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Has failure in your finances, relationships, or business put an abrupt stop to your life? Are you stuck wallowing in self-pity, unsure how to get things back on track?

Failure is a common obstacle we all have to face. In this episode, Dr. Rick is joined by Kevin Breeding as they tell you exactly how to overcome and blow past failure to regain your forward momentum.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The life-changing lessons you can’t learn from success (1:30)
  • One brutal question you must answer to begin overcoming failure (5:57)
  • Is this fatal mistake keeping you stuck in frustration and defeat? (7:10)
  • The surprisingly simple first step to regaining control of your life (7:43)
  • What top-level execs understand about failure that you don’t (16:15)
  • The 2 counterintuitive principles successful people always keep in mind to push through any situation (17:03)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello there, friends. I am so thrilled for this episode. Glad you can join us.
I'm thrilled for two reasons. We're going to be talking about one of the enemies to forward momentum, but I'm really thrilled because of this man right here. He's my business partner. He's one of my dearest friends. He's one of the greatest thinkers I know. He's a corporate coach in huge demand, a successful speaker who has an amazing background that you can learn about by going to KevinBreeding.com.

This is the one and only Kevin Breeding. Kevin, thank you for joining me on How You Living?

Kevin Breeding: Thanks so much, Rick. I'm pleased to be here, although I have to tell you, I had a little apprehension whenever you told me you wanted to do an episode about failure and then you invited me. So, I got thinking that something's going on. Let’s get it out there. [0:01:10]

Dr. Rigsby: I wish we could’ve recorded out pre-talk because Kevin made a powerful statement. He said, “Think about all the lessons you’ve learned that have been significant in life. And where have they recurred? They occurred as a result of our successes or our failure failures.” Think about that, friend. It's not the mountaintop that teaches you those significant lessons. It's not the mountaintop where you get that tremendous nugget of wisdom. It's going through hell and high water oftentimes.

Kevin: Yeah, you know what? It is, Rick. In fact, it's one of those things that I have to work on every day. I certainly do with my clients in trying to get people to shift perspective, because when you are in the thick of it, and you're at just the lowest piece and you can completely hopeless, and you feel like there is no way out of there, that's the instant where you really have the ability to stop and just, say, for a second, breathe like you taught us to in a previous episode and say, Do you realize I'm in the place where the greatest potential personal growth is happening right now? [0:02:09]

Dr. Rigsby: Now, I'm going to have Kevin do something that I didn't ask you to do, but because we're dear friends, I know you don't mind doing it because it's the core of everything you do. I'm going to have you in just a second tell your story, not your stories of success, not the ones with working with world-class ministries, not the ones where you were a vice president of marketing and advertising for Walmart for years. Not all those stories. I want you to tell the story of failure and being in rock bottom.

But, first, I want y’all to stick around. If there is one episode that can literally close the door on your past and unlock the key to future possibilities in terms of moving forward, this is that episode. Stick around to the end because I'm going to give you the key that I believe will literally cause you to say once and for all, I am going to start looking at failure in the most positive way, and it’s actually going to motivate me to accomplish what I never could have accomplished without the failure. [0:03:11]

That’s coming at the end of this show. Stay tuned. Trust me on this. You don't want to miss it. I use this as a principle all over the world and I know that Kevin does as well. And so, with that as a backdrop and something to wait for, I want this man to open up his heart and share with the viewers, not the success of today, but the failure of yesterday.

Kevin: Thanks for that, Rick. It’s one of those, quite a long season, where I was completely ashamed of what I had lived through because I felt like an absolute failure.

I'd gone through having been at the top of the corporate world, having been a successful speaker, doing a lot of great things by the professional standards of the world. But the problem was, my house was on fire. The problem was my finances. I mean, I'd made a ton of money, but for some reason, it was just a mess. And all this stuff happened because I was trying to do things outside of the parameter where I needed to be. [0:04:11]

Finally, it was one of these where, one day, all of a sudden, I found out that a business partner had stolen—I won't even tell you the number. It's a staggering number—and left the business completely upside down, and I was left holding everything and had to figure out, How am I going to get through this? Ultimately, it went from being at the height of a corporate career to not knowing how I was going to eat next week. It was literally that tight.

I will tell you that there's one piece of this I don't even think that I've ever told you about before. I'll share it here. I remember going through the bankruptcy court and standing there in front of that judge. I didn't hear a word. The whole time, there was an internal voice in there just going, You're a failure. You're a terrible person. You're an awful human being. How could you squander all of this stuff? And I walked down just completely dejected, knowing that I was very, very soon going to be back in a courtroom for a divorce. [0:05:06]

Dr. Rigsby: Wait a minute. Let folks know, you were going through simultaneously a bankruptcy and a divorce.

