and Robert discuss the challenges of burnout. Zach used his own experience to figure out his purpose and now he serves those he love, engineers who need a place of support, an oasis to give them the courage to protect themselves. Zach has grown a love for life and has created tools to support his fellow engineers in protecting themselves. Zach reminds us that burnout is not caused by what you are doing it is caused by what you are not doing.
A little bit about Zach...
Zach White is a widely regarded coach known for changing the game in engineering career & leadership coaching. He has worked with hundreds of engineering leaders from top technology companies worldwide including Facebook (Meta), Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, to industry leaders like General Motors, Nike, Lockheed Martin, Whirlpool, and many more to escape burnout and achieve breakthrough results.
Zach is the Founder and CEO of Oasis of Courage, known as OACO, a fast-growing company with unique and proven coaching programs exclusively for engineers. He also hosts a top rated show, The Happy Engineer Podcast, where listeners discover the steps to engineering success through expert interviews and Zach's own transformational framework, the Lifestyle Engineering Blueprint.
As a coach for engineering leaders, Zach understands the journey first hand, holding a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. With over a decade of experience and top performance in a $20B organization, he is now a sought-after coach by engineering leaders around the world.
Zach is the World’s Best Lifestyle Engineering Coach.
Robert Peterson 0:00
I'm so grateful for today's guests Zach White. Zach is a widely regarded coach known for changing the game in engineering. He has worked with hundreds of engineering leaders from top technology companies, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google. Zach is the founder and CEO of oasis of courage known as a wacko, a fast growing company with unique and proven coaching programs exclusively for engineers. He also hosts a top rated show, the happy engineer podcast, where listeners discover the steps to engineering success through expert interviews and Zach's own transformational framework. The lifestyle engineering blueprint, Zach white and Robert discuss the challenges of burnout, Zach used his own experience to figure out his purpose. Now he serves those. He loves engineers who need a place of support and Oasis to give them the courage to protect themselves. Zach has grown in love for life and has created tools to support his fellow engineers in protecting themselves. Zach reminds us that burnout is not caused by what you are doing. It is caused by you not Zach, but a happy engineer. I'm so excited to have you today.
Zach White 2:14
Robert, I'm feeling happy today. It's so good to be with you. I love the smiling entrepreneur coach that you got from your subtitle there. This is amazing. Thanks for the invite.
Robert Peterson 2:24
It came about a little bit because of you and Laban Laban is talking about the world's best and I could never get myself to world's best didn't ever feel right for me. Everywhere I was going to networking events and even this book launch we recently did everybody's, man, you smile all the time. You're always smiling. I say what? I'm gonna go with it. Decided to make that part of the brand and as a smiling entrepreneur coach and it really is my goal is to bring joy into entrepreneurs' lives. If that can focus my niche a little bit and really focus on what I'm providing and how I'm serving people then. Let's roll with it.
Zach White 3:12
I love that. Before we hit record today, Robert, we were talking about being a fighter pilot and jets. Ironically, my stepdad, his callsign. He's a retired naval aviator flew F 14, his callsign is smiles. He is always smiling. Even when you know, the boss was chewing him out on the flight deck. He always had a smile on his face. They're like, how can you be smiling when you get chewed out? They say I don't know. I always smile. You and my dad are our smiles today. I love that
Robert Peterson 3:44
I like it. Was that typically I would let each guest share their entrepreneurial journey and what led them into making the leap in entrepreneurship and how they're serving the world and making an impact.
Zach White 3:58
My entrepreneurial journey got off to a slow start. I'll be brutally honest, did I? I'm an engineer by training. I went to Purdue to get my mechanical engineering degree. I was one of those kids who are great at math and science. My dad was an electrical engineer, loved the idea of being an engineer from day one and has no regrets. I still have that engineering bone and I love it. While I was building my career, I stumbled into this world of entrepreneurship while I was getting my master's degree. Also in mechanical engineering at a U event. They had this group called empowered where they did entrepreneurial talks every week. One of my best friends at the time. His name's Dave and I are actually business partners now in a private equity firm here in southwest Michigan. He was planting the seed in me back then this was like 2011 giving me books. Give me your Rich Dad, Poor Dad giving me all these little little little teasers about entrepreneurship. I started to have that itch. This part of me that loved engineering and what I was doing in a big company, I worked at Whirlpool Corporation and had awesome opportunities. I mean, no, again, no hard feelings about my engineering days. Robert is a seed that gets planted. Always in the back of my mind, there was a part of me that wanted more, wanted to have this kind of adventure, this frontier, pioneering kind of spirit that was back there and always fighting against this safe, secure, easy path of building an engineering career. That is not to say it's easy, but easier in some cases than going out on your own to sit and operate within a proven system and being in a business like Whirlpool. That seed took almost a decade to flower. For anybody listening, who's maybe not there yet, you're not in your entrepreneurial journey, but you want to be, it took me almost 10 years before I actually made the leap. The transition was abrupt. I woke up one day, I was on a three day fast, which I do every quarter, water only, it's a time of Prayer, solitude and silence for me that I take every quarter, to go get clarity, get with the Lord and ask you, am I going the right direction? What do you have for my life? I'm sitting there, it's the Saturday of my three day fast. I had this unbelievable download, where the three parts of me that had previously been in conflict all collided, and it was like, perfect clarity. There was Zach, the engineer, Zach, the aspiring entrepreneur, Zach the coach, which, we won't tell the whole story, but I had this part of me that loved coaching and really was into it, doing training, certifications and coaching. They collided in this moment of clarity, say, Oh, my goodness, what if I start a business, for the purpose of coaching engineers who have gone through the pain that I've gone through and want the success and the, the accolades, the titles, the promotions, the income and the impact of doing amazing engineering work, but they're stuck and all these ways that I've been stuck and overcome there, they need the support of a coach, and things the company can't give them. That would be an amazing business. I literally told Dave, my buddy, I mentioned earlier, hey, I had this download, and I think I'm quitting my job. I don't know how this is gonna happen. But I'm quitting my job. I know that much. It was a few months later, I walked out the doors of Whirlpool for the last time, started Oasis of Courage, a waco for short, my coaching company, and joined Dave in private equity as well, at the same time and the race into entrepreneurship began. I will do it again, in a heartbeat. It was the best decision I ever made. It took a while to get there. That's how it happened in a nutshell.
