On this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast, host David Hirsch talks with Dr. Richard Shuster, a clinical psychologist, CEO of Your Success Insights, a psychological assessment company and host of the The Daily Helping Podcast. It’s a fascinating conversation filled with hope affirming insights. He is also founder of Every Kids Rocks a non-profit that helps students reach their full potential.
Visit Dr. Shusters website at: www.drrichardshuster.com
Listen to The Daily Helping Podcast – https://www.thedailyhelping.com/podcast/
Hear Richard’s TEDx Talk at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44wBwSIsz5E
Find out about Every Kid Rocks – http://everykidrocks.org/about/
And lastly check out Dr. Richard’s Facebook page at:
And to find out more about the Special Fathers Network go to:
Dad to Dad 105 – Dr. Richard Shuster, a Clinical Psychologist, CEO of Your Success Insights & Every Kid Rocks
Richard Shuster: And I always tell people to try and spend a little bit of time every day. Like if you were, have a kid with differences, start your day by writing down three things about your kid that you love and that you’re grateful for every day. And by the end of the year, you’re going to have over a thousand things that you’ve noted about your son or daughter.
Tom Couch: That’s awesome. And that’s Dr. Richard Shuster, a clinical psychologist, CEO of your success insights, a psychological assessment company and host of the daily helping podcast. And he’s our guest on this dad to dad podcast. Here’s our host, David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the dad to dad podcast, fathers, mentoring, fathers of children with special needs presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: So let’s listen in on this conversation between Dr. Richard Shuster and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with Dr. Richard Shuster of Atlanta, Georgia. Who’s a father of two boys, a clinical psychologist, CEO of your success insights, a psychological assessment company, and a fellow podcast. Host Richard, thank you for taking the time to do an interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Richard Shuster: It’s an absolute honor and pleasure to be here David.
David Hirsch: You and your wife, Emily had been married for 11 years and now the proud parents of Ryan , let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Richard Shuster: I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, and called West Bloomfield and learned very quickly in my life that I did not like cold weather.
And so took an opportunity after I graduated college to, to hit South as quickly as possible.
David Hirsch: Excellent. From what I remember in prior conversations, do you have a younger brother as well?
Richard Shuster: I do. And he followed suit and he’s now in Florida. So as are my parents. Yeah. Okay.
David Hirsch: Well, that’s a very common that people are moving South, uh, for weather.
And then if you live in the state of Illinois, maybe for economic reasons as well, I’m sort of curious to know, um, is your dad still alive and what did he do for a living?
Richard Shuster: He is alive. He is, or was a dentist. And so he, uh, had his own practice for many years up there in Detroit.
David Hirsch: Excellent. And, uh, what type of dentistry did he practice?
Was it in Michigan or in Florida?
Richard Shuster: Wasn’t Michigan general dentistry and some oral surgery was what he did. Okay. You know, it’s funny, like everybody, it never really dawned on me until I was older. You know, people have this instinctive dislike of dentists, you know, like everybody hates going to the dentist.
I, you know, my whole life was at the dentist office was fun for me. You know, I get to play with the squirter and I would make water balloons with it. And you know, I’d go back into his lab and we would make a. Like you do impressions of me. And we would make professional looking things and buck teeth and we’d drive around and I’d add red lights.
I’d like smile at people with like absurd teeth and we’d laugh. And so, uh, like all of my memories of dentistry are actually quite positive.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. Switching gears a little bit. My recollection was you went to MSU
Richard Shuster: for undergrad. I did sure did.
David Hirsch: Master’s in social work at university of Texas Austin.
And then, um, you know, your career went in a different direction. You ended up doing your residency in neuropsychology at Cleveland clinic. That doesn’t sound like a traditional career path, just from a educational perspective.
Richard Shuster: Well, it it’s, it’s mostly, mostly right. A couple minor tweaks to that. So I did my masters in social work university of Texas at San Antonio, but there was a massive gap in that story, in that.
I was very clear as an undergrad that I was not going to and could a school ever again. I remember sitting around, sitting in a bar with my friends. I held up my beer and I said, here’s to never setting foot in another damn classroom for the rest of our w I use more colorful language than it is now, but, but lives.
And, uh, you know, it was. I was very happy to be done and I never thought I’d go back. And so I got into technology, you know, like I got that job, uh, you know, in the late nineties, if you could chew gum and code HTML, you could get a pretty nice paying job. And so I started out doing that stuff and then.
