Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Mr Ted Yoder
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Introducing Ted Yoder
Ted Yoder is today’s guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
He is a master of an instrument that until recently I had never heard off, but upon stumbling upon some information on the web, I knew that I wanted to have him on my show.
Mr Ted Yoder got to the top of the Hammered Dulcimer pile, when back in 2010 he won the National Championship, even though this was not an instrument that was on his radar even a few years previously.
How The Dots Joined Up For Ted
As he says “For years I was a musician who played a lot of different instruments. Jack of all, master of none.
The hammered dulcimer was just another instrument I could play a little on but not really kill it.”
But with a bit of practice Ted is not only killing it, but actually smashing it to pieces too (which will make sense if you listen to the show)
So what was it about this instrument that really spoke to him, and allowed him to become a musician full-time, travelling the country performing well known classics, with a unique twist.
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Ted Yoder.
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics such as:
How when he was a child he always wanted to be the new Billy Joel or Eton John!
How he heard the instrument firstly on a Rich Mullins recording and was fascinated by its tone!
Why he grasped the chance of living his dream life after a terrifying motor accident with all the family!
How you only need to look at Ed Sheeran to see the steps that lead to success!
How there are always going to be fears in your life, but it is how we overcome these that lead to success!
How To Connect With Ted Yoder
If you enjoyed this episode of Join Up Dots then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Felicity Aston, Sean Swarner or the amazing Leon Logothetis
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription For Ted Yoder Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:26]
yes hello there it is David Ralph would you expect anything less course you wouldn’t, it’s gonna be me or there ain’t gonna be a show. We have got a guest on today who is he’s a master. He is a master of an instrument. But until recently I’d never heard of, but upon stumbling upon him on the web, I knew that I wanted to have him on my show. Because I want to get different characters. I want different personalities. I want different stories to make this show really mix where you just don’t know what you’re going to get each day. And this guy is going to tell you a story. But if you’re like me, you won’t have heard it before. He got to the top of the hammered dulcimer pile, when back in 2010. He won the national championship even though this was not an instrument that was on his radar, even a few years previously, as he says For years, I was a musician who played a lot of different instruments, jack of all master of none. And the hammer dulcimer was just another instrument I could play a little on, but not really kill it. But with a bit of practice. He’s not only killing it, but actually smashing it to pieces too. And that makes sense if you listen to the show. So what was it about this instrument it really spoke to him and allowed him to become a musician full time traveling the country performing well known classics with a unique twist. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start join up dots but one and only Ted Yoder. How are you today? I’m doing great David Thank you. That was a big build up and then I was I was giving it everything I could bet it. That was it was a there should have been fireworks. Yeah, I somehow felt like I thought short, just saying Hey, how are you? Now? It’s good. It’s the low key approach that you It’s funny, because Americans aren’t actually very low key. I’ve had this conversation quite a few times. But over here in the United Kingdom, we’re very low key, we don’t really show our emotions at all. But Americans are very well who and high fives and even when you go into a shop, it’s like, you know, it’s like Jesus has come back or something. But they’re really enthusiastic and positive. So it’s nice to see a little bit of a low penis about you.
Ted Yoder [2:35]
Try that out. I’ll try not to disappoint.
David Ralph [2:37]
No, don’t disappoint. So um, whereabouts is life for you, Ted, you are in Indiana in the United States.
Ted Yoder [2:45]
Yes. Pretty much smack dab in the middle of the states. They call it the Midwest, in the middle of farm country, really. So I’m surrounded by a kind of a sect of people, if you will, called the amish.
David Ralph [3:01]
Oh, so you’re out building sheds every day?
Ted Yoder [3:06]
Well, not me but other people.
David Ralph [3:09]
That’s my only Amish reference.
Ted Yoder [3:16]
Do you see a few faces? Oh, yes. Oh, yeah. There’s there’s constant construction. You know, it’s it’s not quite as old school as what, you know, you see on on movies like The witness, you know, back in the 80s. You know, they, you know, they still drive around horse and buggies. But it’s not, you know, they don’t necessarily do barn raising like they used to
David Ralph [3:39]
that there was a program over in the United Kingdom, maybe two or three years ago, when they took teenagers from England who had grown up in London and Birmingham and some of the cities and made them live with the Amish community for a while. And you would have thought that the the English people would have rebelled against it not having sold the kind of the things that they normally have on tap. But actually, about three or four weeks, I eased into it and there was a pleasantness to the life that they actually were going to miss when they came back to the hustle and bustle of what we see in the United Kingdom.
