“I don’t think Mother Teresa got up every day and said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go out and inspire people today.’ I think she lived a life that was an inspiration for people, which is my goal. Not to inspire, per se, but live a life to be my best …”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Dave, for agreeing to be part of this Project, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Dave Carpenter: Sure, Toni. I’m Dave Carpenter, and I’m a professional storyteller. I use my storytelling in my consulting, mentoring, speaking, and writing to help companies and individuals to be the very best they can be.
Toni: I love that phrase “storytelling.” We’re so honored to have you be a part of this Project. Dave, when you think of inspiration, who do you inspire, and how does that happen?
Dave: Love that question, and I’m going to take perhaps a unique twist to it. There was a time in my life when I used think about inspiring people, and one of my mentors is the fabulous Wayne Dyer, and he defines inspired meaning “in spirit; being one with the divine.” And I think once I came to believe in his view of what inspiration is really about, I really gave up trying to inspire people.
If people are inspired by things I’m doing, that’s great. If that helps them reach down inside and connect with the divine better, that’s great. What I get up every day and do is try to let my walk be my talk. So many people talk about walking the talk; I like to think of let my walk be my talk. So I’ve got a full time job managing Dave Carpenter to be the best he can be, and if in doing that others are inspired, that’s a side benefit, and that’s wonderful.
Toni: Dave, can you give us an example of what happens when someone is with you or working with you? How does … I know that you need to set that example yourself, but can you give an example of how that inspiration might occur? Maybe some feedback that you’ve received?
Dave: Well, I think I tend to view things as focused around three critical things – passion and purpose, abundant energy, and blissful peace. So what people most often will comment about is my passion. Some will talk about my energy. Hopefully, they feel my peace rather than, per se, go, “Oh, that person is so peaceful.” But it’s that combination that kind of works together. And so for me, when I know that I am connecting with somebody and having an impact is when they start to shine brighter, when they’re performing better.
So that can be as simple as … let me give you an example. I was recently at a great event up in Toronto called Movers and Shakers with the fabulous Cheryl Richardson and Reid Tracy, the CEO of Hay House. Over lunch, I was working with a woman who has awesome potential in the field of helping people with their personal energy management, and I just kept asking her questions about how she was going to get her voice heard.
One of my favorite things is to help people whose voice needs to be heard in the world, who I think have something to say and don’t have all the tools and approaches and places to go to get their voice heard. And so, I just asked her a bunch of questions, and she self-discovered how she could step up the number of people that hear her voice and therefore get her message out more powerfully.
So an awful lot of my work really comes by just asking people questions. Some people call me “the nudge,” that maybe those questions are nudging a little, but they’re really just designed to have a person reach inside them, connect with the divine, and really let their purpose in life shine bright.
Toni: Well, that leads beautifully to the next question of the Project, which is how do you help others to explore their own potential? One of the ways that you’ve just described is by nudging. Can you elaborate a little bit more on that and how someone can explore their own potential through your nudging?
Dave: Well, I think it goes back to earlier in my life. Probably I would have … my ego would have said, “I know best where you need to go,” and the nudging would be more than a little nudge. It would be very directed. I’ve had some transformations in my own life that have caused me to really alter that way of thinking and believe that within each person is their own understanding of what their best is. And so, how do I reach out and just help them believe that they have a message to be heard and how they might bring it forth more directly?
Now, I will talk about specific things that I see. A couple of my favorites are I like to challenge people about the all-star team that they either have or don’t have surrounding them. I like to talk to people about whether they’re leveraging their strengths. You probably know well that we live in a world that 13 billion dollars is spent each year in this country fixing our weaknesses, but very few dollars are spent and very little time is spent leveraging our strengths.
I believe each of us is blessed with incredible strengths, and what I try to do is help a person to draw out from their own perspective what their strengths are and start thinking about how they can leverage them, how they can bring those strengths to bear more each day, and then surround themselves with a team that can fill in on the things that they don’t do as well.
So I definitely have some techniques – leveraging strengths, surrounding yourself with an all-star team – that I’ll offer up to people, but it all comes back to inspiration is an inside game. It’s not something somebody else just touches you and magically motivates you to higher things. At least as I’ve learned from Wayne Dyer and come to believe myself.
Toni: Dave, what inspires you?
Dave: When I have … I am so blessed in that way. Fourteen years ago into the life of my wife and I came a what we prefer to call a gifted – some would call severely disabled – young man, who is now 43 years old. He was born blind, can’t walk, can’t talk like you or I, although he can communicate, and my wife and I are the caregivers for this individual.
