GAIN THE PASSION

The best and brightest thought leaders & experts join co-hosts Todd Foster, Alyssa Stanley & Kelley Skar to share their wins, losses, key strategies and ideas to help you GAIN THE PASSION in your life!

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episode 11: Chris Widener - The Art of Influence: Why Who You Surround Yourself With Matters More now Than Ever [transcript]


Chris Widener is widely recognized as one of the top speakers in the world today. His clients are a “who’s who” of American businesses and organizations, including: General Electric, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and the Harvard Business School.

Chris was hand selected by two of the legends of the speaking world to work with them and he now carries on their legacy. Jim Rohn, one of the most successful speakers of the last 50 years, and also known for being Tony Robbins first mentor, made Chris his last protege. 

Chris and Jim co-authored the Jim Rohn One Year Success Plan as well as Jim’s last book, The Twelve Pillars, which has become an international best-seller.  Zig Ziglar, considered to be the greatest motivational speaker of the 20th Century, personally chose Chris to co-host his television show, True Performance. 

Chris’ two books, The Angel Inside, and The Art of Influence are the only two fiction books Zig Ziglar endorsed in his entire life. Along with co-hosting True Performance, Chris also hosted his own show, Made for Success, where he interviewed some of the top business achievers and thought leaders of our time.

Chris is the author of twenty books with three million copies in print in 13 languages and over 450 articles on success, leadership, sales and motivation. His best-selling books include The Angel Inside (which has also been optioned as a movie), The Art of Influence, The Leadership Rules, Live the Life You Have Always Dreamed Of, Twelve Pillars, and the sequel to Twelve Pillars, Above All Else. Chris has also produced over 80 CDs and DVDs on a wide range of topics.


Find out more about Chris
https://chriswidener.com/
Access past episodes and more at GAIN THE PASSION
https://www.gainthepassion.com


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 2022-03-25  1h23m
 
 
00:01  Voiceover
Welcome to GAIN THE
00:01
PASSION with hosts, Todd Foster,
00:07
Alyssa Stanley and Kelley Skar.
00:11  Alyssa Stanley
Today we have
00:11
the opportunity to sit down with
00:14
Chris Widener. He is a world
00:14
renowned keynote speaker, known
00:19
for his keynote speech around
00:19
America's number one influence
00:23
and impact strategies. He is a
00:23
member of the motivational
00:27
speakers Hall of Fame, one of
00:27
Inc Magazine's Top 100
00:30
leadership speakers, named one
00:30
of the top 50 speakers in the
00:34
world. He is also a coach and
00:34
author, and he has co wrote with
00:39
some of the greats in the
00:39
motivational speaking world.
00:42  Chris Widener
Hey, thanks for
00:42
having me. Appreciate it.
00:44  Kelley Skar
Right on, Chris.
00:44
Well, thanks again for being
00:46
here. Why don't you give us kind
00:46
of the Coles Notes version of
00:49
who you are. What your about and
00:49
let's dive into the conversation
00:52
after that.
00:53  Chris Widener
Awesome. Yeah,
00:53
I've been a speaker since 1988.
00:55
When I graduated college, I
00:55
started out speaking to youth
00:57
because I had a crazy
00:57
upbringing. 28 homes 11
01:01
different schools shipped off to
01:01
live with relatives twice
01:03
started drugs in the sixth grade
01:03
kicked out of almost kicked out
01:06
of school many, many times 47
01:06
written referrals to the
01:09
principal's office, my 10th
01:09
grade years, my son would say
01:12
that's one of the four days I
01:12
had a transformation summer
01:16
before my senior year of high
01:16
school, got a degree in youth
01:19
and family work, became a youth
01:19
director in New Jersey of all
01:22
places. I spent three years
01:22
doing that till I realized I
01:25
don't like youth. And after that
01:25
I started speaking to adults and
01:32
I ended up ghostwriting for John
01:32
Maxwell starting in 2001 ish,
01:37
started working with Jim Rohn,
01:37
in about 2002 wrote the Jim Rohn
01:41
one year program. And his last
01:41
book 12 Pillars ended up with a
01:45
TV show with Zig Ziglar for
01:45
about a year and a half called
01:48
True Performance and have
01:48
traveled the world 2500 speeches
01:52
22 books translated into 14
01:52
languages, including my best
01:56
selling book, The Angel Inside,
01:56
which was number two on the Wall
01:59
Street Journal number seven on
01:59
the New York Times, and number
02:02
three on Amazon for a week. So
02:02
it's been a fun ride has taken
02:07
me all over the world. Primarily
02:07
I speak on my book called The
02:10
Art of influence. But it's been
02:10
great to done radio and
02:13
television, spoken all over
02:13
crowds as large as 25,000 people
02:17
and it's just been a it's it's
02:17
been a mostly wonderful life as
02:21
the movie would be called if it
02:21
was my movie.
02:24  Todd Foster
Well, you've never
02:24
said any of that before I could
02:25
tell that. That was good.
02:27  Chris Widener
I said it faster
02:27
this time.
02:29  Todd Foster
So Chris, you were,
02:29
it sounds like you're a fun kid
02:32
back in the day. At what point
02:32
your life did you go okay.
02:36
Either your force grew up, or
02:36
did someone forced to grow up?
02:38
Or what was the story there?
02:40  Chris Widener
Well, I was
02:40
completely lost. My dad died
02:42
when I was four. My siblings
02:42
were much older than me. So we
02:45
basically had two families, mom,
02:45
dad and three siblings. And then
02:48
I came along for a short little
02:48
bit for my dad died. And then
02:50
they all moved out. So my mom
02:50
basically raised me as an only
02:53
child. And I just, I just went
02:53
down the, you know, down the
02:58
drain. But I was not a good kid.
02:58
I was in trouble all the time. I
03:01
was angry. And then summer
03:01
before my senior year, I was
03:06
spending the night with one of
03:06
my friends who gets me into a
03:09
lot of trouble. And it was a
03:09
Saturday night. Sunday morning,
03:13
his mother threw the door open
03:13
and said get up. We're going to
03:16
Sunday school. And I literally
03:16
had no idea what Sunday school
03:18
was, I'd never heard of it. I'm
03:18
like, Well, I've done Monday
03:20
through Friday school. And I've
03:20
done almost everything else. But
03:24
that could give a Sunday school
03:24
a try. And I met a guy who he
03:27
was a good old boy from Montana.
03:27
And he was the youth director.
03:30
And he had two things that he
03:30
really did for me, number one,
03:32
its size 11, cowboy boots, you
03:32
know what I mean? And gave me a
03:35
swift kick in the butt told me I
03:35
was going nowhere fast. And that
03:39
I had a lot of talent and that
03:39
if I'd corral that I could make
03:42
something in my life. And then
03:42
number two, he taught me about
03:44
God and about purpose and about
03:44
the bigger picture. And
03:48
understanding that I wasn't just
03:48
some last kid with no future but
03:51
that that I there was a plan for
03:51
my life. And my job was to find
03:55
that plan and fulfill it. And
03:55
those were two great messages
03:58
that I needed. And it turned my
03:58
life around and it certainly
04:02
haven't been perfect, but I've
04:02
been going in the right
04:04
direction. And as John MacArthur
04:04
always says it's not your
04:08
perfection, but your direction
04:08
that counts and I've been going
04:11
in the right direction for you
04:11
know 40 Something years now and
04:15
and it's been quite a journey.
04:17  Kelley Skar
Chris, what do you
04:17
think that message was that that
04:19
the sides 11 cowboy boot kind of
04:19
struck into you that that
04:23
actually made you stand up and
04:23
listen because I'm assuming that
04:26
you probably had other people in
04:26
your life you know, along your
04:29
journey that were saying hey,
04:29
come on man smarten up like
04:31
you're smarter than this it you
04:31
know, this is the path that
04:33
you're on is insane. Like what
04:33
was it that he said that just
04:36
completely you know completely
04:36
made you change your outlook on
04:40
on your path forward?
04:42  Chris Widener
Well it was more
04:42
tone I think there there were
04:44
certainly people that told me I
04:44
was screwing up, but nobody ever
04:48
nobody ever combined that with
04:48
and you've got a bright future.
04:52
It was teachers who yelled at me
04:52
and coaches that yelled at me
04:55
and told me what a screw up I
04:55
was. You know, the only the only
04:58
reason I was able to play sports
04:58
was because I was one of the
05:01
best kids on every team. And
05:01
otherwise, they just booted me
05:04
off. They sort of had to
05:04
tolerate me. But coaches
05:07
condemned me teachers condemned
05:07
me sent me to the principal's
05:10
office. But for once somebody
05:10
said, Yeah, you're screwing up.
05:14
But there's a way to make
05:14
something out of this. You've
05:16
got great talents, you've got
05:16
great skill sets, you've got a
05:19
great personality. And it was
05:19
basically somebody finally
05:22
believed in me. And then, you
05:22
know, from that point forward,
05:25
I've had lots of people who
05:25
believed in me, I had a
05:27
professor in college who
05:27
believed in me, and I was still
05:31
really rough around the edges in
05:31
college, but he allowed me to in
05:35
our college, everybody had to
05:35
have some way that they gave
05:38
back to the community and the
05:38
college had a thing that did,
05:41
feeding the homeless in Seattle,
05:41
on Skid road, and, and he put me
05:46
in charge of that team. And that
05:46
was the first time anybody had
05:50
invested any responsibility. And
05:50
to me, he saw my negatives, but
05:54
he knew that if he could give me
05:54
some positive to replace them,
05:57
and so he allowed me to use
05:57
this, this personality that was
06:00
tending to get me into trouble
06:00
for something good. And, you
06:04
know, he believed in me, when I
06:04
got out of college, I had a
06:06
mentor who was the CEO of Mars
06:06
candies, you know, just a little
06:10
$35 billion a year company who
06:10
believed in me and, you know,
06:13
all along the way, Kyle Wilson
06:13
was the president of Jim Rohn.
