In this episode, Pastor Ron Sharpe shares how he had been living on autopilot until 5 words put him on the path to living his best life and how that led him to write The Domino Effect, so he could share his journey with others and the secrets to making it work for anyone who dares to transform themselves and their lives.
Book: The Domino Effect
3 Key Points
You can change your life at any age.
Perseverance is key
Having a dream isn’t enough, you need a plan.
[0:51] Ellen: Hi everybody and welcome to Episode 53. Today my guest is Rob Sharpe. Rob has spent the last twenty-five years as a pastor and visionary in central Ontario, Canada. He’s a husband and father to three kids, and he’s dedicated his life to helping others reach their potential while engaging life to the fullest.
He is a closet comedian and a down-to-earth, personal-growth expert who promises refreshingly, authentic content. His self-published book, The Domino Effect details the journey of one man who asked the same questions and stumbled upon a life-changing answer through a series of inspirational anecdotes and powerful advice you will learn the tricks to revolutionizing your entire life and see that holistic transformation is accessible to everyone if they take it one step at a time. So, welcome to the call, Rob.
[01:44] Rob: Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m pumped. I’m excited to be here.
[01:49] Ellen: Okay, good. So, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your story.
[1:55] Rob: The whole story, nothing about the story. Yeah. I was listening to that bio and I thought, “Man, that’s a pretty cool guy there you’re reading about.
Ellen: Who is he?
Rob: Yeah. I would love to meet that guy. So, I think probably the part that sticks out for most people and I’ve listened to a number of your podcasts, but I’m not sure how many pastors you have on.
[02:18] Ellen: I don’t think I’ve had any pastors on the podcast, but I’ve worked with several in my business.
[02:24]Rob: Okay, yeah. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Yeah. So, so my, my life cannot be extracted; two tracks that have always run in my life. I actually had a bit of a troubled upbringing and so there was a number of struggles when I was growing up and had some dysfunction in my family, which I know a number of people will really relate to.
[02:48] Ellen: I was going to say, who hasn’t?
[02:51] Rob: I know exactly, but, I struggled in school quite a bit as well. Scholastically. I just could not focus. I had undiagnosed ADD and just was all over the map. And so, it’s just one of those stories where my formative years were very, very you know, there was a lot of great stuff, but there was a lot of tumult as well. And so, when I came into my late teen years, I just really felt this calling that I wanted to help people. I wanted to mentor people. And because I had been brought up in the church, the ministry just seemed like such a natural fit, and it found me. I didn’t go looking for it. And I just feel so natural there. I feel like I stepped out of the ministry a number of years back, went into sales, and then I found my way back into the ministry just because it literally is who I was built to be.
And so, I feel like I do have this passion for personal-growth development through the sales and all of that. I’ve learned that, but I really just love to help people. And I just want to see people become the best version of themselves that they can be. And so, that’s really a calling, but a passion and it’s just really who I am.
[04:03] Ellen: Well, what made you get out of it the first time and go into sales?
[04:07] Rob: Well, sometimes like every other place, the church can be a toxic place as well, and it’s made up of people, and those people grind up against each other and rub each other the wrong way. And so, that happened for me, and I was just kind of burnt out, and I was just kind of at the end of what I could do in that season. And so, stepping out, I think was actually a good thing because I got to try some new things, I got to see the world in a whole different light. I think that was really good perspective.
[4:41] Ellen: It’s probably helping you to market your book too, no?
[04:45] Rob: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. Well, it’s all good, right?
Ellen: Yeah, right.
Rob: It’s all good experience. You kind of pick up and you move on, and I learned a ton. And it was, looking back on it, I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but looking back, I’ve made the best of it, and I think I’m better for it.
[05:02] Ellen: Yeah. So, you reached out to me and you mentioned your book, The Domino Effect, and I just loved the title. And so, it made me want to learn more, which is what a book should do. So, why don’t you tell us about The Domino Effect.
[05:19] Rob: The Domino Effect. It’s been a couple of years of discovery for me. And as much as I’ve been in personal growth and personal growth and development reading, all of those books, there has been just this incredible, this whole new level of understanding. It’s started, I’m fifty years old, had my birthday, about a week ago.
