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Being Your Own Life’s Lifeguard: Invest in Yourself

We are responsible for choices that we make, and so does for the way we turn our lives around.  Taking ownership is something that is sometimes lost in the fog of time. Read this conversation with John Livesay on the xMonks Drive Podcast, where he talked about his time as a lifeguard and how he applied the lessons he learned to become a more effective selling and storytelling.

The Tale of Pitcher Whisperer

Gaurav: So John, I started reading about you. And the first thing that caught my attention, that you are known as a pitcher whisperer. How did you get this title pitch whisperer for yourself?

Livesay:  So once Anthem Insurance was interviewing me to be a speaker at their annual meeting. I asked them a question: what would happen after I speak? They said, “Well, later in the day, we’re going to have an improvisation session.

I  said, “What if I stayed on stage with those people and I could whisper in their ear something from my talk? Because improvisation is all about “Yes, And”, and keeping the conversation going. They love that idea so much. They hired me. Then people said, Oh my god, could you be in my ear all the time when I’m out in the sales field? ” And I told this story to the Ink magazine and Ink said, “Wow, you’re the pitch whisper.”

I love that. So I went ahead and had that trademarked and registered. So now if you Google, the pitch whisperer, a lot of my content will show up.

Being The Lifeguard of Your Life

Gaurav: You have worked as a lifeguard trainer. So just curious, John, what are the lessons that you have learned from being the life card trainer that you continue to use today as well?

Livesay: Yes. In fact, my TEDx talk is ‘Be the lifeguard of your own life’. It taught me the lesson of not panicking, and staying calm. It has stayed with me my entire career.

So that ability to not panic and stay calm not only helps me in my career, but in my personal life. I recently bought a new house. And we had this huge lightning storm. And the rain was coming down sideways. I had just walked into the new house with the new keys. The next thing I knew was water was coming through the light fixture through the ceiling. I went okay, that’s not good. You know, I grabbed the drawer from the refrigerator to keep the water from overflowing onto the floor. Luckily it stopped. But I called the builder and they said we’ll have somebody out there right away in the morning. I said to my friends, a little bit of drama and they said a little. And I said well, I wouldn’t say big drama, too if the ceiling collapsed. And they said “Wow, what a great attitude. Now that’s it. That must be lifeguard training again.”

“If I rearrange the word stressed and spell it from front to back, it turns into something pleasant like desserts. We can rearrange our thoughts the same way and turn that negative thinking into something pleasant. So we’re the thinkers thinking the thoughts, the thoughts don’t think of us.”

The Generations of Mentalities: Scarcity and Abundance

Gaurav: The first book of yours that I’ve read is ‘Better Selling Through Storytelling’. In the very first few pages, it talks about scarcity mentality and the abundance mentality. What is the difference between these two?

Livesay: Yes, that’s the foreword written by my dear friend of many years, Tim Sanders.

His concept is that you either have an abundance mindset and believe that when there’s more than enough for everyone. Or you have a scarcity mindset, and it’s a zero sum game. You think if I win, you lose, as opposed to everybody winning.

It reminds me of Einstein, who said, “You have a big decision to make. You either think the world is a friendly, safe place, or you don’t. Then you tend to go around looking for evidence to support your belief.”

So, I think if you come from an abundance mindset, then you’re willing to help other people. And you come from a scarcity mindset, you’re hoarding everything.

Investing in Yourself Like A Stock

Gaurav: You know, John, one thing that I found in your book is the way you were playing with metaphors. And one of the metaphors that you’ve used is that one should look at self as stock as stocks, right? What does that mean? Why would you look at yourself as stocks?

Livesay: Well, when I was studying and working for myself, as opposed to a company. It required a lot of investment in equipment, and software, and all kinds of thought, things before a lot of money was coming in. I thought I just have to think of myself as a stock, whether it’s Apple or Tesla, I’m a stock and I’m going to invest in myself.

I know my skill set. I know my work ethic. I think that’s a pretty good investment. So when you are thinking about whether you’re going to invest in learning something. For example, expanding your knowledge, your skill set, and you think of yourself as a stock, that is probably going to go up in value from that investment. It helps you not get so afraid to put money into yourself.

Each minute with John was a life lesson to remember. Tune in to the xMonks Drive Podcast episode ‘Being your own life’s lifeguard: Invest in Yourself’ now. 


About The Speaker: John Livesay

John Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, is a sales keynote speaker where he shows companies’ sales teams how to turn mundane case studies into compelling case stories so they win more new business. From John’s award winning career at Conde Nast, he shares the lessons he learned that turns sales teams into revenue rock stars. His TEDx talk: Be The Lifeguard of your own life has over 1,000,000 views.

Clients love working with John because of his ongoing support after his talk which includes implementing the storytelling skills from his best-selling book and online course “Better Selling Through Storytelling.” His book is now required reading for the UTLA (University of Texas in LA) course on Entertainment and Media studies.

“John is part artist, philosopher, and sales crushing storyteller. Highly recommend John for any organization looking to change their selling style to be relevant, impactful, and to rise above the noise.” — Keith Griffis, Executive Director of Marketing, Olympus

He is also the host of “The Successful Pitch” podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries. These interviews make him a sales keynote speaker with fresh and relevant content.

John has been interviewed by Larry King and appeared on TV as an expert on “How To Ask For What You Want And Get A Yes.” John currently lives in Austin with Pepe, his King Charles Spaniel, who reminds him every day of the importance of belly rubs.