I’ll never forget the day I met one of my heroes. I was attending a Strategic Coach workshop in Los Angeles, and spotted who I thought “might” be him, but I wasn’t sure. I had only seen his picture online, so I wasn’t certain that it was actually him.
I quickly turned to my colleague, “Is that Joe Polish?”
It was, and on the next break, I approached Joe to tell him how much I appreciated the value that he added to my life and to the world.
I figured that’s what a hero would want to know.
Why is Joe one of my heroes?
Because he cares deeply about people, and he consistently uses the extraordinary success he’s achieved to help as many people as he possibly can.
From addiction and abuse as a child, to growing one of the most successful marketing businesses on the planet, Joe Polish has lived the struggle – and has had amazing success in spite of it.
That is why I’m so excited to have him as a featured BYEB Instructor live at next month’s “Entrepreneur Day” during this year’s Best Year Ever [Blueprint] LIVE Experience. Click here to see how you can join us and learn from Joe – in person!
In today’s conversation, Joe talks with Jon Berghoff about how he overcame severe childhood trauma and became a best-selling author who works with entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and Tim Ferriss – and how the two relate to each other.
- Why pain, struggles, and challenges are actually the prerequisites for great success.
- The key mindsets that got Joe where he is today and how they can help you with your goals both professionally and personally.
- Why being good at something isn’t enough and why marketing and sales are the keys to getting paid as an entrepreneur.
- Why developing a “rare and unique skill” is more important than chasing the latest or greatest business opportunity.
- The 4 things that help addicts break the cycle and why they are essential for your own success.
- And MUCH more…
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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- Genius Network
- Genius Recovery
- The Book of Survival: The Original Guide to Staying Alive in the City, the Suburbs, and the Wild Lands Beyond
- Is Selling Evil?
- The Power of Addiction and The Addiction of Power: Gabor Maté
- Dr. Patrick Carnes, Leading Sex Addiction Expert, Video Interview
- Artists For Addicts
CONNECT WITH HAL
Jon: So, Joe, hey, welcome to the Miracle Morning Community. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. Thanks for being here.
Joe: Yeah. Great to be here with you, Jon.
Jon: Joe, I’ve been a follower from afar as I just said for quite a while of the work that you do. I know you’ve got a background in marketing. You have The Genius Network which we could talk all about these things. You have a passion for helping entrepreneurs in recovery. I’ve also come to notice just through what I’ve heard about Hal and what I’ve heard about others who are part of your network that you also, you’ve got a passion for connecting people to ideas that are going to make a big impact in the world. It’s not just helping people to grow their bottom line. So, selfishly, I love everything that I’ve heard about and now here I get to hear directly from you which is even better. So, again, thanks for being here and my understanding, just correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is you’re going to be at our Best Year Ever Blueprint Event in three weeks or four weeks. Is that right?
Joe: I will be there presenting.
Jon: Yeah. That’s awesome. Thank you for that. Well, Joe, where to start? So, I mean, I’ll throw a question up there and as I’ve said to guests before, you really can start wherever you want. You can ignore my question and you can go wherever you want but for me and for our community who many of them might know of you but those who are like me who haven’t connected or followed you for a long time, tell us about the Joe Polish journey in a nutshell. How did you get from wherever you were to wherever you are today? Who is Joe Polish?
Joe: You know, there are the business aspects of it like how did I start and grow a business and I’ll talk a little bit about that but how did I get into what I’m doing today with the things related to addiction and recovery. Most people do what they do based on some sort of life experience with it and I certainly, growing up, the short version of my childhood was my mother passed away when I was four years old from cancer. She was a former nun. She had left the convent because she had gotten ill and she ended up – she was still very Catholic, but she wrote some of the very first books teaching children how to read using the phonetic method and I grew up going to Catholic school. Now, how that relates to my life is that my father never remarried. He lost the love of his life. He was very tormented. So, we moved around our entire childhood every couple of years. And so, I was a very shy, introverted kid. As soon as I started establishing some relationships which were always difficult for me to do, we would uproot, and we would move somewhere else.
So, I don’t remember much of my childhood being very happy. It was mostly scary, and I was molested as a kid. I was paid money not to say anything about it and this is from someone that I knew and that was very traumatizing. I didn’t know how to process that when you’re between the ages of 8 to 10 years old. But what it did is it left some deep shame, definitely, no self-esteem, low self-esteem, a sense of the world is not safe, you can’t trust anyone. And so, as a teenager I became a heavy user of drugs so it’s on and off, getting high, smoking pot daily. Back then I used to keep a bong in my locker in high school and it was kind of crazy. It’s much harder than in most high schools today and good thing they didn’t have smart phones and cameras and things because some of the stuff that would’ve been captured on video back then was horrendous. So, basically, that led to harder drugs. I started taking speed, snorting crystal meth, snorting cocaine, and then by the time I was 18 years old I was freebasing cocaine. I was smoking coke and at my worst state, I weighed 105 pounds when I was 18 years old and being a male that’s 5’10” you can imagine that is pretty skinny. So, I nearly died from just the sheer amount of drugs that I was doing, and I looked in the mirror and saw a skeleton. I mean, basically, I was just so just badly addicted.
And when you’re in that sort of situation in life, everyone you’re hanging out with, your whole circle is around the addiction and if you’re a successful person, you tend to hang out with successful people, whatever, we’ll define my version what I think success is because people usually think of it as money but I know a lot of people that are very wealthy that aren’t very happy and I’ve certainly have learned, you know, I run a multimillion dollar company. Now, however, back then it was just there’s a lot of pain and so I used the drugs as a form of escape. And so, I was in a bad situation. I was living with very dangerous and toxic roommates and one day I just left because I knew if I didn’t, I would probably not be around very long. And I lived in a trailer for a couple of years in Las Cruces, New Mexico, started going to college but I never got a degree in anything, but I got clean and I got sober and I got a job at a health club and I started selling gym memberships and I became very good. And I started exercising for the first time because growing up I was never into sports because around the same time that I was getting molested, I actually had a sadistic little league coach that would force me to hold the baseball bat in a certain way where I couldn’t hit the ball. If I leaned back, I could hit the ball, but he would force me to try to hold it up right as if I was using wrong form and I couldn’t play the game that way. I couldn’t hit the ball.
And so, I quit. And I was a skinny, shy kid and all the other kids in the Little League team would start bullying me and making fun of me and literally trying to beat me up and it just created this dislike of sports and so I never to this day have been a big sports fan. I don’t dislike sports but I’ve never been a big follower of it although it’s funny is I have a lot of personal friends that are professional NFL players. Now what I do for a living I know all kinds of people. So, that sort of stuff was going on and so when I moved away, and I got clean and I started selling, I realize well, there’s more money in selling than there is in non-selling activities, right?
