MI031: How to Succeed through Mentorship and Adversity w/ Lewis Howes
MI031: HOW TO SUCCEED THROUGH MENTORSHIP AND ADVERSITY
W/ LEWIS HOWES
11 March 2020
On today’s show, Robert Leonard talks with Lewis Howes about mentorship, adversity, personal development, and how having the right mindset leads to success in life, business, and investing. Lewis is a former professional athlete, New York Times bestselling author, successful entrepreneur, and a popular podcast host. He has been featured on Ellen, Good Morning America, Time magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, ESPN, Inc., Men’s Health, and many more!
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
How to overcome adversity and use it as fuel to succeed.
Why you need a mentor.
How a mentor can be virtual today.
Why your personal development impacts your investing and business success.
How to measure your success in life, outside of just money.
And much, much more!
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Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors may occur.
Robert Leonard 00:02
On today’s show, I share my conversation with a guest that needs no introduction, Lewis Howes. For those who may not be familiar with Lewis, he is a former professional athlete, New York Times best-selling author, successful entrepreneur, and a very popular podcast host. He has been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, Time Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, ESPN, Inc., Men’s Health, and many more of the world’s most popular media outlets. He also just finished a super cool project, a documentary about his life, called Chasing Greatness.
Lewis and his story has been a big inspiration for me and taught me a lot. I’m honored to have Lewis on the show today. During this episode, we talk about mentorship, overcoming adversity, personal development, and how having the right mindset leads to success in life, business, and investing.
If you’ve been listening to the show for a while now, thank you. If this is your first episode, welcome. I’m the host, Robert Leonard, and on this Millennial Investing Podcast, I talk with successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors to help educate and inspire people from 22 years old to about 40 years old. My goal is to help you improve your financial literacy, and make better investment decisions with both your time and money.
We often cover tactical how-to investing advice, but we also cover more general topics like today’s episode, where Lewis and I talk about things that can make you an even better investor, or just better overall with your money. For example, in today’s episode, we talk about having a good diet, not eating a lot of sugar and exercising. You might be wondering how that relates to business or investing.
It’s important in relation to being a successful investor, because if you’re not doing these things right, you can suffer from health-related issues that impact how you invest and manage your money. I know for me, personally, if I don’t follow the things we talked about in this episode, I feel tired, and I often have headaches.
From an investing perspective, that leads to me making bad investment decisions because I can’t think clearly and analyze the opportunities objectively. And from a personal finance perspective, it leads to me breaking my own money rules and the budgets that I’ve set, which just pushes me further away from my goals. So, while not everything we talk about on the show is tactical investing advice, I promise you it is all valuable, when your goal is to be successfully investing, managing your money, or starting a side hustle. But without further delay, let’s get into today’s episode with Lewis Howes.
You are listening to Millennial Investing by The Investor’s Podcast Network, where your host, Robert Leonard, interviews successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors to help educate and inspire the millennial generation.
Robert Leonard 02:59
Welcome to today’s show. As always, I’m your host, Robert Leonard, and I’m super excited to have Lewis Howes here with me today. Welcome to the show, Lewis.
Lewis Howes 03:08
Thanks, Robert. Appreciate it, man.
Robert Leonard 03:10
I’m sure a lot of people listening to the show today are familiar with you. But I’ve personally been super inspired by all the things you’ve done. So can you tell me the story of your success, and what you had to overcome?
Lewis Howes 03:22
Well, there’s a lot of stories to tell, but I think the main story is that I used to be a professional football player. That was my dream. I got injured very quickly in my first season, and I didn’t have a back-up plan. My whole goal my entire life was to make money catching a football or playing some sport, so when it was over, I just had no clue what steps to take and who I was supposed to become. Because the thing I wanted to become, I could no longer do.
I remember after many months of *inaudible* I guess, a little bit depressed, but I had a cast on. I had surgery, and I was living on my sister’s couch for six months. And during that time, I just remember asking myself, “What am I supposed to do now? The dream is done. Who am I supposed to be? This is what I’m known for this the only thing I’m good at. I don’t have any other skills. I don’t have any college degree. So what am I supposed to do?”
I remember eventually telling myself, “Okay, what you know is sports. You need to make this next phase of your life a sport. You need to make life a sport, and you know how to play a game. You know how to be a part of a team. So what’s the first step to recreating a sport in life?” For me, it was finding a coach. I knew that I had great coaches. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the results in sports without them, so I started to look for mentors, ASAP. I started to reach out to anyone that I’ve met in college or anyone that I’ve met as a coach, previously.
I just started reaching out to people and asking them to mentor me and coach me. And I found three great mentors early on, who were able to give me some big coaching and guidance. And the second thing I did is that I said, “Okay, I’m going to create some goals just like in sports. I had goals for a season or for my career; for all these things. I’m going to write down a list of goals.” After that, I would check in with my mentors every week on my goals and the action steps I was taking. I would get feedback on the failures I would make. I just kept moving forward every day until I achieved them.
