Jeff Haden: The Motivation Myth | E148

Jeff Haden: The Motivation Myth | E148

Have you been searching for motivation in your life but don’t know where to look? 

This week on YAP, we’re talking with Jeff Haden, speaker, ghostwriter, and author of The Motivation Myth. He is also a frequent, and the most popular, contributor to Inc. magazine. He is a contributing editor for Inc. Magazine and a major LinkedIn Influencer, having amassed over 1 million followers. 

Jeff is also the ghostwriter of over sixty non-fiction books, including seven Amazon category #1s. Along with thousands of columns, articles, presentations, speeches, eulogies. Jeff is a keynote speaker and the founder of Blackbird Media.

In this episode, we talk about Jeff’s career journey from working in printer manufacturing plants to becoming a highly sought after ghostwriter for some of the most recognizable CEOs and business leaders. We’ll hear his tips on how to improve our skill sets, how having the correct partner in your life can impact your professional life, and where motivation comes from. Finally we discuss what to cut out of our lives in order to stay focused and motivated on our goals, including why he recommends we fire a friend. 

If you’ve been looking to find motivation in your life and your side hustles, this episode is for you!

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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts:


00:06 – 0:28 Intro

00:29 Career Journey/Path to Becoming a Writer

14:43 Putting In Hard Work For Success

19:24 Importance of Having A Good Support System

24:30 Side Hustling/Moonlighting

26:38 Improving Your Skill Set/Finding Motivation

31:41 Setting Goals/Celebrating Small Wins

35:10 Motivation Myth/ The Book

38:31 Where Motivation Comes From

43:01 Skill Expanding

45:19 How to Stay Focused to Achieve Goals

53:29 Cut A Personal Commitment

55:13 Cut an Expense

56:53 Fire a Friend

59:37 Right & Wrong Way to Talk to Ourselves

1:03:35 Secret to Profiting in Life

1:07:11 Outro

Mentioned In The Episode:

Jeff’s Book, The Motivation Myth –

#148: Finding Motivation with Jeff Haden

[00:00:00] Hala Taha: You're listening to YAP Young And Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha. And on Young And Profiting Podcast. We investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life.

[00:00:25] No matter your age, profession, or industry, there's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guest by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, CEOs, and bestselling authors.

[00:00:47] Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain influence, the art of entrepreneurship and more. If you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love

[00:01:00] it here at Young And Profiting Podcast.

[00:01:03] This week on YAP, we're chatting with Jeff Haden.

[00:01:06] Jeff is an author speaker and a very accomplished ghost writer of over 60 nonfiction books. His most recent book, The Motivation Myth has helped. Thousands of people find new motivation, create stronger routines, and more effectively manage their time. Jeff is also the founder of Blackbird Media, a contributing editor for Inc. Magazine.

[00:01:29] And he's a major LinkedIn influencer having a must over 1 million followers. In this episode, we first take a look at Jeff's career journey from his beginnings and print manufacturing to his forte, into entrepreneurship, to becoming one of the most prominent ghost writers in the world. We then dig into his book, The Motivation Myth, which overturns the idea that motivation leads to success.

[00:01:54] And instead tells us that small successes lead to constant motivation. We close the interview with

[00:02:00] Jeff giving his best time management hacks. Which include cutting three things out of your life of personal commitment, and expense and a friend. If you've been looking to find motivation in your life and make time for the things that matter the most, you'll want to tune in to this one.

[00:02:18] Hi, Jeff, welcome to Young And Profiting Podcast.

[00:02:21] Jeff Haden: Thanks for having me Hala.

[00:02:22] Hala Taha: I am super excited to have you on today. So you are a contributor to Inc. Magazine. You've also ghost written over 50 books, and you're an author yourself of one of your recent books is called The Motivation Myth quite popular.

[00:02:34] So we'll go into that later. But before we do that, I love to get insight about people's career journeys. So from my understanding, you had lots of little jobs, and you always worked really hard in these little jobs, as you were starting out in your career, walk us through your career journey. Talk to us about the different jobs that you had and how that ultimately helped shape your career as a writer.

[00:02:54] Jeff Haden: So stop me if I go way too long. So I worked my way through

[00:03:00] college and I did it in a manufacturing plant and I really enjoyed manufacturing. I liked that. So when I was graduating. I interviewed for lots of jobs and they were all with 40 year old men in cubicles, that's w what the job was going to be at.

[00:03:13] Of course I was 22. And so the idea. Seemed like death and I liked manufacturing. And so the plant manager where I had worked said, there's a new factory opening up in this town. It's a fortune 500 company. It actually turns out they were the largest commercial printers in the world. And so if you like manufacturing butts. See a career path that takes you into management and leadership and beyond this would be a great place to go because you can ground, floor at the facility and work your way up.

[00:03:40] So I thought that sounds awesome. So I went and did that and I was the stereotypical college boy on the shop floor. Which was both good and bad because one people didn't think that I would work hard because I was the college boy. So I got to surprise them with that. But then it also, the fact that I had some education and had some ideas of what I wanted to do beyond

[00:04:00] just being, machine operator or something like that was also advantageous too.

[00:04:04] The cool thing about it. The company is RR Donnelley, and while they nest not necessarily would pay you more every time you got promoted. Which is an interesting thing, they would allow you to basically learn anything that you wanted to learn. And if you wanted to get involved in other stuff, then there were opportunities to do so it was a great place to learn all sorts of stuff. And as I worked my way up the ladder, I had lots of informal leadership positions. I worked in HR for awhile. I worked in customer service for a while. I worked in other manufacturing departments. I went and helped start up a plant. I went to another plant where they were hoping to get the union de-certified and we were successful there.

[00:04:44] I worked on cross plant projects. So I got exposed to this really broad range of things that I probably never would have, even if I had changed jobs six or eight times. So I worked at the same place for 17 years. And,

[00:05:00] but yet it was as if I worked at a whole bunch of different places because of the experiences that I got to have.

[00:05:05] So ,to put a cap on that, my goal from the very beginning was that I'd always wanted to run a plant. I wanted to be the plant manager. And so the only way that was going to happen at Donnelley was at the time you had to go off and work in sales for a while, and they almost had this little list of things that you had to check off, and it really didn't want to do that.

[00:05:25] And so an opportunity to go to a smaller plant for another, it was actually a VC firm that had bought the company and try to turn it around. So the goal was either to say, can we turn it around or do we just prepare it to sell and hopefully for a profit. So I went there and did that for three years. And what I learned was that my dream of being a plant manager, didn't turn out to be what I wanted to spend the next 20 years doing.

[00:05:50] Which you know, that does happen. And we'll get back to that in a second because people get hung up on the idea that if they've embarked on a career path to a certain point. That there's all

[00:06:00] that time and effort and energy and quote unquote investment that they've put into it. And therefore they can't get off that train.

[00:06:06] And I disagree with that completely. And we'll talk about that later. I'm sure. So I was at home. My wife would say I would say that I was just discussing the fact that I wanted to do something different professionally. My wife would say that I was whining about it, which is probably mark closer to the truth.

[00:06:22] And so one day she said, what is it you would want to do if you didn't do this? And I, I don't know why, but I said, I'd like to be a writer. I think now I had never, I didn't have no journalism background, no writing background. The only thing I'd ever written was things that I wrote for work, but I liked it.

[00:06:37] And so she said, what does that look like? And I said most people that have a dream, but no real path. I don't know. I don't even know how to get started. So three more months of me complaining and whining and wishing I could do something else. And she came home and said, I got you your first writing job, you're going to write a press release for a startup.

[00:06:54] What, cause that seemed bizarre. But she had met a guy who had a tech company. He was starting up and he wanted a press release and she said my

[00:07:00] husband can do that for you. So it turned out to be the worst paying job I've ever had in terms of hourly rate, because it took me forever.

[00:07:07] I'd never written a press release, didn't know anything about it, struggled and finally copied formats that I'd seen in other places that I thought worked and, threw quotes into the right place and all that other stuff. Turned it into him. It's odd because I hated it because I was so unfamiliar.

