"Shoebox Moses" On Life Beyond The Music
Tired of feeling unseen, unloved, and unvalued? Over feeling out of control, lost, and overwhelmed? Are you ready to regain control, step into your power and purpose, and shine your light brightly into the world? Today's guest, Sammy “Shoebox Moses" Taggett, was discovered in a shoebox in a dumpster as an infant and then grew up in an orphanage in the Philippines. After hitting rock bottom, he set out on a journey of discovery and went from working as a bathroom attendant to becoming an international superstar! Along the way, he discovered his purpose and learned to love himself, shed the scars of his past, navigate difficult issues with joy, and define his future. Tune in as Host Ellie Shefi chats with “Shoebox Moses” as he shares his hard-learned tips for getting back up when life knocks you down and navigating life with joy, passion, and purpose. If you're ready to face life’s journey head-on and blaze a joyful and purposeful path, do not miss this episode!
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"Shoebox Moses" On Life Beyond The Music
Today's guest is recognized by Forbes as a Top International DJ who tours the world, creating electric atmospheres with some of the biggest names in the industry. Performing at some of the most iconic venues, he has headlined festivals with major acts including Skrillex, Empire Of The Sun, Kid Cudi, Snoop Dogg, and Avicii. As a headline entertainer for elite entrepreneurial conferences, he has performed for the world's most powerful leaders. He is one of the few DJs invited to play on Necker Island, the home of Sir Richard Branson, and he is the only DJ to have hosted a rave in Antarctica.
Beyond being a globally recognized DJ, he is a #1 international best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and CEO of Evolved Podcasting. He is also the Founder of The Foundlings, a nonprofit organization that brings educational and creative learning platforms to orphans in the Philippines to help them live meaningful and economically self-sufficient lives. Please welcome Sammy “Shoebox Moses” Taggett.
Welcome, Sammy. It’s great to have you here.
That intro was amazing. It was one of those times where you hear it and you go, “That person is busy doing stuff,” and then you realize, “That's me.” Thank you so much for the beautiful intro. It’s good to see you.
You go by "Shoebox Moses." That is certainly a unique moniker. Tell us a little bit about that. Where did that come from?
It is a very unique moniker. It was a moniker that was given to me by some of my favorite friends and colleagues in the entrepreneurial space, and it came from self-discovery. I went back to my orphanage in the Philippines on this pilgrimage to find my roots. I've always wanted to go back to my country. I got an opportunity to go find out where I was from. It’s this orphanage in Quezon City called the RSCC. It is nestled right in the middle of this bustling city.
I went there, but right before I left, I was in Denver DJ-ing and doing all the things. I had this moment where I called my mom. It was this huge turning point for me because she gifted me some papers about my story and where I had been from. I never looked at them. I just brushed them off. I had this opportunity to dig into what these papers said, and it was my adoption papers. As I was reading through them, I was going through all the notes that they had left. There was this one part that said, “The baby was left in a shoebox placed in a dumpster.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been a thrown away baby.
I was living in Denver at the time. When that hit me, my whole world came cascading down on me. I felt all the emotions. I felt guilt for how reckless I had been in my life. I felt the imposter syndrome for being able to go and play on these amazing stages for the world's most elite people. I felt the shame around what I was doing, why I got so lucky, and all the emotions. There's a huge piece of gratitude around how lucky I was.
I went to the Philippines. I got to see my orphanage for the first time. I got to see the kids and that story. They told me, “That was you. You were one of the shoebox babies.” That was this trip that catalyzed how crazy my existence and the sheer miracle of life were. I came back with that knowing. Hot off the heels of that, I was going to Necker Island to DJ for Richard Branson, Yanik and Sophia Silver, and their friends at Maverick1000.
Maverick1000 is this incredible group of entrepreneurs. They are the ones that took me to Antarctica. They take me to Necker Island and all over the world to play on these incredible shows. When I got there, there was a piece of me that was a little off. They were like, “Are you okay? What's going on?” I let them know my story. It was over the process of a few shows with them that they were like, “What do you want to do with this story? You are our guy.” I was like, “I want to go back. I want to go change the future for some of these kids.” They took it all in with me and they're like, “You are like Moses. You’re our little Shoebox Moses.”
What you love to do the most, what you're the best at, is what the world needs and will pay you for.
