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Boy do we get real in this episode. The Community members who listened live are saying it’s one of the best.

Tenacity. Where does it come from and how do you get it? I am constantly talking about the hustle and working hard, but is that drive something you’re just born with?

I tell my story of growing up and how the people I was around told me I could accomplish anything I put my mind to. I grew up around people who believed in me and spoke positivity into me. They told me I had the hand of Midas—that everything I touched turned to gold.

Now did they say that because it was true, or did I live out that reality because I believed what was said to me?

It’s probably a bit of both. I honestly believe the mindset that was created by the positive speaking is what bred my tenacity. I believed it, so I worked hard and as I worked hard, I believed it even more when I observed the results.

So how do you get this tenacity? You have to get around people who will kickstart the positive feedback loop. We talk about how to do this even when your friends or family aren’t positive and encouraging or when they don’t believe in your tenacity.

Like I said, this episode gets pretty real.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins:
  • If you don’t feel like you’re a tenacious person, take the first step anyway.
  • Tenacity isn’t about a specific activity, it’s about a mindset and approach.
  • Tenacity isn’t just inherent—it can be learned.
  • Your actions will bring about beliefs and your beliefs will drive your actions.
  • If you’re emotionally involved in celebrating success, you’re going to be emotionally involved in wallowing in failure.
  • Speak your beliefs out loud and to other people.
  • Your goal should inspire movement—if your goal is keeping you from moving, it’s probably the wrong goal.
  • When you’re with negative people, don’t let them drag you down. Go on the offensive—look for ways to inspire them.
Show Notes
  • 02:39 Sean: I want to inspire people to accomplish their goals and talk about working hard, but I’m worried about the people who will write me off here—“That’s not me. That’s fine for Sean.” What I don’t want is to be fiery and give people inspiration only to have it all undermined by saying, “Well, if you can’t…”
  • 04:43 Ben: I’m not worried about the people who might write you off, I’m worried about the people who write themselves off, based on how they compare themselves to what you’re doing. The message doesn’t need to be catered to them, I’m concerned for them because I don’t want them to compare the example you’re setting to what they’re currently capable of doing.

Tenacity isn’t about a specific activity, it’s about a mindset and approach.

  • 05:19 It’s about scaling that mindset to match your circumstances. Of course it’s going to look differently for someone who’s got a lot more outside responsibilities with children and stuff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the same principles. It takes a lot of tenacity to raise a family, work a day job, and make the time or have the energy to focus on a side passion. Don’t write yourself off.

Tenacity Can Be Learned

  • 06:17 Sean: I don’t mind being a little extreme or a caricature of my values because I know people are going to take a piece away and I want that piece to be effective. It’s not about, “Can you work as much as I do? Can you put out as much as I do?” It’s about doing what you can with the time you have. I have a lot of freedom and flexibility that many people don’t, but I could enjoy the slack I have and accomplish the same amount. Instead, I’m trying to use up every little bit I have to the fullest of my abilities. I’m trying to push the boundaries, work hard, and hustle. My motivation is: how far can I go? How much of my time can I use? How effective can I be with what I have? That principle is what I want to impart to people, not working 17 hours a day. That’s not what it’s about.

If you have four hours, did you use those four hours wisely?

Or did you waste them because you didn’t have more?