Joe: But it didn’t teach me anything about being an entrepreneur yet. What it did teach me though is how to actually start thinking about selling and starting to look at getting ahead. Now I ended up meeting a guy at the gym who ran a mental hospital and he ended up hiring me and I became a mental health tech. And so, when I was lurking at this mental hospital, I would end up driving some of the patients to AA meetings and NA which was Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Now I would sit in on those meetings not realizing how beneficial that was going to become to me in my life and later in life. So, after a couple of years, no degree in college. I’ve moved back to Arizona and I kind of gotten involved in just trying to figure out how to make a business even thinking about business. So, I tried a couple of things that I failed at and I won’t give you the whole long story because there was a lot of crazy shit that still went down when I came back to Arizona. But what ended up happening though is I had a friend from high school who talked to me into starting a carpet cleaning business with him and I had saved up money from I was in New Mexico. One thing I did leave out is when I was there, before I got a job at a health club, I actually delivered papers in a truck because they had adults that would have like deliver physical newspapers and they would drive around neighbors. And that was my first job right when I got to New Mexico because, I mean, I was used to staying up all night anyway because I used to do drugs. So, that was like…
Jon: You were preparing. You didn’t know it.
Joe: Yeah. Exactly. So, I did save up a couple of thousand dollars and I came back to Arizona and I ended up starting a carpet cleaning company and what ended up happening was it was very hard. And after a couple of months of having a partnership with my friend, I took him off the bank account because he was basically getting drunk and high every night and here I was, sober and just trying to make this business work. So, for two years I struggled with a small carpet cleaning business and I went into that. I went about $30,000 in debt on credit cards because, damn it, there was something inside of me that just wanted to be a business owner. And it’s hard to explain what that is. People are like, “What did you do? How did you figure it out?” You get bloody. You bumble your way through life. You have no clue what you’re doing. I mean, that’s how some people figure it out. Give them a choice of eating or starving, most people don’t starve.
And so, I was stuck with this equipment, a business card that says I was a professional and I was frustrated. So, one thing I started doing because I had another friend from high school. Back then I still had in my early 20s, I had relationships with people out of high school. Now there are very few people that I went to high school with that I have in my life, only a couple that I still will see on a semi regular basis. And by the way, I need to mention that and the reason I bring this up is not because, look, I mean everyone has their own cross to bear. I live in America. I live in the great country. I’m not starving in some Third World country. There are people that have dealt with things that are so horrendous that I couldn’t even imagine. And so, when I say things it’s not because, oh, for me or whatever. I mean, we all have some struggles and challenges in our life. I just want to offer some perspective that I didn’t just become born into what I do today and running to what a lot of people consider a very successful company and I know a lot of “famous and successful people.” There was a path in a process and a lot of mistakes and things that led to this.
So, I’ll do my best as we talk here to kind of share what can be useful and also give people perspective that if you feel like your life is not working, there are parts of your life that aren’t working and there are parts of your life that are. And most progress comes out of things that don’t work because there are parts of life that don’t work and there are parts of life that do work. And if your life always works, if everything was always functional, people wouldn’t even know what happiness is. People wouldn’t even know what contrast is. So, most great things come out of adversity and they come out of struggle if you’re able to transform pain into progress. If you’re able to learn the lessons, if you’re able to course correct and having your heartbroken and going bankrupt and struggling and having challenges, most of the people that have made the most progress in life, if you really look at their lives, there’s always been pain points. There have always been things that they have to go through. So, I talk about it simply to give perspective and I recently gave a talk in front of a lot of people and I asked the room. I said, and I’ll come back to what I’m saying. I jump around a lot but I can track it.
Jon: It’s not the first time on the Achieve Your Goals Podcast.
Joe: I’m sure. You’re dealing with crazy entrepreneurs all the time. They’re all alike, all of them. So, it’s part of the deal for some of them. So, I asked the room, I go, “How many of you are worth $1 million?” A couple of people raise their hand. I’m like, “How many of you are worth $1 billion?” No one raises their hand and I said, “How many of you in the audience here would give me your eyeballs right now for $1 million? Anyone just maybe hand over those eyeballs you got?” And no one raised their hand. I’m like, “Anyone, give me their eyeballs for a billion dollars?” No one raised their hand. I’m like, “What about your thumbs? Maybe you just whack off those thumbs and give me your thumbs? Pull out your tongue and just chop off your tongue and give me – maybe your ankle was worth a million dollars? Anyone?” Now all of a sudden people are like, “What the hell is this guy saying?” But I’m like, “Well, you know, if you wouldn’t give $1 million for your eyeballs, you kind of like these things. The fact that you can see. I mean, imagine someone that has to get through life without hearing, without the ability to talk or someone that’s blind.” People forget just how resourceful they are with what they’re sitting on and you look at a guy like Hal who has just gone through some incredible health challenges. So, you’re talking about goals and achievement on the podcast here. There’s that whole saying that he who has their health has a thousand dreams, 4,000 goals. Not have their health has only one.
And so, you’re laid up in a hospital bed. You’re not going to be aspirational. You’re focused on surviving and if you’re such in physical pain or mental pain, that’s very challenging. And so, part of it is when you are in a place where you can get up and you can function throughout the day and you’re not in deep physical pain, if you’re in debt, okay, great. You have debt but it’s a challenge but it’s also an opportunity. And a lot of times people will magnify just how difficult things are and I have a friend, Dave Kekich, who’s been in a wheelchair for over 35 years in his life and he says, “Things are seldom as bleak as they seem when they’re going wrong or seldom as great as they seem when they’re going well. Lighten up. Live longer.” He’s in a wheelchair. He cannot have sex. He cannot walk. I mean, it takes him an hour to set up things in order for his body to be able to use the restroom. Most people don’t have to deal with that sort of stuff. So, when you see people that have gone through incredible adversity, that’s why one of the main reasons that I like Hal is not just the Miracle Morning and the fact that he is a motivating guy and an incredible speaker because he’s all that. It’s when you see someone that has to face with shit that can kill you physically, mentally, spiritually and you question like why and you can still maintain that attitude, you can still work, you can still believe, I mean, that’s someone to really admire, really to look up to. Because anyone that has their life together or doesn’t have a lot of challenges can pontificate about self-help stuff and about how go and make – I see a lot of these young people that they finally start making a little bit of money and they think, it’s like the whole – or someone who’s born into it. They’re born on third base and they think they hit a triple. It’s that sort of stuff.
And so, like I like people that have been through the shit and I like seeing how they transformed it. Because to me, that’s inspirational and I’m not saying that everyone, believe me, I’m not trying to tell people their lives should have train wrecks in order for them to be successful. As a matter of fact, hopefully, I can help people avoid some of the craziness. The fact is though if you’re going through a hard time wherever you’re at and everyone here is, silent battles are the hardest things to fight. And as my friend, Joe Stumpf, has really helped me get a lot of perspective on. In order to have public victories, you usually have to have a lot of private victories. And so, the pain and the difficulties and the challenges are actually the prerequisites for you having great success. People think why can’t my life work? Well, if your life is kind of fucked up right now, in that fucked-up-ness and hopefully it’s okay for me to use this language, there actually is the seeds for you to transform something if you don’t try to do it alone. So, the three-step worry plan by my buddy, Ned Hallowell, don’t worry alone. Get the facts and have a plan. For instance, if you have cancer, don’t worry about it alone. Get the facts. Figure out what’s going on with you and then have a plan. Create a plan. And so, that’s why communities are important. I know that people are listening to me on a community right now. And whatever that community is, online, in person is the very best way that you can connect but that’s all very valuable.
