Download: MP3 (67.9 MB)
Do you ever wake up some days and wonder, “Why am I even doing this?”
I do. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting moment and I push past. Other times it lasts more than a few minutes. “Will I have something good to say? Am I just repeating myself? Does what I’m doing even matter?”
Without a reason for what you do, it’s hard to stick with something because things are not always going to be easy. You’re going to wake up not feeling like doing the work sometimes. You’re not always going to want to show up.
That’s where your WHY comes in.
We talk about how to find your why, if you can have multiple whys, and whether it’s ok for you to have selfish whys or if they have to be altruistic.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- If you don’t know what your why is, it’s easy to give up and quit.
- It doesn’t matter how perfectly you deliver your message—it matters that you show up.
- Even just showing up is an encouragement to others.
- There’s more fulfillment in helping other people reach their goals than in just serving yourself.
- Share, teach, and write to clarify your why.
- Personal legacy is important to everyone eventually.
- When it comes to doing what you love as a business, it’s ok to have a “selfish” why.
- If you’re doing work that makes you come alive and you don’t have to worry about money, then you can do more with your gift for other people.
- You can’t get people on board by pitching your why—it has to start with an initial “what”.
- 03:18 Sean: Some days, I wake up and I feel like, “What am I even doing? Seriously?” Sometimes it’s a fleeting moment that I push past, but other times it lasts longer. What am I doing? It is somewhat of a joke with Cory when we shoot seanwes tv. I say, “Cory, what did we just do?” It’s a half joke, because I really do have those moments when I wake up and think, “What am I doing? Am I going to have something good to say? Am I just repeating myself? Do people even care? Why am I doing what I do?”
- 04:02 Ben: What if you just stopped doing everything and you shut seanwes down completely? Would it matter? I know the answer to that question, but it’s not important what I think the answer to that question is. What’s important is what Sean thinks the answer to that question is.
- 04:30 Sean: I think about these things, and I know other people do, too. You can get into a routine doing your work, but if you’re not thinking about your why and the reasons you do what you do, eventually, it gets hard. It’s not easy all of the time, and eventually you don’t feel like doing it. You don’t want to get out of bed or do the work. The motivation isn’t there. Sometimes the motivation is there, but sometimes it isn’t.
If you don’t know what your why is, it’s really easy to give up and quit.
- 05:20 Ben: Or you might just go through the motions, which can also be pretty bad. If you’re not doing things with care, it shows.
- 05:37 Sean: There are a lot of reasons why I do what I do. Someone was asking earlier, “Do you think you can have multiple whys?” I do think that. Cory had some great thoughts on that, and I want to get to that later on—having multiple whys and finding the why. Keshna asked, “Do you think you can really tell people what their why is?” No, I don’t think I can tell you what your why is. I can’t give you the answer, but I hope this episode opens up the discussion for you to be able to discover that answer for yourself. Only you can know that. I struggle with this. This is a real thing that I struggle with. It may seem like I have everything together and I’m consistent, but I still have those thoughts.
Showing Up Encourages People
- 06:32 What helps me is being able to revisit the deeper reasons for what I do. I do 40 shows a month, which is about 1.4 shows a day. I do get encouraging messages, but I don’t get an encouraging email every day. I’m doing more than one show a day, so it isn’t a direct correlation right now. Maybe it will be, eventually, or maybe it will be more. That’s cool, but you can’t just source your why from people giving you good feedback immediately. “If I put out this thing and I worked really hard on it and no one says it was good or that it helped them, then I guess it was worthless”—you don’t know. There are a lot of silent people. We did an episode a while back called Icebergs and Buoys, where we talked about the deeper reasons for doing what you do.
- 07:30 Icebergs represent positive feedback, people who appreciate what you’re doing. Maybe it’s not the amount of positive feedback that you’re getting, but the positive vibes, people who appreciate you. What you see of it is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s this huge iceberg underneath the water that represents people’s positive feelings for you and their appreciation, but most people who appreciate what you do are silent. That’s unfortunate, because we don’t get a full sense of the good we’re doing or how we’re helping the world. Then you have buoys. You have this white iceberg, and next to it there’s a red buoy. It’s sticking up above the water, maybe a few feet tall. It’s nothing big, but you’ll notice that with buoys, 95% of the object is above the water.
- 08:29 This red object represents the negative feedback. This is what you see—you see almost all of the negative feedback. When people have something negative to say, they open their mouths, unfortunately. You’re looking at this and you see all of the negative feedback and a tiny bit of the positive feedback. This picture, hopefully, illustrates that when you just look objectively at the feedback you’re getting, you might feel like, “Wow, half the people say they appreciate me and half of them hate my guts.” That’s not the whole picture.