[00:07:23] I, this also happens to people. You reach a certain point in your path where you have this level of competence and it feels comfortable to you. And so when you dive out into something that's completely new and you've never done before, suddenly it feels really awful, because you're used to being competent and now you're not.

[00:07:41] And that takes that learning to be uncomfortable. It's a great phrase to use. It's a terrible one to live at the beginning. And I kinda liked it and he liked what I had done and he hired me to do a couple other things. And so I thought this is fun. Now, keep in mind, I'm still working. I'm still running a plant.

[00:07:58] This is just nights and weekends stuff.

[00:08:00] And so then one day she came home and she said. You've been looking for other work. So I signed you up on at the time it was called Elliance. Now I think it's called Upwork, but it's one of those sites where you know what it is. People that want to provide services, link up with people that need services.

[00:08:14] And so she'd signed me up there and created a profile for me and bid on some jobs. And she got me a couple of writing jobs. And again I don't, how do I do this, but I just knuckled down and figured it out and got better at it. And so the beauty of that whole approach of trying something new and being uncomfortable, and not really having a really good plan is that the only thing I could figure out to do was.

[00:08:37] If I need to write this for you, for example, then my job is to please you as a customer. That's the only thing I knew that I could do. So I wasn't worried about expressing some inner creative itch or, any of that other stuff. All I knew was that I wanted you to be happy because I was going to feel terrible about myself if you were not.

[00:08:53] And so that gave me this customer focused attitude, that carried with me the rest of the

[00:09:00] way. And so as I got more successful and had written for more people and was writing my own things and stuff, people will ask me, how do I get started writing? I really want to ride and really want to make a living.

[00:09:10] And I will tell them you have to write at first for other people and you just have to take work that pays and stuff. And they will say you haven't don't really want to do that. I want to write things that I enjoy and I want to write things that are fulfilling or whatever. And I always say then, unless you're Stephen King, nobody's going to pay you.

[00:09:24] You have to build to a place where you can express some of those things because you have an audience and a platform and some level of success. But you can't do it right away because nobody cares. And that attitude actually held me back in a weird way for a long time, because I started writing for Inc.

[00:09:42] That was also because of my wife, because the problem with ghost writing is that, it's all confidential. And so you can't market yourself very well because you can't say who you've written for or what you've written. So you can do is hold up your hands and say, I promise, I'll try hard and I'll do a good job.

[00:09:57] And she said you need some stuff in your own.

[00:10:00] And so I thought nobody wants to read anything by me because I had written some things that they'd hit bestseller lists. They topped bestseller lists, but they weren't me. And, I wrote them, but they weren't in my name. So I had no connection to anyone.

[00:10:13] And she said, yeah, but that's what you have to do. And if you get some things out there that people enjoy and they see you're a ghost writer, then that's a way that you can market yourself because at least they'll say, Ooh, I really liked this. Oh, and he's a ghost writer, Hey, this may be someone that I want to talk to.

[00:10:29] And of course, as with all the other advice that she's ever given me, it turned out to be correct. And it turned out that basically Inc. paid me, and pays me for the content that I produce, but it also is marketing and advertising material. If you want to think about it that way. Because people see that.

[00:10:46] And but that idea that no one wanted to read anything by me did hold me back for a while. And so I finally, I had been pitched by a number of agents about you should do a book, you've got a platform, you should do a book, you should do a book. And I kept saying, nobody wants to read

[00:11:00] mine. They want to read it by whoever I've written for.

[00:11:02] And so I finally, one agent was really nice and pitched me in a very down to earth, like not cheesy K and stuffy way. And I thought let's just see. So I came up with an idea. I think I wrote a proposal. I think I spent about six hours on my book proposal.

[00:11:20] Hala Taha: That's a nice short comparatively and most people spend months.

[00:11:24] Jeff Haden: Yeah.

[00:11:24] But I just thought here's my idea. And then I thought I have a certain writing style and it's informal and it's not too casual, but it tends. I try to establish rapport with the reader and make it like a smart conversation, and not like something prophecy, or two studios.

[00:11:38] And so I thought that's how I'm going to. If I'm going to write a book, that's how it's going to be, because I'm not going to enjoy it if I don't. And so I might as well do my book proposal the same way. And besides if all of these things are true about, I have a platform and I have a way to mark it and all those other things that you're talking about. And that does carry a tremendous amount of weight with publishers.

[00:11:57] The idea is important, but your ability to market

[00:12:00] it matters just as much. And so I thought if all those things are true, and I don't really have to kill myself, convincing somebody that I can deliver. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna ride. Like I write everything else and take a shot.

[00:12:14] So I didn't even include a sample chapter, which you know, is you're supposed to have at least one sample chapter and preferably three, I didn't even do that. And so my agent said, this is different than anything I've ever seen. I do think you probably need a sample chapter though. I was like, so I wrote a sample chapter.

[00:12:31] I think I did that over a weekend. Wrote one of those. We put it together, she put it out and I don't know if this is too deep for her too much detail.

[00:12:41] Hala Taha: Okay. We're going to talk about later.

[00:12:44] Jeff Haden: So she puts it out and she says to me, all right, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to send it to all the major publishing houses.

[00:12:49] And I'm going to say you have two days, to respond that Jeff will be in New York on these two days, like a month ahead. And if you want to book a time, you

[00:13:00] have two days to do that and we'll meet with you. And I said to her, That sounds really aggressive to me because shouldn't. We be like almost begging them to talk to me, not saying, if you're lucky you get to meet with me and she's not, trust me, it'll work.

[00:13:14] So I thought. Okay this is what you do for a living, so let's try that, but I thought it was going to fail miserably. But we got 14 meetings. And so I go up there a month later. We're walking to the first one and I'm expecting, like I've been preparing for this. I don't always prepare super well, but this one I had prepared for.

[00:13:32] And so I was thinking, I've probably got to sell them. I need to be engaging. I need to be dynamic. I need to make sure they understand I can pull this off. And then my ideas are compelling. And I tried to create almost like a pitch of sorts where I was going to be ready. And so I walk into this first room and there's 14 people. And me and my agent and I looked around, I thought I got a lot of people I have to pitch, and I didn't have to pitch a soul because the entire time they were trying to convince me that

[00:14:00] I was where I, they were where I needed to be.

[00:14:04] Yeah. So they were like, Hey we want you. And let's, here's what we can do for you. And I was like this is a whole lot more fun than what I thought it was going to be. So I spent two days walking around. Different publishers saying, we want you, you should come here. Here's why you're a good fit.

[00:14:17] Only one of them that I talked to and this brought me back down to earth a little bit, we talked for a little bit and she said, be honest, I just took the meeting because I thought it might be interesting, you're really not a good fit for me or for us. And okay. That feels bad, which is funny because before that, as I walked into them. Even that response would have been better than no, you suck get out of here, which is what I was expecting.

[00:14:38] And yet I had already flipped over to I'm a big man. These people don't want me. So what was cool about that whole process was then she gave them. Three days to submit their bid for what my advance would be and the terms and stuff. And again, I said to her, gosh, that's quick. And she said, no, it's really not.

[00:14:56] Because if they decided they were interested in the first place, they've already

[00:15:00] done their math, they already know what they think they're going to do. So giving more time, doesn't do anything. And I thought, okay, that's cool. And so got a number of offers and the two highest ones before they offers came in, she said to me, based on everybody. We talked to if money and all the other terms are all equal.

[00:15:18] Where did you feel like you wanted to be? Because that was important. And so I picked one that, that I thought, that's where I would like to be. And as it turned out, that one was, their bid was E was the equal high bid with one other publisher. So I didn't really have a decision to make because it was like, that's where I want to be and they're offering them the most money. And so how can I beat that?

[00:15:40] Hala Taha: It's great because it just goes to show when you do the hard work. And you earn it. Like you spend years writing and ghost writing, you built up your LinkedIn profile, to hundreds of thousands of followers. You built a name for yourself and you put in the hard work.

