Bob Scheinfeld is the best-selling author of The Invisible Path to Success and The 11th Element. For more than 20 years, Bob Scheinfeld has been helping people create extraordinary results in less time, with less effort, and much more fun. His passion is helping others carve out and live what he calls their ultimate lifestyle.
Bob is the grandson of Aaron Scheinfeld, who founded Manpower, Inc., the world’s largest temporary help service. Manpower is currently number 176 on the Fortune 500 list and has sales of over $11 billion a year.
Along his journey, Bob became a millionaire and a self-proclaimed stressed-out maniac, plunged more than $153,000 into debt, and then spent seven years struggling with Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, before he discovered the missing pieces, rebuilt his business empire, became a multi-millionaire, transforming the other aspects of his life and beginning to live what he now calls the ultimate lifestyle.
Bob’s journey of triumph over failure, confusion, anger and desperation, qualifies him as an undisputed expert in the arena of business success and personal fulfillment. Along the way, he helped grow Blue Ocean Software from $1 million to $44 million in less than four years, resulting in the company being named three times to Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500 list.
He also played a key role in growing the computer store franchise company called Connecting Point of America, from $90 million to $350 million in sales. In addition, the marketing model and system Bob created has been used to pack the room at Tony Robbins’ multimedia seminars.
Bob is also a founding member of Jack Canfield’s Transformational Leadership Counsel, and he lives in Virginia with his beautiful wife Cecily, and their two children.
Chris Attwood: Bob, it’s a pleasure to have you with us.
Bob Scheinfeld: It’s my pleasure to be here, Chris.
Chris Attwood: I am going to plunge right in and ask if you would begin by telling us the story of what it was like to grow up with Aaron Scheinfeld, and what you learned from him along the way?
Bob Scheinfeld: It’s a fascinating story and ties directly into the topic. I grew up in this family with this gigantic, international success story. My grandfather, beyond that, was just an amazing man. He advised two Presidents, besides building this gigantic company. He was an amazingly accomplished man, period.
Growing up in this gigantic success story, there was a funny dynamic I noticed. There was this rumbling within the family that there was something very unusual behind this gigantic success story-there was some mystery. But nobody was talking about it, or they didn’t know what it was; it was just this undercurrent of mystery.
I don’t know how many people have kids who are constantly asking the question Why? and driving them crazy, but that’s the kind of kid I was. When I was 12 years old, and I became very aware of this mystery, every time I had contact with my grandfather, I was bugging him, What’s this secret? What’s this mystery? What’s this undercurrent that no one is talking about, about your success? He kept putting me off and putting me off.
Then the extended family was on a trip to Switzerland, in a small town called [Crans], to celebrate his 70th birthday. On a Sunday, in the middle of that trip, he came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go have a cup of hot chocolate with him. You have to understand-even his family-people didn’t have cups of hot chocolate with this guy on a Sunday morning, but he invited me and I, of course, was honored and flattered and said, Of course.
So we went to this little café in town and he said, You’ve been bugging me to find out what the big secret is. Now I’m going to start telling you. He proceeded to share with me a concept which will sound very familiar to most people, but the way he took it was very different, and the way I’ve taken it in my life has been very different.
What he started to share with me on that morning is that there was an invisible source of power that was available to us and we could tap, and when you understood what that invisible power really was, and you understood how to tap into it, you could do amazing things. This goes way beyond what is typically talked about in terms of the subconscious mind, visualization and all the typical things that I think all of us have heard about.
He told me that it was from this invisible source of power from which he got the original idea for Manpower, he got the assistance to build it, to blow through resistance they had when they were expanding it internationally, and he credited it with all of his success in his life, in all aspects of his life, not just business.
So the good news is, he started to mentor me in the specific mindset and strategies he used for understanding this invisible source of power, and being able to tap it on a daily basis. The bad news, which is not really bad news, but you could look at it that way, is that he died seven months later, before he could finish teaching me.
He really whetted my whistle, so to speak, and got me going and introduced me to this fascinating world-what does a 12-year-old know about invisible worlds, unseen power and all this stuff? He had started to teach me enough that I had something I could do, and he left a ton of clues. I literally spent 20 years following the clues he left.