Picked up some skills, whereas there was no universe where any of that was happening until, uh, you know, a secret, a series of events transformed my life and, and the kind of the epicenter of that was a car accident in 2001, late 2001, in which I broke my spine and almost died. And that, that kind of anybody who’s gone through, anything like that, you get kind of this wake up call and you realize.
You put it, it helps you start putting your priorities in check and figuring out what matters and what doesn’t. And so really that was the beginning of me kind of finding this new path in life with all this all which ultimately led me back to graduate school. After, and I’m abbreviating a lot of this part of the story, but yeah, after my accident and going through this two year kind of journey of self discovery, and finally having the courage to walk away from it, uh, I ultimately found myself, uh, in a space where I started helping people and helping people for free.
Like I would go speak to PTH about internet safety. Cause I have that it background and that led to mentoring, you know, which, which led towards. You know, I did have a degree in psychology as I’m thinking to myself, what if I got paid to do this kind of a thing. And so then I went and got my master’s degree and then went on to get my doctorate in clinical psychology.
But, but you know, it was really that accident that kind of started that shift away from, Hey, let’s focus on acquiring stuff just for the sake of having stuff too. How about building things that help people? And then certainly as I became a father, Man, like now you have the responsibility not only to provide, but to set examples for your kids so that they understand, you know, that’s legacy.
I think legacy matters to fathers more than it matters to mothers or at least fathers express that more. Think about it more, you know, as a father, it’s really important to me that. My boys understand the importance of independence, the importance of being able to make a difference in the lives of others, the importance of doing things on your terms.
These are things that, that I feel are inherently essential to me as a dad to convey to my boys. And, you know, I didn’t feel any of that pressure obviously before I had children. But now, you know, that’s, it’s kind of a central tenant in w what I think about.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. Thanks for sharing. I’m sort of curious to know, um, how did you and Emily meet
Richard Shuster: online best $99 I’ve ever spent in my life.
And she actually kind of blew me off a little bit at first, but I persisted. Uh, and so. We had our first date at a, at a place known as waffle house. If you’re in the North, you may not know of this place. If you’re, if you’re hearing this in the South, you understand it’s a religious institution for many who like hash Browns.
And it was, it was an Easter Sunday and it was there literally the only place in the city open. And so we go to meet at a waffle house. And it was a four hour conversation that was kind of like the perfect tennis game, where they’re falling the ball back and forth and it’s effortless. And I was just felt very comfortable being myself and get sense of genuineness about her.
She wouldn’t kiss me either for like a couple of days. It’s me off too. But, um, you know, we’re, we’re now 10 plus years into our marriage and she is an incredible partner. I am so grateful for her. She’s given me two wonderful boys. And, um, yeah, so we met online, nothing, nothing earth shattering, you know, wasn’t like a, you know, we bumped into each other in a subway station or something like you see in the movies, just online dating.
David Hirsch: Thanks for sharing. And from what I remember, uh, Emily is not .
Richard Shuster: She is, she is a pediatric occupational therapist. She actually worked with a number of her dear friends from graduate school, which was really cool for her. So it was like fun, you know, like she, she would have fun and, um, We didn’t talk about that stuff a lot, but, uh, yeah.
And then there, there was some overlap there.
David Hirsch: Awesome. Well, let’s use that as a way to segue to special needs. Sure. Not so much on a personal level, but more from a professional perspective and then beyond, so I’m wondering beyond the work that Emily does as a pediatric occupational therapist. What was the connection, if any, to the special needs committee?
Richard Shuster: mean, I’ve worked a ton with the special needs community because it was just the nature of what I did in neuropsychology. Um, I’ve worked, I mean, I worked with that extensively. And it’s one of the things that was very interesting. And I know you didn’t ask me this yet, but like, I like to jump around, as you can tell, um, you know, I was privileged to have temple Grandin on my podcast, just my earlier episodes.
And she said something on the show we were talking about because, you know, everybody’s trying to find a quote unquote cure, right. For, for autism or cause for autism, or find ways to undo, you know, the. The neuropathways that aren’t mapped the way that they’re mapped in many kids. And she said something that was so cool.
And she said, you know, if we could do that, the iPhone wouldn’t exist and I just didn’t respond. I just let her keep going. And she said, you know, because people like Steve jobs. People like bill Gates and went on and you know that what I don’t like about the section ecological world, and this is partially why I created by assessment company to be different.