Kevin: They happened within six months of each other. I don't reckon.

Dr. Rigsby: Oh boy.

Kevin: But the thing is, I knew, and so, even though we had not started the divorce proceedings, I knew that it was coming and it was just one of those things. And I kept trying to just ask myself, How? Why? Completely the wrong questions. In that moment of the “How?” and the “Why?” was not where I needed to go. It was the “What?”

Dr. Rigsby: Good. That’s good.

Kevin: I had to get to “What do I need to do this second, right now?”

Dr. Rigsby: Kevin, why is it that so many people who are despondent, listening and watching right now, so many people who are struggling with failure, why is it that the “What?” question is the roughest one to answer?

Kevin: It's so easy. I know you quote Les Brown all the time, and talking about that issue of people living in their memory, when they should be living in their imagination, and the “How?” and the “Why?” are all about the past and understanding “Why did something happen?” or “Why did this happen to me?” and the imagination requires you to ask the question “What? What do I need to do next? What do I need to do now?” [0:06:20]

I will tell you, the big mistake that I made in those early days was I was trying to swing for the fences. I was trying to say, Okay, how can I get back to a seven-figure business? Wrong question walking out of a bankruptcy room. You've got to allow yourself time to heal, the time to look introspectively, because I will tell you, although I had a business partner that created the avalanche, I contributed to that mistake.

I was in a business that I did not understand well. I was in a business where I did not have a clear understanding of the finances and where they were. I was flying above my pay grade because I was addicted to big, giant checks.

Dr. Rigsby: If you're in a season of failure right now, you would recommend that Step #1 might want to be “What do I do next?” [0:07:09]

Kevin: What's the single [thing]? Even if it's small. In fact, more times than not, it is small. We get caught up in thinking, I've got to, I've got to fix it all in one second. We didn't create it all in one second, and so we have to give ourselves that sort of internal mental breath to be able to say, Okay, what do I need to do today?

The first thing I need to do is to forgive myself. Recognize that I made a mistake, that I blew it, that it ended up in bankruptcy, but I didn't harm anyone else. It just hurt me. It hurt my family, but we were in it together. We were going to figure out what we needed to do in order to get through it.

Now, here's the kicker. I’ve never told this publicly before. The miracle for me was walking out of the courtroom, getting in my car, tears just gushing out of my face. I was at a complete, complete loss.

And as I'm driving to my house, my phone rings and it's a very dear friend of mine, and he says, “Hey, how you doing, man?” [0:08:04]

I said, “I've been better.”

He said, “Do you have five minutes?”

And I said, “Yeah, sure.”

And he said, “Come by the house.”

So, I went by his house. He just bear-hugged me and he said, “Bud, you got this. It's no big deal. And, by the way, this is for you,” and he handed me an envelope with several thousand dollars in cash, and he said, “I believe in you and it's time for you to believe in you.”

Dr. Rigsby: Wow.

Kevin: Yeah. No, I realized—somebody listening, you may not have that particular experience and it sounds tangible because of the dollar amount—the thing that was the most valuable to me was his statement, not the dollar bills. I mean, they helped in the literal moment, but, honestly, it was that ability to say, if somebody else believes in me, then I can believe in me.

Dr. Rigsby: That is so good, Kevin, because without that element of hope, you're just going to dwell on your past mistakes. Without that “What do I do now?” you're just going to dwell on your past mistakes. Like Les Brown says, all over the world, most of us live in our memory as opposed to our imagination. [0:09:10]

I'm guessing that the “What?” question gave your mind permission to free your imagination to start thinking “What?” And then, having somebody believe in you, furthered that process, right?

Kevin: Yeah, completely. The key when you get into that, it's so easy just to spend 24/7 just kind of doing the newsreel of how terrible you are and how big the mistakes were.

Dr. Rigsby: Stop right there. Can I ask you what it is about human nature that causes us to use memory as our default?

Kevin: I'm sure there's a ton of science behind it, but the thing that we go to in memory is that it's something that we know is certain to us, where the future is somewhat uncertain. It hasn't happened yet.

Dr. Rigsby: Is it possible, and I'm, I know that some people that are watching and listening, this may be your reality. This is certainly my reality. I actually got … I don't know what the right word is. Would it be stimulated from going back to the bad memories? Is that the right word? There was something that was comforting me. Is it possible you’ve got these memories; you go back and they become comforting, even though they're horrific? [0:10:19]

Kevin: It actually is a fairly common phenomenon.

Dr. Rigsby: Is it?

