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Slow down.

Think for a moment.

  • What do you have planned today?
  • What do you have going on this week?
  • What do you hope to accomplish this month?

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Seriously. Why is it you’re doing the things you do?

We get caught up in following the motions of daily life. We fall into patterns and do things without thinking much about them.

There’s nothing wrong with routine—so long as the routine you follow is taking you where you want to go.

Where is your routine taking you?

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Don’t feel guilty if your “why” right now is about you.
  • Deal with your immediate needs first so you can help other people.
  • Wealth and seeking money for its own sake doesn’t lead to happiness.
  • It is possible to make a living from your passion and do work that impacts other people.
  • Money is a tool you can use to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.
  • You’re always in a continual process of overlapping, refining, and figuring out what your passion is that helps the world.
  • Once you reach the point where money no longer satisfies, the only way to feel fulfillment is to give back.
  • You know you’re passionate about something when you encounter resistance and you press through.
  • If you have a desire to do something bigger than yourself, integrate that into your life because you won’t live a fully fulfilled life only living for yourself.
Show Notes
  • 08:05 Ben: Why are you doing what you’re doing? Slow down. Think for a moment. What do you have planned today? What do you have going on this week? What do you hope to accomplish this month? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Seriously. Why is it you’re doing the things you do? We get caught up in following the motions of daily life. We fall into patterns and do things without thinking much about them. There’s nothing wrong with routine—so long as the routine you follow is taking you where you want to go. Where is your routine taking you?
  • 08:43 This is not a show about routine. It’s a show about the deeper reasons for what you do. Sean and I will be talking about the “why” behind what you do. The show starts now.

What Is Your Mission?

  • 09:07 Sean: We had some good discussion in the chat before we started. We got some good questions. I think a good place to start would be to share this conversation I had with Sarah. I think she’s okay with me sharing this on the air. Basically, I’m breaking this down into two sections. First, it’s about defining what you want. Where do you want to go? What do you want out of life?
  • 09:41 The second thing is auditing your actions. We’ll talk about those two different things. To open it up here, I’m going to share a conversation I had with Sarah right before we started recording. You’ve heard me say this before, but I say, “Ask why until the answer stops changing.” That’s how you get to the root of something. If you’re wondering, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” We’ve got a list of questions you can ask yourself to help you get to the root of things.
  • When you ask why and each time you give a different answer, you’re getting deeper and closer to the root.

  • 10:30 You haven’t gotten there yet if the answer keeps changing, but you’re getting closer. Once the answer stays the same, then you know you’ve gotten to the root of things. I want to illustrate that. Sarah says, “Okay, you say to ask why until the answer stops changing. That’s a good start, but sometimes, the answer isn’t satisfying, because it’s not directed to others. It’s a ‘me’ why. It’s about me.” I’ll talk about that a little bit more later.
  • 10:58 I said, “Why do you feel that’s wrong?” She said, “Because my why is supposed to help me define my mission, and my mission has to be about others for them to relate.” I said, “Why do they need to relate?” Sarah said, “Because if they don’t, it’s not something I can help them with.” I said, “So you want to help them?” She said, “I want to make a living from my passion, and I’ve heard the best way to do it is by helping people, so I’m trying to connect my passion with people.”
  • 11:29 I said, “Why do you want to make a living from your passion?” She said, “Because I love doing it.” I said, “You want to make money so you can do what you love, right?” “Yes.” “What do you enjoy doing?” “Lettering.” “Why do you enjoy lettering?” “Because I love drawing letters. It makes me happy.” I said, “Why does drawing letters make you happy?”
  • 11:51 She said, “Because it’s beautiful and I’ve always loved drawing.” I said, “Why do you love creating beautiful things?” “Because I value beautiful things. I love art. I love how it makes the world beautiful.” “Why do you want to make the world beautiful?” She said, “Hm. Thinking. I want to make the world beautiful because it brings up the best in us.” I said, “Why do you want to bring out the best in people?”
  • 12:17 She said, “To make the world a better place, I suppose.” I said, “Why do you want to make the world a better place?” She said, “So there’s less horrors and sadness in the world.” What I ask next kind of sounds weird on the surface, but we’re not at the surface. We want to go deep. I said, “Why do you care that there’s less horror and sadness in the world?” She said, “Because it crushes me.” I continued asking, “Why?”
  • 12:48 She said, “Because.” I said, “Think first.” She paused for a while and came back a few minutes later. She said, “It’s difficult to say. I feel horrible about how some people are crushed in this world. It makes me feel horrible. I feel like other human beings are my brothers and sisters. I believe in humanity. I think we have the best in us, and I want us to show it more than our horrible side.”
  • 13:16 I said, “Let me put it this way. What do you think the benefits would be of fewer people feeling horrible, crushed, or sad in this world? What would the result be?” She said, “The benefit would be a more beautiful world. We would evolve, be better people, and we would simply be happier.” We could keep going deeper and deeper, but at this point, the show was starting. I told her, “Here’s my summation of your ‘why’ after our conversation.”
  • 13:49 This is an example of getting to the deeper reasons. “I create art because I want to make the world a more beautiful place. I believe beauty brings happiness, and happy people do better work, lead more fulfilling lives, and bring more happiness to others.”
  • 14:09 Ben: I heard something similar but a little bit different in those answers. One of the most profound things I heard was a really great answer to the question, “What if you get to the end of that and it’s focused on me?” The misunderstanding in that question is that we see ourselves as separate individuals from other people.
  • As you dig deeper, you can’t separate yourself from others.