I want it to be disruptive is that those industries are so, and they have to be because the system is driven by codes, CPT codes for reimbursements and money. It’s all labels. It’s all pejorative labels and I hate pejorative labels. A kid may have autism. But he might be the next person who solves the world’s energy crisis.
You know, you just don’t know. I have a vehement reaction, a strong, strong reaction. When I, when I hear people use, you know, autism in a negative kind of, because every kid has is unique and special.
David Hirsch: so, um, let’s talk a little bit about, uh, your success insight. Sure. Which is a psychological assessment company whose mission is to improve the lives. With innovative assessments by bringing awareness to the individual, strengthen accurately, identifying their challenges. That’s a mouthful.
Richard Shuster: That is a mouthful.
That is a mouthful. So basically, uh, this company, I’m so proud of this, you know, this, this really came out of. As my podcast gained me notoriety internationally, and people, people started calling me an influencer and I didn’t, I still, it’s still weird for me. Like, I’m just to me, I’m just, I’m just Richard Schuster, but enough people have said it.
So I guess it must be true, but I was like, okay, so now I have a platform and how do I use that platform to tackle things that piss me off? And the psychological assessment industry is something that has pissed me off for many, many years. And I imagine that many listening to this because they do have children with special needs.
This community probably has more experience dealing with the psychological assessment world than the general public. By far, I have found it to be extremely greedy as an industry. It’s a $7 billion a year industry, largely controlled by two players. They. Have instruments that are almost all pejorative in nature because they have to be because you can’t justify selling somebody.
Any evaluation, including certain assessments, unless you can find things wrong with somebody to have a code, to go in a chart. So an insurance company will reimburse the doctor for that assessment. So it’s like the cycle it’s like this really sickening, vicious cycle. Many people who need access to these tools can’t afford access to these tools.
And even if you can get access to the tool beyond the gatekeeper, you’re gonna need to pay somebody like me three or $5,000 to explain it to you. Because it just, they don’t make sense. You know, you’re not trained to understand them. So I said, okay. So how can I really, nobody from the assessment industry has come to take me out yet.
I’m happy to say, but I wanted to do some things that were extraordinarily disruptive. When I wanted tools that work accessible to everybody period and affordable, our most expensive instrument is $50. Number two, wanted to not only help people find out things where they can improve. But show them ways in which they are awesome.
Number three, I will, I wanted it to where self scoring and self interpreting so that if you didn’t feel like paying a coach or consultant or a doctor, thousands of dollars to make it make sense to you, you could take our 35 page PDF and you can read it yourself. And it’s at a level that anybody could understand with the most basic high school education.
And I, and I built the whole system, uh, in a model to where I, I reward people financially who helped me help others. We pay people to use our tests. And so, you know, putting all those things together. Has been disruptive in the way that I had hoped and will continue to be because we’re doing things, things that other people just don’t do.
And so, you know, this, this started out as an idea for one kind of an assessment, and then we have quick, quickly grown into a large number of areas, probably the, the instrument that would be of greatest interest to your community. Is my powers, which is now in its second version. And I like acronyms. So powers stands for predictor of world-class excellence, rating scales.
And basically what we did is we took a look, our, our team, and we took a look at the science behind being successful in life. Not just success in the workplace. Cause I think a lot of people naturally go there. Right? You’re there. Oh yeah. I’m a COO of, it’s kind of a company and I work 3000 hours a week and look at me now, what we wanted to do is look at things, look at the science around relationships with your significant other.
Finances health and wellness. You know, your ability to manage stress, your social connections, your empathy, and under ability to understand emotions and put that all together and build algorithms around all of that. To where, you know, a parent who feels like maybe their life is a little bit out of balance.
We can give them the roadmap to say here, here’s where you really shine. And here are some areas where you could do better. Who
David Hirsch: are the people that are using the assessments is there’s like socioeconomic groups that it’s sort of targeted for, or I end up what, what are the range of the day? These are challenges that people that are utilizing these tools.
Richard Shuster: So, you know, this is, this is not a tool that if you were worried, you have like bipolar depression or you’re suicidal, you should be taking. So this is not a clinical tool in that sense, so that, you know, and we’re very clear about that, that, that, that is not what this does. Uh, basically this is essentially a roadmap.
In terms of where people are on their life. And so the people that are using this, most of them are parents. Uh, most of these people, if they’re not parents, they’re in relationships, they have jobs in terms of socioeconomic status. I’m not really tracking that. Although perhaps I ought to work on the P again, like it’s, it’s $50.
