Do you ever get down on yourself over mistakes you’ve made in the past? Are you upset about things that happened to you and feel like the best times of your life are over?
When I was younger and injured right as my professional career as an athlete was starting to take off, I thought that was it.
I thought my life was over in my early twenties. I had no backup. No plan B.
I ended up sharing myself with the world, and turning my selfish nature into something selfless. I started making it my goal to help others, to transform lives, and I’m so much happier than I ever could have been.
Of course, a part of me wishes my career as an athlete had been successful, but when I think about everything I have and all of the memories I have from helping others, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
There’s no reason you can’t do the same now.
Your glory days are still coming.
On this episode of The School of Greatness, I had the pleasure to sit down with someone who has gone through a similar situation as myself: Trent Shelton.
Trent Shelton is a former NFL wide receiver that is now considered one of the most impactful speakers of this generation.
He reaches over 50 million people weekly through his various social media outlets, and also travels the world to speak his message of creating lasting change in your life.
I was fortunate enough to have him sit down with me and discuss how he’s impacted people.
We talk about the three steps to rehab when you’ve lost your identity, what happens when you don’t celebrate your accomplishments, and how to build your communication strategy.
Learn how you can apply the best of yourself each day, on Episode 643.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 643, with the Trent Shelton.
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.
Vince Lombardi said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that, whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
Welcome to the podcast, and ask yourself, “Am I applying the best of myself to the task at hand, right now? In my relationships, my health, with the vision for my career or the business that I’m building, am I applying the best of myself, every single moment, to the best of my abilities?”
And if you’re not, why aren’t you? What’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from moving forward toward the vision of your life, toward your dream job, toward your dream business, the way you want to feel and look with your body, the energy you want to have, what is holding you back? Think about it and let’s get clear on how to move forward today.
We’ve got Trent Shelton in the house, who is a former NFL wide receiver that is now considered one of the most impactful speakers of this generation. He reaches over 50 million people weekly, through his social media outlets, videos, and he also travels the world to speak his message of creating lasting change in your life.
Today we’re diving in deep about how to come back from losing your identity. Again, Trent lost his identity, something like mine, playing professional football, and we break down how to get through that and how to get through losing your identity. Also, the three steps to rehabbing any pain in you life, or any struggle you’re going through in your life. The three different steps necessary to rehabbing. What happens if you don’t celebrate your accomplishments.
You know, a lot of times I see people who can never receive a compliment, or they don’t acknowledge themselves for the hard work they’re putting in, and there is some long term damage that will happen if you do not celebrate your accomplishments, we’ll talk about that. Also, why chasing fulfilment can wear you out. Interesting concept, we’ll dive in more on that, and Trent’s communication strategy when talking with anyone. It’s all about the ARC.
And before we dive in, I want to give a shout out to the Fan of the Week! This is from Vladimir Bellevue, who said, “I’ve been listening to this podcast for two and a half years, during my commute to work. I always enjoy the wisdom shared by all the guests on the show. The content is always interesting, and Lewis has an amazing way of asking questions that bring perspective to each individual guest. I am thankful that I have an opportunity to receive the positive message to help navigate through life’s ups and downs. Thank you to The School of Greatness for all the amazing love and content your team brings to the world.”
So, Vladimir Bellevue, thank you, my friend, for leaving a review. We just hit over 3,000 reviews, over 60 million downloads on The School of Greatness Podcast, and we continue to just spread this message to anyone who wants to take their life to the next level, who wants to have inspiration, tools, insights to unlocking your fullest potential and achieving the greatness within you.
So, again, if you haven’t left a review yet, go over to iTunes, leave a review, or on your podcast app right now. Let me know what you think, for a chance to be shouted out as the Fan of the Week.
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Alright, my friends, I’m excited to bring you this episode! Let me know what you think, again, lewishowes.com/643, take a screenshot on Instagram and tag me while you’re listening to this, of the thought that inspires you the most. Without further ado, let me introduce to you, the one and only, Trent Shelton.
Welcome back, everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast, we’ve got the legendary Trent Shelton in the house!
Trent Shelton: How you doing, Lewis, brother!
Lewis Howes: Good to see you, man!
Trent Shelton: Good to see you, too, man!
Lewis Howes: Excited you’re here! I always love when another football player is on the show, and we both played wide receiver, both had limited professional careers. I was trying to make it to the NFL, got injured playing in the Arena League, my rookie season.
You were playing practice squad at the NFL, got injured, had to drop to Arena League, and then that was it, right?
Trent Shelton: That was it, pretty much.
Lewis Howes: Now when you dropped down to the Arena League, did you play pretty well, or did you only play for half a season?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, man, I played pretty good, I was playing with the Tulsa Talons and I ended up getting hurt there again, pretty much sprained my MCL and at that point, man, I’ll just be honest, I didn’t want to play. That was my way of trying to make it back to the NFL, or who would I be without football? So I was hanging onto that.
Lewis Howes: It was your identity, right?
Trent Shelton: Exactly. That was my whole identity since I was, like, five years old.
Lewis Howes: Being a football player.
Trent Shelton: Yeah, sports period. Like, “Trent Shelton, the guy who plays sports.” That’s all that I ever knew my whole life, as I’m sure you can relate to that.
Lewis Howes: That was me, too. I didn’t really go to school to learn, I went to school to play.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. It’s like an athlete-student, right?
Lewis Howes: Exactly! A student-athlete! Now, did you have any other skills or a back up plan, or is it just, you had no clue what you were going to do afterwards?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, no clue. My backup plan was, there wasn’t one. It was Plan A and of course I went to school. I went to Baylor for Speech and Communications, but to be honest, I kind of took that I was in business and I was struggling, so I was like, “What can I take to fill out?” So I went to Speech and Communications.
Lewis Howes: Sociology.
Trent Shelton: Yeah, exactly, right? It’s like, all the athletes, that’s what you know they’re going to major in. And, yeah, I took Speech and Communications but I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my whole thing was, okay, “I’m going to make it to NFL, and after my NFL career I’m going to be a broadcaster.” That was my whole plan, right? But it didn’t work like that.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Did you go into that role afterwards and try to make it there?
