Lewis Howes: This is episode number 710, with Eric Thomas, ET The Hip-hop Preacher.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
JK Rowling said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
If you feel like you’re in a rock-bottom moment right now, if you feel like you’re stuck if you feel like you’re struggling if you feel like, maybe you’re just not sure where to go next, this is the episode for you. And make sure to share this with your friends.
Even if you feel like you’re doing incredible things, but you’re not sure how to get to the next level, listen to this episode. Eric Thomas has become a good friend of mine. He had taken the world by storm!
From Detroit, Michigan, he was a former homeless individual on the streets of Detroit for a few years, went on to get his Ph.D., speaks to professional sports teams, and athletes, and the youth, and entrepreneurs, and executives, and CEOs, and he speaks all over the world about how to raise the vibration of your life and take your life to the next level.
He’s an author, he’s got a big podcast, he’s got one of the biggest YouTube channels. He is an inspiration, you want to make sure you follow him, and today we talk about how Eric covers his lowest point in life, and how he got out of it.
Also, how you can care more about your passions and make them your focus, and why we should be focusing on our passions the most. Also, what it takes for you to get your faith back if you’ve lost it, how long you need to focus and be uncomfortable to get the rewards you want.
Eric Thomas just spoke at the third annual Summit of Greatness, in Columbus, Ohio, and blew people away. This is from the Q&A I did with him on stage that had people moved to tears, and I wanted to share with you the Q&A section with me and him on stage.
It’s super powerful, make sure to share this with your friends, lewishowes.com/710. Also, follow both of us on Instagram and let us know what you enjoyed most about this interview. And if you haven’t gotten tickets for next year yet, we’ve already sold over a thousand tickets, almost half the tickets are sold out, so go to summitofgreatness.com to get your ticket, right now.
And a big thank you to our sponsor today, which is PayPal. Now, I have been using PayPal for almost a decade. It’s actually how I generated my first transaction online, was through PayPal. I’m still generating automated payments, big payments, small payments, and part of my business is being run through PayPal. It’s something that I love using.
Once an attorney in New York City, Linda transformed her hobby of locating hard-to-find items into a thriving luxury consignment company, called ‘Linda’s Stuff’. What was once a passion project, is now a 100 person company in a 93,000ft2 facility. As a company specializing in high-end, pre-owned goods, reputation is everything, guys, and integrity and trust are a critical part of how the company operates.
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Again, a big thank you to our sponsors and, without further ado, let’s dive into this episode of how to create the life you want and overcome your biggest obstacles, with the one, the only, ET The Hip-hop Preacher.
Very excited about this, so let’s dive into Q&A. Let’s start right here. Do we have mics down here still? Let’s get some down in the front here.
There you go, your name, what you’re grateful for, and your quick, direct question.
Tom Burton: So, my name’s Tom Burton, I am from Columbus. I actually live, like, a 30-minute walk that way, so, super close. I am grateful for Eric Thomas. I’m an inventor, and at my lowest point, your videos really got me through it. And, today, we’ve sold hundreds and thousands of my products.
And it actually got me to the point where I was on Shark Tank and I got three sharks investing in my company from it. So, I wanted to ask you, what was your biggest quitting point?
Sorry, two questions: What was your biggest quitting point? And second is, I was recently on a podcast and they asked me if I could get lunch with anyone on Earth, who would it be, and I said, “Eric Thomas and Elon Musk.”
And so, I was wondering, how could I get lunch with you?
Lewis Howes: He’s bold! He’s bold! I’ve got a VIP lunch right after this.
Eric Thomas: And I’ll be there!
Lewis Howes: He’ll be there. Thousand dollar ticket if you want to be there with him. Pay the price, you get it.
Eric Thomas: We’re going to make it happen today! No, I think when I was homeless and I had an estranged relationship with my mom. My mom was my heart but, unfortunately, my mom married and didn’t tell me who my biological father was, they changed the birth certificate and made it appear that this person was.
