Chris “Drama” Pfaff is the founder of Young & Reckless Clothing and host of the “Short Story Long” podcast. His main focus is to empower young entrepreneurs with the tools to success.
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3 Key Points:
- If you’re not growing and learning, then you’re going backwards.
- Realize the power of what doing the right thing can really do for you.
- Be terrified of complacency. Get out there and make it happen.
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Audio Masterclass Show Notes
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
- Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Never Stop Learning with Chris Pfaff
- [00:10] – Chris shares something about himself that most people don’t know.
- [01:33] – Let’s talk about never taking yourself seriously
- It is a repeating pattern in Chris’ life: he started out taking himself too seriously and didn’t even realize he was doing it
- Once you start to have success, that could become your greatest enemy because now you feel that you have some persona to keep up, or something to live up to – that can stop you from continuing to grow forward.
- [03:57] – What does Chris think about the words, “Never think that you’re actually too experienced to learn something.”
- When you’re trying to take everything so seriously and pretend that you know everything, the world beats you down pretty hard. A lot of people realize that and snap out of it, and a lot of people just continue to get beat on and never really figure out why.
- When you walk in to every room and into every situation thinking that you’re the smartest and have nothing to learn, it completely stops your growth.
- Chris shares a personal experience – when he was having conversations with young people on a show he had on MTV, and he was surprised by how smart these young people were.
- You will come across people who are very knowledgeable in a specific industry that you’re not. You won’t be a master of everything. You will probably be a master of one thing, and we can learn so much from so many people in their area of expertise.
- [08:49] – How do evolution and growth become keys to happiness.
- If you audit yourself and pay attention, the days when you feel the best are the ones when you grew as an entrepreneur, a friend, a father, a son – any of those things. You’ve put in effort. You made a difference. You grew. That’s what life is about and that will never go away.
- Success and happiness are the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.
- Set a really attainable goal for tomorrow. Do that every day. It’s easy if you focus on it, discipline yourself, and get it done.
- [13:56] – Money and material success is just part of the reward.
- He neglected how important it was to have good relationship with friends and family.
- When you are truly successful, it will give you even more reason to wake up a little earlier the next morning and continue to work hard.
- It’s about quality of work, not quantity. If you know why you’re working, and you’re connected to your life, then your work is going to benefit from that. It’s not going to suffer.
- [17:03] – SPONSOR
- [17:33] – How Chris heard about podcasting, and what made him decide to launch his own podcast
- It’s something that has allowed him to go at it from scratch, make the mistakes, be awkward, be uncomfortable, and build the audience as he grows.
- One of his friends who has a podcast said, “Start now. Start way before you’re comfortable. What happens is, people get to know you through your mistakes and your crappy episodes. They like to say they watched you grow.”
- [22:27] – If you don’t know what you’re shooting at, you’re going nowhere.
- Be honest with yourself about what you want long term.
- What sort of financial success do you want? Don’t just say rich.
- Set a big goal and reverse engineer it all the way back to what you could do by the end of this year, the end of this month, the end of this week, and tomorrow.
- [26:51] – If you’re not growing and learning, then you’re going backwards. How do you make sure that you’re always growing and learning, and that you’re never getting complacent?
- It takes a bit of work every day to keep your place in whatever you’re doing.
- To move forward, you must get out of your comfort zone and learn new stuff.
- [29:47] – Chris shares a story about something that happened to him recently… be sure to tune in to this one!
- Realize the power of what doing the right thing can really do for you.
- [33:20] – Chris’ parting piece of guidance
- Take a minute to go through your life and make sure you’re not afraid to grab.
- Be terrified of complacency. Get out there and make it happen.
John: Ka-boom! Shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here with an audio master class coming your way. I'm going to keep it simple with the title today. It is “Never Stop Learning.” Three words. It sounds simple, but man, it can be so complex when you really get into the meat and potatoes of this, and my man, Chris “Drama” Pfaff, is here today to break that down. We're going to be talking about why you should never take yourself too seriously, never think that you're too experienced to learn something, and why the key to happiness is both evolution and growth. Supercritical. If you don’t know what you're shooting for, Fire Nation, you're going nowhere, and why you have to set small and attainable goals that lead to a big goal if you want to win at a high level. And again, guiding us through this audio master class is Chris “Drama Pfaff.” He's the founder of Young and Reckless Clothing, and he's the host of Short Story Long podcast.
