work-life balance Archives • My Quest for the Best

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166: The Everyday Joy of ‘I Get To’ – Featured Interview with Ted Larkins

Owner of The Get To Principle, LLC

Ted Larkins talks with Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about how to adopt a “get to” mindset and become more peaceful, productive, and satisfied in your everyday life.
Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:
  • The significance of the Dalai Lama’s advice that the purpose of life is to find happiness.
  • What happens when you start thinking in terms of “I get to” instead of “I have to.”
  • What an Indian man who lived in a 10 x 10 home with his wife and four children taught Ted about happiness.
  • What happened when a successful Tampa real estate agent started applying the “Get To” principles.
  • What matters to celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi when it comes to happiness.
  • Ted’s 15 minute daily morning practice that strengthens his mindset and creates a blueprint for success.


Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

1:49 How Ted’s parents passed onto him the ethic of “getting out and doing things.”

2:58 [Paraphrasing the Dalai Lama] – “The purpose of life, I believe, is to find happiness.”

3:28 “When you make the choice to be happy, it’s really powerful.”

4:25 The benefits of smiling more often.

5:30 The “30 second rule” of changing your mindset.

5:49 [The Get To Mantra] – “You say, ‘I get to do this,’ you smile, and then you do what you’re going to do.’”

7:08 The essential difference in mindset between “I have to” and “I get to.”

10:15 Why the kind of happiness Ted refers to isn’t a “Polyanna” kind of happiness.

13:08 How Ted’s experiences traveling through India helped him shape his worldview.

14:59 “When I’m deliberate about saying ‘I get to do this,’ the more in control I am of my life.”

15:49 “We all have our level of frustration and things like that, but we do have the choice.”

17:28 Ted recounts his work with Bon Jovi, and what it was like to get through the trust barrier.

18:49 “We’re born and then we die, and in between we get to do this thing called life.”

20:09 The point of the mindful movement.

21:43 [Ted describes his 3 month executive coaching process.] – “It helps take people from this mundane [mindset] or just going through the motions and brings them up to really experiencing life.”

22:30 Case study of a Florida business man who just wasn’t getting the most out of life.

23:45 [On writing Get To Be Happy] – “I had the best time.”

25:24 “I learned that just being focused and dedicated to something for 30 minutes a day, you can get a lot done.”

28:15 Ted’s daily exercise for staying happy and productive.

Expert Bio

Ted Larkins is an author, speaker, accomplished business executive and coach on happiness. Through his book and keynote talks, he shares the powerful Get To Principle, the ability to say “I Get To” as opposed to “I have to”. Ted also co-developed a leading entertainment licensing company in Tokyo, representing major movie studios that included Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. He’s worked on projects with Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Nicklaus, Mariah Carey, and many other artists. He is former Senior Vice President of the North American division of CPLG, one of the world’s leading entertainment, sport and brand licensing agencies. He is on the board of directors of the Licensing Industry Merchandise Association (LIMA), co-chairing the charity committee and sitting on the executive committee. He is a guest lecturer for the UCLAx Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts program.
Over a year and a half period, during his daily 4 hour train commute to work in Hollywood, he wrote the book, “Get To Be Happy: Stories and Secrets On Loving the Sh*t Out of Life. Ted lives with his wife of 22 years and their two children in Southern California.

For more information, visit Ted Larkins’ Website

Contact Info for Ted Larkins

Web address:

Travels from: Costa Meza, CA

Phone: (818) 261-8262


LinkedIn  Twitter 

Resources Mentioned by Ted Larkins:



43: Pivot – Featured Interview with Alan Zimmerman

Hall of Fame Motivational Speaker

Bonita Springs, FL

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • The #1 complaint on the job for professionals and managers.
  • What to do about an attitude you want to change.
  • How western cultures and eastern cultures view attitude differently.
  • Practical ways to assess and manage your attitude in order to achieve more happiness and success.

Interview Insights

Click to Read the Show Notes

1:19 [On getting started as a speaker] “I never planned on doing this as a career. I was a professor at a university. I was tenured. I loved teaching. I kept getting asked by local service groups like the Rotary club or Kiwanis club or church groups to speak for their organization on some of the things I was teaching on communication, motivation – and some of the people in the audience would ask me if I could come to their company and talk about that.”

2:30 [Comparing his speaking career in 1985 to now] “I think people, because of the challenging times, the economy being difficulty, they want real meat. ‘Tell me what to do. I don’t care about theory, I don’t care about academic models. I just want to know how to do my job more effectively, what’s going to bring a big payoff for our industry.’”

3:09 “The number one determining factor of success is attitude. It comes higher than education, a GPA level in school, racial/ethnic background, nothing comes higher than attitude.”