Obviously, I was 12 years old, I wasn’t trying to do this kind of stuff full time when I was still a kid, and even in my teen years, but once I left college and started to go out on my own, I took everything that he had said quite seriously, applied what he taught me and followed the clues he left-sometimes desperately, sometimes just excitedly, trying to assemble the complete system I believe he would have taught me had he lived.
At the time, that was frustrating, but as I look back on it, it was the biggest gift I could have given myself not to have had the whole thing handed to me on a silver platter. As you know, Chris, this is a big part of my work now, in terms of enjoyment and joyfulness. Nobody enjoys anything as much if it comes too easily as when they really work for it.
If somebody starts you on a path, you have to follow the path and follow ups and downs, and I went through some wild ones. With blood, sweat and tears, I assembled tremendous breakthroughs in systems that I shared with others, used myself, and continued to evolve them.
It’s like if somebody was an Olympic athlete and just stepped on the court, the mat or the ice, had never practiced, and just won the gold medal on pure, natural talent (this is not a perfect metaphor), it’s not as enjoyable or as satisfying as if they trained for years, didn’t know if they were going to make it, had ups and downs, and then ultimately, won the gold medal.
It was a perfect creation to support me on my journey, to be teased like that and left a bunch of clues, having to do all the work myself. What that set into motion was twin passions. One was a passion for understanding and mapping out the invisible world and these sources of power that he introduced me to, and the second passion was tying that in to business.
Like him, I had a passion for starting and building businesses, although I never had the interest in the complexity of a company as big as he built. That started me on a road, from a very young age, to spiritual entrepreneurship, for lack of a better term.
Spiritual is the label to describe the invisible world for me. Pretty much everything I have done in my adult life since leaving college has been in pursuit of those twin passions, with the invisible world being a much stronger one, but both of them being strong.
Chris Attwood: Wonderful. Tell us how these passions led you into the business realm. You mentioned that you went through some ups and downs, and it was a journey. Would you share the story of how that unfolded and what role your passions played along the way? Bring us up to just before the work you’re doing today.
Bob Scheinfeld: The work I’m doing today was the result of a series of breakthroughs. I needed to go through a whole bunch of things before I was ready, so to speak, to be able to have a breakthrough like that. So to me, my whole life, everything that has happened up until about two years ago, was specifically designed to support me in having that breakthrough, so that was job number one, the top priority.
Chris Attwood: Do you think that’s true for everyone? Do you think that what people have been living through has prepared them for what’s coming up?
Bob Scheinfeld: Absolutely. I believe everybody comes into this life with a mission and a purpose-there’s something specific-and it’s not one thing; it’s a complex thing, but there’s something specific that we all wanted to do or experience. In everything I have taught, that is one of the things I have not deleted by some of my recent breakthroughs.
Whatever your mission or purpose is, is the filter that everything else goes through, and it’s the determining factor of what’s going to happen or not happen in your life, no mater what kind of results you try to produce. It’s like if you remember the Star Trek series, they had a prime directive that guided all of their activities.
Our mission and purpose is the prime directive in our life. Everything that happens in our lives, as I see it, from childhood-there’s even research coming out now that the programming process, the conditioning process, even starts when the babies are in the womb-from as early as you want to say it starts, throughout your life, everything is part of unfolding the mission and purpose you came here for.
Chris Attwood: One of the things Janet and I talk about is that your passions, the things that are most deeply important to you in you life, we feel are some of the clues to that mission or purpose. Would you agree with that?
Bob Scheinfeld: Yes. One of the other things I’ve discovered is that you don’t necessarily need to consciously know what your mission or purpose is. In some cases, I think it hurts to know too much too soon. A lot of people think they have to know what it is in order to be able to fulfill it. You don’t need to know consciously, and as much as you need to know, you’ll know.
There are all kinds of examples of people who knew at a young age or in their 20s, they were accurate, and there are stories of people who thought for sure this was what their life was going to be about and it wasn’t. There are people who had no idea what their mission and purpose was until they were much older.
I believe there are some people who died, having completely fulfilled it, but never consciously knew what it was. The conscious awareness isn’t necessary, but it’s still what’s driving your life.
