John Jantsch (00:03):
You don’t need to be known as the person who can do X, Y, Z tool or something. You need to be known as the person who has a unique point of view that in some ways makes the competition irrelevant.
Michael Port (00:18):
Welcome to steal the show with Michael port. This is Michael. Today’s guest is John Jantsch. He’s a marketing consultant, speaker and author of duct tape marketing, the referral engine, duct tape, selling the commitment engine and SEO for growth. He’s also my friend and I like him very much and you will to his newest work, the self-reliant entrepreneur 366 daily meditations to feed your soul and grow your business, taps into the wisdom of 19th century transcendentalist literature and the authors own 30 year entrepreneurial journey to challenge today’s entrepreneur to remain fiercely self-reliant while chasing their own version of success. In addition to his own writing, speaking and consulting career. John is a podcasting pioneer with a continuous string of weekly podcast episodes dating back to the summer of 2005. Yeah, there were podcasts in 2005. He has interviewed thousands of guests and appeared on the other side of the mic as a guest hundreds of times. Oh and stay tuned after the podcast for our latest alumni highlight in this episode, we’ll hear from an HPS alum who started a business and a TV network after taking the world by storm with a new stage. Hi John.
John Jantsch (01:47):
Hey Michael. So great to be with you.
Michael Port (01:49):
Well, we’ve been friends for a long time, at least. I, I’ve considered you my friend a long time now, but we’ve been friends for a long time. We even did a, an event together. We did a workshop that we ran together. And I’ve, I’ve always had tremendous respect for you. In addition to being your friend, I, I really see you as just such a salt of the earth human and an entrepreneur who brings integrity to everything that he does. So I just want to say that publicly because if someone doesn’t know who you are I really think that they should and they should spend as much time as they can learning from you because I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you. Oh, well thank you so much Michael. I bet you say that to all your guests. Nope, Nope.
Michael Port (02:41):
Only you, just, you never listen to my first question is actually a long question. So I want to jump right into it. So we have an a, an employee benefit at HPS where team members can attend conferences and of course we pay for them. And our brand manager and designer Sienna went a design conference and presented to our team about what she learned. So anytime they go and learn something, there was bring back that learning. And one of the things that Sandra talked about was making room for passion projects that aren’t necessarily aligned with key results or KPIs, but they’re fun to do. So I guess if I could borrow a term from Marie Kondo, you know, passion projects often spark joy and perhaps lead to new opportunities. But you don’t know. And I thought about this idea of a passion project when you first sent me a copy of your book, the self-reliant entrepreneur and the subtitle is a 366 daily meditations to feed your soul and grow your business because it certainly seems like a passion project. So I have two questions and a and a, B a and then I’ll let you answer and then I’ll do my B afterwards. So any, why did you decide to take on a project like this that seems like a passion project and, and did, did you see it as a passion project and if so, how did it help inform the decisions that you’re making in your business and for your speaking career?
John Jantsch (04:09):
Hmm. So like a lot of things, you know, you can look backwards in hindsight and have all kinds of you know, intelligent answers. I really believe that what was going on for me this is actually my sixth book. I’ve written five other books that are, as you mentioned, kind of squarely about some aspect of how to do marketing. I was at a point where, I don’t know, maybe we’ll even call it a crossroads where I really wanted to write another book. I had been, you know, a little bit of a, and you know, as authors are, we kind of are like, do I have another book in me? I really didn’t want to write another book on marketing. And so this, this book sort of you know, in hindsight was something that I’ve probably been working on for 20 years and it just, the, the time I think was just right and I think there were a lot of elements. So where I am in my life, where I am in my business, maybe where we are as a culture sort of all kind of aligned for me to decide, maybe this is the time to write this book because this, this book is more of a mindset book. It’s more of a why to book kit. There certainly are spiritual aspects to this book. So a pretty big departure from, from my previous work for sure.
Michael Port (05:19):
Yeah. I mean, look, I’ve loved all of your work. And I think duct tape marketing is one of the best books on marketing that anyone could read. And this is my favorite book that you’ve done. And I, you know, in part could be because you know, you and I have had similar trajectories in terms of their number of books we’ve written, the length of time we’ve been you know, doing this kind of work. And I think that I really resonate with the work you’re doing around the self-reliant entrepreneur because, you know, this is a head game, you know, life, the life that we’re living, it’s not about stuff all the time. It’s about how you see the world and how you see yourself in it and how you see yourself in relation to other people and how you take care of other people. It’s much more than just a, you know, a series of strategies or tactics to achieve some sort of objective or key performance indicator. And, and the second question that I had, the, the B part was that the book blossomed from a blog post that you firstname.lastname@example.org called the shifting seasons of an entrepreneur. So what are the four seasons and how can a speakers who are listening experience the growth season that’s so many crave?
