When you talk to yourself, are you listening? What are the thoughts that dominate your thinking? Do they empower you? Elevate you? Connect you to something bigger than yourself? 

Jon Gordon believes that how you answer these questions is critical to how you show up as a leader, a teammate, a spouse or a friend. Simply put:  your performance and your relationships move in the direction of your strongest thoughts. 

He’s best known as an author, but Jon doesn’t just write books. He lives his life making sure the principles he values most reach and inspire audiences of all kinds, all over the world. So it’s not a surprise that his 28 books – including 15 best sellers and 5 children’s books – hold universal truths that have been tested and embraced by Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, professional and college sports teams, school districts and individuals alike. 

In his new book, “The One Truth: Elevate Your Mind, Unlock Your Power, Heal Your Soul,” Jon extols the concept of oneness and its power to help you see life through a lens of confidence, clarity, unity and strength.   

His passion and positivity are truly contagious and he has so many insights around how to transform our thinking in order to unlock the greatness in our teams, our organizations, our relationships and ourselves.

“Everything comes down to oneness and separateness, and there’s a force that’s always trying to divide you and separate you in this universe… and there’s also a power of love that’s always trying to unite you back to oneness and connection.”

In This Episode:

State of mind

As someone who speaks to a ton of corporations and big companies, also school districts, sports teams, you name it, I’m speaking there, and everyone seems to be dealing with so much anxiety, a lot of chronic stress, a feeling of overwhelm, and people just feel drained and tired, as you said. Everywhere I go, like, “Man, our people are just so tired.” They need a boost. They’re emotionally drained. They’re stressed all the time. What I’m recognizing is, when the pandemic hit, people blamed the pandemic, but it’s never the circumstance. It’s never the event, as I’m sure we’ll get into. It’s always our state of mind. So what the pandemic revealed was people’s state of mind, the internal resources, their mental structures, how they were viewing the world, how they were approaching the world. And it revealed that a lot of people are feeling separated and not connected, and they’re feeling more disconnected than ever, even though they’re busier and connected in more ways than ever.

The Great Separator

I called COVID the Great Separator because it really separated a lot of things in very negative ways. It separated you from loved ones. It separated you from friends when you were disagreeing with different topics. It separated you though from yourself. Fear, anxiety, and worry separates you from yourself. When you feel connected, you feel more powerful. You feel one. When you feel separated, you feel divided, you feel weak. So people are feeling really disconnected and separated and divided now more than ever. And that’s leading to them feeling the way they feel from an anxiety standpoint, from an overwhelm standpoint. They’re looking at their circumstances in so many ways, and they’re seeing their circumstances as having power over them, and then they’re feeling weaker and weaker.

The 5 D’s

The way I look at it, there are five Ds that will sabotage your mindset. It’s doubt, distortions, which are negative thoughts and lies that will tell you things about yourself and your future that just aren’t true. So negative thoughts are coming in, and we can talk about that. And then there’s discouragement, and we don’t give up because it’s hard, we give up because we get discouraged. There’s that fourth D of distraction, and the fifth D is division. And the root for the Greek word of anxious means to separate and divide. So when you feel anxious, you actually feel separate and divided. Fear divides and separates. On an individual level, a team level, a community, a country, fear divides. So my whole belief is that negative thoughts separate and divide us and weaken us. So when those negative thoughts are coming in, the best practice obviously is to recognize that they’re lies and they have no power over you.

Positive vs. negative thoughts?

It’s hard to determine what is positive and negative. And does negative also serve a purpose at times? Because it does. When we have battles in life and we have challenges in life and we have resistance, it also helps us grow and makes us become who we’re meant to be. There ultimately is the duality of our nature, and that’s the thing. At one level, there’s oneness. In the duality world we live in, there’s going to be some separation, and once there’s separation, there’s duality. You’re always going to have two opposing forces. You’re going to have light and dark. You’re going to have love and hate. You’re going to have up and down. You’re going to have good and evil. So I would say, a negative thought is something that is keeping you from being who you’re meant to be. It’s also something that’s holding you back and telling you that you’re less than, that you’re not enough, that your future is hopeless, that you’ll never get through this. I would identify that as a negative thought. On the positive level, a positive thought calls you to more, calls you to who you’re meant to be, calls you to your best self, calls you to the positive attributes in you. It calls you to optimism and belief and courage and confidence. And I truly believe there are two main frequencies that we are all tuning into.