That's when the name was birthed. When we conceptualized it, one of my managers that was managing me at the time was like, “You are Shoebox Moses. Lead us to the promised land. Show us how that works.” That name started to stick and become this funny thing that I would throw out there casually. “I want to go by Shoebox Moses,” I said years ago. The thing that started to resonate with me and the power of it was the younger performers, DJs and folks that were coming up started to take that in and hear the name. They would ask me, "How did you get through so much pain? You were thrown away and discarded. What does that mean to get through that for you? How did you do this? How did you navigate pain and rejection?"
I became a different person from that. That identity started to take on its own thing for me. 'Shoebox Moses' was birthed out of a seemingly dark place, but it has carried me into these incredible spots with a sense of purpose and a whole new vision of who I can reach as an entertainer. That's where it came from. I still think it's a weird name, but I love it.
It's so powerful and profound. Knowing your story, when I hear 'Shoebox Moses,' to me, it's taking your power back and reclaiming a part of you. I see you standing fully in your power, at peace, with total acceptance. It's an aligned empowerment. It's the way that you then show up in the world as triumphant, celebrating, and embracing life and the miracle that you are, and how you can use music to uplift, empower, celebrate, and allow others in your communities and presence to stand in their joy and essence. As you're reclaiming your essence and standing in this power, then you're empowering many others to do the same.
We call that raising the vibe. We raised the vibe where we go. It gets to be much more than music for us. Music is the medium. I often wonder why I learned and developed my skillsets in music, and why I wanted to become a podcast creator, DJ, and play the guitar. I started as a guitarist and a musician. That all stemmed from this space. I've learned this through a lot of work. That all came from a space of deep connecting. I wanted to connect with people so much. When I was younger, I would act out and lie about things, and be something over the top. My energy was so crazy because I didn't want people to leave me.
I had this intense fear that people would leave and abandon me again. I would try and do these things. A lot of it worked and a lot of it was completely obnoxious. I still have a whole myriad of friends that I've had since I was in 2nd and 3rd grade. We all chuckle that I've made a profession out of being just me. I'm like, “That's so true.” It has come full circle. But music, raising the vibe, and embodying energy like that is beyond the music. It's so much deeper than the music. It's that energetic frequency and blanket that we are able to put around people.
It all comes from that dark space where I'm like, “I never want to be left again.” As I've worked through that trauma, now I realized that the most powerful connecting thing that I've been able to do is to take people and teach them how to do that for themselves. In essence, I've let go of having to be connected to people. I'm so connected to myself and Source. I don't feel the need to be like, “I hope you love me,” because now I know that I love myself and I’m never alone. Through that, I've been like, “I'm connected with so many more people now because of this ability to do that.” The ancillary and beautiful part of it that has been set for me is that I did build these amazing crafts that the world needs and seeks me for.
I did it backwards and I got lucky. That came through this deep realization of some of the crazy things that you do as a DJ. You look out and see 10,000 or 20,000 people. You're like, “This is insane that this is what we're doing.” You stand on the stage. You look at the sea of people and it doesn't even look real. You get the sense. You drop a beat in a place like Red Rocks or you sing a note at this amazing amphitheater. You get that sense of it being so amazing that you can take this little seed and idea that I had to become a DJ a long time ago in the bathroom. I learned from DJs after having a job at a nightclub bathroom.
It was crazy the number of twists and turns that took for me to get to where I'm at. You see that resonates. It's interesting this line of thought I'm having, but once you let go of being so needed to be connected to people and to have their approval, it skyrockets for you, and then you reach those crazy multitudes. As you and I met, that was this evolution that I was coming through. The thing that was birthing through me is this true acceptance of self, letting go of ego, and pushing through shadows, but doing it with a lot more intention. That is ultimately what drew me in through our connections.
That is incredibly powerful. When you learned to love yourself and then showed up as the full embodiment of you and in the full essence of you, that's when the resonance truly happened. You were able to let go of the need to be seen as something other than yourself. You let go of the need to be accepted. You let go of the need for approval and came home to yourself in that true essence. The response is how the universe, others, and audiences rallied around you to celebrate this incredible essence that is you.
It's a fear that people have. You are not alone in that fear of abandonment. You are not alone in the feeling of needing to be seen or accepted for this image. What an incredible example, which is why your name is perfect, to lead by example, and to lead from this place of authenticity, vulnerability, celebration, and fully aligned as you, to then use music as your medium to help unlock that essence in others.