So, let me go back to my story of what was the transformation for me. So, here I have this carpet cleaning business. I was struggling but I really wanted to make it work and I had a friend from high school named Pat. And so, he called me up and he’s like, “Would you like to go on jet skiing this weekend?” When you’re broke, you don’t have any discretionary income. So, I was like, “Well, I really can’t go this weekend. I have a lot of work to do,” and that, of course, was sort of my protection of I don’t really have any money and I’m in debt and I’m trying to figure out how to get out of this and I would love to go jet skiing but it’s kind of hard to do when you’re broke, and you can barely pay for food. And so, he said to me, “Well the guy that owns the jets skis is this multimillion-dollar real estate investor,” and so that piqued my interest, “Oh, there’s some wealthy guy. Maybe I can go talk to this dude.” So, I agreed to go on a jet ski trip and I live in Arizona. I drove out in this beat up pickup truck that I had to Saguaro Lake. And there was this guy that was the wealthy real estate investment, my buddy Pat and then this real estate guy’s friend, and there were two jet skis.
So, I finally had an opportunity to sit on the tailgate of a pickup truck talking to this wealthy real estate investor who I knew nothing about other than what I’ve heard from Pat. And I said to him, “I hear you do really well in business and I have a small carpet cleaning business and I’ve been doing it for a while. I’m trained, I’m certified but it’s a really hard business and I’m wondering if you have any advice that you can give me on what other sort of business or industry I can go into where I can make more money?” And he said, “Well, are there other people in your business making money?” And I said, “Well, yeah, there’s a couple of companies in Phoenix that make over a million dollars a year,” and to me, at the time it’s a lot of money. And he goes, “Well, if there are other people that are making money in your business and you’re not, there’s nothing wrong with the business you’re in. There’s something wrong with you.” And I was like, “Well, no, like a lot of these people they’re established. They’ve been around for a long time. They have employees and they’ve been established and a lot of them use bait and switch advertising where they advertise a low price to get in people’s houses and then they do high-pressure selling and I don’t operate that way and this is a really hard business.” And he said, “Well, young man, you’re like most people. You think the grass is always greener on the other side. What you need to do is you need to learn fundamental business skills.” He goes, “Because if you go into another industry, you’re going to spend another six months, another year, another two years learning the technical skills of another business. So, you can go out and repeat the same bad business habits that have caused you to be a failure in this one.”
And of course, what’s going through my mind is like, “Well, this ain’t the motivational speech I was hoping for.” What it made me realize is well, yes, he’s right. So, what he said you need to learn fundamental business skills and he said if you learn how to make a business work then you can take that knowledge and you can apply it to any business. Because if you don’t figure out how to make a business work, you’re going to do what many people do. You’re just going to keep chasing opportunities. It’s the rest what people do. They’re, “Oh, I’m going to go on to this opportunity.” I mean, like you’re about to see like and you’ve already seen it. A bunch of people that are calling themselves blockchain and cryptocurrency experts because someone bought a block or bitcoin or can name the different types of cryptocurrencies and they made a lot of money in a short period of time and all of a sudden everyone is like, “Oh, let me buy,” and guess what? There’s going to be a lot of people to get very wealthy with cryptocurrencies and with blockchain and with this new platform which absolutely will change the world but there’s going to be – it’s like the gold rush days. A lot of people that make the money are the one selling the picks and the shovels, right?
Joe: And so, there’s a lot of that sort of stuff but the fact is there are business principles and there are ways in making things work and if you don’t learn those fundamental skills, you can be an opportunity chaser. And so, a lot of people use passion as an excuse to, “Oh, what am I passionate about? That’s what I want to do,” versus like my friend [2103 Cal Newport who wrote the book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, and his latest book is called Deep Work. He talks about to develop a skill that is rare and valuable, do it in a certain way that gives you what he calls career capital and then once you have career capital when you’re applying a skill that is very valuable then you have control over your life. And so, a lot of people that don’t have control over their life they have not developed a skill yet that is rare and valuable that creates value for others. They learn how to sell it to other people and have some sort of control. So, they say, “I want to be passionate. I want to manifest.” Look, all of that is wonderful. However, if your focus is on passion, your whole emphasis is on what value can the world bring to me because I want to do something that makes me happy versus when you focus on skills, you’re focusing on what value you can bring to the world.
And so, after that jet ski trip, what I did is I drove away, sunburnt as hell but there was a thought that went on in my mind. I’m not the brightest person in the world and let me back up also. I was going to a community college during this process where I was dabbling with my business. And so, I failed owning and operating a small business in Chandler-Gilbert Community College and I got a C minus in Principles in Marketing. I show my actual report card to people when I speak, and I’ll actually do it at the event that I’m speaking at with you guys just to show people – yeah. I’m not making this up. This is my real report card and the fact is I now run the highest-level marketing group in the entire world where people pay $25,000 a year for Genius Network or $100,000 a year for Genius X which is my $100,000-person group and almost all my clients are running multimillion dollar companies. So, you can learn stuff but it’s not going to be instantly and there’s a great Bill Gates quote which says many people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.
And so, one of the things I learned from that jet ski trip is, one, I’m 100% responsible for my success in life. If other people are doing something that I want to do and they’re having success, it’s not the thing that’s the problem. It’s how I’m going about the thing. It’s how I am understanding the thing. There’s a book that was written years ago called The Book of Survival by a guy named Anthony Greenbank and there’s a quote and I remember quotes and dirty jokes. That’s how my brain works. It’s weird. But he basically said that in order to get through an impossible situation, and I may say this wrong, but in order to get through an impossible situation you don’t need the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the mind of an Einstein, the muscles of a Hercules. You simply need to know what to do. And so, whenever we’re in situations that seem impossible but other people have figured it out, it’s because they figured out what to do. They know what to do. So, there are lots of people that are thought leaders. Well, any idiot can have a thought. I’m interested in result leaders. Now I understand the term thought leaders and I’ll use it once in a while when people will ask the question because there are these business buzzwords like monetize. Well, that means make money or pivot. I mean, the shit you were doing before wasn’t working so let’s change direction. So, there are all these Silicon Valley buzz terms which totally crack me up. It’s like whatever.
And so, I like to make fun of it but because like talk like a normal human being. Don’t use $50 words. You don’t need to try and impress people with how smart you are. Frankly, I’m dumb as a box of rocks in most areas and when God was throwing out brains, most of my brains went to how to design marketing campaigns and how to connect with people and not how to figure out the rest of my life. So, there are all kinds of areas where I’m utterly incompetent but there are areas where I’m very skilled and the skill came from learning. The skill came from applications. The skill came from readings. The skill came from hanging out with people that were actually doing it. The skill came from listening. The skill came from stopping things that weren’t working and starting things that were and most of the learning was forced upon me out of areas that didn’t work. And so, that’s the thing where if people can embrace that if you want to reach your goals if you want to achieve that all of the crap in your life is actually the raw material for you to achieve the greater things in life. It’s like manure that’s going to be used as fertilizer. So, don’t get angry at the shit. Just redeploy it as an ingredient. Just redeploy it as a necessary lesson. You’re only going to fail if you fail to lose the lesson with the caveat that if you get killed, you’re dead.
