After suffering from undiagnosed depression, which resulted in miraculously surviving a suicide attempt at 16 years old, Luke D. Maxwell began sharing his message of hope and has since spoken to tens of thousands across the nation. Now, he’s building a platform to teach others how to share their voice with the world.
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- The Freedom Journal – Set and Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
- Stay Focused – an app that can block out distractions for a certain period of time
- The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days!
- The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – Luke recommended book
- aTimeLogger – a time management app
- Rescue Time – also a time management app
3 Key Points:
- Speaking out is an opportunity to get help—there is no shame in what you’re facing.
- Assess your goals by thinking long-term and decide what needs you want to address.
- It is important to always remind yourself of who you are.
- City National Bank: Looking for financial resources to help get your business to that next level? Visit CNB.com/fire! City National Bank member FDIC.
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:58] – Luke is currently 20 years old, going through college, has a job, and feels he is called to teach people how to speak
- [01:33] – Luke’s expertise is in teen suicide prevention and depression
- [01:45] – There are not a lot of people working on it because there is no money in it and it is not easy
- [02:08] – Luke loves sharing his story when talking to teens going through depression
- [02:20] – Luke is developing new ways to be unashamed and is teaching young professionals how to share their voice
- [03:00] – What is something that we do not know about teen suicide that we should?
- [03:38] – Most of the time people are too ashamed to talk about it, but shouldn’t be because it is a medical disease and people can get help
- [04:50] – Luke heard about The Freedom Journal after listening to JLD’s podcast
- [05:40] – What was your goal for The Freedom Journal and how did you crush it? – Luke’s first goal was five speaking engagements for 2017
- [06:30] – Luke changed his goal to creating his first online course to teach people how to speak
- [07:15] – JLD reiterates that in setting your SMART goal, focus on the R- relevance
- [07:55] – The Freedom Journal helped Luke discover his goal
- [08:48] – How do you define productivity? – “Consistently accomplishing tasks that are directly or indirectly necessary to achieve my goals.”
- [09:17] – Luke is struggling with the ‘necessary to achieve my goals’ part as he has many tasks he needs to do as part of his business
- [09:34] – JLD uses the Stay Focused app to block out distractions for a period of time to stay productive
- [10:04] – How do you define discipline? – “It is forming and keeping habits.”
- [10:30] – JLD explains that habits will form the foundation of discipline
- [11:23] – Luke shares that it is hard for him to keep up certain habits
- [11:34] – How do you define the word focus? – “For the short term, it is concentrating on your #1 task. In the long term, it is concentrating on your #1 goal.”
- [12:24] – In The Mastery Journal, there are four sessions where there is Focus Time and Refresh Time
- [13:25] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Half education and half motivation.”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Choose your own words, don’t let others choose them for you.”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “Telling myself who I am as a 20 year old.”
- Share an internet resource with Fire Nation – “aTime Logger app”
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
- [15:29] – JLD uses a similar time logging app called Rescue Time
- [16:59] – Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I would sell the laptop for $1000 and then enroll in my local Community College and enroll in a video class. I know I have access to the entire campus, laptops and video equipment. I’m going to apply for a business license, buy a cellphone, buy a hosting domain and CRM. I will set-up my LinkedIn, socials, start blogging and start speaking to students about consulting them to speak for free. The feedback will be used for references. I’ll register for a free teachable account and upload a video to the course.”
- [18:50] – Speaking to all the 20-somethings: identify your passion, skills, biggest struggles, and align those with a need in the market
- [19:23] – Be unashamed of who you are and use your struggles as vehicles to relate to others and grow stronger
- [19:32] – Connect with Luke
Luke: I was born ready to ignite, man.
John: Yes. After suffering from undiagnosed depression, which resulted in miraculously surviving a suicide attempt at 16 years old, Luke began sharing his message of hope and has since spoken to tens of thousands across the nation. Now he’s building a platform to teach others how to share their voice with the world. Luke, take a minute, fill in some gaps in that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Luke: Well, I am currently 20 years old, going through college, holding down a job, and I feel called to teaching people how to speak. So I have six siblings. I’m the oldest in the house right now and I’m just trying to live life, man, trying to make the most of it.
John: Trying to live life, make the most of it, and we’re gonna be getting more into your journey, Luke, as we go forward, but first off what is your area of expertise? I mean if it is speaking and sharing your voice, what’s something that we don’t know about this niche that we should?
Luke: Well, my expertise is in teen suicide prevention and depression. This came out obviously from the intro. This came out of my own experience and I realized there wasn’t a whole lot of people working in this–
Luke: Yeah, and it’s odd. I think, for one thing, there’s not a whole lot of money in it and it’s not glorious and it’s not easy. I mean right now, I have about ten messages from teens who are depressed. They’re suicidal and it’s constantly and I love helping people and I love using my own experiences in speaking to these teens. So what I took from this is that – my tagline is “unashamed,” right? Be unashamed of your story. Be unashamed of who you are.