Chris’s main focus is to empower young entrepreneurs with the tools to success, and he's going to be doing that when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
So, Chris, say what's up to Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know.
Chris: What's up, Fire Nation? I'm so happy to be here and thank you all for tuning in and even giving me the time to chat with you. I would say something a lot of people don't know is when I was 18 years old, I grew up skateboarding. That was my whole passion in life as a young person, and I had a – I fell skateboarding, hit my head, fractured my skull, was in a coma for four days, had some pretty severe brain bleeding, and really went through a pretty interesting – you come out of that thing four days later. I didn't know how to read. I didn't know how to use a computer. It was a really weird experience, but no long-term effects. It's just my cool little story to tell now over drinks.
John: Now you feel you are at 100 percent from that?
Chris: I do and I don't know. My cousin always jokes with me that I came out of that a lot more ambitious and entrepreneurial, so if that's the case, I'll take it.
John: Super cool.
Chris: Nothing too obvious at least.
John: Well, Fire Nation, as I mentioned in the intro, we have a killer audio master class with Chris today, and his theme in life is never stop learning. Never stop learning. So, we're going to be going over some really killer things in this area and how it's applied to Chris in his life and just some lessons that he has learned over the years. Let's just start off, brother, by just talking about taking yourself seriously, and you're actual take on that is never take yourself too seriously. So, talk a little bit about that.
Chris: Never. I think that now going through everything that I've been through and learning all that I've learned and also now talking to a lot of young people that are coming up and really super ambitious, it just seems to me that that's a repeating pattern both in my own life and in a lot of young people’s lives where either, A.) You start off by taking yourself seriously and you might not even notice that you're doing it. I've met a lot of people that say, “Hey, I have a game-changing idea, but I can't tell you because everyone might steal it,” and it's like, “I think if it's that good, you should be telling people and trying to get people on board and run with it and go with it.” I've also seen people have some early success, which I was also fortunate enough to have but dealt with these side effects, and once you start to have success, that can almost become your greatest enemy because now you feel like you have some persona to keep up or something to live up to, and that can really stop you from continuing to grow forward.
John: I can tell you that brings to mind a story from my past, which I've actually never told before. I don't know why this popped up in my mind when you were sharing that, but I spent eight years as an Officer in the Army, and that was a very intense very serious time because it was during a war. I spent 13 months in Iraq, and my first real job after the Army was working at John Hancock in corporate finance. You had to wear a suit and a tie to work every single day, so I was like, “This is my first real post-military job. I'm really going to take this seriously,” and I got there, and I just took myself so seriously. I just wasn’t me. That wasn’t my personality. I wouldn't relax. I wouldn't laugh. I was just a different person because I was taking myself so seriously, and I'll tell you I'm so glad that happened because after six months I just realized, “Man, this is just a straight line for disaster right here.”
So, in my future experiences, I just always look back at that. I was like, “Dude, don’t make that same mistake again.” So, having that experience, Fire Nation, is not necessarily a bad thing when you learn from it, and I made that mistake luckily fairly early on in my journey, and I was able to not replicate it over and over and over again. And for you, Chris, this really does tie into what we just chatted about is never thinking that you're actually too experienced to learn something. So, when you hear those words “you're never too experienced to learn something,” what does that mean to you?
Chris: To me, that's the foundation of – it's like you go at the top line, which is never take yourself too seriously. Great. Got that, but why and how do I actually break that down into smaller, actionable things, and that's another big thing is naturally you get into this death spiral where you start taking yourself super serious, you get into these new situations, and you think that you're the know-it-all. I've noticed that when you're in that mindset, the world is a lot harder on you. When you're trying to take everything so serious and pretend like you know everything, the world beats you down pretty hard, and a lot of people realize that and snap out of it, and a lot of people just continue to get beat on and never really figure out why, and those are the people that I really want to get to and just say, “Hey, maybe take a second and look at this,” and that's a key example of where that could backfire, and that's that you walk into every room into every situation thinking that you're the smartest or you have nothing to learn, and it completely stops your growth.