  • 07:46 Ben: It’s not doing the listener any favors if we’re spending the energy trying to think of the different scenarios of how you might apply these principles, because we can’t cover every base. The focus and energy for us has to be on giving you the picture we’re familiar with of what it looks like to live out these values. The listener’s job is to take what they hear and apply it to their own situation, not hearing what we say and thinking, “Oh, I can’t do that. That’s fine for Sean, but it wouldn’t work for me.” We want you to do the work of seeing of how this can be applied to your own situation. How can you take the pieces that work for you and make the most of the time you do have?
  • 08:59 Sean: Growing up in church where I would go to youth group, I participated in challenges to memorize a chapter of Proverbs. That’s a smart book to have in your mind. I was 13 and I memorized the entire chapter. At one point, I memorized the entire book of James. I remember the teacher saying, “I’ve been observing you and whatever you put your mind to you can do it. There’s nothing stopping you.” She didn’t just say this all the time because she sent me a personalized email about how impressed she was. This isn’t me bragging or spouting what the Bible says at people, it’s wisdom that has stood the test of time that’s smart to have in your mind.
  • 10:38 My parents used to say I had the hand of Midas—whatever I touched turned to gold. I don’t know if it’s an inherent thing or if it’s something I’m able to do because I believe it; I believe in myself and other people have believed in me. If I set a goal, like memorizing thousands of words or making a certain amount of money, there’s zero question of if I’m going to accomplish it or not. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get to that point. I worry that being that kind of person causes other people to disassociate from me, vs. inspire them, because it’s not common.
  • 11:58 Ben: I don’t want to give a voice to people who are saying, “I’m not a driven person,” because when I really put my mind to something, I can accomplish it too. Sometimes that quality feels like a flickering light in my life though, and I struggle with why that is, but it doesn’t mean I’m not capable of expressing those qualities in the moments I’m not expressing them. Everyone is truly capable of expressing those qualities—having laser focus on a goal and the hand of Midas—because it’s not just talent, it’s a belief and mindset.
  • 13:20 Sean: In the chat room earlier, someone was mentioning that having tenacity, working hard, and showing up is not just an INTJ personality thing, it’s something you can learn to do and practice. Because I am so tenacious and prolific, there’s no question I’m going to do what I’ve set out to do, means that people have a lot of confidence in me. When I’m struggling, people say, “You’re going to do fine. You always do fine,” but that doesn’t reassure me because that’s what I know internally is the reputation I have to uphold and it’s more pressure. If I say I’m going to do it, I have to, not only for myself, but for others who expect me to do it.
  • 14:43 Ben: That’s very different from the experience a lot of other people have where they have trouble believing they’re going to accomplish something, then that plays itself out in the way they behave, which also plays out in the expectations of others. It’s a negative feedback loop. A lot of it comes back to belief. You believe you’re going to accomplish your goal, which informs your actions and other people observing you also believe you’re going to accomplish your goal so they say that. Though it adds pressure, it further reinforces a belief. The belief and actions feed one another, so if you act in a certain way, you’re more likely to believe what those actions inform. If you believe a certain thing, you’re more likely to act out those beliefs.

If you don’t feel like you’re a tenacious person, take the first step anyway.

  • 16:02 Sean: The most important thing is to start. Start with a belief or start with the doing before you have a belief, and the rest will come. Tell others that you’ll accomplish this goal. Don’t say, “I wish I was a person who wrote every day. I would like to be a person who makes a video once a week, or a podcast regularly.” The only difference between you and the people who are actually doing it is that they said, “I am a person who does this thing.”
  • 16:57 Maybe they said that before they actually started, or maybe they just started doing it and it became true. There’s not enough emphasis put on the mindset and the belief. It’s easy to say that person has it inherently, but that’s why we hammer so much on getting around the right type of people. I’m relentless in cutting people out that are going to keep me down. I’m not going to continue committing my valuable time to people who aren’t going to believe in me or don’t allow me to help them achieve their goals. You can’t afford not to have a positive feedback loop from people in your life.
  • 17:55 Ben: For people listening who think, “I have so much trouble believing I’m a person who can do this thing,” there are people who have accomplished great feats before they had their own beliefs or positivity of others. They had to press on even though they had all these doubts. I’ve experienced this recently when I replaced the a/c compressor that went out in the van. I’m definitely not a mechanic, but I’m a problem solver. I knew that I didn’t know how to do it and I was going to figure it out, but I had so much doubt going into it.
  • 19:03 At points throughout the process I thought I was going to have to call someone out to do this for me. Despite my lack of belief in my ability to accomplish that, I kept going. It wasn’t until we were almost done that I finally felt like I believed it was something I could do. Although belief is powerful and can inform your actions, it’s also fed by your actions, so sometimes you need to move forward in spite of your lack of belief.