Robert Peterson 8:09
Love it. The idea of seeds germinating and so many people on that entrepreneurial journey, even in the process, it's sometimes frustrating to feel like you're doing the work you're doing that you're doing what you need to do. In your case, the seed might have been doing what it was it needed to do without you being aware of it. That germination, and you don't know how long an idea takes to germinate, you don't know how long an idea takes to come to fruition and generate revenue. Germination is a really important understanding. Recognize, do the work, but don't dig it up. Don't dig up the seed to see if it's gonna push through. I love that you use that, that it took 10 years to germinate. That's how long that idea needed to be ready to sprout.
Zach White 9:07
I agree. Robert, that may not feel good to say this at times. The truth is, that's how long I needed to be ready. As an individual, entrepreneur, and leader, had I quit eight years sooner. I don't think I was in the place in my life where I would have been successful as an entrepreneur yet. A lot of things happened that prepared me. It was the seed of the idea that finally sprouted and became clear, let's be honest, Zach white wasn't ready for the journey. Two years out of college, and some people think it's my path. I definitely agree, man. The germination period was precious. Don't dig it up. That's a great model. I'm writing that down. Don't dig it up
Robert Peterson 9:55
Alright, now I want to dig into the company name. Tell me a little bit more about where the name came from, what the name means to you, and what's your purpose behind what you're doing.
Zach White 10:10
Waco, the oasis of courage. The name is very precious to me. Back in 2000, maybe 15, I hired my first coach. Context is that I had gone through a rock bottom time in my adult life, divorced, depressed, embarrassed, nothing was working in my personal life. Career was okay. It didn't matter, because everything else was falling apart. I hired my first coach. We went through some really transformational work, inner work in my own life that revolved around values and purpose. I can't tell you how many times I've read about or talked about core values or purpose before but it didn't ever really click for me until that time working with my coach. Out of that work came my life purpose statement that I still hold to this day and haven't changed a single word. It is that I am an oasis along life's journey that gives you courage to walk on. That's been with me since that day. It's been inspiring me since that day. The word encouragement is my favorite word in the English language. This is the idea of Robert that we have the power within us to place courage into someone else, to encourage them. That's what it means to encourage someone to have that transfer of courage from you to them. For what purpose? It's so they can face fear and keep going so that they can take their next step. Maybe it's a hug, maybe it's a smile, maybe it's a word of wisdom, whatever that is. When I was starting the business, and it was going to revolve around coaching for engineering leaders, I really asked myself, what's the problem that I want to solve as an entrepreneur. The problem is, how burnout is caused in the workplace because fear is unchecked, in the lives of professionals and engineers really suffer from this, because of our personalities, our training, a lot of things, fear is rampant at work. It takes courage to face fear, move and I said, I didn't expect to use my life purpose statement as the name of my company. It's a perfect match, that's why I'm doing this. Oasis of courage is my life purpose statement embodied in my work as an entrepreneur.
Robert Peterson 12:49
Man, you and I are alike, you're touching my touch deep inside. My company's name is Add Value 2 Life, it's AV2L consulting, which adds value to life coaching, but AV2L stands for add value to life. It's based on Paul's statement to encourage one another and build each other up. You and I have the power of encouragement, the power of a smile, the power of our responsibility to take care of each other. For me, it touches at the core of what a human being was put on earth to do and so many of us are so distracted and misguided, in narcissism and selfishness, and all these things that are fear driven. Understanding how much fear is driving people's decisions, how much fear is driving the world's decisions. Over these last two years, we've seen it amplified 1020 fold. Fear driven politics, fear driven media and the people that are getting caught up and absorbed in that. It's amplifying hate, and we're seeing the consequences of that within our own culture and I'm heartbroken on one side. Then on the other side, I'm saying, I gotta do something about this, I gotta make a difference. I've got a voice. I've got this, this stage, this platform. A piece of me, of course, I'm in business to make money, I'm in business to help people and serve people. On the other hand, I'm also in business to make a difference and make an impact. Eradicating fear in the effort to eradicate hate is a part of the message that I want to keep putting out there.
Zach White 14:53
The relationship you described Robert is really accurate. It aligns with what I believe as well. At most people, at least when I was young, maybe not everybody agrees with this, we get taught that the opposite of love is hate. I don't see it that way. The opposite of love is fear. The scriptures say that perfect love casts out fear. Hate is a manifestation of fear. It's one of the 1000 faces that fear absolutely shows up as. It's really true, what you described that love is the force that allows us to move through the fear that's there all around us. If we really are painting the picture of these two extremes, I think love anchors, the positive end, and fear is what anchors on the negative and then everything else is how those two things show up. Courage is the catalyst for love with a direction. It's love aimed at a specific thing. That's what we say courage is what allows us to face fear and do it anyway. Also love is the force. It's the thing underneath, that's beautiful, man, I love it.