  • 14:49 Really, you can’t separate yourself from anybody. One person in some part of the world suffering is your suffering. One person’s joy is your joy. That’s hard to articulate, but that connection exists. It’s this innate thing that we feel and experience on some level. Although we have many different motivations for the things that we do, when you get down to it, even if it’s “me-focused,” like, “I don’t want to feel that crushing when bad things happen in the world,” that’s also an others-focused thing.
  • 15:49 Because you feel that and that motivates you to try and change it, it is helping other people. I believe that’s the way it’s designed to work. We feel that connection because we’re supposed to use that connection for the good of others.

It’s Ok if Your Why Is About Yourself

  • 16:11 Sean: I know people struggle with this a little bit. They feel bad or guilty, and I want to set people free here. I don’t think you should feel guilty if your “why” right now is about yourself. David was saying, “Is there any judgement if my “why” isn’t as altruistic as other people’s? I want to never worry about money and be free to plan my day as I like.” I think that’s a lot of us.
  • 16:42 A lot of us want that. To say it sounds selfish. When other people say things like, “My why is to help get rid of hunger in the world,” it sounds super nice and altruistic. David was joking earlier, saying, “I would never say that I want to make money,” but we do want to make money! We do want freedom for ourselves. That might be the thing that’s driving us right now. Here’s why I think that’s okay.
  • 17:10 Ben mentioned feeling crushed. Speaking of crushed, when my second younger brother, Ryan, was just a little kid, a few years old, my dad was in a bowling league and we were at the bowling alley. My dad was using a 16 pound ball. I don’t think it was a league night, but my dad was practicing. We were there, and he had us, his two sons at the time, at the bowling alley. My brother Ryan, while we weren’t looking, pulled one of the balls off of the rack.
  • 17:46 It lands on his big toe and crushes it. It was terrible. It kind of exploded—not totally, it’s okay now. It was bad. Cory hadn’t been born yet. That’s a terrible story to illustrate what I’m going to say, but imagine you dropped a bowling ball on your toe. It would be terrible and horrible. All of your energy would be focused there. You would think, “Is it broken? I probably need to go to the hospital.”
  • 18:24 At that moment, you need to worry about yourself. Maybe someone else in your family is like, “We haven’t been spending that much time together. I feel like we never talk.” That’s an important issue, but in that moment, where you drop the bowling ball on your toe, that issue has to go to the side. You can’t be a good partner, spouse, parent, or family member to others when you have a crisis on your hands, when your toe is broken.
  • You need to deal with your immediate needs so you can help other people.

  • 19:12 A lot of us aren’t in that place yet. We’re still treading water and gasping for breath. We’re still struggling under financial troubles, stress, debt, and family issues. We’re just trying to get by, make ends meet, and pay the bills. We feel stuck. You come across a podcast episode like this or someone else’s story about changing the world, and you’re like, “I want to stop treading water and holding my breath. I want to get out of the hole. I want to create financial freedom and stability for my family, and I want to make some money.”
  • 19:56 “That’s the thing that’s driving me right now. That’s my ‘why.'” That’s your crisis right now. That’s your broken toe. That’s the thing you need to focus on right now. You can’t cure cancer when you’re worried about paying your bills. Step one is getting to a place of stability in your life, whatever that looks like. Until you’re there, it’s okay for your “why” to be about getting there. It’s okay for it not to be about this greater mission. That’s just the first step on your journey, the first city on your road trip that you visit.
  • 20:39 Ben: It doesn’t necessarily even have to be about getting there so you can do these other things. To get rid of all possibility for guilt around this subject, the fact that you are able to elevate yourself or get yourself to where you want to be, that has an impact on the people around you, regardless of what you do with that.
  • If you’re moving in a positive direction, that will have a positive impact on the people in your life.

