In a quest to be better, you need to have the mental hunger to see past where you are today and to the life you want to live tomorrow. Driven by the mental hunger from when he was young, Dr. Anthony Perkins rose through life’s challenges and became the person he is now—an educational expert and leader, author, CEO, and podcast host. In this episode, he joins Darrin Tulley to talk about his extraordinary journey to be better. He opens his heart and shares multiple stories to inspire us to not settle or give up in any situation. Throughout it all, Dr. Perkins shows the power of having a growth mindset paired with intentional actions. Tune in and learn more about what mental hunger and being better are all about. Learn more from this conversation while getting a sneak peek into Dr. Perkins’ book, I Against I: Getting Out of Your Own Way to Succeed.
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Feed Your Mental Hunger And Be Better With Dr. Anthony Perkins
Dr. Anthony Perkins, welcome to the show. He’s an educational expert and leader, author, CEO, and podcast host. He has served as an educational leader for a few decades in the capacity of a school teacher, vice principal, principal, district director, school district superintendent, and university professor. He holds a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on diverse learners and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.
He’s working on his seventh book. We even talk about his latest one and my favorite, I Against I. He’s the CEO of Perkup LLC, which concentrates on inspirational speaking, organizational training, and mindset coaching. I love how Dr. Perkins opens up his heart and shares vulnerable stories with the purpose of connecting with each of us.
His lived experiences from living in the ghetto and not knowing his mother fuel the mindset that he calls mental hunger. He is living proof of how positivity and growth mindsets with intentional actions can overcome any challenge or curve ball that life throws at us. He is giving back in everything he does as he shows us many ways to not settle or give up in any situation to learn and get better each day. What an inspiration and spark. Enjoy the show.
Welcome, Dr. Anthony Perkins, to the show. It’s so exciting to see you again. I see you doing many fun things out in the world, and I’m inspired. You have such a smooth way of how your messaging hits and touches all of our hearts. I can’t wait to dive in. How are you doing?
Thank you so much for having me on your show. I’ve been reading your episodes. I’m excited to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.
I’m glad to have you. This is going to be fun. Tell me, what are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about giving back and helping others. My 20s, 30s, and 40s was all about me. That’s a natural human tendency to be a little bit more selfish because you’re raising a family, in the midst of a career, and doing things. When you get older, the kid leaves the house. You may go through a divorce like I did. You start to look at life and say, “There’s more behind me than in front of me. I need to make sure I make an impact before the big exit upstairs.” I do my Be Better Podcast on Apple, Google, and Spotify. I am getting out a good word, and I hope that I can touch lives.
What’s that all about? Where does that name, “Be Better” come from?
If you stop and listen to yourselves, everyone as individuals or others, you hear the words a lot, “Be better.” Don’t beat me up on this but I love the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen had the worst game of his career. You heard him at the press conference afterward say, “I got to be better.” Before that incident, I heard people in everyday life using the words be better. It caught my attention. I said, “That’s a good thing to focus on being better daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. There should be no competition. You should be beating yourself every day, not other people.”
The sense of being is such an important element. Being better is cool. We say it all the time, “I could have done better at that. I wish I saw that.” The thing is, do we change? Do we say it and let ourselves off the hook? How do we take the steps to change? How do we get better?
It’s in all sectors of our lives. We’ve all said, “I could be a better parent. I could be a better husband or wife. I could be better with my finances, goals, and projects.” It’s taking that first step. Let me give you an example. One of the five important things in my life is fitness and health. I dragged myself to the gym some days. On other days, I’m ready to go. I didn’t want to go. It was my day to go. I went. It is taking that first step. You go into the locker room. Your mind and body are still fighting it. You could be home doing this, that, all lazy stuff, or bad stuff. You get on a treadmill. Within ten minutes, you’re ready to go. It’s overcoming those initial thoughts.
Every day, in the forefront of our minds, there are two voices that we hear. One is fear and one is faith. The good thing is we get to choose either one, and it’s saying, “Be better and have faith that this is going to be a great workout. Be better and have faith that I’m going to pay more attention to my husband, wife, and children. Be better at my career. Be more attentive.” It’s making that choice and commitment to have faith over fear and starting.
Having that belief in yourself and taking those small steps, I’ve heard quite a bit about taking small steps or micro steps. One of your podcast shows talked about taking those micro steps. You’re not just telling people to be. A lot of people in this space say, “Everybody’s telling me to be happy, be better, or be loving.” I love what you’re doing. You’re showing people how to do it.