Ted Yoder [4:17]
Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, you know, it’s, it’s always, it’s always good to unplug, if you will, you know, with our smartphones and everything, we’re so connected. And, and, you know, I’ve had to do that a lot. Just kind of bringing in practices because I have a family, I have young kids and, you know, you know, it’s just not right, bringing my cell phone to the supper table, you know, to where I can, you know, always have access to email and, and that type of thing. Because if that’s the case, everything is urgent. And, you know, people people can wait a day or two to hear hear back from you. They’re not gonna die. You know,
David Ralph [4:56]
they’re not Barack Obama. That’s what I always say to people. Because I, I say this a lot. But I don’t have a mobile phone. And I’m absolutely adamant I’m not going to have one. And so when I leave my computer, no one can get hold of me. And it winds people up big time. Not because they can’t get ahold of me. It’s because when they want to get hold of me, they can’t do it. It’s almost like when the thought comes into their head, I want to speak to David I should be at the upper end waiting for that call. And of course they can’t Yeah, so um, yeah, it drives a mentor. And I quite enjoy it. So Indiana, I actually spent a few days in Indiana, I got snowed in I was on a road trip. And we ended up in Louisville, and the alley Museum, which was very great. And then the heavens open. I don’t know if you remember this, it was back in February 2010. And there was so much snow in the eastern seaboard. And we made a stupid mistake of flying in on the fifth of February to do this road trip. And it was just horrendous day in day out. It was just freezing cold. And we ended up in a place called Madison in Indiana, which was really picturesque, which I don’t think it’s a million miles away from you up near a river somewhere in Indiana. And yeah, it was very, very pleasant place to be.
Ted Yoder [6:17]
Oh, it’s it’s, it’s beautiful. When it snows we had a really hard winter this last winter. But you know, it’s, you know it, it’s fun when it shuts things down, you know, because then it really just helps you. Helps you just stop, you know. Yeah, so it’s good to get snowed in. Absolutely.
David Ralph [6:36]
So let’s get on to the actual show, because I’m sure our guests aren’t here just to talk about where they live. So the thing about join up dots is really is looking at your path and looking at the stumbles and the falls and the successes that have actually brought you to the show today. And it seems like a very short path. 2010 you won the hammer dulcimer. But can you remember the very first time you saw this instrument? Was it something that was always around? Or was it when you stumbled across it one day? And its uniqueness? Because if nobody knows what this is, and I didn’t, it basically looks like a table with a load of strings on it. And you kind of bang it like a sort of like a it’s almost like a sort of upside down harpsichord with with with hammers, isn’t it?
Ted Yoder [7:26]
Yes, yes. It’s actually a grandparent to the piano in the harpsichord. Many cultures and I’ll probably butcher some of the names but since you have a worldwide audience, I’ll try and bring in there’s a symbolism there’s a hawk Brett, a young chain in. So there’s all different cultures have a version of handles and the hammer dulcimer is actually just the American name. And so yeah, it’s a predecessor to the piano. And you know, if you open up a piano, you strike a key and a hammer hits it. You know, you just take away the key and, and you’re actually holding just one hammer in each hand. And in striking the strings, just like that.
David Ralph [8:10]
It’s as simple as that. But you got to be a master to play it. So did you do that? Do you remember when you first found this thing? Was it always in your life? Or was it was it a freak, but he came into your life?
Ted Yoder [8:21]
Yeah, it was, it wasn’t always in my life. I was probably about 18 when I first saw one and I played piano and keyboard because I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to be Billy Joel or elton john, you know, on the on the keyboards and. And then I heard this one artist named rich Mullins who had it on one of his albums, and I saw him play it in concert, and it just is totally captivating. And I couldn’t get it out of my head. It took me about 10 years to find one. Just because, you know, they, the builders, you know, actually the people that still build them are people just kind of in their backyard, you know, they have a shared and or workshop and, and they build, you know, one at a time. And so you know, those people weren’t on the Internet at. And so you had to kind of know somebody who knew somebody in order to find one.
David Ralph [9:14]
Could you build one yourself now?
Ted Yoder [9:18]
Oh, I probably could but would take me so long. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t have any time to play.
David Ralph [9:25]
But you but you could build like a mini one could you do? Do they have to be that size? Because it is not the easiest thing to carry around? I imagine it is it does look like a table, you’re not going to be playing at dulcimer while you’re sliding on your knees. You’re pretty much routed to the spot I imagine.
Ted Yoder [9:41]
Yeah, I stand up and play. So because I’m kind of a mover when I you know, when I perform and stuff so I like the freedom of not being routed to a chair. So a lot of people play it sitting down. I like to stand up. But yeah, you know, my, my particular instrument is only about about 1213 pounds. So it’s not terrible, heavy. But, but yeah, I don’t know, you know, like I said, I, I could build one but I’d rather leave that to the experts that build them in and I’ll just worry about mastering my plane.
David Ralph [10:20]
So how many people are out there? Because I think one of the things that struck me was you won a national championship. And you know, I’m not knowledgeable on every single subject, but I’d never ever heard of this instrument and I fall below me there’s a national championship and is a world championship Can you go on to sort of global hammer dulcimer?
Ted Yoder [10:42]
I think there’s there’s not a global hammer dulcimer there’s there’s some big festivals, I think over in China. But there again, I don’t know if it you know, with the the different cultures, instruments, they’re laid out differently. So like I couldn’t go over to Germany and play hockey Britain necessarily. I could I could have some techniques that would that would transfer but as far as note wise, it’s totally laid out different. So it would be tough to do that. So when they say national Yeah, it’s just it’s just America because it’s an American instrument. Nothing, nothing world that I know of yet.
David Ralph [11:21]
You could create it head. I’m building a market for you.
Ted Yoder [11:27]
Where would I hosted here in the States?
David Ralph [11:29]
No, everything’s always in the States. It winds me up to be honest. And I’ll be honest with you, it always winds me up when you have a lot Your World Series and stuff. And there’s no one else invited is only Americans. What is all that about?