Ellen: Happy birthday.
Rob: So, I’m just turned fifty. Thank you. About two years ago, just over two years ago, I went out for a random breakfast. I think I was forty-eight, I guess at the time. And I went out for a random breakfast with some old friends that I hadn’t seen in about twenty years. And as we sat down, and it was just great to see these people, love these people, when we sat down, one of them said five words to me, it’s the opening chapter of the book, “Five Words and a Breakfast”, a breakfast in five words. It said something and it just rocked me to the core.
[06:14]: It was just one of those moments where it was like an out-of-body experience and I was like in the breakfast and kind of having the conversation, but I was also a million miles away, and it caused me to do a bunch of soul-searching and just rocked me. I can’t even explain it. It was one of those things that I could not stop thinking about and I just continue to think about it. And so coincidentally, that was right around the end of November. It took me about a month to actually kind of get my bearings. It was that big of an impact on me.
And so, New Year’s morning, 2018, I sat down at my breakfast table and I was like, “Okay, I got to figure this out,” because what was said to me just challenged me in such a new way that I thought that I’m going to change my life. And so, as I sat down, I was strategizing and just really trying to pull everything together, being very, very intentional about strategizing and making changes. And it was then that I really just discovered that for a long time I’d been living on autopilot. I’d just been kind of going through the motions. It’s day to day, it’s week to week.
[07:21] Ellen: That’s what most people do. Yeah.
Rob: Most people do. Yeah. And so, when I go back to, and, I told a little bit of my story, and there was some pain attached to my story. And then, you come through and I think, “Okay, I got this big dream, and I’m going to be a pastor and I’m just going to help a ton of people and it’s going to be great.” But then, somewhere along the line, you just get in the rigmarole of just everyday life. And then, you wake up and you’re fifty and you go, “Where are my dreams, and what am I accomplished? And what I have accomplished, is that okay? Is that enough? Or, is there more for me?”
So literally, it was these five words that just caused me to take stock. And then, what I discovered from there was making some changes, this little domino effect that happened in my life, and it was like this huge discovery for me. And that’s how I came to write the book. And that’s literally what the book is about. Anecdotally, this conversation is another domino in this huge chain that started way back from that conversation a couple of years ago,
[08:22] Ellen: Are there steps in The Domino Effect or how does it work?
[08:27] Rob: I formulated a strategy yeah as a result. And it was one of those things that really, it just had to unfold, it unfolded quite naturally, but I set some goals on that morning and a bunch of them, I never thought I would ever accomplish, but one of the goals as I said, “I’ve heard that a lot of people who learn, learn and are on the cutting edge of things, they read a lot of books.” And so, I decided I wanted to read fifty-two in a year, which is pretty lofty, right? Like even one per month is pretty lofty, but fifty-two books in a year that is..
Ellen: That’s one a week.
Rob: And so, I’m a huge audible listener, again, because of some learning disabilities and all of that comprehension and stuff. I’m so thankful for audible.com, but long story short, I read 110 books in the year 2000.
Rob: You follow me, you can see all the books. I documented every single book and…
[09:25] Ellen: Where is it?
Rob: Oh, Instagram.
Ellen: Okay. Instagram, PastorSharpe.
[09:28] Rob: And so, that amongst a multiple other things because when I decided that I was going to change a lot of people when they strategize, they’ll say, “Oh, just change one thing at a time,” and all this. And I was like, “No, I am going to change everything.” It was amazing. I think my wife was a little afraid at times. “And are you going to be okay? And is this going to last?” and all of these things, but what we started is still going.
[09:53] Ellen: Wow. Sometimes, when you make a major change like that too, spouses get scared because they’re afraid they’re going to get left behind.
[09:59] Rob: Yeah. I spoke at a men’s breakfast one time, and I’m just kind of doing my thing and sharing a lot more detail and probably a lot more impassioned actually, and so, I got to the end of my talk and I said, “Does anybody have any questions?’” And one guy put up his hand and said, “What does your wife think of this?”