It’s incredibly fun. It’s insanely fun to do that. Making people shake their rumps and get down and lose their minds is so fun. If more people could understand that owning your truth, pushing through shadows, and trying to do all these things in that woo space where they're like, “It seems so hard,” it can be insanely fun. The tenets of all my companies and all the things that I do, make no doubt about it, we have insane amounts of fun. Our company culture is passion, fun, and hard work. Those are our three things. It’s intense work, fun, and passion. It’s all that we have to do.
I stumbled on a couple of fun theories that I've been using. I use the term ikigai, which is a Japanese term for a way of life. We found that if you find what your ikigai is, what you're passionate about, what you truly would do for free, what the world needs of you, which ultimately means what they would pay you for, what you're the best at, and what you love the best, and merging those together. It's this convergence. I've pushed through so many times where I may not have been the best DJ but I was the best connector. I may not have been the best guitarist but I had the most fun.
It turns into this beautiful cycle of people recognizing that. If people could sense that once you have a true love of self, then the world recognizes you. I would love to piggyback on that and say if you could work to add to that love of self, have fun learning to love yourself. Laugh at yourself as much as you are hard on yourself. Listen to what you're telling yourself and how you're saying it. Would you talk to a toddler the way that you talk to yourself? Are you gentle with yourself? Do you love how your communication is? For years, I was insanely rough on myself and it was hard for me to grow and evolve in this new spot.
That is something that I wish everybody gets to experience. Maybe it doesn't last all the time. Maybe it's not always there, but to have that moment where you're like, “I love myself, my flaws, all my craziness, and all the breaking points. I even love those the most.” I love that you say that because it's hard to move past your day, move into the next week, and all of a sudden you're like, “Did I nurture myself? Am I nurturing what I’m calling the best version of me through this circumstance or through this job?”
The worst job I ever had was working in a nightclub bathroom. I always bring this up because it shows my love of self. I had to find that there. I remember looking in the mirror and you can see this dude's feet underneath the stall behind me. You can hear his business and I'm like, “This is where I'm at. I love myself. I love that this is where I'm at right now. I don't like it but I love myself. Let's just go with it and do this thing.” I had no choice. There was only one way to look from there - up.
That night working in the bathroom at a nightclub, I ended up making over $300, which was monumental for me at the time. That was the amount I needed to feed myself and pay some of the bills I had. It was the thing that started me. I had a huge fire. I had burned my buddy's house down. It was a mess. I was like, “What am I going to do?” It was from that point that I started literally hearing the music because the DJs were outside the door of this bathroom. I could go outside and hear those DJs, and I knew that from this station, I could get from here to there.
I just had to figure out the pieces. Those pieces were loving myself, making tip money to go buy a gift for these DJs, which was a shot. I would take that to them. They would teach me this skillset. That skillset would turn into this and that would lead to this conversation that we're having. It's just nuts to me. It blows my mind. I'm not unique in this. We all have those crazy stories that have got us. Your story is insane.
It's the twists and turns of life. It's making a decision. It's the perspective that you hold and the story that you tell yourself. Here you are working in the nightclub bathroom and you've just had this fire. You are at a pretty low point in your journey. You chose to see it as an opportunity like, “I can hear that music. That's moving my spirit. I'm having fun. I'm now in proximity to these people that I can learn from. I'm going to get into closer proximity. I'm going to have fun in the bathroom and be a great bathroom attendant. I’m going to get tips and then I'm going to use those tips to buy shots for the DJs so that they'll teach me.” That's taking action. That's embodying the possibility and what can come from this.
Once you have a true love of self, the world recognizes you.
It's all 20/20 looking backwards. You never connect the dots looking forward. None of that was pre-planned. That was what was unfolding. I had no options. God knows I didn't want to just stay in there and make money. I was like, “I need to get out of here.” That was my thing. I knew I was an entertainer and I needed to get from where I was to this thing and to this stage. I didn't know I was going to be a DJ. I was watching them have the most fun. There has been that transition where music had gone from vinyl into this digital realm. I could take their suggestions and put stuff on a USB stick. USB sticks were $60 for a 2GB USB stick at the time.
Saving money for those stupid things was nuts. I'd put my 10 songs on there and take them up there. Sometimes, they didn't even play them. Then came that night that I had an opportunity to play for a DJ who couldn't play. I got to step into that spotlight, that one moment that I think we overlook sometimes. I didn't know this was my moment. There was a Friday night that he couldn't play and I was able to do that. I remember watching the dance floor go, and then I got cornered by a bunch of promoters at the end of the night.
