29 Oct Stories of Starting Podcast Episode 15: Peter Hartman, Montreal Motivational Consultant
Stories of Starting Podcast Episode 15: Peter Hartman, Montreal Motivational Consultant, TEDx Presenter, Public Speaker, Comedian.
Watch the video on YouTube here:
Abridged transcripts of the interview:
Heather: I’m here with my friend Peter Hartman at his beautiful studio. I’m going to start by getting Peter to introduce himself.
Peter: My name is Peter Hartman. I also go by Hey You if you can’t remember my name. I’m a motivational speaker a comedian and the founder of Happy For A Change.
Heather: I always start the podcast by backtracking a little bit to tell people how we met. I don’t even remember what year it was but it you might remember because it was a long time ago. You were giving motivational talks on the West Island. There were little small groups that would get together in people’s houses.
Peter: No way!
Heather: Yes for Law of Attraction.
Peter: That was a long time ago.
Heather: My friend Allison had introduced me to this group. Do you remember what year that would have been?
Peter: I have a terrible memory. I can’t even remember my twin brother’s birthday!
Heather: It was a long time ago. This was before Happy For A Change was established. Can you just start by telling us a little bit about your experiences with speaking in the small groups about the Law of Attraction.
Peter: I started doing a Law of Attraction because I came across this website. In the web world we call it a squeeze page. It’s just a singular page. It’s whole point is just to sell you something. It’s like: “Are you depressed? Are you feeling miserable? Here are the hundred Laws of Attraction that you need.” I just got so upset. I just got really bothered. I don’t like when people get fleeced. I don’t like when people are being conned or anything like. So I decided instead of being upset and bothered all the time let me just be a part of the solution. Let me be somebody out there who’s actually providing good information. Information that can really help people. Then I thought well how do I do that? I came across MeetUp.com. If you don’t know about MeetUp.com definitely go and check it out. Someone like me who was just just an extreme introvert and social anxiety this lowered the barrier to meeting people. So I started a group there. I would meet people and then somebody said hey this is great I have a group in the West Island would you come and speak at it? I did that a few times. It was fantastic. I cannot believe that’s where we met.
Heather: Yes, you didn’t remember that! My friend Allison spoke highly of you because she’d seen you speak at one of the events before. She was going regularly. I went in. I don’t remember what the subject was but there were a lot of people and it was super interesting. I’ve always had an interest in the Law of Attraction and the whole The Secret thing and all that. I was very open to the subject. I just saw you there is this philosopher giving all this interesting insight and advice. A few years later I started coming to some of your events downtown. Then Samantha Barley had a lot of Meetup events as well. Then you had me on the entrepreneurship panel at one of your events.
Peter: That’s right. I did a year where I challenged myself to do an event every month. I did 12 events that year and to be creative and find different formulations for the same idea. It was really a lot of fun. That was a blast.
Peter: I started happy for a change because Law of Attraction and personal development is about cleaning up your own life and getting your life in order. I found that as I was speaking with people one of the complications with people dealing with their own lives was the world around them. It’s like oh I want to keep my house clean. I want to clean my house then I leave my house and it’s a junkyard outside. I’m tracking dirt back into my house.We have to start cleaning the outside world as well. This is a relationship between the inner experience and the outer experience. So I started Happy For A Change because I wanted to apply those same principles of improving your life to improving the world and to give people purpose. That’s the thing I felt like people were missing. There’s a search for happiness and I feel like people thought that happiness was this end goal. I believe is not an end goal. It’s an aspect of life that motivates you towards the goals that you want to do. I thought hmm what if I encourage people to start making the world a better place. It seems like a daunting proposition but it’s satisfying to get engaged with your community. To get engaged with the world around you. It contextualizes your experience so that it makes it so much easier for you. It’s like: oh, I can now work on myself because I’m doing this other hard thing which is trying to make the world a better place, caring about the environment, caring about the food we eat caring, about the air we breathe. That’s why I started Happy For A Change. It was an evolution of the Law of Attraction.
Peter: Bad Guru Nightly is my nightly podcast show on YouTube. It happens every single night. I want people to go: who’s this crazy guy online every single night! I had a show before called The Appreciationist. It was a lot of fun. It was for the Law of Attraction. It was every Wednesday and having to orchestrate my schedule around the specific time I found it was difficult. and I kept putting off Bad Guru Nightly because I didn’t want to do that. So I said well could just do it anytime (and people can watch anytime). I’ve learned there are all kinds of barriers to start and all kinds of excuses we give ourselves. We’re looking for perfection. We’re looking for the right way. This is the way it’s supposed to be. I just questioned myself. I said does it have to be at a specific time? If it’s not at a specific time itcauses people to need to subscribe to get that notification. Because if they want to watch the show. I thought there would be pros and cons and one of the pros would be people would follow me.