So I don’t know. Who, you know, from that standpoint who’s taking it and who’s not, I don’t, I don’t know if these are people making $180,000 a year, $40,000 a year. I do know that the biggest interest seems to be from people in the personal development world. Like if you’re, if you’re, if you’re a person who’s reading personal development books and you want to find out.
How you can improve yourself or somebody who’s at a career crossroads. And you’re not sure, like if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, those are the people that tend to be gravitating towards this. Uh, you know, in terms of what problems people are having. Everybody’s different. I mean, this is, this looks at 21 different dimensions.
And so there’s one thing about assessments that are really great is that they take. The subjectivity out of a statement. Like, so it’s one thing, you know, we’ve all been there. Yeah. Uh, our, our significant other might say to us, you know, you’re spending too much time on work. I’ve, I’ve had that said to me, by my wife and children, that’s something I’ve worked at.
Right. But then you can get defensive. Well, I’m trying to provide for the family and I’m, you know, this is my job and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then you, and then emotions get involved in you start getting very personal. However, when you’re taking an instrument that’s empirically driven and it doesn’t have a relationship with you and it, and it really comes across the page.
You appear to have a challenge in terms of spending quality time with your spouse. Now, all of a sudden your wife’s car, you ring a little bit differently, right? Because you’ve applied science to it and you’ve applied objectivity to it. So, um, you know, we market this. Towards working parents. The tagline is powers puts the balance and work life balance, you know, and I didn’t come up with that.
Somebody much smarter than me did, but, um, you know, we, this is really what it’s for and we have different, you know, we have tools in the corporate space and other photocells as well, but I’m in, this is, this is really what it’s for. Like, if you’re, if you’re a mom or a dad and you feel like your, your life is a little bit out of balance, Um, this is something that will probably add value to you and that book start it the very least at discussion about, Hey we’re where can I improve a little bit?
Or how can I be more available for my wife and my kids? Or how could I eat a little bit healthier? So these are for many it’s starts a conversation. And, you know, we have a lot of coaches and therapists that use it as kind of a, an entry point into the work with their clients, because it gives you. That snapshot of where you are right now.
David Hirsch: Let’s switch gears and talk about this podcast, the daily helping podcast.
Richard Shuster: Yeah. Yup.
David Hirsch: Yup. And as I understand it, it’s food for the brain knowledge for the experts and tools to win at life.
Richard Shuster: Yes. So I’ll find a fun story about that too. Uh, this. Is very different than what I had conceptualized it, as I remember, here’s a good dad memory.
I remember in the very late seventies with my father watching a show that Leonard Newman hosted called in search up. Do you remember that? Yep. So it’d be like in search of Atlantis, in search of Bigfoot, in search of, you know, aliens, whatever. And so I thought about that and I said, Oh, I’m going to call my show.
The psychology of in the, of was going to be the topic of whatever the guest expert had on the psychology of anxiety, depression, you know, whatever. And so I was very proud of myself. I thought this was going to be a really cool platform. And just to be, I was still practicing at the time. So just to be careful, uh, I was a member of the American psychological association.
So when you’re a member, you get to have access to their lawyers to run any ethical questions by them, you know, like, you know, should I, should I like building on fire, things like that. They’ll tell you, they’ll tell you what to do. And, and so I called them and I said, Hey, you know, I’m launching this.
Podcast. Just want to make sure that I’m, you know, not violating any of my ethical clauses and I’m going to call it the psychology of what dr. Richard Schuster. And they said you can’t do that. And I said, why not? I started naming psychologists, like I know six or seven psychologists that have you can’t call it that because if you call it that you’re intimating that if somebody actually listens to their show, you’re going to improve their psychological functioning.
And that’s a violation of the ethical code. Cause you’re not. And I said, well, technically I’m not doing anything. It’s my guest. And they’re like, no, no, no. I was like, let me be really clear with you, dr. Schuster, if you do this, we will shut you down so fast. Your head will spin. And many people don’t realize, you know, dr.
Phil lost his license and he can never practice ever again. He’s been, he cannot ever. Practice psych psychology effort. It can have all the TV shows he wants can’t practice. And so in that, yeah, I spent seven years of my life and more money than it was reasonable to get this degree. I really didn’t want to lose my license.
And so I go back to the drawing board and I have a really good friend who I went to high school with. And I’m still close with up in Michigan who, who, you know, he’s an author and. Um, you know, an English professor and he says, okay, so what about a double entendre? Why don’t we call it the daily helping?