Robert Peterson 16:02
I love what you are encouraged in there too. to basically say courage. Courage is facing being afraid and facing it anyway. Love is the motivator. Love is the driver. That's pretty powerful. One of your sayings, when you're on a t- shirt. What are your T shirts? What is your motto? slogan? Crush comfort, create courage?
Zach White 16:36
I call it the C for life. The work that I do with my clients we call lifestyle engineering. I work with some of the smartest people on the planet. They're great at mechanical engineering and software engineering. Sometimes their lives are not what they want. I relate to that in my own journey. We work on lifestyle engineering, and one of the key parts of that lifestyle is having a C for life, to crush comfort, and create courage. We talked about fighter jets earlier, use the metaphor of C for is that explosive. It creates this impact. When you have C four and you ignite it, it's an explosion and to crush comfort in your life can be that catalyst moment, that impact moment. For me, the reason this is a heartbeat and a drumbeat of Waco, and the coaching work that we do, and the training work that we do with engineering leaders, is because of the comfort zone, the pursuit of safety, security, and certainty. It is nobody's fault. That it's so addicting. It's addicting. Your nervous system, your subconscious is wired for survival, not success. I know you believe this, you shared it on my podcast when you were on my show the same truth around these automatic systems and engineers and professionals everywhere, but especially what I know from the work we do with engineering leaders. Man, we'd love that comfort zone, we really like to stay in that place.
Robert Peterson 18:09
There is a tendency. This is a huge generalization. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like there's a tendency for engineers to be a little like the IT guys. They're introverts. They're there on a typical scale,, they're content sitting at the desk, designing something, creating something, tinkering with the details and getting all the pieces, they'd be content eight hours behind their computer screen doing, if I don't have to talk to another human being today, then it's a beautiful day. The comfort zone and the idea of human relationship, especially over these last two years. We've been isolated, we've been in for many, they thought all this isolation, this is perfect. This is my dream life. I don't have to deal with any people anymore. The reality is on the surface, we need each other. We need connection. Even though our piece of us is saying, Oh, I really liked this, this is fun. There's another piece of us that's dying, we're not having these human interactions. Human interaction challenges us. Human interaction makes us better. Relationships are where everything in business happens.
Zach White 19:32
Painting with a broad brush, but you're right, the stereotypical engineering personality falls into that category. I'll also say, maybe an engineering director or vice president is listening to this and refutes that statement. Here's the thing. Even if you are a people leading engineer, your manager director, you have a big team under you and you don't feel like you fall into that category of being behind the computer eight hours a day. The thing that is true for engineers that a lot of times gets kind of tucked away in the blind spot as leaders is that we spend so much time. We get trained, all through college all through our early career development, how to avoid and mitigate risk. When we do things like Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, figure out everything that can go wrong, invest all of our energy and make sure those things don't happen, the entire occupation of engineering is to make sure that the bridge never fails, that everybody stays safe. Like the top attribute of product design is safety, the car has to be safe, above all else. That is a great thing, when you're designing a vehicle. In my case, I was designing appliances, you don't want your washing machine to kill you. That's a really bad thing, or cut you
Robert Peterson 20:59
Greaseball a great cartoon, but not necessarily
Zach White 21:03
You don't want these things exploding in your house and catching on fire. It's a really important part of being a great engineer. That circuit that you flex that muscle that you're flexing all day long, every day, it starts to affect the way you approach all of life. You're risk averse, all the time, you're trying to create these safe boxes and cages for everything in your life and control all the outcomes. That does not lead to happiness. It really does.
Robert Peterson 21:35
That's really eye opening. To create a system that avoids failure, create a system that focuses on safety. I'm a huge micro fan, and Mike Rowe has a big talk. He's done a ton of Dirty Jobs. He's done a ton of trades and he's out there practicing, construction work and all of those places. He's really harping on this idea of companies promoting safety first. Basically it's not true. If safety refers to we wouldn't go up on a crane, if safety were first we wouldn't drive a car. Yet they promote this as it so his talk that's really popular safety third, it really is about the final product. Creating the product is more important than safety. We have to do it safely, it's going to trump safety. They catch fish and crabs on the Bering Sea. It's an incredibly unsafe job. Catching fish is more important. The product is more important than safety. The money that the product produces is more important than safety. He says safety's third. He wants people to be honest about it. Let's be honest, because it's safety first, we quit doing everything. We don't leave the house, we don't get in a car, we don't walk on the sidewalk, all those things have risks that he talked about the risk averse. The risk averse plays right into that survival, which plays right into that comfort zone and says, Wait, let's sit here and be safe. Let's not take any risks. Let's not jump into entrepreneurship, because that's a whole total risk and failure.
Zach White 23:19
Once you take that into the entrepreneurial world, Robert, and it doesn't work. If you want to be successful at the next level, you have to be willing to risk everything at this level. To become a new person, you have to be willing to die to the old self. That is a risky thing. It's a scary thing. It really is uncomfortable even for people who've done it before. Here's the thing, for that entrepreneur listening right now, here's what I want you to know, regardless of how you compare to where I'm at, or where Roberts is at or where your neighbors are where Elon Musk is at. Every entrepreneur has this in common that your next level is going to feel uncomfortable no matter which level you're at right now. We all are facing that next big, gnarly, challenging thing. It doesn't matter. It's more zeros, but no, I'm facing fear right now in scaling up my business. You might be facing fear and starting your business. We're both facing fear. We both need courage. We all are in this together. It doesn't matter how many zeros are on your bottom line yet. The next step is going to be uncomfortable. That's why the sea for life to me is so important.
