128. Motivational Firewood with Steve Gamlin

Are you someone who uses self-deprecation to get laughs?

Steve Gamlin was too until a pivotal moment when his friend Kris figuratively put on a pair of steel toe boots and kicked his ass and woke him up to the dangerous effects of doing that.

Steve was raised to believe in the value of hard work. When Steve was 7, his dad bought their house and started remodeling it, one room at a time. All the Gamlin kids pitched in – helping with the remodeling, yardwork, and before Steve was ten years old he was clearing brush and chopping firewood.

Additionally, Steve’s mother instilled in him a love of reading and writing.

When Steve was 11, he decided he wanted to be a radio DJ, a standup comedian, an author of books, and a teacher of people – but not in a classroom. To inspire and coach people. When he was 24, he landed his first radio station job.

His dad gave him sound advice, “You got your foot in the door, now bust your ass so you don’t get thrown back out the door!”

For over a decade, Steve worked in radio 50 to 60 hours a week, going through several jobs as radio stations were bought out and the new management fired the old crew. After 10 years of this stress, he walked away, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted.

When his marriage ended shortly after that because of poor communication since he was never home, he found himself $62,000 in debt. Soon after, a mentor helped him triple the revenue from his weekend event DJ business in just two years.

But he was still beating himself up for the decisions he’d made in those previous 10 years. As I mentioned a moment ago, he’d started speaking on stages and was incorporating a lot of self-deprecating humor. After that conversation with Kris, he started learning how to continue using humor, but not at the expense of his self-esteem.

Along the way, he created Vision Board Mastery, a unique approach to vision boarding you’ve likely not heard before. This one consists of 10 steps but doesn’t involve selecting the photos of your lifestyle for the board until Step 7. There’s a reason for that.

Oh, and you’ll also hear how a random email led Steve to find the love of his life.

Are you ready to hear more?

Steve’s hype song is “Happy” by The Rolling Stones.


Invitation from Lori:

If, like Steve, you find yourself stuck in burnout, exhausted in every possible way, and struggling to create a vision for your dream life, the 5 Easy Ways to Start Living The Sabbatical Life guide is for you.

Once you read it, you’ll

✅ Discover a counter-intuitive approach to making intentional changes in mindset and lifestyle.

✅ Learn how to own your feelings and your struggles so you can address them.

✅ Find out how to face fears, step out of your comfort zone, and rewire your beliefs.

It’s only 7 pages, so it won’t take you long to get through. The five tactics are simple, but you could find yourself seeing a bit of Steve’s point about how the vision you think you have isn’t possible until you’ve put in the work.

When you’re ready to say F*ck Being Fine – then this guide is the place to start. It’s time to blaze your own trail and allow your curiosity to take you on a new quest!

Go to https://zenrabbit.com right now to download it for free.


Lori: Hello, and welcome to FINE is a 4-Letter Word. My guest today is Steve Gamlin. Welcome to the show, Steve.

Steve: Hey there, Lori. Thank you so much. Happy to be here. Looking forward to our conversation.

Lori: Right before we hit record, we were trying to remember how we were originally connected. Because it’s been a few years, I was a guest on your podcast, and we’ve had so many conversations. We couldn’t figure it out. We’re like, “I don’t know.” Like lots of things, we just get connected to people and I don’t remember how. But it might have been Keith Reynolds.

Steve: Could have been. I blame my lack of memory on a black mold infestation in our attic in 2023 that had been there for, apparently, two years, and a former, now retired energy drink addiction. I’ve never done drugs in my life, but I think between those two things, I fried a couple of chips.

Lori: Wow. How did you discover that? I mean, how did you discover the mold in that?

Steve: We had a rainstorm where the rain was blowing sideways, and it went in through one of the attic vents. We got a little bit of water stain in the inside of our second-floor bathroom ceiling and my wife said, “Maybe you should go upstairs and look.” I moved the plywood to get up there and went, “Oh, no.”

Lori: Maybe I won’t be going up there.

Steve: The plywood was black. It turned out there was a hose disconnected from the vent that was the air conditioning in the central heat right above the vent in my office. So I was basically breathing that stuff for about two years. Brain fog, memory lapses, extreme fatigue, and exhaustion, inability to focus, lack of focus, and even days where I just stare catatonic at the screen, trying to come up with a word and couldn’t figure it out.