Trent Shelton: Nah, man! Right after NFL, I went Arena, but I was in a dark place with my life. I was into everything. Drugs, alcohol, just really got to rock bottom, and I went into Rehab Time from there. And Rehab Time for me was just getting my mind and my body and my soul right, because I got fed up.
I was just, like, “I can’t keep living this lifestyle. I have a son, I got to set an example for him,” and so I went right into Rehab Time and I never wanted to be a speaker, anything like that. Speaking was my biggest fear. If you would have asked me ten years ago would I be here, I would have been, like, “No. No way.”
Lewis Howes: Because you didn’t want to speak in front of people. It was terrifying.
Trent Shelton: No. Exactly. The fear of being judged, the fear of being imperfect. Or just the fear of, my story didn’t matter. I didn’t see anything special in my story and what I went through.
And, you know, growing up, just to be honest, it was never, “I want to be a speaker,” even though my dad was a pastor, but I was just, like, I never wanted to be a speaker when I grow up. That’s not the goals that you had as kids where I’m from. It’s like, “Nah, I want to play sports,” and so that was my only option, growing up, there was no Plan B at all.
Lewis Howes: Wow. Yeah, okay. So you started getting into Rehab Time. Does that mean you started doing videos online at that time, on YouTube, Facebook?
Trent Shelton: Well, back then it was…
Lewis Howes: MySpace back then?
Trent Shelton: Almost, right? I would say it was, like, rehabish, and what I mean by that, I was one foot in, one foot out, you know, I was transitioning. I was talking about things and I really meant some of them, but I was still living a certain lifestyle.
Lewis Howes: What do you mean? You were doing drugs or …
Trent Shelton: Well, just, I mean, weed, you know, going out partying, clubbing, you know what I’m saying? And there’s nothing wrong with it if you want to go out, but, for me, my actions weren’t reflecting my words at all. And so, deep down inside, the bothered me, because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be that guy.
But also, I know it’s a process. And so, I was on Ustream back then, and I would just play video games on my Ustream and just talk to people about random stuff and then it was funny, because people started to ask me about life, and I would give them advice back, and they would be like, “Can you come over here tomorrow?” And I’d be, like, “Nah, I don’t think so.”
But then I started coming back and then I was like, “Well, I don’t have time to Ustream all the time, I’ll just start making videos. And so, some of the videos were sports, me working out, some was me sharing my story, some was me rapping, so I was just trying to figure out my way. But it was kind of my way of therapy for me, just releasing everything that was inside of me.
Lewis Howes: Now, did you actually go to rehab yourself, or anything?
Trent Shelton: No, I never went to rehab, man. Like, I never went to the rehab people. I always say, “We’re all in rehab,” because that name came from sports, because when you’re hurt, you go to rehab, and rehab, as we know it, sucks. Especially as an athlete, right? You want to come back, and you come back too quick, you get hurt even more.
So that process is very terrifying, honestly, and it’s a struggle. But it’s about putting strength back into a weakness. And if you do it right, I mean, we see a lot of people. Adrian Peterson’s one example. He had the greatest season ever. You do it right, and sometimes you’ll come back stronger than what you was before you got hurt.
And I took that same mindset to life. I said, “Mind, body and soul, I’m going to rehab my life, I’m going to put strength back into these weaknesses and I’m just going to take my time and see where it goes for me.”
Lewis Howes: Now, if someone’s dealing with a pain, whether it be physical, emotional, mental, whatever it may be, spiritual pain, are you saying that they should take enough time of rehabbing first before they come back into life? Or can they do both at the same time? Because it’s different with a physical injury. You don’t want to come back too soon.
Trent Shelton: You know, I think you should always work on yourself first. You can definitely come back in as far a sharing your journey, your testimony, but I feel like the most important work you can do is on yourself, and so, for me, it was isolation period with me.
I was in my room, I remember crying like a baby, just saying, “I want to change my life.” And so, I was going to the gym, Rehab at first, meant me going to the gym. Twenty-four hour fitness, 12am. One of my friends joined me at that time and we would sit there and fellowship, talk, workout, nobody would be in there, and that’s what rehab meant to me.
So, I was working on myself, and like I said, I never wanted to be a speaker. I didn’t do this to say, “I want to have all these likes on Facebook,” or whatever, but as I started to share my journey, just, like, “Oh, you’re at the gym, you’re doing this, you’re doing that,” people started to take to that.
So, it was very unintentional for where I’m at today, it was just really my way of healing. I always say, when I go speak, Rehab Time wasn’t for the people, it was for me, and then me sharing my story, people were able to relate.
Lewis Howes: Wow! So what are some of the practical tools that you share with people about something they’re going through, whether it be some type of pain emotionally, or they feel stuck, or they feel like their Plan A is now over and they’ve got to figure out Plan B? How can they start practically rehabbing? Do you give any practical steps on that?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, well, for sure. I break rehab down into three parts. The first part is Three R’s. The first R is Reality. I tell people you got to face it. That doesn’t mean that you have to stay stuck there, but a lot of times we run from our reality, right? We try to smoke-screen it, we try to hide from it, and we know reality will find you, regardless. You can sweep it under the rug, but it’ll still be there.
And so, one of the quotes that I like to use is, “You’ll never win your war by running from your battles.” And so it’s time to face your battles. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, you will be judged, but acceptance, to me, is one of the most powerful things you can do. You can accept, “Okay, this is where I’m at with my life, and also accept that, “I don’t have to stay there.”
The second R is Release. And that’s really burning every single bridge that leads your life back to destruction. So, this is a tough one, right? That could be habits.
Lewis Howes: What did you do?
Trent Shelton: Oh, man! A lot! I’m pretty sure a lot of people have seen my video, Friends, you know, my spoken word, and that was my circle. I just realised that the people I was around, not that they were bad people, they weren’t right for me at that time in my life, and I couldn’t continue hanging around these people and expecting to elevate my life when they were keeping me down.
