True self-acceptance comes not from comparing yourself to others, but from embracing the unique path God has set for you. Join us for a thought-provoking conversation on the topic of living with yourself, as we welcome our special guest, Professor Keith Rieger, PhD. With a wealth of experience in both academia and personal growth, Professor Keith is a marketing professor, consultant, author, coach, ultra triathlete, and ultra runner. Today, we’ll be hearing his perspective on answering the question: How can you live with yourself? Professor Keith shares his own journey and how his pursuits in life have helped him develop a deeper understanding of himself. He unpacks the complexities of self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-acceptance, and discusses practical tips for living a more fulfilling and authentic life. If you’re looking to enhance your personal growth, improve your relationships, or simply gain a deeper understanding of yourself, then this episode is for you. Tune in and hear Professor Keith’s insights on how you can live with yourself.
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Live With Yourself: Discover Your Best Self With Marketing Professor Keith Rieger
It is always an honor to have you join us, to have you tune in, and to have your support. I am so grateful for each and every one of you because you take the time to tune in to the show. I love you all for it. We have a phenomenal surprise for you. Let me get the ball rolling. In the last episode, I introduced our new topic for the next 5 or 6 episodes.
Every day or every week in the news or you may read it in the news feed, there is somebody who found out this person has a secret. They had something going on in the background of their lives. Nobody knew, but now everybody knows it. It has been discovered that they have been living a double life. They have been lying to the people that depend on them. They are lying to their families, friends, colleagues, coworkers, and people in their community.
They have been found out, uncovered, and busted because they were harboring and living with a secret. How could they do such a thing? How could they live with themselves? You might want to ask. Would that be the question? How could they carry on for so long keeping up the charade? You can see them showing up for dinner and acting normal as if nothing happened, looking at their spouse in the eye, and their children in their faces. How could they betray their friends, family, and community, knowing one day it may become public knowledge? Once it does, it is going to destroy everything.
It s going to destroy their family and relationships. It is going to undermine their career and life. How do they live with themselves? That is the question. The reason it is difficult to imagine how they could live with themselves is we put ourselves in their situation and think, “I couldn’t live with myself. I couldn’t do what they did and live with myself.” We tell ourselves, “My integrity wouldn’t allow me to do such a thing and live with myself.”
Here is the truth. You can live with yourself. I can live with myself. Think about it. If my current self is left unattended or if my inner self is neglected or if my inner being does not see a better future for myself, I can live with myself. My current self will live with myself in spite of the unhealthy version I have become. Let me get to the point. My external self that people see, when it is so far away from what I truly am on the inside, it is easy for me to think that it can’t happen to me, “I can’t be exposed.” It is easy for you to think the same thing, “It can’t happen. That is not going to happen.”
As people, we think that it can’t happen to them and us. Believe it or not, that is why it happens. We don’t believe and we don’t think it will happen. In our new series, we are talking about how you guard your inner self and your true being so you can live with yourself. This series is all about you living with yourself. How can you live with yourself? That is the question. That is the topic of this episode.
Allow me to share a spiritual reference because you all know I’m a Jesus follower. I’m coming out of the Book of Proverbs, which is 4:23. It says, “We should guard our heart with all diligence because out of it flows the issue of life.” This scripture implies that whatever we are allowed to enter into our hearts, and I’m pointing here in our hearts but in actuality, this is our heart and mind. That is where things come in. If it is not examined and evaluated properly, it will undoubtedly be expressed in our lives and actions in positive and negative ways.
James Allen is the author of a book called As A Man Thinketh. This title is also influenced by a proverb that was pulled from the Bible. It is chapter 23:7. It says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” This book I read was a good book. It was short and an easy read. I want to share a quote from this book. It says, “The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, influence, and power for good. The calmness of the mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. Men are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves. Circumstance does not make the man. It reveals him to himself.” I like that quote because of what we are about to jump into.
In this new series, we are interchanging the heart. When I say the heart, we are talking about your inner self. When we are saying the mind, we are talking about your inner being and inner self. Life is not always kind. We all know that you don’t have to live long for life to be hard on your soul. When I say soul, I’m talking about your interior life and inner being. It’s that inside part of you that fears, worries, hopes, dreams, wishes, and experiences disappointments and failures while putting on a smile and making your face happy.
Let me ask you. Who do people get when they get you? Who do people get when you show up in the room, at work, and at school? Who do people get when you are hanging out with your friends, interacting with your loved ones, and spending time with your partner or spouse? Who do your children get when you show up? Who do they get? Are you one way with a group of people, and then you are another person with another group of people? Is your person on the outside completely different than the person on the inside?