They asked me why I was still in the bathroom. I thought they were going to fire me. It was great because they were nudging me to move on. They were encouraging me to get out. They were introducing me to people that could help me with my career. It was those moments. I have a bunch of those. I think we all do, especially if you take some time and look back where you see that you did shine, you just didn't know you were shining at the time.
It's the moment where all of that preparation that you did behind the scenes, the vision and the practice, and all of the work that you put in that nobody knew you were doing prepared you for that moment to be able to seize the opportunity and shine. It's that work that you did in private that all of a sudden when the opportunity arose, you were prepared. You were able to step in and do what it is that you had dreamed of and prepared for. There's a saying that you're often rewarded in public for what you did in private. It's that moment of preparation meets opportunity.
That's the true definition of luck right there.
You put in the work so that you were prepared when the opportunity arose. I know there are many people who are in the feeling of isolation, overwhelm, being frozen, or uncertainty. Let's circle back to something that you said at the beginning of this - when those younger generations are asking you for tips on resiliency and making shifts, what do you tell them? What advice do you give them?
The first piece of advice I usually give them that I would give myself 10 years ago is to always go easy. This is life. Life is not always going to be easy, but go easy on yourself. The second piece is it's not how, it’s the who. Who else has done this? Who else has shone the light on something that you love to do? Who is somebody that you could emulate? It's a modeling exercise that I do. Sometimes it's me. Most of the time, it's not. They're like, “I think that person has done it.”
We dig into this story of do you think that they went through some hardships? Do you think there is something that they had to rise above? It's always a resounding, “Yes, of course, they did.” Those are the main things. I help them understand that it's not how but who. Who else can you learn from? Because of the mediums like Instagram, TikTok, and all of that, my third piece of advice is to get them very conscious of what they're putting in their minds, what they're seeing, and what threads they're getting stuck in because the algorithms are there to stick you pretty good.
If we're going to use this technology and embrace it, embrace what we call convergence, use it to your strength. Start looking at the things that empower you, that teach you, and that lift you up. If you're starting to watch threads and see things that don't make you feel good and make you feel like you're less than like, “She's beautiful. He's handsome. He's rich,” you need to shift your focus. It's one of the things that I work with because finding people that you like can get sticky. You've got to find the thread that empowers you.
Those are the things that I work with. It’s not just for students, but myself in general. I noticed that my thread on Instagram and TikTok went from bubbly dancing chicks at festivals to now I'm looking, especially after Antarctica, at new ways to seed Earth, clean the water, and use these amazing compost things that turn everything into dirt.
Changing your narrative and your focus, and using technology to do that with you is something so powerful and overlooked. Setting reminders on our devices that we're constantly looking at, “You're a king. You are brilliant. You are loved. You are an amazing human. You can do this. I am enough.” Those are the reminders you can set yourself daily so that if we're going to use this stuff, use it and don't let it use you. Those are the things that I work with constantly with myself and the folks that I'm working with.
Stand guard at the gate of your mind. Watch your intake. We watch what we put in our bodies. We're conscious of what we eat, so watch what we feed our minds. I love your point. It's an amazing reminder. Use technology, don't let technology use you. How intentional are you? I love your reminder also that if you're scrolling Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or any of the mediums, and you feel worse after you're scrolling than you did before, then you have the power to unfollow and change who you follow or what you are consuming.
You're not beholden to this thing. They did do a pretty insidious thing by going, “If we make this thing and it drips dopamine constantly, they will give us all our information.” They will give it to you. We've done that. That's fine. We can't beat that. This is something that we have to use. This internet is amazing. People have to take their power back. You can not let it control you. I talk to people all the time and they're like, “I have to get rid of Instagram.” I was like, “Why do you have to get rid of it? What are you talking about? It's a window into amazing opportunities. You have to control yourself. That's all there is to it.”
I have all those things. I look at them three or four times a day but I look at them when I want to learn something or if I want to relax and look at some beautiful scenery. I love looking at surfing videos. I love learning from those things. I love looking at beautiful humans doing beautiful crazy things. If you use it properly and don't let it use you, it's an incredible tool. When young people go, “What are you doing to get through all those things?” You control the controllables.