Robert Peterson 24:41
It's so crazy how much our culture amplifies fear. A big part of my coaching obviously a big part of your coaching is really digging into fear and helping people recognize that your brain is exaggerating, your brain takes that fear and takes that little risk averse. Take that little thing that says, wait, if we do this, we're gonna die. If we do this, that washing machine, it's going to eat us. If we do this, that lion outside the door is going to chew us up. Not to mention our wife, our spouse is going to be so angry if we walk on stage, and we fail and embarrass them. There's so many things that these fears, the voice in our head tells us a story, that is never true. The majority of our fears are never really true. The challenge for so many is the awareness that the voice isn't true. The awareness that the voice isn't really you. That's really hard for people. This voice in my head sounds like me, it's talking to me, it's telling me these stories. It's telling me stories to stop me from taking that risk. How do you help people change that story? How do you help people have awareness that the voice isn't theirs, and then have awareness that they get to tell that voice what to do?
Zach White 26:11
The word that you said awareness is where it begins. A lot of my clients, if somebody's listening to this podcast, you're probably wired for personal development and growth. You're asking these questions before and you've heard Robert talk about beliefs and limiting beliefs before and you may feel like old news, a lot of my engineering leaders I work with Robert have never had that conversation before. Truly, I believe in order to change our mindset, and to create a transformation at the level of our being, we need first to become aware of the thoughts that we're having now. Start practicing, noticing them and getting curious about their truth or lack thereof. A lot of times, the first few exercises we'll do is say, Okay, bring one of your biggest goals into your mind. Let's think about your biggest goal in your career right now. I work with mostly career professionals, probably 85% or w two, employees 15% are entrepreneurs or owners of their own engineering business. We say let's take that big goal, bring it into your mind, I want you to think about it. Let it be there. Look at it, stare at it, visualize it. Now, let's get curious. Tell me what kind of thoughts are popping into your mind, verbalize them? Let's put some words to what you think. Positive and negative. Then what tends to happen is we drift towards those negative statements and say, what else do you feel afraid of hearing? What other negative thoughts are popping into your mind? What's that deepest, darkest secret that you're not saying? Around this thing? We start getting curious. Next thing, they got five 610 20 statements, I'm not sure if I can do this. I don't know if I have what it takes. What if this is totally outside my control? What if I'm not smart enough to do this? What if my, and all these negative what ifs start popping in? The awareness of this is often eye opening by itself. Now we can go ask, hold on. You're not smart enough to do this. Is that true? You have a PhD in electrical engineering? You're one of the smartest people on the planet? Is it really true? 100% true that you don't know what it's going to take like that you're not smart enough. Then to say, Oh, maybe I'm missing this. One thing. This one air? I don't know that exact thing. Okay, cool. What you really mean is you're absolutely smart enough, but you've got a couple things to learn. That sounds okay. Cool. That's not so scary. Is it? You're good at learning? You've learned a lot of things, you can probably learn something else? Yeah, that's actually yeah. It's really that simple at the beginning, to begin with awareness, the process of then letting go of lies. Buying into the truth is one that takes a little bit more coaching and a little more work. I do call it mindset work. I'm very direct with all my clients, hey, this is not a light switch. This is not a one session and everything is going to be changed for you. If you want to go do hypnosis, or you want to go do some of these things that you know, may help you make radical shifts, cool. That's all I'm all in for that. I also want you to understand how you can begin to be in the driver's seat of renewing and transforming your own mind and not be dependent on these. These other things. A lot of people get hooked on coaching etc. I am a coach and I love to help people do it. Part of lifestyle engineering is that you become aware that you have been given this powerful consciousness that you can use to make your own decision. winds and literally shift and change your own beliefs. Let's learn how to use it. The operating system of your own mind is a blessing from God. Let's learn how to use it in a favorable way. Instead of t write that off and be a victim to how the world is programming our mind instead,
Robert Peterson 30:17
Working yourself out of a job man.
Zach White 30:56
That 's kind of true. That's the whole point. Robert, like an entrepreneur, for me, the thing that awakens to do is not to become your pill that you have to take for the rest of your life. It's to help you transform as a person and not need Zach anymore. In a way, I suppose the ultimate victory of waco would be that there are no more engineers left on the earth that need our help.
Robert Peterson 31:20
Wow. That's a fantastic mission. So curiosity. You mentioned curiosity there a couple of times. How did you discover the power of curiosity? Help apply it to other people's lives? Of course, on your own?
Zach White 31:41
If you imagine the typical engineer, most of them have a very natural curiosity about the way things work and systems and hunger for knowledge. I had that from day one from being as little as I can remember, I've always been curious. For me personally, it was easy to live in a state of curiosity. The shift was realizing how powerful curiosity was outside the domain of products and mechanical systems and engineering, to pull that curiosity into introspection and learning about myself into relationships, social and emotional intelligence, and realizing that curiosity, it's one of those states that I believe it's easy to practice. It's easy to use to defuse almost any other negative energy or emotion that may come in. I love the statement. If you're rather than being furious, if furious, get curious. It's the whole idea of why am I feeling this angry? Or why am I depressed? Or I want to get curious about this situation? Somebody wronged me, and I'm angry at them. What if instead of being angry, I stopped for a moment and got curious, I wonder what's going on in their life? I wonder if there's something happening that I'm not seeing that could be causing this? I wonder if I'm part of the reason that they treated me this way. Where was I complicit in creating this outcome? Curiosity, for me, it was a natural part of my DNA. When I realized how powerful it was, in all these different contexts, I got addicted to it. I love being in that curious place. It unlocks so much possibility for life. When you take you mentioned, the fear, and we use what if in a negative way so easily? What if everything goes wrong? What if you got curious about what could go right? What, if something awesome happens? What if this is a great situation for me? It's an incredibly powerful practice. You can use it to reground yourself and create possibility in any situation. If you're not a naturally curious person, just practice. It's a muscle start. Do we get intentionally doing it right now to get curious about Robert, nice conversation, Curiosity is huge, man.
