Judith: I think I have. I don’t know whether it’s meaty, it might be more sort of… you might have to do a bit of imagining, actually. What I notice in amongst my clients in my two groups is that… I don’t know what this syndrome’s called, you’ll probably remember. We all have the same problem at the same time simply by dint of the fact that we’re connected, and this week’s challenge is, “Why am I doing this again,” a big ‘why’, and people are going back to basics and first principles. It’s quite difficult to help a client if they don’t have an answer to, “What do you really, really love. What’s your thing?”
Lucy Whittington, as you know, wrote a book called Find Your Thing. I’ve got my copy on my desk here. “Why am I doing this,” is the question. I think there are simple practical reasons why we’re being self employed aside from business, like, “I want to pay my bills. I want to look after my family.” There are big ones like freedom, to be of service to others, to be creative, to make a difference in the world, but what’s your big ‘why’, Nicola? What are typical big ‘whys’ that you see, reasons why? There’s got to be a big ‘why’, hasn’t there? It’s not enough just to pay your bills and things because that’s the same as a job.
Nicola: Yes. On the same survey, that I mentioned earlier, has got a lovely… Google Docs has got some really nice touches. One of the ones is that you can do a summary of your survey responses and it puts it into a nice bar chart. I was just looking at the bar chart yesterday actually. Number one is financial freedom. Financial freedom is number one. Number two was the ability to help others, whether they mean family or people out in the world, and number three, I think, was to keep active, to keep occupied, to keep engaged because there’s a lot of people, some of my clients are financially free. I spoke to one yesterday, he’s retired, he’s a gold and silver trader, he’s in Australia. He’s rebuilding a catamaran – talk about exciting project – and it’s a very specific kind of a catamaran, so beautiful search engines. He’s then going to sail it around the world with his wife. He wants to take two GoPros and fix them on the boat.
He said to me, in fact, he said, “I do sometimes stop and think when I’m sanding down bits of wood, and caulking hulls, and getting everything ready, “Why am I doing this?”
Judith: That’s my question of the week. Why am I doing this? I think it’s really important to know why because, otherwise, why would you? I think if you’re starting a business and you don’t know why, it’s just going to fizzle out.
Nicola: Yes. I think knowing your core needs and values helps because, you know that old Thomas Leonard “Coach You” we all did, one of my core needs was learning and one of my core values was learning. Not only do I need to keep learning to feel alive, but I actually love learning. It makes my heart sing. That’s why I was doing the techie stuff at the weekend, because I love it, learning new skills.
Judith: I think it’s tricky. Most of my clients, I would say, nine out of ten, have a big ‘why’. The tenth one will say… when I say, “What is it you always really, really, really wanted to do,” they’ll say, “I don’t know.” And they believe they don’t know. I don’t believe they don’t know, I think they do know deep down, but they don’t say to me, they don’t say to themselves in case it doesn’t work, or nobody wants it. I don’t think anybody believes that you could make a business out of the thing you would love to do. I think, increasingly, the opportunities to make a business out of that are many.
Nicola: Absolutely. You’ve got some amazing craft orientated clients, haven’t you? I love-
Judith: Yeah, and writers and artists, and just creative people really.
Nicola: You definitely attract creative people whereas I seem to attract the consultants and venturers.
Judith: I specifically targeted them; quite a lot are venturers actually. When Sue Okell helped me launch Club One Hundred, I specifically said, “Business owners and creative types,” because I’m a creative type, not in terms of crafty stuff, but I like working with creators, whether it’s the wealth profile creator or people who are creating things. We’re all creating things really, when we start our own business, aren’t we?
Nicola: Absolutely. That is, again, one of the reasons why. The thought of just trudging to a job, doing the job, coming home from a job, sitting on a sofa eating, and then going to bed, and then waking up to trudge to a job, that feels like absolute torture. Even the thought of it is absolute torture. It’s like prison to me.
Judith: I think you can replicate that in your own first business if you’re not careful because that’s all you know, and there is an assumption that it must be hard work and the only hard work we know is the version you’ve just described, which is not very nice. The fact that you can have quite a lot of freedom, and space, and a rope to hang yourself with, you know what I mean, in terms of how you can get it wrong. That’s not the end of the world, is it? We don’t die if we make mistakes. I don’t know how I would still be self-employed after forty years if I wasn’t motivated.
Nicola: It’s so interesting this one because, as you know, I have a sister who does work for people and she enjoys that work, but she doesn’t want to work very hard. I sometimes feel that, when we shared a house particularly, she’d be perhaps having a bath at four in the afternoon whereas I’d still be at the computer. It’s different styles. Do you know the story about the businessman who goes on holiday and finds the old man fishing thing and he tries to persuade him to get a fleet of boats together so that he can ultimately retire and sit and fish. It used to make me laugh, because Sarah lives the lifestyle that I theoretically aspire to, which is the life of financial freedom, but I know full well that if I was financially free, I would probably still be learning new stuff.