- 09:09 Ben: Thinking about why and the deeper motivations, sometimes, when you look at the general attitude of people, that can be discouraging and it can take power away from your why. Most of the time, your why is connected to a desire to see something change, to better something in the world. What is represented through the news and through your friends and family probably has a similar ratio to that feedback illustration. Most of what we see going on that’s positive doesn’t represent all of the positive things that are going on. News media is terrible about being really sensationalist about negative stuff. You see a lot of the negative things, and it makes sense. One of our motivations is trying to survive and avoid danger.
- 10:15 There’s a natural draw to information about things that are dangerous or hazardous. Being aware of the ratio and how that works helps, because then you start to think, “I don’t get to see it all the time, but there’s more good going on here. There’s more support for my desire to make the world a better place than what I can see.” Some people are naturally positive and optimistic, but some people struggle with that. What they see in the world matches how they feel and what they think. Even just showing up is an encouragement to people.
Disconnect yourself from the negative story that the world, the news, your friends, or your family might be telling you.
- 11:22 Sean: I’m going to share some feedback I got in an email, but looking at the Community chat, we’re talking about who would care if seanwes went away. Katie says, “I for one would miss seanwes tv, because I start my day by watching it.” That’s really cool. It’s part of someone’s day and they appreciate that. It’s something they consume to kick off their day. People are busy, so I’m honored that they would take a moment to listen to something I have to say. They can’t be bothered every time to say, “Hey, thanks, I appreciate this.” You won’t always get verbal feedback. Just showing up actually can be an encouragement for people. I got this feedback from Naomi that I wanted to share.
- 12:11 She said, “Well, my personal daily experience is that I’ve been up at 5am working on my goals, my two year old gets up at 6:30am, I’m in Mom mode and holding down the house. Then I work while he naps midday. Then I Mom/work for the rest of the day. He goes to bed at 7pm and I clean up the kitchen, usually completely exhausted. I clean while I listen to one of your podcasts. Because I know it’s a guaranteed way to rev up the engines again for the 7pm-9pm shift on my business. It’s become a comfort. So if you ever feel like ‘Why am I doing this?’ A canned response can now be, ‘Because that tired girl in Australia really needs a comforting kick in the ass to keep working on her goals.'”
- 12:53 I thought, “That’s so cool!” Any time I think, “Why am I doing this?” I can think about someone who relies on this to get them going to work on their business. We’re not always going to get emails like this, Ben, but it’s representative of a bigger part of the iceberg that we don’t see.
- 13:23 Ben: I’ve used a podcast to motivate me to exercise. We’re talking about my long term health, and it was one of the things that really got me out there. This could be that for somebody else, the thing that’s keeping them alive longer and helping them to have a better quality of life, so they can bring the value and beauty inside of them into the world. That’s pretty cool.
- 13:51 Sean: Ben would use a podcast as a reward for getting up and running, right? Some people are thinking, “Is anyone going to appreciate what I’m saying today? Am I repeating myself?” The fact that they showed up and made a podcast means that Ben showed up and used it as a reward. It doesn’t matter how perfectly you deliver your message—it matters that you show up. I got a long email this morning, somewhat of a book, that this person had been writing over the course of many days. There were some nice things in it, but it was mixed. I was working through it. There were a lot of things in this email. One was saying, “I hear you talk about Gary Vaynerchuck, and I tried listening to him, and I can’t. It’s too much for me, but I appreciate that you are delivering in your own voice. You take inspiration from different places and deliver it in your own way. I really appreciate you and Ben for that.” I thought that was really cool.
The Road to Success
- 15:08 They also said, “One thing I struggle with with you, Sean, is that I hear about all of your successes, and it seems like you just get everything right the first try. It seems like some people are just lucky. You had a successful band.” Ben and I were in a band together, and we know how the band was and the unglamorous parts, the road trips and unpaid gigs. You should see Ben’s face.
- 15:46 Ben: Maybe we need to do a better job of representing it the way it really was when we talk about our band. It wasn’t nearly as successful as you may think it was. It was fraught with failure and many, many mistakes.
- 16:16 Sean: We had a good time, we played some great shows, met some great people, and learned a ton. It was a great experience. This person condensed the timeline. They said, “You were in a successful band, you started up your first computer repair business and it was super successful,” but to me, the only success from that first business was what I learned from it and applied to the next one. I did so many things wrong with it. I ended up having to sell it off to someone, because I got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I was splitting my focus and I didn’t hire fast enough. In the shortened version of the story, they think I did great with this. “You ran a partnership web firm,” and I look back at the partnership web firm and think, “Man, we had no idea what we were doing. We were just figuring everything out.”
