.where we're not really choosing the destinations; we're just like a cork in the current driftingalong. my wife gail and i had been married for about ten years. we'd never really hada serious vacation, and so we saved our pennies, our airline miles, and we went to hawaii forthis vacation. we were so excited, but when we got there - we spend everything we hadto get there, and when we got there we were
broke. we had just enough money to do maybea few things but not much, and we noticed that the hotel was offering snorkeling lessons.so we met the instructor in the swimming pool, we got checked out, we went onto the reef,and we were blown away by what we saw. we thought this we can do all week. so we rentedsome snorkeling gear for about ten bucks. the next morning gail and i went to the lagoonthat was adjacent to the hotel. it was early, not another soul out there. the water wascalm, crystal-clear like glass. we slipped into the lagoon, put on our masks and oursnorkeling gear, and began to paddle around, totally distracted by what we saw. beautifulmulticolored fish, the seaweed, and the light playing, it was like swimming in an aquarium.and about 45 minutes later i decided to look
up and realized that we had been caught ina rip tide and swept out to sea. the hotel looked like a toy in the distance. gail raisedher head up, gasped, and said, what are we going to do? and i said, "i don't know whatto do, but swim for all we're worth." and we had a boogie board with us, fortunately.we both grabbed that and we swam hard for about an hour, got to the beach, crawled upexhausted, and collapsed. and until last fall i hadn't been snorkeling since. but that kindof represents how a lot of people live, and here's the deal about drifting: when you driftyou never end up in a destination you would've chosen. but there's another way of being, and that'sto be driven, and that's what my life really
represented. where i took control. i was goingto absolutely white-knuckle my way through it, and i was going to achieve something,and make something of myself. but that didn't end well either. but here's the funny thing.both of these ways of being, drifting or being driven, are really two halves of the samecoin- something i call the default life. they have more in common than you would think.they seem like polar opposites, but they're not really. both of them are unconscious waysto live. we don't even know why we're doing this. we're just kind of going through thenext thing, and we're either being driven or we're drifting. they also both lead todestinations we would not have chosen, but fortunately thereâ€™s a third alternative.
and the third alternative is the designedlife. it's a life where you live with intention, live with purpose, and chose the destinationswhere you want to end up. and this is really what i cover in the book that i wrote withmy good friend daniel harkavy, living forward. and in the book, we really build it aroundthree questions, and you can live a designed life by answering these three powerful questions.but like really good questions - and this is a warning - these questions may make youa little uncomfortable. you guys ready for it? okay, question number 1: how do you want tobe remembered? this is a question about clarity or aboutlegacy. you know the myth of our culture says
that we're going to live forever - that youwill not die, but here's reality. the truth is you will die. i'm going to die. it's inevitable.it's the one appointment all of us will keep. i was talking to a friend of mine in the insurancebusiness that's an actuary. by the way, do you know what an actuary is? it's a personthat doesn't have the personality to be an accountant. some of you got that. but i was asking him, i said, "i'm going tobe speaking to about 12 to 13,000 students, and run the mortality tables on that, andtell me kind of what that looks like." and here's what he told me. this is sobering.let's assume here that there are 13,000 students. one of you will be dead in 92 days. this isjust math. three of you will be dead in 12
months. 18 of you will be dead in five years.now i know what you're thinking: not me. i wonder who it is. but it's a sobering factthat our culture likes to suppress, but is a truth. we're all going to die. now thisis a little bit heavy, so i did what any rational person would do. and i decided i've got tolighten this up, so i googled funny tombstone epitaphs. and so one of the first ones thatpopped up was this one. it said, "i told you i was sick." another one said, "well, thissucks." one of my favorites came from boothill cemetery in tombstone, arizona and it saidthis: "here lies lester moore, four slugs from a .44, no less no more." but my veryfavorite was this one: "here lies an atheist all dressed up and no place to go."