I've walked into rooms that I thought were a complete waste of time for me –
John: Give us an actual example. What was one of those rooms? Give us the back story.
Chris: When I came up – when I moved to L.A., after about two years, my cousin and I started doing a TV show on MTV, and it was called Rob and Big, and he was the star of it, and it just absolutely exploded. So, what happened was it started to give me this feeling because people obviously start to treat you differently. You're the guy on TV. So, it gave me this feeling that whenever these young, hungry people that were really just connecting to our entrepreneurial spirit and to the fact of wanting to connect and help with business and do all of this stuff were approaching me, I was treating them almost like they were just fans and you wanted to dodge that or get done with it as quick as possible, and there's endless experiences or examples of that happening, and then it wasn’t until luckily that phase didn't last long, but when I really started sitting down with these young people and having conversations and really asking them what they were thinking and what was going on, it is mind-blowing how smart these young people are and how smart – I will run into an 18-year-old kid now with an idea, and it feels like they're just getting smarter and smarter and smarter.
John: Because they are.
Chris: And it's like, “Holy cow, man. You really are the next guy, the next one that I'm listening to on a podcast,” and at this point now at 31, I've been in this business long enough that I've seen the people that I thought maybe had a silly idea or didn't quite know what they were talking about blow up and become – MVMT Watches just sold for $100 million.
John: They've been a sponsor of this show. I love those guys.
Chris: And they are great guys, and I never had that feeling about them like, “Oh, these guys are dummies” by any means. They're really smart guys, but when I met – they're I think 26 and 27 years old. When I met them, they were just these young, hungry guys with a watch brand trying to figure it out. If you don’t give them the time of day and you think, “Oh, these guys are never going to figure it out. They don't know as much as I know,” little do you know in five short years they sell their brand for $100 million. So, those types of things happen left and right and I think that's exactly what I'm trying to get to the bottom of. In my own life, I'm trying to continue to make sure I never do it and I always get better at it, and I'm trying to also encourage others to do it because what I've seen.
John: Get it? MVMT Watches? Time of day? I got that.
Chris: I've found all of the buzzwords.
John: So, Fire Nation, I really hope you're listening because this is the reality that I've seen too is you're going to come across people who are super knowledgeable in a niche, in a specific industry, in this sector that you're not. You’re not going to be a master of everything. You are going to be somebody who’s probably really good at one thing, and we can learn so much from so many people in their sector, the area that they really focus on, their area of expertise. So, just always having that learning hat on and always be willing to listen and to learn and applying the best from all of these different conversations and interaction you're having. I've had over 2,000 guests on my show now, Chris, and I really believe that I've been able to turn my business into a seven-figure-a-year business because I've taken all of these little things that have worked for other people and applied them in different ways, shapes, and forms to my business always learning, always learning. And you've found, Chris, that there's a key to happiness. It's expulsion and growth. So, 1.) Define expulsion because I'm not even sure what that means, and then let's talk about how the growth happens.
Chris: I'm going to be honest. That might've been a misspelling. What I meant to say was evolution.
John: I think that makes more sense.
Chris: There you go.
John: Because I was like, “So, he wrote down expulsion and growth. I might Google it or I'm just going to ask him what his definition is of it.” So, the key to happiness for you is evolution and growth. So, talk us through that. What do you mean by evolution and growth, and how does that equate or lead to happiness?