- 17:14 Yeah, I had a little bit of experience with client work, legal stuff, and accounting from my first business, but we were still learning so much. Then they said, “Then you launched the six-figure course.” Yeah, but you didn’t go back to where I was practicing for years and years, and that wasn’t my first course. I did a course before that on another platform, and I did a workshop before that that a dozen people showed up to that I didn’t make any money from. You don’t see all of those things. They say, “Now you have this network, this empire, and all these people,” and I’m sighing. This person was a couple of decades older than me. I think it’s easy to be jaded when you look at someone younger and you feel like they’ve done more than you. People are crafting their story so it looks perfect.
- 18:12 I feel like I’m pretty transparent. All of these things I just mentioned I share on the podcast, but if you only hear bits and pieces, it may seem like everything went perfect for me. Ben and I talk about failure.
I don’t like thinking in terms of failure, because I don’t accept a failure as a conclusion to my story.
- 18:32 Failure is something I push past. When I retell things, I tell what I learned. I don’t ever describe something as a failure. I say, “These are areas where I did things that didn’t produce the results I wanted, and this is what I learned and how I improved from it.” I put a positive perspective on my past stories, but that’s not to say that I haven’t messed up or that it has come easily to me. Nothing has been perfect the first time I do it.
- 19:05 Ben: What sets you up for more success is the way you think about the things you’ve done in the past, whether it ends up being a success or not. Maybe it’s a course launch, putting out episodes, or whatever it is, you’re always actively looking for the mistakes so you can say, “Where can I improve? What could I have done more efficiently? What could I have done better?” You think about the cost of not having done it the right way, the cost of not hiring fast enough or hiring too quickly. That mindset and that fearlessness to accept failure and take responsibility serves you well. It’s difficult for people. I see Sean as a very transparent person, and it’s easy for me to say that because I’ve been here in the room with him for years and I’ve heard all of his stories. For anyone listening who has any doubts, Sean makes mistakes all the time.
- 20:38 Sean: That was a recent episode with Aaron (Related: e238 How to Learn and Grow From Mistakes). It’s a good episode. With this particular email, I ended up not responding. I’m only sharing a small amount of this. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to or I didn’t think that I could persuade them, but we’ve shared so much in the archives of this podcast, and it’s a free resource. He would be able to learn a lot if he listens to all of them in a bigger podcast. When I encounter something negative or critical, I embrace it for any value I can get out of it. Even if 99% of what someone says is nonsense, I’m looking for the 1% I can learn and grow from. I want to get the value out of it. I did get value out of this email, because it helped reaffirm my why.
I Want to Help People
- 21:39 One of the things they said was, “You talk about client work and stuff and how you sold products and how these things went really well for you, but now you’re just teaching other people. If it was really so great, it was working so well, and you were making money from it, why didn’t you just keep doing that? Why do you have to turn into a slimy salesman and teach other people? That must be where the money is, because you’re teaching other people how to do it. It’s not like it really works, but you can make money by teaching other people.” At first, it’s a little offensive. I have to frame this and understand that in their context, there are a lot of people who take advantage of others under the guise of helping people. I’m sure they’ve seen some stuff in their day. I understand why it might be frustrating.
- 22:38 They go on to describe their situation and what they don’t like about it, and it’s understandable why they’re frustrated, but it actually helped reaffirm my why. Everything I’m teaching, I’ve done. I’m only teaching things I’ve done. I was making five figures with client work, and I could have kept doing that. I could have been charging more. My rates where going up and up, and the demand was coming in. Go to my contact form, and anything that’s commission based or trying to hire me, I turned off, but it still would come through. People would go through other venues, systems, messages, and emails, trying to hire me. I had tons of work. I could have kept doing it. I was selling physical products, and we still sell physical products every single day. This isn’t something I made up. We still do this, and people still try to hire me.
- 23:35 Yes, I could have kept doing that. When I tell the story, I was charging great rates with clients and shipping out physical products every day, but I was ignoring the elephant in the room, which was all these people in the audience I had built who wanted to learn how to do what I did. What would you do? You’re sitting there making great money doing what you love to do, and 1,000 people are banging down the door of your house, wanting help. They’re saying, “We want to do what we enjoy. You’ve done it. How do you do it?” They’re asking and they want to be helped. I could be selfish and continue doing what I know has worked, what I figured out after years of trial and error, or I could help a bunch of people that are asking. It must be hard to imagine this if you haven’t experienced this. From the outside, it looks like, “You’re teaching people because you want to take advantage of them.” No. What I’m teaching works, and I could have kept doing it for myself and continued to make great money.