06:17
International, who brought me in
06:17
to work with Jim believed in me,
06:20
zig and Tom Ziglar believed in
06:20
me. So all the way along in my
06:24
career. I call them boosters,
06:24
right? Bring on the boosters I
06:28
wrote an article once called,
06:28
bring on the boosters we need
06:30
people who will believe in us
06:30
and it's one of the things I try
06:33
to do now, as an older man, I'm
06:33
55 now and so now I'm one of the
06:37
older guys in the room a lot of
06:37
the times, and I'll see young
06:40
guys, young men and young women,
06:40
and I'll tell them, I believe in
06:44
you, I see what you can do I see
06:44
your greatness and, and
06:48
oftentimes, it we just have to
06:48
borrow belief from somebody. And
06:52
when people who were successful
06:52
and older than me and people who
06:56
are living lives that were
06:56
different than mine, believed in
06:58
me. It made it easier for me to
06:58
believe in myself.
07:02  Todd Foster
So what did you
07:02
want to be when you grew up?
07:04  Chris Widener
Well, I wanted to
07:04
be an NBA basketball player, but
07:06
I was about seven inches too
07:06
short. I worked for the Seattle
07:10
SuperSonics from 77 to 84 for
07:10
seven years when I when I was 11
07:14
years old. You know, I tell
07:14
people all the time, I do not
07:18
have any celebrity itis like, I
07:18
don't care who you are put me in
07:21
the room with the most famous
07:21
person in the world. I could
07:24
care less. Because when I was 11
07:24
years old, I was hanging out
07:27
with Larry Bird Magic Johnson,
07:27
Dr. J. You know all these guys,
07:31
Kareem Abdul Jabbar like,
07:31
literally, I just am not
07:35
impressed by people in terms of
07:35
oh, they're a celebrity. But I
07:39
wanted to be an NBA player. I
07:39
was too short, too slow and to
07:43
not good enough. So I fell back
07:43
on the fact that I could talk
07:46
and I've always made a living
07:46
talking. Remember in high school
07:50
when the homeroom buzzer hit?
07:50
It's like me time to sit down
07:53
and, and then the guy came on
07:53
the microphone. Welcome,
07:55
everybody. It's Tuesday,
07:55
February 4, and let's stand for
07:59
the Pledge of Allegiance. That
07:59
was me. Today we're serving fish
08:02
sticks and tater tots. You know,
08:02
that kind of thing. You know,
08:07
and then, you know, if you're
08:07
playing on the varsity team, the
08:10
bus leaves at four o'clock
08:10
outside the gym, don't miss it.
08:13
And then in college is this kind
08:13
of interesting thing in college,
08:16
I went to a college I knew I was
08:16
not going to play basketball. So
08:20
they had an open recruitment for
08:20
the in house basketball
08:23
announcer right. So about eight
08:23
of us showed up in the, in the
08:27
in the college auditorium
08:27
basketball arena. And they said
08:30
okay, they handed us some some
08:30
sheets, and it had the names of
08:33
the players. And they said,
08:33
Alright, go up there and pretend
08:36
that you're welcoming the crowd
08:36
and take us all the way through
08:38
the national anthem. And having
08:38
gone to 750 NBA games, there was
08:45
a guy named George tolls and
08:45
George tolls was the in house
08:49
announcer at the Seattle
08:49
Coliseum announcing all those
08:52
NBA games and prior to me
08:52
getting the job. My mom had four
08:55
front row seats to the to the
08:55
game, feet right on the court.
08:59
So I've been to hundreds and
08:59
hundreds of games. And I heard
09:02
George's voice in my head. So
09:02
they said Who wants to go first?
09:04
I said I'll go first. I walked
09:04
up, I hit the flipside. I said,
09:07
Good evening, ladies and
09:07
gentlemen, boys and girls and
09:09
welcome to Concordia College
09:09
Moorhead, Minnesota, where
09:12
tonight your Concordia
09:12
conference taking on the St.
09:14
Thomas Tommy's. Now for the
09:14
starting lineup. I can still do
09:18
it. 40 something in my head. And
09:18
so you know, then I ended up
09:24
doing drivetime radio, I've
09:24
given 2500 speeches. So it's
09:27
always usually been around
09:27
talking, which, you know, they
09:30
always say that your greatest
09:30
weakness is your greatest
09:33
strength carried it's to its
09:33
extreme. My greatest strength is
09:36
talking. My greatest weakness is
09:36
talking. So there you go. My
09:41
tongue has gotten me all around
09:41
the world. And it's also gotten
09:43
me in a lot of trouble over the
09:43
years.
09:45  Todd Foster
I can relate, my
09:45
mom always said growing up, man.
09:48
If you could just make money,
09:48
spewing shit out of your mouth.
09:52
You'd be a very rich man. Look
09:52
at me, Mom, look.
09:56  Chris Widener
There you go.
09:57  Kelley Skar
I want to talk
09:57
about your book Chris. The Art
10:00
of influence, maybe give us a
10:00
quick synopsis of the book and
10:02
let's dive into that
10:02
conversation.
10:04  Chris Widener
I had written the
10:04
book, The angel inside, which
10:08
took a very well, and then wrote
10:08
Jim Rowan's book 12 pillars. And
10:14
a couple people had told me you
10:14
ought to write short little
10:16
fiction books, sort of like the
10:16
Ken Blanchard books. That's sort
10:18
of my niche, right? Well, I had
10:18
a two book deal with Random
10:21
House. And so originally, it was
10:21
going to be the secrets of
10:25
influence. But that name was
10:25
already taken. So we changed it
10:27
to the art of influence. And
10:27
it's a story about a young guy
10:31
who graduates from North Col.
10:31
Kellogg School of Business, and
10:37
his grandmother gives him a
10:37
little gift card. As since he
10:40
was the first kid to go to
10:40
college, first kid graduate with
10:42
a an MBA, she gives him a little
10:42
gift card at a backyard
10:46
barbecue. And in it, she says,
10:46
you get to spend a week with
10:50
Bobby gold. And Bobby gold is a
10:50
fictional character who's one of
10:53
the 10 richest men in America.
10:53
And he says, How do you know
10:57
Bobby gold? Are you kidding me?
10:57
He thought she was going senile.
11:01
She said, Oh, I guess I never
11:01
told you. I was his nanny when
11:03
he was growing up. And when I
11:03
found out you were going into
11:05
business, I asked him if he take
11:05
you under his wing. So Bobby
11:09
gold is sort of a combination of
11:09
sort of a swashbuckling business
11:15
guy sort of a Donald Trump
11:15
business kind of guy combined
11:18
with a Richard Branson you know
11:18
very ostentatious his jet was
11:22
gold you know and and all that
11:22
and by the way, his jet I can't
11:27
probably shouldn't tell you
11:27
exactly who it is. But a friend
11:29
of mine is is the private pilot
11:29
for one of the very very, very
11:33
wealthiest guys in the world,
11:33
top five guys in the world. And
11:36
I called him up and I said, I
11:36
gotta write about a jet. Can I
11:38
come down and look at your? And
11:38
he said, Yeah, sure. Come on
11:41
now. So it's actually a jet it
11:41
is old jet. He sold it now. It's
11:44
a Falcon 900 e x. He drives a
11:44
650 now, but anyway, that's
11:49
actually a jet of one of the
11:49
most world's most well known
11:53
billionaires. So there's a lot
11:53
of little what do they call me
11:56
video games, Easter eggs, and
11:56
that there's a scene in a in a
12:00
baseball stadium that is based
12:00
on a friend of mine, who was the
12:02
president of one of the major
12:02
league baseball teams and, and
12:06
some of those kinds of things,
12:06
but it's fictional. It's usually
12:09
a mentor mentee kind of
12:09
relationship. And, and in this
12:13
one, Bobby gold takes this young
12:13
man Mark asunder. And he he says
12:16
to him at the very beginning, he
12:16
says, Well, you graduated from
12:18
Kellogg business school. So I
12:18
know you know, the science of
12:21
business. Now I'm going to teach
12:21
you the art of business and the
12:24
art of business is to understand
12:24
people and how to influence
12:27
people. And its four main, four
12:27
main lessons integrity, which
12:32
brings trust, optimism, which
12:32
brings admiration service, which
12:36
brings loyalty and excellence,
12:36
which brings respect. So how to
12:41
gain trust, respect, admiration,
12:41
and loyalty from people. And
12:44
this fictional little stories
12:44
are easy for people to read, I
12:47
call them I call them one legged
12:47
stories, because you can read
12:50
them on one leg of a, of an
12:50
airplane trip. And I also tell
12:54
people, nobody's going to accuse
12:54
me of having gone to MIT after
12:56
reading one of my books, they're
12:56
there just a little bit longer
12:59
than a long coloring book.
13:01  Todd Foster
How did you
13:01
discover you're a writer, I sit
13:03
down, and I'll write something,
13:03
I have writer's block, and it
13:06
will take me three hours to
13:06
write one sentence, let alone
13:08
20,000.
13:09  Chris Widener
Well, I actually
13:09
write my books in a week. And
13:12
here's how I do it. I study and
13:12
study and study and study and
13:14
study and study and study. And
13:14
then I'll go into a Starbucks or
13:18
someplace Monday through Friday,
13:18
I start at 8am. And I leave at
13:22
5pm at or as soon as I get to
13:22
4000 words for the day. And at
13:27
the end of the week, I have
13:27
20,000 words, and I send them to
13:29
an editor. But I'll tell you how
13:29
I ended up doing that. When I
13:33
was I had written books prior to
13:33
Angel inside which became the
13:37
best seller. And at the time, I
13:37
had just gotten rid of my last
13:41
ghost writing client, I said,
13:41
No, I'm not doing ghost write
13:44
anymore, because I was giving
13:44
all my best ideas away. And
13:46
because I have integrity, I
13:46
would be sitting there typing
13:49
and I come up with this idea.
13:49
And I'm like, I'm on the clock.