Being “one”

The word integrity comes from the word integer, which means whole and complete. So a leader with integrity has wholeness and completeness. They have oneness. They have a lot of power as a leader. Whereas that leader who’s a narcissist, you know at the neurological level, they cut off certain parts of the brain to protect themselves because of some trauma that they’ve experienced. The narcissists actually feel separate. They feel divided. So what happens? They’re focused only on self, they’re not focused on others. They don’t care about others because they’re trying to protect self and focus on self. As a result, they’re actually a weak leader because they’re not really connected to others. They’re separate from others. So I started to recognize this and see this, and then I started looking through the lens of this one truth lens of oneness and separateness, and it started to make a lot of sense.

Oneness and separateness

Everything comes down to oneness and separateness, and there’s a force that’s always trying to divide you and separate you in this universe. This is the narrative of the universe, and there’s a power of love that’s always trying to unite you back to oneness and connection. And as we move towards that oneness and connection, that’s where we find wholeness and healing and power and courage and strength. As we move towards separateness, we move towards fear and worry, chronic stress and anxiety that actually then weakens us.

Jon’s T-U-N-E framework

Trust in truth, Unite with love, Neutralize the negativity, and Elevate your thinking. The more we do that, whichever framework you use, whichever modalities you use, as you do that, you start tuning into the positive and do that day in and day out, you’re going to start to find a higher state of mind and more wholeness and healing in that process.

“Toxic” positivity

I’m not a big fan of the term toxic positivity, and here’s why. Not because my work is positivity. Because if it’s toxic, it’s not positive. I don’t like the term. I believe toxic positivity is now being used by anybody who doesn’t like, positivity or people who want to stay in their pain and their situation or stay in their negativity and attack those who are genuinely trying to be positive. Because I’m experiencing this now more than ever, as someone who does this work, and people are like, “Oh, you’re trying to help people be positive. Oh, that’s a bunch of crap.” And the same thing I’ve gotten, this is positive bullshit…What it really is, is a lack of empathy, a lack of care, a lack of concern. It’s not meeting people where they are and not meeting yourself where you are. It’s glossing over things, and it’s fake in many ways like, “Oh, just be positive,” where you really ignore, as you said, the suffering or the hole in your soul and the pain that you’re really dealing with. And sometimes you may cover it. Some cover it with anger, others cover it with toxic positivity. Again, I don’t like the term, they’ll cover it with fake positivity.

His new book, “The One Truth”

In writing The One Truth, this is not a surface level book. This is a book about, I’m going to give you ways to elevate your state of mind. And most importantly, one of the subtitles is Heal the Hole in Your Soul. It’s to heal your soul. And the way we do that is to recognize that there’s healing that needs to take place. And only through love and forgiveness can you heal something. Love and forgiveness is what heals it, and it’s about finding that love and forgiveness to heal what you’re going through and what you’re dealing with. So my approach is, the separation and the wound and your soul is leading to a lot of the negative thoughts that you’re having. And as you find wholeness and healing, you will start to, in oneness, start to tune into, connect you more positive thoughts in your life.

Jon on FOPO

In the gap between oneness and separateness, when we feel separate, we try to fill the gap. So often we try to fill it with validation and things that will get us recognized and fame and wealth and power and success. So guess what? If you don’t perform well, then you aren’t getting closer to oneness. You’re feeling more and more separate. And unworthiness and perfectionist, I often say are two sides of the same coin. Because you feel unworthy. You have to now be perfect to actually compensate for your unworthiness to show that you are worthy. I have to perform well. I have to be a perfectionist. I have to have success and accomplishments to now have a sense of worthiness. So they’re actually the same in many ways. So often people feel unworthy. They might retreat and do nothing and become a total lazy loser, whereas others now work really hard, but they both stem from the same original source. And that’s a feeling of unworthiness. So from our identity, we’re not enough, as you just said, without our accomplishments, without success. And we need that to be something. So we’re defining ourselves by our performance, by our social media status, by our business status, by our job title, whatever it may be, by our car. And we’re always now tying our self-worth to our outcome and to our outer world instead of our inner world.

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