You have the power to control the first thing that goes in your mind, the first words that come out of your mouth, or the first thought that comes into your head when you wake up in the morning. Is it, “Where's my phone?” or “I'm thankful for my breath. I'm thankful that I've got a bed. I'm thankful that I'm going to go have some toast.” Is it, “I wonder what the Kardashians did today? What's on TikTok?” That is real. It got you but you can control that. You can control what you're seeing, saying, or thinking.
It seems basic common knowledge. You just have to get it and start practicing it. Get in the habit of controlling the controllables and it will be so much better. It's very practical advice from a DJ. Whenever my people are like, “Everything is going crazy. What do I do? The mix is going off there.” I was like, “Control the controllables. What do you see? Bring that volume down. Stop that track. What can you control there? This one thing. One thing at a time. Stop and control the controllables.”
It's empowering when you take your power back. I know so many people over the course of the last few years in particular have felt like they have no control. The world is rapidly changing. Rules are changing constantly. They feel uncertain. In that feeling of uncertainty often comes analysis paralysis and feeling frozen, then comes the overwhelm and the snowball where you’re feeling like the world's caving in.
That is a writer-downer. That is a sticky-noter. If you're a fan of the sticky notes, write down, “Control the controllables,” and put that sticky note on your computer, next to the bed, on the bathroom mirror or anywhere that you need to see it or anywhere that you're going to spend time. That alone will be a game-changer.
Have fun learning to love yourself. Laugh at yourself as much as you are hard on yourself.
When you are feeling out of control or like the world is caving in or like you're going down that rabbit hole, what an incredible gift to learn to control the controllables. Ask yourself one question, “What can I control? What can I do right now? I can control my thoughts, feelings, and actions. I can control the books I'm reading, the videos I'm watching, or the social media I'm consuming.” It’s such an incredibly powerful reminder. "Control the controllables" is an easy-to-implement resource that everyone has access to.
You give so much to the world. You give so much energy to your clients, students and audiences of tens of thousands of people. What do you do to recharge your own batteries? What do you do to refuel and re-energize yourself so that you can show up fully as you?
It was a question I had to ask myself because there were a lot of nights when I’m sitting upright with a computer or whatever I was doing and I’m sleeping, which is not the recharge that we're talking about. One of the things that have helped me recharge on a soul level is learning how to go still, meditate, and be present in that moment.
I learned a cool four-phase meditation. It's such a good one. It's four parts that are five minutes each. It helps me get centered and be grateful for the things I have, and then to pre-frame what I'm trying to envision for the next part of myself. It opens up my mind to what we call cosmic Google. It's this four phase meditation that has been wildly effective. It's useful for me to do that.
There's a piece in there as well going through those four phases where I breathe, hold it, slow down, and then recharge. Meditation has been one of the most powerful things for realigning myself and getting grounded.
Along with meditation, I did find some profound effects with sleep. I was not sleeping for a long time, but sleep is powerful. I was missing out on that. I was under that whole pretense of "we'll sleep when we're dead," but you're going to be dead a lot quicker if you don't get some proper sleep, especially with the things that we're doing, so get some good sleep.
The other thing that I do is I have a ton of things that keep me grounded to youthful energy myself. Whatever that is for you, it's probably different. For me, I'm surrounded by a skateboard, surfboards, guitars, pianos, and DJ gear. I'm not trying to kick 720s and hit half pipes, but I do love moving my body, staying young, and spending time with my favorite people. A lot of times the people have nothing to do with music and some of the other things that I'm fully engulfed in. I just love human connection. I’m always attracting amazing humans around me.
It’s those kinds of tenets between the meditation, some good sleep, keeping fun, youthful, energetic things around me, and a nice tribe or incredible people. That little five-pronged approach seems to keep me energized.
I have a boundless amount of energy. A lot of the folks that are younger than me are like, "We don't know where you're getting all that energy. What are you plugged into?" That answer comes from humble beginnings like, "What charges you?" I'm thankful for this life that I live.
I'm a voracious consumer of information, experiences, and people. Meditation, good sleep, fun toys, and good people, that’s all we need.
That is an incredible recipe for an amazing life.
I think it was Tony Robbins or somebody I was talking to who was like, “What are your recipes for life? What do you do? You have a recipe for your favorite quiche or dish. What is your recipe for a healthy life?” For me, keeping things on track. It's going to be stillness, sleep, useful fun, friends, and experiences. That was my recipe, and then I tried to bake it in with how do I create an environment around that? The employees that I've garnered are like a tight-knit family. We're learning and experiencing things together.