  • 21:16 It’s important to think of that as enough and not feel pressured or guilty for not having some more broad-reaching reason for doing what you’re doing. That all comes back to our connection to one another. When my friends are doing well, unless I’m dealing with some personal issues and bitterness, that’s a good thing for me. I can take joy in that with them. In some ways, that can also elevate me in my situation. I wanted to get rid of all the guilt.
  • 22:09 Sean: All of that is for the person who feels like, “What if my ‘why’ is just about me right now?” It’s probably okay that it’s about you. I wouldn’t worry about it. Focus on getting to that place of stability. I think that’s okay. I wanted to contextualize the rest of what we’re talking about here when we’re talking about the deeper reasons.

Define What You Want

  • 22:33 Sean: We fall into these patterns and we go through the motions of daily life, but where are those motions taking you? That motion is moving you in a direction. Is that direction the one you want to go? Where do you want to go? This is the first step. You’ve got defining what you want and auditing your actions. The first thing is, what do you want in life? Where do you want to go? Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be?
  • 23:07 Where do you want to live? Who do you want to help? It’s not something you get to do again. This isn’t a trial run. This is your actual one life. What do you want out of life? I think it’s perfectly okay to have some of that be selfish. I think it’s perfectly okay to do things because you enjoy them. I’ve got some thoughts on that, too. It’s also great to help others.
  • Figure out what you’re about and where you want to be.

  • 23:43 You have to have a clear idea of that if you’re going to be able to audit your daily actions. Your actions are taking you closer or further away. Think about whether the things you’re doing every day are taking you closer to where you want to be or farther from where you want to be.
  • 24:07 Ben: I have an interesting approach to that question, too. If there are actions or habits, things you do that you enjoy, maybe you don’t like the potential result of them but you offset them in some other area. For me, it’s diet. I’ve talked about this before. My health is very important to me. That’s a higher level “why.” I also really enjoy food. That’s a higher level “why.” I could probably dig deeper into that and get to more of the root.
  • 24:49 They seem like conflicting things, so I do this thing to myself where I try to change that. I say, “This ‘why’ is really important to me. I really want to be healthy, so I need to change this activity.” Is it really doing more harm if an activity is serving a different “why”?
  • 25:13 Sean: To me, when I hear that, if we follow the whole, “Ask why until the answer stops changing,” if we played that out, the reason you like food and the reason you want to diet and exercise are the same. It’s some kind of deeper happiness, satisfaction, sense of wholeness and fulfillment. Those are two routes of getting there, both with sacrifices.
  • 25:51 Ben: They tend to fight against each other in the higher levels, but I see what you’re saying.
  • If there’s a conflict between your motives, dig deeper and see where the “whys” might intersect.

  • 26:05 Sean: Aaron in the chat says, “Sean’s making a great point. I wasn’t helping anybody in my early 20s when my life was a mess.” When I said, “You can’t cure cancer when you’re worried about paying your bills,” people were saying, “That’s where I’m at right now.” I know that a lot of people are there, and I wanted to acknowledge that.
  • 26:29 Aaron says, “Since I’ve been focusing on my own needs, I’ve been able to help far more people. Change yourself, change the world. I want to travel the world and help people make cool stuff.” What do you think, Cory? What are your thoughts when we talk about this “why” stuff? What do you want out of life? Why do you do what you do? What kind of thoughts does that bring up?
  • 27:01 Cory: I think I have a mixture of “whys”, and that’s probably everybody’s answer in the end. Like Ben was saying, you can’t get away from people. You just can’t. Everybody’s going to end up with a mixture. Mine is a mixture. I want to make films, obviously. I want those films to do something for people. Maybe that’s mostly selfish, but I think I’ll define it as I get closer to achieving those goals, but also being at a place where I’m able to do more and help people—financially.