It’s giving that example and leading by example. Everyone knows I’m preaching and teaching personal development. The other fancy word for it is positive psychology. I’m an example. I sent out a mass email. It’s a free email. I send it to people who want to listen to a positive message. It’s concise. It’s to the point. I send it out from time to time.
I do my Be Better Podcast. I write books and give speeches. I train. I’m living it by being an example myself. I could sit here for the next eight hours and tell you about all the bad things that happened in my life. The people reading could do it but we have to have that fortitude to push through all that because some bad things are going to happen. We’re not exempt from it and be better.
When I get a job rejection, I go, “That’s fine.” I let it roll off my shoulders. That rejection is getting me to my better project, engagement, or gig. A girl could reject me. I’m single. I’m dating. She could reject me. I’m getting to be a better person. I always have that mindset when there’s a failure, a setback, or something bad happens that it’s getting me to my better. That helps me right up here in my mindset.
You’re keeping it positive. You’re a teacher of the growth mindset and about looking at the learning from different events. You said failures. It’s also about what you take away from and what that might look like. As you’re talking about fear and faith, I wonder about people who are maybe not willing to take this path with us about positive psychology or get better. Is there a fear of not being able to get better? Is there a path where maybe I don’t believe in something better and I might be stuck, negative, or divisive? I don’t know. What do you think?
As we are younger, we struggle with our emotions because we’re developing. We’re a little immature. There comes a time when there’s a benchmark where we have to transition into controlling our emotions. Most of us make it to that point. Some adults still don’t make it to that point. We have to say, “My life was bad in the past. I can’t have that bad impact on me and my future.”
I’m going to give you a personal example and not a lot of people know about this. I don’t have a relationship with my mother. I met her once when I was thirteen for a month and didn’t know her before that. I haven’t seen her since. I don’t know if she’s alive or dead. I could take that personally and have a bummed-out life like a pity party.
That’s her loss. I’m going to pursue better in my life. If she doesn’t want me, that’s okay. I’ll get to my better in another relationship with my daughter and new girlfriend with other beauty in my life. It’s a mindset when people say, “I struggle with this and that,” to say, “We’re all imperfect. There are going to be issues in our lives from time to time.”
We have to accept that it happened or it’s coming. When it comes, we can’t again have the poor me party or the pity party. We have to say, “I’m going to choose to push myself to be better.” It comes down to a mindset or a decision to say, “No, I’m not going to deal with this. I’m not going to let it impact me.” Emotionally, it bothers us for a little bit but after 24 hours, we have to give ourselves permission to move forward and move on. It’s a mindset and a decision.
It’s never easy. It’s good to get to that place. There are different timeframes depending on the severity of certain events. Sometimes, I will tell my son that if he doesn’t make a point in tennis, he has three seconds to get over it. You have to move on if you want to have a chance to move forward in the match. If you have a death or a loss of a relationship, it may take a little bit longer.
It’s a good one for all of us. We’ve had relationships that are new, changed, or broken up. We’ve had some history with our parents or not. How do we do better for the next generation? How do we do better for them? How do we do better for both of us? We’ll all get better and they’ll do better for the next generation. It’s such an important message. I’m curious about your mother. Had you both tried to seek each other out and couldn’t find her? Did you let her go? Did you give her a sense of forgiveness and compassion? How did you go about that to get to where you are?
The beef of the story goes like this and I don’t mind sharing it on this show because I’m in a mode where I want to teach others and give back. If someone can glean 1 word or 2 that helps them out, that’s the goal here. When I was born in ‘67, I had a Black dad and a White mom. To prejudiced and ignorant people, Black and White was a no-no.
In the hospital, my dad told me the story. It was day 2 or 3. They’re leaving. The nurse comes up to them and says, “Where’s little Anthony going to go?” My dad was 17 and my mom was 16. They didn’t have a home. They lived with their parents. I’m not trying to make this a White-Black thing. That’s not the point here, folks. Don’t take it the wrong way. The White side of the family said, “No, we’re not going to have a Black baby in the family.” The Black side said yes but my dad was seventeen. He wasn’t eighteen, an adult. They put me in a foster home.
