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Duane Cummings is an author, entrepreneur, coach, and consultant who speaks regularly on a range of topics that include leadership, communication, sales, and finding your purpose.
He’s been a mentor to me and on today’s show, he shares how to start living your sensational life and what may be holding you back. You can find Duane on his website at: http://www.duanecummings.com/
and all over the web with #ASensationalLife !
Welcome to The Art of Living big. My name is Betsy Pake entrepreneur, author and personal success coach. This is the show that brings you stories and small ideas to help you live a big life. I hope this once a week podcast will inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to think differently about what could be possible for your life. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now let’s go live big. This is sort of an interesting introduction for me to do today. Because I have to tell you a little story or the beginning of the interview just really won’t make sense. And it may be a little strange and even a little bit confusing. So indulge me for just a minute while I tell you this story. Now, I will say if I’m going to tell you the whole story, it would probably take me like several hours. And so I’m going to try to make it as short as I can. Will it still make sense? All right, you ready? this past May, I went to our local pool, like our neighborhood pool. And it was a Monday the pool had just opened. So school was still in it was the middle of the day. So it was empty. And this couple came in and they were really friendly and nice. And we started chit chatting. And I was curious what they were doing at the pool in the middle of the day, like what how they lived their life, how they were able to have a life where as a husband and wife, they could be together. And they weren’t at work in the middle of the day, they got to come to the pool. And so I started probing and asking questions and trying to find out what they what they did. And what I found was that he is an author and a speaker and he lives his life to serve others. I was so intrigued. And at that point in my life, I was really making some big decisions about the direction I was going to go in my career. And this was the path I wanted to be on. And I just felt so strongly that it was he was brought into my path for a reason. And I wasn’t gonna let the opportunity go. And so after we left the pool, I found him on Facebook and messaged him and we all met up again with my husband and his wife. And
asked him what to do next. What How could I learn more, and he gave me books to read. And I read them like within a day and asked for more books, and continued to learn and probe and ask questions. And to make a long story short, after about six weeks, I ran into them again at the pool. And he offered to coach me, he said, I’ll coach you for 30 days. And so that began about a six week process where I would spend hours and hours at a time at his home. Well, we broke down everything that I thought about life and about all of my belief systems, all of the things that were limiting the or holding me back what I needed to really know to be able to live the life that I wanted, and how to move forward past some things that were really holding me back. It was the most incredible time of my life. And I will say and I know it sounds really dramatic, but it
the course of my life and what I thought I could be. And so I’m excited to have him on today. I’m excited so you can hear some of the lessons that he shared with me over the summer. And I’m excited for you to get a glimpse of what could be for you. I hope that someday I do him proud. And I’m honored to have him on the podcast today. Thank you all for listening. I’m excited to share this interview with you. All right, so I have with me today, Dwayne Cummings. Dwayne, thank you for being here.
All thanks so much for having me, Betsy. It’s a pleasure to be here with you.
So I’m excited. You’re here. And, and I’m not you know, I’ve told in the introduction a little bit more about who you are and how I met you. But you really have had such a profound effect on me. And you know, I recently wrote my book, start small, live big, and you really helped inspire me to be able to do that. Something you might not know is that I dedicated the book to you and to Kim, for inspiring me to actually go out and live my big life. So thank you.
That’s overwhelming. So thank you for that gift. I did not know that. What a fantastic surprise to find out right here on your show.
Yeah, you guys are and have done so much for me. And I don’t even know if I could really someday I’ll do a podcast just on that. But tell everybody really who you are and what you do.
Wow. Well, it would depend on how good I’ve been as a husband what my wife would say that every day is different. I’m very blessed. Some days people consider me a writer and I do write and other days I’m a business person because I’m involved in some companies and then I’m, I have my own consulting company. You know, most recently, I’ve been involved in the speaker’s Guild of America. So I do a lot of public speaking. So yeah, I’m It’s really kind of interesting because I live my life and every day is different.