And, honestly, too, I was a bad for other people, too. So I had to release those things, too. I had to burn certain bridges as far as habits I was doing in my life, whether it was smoking and drinking, or clubbing all the time, because I realised those things weren’t going to get me to the place where I wanted to go. So I had to let those things go. And that’s discipline, right?
Lewis Howes: Yeah.
Trent Shelton: Getting good at saying no to the things that don’t get you a yes. And so, I had to start saying, “Nah, nah,” even if I wanted to do these things and wanted to hang around these friends, I just couldn’t. And some people understood it, some people didn’t.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, not that you’re saying it’s bad if people do those things, but it wasn’t supporting your vision for the long term.
Trent Shelton: Exactly, exactly. You have to look at your life and say, “You know what? If you want to be here, you’re doing things that don’t get you there, you have to make those changes.” Now, if those things get you to where you want to go, cool. But, for me, in my life, those things weren’t transitioning me into my greatest me, so I had to let them go.
Lewis Howes: Okay, that’s the second R.
Trent Shelton: Release. And then the last one is repair. Basically Repair is digging up the negative seeds in your life and replacing those seeds with seeds of positivity. And so, that means going back.
A lot of us we have seeds that can stem from our childhood, we have seeds that can stem from bad relationships, bad friendships, seeds that, even with me, I had a problem with accepting compliments. And this is kind of weird when people are like, “What do you mean by that?”
Well growing up my whole entire life, I had two older brothers and I credit them for everything. They told me what to do and what not to do. But I was always the one that got the attention, just because of sports and things like that, so I always had a fear that they would become jealous, even though they were, they still are, the most important brothers ever. And so, I would basically hide my accomplishments.
And I realised that I was even doing this in college, at the NFL, even at the beginning of Rehab Time, so I was teaching myself not to celebrate. And if you don’t celebrate your accomplishments, you start to feel guilty for being successful, and then you start to feel like what you’re doing is a burden. In 2014/2015 I wanted to quit Rehab Time. Just to be honest with you, I couldn’t handle everything that was coming my way. It was too much pressure,
Lewis Howes: The success, the acknowledgement, the following, yeah.
Trent Shelton: Yeah. Exactly, and even people around me, their expectations and, you know, like, just people pulling on me, “Oh, you changed.” All this type of stuff. I just did this to help my life and help people, I don’t care about all this other stuff.
But I realised I had to let go of all these things, and I had to go back in my life and see where those seeds are at. It’s kind of like anything. If you don’t get down to the root issues, those problems will find their way back to the surface. So, you might say, “Well, I’m in a relationship and I’m accepting this,” but really the reason you’re accepting it is because you saw your mom or your dad go through this. That’s your definition of relationship.
Or your mindset is because of something stemmed from a long time ago. And so, a lot of times we try to handle things at the surface level issue and we handle those problems, but then we wonder why, with our next relationship or our next friendship we’re in the same situation, because we haven’t gotten down to the root issues.
And so, Repair is really diving down deep, maybe going to the places you try to forget. You don’t want to go back to, but you got to go back to it. Maybe it’s giving forgiveness to somebody, going back to those places so that you can really dig up those roots and really replace those seeds of negativity with seeds of positivity.
Lewis Howes: So those are the Three R’s. That’s Rehab Time. Gotcha, okay.
Trent Shelton: Yeah.
Lewis Howes: Sure, okay. So, what’s after we Repair? Is that the last one?
Trent Shelton: That’s the last one, yeah.
Lewis Howes: What’s the next step after that? That’s kind of the process? Or is it then rinse and repeat until the rest of your life?
Trent Shelton: There you go. Repeat. Exactly. You hit the nail right on the head. I mean, I go through rehab every single day. I have things I deal with, struggles I deal with, and that’s the thing.
I’m sure you get this, like when you’re in the light or you’re a speaker and people think that you have it all together. I’m like, “Man, the reason I have so many videos is because I have so many questions that I have, so many insecurities that I have,” but I’ve decided to also not try to play the perfection game.
Like, I like to share with people, “I’m just like you. I’m not on top of the mountain, and you got to get up there. We’re climbing this mountain together. I just don’t stay there.” So, one of the things I like to tell people is that it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.
And so I have processes and things in place where my mindset has changed the way I got through things. Where in the past I would be victim to those things. Now I look at it as, like, “How can this help me? How can this help other people?” And I don’t stay there.
Lewis Howes: What has becoming a husband and a father taught you about life in general?
Trent Shelton: A lot, man! It taught me a lot! I think the main thing is being selfless. Once you realise that your life is not just about you, because, with my whole sports career, just to be honest, I mean, I was never an arrogant person, it’s just not me, but it was still about me.
Lewis Howes: Training, practice, everything is about what you need to do.
Trent Shelton: Exactly, it’s about myself. But then, having a son, a daughter and a wife, you realise that your life is bigger than you. Tristan changed my life. People always ask, and I’ll just be totally transparent with you, that situation happened out of wedlock, and now me and Maria are married, but at that time, I wasn’t being a man.
I was with the Colts and me and her were great friends and that situation happened. And, honestly, man, I felt like it was a disappointment. I was like, “Child support,” I knew Maria, we knew each other really well, I’m just like, “How is this going to turn out?” I was scared, because first of all I had to face the situation now, head on. I couldn’t run from it, I had to face the reality, because that reality was coming, and it was fast forward.
And it even hurts me to say that, because Tristan, you know, what you think can be your greatest disappointment, can be your greatest rescue. Tristan literally saved my life. When I looked at him and said, “I don’t want you to grow up to be like me,” and if you’re a father, if you’re a sister, if you’re anybody in leadership and you’ve got to say that to somebody, whether it’s a co-worker or a son or a kid, it should say a lot about your life.
And immediately I said, “You know what? I have to do something with myself, because my son is not just going to listen to what I say, he’s going to follow what I do. And I refuse to give him a cycle that’s not positive for his life.” And so, he’s my ‘why’, he’s my motivation, I mean, he’s right here. Now I have a daughter, so she’s going to ask, “Where do I get my tattoo?” next, right? But he definitely changed my life.