So it really wasn’t a complicated idea. I just recreated that sports feeling into life. It was very hard to take action, to get the failures, and to learn something from scratch. It was hard. It was a simple concept, but it was hard to implement. But that’s something I’ve been doing now for the last, I guess, 12 years now, and I just keep repeating it and reinventing it with everything that I’m dealing with every new goal that I have.
Robert Leonard 05:42
Being an athlete myself for almost my whole life, I know that I’ve learned a ton from playing sports. What did playing sports teach you about business and life in general?
Lewis Howes 05:53
I think you learn a lot about yourself, when you’re playing sports. Because the greatest thing about the sport that I played was that there were no judges. It was always you either scored more points, or you are the fastest person in the race. It wasn’t like, “Oh, I think they did the best.” For a gymnast, I feel like has a hard time because they are judged based on a bunch of people saying, “I liked that” or “I didn’t like that.” Whereas my sports, it’s about whether you scored the most, and you won, or you lost. It was very clear.
I learned a lot about myself from the times I lost, because I was a very sore loser, and I continued to apply that mentality into business. Whenever I would lose or fail at something, I would beat myself up. I would get angry. I would work even harder. It left me feeling very unfulfilled. So what I learned about myself is that life is a sport, and it’s a mirror.
The sports I played and how I reacted in game sports was the same way I reacted in business until I was able to reflect and realize that the pattern doesn’t work for me. I start reacting in a different way and responding in a different way, when I fail or when I mess up, and when something bad happens. I was able to see that through reflections, sports and life are very similar. They show me who I am and let me reflect on these things.
Robert Leonard 07:10
In addition to everything else you went through in life, sports were your whole life, and all that were all you really knew until it all came to a halt, and you were sleeping on your sister’s couch. Despite all of that, you were still able to become a New York Times best-selling author, build a multi-million dollar company, and have a super popular podcast. How were you able to cultivate a champion mindset and turn that adversity into an advantage?
Lewis Howes 07:35
To be honest, sometimes I think it’s either you have a desire or you don’t. I just always had a desire to win and to do something great. I work with a lot of people, who want coaching from me or email me, who just say, “Well, I have this dream, but I don’t have the desire.” I think you need to have both. You need to have a clear big dream.
If you want to have a champion mentality, you need to go for the champion’s dream. You need to have a desire that is unwavering. I had a desire that was so strong. It was like I felt I was starving every single day. I was so hungry to eat. I was so hungry to learn, to grow, to achieve, and to reach that championship in every sport that I was doing. And I can’t really say how I developed it.
I can probably say how certain things in my life set me up to feeling that hunger like being sexually abused, when I was kid; a brother going to prison, when I was eight years old; not having any friends pretty much until I was 13; being picked on and made fun of all the time; being in special needs classes; and never feeling good enough. It was a combination of things that created a hunger within me, and made me feel like I wanted to prove the world wrong.
The world was against me, and I’m going to prove the world wrong. I think it was a combination of events that made me cultivate that and say I’m either going to allow this to defeat me, or I’m going to step up and use this to define something greater in myself. For whatever reason, I decided to just step up as opposed to fall down. That’s how I did it.
Robert Leonard 09:21
What is something that you’re still working on to this day, and what are you trying to improve on?
Lewis Howes 09:27
Patience. I think it’s easy for me to compare myself to where I think I should be or see other friends that have something that maybe I don’t have, and say, “Oh, I should be much farther along than I am.” And yet, every year I’m growing, and I’m impacting more people. I’m really grateful for that as well, so I think it’s human nature to want to create more and not be satisfied with where you’re at. And that makes us want to learn, and grow, and be better.
I don’t beat myself up. I’m not like suffering inside because I’m not where I’m at. I think having patience, just being like okay to where I’m at. It’s saying, “Okay, I’m going to be hungry for more, but I’m also okay.” And being at peace about it all. So less stress, more patience. Man, that solves a lot of problems.
Robert Leonard 10:17
Everything around us today is really such an instant mentality, right? With social media and just the way things can get shipped to your door overnight or even same day delivery. Everything is in an instant. How can people really cultivate that patience mindset?
Lewis Howes 10:31
I think the first thing is just creating some simple practices for yourself, you know? When we don’t have a practice in place, and we forget to have patience, we’re so quick to respond; quick to react; quick to check our phone; quick to check email, as opposed to having structure and practices in place. Structure actually gives you freedom. It gives you peace. It allows you to be more productive, and create structure, and create parameters in your life.