Back in those days, there was no internet and social media in ’67. Luckily, the foster home was a few towns over. Through word of mouth, my dad was searching for me. He found me. They didn’t tell him where I was at. He had to adopt his son from the foster home. I was three and a half. I still had a diaper on. He’s passed away. Rest in peace. I appreciate that he searched me out. He could have said, “My hands are clean. It didn’t work out.”
I was raised on the Black side of my family. I’m not trying to make this a White-Black thing. I’m just telling a story. Several years later, my dad was in contact with my mother and said, “Would you like to meet your mom?” I was like, “Yeah, who wouldn’t want to meet their mom?” We had a relationship for about a month. She chose to disappear again. I tried to seek her out a few times, and no response.
In my earlier years, my grandmother was my mother. I had that loving sense from a woman from my grandmother. My grandmother was a minister. That helped being in church a lot, exposure to God, and faith. As I got older, it didn’t phase me. I didn’t use it as others may use it to be a poor me or a pity party thing. I said, “I’m going to keep moving forward in my life.” I’m connecting the dots for you with the mother story and how it all came about.
It’s her loss. It’s unfortunate. God bless your dad. It’s wonderful that he has a heart like yours, caring enough to do something about it and seek you out. You’re a strong-willed, loving person. I’ve met you. We’ve talked several times about the work and the messaging you’re putting out there. You’re getting better every time you put something out there. You’re growing with each conversation, interaction, and different life events. A big part of the show is folks overcoming these tough life events or ones that light you up in a different way. I don’t know if this was the big one that got you to where you are and your thinking and beliefs or other things that got you to where you are.
What’s got me to where I’m at are a couple of things. I’m a man of faith. I’m working on it every day, every month, and every week. That’s helped me. It’s the mental hunger of the lack of throughout my life. I was raised in a family where it was me and my dad at first. He married someone who brought into the relationship two kids. They had two kids and I was the oldest. We were very poor. We lived in ghettos. The beautiful State of Connecticut, where I grew up, is gorgeous but it also has ghettos like every state. We tend to find a couple of them. I’m living in a high crime area and roaches.
When I was younger, since I was the oldest, I was the dishwasher and washing machine. I would take the clothes every week to the laundromat, put them in the quarters, and do all the washing. There are seven people in the household at this point. I always said to myself, “I’m not going to live this way when I get older. When I can take control of my life, I’m not going to live this way.” I was mentally hungry.
When I was about thirteen-ish, the only job I could get was a paper route. Back in those days, they had paper routes for youngsters. You could be under sixteen. I delivered papers and made my little money. I was able to afford sneakers and clothes, whereas my dad and stepmom couldn’t do that for me. That led me to say, “I want to get out of the house. As soon as I graduate at seventeen, I’m gone.” It’s a tough household.
My dad was developmental. He made a lot of mistakes. Later in his life, he became a man of faith. He’s a giving, loving, and much better man. I left Connecticut at seventeen. As soon as I graduated, I came to Phoenix, where I live. I started my life. I started living with relatives. You graduate from relatives to roommates and roommates to on your own, and your own to getting married, having a child, and having your house. All that mental hunger of I don’t want to live like I lived when I was young drives me.
I am getting my Doctorate degree. I was the first one in my family to do that. We have a second one who did that. I’m trying to lead by example. I called a family get-together on October 21, 2023. Our family doesn’t want to get together. I took it upon myself to call them in. We’re going to honor our elders during that family get-together. We have two elders in their 70s. Time is precious. We’re going to do something special for them. That hunger from the young things that happened to me drives me.
That’s a beautiful story. I appreciate you being vulnerable in what you’re sharing. To your point, I hope others can understand the passion that you have, where it comes from, and how you had this mentality. You’re hungry and overcoming things. It’s fascinating that you maintain that. I don’t know if you had a word or a way of thinking to keep you hungry and on the right track because I could only imagine there were a lot of paths that could have taken you in different directions, as where you were living and what you’re up against every day.
I wasn’t always perfect on this journey. There were times when I took steps back but you have to keep your head up. For the people out there, like a lot of you reading, I went through a serious medical setback several years ago. When I was going through it, my daughter said to me, “Why are you so positive?” I said, “I’m not going to be negative.”