And I knew something was wrong because they didn’t get married until I was about five. But, you know, you’re still young at five, memory’s not great. So, when I was homeless, I would pick up the payphone and call home, and my mom would answer it, and I wouldn’t say anything, because I was angry, and I didn’t want to talk to her, but I wanted to hear her voice.
And so, Thanksgivings, not going home; Christmas, not going home; that was probably my lowest point and I wanted to take my life, during that point of my life. After that, when me and Mom was reconciled, I don’t think I’ve had a point that low, ever in my life, since then.
Brendan Jackson: My name is Brendan Jackson, from Lexington, Kentucky. I’m grateful that you’ve brought all of us together, Lewis. Thank you, Sarah, my girlfriend, for making sure I got here.
Eric Thomas: Good!
Lewis Howes: Thank you, Sarah!
Brendan Jackson: ET, CJ, your team, your family, thank you for when I need somebody to tell me to just shut up and work, you’re the man, you know?
Eric Thomas: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.
Brendan Jackson: Somebody needs to do it. Somebody needs to do it.
Lewis Howes: They come to me for a hug, they come to your for, “Shut up and work!”
Brendan Jackson: That’s what it is to me! My question is: I know what I want to do for my community and my family, how do I care more about it every day? So I get to the level where I can throw my alarm clock away, I can wake up at two in the morning, with my goals waking me up?
Eric Thomas: Dude, I’m not going to tell you-you need to get up at two in the morning!
Brendan Jackson: That’s alright!
Eric Thomas: That was my journey, and there was a reason for it, but I will say to you, where your focus goes, your energy flows. And so, I make sure, when I wake up in the morning – we talk about what are you grateful for – I put my focus on my wife, I put my focus on my kids.
So, I start the day off by either, on my phone, looking at their picture, when I’m downstairs, just thoughts about them, remembering. I told Shawn, as soon as I saw Shawn, it was the first time I ever saw Shawn before, in person.
Lewis Howes: Shawn T.
Eric Thomas: Shawn T, of course. I told him, I said, “Shawn, I know,” you know, we didn’t even talk about workout, I talked about his kids, and how, when I watch him online, I see the kids all the time, and I remember when Jalin – he’s here somewhere – I remember when my son was that little, he would travel with me.
And that’s who I think about regularly. I don’t think about him as a twenty-three-year-old, I promise you! We get into, right? And I always remember him as that kid. And every day we would wake up and still look at – I have a picture on my phone of when they were about five and two – and I look at that picture every day because that was the picture that made me go get that four-year degree.
That was the picture that made me get the masters, even though I hate school. So I would just say, keep a picture of them, keep them in your mind and in your heart, on a regular basis, and if your focus keeps going to them, then your energy will go to them as well.
Lewis Howes: That’s good, yeah!
Eric Thomas: She’s jumping up and down there, you see her?
Lewis Howes: You got someone up there? Okay.
Jackie: My name’s Jackie, I’m from Detroit.
Eric Thomas: Hey! Hey! Hometown!
Lewis Howes: We’ll let you guys in. We’ll let you into Ohio.
Jackie: Just a couple of us! My question is: What would you say to someone who has lost their faith and is trying to find their way back?
Eric Thomas: Well, I’d say the same thing to anybody who loses anything. Go look where you had it last. Wherever you left it. I’m just being honest. If I lost my keys, I’m thinking to myself, “Where was the last place I saw them.” You know? “Let’s go back to that place, let’s at least start there.”
So, if you lost it, where did you lose it? Was it a relationship that got in the way? Was it business that got in the way? Are you not waking up in the morning like you used to wake up in the morning? Do you not put yourself in an environment that you used to go to when your faith was high?
So, wherever you left it. I’d start wherever you left it and rebuild it from that point. Does that make sense?
Jackie: Yes. Thank you, so much.
Eric Thomas: Thank you.