Chris Attwood: You’ve had an extraordinary adventure as you followed your passions. Tell us the story. You made millions, lost them, made them again-how did that happen and what did you learn, coming out of it?
Bob Scheinfeld: I had a pretty ordinary career, I would say, in my 20s and early 30s. As I was hitting my stride, both with invisible world skills, tying back to the journey my grandfather started me on, and business-building skills, I always and a knack for certain things.
Once I hit my 30s, I had a lot of power going with the invisible world stuff he had started me on, and on what I would call direct marketing skill. I got involved with a number of businesses that were not my own, and helped them to grow dramatically and quickly. As a result of that, I was rewarded quite well and I also did very well with a number of investments.
I took some of the wealth I had developed through those entrepreneurial projects and was able to parlay it in the stock market and some other things. I was really riding high when I hit 31, 32. That’s, as you referred to, when Murphy came to visit.
Chris Attwood: You said that as you were building up to this, you had developed some power and skill in the invisible world. I’m not sure that everyone will understand what that means. Can you give some examples of what it means to have skill or power in this area of the invisible world?
Bob Scheinfeld: When my grandfather started teaching me about the invisible world and the invisible power source and how he had tapped it, it essentially came down to the fact that no matter what result you want to produce, no matter what answer you need, no matter what help you may want to do what you need to do, there is an answer somewhere.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this because it’s not where I am anymore, but essentially, it was a system for asking for help, for being able to tap this invisible power source for guidance, assistance, or bringing people into your life. I understand this sounds very similar to many common self-help things, except it’s not, when you really dive into it.
Chris Attwood: So you had developed the skill for being able to ask for what you needed and it showed up?
Bob Scheinfeld: Yes, it’s a twin skill. One is knowing how to ask for the help you want, not of other people, but by tapping into this invisible source of power, and then being able to receive it. Interestingly enough, being able to notice it and receive the help back is much trickier than asking for it because it generally doesn’t come in the way you’d expect it.
I think with most people who have had amazing things happen-it’s almost always come in very unexpected ways. That’s the way it works in the universe, in my opinion. I had gotten very good at applying the system I had developed to get help on whatever I was working on.
If somebody came to me and said they wanted me to help them start or build a business-and usually, my role was developing a marketing machine that would drive customers, sales and the whole deal-they never knew I was tapping into the invisible world to get help with my part of it, but I was.
So every aspect of what I had to do, no matter what it was-if it was writing a sales letter, building a website, solving a problem-I would use this system to ask for help, I’d get the help I needed, and I soared in whatever I was doing. It was amazing.
Chris Attwood: Here you were, riding high in your early 30s, made a ton of money and then what happened?
Bob Scheinfeld: My father used to call me Lucky Pierre because I just seemed to have this magic, Midas touch. I piled up a lot of money from having done that. Then I left the corporate world, and at this point, I had perfected my invisible world system enough, and I was on fire about it, so I wanted to teach other people.
I left the corporate world after three and a half years. One of the things I discovered along the way was that I’d also had this gigantic passion for personal growth, expanding myself and teaching and helping other people, but I had said, Not this life. I seem to be doing business in other stuff, and I put that on the wayside.
When I left the corporate arena, I actually bought a Tony Robbins franchise and spent three and a half years building that up and teaching Tony’s work, where I was a facilitator of his seminars and my own. There were also multimedia seminars where it was part him on a gigantic screen on video and part us as live facilitators. I spend three and a half years doing that before I launched my own body of work and started sharing my own methodologies.
That was a great experience too, and it also gave me an opportunity to fine tune my marketing skills. Then, at age 32, I hit this wall, where it was like somebody had flipped a switch and Lucky Pierre turned into Murphy. I could do nothing right. Everything I tried to do failed, got messed up, got complicated and stressful.
I was hemorrhaging money for years until millions of dollars disappeared and I ended up $153,000 in debt. No matter what I tried to do, I could not right the ship that was sinking. Ultimately, in a major deal for me, I had to humble myself and ask my father to co-sign on a loan at a bank to get that $153,000. Most of that debt was on credit cards.