Chris: Once again, a little bit about my story, I grew up outside of Akron, Ohio in a super small town and was obsessed with skateboarding and didn't have much, wasn’t by any means wondering where our next meal was going to come from but chose not to have cable TV to cut the costs, so just to give you an example of what life was like. I moved to L.A., and I had a little bit of taste of fame. I don’t like that word, but fame from reality TV and that stuff. I then had a lot of success with my clothing company, and I was able to just do all of the fun stuff that a young kid from Akron, Ohio wants to do. I bought a Lamborghini for myself for my 26th birthday, and I had a Rolls-Royce, and I had watches and did the whole thing, went on trips and all of this stuff, and don’t get me wrong. That stuff is absolutely great, but I realized around the age of 27 or 28 that I was always living waiting for the result, waiting for the end, waiting for that day that I'm just on a beach somewhere and I'm the guy with “made it” labeled under himself, and everything just gets easier, and I realized that not only does that not happen, but that's not even what I wanted to happen. The days that I was going to bed and feeling the best and with a smile on my face weren’t really the days when I was just proud of myself for having a fancy car or a fancy thing. It was the days when I feel like I truly had a breakthrough of any sort, I really truly learned, I became a slightly different slightly better person, and I had a full to-do list for tomorrow to get up and be excited about the next day, and I think everyone’s looking for the end. Well, what's the end for me and how long until I get there?
If you really realize – and this isn’t some – I know a lot of people say it, and I know it's one of those situations it's like, “Oh, it's easy for you to say, guy on the podcast,” but if you really audit yourself and pay attention, the days when you feel the best are when you grew as an entrepreneur, a friend, a father, a son, any of those things. You put in effort and you made a difference, you grew, that's what life’s all about, and that will never go away. So, as long as you're trying to tuck it away somewhere, you're just hiding from where the real action is.
John: Chris, I think you're going to resonate with this quote. It's one I've used a few times on the show before, so Fire Nation, you might've heard it, but it's been a while. Dale Carnegie: He's a great author, just a great speaker. He's written some great books, given some great speeches, but one quote that he shared has always stuck with me, and it so resonates with what you just shared, Chris, and that is “Success and happiness is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.” So, one more time. “Success and happiness is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.” Now, see the keywords there. Gradually realizing. Not getting to the finish line. Not winning the lottery. Not accomplishing a goal. No. It's the journey, the gradual realization. And by the way, not just of any ideal but of a worthy ideal. If you can combine those four things, gradually realizing worthy ideals, you are going to have that success and happiness. Again, that's according to Dale Carnegie, and I think you obviously agree with that from what you said, Chris. It's so important, Fire Nation, to recognize all of that.
So, had you heard that quote before, Chris?
Chris: I had not, and that's incredible, and it's dead-on, and I don't know. I'm really passionate about that thing, and I know a lot of people hear people say that and they think, “Oh, great. So, you're just telling me to focus on my life and my big goal is never going to get there.” That's not what we're saying. It's, “Here's the good news. You get to set a really attainable goal for tomorrow and do it, and that's the magic, and then you do another one the next day and another one the next day, and the good news is it's easy if you just focus on it, do it, and discipline yourself and get it done.” I don't know. A lot of people take that as bad news, but man, it was great news when I really –
John: And let me just echo what Chris said. What he's saying, Fire Nation, is set big goals and then accomplish those big goals, but realize when you accomplish those big goals, it's time to set another big goal. That's the next step of the process. Now, a lot of people are listening, Chris, and they're saying, “Well, listen. Chris, John, you've had some financial success. You've had some material success. That's what I'm going for. That's what I want,” but you have a message that you want to share about the fact that money and material success is only part of the reward. It is part of the reward by the way, but it's only part of it. What do you mean by that?