As an athlete, we had structure and practices. We didn’t just say, “Okay, we’ll see each other out there on the field sometime in the afternoon and throw the ball around and figure it out.” We said, “No. Be there at 3:20 for warm ups. 3:30, we start on the dot. 3:00 to 3:15, we do special teams. 3:15 to 3:30, we’re doing mindset. 3:30 to 4:00, we’re doing offense. 4:00 to 4:30, defense.” Water breaks are in there like everything was structured and organized, and that allowed us to get into the flow.
It allowed us to be expressive and creative because of the structure, as opposed to saying don’t create any practices, any ground rules, any order, and just go out there, and be as creative as you want, and make plays happen. It wouldn’t work that way. You wouldn’t become a champion without structure and practices, so in order to create more patience in your life, create structure and order in your life.
Say to yourself, “I’m not gonna be on the phone for the first hour, when I wake up. I’m not gonna be on the phone last hour before I go to sleep. I’m only going to check my phone at certain times. I’m not going to be on my email at certain times. I’m going to create meditation practices throughout the day,” or “I’m going to go for a walk twice a day for 10 minutes and leave my phone back, so that I’m not checking it. I’ll give myself peace of mind.” Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what the practice is for you to create that patience, but you got to have order and structure in your life.
Robert Leonard 12:23
Gary Vee talks a lot about self-awareness and how that can help with developing patience. How important do you think that is? I think emotional intelligence or what Tony Robbins says “emotional fitness” has transformed my life. I guess you can call self-awareness as emotional intelligence in some ways, because it’s really understanding your emotions and the emotions of other people.
When you can understand and have empathy and compassion for your own emotions, where you’re at in your life, and also understanding why someone else might be reactive in a certain way, you can take a step back. Take your ego out of your body and place it over to the side, and just kind of look at your ego reacting and not make you react. Your body, your mind, and your heart can be present as opposed to reactive. I
think that’s all about dealing with emotional intelligence. It’s all about dealing with your past; healing the past; forgiving yourself; forgiving other people. And if you are listening to this right now, and you have moments of your past that still hurt you; that still make you scared; that still make you insecure; that you see someone on the street that you’ve known, and it makes you run away from them; if there are things that you haven’t forgiven or let go of or apologized for, step one is really healing the past and forgiving yourself.
That will set a foundation for creating more emotional intelligence and patience moving forward or self-awareness like Gary used to say. What is an example of a positive habit that people should implement in their lives that would really have a big impact, but just for some reason, people seem to just overlook it?
Lewis Howes 14:01
No sugar; no alcohol; no cigarettes, one. Eight hours of sleep minimum is two. And then, some type of high intensity physical workout five days a week is three. If you do those three things, you’re already 90% of the way there.
Robert Leonard 14:17
What impact do those things have?
Lewis Howes 14:20
Clarity, patience, joy, and freedom. When you have sugar, alcohol, or cigarettes, you’re damaging your body. When you damage your body, you become depressed. You become low energy. When you have low energy and become depressed, you make poor decisions. You hurt yourself, and you hurt other people. That’s one. If you don’t get eight hours of sleep, the science has proven that you’re going to have less energy. You’re going to be less smart. You’re going to have poorer memory. You’re going to make poor judgment calls in your life, and your body will not live as long as it can if you get less than that amount of sleep.
So, if you want to make an impact in this world, you want to give…and set yourself up to live as long as you can. You need that type of sleep. Cut out alcohol, cigarettes, sugar. Exercise. It’s just been proven with science that when you exercise, you create endorphins; dopamine. Natural endorphins and dopamine bring the brain joy, allowing you to feel more excitement, to feel more positivity, and happiness in your life. You build self-confidence.
When you work out, you become more secure with yourself. Less insecure. You develop a sense of pride. So by doing hard things on a daily basis, you build pride, you build self-confidence, and that helps you go for your dreams. And anything that supports you in achieving your dreams, support you in your life.
Robert Leonard 15:43
Yeah, I recently read Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, and that was really just such an eye-opener for me. It just provided so much clarity as to why sleep is so important. I think we get stuck in that hustle mindset these days, but it really is about being productive in the hours you’re awake and really making sure you get as much sleep as you can. How about caffeine and coffee? How do you think that impacts the body?
Lewis Howes 16:06
I never drank caffeine or coffee. I shouldn’t say never. I had pop as a kid, and I gave up pop or soda, if you want to call it that. I gave it up, when I was in high school or college because I realized it was affecting my sports. And I have never been drunk in my life. I’ve never smoked cigarettes or smoked anything. I had like a puff or whatever, but I haven’t like smoked it. I’ve seen people, who drink or smoke; who do those things– they just don’t have the edge.
Caffeine, I don’t want to speak about it, because I don’t know the exact research, but I know that I lived my whole life until I was about 34 years old without coffee, and I was doing amazing. I started doing bulletproof coffee a couple of years ago because I started intermittent fasting, and I wanted to test that. Now, I do a cup. Sometimes two cups of coffee a day, more of like a meal replacement, you know? I should probably be drinking tea and just more water. I think one cup of coffee or bulletproof coffee a day, if you’re intermittent fasting, is fine.