Robert Peterson 34:13
The really cool thing, for people that have never experienced it, is your brain loves questions. When you ask your brain a question, it wants to answer it. When you ask your brain, why am I angry? Why is this bothering me? Guess what? Your brain is going to tell you? You'd be like, Huh? Really? Even better than those others you took it to the next level with, what if? What if you turn the negative around and look at the what if positive, and guess what your brain is going to do? It's gonna say, Well, I like that. What if it's easy? What if I can do it? Yes, exactly. Your brain wants to honor that? What if I can do it? What a beginning. We get into these conversations and a lot of people listen and a lot of people we've had conversations about, all this positive thinking is just woowoo. It's all fluff and yet, the more that I've been involved in, the more that I've worked with people, the more that I've seen how powerful it really is. It's so powerful. Many people blow it off. For me, I choose joy. I wake up, joyful, I wake up happy, I choose to focus on what I've got, not what I'm missing. It makes a huge difference in how I start my day, it makes a huge difference in how I interact with my wife, and in my employees, and, how I interact with my clients. One of the questions that I was asked a long time ago, and it really hit me is, if you get to choose Willie in, we even had the conversation on your show. We were talking about faith, we were talking about God, and for people that don't believe in God, it's fine. You don't need to have the same faith belief that I have. If you get the choice between choosing, have a great day and be joyful, or have a negative day and be grumpy. Why wouldn't you choose joy? Amen. If that's an option, why not choose joy? For so many, they can't get past the woowoo.
Zach White 36:46
I am an engineer, a scientist, a technologist at heart. Here's what I'll say if anybody, if you're listening, and you're in the positive thinking is woowoo camp, I challenge you that you have not experienced it, or studied it to the level that you need to because it is not, it is absolute rock solid science, in your physiology in your nervous system. Positive Thinking precedes positive emotion. Positive emotion precedes positive action, how your genes respond, and upregulating the types of behaviors and literal shifts in your body are impacted by the way you think. The late great Zig Ziglar said at best, I think Robert, positive thinking does not mean everything will go your way all the time. Positive thinking will always get you a better result than negative thinking, so why not? Practice? There's incredible research, if you want to study it, go look at the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza. This guy is crushing it with real, unbelievable indisputable data, that the way you use your mind, the conscious thought drives meaningful change in your biology, that then drives meaningful outcomes in the quality and results of your life. If you're in the woowoo camp, it's because you're either unwilling to do the work to go experience it for yourself, or you haven't had time yet. Go do your homework, it is not woowoo mumbo jumbo out of the spiritual life like you.
Robert Peterson 38:26
Let's dig into that a little bit more because I love the engineer side, I love the science side. I love Joe Dispenza, his work and our culture is experiencing an overwhelming mental health crisis. An overwhelming state of fear. We talked earlier about how the brain is designed to survive. In survival mode, the way the brain faces anxiety, stress and these negative things is it dumps cortisol and adrenaline into your body in response to a fight or flight moment, so that cortisol and adrenaline is designed for us to run away. It's designed for us to escape or to fight back. It's a dump of power, juice that's designed to help the body escape or defend itself. Most people aren't escaping, they aren't defending themselves. Now their body and all the muscles and all of the tissues have to absorb this cortisol and this adrenaline without a physical outlay. Now, men can process that chemical dump in about eight or nine hours and clear their body of the negative impact of cortisol and adrenaline. Women it takes about 24 hours. The challenge for so many people is that within that 24 hour period, they get another dump
Zach White 39:57
They're hitting that button again
Robert Peterson 39:59
Hitting that bell, because their brain is saying, Ooh, we're in fight and flight again. We have so many people that are living in this cycle of cortisol and adrenaline in their body. They're never getting these positive chemicals that are designed for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins that are designed to do what? To make us feel normal, to make us feel happy, to make us feel right. When we get those chemicals, we feel right, you do they're designed to make you feel right. Our body's designed to experience those, the majority of the time, that's what we are created for. People are experiencing this opposite, and their bodies are stuck in stress, anxiety, fight and flight. That chemical impact on your physiology it's dangerous, obviously. It also continues to take people down that path of sadness, grief, negativity and fear. Now the body's chemically amplifying the fear.