And, marriage, it’s a process, but it’s taught me how to love outside of myself and it’s really taught me a lot, man. My family is everything. They’re the reason why I do it.
Lewis Howes: That’s cool, man. You said this at one point, you said, “chasing a life of fulfilment wears you out.” What does that mean? Because I think the way you’re explaining it is something different than what I would think fulfilment is.
Trent Shelton: Yeah. Empty fulfilment.
Lewis Howes: A following, numbers…
Trent Shelton: Exactly, man. People say, “Numbers don’t lie,” and I tell people all the time, “Numbers do lie.”
Lewis Howes: That’s good!
Trent Shelton: They do. Some numbers do lie. And it’s not about the whole social media thing. One thing I get is, “Oh, you have a million followers,” or this or that, and I’m like, “That doesn’t matter, man,” because when I started, I remember when I was speaking and it was probably, like a row of people and all those people would be my family and my friends, you know?
And it was always about, for me, impact over numbers. So I tell people, “You have a thousand followers, you impact all thousand, but you have someone who has a million followers and impacts none of them, who’s making the greater impact?”
And so, for me, realising that status, the things that the world offers, what society tells us you have to be, you have to make this amount of money, and nothing wrong with none of these things, but if you’re allowing those things to define who you are, then you’re always going to feel empty at some point.
For me, I’ve tried to find peace in other things. Whether it be nature, whether it just be my family, and all those other things are extra credit, because at the end of the day, I’ve never met a person… You know, I even talked to my grandma before she passed away, and I said, “What’s one thing that you would do over? If you had one wish, what would it be?”
She says, “More time. More time with people that I should have spent more time with. More conversations. I wish I would have gave forgiveness earlier,” and things like that. Nobody’s ever said, “I wish I had more followers,” or anything like that. So, I try to remind myself, in this crazy world, that we’re always programmed that these are the things you need to be successful, I try to remind myself what true success is, for me.
And that’s love, peace and happiness, and joy. And that’s how I want to live my life. So, everything else is just kind of extra credit. Cool, but if it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come. Because I just know, in the NFL, when I had the most money, I had the title, when I had the world in my hands, I was the emptiest, you know? I was the emptiest.
Lewis Howes: Wow! Really?
Trent Shelton: And so, those things, like I said, those things are necessities to life, I get that, but you can’t make those things your whole entire life, because that can come or that can go. And so, I’m trying to build something that will last forever, whether I have that or I don’t have it.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. What numbers do you think we should be measuring?
Trent Shelton: That’s a good question, man! I think, I don’t know. What do you think? So we can maybe have a conversation with it. That’s a good question.
Lewis Howes: I think the amount of minutes that you make count. And the days.
Trent Shelton: Yeah, I definitely agree.
Lewis Howes: You know, the minutes you make count or the moments you make count, the seconds, or whatever.
Trent Shelton: I definitely agree.
Lewis Howes: The days that you’re living with joy and abundance and gratitude and service over the days that you weren’t. Over the days where you were just selfish or making everything about you.
And the amount of times you were able to forgive, like, how quickly you were able to forgive. You know, the amount of minutes you were able to forgive quickly when you had a grudge. Because I think, holding a grudge, or not forgiving someone is one of the most destructive things we can do to ourselves, is when you hold on to negativity and pain for what someone else said or did, or what you think they did. Whether they did it or not.
Because holding onto that is the biggest disservice to yourself and other people. Because when we live with that negativity and anger just festering in our hearts and in our souls, it really takes us away from our joy and it robs us of deeper meaningful relationships and the moments that matter.
So I think it’s important to learn how to forgive quickly, which is really hard, if you’re used to taking things personally, or if you’ve been hurt in the past, because then you’re defensive.
So, I think it’s a skill that we have to constantly learn how to do. It’s not easy.
Trent Shelton: Not at all. I’m definitely with you on that.
Lewis Howes: What’s the person you’ve, in the past, where you’ve held onto a grudge for the longest, what was that?
Trent Shelton: Yeah. I think I’ve had a few. I’ve had, definitely some friends. I’ve had people, a part of my team, in the past. Family members, not my immediate family, but I’ve had extended family members, but definitely people, or a person on my team, that, and it’s not…
Lewis Howes: Really? Did they cross you the wrong way?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of that, but also, it’s about, I always try to understand where people are at, because I think understanding is the key to life. Because if somebody’s going through something, they went through something, even with addiction. My life changed when I went, it’s a group called Hope Soldiers, with my friend, Lindsey Greinke, in Seattle.
I always had this, not this view, or judgement of addicts, but it’s just like, what society always tells you. And I was able to sit in the room, I think it was, like, thirteen, fourteen-year-olds, and we did this thing, ‘If you really knew me’. And we all went around and talked about things that we never share, and it just made you look at them differently.
A lot of them didn’t have a chance, from their parents going through addictions and things like that. And so, for me, understanding that people went through things, and go through things, and so now I’m in a better place of trying to understand a person before I judge them, before I hold it against them, but, yeah, it’s just a lot of things.
I think somebody wanted, you know, had certain expectations from me, for myself and also expectations they had on me silently, but I didn’t know about. And so I think that’s a big thing, because somebody can have expectations on you, but will never tell you what those expectations are, and they expect you to meet those expectations without saying a word.
Lewis Howes: Without communicating.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. Communication is key. It’s everything. Connection is key.
Lewis Howes: I think that’s one of the challenges in a lot of relationships that are struggling, is that there’s these expectations that aren’t being communicated, right?
Trent Shelton: Exactly.
Lewis Howes: So, it’s silent expectations, like you said, and therefore there’s conflict within partnerships all the time. Whether it be business partnerships, or intimate relationships. Because you talk a lot about relationships right now, in the videos that I’m seeing, is that one of the biggest challenges people face, or what is the biggest challenge in an intimate relationship?
Trent Shelton: I think it’s definitely communication. Communication is, like I always say, like oxygen to the relationship. Without it, it will die. And even going a step deeper, I think communication is the first step, but an even more important step is connection.