13:52
I gotta give it to him. And I
13:52
give it to him. Nobody would
13:55
have known except me, right? But
13:55
I thought I gotta give it to
13:58
him. And so I said, the only way
13:58
out of this is for me to not go
14:00
straight for anybody. So there
14:00
were a few books that were big
14:04
at the time, a few ideas there
14:04
was the Da Vinci Code was big.
14:07
And there was a book called How
14:07
to think like Leonardo da Vinci.
14:11
And so I thought Da Vinci I
14:11
wonder if there's an end. So
14:13
those who know Renaissance
14:13
history know that there were
14:16
four people who lived in
14:16
Florence in the early 1500s.
14:20
Raphael was there he was sort of
14:20
in and out. But Da Vinci lived
14:23
there. Mecca Valley live there.
14:23
You know, Florence in the early
14:27
1500s, was sort of the birth of
14:27
citizen legislature. And
14:31
Machiavelli wrote the prince
14:31
didn't want to write about like
14:33
cheating and stealing didn't
14:33
think that would be much of a
14:35
personal self help book. So So
14:35
that left me with Michelangelo
14:40
and I didn't know much about
14:40
Michelangelo. So I spent about
14:43
six months studying reading
14:43
books. I read the agony and the
14:46
ecstasy actually watched the
14:46
movie The agony and the ecstasy
14:48
Starling starring Charlton
14:48
Heston and he has tons and tons
14:52
of research studied maps of the
14:52
city of Florence. Now we do Food
14:56
and Wine Tours there. I was
14:56
married in a vineyard outside of
14:59
Florence a few years years ago,
14:59
the old Domenici family
15:02
farmhouse, which is now a 28.
15:02
Room boutique hotel owned by the
15:06
anari family, which is the
15:06
world's largest than your oldest
15:09
vineyard as well. And so I was
15:09
going to write a book on life
15:13
lessons from Michelangelo and I
15:13
got two pieces of advice that
15:16
literally changed the course of
15:16
my writing history. One was from
15:20
Charlie, tremendous Jones. Do
15:20
you guys remember Charlie?
15:23
Tremendous Jones. Charlie,
15:23
tremendous. Jones was a
15:25
contemporary of Zig Ziglar. And
15:25
Jim Rohn. He's passed away. Now,
15:29
you have the most dynamic
15:29
personality of any human being
15:32
I've ever met. Very, very funny
15:32
guy, you should watch some old
15:35
videos of his. For example, he
15:35
would always say I've been
15:39
married 55 years. And what
15:39
happens when you say that
15:41
everybody Oh, that's amazing.
15:41
And he'd say, stop, stop stops,
15:45
stop. And it will be positive.
15:45
That's only 47 of them were any
15:49
good. He said to me, he owned a,
15:49
you know, a company called
15:53
executive books out of
15:53
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and
15:56
he said, Chris, I got some
15:56
advice for your next book. Make
16:00
it short. Nobody reads long
16:00
books anymore. Make it short. So
16:06
I went into a Barnes and Noble
16:06
in Bellevue, Washington, a
16:08
converted bowling alley. And I
16:08
went to picked up a Ken
16:12
Blanchard book, I counted how
16:12
many words on a page, I
16:15
multiplied by pages, and it was
16:15
20,000 words. The second piece
16:19
of advice, again, this sort of
16:19
random piece of advice, a guy
16:22
named Mark Sanborn, and you guys
16:22
probably know, Mark, he wrote a
16:25
best selling book, I think it's
16:25
sold 5 million copies now called
16:28
the Fred factor. One of the top
16:28
speakers of the last 30 years,
16:31
former president National
16:31
Speakers Association, probably
16:34
been featured in Success
16:34
Magazine many times. And he
16:37
said, Chris, you ought to make
16:37
it fiction. And I went, huh,
16:41
fiction. The great thing about
16:41
fiction, you didn't make
16:44
anything up, right? I mean, so
16:44
you don't want to make up facts
16:48
or things like that. But I love
16:48
writing fiction, because you can
16:51
construct anything that you want
16:51
to and you can take those
16:53
lessons and put them right into
16:53
something. And, and so that's
16:56
what I did, I found 10 life
16:56
lessons out of the life of
16:59
Michelangelo. And, and I wrote
16:59
that book, and people loved it.
17:05
And, and still to this day, I
17:05
get emails from people saying
17:09
That book changed my life. And
17:09
it was published, we self
17:12
published it, Jim Rohn
17:12
international self published it,
17:14
we sold 120,000 copies before we
17:14
sold it to two Random House. And
17:19
then it debuted number two,
17:19
number seven, and number three,
17:22
the one that I liked the number
17:22
three on Amazon, though, because
17:25
it was literally actually number
17:25
three, a lot of times people's
17:28
number one best selling but it's
17:28
books, you know, business books,
17:32
business books for men, business
17:32
books for men and accounting
17:35
business books for men and
17:35
accounting, who've LED work less
17:37
than seven years, you know, it's
17:37
like 14 divisions down. This was
17:40
actually number three. And it
17:40
was behind the pre launch of
17:44
Harry Potter. The pre release of
17:44
Harry Potter and the last book
17:48
of JRR Tolkien that his grandson
17:48
found in his in his in his attic
17:52
after his grandpa died. So I'm I
17:52
guess you're gonna be number
17:55
three, it may as well be behind
17:55
the greatest fiction series of
17:58
all time. And the guy who wrote
17:58
Lord of the Rings, I mean, okay,
18:01
I was number one. Yeah. So, and
18:01
I and it's the only book I love.
18:07
I like all of my books. I love
18:07
that book. It is a, in my
18:13
opinion, pun intended, I guess.
18:13
It really is a masterpiece. And
18:16
I and I really kind of even
18:16
think God really helped me write
18:19
it because it's a perfect blend
18:19
of history, art, geography,
18:25
spirituality, self help. And
18:25
there's just nugget after nugget
18:30
after nugget in that book. And
18:30
it's, it's the only book of mine
18:34
that I love, love, love. I love
18:34
the book. And it's been in 14
18:38
languages. The last one just
18:38
picked up a couple years ago, in
18:42
the last couple years. Another
18:42
one of the Chinese derivatives,
18:46
picked it up. So I'm very proud
18:46
of that book, proud of all my
18:49
books, but I really love that
18:49
book.
18:51  Alyssa Stanley
Writers perplex
18:51
me because it it takes a lot to
18:55
put, like I have so many
18:55
thoughts going on in this head
18:58
of mine, but sometimes to put it
18:58
down on paper is I mean, it's a
19:01
real struggle, right? So and the
19:01
whole world of ghostwriting
19:05
perplexes me as well, because
19:05
the amount of blood sweat and
19:10
tears intellectual property, all
19:10
of the things that you pour into
19:13
that paper for I mean, sometimes
19:13
a ghostwriting contract is about
19:17
nine to 12 months, right? So you
19:17
spend all that time and then you
19:21
just like handed this baby over.
19:21
How do you do that? I would have
19:26
a really hard time doing that
19:26
because then they publish it
19:29
right and it's their name on it.
19:31  Chris Widener
You gotta find
19:31
the right ghostwriter. And my
19:33
first ghost writing I wrote his
19:33
articles. I didn't write any of
19:35
his books. But I worked for
19:35
about 18 months writing John
19:39
Maxwell's nationally syndicated
19:39
column and early 2000s. And one
19:45
of the reasons they picked me
19:45
was because John was a former
19:48
pastor turned business speaker.
19:48
I was a former pastor turned
19:53
business speaker. So you want to
19:53
find somebody that gets your
19:56
worldview gets your voice.
19:56
That's very, very useful.
19:59
important to do. And so, and I
19:59
did struggle with it. I
20:04
struggled with ghostwriting. I
20:04
remember one time, I remember
20:06
one time I was sitting at
20:06
Starbucks, and I was writing an
20:09
article. And at the top it said,
20:09
you know, John Maxwell was
20:12
writing the article. And it was
20:12
funny because it was I lived in
20:17
Seattle, and I was in a suburb
20:17
of Seattle, where they pioneered
20:20
all the things they wanted to
20:20
try. So ours was 4500 square
20:24
feet. It was the first time they
20:24
ever had fireplaces, first time
20:27
they ever first place they ever
20:27
had all the luxury, you know,
20:29
big, overstuffed chairs. First
20:29
time they ever had a board room
20:32
setup. And there was a guy on
20:32
the other side of my laptop, and
20:35
he was sitting there for three
20:35
or four hours. And at one point,
20:37
I kind of just took a break, and
20:37
I leaned back. And he said, he
20:41
stopped. And he said, Hey, what
20:41
do you do? And I said, Oh, I'm a
20:45
writer, and speaker, and he
20:45
said, What do you write about? I
20:47
said, leadership and, and stuff.
20:47
He goes, Oh, I love leadership.
20:52
And I saw really like, Who do
20:52
you like, he was John Max, my
20:54
favorite writer of all time, I'm
20:54
like, yeah, he's amazing. And,
20:58
you know, and John does a lot of
20:58
his books, I think
21:00
collaboratively with Charlie wet
21:00
so and they usually have a whole
21:04
team there. So it's not really
21:04
sort of true ghost writing. I
21:07
mean, they do the writing, but
21:07
you want to find somebody that
21:10
gets it that has that, you know,
21:10
that has that worldview and
21:14
confined your voice. There are
21:14
people that I would, I would
21:17
never go strike for because I
21:17
would never, I would never be
21:19
able to capture their voice. But
21:19
it was really easy for me to
21:23
work with John. And it was a
21:23
great privilege. I mean, what an
21:26
amazing guy, amazing writer,
21:26
amazing speaker, amazing
21:30
business guy, and the ministry
21:30
that he's compelled all over the
21:33
world as well, just a great
21:33
privilege. At the very beginning
21:37
of the trajectory of my career.