I’m several years removed from my divorce. Me and my ex-wife are friends. We have a child together. We communicate on behalf of the child. We’re okay. I met her new husband. I have been over their house plenty of times. They have been to my house plenty of times. You got to take situations and say, “How can I make a death positive? I could do a yearly picnic or scholarship in honor of that person’s name.” I’ve always pushed myself to say, “Whatever’s negative, how can I push it to be better?” You guys are sick of reading it by now but that’s how I live and how it helps me. A setback is a setup. Be better.
It sounds like it’s your light, true north, and way of being. Maybe it’s that higher purpose that we often talk about. We try to help people to connect to something bigger than themselves. It feels like that’s part of what you’re doing, to be better and help the world differently. That’s what you’re stepping into every day.
All of us step into things when we have to get up. Where do the most heart attacks happen? It’s on Monday morning between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM because people are stressed out of their minds. They have to get up and go to work or a job that they don’t love. If you look at the data, that’s what most heart attacks happen.
Before you became this inspirational motivator and educator, you were out there speaking in a lot of different forums, schools, and businesses, which is fascinating. You’ve taken on a lot of different roles. You’ve been a school teacher, principal, and professor. You’re consulting. Tell me more about those years. You’re giving back. What did you learn? What were some of your greatest teachings? Where did you focus? Help our audience to get to know you a bit more about what you did in that space.
It goes back to that mental hunger of wanting to succeed, be significant, and give back. The man upstairs gave me a calling. My calling is education. How did that calling come about? I started in the electronics field, came out to Phoenix, did my thing as far as my living situation, which I already told you about, and started taking classes at DeVry University to be an electronic technician. I graduated with my associate’s degree and worked in the field of General Dynamics and Honeywell for about five years.
I hated it. I was horrible at it. All of a sudden, the calling came. I couldn’t stop thinking about education. I said, “I’m going to do 1 of 3 things since I got the message from upstairs. I’m going to be a teacher for the rest of my life, be a leader in the field, or get out of it .” I started substitute teaching in ‘94. I substitute-taught all grade levels to see where I would fit in. I fell in love with junior high kids for some magical reason. They’re the toughest kiddos because their bodies are changing. There is a lot of peer pressure.
As I started working and teaching, I fell in love with the leadership aspect of it. I became a team lead. In my third year of teaching, I took a leap and said, “I’m going to start applying for vice principalships.” I got the vice principalship. I became a vice principal. I was in charge of athletics. There’s a lot of discipline. That’s the bummer of being a vice principal because the principal doesn’t want to worry about leading committees and doing all the grunt work, which you have to pay your dues.
After a year, I said, “I’m going to try to be a principal.” I landed a principalship. I was a principal for about ten years. I loved the leadership aspect of it. I’m trying to motivate and inspire people. I work with building culture and having high communication. I was working with parents. I loved all of that. I said, “Let’s keep this train going.”
I transitioned into the district. I was a district director for four years over programs like early childhood education, preschool programs, special ed, mathematics departments, and student services. I said, “I would like to lead an entire district.” I started applying and landed a position. I spent nine years as a superintendent. Everything is on your shoulders at that point. You’re like, in football, the general manager, the owner, that guy, that girl.
Twenty-eight years later, I was able to retire and get my pension. That wasn’t a true retirement. It was more like, “Let me take a break and get some sleep after 28 years.” I took eleven months off. I came back to the field. I’m in the field as an instructional coach. My true passion is I want to get out into the world and speak to the world. I want to get out there and train. I want to speak and touch lives. Even though I’m doing the coaching, my goal is to get out, start traveling, speak, and teach.
You have a lot of practice doing that in all those different roles as far as how to connect with people of all ages.
I was lucky in all of that to do K-12. I forgot to mention that I’m a part-time professor but that’s seasonal. You’ll see it on my vitae but it’s not all year long. They gave me one spring class. They used to give me 2 or 3. They’ve cut back and given me one spring class where I teach people who are becoming principals, superintendents, and supervisors.
My classes are military, police officers, and educators who are transitioning to get their Master’s degrees and supervisory roles. That’s seasonal and I enjoy doing it. I get a little money for that but it’s more of a give-back at this point. You get to an age where it’s not about you anymore. You have to start giving back, helping others, reaching back, and pulling others up.
God bless all the teachers out there because it is giving back. You’re helping people change the trajectory of their lives, depending on how they take it, planting those simple seeds like our mutual friend Katie Wood. You are getting out there to help people believe in themselves and develop the steps that they can take in a positive way.