Lori: What did you think was happening?

Steve: I had no idea. I honestly had no idea. Other than, we had the pandemic where I now refer to as three deaths in the pandemic. My dad died, one of my business mentors died, our little dog died. Both my business got destroyed in the pandemic at first. Just the depression from all of that, I just figured, “Well, I’m just going through some stuff.” I didn’t even realize that. They should re-change 5-Hour Energy labeling by the way, because by the end of my 16-year addiction, I would have called it 9-Hour Lethargy. It was actually working against me. So here we are.

Lori: I’m glad you got that cleared up and you’re back to your normal self.

Steve: Yes. Feeling good, feeling focused, lots of energy. Oh my gosh. Stop drinking energy drinks and find your natural energy again.

Lori: Right. I have a friend and past guest who would refer to it as getting high on your own supply.

Steve: Yes, yes, yes. And I surrounded myself with the right people. I’m doing a cellular detox now. My blood work numbers in the fall were abysmal. My liver couldn’t even process all the toxins that were already in my body and I was putting in more every single day. So, my liver’s very happy now.

Lori: I bet it is. Then your wife is probably happy, too, because now that you’re healthier, maybe you’ll be around longer.

Steve: Yeah. I won’t be dying a little bit every day. So it’s a big part of why I work out. So when we’re in our 70s, we’re not going to doctor visits. We’re walking, holding hands on a beach instead. That’s my big why.

Lori: I want to get to your relationship in a few minutes because I love how it came about and how special it is. But first, I want to ask you, what were the values and beliefs that you were raised with that contributed to you becoming who you’ve become?

Steve: Big ones. We grew up—it was myself and my sister and our mom and dad. Mom and dad were married until I was in my early 20s. So we had a really good, solid home life for a couple of very formative decades. Definitely respecting your elders, working hard, that was a big thing. We had chores. We worked with the family side by side in the yard with dad doing carpentry projects. Shortly after we bought our first house in 1975-76, we started remodeling one room at a time, and I was dad’s helper even at the age of eight years old. Mow the lawn and all that. If we said we’re going to do something, we needed to do it. If we committed to something, we needed to stay with it. Those were some of the greatest lessons that I think anyone could have learned. We were out in the woods dropping trees and dragging brush and stacking firewood and splitting firewood and all of that when we were in single digit years. It was just the most amazing childhood. It set me up for some really good core values that I still maintain today.

Lori: Do you still believe that you have to work hard to be successful?

Steve: Yes. It doesn’t all have to be physically grueling, but you need to be focused and you need to make sure your actions take you in the right direction in a world of distraction these days. I’m undiagnosed, but the letters A, D, H, and D are on my scrabble tile every day. Staying focused in a very distractible world now is more challenging than it used to be, but I still got to get my work done if I want to build it up. Even broken bricks can make a good foundation. So they don’t all have to be perfect.

Lori: Right. However, what you just said is different than having to work hard to be successful. You do need to be focused; you do need to take inspired action. Do you need to work hard?

Steve: As far as the physically hard thing?

Lori: Like the 24/7 hustle?

Steve: God, no. No, no, no, no, no. That’s the grind and hustle mindset. Oh no, absolutely not. I tried that. And we’ll be talking about that at some point during the show today. I tried that approach. It’s like a machine that you run for a long time and you don’t maintain it. And all of a sudden, somebody goes, “What’s that knocking noise? And where the hell is that smoke coming from?” That was my life at one point.

Lori: Well, let’s get into it right now. That work ethic that may have led into what you experienced as a young adult, the early parts of your career, you weren’t working all the time in 24/7 hustle.

Steve: Pretty much, yes. I followed my dream. When I was 11, I wanted to be a radio DJ, a standup comedian, an author of my own books, and a teacher of people but not in a classroom. I wanted to inspire people or coach people or do whatever. When I was 24, I got my first radio job. My dad said, he goes, “You get your foot in the door, now bust your ass so you don’t get thrown back out the door,” and I did. I worked 50, 60 hours a week for a decade. And if that wasn’t enough—because radio didn’t pay jack at the time, I was making poverty level wages, I started the weekend DJ business. DJ-ing weddings. So I essentially worked six or seven days a week for 10 years. I did about 15 years’ worth of hours in 10. And by the end of it, I was so fried mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, everything. I was exhausted. My first marriage was starting to crumble due to lack of communication because I was always working. I’m not a confrontational person—

Lori: Less time to communicate. You probably didn’t even see each other.