John Jantsch (06:41):
Yeah. So it’s interesting that you bring that up and I don’t know if you’ve heard me mention that, but that, you know, I wrote that post maybe five years ago. And it, and it really was at the time, it was just a reflection of some things I was thinking, you know, I was probably stuck on something here in the, and so, you know, that kinda came pouring out. But it did end up being, in a lot of ways, it ended up being the, the, you know, the Genesis of this book, I suppose. And so what I was reflecting on was, do you know, I’ve been doing this three decades now. And I have I have noticed, again in hindsight that, that there are seasons that I’ve gone through every time I’ve maybe created a new product or a new book or, or a new kind of venture in my organization.
John Jantsch (07:26):
And I think that can really even apply to an idea. And the first thing you do is you, you, you kinda hatch it and you think, Oh, this is gonna work. Right? I mean, we had this brilliant you know, in the shower moment where you, you know, you think, Oh, this is gonna work. And so then you go out and you start talking about it. At least that’s what I do. And people start giving you validation that, yeah, that’s a, that’s a good idea. So maybe then you even start kind of discovering, you know, how you’re going to bring this thing to the world and you start getting even maybe more excited about it, and then you do bring it to the world. And then generally speaking that’s when failure and, and things started to show up.
John Jantsch (08:04):
You start to do a little bit of momentum for this thing and it’s maybe, you know, the initial enthusiasm more off the initial kind of people who wanted it wore off and now you’re thinking, you know, what am I going to do with this thing? It’s not, you know, maybe it’s not doing, you know, what I wanted it to do. And that’s, that’s of course where resilience you know, is becomes an entrepreneur’s best friend or at least the ability to reframe what you’re doing and change your mind and go another direction. And generally speaking, if you do that long enough and you kinda hold still the initial, you know, idea or at least the initial truth of the idea you and you do experience some level of what you call success. Not necessarily what, you know, Facebook calls success, but what you call success, generally speaking.
John Jantsch (08:54):
Then you to, you start to think about the impact you’re making. You’re starting to think about the meaning that this idea or this product or this business venture is actually bringing to the lives of others. And that was a really quick romp kind of through the four seasons. I obviously the season metaphor was there for the taking, you know, for this book because it is kind of an annual, a daily book. And there’s really, I’m not suggesting that, that what I just described there, you know, shows up and happens in a very linear fashion and you know, it when you’re in that season. But, but in looking back, you know, I’ve probably repeated that process, you know, eight, 10, 12 times in, in my life. And, and I think that, you know, so many of the things we talk about as an entrepreneur, I mean, you, you, you could apply to your, you know, your life as a human being. As well. And I think it’s a, it’s kind of interesting too, you know, through experience to kind of then start saying, Oh, okay, this is going to work out because, you know, I’ve been through this before.
Michael Port (09:57):
Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s, it’s one of those, one of those things that is, it’s very comforting to know when faced with a challenge that you have faced similar challenges in the past and have been able to overcome them. And the, you know, the only way you get there is, is through the muck the first time, you know, Brene Brown says, you can’t skip back to which I love. And what she’s saying is a lot of times when, when we’re, when there’s something that we’re dealing with you know, we want to skip the difficult part and just try to find the resolution. And and sometimes you really got to live in act two, which is all the, the conflict and the muck and trying to figure it out. And, and when you do get through it, that resolution is so much sweeter, means so much more. And it’s like, you know, same thing, relationships in life. You know, you’ll, you may have a, an issue or a conflict with somebody that you care about and you know, if you’re willing to work through it and deal with that, you know sort of more challenging part of act two, then you can come through it stronger and better for it. But if you’re not willing to, to actually deal with, with that issue, then you know, you just going to stay where you are I suppose.
John Jantsch (11:21):
Yeah. And I have you know, I’ve used that word resilience intentionally because I, I think all the, all the research on, you know, kind of people’s positive outlook in life and, and to a large degree, entrepreneurs who succeed, you know, have a huge ability to, to not just push through but to understand, you know, what they’re learning and to, you know, maybe there is a little bit of, of, you know, fighting through fear, but also I think you come to realize that, you know, fear is there to show you something a lot of times and instead of running from it, you maybe need to run towards it. And so the ability to kind of reframe in that fashion, I think is what you know, the ultimately when people succeed it has a lot to do with that.
Michael Port (12:04):
Yeah. You know, I, I actually have a question written down about the title. You know, the, the self-reliant entrepreneurs, the title, and you know, it’s very powerful to see oneself as self-reliant because you know, you, you often feel quite capable, competent you know, to handle, you know, most of the things that, that you know, you’ll, you’ll face. And you know, while not needing other people in order to be successful you know, do we run the risk of losing or reducing focus on the importance of community and interdependency? If we go too far you know, down the self-reliant path, you know, it’s, you know what I’m asking there,
John Jantsch (13:01):
You’re asking the, the title that there is a little bit of confusion I think in some cases around the title because if you, if you Googled the term self-reliance you’ll find websites that teach you how to build your own house and kill your own food and not need anyone. And actually much of the literature that I referenced and actually the title borrows from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay self-reliance. If you dig into that, what, what Emerson was saying was that we have to come to trust ourselves so thoroughly that we can rely on our truth on our heart, you know, following our passion and that, that, you know, without being controlled by what other people think or what other people say we should do or say we shouldn’t do. So that’s, that’s kind of half of it. And the beauty of that way of thinking about it is you then as an entrepreneur, there’s no question we have to and we’ll depend on our clients depend on you know, mentors, people like you, you know, have helped me in my career.