Here is the thing. Whether it is appearance, performance, or reputation, we attend to those outward things about us. We pay attention to those things so much faster than we do our inner thing. Why? We know people are watching us. People are expecting from us. We are competing for approval, exceptions, acceptance, attention, and progress. It is a natural thing to pay attention to our exterior person.
We all have a public life that is on display every single day. There is only one person who can be attentive to your soul, heart, and inner being. There is only one person that can do that. My question is this, how can you live with yourself? What habits do you have that will ensure that the self you are living with is the self that is on display? What convictions, values, and beliefs do you have that will ensure that what people see on the outside is what they are getting when they get you?
Here is a fact. Even if your inner being, my inner being, or our inner being is healthy, even those who are healthy inner beings, if it is left unattended, it can become unhealthy. Nothing gets better when left unattended. The health of your inner being determines your capacity and ability to live with a version of yourself that you don’t like and never desire to be.
The health of your inner being determines how wide the gap is between who you are and who you pretend to be. It determines how far the gap can expand before you finally crack, confess, break down, or be found out. The health of our inner being, heart, and soul has little tolerance for lack of integrity. A healthy heart realizes that what is going on inside is not reflected on the outside. What is reflected on the outside is showing up better than what is on the inside. When that happens, the healthy inner self says, “I got some work to do. I got to get it in check.”
The healthy inner self is one. Their integrity, my integrity, and your integrity on the inside and the outside are in sync. At least it should be. The health of your inner being and inner self determines how far things can go before your conscious won’t let you pretend anymore. The health of your soul determines how willing you are to lie to other people and how easy it is for you to lie to yourself.
We were talking on our last topic about telling your truth and not lying to yourself when you are no longer the self you used to be and want to be. When you are no longer the self you always thought you would be or the true you that people can see, you are neglecting the health of your inner self. Neglect the health of your inner being, and it will ultimately come back to haunt you. It will hurt you and the people who are most important to you.
Don’t fool yourself because I’m not going to fool myself. I know I have the potential. We all have the potential to become someone we would despise if our inner beings are left unattended. We could become that unimaginable. You could be that unthinkable and live with yourself because people do it all the time. It happens all the time. I told you why. It is because we think, “It is not going to happen to me. It will never happen to me.” Don’t get it twisted.
The difference between those who avoid becoming unimaginable and doing the unthinkable is the health of their inner being, heart, and soul. They have the willingness and ability to pay close attention to what is going on inside of them. Let me ask you, do you pay attention? If not, how can you live with yourself?
We are discussing a new topic. My guess is the first person to dive into this topic with me. How can you live with yourself? That is the question. That is what I want you to think. You all know instead of us having a variety of topics with a variety of guests, we will pick a topic and invite diverse people to come and talk about the topic because we want different perspectives from our diverse audience.
Before we dive into the conversation, I must introduce you to our phenomenal guest. When I say phenomenal, I mean phenomenal. Our guest is a marketing professor, consultant, author, coach, ultra triathlete, and ultra runner. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of New Mexico. His Master’s degree is in Marketing from the University of Alabama. He completed his PhD Marketing coursework at Texas Tech University.
I’m talking phenomenal. Stay with me. Intertwined with his education, he gained over fifteen years of experience as an executive and consultant for numerous companies and organizations around the world. He has been a business professor since 2008, instructing over 100 undergraduates and graduates online and on-campus business courses.
In addition, he is a full-time marketing consultant and executive coach, helping hundreds of clients and students to optimize their lives, careers, and businesses. Finally, he is a USA track and field certified coach, three-time XTERRA trail running world champion, a World Duathlon bronze medalist, a three-time Western State 100-mile finisher, 27-time Ironman finisher, including Kona 18-time via the Kona Five and Epic5 ultra-triathlon, and former NCAA nationally-ranked distant runner. Most importantly, he is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge to help others to be successful and achieve their goals. He is phenomenal. Michael Jackson used to say, “I’m bad.” He is beyond bad. Please help me to welcome Professor Keith Rieger, PhD to the show. Welcome, Keith.
Thanks so much for the kind intro and warm welcome. Thank you, Kim, for having me on your show. Thank you for all you do for the community, for helping many people with your show, and for all the things you do to bring sunshine into the world. I’m glad to be part of it. Anything I can do to help you, I’m glad. I’m excited to dive into this topic with you.
I’m excited that you said yes to being on the show. Thank you. I am honored to know you. Even though we are not physically in each other’s presence, in your presence, I’m honored. Let’s jump in, Keith. Before we get into the details of our conversation, please share with our audience how we met.
We have known each other now for a few years. Kim is adventurous like me and likes to see the world. We ended up bumping into each other on a cruise, and immediately we hit it off. She got a lot of energy. She is a positive person. She is trying to be kind and good to all the people on the ship. It is something I tried to do.
We immediately had a great conversation and learned a lot about each other’s backgrounds, and figured out we had quite a bit in common. We have stayed friends ever since. We are in sync with our careers. You love to learn, share knowledge, and help others. That is what I do too. You and I have been supportive of each other ever since.
He hit the nail on the head. We met in the gym. You heard his bio. Why would he go on a cruise and not be in the gym? You guys all already know that Raul and I tend to visit the gym on an ongoing basis as well. It was such a wonderful time to meet him. I keep in contact with Raul as well because you were there talking to Raul, who was over at the gym on the ship. I will be sure to let him know that I connected with you and you did my show.
Let’s jump into the conversation. This show is about helping people to be themselves. Be you unapologetically. We owe no one an apology for being ourselves. Be who God created you to be. That is what You Are YOU is all about. I abbreviated it as YAYU. It was a couple of episodes, and when I wrote it down, I was like, “That says, YAY, U. I like that.” Please share with our audience what does it mean to be you unapologetically?
I agree with a lot of what you were saying in the intro about people putting on these facades and trying to impress others, especially in this day and age with social media and everything. When I was younger, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. My parents were successful in their own right and expected the same of me. I lived to try to get their approval and also the approval of the world around me. Whether that was getting good grades or being the best player on my hockey team, I was looking to get other people’s approval.
Fortunately, somebody very God-loving and kind shared the gospel with me when I was seventeen. I realized that God brought me here for a reason. God loves me. God approves of me. He realizes I’m not perfect. The only approval I need is from God, not from anybody else. The reality is you never will get the approval of others. It is very conditional, whereas with God, it is always going to be there, and knowing that someday we are going to be in heaven with him for eternity.
That freed me up to stop worrying about what other people thought of me. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, the only way I would do something is if I was going to be the best at it. That limited me and put a lot of anxiety and pressure on me. Once I realized God loves me the way I am and accepts me the way I am. I make the most of the talents and opportunities he has given me and leave the results up to him. It is amazing what came into my life from that. That is the way I have learned to accept me as me or you as you.
That was good, with our gifts and talent and being able to share them. You hit the nail on the head. Once you recognize, “God loves me and nothing else matters,” that was the ticket. Likewise, for me, that was the ticket. That was the key. I was like, “I don’t have to try to please anyone. I don’t have to wait for their approval because I’m already approved.” God already approves of me. He loves me. When he sees me, he doesn’t see all my faults. He sees who he sent for me, his son. Thank you for that. Let me ask you, are you happy with living with yourself? Are you still working on becoming the person that you can live with?
That is something where I lean on my faith with. Each day, my goal is to obey God and lead the results up to him. I’m going to do the best I can with the opportunities he gives me and the people he brings into my life. Whatever that is, that is it. I feel like I can live with myself. At the end of the day, did I do the best I could?
You are not going to be perfect. One thing I have learned, especially being a professor and a coach, and doing a lot of volunteer work, is that even though you are trying to help many people and you are spreading good in the world, you can’t please everybody. It doesn’t matter. With all good intentions in the world, there is still going to be somebody that is like, “I wanted it this way. Ninety-nine people wanted it this way. Sorry, we couldn’t please you too.” Do the best that you can, try to help as many people as you can, and realize you can’t make everybody happy. At the end of the day, as long as you are doing it for God and others, I can live with myself.Even though you are trying to help many people, and you are spreading good in the world, you can't please everybody. It doesn't matter. Click To Tweet
I like when you said, “At the end of the day.” My thought is like, “Every day, I get to choose. I choose the direction I want to go.” We make decisions all day long. For me, it is like, “What do I choose, love, joy, peace, kindness, and gentleness?” I get to choose, but at the end of the day, if whatever I chose did not serve me or did not turn out well, there is always grace. Because I know there is grace, then I can rest. I’m not taking it and worrying about it. I appreciate that. Have there been incidents or situations that you can share with our audience that caused you not to want to live with yourself?
How about giving me an example of a situation like that?
My audience knows that when I was 24, I was a widow. I was angry with God. I would not allow him in at all. It was only through my husband when I spotted him at a conference one day. My mindset was out of this world and manipulative. I didn’t see him as a person. I saw him as an object. My thing was like, “I’m going to hit it and quit it.” I was going after him to manipulate him. I had no intentions whatsoever to fall in love with him, let alone marry a man. That was my mindset.
I was living with myself. I was okay with being that. Now that I’m a Jesus follower, I look back at that. I’m like, “How did I live with myself?” I don’t want that. I’m not trying to go in that direction where I’m manipulating or hurting people, but that was a situation or a circumstance in my life at that time that caused me now not to want to live with that person and how that person was showing up.
Before I became a Christian, I was focused on myself and the world revolved around me. When I was in a race, it was all about me winning and not thinking too much about others in the events, how they were doing and their own goals, or even the team I was on. It was more about me. I learned that other people do matter. Nowadays, I care more about them and want to see them be successful more than myself. Those are the types of situations you have to fall into.
I feel like I have learned for the most part. Even with my running club now, the slogan or the cheer that we have is, “We, not me.” I’m constantly trying to encourage people, “Quit thinking about yourself. Realize we are all in this together. This is an opportunity for you to be kind, considerate, and supportive of others.” That is what I try to do with my running club and my life now.Quit thinking about yourself. Realize we are all in this together. This is an opportunity for you to be kind, considerate, and supportive of others. Click To Tweet
I learned that all because when I was younger, it was almost shameful. That is the way I was, but that is human nature. That is common with most people, especially if they are thinking, “I’m only living for 75 years. I get what I can and hit it and move on.” That is the way most people think. I would think if I didn’t think there was a bigger picture right there that there was a God and we were going to heaven. That is what I learned from that.
When I sit back and think about the person on the outside of what I used to be, it is unrecognizable. When I told people about that person, they were like, “No, not you.” I’m like, “Yes.” We all have the potential to do that. We can relapse if we don’t pay attention to our inner being and allow our inner being to go unattended. I know at that time in my life how it impacted the people around me because I didn’t care about them at all. It impacted those people in the sense that they didn’t want to be around me either. At that time, I was okay with it. Share with us how that unhealthy inner being has impacted the people around you.
When people are focused on themselves and not being kind and considerate to others, people can see through that quickly. As you say, “You being you.” If the people around them see they can get something out of them, they might tolerate or deal with them. Are you going to be long-term friends or true friends with them?
People like to miss out on true, genuine, and loving relationships. At the end of life, that is the most important thing. As you and I are getting older, that is what we start to realize. It is the loved ones around us that matter and the relationships that we have built. That is one of the biggest things. I’m also a firm believer that you reap what you sow, karma, and all that.
Even for myself, especially when I was younger and some of the decisions I have made or things I have done. Ultimately, I ended up paying for them. If you think you are getting away with something, it comes back on you. That is why it is important to get this figured out, focused on God, in tune with his plan for you, and start planting some good seeds. The harvest is going to be good, and get the weeds out of your life.
I love that “Get the weeds out of your life” because we have to maintain and manage that. We know that we are speaking to an audience of people. They hear what we are saying and they get it, but some of them don’t. What advice would you give someone who is outside and showing up differently from their inside? How can you help them to become healthier on the inside?
If somebody does have a facade or whatever, you have to think about what their motives are. What is going on here? Who is it that they are trying to get approval from? The biggest thing I try to tell them is, “God loves you the way you are. He accepts you the way you are. Even though you are not perfect, God loves you. Don’t worry about getting approval from others. Do the best you can each and every day with the talents and opportunities he has given you. That is how you are going to be happiest.”
Don’t be hard on yourself. The world constantly puts these high expectations and keeping up with the Joneses. Being a marketing professor, marketing is that each company’s product or service is trying to tell you that you are not going to be happy unless you have their product or service, and your life is not complete.
There are a lot of those messages out there. As we know what social media is, most people post all the wonderful things that are going on in their lives. They only post the best picture of themselves or the best video. You don’t see all the other stuff that is going on behind the scenes. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t think that you have to be perfect like everybody else. Start to realize that we are all not perfect, and that is okay.
What I hear you saying is, “Give yourself grace. It is so much around.” I tell people, “I want to believe I’m the first one in line asking God for grace with my hands open.” I’m like, “Can I ask for some grace?” With that, I’m learning and have learned to give myself grace on all my faults and mistakes, but also give grace to others.
I want you to please share how our audience can get in contact with you for those who are interested in learning more about you, especially about the athletic part of you. You love to run. The Army turned me against running, but I’m not hating. I’m celebrating you because that is something that you love to do. Please share with our audience how they can get in contact with you. After that, give some closing remarks or takeaways. What do you want our audience to take away from what you have already shared, or if you have something else to share?
If people want to learn more, my biography is on Amazon. That is called Kona Five. You can also find me at KeithRieger.com. You are kind in highlighting all the successes of my life. The reality is I have been through many challenges and many ups and downs in my life. A lot of that is in my book. The grace that God has given me, and many other people that have helped, inspired, and encouraged me, like what you have done for me, Kim, is that it takes a lot of others that have helped me to have the success that I have had.
It is not me. It is God and many others that have helped me along the way. What I would encourage and the takeaway for others is to realize God loves you. God has a plan for you. You are unique in your talents and opportunities. He puts you here for a reason. He has a purpose. Ask God each and every day, “Help me to do the best I can. I trust in you to bring things into my life that you want me to bring.” Once you do that, all the amazing blessings and things are going to come into your life.
We talked about relationships. What matters is the love and care you have shown toward others and helping them to understand a lot of these keys to success in life, which is what is amazing about what you do, Kim. At the end of life, God is going to say, “Kim, you helped many people.” We all have that responsibility. As you are blessed and things are coming into your life, look for opportunities to pay it forward. Each and every day, be kind to others.
All the little opportunities in front of you, if you are looking for them, what you can do is you are going to feel better, but you can make a huge difference in somebody’s life. You just never know what people are going through each and every day. Everybody got their stuff going on. Even smiling at them or saying something kind to them, “I love your shoes. I love your dress.” That might be the only nice thing that somebody said to them all week. Who knows, they might even be considering giving up on life, but you shared a little ray of sunshine in their lives. Who knows what that leads to in their lives, and all the good that it could lead to? That is what I encourage people.
You are a phenomenal person. We are grateful to have you here as our guest. Thank you so much for saying yes to us, Professor Keith Rieger. Look him up, check him out, tell him hello, and give him some feedback on what he shared. You shared so much. I appreciate the nuggets that you shared with us. I’m honored to have you on the show. I’m grateful. It is always a pleasure to see you.
I promise that I will double back so we can connect and play catch up on all the places and all the things that we have done since the last time we saw each other face to face. With that, I want to bid a sweet farewell there to you. May God bless every step you take for the rest of your days. I look forward to seeing you again.
Thanks so much, Kim. Keep up the amazing inspiration and great work you are doing for our community.
I promise. Thank you. I will talk to you soon.
Here is the question that I have for you. How many decisions would you say you are away from throwing up your life? How many are you away from wrecking your life? That is the question I want to leave with you. It is easy to lose yourself in today’s clashing ideas, conflicting beliefs, and the flood of information.
With society’s rigid expectations and endless opinions, self-expression and self-appreciation can feel challenging and daunting. Most of the time, we tend to push it away, dumb down, and hide who we are. We just go with the flow. I want you to know that you are you, unapologetically. That means being true to how you were created, being true to who you are, and not allowing people’s opinions to affect how you show up in life. Who are people getting when they get you when you show up? Do not allow people’s opinions to affect how you show up in life.
Let people talk. Let them say what they are going to say. No ifs and buts. Let them do it because we have no time. You have no time. Life is short. We have no time to be intimidated by the presence of others and think little of ourselves. When you show up without pretense and hesitation, the world can’t dull your glamour. Most importantly, you will be inspired to shine your light, share it, and help others to tap into their own brilliance. You have the ability to do that.
Put an end to the disparaging mindset and begin to own your authentic self. Join me here in a safe space where I will initiate influential conversations about you being you because you are you, unapologetically. No one is better at being you than you. Thank you so much. I’m glad for you all to be here. Thanks for checking out our show. Thanks for all the support. Please know that we can’t do it without you. Until then, we will see you soon.
About Keith Rieger
Professor Keith Rieger is a Marketing Professor, Consultant, Author, Coach, and Ultra-Triathlete & Ultra-Runner.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of New Mexico, his master’s degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama, and completed his PhD Marketing coursework at Texas Tech University. Intertwined with his education he has gained 15+ years experience as an executive & consultant for numerous companies & organizations around the world.
He has been a Business Professor since 2008, instructing 100+ undergraduate & graduate – online & on-campus – business courses. In addition, he is a full-time Marketing Consultant & Executive Coach helping hundreds of clients & students to optimize their lives, careers, and businesses.
Finally, he is a USA Track & Field Certified Coach, 3X XTERRA Trail Running World Champion, World Duathlon Bronze Medalist, 3X Western States 100 Mile finisher, 27X Ironman finisher (including Kona 18X via the Kona Five & Epic5 ultra-triathlons), and former NCAA nationally ranked distance runner.
Most importantly, he is passionate about learning & sharing knowledge to help others be successful and achieve their goals.