Steve: No, not a lot. Actually, the final four years of my radio career, I was sleeping away from home two nights a week because the radio station was so far from home, and I was exhausted. I would have crashed a tree falling asleep driving, because I used to do that now and then anyway, do as awful, I was driving. So it’s just by the miracle of a couple of guardian angels who’ve kept my ass on the road many times.

Lori: For sure. Okay. The first marriage fell apart, you’re working all these hours, but then you came to the realization, “I can’t. This isn’t sustainable.”

Steve: Actually, that part came first, where at the end of my 10 years, I walked away. I was on my last nerve, I was just fried. And without a full-time job, other than a part-time DJ business, I was maybe making 11.5 a year at the time. I quit.

Lori: You just went in and said, “I quit this job. I’m out”?

Steve: Yes. Gave my notice and just said, “I’m out of here.”

Lori: Did you still love radio? You just couldn’t do the hours? Or were you like, “I’m done with radio”?

Steve: The industry of radio is a very, very nasty one. After my first two years, which I loved and I was a workaholic, that radio station got sold, we all got fired. My second radio job lasted three years. That station got sold, we all got fired. I never filed for unemployment benefits. I was too embarrassed and my pride and my ego and all that. I sat in a dark room hoping for another job to come along and just doing searches.

Lori: Interesting.

Steve: The fourth group I was at for four years, somebody came up to me one day and said, “Hey, Steve, did you hear Scott? The owner’s going through a divorce. He might have to sell the station.” And something just snapped, “I can’t do this again.” I was one of the most award-winning comedy writers we had. I was very successful, great career, and I could not just get flushed down the toilet again. A little voice in my head just said, “Get the hell out of here.” Loved what I did, grew to hate the industry because it was so ruthless.

Lori: So many people from the industry have similar stories. I had spent a little bit of time, but very part time in there. But it was a love. And it’s hard to see what it has become. But now—

Steve: People ask me now if I’d go back, “No. I have my own podcast. I’m good. I have a show on a station in England and I do it from here. I’m good.”

Lori: I was just going to say now we have the luxury of making our own station, our own show.

Steve: I took what I loved most about it and I get to do that still. That part is good.

Lori: So, you were running this part time business. How did you reestablish yourself? I don’t even mean reestablish in terms of what you were doing in business, but how did you get your sanity back?

Steve: That took about four or five years to get my sanity back. It actually took about a decade for me to stop punishing myself for all those decisions. Because right after I quit radio within a year or so, my marriage ended. And at age 35, I realized I was about $62,000 in debt because I was not paying attention to where the money was. I was making minimum payments. I’d taken out a $30,000 business line of credit to build a recording studio in my dad’s basement, which we did, and I burned through all of that money. So I got divorced, lived at dad’s. A great friend of mine, or actually a radio mentor, introduced me to his DJ agent and that gentleman tripled my business in less than two years.

Lori: Doing what? Doing voiceover?

Steve: Nope. The DJ business. The weekend DJ business. Went from making 11.5 to, within a couple of years, I was making $30,000, $40,000 a year just on the weekends. It took me a long time to figure out what to do during the week. I tried a couple of things that I just was not passionate about. Therefore, I didn’t do them well. I just hated myself every day for the situation I’d put myself in. It took me 10 years of being really self-deprecating to get the point that that was not a good attitude to have speaking to and about myself that way.

Lori: What was the thing that triggered you to say, “Hey, wait, wait, wait, this is not working”?

Steve: It was a buddy of mine, Kris Whitehead. He and I had just met at the time. This was around early 2011. He invited me to speak at one of his personal development events. Just a small event. But he said, “Dude, it’s a three-day event. I’ll put you up on stage all three days. I love your stuff.” In the third day, I was in a bad mood. I was tired. I was running out of material. I said something and I said something self-deprecating and got a laugh. So I just stayed for about 15, 20 minutes, just ripping the crap out of myself on stage, about what an idiot I was in my own life. I painted the before picture, but I didn’t bring in the recovery because at the time there wasn’t one.