Chris: That ties in really heavily with my last point is, “Well, when it is the journey and it's the struggle and it's all of those things,” but I also think that when I was growing up – and I think a lot of young people are this way – you're taught this mentality of work, work, work, work, and make sure you don’t forget to post on Instagram about how hard you work, and make sure you don’t spend any time with your friends because you're too busy, and we really rewarded busy and work, and the goal I think at least in my mind was, “Well, in doing this because one day it's all going to pay off, and then I'll spend all of the time with my friends because I'll be super rich and I'll be on that beach I was talking about,” but what I did was I truly neglected how important it was to have good relationships with my friends and my family, and I set an alarm on my phone every day now when I wake up in the morning to text my mom, and I know it's a little maybe controversial to set a reminder like it's a business meeting to text your mother, but I do it and it works for me, and it has dramatically helped our relationship just having that reminder because I would go four or five days because I'm so busy that I wouldn't talk to her, and I love my mom very much and it's important to me that I have that relationship, and I just think that when you truly are successful as a friend and a father and a son and a daughter and all of those things, it will give you even more of a reason to wake up a little earlier the next morning and continue to work as hard, and it's just about quality of work, not quantity, and I think if you know why you're working and you're connected to your life and everything’s a little bit more balanced, your work is just going to benefit from that. It's not going to suffer.
John: First off, I love that idea of setting the alarm, and you might be like, Fire Nation, “You need an alarm, a little reminder to text your mother?” Yes. Life is busy. Life takes over. We have a lot of things that go on. Sometimes I look up and I'm like, “I haven't talked to my mom in five days,” and just check in. You don't even have to talk to her all the time. It's just letting her know that you love her and you're thinking about her because there's going to come a time, Fire Nation, sad but true when you're not going to be able to make that text, you're not going to be able to make that call, and you're going to really regret that you didn't take advantage of it when you had the opportunity and the time to do so. So, those are the important things, and I want to echo again what Chris said. You want to put your head down and just grind, grind, grind, and then you'll spend time with your friends after you achieve success, you're going to look up and you're not going to have any friends because you're just not going to have put in the time, you're not going to be a valuable person.
I'm busy, Fire Nation. I play poker every Friday night with my buddies. We have a party at my house Saturday night. We're having a fantasy football live draft in the neighborhood. I'm still going and doing these things because I know they're important parts of living life. Critical stuff. So, money and material success, it's part of the reward, but it's not the whole shebang. And Chris, you've been dropping some value bombs, brother. We got some more coming up after we get back from thanking our sponsor.
So, Chris, we're back, and this is actually a personal question because I'm a podcaster. I've been doing this since 2012. We're 2,000 episodes now. So, I love when people like yourself who have had some real-world I like to call it, some real actual success and some real media fame, and you've done some really cool things, and you've really been there done that in a lot of different areas, and yet you decided to launch a podcast. So, I'd love to know personally how did you hear about podcasts? How did that even this form of media come into your world? That's part number one. And then number two, what made you decide to actually launch your own podcast Short Story Long?
Chris: I had heard a podcast. They were just buzzing I think, and I think over the last however long it's really been – I know they've been around for longer than I probably even know – but they were kinda and still are growing momentum and more and more people are talking about them and talking about this place where you can find some hidden treasures and there's some really good information in there and whatever. So, I just naturally started listening to it, and I started soaking stuff up. Even the Joe Rogans of the world and all of those guys, just seeing what was going on in that space.
So, I think that when I started formulating what I wanted to do moving forward from a media lens, podcasting fit perfectly into that because I could do it on my own time, so I could work out the kinks. I could go ahead and make the mistakes. I didn't have to try and hunt down an agent or a deal or a whatever just to get picked up like how we used to have to do in the MTV days, and it was just something that allowed me to get into it from scratch, make the mistakes, be awkward, be uncomfortable, and build the audience as I grew.
And actually, for anyone listening who's considering it, one of the best little slivers of advice I got was one of my good friends who has a podcast said, “Just start now. Start way before you're comfortable because what happens is people get to know you through your mistakes and through your crappy episodes, and they like to say that they watched you grow, and your real listeners like to go back to those old episodes and say, ‘Man, you were super awkward’ or ‘That was really uncomfortable, and now I feel like I know Chris because I – the same way you know a friend.’” So, that's what made me really jump into it, and I just set a mic up on my desk at the office and started going.
