seanwes podcast

Tangible insights on creativity and business every Wednesday.

Want to make a living with your passion? From products and marketing to professionalism and clients, you'll get answers to the hard-hitting questions.

Join entrepreneurs Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson as they let you inside their discussions on the many facets of making a living online. You'll come away from every episode with something of value that you can apply to your business.

Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

385: Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – 1 hour, 20 minutes

Having problems changing your habits? According to one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, James Clear, the problem isn’t you, it’s your system.

Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.

My friend, James Clear, has a new book out called Atomic Habits (, and it is fantastic. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time, as it has been years in the making.

I was given an early copy of the book, and in today’s episode, I want to give you a sense of what’s inside.

We’ll only have enough time to cover some of the concepts in the first 25% of the book, but I’m confident you’ll get so many takeaways, you’ll pre-order the book before the show ends so you can read the whole thing.

Today’s title is derived from the tagline of the book: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

If you’re not already subscribed to James Clear’s newsletter (at, go fix that right now.

My favorite part about the book is it’s extremely grounded and easy to follow. This is not a boring textbook with abstract concepts. Every principle comes loaded with practical examples. With illustrations like brushing your teeth, putting on your running shoes, or kissing your partner good night, you’re never left wondering how to apply what you learn to your own life.

Best of all, the entire premise of the book is that tiny changes bring remarkable results. If building tons of new habits and completely changing your life sounds overwhelming, well, that’s because it would be! The good news is, you don’t have to completely change your life. You just need to get 1% better each day.

How To Finish

384: How To Finish

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – 1 hour, 40 minutes

Today’s show is a companion to the prior “How To Start” episode.

It’s often said that starting is the hardest part. While that may be true, finishing is far from easy.

Procrastination, distractions, lack of motivation, and many other things can keep us from completing tasks and projects. Unfinished side projects pile high and we feel a lack of satisfaction and accomplishment.

How do you buckle down and finish something? What does it take? Should you finish everything? Is there such a thing as “starters” and “finishers”, or is that just an excuse for underdeveloped skill?

We cover all this and much more!

How To Keep Going

383: How To Keep Going

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – 13 minutes

Last week, we had a show called, How To Start. Next week, we have a show for you called, How To Finish.

But what about in between?

How do you keep going when you’ve lost steam?

The first half of a project tends to be the most exciting. Once you’re in the middle of a project, things can start to feel like a drag.

I want to talk about finding the motivation and drive to persevere in the middle of a project when you feel like you’ve lost steam.

How To Start

382: How To Start

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – 1 hour, 27 minutes

Starting is the hardest part.

You’d think doing the actual work would be hardest, but it’s not as hard as starting.

Why do we feel such resistance to starting? Why is it so difficult to begin?

• We feel like we need to start the right way.
• We feel like we don’t have the right tools.
• We feel like we’re not ready to start yet.

What if you start and the first results you see are less than perfect? What does that mean? What does it say about you?

Once you start, there’s also some expectation that you’ll continue; that you’ll see this thing through to completion. Maybe you’re scared of that kind of commitment.

In today’s show, we explore what keeps you from starting and what’s holding you back right now.

Why and How to Start an Exercise Habit

381: Why and How to Start an Exercise Habit

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – 1 hour, 15 minutes

You’re a creative professional. Why exercise?

I put off exercise too, for most of my 20s. “I’ll get active at some point, I’m not too worried.”

Exercising isn’t just for athletes.

Last year, around the holidays, I spoke to some family members who were in their 40s and 50s. I asked them what advice they’d give to their younger self? I’m about to turn 30, and I asked them what they’d do differently if they could go back.

First, they said their 30s were a great decade. It’s a good age. That made me happy to hear. I’m looking forward to my 30s.

But they also they wished they were more active. They put off exercising for too long, and it only gets more difficult. It’s never too late to start, and it’s not impossible, but they all said they wished they started sooner and made a habit out of it!

I realized I needed to make a change. It was time to start prioritizing my personal health. This was no longer something I could continue to put off.

You can’t sit at a desk all day and remain inactive without repercussions.

You will feel happier, more energized, more creative, and get more ideas if you exercise regularly. So how do you build an exercise habit from scratch? That’s what we’re covering!

Recovery From Depression (Part 1)

380: Recovery From Depression (Part 1)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – 2 hours, 14 minutes

Today’s show topic is intense. If you’re looking for a light and fun show, you’ll probably want to skip this one.

I was depressed. It was bad. I’m talking about it for the first time.