John Jantsch (14:02):
We, we rely on those and depend on those. But when we trust ourselves so thoroughly, we’re not controlled by those. And what that does ironically is I think it actually gives us a level of empathy for others that they’re just following their path as well. And so we’re not, we’re not, so we’re not so stressed out by the things that we can’t control. I mean, cause when it really comes down to it, as, as entrepreneurs, as human beings, the only two things we can control are how we show up and how we respond to everything that happens. And I think that when you trust yourself enough to know that, that, that those are the things that you’re in charge of it, that you can control, you start kind of letting go of a lot of the things that, you know, maybe you know, we’re there in our lives to, to, to cause us some stress.
John Jantsch (14:51):
You bring, I think you, you mentioned the word early on, you bring joy and happiness back into this thing instead of it being this, this grind and and, and, you know, kind of stress and, and, you know, overwork thing because we’re, you know, we’re not following our path. We’re following, you know, quite often we’re following the path over the way that, you know, we see other people doing it or, or we’ve been told that that’s, you know, that’s success. And I mean, just, you know, turn to Facebook any given day and see people, you know, going on about and validating the successes that they’re having. And how much stress that causes and other people that are like, well, gosh, I should be so much farther along, you know, than I am right now. And again, that’s, that’s one of the things that I think robs us of the joy of this thing we get to do.
Michael Port (15:37):
In fact, I, I try not to go to Facebook as much as possible. You know, these days I really I really made a choice last year to try to reduce all those distractions because it’s not just distract. A lot of those things aren’t just distractions from the important and deep work that you want to do, but they’re also very cognitively taxing and potentially even psychologically taxing. If you’re always seeing something that, you know, might make you a little bit jealous or, you know, kind of go, Oh, I should be doing that. Or kind of not doing enough. You know, even if, even if you have a very healthy sense of self and very focused when you put yourself into environments where where the, where the environment is working in direct opposition to the values that you’re trying to to live by you know, that environment is still very influential. And we are often a product of our environment. So yeah, I I feel much better not being in those platforms regularly. I feel much more comfortable with it.
John Jantsch (16:50):
Yeah. And I’m not picking on, on the platforms per se. I mean, we, you know, we’ve, you know, we’ve caused our own distraction. You know, we cause our own destruction, which just happened to be enablers and, and I’ve, you know, I’ve been guilty of, of everything I’m talking about here. But I do I do believe, you know, as entrepreneurs with that, that, you know, the, the, the art and skill of letting go of the things we can’t control that act alone, you know, will bring more jewelry and mindfulness and happiness back into, you know, our day to day activities.
Michael Port (17:21):
So that shows up in many different philosophies, even religions, you know, this idea that there are certain things you can control and certain things you can, and if you spend your time focusing on the things you can’t control, you tend to feel out of control. But if you focus on the things you actually can control, you tend to feel a lot more in control because you’re doing something about solving the problems that you have. And it’s likely that you’re making progress. You know, Stephen Covey talked about your circle of concern and your circle of influence. And in your circle of concern, you know, we’ve got taxes, war, politics, et cetera. You’re concerned about these things, but you alone are probably not going to be able to change the outcome of those particular situations. But what you eat, who you spend time with the choices you make in your business how you respond to stimuli, et cetera. Those are things that are within your control. And I love that you’re focusing on, and it’s interesting because you know, there are a lot of journals and quote books out there from, you know, from different thought leaders. In fact, I think like creating a journal might be the equivalent to like a celebrity creating a new fragrance line, right? But the self-reliant entrepreneur is very, very different to me. What what do you think makes it stand out? What, what is it that you love about this?
John Jantsch (18:58):
So, so I have had a practice, a daily practice for, you know, at least 20 years where I spend some time each morning I actually meditate. I actually journal, I read a book 25 years ago called the artist’s way by, I think it’s Julia Cameron and she worked about something called morning pages where you just kind of scribble your thoughts down and I would actually do some reading at that point that was meant to be very positive, you know, not, not researching, you know, marketing, but something, it’s something that that kind of fed my, my soul a little bit. And so in a lot of ways that’s what I wanted this book to be, was a book that, that, you know, fit that practice for me and I’m not alone. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who, who do that and, and kind of give you something that, that was, was very positive, that, that you really you couldn’t, I mean you couldn’t help but be very mindful, you know, as you were going through it because it was right there, it was the only thing happening in, in, you know, at that moment for you and, and hopefully kind of create a sort of centering, you know, thought for the day.