[00:15:55] So there was no convincing to do a lot of people try to do it the other way. Where they want the

[00:16:00] shortcut to success, but there's no shortcut. You've got to put in the hard work.

[00:16:04] Jeff Haden: Yeah, that's a really good point. And I, I have a project that I'm working on now that. I just thought the person wanted to chat with me just because they wanted some advice on whether to self-publish or to go with a traditional publisher.

[00:16:17] And it's a high profile person who has the ability to sell lots of books and everything that a publisher would look for in someone. And so I thought he was just looking for advice and got on the call. The first thing that he said was, I just saw, the purpose of this call is for me to be able to convince you, to write a book with me.

[00:16:38] And so I guess that, and that felt really good. It was also an interesting tactic. If that wasn't his real goal, because it relaxed me instantly made it much more conversational. And so if you're trying to get a sense of how would this person be to work with, are we going to jive? Are we going to link up together?

[00:16:54] All that other stuff, it was a great way to do it, but it turned out to be okay. But that's because, he'd

[00:17:00] read stuff. I'd written, he'd read my book, he'd done other stuff. And so the groundwork was already there. So you're making a really good point in that. Usually with people, the less of a foundation, you have. The harder you have to sell, because you're trying desperately to convince someone that they should go with you.

[00:17:19] And it's almost like that. What did they call it relationship selling versus, benefit or value selling? You're trying to spark this relationship that allows you then to get the deal. When if you've done the work and you have the foundation, then really it's just a matter of do we fit.

[00:17:34] So it is a really good point, but if you're in a hurry or you're desperate, then it's a really hard thing to stick with because the trick is to get a start. And that's the hardest time to convince somebody to take a chance on you. But what I did with that, with E-Lance, which is now Upwork again, when I would bid on jobs. I would say to people,. Hey I'm new to this, I'll do a good job promise.

[00:17:57] I'll do a good job. I'm trying to build

[00:18:00] a base of feedback and client relationships and stuff. So you don't have to pay me anything up for. And if you don't like it, when we're done. Then don't pay me no hard feelings, but if you do like it, please leave me a decent review. And that approach actually worked really well for me because people were willing to take a chance because they didn't, what were they wasting, but maybe a little bit of time.

[00:18:24] And it worked really well. And so then even after that, I only was asking for I think 25% upfront, just because I could still say of the same thing. Look, I just want enough to get this started. I work fast if you don't love it, we're good. I want to make sure you're happy. So that idea that you're doing work, I don't know.

[00:18:45] Sometimes people get really upset about the idea that maybe you have to do a little work for free in order to build a base.

[00:18:52] Yep.

[00:18:53] Yep. Cause otherwise, where does it come from? And. It's an interesting philosophical discussion because some people that are in the

[00:19:00] business would say. Hey, you're driving rates down for all the rest of us.

[00:19:03] If you do that, but nobody can work for free for very long. It's not like you could do this for 10 years. So you're just trying to get a foothold, trying to get some experience. And then the other part of it is when you embark on something new. I have an idea of what it's going to be like and what it is you need to deliver, but you really don't know.

[00:19:22] And so that's also a great opportunity, not only to get practice at what you're doing, but also to understand. How the landscape works and how to interact with people, and how to please people and how to deliver. And all of the things that you need to know that you cannot learn until you do some of them and do them for real.

[00:19:42] Hala Taha: And sometimes you won't get that opportunity, unless you decide to work for free or do it the way that you were suggesting.

[00:19:47] Jeff Haden: The expectations are way higher.

[00:19:49] Hala Taha: Oh, that's true. You get a little bit of grace for your experience.

[00:19:52] And they

[00:19:53] Jeff Haden: may work with you som and then you can learn from that as well.

[00:19:57] Hala Taha: Let's hold that thought and take a quick break with our sponsors.

[00:20:00] This episode of YAP is brought to you by Nearside. When I started out with YAP Media as a side hustle. Everything came out of my pocket. All the expenses came out of my personal checking account. And I even paid all of my employees salaries, out of my own personal checking account too.

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[00:23:47] I want to unpack some of this, because you mentioned your wife several times. And for me, some of the biggest excuses, that I hear especially for somebody like you were in a place for almost 20 years working your way up. They always say to me, I feel too old

[00:24:00] to start something new. Like you said before. They've put in the investment. They feel like they can transition.

[00:24:05] I hear this all the time. It sounded like you had somebody in your corner who was pushing you. So what were you going through internally? Why weren't you pushing yourself? And then what's the importance of having somebody, who might advocate for you and believe in you? Because it sounds like your wife really was that triggered.

[00:24:21] Jeff Haden: Part of it was comfort, because I was good at what I did. I didn't love it, but I was good at it. And those two do not always line up. So I was good at it. I had a really good job. So the idea of saying, okay, I'm going to go back and start at zero. That's not very much fun either. I balanced that out by just working really hard nights and weekends for a long time, until I felt like, okay. I haven't replaced the income that I make, but I see a path, And I see how I can get there and I feel solid about it.

[00:24:52] And I always tell people that too. If you're not willing to devote nights and weekends, to whatever it is you think you want to start, then you don't really want to start it.

[00:25:00] And so don't even try. So that was part of it. And then I was a little bit afraid. I'm old enough that I'm probably the last vestiges of that generation, that still thought that the way to success, was to get a job at a big company. Work your way up and that the company will take care of you and you will take care of them.

[00:25:21] And so the idea of being an entrepreneur, was a little bit scary. And it was what other people did, not people like me. So that was part of it too. As far as my wife encouraging me and nudging, she knew me well enough to know that all I needed to do was get started. And that I would figure it out.

[00:25:38] But there's also research that shows that. Who your significant other is makes a dramatic impact on like your career potential, and your earnings and things like that. And it isn't, you don't have to be around geniuses. Although my wife is incredibly smart. They call it partner conscientiousness. So if your partner is, organized and

[00:26:00] focused and goal-oriented, and takes care of business and things that even if you're a slow which I'm not, but more so than her, although everyone is compared to her, then it rubs off and it is helpful to you.

[00:26:12] The real support was, she said, look, when we finally got to that financial part. Where I said, I think I see a path. She said, do it for a year. Give it everything you've got. If at the end of that year, you go, you know what, either this isn't working for me in terms of what I like to do, or, I don't really see a financial path here that makes as much sense as I thought it did.

[00:26:32] You can always go back. You can always go and do I may not have got, I wouldn't have gotten a job at that same place, but I had skills that were on offer. And then the biggest thing that I also had to get over and now I realize, is a total myth is the idea that I was turning. I was closing a door on skills and experiences and abilities. That I've wasted and lost, but actually my biggest strength as a ghostwriter, as I got to where I was writing more management,

[00:27:00] leadership business stuff.

[00:27:00] I was the audience. I knew the audience because I was the audience. And when I talked to people about what they wanted. They didn't have to teach me about any of that because I already had lived it and known it. We just had to talk about what was maybe unique to them or different to them or something.

[00:27:16] Some little tweak. It was cool because I wasn't a writer. Who had to learn about some business thing in order to write about it. I was really a business person who just had to write about it. And so it became a major competitive advantage for me. Because I had done all that. And so just in a broader sense, if you've done one thing for six, 10 years. However long it is, and you want to do something different, it may seem like it's really different.

[00:27:43] And none of those experiences, will carry over. It turns out that you bring a ton of stuff with you that you don't realize, until you get there. And so all those experiences and skills. You find a way to weave them over and they actually will distinguish you, from the people

[00:28:00] who just followed that one path. Because they didn't have any of those things and they don't have a way to ,get them.

[00:28:06] So they only have what that path is. You can learn that path, but you brought all that other stuff with you as well. So it's actually an opportunity for you to separate yourself and distinguish yourself, if you choose to take a little bit of a different path.

[00:28:23] Hala Taha: Yeah. We always talk about skills of stacking.