I think if you are living a life, where you need more than two cups of coffee a day to have the energy, then something else is wrong. You might not be getting enough sleep; you don’t have practices in place; you don’t have your rituals and routines in place. If you’re relying on coffee to give you energy, it shouldn’t be the case. You’re probably having too much sugar or breads, pasta, rice, which is causing these spikes in insulin and leads you to needing to have coffee because you’re crashing. The body shouldn’t crash.
It should be sustained from the amount of sleep and amount of food that you’re eating on a daily basis. And if you work out, you sleep enough, and eat healthy, organic, mostly plant-based foods and some meat, you will have all the energy you need– unless you have some other type of complication, or disease, or problem that I’m not aware of.
Robert Leonard 17:55
Let’s tie all this back into business or just being, yeah, successful in business, because as we talk about this, I think a lot of people are listening, and they’re probably saying, “How does this impact me? How does this impact my business? How can this drive success for me in life and in business?” So, how do all of these things really make an impact and driving someone’s success in business?
Lewis Howes 18:14
I think if your life is out of whack, your business will be out of whack. And eventually, it will crumble. You might have some success for a year or two, but then you’re going to be exhausted. You’ll be tired. You’re going to be mean to people, and your business will start to suffer. Everything you do in your life affects your business, affects your relationships, and affects everything. Or at some point, it’ll come back to get you.
So getting these habits, the habits I learned from sports; creating structure; saying positive things to ourselves; having goals; getting enough sleep; and eating well like these are just basic 101 life. To be a great athlete, I just transitioned it and used it into business. I just said, “Okay.”
I remember the first four years of business, I didn’t own a TV. I just said TV was a distraction. It’s unproductive time, where I can be putting that into launching my business and growing it faster. It’s just minimizing the things that aren’t going to support your dreams and goals. Alcohol doesn’t support your dreams. Three hours of sleep every night doesn’t support your dreams. Getting lazy, and fat, and exhausted doesn’t support your dreams. Doing the things that will support your dreams is your duty in life, because your dreams matter because you were born.
Robert Leonard 19:24
I want to talk about having mentors. I personally get asked about it a lot, so I can only imagine that you do as well. I know in your books, on your podcast, and on your website, you talk about how important having a mentor is. You’ve even said that it’s a requirement for success. And you mentioned at the beginning of the show that you had some mentors that were really crucial for your success. Why is it so important to have good mentors?
Lewis Howes 19:32
I just think you want to find people, who can be a great compass for your life. Hopefully, your parents taught you everything you need to know, but often, that’s just not the case. When you go after a dream that your parents have no clue about. You’re going to need people, who have gone and done something like that before; who could give you some great feedback and some great guidance. You need someone to be a compass for you in different areas of your life. Maybe that could be your parents.
Maybe that could be a brother or a sibling, or aunt or uncle, or something like that. But most likely, you’re going to need someone outside of the family at some point. If you’re going to reach for the championship level in your life, whether it be in your career, a marriage, a business, or whatever it may be, you will eventually need some outside guidance.
And I just feel like mentors have saved me so much time, so much headaches, so much money, and just reinforced like, “Is the decision I want to make in this is a good decision?” And when I ask a mentor, “This is what I’m thinking about doing. What do you think?” And just have them keep you on track. You know, it’s easy for us to take the easy way out. It’s easy for us to want to cut corners; to want to do things that maybe are a little out of integrity because it’s quicker, faster.
The great mentors will keep you on a moral and spiritual compass that will guide you to your North Star. And that’s the type of mentors you want to find. They’re not going to sugarcoat it. They’re going to be supportive and loving, yes, but they’re going to also keep you on track and tell you how it is. You don’t want someone to always agree with everything, unless it’s exactly what they would do. The goal is to have someone be a great moral compass for you to become a better human being.
Robert Leonard 21:28
How can somebody go about finding those type of mentors?
Lewis Howes 21:31
I just think the world makes room for passionate people, and when you put yourself out there in a passionate way, you start to excite mentors and get the attention of potential mentors. It could be like, “Oh, I see something. There’s a passion in this person that I used to have when I was younger.” I think if you go about it in a “I don’t care” type of mentality, then you’re going to get that type of response.
But when you’re passionate about something; you’re excited in your emails; you’re excited on a phone call, when you meet someone; and you start with that intention of like this passion for this idea, you’ll start to attract more people, who would want to support and help you. And if you show that you have already been working hard towards something; showing credibility that you have been putting in the work — daily, weekly, monthly, yearly — towards this dream or goal, that’s going to tell a mentor, this person’s not going to drop off their dream.