Zach White 41:10
That's a perfect example, agreeing with everything you said. It's only one of the negative loops that exists in the mind-body relationship that we're talking about, there's even more to the story than the challenging effects of adrenaline and cortisol. You take that we have the mind side of this equation that we're not using as intended. Then you amplify that with the fact that we're also not taking care of our bodies, we're not eating well, we're not sleeping well, we're not exercising and stretching and managing the physical systems. You combine the two, and it really is a cocktail for disaster for you, no wonder that depression, suicide, mental health and all these diseases, because your body can either be at ease or disease. We're seeing it with chronic disease, people are in these places, and a lot of it is tough to diagnose. What is wrong? It's not that there's a particular germ and your body causing these things. It's this downward spiral. I don't want to create a pit of despair out of this, but it really does matter that we begin to recognize the mind-body connection is inextricably linked. That when we use our mind in a negative way, and we treat our body in a negative way, this incredibly powerful system that can create immeasurably joyful, happy fulfilling outcomes in your life isn't capable of doing that. The vast majority of that is within your control. You don't want to believe that because it's a whole lot easier to say.
Robert Peterson 42:59
Even worse, it's easier to go to a doctor and say, Doc, I need a pill to make me feel better. I'm gonna encourage you, if you're taking pills, and you're on an anti psychotic meds, and all those things don't stop, don't change. I'm not a medical expert, by any means. big disclaimer,
Zach White 43:16
not medical advice today. Absolutely.
Robert Peterson 43:18
mind body connection is so valuable that if you're feeling funky, and you're feeling wrong, ask your body what's going on. Ask yourself what is not. What am I not satisfying? In this mind-body connection that's causing me to feel this way? Those feelings are designed to tell you something's wrong. We have so much more power over that than most people are willing to lean into and take responsibility for.
Zach White 43:48
We bring this back to entrepreneurship. Hey, I thought we were here to add value to entrepreneurs today. Well, guess what, the strategies and the tactics and the actions that you take in your business? Yes, there's things to learn. Some of those things are very hard, etc. What I see again, and again, with the entrepreneurs that I coach, and with the entrepreneurs that I'm in community with, as I'm on this journey myself, it's rarely those things that create the biggest problems. It is almost always that they're exhausted, they have no energy. Why? They're working 14 hour days, and they're not eating well, they're not sleeping, they're not taking care of their bodies. The system is crashing, it's because they're constantly in this death spiral of negative thinking. They can't think positively for the life of them. It makes it really hard to go make a sale when all you can think is what if they reject me? What if they don't like my product? What if this continues to go, Oh, I'm going to run out of money. This is never going to work? Who wants to buy from that guy? Who wants to talk to that girl about her service? Nobody. That's what I see. This conversation is so relevant because These systems that you can control and you can keep healthy. It is a huge, wind in your sails force for success as an entrepreneur, if you take care of those things.
Robert Peterson 45:12
Let's talk about that idea of success without burnout. That's your driving force is to help engineers experience success without burnout, my role is to help entrepreneurs experience success without burnout and live a life of joy. If your life's not bringing you joy, if the job you have is unfulfilling if the greatest thing about where we live, and the world has this possibility, although there are some countries where businesses get taken and things happen, but the majority of the world has the option, when I grew up there was when you rode the bus, there's this little cord next to the window, and you could pull on that cord, and the bus would stop at the next stop. You can get off. I tell people all the time, if you're not satisfied, if you're not happy, and you live in a cycle of despair, pull the cord and get off the bus, because you have other options. The majority of entrepreneurs have figured that out, so I got other options. The great thing about entrepreneurship is there is room to experiment, and you can try something, and at some point, you'll probably goof it up and lose it all. Once you've done it, then you know, I can do it again. If I can get over the depression from losing it all, I can do it again. That's what's so great about entrepreneurship in this journey, now there's this rising tide of awareness of possibility, there's teachers quitting their jobs, tenfold compared to the past, teachers are recognizing, we can be great entrepreneurs, we can be rewarded, we can feel good about what we're doing, what we're teaching, and still be teaching. There's a shift in the marketplace. I hope the shift test to transform schools to schools needs a transformation and until something super painful and super, challenging happens, they're gonna keep running the system, the way they've been running it for 100 years. Those of us that are in this entrepreneurial space, know it, it's not working. It's making good engineers, it's making good doctors, it's making good lawyers, there's some things that the education system is making. For the majority of people, they're not teaching about money, they're not teaching about the freedom of your mind, how to use your mind to be more creative and to have a bigger impact in the world. There's room for improvement, and government systems don't improve themselves without a whole lot of pain.