in 2005 my father-in-law passed away, colonelsidney bruce. he spent his entire career in the air force, worked at the pentagon fora number of years. when he left that career he led the military ministry at campus crusadefor christ. and amazing man, and at his funeral- this was back when they were still doing this-it was the flyover with the jets, and the 21-gun salute, and all of that. but when wewent back to a friendâ€™s house after the funeral, it was really interesting to watchwhat happened, because we pulled out photo albums and we had carousels of slides - anolder technology - and we just looked at photos of papa. and we cried, and we laughed, andwe told stories, and it was apparent to me that this was a life well-lived. then it alsooccurred to me that when you and i die there
are going to be conversations about us - whatwe meant to the various people in our lives who mattered the most. and the cool thingis that we can begin to engineer those conversations now. how do you want â€“ if, god forbid, youwere to die - how would you want your parents to remember you? what about your spouse, oryour girlfriend, or your boyfriend, or your friends, or the people you go to church with,or fellow students, or professors? you and i can engineer those kinds of conversationsnow by who we become. there's a quote i want to share with you from steve jobs, who interestinglysaid this two years before his death in a commencement speech, almost prophetically.he said, "remembering that i'll be dead soon is the most important tool i've ever encounteredto help me make the big choices in life."
and as morbid as it sounds, i want to encourageyou to consider, contemplate, the fact that you're mortal. how do you want to be remembered?this is the question that creates clarity. but there's a second question, and that'sthis: what is important to you? and this is a question about priorities. now the mythin our culture is that you can have it all, but the truth is you can have anything youwant, you just can't have everything you want, and so it comes down to our choices. you knowwhere you are today in your health, in your spiritual life, your gpa, your circle of friends,just about everything in life comes down to the choices that you've made up until thispoint. there really good news is that you can start to make different choices, and yourlife becomes the sum total of all those choices
that you string together. so what's importantto you? you probably know what's important to your parents, what's important to them.you may know, if you have a boss, what your bossâ€™s priorities are for you, or maybea professor's priorities, but i want to ask you what's important to you? i'm going totell you, for me, priority number 1 is god, and i'm sure it is for most, if not all, ofyou. he is the central figure of my life. he is the one who orders my life; the onewho i consider when i'm facing any choice. but my second priority, and this may be asurprise to some of you, is me. now why would i say me? doesn't that sound selfish? no,here's why i think it needs to be. unless i exercise an appropriate amount of self-care,if i don't take care of my health, if i don't
get enough sleep, if i don't nurture myselfspiritually, and emotionally, and intellectually i can't be of any use to anyone else. but what are your priorities? once you havethese priorities nailed down it can become a great filter for the decisions that youmake. about 7 years ago i was driving my mom fromwaco, texas, where she lived, to dallas, texas to catch a flight. and so we had about anhour and 40 minutes in the car, and i thought, you know, i'd never really debriefed withmom about dad's drinking. it was kind of a forbidden topic, and by this time i'd hadenough therapy that i thought i'm just going to go for it. and so i said to mom, i justhad to know where her head was when all of
this was happening when we were teenagers.so i said to mom, i said, "mom, look, i need to talk to you about something, and i don'twant to bring up something that's awkward or will make you feel uncomfortable, but i'dlike to talk about dad's drinking problem." and she kind of looked at me like she knewthis day was going to come, and she kind of hoped it wouldn't, but she was ready for it.and so she said, "well, what do you mean?" and i said, "well i just have to know whatyou were thinking. you know, why didn't you leave him?" and so she began to explain tome. she said, "you know, i don't know." she said, "i just felt like keeping the familytogether was really important to you kids, and i just kept hoping that we would get throughit, and so i just made that decision." and
