From the archive: This episode was originally recorded and published in 2019. Our interviews on Entrepreneurs On Fire are meant to be evergreen, and we do our best to confirm that all offers and URL’s in these archive episodes are still relevant.
Sam Horn is an Intrigue Expert; author of POP! and SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week; has been featured in NY Times and on NPR; and coaches people on their brands, books, and TED talks.
Someday Is Not a Day in the Week – Check out Sam’s book on Amazon!
The Intrigue Agency – Head over to Sam’s Website to learn more about what she has going on
3 Value Bombs
1) We don’t need more time. We don’t need more money. All we need to do is reframe. Putting off what we want to do is a preventable path to regret.
2) It’s not selfish to do what makes you happy. It’s smart.
3) The only way to know is to go.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week; Clarify What Matters, Do It Now
[01:24] – Sam shares something interesting about herself that most people don’t know.
- She had the privilege of working with a grand slam champion in the tennis industry
[02:49] – A teaser of what we’ll be chatting about today…
- Goal for today: for people to have done the happiness box together, to have an epiphany about one thing that really matters to them, and how they can set it in motion now, not later.
[04:13] – Sam breaks down how to create The Happiness Box.
[10:55] – What are you doing in life that you want to do?
- Your gut just told you what makes you happy.
- What happens is we get busy, and we’re not doing things that makes us happy.
- The first hack is to schedule what is #1. If we don’t, it becomes a slippery slope and our happiness slips away because we stop doing the things that clearly contribute to our happiness.
- Byron Katie said, “My happiness depends on me, so you’re off the hook.”
- Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
[14:44] – What are you NOT doing that you want to do?
- Give yourself the S.E.E. (Significant Emotional Event)
- Reduce the risks.
- Reframe what’s involved.
[22:15] – What are you doing and you don’t want to do?
- It’s not selfish to do what makes you happy. It’s smart.
- If our boundaries don’t have metrics, then they’re not boundaries.
[31:15] – What are you not doing that you don’t want to?
- John spends time on social media, but doesn’t waste time on social media.
[32:05] – Sam’s favorite success story.
- When we say catalytic change, one thing is about discipline, and one thing is about changing your life.
[33:53] – What’s the next step after you list out the things in your Happiness Box?
- In box #2, your obstacle can be the ‘Who am I?’ syndrome. It’s like putting yourself on a pedestal and telling people what to do. It’s almost arrogant.
- Another big challenge and reason why we don’t do what we want to do is that for many of us, if we don’t know, we don’t go.
- The only way to know is to go.
- As Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of life is to find your gift. The meaning is to give it away.”
- Hopefully you’ve come to the clarity that keeping your gifts to yourself is selfish. Giving them away is what serves.
[40:39] – Sam’s parting piece of guidance
- You’re never too old to have new dreams.
- Many of us feel that doing what we want somehow is going to have this negative ramification… that we’re going to risk something or lose something.
- We don’t need more time. We don’t need more money. All we need to do is to reframe. Putting off what we want to do is a preventable path to regret.
- Someday Is Not a Day in the Week – Check out Sam’s book on Amazon!
- The Intrigue Agency – Head over to Sam’s Website to learn more about what she has going on!
JLD: What’s shaking, Fire Nation? JLD here, with an audio master class on someday is not a day in the week. Let’s clarify what matters, and do it now. To talk about this audio master class, I have brought Sam Horn, who is an intrigue expert. Author of Pop! And Someday Is Not a Day of the Week. Sam’s been featured in New York Times, on NPR, and coaches entrepreneurs on their brands, books, and TED talks. We’re gonna be diving into why someday, Fire Nation, is not a day in the week when we get back from thanking our sponsor. Sam, say what’s up to Fire Nation, and share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
Sam: John, most people do not know that I had the privilege of working with grand slam champion Rod Laver in the tennis industry down on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, and that I got to play tennis at the White House.
JLD: Wow. How was playing tennis at the White House, and who did you play against?
Sam: I’ve played with a guy at the DIA, and I was working at the Regency Racquet Club at the time, and I played with our tennis pro and one of our members. But what was interesting about it, John, was that this was during the Ford administration, and while – we were having a great rally, and all of a sudden the guy with the DIA says, “Grab the tennis ball!” I’m thinking, nuclear attack. But no, it was the Ford’s Golden Retriever who had a habit of stealing stray tennis balls. So, that’s my story about the White House.