Money & Happiness

  • 27:47 Sean: A lot of people who are very wealthy, very rich, who have everything they ever want… I was watching this documentary recently, and I think it was from the 90s. It was about Johnson & Johnson, that company with all kinds of products. It’s been around for a long time, the better part of the last century. It’s been passed down like this inheritance. You have heirs of the Johnson & Johnson fortune. They’re born into it.
  • 28:32 That’s all they’ve ever experienced, all they’ve ever known. One son in particular wanted to do a documentary about kids who inherit these huge fortunes and how they live life, the down sides of it. His dad didn’t want him to make this documentary, which makes it all the more interesting. There’s footage of him having conversations with the dad, and he stops talking. It’s interesting. The more you talk to people, the more you realize that wealth and seeking money for its own sake doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s very obvious to these people who have money.
  • When you don’t have money, you think money will lead to happiness.

  • 29:36 Ben: To that point, I can’t remember what study or statistic it was, but there’s some number where they measured the general happiness and they surveyed people. There’s a figure or a percentage that has to do with how their finances meet their needs, and the happiness correlated with the finances only up to a certain point. Then it leveled off.
  • 30:08 Sean: That point is where your basic needs are covered and you have a little bit extra. You’re essentially not super stressed. Beyond that point, happiness doesn’t increase linearly with the amount of money that you make.
  • 30:25 Ben: Correct. That was really interesting to me. At the same time, it’s kind of frustrating. It seems that happiness, in some ways, is linked to what you have, even if only up to a certain point. I’m not sure why that is. I’m wresting with this a little bit. Maybe it’s connected to our desire to help other people and to make a contribution to the world that we find fulfillment when we have value in the world.
  • 31:16 Up until we’re able to meet our own needs and provide for ourselves, that piece is missing. I wonder if that’s one of the big reasons. Certainly, there’s stress in not knowing whether or not you’ll have enough money to pay for a bill or to get groceries. There’s stress involved in that, and that takes away from the happiness. There’s also the missing piece of having the fulfillment of making a contribution in some way.
  • 31:53 I think you’re right though, Sean. It gets very confused. People look at wealth, and because they’re feeling that connection between money and happiness down here, they think that wealth is the opposite, the antithesis of what they’re experiencing.
  • Wealth is not the opposite of financial stress.

    Most unhappy people don’t lack financial means as much as they lack the ability to make a contribution and feel like they have value in the world.

  • 32:31 Sean: Maybe that’s satisfied when you don’t quite have everything you need, but you’re working towards it. You’re making that contribution towards your family, for instance. Even though it’s a struggle, there’s some sense of fulfillment in pursuing that.
  • 32:53 Ben: I think what you could also find to be true is that people who don’t have enough to meet their needs might feel the stress of not being able to pay for certain things. If they actively have a sense of value and, despite their circumstances, are finding ways to make contributions and do things for others, especially people who are connected in community, I think those folks beat out the statistics.

Balance vs. Integration

  • 33:29 Sean: Michelle says, “I once heard it put that your purpose in life exists at the intersection of what brings you deepest joy and meets some need in the world.” We talked about this in an episode a while back, and it was a good discussion. When thinking about your “why,” I’ll give you some questions:
    • What do you want out of life?
    • Where do you want to go?
    • Who do you want to help?
    • What do you enjoy?
    • What fulfills you?
  • 34:03 Some of those answers might be about you. They might be things that just make you happy. That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be about someone else. Say, playing video games makes you happy. Say, watching Netflix makes you happy. Are those necessarily bad things? No, I don’t think they are. There are two trains of thought here. Some people think in terms of balance. Others think in terms of integration.
  • 34:34 With balance, it’s like, “Hey, look, it’s okay. You work hard, so you can play as well. It’s okay to play video games. That’s your balance. That’s the thing you enjoy, the fun thing on the side, and it’s okay to take a break. It’s okay. Have a balance, work-life balance.” Other people say, “It’s not about balance. The ideal place to be is to find ways to integrate the things that bring you joy with what fulfills a need in the world, what supports you financially, and what you like the act of doing.”
  • 35:12 That’s the ideal place to be, instead of, “This is the thing I do that makes me money that makes a difference in the world, and this is the other selfish stuff that I want to do that doesn’t matter or have an impact.” I’m not saying that it’s wrong to do those things. I don’t think it’s wrong at all. If you’re striving for an ideal, you want to integrate.
  • The most wonderful place to be is where everything you do is something you enjoy, but is also challenging, fulfilling, meets a need in the world, and helps other people.