But to the question of why that one and why the format and all of that stuff, it was really because I had had media success and I was able to help launch my brand through media and social media and all of that stuff, so I understood the power of media. My problem was the type of media we were doing, even though it was a lot of fun, like our shows on MTV and the social media stuff and all of that was very not something that I could really expand on. It wasn’t something that I was passionate about. It was more just making entertaining content. So, I just thought, “Man, I want to make something that I can really grow on and really build something to be proud of after some time,” and I kind of just audited myself a little bit and said, “Well, what are you? Who are you? You're not a pro-athlete. You're not a this. You're not a that. What even are you that you can build on?” and the answer was I'm a guy from a small town who skipped college, took a risk, moved to L.A., was scrappy, paid attention, listened, and made an entrepreneurial dream happen. So, I want to continue to build on that, and I want to talk to other people who have done something similar, and I realize that so much of the education, even though I skipped college, that I got was just from having incredible conversations with mentor-type people that would tell me answers if I asked the right questions, so I thought I want to keep having those conversations and I want to also share those conversations with as many people as possible.
So, that's why I came up with the concept Short Story Long because I always say, “Long story short when I'm trying to abbreviate. This is your chance to tell the long version,” and I just sit down with successful, self-made people with an interesting story, and I want it to feel like you're grabbing a coffee and you're having a conversation with somebody that you probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to have, and I hope that people really feel that and connect with it and say, “Man, I'm not too far off from this guy or this girl. I can relate to these people, and that's going to help me kick-start getting that thing off the ground that I've been maybe thinking I wasn’t prepared for,” or whatever, to put you over the edge.
John: Well, as we're speaking now, Fire Nation, Chris has 112 shows. He launched May 7th, 2016, so he's been doing this for over two years and counting, so kudos to both hitting the century mark and doing this for over two years. Both massive accomplishments obviously while you're running a business as well. So, super cool stuff going on. And I'm a really big believer in the quotes, ‘If you're going 1,000,000 miles an hour in the wrong direction, you're going to end up 1,000,000 in the wrong direction.’ It's really just that clear, and Chris, I see so many people of this day and age, they just get up and they just spin their wheels, and they're go, go, go, go, go, go, but man, they just don't know where they're going. They don't even have a mark on the wall that they're looking for, and you're a big believer in that as well. If you don't actually know what you're shooting at, you're going nowhere. You're going absolutely nowhere. So, expand upon your philosophy on that and how you’ve seen that play out in life.
Chris: My philosophy, because I've always been – what drove me out to L.A. to just figure it out is I've always been driven and I was also that guy. I was the guy that was just going for it, and I was just every day what can I do? What can I do? And that's great and that's a great spirit and that's a good starting point, but that same mentality caused me to really try to analyze and figure out what approach worked the best, and I'm still very much on the mission to figure that out, but what I have gained that was life-changing for me is it's about sitting down. I always say dim the lights, grab a glass of wine, do whatever you gotta do to get really in touch with yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you want long-term five years or 10 years even. What sort of financial success do you really want? Don’t just say rich. What sort of lifestyle do you really want? What do you want to be able to do for your friends and family? Be honest, and like I said, don’t just say, “I want to be a billionaire.”
So, carve that all out. Look at what that looks like. Think about how you could get there. If you're a musician, it's your musician career. If you're an entrepreneur, you want to build a business, whatever that looks like, and set that big goal and say, “Here's what I'm going to be doing in five years or 10 years. Here's how much money I'm going to be making.” And that is cool, and that's a huge part of the battle, but it is not the only battle, and I think a lot of people do that and then they sit and stare at this Mt. Everest that they've just created for themselves, and they don't know what to do tomorrow, and you get paralyzed and you end up doing nothing, and then now all of a sudden you think you're a loser and you didn't get anywhere close to your goal.
So, it's about setting that big goal, reverse engineering it all the way back to what you could do by the end of this year, what could you do by the end of this month, what could you do by the end of this week, and what could you do tomorrow, and as clear as you can get on that and set realistic, attainable goals. What's going to happen is tomorrow you're going to wake up, you're going to have a list of attainable goals, you're going to do them, and you're going to feel like a winner. You're going to feel a little bit better and you're going to go to bed with that same feeling that we just talked about of accomplishment and happy, and you have a full to-do list tomorrow and you're going to do that too, and before you know it those things are going to start to build. You're going to start to build some real self-confidence, and you are going to be absolutely shocked at what small wins and small daily goals add up to in the long-term and all of a sudden you're way more on target to that big-time goal than you ever thought you could be, and now you have all of the win behind your back that you could ever need.
