Interviewee Name: Steve Olsher
Company Name: The Reinvention Workshop
Steve Olsher – Your Invisible Mentor & Workshop Leader
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Steve Olsher: I am the author of The Journey to You: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming Who You Were Meant to Be, the creator of the Reinvention Workshop and founder and host of Reinvention Radio, which is based out of Phoenix.
Avil Beckford: What’s a typical day like for you?
Steve Olsher: My work is focused on helping people identify the “one” thing they were born to do, so I call that your “WHAT,” so the question to people is, “What is your WHAT?” And my day is typically filled with lots of fun things to do revolving around that work, from coaching to seminars to workshops to media appearances. I try to do as much as I can throughout the day to really concentrate on that line of work.
Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Steve Olsher: I’ve got to tell you that for me it all boils down to being clear on the one thing you were born to do, and once you identify that, motivation is not an issue because that will get you fired up out of bed and keep you focused every single day. My motivation is really helping people discover their “WHAT” and that’s really all I need.
Avil Beckford: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Steve Olsher: The bottom line for me is that I would have gotten on path earlier and I think as Dr. Wayne Dyer says, everything that happens in our life no matter how painful, leads to something of higher value, and that certainly holds true for me. I just certainly wish that I could have gotten on path earlier and become clear on what it was I was born to do, but it was the culmination of my journey that has brought me to this point, but evidently this is where I am supposed to be at this particular point.
Avil Beckford: What’s the most important business or other discovery you’ve made in the past year?
Steve Olsher: The most important discovery that I’ve made is that there are millions of people who need clear direction, hope and understanding of what’s next. And it’s amazing to me that we spend so much time in our school system teaching people how to read, write and do some math, but we never teach our children, for that matter, our adults how to live; and being able to discover that there is an opportunity for me to help. It’s incredible to discover that my work is needed.
Avil Beckford: What’s one of the biggest advances in your industry over the past five years?
Steve Olsher: I’m not sure this is a good thing, clearly the movement toward there being so many “experts” and “gurus” out there that it has certainly brought more awareness to the space that you can create the life that you really want to live. Now whether or not, as I’ve said, if that’s a good thing that there are so many people out there who feel they are qualified to help others in that vane, I’m not sure, but I can certainly tell you that the industry is moving toward people being very specific about the niche that they occupy, and specifically look to help others.
Avil Beckford: What are the three threats to your business, your success, and how are you handling them?
Steve Olsher: For our industry as a whole it’s credibility. Credibility is going to be the key threat because of too many people who aren’t qualified to be in this space are putting themselves out there as being fully qualified in what they say they are able to do, and how they are able to help. This whole idea of being a life coach and being able to pay for a coaching degree, and this sort of thing is concerning. Because you go to school to learn a particular craft, or a particular trade doesn’t mean that you are cut out to make a meaningful impact in that space.
From my perspective that is the single biggest threat facing our industry. All I can do is continue to do what I’m doing, and hopefully get to the point where credibility for me does not become an issue, but certainly until I have established my name, and what I’m doing in a way that’s meaningful, it could potentially be an issue as others try to lump me with some of the folks that aren’t nearly as qualified.
That’s the single biggest threat, there are other threats, but that’s my main concern.
Avil Beckford: What’s unique about the service that you provide?
Steve Olsher: I specifically focus on helping people of all ages to discover the one thing they were born to do. I’m not one of those guys who is going to put you in a sweat lodge and tell you to go live in a cave for six months and come out and try to get clear on why you are here and what your purpose is. My work is very specific, very focused on helping people discover their “WHAT” and I have created an exercise, and have spent my life’s work focusing on this area. That to me is the main key because once you identify what it is you were born to do, everything else falls into place. It’s a natural progression of living life and getting to really where you want to be that takes place in a powerful manner once you focus and hone in on how you can have an inordinate difference on the world.
Avil Beckford: What do you observe most people in your field doing badly that you think you do well?