Judith: You’re more like the man that’s rubbing down his wood, and taking barnacles off his caulking, or whatever you were talking about, aren’t you? I always say, “Why do these people who’ve made it still work?” I know I would tend more towards the Sarah. I would want to keep my hand because I would never want to lose touch with my clients, but, I do applaud my clients very much, and this is a good week to be talking about it, when they have a life. It’s a good week to be talking about it because it’s half term. All my clients who’ve got children have got no choice this week. Even the businessman I’m working with in my secret project at the moment, it’s half term to him. I said, “Where are you going with the family and the children?” He shamefacedly admitted that he was going to Alton Towers or something. It’s got to be done, hasn’t it, when you’ve got small children?
Nicola: I’ve got a good story for you. I went out with Phoebe on Saturday. She took me to the pictures and then bought me lunch, which was rather splendid. It was quite funny, actually, we ended up at a local coffee shop and there were three people in there that knew me. She said, “I thought you didn’t know anyone around here?” “Actually I know them all online.” One of the people had two little boys and they were talking about Legoland and he was saying how essential it was that he went to Legoland very quickly before he became too old. I said to Phoebe, I said, “God. Legoland, shudder.”
Funnily enough, the time I took them to Legoland, Irving and I, was when we’d just come back from Vegas. We won a weekend in Vegas, through our local BNI. We came back and we were off the plane, the red-eye, and Irving had this idea to take the kids to Legoland and it was utter hell because we were jet lagged. We were exhausted. The kids were overexcited from seeing us, but they had a lovely time at Legoland. Anyway, sitting in this coffee shop, I said, “We took you to Legoland when we came back from Vegas that time. She said, “Did you?” I said, “Yes, Phoebe. You’ve been to Legoland.” She said, “I didn’t think we’d anywhere like that.” I said, “Well, that just shows what a monumental waste of time it was! I could have gone home, lied on the sofa, and watched Disney movies with you, and you’d have been just as happy!
Judith: At least your conscience is clear, Nicola. You’ve done a theme park. I’ve never done a theme park, I’m very proud to announce.
Nicola: They’re horrendous. I’ve always felt guilty that I never took them to Disneyland, but that is my last guilt trip out the window now, because they wouldn’t have remembered if I had.
Back to the why then. Let’s recap.
Judith: Let’s go to the person who doesn’t know their big ‘why’. I’ve got you on the true value, the core values, whatever, true needs and core values, whatever it is. I wonder if there’s a book or a resource that we… I don’t know anything.
Are there any exercises that people go through to help them work out what their life’s all about? What they’re here for? Interestingly, I remember going to a workshop with Michael Neal and Robert Holden. One of our gang was called up onto the stage, not the person we thought it was, because there’d been a switch of tickets. Person A was called out of a hat and wasn’t there, so person B went on masquerading as her. She said, “I’ve come to discover my life purpose.” They looked at her like a mad woman. They said, “You’re already living it, whatever it is, whatever you’re living, you don’t know this. It finds you, a bit like your niche finds you.” Remember that book we were all in? You, and me, and Guy Levine, and Chris Barrow, and other people were in a book that Hannah McNamara wrote about coaches.
Nicola: I do remember that, yes.
Judith: There’s this terrible focus when you’re a coach at the beginning, about finding your niche, and all of us said, “I didn’t find my niche, it found me.” Actually saying that to a client is quite difficult because it basically means, “Sit and wait and do the best you can and the answers will come.” I’m not sure that’s true if somebody doesn’t know ‘why’. I don’t think you can sit with your head in your hands and a frown on your face and go, “Ooh,” and force the answer to that. I think you have to do the things you love, get out and about. If the big outdoors is what you love, get out. Be like Sarah, have a bath at four o’clock in the afternoon. Do the things you love and let it dawn on you, what your life purpose is and why you’re here.
Nicola: There’s two things there. One that came up while I was listening to you saying that was about the, “Any ‘why’ will do.” This is something I actually do with my clients on a VIP day is the core needs and values, and then we get to the ‘why’ right at the end of the day. After I’ve taken them through all the practical planning and goal setting and stuff, I want to get them in touch with their ‘why’ again, because they’re going to walk out the door and they’re never going to touch that paper again unless they’ve got a compelling ‘why’.
When I went to Rich’s weekend, he had rediscovered his ‘why’, which was to help all the ninety-five percent of entrepreneurs who weren’t taking action despite all his best strategies and tactics. That was his ‘why’ that he’d rediscovered. The ‘why’ has to be bigger than you. It’s got to be about helping other people, leaving your legacy, and you can’t even think about doing that if you can’t pay the bills. Why don’t we not look for the big all-encompassing, be all, end all ‘why’. Why don’t we just start with a few little ‘whys’ and work up to the big one?