If I’m helping them or coaching them, they’re not just going to stop in a month, when it gets hard. They’re already doing hard work, so I can trust that my time is not going to be wasted. Because the biggest thing a mentor has is their time. If you waste their time by just asking them questions and not taking action, then why would they want to work with you? They only want to work with people that they see get results; that will validate their wisdom; that will validate their time, and will make them feel fulfilled. So you’ve got to make sure you have those things before you go after mentors.
Robert Leonard 22:57
That’s absolutely one of the things that I’ve noticed with mentors. A lot of people are willing to help. They want to see you take the action. If you go out there and you’re not taking action on what they’re telling you, then they feel like their time is wasted, and that’s wasting their most valuable resource. They don’t expect you to not make mistakes or anything like that. Mistakes are good. They want you to come to them and teach you that, but you’ve got to take action.
Lewis Howes 23:17
Robert Leonard 23:18
And I think a lot of people go wrong about with mentors is that at the beginning, they’re not looking to building a genuine relationship. They’re more just firing off emails saying, “Hey, will you mentor me? Hey, will you mentor me?” That’s not really how it’s done. It’s building a genuine relationship.
Lewis Howes 23:30
And I think it’s also about doing your research about the mentor, and not just because, “Oh, I just saw this person on Instagram or Twitter. They had a big following, and they did this big company, so I’m going to reach out to them.” I think you’ll want to admire your potential mentor for a while. You’ll want to follow them, read their stuff, and learn about what they did 10 years ago. You’ll want to know as much as you can about them, so that when you approach them, they feel like there’s a true genuine respect that you have for them; that you’ve been following them for a while; that you respect the brand and the business they’ve built. You know a lot about them. I think that will go a long way.
If someone came to me, and they’re like, “Man, I’ve listened to 100 of your episodes.” Right, I got 900 episodes. And they’re like, “I’ve been listening for the last two years, and I feel like I know everything about you. I’ve been studying the School of Greatness. I went to the Summit of Greatness. I bought your books. I’ve read it. And I’ve been working for these last two years on this project, and I’ve gotten to this point. And I feel like I just need some answers on how to get it to another level. Is there any way I could jump on 5-10 minutes, and just get it? I got these two questions. I would really love your feedback. I just think you would have the answer.” Like, I don’t know if I’d say yes or not.
But something like that would be more enticing for me than just, “Hey, will you mentor me?” It all depends on how much time the person has. It may not be the right timing, but if someone approached me like that, and they were that devouring of my content, and they were specific about what they got from it and how they applied it. And they’re like, “Could I at least email a question?” I would answer them via email. Maybe I’d get on a call the next time, and go back and forth, and build a relationship. But it’s got to start somewhere.
Robert Leonard 25:09
Yeah, you have to prove it. You have to prove that you’re willing to do this thing. Start with an email, and maybe it goes back and forth two to three times on an email, then maybe show that you’re willing to actually do what they’ve taught you. And then, you can dive into a call. I know you’ve also talked about mentoring people through your podcast, since you can’t possibly mentor everyone that you’d like to.
Lewis Howes 25:26
Robert Leonard 25:27
Your podcast is a great way to do that.
Lewis Howes 25:28
That’s why I do it. Yeah, go ahead. If you want to be mentored by me, I’ll listen. I’ll teach everything I know there.
Robert Leonard 25:32
Exactly. And I personally love this idea of having someone as a mentor, indirectly. Because, for me, there are people I personally look up to as a mentor that would probably never mentor me one-on-one. They just don’t have the time, yet I can still learn so much from them. One of those people is Andy Frisella. I’ve looked up to him and have tried to learn as much as I can from him for so so long through his podcast, his website, blogs, and everything he’s put out on social, and I feel like I’m able to have him as a mentor. And you know, the same goes for other people as well. Why do you think people don’t take advantage of that indirect relationship or indirect mentorship that’s now available because of the technology?
Lewis Howes 26:10
They’re lazy, man. I mean, they’re listening to something for an hour a day; watching videos; reading books; going to events. People are lazy. They have excuses. They’d rather watch TV. They’d rather watch, just flip through Instagram or TikTok, or whatever it is. They want it, but they’re lazy. They don’t have this desire.
That’s what I think I’ve talked about in the beginning. You might have a dream. Yeah, I want to make a million dollars. Yeah, I want this car. I want this house, whatever. I want to be the CEO of a big company that gets bought by Facebook. Okay, but do you have the desire? And the desire comes from hunger. It comes from a lack of something. I had a lack in my life. I was like, “I’m sick of feeling hungry. I want to frickin’ be full. I want to eat. I want to go after this thing.” People have a lack of desire. That’s what holds them back.
Robert Leonard 26:58
It really kind of blows my mind, because if we were able to show people back in the 90s or 80s what we have available now to us to learn from these people, they would be amazed at the opportunity we have. And that people aren’t just taking as much advantage of it as they can is just insane to me. For me, I mean, Andy. I’ll use Andy as an example. He just ended his podcast, the MFCEO project, and I’ve gone back.