There’s less fulfillment in only serving yourself when you can support yourself by helping other people reach their goals.
- 25:21 Ben: Some of what was said had to do with the slimy salesman part, trying to get people’s hopes up by saying things like, “You can launch 10 businesses in 12 months!” Stuff like that. Sean tells people the truth. He tells people how long it takes to get to this point and that they have to support themselves. He’s not telling people, “Go out and quit your job and follow your passion!” He’s telling people the truth, and that’s why it’s easy for me not to question his why and the direction he’s gone with his business. If Sean didn’t really want to help people and he was in it for the money, he would tell them what they want to hear. People love paying money to hear the thing they want to hear, because they don’t want to hear the hard stuff.
- 26:13 Sean: So, Ben, you’re saying that it would be easier to make money if I wasn’t telling people the hard stuff and I was just telling them what they wanted to hear?
- 26:20 Ben: Yes. You can make a quick buck that way. People are already interested because they see the success. If you tell them something they want to hear, maybe it works for them in the short term, and they’d be all over that. When you tell them hard stuff, there are many people who say, “I don’t like that answer, so I’m leaving.” It’s not a good short term strategy to tell people the truth, but it’s a great long term strategy, because over time, people experience that what you’re sharing actually does play out the way you say it does.
- 27:01 Sean: I do get it, though. It does make sense for someone who’s not in this position, because it’s hard to understand that I could be 100% successful only doing client work and selling products. I have the demand, I have the skills, and I can create the value. In the same vein, I can be 100% successful helping other people reach their goals, teaching them the practical steps to get there—the marketing, the business, pricing, writing, and everything that goes along with that. It’s hard for them, not being in a place where they’re able to make it work 100% doing client work, to imagine why I wouldn’t do it unless it just wasn’t working. “If it really was working as well as you say, why aren’t you doing it?” The answer is that I was, and I could have kept going. I can still do it, but there’s less fulfillment in it.
- 28:05 It was a frustrating email to read, but when I try to squeeze the value out of it, it helped me reaffirm my why. My why is that I want to help other people pursue their passions and support themselves with it. I want people to do work they enjoy and have it sustain them. I’ve done it in various areas, and I could have kept doing it, but I like helping other people. That’s my why, what I end up coming back to. I know that other people are struggling to find their why. How do I find the reasons for doing what I do? This wasn’t something I inherently knew. This was something I came to after some years.
Finding Your Why
- 28:49 Scotty said, “I find that my why became apparent once I started writing and teaching what I know. I still doubt myself from time to time and it’s fleeting as well, but I realize why I create and the intentions behind my content is solely focused on helping others get to where they want to be in life when it used to be solely for me and to receive validation. Writing and teaching are my recommendations to those who struggle with a purpose behind their work. I too see a relation between how much someone writes and how much clarity they have in their why.”
Sharing, teaching, and writing can help clarify your why for you.
- 29:38 Ben: This is a great place to let people know where they can hear a fantastic episode about the power of writing. I know that there are many, but one that I heard recently was Lambo Goal episode 43.
- 29:54 Sean: Yeah, I did a show with Matt. I’m glad you liked it, Ben. That was a pretty fun show. Lambo Goal is kind of a secret show, really. A lot of people listen to it. A lot of my friends listen to it. They’re kind of sneaky about it and they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t ever share it with anyone or tell anyone that they listen, but every once in a while, I’m talking with them and they’ll say, “Oh yeah, I heard that.” I say, “Oh, you listen!” They give a sheepish laugh, because they don’t want anyone to know that they listen to a show called Lambo Goal. How douche-y is that? They know the secret, which is that it’s not about a silly super car. It’s about setting big goals for yourself, dreaming big, and then rolling back the clock and building a sustainable, thriving business to get there.
- 31:00 It’s very practical. It’s super high-energy. People should definitely check it out. You’re missing out on a lot. This is an incredible journey. I know we’re going to get to our destination, and for me, it’s already done. This is just the behind the scenes, the documentary, the thing you will watch years from now to figure out how someone got there, and we’re doing it before it happens. It’s a great show, and more people should listen to it.