Heather: And who in their life has every day at a certain time free anyways. The beauty of these live streams is they are evergreen content. People can watch the replay.
Peter: Yes, most people watch the replay. We’re living in an asynchronous time. You send someone a text message and they don’t necessarily have to answer right away. You can have conversations out of sync.
Heather: I love your tagline “Your Attention Matters:
Peter: Part of my philosophy with Happy For A Change is this expanding upon the idea that every individual has value. It’s so easy to think oh I’m one in seven billion people but the truth is every action that you take in this world whether you see it or not causes a ripple effect and it influences the world. We can see it now even more when it comes to data. Why is Facebook free? Why is Instagram free? Well they’re not free, you’re giving your data and that’s valuable to them. Every single person’s data point everything that you share, watch, tweet, every word that you express everything that you do adds to the new digital dimension of humankind. On that level it’s very obvious to see how every single person matters.
Peter: Also in the regular world when you smile at a stranger or someone on the street everyone who sees that is statistically more likely to smile at someone else that day. If you help somebody pick up their bags when they drop them on the ground everyone else who sees that it’s statistically more likely to help someone else that day. You create these ripple effects but you feel unworthy, you feel like you don’t matter and the opposite is true. Being one in seven billion doesn’t make you less valuable it makes you more valuable. You have more reach now than the emperor of Rome Julius Caesar did. We’re powerful, we’re valuable and I really want people to recognize that value. I think part of what gets society all topsy-turvy is that because people don’t recognize their value they don’t move in the direction of what they care about. They don’t engage. When we have a million people who are not living according to their own purpose it creates a system that is kind of like weird. You’re sitting in your cubicle going something is wrong with life but I don’t know what it is. It’s because there’s a billion people not living their life.
Heather: The whole idea of the power of the internet and the power of reach. We used to talk about the seven degrees of separation, well it doesn’t exist anymore. You’re really just one degree away from anyone else on this planet.
Heather: Peter I was so delighted when I found out that you did stand-up comedy.
Peter: I grew up watching stand-up comedy being obsessed with George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld and Eddie Murphy. I never ever had an inkling to do comedy. I got into stand-up to support my brother with his dream of becoming a comic. It was absolutely terrifying but I also thought it would make me a funnier motivational speaker. You try different things and it helps you in other avenues, in other ways. When you try something new, learn a new skill, go into a new area. You don’t have to be the best in the world at it but it trains all the various muscles that you need for creativity for ingenuity for entrepreneurship.
Heather: That’s amazing and certainly like you said to become a better motivational speaker. I think people will assimilate the ideas more if they’re put at ease and put into a happier state when they’re listening to the words. It’s going to sink in more.
Peter: A lesson learned with laughter is a lesson remembered.
Heather: Another thing that you did not too long ago was your TEDx talk. Tell us about that.
Peter: I deal with severe social anxiety. Samantha Barley self-discovery life coach extraordinaire encouraged me to to apply. When she told me to apply I was like, first of all who’s going to care about what I have to say? I’m definitely not going to get accepted. She said do it, do it, do it. So I did it. Part of what I had to do was to do a video a short two-minute video because they wanted to see how personable you were or how you spoke. It took me 30 tries to get a two-minute video. I still have them. I’m sweating by the end of it just absolutely nervous. Long story short we get to the rehearsals. I go onstage for the rehearsal. It was a disaster. My confidence was totally shot. I realized I was taking this too seriously so I totally rewrote my whole thing. After months of working on my talk I threw it out. I got onto the stage the night of TEDx and I basically did stand-up. My stand up is not silly. I talk about serious things. I was talking about something meaningful and mixed in some humour and it went fantastic.
Heather: The other week you told us the story about your mom having inspired you. I would really like you to tell us that story.
Peter: One day I think to myself I should talk to my mother more and ask her more about her life. I don’t want to be one of these people later on in life where I forgot to have moments with my mother. I asked her, I said Mom, tell me something interesting about your life. Something that you did. She was like, oh no, I never did anything interesting. I replied, come on Mom, tell me. I insisted, I really do want to hear. Even the most boring thing you could tell me. After a few minutes she said, oh there was something. Her mother used to give her five cents for lunch. Instead of going to buy her lunch she would go to the market and she’d buy fruit. Then she’d cut up the fruit and sell the fruit outside of her house on her doorstep. Then she’d make ten cents. She gave the five back to her mother and then she would have this five. That’s entrepreneurial! That’s her using, what do I have and how can I use this to my advantage? I only learned recently my grandmother, her mother, actually then started a business doing exactly that. She started her own business selling fruit. Cutting up fruit, selling things outside of her door and making living. They were very, very poor. Being able to double, triple your income it was fantastic. So my mother as young girl inspired her mother to create this business. You think to yourself, oh there’s nothing special about me. What is it that you’ve got? Look around at your life. See what you have of value around you. My value is that I talk a lot. Maybe you’ve noticed!