I’m listening from episode one, all the way back to a couple 300 again. I know having a great mentor is a big component of a winning team, but there are obviously other pieces that are needed, too. Who else is needed? And how can the audience find the right people outside of just a mentor to build a winning team?
Lewis Howes 27:37
In business or in life?
Robert Leonard 27:39
Let’s talk about both.
Lewis Howes 27:41
I think you just need someone to keep you accountable. Someone that you respect. Now, I’ve got my COO. He’s a friend of mine I’ve known for 15 years. He keeps me accountable to my word. It’s easy for us to lose willpower over time, because doing hard things is hard, consistently. Have someone that you respect, who holds you accountable; who is not going to buy your B.S.; who is not going to allow you to just make excuses. I think that person is important. That needs to be a person very close to you that you spend a lot of time with. Otherwise, you’re going to fall.
Your willpower is not strong enough over year after year of constantly by yourself to stick to the hard goals you have yourself; hard habits. I think your partner and your intimate relationship is someone that needs to really…it’s got to be both ways. They’ve got to be willing to lift you up in a big way. The same with you. But they’ve got to be a person, who you respect so much that their words to you mean a lot.
And when they give you feedback, you listen. You don’t just dismiss it. If you’re around that person, sleeping with them every night, waking up next to them, and spending so much time with them, you need to respect them so much. So, you need to make sure you choose the right person to be with, because they’re going to be giving you a lot of…they’re going to be saying a lot of words around you and those words are powerful, so make sure you really respect that person.
I think you need to be around really fit people; people that understand nutrition; people that make good habits in their food life, in their fitness life, because you become, obviously, like your circle. So if you’re around people that are eating sugar all the time, you’re probably going to cheat, and eat more sugar, and smoke, and drink, and all those things *inaudible*. Just choose to be around people, who live the lifestyle you want to be like, and then choose to be around financially abundant people. I spend a lot of time with really rich people, and even though my motivation is not like, “How do I make as much money as I can?” For me, it’s, “How do I impact the most people possible?”
That’s the motivation I have. The money comes from that, but I’m also surrounding myself with really smart money people, whom I can just ask a question, and they’ll be like, okay, let me make this decision now moving forward with my money, or let me to invest in this; let me try this, as opposed to just going blind and doing what I think I’m supposed to do. I’m mentored by really smart, financially wealthy people, who I learn from.
Robert Leonard 29:55
It goes back to that saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” To drive the point home further, about being around people that eat well and healthy. I think a step further is that those people aren’t out partying and drinking on Fridays and Saturday nights, which doesn’t drag you out into that scene, and which means you have more time to put into your business.
You wake up Saturday, Sunday mornings, ready to rock and roll, and really get to work. And you’re not being dragged down by those types of activities. You mentioned that you’re not doing the things you’re doing just for money or the material items. So how else does one live a truly successful life?
Lewis Howes 30:32
It’s based on what everyone wants. For me, what fulfills me is seeing people grow; seeing people transform; seeing people overcome their challenges; and achieve their dreams. When they achieve the thing that lights them up the most, and I know that I was a part of it in some way, it just brings me a lot of joy. To help people overcome their adversities and achieve their dreams because it’s like…I don’t know whether…it’s like winning a million dollars every time that happens for me. I could change a human life or be a part of their change. It’s just really fulfilling and rewarding for me. So, I do that for selfish reasons. It feels good. And I know I’m helping other people. That’s just what it is for me.
Robert Leonard 31:11
How can somebody find out what that specific thing is for them if they don’t already know?
Lewis Howes 31:16
Let’s just say, whenever you’re doing, living life, what brings you the most joy when you do it? Is it the activity? For me, this was sports for a long time like playing sports in front of a large audience and winning the game; or being like the best player; making great plays; and being able to express myself on the court, on the field in front of a live audience. The pressure is on.
That was the most fulfilling thing for me, because it was my expression that inspired people. People would come up to me after the game and they’re like, “Man, I was so inspired how you broke through those players and dove for the end zone. It just inspired me in my life!” I was doing that in sports without really realizing it until people would tell me, “Man, that was so inspiring how you made that one play; how like the whole game…how you guys came back.” Like to give people hope; to give people a lesson; to show someone what’s possible in their life, I was doing that in sports, and now, I’m trying to do that in business.
Robert Leonard 31:27
And if you get around the right mentors, they can likely help you find out what really inspires you and what makes you successful. Seeing their success can help you find what makes you successful.
Lewis Howes 32:21
Yeah, I think so. But at the end of the day, no one can give it to you. “You’ve got to figure that out yourself” kind of thing. You’ve got to try different things and see what lights you up. For example, there’s a lot of people right now that say, they want to write books. They want to launch podcasts, and then they do it. And three months later, they’re like, “Ah! It seemed exciting, but it’s not what I want, actually. It’s too much. It’s not as fun as I thought it was. I’m losing money. I don’t even enjoy interviewing people.” And then, they stop.