Steve Olsher: I don’t have anything bad to say about any one particular person or something of that nature. There are a lot of people out there who are doing powerful, helpful, productive work, and I would encourage those who feel that they can benefit from those teachings to continue to learn. But to that end, make sure that when you pick someone to sign on to that your teacher is in fact still a student because too often when teachers become so full of their own garbage that they begin to smell like crap. It’s a concern because these are the people who believe they are the be all and end all and have all the answers. The reality is that no one has all the answers, and if you are going to align yourself with someone, make sure that that teacher is in fact still a student because you need to be with someone who is still learning, and is still humble enough to understand that the gifts that they have been given are terrific, but aren’t sufficient, and are in a position to move past their egos and willing to continue to be vulnerable, and continue to learn because it makes them better teachers.
Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge you had and how you resolved it. What kind of lessons did you learn in the process?
Steve Olsher: Life to me is continually about challenges, and to say that I have had one or two in particular would be doing myself a great disservice because I continue to learn. Life continues to be a challenge. There are obvious issues like being on the brink of bankruptcy, and being divorced, and having a business that “fail.” I’ve gone through the gamut, and I’ve had my fair share of pain, but what I have come to realize is that pain in and of itself, failure in and of itself doesn’t exist. It’s about state-of-mind and the internal dialogue that you associate with those activities. For me, life is a challenge, those who believe a place where this utopia exists with beautiful people and flowing streams and sunshine blowing out of their butts all day, it doesn’t exist. There is no utopia, it’s a utopian myth. From my perspective the challenges will continue no matter where you are. You will always have challenges. I don’t care if you have $1 million in the bank or $10, you will face your own set of challenges.
The main lessons that I’ve learned is that the destination is the road, and the journey is the destination. And this is really what life is about. It’s going to ebb, it’s going to flow. There is a rollercoaster, there are going to be ups and downs, but the main lesson is that to survive and thrive, you really have to set deep anchors into your soul, and stop living life as a windsock. So if life happens, and is affected by external forces where you’re blown this way and you feel good, and you’re blown that way and you feel crappy, the whole idea here is that by setting those deep anchors to your soul you can ultimately determine your own fate and stay on path and be focused on where you are intended and destined to go.
Avil Beckford: Tell me about your big break and who gave you.
Steve Olsher: I have to be honest, there hasn’t been a big break, and I bootstrapped. I have never had a silver spoon in my mouth, no one has ever written me a cheque and say, “Hey, go do this,” simply because they liked and wanted me to do something of that nature. The big breaks for me, and for anyone else, are the breaks you create for yourself, so there hasn’t been any one particular person. I’ve had mentors over my life, but ultimately if you want to get and have a break and do something meaningful, you have to enrol people throughout your life in whatever it is that you are fired up about pursuing.
That in itself will create the breaks that you are looking for because you can’t sit there and live your life in a confined, restricted circle of your potential self. You have to move beyond whatever you believe is restraining you from where you want to go, and the only way to do that is to enrol other people in that process. When you do that, magic happens and the breaks to which you are referring will happen much more frequently than you can imagine. And mentors or people who will provide those breaks will line up along the way. We are not talking about one or two or three, we are talking about dozens and potentially hundreds of people that will help you to get to your destiny.
Avil Beckford: Describe one of your biggest failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?
Steve Olsher: Failure is one of those terms that weak-minded people throw around at those who soar in an attempt to bring them down. Just because you gave something a try and it didn’t work doesn’t mean that you are a “failure.” It doesn’t exist, failure is a myth. I’ve had business successes and business “failures” but the reality is you learn from your success, and you learn from your failure. Tony Robbins says that success leaves clues, but I also believe not attaining success also leaves clues. What I have learned in my ups and in my downs is that life is continually an ebb and flow, and as I’ve said before, it’s a rollercoaster. The idea of a success being more valuable to you than a failure or a failure being of more value to you than a success is really inappropriate. It’s not the way that I choose to look at life.
Avil Beckford: What has been your biggest disappointment in your life – and what are you doing to prevent its reoccurrence?