she started crying. and she said, "i justmade that decision to stay with dad, because of who he had been, and what i believed hecould become, and for the sake of you kids." now you and i may have made a different decision,but as i heard that, i thought of my own children, my own grandchildren - i have eight. and ithought, her decision in that moment to keep our family together created waves in a goodway that really have been passed on to me and to my children, and it was a decisionbased on a clear priority. and that was her family was incredibly important. again, youmay have made a different decision; you could argue with it, but here's the point: onceyou have a clear set of priorities it can become a filter for you so that you can sayyes to what you should say yes to, and, more
importantly, no to the things that you shouldsay no to. for somebody like me who's a recovering peoplepleaser this is incredibly important, because i get asked to do a lot of things, but noteverything serves my priorities. and i want to make sure i can say â€œnoâ€ to the lesserthings, so i can say â€œyesâ€ - a resounding â€œyesâ€- to the things that matter mostto god and to my family. so there's a question of priorities. when we have clear priorities- what are yours? - when we have clear priorities this gives us courage. if the first questiongives us clarity, the second one gives us courage. warren buffet said this: "the differencebetween successful people and very successful people is that very successful people sayno to almost everything." courage based on
priorities. but there's a third question, and the thirdquestion is this: what single brave decision do you need to make today? what single bravedecision do you need to make today? now here's what our culture tells us. culture tells usthat we really can't take any action, we really can't move forward, until we can see the wholepath. you know we have to know the beginning from the end. but the truth is what it reallyboils down to, in the nitty-gritty of life, is obviously or usually just doing the nextright thing, and that's usually abundantly clear. but it requires some courage, and itrequires some initiative. if you're building a nuclear submarine or building a big buildingyou probably need to have detailed plans,
action plans, gantt charts, time tables, allthe rest, but for most of us when it comes to our life, and to doing the next right thingthat becomes just a fancy way of procrastinating. you know, once i get the plan then i'll startacting. once i graduate from liberty i'll do what i need to do, but there are probablythings that you know you need to do today. maybe it's a difficult conversation, maybeit's an email you need to send, a paper you need to write, something that for you todayis the single brave decision that will enable you to begin to move forward and continuethe momentum that you've already built. when i was the ceo at thomas nelson - i becamethe ceo in 2005, and for a couple years before the recession it was glorious. the companywas doing incredibly well, but then right
before the recession we sold the company toa private equity company. and looking back, they put too much debt on the company. thatwasn't really clear when they did it because it all worked out on the spreadsheets andon the forecasts, but by the time we got to 2009, in the teeth of the recession, it wasabundantly clear. we'd laid off about 20% of our workforce, our entire book publishingindustry, and booksellers were struggling, and it was a difficult time, and we weren'tmeeting our bank covenants. now, we were making money, but it was just such that we had tocomply with these bank covenants and we were doing that. so i was spending all my timetaking calls from investors and mostly bankers who were upset, and so what they insistedthat we do, and the board insisted, that we
hire some outside consultants to advise usas to what we should do. and after about six weeks of careful study they came back to usthey said, "we think - our best advice- and we've seen a lot of companies in this exactsituation- is that you need to declare chapter 11 bankruptcy and flush this debt. get ridof it; get if off the balance sheet, because you have a viable business. you're makingmoney; you're just strapped with too much debt." well that didn't sit well with me.i didn't think it was the right course of action, and largely because people in ourculture don't distinguish between chapter 11 reorganization and chapter seven liquidation,and i thought people wouldn't understand, and would come to the wrong conclusion.