About five minutes after everybody left the room, he put a chair and a circle around it, sat me in the chair and they staged an intervention and beat that crap out of me over me talking about myself that way. He goes, “Bro, I’ve been watching you do this for a while now. If I ever hear you talk to or about yourself like that again, first off, we’re no longer brothers. Second, you are never welcome on one of my stages again. Dude, cut the crap. You just destroyed all credibility built up.” Now I refer to it as the day that my buddy Kris put on a pair of steel toe boots and kicked me so hard in part of my body my doctor only gets to see once a year. He set me straight.

Lori: Thank God for friends like that, right? It’s not easy to find friends like that because most people wouldn’t say that because they’re afraid of ruining the friendship versus saving the friend.

Steve: He knew the risk, but we’re still bros today. We still talk about that.

Lori: I’m sure he knew the risk. I’m just saying most people won’t take that risk.

Steve: Right. I’m so thankful for that day. Despite a few people had tried to tell me, “Tone it down a little.” I had three speeches in a row back in my Toastmasters days with the word “idiot” in the title, talking about myself. One was the Idiot and His Odyssey. There’s a play on Homer’s work. One guy came up after the meeting and he said, “Do you honestly believe this stuff you’re saying?” He goes, “Because you’re really wrecking yourself up there.” And I just looked at him and said, “Yeah.” He said, “That’s not good.” It didn’t go any farther than that. But that was a few years before Kris swung the steel toe boot and I finally got the lesson. Now I get to coach other people on that when I see them that way. I get to return the favor.

Lori: And on top of that, there are so many more people who don’t say those things out loud. They only say them internally so you don’t even know that they’re running that tape. I mean, you can guess because you can see the results they’re getting in their life. However, you are saying it, most people don’t say it out loud.

Steve: The danger of that was I could say it and get laughs. I mean, I was a standup comedian from 2004 to 2011. I also started speaking in 2004. So, to me, it wasn’t a bad thing. I couldn’t see that I was kicking out the chair underneath myself all the time. But it was blessing and a curse. I got laughs doing it so I assumed it was okay.

Lori: Isn’t that the case with the class clown? Which was definitely not me because I didn’t speak up at all in class. But the class clown or a lot of comedians are that way because they’re trying to cover up some pain.

Steve: Yes, there’s a lot of pain in the comedy world. I wish more people would understand that. When they say, “That person was so funny,” I see it different because I’ve been on the other side of the curtain. “Oh my gosh, that person.” I heard a lot of warning signs in that 15 minutes on stage. There’s a lot of addiction, there’s a lot of depression, there’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of mental illness in the entertainment world. Unfortunately, people just keep clapping at the dancing monkeys, not realizing how sad and tortured a lot of them are.

Lori: Right. Robin Williams, of course, comes to mind when you talk about that. So after Kris kicked your ass, what did you do? You didn’t just walk away and go, “Okay, I’m changed. I’m not going to talk about myself like that anymore.”

Steve: I call it the Hollywood effect. Because people have said, “That’s great. You rose up out of the ashes.” I’m like, “Hang on.” One of my signature stories is called Some Days Your Phoenix Rides a Pogo Stick. You go up and down and you burn your tail feathers off again and you learn something. And when they grow back, they’re brighter and stronger and you fly higher. What it did do was plant the seed that when my brain went to default to something funny but self-deprecating, I would catch myself before it fell out of my mouth and say, “That’s kind of funny, but you know what? That’s not going to serve me now.” It’s not like it just went like that. The reason I call it the Hollywood effect is not that the clouds parted and the angels went, “Ah,” and all of a sudden everything was rosy. But I started to catch myself and then I started to catch myself more quickly. Sometimes, the brain would go back to the old patterns and I would sit there for a second and go, “Oh my gosh, that’s freaking hysterical but I can’t say it like that.”