And it goes because then, you know, like, Oh, it’s not, I’m not actually fixing anything. I helping as a portion, I helping as a surfing. And so then, yeah, so then that’s how it was born. So daily helping food for the brain knowledge, from the experts tools to win at life. And so I go back to the APA with that same attorney.
Call up. And I said, okay, I’ve got a new title for the show daily helping you, but you said helping? I said, yeah, serving to portion and there’s some grumbling. That’ll be okay. And I have that call recorded. I’m like, all right, this is happening. And so, um, I’m really grateful for that experience because my show went from just being a very niche, psychology based show in which I probably would have run out of topics pretty quickly to just a general wellness, personal development show, where sometimes I talk about money and sometimes my guests come on and they’re experts in, you know, wellness or.
People who have overcome unbelievable situations and defeated cancer. Hello and welcome to the daily. Helping with dr. Richard Schuster food for the brain knowledge, from the experts tools to win at life. I’m your host, dr. Richard, whoever you are, wherever you’re from and whatever you do, this is the show that is going to help you become the best version of yourself.
Join our movement to get a million people. Each day to commit acts of kindness for others together. We’re going to make the world a better place. Are you ready? Because it’s time for your daily helping. So I now really run the gamut in terms of guests and it’s. You know, I do have a movement and my shows call to action.
Every episode, I strongly encourage my listeners to go out and do something kind for somebody else and post it in their social media feeds using the hashtag my daily helping, because the happiest people are those that help others and the science absolutely bears that out. And so the show has really taken on a bit of a life of its own.
I’m very grateful. I got lucky early on, uh, in that, uh, NBC stumbled onto me. Not long into, into this podcast. And then I became their brain guy a little bit, and then they started running a series of firstname.lastname@example.org about the brain. And, you know, within a very short amount of time, I went from like a few hundred listeners to, you know, now having a presence in 150 countries, which is crazy still, you know, like I just to say it out loud is still nuts to me, but, um, it, again, that has allowed me.
The notoriety to introduce some of these things that I’m doing today. And so I think this week is like episode 157. I’m not even sure, I’m not sure. Um, but we’re three plus years into it and it’s been the best experience in my life. It’s how I met you through podcasting. Um, most of my professional relationships now and, and practically everything I’m doing in my life would not be possible if not for my podcast.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well, it’s a brilliant idea and thank you for being authentic and transparent about the original vision, which was much more modest and, uh, you know, had the potential to be a career. Altering or terminating move from a professional standpoint. And it’s just wonderful to see what you’ve done. And, uh, let me just brag on you for a little bit, because you’ve, you’ve interviewed some really high profile people.
John Gray, the author of men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. And then I think you’d mentioned that your really big first guest was a guy by the name of Bob
Richard Shuster: Burke. And today’s guest is exactly what I envisioned when I conceptualize a show. Bob Burg is a sought after speaker at company leadership and sales conferences, sharing the platform with everyone from today’s business leaders and broadcast personalities to even a former United States.
President Bob, welcome to the show.
David Hirsch: Thank you, Dr. Richard.
Richard Shuster: Great to be with you. I am thrilled to have you here and your book, your mission.
David Hirsch: So let’s switch gears and talk about every kid rocks. It’s a not for profit organization, whose mission is to help those that need a boost to reach their full potential.
Richard Shuster: Yeah.
David Hirsch: Backstory on that. Um, who do you serve the backstory on?
Richard Shuster: This is, it was my son, my oldest son. So when I was in my residency, Uh, this was about 2000. This was 2011, 2012. And one day I’m assessing a kid doing my thing. And I get a call from my wife’s place of employment that my wife, who was at the time about 31 weeks pregnant had collapsed and I am was on the opposite end of Miami from where she was.
So of course I. Sped over there. And by the time I got there, they had already done all of their routine evaluative things that they’re going to do. And so the doctor comes in and this guy literally looked white as a ghost. And I just, I knew. Because that’s something was not usual. The reason my, why my wife collapsed was because my son was just pounding the crap out of her sciatic nerve.
He was kicking her sciatic nerve. Right. I’ve never experienced sciatic pain, but from what she said, and that I have heard, it’s like getting stepped in the back. It’s supposed to be excrutiatingly painful. That’s not particularly dangerous to a baby or the mother. It just is. And that’s an understatement, but, but not dangerous.