Sean, Are You Ever Not Productive?

  • 22:01 Sean: Charli asks, “It seems like you are always motivated Sean. Do you ever have days where you just can’t be bothered, or find yourself not being as productive as you know you could be? If so, do you have any tips for getting over it without making yourself feel bad or guilty?” I asked Cory how he would answer this for me, because he works in this room with me every day so we’re together a lot.
  • 23:21 Cory: Sean does always seem motivated and I work with him every day. It’s crazy, but it goes back to the mindset thing. There are times when Sean is less productive than he would like to be, but we have beanbag time for two to five minutes and then we both know what needs to happen.
  • 23:52 Sean: It’s pretty much never more than two minutes, even when things are terrible and I’m not feeling it, which happens more often than you probably think. I’m just objective. If the tire is blown on your car, you don’t have a spare, there’s no water, and your phone is out of battery, you can wallow around and feel sad. I might spend two minutes on that, but then I’ll pick the smartest direction to go and start walking. Where do we go from here? That’s the same way I treat failure.

How Do I Celebrate Goals Without Losing Momentum?

  • 24:44 Charla asks, “How do you work up the tenacity to start on a new project when you’re wrapping up an old one? I love celebrating that feeling of completion, but the momentum usually takes a dip a day or two later and I catch myself wanting to waste time.” A followup question from Charli is, “Is it beneficial to celebrate achieving small goals just as much as big ones, or will that get in the way of your long term mindset and make you settle for less in the long run?”
  • 25:12 Sean: I don’t think I’ve achieved the perfect balance, but I’m not disappointed with the results of how I approach things—I don’t really celebrate successes. It’s reality aligning with my mindset, like the Lambo Goal. It’s already done in my mind and once it’s a reality, that’s because it aligned with my mindset. I have a hard time looking back and seeing failures because I don’t think of things as failures, I think of them as something that didn’t work. What can we do differently? Should we keep trying this thing? If so, how should we adjust to get the results we want? Similarly, when things are successful, it’s the result we did want, now let’s keep doing more of it.

I struggle all the time, I just don’t let myself struggle very long.

  • 26:30 Ben: You could wallow in the pity of how many things that aren’t working out the way you want them to, but what is that going to accomplish? Is there a mindset regarding failure and success we can tap into here? Maybe we should think of success and failure the same way we expect to wake up in the morning or eat food—they’re so routine and normal that they’re not noteworthy. They’re just going to happen. I also don’t want to downplay feeling happy about success or allowing that emotion to motivate you to the next success.
  • 28:50 Sean: I’ve noticed not celebrating success to be a common theme with successful people, like Gary Vaynerchuck admits to. I’m not saying if you’ve stopped celebrating successes you’ll become successful, but it seems to be a common byproduct because of the way you think about failure and the way you objectively view your results.

If you’re emotionally involved in celebrating success, you’re going to be emotionally involved in wallowing in failure.

  • 29:28 Jeff Sheldon, owner of Ugmonk, asked a question the other day that I think fits in here. He asked if I look back on a successful project or launch and analyze it, and if so, how long do I spend on that. Honestly, I don’t. I process things quickly—it’s either a failure or a success. I’ll try to document successes and analyze what went into it, but not much. The reason for that is I’ve started to worry less about replicating success in a completely different industry, but I’ve learned I need to do more of what works.
  • 30:26 If something is successful, what’s better than spending a bunch of time analyzing why it was and trying to apply that to something completely different is doing more of that thing. This worked, let’s do more of it. I don’t analyze why and that’s the byproduct of objectively viewing a bunch of failures as things that didn’t work until you get to something that does. The most productive thing to me is doing more of it, not spending time overanalyzing it.
  • 31:03 Ben: When you’re emotionally involved in the success or failure of something, you do waste time having to work through that before you even get to the valuable information of whether something was effective or not. Beyond that, when you find something that is effective, why would you spend time worrying about what made it effective or a failure? Why not focus your energy on doing more of that and becoming more efficient at that one thing? It sounds nice, but as an emotional person, it takes work for me to get there. You have to make a conscious decision to approach things that way. Some people’s personalities are more geared toward thinking that way, but all of us can get ourselves to that point if we work intentionally at it.