Heather: LOL. On your YouTube channel you’re going to start a series doing reviews of great ideas.
Peter: My passion right now is Happy For A Change. The mission for Happy For A Change is to create the largest audience of people who are willing to give their attention to great ideas. When we give our attention to great ideas we make it far more likely for them to take root, to survive and to thrive. We experience the benefit of having these great ideas. The tools, the smart phone in your pocket, the computer that you use, the services online. All these things empower you. They empower the individual. I want to shine the light on great ideas. I talked about this in my TEDx talk. There are people creating wonderful things out there, doing wonderful things and they don’t have the ability to get your attention. I want there to be an audience online, a place online where there’s a thousand, a million, ten million people who are waiting. They’re like if you have a great idea put it in front of us and we’re gonna interact with it. When you like something, when you share something, when you comment and you actually give it your attention you make it more likely that will achieve success. You think I’m just watching this video. No you’re basically giving them money. You’re basically giving them what they need in order to survive. What I want to do with my channel is I’m going to shine the light on products, services, tools that you can use that would make you more efficient and more effective. To me a great idea something that makes you more capable of pursuing that what you consider valuable, that what you consider to be your purpose. I went to an ecosphere recently and they showed us these reusable paper towels. You could wash them in the washing machine. That’s a great solution. I want to do a video where I use those paper towels. Where I use the products or services that might make your life better. I think it’ll shine the light on these things and make it more likely that our world is a better place.
Heather: I’m very excited to see that series. Peter tell us where we can find you online and if you have any upcoming events.
The website is HappyForAChange.com
I want to create the largest audience. That’s that’s my mission. Everything I do is to draw attention to the Happy For A Change audience. I want to create the largest audience possible so that we have a great impact on the world.
Heather: You’ve already built a beautiful community of Montreal and I could just see it growing bigger and bigger. To me community is something that is key and that’s something I’ve seen in you from the beginning. With you and Samantha as well with what she does. That’s what it’s all about. The key to success.
Peter: Absolutely. I thought about what advice I would give to folks about starting out. I tell people to seek out failure. When people say I want to do something but it might not work, I say: good, do that! Make it so it doesn’t work out. Manage your expectations. If it doesn’t work out you go: I didn’t expect it to work out! The word I like to use is experimentation. Experimentation is powerful because scientists when they experiment they have a hypothesis and then the experiment but they’re not tied to their results. Whatever result they get they’re happy with it because they can build upon that. So treat your endeavours like experiments. Not businesses that need to succeed but experiments that whether they succeed or fail you’ll learn from it. So seek out failure. To people who are afraid to fail I say go out and find reasons to fail. Go out and do those things. I remember I did a dance class when I was a kid. There was about 20 or 30 people in the class. Everybody did it great. I was the one loser in the background really not coordinating, not getting it. The teacher would ask if everybody was getting it. Everybody knew she was just talking about me. But it was fun to experience the embarrassment, to experience failure and to realize: Hey, I’m still alive. Turns out I didn’t self-destruct. So go out there and fail. Find failure. Seek out failure.
Heather: Peter I have goosebumps when you talked about the scientific experiment. The last experience I had with science was in grade 8 science class. I remember it was like a system. You had your hypothesis, your materials, the method and the diagrams. It’s like creating this whole scientific system for success. Succeeding in a you know in a challenge or in your goals. Achieving goals via scientific experimentation.
Heather: I’m going to try it.
Peter: It’s actually it’s very similar to being creative in creative endeavours. The difference is that the outcome with experiments doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, is fine. As opposed to I have to create something that’s good. It frees you up to just go out there and experiment and have experiences.
Heather: Then the whole idea of failure isn’t even part of the picture.
Peter: It doesn’t exist. It’s just iteration.
Heather: Amazing. I love it (high five). So Peter thanks so much for hopping on. The last time we were here I picked up on your tagline which was Your Attention Matters. I thought it was really cool because we both have our cheesy tag lines and I love it.
Peter: I love cheese! Your Stories Matter, right?
Heather: Your story matters and your attention matters!
Peter: Fantastic. Thank you for having me on your show. It’s been a lot of fun!
Peter Hartman’s Links:
Watch Peter’s TEDx talk:
I was a guest on Peter’s previous weekly web series The Appreciationist: