Today's Guest: Rich Stevens
Today, I interview Rich Stevens who tended to be the loudest person in the room, always making “noise”. He had a big personality. At home, however, he kept to himself and was fairly mellow and quiet.
He then realized that in business and in life, being noisy isn’t helpful. He had a lot to say, but it was not useful, constructive, or otherwise helpful in any way. So his words were just noise, and they were off-putting.
After battling years of depression, he realized that by making a lot of “noise” he felt that he was the problem. He has since learned to balance the different sides of his personality, focusing on quality over quantity.
He has a deep love for people and now helps people to gain a better understanding of each other, allowing them to become stronger.
Rich Stevens is a podcaster and motivational speaker. On his podcast Inside the Orange, he talks to people to understand the similarities and differences in people and how we can learn from each other. The idea of Inside the Orange comes from the idea that we think we ‘know’ people from the outside, but only when we look inside of people and understand them do we know what’s really going on.
Much like everyone knows what an orange is, but you don’t know how good that orange is until you unpeel it… Rich wants to grow his brand and help businesses understand their people better through training and engagement to improve retention of people within the business and to help develop brand ambassadors.
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Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com
Episode #36 Rich Stevens
“Less Noise, More Love for People”
(00:35) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Hi, I’m Doreen Downing and I’m a psychologist and I host the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast here. And what I do is invite people who have had some struggle with speaking, whether it was a sense that they didn’t have a voice or whether they were in environments where people actually put them down. And either they were bullied, or in some ways, they did not have the permission to say, “hey, world look at me.” Or they’re carrying some kind of doubt or some kind of insecurity. But the good thing, and we get to hear that with our guests, not only about their struggle, is that eventually they found a path, they found a way, and we get to hear that also. And most of them have now businesses where they help others. So that’s what I’m excited today to share with you with my friend Rich Stevens. And he’s also a podcaster and a motivational speaker. And his podcast is called Inside the Orange. And he talks to people to understand the similarities and differences in people and how we can learn from each other. And the idea of “inside the orange” comes from the idea that we think we know people from the outside, but only when we look inside of people and understand them do we know what’s really going on. And much like everyone knows what an orange is, well, but you don’t know how good it is until that orange is peeled, unpeeled, and– Ooh, yummy. Makes my mouth water right now, Rich. Let me just say one more thing about you. Rich wants to grow his brand, and help businesses understand their people better through training and engagement to improve retention of people within business and to help develop brand ambassadors. So, welcome. It’s so wonderful, because it seems like you and I both have this deep curiosity about people and what’s going on inside and the name of your podcast being Inside the Orange is like, you know, somewhat similar to mine about Find Your Voice, Change Your Life. So, thank you for being here today. Let’s just say hello and see what you want to start with.
(03:01) Rich Stevens:
Yeah, so Dr. Doreen, firstly, thank you so much for allowing me the time to come and talk on your podcast. It’s it is wonderfully similar to my own. And I think what I love about Find Your Voice is and the guests I’ve heard from so far is just how much we can learn if we listen to people’s stories where people have come from, and it’s so exciting what people can offer because of that. So, thank you for that. And yeah, it’s lovely to be here.
(03:27) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Good. And obviously, I’ve invited people who have had some kind of struggle with speaking and being themselves, expressing themselves. But something has held them back. And I know that that’s part of your story. And so that’s what we want to hear today is any awareness, anything that you can show us about the details of the struggle that you went through early on?
(03:57) Rich Stevens:
Yeah, so my story goes back, as most people’s does, goes back to childhood. It’s a case of knowing who I was. And it wasn’t until I got into my 30s that I actually identified with the person that I was as a child. Now I’ll kind of break that down. I’ve had battles with mental health, with depression, because of what something I call this: always being the noisiest person in the room. And why I say that, and again, why I think it’s really important is that we need to make sure that we realize that noise isn’t voice. Noise isn’t impactful. Noise actually is quite a distracting thing. It’s something that is quite– it puts people off. So, if I talk about where my awareness of the story started… so I was a retail manager for 10 years. I was one of those happy go lucky kind of people. I was the loudest person in the room. I was a character, big personality and secretly, as I worked, I became less and less connected to the values of where I worked. Didn’t know this at the time, this is a story that kind of goes on. But as I became less and less, kind of impacted by the values of the companies I worked for, my noise got louder, out in groups in the, kind of in business world. But at home, I was quiet, I was really not myself. And there was this real kind of different character. There was there was Rich who went to work and became this big personality, a lot of noise, a lot of noise. And there was Rich at home, who was quiet, wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t do a lot, other than get prepared to perform at work and put on this performance. And over time, I kind of resented the performance, I resented the fact that there was a lot of noise, but there wasn’t anything behind it. And I thought, I’m the problem. So, I remember when I was battling depression thinking, this is all on me. You know, I’m loud. So, I need to kind of work out what’s wrong with me. And those were the words I use, what am I doing wrong? Why am I in the wrong environment? Why am I doing things? You know, why am I not being accepted, and just almost being a joke of this loud, you know, ‘it’s alright, Richie Rich has always got a smile on his face.’ Well, rich had a smile on his face, but a home, that smile wasn’t there anymore. And it got to a very sad point with depression and having to know that and you know, I did some things that, you know, I kind of went on antidepressants, so I kind of still had to had to perform. And there’s an episode of my podcast that I called Rocket Man that talks a lot about the fact that there was this big alter ego of my own self, but actually getting the depression and having the mental health episode made me kind of look at my life and think, hang on a minute, where am I? What’s going on, you know, so as much as I– and this is where it’s complicated– I’ve always had a voice, but I don’t believe it was a voice until I believed in the value of what I had to say and I matched the values with the with the voice. The voice came from the value, not the noise, the noise was something I had to get rid of. And that’s where it starts.
(07:28) Dr. Doreen Downing:
I’d like to just pause there, because you’ve already said so many fabulous, wonderful insights, not only about yourself, but I think other people can go ‘yes’ to. The first one was voice. Voice. The loud does not mean voice. And that’s pretty, I think, profound to say, people are thinking about, “Oh, I have a voice and I could speak up. And I could speak out and I can project.” But that’s not voice. And then what you just said about this whole idea about performance. And I heard that seems to be one of the themes on the podcast is that people go into environments like work environments, and they have to put on a suit or they have to put on a mask and they have to fit in and they’re molded. Most of them are quiet, though. Your story is totally different. Your story is that you went into an environment or work environment and you were the noise, you were loud. But it wasn’t– I think what you’re saying bottom line is, it wasn’t real. And that’s what you came to realize, that really the person at home who was depressed or quiet or not so expressive– neither one was you, it sounds like.
(08:50) Rich Stevens:
Absolutely, you know, spot on analogy that neither one was me. And it was– the interesting thing was, it was about them making friends with each other. It was about both of them taking from one another, you know, that having the confidence to talk even in a more introverted style than I was used to. You know, so the extrovert in me kind of helped the fact that I could talk, but it was again, it was about Person A meeting Person B and it’s incredible when you think about it, that it’s the same person, but how different you can be in two completely different scenarios.
(09:24) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Absolutely, yes. And for you, in your case, it seemed like it was pretty polar opposite. And I, since I’m a psychologist, sometimes people call that like hypo manic or something like on one side, there’s kind of an extraversion that’s kind of hyped up and on steroids. And the other one is like there’s just no energy. So, it seems like that pattern and people who are listening who have a pattern like that, where there’s a cycle. I think what you’re saying is there’s value in it if you can say, all right, one extreme, can talk to the other extreme, there’s got to be value in each part because they really aren’t part of you, both of them, anyway.
(10:11) Rich Stevens:
And, you know, there were times that people would always sit tell me how they were, they were jealous of the kind of the Rockstar approach, I always call it, that, because it was that was the difference in the personality, it was this big, flamboyant character. And again, I’ll use the word character, it was a version. But actually, it was more difficult for me to make friends and to make connections with people, because when they met, the real me, is completely different. And only the people that I know that love me get the get both versions, but appreciate the one that’s a lot quieter, and one that’s a lot more impactful, I think.
(10:48) Dr. Doreen Downing:
I’d love to hear a little bit more about what those two sides– what their conversation might have been, like, how did they open up to each other? And how did they listen and really find value? Or how did you find value? And so did they have voices?
(11:08) Rich Stevens:
They, they did. And I think the crazy thing is that I think, at times, they were probably jealous of one another. And I know this is so surreal talking about it. You know, my introvert wanted to say, well, how come he can be loud? How can you be that… and the, the extrovert, how can he be so comfortable in his own skin? And so I think there was there was, you know, and this is the thing about kind of, when you learn to understand yourself is that you do appreciate. One of the biggest things, and we’ve spoken the past. But one of the biggest things that was a turning point for me was the film Rocket Man. And again, I always come back to that, because it was the first time that I saw the two versions of myself. Now, just a bit of a brief analogy, sorry. So, Rocket Man, the Elton John biopic is about a stage performer, Elton John, but actually who he really is, and how he had to learn to love himself as Reginald Dwight being the same thing. And it was almost like I was watching on screen a version of how I live my life.
(12:05) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, I get it. And I have seen that movie, but you’re pointing to it as a way to say that there’s the performer, and then there’s the other part that is not comfortable performing at all. And, but they both live within you. They both lived within you and you had strengths in each one of them. And you pretty much said that they were jealous of each other. Well, then, understanding yourself like you have and then what you’re explaining and the struggle was to reconcile the two, what– talk about the journey of how they found each other and what the integration was?
(12:52) Rich Stevens:
Well, I’ve always been a big fan of not living with regret. So, if something presents itself to me, I always think I want to try that. And I remember it again, it came in quite a destructive way. So, I was a manager for a retailer. I stepped away from that, I walked away, I turned my phone off, “I’m quitting, I’m not doing this anymore.” And I found a business degree. And I thought, yeah, I’m gonna try this. And I thought, and this is the difference that I thought that the idea of the business degree was it would take away the glass ceilings, of what was stopping big, rich, get promotions, it wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t ready for it and my values didn’t mean anything. I’m not even there yet. But I just thought, Well, I’m not educated enough. So maybe if I got an education, maybe that would help. Now, the beauty of doing a business degree is that the education has almost been paramount to how much it’s just decided to change my life. Because when I did start to turn right and look at these decisions and look at something else, I found Simon Sinek, I found a thing– there was a documentary in UK years ago called Seven Up, which is where you look at the children at seven and what they become as adults. So, it’s a documentary series filmed every seven years. It’s a fantastic season. It’s been going on since the 60s. And every seven years I got back to it. One of the core studies we did in leadership was go back and speak to your family about the seven-year-old you, and I asked my family to write 10 things about me from when I was seven or a close age. And one of those things was “he was inquisitive.” He always wanted to understand or learn about other people. If you learn if someone comes on the TV, you needed to know about them. You needed to kind of understand that. You were always an extrovert You were always performing. You were but you were also very calm, very kind. So, it is like almost like the seven-year-old me was that version of me. Just a lot more rattled. So, I kind of, I broke it all down. So actually, the seven-year-old me is interested in people. The 30- to 34-year-old me is interested in people. I want to know why I think like I think I want to know what other people– so that inquisitiveness has been there. So, with that, and then I remember thinking about what I loved about my job. And that was when I got to talk to other people. And I’ve got to know why someone came to work every day and what their dog was called, or how they wanted to be known, or, you know, whatever their story was, I was interested in that. And I thought, You know what, I still interested in that, I still want to take that. And that’s got a lot of worth. So, I did that. I found a TED Talk by Simon Sinek about start find your ‘why’ or start with ‘why’, which says, “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” Why do I do it? Because I’m interested in people. And just slowly, I found out that my values, although I thought there was this massive problem, it was just that I needed to redirect my values to things I was actually passionate about. And not just live in a state of just been okay for the rest of my life.
(15:57) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Oh, my. Yeah, that inner journey is what you’re talking about, that people need to take, and it’s not about making yourself look better, or put on a nicer suit, it really is about uncovering, uncovering what is truly inside of you. And I like that whole idea of going back. And that’s a good, good message to anybody who’s listening is go back to your seven-year-old and I’m thinking what was I at seven? So, I’m going to take that today and think about that, also. And obviously, it has something to do with me being here with you today and finding out about who you are and what happened to you. And I think that that to me, I think one of my– I’ve always loved exploration and discovery. So, it’s like, Ooh, let’s, let’s explore Rich, discover who he really is and share that with a world! And then I also love– well, this is just a quick story about my mother being depressed, and my grandmother took care of us, my grandmother had this beautiful garden outside. And inside the house, my mom was depressed. So, it was dark inside, but light outside. So, I think me learning early on that there are two– there’s opportunity, there’s possibility, and it’s just on the other side of the door, you just have to take that step and that’s it.