- 31:41 What are you good at? We’re trying to find your why here. Right now, what are the things that you’re good at? It could be a very specific thing, like, “I am good at piano. I am good at creating art. I am good at development,” or it could be something a little bit more intangible. “I’m good at communicating with people.” You know your strengths and your skills, so assess and acknowledge that. Secondly, what do you enjoy? There are a lot of things we’re good at that we don’t enjoy, or that we don’t enjoy as much as other things. What is something that you’re good at, but you also enjoy a lot, more than other things? Now that you’ve narrowed it down, maybe you have a few of those. Ben and I have a number of things we’re good at and that we really enjoy. The third thing is, where do you create the most value? This starts to give you a little bit of clarity. There are different kinds of value you create, and that’s not to say that you’ll only end up with one. This helps as a starting point. We can’t tell you what your why is, but hopefully, this gets you thinking.
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy?
- Where do you create the most value?
- 33:19 Ben: When you get down to the very root, there are really only two motivations. One is surviving, making sure that you can continue living. The other one serves survival but it’s more community-based, and that’s making the world better. It’s taking something and making it better for everyone, which sets you apart as someone who’s valuable and gives you more security. The two motivations have a symbiotic relationship. When you ask, “What am I good at?” and you don’t ask the second question, “What do I enjoy?” but you go straight to the third question, “Of what I’m good at, what brings the most value?” That’s a great way to serve the first motivation, but it doesn’t make the world better, because you can’t really put your heart into it. You’re not going to be as creative and innovative. You need to answer all three questions if you’re really going to cover both motivations.
- 34:36 If you don’t answer the one about creating the most value, you could spend all day doing something you’re good at and that you enjoy, but you’re not going to be able to support yourself. I wanted to get to the deeper part of this, because it’s really to get caught up. It’s a great barometer, too. If you’re thinking about seanwes tv, for example, and you want to produce a certain number of episodes. That’s one motivation. Another motivation is wanting to get more people watching it. You’ve got several different motivations. It’s important to categorize those. Which core motivation does my desire to see this happen serve? Does it serve me wanting to sustain myself and pay my bills, or does it serve me wanting to make the world a better place?
The Why of Legacy
- 35:34 Sean: Along the lines of making the world a better place, the fourth step to finding your why is along the lines of, “What impact do I want to have? What legacy do I want to leave, and how do I want to be remembered?” I kind of like all three, so I don’t want to pick one for number four.
- 36:01 Ben: I’m curious, Sean, about the legacy thing. Where does that come into play for you? What does it look like, or why is it important?
Personal legacy is important to everyone eventually.
- 36:19 Sean: For some people, it’s a fleeting thought on their deathbed. “Oh man, this really was it, and I squandered it. I’m not that big of a deal in the big picture, and I only lived for myself.” In a fleeting moment, they’re thinking about their legacy, wondering, “How have I improved the world by being here?” Some other people are more cognizant of it earlier on in life.
- 37:01 Ben: I wonder if the whole reciprocity thing comes into play a little bit. When people are in the moment, on their death bed, thinking about it, or they’re thinking ahead and they’re imagining that moment. Reciprocity comes in the form of, “I’ve been given this life, these years, this time,” and they’re thinking of it as something given to them. It wasn’t something they earned or that somebody owed to them, but they were given all of it.
- 37:39 Sean: Gary Vaynerchuck says, “You could have been a bus!” You didn’t make some choice or earn being who you are. You were given the gift of life.
- 37:56 Ben: Then the question is, “Did I provide equal or greater value with what I did with it? Did I take what I was given and make good choices with it? Did I make things better, or did I waste it? Am I in the negative now?”
- 38:20 Sean: I like that you brought up reciprocity, Ben. We talk about storytelling and marketing using open loops. They have open loops in TV shows, where there are different story lines going on. Some are closed from the previous episode or even earlier, and new ones are open, so you keep watching. Open loops also come into play with reciprocity. If I give you a gift, Ben, I’ve opened a loop. That loop is closed when you reciprocate. I kind of want to go out in life with the loop being open. Who’s court is the ball in? You give to the world, and sometimes, you can cash in on that. “Now will you repay me and buy my product?” That’s relationship marketing. Wouldn’t it be nice to go out having given? That reciprocity loop isn’t closed. It wasn’t like you cashed in at the end, but you paid it forward. The loop is open for the future. Either way, you want to end having given back last. That’s legacy.
We’re given the gift of life, so it’s our duty to give back and close the reciprocity loop in the right way.
- 40:02 Ben: As reciprocity goes, you want to have given back more. The gift of life was somebody taking you to coffee, so you want to take them out to lunch.