Ted Yoder [11:44]
I know we’re rather humorous. I know that.
David Ralph [11:48]
You run run free and just land in a different country. And you could create you could create a new world of hammered dulcimer followers. And you could have nine wives all that was some bad news as well.
Ted Yoder [12:04]
That’s that’s a very touchy subject.
David Ralph [12:06]
Yes, I can imagine I can imagine. Well, you especially in the morning, over breakfast you don’t want to do. So once your aims, you said you wanted to be Billy Joel and elton john, when you was a young man. But obviously, both kind of guys come few and far between. So where where was the sort of? I don’t want to say realistic aim for you. But was it just to be a traveling musician? Was it to be a teacher? Where Where was your aim? In the early stages?
Ted Yoder [12:36]
I think I was always a lover of performing. I tried to do the realistic thing, you know, because I had people in my life that would say, you know, well, when when you get to get a real job, you know, me being a musician doesn’t pay. And of course, it’s it’s a bit different now than it was back in the day.
When you had to have a recording contract to make a living.
Or that’s just the way things were done, I guess, maybe not not to make a living.
But anyway, I tried to go to school and become a music teacher and everything. And I actually had a professor, my music Professor pull me in one time. And she was just chatting with me and, and I told her about this opportunity, I had to go down to Texas and tour with some musicians down there. And, and she just, she she said, you know, Ted, your face just totally lit up when you were talking about that. And she actually told me to quit school and go be a musician.
David Ralph [13:38]
That’s quite amazing, isn’t it? You would have thought they would say, stick with your studies. The studies are important. I mean, you can go and be a musician.
Unknown Speaker [13:48]
Right? Yeah, yeah, I was, I was totally shocked. And so I am, she keeps in touch with me still today. And, and we came to I play every now and then for some of her, her choir, concerts and stuff like that. So it’s, it’s really quite an interesting relationship.
David Ralph [14:05]
And that is the kind of teacher that you want. Because I’ve got a lady who I’m interviewing tonight, who actually believes that the education system is flawed, and we should be focusing more on life skills more than what the Romans did. And I’m going to be discussing about, but so many people in the shows have been saying almost the same thing that, you know, you have to encourage the enthusiasm more than the education do you do you feel about?
Unknown Speaker [14:35]
Yes, yes. It’s, it’s like, with my kids, we actually homeschool. And I know, it’s kind of a buzzword right now. But you know, for us it was. My idea is that character is something that can’t be taught in an institution. And I’ve run into more people who are bosses, and even people that are independent, you know, entrepreneurs and stuff, and they hire, you know, hire out people, mostly what they do is they look for people with character that are just going to be people of their word, they’re going to do what they say, they’re going to go above and beyond the call of duty. And, you know, you know, hey, I’m, again, I’m not bashing public education, that’s not my goal here. But you know, it’s just, I want to teach my kids character. And if you teach them character, you can teach them how to, they can learn anything they want, anything they put their mind to, and if they don’t know a particular skill, they should know how to find it. And, and, and acquire it. So I think that’s a missing key in a lot of a lot of education right now.
David Ralph [15:48]
Because we don’t do homeschooling. If, if we do homeschooling in the United Kingdom, it’s because our kids have been expelled, they basically have to go to school every single day. And, sure, I remember the first time that somebody said to me, they were homeschooled, and I was kind of really, because I can’t imagine my kids actually paying attention to me, they’d be far more willing to go off and play Xbox and, and I said, No, no, it’s hard enough, even getting them to do homework homework and take a whole weekend of trying to set a take them to the chair so that they don’t go off and do other things. And you’re putting yourself into that every single day, you You must be a mad mad head.
Unknown Speaker [16:30]
Well, my wife, I won’t take any more credit than, than what I should because my wife does a lot of it. And I’m not going to paint a rosy picture of it, trust me, my boys and girls really, you know, they asked for Xbox every day, too. And so it’s just it’s just a kid thing. But, but it’s so much fun, you know, I mean, I, I would, I would honestly just miss my children too much. If they were gone eight hours a day at school. And so much of their life, I haven’t for 18 years, you know, basically are roughly and and then they’re gone,
David Ralph [17:04]
you’re wishing I’ll go daughters and never going to move out. I’ve changed the locks four times, and I still managed to get in. There’s like a very large kid can’t flap I think that they they’re squeezing their way through, they’re not going to move out when they’re 18 Ted. Alright, so it’s just wishful thinking, it’s, it’s once again, it’s madness, you’re not in the real world up in Indiana, they’re going to be there till they’re 35 you’re gonna be an old man traveling around the country banging on your instrument just to provide for them and their kids and they haven’t moved out. That’s now that’s, that’s what we want. We want kids to stay at home for as long as we can and protect them and chisel away. There we go, I’m going to change my take on that one. So, um, what do you want your kids to think about? You’re your instrument.