so i was meeting with a consultant friendof mine who said, "how do you feel about this advice?" and i said, "i feel terrible. i don'tagree with it." and she said, "what's your greatest fear?" and i said, "well, first ofall, i fear for the future of our company because i think authors won't understand it,they'll leave our publishing company, employees will be in turmoil, and we'll have a messtrying to explain this to our industry." she said, "is there anything else?" and i pausedfor a minute, and i said, "well, honestly there is. i'm afraid i'm going to lose myjob if i stand up to the board." she then gave me one of the most helpful pieces ofadvice i've ever received in my life, and she said this, "if you're going to be fired,cause it." and i thought, wow, because i could
just kind of drift along, struggle with thisdecision they made, keep my mouth shut, and the future of our company, i think, wouldhave been damaged. so i talked with my wife gail. she said, "look, honey, you do whateveryou need to do. thatâ€™s fine." she said, "you go into that board meeting with yourhead up, and do the next right thing." so the next morning, with fear and trepidation- my hands were sweating; i was scared to death - i went into that board meeting. thechairman said, "ok, we've got to talk about this recommendation from the consultants."we did, and he said, "what should we do?" and i spoke first, and i said, "look, nottrying to grandstand here, honestly, but if we make this decision to do this, i have toresign as the ceo. i'm not leading the company
through this, because i don't believe in it."you could hear a pin drop. seemed like eternity; it was just a few seconds, but the chairmansaid, "ok. i guess we'll have to find another alternative. that was the end of it. sucha scary decision, and yet it was the fear that played the biggest role - not the reality. and so sometimes we just have to make thesedecisions when we get outside our comfort zone. i love this quote from neale walschwho says, "life begins at the end of your comfort zone." it does, doesn't it? outsideof your comfort zone is where all the great stuff happens. that's where your prayers areanswered, that's where you develop new capabilities, that's where you achieve your dreams. it'soutside of your comfort zone, and don't let
anyone talk you into staying inside of yourcomfort zone. even if you feel fear; do it scared. well, just quickly - just quickly, three powerful questions: howdo you want to be remembered? what's important to you? and what single brave decision doyou need to make today? and i want to look dad just for a minute. i want to kind of completethe story with him. so, several years ago i was fishing with mydad, again, on a lake. this time it was really hot, really miserable, and we weren't catchingany fish. we were just sitting in the boat, and i decided that i would ask him a questionthat i tried to ask many times before, but sometimes he would get mad; sometimes he wouldjust sulk, and this time he made a brave decision,
and he decided to talk. and i said, "dad,tell me about the war." ok, get this, my dad, a farmer's son in western nebraska, at theage of 17 years old got really gung-ho and patriotic, and with a couple of friends decidedto sign up for the marines at the age of 17. his parents had to sign for him, because hewasn't old enough to sign for himself. he went to boot camp, and then he was shippedoff to korea- this was during the korean conflict. nothing really happened for about a year.after a year he was sitting on his tank after they had cleaned the guns with a friend, andhe was joking with his friend, because it was his friendâ€™s last day in korea. andthey were saying, you know, you better be careful. take it easy. you want to get backin one piece, etc. next thing my dad knows,
he hears this whistling sound, hears thisexplosion, feels the concussion, reaches up to his face. it's wet with blood. the nextthing my dad remembers is that he woke up three months later on a danish hospital shipwhere he was being transferred on a gurney, over rough seas, to an american hospital shipwhere he quickly fell back into a coma for another three months. he convalesced in hawaiifor almost a year, had severe injuries. to this day, my dad's 82, he limps severely.he's 100% disabled, but at that time they didn't know about post traumatic stress disorder,so he came back home, married my mom, nine months later they had me. they swear it waslegit. and then he tried to make a living. he didn't even have a high school diploma.he tried to make a living, and it was a struggle.
and it was in that context- now i'm not excusinghim, but it gave me enormous compassion. i don't know how i would have done not havingtherapy for post traumatic stress disorder, being thrown back into the world, suddenlyhaving a huge disability, and trying to make a go of it. and as i sat there with my fathertelling me this story i felt this enormous sense of compassion, because i really judgedhim harshly. and i felt this compassion, and i thought to myself - first time it'd everoccurred to me - i thought, you know what? he did pretty well with what he was given.today, he's been sober for over 10 years. he's one of the most consistently positivepeople i've ever met. he never complains about anything even though he's in serious pain.
and i just want to ask you in closing thismorning, how are you doing what you've been given? look, here's the deal: this is yourlife. go make it count. stop drifting. stop being driven. start designing, and begin livingforward. thank you very much.