[00:28:25] It is so important to get all these different experiences and to try new things and to figure out what you like. What you don't like. What you're good at, what you're not good at. So in terms of a side hustle, when you are doing it. I think that was called moonlighting, like side hustling. Wasn't even a thing.

[00:28:38] It was actually, I think really looked down upon. So kudos to you for doing that. I did the same thing.

[00:28:43] Jeff Haden: What's weird about that is you're right? Cause it was. And I, it's something that I hate to reference my book, but I will I always tell people that you want to be in and you want to be this and this which skill stacking.

[00:28:56] I like that term. I'm going to steal it, but you want to be in a

[00:29:00] band. But for a long time, especially when I was starting, people who were had multiple things they did,. That was looked down upon. And it was almost as if you were doing this and this, then you must not be good at any of them. And you were forced to do three things because you couldn't do one of them.

[00:29:14] And it turns out that the people that I know that are the most fulfilled and happy and however you want to define success. Tend to have multiple things that they do, because they do weave together and are mutually supporting. There is some symbiosis there. But also it's a little bit more fun, to be able to dabble here, and dabble there, and dabble back and then. And see the worlds collide and interchange.

[00:29:39] And yeah. It was not something that was particularly positive then. Now it's now I think there's almost a stigma. If you don't have a little side.

[00:29:47] Hala Taha: I know hustling is cool. So I worked at Disney streaming services before I was an entrepreneur and I started a marketing and podcast agency, while I was working there.

[00:29:56] And to your point, I did it on nights, weekends, mornings,

[00:30:00] lunchtime built it up to a point. Where I had 35 people working for me all over the world and then quit. And that's, to me, that's the best path, because then if it's a viable thing. If you can actually make money and you're not putting yourself at risk.

[00:30:13] So I think you did it the right way. And I want to encourage everybody out there too. Start something that you are passionate about, something that you love doing. That you feel that you're good at. And to that point, let's talk about motivation a bit, because you mentioned when you started writing. You weren't very good at it and it was discouraging, and it wasn't until you felt like you were getting good feedback. That you actually started to enjoy it and get better and better at it.

[00:30:38] So talk to us about how you can actually create motivation by starting and being consistent at something.

[00:30:46] Jeff Haden: Probably the biggest gap or the biggest hurdle that people have to cross. When you want to start something new is you are starting, at a place of no experience, no expertise. You're at the zero spot

[00:31:00] in most cases.

[00:31:01] And so if you look ahead to where you want to go. That bridge that you have to cross is incredibly daunting, because it's okay I'm just this. How am I going to get all the way over there? And so if you're constantly focused on that end place, then even little successes that you make early on, which you tend to do because you're new.

[00:31:19] So you learn quickly and you gain some skill fairly fast. They're meaningless to you because compared to, what you think you want to be someday, it's nothing. And so the biggest thing for me is. Cause I, I struggled with the first few things I wrote, but then I thought, and I would think to myself. How am I ever going to be able to do this?

[00:31:38] Because it takes me way too long. I'm creating decent things, but gosh. It takes forever and there's no way for me to make this work. And then I thought Okay. But I can't sit down and think, okay, I'm going to be Malcolm Gladwell tomorrow or something like that. But what I can do is just work really hard on whatever is in front of me.

[00:31:54] So I switched over and just said, my goal, every time I do something is

[00:32:00] right. I have this to do. I need to do it as well as I can. I need to finish it. I need to get good feedback from it. Which means I, did a good job because whether I thought I did a good job, didn't really matter. It's what the client thought.

[00:32:12] And that's all I can do right now, but that's enough. And so if I stack enough of those experiences up, then the experience comes. And so by keeping a short time horizon in terms of my like inner feedback loop. Then if I worked on a project one night and it was a short one and I got it done. That felt really good because I set out to do what I wanted to do.

[00:32:34] I completed a task, it went well. That was enough to get me to the next one. And so I just fell into this place of all I need is enough motivation to get to the next one. And if I get to the next one and I get to the next one, then suddenly you can look back and go. Wow, I'm starting to come a long way.

[00:32:53] Cause I'm, you pop your head up every once in a while and look at where you are and go. Wow. That is really cool. And then you need to put your head right back down

[00:33:00] again and just focused on next and next. And and then the other part of it is. I'm not particularly smart. I have a college degree, but I'm not particularly educated.

[00:33:09] I don't have anything. There's nothing. I'm decidedly average. Let's just say that. So I don't have anything. I don't have anything special going for me, except for the fact that I realized, that if I put in enough effort, there are a lot of things I can do. And so I'm very much an effort kind of a person.

[00:33:26] And so that actually works really well, because I don't think you get motivation. From this I'm sitting around one day and suddenly I have the lightning bolt that says, I want to be a, a famous writer or whatever it is you want to be. I don't. That doesn't work. I don't think that kind of motivation.

[00:33:43] I don't know anybody that has that. All you really need is to say, I'm interested in writing. Let me get started in some fashion and through effort, if you work hard at it, you improve. Cause we always get better at things we work hard at. It is a natural thing. It's

[00:34:00] just like taxes. It's a law of the universe.

[00:34:03] And whenever you get a little better, that feels good. And so effort equals a little bit of achievement, which feels good. Which creates motivation, for you to take a little more effort. Which means you'll improve a little more, which feels good. And so there's this really cool virtuous cycle of effort, achievement, fulfillment, happiness, motivation.

[00:34:26] That you can spend forever and ever, if you focus on doing it that way. If all you care about is this big end result,. It's demoralizing and defeating and you have to rely on willpower alone. And none of us have enough willpower to do that. But if you just get that cycle started, there it is.

[00:34:44] So to me, motivation does it come first, effort comes first.

[00:34:49] Hala Taha: I love that. So let me pause you right there, because I want to make sure that my listeners really understand this. So what Jeff is saying, is that you don't want to focus on some big goal, because you'll keep

[00:35:00] comparing yourself to that goal. You're going to think about where you are now. How far away that goal is.

[00:35:04] You're going to feel bad, and you don't want to feel bad, if you want to be motivated, you want to feel good. So you want to focus on these small wins. So how can we better focus on these small wins? Is there a trick that we need to do? Is it something we need to reflect on every day? How do we make sure that we're constantly looking at these small goals, and making sure that we're making progress toward our bigger goal.

[00:35:26] Jeff Haden: Process really is everything with anything that you want to do.

[00:35:30] So you do need a big goal. I think, but your. Your big goal is just there, to help you design the process. That you would use in order to get there. So if I, this is a terrible, that's not a terrible example, but it's easy example. Say you want to run a marathon and you've never run before. So running the marathon is your big goal.

[00:35:52] But as you said, if that's all you focus on is being able to run 26 miles and you can only run one. You're going to quit, because it's too

[00:36:00] far, and you feel bad after that one mile. You're never going to get there. So running a marathon. Though, you can back it up and say, okay. What are the steps and stages, that I'm going to have to go through in order to build up the endurance, and stamina and speed and all that other stuff that will allow me to get there.

[00:36:17] And there are plenty of people in the world who can lay that program out for you. So you know what to do. So the goal informs the process. Then you just say, okay. I've got a, whatever it is, six month plan, what's tomorrow. Tomorrow is I'm going to go run a mile and a half. Cool. When you run the mile and a half, you can check it off.

[00:36:39] You get to feel good about yourself, because you did what you set out to do that day. Which if you think about it at the end of the day. The days you feel best about yourself, or when you got done, the things that you said you wanted to do. Where you feel bad is when you didn't. So you get to feel good about it.

[00:36:54] You checked it off. You had a successful day that will give you enough motivation to tomorrow.

[00:37:00] Go, okay, what's tomorrow? Whatever it is, that's all you have to do. You just have to do whatever it is that you have to do today. And if you focus on that, you get to be successful every day. You get to feel good about yourself every day. And you will stack up enough of those days, that every once in a while, you will pop your head up and say, wow, I just did a 10 mile run.

[00:37:21] Who thought I could do that? But before you get too excited and go, oh, what about the 26? You gotta put your head back down because you're not there yet. And then you say, cool, I can run 10 miles. That's awesome. What's tomorrow may only be a three mile run because that's part of your process of recovery and whatever else.