Steve Olsher: The biggest disappoint for me in my life is that I didn’t get on path earlier. I believe that we each have an inherent blueprint that we are destined to heed, and whether or not we heed that inherent blueprint ultimately spells the difference between content, satisfaction and fulfillment and just meandering through life and never feeling satisfied. The fact that it took me as long as it took to get on path is a disappointment, but to that end it’s also an opportunity. I now stand with the greatest opportunity that I have ever had in my life. To move forward in a powerful way where I pursue what I’m supposed to do, I can’t deny that this is what I am supposed to be doing. If I were to stop on this path and be sidetracked, or head in a direction other than where I am currently going, that would be an incredible disappointment. So hopefully, I’ve learned enough from where I have been to where I am now to know that the lessons that I have experienced and learned have put me in a position to do the work that I am pursuing. If I were not to pursue that, that would certainly be a lesson that I didn’t learn very well.
Avil Beckford: What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make and how did it impact your life?
Steve Olsher: Three years ago I had a wake up call. I’ve been a lifelong entrepreneur, and I had success in a number of different areas and I’ve had failures in a number of different areas as well if you want to use that definition. About three years ago, I was visiting my stepfather in the hospital who was on his deathbed. I was with him on his final days and I had a vision while I was holding his hand, and of my own funeral. At that funeral I could hear the words spoken at the graveside, which were, “Here lies Steve Olsher, he dedicated his life to chasing the Almighty dollar.”
That’s all that was said, and it hit me really hard because I realized that my life to that point was really about me and those closest to me, but no one else. I’ve always had this nagging, kind of tugging feeling that I was meant to do something extraordinary, but I couldn’t identify what it was, and I knew that if I continued down the path that I was heading of chasing the Almighty dollar, I would not have created my desired legacy. That’s where I had the choice, that’s where I hit the fork in the road, and that’s the biggest moment I ever faced because I could continue down the path of building businesses and really focusing on the driving factor being profit, or I could move toward what it was that I was really compelled to do, which is sharing the tips, tools, shortcuts and strategies that have worked so well for me in my life, with others in a much more powerful way. And I chose the latter, and certainly I have never looked back.
Avil Beckford: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
Steve Olsher: It goes without saying that the event that I just described is certainly one of the three that would be undeniable.
Two others that I can relate to the audience here is number one, I don’t even know how old I was, but I think I was around 10 or 11 years old, and I was roller-skating with my mom. My brother was in a mental hospital and he wasn’t doing great, so we were visiting him at the hospital, and for a break we went roller-skating. Somehow I got separated from my mom, which wasn’t really a big deal because it’s free skate you just go around but I struggling to skate, and it was hard for me. It didn’t come naturally, I hadn’t done much roller-skating and I just remember stumbling around a bit, and like the hands-of-God picked me up.
I remember it was a woman, and she was kind and gentle and encouraging and she skated with me for about 10 or 15 minutes. She was behind me, so I never actually saw her, but at some point she let go and I was skating completely on my own, but it was a very profound moment because at that point, I realized that sometimes if you just let go the answers that you need and the direction that you need will come from often one of the strangest place. You can’t question it and the idea of becoming who you were born to be, going back to the analogy of the work that I do, sometimes just requires letting go and let the hands of those help you where it comes from unlikely places. And so you don’t question when it comes into your life, you just allow yourself to melt into that and let those hands carry you. It was a very profound moment for me because I never saw her, she must have skated off because I never saw her, and she never said anything to me again, but yet I had the confidence, and I felt the love and it was a powerful moment for a very young man.
The third moment that had an amazing impact on me was we have thousands of conversations with people over our lives and for whatever reason, certain sentences, certain things that people say just stick with you over the years. I was in the process of opening up my own night club at the age of 20, and I was discussing this with an older friend of mine, a mentor. I told about what I intended to about opening up the club, and he said, “Look, what are you doing now?” and I reminded him, that I was waiting tables, pumping gas and I was deejaying in a club and doing some different things, and he said, “What are you afraid of if the club doesn’t work out?” and I said, “You know I’m afraid of failing, afraid of losing money, of disappointing people and I’m afraid of looking bad,” and he said, “Look Steve, the bottom line here is if for whatever reason the night club doesn’t work out, you can always go back to pumping gas.”