21:37
It wasn't the beginning of my
21:39
career, but it was really that
21:39
first ramp up. But it's
21:42
important to find somebody just
21:42
ghost wrote a book when COVID
21:45
hit and I lost all my speaking
21:45
engagements, because there were
21:47
no more meetings. The CEO of a
21:47
very large clothing company,
21:50
very well known clothing company
21:50
wanted to write a book. And it
21:53
was easy for me it was it was
21:53
easy, because we have very
21:57
similar perspectives and, and
21:57
things like that. So you want to
22:01
find somebody that shares your
22:01
worldview, your perspective,
22:05
and, and really even your tone,
22:05
I guess, you know, if if there I
22:09
could never write for somebody
22:09
who's just straight laced and
22:11
buttoned up. And I couldn't do
22:11
it, because I'm too snarky. And
22:14
too, you know, I try to make
22:14
things funny and light and
22:16
snarky. And, and I haven't even
22:16
turned the Snark button on yet.
22:20
So hopefully, we get warmed up
22:20
here, we can get really snarky,
22:23
but no, you want to find Same,
22:23
same kind of tone. But it's it's
22:27
fun. But eventually, I decided I
22:27
wanted to I remember I wrote
22:31
something one day. And I
22:31
remember thinking, wow, that's a
22:34
really good turn of a phrase, I
22:34
should keep it. And then I went,
22:38
No, I can't keep it. I got it.
22:38
But I didn't like it. Because I
22:41
knew that I was going to write
22:41
it for someone else. They were
22:44
going to say it and get famous
22:44
for saying it. And when I said
22:47
that, they'd be like, he's
22:47
stealing from that guy. And I'm
22:49
like, No, it was actually came
22:49
out of this noggin. So I decided
22:52
to make a change. And for 20
22:52
years, almost 20 years, I didn't
22:56
do any ghost writing. And then
22:56
with COVID I had a friend, he's
22:58
a friend of mine, the CEO and so
22:58
he asked me to help him and I
23:01
did. It was fun.
23:02  Kelley Skar
How were you able
23:02
to set your ego aside? That's
23:05
that's I mean, you know, we're
23:05
all human beings. Everybody's
23:08
got ego. Right. How do you set
23:08
your ego aside? Yeah, that, you
23:12
know, and for our listeners,
23:12
he's got your ego aside, right.
23:17
They're paying you a lot to set
23:17
your ego aside. Okay. I gotcha.
23:20
Yeah. No, very interesting
23:20
stuff, man. I mean,
23:23  Chris Widener
It wasn't the
23:23
ego. It was the ethics. I
23:26
struggled with the ethics of
23:26
ghostwriting.
23:28  Kelley Skar
Expand on that a
23:28
little bit.
23:29  Chris Widener
I've struggled
23:29
with it. And then you know, but
23:31
then I one of the things I
23:31
always used to say is what do
23:34
you think George Foreman is
23:34
making all those grills? Of
23:36
course not George Foreman, not
23:36
making all those grills like you
23:39
know, go Hey, George, I need a
23:39
grill. All right, let me wire
23:41
one up for you. You know, you
23:41
got people making those grills,
23:44
but it's the George Foreman
23:44
grill. So you know, and
23:48
ghostwriting is a dirty little
23:48
secret. A lot of the books
23:51
you're reading, particularly by
23:51
famous people, they did not
23:54
write a lot of them. And it's
23:54
the dirty little secret in the
23:59
industry. And there's a lot of
23:59
ghostwriters make a lot of
24:00
money. And you know, to John's
24:00
credit, he always gives Charlie
24:06
credit in his books you open the
24:06
acknowledgments thank you to my
24:08
writer Charlie wet so I always
24:08
thought Charlie had the best job
24:11
in the world gets paid a ton of
24:11
money. He has a piece of the
24:14
action and he can walk through
24:14
an airport without getting
24:16
mobbed. You know, it's like it's
24:16
like a backup quarterback in the
24:20
NFL. I'm a quarterback you know,
24:20
never get hit. Right. But I have
24:26
two friends who were
24:26
quarterbacks and the backup
24:27
quarterbacks in the NFL Tom
24:27
slick and and Jeff camp and I
24:31
said that to him once at a
24:31
luncheon we read and they both
24:34
got angry at me because I'm
24:34
like, you guys got the best gig
24:39
in the world backup quarterback
24:39
in the NFL. And they like we
24:42
talked about I want to take the
24:42
snap. So anyway, but yeah, so I
24:47
eventually I mean, I I just
24:47
struggle. I don't think it's
24:50
unethical. It's just for me, it
24:50
felt like I want to write my own
24:53
stuff. I'm gonna own my own
24:53
stuff. But again, it was you
24:58
know, writing with Jim Rohn was
24:58
an amazing amazing opportunity
25:01
for me, you know, I will be the
25:01
only person for all of eternity
25:05
that gets to say I wrote his
25:05
last book. You know, and then
25:08
and then after he passed, I
25:08
wrote a sequel to the book
25:10
called above all else and, and
25:10
so that was kind of fun as well.
25:14  Todd Foster
When you're writing
25:14
their voices. Do you hear their
25:16
voices in your head? Like, you
25:16
know, I mean, I'm assuming
25:19
you're you're writing in your
25:19
words yet you hear their voice,
25:23
right? The deep baritone of
25:23
Maxwell.
25:26  Chris Widener
Well, you know,
25:26
yeah, like, I've got five
25:29
lessons for you folks. They all
25:29
start with, you know, it'd be
25:32
John or whale, Zig Ziglar. Zig
25:32
Ziglar. Sounds a little bit like
25:36
Ronald Reagan with a southern
25:36
accent. But you just add the
25:40
letter A to the end of every
25:40
word. And no, I don't do that.
25:44
And of course, Jim. Jim, I
25:44
always love talking about Jim
25:47
and Zig when they speak because
25:47
Zig prance to the stages. That's
25:50
the number one question I get
25:50
all the time. What was it like
25:52
to work with Jim and Zig?
25:52
Literally, almost every podcast,
25:55
what was it like to work was in
25:55
gym music, they were completely
25:57
different. And the lesson that I
25:57
learned from working with those
26:00
two guys was to be yourself. And
26:00
the reason why is is because
26:05
those two guys, they hit the
26:05
upper echelon of that business,
26:08
and they could not have been
26:08
more different. And yet they
26:11
were friends. Zig would prance
26:11
the stage and he marched and
26:15
then he get down on his knee,
26:15
and he'd yell, and then he
26:19
whispered, sometimes, you know,
26:19
and Jim never left the lectern.
26:24
Like I always joke. I was joke.
26:24
This is Jim's Big power move,
26:27
man. You knew he was fired up
26:27
when he would take off his
26:30
reading glasses like whoa, Jim's
26:30
coming out, right. He just took
26:34
his reading glasses off. We're
26:34
about to get unbridled Jim Rohn
26:37
here. But I realized I didn't
26:37
need to be Zig. And I didn't
26:41
need to be Jim. I needed to be
26:41
Chris. And that's the biggest
26:46
lesson I learned. I learned lots
26:46
of lessons. But the one that
26:48
stuck with me the most was I
26:48
didn't need to be them. I needed
26:51
to be me. And they proved that
26:51
to me by being them. And they
26:55
both hit the highest levels. I
26:55
mean, you name the top five
26:58
motivational speakers of all
26:58
time, and those two are always
27:02
going to be in that list.
27:03  Todd Foster
When did you feel
27:03
like you finally hit it big?
27:05
When did I finally feel like I
27:05
hit it big?
27:09  Chris Widener
Probably when the
27:09
angel inside hit the best
27:12
selling list because I was
27:12
working with Jim, I would travel
27:15
a little bit with him. I do you
27:15
know, some of the events the Jim
27:18
Rohn weekend leadership event,
27:18
which which was Anaheim July 30,
27:24
through like August 1 or second
27:24
2004. And I emceed that event,
27:28
we sold tons of that those DVDs
27:28
went worldwide and sort of
27:32
people started knowing me, but
27:32
that when I really felt like I
27:36
had achieved what I wanted to
27:36
achieve was when I gave my first
27:40
speech on a stage of over 20,000
27:40
people. And, and that's when I
27:44
kind of really went, Wow, this
27:44
is what I always wanted.
27:47  Alyssa Stanley
I have a
27:47
question about where you said
27:49
that you didn't like working
27:49
with youth anymore.
27:51  Chris Widener
I was a youth
27:51
director. And I was leaving a
27:53
Bible study talking about
27:53
something like really important
27:56
and some kid ripped apart. And I
27:56
went, I went to college for
27:59
this. I spent all that money to
27:59
have some kid fart in the middle
28:06
of my talk. And that was that
28:06
was kind of like I'm done. But
28:10
no, I coached high school
28:10
basketball. And I loved that.
28:12
And I do like kids, I like my
28:12
own kids. You know, they're not
28:15
teenagers anymore. But, but know
28:15
that I can still not still
28:19
remember the kid's name. And I
28:19
won't embarrass him because he's
28:21
probably 40 now, but I still
28:21
remember his name. And I
28:24
remember thinking I'm out of
28:24
here. I'm not going to do this.
28:26
I spent way too much money in
28:26
college.
28:29  Todd Foster
Yet, you think that
28:29
one fart changed your life from
28:31
that one fart?
28:32  Chris Widener
When you think
28:32
about when you think about
28:34
working for the Seattle
28:34
SuperSonics meeting my youth
28:36
director working with John
28:36
Maxwell, Zig Ziglar and Jim
28:40
Rohn. And a fart that an eighth
28:40
grader let in New Jersey, all
28:45
pivotal moments of my life.
28:48  Todd Foster
That's, that's when
28:48
you knew you had a big that's
28:50
when I knew I hit it.
28:51  Chris Widener
But that's what I
28:51
knew. I was believing that I was
28:53
going to go hit it big. Alyssa
28:53
is like I did not see that
28:56
turning in the podcast.
28:57  Todd Foster
I love that one.
28:57
That was great. That was that's
29:00
the first time we've ever had
29:00
anyone say they were driven by a
29:02
fart. Yeah, to better life.
29:04  Alyssa Stanley
Yes, I was ready
29:04
for you to be like there was
29:06
this kid who wasn't listening
29:06
and really disrespectful and
29:10
blah, blah, blah. It did not see
29:10
this.