John Jantsch (20:05):
The, the books pages are set up in three parts. So I have my mind, some mid 19th century literature that I still think today is some of the greatest writing for entrepreneurs because I wanted to have a kind of a timeless aspect to the book, but then I give a hundred, 150 words each day of context, you know, based on my experience. And then I leave you with a question every day that, that, that’s meant to challenge you. Maybe you’ll have the answer, maybe you won’t. But what people are telling me happens is that I just did an interview yesterday with a woman and she said, boy, today’s question, it’s just been with me all day. You know, I don’t have any answer, I’m wrestling with it, but it really, you know, really made me and I, and I, I to me, you know, that checks so many boxes. I mean that, that, that we’re, we’re taking a moment for ourselves. We’re getting ourselves, right. Just because, you know, when you go out the door, I mean the world’s going to hit you. And, and a lot of that being hit is, is kind of draining, you know, your, your mental and spiritual and even physical body. And so, you know, it’s almost like, you know, take this little practice every morning to kind of fortify yourself for the day ahead.
Michael Port (21:18):
Yeah. You know, I mean, as I mentioned, we’d love this book at HPS and in fact we’ve shared passages from the book at recent HPS grad sessions, right. And, and one of the passages that I shared recently is on page one 12 and it’s for April 17th. I didn’t share the, you know, it on the day, just to be perfectly honest. I just shared it because I thought it was so relevant to my students. And the title of this particular passage is the work of play. And I’d love you to read this if you would this a little bit, little longer than some of them. But, but it is so appropriate or so apropos to to the experience that that the performer has. But I thought it’d be nice for people to hear. So would you mind reading that?
John Jantsch (22:10):
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s funny, you know, some, some of the authors, you know, people are familiar with Emerson and Thoreau and you know Herman Melville and Margaret Fuller and Louisa may Alcott. Because we were asked to read a lot of, of that literature. And, and this particular passage is actually from Mark Twain, who, who, who really was just a little bit outside of, of the timeframe of a lot of this. But I, you know, I had to read at least two or three works by Mark Twain when I was in high school in college and it was so fun to return to some of these things with a completely different mindset. Yeah, sure. Context. And you know, I did, I forgot how funny Mark Twain is, a writer and so I really had fun kind of diving into a lot of these texts again. So April 17th, the work of play, what I’ve done, I’ve done because it has been play.
John Jantsch (23:03):
It has been work. If it had been work, I shouldn’t have done it. Who was it who said blessed is the man who has found his work, whoever he had, whoever genius, I can’t read this, whoever it was, he had the right idea in his mind. Mark you, he says his work, not somebody else’s work. The work that is really a man’s zone is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man’s work and cannot lose it. When we talk about the great workers of the world, we really mean the great players of the world. So that was an essay in New York times magazine written in 1905 by Mark Twain.
Michael Port (23:44):
I love that much. And one of the reasons that I read that to the students is because one of the things that we were seeing was a couple folks were working on material that didn’t really feel like it was their material. It wasn’t that they were infringing on someone else’s copyright, it’s just that they weren’t bringing originality to the work. They weren’t bringing their voice to the work. And of course, there are many, many ideas that are interesting to speakers that are similar. So, you know, or authors, you know, we’re, we’re trying to address the same issues and, you know, how do we make life meaningful and how do we, you know, contribute to our, you know, community you know, if you’re teaching marketing, how do you, you know, how do you teach people how to market in a way that feels comfortable for them and is in integrity.
Michael Port (24:41):
And you know, those are some pretty universal themes. So there’s going to be consistency. But if, unless you’re bringing your voice to the work and, and sharing your perspective on the world in a way that is that is meaningful to your audience and brings a unique voice to them, then it may feel like you’re just regurgitating other people’s work. So was there a particular period in your development where you felt like you were able to make that transition or, or, or did you at the beginning start out really feeling, you know, just like an absolute original right from the beginning?
John Jantsch (25:20):
No, no, no, not at all. I think most people start out just trying to find their way. And so, you know, we consume a lot of things. We experience a lot of things. And I think the key is, is to be on the lookout for that thing. I always coach people that you know, I work with a lot of marketing consultants and, you know, essentially they’re all selling the same thing. I mean, how do you differentiate, you know, one marketing consultant from another? And I think that that to me, what’s always been sort of the grounding element of whatever success I’ve had is that I my original moment was, was seemingly a very simple to to start telling the world that marketing is a system, to have a point of view that was so seemingly counter unfortunately to, you know, the way a lot of people were talking about marketing, expressing marketing and particularly the small business.
John Jantsch (26:12):
And I, I’ve really been struck over the years as simple as that idea sounds how relevant it still is. And part of the reason for that is, you know, a lot of people would take that and say, marketing is AI, you know, or marketing is social media. And a lot of people did do that. And so they ran with kind of the, the idea of the week or the platform of, of the, the day and soon found that the, you know, there was no relevance, you know, at some point in that because it just, it morphed, it became something else. This idea of marketing as, as a system is, is a point of view that sort of agnostic to, you know, what the current effective tactic is, you know, to to, to, you know, work with that system. But that, you know, that’s something that I coach people all the time is that, that you don’t need to be known as the person who can do X, Y, Z tool or something. You need to be known as the person who has a unique point of view that in some ways makes the competition irrelevant.