Rob: And I was like, “Yeah,” that is, yeah. It can be scary for a spouse. It can be scary. And so, we’ve had to navigate that and we’ve had to just kind of grow together in it and I thank God because we have.
[10:32] Ellen: Yeah. That’s the deal; you either grow together or you grow apart. Yeah.
[10:36] Rob: Yeah. So, it has been a huge blessing for both of us, for our entire family. And so, here’s the thing, right? Because who would you rather be? That guy that just kind of drifts off into retirement and old age and all of those things, or the person that really kind of pushes. And for me, I want to be an inspiration to my kids. I want to be an example to them in terms of diligence, in terms of dreaming, in terms of kind of setting goals, and then really just pushing into them. And so, I hope they’re not intimidated by it, but I hope they look at it and as an example, they’re kind of like inspired by it and turned on by it. And just, it was a generational thing.
[11:17] Ellen: Yeah. I recently interviewed John Christian, who’s a high-performance coach. And he was talking about how his daughter asked him if he was happy at a time when he wasn’t happy. And he said the same thing, that he needed to change his life, to be an example to her. And I know even for me, we don’t have kids, but I have a niece and nephews, and I feel the same way.
[11:37] Rob: To me, it’s this whole idea of potential and without guilt-tripping, anybody or shaming anybody, one of the things that I noted in the book, and one of the things that I came to realize is I live in the most prosperous culture. The world has ever known. I live in a culture and in a time where information and resources are at your fingertips, 24/7, like it’s kind of like, there’s no excuses. Like even in the past, it’s like, “Oh, you weren’t born into the right family. Or, you weren’t born at the right time. Or, you didn’t have the wherewithal to kind of make good on yourself. It’s too bad.”
And really a lot of those excuses are gone just because the resources are so close and so readily accessible. And even like a podcast, like your own, people can just for free, just dial into this thing. learn, get free information.
[12:29] Rob: It’s amazing. It’s just amazing. And so, when I think about my own life and if I go down the Christian road, I would go in terms of my God, I want to steward my life, so I am honoring him to the best of my ability. And up to that point. Sure. I’d probably most people would look at my life and go, “Oh yeah, he’s a good guy. He’s living for God,” and all those things.
But in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wasn’t like completely just sold out and just living for God and stewarding all the resources, and the time I live in, and the money I have and, the relationships I have and all those things. And I just really wanted to make good on that if that makes sense.
[13:05] Ellen: Yeah, absolutely. So, you read 110 books, then what? What came next?
Rob: Well, I kept on reading.
[13:13] Rob: I think the next year, I slowed down quite a bit because it takes a commitment. I was reading everything. I was reading all the time, working out, running, driving. I was in the grocery store and I was reading Tony Robbins’ book and stuff. Right? So, that does get a little tired, plus it gets a little expensive too. So, I was dialing back and.
Ellen: You mean you didn’t have Prime?
[13:35] Rob: Yeah, that’s right I didn’t have Prime, gotta get Prime. Well, actually I found High Books, which is through Apple and it was free for a while. So, I didn’t use a lot of those books, but then that went away. And so, then I know on Audible, they have free books, and then I’m reading hard copies of books, and I’m reading them with people. And so, my point is you really have to lean into it to read that many.
[13:57] Ellen: Yeah. Anything is a commitment, anything that you’d say I’m going to do this, you have to make it a focus and a commitment and then you do it.
Rob: Yeah, that’s right. Totally.
[14:09] Ellen: You didn’t read as much the next year, but what did you do?
Rob: What did I do? Oh, the following year. So, the following year was the growth year. So, the first year, 2018 was just a huge year. But in 2019, we actually had made a decision to foster a young man, and it didn’t go well. So, we leaned into it. We decided that this was something worth, almost empty nesters. So, we thought, well, we have all these bedrooms. We have this house.
My wife’s a social worker, so she has incredible gifting and skillset to help somebody who would be in need. We have open hearts. And so, we decided to do this, but it just didn’t go well. And so, a lot of the things that we put in place, a lot of the directions we were moving in or moving towards, were really tested. And so, I’m thankful because it did come to a natural conclusion.