Kevin: You look at someone who goes through the tragedy and the horror of personal or physical abuse. They get out of it, but whenever they hit a moment of uncertainty, where do they go? They go back to the person who had been abusing them. And even though they have every reason in the world not to, they go back to the thing that they know, because, for a moment, we can rationalize in our mind in some way to say, What I know is less scary, less fearful than a thing that I don't know.

Dr. Rigsby: Wow.

Kevin: And we all do it. You think about it. Nobody listening today, if they were sitting, if they were outside of themselves evaluating, would allow themselves to go back into a situation that has harmed them once before. [0:11:03]

Dr. Rigsby: Sure.

Kevin: But we do it to ourselves every single day through this mechanism and vehicle called “fear” and “uncertainty.” And so, what we've got to do is we've got to learn to draw from the past, gain those principles that are there. And then we ultimately look at, How can we take what we need to forward? Take the principles forward. Leave the rest.

Dr. Rigsby: You learn something very valuable and you often quote Dr. Wayne Dyer with regard to this notion of “certain.” Quote that quote. And then, is that one of the tools that you used early on?

Kevin: It is the thing that gave me freedom to become intimate with failure. And Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, and I'll slaughter the quote, but I'll give you the gist of it. He always talked about that uncertainty only happens when we are not confident in the outcome.

Dr. Rigsby: Say it one more time.

Kevin: Uncertainty occurs when we're not confident in the outcome. If we know the outcome is certain, then fear and uncertainty in the process is where that all comes in. [0:12:06]

So, the trick is once you know the outcome is going to be, if you have an issue with it, it's not the outcome that's the issue. You have to come back and evaluate, If I have uncertainty, I don't believe, I don't know that what's happening, that what I'm actively doing to fix this situation, that I'm doing the right thing.

Dr. Rigsby: Wow. Continue that.

Kevin: The thing that I had to do through, because you’ve got to remember, that was the first sucker punch, and then just a few weeks later, a few months later, I was staring in front of a judge again in a divorce proceeding, knowing that everything that I had defined myself by was going up in flames right there in that moment.

And so, I remember because this happened in Oklahoma. I live in Dallas, and so, I stepped out of the courtroom. I walked across the parking lot, got in my car and got back on a Highway 75, coming south. I don't think I've ever sobbed as a human being more and more deeply than in that moment. [0:13:02]

And I needed to, Rick, because it was necessary for me to have that closing moment to say, This is now past. But then, it immediately catapulted me to a place where it was like, What now?

Dr. Rigsby: What? There it is again. I want to pick up on that. Say that, that Dyer paraphrase one more.

Kevin: Yeah. Uncertainty happens whenever we are not convinced that our plan gets us to the outcome.

Dr. Rigsby: Now, I'm thinking that your operative word was “What?” and so, to convince yourself to get to that outcome, that first step had to be, all right, in the midst of my tears, what do I need to do?

Friends, if you're listening, think about this. Failure is not fatal. I know that's the last thing you want to hear in a situation like that. So, the question is, How can I put hands and feet on that? Kevin has nailed it. You ask yourself, What do I need to do next? so that you're drawing toward the certainty. You're driving toward the certainty of the outcome that you can believe in. [0:14:07]

There's a great book that I know you're very familiar with. I've read it multiple times, came out a couple of years ago by Samuel Chand. It's titled Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth, and I would encourage all of you folks listening in and joining us today to just take a look at this book online, perhaps even buy it if you need to, but listen to one of his quotes.

“When you interpret your pain as bigger—more important, more threatening, more comprehensive—than your vision, you’ll redefine your vision down to the threshold of your pain.”

Let me just insert the word “failure.” When you interpret your failure as bigger than your vision, you will reinterpret your vision down to the threshold of your failure. And I think when we don't ask the question correctly, What do I need to do next? we're going to continue to live in the past, reinterpreting our failure down to the threshold of our vision.[ 0:15:13]

In other words, our failure literally reconstructs and reframes everything—and I'm so grateful that you are able to teach us that, Kevin. Napoleon Hill said something over and over in Think and Grow Rich. But before I get to that, do you have a response to Samuel Chand's comment?

Kevin: The thing that I keep coming back to is I have a principle that's part of the coaching that I do. It basically says, every bit of success you want, every dream that you want, every vision that you want lives on the other side of your excuses. And as soon as your excuses minimize to the point that you can get past them, you'll instantly fall into your visions, your dreams and your successes.