JLD: Man, I love that story. That is definitely something I did not know. And Fire Nation, if you’re recognizing Sam’s voice at all, it’s because she was on episode 747 of Entrepreneurs On Fire. Now she’s joining us over 1000 episodes later, episode 2102, to be exact. And as I mentioned in the intro, we’ll be talking about why someday is not a day in the week, because we need to clarify what matters and do it now. So Sam, give us a little bit of a teaser. What will we be talking about today, and why does Fire Nation need to grab a piece of paper, if they’re not driving, of course?
Sam: You know, Paulo Coelho said, “One day, we’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things we’ve always wanted to do.” And I am projecting that everyone listening to this is busy, John, right? And they’ve got something that they’ve been wanting to do, a dream they have, a business they wanna start, something that’s been calling them, but they have all these reasons they haven’t been doing it. And our goal, like you said, is at the end of our conversation, for people to have done the happiness box together, to have an epiphany about one thing that really matters and how they can set it in motion now, not later.
JLD: So, you’re gonna put me to work today, is that what you’re saying?
Sam: You bet I am.
JLD: I thought I’d just have my cup of coffee here, I was gonna be kicking back, listening to you draw value bombs, but you know what? I accept the challenge. Let’s kick off Fire Nation, join us in filling out this happiness box. You won’t regret it. If you are driving or running now, no big deal, listen to the content as we go through this and then come back, and then do it again, and then this time you can join us. So, whether this is your first, second, or fifth time listening to this episode, I want you to be joining us, if you can, because by the end you’re gonna be having a great result. So Sam, take it away.
Sam: Okay. The very first thing is, on your notes, draw a big box. Okay, so John, you’re doing it in real time, because we get to work through yours, right?
JLD: I just did it.
Sam: Okay. Now, in the upper left hand square, put the No. 1, and at the top of that box, put the word “doing,” D-O-I-N-G. So, top of square one, put “doing.”
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. And the upper right hand corner, put two, that’s our No. 2 square, and at the top of that square, put “not doing,” “not doing.”
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. Now, to the left of square one, put “want to.”
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. Now, lower left, that’s square three, so put a little three in lower left, and to the left of that box, put “don’t want to.”
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. And then, of course, you’ve got one square left and that’s the lower right, and that’s square No. 4.
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. Now, we’re gonna do a word association game. I’m gonna say something, and please write down the first thing that comes to mind. Now, your gut is giving you the answers to the test, so please don’t censure it, don’t give a politically correct answer, if we really answer this honestly, I promise you it is going go show you something you can do next that will put the light on in your eyes, all right?
JLD: Okay, and I’m just writhing this, I’m not saying it?
Sam: You’re writing it down. In fact, after you write it down though, we’re going to talk about these boxes, because once we start understanding what these boxes mean and acting on it, or changing it, or reframing it, or something, that’s when real change happens, okay?
JLD: So, it just – right before we start, Fire Nation again, we have this box, and you’re making a window out of it. So, you’re putting a line down the middle, and a line across the middle so you have one, two, three, four boxes. In the upper left is a one, upper right is two, lower left is three, lower right is four. Above one you have “doing,” above two you have “not doing,” to the left of one you have “want to,” and to the left of three you have “don’t want to,” correct?
Sam: John, you want to go on the road together? You just summarized that perfectly.
JLD: We’re a road show, Sam, I love this.
Sam: All right, everybody, let’s go. Square No. 1, upper left. What are you doing in your life that you want to? Okay, start writing. Are you spending time with friends? Are you journaling every day? Are you living in a city with lots to do? Are you running your own business? What are you doing in your life that you want to? All right, now this is kinda like Jeopardy, because bum bum bum bum, bum bum bum, bum bum bum bum bup, ba da da da da da, because we’re gonna cut it short for now. Because what I recommend is come back to this box at lunch, or if you have a partner do it with your partner, a family. Because it will catalyze a most meaningful conversation you’ve ever had. For now, let’s move on, all right?
JLD: What’s great Sam is that, the listeners can always press pause if they want to.
Sam: Hey, I tell you, this technology, huh John? Alrighty. Square two, what are you not doing in your life that you want to? Are you not working out? Are you not writing that book? Are you not starting your business? Are you not getting enough sleep? You not going back to school and studying a different major, or getting a certification? So, what are you not doing in your life that you want to? By the way, this is also a buried passion box. So, maybe you’re not surfing and you love to surf. Maybe you’re not riding horses and you love to ride horses. Maybe you’re not gardening, and you love to garden. So, what are you not doing that you want to? Dum bum bum bum, bum bum bum –
JLD: Got it.