[15:00]: It might be my next book incidentally, but it did come to a natural conclusion. So, it’s all about perseverance, right? Because once you start, sort of the domino effect and you start to make some of these changes and financially we made a whole bunch of changes so that we were set up for retirement. And then, I started writing the book and I started reading books. And you had to kind of commit to that. I was on this fitness plan as well where I was running. We call them kilometers up here, but miles and miles and miles every day or weekly. And I was at the gym all the time. And I was losing weight. And like I said, I was just changing everything. So, yeah. So, it came to a place where man, we were just in a great spot, twelve months later, but then life starts to happen.
[15:41]: And it’s kind of like, “Well, are you going to stick to this? Is this a plan that you can stick to when you have to persevere through some adversity?” And so I’m thankful for those things that came along because they did kind of slow me down. I won’t have my wife into the mix there, but they did kind of slow me down enough to go, “You know what? I really want this. So, this is something that’s not going to stop me. It’s just something that I have to push through and take a step back, take a breath, and then, okay, next surge.” So…
[16:12] Ellen: Perseverance is huge. Perseverance is huge. And I know that a lot of people who have watched my journey and know my journey, that’s one of the ways that I inspire people is because I have persevered through a lot.
Rob: Yeah. Don’t we love those stories? Right. And we’re just meeting now for the first time, but I love hearing those stories because if you can do it, I can do it. Right? And that’s why we love those stories and we see them in the movies and books and stuff. I have a chapter in my book about it. I don’t give up. And I even read it through and I was reading through, we were doing a read through with my daughter and I, and I’m just reading it through. We get to the end of the chapter. I’m like, “Dang, that’s good.” And I just want to keep persevering until it happens.
[16:58] Ellen: It’s an interesting thing though because you had asked me before we started recording about my musical journey. Yeah. And it’s interesting because first of all, I’m very stubborn and there’s an upside to that and there’s a downside to that. And being stubborn, when I first started studying songwriting, I took a course at UCLA, and people who follow this podcast will hear some of these stories over and over, I’m sure. And the teacher was very well respected within the industry. And he said I would never make it because my lyrics were to Joni Mitchellish. And to me, that was a compliment and I felt like that means I could make it. But on the other side of it, what he was saying was as an outside writer you can’t write songs that are very artist-centric. But what that did in my brain would immediately went, “I’ll show you.” That was my immediate response, right?
Ellen: So, you can have a negative experience and either go “Poor me,” or you can go “Screw you. Screw you, I’m not listening to you.”
[18:28] Rob: Or, you can go, “Somebody just compared me to Joni Mitchell.”
Ellen: Right. Well, that was the “Screw you.” Yeah.
Rob: That’s right. I’m on the right track. A little, shout out for Canadian content there as well. Yeah.
[18:16] Ellen: Yeah. She’s Canadian. But anyway, but then it became a negative thing because I got talked into leaving the music business at a time when my life was going through some major changes. My parents had passed away. We had a house we had to sell, and just a lot of things happen. But then, I got into the book writing, and then I persevered in that. But I really related to what you were saying about “Have I done everything?” Or, all this time went by and you don’t realize it, and then you wake up and you go, “Oh my God.”
And so, when I first got into the book writing and book coaching, I thought, “Oh, within a couple of years, I’ll go back to songwriting.” And 2008 happened. And then, I learned all about the entrepreneurial journey and the ups and downs and being a creative and constantly wanting to change directions. And so many things happen. And all of a sudden, I woke up and twenty-five years had gone by. And I’m like, “What?” And I was so bummed. I was so upset, but two things happen. One is I am part of that to my niece and my nephews because they’re at that age, they’re in their late twenties and deciding do I, my nephew, “Do I want to be a dad? Do I want to be a musician?” Cause he’s into this.
And I’m like, “Hey, you got to go for your dreams when you’re young but you’ve got to persevere.” That’s the thing. It’s like, I didn’t understand. Even after I got the Grammy nomination, it was three years before I got another cut. I still wasn’t making any serious money, but I didn’t understand that you don’t get out of line.