Michael Port (27:12):
You know, it’s interesting, one of the next questions I had was about how did you stand out in marketing from the beginning and you just answered it even before I was going to ask it because what I wanted you to address was where you think speakers, authors, thought leaders, et cetera, can get their breakthrough ideas in a very crowded industry. I mean, you know, they’re, I think more than 250 speakers just at events like inbound each year. That’s just one event. So, you know, obviously, you know, you, you from, you know, from the get go you know, took a, a slightly different approach than many of the other folks who are sort of trying to make their way in the space. But what do you suggest people do now when they ask, you know, where, where can they find their breakthrough ideas?
John Jantsch (28:04):
Well, I have been saying this for years and I still believe it’s true. Look for them in places far be on your industry, far beyond your, your niche or whatever you want to call it. I, I I credit this whole idea of marketing as a system from a book on architecture but written by Christopher Alexander called the pattern, a pattern language. And it gave me so, so many concepts that, that I was able to take from his talking about how to build a community, how to build a town, how to build a street. You know, what, what needs to be there for a vibrant community. It’s the same thing that, you know, you really need for building a vibrant business. And I think that, that, that if you can find, you know, that book on calculus or that book on, you know, on Wolf packs or that book on, you know, architecture as I did. And read them not, not for, well you can read them for enjoyment, but read them with the goggles on of I’m looking for my breakthrough idea and the book will come alive.
Michael Port (29:13):
Yes, yes, yes. Thank you very much. I think that, you know, sometimes at the beginning of a career, you spend a lot of time inside environments that are insular or very homogeneous. So, you know, if you’re in the marketing space, you’re going to spend a ton of time going to marketing conferences and, and participation, participating in groups online that are about marketing. Or if you want to be a speaker, you’re going to try to spend as much in these different speaker environments. And that’s good. You got to know the, you gotta know the domain, you got to know the landscape. But if what you’re seeing just reinforces what you already think or already know, then you’re, you may get stuck. You may not advance or progress because you’re right, this idea of cross appropriation is such an important aspect of creating new worlds.
Michael Port (30:12):
And, you know, I think for you with a book like the self-reliant entrepreneur, not only have you created a new world for your audience, you’re giving them an opportunity to step into this new world that you’ve created for them that’s very different than the worlds you’ve created them for them before, through your previous work. But you also create a new world for yourself. So you get to experience the world differently by by speaking to different concepts and and you know, and, and ideas and, and philosophies, principles that you may not have addressed in such a comprehensive way in the past. And, you know, if you look at companies like Google, Google cross appropriated basically w, you know, the couple of guys said, well, we’ve got this thing called the internet. What are people, you know what do people need? Well, they need access to information.
Michael Port (31:08):
Well, where do they get it now? Oh, well, they go to the library. Well, why don’t we just put that online, but we’ll just do it in a way that’s easier. So they cross appropriated this idea of a library, added some technology to it, and boom, they created the first search engine. We’re actually may not have been the first, but but the one that became the biggest, or with Amazon, you know, Amazon just started as a bookstore, but it’s not the first time. It was, there were a lot of bookstores before they just were in buildings. So, you know, Jeff said, well, I call him Jeff, you know, where it says, he says, well I think I could cross appropriate this. There’s this technology out there, this e-commerce stuff. It’s very interesting. What if I just matched, take that and, and, and take the bookstore concept and see if I can sell books in a way that’s much more efficient for folks then having to go to the bookstore and I can, you know, carry as many titles as I possibly could dream of. And then every time he creates a new offering, if they’re creating a whole new world in the process. But it’s through, often through this idea of cross appropriation that you’re speaking.
John Jantsch (32:14):
Yeah, absolutely. But I, I again, I, you know, not to your, your example is, is dead on. But, but sometimes, you know, people just need to, you, you may just need one little simple idea as a way to simplify and articulate and create a metaphor, you know, for, for what it is you do. And that’s where I find, you know, the, this reading outside of your industry to be. So,
Michael Port (32:40):
Yeah, you don’t need to create the next Amazon or Google, but you may want to,
John Jantsch (32:46):
We’ll explain your business better. Might even,
Michael Port (32:49):
It might even be a right, the most of the problem that actually is, is needs to be solved now. Right? Yeah. You know, and it’s interesting that I don’t know about for you, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to become less ambitious, but I’m much less interested or concerned with the status of things. And and it actually, God, man, he gets so much easier when you really don’t, you know, give a, you know, what about the status piece and you really just focus on producing the best work you possibly can.
John Jantsch (33:23):
And I, I have you know, the, the, this book doesn’t really teach you how to do anything, but it’s certainly hits on so many of the themes that we’re talking about, you know, directly in some cases. And actually I have a posted that I tell people, I think our goal is to actually find the way that we can work less. And that, you know, that’s not necessarily, you know, saying you should delegate it, but it’s just, it’s an acknowledgement that, you know, our best work most days is probably done in, in a 45 minute or maybe two hour period. And then we, you know, look at, look at how much time we then fritter away because we have been sold that we need to be at the desk from nine to nine or nine to five or whatever it is for you. And I, and I think that, that, you know, that’s kind of a lie.