29:12  Chris Widener
But I will tell
29:12
you this though. I have lots of
29:14
kids. I mean, I had a
29:14
significant impact. And
29:17
sometimes and this is a great
29:17
lesson. Sometimes it's the kid
29:21
you never know you impacted or
29:21
the person in your office you
29:24
never knew you impacted. And
29:24
I'll give you two stories. I'll
29:26
start with a kid well start with
29:26
a kid in college first of all
29:30
girl I went to college with I
29:30
went to a very pretty small
29:33
college. And I knew her I never
29:33
spent any time with her outside
29:37
of school. But you know, we were
29:37
in almost every class together.
29:41
And my senior year of college
29:41
you know, you get your your
29:44
annual or whatever, you know,
29:44
and you write you know, stay
29:46
cool. See you next summer, you
29:46
know, whatever. But she wrote to
29:50
me at the end of our senior
29:50
year. And it's the only comment
29:54
I can remember anybody wrote to
29:54
me in any annual ever junior
29:57
high high school or college, she
29:57
said Thank you for asking all
30:01
the questions I was too afraid
30:01
to ask. And I still remember
30:05
that, to this day. It's the only
30:05
thing I can ever remember
30:08
anybody writing, because I got
30:08
in trouble for asking a lot of
30:11
questions. But the second one
30:11
was after I left the ministry,
30:14
as a youth minister in New
30:14
Jersey, there was a kid that
30:17
used to come to youth group with
30:17
he had two or three really good
30:20
friends that were very involved
30:20
in he kind of just tagged along.
30:24
Why moved out to Seattle. And he
30:24
died in a in a fire a home fire.
30:30
And the pastor who I'd worked
30:30
with out there, he wrote to me
30:35
and he said, I never knew you
30:35
had such an impact in his life.
30:38
And I went, I didn't know that I
30:38
did, either. What are you
30:40
talking about? At his funeral,
30:40
he had written his college
30:44
entrance exam of about me. And
30:44
it got him into one of America's
30:51
most prestigious Ivy League
30:51
schools. And it was about the
30:54
impact I had on his life. And if
30:54
you would, if you would have
30:57
said named the top 20 kids you
30:57
had an impact on in that youth
31:00
group, he would not have even
31:00
because I didn't know it. He was
31:04
absorbing like a sponge. But he
31:04
was a quiet kid. And he hung
31:09
around with two louder kids. So
31:09
anytime we were together, it was
31:11
mainly engaging with those, you
31:11
know, loud, gregarious kids, and
31:15
it made me realize you just
31:15
never know who you're impacting.
31:20
You never know. And I was, in an
31:20
unfortunate way fortunate to
31:24
find out but it was a good life
31:24
lesson for me. But you know, it
31:29
came at the expense of him
31:29
passing away in a in a house
31:32
fire.
31:32  Todd Foster
So you went from
31:32
let me get the timeline right
31:35
here. You somehow got into
31:35
college after being a so called
31:40
Trouble Maker,
31:41  Chris Widener
The check
31:41
cleared, that was the primary
31:43
way to get into my college. If
31:43
the check cleared, you're in.
31:46  Todd Foster
It still works.
31:46
It's amazing how that works.
31:48  Chris Widener
Because I was I
31:48
was 149 out of 172 kids in my
31:52
high school class. You know, zig
31:52
always says I was in the top
31:55
half of the class that made the
31:55
top half possible. I was in the
31:57
10th of the class that made the
31:57
top 90% possible.
32:01  Todd Foster
See you made
32:01
everyone else look good.
32:02  Chris Widener
Now, I've always
32:02
been doing that, Todd it's a big
32:05
gift.
32:06  Todd Foster
Yeah. So So you
32:06
went you went from high school
32:08
to college, then college? And
32:08
then you got into the ministry?
32:12
And then you went over to
32:12
Seattle?
32:14  Chris Widener
Yep.
32:15  Todd Foster
And then were you
32:15
lost? Or how did you get wrapped
32:18
up in the whole Maxwell bronzer
32:18
thing?
32:21  Chris Widener
Well, so I was
32:21
what they call a church planter
32:24
in Seattle. That means you start
32:24
a church and they give you no
32:27
money to help help. Great. So I
32:27
moved into and Seattle, Greater
32:33
Seattle area where I grew up is
32:33
one of the least churched states
32:37
in the union, like 8% of people
32:37
go to church in Washington
32:41
state, particularly Seattle
32:41
area. And they had no money for
32:45
me. So I started speaking and
32:45
writing to make money. So I
32:49
started doing little
32:49
motivational speeches. I mean, I
32:51
started out doing youth groups
32:51
and summer groups and colleges
32:55
and you know, all that kind of
32:55
stuff. And then the Kiwanis and
32:58
the rotary and this and that the
32:58
other thing. And then I got on
33:02
the internet very, very early,
33:02
which was nice because I was in
33:05
Seattle. And I remember I had a
33:05
fax journal, there was a thing
33:08
called the Cairo radio news fax,
33:08
it was four pages came out every
33:12
day, it was the top of the news.
33:12
So I created one called the
33:14
American Community Business
33:14
Network. And it was four pages
33:18
of computer tips, customer
33:18
service tips, we had 10s of
33:21
1000s of subscribers. And then I
33:21
licensed it all across America.
33:25
And I always left the bottom
33:25
third of the page where they
33:27
could put in localized
33:27
advertising. So I sent them, I
33:31
sent them the, the the copy for
33:31
the week, and then they would
33:35
put in cut and paste using
33:35
Microsoft Publisher. And I built
33:39
it up so big, and then the
33:39
internet hit. And in Seattle,
33:42
everybody had email. So I'm
33:42
like, Screw this fax thing. I'm
33:45
going email, baby. So I sent one
33:45
last fax it said, we're done.
33:48
It's all an email sign up here.
33:48
And I went from 10s of 1000s of
33:52
people to 800 people on my email
33:52
list. Oh, and then I built it to
33:56
100,000 people. And I met Kyle
33:56
Wilson at Jim Rohn International
34:01
and then and then I I got out of
34:01
the pastor at the full time
34:04
ministry, I mortgaged my house.
34:04
My house was worth like 300
34:08
grand. I took $100,000 mortgage
34:08
on the house. September 26 2002.
34:13
I put on my first conference, I
34:13
hired John Maxwell. I hired
34:18
Vince Lombardi Jr. and I hired
34:18
the first guy up Mount Mount
34:23
Everest, one of the founders of
34:23
REI name escapes me. I've
34:28
actually got a picture of him
34:28
right there a big one he sent
34:30
me. First guy in May of 1984.
34:30
Huh, Hillary? No, no, no.
34:36
Although, by the way,
34:36
parenthetical? Do you know that
34:38
Zig Ziglar his real name is
34:38
Hillary. Just just a little
34:41
tidbit that's free of charge.
34:41
That's in his book. He says Now
34:44
you know why they call me sick.
34:44
But anyway, I can't remember the
34:48
guys name and it really makes me
34:48
upset because he was a fantastic
34:52
speaker. And I lost a bunch of
34:52
money on that event. And then I
34:55
did another one with John where
34:55
we actually made some money. So
34:58
I was kind of broken even on to
34:58
Vance and I'm like, I am not
35:01
going to keep doing the the
35:01
event business. So I just was
35:03
speaking. And I got to know John
35:03
and his team, there was a guy
35:08
named Kevin small there, and
35:08
David Hoyt and Mark Cole. And
35:11
some of those guys were all over
35:11
there. Got to know them. And
35:14
they brought me in to write with
35:14
John. And then then at that
35:17
point, Kyle and Jim Rohn said,
35:17
Hey, why don't you can do that
35:20
with us? And so I did that. And,
35:20
and, and from there, it was kind
35:25
of from there was great. Once
35:25
you're done ghost writing, do
35:29
you become a ghost to the people
35:29
you wrote for? Are you still
35:32
closer friends with these people
35:32
at all? You know, I was never
35:35
really friends. I was friendly.
35:35
I mean, it's not like any of
35:37
those guys and I went on
35:37
vacation together. But you know,
35:41
zig actually got the TV show
35:41
with Zig primarily because in
35:45
probably 2004 2005, I started a
35:45
business called made for
35:49
success. And we licensed audio
35:49
programs from other speakers.
35:54
This was another way I've made
35:54
myself famous. This is kind of a
35:56
strategy that I used. So we
35:56
licensed on a non exclusive
36:02
basis. My first guy called was
36:02
Mark Sanborn, I said, Send me a
36:04
CD that you want me to sell and
36:04
make you some money, and you
36:08
keep all the rights to it, but I
36:08
will pay you every time I sell
36:10
it. And then we created like, 18
36:10
different skews. And it was
36:14
boxed set was success,
36:14
leadership, verbal command,
36:20
sales success. And we would put
36:20
14 CDs and one DVD in a box. And
36:25
we were selling them through
36:25
Costco and Sam's Club. And we
36:28
were selling 50 to 75,000 bucks
36:28
a month through Costco and Sam's
36:32
Club. And we're making amazing
36:32
money doing it. And so you got
36:37
15 people in there. And, and so
36:37
you got a big giant box, they
36:41
could fit in a small box. But in
36:41
Costco, they want you to feel
36:43
like you know, you're logging
36:43
out your CDs to the car, you
36:46
know, or whatever. So the giant
36:46
boxes and it had a flap on the
36:49
front. So on the front was the
36:49
name, and it had four people's
36:53
names on the front. If you
36:53
wanted to know who else was in
36:55
it, you open the flap and there
36:55
were the rest. On the floor. On
36:58
the cover. I always had three
36:58
famous people. So I'd have John
37:02
Maxwell Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, or
37:02
Dennis Wheatley, or Brian Tracy
37:05
or somebody like that. But Chris
37:05
Weidner was always the fourth
37:09
name. And so I branded myself, I
37:09
was the only one on every box.
37:15
And then I swapped out the other
37:15
three famous people. And that
37:18
was one of the ways I built my
37:18
brand. I was selling, you know,
37:20
probably 600,000 to a million
37:20
copies a year through Costco for
37:25
quite a few years. And everybody
37:25
was hearing my CDs, and
37:28
everybody was seeing my name.