Tenacity: Mindset or Action-Based Practices?

  • 32:55 Sean: Daniela asks, “In terms of tenacity, would you say it’s more about getting yourself into a mindset than it is about developing specific action-based practices?” You have to start.

Your actions will bring about beliefs and your beliefs will drive your actions.

  • 33:18 It honestly doesn’t matter which, just start with the one you have more momentum on—the easiest one. Whichever one you start with, be sure to speak your beliefs. You can say something a bunch of times and then suddenly it clicks internally. That speaking part is really important, if nothing more for yourself, but also for your friends and family. When you start speaking that about yourself, it will come back to you and they’ll start speaking that about you because they’re going to be thinking of you that way.
  • 34:04 Ben: In some families, who you are to them is so ingrained that it’s difficult to overcome that with a new self-spoken identity. Be careful not to try to give that to people who aren’t capable of feeding it back to you. This is where I love the Community. It’s a place where people think and speak that way already.
  • 35:04 Sean: The family thing is difficult because people don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency. Your family isn’t going to get your mindset for years, even though you say it over and over, because they still relate to the old you. We’re not saying to cut off your family. If you don’t have that in your family, you have to supplement it with the right kind of people.
  • 35:58 Ben: After you move out and live your own life, you can’t think the small pockets of time you spend with your family after spending so many years with them growing up will help them shape a new picture of who you are without you being consistent with them. Hearing that helps me not to be tempted to feel bitter toward my family about that. They’re so familiar with who I once was, it’s going to take them some time.

How Can I Focus on Goals & Handle Personal Problems?

  • 37:30 Sean: Let’s say your family or friends aren’t helping you in the mindset area, or even have relational problems there. Albert asks, “How can you focus on your goals if personal problems are getting the best of you, be it relationships or otherwise?” Cory had a response here that I really liked, “I’d say it’d be most beneficial to take care of those other problems since they will most likely take away from your mental capacity when you’re trying to focus.” Albert responded with, “That is definitely true, I just worry about losing time and having that keep me from making progress, but is it really progress if you are unfocused?” To which Cory said, “In the long run, sacrificing time to deal with other issues is well worth putting your project, business, or goal on temporary hold.”
  • 38:39 Ben: It’s like when my room gradually gets really messy and I get used to the mess, then finally I’ve had enough and spend an hour cleaning it. Looking around at a clean room gives me clarity of thought and our relationships or struggles are that way too. It builds up over time and it becomes a tangled mess. It feels easier to let it continue being that way, but when we take the time to untangle those things, it’s amazing the amount of focus and clarity it brings to our work.

How Do I Keep Tenacity Without Seeing Results?

  • 40:03 Sean: Rafael asks, “What’s the best tip to keep my tenacity even if I’m not seeing the results I want? Should I reduce my big Lambo Goal to a smaller goal for now or should I just stick with it?”
  • 40:17 Ben: The purpose isn’t the goal, it’s the movement. If the big goal is keeping you from moving, you might consider changing it. If you bring your focus back to the fact your goal should be helping you move forward, then it might help you determine that maybe the goal is appropriate. You want to shoot for the goal and attain it one day, but the momentum is what you’re really after.

Your goal should inspire movement.

If your goal is keeping you from moving, it’s probably the wrong goal.