[19:47]: You can’t stop EVER. And I did not understand that. So, I took it as “Well, I guess I’m not going to make it.” And I let that influence me in a way that yeah, if I could get those years back, I would in a second, but I can’t. So, what I did instead was last year I started doing music again.
Rob: Oh, great!
[20:10] Ellen: Yeah. So, it’s been slow, but the first thing I did was I took all my songs that were on DAT, and I got them onto my computer and I don’t even have them all on there yet, but I got a lot of them on there. And then, I started writing again and I started going to meet up. So, that’s one thing that’s great about the Internet.
And then, this contest came along that turns out, this contest has been going on for years. I just didn’t know about it cause I was out of the business, and it started right about the time I got out. And it was funny because there had been a contest before this one that I had actually entered, and I had won the grand prize, and I’d beat out 30,000 people in pop lyrics.
Rob: There you go.
Ellen: …which was unbelievable. But what upsets me about it is it still didn’t occur to me that if I could beat out 30,000 people, to win this thing, “Hey, maybe I have some talent.” (Laugh)
[20:56] Rob: Yes. Well, absolutely. And if you’re mentioned in the same breath as Joni Mitchell, and then I don’t know if your listeners know about Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, and that whole thing.
Ellen: Yeah. They beat us out for the Grammy. Yeah. No, I know. But the reason I’m bringing all this up is I hope that I can, in this conversation, knock some sense into people who are giving up on their dreams.
That’s really the point that I want to make.
Rob: Rob: Love it.
[21:24] Ellen: And about perseverance, you know? And even if you mess up big time, like I did it, you’re still breathing, and you can still go back and yeah, it takes time though to rebuild. Absolutely. But you can do it. I’m sixty-seven years old and I’m doing it.
Rob: Yeah. You’re doing podcasts. I love it. It’s just that all of that stuff just gasses me up. And it’s just more food for the journey, more gas for the journey as it were.
Ellen: Yeah. I had to rebuild my book and coaching business too because I did really well in the early years. And then, the recession hit, I got sick, my husband got sick, a lot of things happen in there, and I backed off on a lot of things there, and I’ve had to rebuild that too. So, it’s an ongoing process, and it’s ongoing learning, and sometimes, the lessons are painful and sometimes, they’re hard, and sometimes they’re long, but you’re not going to learn them if you give up.
[22:17] Rob: That’s totally true. Well, and I like when a number of years ago, I set out to read 500 biographies of notable people. And I tracked it for a while. I know I was around the mid three hundreds, but I, that was a number of years ago. And I’ve read probably a couple hundred or 300 since then. But the one thing about all of those people, at some point along the way they had to persevere.
Rob: And I know this is a lot about promoting the book. It’s a brand-new book and all that stuff, but the chapter on don’t quit, there’s this story about the Golden Plover, and if that doesn’t inspire you-just about perseverance, like I know you’re kind of going all super anecdotal and personal, and I love it. And, but there’s stories that are inspiring about perseverance all around us.
And I guess we should feel like we’re not the only ones, right? We’re not, you’re not the only one that has to persevere through your debt, through your marriage situation, your health crisis, your job situation, everybody’s has to persevere if they want to do something worthwhile.
Ellen: Yeah, absolutely.
Rob: Great. Now I’m getting excited just in this conversation.
[23:21] Ellen: So, what are some of the other stories in The Domino Effect? We’ve got perseverance, what else?
Rob: I talk about limitations and you would know this as an author, the whole idea of imposter syndrome, and “Who do I think I am?” And then, I talk about outside forces and how to handle outside forces. And this is, of course after I kind of start to gain some steam, talk about the idea of risk. And a lot of times we just don’t feel like we want to put ourselves out there. And Brene Brown has done a great thing about vulnerability. So, I won’t give it all away, but it’s a short read. It’s very power-packed. It’s very easy to read.
Everybody has come back. If you read all my Amazon reviews, they’re all just like very motivational, very inspirational, very easy to read and short, which is great in this day and age where we don’t have like, a couple of people, I asked to read the book and they’re like, “Well, I’m a slow reader. I don’t know if I can read this and then, get back to you.” And I’m like, “Well, just trust me, try it and see what happens.” And they’re like, “Just finished the book, it’s awesome!” And it’s kind of fun to watch people get keyed up.