I would actually start to craft it in a way that I could still use it. I would say, “In the old days when I was really self-deprecating, I would have said this.” I’d still say it and I go, “But I don’t talk about myself like that anymore.” And it became part of the lesson because I was a work in progress and I just try to be as open, authentic, transparent, and vulnerable as possible at all times. So I would just acknowledge, “Look, I’m working through this. I used to be this way. Maybe you can identify with this. But here’s what I do now. I build myself up. I don’t tear myself down anymore.” It actually became part of the journey and part of my branding. Just authenticity.

Lori: But authenticity in a way that really is. Lots of people say, “Authenticity is my brand.” You need to be authentic. But you were putting it out there that people could clearly see, “Okay, he’s not perfect.” I mean, nobody is, but that you weren’t even pretending to have it all together.

Steve: No, not at all.

Lori: Which makes people like you even more because now you’re relatable.

Steve: Just being real. I’ve been on a personal development journey for about 35 years now, as a speaker and a coach for 20. There are people out there who would love for the world to think that their lives are perfect. They put it out on social media, but every once in a while, you get a real glimpse or you hear an actually true story, not just the rumors that people make up. But you do hear something and it’s like, “You’d be a lot more believable and attractive in a magnetic way if you stopped posing with your damn Lamborghini and actually let people in on the fact that your marriage is crumbling and you’re 40 pounds overweight and you’re depressed and all this and that.” I would rather see that person who’s making a good solid effort every single day versus the whole airbrushed social media fakeness that’s so pervasive.

I saw something yesterday. I saw an alert pop up on my phone that said, “All the gurus are getting skewered on TikTok right now.” I don’t know if there was a TikTok challenge called Take Down the Gurus. But people were mocking all of the big success gurus yesterday. So I’ve got to go dig and find these videos. I’ll probably laugh my butt off.

Lori: I want to see them. I’m not on TikTok, but I can see them. But I haven’t. I’d like to see those too.

Steve: They’re just regular everyday people. Sometimes they buy into their own hype a little too much and that’s where they lose me. Some I refuse to listen to or watch anymore, who were huge in my early development, but I just watched them crossover into being deified by their followers and appearing to believe it. And that’s where you lose me.

Lori: At what point did your love story come into the picture? Because this is such a cool story. I want my listeners to hear it.

Steve: Got divorced in 2003, it became official. And I said, “I really only want to fall in love one more time in my life. So I want to have the dream ultimate relationship.” I looked at who I was at the time and how I behaved. Now, it wasn’t abusive, there was no issues of that or cheating. Never. But I was the person, whenever there was conflict, I would just shut down and shut down and shut down, and not address small problems until they became larger problems. So I said, “I’m going to spend a couple of years really working on myself.”

I read books, I journaled a lot, and I just got it out there. Who I wanted to be, I learned about visualization, and really dove into that head first in my own way, and started to build what would that dream relationship look like, feel like, sound like, taste like, smell like, be like. Who did I have to become to be that person? By the time January of 2007 rolled around, I made that year’s vision board, and I had pictures of the type of relationship I wanted to have—a couple walking hand in hand on the beach, standing at the railing of a ship at sunset, laughing together, cooking dinner in the kitchen. Guy piggybacking his girlfriend through a brook so she wouldn’t get all wet and they’re laughing. I said, “This is what I want.” I said, “This is going to be the year I find her, whoever she is.” In the first week of June, I wrote in my journal, “I’m ready to fall in love.”

And on June 16, 2007, there was an e-mail from someone named Tina that I almost deleted as spam. Of course, my squirrel brain got distracted. I looked at it again the next day and I opened it and realized there was a girl I’d gone to high school with that hadn’t seen or spoken to in 21 years. I said, “Oh my gosh.” So I e-mailed back and she e-mailed back her phone number. I waited about three days to call.

Lori: Because you got to stay cool.

Steve: Because you got to stay cool and distracted. She didn’t have any social media footprint so I could do no reconnaissance. There was not even a picture of her to be had anywhere.

Lori: I don’t like that. I want to know.

Steve: I called her number and she answered. The first words I heard from her in 21 years in her typical nice, amazingly cool voiced sarcasm was, “It’s about time you called.” And I just started laughing on the phone. I’m like, “How are you?” She goes, “I’m good.” She was living in Florida at the time. Over the course of the next four weeks, just by phone, text, and e-mail, I started to have feelings for her again. Because I had a crush on her in high school for three years and never had the guts to ask her out.