Ted Yoder [18:05]
They, they really enjoy it, I you know, it’s one of those things where now that it’s my job. You know, they, they probably don’t get to hear it as much really, it’s kind of interesting, unless they, you know, every now and then I think usually twice a year we we pack up the whole family and they go with me on a little mini tour and we kind of wrap in a vacation in there. So they get to watch me perform and encouraged me in that. And and yeah, we get to, we get to spend hours on the road together, which is always fun. But yeah, I have two boys that that are really just very natural and gifted at it. But it’s, you know, like I said before, it’s kind of dragging them away from the electronics of the age to get them to play sometimes. So
David Ralph [18:53]
my son is learning guitar, and he’s he’s naturally talented at the guitar. And I play piano, and I’m not brilliant, but I can sit down and bang out a Billy Joe and an elton john song, you know, and I always say, I sound very good until a proper player sits next to me. And then you know, that’s where the differences and he’s really talented. And I sit down here play and I go, only you practice. And he just hasn’t gotten that thing in him at the moment to actually take himself to that next level. And it is, isn’t it? I mean, you can take that talent, you can take that skill, but without application, you ain’t going anywhere.
Ted Yoder [19:31]
Well, and even you know, you said something, you alluded to it, it was you know, unless there’s that passion or that inspiration. You know, something’s going to click one day if it’s really deep inside them, and they’re just going to attack it. Like they like they do the Xbox now you know. But I think if you if you have the have the opportunity for them to grow into and to grab it when they when they were it, then that’s that’s definitely a step in the right direction.
David Ralph [20:03]
I must admit that my daughter who is nine, she got annoyed that my son wouldn’t share his Xbox. So we found an old PlayStation two. And we said, Oh, that’s good enough for you. You know, he hasn’t got all the new games, but they’re good enough. And he said to me, is that what you sound like? You’ve just been shot? Oh, sorry, I I accidentally just strings on my dulcimer. You can’t stop it. Can you you? You want to hit it all the time. And so she said to me, oh, will you play Lego Batman with me? And I said, I’ll go in and I’ll play Lego Batman with. I can’t stop myself. Now, I keep on saying to you know, if you’ve got 1015 minutes, I can make 1015 minutes. You know, don’t worry about your homework. Come on. We’ve got to get in there. We got to get through that next zone. And it’s addictive. I can I can see what I can do to these things because I’m exactly the same and I’m 44 years old and I should know better.
Ted Yoder [20:59]
Yeah, no, I’m, I’m 42. And my kids got me. It took me the longest time to get me there. But they kept saying Dad, you got to play Minecraft with me. And I’m just like, Oh, come on. It’s just like Legos on a computer. You know? I hate that game.
David Ralph [21:13]
My son’s on that. That’s the boring game, isn’t it? If anyone hasn’t got any idea what we’re talking about, you go along as snail’s pace chipping at little bits of rock and building stuff. It’s it’s a boring game.
Ted Yoder [21:31]
My boys love Legos. And so it’s just it’s a digital Lego world. You know, and, and yeah, it’s it’s quite interesting.
How many hours Can you lose in Minecraft Ted?
You know, when they first got me addicted to it, we would we would easily play an hour a day. But, you know, so it hasn’t gotten really bad. But it’s I say no more times than I say yes, unfortunately.
David Ralph [22:00]
So you don’t creep out of bed at two o’clock in the morning and go down and start chipping away to build some tunnel that goes into nowhere.
Ted Yoder [22:08]
I did in the beginning I would I would stay up till 2am or something just kind of mining and looking for gold and different things like that. So but, but it’s the novelty is worn off a bit for me, but I am 42 So yeah, we shouldn’t have better Legos. I wouldn’t play with them.
David Ralph [22:26]
Yeah, exactly. We should know better. We’ve got responsibilities, we’ve got beer to drink, we’ve got things to do.
Ted Yoder [22:33]
David Ralph [22:34]
So So when when you get cold to go and play is it just because I’m seeing you on the web and and I want people to go over we put the links to your site on there because it is amazing. I saw you doing walking in Memphis and you were playing bing bing bing bing bing bing, that was my impression, but you sing at the same time. And it was an It was a complete performance. And I was astonished really. The anytime I’ve ever seen anyone sort of play an instrument like bad that there was no singing involved, it was just instrumental. And as that set you apart, does do other people sing and play at the same time.
Ted Yoder [23:12]
It’s that is something that kind of sets me apart. I do create a lot of instrumental pieces, you know, that’s part of the fun of it, too is taking like a you know, a Beatles piece and you know, something that somebody is normal, you know, and somebody that sings along to a song You know, they know the words and everything and then you know, you just make an instrumental piece that doesn’t sound like elevator music, basically. And that’s that’s a challenge and fun. But yeah, yeah, I think that the singing and playing you know, I always did it when I was playing piano so it doesn’t seem that different for me. I guess some people have a little harder time wrapping their, their mind around it, but having my hands do something else while I’m concentrating on words and melody.
David Ralph [23:58]
I just I don’t know, doesn’t doesn’t come that hard for me. Well, what is your song? every musician has always got a song. But if I sit down, even if there’s no one around, they will play first. My mind one is always your song by elton john. If I sit at a piano, I will always play about one. And I know it’s all guitar. So pick up the guitar I do. Stairway to Heaven or something. So have you got a kind of your song that you will always just keep on coming back to?
Ted Yoder [24:26]
I’d say it’s got to be the Beatles. Norwegian Wood.
David Ralph [24:36]
That’s an unusual one. Yeah.