[00:37:37] It may be, whatever it is, if you're doing what you set out to do that day. And if the process is designed so that it will basically guarantee, that if you put in the effort, you will succeed. You're good to go. So the goal informs the process and then all you worry about is am I doing what I need to do each step of the way, you didn't start a side hustle and ended up

[00:38:00] with 35 people working for you by one day, just saying. That's what I want to do.

[00:38:04] You knew you wanted to create a marketing agency and a podcast. You knew what you wanted to do, but she broke it down into. Okay, but what can I do right now? And what do I, what am I doing each day to get there? And then all of those winds stacked up on themselves, and probably made it a little bit easier for you to keep working that hard.

[00:38:22] Because you saw a path to where you were going to get.

[00:38:26] Hala Taha: And I think something that's key here is that a lot of people think that motivation is external, but really motivation is just a feeling, right? And it's an internal feeling. It's dopamine rushing to your brain where you just feel really happy, about what you completed and it makes you want to do more.

[00:38:40] So let's talk about your new book,The Motivation Myth. Because it's a really interesting book. I have a lot of things that I want to talk about in it. So let's start with the conventional approach to motivation. What are all these like gurus always say in terms of how people should gain motivation and why is your approach different?

[00:38:58] Jeff Haden: One of them would be

[00:39:00] that. Like you said, about internal versus external, there's the whole idea that you need to find people around you that can keep you motivated. And you need a mentor to keep you motivated. And I don't know anyone, who's done really hard things that has done. So just because they had someone else constantly encouraging and pushing them. I don't feel like that works from the outside.

[00:39:19] If it doesn't mean anything to you. And if you can't find it in yourself, there's nobody that's going to get you there. So that would be the first one. I think it's great to rely on other people, for advice, for tips, for strategies, for techniques. It's also great to rely on other people, if you want them to be accountability buddies, but not in terms of did I reach my ultimate goal. But in terms of, Hey, every Sunday we're going to talk and you're going to check in and make sure that I did the seven things this week.

[00:39:48] I said I was going to do. So your accountability buddy should be process, not ultimate goal. Cause you can fluff. You can fluff the ultimate goal. So that's one. The other is the, which I referenced earlier,

[00:40:00] which is the whole, lightning bolt theory of motivation. Where one day you just wake up and it's oh my gosh, I want to be a world.

[00:40:06] I want to be I want to be, Serena Williams and when we'll move in and be the best tennis player in the world. That may, that feeling may hit you. But that feeling isn't going to carry you through all the time and effort and struggle, and failure and challenges, and all of that other stuff. And I don't know anyone, who's had that lightning bolt, every really successful person that I've talked to just had an interest in something said. Hey, I would like to learn how to do that.

[00:40:31] I would like to get better at that. And that really was their focus is can I improve it this eventually they had bigger goals, but that idea of just constant improvement. That's what really took them there. And that's what keeps you there because once you achieve something, if all you cared about was achieving and then you achieve it what's left.

[00:40:50] There is no fulfillment left Metallica guitars, Kirk Hammett. They've been around for 40 some years. And I asked him one time. I said, there's so many people that reach your level, and

[00:41:00] they've burned out and they don't enjoy it. And he said, my whole goal all along was I wanted to be good enough that I could play music with my friends, and they would want to play with me.

[00:41:09] And so he said seriously, and he said, and so I'm still in that spot because these are the people I want to play music with. And I need to be good enough that they will want to play music with me. And so all the other stuff that comes with it, being a rock star in the money and all that's a by-product and he doesn't downplay that.

[00:41:25] But that's a by-product of the fact that this was really what my goal was. And that's an internal goal, not an external goal. So the idea that you'll get the lightning bolt. That doesn't work at all.

[00:41:37] Hala Taha: I'd love to hear more stories about that. Cause I know that you've talked to a huge athletes like Venus Williams and Lance Armstrong. How did they get their motivation to become the superstar athletes that they are?

[00:41:49] Jeff Haden: Venus is a really good example of what we talked about earlier.

[00:41:53] Like skill stacking, or like I said, being an and because as they were growing up. There's this idea that she and

[00:42:00] Serina, that their father basically manufactured tennis champions out of them. And while he was their coach, And did push and did work with him. She says, even when they were like 10 years old, they weren't allowed to just be tennis players.

[00:42:14] So they would be riding to a tournament in the car, listening to tapes about, how to buy foreclosure homes and make money. And she said, we hated that stuff, but it was his way of saying there's more to life. There's more that you need to be doing. And so Venus, she owns a clothing company, she owns an architectural design firm.

[00:42:32] She's got a couple of different masters degrees. She does a variety of things. And I think it makes her probably better at all of them. And it kept her from burning out in tennis where so many professional athletes do tend to burn out so early. But like for her, she's a good example of the. Yeah. When she was little, she dreamed of winning Wimbledon.

[00:42:55] Cause you know, that's what you do when you're little, but really she just wanted to

[00:43:00] get better. And their dad actually kept them out of a lot of junior tournaments, and kept them off of that traditional path. Because he wanted their skills to improve and them to be focusing on improving certain things, not letting natural talent. Allow them to win where then they would think I don't have to work that hard because I can already win.

[00:43:19] So w why do I have to do that? Dad? I'm winning all the time. So he was very much focused on, but you need to be better at this skill, or you need to be better at that skill. And by layering them all together, suddenly they emerge and they seem to come out of nowhere. But it's because they had developed skills.

[00:43:33] So I don't know if that. That answered your question, but I just don't know anybody that, that woke up one day and said, I want to be at. And that's all I need to carry me all the way through. Most of them have failed more times than most of us. And I think that's part of it because that means they take more, took more shots and they tried more things.

[00:43:56] And, there's the other idea that really successful people were born that way.

[00:44:00] And I don't think that's true at all. In fact, most of them. Like I said, have failed more times than the average person, because they were willing to try. And so what distinguished them is the idea of what's like you, you're working at Disney great job, great company.

[00:44:17] But you had other things you wanted to try and you were willing to try it. And so had it not gone well, you still would've learned a ton. You still would have gained a lot of skills that would've taken you somewhere else. The fact that it did work well, that's cool too, but it's because you were willing to try and expand beyond whatever.

[00:44:34] Just the one thing was that you were doing. But it was, you didn't have the dream to take over the world. You just said, you know what? I think I could do this. Let's see where this takes me and what I learned along the way. And probably the last one I will say is that for a lot of successful people, their goals tend to evolve and expand as they go along.

[00:44:54] Because when you're first starting out. All you can do is set a goal based on what you've seen other

[00:45:00] people do. Cause you're not there. So you set that, but then as you go along, you realize that, okay. But I really like this part of whatever this is, I'm pursuing. Don't really like that part as well. So I'll shape my goal a little bit, then I'll evolve my goal.

[00:45:14] And then at some point you reach a place where maybe the goal you set, oddly enough. Wasn't big enough because you didn't realize, that you had the capability and the potential to go beyond that. And to figure things out that would allow you to do that. So I guess the last thing that I would say is that whenever you pick a goal, you don't have to be a slave to it.

[00:45:36] You don't, it doesn't have to be immutable. It can be something that evolves, and shapes and changes. Where you run into trouble as if your goal is. I'm holding my hand in front of my face in case people can't see. But if your goal is up at your forehead and because you get lazy and it seems like it's too hard and you let it drift down to below your chin, that's a different type of shifting

[00:46:00] goal.

[00:46:00] That isn't necessarily a positive one, but if it expands and unfolds as you go and you learn about yourself and what you like to do and what you're capable of, that's how it should be.

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[00:49:49] I love that. I'm going to give an example because my experience with my side hustle, turning into my business is exactly like this. So at first I was like three years ago, it was like, all right, I'm going to start a podcast. I'm going to start a

[00:50:00] podcast. I've had radio experience. I know how to do this.