A “Selfish” Why
- 40:49 Sean: Tommy says, “Can you have multiple whys?” Then Keshna asks a similar question that I want to bring in: “Is it bad if your why is for yourself first then for other people? For example, to have more time to spend on projects you enjoy doing?” I like this question because I think it’s 100% okay for your why, part of your why, or one of your whys to be selfish. To say, “I want freedom. I want to wake up and do what I love to do. I want to be able to not worry about money. I want to be able to travel anywhere I want. I want to be able to buy the best musical instrument because I enjoy playing it. Because I like it. For myself.” That is absolutely okay. Before we started the show, Cory McCabe put it really well in the chat.
- 41:52 He said, on the topic of having a selfish why, “Actually, that’s the best place to be. You used the word ‘selfish,’ which is used usually in a bad sense more than 99% of the time. The truth is, it’s ok to do what you do for yourself. This is your life.” This totally resonated with me, because you are the only person who lives 100% of your life (Related: e068 You Have One Life—Set Bigger Goals). Live the life you want to live. “Your ‘why’ being, to a degree, selfish, is apart of simply doing what you love. Because it makes you feel fulfillment. I said you’re in the best place because you also do what you do to help others. You’re already a better person than most people doing what they love for 100% selfish reasons. Which, again, is not entirely a bad thing. Your ‘why’ being a mixture of both selfish reasons, and reasons wanting to help people puts you in a great place.”
- 42:51 Ben: Even if the thing you’re doing that you enjoy doesn’t ever become a thing that directly helps others, it still serves that purpose. If playing music is something you enjoy doing and you get fulfillment out of, it makes you a more whole version of yourself to be doing something that you love and getting that fulfillment. Every other area of your life benefits from you having done that. Even though it seems self-serving, it’s also serving other people in the pursuits you’re using to make the world a better place. My having a jam session with Sean makes me a better father in some way. I enjoy that so much and get so much fulfillment out of it that it brings my general happiness up, and then I’m a more fulfilled version of myself at home with my kids. I have a little bit less stress and a little bit more happiness, and that makes a difference.
- 44:15 Cory: What was one of the first things Sean said? He said, what are you good at, but after that, what do you enjoy? It does sound selfish, but you do come first. This is your one life. You have to think about yourself. You can’t only put others first. I’ve lived almost a whole year of doing that, and it was so taxing. I’m not a people pleaser, but I enjoy helping people. It’s okay to have a selfish why.
You have to put yourself first, especially when it comes to doing what you love as a business.
- 45:07 Sean: You have to be fulfilled to continue doing what you do, even if that helps other people. If you want to get really deep, even selfless acts are selfish. We all help other people because it makes us feel good. It’s the truth. You can try and make it altruistic, but at the end of the day, it makes us feel good, and that’s how it should be. That’s good, because it motivates us to continue giving to other people and helping them. Olivia said, “Sometimes I feel like my why seems superficial. Can it really be as simple as adding brightness and color to my audience’s everyday experience?” Yes, it can. Absolutely, 100%. You say that it seems superficial, but as simplistic as that sounds, it informs what you do. In the future, if you’re thinking, “Do I want to do this or that?” You can answer the question, “Does this add brightness and color to my audience’s everyday experience? If not, I don’t want to do it.”
- 46:39 That gives you clarity and fulfillment, which allows you to help other people. Like we talked about, the why doesn’t have to be exclusively helping other people. Even if your only why is, “I want freedom. I want to travel. I want to not worry about money,” those are totally okay whys. You don’t have to be altruistic in your why. It’s good to know what your why is, and if you source that from helping other people, I’ve found that it tends to multiply back. It’s a deeper well to pull from than just doing something for yourself. Doing something for yourself is how you get out of the hole in the first place. Get out of the hole first, focus on yourself, and then you can help other people up at ground level. You’ll find eventually that after you satisfy your own desires and your own why, it’s usually not enough. It’s not fully satiating. It was the huge splinter that was all you could think about, but now you realize, “Wow, I have these other problems with myself.”
- 48:08 Ben: I go back to those two core motivators. Getting out of the hole serves the survival motivator. Making the world a better place and getting other people out of the hole is different. I don’t know if we can have total control over this, because it’s so built in and so complex. The fulfillment we feel pulling people out of the hole is by design, because it encourages us to continue that activity. We want to help people because we get fulfillment out of it, so why is that reward in place? The more people are out of the hole, especially if you’re the one who helped them out, the more secure you are in community.