It seems like that’s something you’ve learned throughout all the different facets of your teaching and administrative roles. You are using that going forward and giving it back. Would you say there’s a particular moment or set of moments during that stretch from teaching to being a principal and superintendent? Was there a couple of moments that stand out that reinforce why you’re doing what you do?
Being a leader in education is rewarding. It’s great, beautiful, and challenging. It’s sometimes bad because you’re dealing with a lot of people like the governing boards, staff members, and parents. That love for education is not there anymore. It doesn’t get the respect it deserves. The blame is on education, not poor parenting. I’m going to say it and you can point the finger at me.
Before COVID, I joined a team. We had preschool through twelfth grade in this school district. I went back to the board. I said, “I did an analysis of the entire district. We need new buildings. Our buildings are falling. They were built in their ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. I could take you on a tour and show you where, structurally, it’s bad. I’m surprised kids are even still in these classrooms. We need instructional 21st-century programming from the basics. We didn’t even have PE, art, and music. This was a great challenge and I love to take it on.”
We started before COVID. To get all this stuff, you have to pass what’s called a bond. You have to go out to the taxpayers in your community and ask, “Can we raise your taxes a little bit so we can get money to build new schools and bring in new programs?” We went out and did all that. We lost the vote. We didn’t pass the bond. I looked at it and said, “What did I do wrong? What wasn’t working?” My conclusion was I didn’t build strong relationships with the community. I was forcing it down their throat. I was being honest with myself. You have to be honest because you’re not going to move forward if you’re not honest.You're not going to move forward if you're not honest. Click To Tweet
I waited a year and let the waters calm. I approached the board and said, “Let’s go back out again. I have a new strategy. I’m going to take all the powerful naysayers in the community. I’m going to build the strongest relationships with them and invite them to be on my bond steering team. They’re going to make the decisions.”
They all accepted it and came. I filmed it. We did Facebook Live while we had these meetings. The public is seeing this too because they’re the leaders of the public. They see us working together and making decisions. They’re on board. The public is on board. I said, “We’re going to pass this 58% to 40%. They said, “You are crazy. You’re out in mind.”
We got the buildings and new programming for our kids but we couldn’t move in because of COVID. After COVID, some of the things had dropped. What was beautiful about this journey was seeing kids in a poor community have a brand new school. I made sure I spent all the bond money because I wanted them to have palm trees, nice things, and large rocks at the entrance of buildings. They could be proud of this.
It was one of those where it finally came about. The kids went into the buildings. I walked the campus. I had walked it many times, brand new without kids but I walked it with kids. I almost cried. I had to go behind some doors because that was a fight and a battle. It took several years. That’s what it’s all about. That’s fighting for that next generation or that other person, especially in a town where it has high poverty rates and kids don’t see stuff like this. This is not a norm.
Congratulations on the achievement and connecting emotionally with the accomplishment because you see the future ahead for these kids. They didn’t know that was possible. You helped create that.
That’s the big thing. It’s not about me. It’s about helping others for generations and generations. People have to stop that about me stuff. There’s a statement that came out many years ago, “I’m going to get mine.” I disliked that statement because it’s not always about you. We want to get our stuff. I get it. It’s also about other people.
I’ve been hearing a lot about that. You’re so spot on. I was at the funeral of my wife’s grandmother. She’s a beautiful woman and a legend. She was 97 years old. In the mass, the priest talked about what you said. He talked about the importance of understanding and getting out of your way to help others in the world. That’s not only going to help out these other people. It’s going to help you out yourself.
It’s something that this woman did throughout her whole life. She welcomed people into her house. She’s very inclusive and loving. She would have pots of coffee ready from 6:00 AM to midnight because she loved bringing all people into her home. We celebrated her a bit and we’ll continue to carry on our legacy.
If we could all think about that for a second, it’s getting out of our way and helping out other people because that will truly light us all up. It’s everything you’re saying here and I love it. It ties a bit to the fact that you’re writing your seventh book. We have the sixth book I Against I. I’d love for you to talk about what you’re giving us here. It’s like another gift of yours. I would love it if you could describe a little bit about what this book gives us and what you hope the reader takes away from it.