John Jantsch (34:09):
We’ve been sold to sort of keep up the status. There’s I can’t, I, I remember I took this class in an econ class in college and I can’t remember his whole name or what the book was, but Keynes, you know, is a pretty familiar economist. And and in the early 19 hundreds he predicted that by, I think it was like a hundred years, so it was like 2030 or something like that that, that the American worker would be working 15 hours a week because, you know, the, the, their needs would all be mad and, you know, you should see what happened and whatnot. And, and you know, we’re, we’re working 15 hours a day quite often because we’re trying to keep up with the with the Joneses or whatever that version of that is. And you’re right. I mean, when you can start to say, you know what, I don’t really care about that. That doesn’t control who I am or what I want to do. I want to find, you know, my joyful path. It’s it does allow you to let go a lot of that stuff.
Michael Port (35:09):
Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. The industrial revolution was supposed to make things easier for people. But you know, what it actually did was just create more stuff for people to buy. So in order for these big companies to sell the stuff that they were making, they needed people to work more to have the money to buy all this stuff. So it actually turn out exactly the way that some people predicted it might. And then of course, you know, the technology revolution you know showed up and everything’s supposed to get easier. Cause, Oh, now we’ve got computers and we can automate everything and we’re not going to have to do as much work. Well now of course, because we’re interconnected, we’re 20, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re plugged into this matrix. 24, seven. Well, not everybody’s working more because because everybody else is working more and it’s not actually, it’s not actually helping us.
Michael Port (36:09):
We’re, we’re, we’re kind of going in the road in the opposite direction. So I love that you’re bringing this up. I mean, we just doubled a vacation here for the team to eight eight weeks a year, four of which is mandatory. We just closing the office. So everybody has to take vacation. Cause when you have a lot of aspirational people working who, who, who want to do great things and, and want to you know, advance their career position, et cetera, you know, sometimes they won’t even take the vacation. So we had four weeks of vacation and I found when I was looking at vacation, I was, Oh wait, not everybody’s taking all their vacation. I’m going to double it and make four weeks mandatory. So I’m just locking the office. You can’t come. Period. Yeah.
John Jantsch (36:53):
Yeah. There’s, there’s I’ve seen reports of people saying, you know, it was kind of in, in Silicon Valley to basically say we have no vacation policy. It’s, you know, it’s take as much as you need whenever you want. Yeah. Yup. What they found was nobody took it nice because, you know, it was like, Oh, you’re going to be a slacker or, you know, what do they really mean by that? You know, and exactly. And I think your your approach of it’s mandatory, you know, you have to take it, I mean obviously is a, I think a much healthier way to look at.
Michael Port (37:23):
Yeah. It’s beautiful. So a lot of our students come to HPS when they’re going through major transitions in either their careers or their lives, which of course can affect how they see themselves. You know, when you leave one career to move into another career or you leave a one focus in your business to move into another focus. So like I left, you know, I moved my focus from book yourself solid to her own public speaking. And I remember people said to me like, wait a minute, you’re, you’re not going to do book yourself solid anymore. That’s crazy. I remember thinking why? Well, I just, I just did it for a decade full out you know, with a certain degree of success, why do I have to do it forever? I didn’t really understand that. But I think part of it is that we, we are often tie our identity to the thing that we do. And as soon as we lose that, it, it can be off-putting or, or, or unsettling or you know, make us feel a little bit off balance. So it affects, you know, how you see yourself potentially. So what quotes or ideas from the book, any particular passages that you think would help someone who is making a big change or a big shift?
John Jantsch (38:46):
Sure. So there is a an Emerson passage. I, I don’t think I can just like pull up the exact page, but a lot of people will recognize the start of it. It’s from self-reliance. And he, he hammers on this idea of consistency being the hobgoblin of the foolish mind. And I think that’s a lot of what we we live through. You, you mentioned that we get that identity and that’s half of it, but the other half is there a whole lot of other people that get that identity and we’re sort of, we’re sort of scared to death to, to disappoint them. You know, it’s, I always, I always laugh that you know, you can take a, a tremendously successful human being who is, you know, a leader of a big company and does all these, you know, things that people, you know, give them accolades for, and then they go back to a family reunion and they become Johnny again, and you know, they’re the whatever, you know, whatever their role was, you know, as Johnny, you know, when they were growing up, you know, that’s, that’s how the uncles and aunts see them.
John Jantsch (39:43):
It doesn’t matter. You know, how different they’ve become. And a lot of times we slipped back into that. I mean, we play that role. And I think that that’s kind of what it is. It’s, it’s, it’s not, it’s not only that we are tied to it, it’s that we we are afraid to to disappoint others because they are tied to that as well. Does that make sense? Of course it does. Yeah. And of course we have to get over both of those parts and, and re and recognize, and this is the hardest part for people, recognize that some people aren’t ready to go with us where we’re going now. And that’s okay. That’s actually their problem, not our problem. And, and that, you know, until, until we can realize, Hey, it’s okay to change my mind, it’s okay to actually come with a new truth and follow that.