- 49:10 That increases your chances of survival. I don’t want to take away the beauty of that, but I’m looking at what is going on behind the scenes. I almost don’t want to look under the hood. I want to enjoy the beauty of what’s happening. I think it’s amazing that we’re built this way. We’re built to encourage and help one another, and we’re driven toward that. We get to find our unique version of that through whatever skill or activity we enjoy doing. My hope is that people get to find that for themselves, what it is that allows them to be a part of that dance.
Sustain Yourself to Help Others
- 50:08 Sean: Sarah says, “How do I find my why when I feel like I do what I do because I ‘simply love doing it’? How do I find the deeper reason?” This reminds me a little bit of the email that I got. They said, “If it worked so well, why wouldn’t you just do it for yourself? Make some money? It must not work well, since you switched to teaching and you’re trying to make money.” If you haven’t gotten to the point where doing what you enjoy sustains you, you can’t really think that far beyond it. It’s totally okay to have that as your why right now. “My why is that I enjoy doing this work, so that’s why I do it.” That’s totally okay. That tends to be the only why people can see or think of until they reach the point where they are sustained by that work and effort.
- 51:12 Once they reach that point, where they’re doing what they love to do and they cover all their bills and expenses, they don’t have to worry about money, they have extra money, they go out to eat, they go on a few trips, they come back, and they still have extra, that’s when you start finding some of the deeper reasons. It’s hard to imagine until you get there, because a lot of people aren’t even in a place where they do what they enjoy. They do things they don’t enjoy to pay the bills, so you have to get from there to doing what you enjoy. Then, you have to get from doing what you enjoy to doing what you enjoy and having that support you. Beyond that, when the selfish part is satisfied, it becomes something bigger for you. Until you reach that point, it’s absolutely okay to do it for yourself.
If you’re doing work that makes you come alive and you don’t have to worry about money, then you can do more with your gift for other people.
- 52:34 Ben: If Scarcity Mindset consumes 100% of your activities and the reasons you’re doing things is to get yourself out of that hole, you can’t think about other people. If pockets of your existence fall outside of Scarcity Mindset and you know some ways you can help other people and you want to do that, the places where you’re in scarcity are going to come into conflict with the places where you want to help people. There are people who haven’t earned the ability to teach something from their experience, like teaching people how to make money with their passion.
- 53:35 Sean: A lot of people jump to that. They see people doing it and they think, “That must be the way,” but they don’t see what came before it.
- 53:42 Ben: Their motivation is trying to pay their bills and feed that scarcity. Maybe some of it is trying to help other people, genuinely, but that can potentially do more harm than good. It’s good to give people permission and say, “It’s not a selfish thing to focus on yourself for now, to get to the place where you don’t have to deal with that conflict. Once you get out of scarcity, you’ll be able to make a much bigger impact and help people a whole lot more.”
- 54:32 Sean: The 60 or so minutes that people have spent listening to us so far may very well be the only 60 minutes in the past month or even year where people have thought about this for themselves. I’ll tell it to you straight—you’re not going to find your why if this single podcast episode is the only time you’ve spent thinking about it. When you’re caught up in the day to day, you can’t think at this level. It’s a far removed place. You have to step back and take a look at your work from the outside. If you’re in the work constantly, day to day, you can’t really think about the deeper reasons for doing what you do.
- 55:25 We’re about to go on sabbatical. That’s time where I’m giving myself margin to think and assess what I’m doing. It’s something I believe in a lot, and that’s why I’ve mandated it and made it a recurring theme. If you don’t have that beanbag time, that retreat time, that time to get outside of your element, you’re not going to find this very easily.
- 56:16 Ben: It’s like trying to enjoy a good book at breakfast time at our house. It’s crazy.
Your Elevator Pitch
- 56:31 Sean: You have to make time for that. Tommy says, “Should your ‘why’ be different than your elevator pitch? Or, should my reason for doing what I do be something I openly share, or just something I use to motivate myself?”
- 56:47 Ben: If you think about sales skills, a lot of what you’re doing is curating and piecing together a version of your why that can resonate with the other person. You design what you say to people based on the audience that’s receiving that from you. I don’t necessarily think that those two things are identical, because you are likely serving an audience that’s not you and doesn’t fit your demographic. You wouldn’t try to communicate why you’re doing what you do to them in the same way you describe it to yourself.
- 57:42 Sean: You may not be serving a demographic of people who are the same as you, and for some people, that might come as a surprise. “Huh. You mean I don’t have to find people exactly like me?” Of course not! You don’t have to find people exactly like you. Sometimes that’s nice, because you feel less alone in the world seeing that there are people similar to you. You could volunteer somewhere to help people who are victims of abuse, and you don’t have to be a victim of abuse to help other people. There are so many places that you could help other people in ways that, maybe, people who are similar to them can’t, because they have too similar of a perspective.