I’m sorry to hear about your loss. You don’t see that anymore where people welcome other people into their homes having coffee or tea ready all hours of the night. I wish we could get back to that. Getting out of your way to succeed hits on when we compare, which is a bad thing to do, we do it two ways. We look to the people below us and feel good about ourselves. “Look at me. I’ve achieved it. I’ve gotten here. They haven’t.” We look up and we’re like, “People are doing better than me.” We feel bad about ourselves. It’s not about comparing, which is a bad trait. It’s always about I against I. “How can I push myself in all areas of life to be a better person?” That’s what it hits and focuses on.
One of the things I love is you have so many fun exercises in here. You could take notes. You’re asking some good questions to reflect. I like this thing you asked us to consider and I apologize for reading it because I know you’ve said that on your show. I’m going to say the same thing. “You did not have to compromise to be recognized. People will respect you more for being authentic.” I love that. Tell us more about that from your perspective.
I see it all the time in my career with people not practicing integrity. They compromise and take the easy route out. Instead of saying, “I’m going to do something purposeful and real. It may have consequences but I know it’s the right thing to do.” You are not dropping your integrity. You are doing the right thing and sticking with it. As you have the book, part one is I Excuses, I Time, and I People. I go through ten of those where I focus on those specific topics and say, “Overall, it’s about you against you.” The only person you should be beating is yourself every day. “How can I be better now than I was yesterday?”
Back to tie a few things together, have faith that we each are possible and capable. You say at the beginning of the book that we’re capable and it’s about our mindsets. It’s getting around that fear of what we’re afraid of and being our true selves. You talk about being authentic. A lot of people are afraid to be authentic because we’re told to be somebody else, act a certain way, and be vulnerable. I was always taught to never say I don’t know or never ask for a lot of help. That’s something I realized was setting me back when I wasn’t being vulnerable and inviting the world in because I was pushing many things away.
I reflected on it in this book many times about my purpose. You helped me see and remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s back to my wife’s grandmother, Rita. Let’s get out of our way. Don’t let ourselves get in. I against I. If I don’t get around myself, how can I help out the world? If I can’t help out the world, I’m not going to grow. That’s how we get expansion and growth for not only ourselves but the people around us. Everything I believe you’re saying.
I call it my machine. If your machine isn’t 100%, how can you be 100% for your loved ones or your peers at your job for the world when you’re giving positive messaging via podcasts or books? Get out of your way and say, “I’m not going to compare to others. I’m going to do my positive thing and share it with everyone.”If your machine isn't a hundred percent, how can you be a hundred percent for your loved ones? Click To Tweet
One of the things I recall from the book is I was looking for the sign that I have but I threw it out because I wanted to get your reaction by showing you the sign and see but I’m going to give you the phrase. I’d love to get your reaction and what this means to you. “It is what it is.”
Thank you for letting me say this. To the world, please stop saying that and this is why. You can take it all in, take half of it in, or throw it all away. It’s up to you, the audience. When you say it is what it is, you are letting that situation dictate you. Don’t settle like that. Don’t be average, ordinary, or mediocrity. Say instead, “It is what I make it.” You control the situation.
Let’s go back to that example I gave about someone dying. It is what it is. No, it is what I make it. It’s a sad thing. Give yourself permission to go through that period of sadness. That’s natural and okay. We lost someone we loved. After a while, what can we do to bring this person forward again? I said, “Do a picnic and a scholarship in their honor.” You can control the narrative if you want to. Many people are locked into it is what it is. I hear it every day and it drives me mad. Please consider saying, “It is what I make it.”
Thank you for that because I agree with you. When I hear that phrase, the hair on the back of my neck goes up. I’ve been taught not to react. When I get furious, I get curious. I’ll ask, “What does that mean?” I’m asking the question, “What can we do differently to try to help people not get stuck?” A lot of people are stuck and it is what it is. That’s the way the world is or the way we’re told. They’re like, “I’m not getting this opportunity because.” I was like, “No.” You and I are trying to help people see they are possible. They can do great things no matter what we look like or where we come from.
There’s so much sensitivity out there. We jump to humans and excuses on why we didn’t get something. Of all these successes I had, do you know how many rejections I’ve had? You’ve had cancellations. I’ve been rejected many times. It’s part of the territory. It’s not because I’m a certain color, age, height, or political division. It’s that things happen. Everyone doesn’t see your vision. Everyone doesn’t like your philosophy. You have to keep pushing on to get to your better.