John: Fire Nation, when you wake up and you have small, attainable goals, guess what? You feel like you can accomplish them because you can. So, then you start and you accomplish them, and then you get a win, and then you get momentum, and then you're like, “I'm still hungry. Give me that next small, attainable goal,” and you keep moving forward. And there's two books, Chris, that I think really align with this that I recommend quite often as much as I can and that's The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Both of those books are around the same premise of you gotta do the small things right every single day. That's what The Slight Edge is about. Do the small things right, and your slight edge you're giving yourself every day is going to over time be massive, and of course The Compound Effect similar thing. The little things added up – compounds – and it's amazing what you can accomplish.
And I love one of those quotes. I'm pretty sure it was a Peter Drucker quote, but I could be wrong, but it's “So many people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but they underestimate what they can accomplish in 10 years,” and that is so true for so many people. We set these audacious goals. “I want to be making a million dollars by the end of this year.” Well, the year’s going to come pretty quickly. Life goes fast. But then they think about 10 years and they're like, “I want to be making $2 million in 10 –” you can really do some amazing things in a decade, and a lot of people underestimate that, and you have to have that as a focus, Fire Nation. Small, attainable goals now can add up to huge, huge wins down the line, but wake up with that thing that you can just take a bite out of, get that small win, get that momentum, and just keep winning.
And Chris, you're a big believer that if you're not growing and learning, you're actually going backwards, and I see a lot of people get complacent, and that's a word that I'm terrified of. I never want to be complacent because I know when you're complacent, the world just passes you by. So, how do you make sure that you're always growing, that you're always learning, that you're never getting complacent?
Chris: One second. Another book that I wanted to recommend in there if you don’t mind is – because it just changed my perspective on some of that goal stuff – is Bill Walsh, The Score Takes Care of Itself.
John: Well, I've never even read that, so I'm glad you recommended that because I want to check that puppy out.
Chris: You will love it, and it's just about how he believed in taking care of the fundamentals and if you took care of the fundamentals, you could win a Super Bowl. If you thought about the Super Bowl too much, you were going to forget the fundamentals and you weren’t going to have either, and just really taking care of those daily fundamentals. So, that's a really good one, but that's what really sparked my brain-change on that.
To answer that question.
John: Not being complacent, making sure that you're growing, that you're learning, how do you do that?
Chris: I think that if you're not learning and you're just kind of – you might even be working hard, but you're just kind of working. That's about what it takes to stay still. So, a lot of people think, “Well, if I just do nothing and I sit and play video games and drink Mountain Dew, I'm going to be staying still.” No, you're actually going backwards. It takes quite a bit of work to just keep your place in whatever you're doing. To actually move forward requires you to get out of your comfort zone, learn new stuff, and it doesn't even necessarily mean working harder. It's just working smarter. It's changing. It's looking at things from different angles. It's really evaluating what you're doing and opening yourself up to criticism. All of the other things that we talked about in this episode, those are the things that it really takes to move forward.
So, it's not about sitting and being lazy obviously. It's also not about just straight up hard work. It's about all of those things, and I think for me just there's a few things that I try to do to really make sure that I do that, but one of the main ones is I try with everything that I have to read a new book every single week and it's hard, and I'm podcasting and I'm running a business and I'm busy just like everyone else, but I have just noticed that taking that 30 minutes before bed or 30 minutes in the morning or wherever I can squeeze it to read and to put new information and new perspectives into my mind as opposed to working on old ones ends up actually being much more valuable.
John: Chris, before we wrap up here, I just want a story, and this can be a story of your choice, but what's something that happened to you fairly recently business-wise that you thought was really interesting? An interaction with a client, with a customer or something like that, I just know that my audience can really glob onto and learn from actual real-world experiences. You're running a business. You're running a podcast. You're reading books. You're living life. You're doing all of these things. What's something interesting that happened to you sometime recently that you think would be a cool little story to maybe end on here today?