37:28
And then of course, Jim Rohn was
37:31
pushing me and then Zig Ziglar
37:31
and I had the TV show, and from
37:34
Florida from 2004 to 2009. It
37:34
really just exploded out that
37:39
way. So 2009 hits, then what I
37:39
got into politics, and you
37:45
probably don't want to talk
37:45
politics, which is fine, but we
37:47
can talk in sort of a generic,
37:47
generic way. But one of my best
37:51
friends ran for governor. And he
37:51
was relatively unknown. And he
37:56
said, Look, you're the
37:56
Professional Speaker. Will you
37:58
help me? So we, we, I wrote his
37:58
speech and I traveled three or
38:03
four days a week with him and,
38:03
and he ended up winning that
38:07
race. They had a recount, and he
38:07
won again. And then another
38:11
recount, and he lost, and we'll
38:11
just leave it at that. But that
38:14
was my that was my thing into
38:14
politics. And I ended up I've
38:18
done speech coaching for
38:18
everybody running for president,
38:20
the United States all the way
38:20
down to dog catcher, maybe not
38:24
that level City Council. And,
38:24
and so I help in fact, in fact,
38:27
I just moved to Chattanooga, and
38:27
one of the first people I met,
38:30
she's running for Hamilton
38:30
County Mayor, which is kind of
38:34
county executive. And first
38:34
thing he asked me to do was can
38:37
you do coaching, speech
38:37
coaching, debate coaching, stuff
38:39
like that? So, so yeah, I like
38:39
doing that. I like helping other
38:43
people find their voice and find
38:43
their stories and convince and
38:46
persuade and influence other
38:46
people. And, and then I ran for
38:50
the US Senate in 2010. Or as I
38:50
like to call it my ill fated run
38:55
for the US Senate. And so I
38:55
ended up doing that. And it was,
39:00
it was a lot of fun, though. I
39:00
mean, my kids, we were on the
39:02
road. I went to Walla Walla,
39:02
Washington more times than
39:06
anybody would ever want to go to
39:06
Walla Walla, Washington.
39:08
Although Walla Walla has become
39:08
this amazing wine center, like
39:12
within like 20 miles of downtown
39:12
Walla Walla, a town so good, you
39:15
say it twice. There are like 350
39:15
vineyards and tasting rooms.
39:21
It's a spectacular place, get
39:21
out of Napa and go up to Walla
39:24
Walla and the upper end of that
39:24
Willamette Valley, Oregon, up
39:28
into Washington. And really some
39:28
great wines in Washington State
39:32
and I love seeing them you know,
39:32
I was just in Houston this last
39:35
weekend and and went to this
39:35
little wine bar and they
39:40
actually had four or five
39:40
Washington wines there. It was
39:43
really, really great to see it's
39:43
a it's an underestimated or
39:49
unrecognized place have some
39:49
really great wines particularly
39:52
I think Pinot Noir is are good
39:52
out of Walla Walla.
39:58  Voiceover
if you are enjoying
39:58
this episode, please leave a
40:01
five star review at your
40:01
favorite podcast provider.
40:05  Todd Foster
So I like to
40:05
piggyback then on your political
40:08
career, the short lived when you
40:08
had, you seem like you're not a
40:11
person who quits or gives up.
40:11
And if you're like me or anyone
40:16
else out there a high D, you're
40:16
very competitive, and you want
40:19
to win. And you did not win. And
40:19
you never went and ran again. So
40:24
do you believe you didn't have
40:24
the belief in it in the first
40:27
place? Or was it more of the
40:27
game or the thrill of the catch?
40:30  Chris Widener
No, I'll tell you
40:30
exactly what happened. We had
40:33
like 13 people running. And we
40:33
had one very far person who was
40:40
sort of out here. And he and I
40:40
realized that he was going to
40:43
get 25% of the vote, because he
40:43
was the only one who staked that
40:47
position out. And the rest of us
40:47
were like, Senator, you know,
40:51
and I knew he's going to get 25.
40:51
And the rest of us were going to
40:55
split 75. And I realized there
40:55
was no way I could when the
40:59
people from Washington DC were
40:59
calling me. And they were
41:03
saying, Hey, would you be
41:03
willing to get out of the race,
41:05
so that your friend could get
41:05
in, because they wanted somebody
41:10
who would raise a bunch of money
41:10
and spend a bunch of money, so
41:14
that my opponent would have to
41:14
spend her entire war chest
41:17
because otherwise, if they don't
41:17
spend the money, they can give
41:20
it to everybody else. So it was
41:20
kind of a chess piece move is
41:23
what it was. So it was sort of a
41:23
combination of, I realized there
41:28
was no way I could win. And I
41:28
took one for the team. So I
41:32
thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved
41:32
meeting people, I love speaking
41:35
to crowds, I loved that my
41:35
children got to see their dad
41:39
involved in the civic discourse.
41:39
And and, you know, that's what
41:42
America is about. We're about
41:42
self governance. And I don't
41:45
care if you're left, right,
41:45
middle, run for office, make
41:49
your voice heard. You know, it,
41:49
that's what makes America great
41:53
is we're one of the few places
41:53
on earth that has freedom of
41:55
speech. And and I think
41:55
everybody's voice ought to be
41:59
heard. You know, I think I think
41:59
all sides ought to be heard,
42:03
because we're we are about the
42:03
free flow of information and the
42:06
exchange of ideas. And that's
42:06
what makes us unique, you go to
42:09
some countries, and and they
42:09
say, here's what we believe. And
42:12
you say, I don't believe that
42:12
they go come with us behind the
42:14
building. And you're done.
42:14
Right? One of the things that
42:17
makes us great is that we get
42:17
to, we get to say what we
42:21
believe whether it's onpoint or
42:21
totally crazy, but that's the
42:26
beauty of it, is we have to
42:26
figure out what's right by
42:29
hearing all the different sides.
42:29
So I was proud to participate in
42:33
it. And you never know, who
42:33
knows, you might you might see
42:35
me running for something else in
42:35
the future. I'm now in
42:38
Tennessee. And for those of you
42:38
can figure it out, I feel like
42:41
I'm finally home in Tennessee
42:41
feel like, feel like I'm finally
42:45
home. So I love Tennessee.
42:46  Todd Foster
I've got two things
42:46
here. Number one, the only
42:48
reason I would ever run for
42:48
office would for me to find out
42:51
what I did in my early 20s.
42:53  Chris Widener
And believe me,
42:53
they will find out.
42:56  Todd Foster
Oh yes, they will.
42:56
And number two why Chattanooga
42:58
now?
43:00  Chris Widener
Well, it's
43:00
interesting. I've two daughters,
43:03
one goes in. I have six
43:03
children. But these two
43:06
daughters one goes to
43:06
Vanderbilt, the other goes to
43:09
University of Alabama. And so my
43:09
wife and I were living in
43:12
Scottsdale. She had only ever
43:12
lived in Los Angeles in
43:16
Scottsdale. I've only ever lived
43:16
in Seattle in Scottsdale, except
43:19
for going to college in
43:19
Minnesota. And we said let's
43:22
pack up and move closer to the
43:22
girls. Well, halfway in between
43:26
the girls between Nashville and
43:26
Tuscaloosa is Huntsville. And I
43:31
didn't want to live in
43:31
Huntsville. And so equidistant
43:34
is Chattanooga. And so we ended
43:34
up we ended up picking
43:39
Chattanooga. And if we got time
43:39
for a story, it's unbelievable.
43:42
Because people still say why'd
43:42
you move to Chattanooga? I say I
43:44
have no idea. On July 5 2020, we
43:44
came out to Chattanooga, and in
43:50
all my speeches, I'd never been
43:50
to Chattanooga, and we land in
43:53
Chattanooga. We spend the night
43:53
at the hotel. We been there. 12
43:57
hours we get up in the morning,
43:57
my wife says will you go down to
43:59
the coffee shop in the lobby and
43:59
get some coffee? I'm gonna jump
44:02
the shower, get ready. We're
44:02
gonna go look for houses. I
44:04
said, Sure and I said before I
44:04
left at 7:45am, I said, God,
44:09
this is the craziest thing I've
44:09
ever done packing up and move to
44:11
a city I've never even been to
44:11
before. I said, just give me a
44:15
sign. I don't ask for a lot of
44:15
signs. Give me a sign. I go down
44:19
into the lobby, walk into the
44:19
coffee shop, start shift. I'm
44:23
the only one there. It's in the
44:23
middle of COVID. I'm the only
44:25
one there kid behind the
44:25
counter. He's about 20 years
44:27
younger than me. And we get to
44:27
talk in and I said so. Have you
44:31
lived in Chattanooga your whole
44:31
life? And he says no. He says,
44:34
how about you? And I said no,
44:34
no, we're thinking about moving
44:36
here. I live in Scottsdale now.
44:36
But I grew up 50 years in
44:39
Seattle. He goes oh what part of
44:39
Seattle? I said Oh, a little
44:42
bedroom community about 30 miles
44:42
east of Seattle and it's called
44:45
Snow Kwame. He looks at me and
44:45
He cocked his head and he goes
44:48
did you graduate from Mount
44:48
Sinai High School? And I said I
44:51
did graduate from high school he
44:51
stuck his fist out give me a
44:54
fist bump said So did I buddy.
44:54
And believe me it gets better.
44:58
So I said interesting. And I
44:58
said, what's your, what's your
45:01
last name? And he said his last
45:01
name. And I said, I said, you
45:04
know, this other guy who was a
45:04
pastor, friend of mine, same
45:07
last name. And he says, I love
45:07
pastor Monty pastor Monty is the
45:10
greatest guy. Oh, he's amazing.
45:10
But no, we share the last name,
45:13
but we're not related. I said,
45:13
Oh, well, that's, that's really
45:17
interesting. And then I said, Do
45:17
you know these people? Yeah, I
45:19
went to school with their kids.