John Jantsch (40:34):
And there will be people in my tribe that think that’s really amazing and they’ll come with me and there’ll be other people that can’t deal with that. And, and, you know, they’ll they’ll do whatever they’re gonna do. And I think we, you know, sometimes it’s hard because you know, you’re mixing in like, am I gonna make enough money going this way? You know, different dynamics as well. But I think that’s probably what, you know, holds a lot of people back in. As I said, Emerson wrote about this idea of, of, you know, the ability to change your mind as you know, a tremendous tool actually for the self-reliant entrepreneurs.
Michael Port (41:09):
Yeah, I remember when when a Seth Godin wrote his book The Dip, that was one of his main points. He said, look, you know, there’s this American sort of ethos that that winners never quit, but you know, he, his suggestion was actually winners quit all the time. They quit the things that that are not right for them or that don’t want to do anymore. And they focus on things that they want to do well. So, you know, the, to think that you’re, you’re expected to do only one thing for your entire life you know, may not necessarily fit the world in which we actually live. You know, like my, my dad you know, love him to death. You know, he’s a psychiatrist. He, he’s, he’s 80 years old still practices and you’ve done the same exact thing his entire life.
Michael Port (42:05):
You know, since he went to medical school or came out of medical school and he’s actually the same phone number for his life that his office, which is incredible. And he’s only moved offices maybe three times in all these years. So, and I have so much respect for him that he has, he’s, he’s chosen a path that is stayed incredibly consistent and it really fits his personality. But if your personality is, is not necessarily you know, suited to do just one thing for your entire life, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. You know, w w w we, sometimes we’re expected like our kids, you know, you’ve got your kids are older. Our kids are 11, 15, and 16, and the 15 and 16 year old get the question all the time. So what do you want to do when you grow up?
Michael Port (42:54):
They’re like in what it’s really stress is one of them out. Because he feels like there’s a lot of pressure and to it’s annoy at a young age. Like this is exactly what I want to do. That’s that’s tough. You know, it would be really interesting if, if we lived in a, in a world where, you know, people focused on on something for five years, you know, really, really leaned into it and made a big impact, did something really very meaningful and substantial. And then maybe they decide I’m going to move into another area for five years or here for five years or enter for five years. And then that was appreciated rather than thinking, Oh, there’s something wrong with them cause they keep moving around.
John Jantsch (43:38):
Well, and there was, there was a little stigma that, you know, certainly my generation that was, you know, that was a resume that had, you know, lots of stops on it was a bad thing, you know. But now I think the millennials coming up now, it’s, it’s pretty much expected. You know, you’re going to have, you’re going to have experiences rather than careers. And you know, they, they use the term portfolio of you know, of experiences. And I think that that’s, I think that is not only a healthy way to look at it. That’s really how, you know, people always talk about finding your purpose. Well, I find you but it finds you, you know, out there experiencing life as opposed to, you know, the person that has been told they’re going to go to med school and then they’re going to be this kind of doctor. You know, sometimes those people find tremendous fulfillment and purpose in their work. Sometimes they feel like they just had no choice and didn’t, didn’t experience anything else in their life. That’s, I still am a firm believer. I love those Teach For America and Peace Corps, you know, this core kind of programs because you know, I, I’ve met many young people who have gone off and done that. And then because of the varied experience that they had through that kind of program, they, they really found themselves.
Michael Port (44:50):
Yeah. So speaking of experience, we actually have created a new segment for the podcast just for you. And I’m actually thinking we may, maybe we should keep it, I’d have to explain it every time, which would be good for your brand, but but it’s still, I think actually might be worth it because this is a game segment to close out the episode and the, the name of the game is duct tape or ditch. Okay. And I mentioned earlier for for the people who aren’t familiar with your first book, duct tape marketing is, you know, you built this really substantial brand around the concept of duct tape marketing. So we’ve got a game segment, duct tape or ditch. I’m going to either mention a word or, or, or or, or give you a sentence and then you’re going to tell me if we should duct tape it or if we, or if we should ditch it. Like, you know, should we, you know, should we duct tape it? And use it in the, how should we use it or should we just ditch it cause it’s, it’s not worth saving. Are you ready? My brain on for this one it looks like, okay, here we go. Number one, tape or ditch PowerPoint.
Michael Port (46:03):
Well that’s how the question I used the crap out of it. So I’m going to duct tape. Okay. Promoting yourself as a bestselling author. When you hit number one on the TV category on Amazon, I’m going to feel for you, but promoting it. I don’t know, but I’m happy for you that you did. But get you saying yes or yes to an audience. I’m going to say it probably works for some people, but I’m going to ditch it. Okay. A referring to yourself as America’s greatest, whatever. Duct tape the hell out of that. Taking selfies from the stage of you with your audience behind you. Duct tape or ditch or I’m going to ditch that. Okay. That was fun. I liked that. I think we could do that with other people too.