It goes back to a question I get asked all the time, because I have the benefit of working with top execs and business leaders from all over the world: Why are they so successful when so many other people are not? [0:16:09]

And the answer is they are so intimately okay with failure, they just don't even think about it, because it's not even a thing. They're willing to do whatever because, in the failure, there's learning, and the learning catapults them forward. What Samuel Chand is talking about here is that, yeah, you're minimizing all of these things and that's when you realize failure is not a sentence. It’s a pathway.

Dr. Rigsby: That's even better than the transition that we had planned for this segment into Napoleon Hill, because in his book Think and Grow Rich, what fascinates me, as you know, the book has very little to do with growing rich and more to do with how rich people think. He said, you look at any successful person and they have two things in mind. They have executed from their life of fear of failure and, secondly, they have this singleness of purpose and a burning desire to accomplish that purpose. [0:17:07]

Going back to number one, they see failure in a very different way. There's a utility to failure that they use and that really leads us, as we close this session, which I really don't want to do, to the key that I have discovered in my life and, friends, by listening to Kevin, you can see that what I'm about to say he discovered in his life years and years ago in the midst of failure. Here it is. Here's the key—make failure your personal trainer.

Does that sound bizarre to y'all? It doesn't to me. I had to figure out a way to make my failures work for me, and here's my theory, and it's real simple and I want you to comment on this. You mentioned that what keeps us in our failures is constantly making excuses, right?

Kevin: Right.

Dr. Rigsby: It's interesting to me that anything that will cause you to be more honest with yourself is really a gift that can motivate growth. Nothing, absolutely nothing can force honesty like failure. [0:18:11]

I think that was reinforced to me at a critical time. My marriage didn't fail, but my wife died, so there was a systems failure. But at the same time, I'm on a football coaching staff, and I'm seeing failure on Saturday and players making excuses Saturday night, and the film pointing out what the excuse can't cover.

It caused me to start thinking that anytime we find ourselves in a situation where you're forced to tell the truth, where you're forced to eliminate blaming and eliminate making excuses, that is a gift. So, why can't fail your be that kind of coach, Kevin?

Kevin: It can be that kind of coach. The challenge for us is that we don't like it. It hurts. It incriminates us and tells us all the things that we actually are that none of us want to hear, but the truth is that our best self is when we get, a phrase that I call it by, brutally honest, where we're willing to beat ourselves up a little bit and not listen to our hype, and just say, You know what? I didn't hit that goal, but I didn't do the work. I didn't do the reps. I didn't do X, Y or Z. But that's not a condemnation. That's an evaluation. [0:19:25]

Dr. Rigsby: That’s good.

Kevin: There's a great quote, a friend of mine, John [Shedlock? 0:19:28], who's one of the top guys in the real estate industry in the world. He says, it's always healthy to be a witness of yourself, not a judge.

Dr. Rigsby: Oh, that's good.

Kevin: Watch yourself progressing in the process. Don't judge yourself as pass or fail and let that determine your future.

Dr. Rigsby: Kevin, how can our listeners and viewers learn more about you?

Kevin: The easiest way is obviously KevinBreeding.com, the simplest way. I'm thrilled that I get to be a guest here in hanging out with you, which is always a ton of fun. But also, just as a gift to you and as an appreciation, I have a gift for the audience. If you just go to KevinBreeding.com/rick there's a free gift there and it's a series of videos that goes through some of the coursework, and the coaching and training that I use every day on how you can literally flip your mind, flip your script, and create the future and the desire and the dreams that you have. [0:20:19]

Dr. Rigsby: Gosh, Kevin, thank you. That's very generous of you. I really appreciate that.
If you've been listening today, I know we've gone a little longer than normal, but here's the key as far as Kevin and I are concerned. I don't learn from people who have lived perfect lives. I learned from broken people. Kevin was a broken person and learned not to ask “How?” or “Why?” but to ask “What?” as the next step.

It literally feeds right into a key that I have discovered and the key is to make failure your personal trainer, to do everything you can to learn from that failure, and what it has taught me is the same thing it taught you. It taught me that, at the end of the day, it's not about you or it's not about the situation, or it's not about my boss. It's not even about my feelings. It's about that person that's in the mirror, and the first thing I need to do that failure forces me to do is eliminate shifting blame and eliminate making excuses. [0:21:24]

Kevin and I are here to tell you that any situation that forces you to do those things is going to set you up for a success that you could never have without failure.

And so, friends, I hope you've benefited from this segment. I certainly have. Kevin, thank you for joining me. I really, really appreciate your vulnerability today.

Kevin: It's always a pleasure, man.

Dr. Rigsby: And friends, until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick asking you the most important question I could ask you today—how you living?

We'll talk to you again real soon.

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/freegift to get the print or audio book right now.

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