For folks who are shaking their heads saying, “No, I believe in certain things,” it’s fair. We all believe in certain things. We need to open our minds to respect that other people have different beliefs and even challenge our beliefs to say, “Is that right or wrong? Do I have it right?” That’s how I’ve grown quite a bit to overcome some of the challenges I’ve had to deal with, be a better person and leader, and be more open-minded and inviting. We have to be intentional.
You talk about taking these small steps. I have seen change by taking small steps by day 15 and certainly by day 30. If I do it every single day, these are daily practices, my world changes. It opens up because things start to stick to it. It’s true. When we put some things we want to focus on in the front of our minds, we start to connect, see it, and get reset. All of a sudden, those other bad habits or things that we once believed start to be something more inclusive, open, or out there, helping the world in a different way.
You’re talking about habits there. When you do things consistently over time, it becomes a new habit. You’re also mixing in motivation. How I teach motivation to people is you have to start with a commitment. I’m interested in this. That means maybe I’ll get to it. Commitment means it’s going to happen at 100%.
When I teach young people, I go, “What’s something you want?” Do you know what they’re going to say? Money. “I want money to buy clothes and a car to impress that boy or girl.” I said, “What do you need to get the money?” They were like, “I need a job.” I said, “You’re telling me you’re committed to getting a job. How are you going to get the job? You’re on the right path. Go out and get a job.”
They get the job. They’re excited. A few paychecks start flowing in. They’re excited. They then realized, “I got to keep doing this to get money.” That initial motivation and excitement start to fade. What has to kick in? Discipline after that. Motivation is great. It gets you started but it doesn’t last. Discipline has to kick in. Start with commitment.Motivation is great. It gets you started, but it doesn't last. Discipline has to kick in and it starts with commitment. Click To Tweet
It does start with commitment and connecting it to something meaningful.
What you’re doing is a commitment. You got to want to do that. It’s a lot of work.
We both know that. It’s a commitment to what it is we’re trying to do. I’m trying to get people to live their possible and help people see that they have a bright light inside and unleash it on the world because so many things open up. It’s quite amazing. I hope people take it to heart these small steps, have the commitment, and do the work with intention. There are also conversations I’ve had with people, especially going to funerals over the last several years of my life. People will say, “My problems don’t mean anything. This is where it matters. All of a sudden, my small things aren’t as important. Someone I care about passed.”
We start to say, “I’m more grateful and loving for things. I got to respect every sunrise.” What happens in 1 week, 2 weeks, or 3 weeks? I see people go back to where they were. It’s continuing those steps and thoughts to say what matters to break through that. Ninety-nine percent of the people I’ve talked to when I’ve gone to a funeral go back to their old way of doing things and thinking. It’s too bad.
They get the same old results. When I teach about that, I used the example of a bad relationship. Here’s a bad relationship. All the bad is in my fist. The person finally somehow breaks away through support and counseling. They get all the way over here. That person wasn’t that bad. They’re handsome. I can’t find another guy like that.
They talk to themselves about going back. I stop them there and go, “Remember the pain over here. Do you want to go back to pain?” They were like, “I don’t want to go back to that pain.” It’s just you get comfortable and you let your guard down. You forget why you left to begin with, the pain, the bad stuff, and the cheating. You have to stay the course.
That’s where discipline comes in. I tell them, “The further you are away day by day in your mindset, you’re going to break away.” A lot of people get here. They leave. It wasn’t that bad. They go back. The guy is great at first and the pain starts again. It’s having that mindset of, “I can move on, find better, and do great things moving forward.”
It reminds me of my brother-in-law. He had a statement for me. It’s in my book. It’s simple. I love it. I smile every time. It was like, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
I found it somewhere. Nothing changes. It’s so simple.
It’s like a Yogi Bear. It’s one of those, “Yeah, no kidding.” It’s true. It’s spot on.
It’s the common sense stuff. I always say, “Common sense isn’t common practice.”Common sense isn’t a common practice. Click To Tweet
It should be. It’s not always practice.
As humans, no matter where we’re at in life, if we’re poor, middle class, or rich, we all know common sense things. Sometimes, common sense isn’t common practice.
It’s similar to what you said about, “It’s not about being right. It’s about getting it right and doing the right thing.” You’re doing that in so many ways with your books. You’re out there speaking and your podcast is awesome. As you think about what you’re doing out there with different speaking engagements, I’d love for you to share something that resonates out there with our audience.