Judith: That’s nice. I really liked, “Any ‘why’ will do.”
I could sing that, actually, to the theme from Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, Any Dream Will Do, “Any why will do.” Any ‘why’ will do to start with, that’s exactly the point.
It’s the metaphor I use every week on these, “You can’t stand on the edge of the pool and learn to swim. You’ve got to get in amongst it and, again, momentum is it’s own reward, by doing things which aren’t quite right, but are quite close, it gets clearer.”
Nicola: Yes, it does. The thing is, at the end of the day, once you get to the point where you’re paying your bills, or even better when you get to the point where you’re financially free, you still need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. That’s what happens to people who either inherit or win a lot of money or become pop stars. That’s why Robbie Williams used to sit in his house in Hampstead taking antidepressants and drinking. That’s why all of these movie stars end up doing drugs, and poor old Whitney, because they haven’t got a ‘why’. They haven’t got a reason that’s bigger than them, so they end up empty and lonely and wondering-
Judith: …I think I could help them with that. You see? It’s a bit like the lottery when their spending all their money, I think I could help them with that as well. I think there’s a lack of self worth behind that. That’s something Igor said, actually, about self esteem.
Nicola: We’ve always said, haven’t we, when we were in The Money Gym all those years ago that it’s all about self-esteem.
Judith: It’s amazing that you could have international global success on a phenomenal scale like Robbie Williams, but still feel like a worthless piece of –
Nicola: Absolutely. Then, the other thing is they say is those people who are lonely and depressed, if they start going out and start volunteering, then it gives them a bigger ‘why’.
Judith: Yes, I’ve done that. I’ve done that in the last recession, a little bit of volunteering. I agree because, actually, it’s about service.
Nicola: It’s about meaning, isn’t it? That’s the thing. It’s that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, isn’t it? Self-actualisation of meaning is at the top, not the bottom. That’s an interesting dichotomy as well because so many people come up to me when I’m speaking and say, “Oh, my sister would love this, ” or, “My father-in-law needs this,” or, “I wish my uncle was here.” No – concentrate on yourself first, because you can only help others once you’re in a good position yourself. You know, you can only pull down the oxygen for your children on a plane – oh, my god, I shouldn’t be saying that, I’m just about to book one – if you’ve got oxygen yourself, you know? Then, once you’ve got the oxygen, go looking for other people to give it to.
Judith: Yes, I think what is fascinating as well is how many people you see that we follow online and we love, who do have the same cloudy uncertainty when they start, but they start anyway, and other opportunities and unexpected twists and turns come in and it leads them into a new direction, then they go, “Oh, of course.” We’ve got to get going anyway, I think that’s the thing, and allow the space for the big ‘why’ to occur you. Be like Rick Sheffron? It didn’t occur to him at the beginning, or maybe it did and he had a different big ‘why’ at the beginning and now he’s got another one. It’s not the be all and end all. As we discovered on that conference, it’s already found you, you just haven’t noticed.
Nicola: Yeah, he started out trying to help the five percent who do take action with better attitude tactics, and now he’s turned his attention to the ninety-five that, despite that, still can’t take action.
Judith: Interestingly, I quite like the ninety-five, I’m with him a bit.
Nicola: He had to get to the place where he’s not involved in his business on a day-to-day basis in order to be able to have the crisis of meaning that he went through of what’s his life really all about, in order to be able to turn his attention to the ninety-five.
Judith: Actually, now that I hear you talking, the crisis of meaning hasn’t anything to do with business, it’s about our lives, isn’t it?
Nicola: Absolutely. Again, cycling back to the fact that, five years ago, I got on a plane not knowing what I was going to do next, having had, what I thought was my life’s work taken away by circumstances beyond all our control. I spent two years probably in mourning for that life’s purpose leaving me, and then it took me another year or two to find my new one. But, I never stopped doing stuff in the meantime, I just kept trying on different things and trying on, not different ‘whys’, the first ‘why’ was to pay the bills again. After that, it was, “What could I do that I will really enjoy, that will make a profound difference to people’s lives that I can earn money for?”
Judith: My looking at your story is actually you’re already much more interested in the Internet than you were in the money. That seems perfect to me and rather painful. Rebirth, can involve a little bit of pain, perhaps.
Nicola: Yes. And I do recall you did ask me one time, just before it all went thingy, “What would you do if you never had to work again?” I said, “I’d go pay money to work with a big guru and just spend all my time teaching people how to make money online.”
Judith: Yeah, and guess what?
Nicola: Careful what you wish for!