So I think you got to try different things until you realize that this brings me a lot of joy. A lot of people make decisions based on pain, like a pain they had growing up, where they said, “This is going to be my mission. I don’t want anyone else to feel this pain anymore. So, I’m going to go build a company that helps end cancer, or eliminate this, or help people get out of toxic relationships.” They do things because they were in pain, a family member or a friend was in pain. They said, “I don’t want other people to suffer. I’m going to go find a solution. I’m going to do it. That brings me joy.” That’s kind of the way I live my life.
Robert Leonard 33:19
There’s a book by Gary Keller called, The One Thing, where he talks about really just focusing and really honing in on one thing specifically, and becoming great at that one thing. But then on the flip side, you have people like Gary Vaynerchuk, who talked about how you should be working on all kinds of different things at once. Now, he always has eight different balls in the air at once. So where do you fall on this? Should people be focusing on one thing, or should they be doing a multitude of different things?
Lewis Howes 33:47
I think you’ve got to know yourself. Like Gary would say I think you’ve got to know yourself. For me, I’m a decathlete in sports. I did an event in track and field called the decathlon. It’s 10 events in one event, and so it’s two days with five events each day.
Decathletes are known as people who are really, really, really good at all 10 events, but not an expert at any one. They actually don’t have the skill set to be the best at anyone in the world, but they’re really, really good at all 10. And you’re judged on your ability to be really, really good at all 10. You’re scored at each event, and by being really good at all 10, whoever wins the Olympic gold medal is anointed the greatest athlete in the world. So even though you’re not the fastest person, the highest jumper, the longest jumper in the world, nor a specialist at being the best at the hundred meters, you’re the greatest athlete in the world, because you were great at 10 different things.
I think you’ve got to know who you are. Any one of those athletes would have never gotten a medal. Maybe one or two, but most athletes would have never gotten a medal if they specialized in just the 100 meters or the 400 mile. Whatever it is, almost none of them would have got a medal at the Olympics. But they medalled because they were great at multiple things. That’s what their skill set was. But you got to know who you are, and what’s available for you. For me, I like to do lots of different things. Probably, too many things.
And this year, I decided to cut back and focus more on one thing, and see how that works for a year. I’m going to focus more on optimizing my show, my podcast. I’m going all in and any projects that I do on the side have to support that. So that’s my way of saying, “I’m going to have fun. I’m going to do this thing, this thing. But it’s all got to go back to pushing the podcast; promoting the podcast; building the podcast; making it better. Doing whatever it takes to grow it because that’s my mission.”
So, I spent the last seven years building a show and trying lots of different things as well. And I realized that my greatest gift is doing the show, so I’m going to eliminate a few things. Go all-in on the show. See what happens there for a year or two, and then re-evaluate. You know, it all depends on where you’re at in your life.
Robert Leonard 36:07
Yeah, I remember listening to your episode, where you talked about that. I think it was with Rory Vaden if I remember correctly. Couple of weeks back. Great episode.
Lewis Howes 36:14
Robert Leonard 36:14
It’s so right. I mean, it goes back to doubling down on what brings you happiness and success, right? You mentioned that helping people is what brings you and makes you feel successful. And like we talked about, you can mentor so many millions of people through your podcast. Are you still looking for or just working with mentors today, even after all the success you’ve had?
Lewis Howes 36:37
Absolutely. I probably don’t call them like…I don’t have official mentors. I just feel like I get to interview the most brilliant people in the world, and I just stay in touch with them. I was texting with Grant Cardone this morning because he’s in town. I’ll FaceTime when I want if I have a question about money. I’ll text some Olympic athlete if I have a question about training. I’ll text like a top doctor about nutrition.
I have mentors on any topic of life because I’ve interviewed the best. And so, they’re not an official mentor, but they’re friends that I help and support, and they help me. And, I’m always meeting…last night, I did a three-hour coaching session with a friend, who’s a mentor and a specialist. He helped me with some emotional things, like, I’m always reaching out to my network.
Robert Leonard 37:23
If you were able to go back in time and give your millennial self just one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?
Lewis Howes 37:30
Knowing what I know now, I mean, I’d probably said like invest in certain things differently. If I knew how the future is going to be, I’d put it all on Bed Seven. Nah, I think would have…three things popped into my mind that I wish I would have like 10-15 years ago.
I wish I would have studied Spanish, and become fluent in Spanish back in like…even right after college, like, just started studying it. That’s when I had the most time to just learn. I had the most downtime. I wish I would have just been all-in on learning Spanish. I believe that the Spanish-speaking countries and communities around the world, there’s a big opportunity to impact them through the content that we’re creating. And I think translating subtitles and someone dubbing audio is great, and you can impact people still there, but I think if you actually had the language, you could do some incredible things for these communities, and impact people.