[00:50:02] I'll just figure it out. Then two years later, I'm like my podcast is picking up steam. Everybody's asking me, who does my videos? I'll start making videos for other people. I've got a team of volunteers. We'll start making videos, then that turned into all right. I'm going to manage LinkedIn profiles.

[00:50:17] And that turned into, I landed a huge client and I got to hire all these people. Then it turned into all right, we'll do YouTube. We'll do podcasting. We'll do this. That now we're a full service agency, 70 people all over the world. It's crazy how a little idea. I want to start making videos for people turned into a full service marketing and podcast agency, and it was all just layered and I'm still growing it.

[00:50:38] I started a podcast network every month is a new idea that we just keep adding on to this original small idea. I have a podcast.

[00:50:46] Jeff Haden: And the cool part about that is that the ideas, come from a foundation and for mastery, not from just dreaming it up and saying. You know what a podcast net work would be really awesome.

[00:50:58] You didn't figure that out until

[00:51:00] you realize that. Wait a minute, I do know a lot about building and growing a podcast. That I can probably help other people with, like all those other things. So your ideas came not from just dreaming them up, but from effort and mastery and skill expansion. And then that allowed you to look around and say, okay, what can I do with what I have?

[00:51:21] And that's a lot of people get that backwards. They think, what do I want to have now? How do I figure out how to do that versus, I know I wanted to do more than what I'm doing. And so here's an area of interest. So let me get really good at this. And then let me see where that takes me. And it will always take you to places that you could not have imagined.

[00:51:39] Not because it's some fluffy tree hook. I don't know that sounded very like mystical. It'll take you to places you didn't imagine, because you had no way of imagining, them because you didn't have the skills and the foundation to allow you to see that those things were possible. Cause you didn't know, I hate this phrase, but you didn't know what you didn't know and you can't learn what you don't know until you do things

[00:52:00] and learn something.

[00:52:01] Hala Taha: I love that. Let's talk about the time that it takes to start something new, because I think this is a really important point. You want to start something new, but you have all these commitments you're distracted. And at the end of the day, you need to build in time to try something new, to learn something new.

[00:52:17] So what are your top tips in terms of reducing distractions, in terms of making time to fulfill the process that you're supposed to do every single day for your new goal?

[00:52:27] Jeff Haden: Probably my biggest one is to redefine, how you think of me time? Where people say, oh, I need some me time. Whatever that is.

[00:52:34] So if me time is. Wow, this is going to sound really harsh. So forgive me. But if may time is, and there's nothing wrong with us watching Netflix or hanging out and chilling or whatever that is, if that's the main time that you have. That's cool, but that's not necessarily productive time in building some other skill.

[00:52:53] You don't have to use it differently, but if you're saying I have other things I want to do. I have a side hustle. I

[00:53:00] want to start whatever that might be. Then what you need to say to yourself is my me time is actually, that's me time working on my side hustle is me time. And if you think about it, in terms of I'm going to learn. I'm going to grow. I'm going to develop. I'm going to expand.

[00:53:17] I'm going to do something positive in my life. When that that's probably the best definition of me time that you could actually have is that, wow, this has the ability to change my life in a positive way. And so that's probably my big one is just to redefine. What may time means to you? So when I was working full time and trying to build some writing career, my me time was working on that.

[00:53:41] And so, when it started to pay off for me. It was like, okay I'm missing some other things, but I'm not really missing the family time. Cause I protected that, I'm not missing some exercise time and some health time. Cause I protected that, what I'm really missing is stuff that I don't know, it's a snack, it's not a good meal.

[00:53:59] So is

[00:54:00] that a bad thing? I was missing junk food if you want to think of it in terms of that, and really, I, it was much more fulfilling to be things that, to do things that made me feel better about myself. And again, if you're not willing to sacrifice, you're chilling, hanging out, vegging lounging, whatever it is, time in order to do something else.

[00:54:19] Then whatever that something else is doesn't mean enough to you. And so that's cool.

[00:54:25] Hala Taha: If I could just add to this, just to help people understand that this can be temporary. So when I was building my podcast, building my side hustle for almost three and a half years. I did not turn on the TV to your point.

[00:54:37] The thing that I enjoyed was working on my podcast and working on my business. I literally didn't turn on the TV now, that I was able to quit my regular marketing job. I have people working for me. Things are great. I watched a season of tabla, so it can be temporary. You know what I mean? And it doesn't have to last forever, but you need to sacrifice.

[00:54:58] Vegging out to your

[00:55:00] point for a period of time and it doesn't have to be forever, but you do need to put in the time in order for somebody to actually happen.

[00:55:06] Jeff Haden: And that, that raises a really good point because as you get better at whatever else it that you're doing, then you're more efficient. You're more effective, it's more automated, it's more effortless.

[00:55:16] It's all of those things. And you spend less time per output measurement, than you did in the beginning. And it does. And then you can either apply that to improving that even more, or it frees you up some time for some of those other things as well. So it's a really good point that the first few months it is going to feel like that's all you do in your non day job time.

[00:55:41] But it gets better, because you get better. And so knowing that going in is really important because there are dark days at first. Where you think, wow, this is really hard. And I don't know if I'm ever going to get there and look at all these things I'm missing, but it does get better if you hang in there.

[00:55:56] One of my favorites for that. Is I call it the two

[00:56:00] week rule. If you're going to start anything, that's hard. If you think that's what you want to do, then you really need to commit to doing it for two weeks. Whatever your process is, just say, you know what, no matter what, I'm going to do this for two weeks.

[00:56:12] And it's, the reason is simple. The first couple of days are terrible because you're not good at it. You don't know what you're doing. It feels like a struggle. It's really hard. And if you measure yourself after two days, you're going to quit because it's oh, can't do it. But if you give yourself two weeks, by the end of that time, you will have improved.

[00:56:31] You will have gotten better. You will know more about what you're doing. You'll have gotten a little bit of fulfillment and satisfaction, and you'll at least be able to say, you know what. Yeah, I can start to see, I can see how this is starting to work. I can see where I'm improving, then you can make an informed decision about, but does this really something I want to do?

[00:56:49] You, if you decide that on day two, when it's really dark, everything you try. You will decide you don't want to do because it's too dark. So the two week rule is a big thing,

[00:57:00] as far as time management stuff. The other thing that I would say, because it can sound like what I'm saying is that you need to be 24 7 working, and I don't think that's healthy or long-term productive.

[00:57:11] You probably have to work more than you are now just by default or else you'll lose your full-time job. And then what will you do? Cause you still have to kick ass at your full-time job, while you're doing it. But the one that I think would be really important is that you have to. And this sounds too robotic, but it's not, you have to actively schedule your free time.

[00:57:33] You have to say to yourself, okay. I know I've have a full-time job. And I know I'm going to spend a few hours tonight working on. If it's you working on your podcast in your early days. But I've got other time in there. So what am I going to do with that? That is the best use of that time. Whether it's family time or friend time or whatever it may be, but you have to jealously protect that just as much as you're protecting the time that you're spending on the work stuff.


[00:58:00] So if you don't have a plan for that. Then you're probably going to fritter it away. It's not going to feel very fulfilling. And then after a little while, you're gonna look around and say, wow, I never, I'm not spending time with my family. I'm not seeing my friends and not whatever it is. That's important to you because when you get to those times, you won't be ready.

[00:58:18] You'll just be like. What are we going to do? Do y'all have anything you want to do, but if you've actively protected it and scheduled it in your mind. Then when you get there. It's oh, cool. This is my X time. I'm going to do these things it'll feel good. People will feel better about you if it's people things, because it was active and fulfilling and meaningful and you were focused.

[00:58:41] So that's a big one too, is schedule your work time and be really good at that. But go ahead and plan for your non-work time in a good way. Not in a, I have to play, you say that and people think, wait a minute, I got to plan my free time. That sucks. I don't want to have to do that well but it's okay if you think, okay, I

[00:59:00] want to go out to dinner tonight with two friends.