And I like your tagline, you know, a sensational life is really your hashtag right? Hashtag a sensational life?
What do you think makes a sensational life for you? Or for somebody else that’s trying to live that way?
Well, that’s a great question. Because, you know, I really believe a sensational life is different for everyone. So, you know, there are some people that their sensational life is truly, you know, going to a job that they like and enjoy, and they want to do it consistently. And they want that comfort of knowing it’s going to be there. So maybe they do it for 25 years, and they go on vacation every year, and they have a loving family, and they have their home. And, you know, they have Monday Night Football, or they have their trip every year to Disneyland, whatever it is, that’s their sensational life. And for me, it was many other things. So we say it’s a lot of F words that you can say, on TV or radio, which are like, family, fun, freedom, financial security, these things were what I consider a sensational life, and I don’t have to have like, the best of the best of everything. But if I had to choose, I would rather be with my wife all the time, then in a two hour commute every morning, each way alone in the car, and eight hours in a cubicle and you know, those kind of things, you couldn’t pay me a million dollars for that. Mm hmm. So, you know that, yeah, so sensational life for me, is being able to spend tons of time in fact, you know, I spend almost every waking hour and sleeping out with my wife, she’s my best friend. You know, we have the freedom to kind of make our own schedule. So we can say yes to the projects we want and no to the projects we don’t. And yeah, so friends, people like you in our life that we can go to, you know, ballgames with or go to the pool, or just hang out or go to dinner. That’s what makes us sensational, like, to me, and it’s really boils down to most the time people because people are where I find my greatest value and, and love and riches.
And so it sounds like like people and, and freedom, right? So like the freedom to be able, I guess to be with those people whenever it is you really want. How does somebody that’s listening? And you know, they’re they’re listening on their two hour commute? And they’re thinking, this isn’t the life I want, what would you say would be one small thing they could do to change and start moving in a direction they want?
Right? And will you set it there in the question, which is change and move in the direction you want. So we all have those moments where we’re sitting around dreaming. I mean, there was a time in my life where, you know, I work three jobs. And I was at night and I barely slept. And I kept thinking, if I only won the lottery, how different it would be, or if, you know, if I had an aunt that would leave me a big, you know, bunch of money, I need to be different. And then at some point, I just had to say, this is what I want it to look like, this is what I want it to feel like smell like sound like this is what I want my life to be. And now Where can I begin taking action to move in that direction. And that’s the hardest thing for people I think is we call it getting from stuck to unstuck. So you know, one of the small things would be to do is get clarity on a plan, or, you know, an idea of what it is you want. So some people they just think money solves everything. And that’s not necessarily true. But if they want more time, then you got to work the equation backwards and say, if I’m spending two hours in the car each way on a commute, I need to get a job, it’s closer to my home, or I need to work virtually. And then they might say, well, I can’t do that, because I backed myself into a corner and I have mortgage and all those things. And I have to have my money. So then the next part of that equation is start searching for a position that compensates you in a way that is, you know, compatible with what you currently make this closer to your home. And then if you say oh, well, I can’t find that, then you say, can I afford to live on less money? You know, so then you look at your budget, you do your budget, and you say, Well, you know what, we could cut out this, this and this. And then I could take a different job, which gets me closer to my home, which now eliminates the commute. And I get to spend, you know, three more extra hours with the people that I love. So it’s really about first deciding what you want, and then start taking action no matter how small you might think it is to move in that direction.
Yeah, so two things you said is the first is get clear on what you want. I think so many times we know exactly what we don’t want. But we are really clear on what we do want. And so I think that’s huge. Just get really clear on what you really want. And then you know, the second thing you said was really don’t expect to have it tomorrow. Just figure out little places you could start to move the needle so that you’re working towards what you want. And then
what’s that? You mean start small?
Right. That’s great. Yeah. We should write that down. Yeah.