Ted Yoder [24:40]
But I don’t I don’t know. That’s that’s just an instrument. One for me. I don’t I don’t sing and sing and play that one. But I kind of I you know, I kind of lighten it up. It’s not it’s not at the tempo that they that they play it.
David Ralph [24:54]
Can you give us a? What do you say a bang? Do you? How do you describe it?
Ted Yoder [25:01]
Oh, I don’t know. Just just a sample
David Ralph [25:04]
sample. that’s a that’s a better way of saying sample.
Unknown Speaker [25:07]
Right. All right. Yeah. I hope this isn’t too loud. It’s kind of it’s right in my lap or it normally isn’t. So here we go.
David Ralph [26:09]
I’m gonna give you a round of applause. That was amazing. Is that quite difficult to play on your lap? Do you need more restricted there?
Unknown Speaker [26:20]
Oh, just a little bit. But I every now and then when I play like with some other musicians and we do like what something they call it in the round. You know, and if I’m, if I’m the only guy standing I’ll usually just put on you know, one leg on the instrument and then rested on my knees and kind of join all the guitars sit down and play.
David Ralph [26:37]
It’s got kind of Indian he sound doesn’t it? It reminded me of what’s the Beatles when they play?
Ted Yoder [26:46]
David Ralph [26:47]
off of the revolver album, come to me. But it was the first one that they put in sitar and it’s got that kind of that that string resonance to it. Isn’t it your instrument?
Ted Yoder [26:58]
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
David Ralph [27:00]
That’s, that’s gonna rest of the show. Now I’m going to be thinking about
Ted Yoder [27:03]
it wasn’t Eleanor Rigby? Was it?
David Ralph [27:05]
No, it wasn’t Eleanor Rigby. I will come back to it. I’ll come back to it. So what I want to do at this point is actually play. I’m gonna play a couple of the speeches that we play on the show, I’ve started bringing in another champion, because I think this is really got more relevance to you, then, actually, that the Steve Jobs speech, which will play a little bit later, and this was a speech but wasn’t that far away from you, I believe, done by Jim Carrey recently at a university. Have you heard of this speech? And he he did do a load of graduates?
Ted Yoder [27:37]
I think I’ve heard of it. I don’t I I’ve heard that it’s out there. I don’t think I’ve actually heard it.
David Ralph [27:41]
But you’re going to hear it now. And hold on to your dulcimer because this will blow you away. This is this is Jim Carrey is inspirational best.
Jim Carrey [27:50]
My father could have been a great comedian. But he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. When I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [28:17]
How about that? That is amazing in it.
Ted Yoder [28:21]
That’s awesome. Love it.
David Ralph [28:23]
Because it really says to you and your kids. And a lot of this sort of conversations we have now is that there isn’t a safe choice anymore. But years and years and years, we would go through education, we’d get a job at the other end, and we worked your retirement and been that was it. But now anytime that can be taken away. Now for somebody like yourself, who has got a skill, who’s developed it, and you know, has got an ability to bring in income on their own. But that same that a signal to your kids, but actually, we should be looking on a wider sense, we should be using the internet, we should be discussing what other people are doing in the world to earn an income because ultimately, that’s the safest route.
Ted Yoder [29:06]
I sure hope that that’s one of the big things that they pull out of my time doing music, you know, if, if this only lasts for a time, it’s been the funnest years of my life so far. And, and one thing that’s been even even greater is, is the fact that I get to do it with my family. And you know, it’s not, it’s not something that I had established, you know, beforehand and did it all by myself. If I didn’t have my family, especially my wife, I, I wouldn’t be doing this right now.
David Ralph [29:40]
Why would you not be doing it? Because I would have thought if you didn’t have them, you’d have freedom to go off and do it wherever you want. Why? Why is that holding you back? You know,
Ted Yoder [29:51]
I one one thing is I was so stinking undisciplined, when I was younger. And so, you know, you talked earlier about what about Americans just being kind of, you know, oh, well, I don’t know blown about by the wind, just whimsy, we moved by our emotions and that kind of stuff. And, you know, that’s a that’s a gross, you know, interpretation of it. But you know, that that’s what I was I just, if I didn’t want to do something I didn’t if I if I was discouraged about something, I didn’t fight through it. And you know, so some of the lessons that I learned being a husband being a father, and then having having someone like my wife who believes in Me 100% is is totally invaluable. And, and even, even along with that is someone who knows me so well that if I ever pretend to be something else on stage, you know, I’m quickly reminded that, you know, of who I am, and and what, you know, what’s the most important one thing in this life? And that is my family.
David Ralph [31:02]
So do you have to be unique to yourself on stage when you don’t actually present a different Ted Yoda that sits at home in his underwear watching Minecraft?
Ted Yoder [31:15]
No, I really don’t, you know, I perform, I practice really hard. And, and I love putting on a show, if you will. But when it comes right down to the brass tacks of what I talk about, you know, stories I share. I honestly try to be as personable and real as possible. One thing I just always hated in my life was disingenuous people. And, you know, if I just I, I thrive on honesty, and, and so I can’t I can’t do anything else. Even when I’m in front of 700 or more people.
David Ralph [31:59]
What was the most you’ve played in front of him? Because Sept seven hundreds. You know that that’s getting into Madison Square Garden? Not really. But is it 700 people? A lot?