Here’s the thing. This is what he said. And this is Andy. He was fumbling over his words. You know, you could see it in his eyes that he was, he was kind of freaked out by this. My wife’s had a little pinhole size hole in her cervix. And had been insidiously and slowly leaking amniotic fluid throughout the entire pregnancy would have never known not to any degree that any human being could have.
Yeah. I recognized it outside of doing the particular test they did in the hospital that day. And he said, had we not come in that day? Our son would have suffocated to death in the woman and the next 12 hours. Wow. So I, I believe, and yeah, I, you know, I don’t know how spiritual you are, David. I believe my son saved his own life.
I believe he was saying somebody pay attention to me. And I believe he’s got a great purpose on this planet, although we don’t yet know what it is outside of building Legos. And again, because of what I do. I know damn well, what happens when a kid is born at 31 weeks and what the, what the potential cognitive consequences are of that and the outcome measures.
And so, um, my wife sends me home. They said, they said, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to stick an IV in you, and we’re going to pump you full of fluids. And we’re going to try and get your levels up enough to where we don’t have to cut them out, because if we can’t, we’re going to take him, we’re going to take him in 12 hours.
And so, um, the amniotic fluid levels went up just enough to where they were going to try for 12 more and then 12 more. And so what became 36 hours became six weeks. And so he was able to cook until full term. Now my wife was on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy, and then my secondary job. Outside of my residency was, was a courier between a home and Costco buying as much Gatorade as I could fit into my car to help keep her fluid levels up.
Uh, but he was born at 37 weeks and he was breached, so he was upside down. And so he had enough fluid to live. Which is a good thing, but he couldn’t move. And so like, if you’re listening to this, don’t do this. If you’re driving crank, if you were to crank your head all the way to the left, as far as you can tell it hurts.
That’s how he’s. Yeah, that sucks. Right. So imagine being in that position for six weeks. So his head was wedged under my wife’s grip, the cage for the last six weeks of the pregnancy or so. And so when he came out, his head was misshapen. And he ended up, he was unable to bring his head to midline and there are a ton of problems associated with that because he was not able to, you know, turn his head.
My son was not aware. He had a right side of his body for the first eight months of his life. And he needed all kinds of therapy services. He needed a helmet to fix his head that was misshapen, which we couldn’t afford. And so we just started putting stuff on credit cards. We didn’t have credit card debt until we had our son and just Oh, $8,000 for a helmet swipe.
And, um, you know, we took it on ourselves to get him all of this help. And then when he turned one and it was time to get him out of a daycare, but into an actual preschool with a curriculum, there’s one synagogue in, uh, in Pembroke clients, Florida Cooper city actually. Yeah. Um, said, yes. And put him with a teacher who really loved my son and worked with him.
And when the teacher made such huge difference in my son’s life. And if you saw my son today, you’d have no idea. Okay. You wouldn’t, you probably wouldn’t believe me. He is. He’s beautiful. His head is exactly as it should be. Facial symmetry is there. He’s doing really well in school. He just finished the first grade and we’re very proud of him.
And he, you know, like I, I’ve gone to birthday parties at parks where I watch him swing on a jungle gym on the monkey bars and I’ll tear up, I’ve teared up because like, it’s amazing to me that this kid. His has come this far. And so back to your, you mentioned Bob Burg. Um, Bob Burg was really my first big guest that I had on the daily helping.
And I was very self conscious doing this in the beginning. There’s always, we always can improve and grow, but, um, I was so self conscious about this. And I used to ask Bob Burg, um, or I asked Bob Burg, I would ask all my guests, how do you think that went? And he said to me, man, I’ll tell you what, um, I do this everyday Richard, and you’re very gifted.
And if you keep doing this, you’re gonna help a lot of people. Cause you’re very talented at what you do. And he actually even sent me a handwritten note, which I still have. And I was so empowered by that. Like I busted in, I dunno, I interviewed him at night, but I used to interview people back then at any, any hour of the day to get somebody on my show.
And it’s like, Barbara thinks I’m great and this is going to be successful, and we’re gonna be able to do this, that, and the other, and want to be great when we can, uh, have a nonprofit for kids and blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, it just kinda came up out of me, like in this moment, this like blathering diarrhea of the mouth, that this is how I’m going to start a nonprofit and I’m going to raise money to give to schools so that they can help provide time, limited speech, physical and occupational therapy to kids that just need a push.
Because there are those kids that really just need a little bit of help to get their train back on the tracks and so on then. And I was surprised to see that nobody was in that space. So just very grateful, very grateful for all the things I’m doing right now. Um, I have amazing boys and an amazing wife and I get to just have fun every day.
And help others.
David Hirsch: So, well, that’s a beautiful story, which is all under the banner of every kid rocks, the not for profit organization. That a correct?
Richard Shuster: Correct. Correct.
David Hirsch: You recently gave a TEDx talk. I did. And I know that, uh, it was sort of a new age way of doing your TEDx talk. Just give us a minute or two on the background.
Richard Shuster: Yeah, boy, I, you know, it was one of the first that was done in front of a green screen, virtually obviously most of these, you fly out and you stand on a stage and next to those big, giant red letters, and it was very different.
I speak a lot. This was a very different experience for me, but I’m grateful for it. And you know, I, I shared a lot of in that TEDx, what I’ve talked to your audience about in that my story. And the, the science of altruism, why it’s so important, especially what’s going on in the world now to help others, to have kindness, to actually, to actually take action and make a conscious commitment to doing things that benefit other people, even if it doesn’t directly do anything for you or your pocketbook.
Remember that the science shows us that we are biologically predisposed to help others. And then when we do, we benefit physiologically. And psychologically as well. So wherever you are in your journey to finding your purpose, make it a point to notice opportunities to do something kind for someone else and trust that when you help others, you also help yourself.
David Hirsch: I watched it. I really enjoyed it. It’s a right to the point. And, uh, uh, if I remember what the title was, it’s becoming a superhero, the science, uh, power of altruism.
Richard Shuster: That’s it. That’s it. Excellent. We’ll make
David Hirsch: sure that’s in the show notes as well. It’s it’s amazing.
Richard Shuster: You know, here’s another, here’s another one, you know, you mentioned John Lee Dumas a couple of times.
So there was a kid who reached out to me the day after Thanksgiving in 2017. And he was about to kill himself. He had got a gun, he loaded the gun and his intent was to put the gun in his mouth and pull the trigger. And. Just before he was getting to write his suicide tweet because his life was so unbearable for him.
My interview on entrepreneur on fire popped up. John’s been on my show, but he, I went on his as well. And, uh, for whatever reason, he put his gun down and he clicked it. And then he heard the story that I shared with you guys earlier about my accident and what I didn’t share was, you know, the length, the, the, the gap in between.
What happened after I went back to work and when I left and, but there was a period of my life where I had no idea what I was doing. I was depressed. I, you know, I was lost and a series of events unfolded, which put me on the path that I’m ultimately on today. But in hearing that he then went to the daily, helping.com and stayed up all night and binge listen to the show and wrote me the following morning and said, dear dr.
Richard, last line, I was going to. Put a gun in my mouth and blow my brains on him, because if you, I want to live and not only do I want to live, I want to put a podcast together that helps people with mental illness. No, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. And he gave me his number and I called him and I helped him launch that podcast and went on it as a guest.
And now he’s doing well, totally different life. And so I didn’t create my podcast to prevent suicide. That was never on my radar. Of course it was a personal development show. It wasn’t even really a mental health show anymore. But to your point, David. It’s the little things. It’s these little things and that’s, what’s so cool is that we don’t always know what the little ripple effects are going to be.
See when we do good, but there was always something that comes of it. Whether where you find out now, that’s obviously an extreme example and you know, it’s not like I ha I get a lot of feedback from people who tell me how my show has impacted them, but it’s, you know, I know there’s thousands more all over the world that aren’t calling me and I don’t.
Yep. Need them to, I I’m just happy knowing that. I’m putting this content out there, but you do need to know that when you do good things, that this does tend to spiral in other ways and have a really ripple effect, a ripple effect for, for good. And that’s very cool.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that as a very powerful story.
And, uh, you know, most people have this attitude that if you can just save or change one life, that’s a success.
Richard Shuster: I’m more proud of that kid. Because I wasn’t trying to save his life than I am of really what I did in a clinical setting, you know? And I know that may sound weird, but, um, it’s, it’s something that, you know, if nothing, and I have said this a hundred times, if nothing else happens, like if I, if nothing else happens for my podcast and I never sell another assessment, I saved somebody’s life and that’s, that’s just the coolest thing.
So, um, you know, you just never know, you know, you commit a kind act. You never know how it’s going to spiral.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you again for sharing. Very powerful story. So I’m thinking about advice now, and I’m wondering, what advice would you offer, uh, a parent or a young dad for that matter? If the resident, child with differences?