His name is Scotty. Let me tell you, interacting with him on a daily basis reminds me of all that I am blessed with. It’s just impossible to spend any time with him and see what he’s overcome, to not be inspired. Interestingly, going back to my earlier point, Scotty doesn’t get up every day thinking, “I’m going to inspire somebody.” I don’t think Mother Teresa got up every day and said, “You know what? I’m going to go out and inspire people today.” I think she lived a life that was an inspiration for people, which is my goal. Not to inspire, per se, but live a life to be my best, and Scotty has taught me so much.
I’m working on a book, finally, too long in the coming – The Wisdom of Scotty: 12 Powerful Life Lessons Taught By An Amazing Spirit. He has taught me so much about what life is really about and to appreciate all that I have in life. So that’s an example of somebody on an everyday basis, but there’s many, many others. I love to put on my dream team people who inspire me.
So I just mentioned earlier that I was at a Hay House event and Louise Hay, who I consider to be truly almost divine, this incredible businesswoman, incredible coach and mentor to so many people and at 85 years old is still ticking strong and sharing with the world her incredible wisdom – that’s somebody who inspires me a lot.
My friend Cheryl Richardson is somebody whose work in the area of the art of extreme self-care is a constant inspiration to me and a reminder of what it takes to take care of ourselves so we can help others.
You recently interviewed Linda Joy who publishes a great magazine, Aspire, and Linda is filled with passion for helping primarily women and midlife women to achieve their full potential.
I’m in love with people who are on fire, doing great things, all in their own areas – not people who get up every day saying, “I’m going to be an inspiration for people” but just living a life that is inspiring.
Toni: And it sounds as though that you attract people that do that, because that’s what you do yourself.
Dave: Well, I am blessed with what I think may be the all-time great dream team. I mean, I just am surrounded by the most incredible people, Scotty and my wife of 37 years being the foundation of it. I mean, I married an angel – it doesn’t get any better than that. But Scotty and Nancy being the base, and then just an incredible group of mentors. I am blessed with some of the greatest mentors.
I have a large, large group of mentees, and most of them haven’t yet come to understand that the mentor learns more from the mentees than the mentees do from the mentor. I have all these people who every day are stretching and helping bring out the best in me.
Toni: Dave, how are you continuing to explore your own potential?
Dave: Great question. Great question. Really through my dream team. I mean, I’m so focused on surrounding myself with people who can bring out the best in me, and quite frankly I put up significant boundaries to keep out people who would drag me down, whose energy would dissipate my energy.
I really think that we are a function of the people with whom we surround ourselves, so I’ve been known to fire clients that are sapping my energy. I’ve been known to separate from friends who live a life of drama and see themselves as victims. I can’t afford myself to be around victims, so it is really through my dream team that I continue to explore my own potential. Hardly a week goes by that I’m not adding somebody to my dream team.
I’m prolific on Twitter, where I benefit from a large following and where I have gotten to meet so many great people. Twitter is a cross-section of the world. There are some … definitely some energy zappers on there, but there are some great people, and hardly a week goes by that I don’t add somebody who in some way starts to draw out some more of the best in me.
I’m on a journey. I’ve got a long ways to go before I’ve begun to tap all with which I’m blessed but having fun walking down that journey.
Toni: Well, Dave, it has absolutely been a pleasure to have you be part of the Get Inspired! Project, and the message really that comes out of this interview for me is the fact that it’s not the habit, it’s not the conscious thought of “today’s the day that I’m going to inspire someone” but it’s the routine, it’s just who you are. It’s the essence of someone and the work that they do and how they live their life, but also to have that support team and that dream team, as you call it.
I think those are very important messages for people that are going to be reading your transcript and listening to your interview all over the world, and we cannot thank you enough for sharing that with us today and being part of the Get Inspired! Project.
Dave: Well Toni, thank you for the great work that you’re doing with this Project. I think the opportunity for people to read about inspiration in so many different ways from 365 different people from different walks of life is just an incredible Project, and I share with Linda Joy her belief that you’re rapidly moving beyond the Project to a movement, a way of life for people, and I salute you and your team for all you’re doing.
Toni: Thank you so very much for those kind words. We really appreciate it. Take care, Dave, and thank you again for being part of this Project.
Dave: Thank you.
For more information about Dave Carpenter: www.dave-carpenter.com