Ted Yoder [32:12]
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s it, those are great crowds to play in front of. I think I’ve, I’ve performed in front of 1000 to close to 1500 a couple times. But I have yet to reach the, the numbers that I want to, you know, I don’t know that I, I don’t have a grand desire to, you know, be at Ed Sheeran. And, you know, Phil at Madison Square Garden, but, but I would love to go to, you know, just your basic little theaters and stuff and, and have a packed house, you know, that, you know, thousand people are just fine with me.
David Ralph [32:51]
There’s no reason why you can’t do that. I was having a chat with a chap last night, who basically has blagged his way to being on the spaceship going up into space with Richard Branson. And he was telling me how he did this. And it’s going to be Episode 85 or something. So it’s going to be next week. But I’m just sort of summarizing, he just decided I want to go to space how to do this. I know, let’s try and find Richard Branson. So he found Richard Branson, and he found out that he was in Memphis. So he flew over to Memphis black these way into the place where Branson was, managed to have a conversation with him and said, Look, I’m a photographer, let me take photos from space with you. And Branson when? Okay, let’s see your work. Okay, well, I’ll connect you with my, my PA, and we’ll get things moving. And he said to Richard Branson, you know, how many people have pitched this idea to you? And Branson said to your second, now back, unbelievable, he’s got a chance to go up into space. And because of his boldness, he’s given himself 5050 odds. So there’s no reason why you couldn’t be the next Ed Sheeran. Because that Chairman did it himself didn’t make it a year before he was you know, sending out places he was going to holes in in England, where five people were actually paying for his bus fare there and bus fare back and stuff and did a you know, when most people would have said it’s not gonna work, I’ll share and kept them going away. And, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s a global star now. Yeah, yeah. And he hasn’t like you, Ted I but Ted Yoda. That’s a setting point.
Unknown Speaker [34:40]
Oh, after it seems very common around here. So I, you know, I don’t know what it sounds like in in other tongues, if you will.
David Ralph [34:48]
Can you play Star Wars on your, on your thing? Can you can you do that?
That’s got to be your theme tune in there.
Ted Yoder [35:08]
That’s just that’s just real quick.
David Ralph [35:10]
But you imagine how excited people will when when you’re doing a whole 1500 people, and they say, and we’ve got Yoda coming on that music. And you will play it’d be it’d be brilliant. I want to I want to see you going to wider audiences. And I’m going to do everything I can on this show, you’re going to be heard in over 100 countries. So if anyone’s out there who’s listening, and has got a whole our stadium that’s waiting for an unknown artist to come out and be the new edge here and drop us a line and drop us a line as well. Because, you know, needs to be held, held on a sort of wider scale. I think this I’m now hammered dulcimer champion.
Ted Yoder [35:55]
David Ralph [35:57]
You didn’t know where to go with that? Did you?
Ted Yoder [35:59]
I didn’t know what to go with that
David Ralph [36:01]
You just sat back thinking what if I let myself in for I’m gonna be flying around the world first class, going to all these places, you don’t know if you really want that tip to you.
Ted Yoder [36:15]
If it pulls me too much away from my family, I don’t want to be on the road touring for two months at a time. But if I can fly to Europe, and spend a week over there, and come back home, maybe bring my wife with me, that would be sweet.
David Ralph [36:28]
Well, let’s try to do that. Just Just before we sort of move you on to the next part of the show, I do want to bring up the Steve Jobs speech because that is the key part to the show. And that really is the speech of 2005 when he talked about only being able to look back and join up your dots and see your path, when you actually do give yourself self a chance to reflect. I’m going to play it. And then I’m going to ask you a few questions based on these words, how it makes you feel, and whether you feel there’s a relevance to your own progress in life. So this is Steve Jobs
Ted Yoder [37:01]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [37:37]
What do you think about those words, Ted?
Ted Yoder [37:41]
Oh, they’re definitely encouraging I, you know, I,
I’ve always lived my life with not many regrets. There’s, so I’m a very in the now type of person. So I’m probably your typical American. And so when it comes to facing fears, because of doing something against the norm, or, you know, even even just like this, you’re you’re step out, you’re laying your heart on the line, using your talent. This is, this is who I am, you know, this is a deep part of me, and you’re laying it on the line in front of people. And if you don’t, if they don’t like it, it’s really hard not to take that personal. But so I just, I just step out, and I let the chips fall where they may. And and I don’t really look back, because I just always figured that if if I don’t take the chance now. I don’t I don’t want to live with regret. And there’s there’s always a 5050 chance. No, no, I, I would actually say there’s a greater chance of things working in your favor, when you step out and just do what’s in your heart to do. I think, no, I believe that, you know, if you will karma life, whatever fate, I believe it been toward success. And those that don’t succeed are the ones that truly either don’t want to, and they’re in the minority, if they would just take a few steps, if they would face their fear. And they would find that, that everything is behind them for success. And things will start to line up things will fall into place. And, and, and, and they’ll look back, you know, in 10 years, and say, Well, I never thought I’d get to this place. So I don’t think you have to be a fearless person. In fact, I don’t think you can be a fearless person. And and succeed. Part of part of success is the fear, failure. And that’s what keeps pushing us on.