What is top of mind for you that you hope someone could take away from? Maybe it’s a tip, something we’ve already talked about, or something we’re out there speaking about. I hope you’re speaking engagements continue to pile up because you’re making a lot of great momentum and progress there. I’d love for folks to get a little taste of something that you’re passionate about.
I’m passionate about countless, endless topics but one I will bring to the forefront that I love talking about and I hope people stop and listen is time. I do a podcast on Be Better With Time. From that podcast, I even learned more things. I’m going to do another one eventually on time and how precious time is.
If you look at the statistics and depending on what research you pull up, we have 76.4 years. Other research will say 77. Others will say 78 to 79. I say 76.4 years. What are we doing in those 76.4 years? I say, “How old are you now? Subtract it from 76.4 years.” That’s how many I call summers you have left. How many summers do you have left?
What are you going to do with that valuable time? Is it still all about you? Is it going to be a mixture of you and you giving back, being significant to others? What I’m asking people is to look at time. How many summers do you have left? Be positive and productive within that time. I can go on and on but I won’t. I break it down. I do a 30-minute spiel on it.
I started to think about the summers. I’m sitting here going, “I’ve got 23 to focus on from 2023.”
I got 21. That’s why I said, “There’s more life behind me than in front of me right now.” I’m making it right so I can make it to the upper room. I want to be a good person and help others. That’s my goal, mission, and vision in a lot of different ways. I’m having fun with it. Personal development is a beautiful thing. Some call it positive psychology. Whatever you call it, it’s all good. It’s helping yourself and others improve. It’s pushing yourself to be better.
You’re a human healer and you’re doing a wonderful job at it. I couldn’t be more grateful to know you. I’m honored to have you on this show. Before we drop off, is there anything else you want to share with me and the audience? Is there anything that’s top of mind that you wanted to make sure people heard?
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I appreciate you. I love the work you’re doing. Keep pushing yourself. You’re getting better and better as you do it. You look at your work and go, “I can do this.” You’re doing that because I’ve been watching you. Let you and I keep pushing. I know we’re both grinding. My ultimate goal is one day, people like you who have been very valuable in my life and helped me out, I want to get you and some of these others on the stage with me. We have this superpower conference. That’s my vision for us one day. I’m hoping that will happen eventually.
As you would say, “Let’s make it happen.”
I’m trying to figure out ways to do it. I couldn’t pay you guys anything. That might be a roadblock but we’ll figure out something.
It’s about giving back. You’ve been wonderful. I appreciate your friendship and all your support. I look forward to being on the same stage and helping out more people in the world. Thanks for being you. Keep being authentic. I look forward to our next chat.
Thank you. God bless.
What a thrill to have my friend, Dr. Anthony Perkins, on the show. He has something special going on over there in Phoenix. The faith he has in all of us is inspiring and the belief that we are all capable is motivating. Follow some of his many tips on just not being better but how to be better and living your best life. He challenges us to commit to something with a purpose and practice small steps to avoid the It What It Is trap and connect with what creates mental hunger for you. Taking daily steps will fuel your heart, belief, and yourself to be your happy, authentic self, and live your possible, like how Dr. Anthony Perkins has modeled for us throughout the show. Have a great time. Live your possible.
- I Against I
- Perkup LLC
- Perkup LLC – Be Better Podcast
- Google Podcast – Be Better Podcast
- Spotify – Be Better Podcast
- Katie Wood – Past Episode
About Dr. Anthony Perkins
Dr. Anthony J. Perkins is an educational expert and leader, author, CEO, and podcast host. He has served as an educational leader for three decades in the capacity of schoolteacher, vice principal, principal, district director, school district superintendent, and university professor. He holds a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in diverse learners and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. Books he has authored are I Against I, Can’t Lose, Make Leadership COUNT, Leadership: Wild, Wonderful, and Perfectly in Process, The Principle of Moments, and P3 — Purpose, Pride, and Progress.
He is the CEO of Perkup, LLC, which concentrates on inspirational speaking, organizational training, and mindset coaching. He led Magnet Traditional School to an A+ School status, created high performance school cultures, and is a mentor for career/college adults and K-12 students. Dr. Perkins is the host of the BE BETTER PODCAST on Spotify. The podcast shares knowledge from fascinating people to pop culture. He can be contacted via his website: www.perkup-you.com.