  • 41:06 Sean: Otherwise, my followup question is: are you showing up every day? How were the first two years of showing up? If you’re wondering, “What? Two years!?” that might be the problem. Show up every day for two years and don’t expect any results. You might get some results and that’s awesome, but that’s a fluke.
  • 41:50 It’s June of 2015 and I feel like this podcast is just getting started. The million downloads we’ve had is a fluke, it’s nothing. We haven’t even been around two years yet! That’s why I’m doing this every single day. We’re able to show up consistently because this is only the beginning. Keep showing up, set the big goal, make sure the goal is inspiring the movement, and if it’s not, adjust the goal. Start with the movement and show up consistently.

What if Others Don’t Respect My Tenacity?

  • 42:57 Dane asks, “What if you feel like you have the tenacity, but the people around do not understand or respect your tenacity? How do you deal with keeping up the tenacity if you have to be around these people—family, roommates, etc.?” I have a low tolerance for people that are going to keep me from my goal. If they’re a poison to me, then objectively, I’m not helping them and they’re not helping me. Sometimes that’s you’re family, so maybe that means not hanging around them 24/7 drinking that Koolaid. Be family to them and love them, but if they’re the ones holding you back, that’s not good.
  • 44:01 Ben: There are people you can cut out of your life and there are people you can’t, and you know the difference. Sometimes, for the people you can’t cut out, you can scale back the amount of time spent with them, but:

Offset the negativity you experience with positivity.

  • 44:25 Sean: By a factor of five! If you’re spending 10 hours with discouraging family members, you need to spend 50 hours with people who are positive.
  • 44:50 Ben: More often than that, we experience a mindset that isn’t aligned with ours from our family. It’s not always, “You can’t accomplish this,” it’s, “We’re struggling and things aren’t going to turn out the way we want them to.” It’s little pieces of identity we pick up along the way as we grow and you can recognize that. You can see the difference between the way you think and the way they think, you’ve got to offset what you’re getting from them.
  • 45:43 Sean: Matt and I talked about this on the latest Lambo Goal episode and he said if he’s going to hang out with someone who doesn’t think the same way he does, he tries to inspire them (Related: Lambo Goal e015 Can You Be a Young Entrepreneur and Not Feel Like You’re Missing Out on Life?). It’s a lot easier to pull someone down into a hole than it is to pull someone out of a hole. If you’re hanging around people that are in a hole, it’s much more likely they’re going to pull you down than you are going to pull them out. That doesn’t mean we can’t minister to all the people in holes. When you’re with negative people, go on the offensive.
  • 46:43 You don’t want to go to these people and look to them for your source of energy, positivity, and inspiration. If you’re coming at it with a needy mindset, it’s going to be detrimental if they’re not the right kind of person. Go into it on the offensive, go into it to inspire them. Ask them what they’re working on and if they’re enjoying their job. Some people hate their job and don’t think to change their situation. You could simply say, “Have you thought about trying something else?” when they’re stuck in the grind and feel like they can never get out.
  • 47:44 If you’re going in with the intention of inspiring them, you could ask, “What do you enjoy doing? When was the last time you did that thing?” When they say, “Six months or a year. I don’t have any time,” then you can ask, “What are you doing in the evenings? What would it look like if you claimed some of that time and put it into this side project?” Go in and plant the seed that might turn into a vine that will help them climb out of that hole. Don’t stick around too long and try to pull everyone out because you might get dragged in.
  • 48:45 Ben: When you hang out near or in the hole with those people, I imagine you’ve got one hand reaching up with other people outside of the hole holding on to your hand that are ready to hoist you back out when you’re ready. The people in the hole have gravity working for them.
  • 49:38 Sean: Negativity is a heavy weight. We know this from looking at 100 positive comments and one negative one. That sticks with you the whole day. Jean says, “There are so many people who believe that life is about being miserable,” and Cory responds with, “Work a crappy job, pay the bills, die. That’s life right?” Not for me.