So, it’s just another skill like another tool in the tool belt that would make you more unique and stand out. I’m actually looking for someone to come tutor me every day here in LA. I’m actually trying to find a person right now to teach me Spanish, and invest in it now, because I don’t want to regret in 20 years still not having a language, and still not being at least fluent enough to hold conversation.
The second thing I would say I would have invested in…I think I did a pretty good job with my health, but I think I would have invested in learning how to cut out sugar a hundred percent. Because having sugar is like rat poison. It tastes incredible, but it’s killing us slowly. We don’t understand how much sugar is killing us, and I’m the first one to fall. Sugar’s my addiction. That’s my vice. I eat cookies, brownies, cakes, whatever, you name it, candy. I’m all-in. It hurts me. In the long run, I feel the negative effects in my mid 30s. I start to feel it. I wish I would have cut that addiction earlier, because now, I have to work a lot harder to manage it, and make sure I’m not eating at certain times, and all that stuff.
I think the third one, I would have learned about creating amazing storytelling videos at a much younger age, like viral videos because that’s what reaches the masses right now– viral videos, and video in general: video on Facebook; video on Instagram; video on YouTube; video on TikTok. Video has the ability to transform the world or reach a broad audience. Even if it’s a negative thing, it has the ability to reach more people. So I would have learned how to be a great video storyteller at an earlier age.
Robert Leonard 39:58
It’s funny that you mentioned Spanish because it’s actually something that I wish I had learned myself. I’m going to probably go ahead and try and learn that.
Lewis Howes 40:05
Yeah, I think you should make it a goal of yours for the next three years to be fluent, and do whatever it takes. It should be a non-negotiable. In my opinion, if I could go back and change anything, it’d be that for sure. Just because imagine what you can do knowing the language for the rest of your life. And the sooner you’re learn it, the more powerful your life will be. The longer you wait, it’s going to be harder and harder. It’s going to be more busy in your late 20s than it is now. So, sacrifice an hour TV a day for an hour of learning.
Robert Leonard 40:35
How about in business? Is there anything that you’d go back…if you were starting your business over again that you would do differently?
Lewis Howes 40:41
I learned through all my mistakes. I don’t know what I would change specifically. I think I might have hired better people earlier on, because I just hired based on a need quickly. I didn’t really go through a hiring process and find the right people early on. I was just like, “All right, you’re available. Let’s bring you in. And then train you up,” and then six months later, they weren’t the right fit, and they’d leave. So it’s just a lot of wasted energy on getting subpar people, who aren’t invested, and who didn’t have the skills and the attitude to really do something, which took a lot more time and energy for me to make up for it. So make sure to have the right people on a team, and being very specific about the energy you bring around you; the people, skills, attitude. Everything.
Robert Leonard 41:25
Whether it be about business, entrepreneurship, or just life in general, what is that common piece of advice you hear given on the internet by “gurus” or “experts” that you think is misleading or just wrong? And how would you make that good advice?
Lewis Howes 41:40
The first thing that came to my mind is, “Don’t sleep and hustle more.” But I think it’s impossible to have balance like total balance in your life, and you’re going to need to have seasons of hustle and lack of sleep, potentially little less sleep. It will hurt you if you’re really cutting by pulling all nighters; all-timer. Four hours a night all the time will hurt you in the long run, so be strategic about creating structure, and parameters, and boundaries around these seasons of your life and don’t allow “hustle and no sleep” to be a lifestyle. Allow it to be a lifestyle for a certain amount of time or season, and you’re able to recover and get back on track with better boundaries and balance in your life.
Robert Leonard 42:24
Lewis, thanks so much for your time. I know it’s super valuable, so I really do appreciate it. This seriously has been a great episode that I think the audience is going to gain a lot of value from. I know I have. So, where can the listeners go to learn more about you and connect with you further?
Lewis Howes 42:40
School of Greatness podcast on Apple or Spotify. lewishowes.com, @lewishowes, and I’ve got a new documentary coming out. Go to greatness.com and watch the documentary for free by opting in. So check out greatness.com. Check out the movie. I spent a lot of time on it; a lot of money; Hollywood directors, the whole thing. That’s coming out. So check that out at greatness.com.
Robert Leonard 43:05
I’ll be sure to put a link to that in the show notes as well as links to all of Lewis’s other resources. And as always, I’ll put links to different books that relate to the topics that we talked about today, so you can dive deeper into them if you’re interested in learning more. So, be sure to check out the show notes below and your favorite podcast player or going to theinvestorspodcast.com and looking for the Millennial Investing show. Lewis, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
Lewis Howes 43:30
Thanks, my man. I appreciate you.
Robert Leonard 43:32
All right, guys. That’s all I had for this week’s episode of Millennial Investing. I’ll see you again next week.
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