(17:26) Rich Stevens:
I think that’s what people are fearful of. I think that’s where vulnerability comes from, I think that’s where a lot of stuff comes from, that you have to be prepared to look at your at yourself, you know, you’re only in this in this life as yourself. So, you want to make it the best, the best version of that. And that’s what it kind of comes from, you know, why would you not want to do something that aligns your values? And that’s… yes, as I say, that’s what led me to that. It was also important, and I did, I messed this up but it’s another very important factor. So, my youngest son was diagnosed autistic at two years old. So, a lot of the podcasts I do, a lot of everything I do is based around the autism. But that was another thing that gave me an awareness was, I needed to understand my son. And I needed to– and the thing with autism is, it’s not easy. You don’t, you know, people were living with autism… It’s not straightforward. It’s not, you know, their needs are not always easy to explain. So, you have to develop, you have to ask more questions. So, what I found amazing is that isn’t inquisitive, seven-year-old me, as a father, was able to use that same inquisitive nature to get the best out of my son and to understand my son better. So again, that’s why, again, autism is a massive part of it, of understanding that person, just breaking down that first barrier, if you like.
(18:49) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, and I think in one of our conversations and along the line when you started to explore autism, and the– what are they, the symptoms, or whatever you the signs of it, you started saying, Oh, what about me?
(19:04) Rich Stevens:
Yeah, it’s something that I’m progressing with in terms of that. It’s something that I’m quite again, being inquisitive. I’m asking questions of myself. And as I say, you know, every question– and again, this is what comes back from the podcast, how you can’t understand other people until you understand yourself. I think that’s the biggest thing in the world is understand how you take conversations and how you take ideas and everything, you know, how you go into a conversation is how you deal with it. So yeah, it’s something that I’m kind of always conscious about. And again, I love the fact that I’ve got my son who’s educated me on how to be a better dad but a better person as well. So, it’s, there’s a lot in that, there’s a lot to unpack.
(19:52) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yeah, well, the whole idea about knowing yourself is what you’re talking about, but also the how to know yourself, and one of the things that you’re talking about here, it seems like is the how is first asking those questions and gathering information, getting educated, which is– you don’t have to go back to school, you can go and Google and learn a lot, right? Or, or come to our podcasts and learn a lot.
(20:23) Rich Stevens:
Well, again, you know, my podcast is, and yours you know, as I say, it’s such a complement to the podcasting world, your podcast, it absolutely is. But the same kind of philosophy of that is, I want to ask questions because I want to know what my guest is saying, because I think they can help someone else. But what would I ask them if I had– if we get the greatest opportunity to sit down for a length of time with someone and say, “Tell me about…” your, whatever question we feel is important. We want to ask; we get to ask it. And the great guests, they answer it for you.
(20:58) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes. Well, I have a question. What question would you like me to ask of you?
(21:06) Rich Stevens:
A question for you to ask me…
(21:12) Dr. Doreen Downing:
(21:14) Rich Stevens:
Hmm. So okay. Ask me… Okay, ask me when I think inside the orange will be a success.
(21:26) Dr. Doreen Downing:
All right, so rich, you have this fabulous podcast, I’ve listened to it several times, it’s called Inside the Orange. And you’ve interviewed guests, not only interviewed guests, you’ve also stepped up and had your own private self-revelation and shared your journey on it. So both, I think I found valuable. But there’s a way in which you’re so committed to this. And it’s, it represents who you are, it’s your value, like you’ve been talking about today. So, tell me about how this will develop into something that is fully, whatever you call it, fully blossomed. And it’s ideally the way that you see it, that you plan it, that you want it to become– what’s your dream?
(22:17) Rich Stevens:
So, my dream is simple. And again, we can talk generational here. So, the idea of how I found Inside the Orange was about understanding me and about understanding others, based on my children being understood. So when the Inside the Orange is fully blossomed, we are working with people who we fully understand. My children can go to work and be understood as who they are, not just what they do, or how they, you know, their nine-to-five, they are understood by the people, they are inspired, because someone in that business has decided to go, “Do you know what, I absolutely, I don’t want you to work for me, I want you to, I want to lead you.” And the only way you can lead people well is when they have got that 100% trust, when they’ve got that 100% trust is because they can tell you anything, and they know that you aren’t in it for anything other than progressing everyone’s kind of career. So, my success or my blossom for the podcast is that, even if it’s not in my lifetime, we are at a place where we’re understanding people better. If that is the case, whether I’m on this planet or not. That is the idea of the podcast, let’s make it so we remember why we are people, why we’re human beings, and why we are so impactful in this world when we work together and when we understand together. So, whether I’m here or not to see it, I don’t mind. But that would be my ultimate utopian dream, is, we have got a place where people go to work and feel loved.