Half of the time, the team and I will go out. We're on a surfboard having a board meeting. We're not at the level where it's like, if we have a board meeting out there and talk about work, we're going to die. We're like, “Catch this wave, then let's figure out what we're going to do.” That to me is how you should live life. You should live your life that way.
My girlfriend, we do the same thing. It's like, “What's the recipe for the relationship? What are the things that we need to do?”
Everything has a recipe. If you just look at it and keep it in that frame, for me, it was a lot easier. Before, I was all over the place until somebody told me, “What are your recipes? What is your recipe for success?” I have a recipe for a morning routine. Instead of getting the phone, I say three things I'm thankful for, do some breathing, and do some stretching. That's what I needed to do. It's a simple recipe. What are you thankful for? Get some breath in, stretch the body a little bit, and then also water; drink a lot of water!
I love the framework of being intentional. It all goes together with what we've talked about controlling the controllables, be intentional, you get to choose, you get to decide, and what's your recipe? You can be intentional about the ingredients you're putting in your recipes. You get to control those ingredients. Looking at the framework as a recipe is a very doable, incredibly clear and helpful tool that our audience can use.
What's your recipe for life, health, relationships, success, resilience, and communication? It's applicable to all aspects of life. Thank you for that framework.
You also got to know what your bad recipes are too. You're not going to put a cup of sugar in a certain thing. There are other things that you also need to know like, “We don't mix those. Those things don't go together.” That’s the other part.
In the personal development space that I've been in, one of the biggest leaps I had in personal development was learning what I should not be doing and recognizing that. One of the things that I learned in my company is I have a whole list of I should not be doing things. If I'm doing audiograms, minor edits, accounting, or planning - if you have me doing that stuff - those are the do-not lists. It’s like, “This is the do-not cook” list. Don't cook that recipe. Don't be out after your shows at 4:00 in the morning. That is a recipe for disaster. You don't need those things. There are certain recipes that we just don't bake. I never thought about the recipes of life, but that there's something in there for sure.
I love your do-not-include lists. I make three lists, what can I eliminate? That is your do-not-do or do-not-include. What can I delegate? What is not in my zone of genius that I can give to somebody else? To your point earlier, what doesn't bring you joy, what isn't fun, what sucks the life out of you, what leaves you more drained than energized? Can you eliminate that? Can you delegate that? The third thing is what can I automate? Anything that doesn't move the needle, that doesn't fuel me, or that I don't personally have to do, I'm definitely going to examine and automate, delegate, or eliminate. That allows me to protect my energy and my peace. It allows me to stay in control of the controllables and focus on my zone of genius. It all ties together and it's super powerful.
The automate part is huge. For me, automate seemed like, “I'm going to automate all thess things. I'm going to give it to my minions.” That was very disempowering for me. I was like, “Why is this not working?” I had an interesting frame around that where I was talking with some of my friends and they're like, “What is your favorite thing about your company? What do you love doing?” I was like, “I love launching this,” then it came down to I love giving people jobs. I love giving people opportunities. I didn't have these opportunities. I had to create a lot of my own opportunities. I love being able to offer opportunities to people around the world.
We're all just looking for our tribe and looking to have amazing experiences and write a beautiful story.
I've got a staff of seven people, and editors underneath them. For me, that was the fulfillment part. When it comes to automation, I turned that into we are providing life for these folks. We're providing an opportunity for them to self-actualize their dreams. I love that you said automation and that there's a bit of a pivot in there for me because you do need automation. If you want to scale and grow, you need to automate things.
The one thing that we have that we cannot get more of is time. It is a finite resource. The more we can manage the way that we use time, the more that we can ensure that we're using time in a way that serves us, brings us joy, fun, and connection, furthers our dreams, empowers us, and energizes us - the more that we can use and manage that - the more time, freedom, and experiences we can have because we're creating or carving out the best use of that time.
Where are we wasting our time? Where are the time sucks? How can we reclaim that time so that we can do the things that we love, and create opportunities, magical moments, experiences, and memories so that we can build communities? It all comes from controlling our time and controlling the best use of our time, which is to automate, delegate, or eliminate.
Now, let's shift gears and talk a bit about your non-profit and why you started that.