[24:29] Ellen: That’s so great. It’s so great when you do that and people really respond to it. So, congratulations.
Rob: Thank you so much.
Ellen: Job well-done.
Rob: Yeah, well, yeah. It’s really just my dream now to get the word out, and if I can help some people that would be great.
[24:43] Ellen: Yeah. So, how can people find the book?
Rob: So, you can just look up, you’re in the state, so amazon.com, The Domino Effect by Rob Sharpe with an “E”.
Ellen: So, you don’t have it on your website anywhere or any other place?
Rob: Yeah. And then I do. My website is dominoeffect.online. I’m working on the audible should be out by mid-July. Pretty excited about that. And…
[25:05] Ellen: Okay. Well, everybody, when you go and read the book, be sure to leave him a review. Reviews are important.
Rob: That’s right.
Ellen: But everybody be careful about reviews. The people listening to the podcast don’t know you, so that’s great. Cause I’m telling them to go give you a review, but you got to be careful when you’re writing a book, don’t have family and close friends review your book because if Amazon decides that they’re too close to you, they may threaten to shut you down, which they did to me. And I never did find out who that was, but I..
Ellen: You don’t want to mess with Amazon. Let’s just leave it at that. Okay.
[25:41] Ellen: Okay. So, any final tips before we go?
Rob: Yeah. I think the final thing that I would say is I know in the U. S. right now there’s a lot of racial tension, we’re coming off the George Floyd thing and, and this is ingrained in the U. S. culture ingrained in Canadian culture in a different way with indigenous folks, but one of the people that I’ve always looked at for inspiration is Martin Luther King Jr.
And I know a lot of people, he’s just iconic with regard to perseverance. Again, if you want, go back to perseverance, if you go back to just integrity. And I love him because he was a pastor as well, ran a church, and was just so influential in his world. But he has those magical words. I have a dream, I have a dream. And I think inside of each one of us, and this was one of the things that I learned in The Domino Effect is that sometimes the dream goes by the wayside because life gets in the way.
[26:38]: And so, you ask, “Is there one thing you could say?” I would say, “Yeah, you know what? Reach back for that dream. You can do it.” But I would also say secondary to that is because of my experience of what I’ve been through, Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” And I would say in conjunction with that, and not that I’m putting myself on his level at all, but Martin Luther King had a dream, he said, “I have a dream.” And then, I would say, ”I have a plan.”
Ellen: Right, right.
Rob: And this plan locked in with your dream will bring you inevitably to your final destination.
Ellen: Right, that is so important. I didn’t have a plan. I showed up every day. I did the work. But like what you were talking about when it got to the point where, I had the Grammy, but nothing was happening. I didn’t have a plan. And the plan should have been, get a job in the industry. That’s what the plan should have been. Right?
Rob: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
[27:37] Ellen: Yeah, because ultimately, it’s about relationships. That’s the bottom line, it’s about relationships.
Rob: It really is. Yeah. Yup. And so, the book helps you kind of formulate that plan, but also, I offer coaching and stuff as well at that website dominoeffect.online. And I would love, love, love to build a plan with whoever out there is listening, who has a dream and they’re just kind of like “I haven’t got there yet. I’m not really sure how to get there.” And so, yeah, that’s it. That’s it.
[28:05] Ellen: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much. Yeah. And if part of your plan is to write a book, I have the guide to get you started, and I’ll tell you about that in a second.
To get the transcript go to www.booksbusinessabundance.com/podcast. And you’re also welcome to join our Facebook group, The link is also on the podcast page and that’s where you can network, you get first notice of when the new podcasts come out, and we sometimes do book giveaways in there, and some other good stuff. So, we’d love to have you join us.
And as I said, if you’d like to be an author, you’d like to learn how to write books faster, be sure to grab a copy of my Book Planning Secrets, A Simple 4-Step Guide to Writing a Bestseller that is also on the page there. So, that’s it for today. Till next time, Bye-bye.
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