  • 35:48 That sounds crazy. How in the world can you find that? I think that’s possible. I think you can find that. I think that should be the goal for you. There’s a way you can find a connection between your art and what makes the world more beautiful, what brings people happiness, what meets a need, fulfills you, and pays your bills. I think that’s possible.
  • 36:15 Ben: I also think it’s possible.
  • 36:16 Sean: I also wrote a book on it, I do think it’s possible. I think it’s possible to make a living from your passion and do work that impacts other people. It almost certainly won’t all come at once, immediately. In your pursuit of this, I wouldn’t look for that perfect overlap intersection and reject everything else until you find the perfect thing.
  • 36:49 That’s something that develops. You hone it. You focus in. You get tighter and tighter and tighter. It’s an iterative journey. First, you’re finding that one circle and figuring out what that is for you. Then it’s, “What’s this other circle? Where do they overlap? How can I focus more of my energy there?” It’s a process.
  • You’re always in a continual process of overlapping, refining, and figuring out what your passion is that helps the world.

  • 37:23 Ben: For me, it has always been a moving target. If I’m thinking of it as a moving target, I’m probably also thinking of something that’s a higher level “why” and not the deeper reason. When you’re talking about the thing that brings you joy but also meets a need in the world, that’s still a level up from some deeper reason, I think. If you also feel like it’s a moving target, don’t be discouraged or feel like you’ll never be able to nail down your “why.” Your “why” is deeper. It’s good to know, at that level, what it is for you, so you have a goal and a destination.

It’s Okay to Want Money

  • 38:14 Sean: David says, “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure takes the sting out of being poor.” Aaron says, “I got used to living on $24,000 a year. Now that I make more, I’m happier.” David says, “I’ve been there. Sometimes, I feel that it’s fashionable in the entrepreneur community to downplay or demonize the role of money.”
  • 38:36 I think that’s true. I think people are scared to say that they want to make money. They feel guilty about it. Again, it’s because there are these two segments. There’s being below the magic number and being above the magic number. There’s covering your bills, fixing the broken toe, and getting to financial stability. Then you can think about all of those other things.
  • 39:08 When you’re not in a place of financial stability, you’re stressed, and you’re in Scarcity Mindset, that’s the wrong time to be thinking about those things. Yet, that’s when you’re reading all these articles about entrepreneurs talking about making a difference and impacting the world. You’re jaded by it because you’re in the wrong context. You’re not in the context where you can think about that.
  • 39:35 What you have right now is a crisis on your hands, and you feel guilty for focusing on your own crisis. That’s the only reason you want money. If you want money right now, you’re in a crisis. With the exception of someone who has some unhealthy obsession, and I don’t think that’s productive to talk about. For most people, if you’re like, “I need to make more money,” that means you’re in a place of crisis, and it’s okay.
  • It’s okay to focus on making money right now while you’re in a place of crisis, so don’t feel guilty for wanting that.

  • 40:18 Ben: If you talk about it a little bit differently, even outside of the crisis, wanting money isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t necessarily point to some crisis. Money is a tool, above all else. It’s not exactly the same as food. You do need something of value to exchange for things that will help you survive. Maybe it’s one step removed. Food is something that you put into your body so you can survive and so you have the fuel, the nutrients, the strength, and the stamina to do other things that you want to do.
  • 41:08 Beyond the crisis, money is a powerful tool for accomplishing many things. Sean, you posted a video that I watched, and it was something like 20 Money Rules or something like that. This was somebody else’s video that you shared. One of the rules was that you can’t think about money as a thing you don’t want. He was talking about it as attractiveness. This isn’t just true for romantic relationships, but if you treat somebody like you don’t want them to be around and you go so far as to make public statements about how you don’t care about them, that’s pretty off-putting.
  • 42:11 That person isn’t going to hang around you. The metaphor he was using was that money behaves the same. If you act like you don’t want money, it’s probably not going to come to you. If you attract it, if you say you want it and you’re not weird about that, it’s more likely to come to you. Without getting too, “I want all the money for the sake of getting money,” if you think about it like a tool and you aren’t actively trying to push it away, it really can work for you.
  • Money is a tool you can use to accomplish the things you want to accomplish.

  • 42:53 Without the money, you may not be able to do those things.
  • 42:58 Sean: I think I say this in the book, but maybe crisis isn’t the perfect word here. Some people might be thinking, “Okay, I was in a place where I really wanted money because I needed to support my family. Now, I’m doing okay. I can pay my bills, and I still want money. I want it for me. I want it to fulfill these things I want to do. What do you say to that, Sean?” I was kind of encompassing that under the crisis mode, because the way I help people discover what motivates them, what they’re passionate about, and what drives them, is that I paint a scenario.