- 58:27 Ben: I don’t want that to be an arbitrary constraint, that your elevator pitch has to match your why. Put some thought into who your audience is when you’re sharing that.
- 58:42 Sean: The elevator pitch is not where you sell. The elevator pitch is where you get someone from knowing nothing about you to coming in at the entrance point. You’re not trying to close. You’re selling something, but you aren’t trying to close. If I meet someone, I’m not going to say, “Hey, go buy this course,” while I’m in an elevator. I’m going to introduce them to what I do and who I do it for, and some free resource.
- 59:35 Ben: There is a closing happening, but it’s a mini-close. You have to close on them walking through the door. Your big sale is getting them to buy the course or the product or whatever, but even that’s a smaller close than the big one you want, which is for them to become a loyal customer. I’m scaling it down, so I’m messing with the terminology a little bit.
- 1:00:22 Sean: Is a pitch successful if you don’t close?
- 1:00:27 Ben: Yes.
- 1:00:28 Sean: I agree, because of the Magic of 7. This person may be on number six of whatever it is you’re pitching from other people, and you may be that seventh pitch, which allows you to close. Even if you’re not, it’s a valuable credit.
- 1:00:53 Ben: You should consider that an opportunity to share what you care about and why you’re doing that. In that moment, in whatever medium, you give them whatever portion of the picture you need to give them. The elevator pitch isn’t giving them the whole story. How are you going to shape the piece you’re sharing with them so they’re most likely to accept it? If it doesn’t close, at least it’s going to stick with them somehow.
In most cases, your elevator pitch should be different from you why, because not everyone is going to understand your why.
- 1:01:36 Sean: I did a video on this called What → Why → Whats. It’s a whiteboard video. Your goal is to get people on board with your why, but you don’t do that by pitching the why. The why is intangible. “I want to make the world a better place and a brighter, more positive experience for people in their everyday circumstances and help people pursue their passions…” “That’s nice, man. Go write a book. I’ve got to catch this bus.” People can get on board with your why through an initial what. The initial thing is tangible, a what, and people get on board with that because they can grasp it. They can grok it. Once they understand what you’re about, they get on board with the why, through which you can channel them to your other whats. Start with one tangible thing.
- 1:03:35 Ben: Grok is a verb, and it means “to understand intuitively or by empathy.”
- 1:03:43 Sean: You get it, you grasp it, you intuit it, you understand it. The pitch is something that speaks to this person where they’re at, and the why comes later on.
Your Audience & Clients’ Why
- 1:04:12 Rafael probably knows this answer, but he says, “Is there any tip on how can I find like-minded people that also believe in the reasons why I’m doing this or why I’m saying this? (Thinking more about audience and not about accountability partners or friends.)” If it was about finding friends or accountability partners, obviously there’s the Community, which he is in. If it’s audience, you do you and the right people will be attracted. They’ll find you.
- 1:05:43 Sarah says, “It feels easier to find your why when you teach or when you make products, but when it comes to client work I feel like it just comes down to ‘I want to create better [insert whatever you do here].’ Can it ever be deeper?” It’s about wanting to create value for people. If you approach client work that way rather than saying, “Oh goodie, I get to make a buck,” you only work with people for whom you can create value. Even if they’re ready to write a check, if you don’t think what you’re doing is going to create value for them, don’t do it. You have that integrity. If you have that attitude, your why could be helping other people accomplish their goals or to create value in the world.
Client work is a great opportunity to focus the client on their why.
- 1:06:48 Ben: You get into the meeting and you’re talking about their goals and their vision, and most of the time, you’re going to want to help them produce some kind of money from it. Value is not always monetary, but most of the time, that’s the focus. They have some monetary goal, some reason for wanting to invest money to hire you to do something for them. Presenting a proposal through Value-Based Pricing can be powerful if, in the process, you’re able to get them to focus more on their why. It’s good for them to understand and be in sync with the deeper reasons they’re doing things. It takes their focus away from the money and makes it more of a no-brainer when they see that what you’re doing not only provides great monetary value, but it also gets them closer to their why.
- 1:07:53 Also, it kind of helps you to be more enthusiastic and excited about the project. The projects I’m most excited about aren’t the ones where I’m making a ton of money, but the ones where I agree with the why of the company I’m working for. It makes doing the project that much more fun, because it puts my focus on doing something great to help them accomplish their why and not on trying to make something good enough that I’m going to get paid.