Zach White 47:44
I'll resist the urge to rant about education systems. In full honesty, I don't have the solution. I agree with a lot of what you said. First thing, success without burnout for entrepreneurs and engineers. It's the same principles. It's the contexts and the specifics in your world that may look different. What's important first is to understand when we say burnout, what exactly does that mean and look. I want to expand your thinking about burnout, it doesn't only look one way. As an example, one of my engineering clients,, comes into our first conversation and tells me, I've been working 70 to 90 hours a week, I'm still being told that it's not enough. My marriage is crumbling, my wife wants to get divorced, because I'm never home. This isn't working for her. I don't know if I can get out of bed and keep doing this another day, another week. I'm done. That's burnout. I've also had clients come into our first conversation and say, I'm making 180 grand a year, I've got a great job and a great boss. Nobody's treating me poorly at work, and I'm married, got a house in the suburbs, I got two kids, everybody's healthy and happy. I have no interest in this work at all. If there's no meaning there's no passion for me. I'm bored out of my mind, talking about being stuck. I don't know what to do. I can't find something better. I don't even know what I want to do. I feel trapped in this rat race of doing the same thing every day. It's so good. I don't want to mess it up. If I do get a new job, and that doesn't work, and I'm scared of ruining a good thing. It sucks, I feel trapped in a golden cage. They're burned out of a life. That's good. I want people to recognize that you know what burnout is for you may look different than some of the dramatized Hollywood kind of burnout moments. Not everybody is burning the candle on both ends and hates their life. It could I actually be that you have a good life. You're totally burned out of that. You take that into account. Success without burnout. What does that look like? Or how do we have that? The most important thing, if I give you one key to walk away with, it'll change your life around success without burnout. Burnout is not caused by what you're doing. Burnout is caused by what you're not doing. Take the first example, working 80 hours a week, all these challenges? It's not working 80 hours a week, that'll burn you out. Robert, we're talking to entrepreneurs today. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who put in 80 hour weeks, I've put in 80 hour weeks. Some of those 80 hour weeks were the most fun, engaging, thrilling, I was ignited with passion, I loved the feeling of progress. The challenge. It was awesome. Now, I don't want to do it every week, because I have other things I care about, but working 80 hours didn't burn me out. There was a stretch there probably for three or four months where I was working 6078 hours every single week, getting the business off the ground. I loved it. My wife was supporting me, we were communicating. We were on the same page, I had a community and a team. It was great. No burner. On the other hand, this person who's got a great situation, you can say, what are they doing? What's missing? Let me give you examples, what's missing, you're not sleeping, you're not exercising, you're not eating well, you're not doing work that has meaning to you, you're not connected to your purpose. You're not communicating with the people that you love. You're not in a relationship at all, you're isolating yourself, you're avoiding your friends and family because you're embarrassed or you're afraid, you're leaving out all the things in your life that matter to keep you healthy and balanced. The things that you value. You're a whole person. You've fallen into a pattern of leaving out the things that keep you healthy and whole, your faith, your family, your values. Anytime somebody is burned out, we want to look at everything that you're doing all week that's causing it. I would say flip that script 180 Forget about what you're doing. Let's get curious, back to curiosity, about what is missing from your life, that needs to be there to stay in that place, a passion to stay in that place of energy, vitality and health to stay connected to the people you love and the impact you want to make. If we simply start saying, that is my number one priority. I don't care about anything else, I want you to do these two things that you've been skipping that matter for your fulfillment. We do those. Guess what? Everything else falls into place. Like that. an 80 hour week becomes a 74 hour week and you're still okay. Life's okay. I did six hours of stuff for myself. You feel that little boost that little, Robert, if you ever played a really terrible round of golf, and you every one of them, okay? Every shot sucks, you're slicing your dividend, your chip, but then you have that one shot, where you actually connect with the ball. It really is good. I actually do like playing golf, I want to keep it kind of like that moment, you have that one good shot during your week. You're like, okay, I can do this. Then you make the next change, and the next change and the next change, and you can recover. Everybody wants to recover from burnout by going on vacation. Robert, you cannot vacate your life. You are in your life when you get back from vacation. You will not solve burnout by going on vacation. Now you keep again down there. Exactly. You delay the ultimate rock bottom that you're going to hit. Those would be my key thoughts for entrepreneurs listening as if you feel like you're trending towards burnout or you're there. The first question is, what is it that I've stopped doing, that I must do to stay healthy and balanced in my life, and pick the easiest, lowest hanging fruit on that list? Start doing it immediately.
Robert Peterson 54:30
I'm gonna pull back my bus statement because I made the statement about pulling the cord and get off the bus. For that guy that was living the golden life and feels like he's stuck in a golden cage. A bunch of that's what's the story you're telling yourself? How do you realign your purpose and your values to the story you're telling yourself? There are elements of his life that he really loves because he wants to hold on to those. What is it that's lost that spark in the job? Sometimes we lose our way. We're out of alignment with our purpose and our values. Yet, we're doing exactly what our purpose and values led us to in the first place. We need to be reminded that wait, you've stopped telling yourself the story about why you're doing what you're doing. You've stopped encouraging yourself to keep doing what you're doing, because it's gotten you what you wanted. That requires that evaluation. What it requires, is this out of alignment? Why is it out of alignment? Sometimes they are out of alignment. I gotta pull the cord and I gotta jump. Sometimes it's out of alignment. I've started telling myself, I've gotten into that comfort zone, and I started telling yourself a different story.
Zach White 55:52
100% Yeah, you connect that to this model of, what's not doing that to that individual? He's not being grateful for the amazing things he already has. He's not leaning into his purpose and understands, Hey, this is he's not thinking the thoughts that are true. He's falling into these other stories and patterns. That's a perfect example. It's not always that everything in your world has to change. To recover, it could be what's happening in the stories you're telling, you've started telling lies, instead of telling yourself the truth, or falling into those pipes? Sometimes the recovery from burnout is nothing more than telling a new story. Absolutely.
Robert Peterson 56:32
You mentioned gratitude, Zach, I want to dig into the power of gratitude in your life, the power of gratitude in making some of these mindset shifts.