A lot of us have that time where we're getting things to start happening for you. You notice that you manifest stuff quicker and your visions are coming to light. That started happening for me years ago. I wasn't like fully embodied in where I'm at now. That was always an evolution. I was noticing that I had this ability to amass incredible humans like some of the most prolific leaders, entrepreneurs, and entertainers even. These people kept coming into my sphere and it's not slowing down.
What I noticed was I was feeling that I had a sense of purpose. "Shoebox Moses" had been born to the world. For the nonprofit, I always wanted to go back and make an impact with kids. I didn't know what that looked like, but then it started it take shape. What was cool is it started to take shape in what I was doing. I realized that I'm a self-taught musician, DJ, CEO, podcast, production creator, and an exceptionally gifted and fun author and teacher. All these things started to compile. I knew that I had something there. So I thought, "what can we do with that?"
What I noticed is that a lot of the kids that I was teaching, young adults, and even people exiting their companies that are much older were all wanting to learn one of these skillsets. They were always wanting to learn how to get back to their creative soul like, “I wanted to learn how to do that. I would love to learn how to edit.” They didn't realize for a young person coming up, not even just from an orphanage, if they could attach themselves to something that they love, their chances of succeeding go up 80% to 90% when they find a career path in it. There are such easy ways to find somebody that can mentor you or find a platform you can learn to use that skillset to make a living.
The Foundlings’ main mission is to provide creative jobs for children. What we've been working on is creating platforms where younger kids in their teens that are aging out of the orphanage or the foster care system can go in and find a creative outlet and a mentor, and learn from them through a self-perpetuated learning model on how to make a living doing something that they love. That way, they can create a life of fulfillment and joy that they may not have ever had by just going the normal route.
There are a couple of different prongs for what we do. One is we have to provide the sustenance and the basic needs for the orphanage. We have different tiers where you can go in and provide school supplies, food, and things of that nature. We also have another component where a lot of professionals like Marisa Peers and Vishen Lakhiani are providing courses and teaching manuals. Marisa Peers is putting her I Am Enough program in the foundation so that people can access that course and then they can be part of the I Am Enough Movement. That was good and pivotal for a lot of the instructors that are in those facilities because sometimes you go through the motions of like, “Are we going to make a breakthrough?”
One of the things that we realized, especially with this message, is that “I am enough” are the first words that they needed to start saying when they're left and are in this space of "No one loves me." So the second prong is finding the programs that we can put that will give the power to these kids and give the power to the staff. I Am Enough is part of Marisa Peers' rapid transformational therapy and she's put that in there.
The third prong of what we're doing is we're working to create super robust and state-of-the-art learning facilities where the kids can go. They're going to be made out of shipping containers. The kids can go in and hands-on learn how to edit, how to make music, and how to make a podcast or a website. We're putting stations in all of these shipping box containers where kids can learn immersive arts and get mentored to have a future in the creative space. The Foundlings started with, “What are we going to do with impact?” It was formed when I realized that I had been building this my whole life. That's where it came from and what we're working to do.
As we start to wind down, you live an epic life and a life that you love. You're very intentional about not only creating that but also continuing to create, live, and expand it. You’re continuing to evolve into new iterations of, “What is my life best lived? What would I love? How would I love to continue to grow and live to the fullest?” There's no question, you live a legendary life.
Coming to the end of that life, and imagining it is your life best lived, where you have squeezed the juice out of every moment you have - what do you want them to say about you? What do you want to be remembered for?
There are a couple of things that I want them to remember. First, I want them to smile huge and remember how much fun and joy that life has to offer. What I want them to remember is that they found fun and joy in themselves, and then there might have been a little kick in the butt from me where I was like, “You can go do that. You can go and have all of that.” I want them to remember that you don't have to slave away. You don't have to do something you don't love to do. You can literally go out and have it all.
I have a lot of friends that have exited 7, 8 and 9-figure companies. They're like, "You have encompassed it all. You've helped me remember that you can have it all and that you can find enjoyment in the mundane. That joy is in you. The thing that I would love for them to remember is that the joy is in them. Maybe it was something that I inspired them to remember but I think it could be that big smile like, “I remember when he helped me discover that joy for myself.”
Any parting words? Anything you would like to share?