Lori: Okay. I was going to ask that part.

Steve: I had a crush on her and I thought there’s no way she would say yes. She has since told me that I did ask her to the prom. And I said, “What did you say?” She goes, “I said no.” I said, “See?” And she goes, “Ask me why I said no.” So I asked and she goes, “Because you said, ‘Would you like to go to the prom to meet’ and instantly said, ‘just as friends?’” She said, “That’s why I said no.” She goes, “Because I had a crush on you back then. I still have feelings for you and I love you.” She told me that from a thousand miles away in a text four weeks after that initial e-mail. This June is our 17th anniversary. We’ve been together ever since.

Lori: Wow. Okay. I want to get the chronology of things just in my head, because you might have said it, but I don’t know if I missed it. What year was it that Kris kicked your ass?

Steve: 2012. I was still in the midst of self-deprecating at this point. I hadn’t done enough damage yet.

Lori: All right. But you were able to attract your Tina into your life even with that.

Steve: Yes.

Lori: Wow. That’s definitely a bond.

Steve: A few months later… She flew up here. Her grandmother was having surgery the next month. So I saw her for the first time in 21 years and just fell in love with her again. A couple of trips later back and forth, she said, “I really want to move back to New England but I don’t want to lose my job or leave my job.” About a month later, she sent me an e-mail. She goes, “I think this is that law of attraction thing. The company just offered to move me back to New England, pay for the move, put me up at a hotel for a month so I can find an apartment, and created a job for me in Burlington, Vermont, which is only two hours and 20 minutes from my house.” She goes, “Is this that law of attraction thing?” I go, “Babe, this is exactly the law of attraction. This is exactly what I teach and what I talk about.” Those things kept stacking up. They eventually moved her back to New Hampshire so we could live together and gave her a fully work from home thing with occasional travel. And here we are.

Lori: That’s an amazing story. How did you get into teaching the visualization and the vision board stuff?

Steve: It was weird because I first heard about visualization through about a 90-second snippet of The Secret where some guy named John Asaraff talked about vision boards. I didn’t read anyone’s book, I didn’t buy anybody’s program, I just learned on my own. Trial and error, trial and error, trial and error, trial and a little success. I took my own approach towards all of it. And thank God, I took a lot of notes. I journaled like a madman in that decade. I still journal quite a bit. Then as people started to see the successes I was stacking up in these wins I was talking about and sharing on stages, “Hey, Steve, can you teach me how to do that too?” “Sure.” “Do you have a program?” “Sure. We’re just not quite done putting it together yet.”

I went through all my journals and I said, “All right, what are the steps that I took?” I created a framework and it’s called Vision Board Mastery. It still exists now. It’s still my primary program. I just walk people from exactly where they are right now once they figure it out to where they want to be in such an order that the visualization framework is set up properly. It’s not just slapping pictures on a board. My program is 10 steps. You don’t gather pictures until Module 7 in my program. Everything else is internal work. Making sure that your goals are your goals. Not the Vision Board Starter Kit like the Lamborghini, the mansion, the private jet, the helicopter, the big honking gold watch, and the bank vault full of gold bars. That’s a letter to Santa Claus right there. Pretty much, it’s that stuff. There’s more to life than that. I teach eight areas of life and people go, “That many? Okay.”

Lori: They’re either in for the work or they’re not.

Steve: That’s okay.

Lori: And it’s not even work. To me, it’s kind of fun. You’re uncovering the layers of an onion of yourself.

Steve: Exactly. Who you are, where you want to go. The most important thing, for me anyway, it’s not just what you get, it’s who you become. Doing what I did in the early 2000s, what’s the best version of you in all those areas of life? I talked physical health, emotional well-being, your relationships, your corporate values, your faith, your connection, your career, and your money. They all happened in 24/7. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to actually have some say in where your life is headed?

Lori: We’ve talked about this before, too, the feeling behind it. It’s not just, “This is what I want.” But how will you feel when you are that person or when you have that thing? And when I say thing, I don’t necessarily mean physical thing. When you have what you want, how will you feel?