So, there are certain pains that become so bad, you typically cannot recover from them but that’s not most things and even things that seem so, I mean, look at Hal laid up in a hospital bed overcoming what he just spent the last year. And I was with Hal during like a very difficult stage just listening to him and I’m like, “Wow, it’s just fascinating how his mind is able to reinterpret and reapply what he has learned from that and do it in a very productive, very useful way.” So, what I ended up doing is I left that jet ski trip and I had adopted the attitude that if someone else has figured out how to do this and I have not, what the hell did they learn and what are they actually doing and how can I learn? So, that put me on my journey of reading and studying and realize that I live in America. I’m not the smartest guy on the planet. I have a lot of personal problems, but I work hard. I’ve got my limbs. I’ve got a brain. It’s not the greatest brain in the world but I think there are people that seem to be dumber than me and they’re a lot more successful than me. They’re doing something that I don’t know how to do. So, I started reading and, so I started studying. I still didn’t have the answer to my biggest problem on how to make money yet but what I did is I have the mindset. And until you get that sort of mindset, it’s really – like I could teach people.
The reason I’m not talking about a bunch of marketing strategies right now is because people can listen to my podcast, I Love Marketing, and make them learn like everything they would ever need to know and more about specific marketing techniques and all of that. But the reason most people don’t have success with marketing as the example is they underestimate the value of it. They don’t appreciate it. And it’s hard for someone to interact and use a tool or techniques or methods or processes if they don’t have a level of respect and honoring of it in the same way that a person that exercises on a regular basis really has an appreciation of the value of it. So, until you instill the right mindset of why something is important, you’re going to look at – what people are not up on, they’re down on. I mean, if you tell someone, “Oh, I’m a marketer,” what does that mean? You’re in network marketing. You’re a scumbag car salesman that tries to use high-pressure and I’m not saying car salespeople are scumbags. I’m saying like the way that people create prejudice is well, they’ll look at certain people or certain industries where they have a bad experience and all of a sudden, they think, “Oh, selling is bad.”
There’s this great video that has been uploaded to YouTube if you Google, and this is from me, called Is Selling Evil? If you just type, Is Selling Evil, into Google there’ll be pop up several videos. And a lot of it was like B roll footage from when I was being interviewed for a documentary and the guy that asked me a question is selling evil and I just went on this 3-minute-and-50-second rant about selling and the guy that works for me saw this segment and he’s like, “Huh, I’m going to upload that to YouTube and post it,” and he did, and it just took off. And so, now the segment has been played in university classes. Lots of speakers have used it. I did it a few years ago because I talk about DVD players and stuff but the lesson though and it is all how you use it. You can dial – like my favorite definition of selling is getting someone intellectually engaged in a future result that’s good for them and getting them to emotionally commit to take action to achieve that result.
So, you want to paint a bigger picture for someone and you want to do it in a way that’s good for them. Because you can get people intellectually and emotionally engaged in eating crappy fast food, watching pornography, smoking cigarettes, doing things that are damaging but that’s not good for people. Or you can use it to – Martin Luther King was an incredible salesperson. Mother Theresa, John F. Kennedy. Some of the greatest movements in the world people had to persuade others. They had to enroll it. So, think of selling as an influence and think of marketing as storytelling. And until I became good at sales, until I became good at marketing, I first had to sell myself and the number one person that you have to wake up every day and do a sales job on is yourself and that’s why you’re doing things like this podcast. It’s like trying to bring and there are different ways. You have some people you talk to that are going to be super motivational, super positive and then you’ll have people like me that kind of or a mix in between that will talk about different stuff. But at the end of the day, whatever is going to help guide you, direct you and give you sort of a context on how to think about your thinking, that’s what allows you to actually go and progress.
So, here I was. I have this carpet cleaning business. I didn’t yet learn how to market. And a friend gave me a newsletter about marketing written by a guy named Gary Halbert. And I read this newsletter and there was a term that Gary used which was can and clone yourself. And what I learned is that selling is what you do when you’re on the phone or face-to-face with somebody and marketing is what you do to get yourself on the phone or to get someone on the phone or face-to-face with you properly positioned. Because if they’re positioned right then they’re going to be pre-interested, pre-motivated, prequalified and predisposed to give you money. So, instead of advertising price which most people in that business were doing including very low prices, let’s make it sound so unbelievable then we’ll use really low price then we have to go into a home and do high pressure selling and be basically annoying as hell in order to try to sell our services. Now, I didn’t want to do any of that stuff.
So, I was struggling because I wasn’t going to advertise bait and switch. I wasn’t going to do that stuff, but I was trained. I was certified. And the painful lesson and this is one thing I really liked trying to get people to get is that there’s no relationship between being good and getting paid. And it’s hard for people to hear that because if you’re an ethical person, if you really care about people, if you work really hard, if you have good work ethic, that has very little to do, not all the time but most of the time with getting wealthy. Now you can maybe get by. You can maybe make some money but if you want to really succeed, it’s not just being good. Now you can’t suck and get wealthy and have a good reputation. You can suck. You can make a lot of money. People will probably hate you and if you can go to bed at night knowing that you’re being a degenerate, I mean, whatever, you have to be some sort of sociopath or narcissist at a deep level in order to do that and there are plenty of those sorts of people. But if you’re a good caring, honest, helpful, useful, valuable person, whatever value you have that makes you good, if you are good and you’re a good marketer then there’s a huge relationship between being good and getting paid.
And so, I was good at cleaning carpets but I wasn’t good at getting people to hire me to clean their carpets. And so, the thing that got me to that place is marketing. And so, once I started studying it that’s when my life changed. Well, not just studying it. You have to actually apply it. I mean, you can’t go to the gym and just sit on a bench and then not lift the waves and expect any results. Because I’ve been to many 12-step meetings for addiction and people will say, “Twelve steps don’t work,” and I will say, “Well, what do you mean by work? 12 steps is not an attendance program. It’s a step program.” So, going to meetings is one part of it but you go to meetings to learn how to do the steps. And most people that say 12 steps don’t work have never actually done the steps. And people that have done the steps that have relapses and they maybe not done them deeply or they not stayed with it. But for the most part, if you take someone who’s really gone through 12 steps and has done the actual steps and has gotten the sponsor and committed themselves, you will see that their life will improve even if they have no addictions whatsoever. But you don’t go to the gym and sit on a bench and say gyms don’t work. Well people, “Well, marketing doesn’t work.” “Well, what the hell have you actually tried? What do you actually know about it?”
So, anyway, the first thing I did to can and clone myself was I hired a copywriter and I had them write my first consumer’s guide to carpet cleaning and I started teaching people on how to make a buying decision. And once I learned that the best way to sell something to somebody effectively and ethically is teach them what they don’t know that they don’t know, then people will do business with you. So, now I’ve been a total rant and I haven’t given you any opportunities to interrupt because you’re very polite but let me shut up and say if there’s anything you want to ask or say because I can keep rolling along if you prefer.