A lot of people can communicate, but few can connect. You can communicate anger, you can communicate anything, but if you’re not connecting on a deep level, connection is power. Period. Without anything plugged in, that light wouldn’t work in here. Connection is everything.
So you have to watch what you’re connected to. So, in my relationship, and relationships I had, I try to make sure our connection’s always powerful, is always meaningful, because if not, those connections can also drain you, too.
Lewis Howes: Take your power.
Trent Shelton: And burn you out. And so you have to evaluate those things in your life. It’s open, honest communication. You know, my wife is funny because she says, “You’re using ARC communication on me,” but I have this method of communication. It’s ARC, A.R.C. and I tell people, because you get a lot, “Well, I can’t communicate with this person because they don’t want to listen, they don’t want to talk to me,” and I always ask, “Well, how are you trying to communicate with them? On your level? Or on a level they can understand?”
Usually it’s out of anger, it’s out of frustration, and nobody, if you’re like me, like, if you raise your voice to me, I guess it’s like me being an athlete, and from coaches, I’m turned off, you know? Just talk to me out of respect and we can talk it out, but if you yell at me, I’m like, “I don’t want to hear it.”
Lewis Howes: It’s the worst. Coaches just screaming at you.
Trent Shelton: Exactly, right? We’ve been hearing it our whole lives.
Lewis Howes: “Catch the ball!”
“You think I wanted to drop the ball?”
Trent Shelton: Exactly! And I told my wife that, I tell everybody that, I think it’s just the sports nature in me, I’m like, “Just communicate with me if you’ve got to take a break or whatever.”
Lewis Howes: Peacefully.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. I can respond to that all day. But so with ARC communication, A stands for Appreciation. So I tell people, “Now go to that person and tell them how much you appreciate them. You know?
The R stands for Reassurance. Reassure them that you want the best for them, that you’re on their side, and then C, place your concern. Because I can guarantee you two things: One, you’re going to be in a better place to communicate that, your anger just probably went down.
And for two, they’re in a better place to receive it, and so, now, you can get rid of all the friction and just focus on the concern and just focus on that place and people are in a better place to receive it.
Lewis Howes: That’s a great formula. So, Appreciation first, so acknowledgement and appreciation.
Trent Shelton: Exactly, acknowledge them.
Lewis Howes: The second one is Reassurance, reassure them that everything is going to be okay, or that you just want to get on their side, and then, “Here’s my concern.”
Trent Shelton: Exactly, because sometimes you can forget. Because if you’re all yelling at this person, this person’s like, “Are we opponents, or are we team mates?” So you have to remind them that, and I can’t say that it can work for everybody, but I’d say 98% of people, that it puts you in a better place for sure.
Lewis Howes: And it makes you calmer, makes the other person calmer, as opposed to triggered, but you just attacking someone right away.
Trent Shelton: Backs up their feelings. Exactly
Lewis Howes: That’s powerful. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your marriage?
Trent Shelton: Make sure I say the right thing! No. I would say probably, our relationship is, I can’t say it’s perfect, because no relationship is perfect, but I would say…
Lewis Howes: Communication? Or is it something else for you?
Trent Shelton: I would say, maybe, travelling and just being away. She would never say it, Maria would never say it, but I know, when we were even leaving today, I mean, I have a two-year-old daughter, and that’s, you know, Maya’s great, but she’s a handful, and nine-year-old son, Tristan, I mean, he can take care of himself. But me, travelling.
I think, also, her the pressure of being who I am, on her. Because she’s not a speaker, that’s not who she is. And I tell her, “That’s not who you have to be. You don’t have to be somebody that you’re not just because I’m this.” And I think sometimes people have that expectation, “Who’s your wife? Does she speak too?” So, that’s not her.
So I think, silently, she would never say it, but I think those two things are tough on her at times. And I expect that, from that. And so, what I do is, I don’t travel a lot. Because one of my things is, man, I think there’s no point in being successful in the world’s eyes if you’re not successful in your family’s eyes, because at the end of the day, that matters to me. What my son says, what my wife says, what my daughter says.
And so I scale back a lot. Yes, I’m travelling right now, I’m going to Fiji and Australia, but also, they need me out there. Then I’ll scale back for a while. In 2016, when my daughter was born, I took the whole 2016 off. And so, I make sure that when I’m there I’m there.
Lewis Howes: Intentional when you travel.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. Because I get that question a lot. “How do you find balance?” And I’m just like, you know, I think you can try drive yourself crazy trying to find balance, especially in an unbalanced world, at times, so I just say, “You know what? When I’m at home they get my full attention.” I’m not on my phone all the time. People think I am just because of social media. I’m not. I post, get off, maybe respond to some people.
And then, when I’m away, I make sure I give my attention to the events and things like that. So, I think, without her saying that, I think, it’s hard for her. I can only imagine. I just try my best to make it as easy as I can for her, in the process.
Lewis Howes: What do you do to connect with your wife or your kids every single day? Do you have something that you live by or is there a non-negotiable for you, or do you do some type of practice or exercise, or just habit that you follow?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, right now, we’re trying to implement just basically unfocussed quality time, just at the dinner table. I know it may seem like the simplest thing, but I think we live in a generation now, especially those with younger kids, the tablet, the phone, it carries people away.
Every night we try to definitely put those phones up and Tristan, he definitely reminds us, because if he can’t be on his phone, he’ll definitely call us out on it, for sure. Yeah, he’ll just really call us out quick. But we definitely spend that time just connecting with each other, talking about life, talking about goals and dreams of each other. And I think that’s a big thing of relationships and family.
When’s the last time you talked about your kids’ goals and dreams and your wife’s goals and dreams? And then as a collective, what do you want to do with your family? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? And so we try to have those conversations, and that’s something that we implemented, probably, like, a few months ago, and it’s been working.
Lewis Howes: Wow. What’s your main goal and dream for yourself?
Trent Shelton: Man, I think my main dream is just, this is like, I guess, a cop out answer, but this is true, just to continue doing what I’m doing. I want to impact lives through my story, and just through being real, I want to understand people. Like, when I leave here I don’t care if people are, like, “Oh, you were the best,” or whatever.