Nick Padea: Hi, my name’s Nick Padea from Toledo, originally, I live in Columbus, Ohio. What I am currently grateful for is, Lewis, indirectly, you and your sister, Heidi, have introduced me to Chris Hawker and Abe Alexander in Somerville, Ohio. So thank you for that, it changed my life.
Lewis Howes: You’re welcome.
Nick Padea: And my question for Eric is: I’ve heard this speech, you know, ‘When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, you’ll be successful.” And I’ve heard you talk about, you have to be willing to lose sleep. And I would love if you would speak into that mentality, versus, actually, self-care. Does that make sense?
Eric Thomas: Yeah, it does. Somebody asked me the other day, “ET, you still getting up at three o’clock in the morning?” Today I did, but I can’t say that I always get up at three, now. Why? Because Dede retired last year, March, so we’re traveling the world together, keeping up, staying up late at night.
We used to go to bed early when she worked and the kids were home, so I’m at the place now, where I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor. And we’re traveling, like, we don’t really live at home anymore.
So, no, not now, I don’t do three o’clock, but there was a time for a span of, five or six years when I was working on the dissertation, that I needed to stay up to get that dissertation done. That I needed to not watch a movie when I was on a plane. That I needed not to play cards with my wife – Uno, on the plane – but I needed to study.
And once I got the dissertation, and it opened up doors for me at Michigan State University, my money changed, my influence changed, so I didn’t have to work as hard, because the dissertation was over.
So, for me, I always say, “How long do you need to lose sleep? Is it for six months? Is it for a year? What’s the goal? And how many sleepless nights are you going to have to do to make that goal become a reality?”
But once you reach that goal, you no longer have to do that. Does that make sense? So, you’re only not sleeping, and you’re grinding, for the time frame you need to make that dream become a reality. Once it becomes a reality, then you can chill. That make sense?
Nick Padea: Yeah. Yeah.
Lewis Howes: I think so, and to add to that, I think, you know, when I moved off my sister’s couch and then moved into my brother’s place for $250 a month because he wouldn’t let me live rent-free.
Eric Thomas: Gotta love your sister.
Lewis Howes: But it was a good lesson… My sister is great! But it was good to force me, “Okay, I’ve got to spend $250 a month. How am I going to earn this? How am I going to make this?” It got me uncomfortable.
And then, when I got to a place where I was like, “Okay, I’m moving out of there into my own place,” on First and High Street, I found the cheapest apartment I could find, in the location where I liked, where I could walk, because I didn’t want a car so I could not spend money on that.
I remember moving in and asking, “What’s the thing that’s sucking a lot of my time?” And it was TV at the time, and so I didn’t have a TV for the first two and a half years, and I just focused. And I realized that I was able to work that much harder, because I was just saving two hours a day on, whatever.
And when there was a game on, I would go watch the Buckeyes play on Saturdays and go to a bar and watch the game, or go to the game, whatever it may be, to do that purposefully. And so, I think we get to do something that’s uncomfortable.
Whether that’s getting up early every single day, whether that’s eliminating TV, something that’s uncomfortable, every day so that we can create more comfort long term.
Eric Thomas: Yeah. And can I be honest? People always ask me about the three o’clock. They don’t ask the most important question.
Lewis Howes: What time did you go to bed?
Eric Thomas: What time did you go to bed? And I was religiously into bed between 21h30 and 22h00. So I wasn’t staying up till 23h00 an 24h00 and getting up at 03h00. I was going to bed at 21h30/22h00. And, according to research, I don’t know how true it is, they said if you go to sleep from 20h00 to 24h00 you actually get double hours.
So, at 20h00, it’s 21h00, 22h00, so even though I was only sleeping maybe four or five hours because I was going to bed so early, I was getting double rest, you know what I’m saying? Going to bed early, not burning the midnight oil, and then getting up early in the morning.
Lewis Howes: There you go. Awesome!
Jeremy: ET, what up, what up? It’s so great to see you!
Eric Thomas: What up, what up?
Lewis Howes: It’s your boy! What’s your name? It’s your boy what?