It was one of those defining moments where I realized that you can always go back to whatever it is that you know, but if you are not willing to take those risks, and not willing to grow, you are ultimately just going to simply die. That’s the idea here, be willing to grow because if you’re not growing you’re dying. And ultimately if you have to take a step back, you do it, but whenever you look back on your life you will always regret failing to act, and taking action and realizing what others call failure.
Those are three moments that had a tremendous impact on me.
Avil Beckford: What’s an accomplishment that you are proudest of?
Steve Olsher: Being married for 13 years and having three wonderful boys, that’s certainly my greatest accomplishment. Forget about anything that I have done on the business front, or the work that I do with others, or the book receiving awards. Success in life boils down to having a roof over my head, a family that I love, and something to eat. That to me is the definition of success and I have that so in my mind I am inordinately successful.
Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?
Steve Olsher: I talked about the friend who provided the life lesson about pumping gas. And I had another mentor who helped me develop one of my businesses. I have had other mentors along the line including my grandfather. I think what people get hung up on is that mentors don’t have to be someone older than you. A mentor can be a 15 year old kid, mentors come from odd, strange, profound places, and I think we have this vision of a mentor being an old, grey-haired person who has been through life to try to provide life lessons that you can learn from, when in fact you can learn from anyone. Everyone is an expert at something, and if you can look at your life and your world and you can look at your interactions in that manner, anyone can be a mentor for you and to you. You just have to cultivate that relationship and be willing to ask.
Avil Beckford: What’s one core message you received from your mentors?
Steve Olsher: The core message that I have received over the years, is as I stated earlier is that you have to be willing to grow and you have to be willing to take risks. William James has a fantastic quote that I use in the Re-invention Workshop and I’ll paraphrase here, but ultimately what the quote is about is he says most people live within a restricted circle, this limited area of their potential being, potential self and it’s like a man, out of all the resources that he has is into the habit of using and wiggling his little finger.
And the idea is that when we are faced with great emergencies and crises we are able to respond in ways that we didn’t even know we had the capability of doing. I love the story of the woman who recently had a bear barge into her house somehow, and she had nothing to defend her family with but a zucchini, so she grabbed the zucchini and proceeds to beat away this bear to drive it out of the house with only a zucchini. If you had asked her three days earlier, “Hey, a bear is going to break into your house, and the only thing you have to defend yourself and your family with is a zucchini,” what do you think would have happened? I’m sure her natural response would have been, “I’m going to get mauled, that doesn’t sound like a fair fight.” But in fact when pushed to the brink she was able to do it.
I once had a mentor ask me, “If you’re willing to travel at that rate of speed to save someone you love, what rate of speed are you willing to travel to save yourself?” That has been one of the more profound statements, profound experiences that I’ve had in terms of something that has stuck with me all these years, and I try to carry that forth where pushing well beyond what is our normal restricted circle of our potential self, just getting out of my comfort zone.
Avil Beckford: An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from afar, in the capacity of an Invisible Mentor, what is one piece of advice that you would give to readers?
Steve Olsher: If there was one piece of advice that I could offer to your audience, it would be to discover your “WHAT.” The world is waiting for you, that’s the one piece of advice that I can offer, and keep in mind that the world is waiting for you and you have a unique gift to share, and you are not only doing yourself a huge disservice by not cultivating what that gift is, but you’re doing us a disservice as well because you have been given something that no one else has. I don’t care if your stage is 20 people, let’s say you’re a second grade teacher, or if your stage has an audience of millions, it doesn’t matter, but ultimately there are people out there who need you, and there are people out there who will benefit from whatever it is that you were put on this world to do. Just keep in mind that the world is waiting for you, and we need you.
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