True Fulfillment

  • 43:40 Sean: Imagine money is no object. You have all of your expenses paid, everything that you need or want, it’s covered. Name a figure, any amount of money, and it’s in the bank. Whatever number pops into your mind, you’ve got it. It’s in the bank. Now, you’re sitting on your couch. It’s the couch you always wanted in the living room you always imagined. You just returned from your third vacation in the past two months.
  • 44:13 You’ve been to all the places you want to go—the beaches, the mountains, the cities—you’ve been there. You have finally gotten to visit. You’ve been doing this for years now. You’re excited to be home. You’ve been looking forward to coming home and sleeping in your own bed. You’ve beaten all of the video games. You’ve finished the Netflix shows. You’re caught up. You’ve watched them and re-watched them. What do you want to do today?
  • 44:51 What do you want to make? What do you want to create? What do you want to consume? Where do you want to go? I think a lot of people—because they’re in what I was calling “crisis mode,”—haven’t been able to afford, in every sense of the word, time and money, these luxuries for themselves, like getting to go on a trip or getting to slow down and read a book, or allowing themselves to finish a Netflix TV show.
  • 45:21 Because they haven’t yet had those experiences, they want more money. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more money to give yourself these experiences, not at all. There comes a point where money no longer satiates you, because you’ve had those experiences.
  • Once you reach the point where money no longer satisfies, the only way to feel fulfillment is to give back in some form, to stop thinking about yourself.

  • 45:54 I have to underscore this. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying your life for you. You’re the only one who lives 100% of your life. You should enjoy it. You reach this point where you realize that it can’t be all about you, or you’re not going to be truly fulfilled.

How to Know if You’re Really Passionate About Something

  • 46:56 Sean: Aaron said, “If you haven’t done something for a while, it’s not a passion. It’s a fantasy. Passion comes after you’ve had experience.” I would define it a little bit differently, and this is another thing that I talk about in the Overlap book. I’m not going to apologize for talking about it, because this is my greatest work. This will have the greatest impact on the world. I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future, but so far, this single thing will have the greatest impact on the world.
  • 47:26 This book will clarify things for you. It will help you make money and get out of scarcity. It will help you stop feeling overwhelmed, increase your focus, get more time in your life, and figure out what you’re actually passionate about. I’m underselling it by saying all of that. One of the things I talk about regarding passion is that people have this over-inflated list of ideas of passions in their mind.
  • 47:55 Maybe you could say your “why,” but in this case, passion. These are things where you think, “Yeah, I’m passionate about that.” You have to audit your list of passions. Audit by doing. You only know that you’re passionate about something when you enjoy the act of doing it. When you do things, when you set aside three weeks to do something you think you’re passionate about, you’ll often find that you don’t enjoy the act of doing it.
  • You know you’re passionate about something when you encounter resistance and you press through until you get past it.

  • 48:34 The way you know you’re passionate is when you’re on the other side of resistance.

Integrate Your Deeper “Why”

  • 48:59 Ben: I saw a question earlier in the chat that’s kind of bothering me a little bit. Andrew asked, “Do we need to be completely fulfilled, have all of our needs met, in order to best help people?” I think the point you were trying to make earlier, Sean, when you were talking about what you would do if you had played all the video games and watched all of the shows, is not to make people feel guilty for wanting to do those things. There’s absolutely no guilt there.
  • 49:28 I believe that even before you have your needs met, even when you’re in crisis mode, you’re still valuable. You still have something of value to offer to the world. It’s that mindset, that belief, and the actions that come out of that, that play a big role in helping you get out of your crisis. A lot of people don’t believe that.
  • A lot of people don’t believe they have worth or value because of their circumstances.

  • 50:05 I wanted to address that. If we look at people who have more than we do and we think we’re not worth anything to the world until we get there, we’re going to stay stuck. We’re going to stay inwardly focused. Really, the best thing for each of us is to be outwardly focused, to believe in the value we have to offer and to act on that, to show the world that we have a contribution to make. All of that creates a positive cycle that brings us out.
  • 50:42 Sean: Totally.
  • 50:44 Ben: Again, that’s not to say that’s the path you have to take, but I want to make sure people understand that that path exists.
  • 50:53 Sean: You don’t have to feel bad if you’re focused on yourself right now, or even once you get to the point where you feel like you’re making all the money you need and you’re good, your family is good, and you’re like, “I want to do some stuff for myself.” That’s all good! I was painting a picture where, inevitably, you’re going to reach a point where you realize that only serving yourself won’t be totally fulfilling for you.
  • 51:18 Since you know that point will come, instead of seeing life as segregated, as balance—the good and the bad, the helping others and helping myself—before you get to that place of ideal financial situation, seek out a state of integration, where what you do to get to that place integrates your deeper “why.” I’m talking about something that’s always pulled at you. I empathize with David. It’s so stigmatized. The whole, “Don’t say you want money. Say you want to change the world.” I agree. That’s silly. I don’t think you should fabricate that.
  • If you have the desire to do something bigger than yourself, integrate it into your life because you won’t live a fully fulfilled life only living for yourself.