[00:59:01] We're going to do that on Tuesday night. That's going to be awesome. That's a great plan. Or if it's, I want to take the kids to do or we're just going to go outside. Whatever it is. It's a good plan. It's not a restrictive plan. It's a good plan because you're being intentional about your life and the best way to feel good about your life is to be intentional about it. And to do the things that make you happiest or more fulfilled or whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.

[00:59:28] Hala Taha: I love that. So there's a couple of things in terms of time management that you mentioned in your book that were really interesting. So one of them was to fire one of your friends, and you also say that you should cut an expense, and drop a personal commitment. So I'd love to talk about some.

[00:59:44] Jeff Haden: So we'll do the fire of the friend last.

[00:59:46] So the kind of personal commitment, as I started to get a little bit more of a profile. And some kind of public something, whatever you want to call it. People would ask me to do lots of stuff, and it would be right for this, or do a speaking

[01:00:00] engagement here or whatever it is, and not always where they paid.

[01:00:05] I don't know they did. They serve my ego, is the best way to put that as I look back. It's oh yeah, I'll do that. And I'm cool. And I got to a point where. Wait a minute this does nothing for me. The people that I'm doing it for it don't really appreciate it. I don't really enjoy it.

[01:00:18] And so I realized that there were things that I was doing that weren't really advancing me either professionally or personally. And so I thought I need to stop doing that. Why am I doing that? Just because it serves my ego. Anything you do strictly for ego is a waste of time. And so all of us have some sort of commitments, that we have that we do just because we think it makes us look good to other people.

[01:00:45] I don't, whatever it is. And so if you need more time. Those are the first things that you cut because your ego doesn't matter. Your output and the impact you make is what matters, not the reflection of yourself. That you think you see in other people's eyes

[01:01:00] because they don't really care. So that would be that one, cut an expense.

[01:01:04] The tricky part. When you start a business, is that you never have enough money. Even if you have a full-time job. And it's really easy for expense creep to occur. And suddenly you look around and you've got subscriptions of this, and you've got, five apps you're using. You have all these things that you think are designed to make you more efficient and effective, but all they do is cost money and they cause you to change.

[01:01:28] What is optimal for you in order to interact? With whatever that function is. So I don't know a lot of people try personal finance apps. And so you end up, you have to put all your data in, you have to log, you have to do all this stuff. And I know a lot of people that have quit using them because they realized that they were running their life based on how the app wanted it to be run, not on what was best for them.

[01:01:50] When I worked in manufacturing. We had a lot of software programs ,that were designed to collect data and monitor a lot of stuff. And they made us less efficient

[01:02:00] because we weren't doing job changeovers in the best way to be fastest, and most accurate we were doing it. So it served the software. And so my boss finally came in and said, all right, this is out, what is the point of this?

[01:02:13] So look around and expenses that you have, that actually one that costs you money that you don't need to spend. But, two that are causing you to live your life or work professionally in some way that is not optimal for you. Because if a tool doesn't make you better. Than what you are than it is at a tool is an impediment.

[01:02:31] And then finally, so fire a friend. There's the old quote that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. That's true. I would take it farther though. And if you think about leading a really busy life, and we talk about time management. Everybody talks about time management, but what rarely gets discussed is energy management.

[01:02:52] And what really matters to you is your ability to manage your energy, and have enough energy that you can go from. One thing to the next

[01:03:00] feeling excited about it. Having some enthusiasm, having the energy to do it well. And there are people in your life who actually negatively impact your energy.

[01:03:11] Some of them might be customers, oftentimes their friends or family. And you have everybody has at least one person, who you interact with them because you either always have, or are supposed to or something. But when you're done. It's oh, that actually drained me. And so if the people around you are not actually making you, they're not helping you generate energy.

[01:03:33] I know this sounds very mystical, but I think hopefully people can get it. If they're not helping you generate energy and in a positive way. And they're actually sucking the energy from you, then maybe they shouldn't be around you quite as much, or you have to figure out a way to interact with them. That doesn't happen.

[01:03:48] Because what you really are limited by is not necessarily time, because time is fixed. We all have 24 hours, but the energy that you have to apply within the time.

[01:04:00] That you're spending doing something that is variable. And depends on how you intentionally ensure that you have some energy to go there.

[01:04:10] And and that's actually a good analysis for whether something that you're doing on the side hustle is a positive thing for you, not just money wise, but fulfillment wise. If it doesn't make you excited, like you were excited to work on your podcast or to work on help people with LinkedIn profiles or all those other things that was actually fun. That gave you energy and you could work longer at it.

[01:04:31] Maybe then your full-time job sometimes because they were fun. And so if what you're doing is a side hustle, generates energy for you. It's a really good sign that you're on the right path. If it's a slog and a struggle, and it almost feels like it drains you to do it. Then that's probably not something that you should pursue and you can.

[01:04:51] Yeah, it may have felt like a passion, but a passion generates energy truly. And if it's not generating energy, then it's

[01:05:00] not really a passion and it's probably something you should a discard. And do something else.

[01:05:05] Hala Taha: I think that's a great point. So my last question, before we wrap this up. By the way I've been a great conversation, is all about self-talk because I think that this is something that we don't speak about enough.

[01:05:16] The fact that the way that we talk to ourselves, while we're trying to achieve our goals is really important. So what is the right way and the wrong way to talk to ourselves. When we're trying to stay on track?

[01:05:28] Jeff Haden: So, I'm not a huge self-talk person in terms of how people usually think of it. Like the, look in the mirror and tell yourself you're awesome.

[01:05:37] Or other things like that. I think you're awesome when you have, how do I say this? Confidence to me comes from success. You, it, you cannot just, all of a sudden decide to be confident, but when you've had successes. Even if they're not in the same field that it is. You feel confident because if nothing else you can say to yourself and here's where I'll get to the

[01:06:00] self-talk, I've done that before.

[01:06:02] That was really hard. It was really difficult. I had to work really hard at it, but I did it. And you know what? I can do this too. It's different, but I can do it too. So the best way to me, and the only self-talk I really use is I will do that. In the course of writing my book, part of what I did from it was a marketing hook, if nothing else, but I decided I was going to do a hundred thousand pushups.

[01:06:28] And so it was a process where it was, 274 day, click them off at the end of the year. I've done a hundred thousand pushups, meaning meaningless goal, but it does prove the power of numbers where if you sit there and you just do things are enough, you can get to a really cool place. So I did that.

[01:06:44] And what was funny about it is it was meaningless, but for a few years afterwards. Whenever I started out on something else, that was really hard. Whether it was physical or work or whatever else. And I would think, oh my gosh, this is going to be terrible. It would just hit me, I

[01:07:00] would think. Yeah, but I didn't a hundred percent, a hundred thousand pushups.

[01:07:03] So I can probably do this too. It's just time and effort. And so my self-talk is when something seems really difficult. It's just time and effort. It's if I put enough effort and I do it over a period of time. I will achieve things that I'm trying to achieve. It's time and effort. And so the self-talk for me is if you do one thing that took a lot of time and a lot of effort and you achieve it. Put it in your pocket, reach out and pull it out.

[01:07:32] Whenever you've got something really hard to do and say, I did that. I can do this too, because I know how to work hard and stay the course and succeed. I know how to do it. I know it's hard. I know there are down times. No, there's up times. It's all part of the process. I did that. I can do this too.

[01:07:52] And so that to me is the best self-talk. But you've got to get yourself through one of those hard things first, and

[01:08:00] that should be part of your goal is to say, I want to achieve this because I want to achieve it. But also this will help build a foundation, which takes us all the way back to where we started for the fact that I know I can now do these things.

[01:08:12] And so you're almost can sell yourself. We talked about using a foundation of proficiency in order to be able to sell people. You can sell yourself because you can say with all honesty, I did that. I can do this too. And then you will stack those things up. And before long you will look at everything, not as, can I do this, but do I want to do this?

[01:08:38] Because if I do, I know that through time and effort, I can do that. And that's a really cool place to be in your life. When you can say, when you don't have to say, can I, but do I want to, because I know if I try, I can.