So that’s what I’m developing right now is I’m developing a new way to be unashamed, is teaching young professionals, college students, how to share their voice, how to speak. Whether it’s in a class presentation, whether it’s dominating an interview, or whether it’s blowing away an audience of 1,000 people, this is the niche I’m adding on and something that I’m really passionate about.
John: Luke, what’s something that we probably don’t know about teen suicide? My audience, Fire Nation, entrepreneurs, side entrepreneurs, small business owners, many are parents. Many of course have parents because they’re still younger, in their teens or maybe even in college. What is something that we just don’t know about teen suicide that we should?
Luke: For one thing, the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tells us that 29.9 percent of high school aged teens are suffering from clinical depression – 30 percent almost – and one in 12 attempt suicide and suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the CDC. So that’s the thing is it’s a big problem. It’s a big problem.
Many people have come in contact with it, whether it’s personally themselves, whether it’s a friend, whether it’s a family member and most of the time we’re just too ashamed to talk about it because we feel like we did something wrong. That’s what I’m really striving towards is, “Be unashamed of who you are and what you have. You have a disease just like anybody else. It’s a medical disease, depression, and you can get help, just like any other disease out there.” So that’s my message and I take that across the nation. I’ve spoken to – as the intro – tens of thousands and have saved lives and it’s been an amazing journey. I’m so glad I’m here.
John: Those are staggering percentages. I mean it’s literally one of those situations where you’re sitting in an auditorium. Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you three are likely depressed. I mean 30 percent is a staggering number. So, Fire Nation, this is something that we just need to be aware of so that if we have kids or if we have friends that are acting a little bit, why don’t you have a conversation with them and hey, maybe point them to Luke’s stuff. That could be cool.
Now, Luke, let’s talk about your Freedom Journal journey that you’ve been on. Now how did you first hear about the Freedom Journal and what was the goal you set and how are you crushing it?
Luke: So I first heard of the Freedom Journal through you. When I first heard about podcasts about a year ago, I was like, “What is this? A podcast?” I thought, “I wonder if there’s any podcasts for business people.” I’m like, “I don't know, maybe there is.” So I Googled top business podcasts and EOFire was on there. So I looked at it and thought, “Wow, this guy’s awesome. He’s putting his income reports on his website. How amazing is that, right?” So I just listened to the podcasts, listening and listening.
Then finally, after hearing about the Freedom Journal for a while, I cave in. I bought one and when I got it I was so excited. You should have heard me. My family was like, “What’s wrong?” “Oh, I got my Freedom Journal.” Of course, no one knew what that was. So my first goal that I set was, “Okay, I’m a speaker and I want to speak more.” So I thought I want to make five speaking engagements for 2017 and so I was working towards it and around day 27 or so I thought, “What am I accomplishing with this? Okay, I’m getting more speaking engagements, but how is this helping me live out my goal in my life? How is this helping me find success? These are five more speaking engagements.”
So then I thought, “Well, what is my goal?” I thought, “My goal is to teach other people how to speak, fellow young professional who are trying to get their message out and are having a hard time doing it.” So I thought, “No, that’s not my goal in life.” So I actually switched goals. So maybe my story is a little bit different than most, but I switched goals to creating my first online course, which will help young professionals how to outline a speech, how to speak, right?
Like I said, whether it’s in a class presentation, whether it’s in an interview, or whether it’s in front of 1,000 people sharing your message. So now I switched that. That’s my goal and I’ve been hitting it and I’m really excited on how far I’ve come overcoming adversity with my website, which has been a month or two long struggle. So that’s my journey.
John: Yeah, love the journey and, Fire Nation, it’s actually the R in the setting of the SMART goal. So many people just kind of brush over this one and it’s so important. That’s why I really do hone in on it within the training in the first few pages of the Freedom Journal. In setting your SMART goal is focus on the R. Focus on Relevance because a lot of people, Luke included, you set the goal but you don’t really focus on the SMART goal aspect of it, the Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound and that Relevant part is key.
You get to day 80, day 90 and you’re like, “I’m gonna accomplish this goal, but what does it really mean for me? What does it really mean for my business? What does it really mean for my life?” Your goal has to be relevant in a meaningful way. So when Luke figured that out, he made that little shift, that little adjustment, and things started changing. Just real quick, Luke, what are a couple results that you’ve had from that shift and now that you’re on your way to accomplishing that goal?