The New Zero

  • 52:32 Sean: “What do I do if my ‘why’ changes?” I don’t think that’s bad. It’s kind of like auditing your passions. You think you’re passionate about something until you do it, until you get closer to it, and then you realize, “This isn’t want I thought it was.” That’s okay. Keep auditing your “why.” Get closer to it. Realize, “I’m more about something else.” It helped you discover that next thing. I don’t think that’s bad or something you have to feel bad about.
  • 53:14 Ben: That question has the potential to paralyze you, to keep you from moving toward anything. It’s like you say with the passions and 360 degrees—it’s not moving towards something and away from something else, it’s moving towards something so you can get more clarity, a sharper image of what it is when you get closer. Once you have that clarity, it’s a lot easier to see what the next destination is.
  • 53:53 Sean: Derrick says, “I have enough money to pay my bills, but I don’t have six month’s income in the bank.” I did an episode about this concept I call the New Zero. There is so much in this book, in the Overlap book, that’s brand new. If you’re a long time podcast listener, if you’ve listened to every single episode of the podcast, there’s new material in this book.
  • 54:25 It’s presented in new ways. It’s written from scratch. There’s so much more in here. I do talk about the New Zero, but it’s this idea of getting six month’s income in the bank. What does it cost to pay your bills every month, just to cover your bills? I’m not talking about fun trips and whatever you hope to do, but what do you need every month to pay your bills? What is that number? Multiply that number by six.
  • Your goal should be to get six month’s income in the bank as cash reserves.

  • 54:58 It’s your runway for quitting the day job, your savings set aside for a rainy day, keeping you out of scarcity. That’s the goal with the New Zero, which is six month’s income in the bank. I did a whole episode on this, episode 269, but I wanted to contextualize what Derrick is asking here. He can pay his bills, but he doesn’t have his six month’s income in the bank. “How do I balance spending on others or spending on non-necessities when my goal is to get that six months in the bank?”
  • 55:36 The way I talked about that in episode 269 was seeing six month’s income in the bank as the New Zero. I’m not saying this from a place of, “That’s easy for you to say, Sean.” I’m not there yet. I get it. I’m with you. I hear you. This is a thing I’m striving towards right now. I’m not there with my business or personally. I get it. What I’m describing with this is imagining that number, your monthly expenses times six, as zero. That’s the black.
  • 56:17 Anything less than that, think of yourself as in the hole, in the negative. Think of yourself as in the red. Then, let that hunger to get out of the hole—to get back above that zero—drive you to set aside the money. Most normal people think of zero as zero, not six months in the bank as zero. It’s the same as if you were below a normal zero. You would want to get above that zero. You’d be like, “I have to get above zero. I have to get out of the hole. I have to get out of the negative. I have to get out of the red.”
  • 56:52 The idea is to feel that hunger and drive to build up this cash reserve for yourself. Derrick, you need to really truly see six month’s income in the bank as zero. Right now, you see it as six month’s income in the bank. You’re like, “How do I balance doing fun stuff, things that aren’t necessary, spending money on other things, with this luxury of getting six month’s income in the bank?”
  • If you think of having six month’s income in the bank as a luxury rather than a necessity, it’s never going to happen.

  • 57:23 It’s all about the mindset of seeing it as zero. Everything goes towards that. You’re under water, Derrick. How long can you hold your breath? You have to have that sense of clarity. When you’re under water, running out of breath, you’re not thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow, what you’re going to have for dinner. You’re thinking about getting to the surface, getting to that zero.
  • 57:47 Ben: There’s room to ask the question why. Why is six months important? Maybe six months still feels like being under water to you. Maybe 12 months is really the surface for you. Not to take away from what you’re prescribing, Sean, but that’s probably different for every person. If you want it to be six months, if you’re listening to this podcast and you think, “Six months. That makes sense. I want it to be six months,” and you’re still asking that question, then you haven’t figured out the “why” for the six months yet.
  • 58:27 Why do you want there to be six months of income on reserve? Getting to that why will give you a lot more clarity on that other stuff. If it really is the New Zero, what that does to your mindset is it makes you think, “If I don’t have six months, I’m still in scarcity.” When you’re in scarcity, it’s a lot harder for you to make good decisions about where and how to be generous, where and how to spend on fun things.
  • 59:02 Sean: The way my friend put it resonated with me, and I’ve said this a lot.
  • You have to earn the right to play the long game.