Zach White 56:46
Gratitude is talked about a lot. I hate the fact that it's becoming cliche, because what you said is so true, their gratitude and love must be brother, sister cousins, cuz to me, gratitude is one of those outflows of the emotion of love into the world around you. We can say a lot of things. I'll say two pieces about gratitude. Number one, gratitude is a practice. It's not any emotion, it's something that you show up in practice. This morning, my wife and I got up early. We went to the beach, a mile from where we live. We walked for an hour and a half up and down the beach, in what we call a rampage of gratitude, a rampage of appreciation. All we did for an hour and a half was volley back and forth. Man, I'm so grateful for this, I'm so thankful for that. I'm loving this, I appreciate that. We might pull it from our surroundings, a lot of the things I love and appreciate how beautiful this water is on Lake Michigan. I love the blue skies and clouds. Then it's our relationship, our businesses, our families. It's a practice, we set aside time for the intention of going and practicing being grateful. I'm having an amazing day. It's in no small part to the fact that I started it that way. The second thing about gratitude that is important is to recognize that no other negative emotion can coexist with gratitude, try to be pissed off and grateful at the same time, try to be depressed and truly grateful, authentically full of gratitude at the same time, not faking it not I'm grateful for the fact that I'm not homeless, no, feel into it, I dare you to, truly experience full authentic gratitude, and any negative emotion at the same time, you can't do it. Your body will not allow you to experience those two things because there are completely different forms of energy and vibration in your body. Emotion being energy in motion, you cannot emote in those two ways at the same time. Why do I think it's so important? It's because if I get into that energy, and that emotion, it sets me on a course to operate from that positive place all day long. Those negative energies don't have a chance. They can't touch me when I'm in that place of gratitude. I love that
Robert Peterson 59:16
Love that you shared, that practice with your wife and that you guys do that together. I want to ask What's your most memorable date?
Zach White 59:30
Most Memorable Date. My wife when we first met told me stories about her childhood years in four hrs. She grew up in a town called Goshen, Indiana, which is an Amish community and rural community there and a lot of cool things but she was a horse lover and did four h and showed horses. One of the things that she told me about was that there was this relay race they would always do at four Ah, where you ride your horse down, jump off your horse, you had to put on these, big overalls and a jacket and some funny clothes and boots and then run your horse back to the other end. It was a relay thing. It was a three legged race so you had to share a leg with somebody else is a really funny thing. She told me all about this and how fun it was. One of our dates, one of the best dates I ever pulled off with my spouse, was I recreated that relay race with a bunch of funny stuff from Goodwill. I bought this wooden stick horse, which we own a horse, but I want to do it with this wooden stick horse and I bought some goofy clothes, and I invited one of our friends to come be a part of this, to film it and to do three legged races with us. We went out to the park and made complete fools of ourselves, doing this three legged race reenactment from her childhood four h days. Instead of boots, I bought these big giant heels like these patent leather heels. You can imagine me slipping into overalls putting on a women's high heel shoe with my wife and the other three legged running down the park grass with this wooden horse in between us. It was pretty priceless. That's one of my best dating experiences. Can you still have a video? Somewhere? It's on an old phone. I know it's out there. I probably secretly hoped that it's gone so that it can't ever be used against me. It was a really fun time.
Robert Peterson 1:01:39
Nice. Zach, what do you love to do with your free time with your kids?
Zach White 1:01:45
What do I love to do in my free time? My wife and I don't have children. Just to be clear, I don't have kids, but we do have a horse. That's what it is our kid in the sense that it's very expensive and very demanding of time and energy. The difference is they could poop wherever they want. You can leave them at the barn when you're done. That's a different story. We love to ride. Honestly, Robert, the thing that is true about us and I give my wife, Johanna, she is truly one of the most incredible women on the planet. To me, she's the most incredible, but I won't argue with other people's decision on that. She loves to love life. What we love to do together, is take time to go love life, if we're gonna ride our motorcycles, let's ride and enjoy it and be passionate about that if we're gonna go ride the horse, go do that we love to do acrobatic yoga together acro yoga, if anybody's ever heard of that, really fun couples yoga practice where you hold the woman up in the air and we've reversed roles, sometimes she holds me up in the air, she's very strong. Finding places that we can go and get passionate about, really enjoy living and it almost doesn't matter what it is. We've got a lot of hobbies and a lot of things we'd like to do. The thread that connects it all is we want to experience a passionate adventure. Whether it's in your backyard or around the world. That's what we'd like to do.
Robert Peterson 1:03:24
Zach , I love that. Zach, what's your big dream?
Zach White 1:03:29
At Waco, it's to help 5000 engineering leaders come fully alive by 2025. That's the vision. That's the thing we're aiming for right now as a business and learning how to really shift and impact in a transformational way the lives of these engineering leaders from IC to VP, which if you're not a career professionals, individual contributor to Vice President, but for me personally, that's the business vision. For me personally, Robert, the thing that matters most is that I live every day in the beautiful dance between loving what is and being fully content with how blessed I am right now, in this moment, you and me talking. The idea that God's given me a potential to make an impact in the world that is 1000 times what I've made so far. I'm going to do everything I can to live in that and enjoy the ride. There's a whole nother podcast about what I was included in that vision. For me, it's the hardest thing and the funnest thing to practice that presence of both, I want to have both
Robert Peterson 1:04:41
I haven't had any repeat guests. We just scheduled the next podcast. I do want to dig into that faith conversation a little deeper and I want to dig into this purpose for serving and purpose for impact. In the world, not for yourselves but for our Creator.
Zach White 1:05:05
Amen. People who know me know, I'm a man of faith. I love Jesus. I love his word. I'm honored by that. You said earlier, if anybody listening is like, Oh, that's not for me. That's okay. It's not our place to tell you what to believe. I will say everything I've experienced that's good in my life was a gift from above. I believe that wholeheartedly and the power to succeed and entrepreneurship, for me, is fueled straight from the source and that is Jesus, not Zach white.
Robert Peterson 1:05:33
Zach , thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time today and saying thanks for your authenticity and love your passion for what you're doing.
Zach White 1:05:42
Thank you, Robert. What a pleasure to be here and to show your work and add value to entrepreneurs and to life is tremendous. I can't thank you enough for letting me be a part of it.