Jon: Well, first of all, on behalf of our listeners and our viewers, let me just say thank you. And right at this moment, they’re all holding my breath hoping that I just don’t do anything to get in the way of this train of genius that you’re sharing. So, Joe, this is fantastic. Let me react. I also want to acknowledge here. We’re in a live stream and everyone knows I do this. There are some folks, Joe, that you probably can’t see this, but they’re thanking you. They are appreciating. Some friends that you might know. David Osborn said hi, Bill, Lorena, Susan, Dee, Joy, Wendy. You got a lot of folks who are resonating with what you’re sharing. I just want to make sure I call attention to those of you that are calling that out, thank you. That’s awesome. Actually, David’s word is the word I wrote down. For the first part of your story that I just want to appreciate is I think what I hear, for me, is the reminder of how powerful perspective is and I really, really appreciate that. I also want to just, I have to call this out at a tangent, I believe in synchronicity and there are a few folks that just called this out in the chat. They’re like, “Jon, does Joe know you? Do you guys really just meet?” So, Joe, I barely made it out of high school. Selling was my way out of a pretty tough spot in my life. I also sold health club memberships. I also had a carpet cleaning business. I can get a stick of gum out of an office space landing like it’s nobody’s business.
Joe: Gum, that was a pain in the ass to get out.
Jon: So, as you’re telling your story, I wasn’t going to interrupt but I’m sitting there just smiling at the synchronicity there.
Joe: By the way, I got to say something about carpet cleaning. I mean you wouldn’t wear your underwear for six months without washing it so people walking on carpet. And if you ever spill wax on the carpet, you can use a paper bag or you can use an iron and you can transfer the wax into the iron. You know all this stuff. You’ve got a carpet cleaning business. But yeah, I can start teaching people how to clean carpets. I mean screw all these marketing stuff. We can just talk about cleaning carpets.
Jon: That is so great.
Joe: That’s great. And, yeah, also right before we start recording, we spent a couple of minutes talking and you talked about selling Cutco knives and everything. So, absolutely, I mean having to knock on doors and get rejected is a great lesson in building the ability to not take it personally.
Jon: Yeah. Resilience, yeah. So, here’s a couple of questions that came up for me as you are talking, and you could pick any of them or pick none of them and I think our listeners are going to be happy with whatever you do here. So, a couple of thoughts that I had is when you brought us back to your story and when I heard your story, I heard a couple of stages of Joe Polish’s evolution. The first stage of your evolution was there was something that happened where you were able to break through your addiction, and then the next stage is when you figured out your configuration of strengths to create value in the marketplace. I want to go back to just being able to break through addiction and even if people are coming to this podcast and it’s not because they’re consciously thinking, “I’ve got to figure out how to break through addiction.”
To me, I don’t know if I have more respect for a personal transformation than the ability for somebody to turn things around because my imagination and life experience tells me that in that place you are at, I’ll simplify it and say people are really only going to go one or two directions. They’re going to spiral down and you spiraled upwards. And I’d love to know what’s a core essential lesson that you learn? Because even if we didn’t show up today thinking we’re addicted, I would argue. I think I’m addicted to all sorts of things and not necessarily things that we just think about. I think we live in a world today people get addicted to distraction. They get addicted to whatever it is and to me overcoming addiction it’s the ultimate expression of being able to regain some sort of control of our internal world. So, was there a tipping point for you or did it take years to see how our why you were able to get through that? Just curious what comes up when I ask that?
Joe: Here’s what I’ll say, and it usually requires some longer sort of thing in order for me to set context because people will probably judge what I’m saying with whatever perception will come to mind but I’m very open about talking about stuff that I spent years not talking about because I realize more and more that you’re sick as your secrets. Now, if you have a way to talk about it or understand it then I would encourage people to be open about it but there’s a big difference between secrecy and privacy. So, what I’m about to say will be quite shocking to some people because of how open I can be about it and this is not encouraging other people to do the same thing. You have to be really prepared for public disclosures because people will judge you. People will attack you. It could be damaging to certain sort of relationships. You have to understand what it is.
So, the reason that 12 steps was an anonymous program is because the anonymity is what protected people and when you’re an addict, you’re probably filled with a lot of shame, guilt, resentment, confusion. Addicts don’t seek harmony. They seek chaos. There are chemical addictions which would be drugs, alcohol then there’s behavioral addictions, process addictions and addiction can come in the form of food, gambling, internet, sex, achievement, performance addiction. We live in the most addictive culture ever in human history because of electronics, smartphones, staring at screens, algorithms. I mean we are being fed things like gaming in Las Vegas where it just literally can be constant stimulation and dopamine. So, if people were watching this on Facebook live as an example and hearts and likes, I mean all of those things are selfies, porn. I mean there’s a lot of stuff. So, my addiction started with drugs. I got sober from drugs but I had still not gone into the core issues and the trauma which caused the doing of drugs in the first place. So, I’m one of these people that don’t believe you cure addiction. I used to believe that addiction was a brain disease. I’m not saying it isn’t but I’m more of a belief today that addiction is response to trauma.
So, one of my dear friends is Gabor Maté who’s I consider one of the top addiction doctors in the world. You can watch his Ted talk at Gabor Maté. I’m interviewing him live at my conference in two-and-half weeks which we’ll also be interviewing Tony Robbins and I will also be interviewing Randy Zuckerberg, who’s Mark Zuckerberg sister. We’re going to Facebook Live that. So, I mean I have high-level people. This is the first time I’ve ever brought in addiction into a business conference because over the last couple of years I started revealing things because I saw that we live in a world where all of the shits going on and nobody talks about it. I thought well, lots of people talk about it but not a lot of people will talk about it in a way that I see making as big of a change as my impatient, frustrated self. And when I say frustrated self, there’s a side of me that is like people are dying. I mean 69,000 people died of drug overdoses last year. 160 people a day are dying of drug overdose. There are 475,000 people die from cigarettes. The number one killer is sugar. It’s food. And then we have alcohol and then we have cigarettes and then we have opiates and all the kinds of different drugs and most of the drugs that are killing people are legal, being prescribed by doctors with pharmaceutical companies and stuff.
So, what happened for me is I got clean and sober from drugs. The thing that made the biggest difference is exercise and working out and getting into a community. But what happened was I never knew how to do relationships well, intimate relationships that involved sexuality. And when we define intimacy, my favorite definition of intimacy was taught to me which is intimacy is a mutual exploration of a shared safe place. Abuse is anything that takes away the safe place and addiction is what we do to make ourselves feel good when we don’t have a safe place. So, I grew up not feeling safe. I felt abandoned when my mother died although I never use that language until recently because I minimized it. My mother died. Lots of people’s parents die but that was fucking painful to a four-year-old child. How does a child interpret that? Some people have divorces or they’ve had losses, yeah, people can have worse. Somewhat you can break your ankle and then you can look at someone that has no legs or has broken both their legs and say, well, I only broke one leg but it doesn’t make your leg hurt any worse. I mean you still have to deal with your own stuff.