On last week’s show, we talked about how difficult it is to open up about the real things that might be going on in your life. The *unpleasant* things. Where’s the place to do that? Social media doesn’t seem to be the answer.

I talked about feeling like I need to wait until I can wrap the story up in a neat “Hero’s Journey” bow. Because people are conditioned to expect the Hero’s Journey format.

“Okay, yeah, sure, things were bad, but then what happened, *next*?”

“No… things were just bad, and then they got worse. And that’s it. I don’t have a happy ending to this story for you right now.”


I didn’t want that. But I didn’t know how to share something that wasn’t good and positive.

The stages I went through were:

• Push, push, push (push forward with work, push down the feelings).
• Reach a breaking point where my best is no longer good enough.
• Things fall apart.
• Get really depressed.
• Feel numb.
• Not want to share any of this.
• Feel like I can’t share even if I wanted to.
• Finally decide I do want to share, but don’t know how without being a “downer”.
• Conclude that if I ever will share, it needs to be a story that has a “happy ending” so people can tolerate the uncomfortable parts knowing things end well.

Until recently, that’s where I was. I wasn’t happy with this conclusion, but it was the only way. I didn’t think there would be interest or value in an incomplete story. I know that’s wrong, I’m just telling you where I was.

After last week’s show, I changed my mind. I decided I would start sharing about the events that took place over the last couple years. I just started sharing.

I didn’t know how many parts would be in this series. That’s why you see “Part 1” and not “Part 1 of X”. We haven’t recorded a Part 2 yet—we’re waiting to see what your feedback will be like.

But I’m going to do what I set out to do when I started this podcast: iterate in public.

Working Hard Just to Be Normal

379: Working Hard Just to Be Normal

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – 1 hour, 38 minutes

If you feel like you’re treading water, barely keeping your head above the surface, and struggling just to get by, you’re not alone.

If you feel like everyone else has it all figured out, and you’re the only one who doesn’t have their stuff together, you’re not alone.

If you feel like you’re behind and you should be further along in your life, career, relationships, and success by now, you’re not alone.

I find that most people I talk to feel like they are behind in some way. It seems like everyone has it figured out by now and you’re the only one who’s working hard just to be normal.

You’re burning yourself out just to get to what you feel like would be par for the course. That’s how far behind you are.

But it’s not true. It’s not true that everyone has it figured out. In fact, most people feel the way you do (myself included). It’s not true that you don’t have a lot of things together—you do.

I want to reset your perspective today. We talk about how social media is distorting reality, how so few people have the basics covered, and how you can find authenticity in your relationships (plus why community is so much more valuable than social media).

Seventh Week Sabbatical

378: Seventh Week Sabbatical

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – 1 hour, 19 minutes

I was so burned out, I didn’t even know I was burned out until six months after the fact. That’s a story for another day, but I’ll tell you this much: burnout isn’t pretty.

You can’t afford burnout.

• You think you’re saving time by pushing yourself.
• You think you’re preventing problems by overworking.
• You think you’re getting more done by grinding harder.

But the time you will lose by being burned out is a million times worse than the time you think you’ll lose now.

In 2014, I started taking Seventh Week Sabbaticals.

I work six weeks and take off every seventh week. I also pay my employees to take off every seventh week. We don’t have “unlimited time off”, we have mandatory time off.

It is my mission, by 2047, to get every company in the world to pay their employees to take off every seventh week.

That’s the goal with my next book: Seventh Week Sabbatical.

Read my next book as it’s being written at

How to Be More Confident

377: How to Be More Confident

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 – 1 hour, 54 minutes

Do you question yourself a lot? Do you wonder why you don’t have things figured out? Why aren’t you more confident?

These thoughts can run rampant through your mind and repeat themselves over and over.

How you think about feel about yourself affects how you act. How you act determines a lot—including how successful you are in life.

We know successful people are confident, but that can make it feel like a “chicken and egg” problem. That’s great for successful people, you say, but what if I’m not already confident? How can I become more confident?

We all have areas of our lives where we feel confident. We also all have areas of our lives where we lack self-confidence. This is natural, for we can’t have all experiences.

• You may be good at drawing but not at cooking.
• You may be good at cooking, but not at writing.
• You may be good at writing, but not at rock climbing.

This is okay! But how do we manage the way we think about ourselves, and what we say, in areas where we have no experience? How do we feel about that? How can we intentionally develop and increase our self confidence in areas where we lack?

Sean McCabe
Sean McCabe
Ben Toalson
Ben Toalson


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