Steve: I came up with the hashtag that I love. It’s on all of my vision boards. It’s in my I AM statement and audio that I listen to often, which is an audio walkthrough of my ultimate dream life as though it’s already happened. I enjoy this, I am this, I have this, I’ve become this. My favorite two words: charismatic confidence. Because those are two things I did not have in my life. I was not charismatic. In high school, I shut down, I was not confident. I had no game at all with the ladies.

Lori: Well, who has confidence in high school, really?

Steve: Well, a lot of people claim they did or they put up enough of a fake wall that they did. And me being transparent, I just looked around and go, “Okay, here I am sitting in the corner.” I hung with some pretty smart and cool people, but I was fringe at best and was not confident, really, until almost age 40.

Lori: Which makes it even funnier to me that your story, that your wife is from high school.

Steve: People say high school sweethearts, I go, “No, I didn’t have the guts to ask her out.” It was about a three-year crush.

Lori: Well, I love that charismatic confidence.

Steve: That fell out one day. And as soon as I said it—I’ve got a little mirror here in the recording studio over by my setup, I looked in the mirror and went, “That’s bad ass.” I’m like, “I have got to use that.” Even now, it feels so good when I say it, I can’t help but smile. And I feel it. It’s not just, “That would be cool.” It was, “That was cool,” what I just felt when I said that. I just take that on stage, offstage, backstage, walking down the Captain Crunch aisle at the grocery store. Just be charismatically confident, and it makes you attractive and it makes other people so comfortable around you. Non-threatening and just leaving plus signs trailing behind you everywhere you go. You’ll never run out because I own the damn factory. That’s what I love the most about it.

Lori: Brendon Burchard talks about energy. And he talks about the energy plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. It’s something like that.

Steve: I love Brendon. I got to meet him. I was very blessed a number of years ago to have a quick conversation with him after he got off stage. It’s one of the highlights of my speaking career, was getting to just have a conversation with him. He is what he is on stage, off stage.

Lori: I’ve heard that and that’s so refreshing.

Steve: Yes, it is.

Lori: You’re not looking to other places for energy. We were talking at the beginning of our conversation about the energy drinks not giving you energy. Because you have to generate it yourself, it comes from within. All the things that you’ve been talking about are what helps each of us to generate their own energy, whether it’s journaling, whether it’s meditation, like visualization, looking inside for “Who would I like to be?” I always talk about the how is not our domain, but what steps can I take? What inspired steps can I take to get there? And when you have that charismatic confidence, you become magnetic and those right people and right circumstances start showing up.

Steve: It goes back to something one of my English teachers said in high school. He would throw a kid out of class, but on the way out the door, he would tell the kid, “Look, you’re not in trouble. Just go sit on the bench outside the office.” He goes, “Just act like you belong there and nobody will mess with you.”

I graduated in ‘86. That still resonates with me, that no matter where I am, I just act like I own the place. If I was ever part of somebody else’s business, I ran it as though it was mine. That’s how I did my job. That’s how I do everything I do, whether it’s speaking or coaching or just committing acts of kindness. I’m supposed to be right here right now doing this action, having this conversation. We’re supposed to be talking right now. We may not realize why, but something’s going to come from this volleyball game that’s going to impact somebody’s life, and we’ll find out about 5 or 10 years from now.

Lori: If we ever find out because I also—

Steve: If we ever.

Lori: Right. People are always watching, but they may not always be raising their hand or telling you that they’re watching, but you’re still having an effect. That’s why it’s even more important to do all the things that we just talked about in terms of being authentic and finding who you are and becoming who you are supposed to be. I know some people are like, “Everything happens for a reason.” Don’t say it. I hate that phrase. I don’t hate it, but I get it. But to your point that you just made, things are happening because this is what is supposed to be happening at this moment. Nothing is random. We ascribe that word to things. Like, “It was a coincidence. It was a synchronicity. It was random.” But it’s not.

Steve: There are days where something will happen, I’ll trip up a little bit or something will go wrong and I’ll look up and I go, “Apparently, I needed a new stage story. Okay.” Then I’ll craft it. People still ask me now, they go, “Hey, Steve, how do you make up those stories you share on stage?” I just stare right in the eye and I tilt my head, I call it the puppy head tilt. I tilt my head and go, “Really? Have you not been paying attention to my life over the past 22 years of what’s going on?” I don’t have to make up anything. But I pay attention more than most people I know to the little tiny things and moments. I take a ton of pictures with my phone and I capture things and I’ll write things down and do the Facebook posts or whatever. So many people don’t realize I’m actually taking stock of my exact real life right now and what it’s inspiring me to think of in a lesson that can come from it. And they come from everywhere. They’re around us at all times.