It’s so true, though. I mean, there are people that they you know, they stand at the foot of the mountain. They want the view. Well, you got to do the work, you know, you got to put one foot in front the other and climate and if you really figure out the the greatness in life, you actually enjoy that you end up enjoying the process as much as you enjoy the result. That’s when you’ve really really arrived.
Yes. Okay, so I love, love, love that because that’s something I’ve been working on with myself, is I’m enjoying the meantime. And like Andy Dooley says, enjoy the meantime, and it won’t be alone time. That’s right. Yeah. I love that.
Yeah, he’s a spark that he’s got it he he’s a guy that’s got a smile on his face all the time, because he’s not trying to arrive. You know, he knows what he wants it to look like when it ends, and when it gets to the back end of it. But he’s enjoying every step and learning every lesson along the way.
Yeah, yeah, he’s, there’s a lot you can learn from Andy too.
tell me how you started? Like, where did you come from? Give everyone kind of a background on, on where you began? Because it’s actually really interesting. You’ve got lots of little stories.
Yeah, well, I guess the overall was, you know, I was a child that I was I consider myself a pleaser, once I learned what that really meant, because we moved a lot. And so going to new schools and trying to fit in, you’re always trying to be, you know, nice to people and figure out different personalities. So I was kind of a chameleon, I was a little bit musically inclined, I was a big time athlete, I played five sports. But I always wanted more than what I had. Because, you know, I had a couple different stepdads. To this day, I don’t know who my real father is. You know, we didn’t have a lot when I was a kid. So I was always thinking like, man, if my life could look like that someday, if it could look like that someday. And then I also said, I don’t want that, you know, several people, my family smoked, as I grew up, I never smoked a cigarette. You know, I was just that kid. And then as I got older, I was finally blessed to get around some people who mentored me along because we could want certain things. But if we can’t see evidence of it in other people, or, you know, somebody doesn’t hand us a roadmap, it’s really hard to figure out like when there was a time where everybody thought the earth was flat. And so you just thought the earth was flat. And until someone could show you evidence, or they could say, hey, come with me on this boat, and I’m going to show you something, then you finally can believe it for yourself. So, you know, I got some people in my life that showed me, Hey, this is possible. So then, I really just became this enormous over the top dreamer, like anything is possible, because I’d seen evidence of it. So you know, whether it was becoming a professional athlete, or becoming the young franchise owner, or general manager, or coaching college, or owning my own business, or starting my own clothing company, or, you know, whatever, I just, I just always believe that, like, anything is possible. So you just have to figure out how you’re going to do that. And I never start with the premise of this won’t work. Or, you know, no matter how hard I work, this isn’t going to work out, I always believe that, I just have to ask the right questions. And something will happen. You know, and along the way, I got fortunate to get a wife. That was I had met her in high school, we ended up you know, dating and getting married, and I’ve been married for 29 years. She’s an amazing woman. And we say that she’s kind of the anchor, and on the sale and our relationship. So not that she ever tries to just ground me. But if I do get off course, a little bit. She’s the consistency in my life. She’s always there. She’s always steady. And I’m kind of a little crazy. So
yeah, and she’s, she’s awesome. I’ll back that up.
We say that she’s the silent samurai, because like, she doesn’t speak a whole bunch. But when she does, you know, it just is like, straight cut to the truth cut to what it’s all about. You know,
Yes, that’s true. You are a good balance. You’re good balance for each other. I can see that.
Yeah. So you said you,
you know, you were mentored. And so you were able to see something bigger. And for myself, I know that that’s true. Just being able to see that someone else has done something. Even starting this podcast, you know, I had a girlfriend that had started a podcast. And so she was able to, you know, tell me what to do. And so having those in your life is really important. Where can you find mentors? If someone’s out there listening? And they’re like, well, there’s stuff I want to do. But I don’t know where I’d find those people or they’re not even in a circle of influence where they could seek those people out. Do you have any suggestions for that?