David Ralph [40:05]
Me, I love that. I love what you’re saying there because it is so true. And it really is what I want to get across on the shows, you know, if there is somebody listening, and I’ve just got this idea of what they want to do, just start doing it. That’s that’s you know, and don’t put your house on it. Don’t try to make it more difficult, because it really has struck me with a with a with a hammered dulcimer to the brain. But the bigger the things that I’m trying to achieve are just coming to me easily. And I’ve got some guests lined up. But I’ve recorded already. And I could not comprehend, ever having a conversation with them, let alone now being able to contact them on Facebook, and they’re coming back to me and we’re building a relationship. And it was just the fact that I moved out of my comfort zone and started doing some stuff. And it was nothing more than that. You know, I’m not clever. I can speak into a mic. And I think I’m better at speaking to a mic now when I was 100 shows again. But there’s no difference between me and you. And Elvis or what? Well, Elvis, you had it was wasn’t it. But I’m the other than Elvis, the rest of us. We’ve all got the same fears. We’ve got all the same issues. We’ve got everything the same, but it’s the way that we deal with those. And we overcome those. And we keep on taking that one step and another step and another step. And ultimately you get to a point where you think Blimey, looking back joining those dots, I can see my path, but I don’t know how I’ve got here, but God, I’m glad I am.
Ted Yoder [41:40]
David Ralph [41:43]
It is amazing, though, isn’t it? Ted, why so many people are unwilling to learn that fact. You know, I’ve done over 110 episodes now. And every single person has said the same thing. And the people really high up the path. actually saying even the people beyond them, like I had a conversation with a lady and she was talking about how some forward who she knows and stuff. And she was saying he’s no different. It’s just a he’s had opportunities, and he’s made opportunities and he’s had failures. And he’s kept on working, working, working. And then sometimes Fingers crossed, doors will open and if you’re willing enough to jump through them, you can make a new life for yourself. But if you are unwilling to jump through, then nothing’s going to change.
Ted Yoder [42:28]
Right. Yeah. You know, it’s it is interesting, you know, we’re using Ed Sheeran as a as an example. You know, one he, people think he’s an overnight success. Well, he’s not, he’s what you call a 10 year success, you know, it’s just now everybody knows about him, because he got a few gigs. But he, you know, he worked hard behind the scenes for many years. One because he was doing what he loved. But what do they say upper when? Success is when opportunity? preparation meets opportunity? Yeah, and, you know, so So finally, one day someone comes to him and says, Hey, Ed, you know, we’d like you to do the soundtrack to, you know, the Hobbit. And, you know, or the theme song. And and I guarantee you that, you know, I don’t know him personally, but I’ve heard him talk a few times, and and he’s no different than Harrison Ford or me. And when he had that opportunity, I bet you he was as scared to work on that thing as he was the first time he stepped on stage. And so just because we face the fear, people think because we get to one specific plateau, we get used to it. No, there’s always new things that come up, you know, sure, I played in front of 700 to 1000 people, well, one day, I am going to play for 2001 day, I’m going to play for 10,000 you know, those, those opportunities are going to come. Because, you know, like I said earlier, I really believe life is stacked in our favor for success. And you really got to not want success to avoid it. But every every time those doors come that we still face the same fears. And and it essentially is the fear of failure. But then we we look at it and we say, Oh my gosh, this opportunity. You know, you could say it’s once in a lifetime, I’d be a fool to not take a step in the into that door.
David Ralph [44:33]
I am scared every single episode, and I’m quite open with it. Listen back to Episode One, Episode Two. There’s a different version of me. And I think it was just that the technicalities of doing the show. And I was looking at this being and clicking on that and making sure it was all recording. I’m a far more relaxed on that. But still, when I press record, I have butterflies in my stomach. And we have out in pre chat beforehand just to get to know each other. And then we go free to bank. I feel the you know, the anticipation. And I was a financial trainer for years and years and years. And even though I would do training courses last three days, and I knew them inside out 10 minutes beforehand, I used to get nervous on every single every single go. And it is those nerves, but those ability to deal with those nerves and ability to know when you need to raise your game. Or you can rest a bit and and just knowing yourself and how you can respond to situations. That’s a key part, isn’t it to grabbing that success that we’re talking about?
Ted Yoder [45:36]
Yeah, you know, early, early on. This was even before I won the national championship, when when I decided that Look, I don’t want to turn 50 and and still be wondering if I could have done this for a living. And so I just started, I just started going out, I went to two assisted living places. And right close to my home and I didn’t have a website, I didn’t have a business card. I didn’t even have I didn’t even have me recorded playing the hammer dulcimer. I played somebody else’s version of a song on the hammer dulcimer for these people and said, Well, this is what it sounds like, you know, can I come play for you guys? And and they said, sure. But so, you know, just as crazy as that sounds, you know, it, you know, anybody could do it then. But you know, I was reading a book at the time. And it was, I can’t remember the author, but it was called eat, Eat That Frog, I believe this is the title. And the whole basis of the book is like, Look, we all face stuff that we don’t want to do. Either we fear it, or we just don’t like to do it. And there comes a time, you know, so you might as well just eat your frog legs right away in the morning. That way it’s done. And you can, you know, just get it out the way just basically, it’s a book about facing your fears. So I focused on that a lot. Because my one of my biggest fears was just, you know, getting up in front of people and and, and performing. You know, just that fear of failure was so strong with me. And, and so once once I just started doing it sure, there were a couple times I fell on my face and you know, just had it had a really bad outing, but you know, you just you muscle through it, and learn from it. And and hopefully you don’t do it again.