[I needed that] to help me stabilize the ship because I couldn’t seem to stop it from sinking. It didn’t make any sense to me because I’d been riding so high, and I thought I’d figured out enough of what my grandfather had left as a mystery. I knew what I was doing and I knew how to tap this power source. It was like, So what the heck is this?
I didn’t all of a sudden have all this success and then get stupid, careless and not follow what I had learned and had become masterful at, which some people do. They get really successful and then get sloppy, but I hadn’t done that and it was like, What is going on here?
I got desperate and thought, Obviously, there are puzzle pieces here that I don’t have. There’s something I thought I understood, I thought I had the complete picture, and obviously I don’t.
Chris Attwood: What do you mean by puzzle pieces?
Bob Scheinfeld: There are a lot of people at various points on my journey who have come to me-originally with The Invisible Path to Success work, with The 11th Element, and now with the Busting Loose work-and said, This is really different stuff. This is not what you normally get on the street, so where did you get this stuff?
The only way I’ve ever been able to answer the question is to compare it to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. When you put a jigsaw puzzle together, you dump all these pieces on the table, they don’t look like much, you start assembling them and it still doesn’t look like much. But after you assemble enough of them, you start to get an idea what the picture is.
You know what the picture is when you do a jigsaw puzzle, but suppose you didn’t or somebody just dumped the pieces and didn’t show you the final picture. It starts to get clear, and then you add the final pieces and all of a sudden, this picture pops into view.
On my journey, I got puzzle pieces from all over the place-from my grandfather, books, individuals, in meditations or insights when I was in the shower or driving, or sitting in a movie or doing something else-and all of a sudden, these pieces assemble themselves and a picture pops into my view. Then I start refining it and working with it.
That’s how it’s always worked for me-puzzle here, puzzle there-and sometimes you don’t even know you’re getting pieces, but you are. Then they assemble themselves. That’s how my life has always worked with all of these things, including the most recent breakthroughs.
Chris Attwood: You have been telling us that there is a money game which all of us have been trained to play from the time we were young kids? Is that true for almost all of us?
Bob Scheinfeld: Absolutely.
Chris Attwood: We’ve been trained to play the game with the rules and regulations, some of us have gotten good at it and some of us have not been very successful at it. You’re saying that this is a game we have a choice to step out of, unlike if we want to keep playing a sport, we can’t step out of it.
We have a choice to step out of this game and go into a new situation that’s not going to be a situation of suffering. We’re not going to step out of the game and die. You’re saying it’s possible to step out of the game and actually enjoy this cosmic overdraft protection?
Bob Scheinfeld: And prosper in the way that everybody would like to prosper. The other piece of the puzzle is you cannot win the money game according to the rules, regulations and structure that we’re taught. Everyone has experienced this, but most people probably think, If you just pile up enough, then what I’m about to say doesn’t happen anymore.
I’m here to tell you, from having become extremely wealthy myself and being able, through my father, grandfather and other business associations with some of the wealthiest people in the world, that it never goes away. If you play the money game according to the standard rules, regulations and structure that you’re taught growing up and that gets beaten into us to the point that we never question it, it always leads to some form of stress, pain, loss, dissatisfaction.
It doesn’t matter how much you pile up. There’s always some cost and some loss. You pile it up at the expense of your relationships or your health. You pile up a whole bunch of it and then find yourself in an extremely stressful situation, trying to hold onto it or manage it.
I’ll give you an example. Don’t take this 100% literally, because there are other pieces to the puzzle. I know a man who became a billionaire, and to manage the money, he has a staff of 60 people. He has to manage those people and it’s extremely complex. A lot of people might say, I would love to have that problem.
But this person is not a happy camper. You see this all over. There are people who look at the super-wealthy and think, Those people have private jets, mansions, fancy lifestyles and they’re happy and enjoying everything. Deep down, we all know that’s not true, because we’ve seen enough stories of people who have hit those pinnacles, and have become drug addicts and such.
We know it’s not true, but it’s such a sexy dream that nobody wants to let go of it. So we all blind ourselves to the fact that there isn’t gold at the end of the rainbow when you play the money game. But there is gold at the end of the rainbow, and all the fantasies can come true, if you bust loose and start playing a new game with a different set of rules, which I discovered on this amazing journey that my grandfather started me on.