I don’t care about all that, I just want people to know that Trent cared about helping people and he was real. You know, when you met him in person or you’ve seen him anywhere, he was the same person that’s online. And so, that’s what I care about now. I have a hunger to connect with people.
I call somebody, they order a shirt, I’ll call them. I’m shipping out the shirts. I’m super hands-on and they trip out and it’s like, “I didn’t expect this!” but that’s just who I am, and I don’t do it for any other reason except, I want to connect with people, because Rehabbers are the reason for what I do. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to travel the world and speak and so, I try to give as much time to them as I can to let them know that I care about them, because they inspire me.
When I’m having a bad day, when I’m going through my moments, even my doubt and insecurities at times, like, “Am I doing enough?” I just go online, open up a message, and I’m like, “I am. I made an impact on this life,” and so I’m in my inbox, probably, like, an hour a day, just responding to people and getting those messages to…
Lewis Howes: Fill back up.
Trent Shelton: Exactly.
Lewis Howes: Learning to receive. That’s good, man. What’s the biggest challenge you face moving forward? You’ve got this big platform, I don’t know, 10 million followers all ove the place. You get millions of views on your videos, your impact in a lot of lives, what do you feel is the biggest challenge, or what will be the biggest challenge for you moving forward?
Trent Shelton: It’s like, “Shea, what’s the biggest challenge?” I think, just constant, well, I don’t want to say constant, but I kind of battle with it. I’ve been doing this for almost, since 2009, probably 2011, full time. And so I sometimes feel like I’ve talked about everything. It’s like, “What else do I talk about?”
Lewis Howes: I hear you!
Trent Shelton: But I realised, too, that there’s a lot of people who haven’t heard me speak, or there’s people who are like, “I saw that video, but I watched it this time again, and it meant something different to me.” And so I always battle with that, just constant, like, what else do I create?
Just making sure I’m connecting with people. Even with social media, you know how social media is changing, the algorithm is changing and all these other things. It’s like, “I just want to reach my people, I don’t want to have to worry about all the extra stuff,” you know?
So just dealing with those things, I think, kind of are the bigger challenges. Just finding better ways to connect with people on different levels.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Wow. I feel like you’ve been talking more about relationships a lot lately? On Instagram and Facebook, I see all your videos talking about relationships.
Is that because you feel like people are struggling with relationships more now because of social media? How it’s bringing us together but also disconnecting us, by not being present? Is that why you think you’re doing it, or is it because people are asking you those questions?
Trent Shelton: Well, I think I started with kind of relationships, and friendships. My first, probably, viral video was, like, ‘You’re perfect for the heart was meant to love you’, and then, ‘Know your friendship circle,’ and so people come to me for that, you know, things with the friends, and just dealing with removal out of your life and getting toxic out of your life and building better relationships.
So I think it’s definitely requests from people, I think they want that a lot and so I try to give them. But, also, I have to be in a place for me to share those things. I don’t want to just share stuff because they want me to share it but it doesn’t come from a real, authentic place.
Lewis Howes: You have to feel it.
Trent Shelton: Have to feel it, for sure.
Lewis Howes: And feel an integrity around those topics.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. And so I have dabbled in spoken words quite a lot now. It’s kind of been, because I used to love rapping, so it’s kind of like my way of diving into that and we want to dive into music some more. Just different avenues of creativity to reach people at different levels. The book is coming, soon.
So, you know, I tend to always stick around relationships and things like that. I feel like that’s just what I’m here to do, you know, help people with that, but also, there’s other components to my life I feel like, from building a brand and doing all these things that I can help people with also.
Lewis Howes: That’s cool. Can you share a spoken word?
Trent Shelton: Yeah! For sure!
Lewis Howes: Let’s hear one.
Trent Shelton: Okay, let’s see. Okay.
Your life isn’t over
Never let your struggle make you
I know your setback was major
But so can be your comeback
You see, strength
Pain builds that
I know it might be hard for you to feel that
But even in your darkest storms
There’s a plan for you to still
Please believe that
I know, because
God did it for me
God will allow you to go through places
You don’t understand
Just to bring you to the place
Where He needs you to be
So don’t let this season
Take your life
You can win this fight
If it wasn’t for my darkest storms
I would have never found
The strength to shine my light
There’s a purpose
Greater than your pain
There’s no growth without rain
Sometimes it takes your hardest storms
To birth your greatest change
Your life is not finished
You keep living
It doesn’t matter what happened
In your past
You’re just a choice away
From a new beginning
Your perspective can either be
Or your prison
So no matter what
Appreciate your life and
Build your testimony
With the test you were given
I get it
I know depression is real
But so is deliverance
You can heal from those afflictions
Overcome those addictions
It’s time to put a
Where you’re trying to put a
Because your sentence hasn’t ended
You’ve got more life
So don’t give up
And forget anybody or anything
That’s ever tried to make you feel like
You’re not enough
You’re more than enough
So don’t try to end
Just because this chapter sucks
Breakdowns happen right before
So I pray you break that cycle
That’s trying to break you
I pray you kill those thoughts
That are trying to kill you
No mistake is too great
As long as you
Make your tomorrow new
You always have a choice
Never stay silent
About your battles
Give your pain a voice
It’s okay to not be okay
We’re all one struggle away
Your change is going to come
You just keep believing
Day by day
Will eventually run out of rain
And remember this
We are all a little broken
But the last time I checked
Still colour the same
You go defeat your pain
Your life isn’t over
It’s just beginning
It’s Rehab Time
Lets get in
Lewis Howes: Man! I like it! I like that! Whoo! Got the chills at the end there! Oh man, that was good!
Trent Shelton: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: How many poems have you done?
Trent Shelton: Completed? Probably about ten. I’ve probably got about a hundred that’s… Actually I’ve got one coming out that’s called Loyalty. People love my friendship ones, so I think they’ll really like this one coming out.
Lewis Howes: Wow. What have you learned about looking back at your life at different moments, situations, experiences? What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about, reflecting on all this?