Lori: You do an exceptional job of that. I see what you post and you do an exceptional job. I am not so good at it. I pay attention to the things, but I am not great at journaling. I would like to be better and I just don’t give myself or allow myself the time to do it. I just don’t feel it. It’s not even allowing myself. It’s not like, “I really would like to do this.” I don’t really want to, but I feel like I should.

Steve: There you go. I always give my mom credit. She instilled such a love of reading and writing into my sister and I. My sister’s got the logical brain. She’s a CPA. She’s been in accounting forever. I’m the creative one. Our family has a nonprofit. For me, for almost 10 years, I was very happy with it just being where I called my hippie giving movement. But so many people wanted to give us money and they said, “See, if you got to be a 501(c)(3).” I looked at the paperwork for about four and a half seconds and said, “There’s no way in hell I can stay focused long enough.” My sister grabbed it, and for three years now, we’ve been an official 501(c)(3).

We have different things we can read and understand and comprehend and we have our skillsets. I’m the face of the nonprofit and she’s the brains behind it. And our mom and stepmom are known as the Beach Bomb moms. It’s called Beach Bomb Philanthropy. They are rapidly becoming the two more famous faces. To the point where when I go somewhere, they go, “Who are you?” I said, “Steve, the Beach Bomb.” “Do you know the Beach Bomb moms? Oh my gosh, they’re amazing.” I’m like, “Yes, I know them.” And they eat it up. They love it. They’re both retired. We lost my dad a little over five years ago. So the passion and purpose of them being a part of this in their lives is giving them such a glow. My mom’s in her late 70s and my step mom is 81. So their purpose—they’re not just fine anymore. They’re on fire, rocking and rolling, planning out their next dessert trip to the homeless shelter.

Lori: Which the lesson there is you’re never too old. I will put a link to that in the show notes as well, to your organization. Before we go—this is such a great song to ask, or great question. Damn, I just ruined it. This is such a great question to ask you because of your background in DJ-ing. But what’s a song that you listen to when you need an extra boost of energy? What’s your hype song?

Steve: One of my first ones—and all I have to do is type the first letter in YouTube and it pops up—Happy by the Rolling Stones from 1972. Keith Richards, the guitar player, wrote it and actually sang on it. Just part of why I love it, because he can’t sing great, but he sounds amazing.

Lori: It’s his enthusiasm.

Steve: It’s just the enthusiasm and, at the time, a lot of drugs. But the energy of the song is great. I mean, God, the song is just called Happy. I need a love to keep me happy. It doesn’t just mean a person. It just means you need love in your life to be happy. It’s funny, as we’re going through this conversation, I’m starting to think, “When was the last time I answered fine when somebody asked me how I was doing?” I think it’s been years. Because I’ll say things like happy. Then, of course, I got to go play the song. Rocking, on fire, having a ball, or just having fun is what I say to people. Even if I’m stressed out, “Steve, what are you doing this week?” “Having fun.” Speaking, creating, recording.

Lori: Speaking into truth.

Steve: Yes, I just keep telling the universe, “Come on, bring it. More.” Because if something disruptive happens, guess what? I got a new story.

Lori: That’s right.

Steve: As soon as I figure out the lesson, I get to share it with everybody else and continue to be just a little farther up the mountain. I never claimed to be at the top of any mountain like some of the gurus do. I’m just far enough ahead that I can yell back going, “Hey, watch out when you turn this corner here, you’re going to fall on your ass in the mud. Go around the left side of the rock.” That’s where I’m at: happy.

Lori: I so appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation with you. If someone else who’s listening wants to continue the conversation, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Steve: They can find me nice and easy at stevegamlin.com, and that’s G-A-M-L-I-N.

Lori: All right. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. Thank you for joining me today on FINE is a 4-Letter Word.

Steve: Absolutely a pleasure. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *