The 40 most important conversations to have with yourself with Corey Yeager

By Mary Maxey
October 24, 2019

In today’s episode, our guest is Corey Yeager. He has navigated his ups and downs. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, meaning he spends more time with people. He used to have a tie. 

[4:00] Why Should I Listen to you? 

It will be intentional if I try to talk to you. You should also speak to me because you might sense I have wisdom in my conversation. I would jump into curiosity about your life. My life is to be curious about people’s lives, not change anyone’s life. 

[5:06] Where do you see wisdom coming from? 

My grandmother, who died at the age of 96 years, had a sixth-grade education but was the wisest person in the world. She taught me the process and gift of discernment, which I utilized in my life. She taught me the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is gaining information, while wisdom is the application thereof. It is how I take my information and apply it to benefit myself and others around me. Knowledge is just something on a shelf, but if it’s utilized well, it is wisdom. That’s how I see it.  

[7:12] Where did curiosity come into your life? 

I think I have always been curious, and I will have to relate this to my grandmother. When I was ten, she took me to her side and told me I had the same gift as hers: the gift of discernment. She began to teach me what wisdom is. She told me to pay attention to what people are doing, be curious, watch and don’t tell anybody you’re doing it, and see if I can predict what’s going to happen with that situation, and I have done that my whole life. I watch people, sit back and watch how events will unfold in their life. So curiosity has grown in my life since a very young age, and I utilize it in everything, and I think it serves me well. 

[9:50] How do you handle people that are close to you but don’t listen to you? 

I am not sure I can help with forcing anything at all. I think I’ve settled on saying that it’s not my job to convince you to do something or not. I will give you my version, and you can choose to do whatever you want. You can choose to ignore me, and I will watch the situation while you look at me and tell me I was right. 

[11:00] How did you become a marriage and family therapist? 

I went to Long Beach State and played football. I thought I would be a multi-millionaire offensive guard in the NFL. I had no degree, nor did I have anything to fall back on. I had a friend who bonded well with each other; after football, I met my wife. She saw something in me that was invincible to me, and she kept drawing it out. I followed her lead, went back to school, and fell in love with the academic ground. I got my degree in psychology, went back to school for my master’s, and ultimately Ph.D. at the University Of Minnesota. So I kind of fell in love with that rap out.

Meanwhile, as I got my master’s degree, I became a therapist and deeply fell in love with the therapeutic adventure-engaging and supporting others. I wanted to be in the helping profession, and it drew me to people. I got to hear people’s stories, experiences, and feedback. That drew me into it and sustained me because I want to be in the helping space. 

[13:30] What’s the state of the world’s family base right now? 

I think it’s ever-shifting and ever-evolving, so if the state of the family and how we see it is evolving. We will miss a lot if we have the same mindset that we had 40 years ago. So we have to grow with thinking along with the family. The family by choice is something nobody talked about 40-50 years ago, but if I choose to have you as my brother. That is just as strong a bond as if we were biologically connected because I chose you as my brother. So this family evolution begs us to evolve our thinking with it as well. If we also see the importance of a nuclear family as a family unit, that’s a unit. There is no normal when you talk about family. It is only normal within the family. If you start to compare families, it becomes abnormal. So if we can understand that the most critical family is my family and if I can finalize and stand on what normal means for us, I don’t have to compare because it’s not my job. If I can make my unit understand how I operate. 

[16:00] How do individuals affect the collective family?

I think it starts with the concept that the sum is greater than the whole and is greater than the sum of its parts. Individuals are critically important. In the book I’m currently doing, I talk about individuals better understanding themselves. If you as an individual understand yourself, you become a better husband, friend, brother, and so on. So the understanding and curiosity we should have within the individual serve the greater whole. Make sure you understand yourself. The individual is important, but that whole line moving together in unison is much more important than an individual. But it doesn’t diminish the importance of that individual either. One of the struggles is that multiple agendas are competing. 

[19:10]  How does somebody get to know themselves? 

Just like getting to know another individual. You see other individuals by spending time with them, learning their quirks, learning what they like, where you blend with them, and so on. Knowing the self is quite similar. You have to spend time with yourself to know yourself. Before I can be a good husband and dad, I have to be a good Quarry for Corey. So working to understand myself, becoming aware of how I see the world, and how I develop the system that I move with is essential because, too often, we get value systems implanted in us, and we don’t question them for the rest of our lives. Leaning in to understand better and be curious about who we are and how we came to be who we are is essential. It does a great job of serving us in our relationships with others if we can improve ourselves.

 [22:58] How did you balance that with being self-deprecating? 

I think this self-deprecation is a space that serves us best with others. I’m self-deprecating with people, and I think it’s a move to be one down with people. It diminishes on purpose. I seek to reduce myself in this conversation with you because I want to be down. After all,  if we’re own down, others will be able to engage. 

[28:22] What prompted you to write this book, and who is the book for? 

I think the book is for anywhere from a kid from age 13 because I wrote in a way that a young person can get a hold of something. It can be served throughout the lifespan. I think this was inspired by a documentary I did with De Mar DeRozan, one of my dogs that I sincerely liked in league with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry. I had said that I wanted to write a book while running my Ph.D. program, and part of me thought of what I was attacking with it. But then, i said, let the reader find you. It will be better if it finds you. The book came to see me because I did what I was supposed to do when it found me. The inspiration built over time as I began constructing therapeutic support, working in the NBA. I think that’s what inspired me to write the book. I think the book is excellent for athletes because athletes have been sold a bill of goods that they should be something. You can do a lot of things. Also, if you are an individual that seeks to know yourself better, the book is definitely for you. 

[37:44] How do you navigate the challenges of becoming who you want to be? 

You just described a concept in the psychological realm called negative self-talk. Negative conversations move in an echo, pushing out the opportunity for the echo chamber to be full of positivity. So like the book is saying, you do whatever you like with it. It is terrible if you can’t figure out what you want as a man. You have to be aware of what’s wrong, and then you can start to make a shift. 

[48:26] What promise did God make to the world when he created you? 

This is going to be a cat that will be in your corner. If you engage with him, you won’t have to wait a long time before you can figure out if you can trust him or not. 

Key Quotes

[34:04-34:06] According to Nelson Mandela, we never lose. We either win or learn.

[40:20-40:22] To be you is to be the authentic you, unashamed 


How to connect with Corey Yeager




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