Sure. And it’s really interesting, the dynamic of mentorship nowadays. So there are people in companies that just think I’m going to put two people together and the older one is going to mentor the younger one. And that’s just the way it’s going to be and I think, you know, as a mentor, for me, I’m always looking for places that I can, you know, give away what I’ve learned, but you want to select the place that it’s not just going to be wasted. I know that sounds a little bit arrogant and I don’t mean it that way. But you know, you don’t want to you don’t want to give A bunch of information that you know, is life changing to you to somebody who may not value it. So, so people that are looking for a mentor, the first thing you have to do is avail yourself and show an interest and not an interest, like, hey, I want you to teach me everything, you know, so I could go make a million dollars, but I really want a different arc in my life. And you seem like you’ve had a life that similar to maybe what I’m looking for, you’ve got a lot of lessons to share. Could I take you to lunch? Could I, you know, swing by? And you you know, as a mentee, you make the effort. Because I’ve had people call me and say, I want you to mentor me, can you come over here and meet me and tell me and I’m thinking, Wait a second, you know that that’s the effort on my end, you as a mentee, you’ve really got to be able to put out some effort. So, you know, one of my mentors, I’m not Catholic, but I co taught at a Catholic University, and this was a priest that lived on the monastic community. And one of my mentors was a priest, that every morning, I would go and meet him on his terms. So they got up at like, 4am. And did you know, prayers and Vespers and walk and all that, but I had to meet him at 5:30am, if I was gonna learn from him. So I did. You know, and I think mentors don’t always have to be older, they just have to be somebody that’s in that track of life that you’re hoping for. So if you want to be an author, then find somebody who’s writing, you know, find a writer that you like, or that you’d like their books or style, write them a letter, tell them that you really that’s your dream, that’s your goal, you’ll you’ll show up and meet them, you’ll, you know, you’ll travel to wherever they are to learn from them, and then they are going to be excited about somebody who’s eager and are willing to do some work. So then they’ll want to pour back into you. So it makes sense.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I know, when, when I met you, I think I, I bugged you. I know for you, where you finally helped me. But that was the case. Like I asked, you know, what books do I read? And you told me and I read them. And then I wrote to back two days later and said, Okay, now what do I read? And I think that that’s true, like, if you can, it’s much more, it’s much easier to give when you know, somebody is like eagerly accepting and not just taking it and going, Well, this might be a good idea or not, like, if you’ve got something to share. Really, that’s a gift in itself. And you do want to give it to somebody that wants to receive the gift. I like that.
Yeah, it’s you can use that to filter that. Sorry. Yeah,
yeah. So all right. So you’ve you’ve really had an interesting life. And then you met somebody that mentored you, and really kind of showed you a different way to start living your life. And and now you write books, and you you know, you speak all over? And what do you think is the one thing that holds people back? So you’ve had all this experience with lots of different kinds of people? What do you think is one thing you see that sort of holds people back from things?
Yeah, so the, the underlying thing is belief. Yeah. So yeah, so whatever you believe, will steer and determine is kind of the rudder of a person’s life. So if you you know, you believe you grew up believing money’s the root of all evil, or, or that rich people got rich, because they kind of cheated people or whatever. And that’s just the evidence you might have seen as you were growing up, then when you get older, you’ll start accumulating some money. And the next thing, you know, you sabotage yourself, and you’re like, holy crap, why do I do that every time. And when you do the work, it’s really because you find out your beliefs aren’t congruent, right? You just don’t believe it also could be you believe that you’re not valuable enough for certain things. So you know, you get ready to go for a certain job interview, and it’s going to be the perfect job. And then you kind of sabotage yourself a little bit. And in reality, it’s because deep down inside, you don’t believe you are worthy of that job. So the one thing is getting congruent and understanding what you believe why you believe it, and then shifting your beliefs to help you or enable you to live the kind of life you want. So, you know, the second thing that probably keeps people, you know, everybody would say, you’d think everybody would say, like fear. But, you know, if somebody really wants to do something, even if they’re fearful, they’ll do it anyway. Right? So they’ll jump out of airplanes like my wife did, or they’ll get on a roller coaster, or whatever. And so fear doesn’t stop people. But what, what typically stops people, believe it or not, is the fear or worry of what other people will say or how they will be judged. And that is really accelerating in our society today because of social media and technology. And, you know, people’s lives are less private than they were in the past. So in the past, you could kind of try something in the comfort of your living room. And if it didn’t work out, you weren’t too embarrassed. But nowadays, everything’s out on Front Street. So, you know, somebody say, Well, I think I want to write a book. But Wow, what if it doesn’t work out? And what if my family judges me? Or what if my friends judge me or what if it bombs or Yeah, you know, the whole world will know. So,
I see that on social media. I mean, the response is swift and quick. If you say something that people know I agree with or, you know, don’t think is right. Or if you do something foolish or even if you have a bad picture, you know, where you’re in the background, doing something, you know, and I can see, I hadn’t ever thought of it like that. But I could totally see that, that that’s the fear of, of how you’ll be. because really that’s a one of our biological, like, ingrained in us is that his community, right and tribe, that’s how we stay alive. So to be rejected from the tribe is one of the worst things that could really happen.