Chris: When I started this podcast, I just thought from the state of mind of “I want to put out content, and this could be – this is a good strategy for a good subject line. I'll put out this content. I hope people like it.” That was kinda the end of the conversation, but the big picture interesting thing that happened to me was what I didn't realize is by committing to doing a podcast once a week where I'm interviewing successful, smart, cool people, it forced me to constantly be reaching out to people, asking them if they have time to sit down, sitting down with one person a week, I have at least an hour with them, I have a free pass because it's a podcast to ask them anything I want, I have an excuse to reach out to people way beyond who I would normally reach out to because it's a podcast, and I think that the chain reaction sort of serendipitous relationship ways that that has affected my clothing business is pretty mind-blowing, and one of the most exact ones is I did an interview with this guy who I wasn’t very familiar with, so I had to be a little cryptic for another couple weeks until we release it, but I wasn’t really familiar with and wasn’t the type of person that normally I would've went and sat down with and just grabbed a coffee, but I did it anyway.
The next day in a meeting with one of our biggest retailers, they said that they were interested in this artist that this guy managed. So, the next day I was able to just call this guy and say, “Hey, can we have a meeting about this thing?” and it turned into this massive relationship. This deal that we just signed for our clothing company, it's going to have nothing to do with – it's going to be a huge capsule collection, huge merch line, all of this stuff that really had nothing to do with the initial intention of sitting down and just doing a podcast for that week, and I think that's the most mind-blowing thing that opened my eyes too. You don’t really realize the power of what doing the right thing can really do for you and really disciplining and really making sure that you just do this thing every hour or you just do this thing every week. It has a chain reaction that will pay off and benefit you in ways that you would've never, never, never been able to game-plan no matter how smart you are.
John: Fire Nation, if I was to give a little piece of feedback from what Chris just shared for a story would be all of the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. It was outside of Chris’s comfort zone to start this podcast, to commit to having over an hour conversation with a person every single week, to do all of this stuff, but that's where the magic happens, Fire Nation, is outside of your comfort zone. So, if it feels a little nerve-wracking and if you get the butterflies, if you're feeling a little scared about doing it, that's all the more reason to do so. And Chris, break it down for us, brother. We just dropped plenty of value bombs over our little chat here, but what's one major theme or one takeaway that you want to make sure our listeners really get before we say goodbye?
Chris: I think that one thing is almost back to the start. It's like just take a minute because I do the same thing every day. Just take a minute, really go through, audit your life, make sure that you're not afraid to grow, and make sure that whether that's A.) Because you take yourself too serious, or, B.) Maybe it's just really scary. C.) Maybe you're okay with where you're at right now, but you know there's that little pilot light, that little [inaudible] [00:34:08] burning in you somewhere, and I think just take a minute by yourself, be super honest, make sure that none of that is coming from a fear of just growing and getting out of your comfort zone, looking stupid, reading a book you don't understand, listening to a podcast, whatever it may be, and trust me when I tell you that that will come back to you tenfold in ways that you could never have even imagined that it would pay off.
John: Fire Nation, be terrified of complacency. Get out there and make it happen, and you listening to us right now, Fire Nation, [inaudible] the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you've been hanging out with CP and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type “Chris” in the search bar. His show’s page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the bizz – timestamps, links galore. And Chris, besides having my listeners obviously going and checking out Short Story Long, your great podcast, any other call-to-action you want for them?
Chris: If you just follow me on Instagram or check out my Instagram, my names just Drama over on Instagram, and –
John: You got the Instagram handle Drama? D-R-A-M-A?
Chris: I did. I sure did. I had some friends in the right places early on.
John: I guess.
Chris: Check me out on Instagram. Check out that podcast. I think everyone will love it, and I can't thank you guys enough for even giving me the time, and thank you, John.
John: Chris, thank you for sharing your truth with Fire Nation today. For that, brother, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flipside.
Chris: Heck, yeah.
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