3:55 [On why attitude is overlooked] “I think it’s overlooked because it seems like common sense, people think they should already know that. Why go to a class and learn that?

4:01 “I find a big gap between, what I call known common sense vs. applied common sense. People may know what to do, but may not always know how to do it.”

4:25 [On negativity in the media] “After being exposed to enough negativity, people just kind of lose their attitude in the process. They tend to absorb the negativity and lose all positive attitude.”

4:45 “The #1 job complaint I’ve heard in the beginning of my career, I still hear today. You can do a hundred things right and not hear a thing about it, but do one thing wrong and they’re right on your back. People can so easily give negative feedback, but tend to not hear the positive often enough.”

5:17 Dr. Zimmerman describes the differences between what people in Eastern and Western Civilizations want out of life: success vs. happiness.

6:07 “We have some strong competition coming from some other countries in the East because of a different mindset of success.”

6:10 West meets East: The story of how Apple collaborated with Chinese manufacturing to come up with a better product.

7:40 “There’s an attitude amongst some American workers that says, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ rather than, ‘How can I contribute to the success of the organization?’”

8:26 Dr. Zimmerman describes how it’s possible to develop a better attitude.

9:10 “85% of an average person’s self-talk is negative, they’ve got to learn to stop that.”

9:30 [The Old Fashioned “Act-as-if” Principle] – “If you wait until you feel like doing something, you may never feel that way…if you act happy, you’ll feel happy.”

10:22 “People take a look at someone’s life and think obviously you’ve got it made. You’ve got a great career, you have success in this area, it’s easy for you. What they don’t see is what people have come through.”

10:41 Dr. Zimmerman tells a bit about his personal life journey, and why having a positive attitude is so important for him despite hard times.

10:52 “When you come to a big problem in life, it’s a choice point. You can choose a better point: to get better, or get bitter.”

11:36 “It’s not a matter of arriving, there will always be challenges, it’s a matter of do you have the skills for getting through it. People think that those who are positive don’t have the issues, problems, or the challenges, that’s not true. They simply have the skills to not stay down as long, get through it more quickly, and stay more effective in the long run.”

12:05 [On the inspiration for Pivot] “I see so many people in the workshops I do, programs I give, who can do so much more. They don’t believe in themselves, they have significant doubts, and I felt a certain kind of sadness that people with great skills aren’t going very far.”

12:30 The answer to the question: “Why is it that some people with so much talent accomplish so little?”

13:06 [The phenomenon of Mind-Binders] “A mind-binder is a phrase you tell yourself negatively. ‘I could never do that. I couldn’t give a speech. I can’t make a cold call. I can’t close that sale. This is a terrible day.’ When you think that, there’s a very strong chance you’ll be in that negative emotional pattern for some time.”

13:30 “We perform exactly as we see ourselves or as we tell ourselves. So if we ourselves or if we tell ourselves negative things, that’s where you’re going to spend your day.”

13:53 “Once you stop the negative, a very easy thing you can do is take a few seconds and go through what I call the ‘attitude of gratitude.’ Start listing things you’re thankful for.”

14:50 The practical reasons for counting your blessings against your problems.

15:25 “We don’t lack for knowledge, we lack for implementation. I don’t think people need so much to know that some things might be good for them to do, but they want the skills.”

16:11 Two tried and tested tips for how to finish what you start.

17:05 “Everybody has the potential for being extremely happy, incredibly successful, on and off the job.”

17:31 “If other people can do it, you can do it, if you use certain skills.”

18:06 Personal insights Dr. Zimmerman gained during the process of writing the book.

Expert Bio

Dr. Alan Zimmerman is a full-time professional speaker and trainer in the areas of motivation, leadership, communication, change, and work-life balance. He has given more than 2000 programs in the last 25 years to more than a million people in 48 states and 22 countries. A Certified Speaking Professional and a member of the National Speaker Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame, he maintains a 92% ratio of repeat and referral business.

Alan is the Founder, Owner, and President of Zimmerman Communi-Care Network, a speaking, training, and consulting company with offices in the Minnesota, Florida, and the U.K. He is also a professional speaker and consultant for the State of Missouri and was twice named “Distinguished Faculty Member” by Institute for Managment Studies.

He is the author of Pivot: How One Simple Turn in Attitude Can Lead to Success and The Service Payoff: How Customer Service Champions Outserve And Outlast The Competition, among other titles.

For more information, visit Alan’s website.

Contact Info for Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Business Phone: 800-621-7881

Web address:

Travels From: Fort Myers, FL

Follow Alan: Twitter


Books by Dr. Alan Zimmerman