Yeah, we’re wired to fit in. Yeah, yeah. So when we don’t fit in, it takes a lot of courage and strength to say, I’m going to fit in where I’m supposed to fit in. But I’m gonna be me where I need to be me. You know, no one in the history of the world has had the same fingerprint. So that that’s evidence that you need to be unique.
With the beliefs, and I want to go back to that for just a second, because I think that’s really, really huge. And there are times where I recognize where I, like, this thing must be holding me back. But how do you identify what your belief is?
Wow, that’s a great question. Because I think that’s the crux of kind of everything. So that was the homework I had to do at one point, that a mentor kind of assigned me and walk me through. And it took a number of months, to determine why I believe what I believe, and I did it about everything. So I know why I believe what I believe about religion. And I know why I believe, you know, about politics and about life and about relationships. And so then once I got an inventory, I kind of took inventory of everything, then I could start saying, does that belief support the kind of life I want? And, and I did it, you know, you start with journaling. And so you write down like, what do I believe about marriage? Well, I do believe that once you should be married, you know, you should attempt to do everything you can till death, do you part because those are the vows you took? And some people would say, Well, I believe marriage is work. And just in that belief, right there, you have that presupposition that it’s going to be hard. But I used to believe that because that was what I saw in other people. And then I shifted my belief to say, No, I believe marriage should be easy and effortless, which is what I truly believe now. Marriage isn’t supposed to be work, it should be effortless, you’re helping each other through life. It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. And it won’t be you know, they won’t tax you sometimes. But understanding what I believe to begin with, and then beginning to shift my beliefs to support the life I wanted, that has made all the difference. That’s what separates me from most people.
And so really, the work is still there. Like there’s times where you have a challenge, and you still have to work through it. But what you’re saying is you’re choosing to focus on the good that’s in that work, which is helping each other through things. Right. So is there a shift? Is it a shift of how you see, like, I could look at the same situation as you and we may see different things.
Yeah, so part of it is not only a shift in what I believe, but a shift in the definition. So you know, I just don’t consider a work. And most people, if you think of work, you’re talking about labor, sweating, hard, tired at the end, some people would equate what they believe about work is being trapped. Right. Like there’s certitude. And so that’s not what I believe work is a work out, you’re not trapped in a workout you do you lift weights and all that you’re not trapped, you have the choice to put the weight down and stop, you have the chance to push yourself and test yourself or not. And so that’s a different definition and a belief about work that most people have. And that’s how I would apply it to my marriage. So yeah. You know, how I define things goes congruently, along with how I but what I believe
so do you think people, that’s a good exercise? I mean, I think it is You had me do that, where you really write down and go through all the different things you believe. So just pick a couple topics. And then as you go through your day, you’ll start to notice stuff, right, that you’re like, I should think through that. And how do I really believe?