Richard Shuster: Yeah. You know, I think. There is an innate challenge to that. We’re unless you’re going through it, unless you’re, you know, like somebody who’s raising a kid with autism versus a kid who doesn’t have autism, like they don’t, you might have a really difficult time explaining what it’s like, like, cause it’s a perspective you can’t really understand unless you’ve worked with it or gone through it.
I would say a couple of things. One is that. It’s sometimes when we’re dealing and particularly when there’s behavior issues, the good sometimes gets lost in it. And I always tell people to try and spend a little bit of time every day. Like if you were, have a kid with differences, start your day by writing down three things about your kid that you love and that you’re grateful for every day.
And by the end of the year, you’re going to have over a thousand things. That you’ve noted about your son or daughter. That’s right. Awesome. And again, and when you keep that in your awareness, that’s what you focus on more. It makes, and I’m not saying that the difficult behaviors and the cognitive rigidity, or some of these other issues that present the art are easy, but they’re easier when you focus on what’s good.
Rather than what’s what’s off kilter. The other thing that I would say to any dad. Okay. But especially if you have a child with severe, uh, differences that that are, you know, require a lot of additional energy is you need to make time for yourself to recharge self care and whatever that means for you.
You know, if that means that you. Watch Netflix or play video games or go shoot a round of golf when there’s no coronavirus or, you know, whatever that is or a date with your, your, your wife. You need to keep your batteries recharged because you’re doing your family, your spouse, you’re doing your child at this service.
If you’re not taking care of yourself emotionally,
David Hirsch: that’s fabulous. So if I could just reiterate what you’ve said, don’t lose sight of this good things. And make sure you take care of yourself, make time for yourself. What’s important to you.
Richard Shuster: That’s it? Absolutely. Those are my top two.
David Hirsch: So let’s give a special shout out to our mutual friend, Aaron Walker, from a view from the top for helping connect us.
Richard Shuster: Yes, for sure. And actually he just messaged me today. So I need to write to get back with him.
David Hirsch: Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap
Richard Shuster: up there is a courage in being different. Because it’s very easy to go through life being just like everybody else, but having, having the courage to accept and appreciate differences is something that I think the world needs to do more of.
And, uh, I’m hopeful that, you know, your show, as you continue to expand, your reach will, will help with that.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. If somebody wants to learn more about your success insights, psychological assessments. The every kid rocks, not for profit, a daily helping podcast, or just to contact you. What’s the best way about going to do that.
Richard Shuster: Yeah. So the, the mothership really is dr. Richard schuster.com. Uh, you know, I, I just kind of had to centralize everything that, that has links to everything that I’m doing. And, and it is dr. Uh, Richardshusterr.com. Although people screw up my name so often that I bought every possible domain configuration.
So you can spell it any way you want. I challenge you. You’ll still get to me, uh, regarding the assessments and, and, you know, in particular, the one that. Resonates with working parents is securepowers.com. And that’s the one that we talked about earlier that really helps people balance, work and life and, and see where they are and their relationships and finances and all these different areas.
So, but I’m not, I’m not hard to find on the internet and connect with. So, um, you know, I, and I, I do try, I don’t, I’m not always successful, but I do try and get back with as many people as I can, who reach out to me.
David Hirsch: We’ll be sure to include those in the show notes. Thank you, Richard.
Richard Shuster: Thank you for your time and many insights.
David Hirsch: As a reminder, Richard’s just one of the dads. Who’s part of the special fathers network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21stcenturydads.org.
Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network, dad to dad podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did, as you probably know. The 21st Century Dads Foundation is a not for profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free. To all concerned, please consider making a tech stock for blue nation.
I would really appreciate your support. Please also post a review on iTunes. Share the podcast. Family and friends and subscribes. They’ll get a reminder when each new episode is produced. Richard, thanks again.
Richard Shuster: My pleasure.
And thank you for listening to the dad to dad podcast presented by the Special Fathers Network.
The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers go to 21stcenturydads.org. That’s 21stcentury dads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or we’d like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad. The dad also. Please be sure to register for the Special Fathers Network, biweekly zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling story, please send an email to David@21stcenturydads.org.
Tom Couch: If you enjoy this podcast, please be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen. The dad to dad podcast is produced by Couch Audio for the Special Fathers Network.
Thanks for listening.