Trent Shelton: I would say, the word that comes to me right now, is just ‘appreciation’. Just appreciate it, appreciate it all. The bad, the good, the ugly, the times where I was complaining, the times where I was stressed, the times where was angry at God, the times when I thought my life was over, I had nothing else to my life; appreciate those times.
Appreciate the good, appreciate the people, because all of that taught me so much about my life. It built who I am today. If it wasn’t for my experiences, I wouldn’t be able to talk like I speak today, I would have nothing to talk about.
Lewis Howes: Right. So we need those challenges.
Trent Shelton: Big time. And what’s even more important is that being comfortable with those challenges and understand that your transparency will lead to other people’s transformation. And so, being open. And, I’m in a place, now, where I’m so open as far as, even when I speak on stage, letting people know that I have these current struggles now, even in my story, things that I didn’t want to talk about before because I was afraid to be judged and people would look at me, like, “Oh, you used to do that?”
But I realised that – my mom told me this a long time ago – she said, “When you’re true with your story, you’re going to reach people that other people can’t reach.” And the same thing with anybody. Like, there’s people out there that have stories that will reach people and transform people’s lives, that I could never do, that you can never do, but only their story could do.
And so, I want people, when they watch me or see me in person or at an event, to leave there and say, “You know what? I can be who I am, and be comfortable with that. The imperfections, the perfections, the hard times, the struggles, the storms in [my] life, I want to be open with it, because I know this is a step towards my healing.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, wow. What about people listening or watching who feel afraid to share their story? They feel like, “Why me?” Kind of like you were ten years ago. Like, “why would someone listen to my story?”
I remember being terrified to speak publicly, and I did a year long training with Toastmasters, just to get over the fear of speaking in front of a group. What would you say to people who haven’t put their message out there, or feel like they’re not good enough, or their story is not important enough to put it out there?
Trent Shelton: Well, I would attack that in two ways. For one, I would tell you that you’re great enough, and I would tell you that you don’t have to be perfect, and there’s nobody, there’s nobody who can tell your story like you. And when you realise that your unique gift is yourself, there’s nobody created like you, it takes the pressure off of you.
Because I tell people, “It’s your story. You can talk about your story all day long.” What happens is, we’re so afraid to be judged and the thing that I like to share, what helped me realise it, people are judging you regardless. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care how great you are, how bad you are, I mean, you can go look at my comments right now, there’s probably people who are saying something crazy. Not a lot, but there’s a few.
So it’s like, “Why not give your greatness to the world and have them judge that?” Because there’s somebody’s life that’s depending on yours. And when I realised that, the lives that I’ve helped change. I’ll never say ‘changed’ because I don’t take that credit, but the lives that I helped change through my stories or my life.
I had a lady say, I posted it on my Instagram, because it wowed me, a lady said, “You went live,” it was a few months ago, and she said, “I was about to jump off a bridge,” literally, like, literally, “and I got your live,” and I don’t know what I said that day, honestly. But she said, “It helped me,” and so, if I would have never went live, who knows what would have happened?
And so, I tell people, “Just share your story.” My most imperfect moments on stage have been my most powerful.
Lewis Howes: Really?
Trent Shelton: The times that I thought were perfect, I thought, “Oh, I killed it!” And I’m sure it reached people, and it’s like, “Yeah!” You get one of those, right? I mean, I remember being at an event, I had two mics, it was just… I mean, I’ve done so many things that’s funny, that I thought, “Man, I wasn’t…” whatever, but people have related to those moments the most.
Even in videos, I go live and it just doesn’t feel good to me, but the messages that come after, it was like, “I needed that.” And so, that takes the pressure off you to be perfect. Stop trying to be perfect, because the people who are judging you are not perfect anyway.
Lewis Howes: And it’s hard to connect with perfection.
Trent Shelton: Exactly. Big time.
Lewis Howes: It’s really hard to connect with the most polished speaker and say, “Oh, I can relate to that person.” But if you show your vulnerabilities or just show your imperfections, let’s say, and you’re not 100% polished all the time; I’m not saying your shouldn’t strive for greatness and strive to have a great brand and everything, and look the way it should, but you’re going to make mistakes. You’re not going to be perfect all the time.
Trent Shelton: Yeah. And that reminded me of something, Lewis. I remember I was in the gym – it kind of reminded me of a parallel to that – I was in the gym the other day, and they had a guy in there that was just killing it. And I was like, “Oh, amazing shape,” and it was inspirational, like, “Ah, I want to get there.”
But there was also another guy in there who was flipping tires and he was struggling. You know how it is, he’s flipping tires, he’s the one that quit, but he keeps pushing. And that inspired me more than the guy that was just killing it. You know what I’m saying? Because I’m like, “Man, he’s going through a struggle, but he’s still progressing.”
And so, I kind of relate that to life. The person who’s climbing the mountain with you is more inspiring than the person who’s standing on top saying, “This is how you get up here.” You know? You see somebody go through struggles.
Lewis Howes: And the guy who looked like he was killing it, maybe he wasn’t pushing himself hard enough.
Trent Shelton: Right! We might need to check his heart rate monitor, right?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, he needed a tire twice as big, so he could struggle.
Trent Shelton: Exactly!
Lewis Howes: I think, if we’re constantly pushing ourselves, you know, that’s why the power of working out, I think, for those that train for some type of physical activity and push themselves to failure or to struggle, is one of the most powerful things we can do on a consistent basis, I believe.
Because, you know, as athletes, we already know this, but I think for those who didn’t go through that: when you put yourself through some type of strategic pain and struggle, you gain so much more confidence throughout your day, and belief in yourself, when you get it the next time and you see improvement and growth, and you know that you were responsible for that growth, and you put yourself through it.
I think it’s really challenging to be able to take on life’s challenges if we’re not constantly putting ourselves through them, in a strategic way. I’m not saying we should hurt ourselves, and injure ourselves, but we should be pushing boundaries, and almost training ourselves to fail, to the edge where then we can finally succeed. And if we’re just looking like we’re killing it, but we’re not struggling, it’s almost like, when we should push ourselves…
Trent Shelton: That’s right. I definitely agree.
Lewis Howes: It’s that athlete mentality, I think. It’s constantly, “How can I get better? How can I break through my personal best?”