Luke: Number one what the Freedom Journal has done for me was help me find out my goal because I was just kind of plugging away, doing some sales, doing some marketing trying to get more speaking engagements. It was working, but I realized this isn’t my goal. So what the Freedom Journal did was show me my goal and then it keeps me accountable, right?
It keeps me accountable like, “Are you achieving your goal? Are you working towards it? What did you do today to achieve your goal?” and constantly focus on the goal, not necessarily get lost in all the tasks that you have to do every day.
John: Let’s talk about productivity. Let’s talk about discipline. Let’s talk about focus. I mean, Luke, when I was 20 years old brother, I did not have any of these skills. In fact, when I was 32, I was struggling with all three of these when it came to being an entrepreneur. Now I have developed them. I’ve mastered them over the past four years. They’re a huge reason for my current success. What about you at 20? How do you define productivity?
Luke: I define productivity as consistently accomplishing tasks that are directly or indirectly necessary to achieving my goals because if you’re not doing something, if you’re not doing a task that’s indirectly or directly achieving your goal, then what are you really achieving?
John: Where do you struggle within that definition day-to-day? What’s something that pulls you out of the productive mode?
Luke: Necessary to achieving my goals. I have a lot of people messaging me. I have admin. I have you know all the stuff that it takes to run a business, all of that’s pulling me away from the tasks that I need to achieve my goal.
John: Stay focused, Fire Nation. I’m not just saying that as two words. That’s an app that I use to block out all those distractions, to block out all of those messages, all of those notifications and not forever, just for my actual focus session whatever that might be. Stay productive. Now, Luke, discipline is tough for a 20-year-old. I get it. Again, been there, done that.
I was a cadet in college when I was 20 and I learned some discipline from the Army, but I still wasn’t a pro at it yet, not at 20 for sure. So how do you define discipline?
Luke: I define discipline as simply forming and keeping up habits. Habits are the ground on which we can achieve success. If we don’t have habits, we’re gonna get lost in all of the stuff with productivity. It’s a lot harder to achieve productivity without having those habits.
John: I love how you explained that and, Fire Nation, habits will build the foundation of your discipline if you’re choosing the right habits and being consistent with them. In what ways do you struggle being disciplined day-to-day, Luke?
Luke: It’s hard for me to do something I don’t want to do, right? I think naturally and maybe, I don't know, maybe this is a combination of me not having a rigorous schedule and habits growing up, but I’m kind of lazy in that sense in that something I’ll get excited about, like building my website. Oh, I love it. I’ll work hard, but that’s not necessarily keeping up a habit.
It’s when I feel like doing something, I’ll do it. So that’s something that I’ve gotten a lot better at and I’m constantly trying to improve, but I think that’s just the hardest part for me is keeping up habits that I don’t want to keep up.
John: Luke, I’m obsessed with maintaining focus and improving my own sense of focus within tasks that I do. How do you define that word? For me, it’s follow one course until success, but what is it to you?
Luke: Focus for me is, in the short term, concentrating on your number one task, right? Then, once you’re finished with that, moving onto your next number one task. In the long term, it’s concentrating on your number one goal, right? So going back to productivity is that you have your number one goal. You’re focused on that. “I’m going to achieve that, no matter what it is.”
Then saying, “Okay, what are my biggest tasks that I need to achieve that goal whether it’s today, whether it’s in the week, the month, the year.” Then focusing and saying, especially in the day, having three tasks and saying, “I am going to hit these today and I hit these today, I’m going to be happy.”
John: So in the Mastery Journal, I knew that focus sessions, focused work sessions, were going to be critical, Fire Nation, to success. So I set up these four work sessions, where you have a focus time and a refresh time. You figure out what works for you within the first few days of going through the Mastery Journal, but what’s key is you will end every single day with four incredibly focused sessions under your belt, which means you will have accomplished more quality work, more productive work, that day than you used to do all week. I’m not just throwing that, pulling that out of nowhere.
I mean this has really happened to me when I’ve applied this system and made it happen. So learn more at themasteryjournal.com where you can master productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days. Luke’s only 20. He’s already on his way. I wish I was on my way at 20, but Luke, we are both on our way to the lightning round. So don’t go anywhere, but we’re gonna first thank our sponsors. Luke, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Luke: I am prepared.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Luke: It was half education and half motivation. I didn’t know what I wanted and, when I had kind of an idea, I didn’t know how to achieve it. I didn’t know how to do sales. I didn’t know how to market. I didn’t know how to create a website. I just didn’t know any of that. So I felt kind of like I couldn’t do any of that.
John: what’s the best advice you have ever received?
Luke: It’s hard to pick one thing, but recently my speech professor told us, “Choose your own words. Don’t let others choose them for you.” You have a story. You have a voice. You have a passion. You unleash that on the world. Don’t let someone else tell you how to live your life. You get one of them.