  • 59:11 The long game is thinking about your business in a year. The long game is doing things for other people and not worrying about the money. It’s picking up the tab when you take your four friends out for dinner.
  • 59:26 Ben: And not like, “I’ve got it, guys,” and then you’re on your phone, checking your balance. Literally, you don’t have to think about it.
  • 59:34 Sean: You’re not worrying about it. There are no clients this month and this one client comes along, and they’re not a good client, but you would make some money. You say no to them, you pass on them, because they had these red flags, and you don’t even worry. It’s not like you’re squinting, clenching your fists and gritting your teeth, thinking, “This is so hard. I have to stand by my values.” Sometimes, life is like that.
  • 01:00:06 I’m talking about being in a place where you’re like, “Not today. Thanks for your interest.” You move on. You’re not like, “Now what am I going to do this month?” It’s all good.
  • 01:00:18 Ben: The clarity you achieve once you reach your idea of the surface, that’s going to be worth a lot more to the people you want to help.
  • It’s going to be easier for you to make money when you have the right mindset and you’re not in scarcity.

  • 01:00:42 Sean: I wouldn’t even worry about thinking about how you can change the world or what you can do for other people until you have six months’ income in the bank. Think of yourself as being under water. Get to the surface first, and then start dreaming about the islands you want to give away.
  • 01:01:01 Ben: I needed to hear that today. I want to change the world, Sean.
  • 01:01:14 Sean: That’s the hardest thing for me, as someone who thinks long term. I have so many big plans, so many things I want to do, but I struggle with the discipline to not do those things and focus on what I need to do right now for me—which, in my case, means my business, which is also for my employees. Your home base comes first, and it’s tough. It’s really tough, but I know it’s the right thing to focus on. It’s easy to say you’re passionate about something, but being able to say no to something you’re passionate about so you can say yes to it in the right time, that really underscores how you feel about it.

seanwes conference

  • 01:02:09 Sean: Go to if you want to be around people who want to change the world but are not afraid to say, “Yeah, I’m going to make some money.” These are your people. They’re practical people. They’re business owners. They get it. They’re in the trenches. They’re building businesses just like you, and they also have a bigger vision.
  • 01:02:33 They have a bigger mission that they want to accomplish. These are your people. We’re going to gather all across the world. The theme of seanwes conference is Think Bigger. We would love to have you in Austin, Texas. On May 25th, the price of tickets increases $500.
  • 01:03:18 If you want to save $500 on registration, go to Now is the time to register. September is close approaching. It’s almost here. It’s going to happen. On May 25th, the price goes up $500. What happens if you wait until May 25th, you get home from work, and you’re like, “I think I’m going to register”? Is the price going to be the same, or $500 more?
  • 01:03:48 Cory: $500 more. It might even be sold out.
  • 01:03:50 Sean: Would you say it’s a good idea to not wait until the last minute and just get it over with? Lock it in.
  • 01:03:54 Cory: Just do it now. Get it over with.
  • 01:04:02 Sean: Ben, I think I undersell the conference. People don’t understand how cool it is that we have the people that we have speaking here—bestselling author Scott Berkun, Scott Oldford, who’s going to be talking about sales funnels, and he’s doing a member-exclusive workshop, too, about sales funnels. That’s awesome. Six figures is this guy’s baseline. That’s where he starts. He calls it the six-figure hamster wheel.
  • 01:04:38 He’s like, “Let’s talk about how you can break into seven figures.” Even if you haven’t made six figures yet, he’ll help you avoid a lot of the mistakes that result in this six-figure plateau.
  • A lot of businesses get to six figures and then they stop growing.

  • 01:04:58 This is really good stuff. There are so many awesome speakers. I feel silly trying to sell them, because I feel like they sell themselves. I read this recently, and I think this is a very apt description. All speakers do is gather like-minded people together. I think that’s really cool. If you’re interested in things like copywriting, personalizing your marketing, building your own community, spreading the word about what you do, getting your money right, or being more creative, those are the type of people we have at seanwes conference.
  • 01:05:44 I hope you come. I hope you go to and register today, because we would love to see you in Austin, Texas.