Trent Shelton: I like to call it, ‘attacking your impossibilities.’ And so, like I said, I’m going to run a marathon, and my photographer is not here, he actually just went down the street, but he actually ran a marathon, New York City Marathon two years ago and he challenged me. And I get that a lot. It’s like, “Come run a marathon,” and it’s like, “Alright!” but it’s like, “Uhrghh…”
So you got to sign up and it’s like a lottery, so I’m like, “Please don’t pick me,” so I can tell him, “I wanted to do it,” but they picked me. And so, I’m like, “Cool! Let’s do it!”
But I like to do things that I haven’t done before. Like you say, it builds that confidence. So now you come to things where, it’s kind of like the limiting midset versus the progressive mindset. Or moving from, “Can I do this?” to, “What can I do?”
And so I used to be at that place with speaking where it was like, “Can I really do this?” but after I’ve done it so many times, and went through fear so many times and overcame those fears and those struggles and conquered those struggle so many times, now it’s to a point where, not in an arrogant way, but, “What can I do?” What can I do in life? I can do this. Let me go attack this, let me go try this.
And so my mom even thinks I’m crazy sometimes. She’s like, “You’re climbing this?” or, “You’re doing what again?” Because she’s like, “You’re always doing that,” but it builds that confidence in me. And I think that is contagious throughout your whole, entire life.
Lewis Howes: I don’t know if you’ve seen that meme video of, I don’t know what his name is any more, Puff Daddy? P-Diddy? Where he’s in his office and he hangs up the phone, and he’s like, “I can do anything! Give me something! There’s nothing I can’t do!”
And I think it’s just like, when we constantly put ourselves through these challenges, again, it creates this belief that, “Man, there’s nothing I can’t do.”
Trent Shelton: That’s right.
Lewis Howes: And when you have that mindset that there’s nothing I cannot do, then you go through life with a kind of a confidence, a reckless abandon towards your dreams. And you’re not as timid and fearful. And I think that’s what it’s about, is if we can instil that in more people, then it’s just going to serve all of us, and support everything we’re doing.
I love this, man! I love, always, connecting with another athlete.
I want to ask a final couple of questions. This one is called, The Three Truths. So, imagine it’s your last day, many years from now, and you achieve everything you want to. You have a beautiful life. Everything you want to create, you impact the people you want to impact. And it’s the last day and you get to decide when it’s your last day.
But, for whatever reason, you’ve got to take everything with you that you created, so no one has access to your videos, your books or anything you’ve ever made. You have to take it with you.
But you get a piece of paper and a pen to write down the three things you know to be true about all of your experiences, all the lessons you’ve learned, and that’s the only thing you can share with the world. Essentially, your final message.
What would you say are your Three Truths?
Trent Shelton: What I would say is that, just because you had some bad chapters, doesn’t mean your story can’t end well. That would be one truth, for sure.
The second truth would be: It all starts with you. Just responsibility in your life.
And I think the third truth would be, if you appreciate everything that you have, you realise you have everything that you need. I think those will be my three that I will stick with.
Lewis Howes: Appreciation is key, man. Gratitude, appreciation, perspective. Those are powerful. Where can we connect with you online? Where do you hang out the most? Where do you spend the most time?
Trent Shelton: I’m kind of all over the board, but Instagram, @trentshelton. I’m still on Snapchat, Rehab Time on there.
Lewis Howes: I got off that about a year and a half ago, man.
Trent Shelton: Yeah, and then Facebook is just, Trent Shelton on there. And then, I’m trying to remember, you know, I need to be more consistent in my YouTube, and getting back on there, but those are the main spots where you can find me, yeah.
Lewis Howes: What have you got, 10 million followers all over?
Trent Shelton: Yeah, about that, I believe.
Lewis Howes: Eight to ten million. No big deal. And you’ve got a book coming out, so be in tune to the book, when it’s coming out. You’ve got a clothing line, what’s the clothing line called?
Trent Shelton: It’s just Rehab Merch.
Lewis Howes: Rehab Merch. It’s really inspirational stuff.
Trent Shelton: Yeah, everything, everything on the shirts. My whole goal with that is that when you wear it I want you to be inspired, and also, when you wear it, I want people who see it to be inspired. And so every message we put out is trying to inspire somebody as well as yourself.
Lewis Howes: That’s cool, I like that. Well, before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Trent, for allowing yourself to go through the pain of losing your dream and rehabbing yourself. And in the process of figuring out Plan B, impacting so many people that you have.
Because, you know, there’s a lot of athletes that never come back after they’re done playing. And you probably know a lot of them that never have done anything and that are constantly living on the glory days.
And you’ve taken your talents, your abilities, even when you were fearful, you’ve learned how to move through the fear and impact people. And I think that’s the greatest gift you have and you’ve given to the world. So I just want to acknowledge you for that.
Trent Shelton: Thank you, Lewis. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Lewis Howes: Of course. Final question for you is: What’s your definition of greatness?
Trent Shelton: You have some good questions, man! My definition of greatness is, using your life to impact lives. That would be my definition.
Lewis Howes: Trent. Thanks, brother.
Trent Shelton: Yes, sir. Appreciate you.
Lewis Howes: Appreciate it.
There you have it my friends, Trent Shelton in the house, sharing his wisdom. I hope you enjoyed this. If you did, lewishowes.com/643, share it with your friends, share it with someone who might be inspired by this and let me know what you think over on Twitter or Instagram, @LewisHowes and tag Trent Shelton as well.
Again, some powerful insights from today, so I’d love to hear how it supported you the most. And the full show notes, the full video interview, is back at lewishowes.com/643.
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Every day you have an opportunity to do something meaningful with your life, to take one step closer to overcoming your struggle and turning it into your strength. You have an opportunity to make someone else’s life better, by smiling, by giving them a hug, by listening to them. Every single day there is a task at hand. How are you going to use your time and energy to make the most of that task?
Again, Vince Lombardi said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that, whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
You have a moment, right now, to make the most of yourself. What are you going to do?
I love you so very much, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!