(23:49) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Oh, I have to take a deep breath and absorb that beautiful vision and join you in that. And I see not only for children, our children in finding environments where they can step into and be more fully themselves, but it sounds like because you have a business degree, you’re probably working with businesses and leaders to create those environments. Because I think that our businesses, are our cake, you know, here, punch in and do this and see you tomorrow, and what what’s possible in business, I think, is what you just said also, is that leaders– and we have to grow new leaders, but they are growing now because of listening to you and being committed to more authenticity in the values that you’re talking about.
(24:48) Rich Stevens:
And just finally on that, we’re moving into such an autonomous world with technology with mobile phones, with robotics, everything like that. We’re going to see–the impact of people is going to be so much stronger in years to come. Because we don’t want to be machine-led for the rest of our lives. We are a such a fantastic, incredibly intelligent race that works so well together. And I just think if we get that right, the world could be just such a better place.
(25:18) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Well, this is wonderful to feel your passion, your heart, your vision. I would love to have people be able to find your podcast, it’s Inside the Orange. Any– and obviously you do some consulting coaching. And I think businesses that are responding saying, “yay, we want to also join you in creating a new vision for our company,” how do they find you?
Yes, so it’s quite simple. I’ve got a website called INSIDETHEORANGE.CO.UK, you can find me there, you can email INSIDETHISORANGE@GMAIL.COM. And that’s just directly to me, a best place to get hold of me. And it’s just if you need something answered, or if you just, if you just need someone to just give 15 minutes of your time, just to help. I don’t mind, as I say the ultimate in this is that we see more happy people in this world. I’m on Instagram, Inside the Orange, you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, @orangewhats. I’m just available on most platforms, the podcasts are available on platforms. So, there is always a way to come back to find me. And again, even if you just need that five-minute chat of How do I help my people? and it’s going to start every time with the simple thing of listen and start, listen and have a conversation with them.
(26:48) Dr. Doreen Downing:
I know we’re nearing the end, but I think you just said something very important and, say more about listening and having a conversation.
(26:57) Rich Stevens:
Yeah, and again, this you know if I if I go back to when I was at my noisiest, I probably didn’t hear quite as much as I needed to hear. And actually, when you do reduce your own noise, you do hear more, but there’s a difference in the word ‘hear’ and ‘listen’. So if you ask someone– the best definition– if you ask someone, “how are you today?” You’ll get “I’m fine.” If you look at them and say, “I’m not happy with that, actually, I can hear what you’re saying. But actually, when I listened to you I can hear in your voice there’s something else. Are you sure?” When you get that second knock, you know, just keep knocking at that door. Because actually when you do that, you’ll get what’s going on with someone. And as long as you’re there to listen, and as long as you’re there to give them that air, and you know, give them the support, then listening can be such a great thing. And every conversation starts with someone asking a question, but then making sure they listen to the answer. And as podcasters we know that more than everyone.
(27:54) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Right. And I like what you said about the listening being like a space and opening and that you have to quiet yourself in order to listen, that seemed to me the message that I want to leave people with. I keep, I keep wanting to keep on, wanting to go on with you. How about just one last word of wisdom or just anything that comes up any kind of or that you want to leave us with?
(28:22) Rich Stevens:
Yeah, well, as I say it all comes back to people. And we can learn so much from other people. I think one of the biggest things that we do in life is when we try and battle on our own. And we do think that we’re the only one going through this issue. That’s why my podcast started years ago because I wanted a podcast that I wanted to listen to, that might help me. When we start saying things like “I understand what and how you feel about it”, when you start engaging, when you start listening—it all goes back to listening– but when you start kind of asking questions, and wanting to know what’s in front of you, and who’s in front of you, and why they’re in front of you, you’ll not only get why they’re in front of you but they’ll want to be in front of you because they like you. It’s simple, you know, it can’t be phoned in, that’s the one thing I’ve always said, you can’t phone in and be unauthentic when you are dealing with people, because people read people better than we think they do. But actually, if you care, if you just give them that time, you will get that back and it comes– and that leads to trust and trust is such a beautiful thing that we could go on for another three hours talking about.
(29:30) Dr. Doreen Downing:
I know, that’s why I keep saying “more, more Rich, more.” But I just think in the last final words here that I got from you is that whole opening to people saying who’s in front of me, and why are they in front of me and giving that value with curiosity if we, even if we don’t ask the questions specifically, we can come into each interaction with a fresh kind of, Ooh, there’s something here to learn. There’s something I can take from this conversation. Wow, Rich. Thank you. You’ve really brightened my day today. And thank you so much.
(30:17) Rich Stevens:
Thank you. Thank you for having me and giving me the opportunity to talk, and hopefully it’s helped someone out there.
Also listen on…
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.