Yeah, so you know, you’re in a conversation, you show up at the store, and you meet a neighbor, and they say, Oh, you know, I’m not letting Jenny go trick or treating, which last night, you know, people were out Halloween. And sorry, I know this podcast is being recorded. So I might as well,
no, that’s fine.
You know, kids are out trick or treating. Somebody says, Well, I believe that, you know, that’s a bad thing. And so then that would be something that I would journal and I would write like, what do I believe about Halloween and then not expand it? What do I believe about holidays? Why do I believe that? Like, why do I believe that? It’s a bad thing? Is it because kids eat too much candy and they have to go to the dentist or is it because you know it perpetuates an old religion or you know, it dimana it’s, you know, demonizes something. Why do I believe what I believe Why did that lady believe what she believed and does it support the kind of life I want? You know, so and and when you narrow your beliefs and you become kind of exclusive to the world. Your world gets smaller. So you can’t have as many rich experiences and you can’t meet as many very, you know, wide variety of people and you can’t do certain things because you have personally narrowed your scope that you’re looking at the world by your beliefs. Oh,
yeah, that’s good. So, wow, yeah, we’re gonna that’s a tweetable moment right there. So really, it’s like we think we have freewill. But if we’re walking around with these really narrow blinders on of what we believe, really, we, we don’t have freewill, it’s our beliefs are really guiding Well, what the decisions we make who we meet and what we do.
Yeah, so back to that boat and that rudder incident, you know, or example, you might be sitting in your boat going like, ooh, I really want to go over that island that looks like a magical tropical, beautiful island that I’d like to spend some time on. But your beliefs are pushing your rudder to the other direction. And you just can’t figure out why like, why can’t I get over there? Why can I not go to that island, it looks so nice. And I want to be there. And it’s because what your beliefs tell you, you know that because that’s the undercurrent of everything, that that’s what makes you step up or step back in everything you do.
So I would say someone’s takeaway from this whole conversation, really, if they want to change their life, is to start there, and just start writing down what all your beliefs are. Would you say?
Did you do that exercise?
Yeah, I did that. I still do it.
Did it help you with that? It changed kind of your outlook on something? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I would say that your beliefs are the definitions of the language or the words that you will use for your life. So right now we speak, we’re speaking English. And so we have to have a command of the English language. And then the more words we can use and understand, the better we can communicate or share what we’re thinking, or feeling or whatever, the same thing with your beliefs. That’s the language of your life. So once you understand those, you can use your beliefs and you can change your beliefs and you can you can have a great grasp of those beliefs to get you to the life that you want.
Yeah, yeah, I love it.
This was awesome. I could you come on every week cuz this
girl, you know better.
So much, so much amazing. So much good stuff here. So all right, so we have an online community. It’s SS lB community.com. That stands for start small. Live big community.com. It’s our free Facebook group. Maybe Dwayne will pop in there. The week his episode is on and answer any questions. I’ll make sure to share his website and all his social media so you can follow him. He just shares some good thought provoking things. Right. Will you be able to jump in there, Dwayne?
I will. 100% Yeah. Remember, we have the grandbaby coming. So it might not be full 24 hours a day that can be available for right.
Yes, that’s right. That’s November 7, isn’t it?
Yeah. Coming up. But I love I want to I definitely love to support start small in a community for sure. Awesome. Thank you.
Well, thank you so much for being on. This means a lot to me that you took some time out. I know you’re super busy to come on my show and spend some more time with me. And so I appreciate you. Thank you so much.
You’re You’re most welcome. And I’m humbled and grateful that you would have me on the show and overwhelmed still that You surprised me with the dedication of your book. I’ll Kim’s gonna love it. Thank you so much. Yeah, I love you guys. Love you too. And thank you and congratulations to your community and starting small living big and I hope everyone out there is really listening to what you’re offering because you can change people’s lives in an instant. I’ve seen it happen.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. I’d like to hear what you think. So be sure to get in on the conversation at SS lB community.com. And of course, here’s a little message from my husband.