John: What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Luke: It may sound a little silly or simple, but it’s telling myself who I am, right? As a 20-year-old, going through college, holding down a job, trying to grow my business, I get lost and I think, “Well, who am I?” I tell myself. I literally tell myself, “You are an entrepreneur. You are a difference maker. You’re a ground shaker. You’re gonna do X, Y, and Z.” and just reaffirming that, “Wait, this is who I am.”
John: Who am I, Fire Nation? The answer’s gonna change too and that’s why it’s important for you to consistently ask yourself that question so that you consistently know the answer at that moment in time. What’s an internet resource like Evernote that you can share with Fire Nation?
Luke: I use something called aTimelogger. It’s available on Android. It’s an app and what it does is it tracks your time. So it’s free and then I use it every day to see where my time is going because my time is so valuable and if I see that a lot of time is going into resting, whether it’s eating, whether it’s relaxing, then I’ll go, “Uh-huh, no more resting today” and then get back in there.
John: Love that, Fire Nation. I actually use something called Rescuetime, which says something similar on my computer. If you could recommend one book, Luke, what would it be and why?
Luke: So it’s not a business book, but it’s called The Stormlight Archive. It’s a series of books by Brandon Sanderson and the reason I say this is because I think too often we get caught up in everything needs to be business. “Everything I listen to has to be a business podcast or a business radio. I have to only read business books.” For me, it kind of burns me out and gets me tired of business. So at night, I relax by reading fiction, science fiction, and that’s how I relax. That’s how I grow my imagination and I think it also helps improve my writing as well.
John: I’m the same way. I mean at night if I’m reading a business book or anything along those lines, it just gets my mind going. I start writing down notes and I’m like, “It’s past my bedtime” because I like to fall asleep at 9:15. Luke, when you get to be 37 like me, you start going to bed a little bit earlier, but anyways –
Luke: I want to, man. I’m looking forward to the day.
John: Hey, it’s all about sleep, brother. But what is that again because I love fiction?
Luke: It’s called The Stormlight Archive. Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite – He is my favorite author ever and he writes these epic fantasies. He completed the Wheel of Time series that Robert Jordan started.
John: Oh, no kidding?
Luke: Yeah, he’s a fantastic writer, author. I highly recommend him.
John: So Luke, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world that’s identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all of the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is still taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Luke: Oh, I love this question. So first what I would do is that I’m assuming it’s a brand new Mac. So I’m gonna go ahead and sell that laptop for about $1,000.00, which it’s a pretty good price for a brand new Mac. Now I have $1,500.00. I’m going to enroll in my local community college and I’m going to enroll in a video class. Now I have access to the entire campus and I have access to the computers there. So I don’t need a laptop. I have really good computers there and, in the video class, I have access to the video equipment to use for making videos.
I’m gonna apply for a business license, use some of that money. I’m going to buy a cell phone, which is gonna take up a good chunk of money. I’m going to buy hosting a domain and a CRM to start doing some sales and then what I’m gonna do is set up my LinkedIn social, start blogging, and then start, on campus, start speaking to students about consulting them to speak for free.
What I’ll do is I’ll take the feedback they give me and I’ll use those as references and use their word of mouth to get more consulting. Eventually, I’ll register for a free Teachable account. I’ll upload a video, an online course, of me teaching young professionals how to speak and then I’ll go from there.
John: Wow. I mean, Fire Nation, that is a thorough, an amazing answer. Luke, let’s just end today on fire with you giving us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Luke: So a parting piece of guidance is if you’re not sure because I know I’m speaking to all of my fellow 20 somethings. You’re in college, you’re just starting a job, and you’re not quite sure what you want with your life – I’m speaking to you right now – is first identify your passions, identify your skills, identify your biggest struggles and align those with a market need. Do that and you will find your niche. You will find something to be successful in, something to make you happy.
Most of all, be yourself and be unashamed of who you are. Use your struggles as vehicles to relate to others and to grow stronger. Connect with me. Email me [email protected] If you go to lukedmaxwell.com, you’ll see a page there “Welcome Fire Nation.” Go there. I have a video about how I use pen and paper for success and then I’ll also give you an opportunity to sign up for the Beta test of my course, as well as get on my email list. So go there. Be unashamed any night.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with LDM and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head on over to EOFire.com and type Luke in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz; timestamps, links galore.
Of course, email Luke if you’re a 20 something and you just want to say hello or, even if you’re not, I’m sure he’d like to say hi as well and maybe answer any questions that you might have or get some more information about any of his specialties and knowledge. That’s [email protected] Of course, you can just head over to lukedmaxwell.com and check out that tab “Welcome Fire Nation.” Watch the video and just all the awesomeness he has there for you. Luke, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Luke: Take care, brother.
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