45:19
Do you know these people? I went
45:20
to school with their kids, you
45:20
know, these people that we knew,
45:23
like, 100 people. And then after
45:23
talking for 10 or 15 minutes
45:26
about all the people we knew, he
45:26
says, he says, Do you know
45:29
what's really weird? And I said,
45:29
what he goes, Do you know where
45:32
I moved when I left? Snoqualmie
45:32
said, where he said, Scottsdale?
45:37
said, yeah, that's weird. And he
45:37
goes, Do you know what's even
45:39
weirder? I said, What's that? He
45:39
said, Do you know where I moved
45:43
when I left Scottsdale? And I
45:43
said, I'm guessing Chattanooga.
45:47
And he goes, How weird is that?
45:47
And I said, weirder than you
45:50
will ever know. And I walked
45:50
back up and my wife goes, what
45:53
took you 30 minutes to get
45:53
coffee as it you are not going
45:55
to believe this story. And
45:55
literally, from that point
45:58
forward, we were moving to
45:58
Chattanooga, and people say why
46:00
you move to Chattanooga, and I
46:00
have no idea. I still to this
46:02
day, do not know why we moved to
46:02
Chattanooga. But I believe
46:05
there's a purpose to it.
46:07  Todd Foster
Man, my biggest
46:07
fear would have been him saying,
46:08
eventually, dad?
46:10  Chris Widener
Right! Or do you
46:10
know what happened after I moved
46:14
to Chattanooga. I came down with
46:14
cancer. Like that would have
46:17
been like the part I didn't
46:17
want to hear something? You know
46:19
what I mean? Dad? No, I know who
46:19
all my kids are Todd.
46:23  Todd Foster
Oh good. That's
46:23
good.
46:25  Alyssa Stanley
Chris, you have
46:25
an ability to almost like shape
46:28
shift in different stages of
46:28
life in shifting to what you
46:33
think needs to happen. Or maybe
46:33
what your gut tells you what
46:35
needs to happen, or what God
46:35
tells you what needs to happen.
46:38
What do you contribute to that
46:38
ability to shift? What seems
46:42
like so seamlessly shift and
46:42
make things happen? In the new
46:47
sphere of wherever you're
46:47
shifting?
46:49  Chris Widener
I think moving
46:49
all the time. When I was a kid,
46:51
I really think it's, I can build
46:51
instant rapport with people like
46:55
instant rapport. I could You
46:55
could throw me into a room. I
46:57
went to a giant fundraiser the
46:57
minute I got here, like the
47:00
minute I got here, and the first
47:00
thing I did, I walked into this
47:03
giant 12,000 square foot
47:03
mansion, you've been to a
47:06
fundraiser before, right? You
47:06
walk in, you get your wine and
47:08
you sit on the corner. Okay,
47:08
well, I'm going to talk to and I
47:10
ended up talking to the Vice
47:10
President of cumulus radio, like
47:13
he walked over to me, Hey, let
47:13
me introduce myself, and then
47:15
the owner of the house, and he's
47:15
like, let's go to lunch. I want
47:18
to find out more about what you
47:18
do. Like God has given me a gift
47:22
to really just connect with
47:22
people. And I think it was
47:25
because growing up it was sink
47:25
or swim. I think there's
47:27
probably some kids that went to
47:27
went to live in 20 homes went to
47:30
11 different schools, who would
47:30
be wallflowers and just say, I
47:33
can't deal with it. But I moved,
47:33
and I walked in, and it was sink
47:37
or swim. Like you either learn
47:37
how to meet people connect with
47:40
people. I find people
47:40
interesting. I really find
47:44
people interesting. Darren Hardy
47:44
told me when I had my interview
47:47
show on tst. And he said Your
47:47
show is my favorite show. And I
47:50
said well, why? And he said, you
47:50
just get these great interviews,
47:52
what makes you such a great
47:52
interviewer when I said, I think
47:54
I just find people interesting.
47:54
And if they're interesting to
47:57
me, I think they'll be
47:57
interesting to everybody else.
48:00
If I just get interested in ask
48:00
questions, I'm probably going in
48:03
the same direction as everybody
48:03
else. So probably that, and
48:06
probably because my dad died
48:06
when I was four. And I realized
48:10
that life is short. So life is
48:10
short, you make the most of it.
48:15
My brother when he turned 41, my
48:15
mom called him up. And she said
48:19
Happy Birthday. And he's all
48:19
thanks a lot. And she said, how
48:22
you doing? And he said, Oh,
48:22
great, you know? And she said,
48:25
Well, you don't really sound
48:25
great. She said, Well, I gotta
48:26
tell you gotta be honest with
48:26
the last year I've been afraid
48:28
of dying. And she said, Why have
48:28
you been afraid of dying? And my
48:32
brother said, Well, you know,
48:32
dad died when he was 40. And
48:35
when I turned 40, I was afraid I
48:35
was gonna die. So I'm glad I'm
48:37
41 now, and my mother, and only
48:37
my mother could have done that.
48:41
She said, your dad wasn't 40
48:41
When he died, he was 41. So my
48:45
brother he thought he was gonna
48:45
die. But no, I think I think
48:54
that probably moving around a
48:54
lot. You have to you have to
48:57
learn how to connect with people
48:57
and make changes and make do
49:01
with what's happened. And I
49:01
think understanding that life is
49:05
short or life can be short. In
49:05
12 pillars, Jim and I wrote that
49:09
you can't determine how long you
49:09
live, but you can determine how
49:12
well you live. And I think that
49:12
that's what I want to do. I want
49:15
to live life well. And I've I've
49:15
had some extraordinary
49:18
opportunities. I think I'm the
49:18
only person in the history of
49:21
the world that has spoken in
49:21
Cairo, Egypt and Los Angeles,
49:24
California in the same day. I've
49:24
written in a ticker tape parade
49:29
when the Seattle SuperSonics won
49:29
the world championship. I was 13
49:32
years old. 500,000 people were
49:32
driving down through the thing
49:36
and these old cars and waving to
49:36
the crowd and you know, where do
49:39
you go from there? 13 Like, how
49:39
do you ever talk that? You know,
49:43
I've stood on stage with 25,000
49:43
people in front of me I've
49:46
written best selling books and
49:46
and really, you know, not to
49:51
brag, but it's just it really
49:51
has been a humbling thing. Like,
49:55
I look back on my life and I
49:55
think this has been a heck of a
49:58
ride and I'm so thankful and
49:58
grateful to God that, you know,
50:03
I've got great kids, I've got an
50:03
amazing life. I've got a
50:07
wonderful wife, I've been able
50:07
to travel and do great things.
50:11
I've made millions, I've lost
50:11
millions, you know, everything.
50:15
And it's just, it's an enjoyable
50:15
life, enjoy it each and every
50:19
day. Because, you know, no, you
50:19
just never know, some of us get
50:23
100 years, some of us get 60
50:23
some of us get 10. But, you
50:27
know, there's some kids that
50:27
diet at an early age, you know,
50:29
who make more of an impact than
50:29
somebody who just breathes air
50:33
for 70 years. So it's about how
50:33
well you live not about how long
50:37
you live.
50:37  Kelley Skar
That's a great
50:37
point, I think you you you kind
50:40
of nailed this without, you
50:40
know, possibly a lot of people
50:44
listening to this podcast, may
50:44
not be able to connect the dots
50:47
but you moving 28 times truly is
50:47
your superpower. Like you really
50:52
kind of tied into that you you
50:52
talk about moving 28 times in 11
50:55
years as kind of this idea of
50:55
how tough your life was, and I'm
51:01
sure that it was tough, I'm not
51:01
minimizing it, but you were able
51:04
to turn it into a superpower and
51:04
in something that's actually
51:07
propelled you forward, we moved
51:07
here, you know, I I've only
51:11
moved a couple of times in my
51:11
life and you know, I'm Canadian.
51:14
So we when we grow roots,
51:14
somewhere we grow roots, like
51:17
our were firmly planted and
51:17
it's, we're not a roots. There
51:23
you go. That's, that's part of
51:23
it. But you know, at the end of
51:26
the day, we're just we're not as
51:26
we don't move around as much as
51:29
as Americans do. I you know,
51:29
I've got a lot of American
51:32
friends and this seems to be a
51:32
common theme with Americans is
51:35
that they move all over the
51:35
country, they just pick up and
51:37
they'll go, right whereas with
51:37
with Canadians, we just don't
51:40
and so, you know, I moved maybe
51:40
three or four times in my life,
51:42
we made a move from one province
51:42
to another from a big city to a
51:47
smaller city and and my wife and
51:47
I were really worried about how
51:50
our kids were going to adapt and
51:50
you know, the resiliency that
51:55
that you show as a child is is
51:55
insane. I wish you could just
51:59
bottle that up and sell it
51:59
because God damn you'd be a
52:01
millionaire you know,
52:01
billionaire trillionaire
52:04
whatever. I mean, if you could
52:04
bottle that up and just didn't
52:06
seem to sell it to people, it's
52:06
it's, it's it really is crazy.
52:10
So I just I guess I wanted to
52:10
point that out Chris, more than
52:13
anything else is, you know, you
52:13
kind of turn this around what a
52:16
lot of people can look at and
52:16
say God, you know, he must have
52:19
really had a tough life. Man,
52:19
you did something and you were
52:23
able to turn it around and
52:23
really use it as as, as your
52:27
cloak I guess as your as your,
52:28  Chris Widener
I learned this
52:28
from my mother success secrets I
52:31
learned from my single mom. And,
52:31
you know, my mom, we lived in a
52:35
house that recently sold for $3
52:35
million. It was the biggest
52:38
house in Sandpoint Country Club
52:38
in Seattle, which was at the
52:41
time probably the second most
52:41
prestigious Country Club. My dad
52:44
was the fifth partner at NBBJ,
52:44
which is one of the top 30
52:48
architecture firms in the world.