And so, later in life, I literally had a deep sexual addiction because I was molested as a kid. I was paid money for it and somewhere in my mind, I never saw a model of sex as an intimate act of love and oneness. I saw it as something shameful, something you do to get off. And so, I still was male. I had these desires for sexuality, but I didn’t know how to express it and I had deep betrayals. I had one of the worst betrayals. The worst thing that ever happened in my adult life, I’m not going to go into it here because I simply don’t have enough time, but I had one of the absolute worst betrayals that happened to me and it was so painful. Sorry. I’m just looking at the time. See, what I do is I have like an iPad here that I can take notes on if I need to write something down with this so little pen. So, it kind of works well. So, I had this deep betrayal and one of the few things that made the pain go away was to go and hire escorts and to pay for sex and to sleep with lots of women. And I never talked about it. And this happened when I started making money because I became a millionaire by the time I was 30 years old and I kind of back up and fill in the middle parts if you would like to how I went about doing that. But basically, I spent a long period of my adult life living like this with a shame.
Now thankfully to the best of my knowledge, I mean, I am great friends with almost every girlfriend or woman I’ve had a relationship within the last 17 years and there’s been quite a few and many of them are actual friends with each other. I just didn’t know how to do intimacy. Now I’m known as this great connector because that’s what most people ask me. How do you meet Richard Branson? How do you meet all these people? And they see me with all of these people that I know so what it is though is I didn’t know how to connect as a kid. I was very shy. I was very introverted. So, I put a lot of effort and emphasis on how to do relationships, how to create value, how to be useful to people, how to really connect. And so, now I made up for a lot of the stuff that I never had as a kid because that’s all I wanted. And so, when I would go out and hire an escort and get involved in prostitution, I would be like, “I’m a piece of shit. I mean, who does something like this?” I wasn’t being abusive to who I was with. It’s just that in my mind it was this deep shame because I’m like – but looking back at it, I just simply wanted to connect but it didn’t feel safe to connect and you’re betrayed by somebody, so you get involved in very dysfunctional sort of relationships.
Now once I started talking about this, and again, I’m not going to spend a lot of time which is why I tried to preface it saying I wish I could spend an hour just on the subject. If someone wants to understand sex addiction, they can go to YouTube, and they can type in my name and sex addiction. They can watch my interview with Pat Carnes who’s the top sex addiction doctor in the world who treat lots of well-known people and stuff. So, we have an hour-and-45-minute video just on that subject. It’s been very useful to people. But I now have men and women all the time, many that are famous that hear me talk about this stuff. And so, I talked to a lot of billionaires and I talked to people that struggle with this because addiction knows no socioeconomic. Young, old, wealthy, poor, it doesn’t much matter. Addiction is a solution. That’s hard for some people to wrap their head around but if you’re in pain, if you’re in angst, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get out of pain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to not be depressed or get out of a crippling anxiety. The problem is the method you use to scratch the itch. So, addiction actually works. If you’re in like a halt state, hungry, angry, lonely, tired, drinking booze, taking drugs, going on the Internet, watching porn, gambling, eating fast food, guzzling a soda, drinking 10 cups of coffee, I mean all of these different things can satiate you when you’re not feeling comfortable, but the question is what are you trying to pursue?
And so, the opposite of addiction is connection. And so, the more that you can connect with yourself, Bill W., one of the founders of AA and I don’t really care if someone’s an atheist or whatever, he had this great line where he’s like, “Because alcoholics were trying to drink God out of a bottle.” And so, people that are pursuing addiction are some of the most potentially spiritual people and potential simply means you haven’t done it yet. But they’re trying to fill this void. So, some people are trying to call God, whatever you want to call it. They’re trying to connect with the source through food, through sex, through drugs, through behavior, through Internet. I mean, we live in a, like most people, if you just look at airports, if you look at restaurants, if you look at your own behavior, if people like here’s a phone, here’s an iPhone and most people if they’re not within 10 feet of their phone, they think they’ve lost a limb. And when I was a little kid I remember walking around in Alpine, Texas which is a small town by myself miles away from anyone with no communication access at all and I look around and say most children will never have that experience. They have no idea because they’re constantly wired to their computers and many people are – so when you say most.
Now, according to the Surgeon General report which came out last year, they estimate that one out of seven people struggles with addiction in America which is huge. A lot of people struggle with addiction. A lot of people that pursue self-help and go to seminars are really addicts and they’re trying to use empowerment, push their way through when in reality one of the best things with addiction is to surrender. And so, to go back to your question, what did you do? I did a lot of shit. I did a lot of therapy. I went to a lot of 12-step meetings. I learned how to exercise. What I’ve learned, and if people really want to see kind of what I’m doing, I’m launching a big platform next year which we started. One is Artists for Addicts, ArtistsForAddicts.com, and the second is Genius Recovery and I’m using my marketing skills to help change the global conversation about how people view addicts with compassion instead of judgment. Because right now we’re incarcerating many people that are simply traumatized individuals and you cannot punish the pain out of people and really, it’s the modern form of human slavery in my opinion though. In America, 25% of the world’s prisoners are in America. We’re the highest incarcerating country in the world. 2.3 million are in prison in the US right now. Approximately that’s 0.91% of the US population so 1 out of 100 are incarcerated and about 4,750,000 people are on probation or parole which means when you walk around, you’re looking at a lot of people that are “criminals.”
And a lot of these people have done bad things. Addicts lie, they cheat, they steal, they do awful stuff. I understand all that. So, none of these is to say well someone passes things and abuses someone but going to a lot of meetings what I’ve learned is that give yourself some slack. Be gentle on yourself. Everybody makes mistakes. Have empathy as much as you can develop it and also be responsible. Be responsible for your own recovery. And so, there’s a lot to it but GeniusRecovery.com we have a whole bunch of videos. I have a great video with, you know the comedian JP Sears, the redhead guy that makes fun of spiritual people and everything?
Jon: Oh yeah. Yeah. He’s great.
Joe: We get a very serious interview that’s on GeniusRecovery.com sitting right where I’m sitting right now, same background. I have a couple of homes but this is one of my homes and because I couldn’t make it to my office today in time based on the schedule that we had so I’m just doing this from sitting on a sofa in the house with not much behind me here. And me and JP sat down and did a Facebook live video to his list. 62,000 people watched it live. Now, something like 160,000 people have watched this video but it’s a very serious interview with me and him talking about addiction. So, people wanted to really hear different ways.
But there are four things that people need in order to really get sober and stay sober. First is community. Hardly anyone heals in isolation. So, whatever community, the 12-step community, some sort of community. That’s why the Miracle Morning Community and we’re working together, me and Hal we’re doing and a woman named Anna David, we’re doing a whole project on Miracle Morning for Addiction and Recovery.