There is a philosophy that I love to live by that is something that is always encompassed in what I do. It was one of my credos that I love to live by. When I moved into my first shared workspace, which helped me blossom into the DJ side of things and stuff, it was on this huge metal thing etched above the stairwell. It was so big that I didn't even see it at first because it was blatant and right in front of me. If you ever see one of those things, you’ll be like, “That has been there the whole time?” That's what this sign says and it's the thing that I love to live by. It says, “The master in the art of living leaves little distinction between his work and his play, and his love and his leisure.” He goes on to say more, but he does both with such grace that he lets everybody else wonder whether he's working or playing. The master in the art of living is one thing that I would leave you with. What is your master in the art of living? How are you mastering that today?
How are you choosing you? How are you showing up for yourself? How are you showing up as you? How are you intentionally creating a life that you love that blurs the lines of living and playing? Where are the opportunities? Where are the stolen moments for more joy, laughter, love, and fun? Play more, stress less.
Yes, if I said it easy, it would probably be play more, stress less.
Catch the wave, and then figure out what you’re going to do. That is how you should live life.
There's some magic that happens when you're playing and when you're living in that state of freedom. When you're not in your head, you're in your heart and body, that's when possibilities open. When we're stressed and clenching on to the negative and all the things out of our control, it's hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s hard to see possibilities because all you're seeing are challenges, obstacles, or things that are bleak or negative. It's in those moments of joy, laughter, and freedom, that we truly come alive.
It's when you're out of your head, and into your heart, into the moment, and into your body that you're open. You’re open to the possibility, the opportunity, the creativity and you're not in this box of, “That won't work.” You’re not in this box of practical paradigms and limitations. The world opens.
It's like children. When they play, they're expansive in reaching for what they want to do, especially from three to five. We were like, "What do you want? What do you want to play?" "I want to build our castle, but I want you to have your castle. I'm going to have my castle. My castle has ponies and yours has dragons, but you can have some of my ponies.” There's no end to what they think of. That's what you've got to do. You've got to play and be expansive.
If somebody wants to learn more about The Foundlings or they want to donate or otherwise support your organization, how can they do that?
You can get on a plane, go to the Philippines and work with us, or you can go to TheFoundlings.org. A foundling is what they call a baby when they've been left. They bring them into the orphanage or usually, it's the hospital first, then they find themselves in an orphanage. If you go to the website, that's where you can find out what we're working on next, where we're going, and what we have in store for the next move with the kids. We are finally able to go back to the Philippines. You'll see that there are going to be some temporary projects on hold that we are excited to get back and go to. The last one we did, we outfitted everybody with their shoes, school classroom supplies, food, and things like that for the year. We're going back to work on the classrooms and curriculum for the kids.
TheFoundlings.org is the website where you can find more information and get involved. How can somebody find out more about you and connect with you?
That's easy. You can go to ShoeboxMoses.com. That's where you can find music, the tour dates, and the things that are going on with me. I'm pretty regular on Instagram in the evenings if you want to reach out. I'm very active. Everyone that's in that space is all in my primary feed and I talk to them because I'm very hands-on. You can meet me there.
The website is the easiest place. It has links to everything or if you want to find me, it's the same name on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Run and connect with "Shoebox Moses." He's incredible.
If you're in Southern California, we play every Sunday for the Church of Music. You can always find me performing there. I'll be in Jordan with MindValley, and those tour dates and everything are on the website.
Thank you so much for being here. This has been incredibly powerful. Thank you for the joy that you bring to the world, for the light that you shine into the world, and for reminding us to live every single moment to the fullest.
Thank you so much for having me. This has been so fun. It's such an honor.
Until next time.
- Evolved Podcasting
- The Foundlings
- I Am Enough
- Instagram – Shoebox Moses
- Facebook – Sammy "Shoebox Moses" Taggett
About Sammy "Shoebox Moses" Taggett
Sammy “Shoebox Moses” Taggett is recognized by Forbes as a top international DJ who tours the world creating electric atmospheres with some of the biggest names in the industry. Performing at some of the most iconic venues, he has headlined festivals with major acts including Skrillex, Empire of the Sun, Kid Cudi, Snoop Dogg, and Avicii.
As a headline entertainer for elite entrepreneurial conferences, he has performed for the world's most powerful leaders. He is one of the few DJs invited to play on Necker Island, the home of Sir Richard Branson, and he is the only DJ to have hosted a rave on Antarctica!!
Beyond being a globally recognized DJ, he is a #1 international best-selling author, sought-after speaker, CEO of Evolved Podcasting, and founder of The Foundlings, a nonprofit organization that brings educational and creative learning platforms to orphans in the Philippines to help them live meaningful and economically self-sufficient lives.