52:48
I think they just did the
52:50
Facebook campus or the Google
52:50
campus. He he made $90,000. So
52:56
yeah, last year, he was alive
52:56
1969 He was doing very well, but
53:00
he had $30,000 with a life
53:00
insurance. So my mom had to sell
53:03
that house because she couldn't
53:03
afford the $400 a month mortgage
53:06
payment. And she had not worked
53:06
outside the home for 15 years.
53:10
And so she started selling real
53:10
estate and she flipped houses
53:13
long before they was on
53:13
television. And you know, so she
53:17
went to work and she made
53:17
something happen and she took
53:20
care of me and and so I learned
53:20
that resilience from my mom. She
53:25
never complained, never whine
53:25
she hauled her cookies off to
53:28
work. She sold houses at night.
53:28
I was a latchkey kid before you
53:32
have the term latchkey kid, I'm
53:32
a key on my shoe string around
53:35
my neck. You know, and part of
53:35
the reason I got in trouble was
53:38
that she was gone in the
53:38
evenings. But you know, there's
53:40
an upside downside to
53:40
everything. But resilience I
53:44
learned from my mom. And and
53:44
then I think I just I have a
53:47
fighting spirit. I want to make
53:47
the most out of life. I think
53:50
anybody can reach deep. I think
53:50
anybody can reach deep, it's in
53:54
there. It's a matter of whether
53:54
you have the courage to reach
53:57
deep and the tenacity reach
53:57
deep. And just always be able to
54:02
keep hope keep hope alive, and
54:02
know that there's something
54:05
better I mean, I've had my back
54:05
against the wall so many times
54:09
and I just refuse to quit
54:09
because there's got to be a way
54:12
out there's got to be something
54:12
that can come good out of this.
54:16
And I've found it to be pretty
54:16
generally true.
54:20  Todd Foster
I've realized by
54:20
being in coaching and being a
54:23
public speaker and doing
54:23
training, consulting that most
54:27
of us out there doing this have
54:27
had mess ups in the past either
54:32
mean lots of right i i really to
54:32
a lot of what you went through
54:35
up to 48 times moving and that
54:35
type of thing yet. I believe it
54:40
makes us stronger many times
54:40
what we do is we end up getting
54:44
scared of what's next and you're
54:44
one of these guys it sounds like
54:47
who just says The heck with it.
54:47
I mean, the worst gonna happen
54:49
is I die. How would you? I guess
54:49
coach someone into getting over
54:54
that fear of doing something
54:54
different?
54:57  Chris Widener
I think to show
54:57
them the option. Okay. Jump
55:00
forward 30 years now you're on
55:00
your deathbed. Now you just have
55:03
regrets. You know, Tony Campolo.
55:03
Remember Tony Campolo. He was a
55:08
speaker by 40 years ago. And he
55:08
became famous for a speech he
55:12
gave. He was a professor at
55:12
Eastern University. And he gave
55:15
a speech called, it's Friday,
55:15
but Sunday's coming and he was
55:18
sort of a, he was a pastor, but
55:18
he really wasn't a pastor. He
55:20
was ordained, I think, and it
55:20
was about it was about, you
55:23
know, Easter, right on on
55:23
Friday. It's Friday, and he just
55:27
died. And it's Saturday, and
55:27
everybody's like, Oh, no, our
55:31
guy just died, what's gonna
55:31
happen now, and he said, it's
55:33
Friday, but Sunday's coming. And
55:33
he just gave he gave a great
55:37
speech, he became famous over
55:37
that speech. But he wrote a book
55:40
called who switched the price
55:40
tags. And he was a sociologist
55:44
at a sociologists, Professor, if
55:44
I remember, right, and he did a
55:47
study of octogenarians. And he
55:47
went to a people at plus and
55:50
said, you know, what do you what
55:50
do you most regret in your life?
55:56
And the number one answer was
55:56
not taking more risks? People
56:00
play it safe. And the problem
56:00
is, is this there's an end. And
56:05
typically speaking, you get
56:05
weaker and weaker, more and more
56:08
tired, more and more frail. You
56:08
know, unless one of these
56:12
billionaires configure the
56:12
fountain of youth, we it's just
56:16
the way it works, right? I mean,
56:16
look at this, those of you who
56:19
can see I got wrinkles, man, I
56:19
didn't have these when I was 20
56:21
years old, I earned every one of
56:21
these wrinkles, and I got gray
56:24
hair now. It's just the way it
56:24
works. And pretty soon, you're
56:27
going to be old and frail enough
56:27
that you can't go hike the
56:30
Appalachian Trail, you know, in
56:30
those kinds of things and go to
56:34
the bottom of the Grand Canyon
56:34
and, and all the things and so I
56:38
think you just have to say what
56:38
do you want the end of your
56:40
life? You know, one of the first
56:40
I don't know if it's the first
56:43
Covey's seven habits, I think it
56:43
is begin with the end in mind.
56:48
When I get to the end, man, I
56:48
want to be able to say I did it
56:51
all. I want to be able to say I
56:51
did it all. Now doing it all
56:54
doesn't mean a lot of the ones
56:54
that a lot of people think
56:56
right, I have no intention of
56:56
hiking the Appalachian Trail i
57:00
Bravo, good for you go hike, the
57:00
Appalachian Trail. That's not
57:03
one of the things I want to do.
57:03
But all the things I want to do,
57:06
I want to do those things. And,
57:06
and I hope that God gives me
57:09
enough years to be able to get
57:09
them all done. But I think
57:11
that's what I would do is I
57:11
would just point out, there's
57:13
going to be an end. And at the
57:13
end, you don't get to do
57:16
anymore. You're going to be a
57:16
winner and say you did them all.
57:19
Are you going to say yeah, I I
57:19
spent all my time you know,
57:22
watching reruns of Gilligan's
57:22
Island, you know, you got to get
57:25
out there and do what you want
57:25
to do.
57:27  Todd Foster
So what do you have
57:27
left to do? Since you want to do
57:30
it all?
57:32  Chris Widener
Wow, what do I
57:32
have a certain giving pledge
57:35
that I want to be able to give a
57:35
certain amount of money away in
57:38
one big fat check. That's one
57:38
thing I want to be able to write
57:41
a check for a certain amount to
57:41
a charity that I believe in, I
57:44
really do believe that I'm going
57:44
to run for office again. And
57:47
when this time I, I really
57:47
accomplished most of my writing
57:53
goals. I've accomplished most of
57:53
my speaking goals. I you know, I
57:59
want to I want to be married and
57:59
I'm in a wonderful marriage the
58:03
rest of my life. And Denise and
58:03
I we have an amazing marriage we
58:06
start every day, we get up we
58:06
pour ourselves some coffee, we
58:10
light a candle or the fire. We
58:10
read the Bible together, we pray
58:13
together for the day, we start
58:13
every day together and building
58:17
each other up. And that's a
58:17
that's something that we do we
58:20
travel together, we love to
58:20
travel together. I want my
58:25
children to have I want my
58:25
children to have what they want
58:29
out of life. And so I try to
58:29
encourage them, I try to give
58:34
them good advice. You know, the
58:34
older you get you sort of start
58:38
living vicariously through your
58:38
kids and and you take joy in the
58:42
successes of others. I'd like to
58:42
I'd like to be known as a mentor
58:48
for other people. Because I had
58:48
extraordinary mentors, people
58:51
who believed in me, I nothing I
58:51
love better than finding
58:54
somebody a guy or a girl who's
58:54
3035 and, and just telling them,
58:59
You know what you're doing
58:59
fantastic. You've got the
59:01
makings of a great leader. I
59:01
just spoke for a guy out in Lake
59:05
Las Vegas two or three months
59:05
ago young guy, he's 40 Looks
59:08
like he's 28 and his fiancee
59:08
asked me if I would do a video
59:13
for his birthday. And so I shot
59:13
a video and sent it out to him
59:16
and and that's what I said
59:16
you're an amazing leader. You've
59:19
already done incredible things
59:19
just keep going help more people
59:23
you're helping them find
59:23
financial independence and and I
59:25
feel like that's something I
59:25
really want to be known for as
59:28
being somebody who helped as
59:28
many other people as the people
59:31
who helped me because you know,
59:31
it's not really about money.
59:36
Money is a great way to keep
59:36
score and enjoy certain things
59:38
but you know, when you die it
59:38
all goes back in the box and it
59:41
goes to somebody else. But the
59:41
memories and the the ripple
59:47
effect that you make in other
59:47
people's lives. That's what
59:50
lives on. You know, somebody say
59:50
I met Chris Widener before he
59:55
died and I remember the
59:55
encouraging word he said to me
59:59
when I moved out I moved out of
59:59
New Jersey. And I moved to start
1:00:03
churches in Seattle, I got a
1:00:03
check from this guy who was the
1:00:06
CEO of Mars candies. And I
1:00:06
thought, Oh, that's cool,
1:00:08
because I didn't ask anybody for
1:00:08
money. That's cool. And the next
1:00:12
month, I got the same check. And
1:00:12
I'm like, well, that's really
1:00:14
cool. And then the third month,
1:00:14
I got it same. I'm like, I
1:00:17
better call him. So I called him
1:00:17
up. And I remember him. So I
1:00:20
still remember this. This was,
1:00:20
this was no later than probably
1:00:24
September 1991. So that's how
1:00:24
long ago it's been. And he said,
1:00:29
Chris, I believe in you. And I
1:00:29
believe in what you're doing,
1:00:33
and I'm going to keep sending
1:00:33
you money every month. And, and
1:00:37
I don't think he ever really
1:00:37
realized just that powerful
1:00:40
moment, because here he is this
1:00:40
extraordinary business leader,
1:00:43
right? You know, unless he
1:00:43
worked for Mars, which is highly
1:00:47
secretive. They were not allowed
1:00:47
to be on covers of magazines,
1:00:50
and all this, but one of the
1:00:50
biggest companies, and I
1:00:52
thought, here's this successful
1:00:52
man, who said he believes in me.
1:00:57
Wow. And I still remember that.
1:00:57
When they asked me to be the
1:01:00
emcee for the Jim Rohn weekend
1:01:00
leadership event. Wow, that that
1:01:05