David Ralph [47:30]
But what was it in you? Yeah, I know that feeling of I don’t want to get to 50 and haven’t done this thing. But what was it different about Ted, that so many people managed to ignore, and it was so many people, I work with people for years and years and years that had been in jobs that I hated. And I’d done 40 years in that job. And it was all they ever knew. So what was it about you, but when Yes, I could get egg on my face? This could be scary. But I know that I’ve got to do it.
Ted Yoder [48:00]
I know that I have to do. I think you know, it was just always something that was there. I always like I grew up playing piano, I always wanted to be a musician. But like when I when I said earlier in the show that I’m not, I’m a man of few regrets. I that’s a very true statement. It’s not just a sentiment, there are literally only one or two things in my past that I can look at and say man I wished I would have. And so those those wished I would have ideas that I have back then in my head have you know, had been hounding me for years. You know, and and when I first got married, then I you know, I took a normal job I installed, you know, flooring, and I was I was I had a career, I had a good business that made good money, we were living out close to Chicago at the time. And you know, it just? Well, I’ll tell you what, that you have that underlying desire, that’s always there. Okay, so I was all always trying to do music, I was I was always touching an instrument, something, you know, keeping that dream or just that, that passion alive. When we were in the height of my success, as far as a contractor goes, we were making good money, we had a house, you know, we weren’t needing me put that way. We had a car accident. And I had the whole family with me. And the van flipped over. And I was the only one, you know, my Well, my first thought was, okay, who’s not going to be here when this is over, because you just don’t flip a minivan full of kids. And, and people walk away, or everybody will walk away? Well, I was the only one that got hurt, the roof caved in on my head, gave me some pretty bad neck damage. And during my recovery time, I was just, you know, I couldn’t help but think, what, what if that was it? You know, what would they have to say about me that I was responsible that I was, you know, or, you know, I don’t know what a boring epitaph, you know, and I’m not necessarily looking to go out with a bang. So I don’t want to die in the helicopter on a mountainside. But I do want to instill in my family, my kids and and other people, just this passion for life. If it truly is just a short time that we’re here, goodness sakes, do something that matters. Do something that touches other people. Do something that comes deep down inside that if that if you didn’t, if you woke up 20 years from now, you’re still hadn’t done it. I hope it’s eating at you. And I I don’t know if that answers your question.
David Ralph [51:10]
I think that answered the question so perfectly. But if anyone is listening out there, just rewind that and listen to it again. Because that is the killer part of the show. It really is how one thing in your life can actually be adopt, but joins up all your dots and makes you look for the new path. And I think that was your dot. And there’s so many people sated in normally the big daughters we called it is quite often the worst thing that could possibly happen at that time. But it’s only when you look back on it. You go, thank God, I did actually go through that. Because without that, I think I still would have been on that path of unfulfillment. But I was traveling.
Ted Yoder [51:51]
Yeah. And thought about it in that perspective. Yeah, that’s, that was the turning point. Yep.
David Ralph [51:57]
Well, let’s turn you to a more positive state of mind. Because what I’m going to do, I’m going to send you back in time now, and so that you can have a one on one with your younger self. And if you did go back in time and you met the younger Ted, what age would you speak to? And what words of advice would you give him for his his years coming on, so I’m going to play the tune and when it fades out your mouth, and this is Ted Yoder on the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [52:30]
With the best of the show,
Ted Yoder [52:46]
I would say Do what you fear and fear disappears, or the worst thing you can do is be paralyzed by fear. Because nine out of 10 times fear is grossly over exaggerated. And, and it’ll just paralyze you and keep you exactly where you’re at right now.
David Ralph [53:08]
Right, short and sweet. That was Ted. So how can our guests connect with you?
Ted Yoder [53:12]
Well, the easiest way is by email Ted at TED Yoder. com that is te d y o d er is how you spell my name. So Ted at TED Yoder calm is my email address. I’m on Facebook, Ted Yoder music. You can find me on Twitter. I don’t do a ton with Twitter, but Facebook and email are the are the easiest ways to connect course I have YouTube, my YouTube channels up there. I got tons of videos up there tons of music, mostly. In fact, that should I should tell you most of the videos that you see of me right now are this little version called Fan Friday that I started about three years ago. And it’s usually just me getting out side or sitting in my living room or doing something with my kids and I’m playing song that somebody requested or just a song that I just created or I’m working on. And I just I just share my music for free with people. So that’s a lot of what what’s on YouTube. So go on over to YouTube, subscribe and, and enjoy the music.
David Ralph [54:15]
Ted, you been an absolute delight to have you on the show. I didn’t know anything about a hammer dulcimer. But I’m looking forward to the the Yoda shear in Mega mix that’s going to be coming out that’s got to be listened to. So thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots and thank you for being so honest and and generous with your with your memories. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past it really is the best way to build our futures. Take Yoda Thank you so much.
Ted Yoder [54:47]
Thank you David.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant sell fewer wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur your practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.