Joe: Yeah. So, basically, you need community. The second is that it’s biochemical. It’s dopamine. It’s serotonin. It’s happy chemical. So, if you don’t eat healthy, if you don’t fix the microbiome, if you have gut issues, most the serotonin 70% is made in the gut. So, if you’re eating crappy foods, if you’re eating things that you’re not able to process and digest, your brain is not going to be in a biochemical state. So, you need good nutrition, supplementation in some cases and just need to put good stuff in your body. The third is the issues are in the tissues. Addiction is a response to trauma and there are many things from kundalini yoga to regular yoga to float pods where you float in a big isolation tank with salt water to EMDR, to all various forms of things that can get you in a float state. Some people it’s swimming, it’s running, it’s surfing. It’s something to just get the body working and also breathing. A lot of people are like, “Why is that person is smoking? That person is an idiot.” Well, my father died from lung cancer from smoking and what people don’t understand and I hate cigarettes. I mean I don’t like cigarettes. I mean they’re toxic but when people are smoking they’re breathing and it’s some of the few times that they’re taking in very deep breaths. So, breathing and meditation are critical. And then the final thing is environment. If you’re in a continuously stressful environment or a stressful job and you don’t get enough sleep, you’re going to want pain relief.
And so, people will reach out for addictive behaviors and addictive substances because they simply are in an environment that is causing them stress. So, you have to look at those things, community, biochemical, trauma, something that will help release the trauma, and finally the environment that you’re in. If you look at those things, and that’s complex so I put a lot of videos out. That’s what we’re going to do with Genius Recovery and most of them I’m just going to make available for people for free. Artists for Addicts is a platform where we’re selling art and we’re using revenue initially to make our first documentaries and just create the foundation so that we can go out and save lives. But ultimately, what I want to do is use my marketing skills to reduce human suffering and to save lives because so many people are living tormented lives and just like I did with my carpet cleaning business, I learned how to transform my carpet cleaning business.
Let me totally switch gears here. Going back to I have this carpet cleaning company. I pay a copywriter $1,800 on a credit card because I didn’t have any money, so I racked up about $30,000 in debt on a credit card and I paid him to write a consumer’s guide to carpet cleaning. This was before the Internet even existed. And so, I created this selling tool to try to figure out how to successfully sell something that nobody wants to buy. And so, people like, you know, carpet cleaning, “What the hell did that have to do with anything?” Well, if you have to figure out how to successfully sell something that nobody wants, it actually forces you to become pretty damn good at marketing. And so, we wrote a consumer guide to carpet cleaning and it said, “Read this guide and discover seven questions to ask a carpet cleaner before you invite them into your home.” People didn’t know there were seven questions or, “Eight mistakes to avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner. Crawling critters and crud, a guide to slime, grime and livestock that’s seeping, creeping and galloping to your carpet. How to avoid four carpet cleaning rip-offs, the difference between value and price. How to get your carpet cleaned at 100% guaranteed to work.”
And then they would open it up and it said, “Dear homeowner, choosing a carpet cleaner isn’t easy. Why? Because you’re bombarded with confusing claims, simply bad information, near worthless methods, unqualified technicians. How do you ever find a qualified company carpet cleaner? You start by reading this guide and with this information, you can make an informed intelligent decision.” Because nobody wants to make an uninformed idiotic decision. They want to make hopefully an informed intelligent decision. And so, what I learned is that the number one question in all consumer’s minds is who you can trust? And so, your job as a business owner and a marketer and a salesperson is to establish trust and rapport, so they have trust with comfort. That’s what rapport is. And basically, once I created this mechanism, this tool when people would call me up and say, “How much do you charge?” I hated that but it’s like I just spend all this time on the phone then half the time they said, “Well let me talk to my husband or let me talk to my wife and I’ll call you back,” and sometimes they would, sometimes they wouldn’t. But it would take a lot of time and I realize you can be the best salesperson in the world, but you’re limited by the clock. You can only talk to so many people in a given day and you know that by doing door-to-door sales.
But with the right ad, the right promotion, now today the right video, the right podcast, you can talk to, I mean, today as I’m sitting here talking to you, 40,000 to 50,000 people will listen to me based on current stats of me talking about something on one of my different podcasts. Because I have four different podcasts on iTunes. People type my name. They can find all the different stuff that I do and all kinds of different areas and I’m not physically there. So, going back to the carpet cleaning thing, I figured out how to do that with canning and cloning myself with the consumer awareness guide. And then when people started calling up, I said, “Well, I’ve created this consumer guide that will teach everything you need to know on how to hire a carpet cleaner and let me mail it to you and if you decide you want to do business with me, I’ll include a certificate where we’ll clean one room up to 200 square feet absolutely free. No cost for obligation of any kind. And if you decide you want to do more, we’ll give you what we call a carpet audit.” So, I invented a new way instead of giving a free quote or an estimate, I created a carpet audit where you can actually evaluate the condition of the carpet, giving them really good recommendations and it was different than what everyone else is doing so I wanted to differentiate myself. And so, I started using education-based marketing. But if people would call me up and say, “Well, I need the carpet cleaned tomorrow,” and I said, “Well, how do I overcome that one?” Because again, there was no internet, so you couldn’t email someone. You couldn’t send them to a website. You couldn’t send them to a social media page. So, what I did was I created a consumer awareness message and I started running the ad that said, “Free recorded message reveals how to have your carpets cleaned properly at the lowest possible price.” Not the lowest price but how to have your carpets cleaned properly. And so, I would have people call a free recorded message. We also had a warning. Don’t call any carpet cleaner until you listened to this free recorded message. Call anytime 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And I ended up creating a robot, an automated system which I now call ELF marketing, Easy, Lucrative and Fun. So, I have a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week sales person that cost me $20.00 a month, never bitch about a headache, always showed up to work on time. Always delivered the perfect articulate educational message and literally, it worked. And so, I went from making $2,300 a month gross to over $12,000 a month in a six-month period not by learning any more about cleaning carpets but by learning about words, by learning about psychology, by learning about messaging and that’s what marketing actually is. It’s applied psychology. And so, then I was like – so I became a convert of my own system which I’ll come back to addiction. Once I learned how to do things from myself in addiction and other people have learned things, I’m just a curator. All I’m doing is sharing it with people. Genius Network which is my very high-level group, GeniusNetwork.com. I’m a curator. I bring in people with capabilities and skills and expertise and I’ve been doing that for many years. It’s a multimillion dollar company but I’ve used these. Now I’m connecting people with addiction but it all goes back to connection. That’s what the world really wants and needs I think in a most beneficial way. And when I say the world, not the whole word, shit on me. When I die, the world’s going to be fine without me. So, it’s not like, oh you’re so perfect. I mean, it’s nothing to do with that and my ego. Even though everyone has an ego and I certainly do have an ego, it’s not contingent upon. I’m just going to make it that.
There are many people that are out there. I’m just trying to bring the ones that I interact with, the ones that I feel were great and I’m just wanting to use my marketing skills. So, in my carpet cleaning business, I became a convert of the system that I actually created, and I thought to myself, “Shit, man, how many other people could benefit from what I’m doing here? I wonder if it would work for other people.” So, I sold a couple of my strategies to some carpet cleaners and one guy in Broomfield, Colorado named Don Daloo in 1993 he ended up, I sold him my consumer awareness guide script and he was getting ready to run a yellow page ad. Now many of our listeners might be too young.