[01:08:53] Hala Taha: Oh, I love that. So the last question that I ask all my guests is what is your secret to profiting in [01:09:00] life?

[01:09:00] Jeff Haden: I don't know if I'm smart enough to have a secret, but I would say. If we use the word profit to mean feel good about yourself, and feel successful in however you choose to define success. Then try to make, as many of your goals have as many different layers to them as possible. So if it's a financial goal, then hopefully it also has a, maybe a family goal or a personal achievement goal or a lifestyle goal or something else that the more goals can operate on multiple levels.

[01:09:32] The more likely you are to work hard at them. A good example of that is as I've reached a point where I've had some level of success. I get to blend things that I want to write about. Like I get to write about things that I'm personally interested. For instance, I like motor racing. So I write a lot about that and I've gotten to meet a lot of drivers and a lot of team owners and a lot of, lots of people in the sport.

[01:09:54] And so I enjoy it personally because it's an area of interest, but it also benefits me

[01:10:00] professionally because that's how I get paid. And so I've done the same thing with athletes and entertainers and musicians and people I've wanted to meet. I get to talk to really cool people because I've reached that place.

[01:10:12] And so the fact that I write about it is a fun byproduct, but I enjoy the conversations and I always learn something in it. It's really neat to do. And so when a goal can fulfill you or satisfy you or whatever it is, A variety of levels then that's great. And so if you're, I don't know, twenty-five years old and you're a junior supervisor somewhere and you say that sounds really good for you. How am I supposed to do that?

[01:10:38] If one of the things that you enjoy is helping other people. If you're a supervisor, you can do that all day long, because you can develop people. You can put them in positions to succeed. You can introduce them to other folks. You can help the network. There's a lot of ways in doing your job, that you can also enjoy that personal

[01:11:00] gratification that comes from the fact that you helped people.

[01:11:02] And it'll make you a better supervisor, because if you do those things for your people. Your team will succeed at a better level than other folks. And so all you have to do with whatever you're doing is take a step back and say, okay, how can I make this work for me? Not just as it's supposed to work for whatever this is, But in other ways that make me feel good about myself.

[01:11:23] And if you can do those things, then everything you do brings you more quote, unquote profit, because you're dipping into multiple. Here's another cheesy analogy, but you're dipping into multiple revenue streams that all come back to you. So that would probably be my biggest one is to just not say, I want to do X here's what I'll get out of X.

[01:11:42] It should be, I want to do X. What are all the things that I can get about that out of that, that are meaningful to me and that are fulfilling and gratifying to me. And it's, you can pretty much find that in anything you have to do. If you're willing to look hard.

[01:11:58] Hala Taha: I think that's brilliant advice.

[01:12:00] And I think merging all those passions is so key to staying motivated, staying happy with what you're doing, and it switches things up keeps you entertained as you're going along this path and this career.

[01:12:10] So Jeff, where can our listeners learn more about you and everything that you do.

[01:12:15] Jeff Haden: If after all this, they want to hear even more from me. I write for Inc, I'm a contributing editor there. And so it's Inc magazine. And also I don't do much social media. I am on LinkedIn and I do respond to people.

[01:12:28] Sometimes it takes me a while, but I do if you write or want to connect, I will. And it, I will eventually get to it. I promise. So that would probably be the biggest one.

[01:12:37] Hala Taha: Amazing. Thank you so much for this conversation and for all your wisdom.

[01:12:40] Jeff Haden: Thanks. Thanks for having me. I really enjoy.

[01:12:44] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to my conversation with Jeff. We talk a lot about motivation work ethic and time management on Young And Profiting Podcast.

[01:12:53] So having an expert on Jeff was super valuable. Jeff shared his journey and we found a lot to connect on

[01:13:00] with the beginning of our careers. Like me. He wants worked a full-time job in corporate, but he knew his passions were elsewhere. Even though he was great at his job. He wanted to be a writer, but he didn't know how to break into the scene.

[01:13:14] Ultimately it was his wife that found him his first job. And that's a great point that Jeff talked about finding success often takes having the correct support system around you, whether that's in your partner or your friends. Sometimes it can take a push from someone else to bring out the best in us.

[01:13:33] I loved when Jeff talked about how we set goals and measure ourselves. Our perspective dictates so much of how we feel. So Jeff recommends finding ways to break your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks, shifting our perspective to appreciate smaller wins instead of just large accomplishments. When you achieve a small goal, make it a point to celebrate it. Especially if it's something you wouldn't celebrate.

[01:13:59] Typically

[01:14:00] because those small wins lead to motivation. The conventional view of motivation is if you fire someone up enough, they're going to go out and achieve whatever their target is. Traditionally, they say achieving success is all about generating the right mindset, and that motivation will trigger you to succeed basically.

[01:14:19] But Jeff's book and perspective on The Motivation Myth. Overturns this idea that motivation leads to success. Instead it tells us that small successes lead to constant motivation. Jeff believes that motivation is a result. It's not the spark or trigger that gets you started on your next project. Real motivation comes after you start.

[01:14:40] Motivation is the pride you take in the work you have already done, which fuels you to do even more. Motivation stems from success and fuels more success. So the only thing you need to do to succeed is just have one small victory to get a head start. Then you just follow the loop. Jeff calls this the

[01:15:00] motivation cycle or the motivation feedback loop.

[01:15:02] The cycle goes something like this. A small success leads to some motivation which leads to another success and even more motivation, which leads to another success. And even more motivation you get the idea. That's why motivation. Isn't something you have. Motivation is something you get from yourself.

[01:15:22] Automatically from feeling good about achieving small successes. Success is there for a process. Success is repeatable. It's predictable. And it has less to do with hoping and praying and more to do with diligently, doing the right things, the right way over and over again. When you constantly do the right things, success is predictable.

[01:15:44] And speaking of doing the right things, you need to make time for that. When I was starting YAP I had to make so many sacrifices in my personal life, or that was missing. My friend's birthdays are not watching any TV at all, or cutting back on little luxury so I could

[01:16:00] invest in my business, but I persevered and have accomplished so much because of that.

[01:16:04] So I'm glad that Jeff touched on ways to make more room in our lives for the goals we're looking to achieve. His first step is to cut out activities or commitments that only serve our ego for Jess. This meant turning down speaking opportunities, that didn't pay well or that he didn't have any emotional connection to in the past.

[01:16:24] He would say yes, because it would stroke his ego. But by saying no, he freed up time to dedicate to writing. For me, this meant turning down being interviewed on other podcasts, over the last year for a while, I would say yes to every single podcast or who asked me on their show. I just want it to support everyone.

[01:16:43] So I gave out my time, like it was candy, but I realized that this was not sustainable. And I stopped having any free time because I was going on so many shows. So I started putting boundaries around it and only went on select shows that had a big audience that were really worth

[01:17:00] my time. Learning to say no will not only help you save time in life, but also can help you become more introspective and humble.

[01:17:08] The second step is to cut out unnecessary expenses. This can be streaming services, financial apps, or other subscriptions that may be distracting, instead of actually helping you be productive, cutting out. Some of those things will save you money and also help you to stay focused. His last piece of advice on time management was to fire a friend.

[01:17:28] No, we're not saying to just remove people in your life at random, but instead look at the people you've surrounded yourself with. Is there anyone that you find yourself feeling exhausted after spending time with, or that drains your energy? Is there someone that you find doesn't support you in the way, that you support them?

[01:17:46] Then it may be time to let them go and to quote unquote, fire them to protect your mental health, your energy and your passion. I really enjoyed this conversation with Jeff and I had a lot of

[01:18:00] takeaways. I'm going to take action on right away. And I hope that you take action too, by remembering to enjoy the process and to take time to celebrate those small wins. Especially now that the secret to find and sustain your motivation.

[01:18:15] You guys can find me on social media on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn. Just search for my name. It's Hala Taha. If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to drop us a five-star review on your favorite podcast platform. Big thanks to the YAP team as always. This is Hala signing off.

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