Jeremy: My name is Jeremy, from the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m here with my wife. It’s our anniversary weekend, hanging out here.”
Lewis Howes: Nice!
Eric Thomas: Smart man!
Jeremy: Respect! Both of you gentlemen have helped me build my business, and have also helped me in my relationships. ET, the stuff that you’ve said have helped me come back to trying to be better with my wife, trying to be more responsible. Things that you talked about. Appreciate you.
My question to you is: You’ve talked about your relationship with your father. My relationship is similar in some ways. I knew my father, but he and my mother divorced when I was young. My stepfather wasn’t worth very much.
My question is: How have you been able to, as a father, deliver the kind of leadership, the information, the teachings to your kids, especially to your son, when you didn’t necessarily have the best example yourself?
Eric Thomas: Well, you know, when you connect with people like Lewis Howes, and others, what you didn’t get, you try to look for an example in other people. So, for everybody that I run with, I always ask myself, “E, why are you connected to this person?” And so, for me, one of the things I love about Lewis – and if you guys go back and really research me, I don’t do a lot of this.
And a lot of people call me, “We want you to speak.” And I’m like, “Nah, because you’ll bring the people in, but you’re going to be trying to abuse them or take something from them, and that’s not what I’m about. I’m a shepherd.” So, with Lewis, I see this strength, right? But this sensitivity as well. You know?
I see the strength, but there’s also, we can share this stage together, we don’t have to compete, right? So, as I watch him and I watch him move, I’m able to say to my son – and it’s so weird, I have never done this before, Lewis, but coming here, and just thinking about you, there are just things that are coming up.
We were in the car headed to the train station, he was going to spend some time with his friends in Chicago, and I asked myself, “How’s your mental health?” That’s not question I would have had, you know what I’m saying? Like, some of the other guys that I run with, they don’t necessarily put me in the space of ‘your mental health’, you know what I’m saying?
Lewis Howes: Right, right.
Eric Thomas: But when you’re with someone like Lewis, of course, there’s certain things, like an energy, and a frequency that he’s on. So, when we’re together, and I have to prepare to do something, he’s sending me videos, and what happens is, there’s a frequency.
So, I don’t have to say to my son, “How are you doing?” He told me how he was doing and, as a father, I don’t have to be that macho, bravado father. I can say, “Yo, son, you need to be strong. But at the same time, you also need to take care of yourself, and I know you like to give, but what are you doing for you?”
So, I think the people you hang around, you take a principle or two, or however many they give you, and you don’t just kind of like, hang out with them, and just hope, by osmosis, it’s going to happen. But you’re very intentional and deliberate about taking the characteristics and qualities you admire about them and actually implement them in your daily life if that makes sense.
Lewis Howes: We have reached our time limit. We could do this for five hours, I’m sure.
There you have it, my friends! I hope you enjoyed this one! Again, JK Rowlings said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. You’ve got to look at your life right now, and where you are.
Are you at the bottom? Are you trying to get out of the bottom? Are you at a plateau, and feel like you’re at a bottom, even though you’re at someone else’s top? Look at where you’re at, and realize everything you’ve done so far is just the foundation for where you’re moving towards next.
This is not the end-all-be-all, it’s the beginning, you’re just getting started on how great you are about to become. But you’ve got to be willing to recognize and be aware of the moment that you’re in and use it as the solid foundation on how you’re going to rebuild your life.
Again, if you enjoyed this, make sure to share it with your friends, lewishowes.com/710. Go to that link, text your friends that link, let them know they can listen to the episode there, or they can watch the full video YouTube there as well, they can subscribe over on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, all these places, and on YouTube. We are building a massive collection of video content on YouTube, check it out there, youtube.com/lewishowes.
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And if you enjoyed this episode, again, let me know what you think. Post this on your Instagram story right now, take a screenshot, tag me, put the video up there if you want to, tag ET The Hip-hop Preacher as well. Connect with both of us, we want to hear what you enjoyed most about this Q&A, we’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts.
And, as always, you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!