Jon: What’s that?
Joe: But I got him to go from a half-page phone book ad in the Denver phone book down to an ad smaller than the size of a business card and he paid $250 a month on this ad and in a year’s time he generated over $62,000 of revenue in a carpeting cleaning business of an ad that cost him $250 a month. And I thought, “You know what, I should probably package just stuff up and sell it to other carpet cleaners.” And so, what did I do? I use the same methodologies that I used to build my carpet cleaning business, direct response marketing, free recorded messages, sales letters, reports and I advertise in a trade magazine. In 1994 when this started, I advertised, “Call and request this free report,” and I would send carpet and upholstery cleaners and people that were in the fire and flood business information and I sold a $497 package called the basic package and a $597 gold package. And in the first year that I was doing that, I sold a quarter million dollars’ worth of those courses to carpet cleaners and even more important is it actually worked. I was changing people’s businesses. I was getting people out of bankruptcy. In my life, I’ve gotten three letters from people saying, “If it wasn’t for your information, I would’ve committed suicide.” I mean, I don’t know if it had anything to do with my information or it would just happen to land to them at the right time. The weirdest shit happens if you can transform someone’s business and you can help them run a company.
Because being an entrepreneur is difficult. Going back to what I said earlier from Dan Sullivan, two things you need is you need ignorance and courage and I had plenty of those in the very beginning because if I would’ve known how hard it would’ve been to become successful, I probably would’ve stuck with being a loser. So, there was a lot of stuff that was difficult. So, I started teaching that to other carpet cleaners. So, the first year I sold a quarter million dollars of the stuff. Second year I sold half a million. The third year I sold a million dollars’ worth of these courses and I was a millionaire by the time I was 30. Now here’s the challenge. You give someone who’s an addict access to money. Money can buy a lot of things. And so, I could try to buy myself out of pain. So, what I ended up having to do though is I have to get my heart broken. I had to really go through a lot of struggles and I had to really come face-to-face with – you can hire a leading expert, you can read every book, you can go to all the seminars but if you don’t do the deep work, if you’re not willing to become incredibly vulnerable, if you’re not willing to sometimes just unlearning is as important and in many cases more important. A lot of people, “Let me read this book.” A lot of times, go to 12-step meeting and unlearn the bullshit because your best thinking got you to where you’re at right now. Your best thinking got you where you’re at and you might need to do a little bit of different thinking.
So, I transformed my carpet cleaning business. I transformed thousands, tens of thousands. I mean, from what we can even loosely track, my marketing strategies for my clients have generated a couple of billion dollars of revenue. So, I certainly have impacted a lot of people but that’s only a smidgen of what I’m really hoping here on the planet to do which is to help people who are struggling with addiction and a lot of entrepreneurs are addicts because workaholism is the respectable addiction. So, part of it is meditate, exercise, do burpees in the morning, develop communities, sleep. Those things will help you get as much with achieving goals and building and growing new business. If you’re really in pain and you’re really compulsive and you have behaviors that make your life unmanageable. Rotting food doesn’t get better in the refrigerator with age. It gets worse. So, look at any area of your life. Be willing to destroy anything in your life that’s not excellent. Be willing to walk away from relationships if you cannot fix them and be nice to the people you meet on the way up because they’re the same people you meet on the way down. Don’t be an asshole. Do your best you can to just add value. You’re not entitled to anything unless you create value first. So, there’s a lot to it. So, those are my thoughts. That’s kind of my philosophy about stuff. By the way, I have another call in a few minutes, but I can text and tell if I’m going to be late for it so it’s okay. I know I’ve been rambling, so I’ll leave this totally up to you because I would…
Jon: Well, Joe, what do I say? There are folks watching our live stream who posted some comments that are thanking you for the generosity of your story and your time. So, on their behalf and on behalf of everyone that’s going to hear this after the live stream, I’m listening and just enjoying being present to your story. What I hear, of course, others will hear more or something different or beyond it, but I hear a tremendous authenticity. I hear somebody who – what I really appreciate is that you’ve really taken the time to think about your own internal narrative about your own life story. That story is not running you. You’re really aware of what your story is about your life and we dropped an episode today or yesterday where I reminded people about the hero’s journey and to realize that they’re all on a journey and sometimes just understanding that narrative can give them the patience to stick through something. I also really appreciate your deep sense of purpose. We have a lot of entrepreneurs that listen to this podcast, Joe, and you may or may not know this but Hal and I, and I especially, since I’ve been standing in for him while he’s healing I just spew out my beliefs and biases and everybody knows that I really believe that. Entrepreneurs are going to solve the most important problems in the world.
And our world has a to-do list and I really believe that if we can keep aligning our strengths which is another thing that you’re so clear on is how important it is. We can believe, we can have desire, we can work on ourselves, but we have to value creating strengths or unique configurations of strengths that create a real difference for something to really work and I love that we’re here with you today and that of your choosing, you’re emphasizing to put your time into helping us to learn about your passion, to help the mental and emotional and psychological well-being of entrepreneurs. It’s so awesome. Just a reminder, because few people were asking and reminding themselves on our live stream, Joe’s going to be with us at our Entrepreneur Day at the Best Year Ever Event, November 17, 18, 19 BestYearEverLive.com. Joe, I’ve got my daughter Sierra who’s six. I’m picking her up from dance in about a minute here.
Joe: Oh, well you better get out of here.
Jon: I’m going to finish with my favorite question. Is there anything else that you’d love to leave our listeners with?
Joe: Today is the last day of the way you used to be if you want to choose that and every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. So, think of the people that are the most important in your life. In your case, I’m sure your daughter would be up there and probably on the top one or two maybe.
Joe: Think of the people that really move the dial for you. What’s most important to you and take care of those people. I mean, what I call a genius network is who are the most important people in your life? What are their skills? What are their capabilities? And the way that I’ve gotten anything that I want is I never ask anyone to do anything for me without creating value for them first. So, be a giver, not a taker. Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker. Just be intelligent about not wasting your time with people that don’t appreciate you, don’t utilize you, don’t enhance you and doing good work is harder than my friend Dave Kekich says, “Life is easy if you live at the hard way and hard if you live at the easy way.” It’s hard to work out. It’s hard to wake up at 5 AM in the morning. But if you do those things, your life will be far easier and if you just sit on a couch. It’s easier to eat pizza than it is to eat some sort of healthier food. But if you eat pizza every day you’re going to pay consequences for it. And silent battles are the hardest battles to fight so if you’re fighting silent battles, go find someone that you can help with and don’t do it alone. And I just wish everyone the best and I look forward to meeting the people that are going to be at the thing in person and hopefully this was valuable to everyone and thank you. It’s really great to spend this time with you, Jon, and to talk with you and go pick up your daughter and thanks, man.
Jon: I appreciate it, Joe. Thanks. Those of you who are on the live stream, take care. Podcast listeners, we’ll see you next week. Joe, thanks, buddy. This has been awesome.
Joe: Got it.
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