John Jantsch (46:55):
So is there like a score sheet? You know, I feel like, I feel like I was being evaluated, you know, through that in this like, well, we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board because [inaudible] learns to do John just, you know, ditched it.
Michael Port (47:08):
So no, there’s no right answer here that we should, we specifically wanted to pick things that actually didn’t necessarily have an absolute right, yes or no answer.
John Jantsch (47:18):
Yeah. Because they exempt the selfie from the stage. That works for some people tremendously. It just wouldn’t be me, so, right.
Michael Port (47:24):
That’s right. So this is, these are for you. That’s right. That’s not like a right or wrong. It’s just John, you know, does he get to duct tape this or ditch it?
John Jantsch (47:32):
Yup. I mean, Dave, David Meerman, Scott does those all the time and they, you know, I think they work brilliantly for him.
Michael Port (47:38):
They were wonderfully. Yeah. We just worked with David last week. He was here at HQ and his his new speech is is killing it which is she’s great. So yeah. So John, I adore you. I think the self-reliant entrepreneur is my favorite work that that you’ve done. I absolutely love it. And and I keep it also, you know, I have two copies actually. Cause I that’s how I roll. But one of them is in the bathroom cause it’s a perfect book to have in the bathroom cause you can just open up, I’m in the bathroom every day. I mean I think most people are, this is not like a big secret, right? Yup. And it has this beautiful blue ribbon that you can just put into your place so you always remember where you were. And then you can just read, you know, one parent, one paragraph and then a couple of paragraphs you know, analyzing it and then with a question to think about for the day. So congratulations on this work, John is absolutely.
John Jantsch (48:34):
Thank you. And I appreciate, appreciate you sharing it too with the world. You know, one of the things that’s been kind of fun is and I know that you and Amy work together. I’ve had a, a number of entrepreneurial couples tell me that that book has kind of given them something sort of more substantial to talk about, you know, when it comes to their business then than maybe just a standard like, did we hire that person? Did we get that bill paid, you know, which is, you know, generally where the conversation ends up going. So that’s been kind of fun.
Michael Port (49:05):
So maybe we should take it out of the bathroom and I should put it on my night table so we can read it at night before we go to bed. That’s right. But where’s the best place? I mean, of course you know, duct tape marketing.com is of course still a place they can reach you, but is there somewhere else that they can find the book or somewhere else you can point them if they want to connect with you?
John Jantsch (49:24):
Sure. So the book, the book’s available pretty much anywhere you buy books. There is you know, the, the Kindle version as well as the audio book version. And I, I’ve actually built a little supplemental website for the book and it’s just self-reliance dot site as ITE self-reliance dot site. So you can, I mean there’s a link obviously there to buy the book, but you can, you know, I’m, I’m writing about some topics around the book in there. I, I’ve had a number of people that that have said, you know, I love this book, but like, where’s the program, you know, to go with the book. And there certainly are some pillars of, of, you know, self-reliance. And so I’m, I’m writing a little more about those to, to help people kind of take an application and practical approach. But, but ultimately, you know, this book is a, is a practice. And that’s how I hope people look at.
Michael Port (50:15):
Fantastic. Thank you so much my friend and thank you for being on steal the show. Great to catch up with you.
Michael Port (50:25):
At the end of each episode of steal show, we’re featuring a heroic public speaking alum who is saving the world one speech at a time. Ron Gandiza is the only student to graduate from HPS grad with two certificates of completion, one for Ron Gandiza and one for Ronnie Tsunami. The stage name he chose to embrace after years of hiding his true South for the sake of his job. Ronnie had long been that behind the scenes guy creating tech training programs for major corporations and government agencies including Microsoft, the Pentagon and even NASA, but he longed to be in the spotlight originally from Honolulu, Ronnie liked to appear on stage in his Aloha shirt and mix in playing music with his speech. But as employers and his coaches told him that it’s not professional to be so islandy. As a result, he played the buttoned up professional they wanted him to be, but Ronnie is a performer who likes to go big and motivate others to do the same.
Michael Port (51:28):
For him. Playing up is a wine roots was essential to achieving that with some encouragement rehearsal and lots of craft. Ronnie Tsunami took us by storm Aloha shirt and all to bring his message about living a plant based lifestyle on stages at veg fests around the country. So far. He has several paid speaking gigs booked for 2020 whether you’ve worked for big companies like this or not, perhaps the urge to be in the spotlight is something that you’ve been through. Perhaps you’re going through this now. Ronnie shore did and he shows us what’s possible when you are able to let the craft sick.
Michael Port (52:14):
Thanks for listening to steal the show. I’m your host Michael port. We record our episodes at Heroic Public Speaking HQ. Thanks for listening and learning how to be a performer in your spotlight moments. Make sure to reach out to us on Instagram and Facebook at heroic public speaking, and leave us a review on iTunes. If you like the show. Until next time, keep thinking big about who you are and how you see the world. Bye for now.