Sam: Okay. Ready to go on to three?
Sam: All right. You know this one. What are you doing that you don’t want to? Maybe you’re wasting way too much time on TV. Maybe you’re spending too much time on social media. Maybe you’re commuting two hours a day, and you don’t want to. Maybe you’re eating way too much of the wrong foods. What are you doing, and you don’t want to? Maybe you’re working 60 hours a week. And John, let me know when you’re ready to go to box square.
JLD: I’m ready.
Sam: All right. Box four, what are you not doing, and you don’t want to? And yes, that’s a double negative, it’s just that these are your lessons learned. These are the things you have already figured out that undermine your happiness, and you’re successfully keeping them our of your life. So, maybe what you’re not doing is smoking. Maybe you used to smoke, you don’t wanna do it, and you’re not doing it. Yay, good for you. Maybe what you’re not doing that you don’t want to is working for a big corporation, where you’re just a number, and you don’t – you’re work’s not appreciated or respected.
Maybe what you’re not doing that you don’t want to is taking red eyes. So, what are you not doing that you don’t want to?
Sam: Okay. Everyone, please circle the answers in square No. 1, and the answers in square No. 4. These are the things that are right with your life. This is what’s contributing to your happiness. This is what’s helping you feel that you like your life, that you’re leading a quality life. All right. Now, you can see what’s coming. Circle the answers in square two and three. And this is what’s wrong with your life. This is what is undermining your happiness. Compromising your quality of life. But now, here’s my question to you and everybody else, John. Do you know anyone who’s perfect?
Sam: Nobody. So see, we are always going to have answers in square two and three. Do you know what the question is?
Sam: How long? John Foster Dulles said, “The mark of a successful organization isn’t whether it has problems. It’s whether it has the same problems it had last year.” So see, that is the core of my Someday book, and what we’re gonna talk about today. How long have we not been doing these things that are calling us? That fill us with energy. How long have we been doing these things that sap our soul, that suck the life right out of us? So, here’s my question to you. Do you wanna start on square one?
JLD: Let’s do it.
Sam: Okay. So, John, what are you doing in your life that you want to?
JLD: I am doing a daily infrared sauna. I bought an infrared sauna about eight months ago. I’ve been using it every single day that I’m here in Puerto Rico, and I really enjoy and love doing that. Exercising four days a week with my virtual trainer Jeff. I am sleeping very well. I wrote something else I can’t read right now, my handwriting’s terrible, and then I wrote hanging out with friends as the last thing. So, that was things that I’m doing that I want to be doing.
Sam: Okay, now I’m telling you, John, and everybody else, the key is, your gut has just said hey, there’s no mystery to happiness. You know what makes you happy. You just said doing a sauna, working out four times a week, and hanging with friends. If you’re doing that, you’re good, right? But you know what happens, John? It’s like, we get busy, right, and then all of a sudden we’re not seeing our friends. It’s like, yeah, I don’t feel so well, so you cancel on the trainer. Or it’s like oh my gosh, I’ve been doing the sauna now for three weeks, so I’ll just miss today. It won’t matter.
And the first hack that I’m recommending is that we schedule in what’s on No. 1. Because if we don’t, it becomes a slippery slope, and our happiness ekes away because we stop doing the things that so clearly contribute to our happiness. So now, you made a choice about scheduling with your trainer. Is that a way of holding yourself accountable, for keeping that exercise in box one?
JLD: 100 percent . It’s on my calendar, I have it as a yellow part on my calendar so it just kinda pops out, and it’s just this recurring event that I can’t miss.
Sam: So see, everyone, you may think eh, you know, that’s kinda obvious. I know that. However, I guarantee you, some time in the next week or two, something you have in box one, you’re going to be tempted to cancel out on. Because you didn’t much sleep last night, so you’re gonna cancel out on that morning breakfast with that friend. Or it’s like eh, you’re a little achy from skiing yesterday so you’re not gonna work our tomorrow. You’ll do it – slippery slope, folks. Keep them scheduled. Because, once again, there’s no mystery. If you keep those in your life, you are taking responsibility for your happiness. Byron Katie said, “ My happiness depends on me. So, you’re off the hook.”
JLD: Love that. And I just figured out what I wrote that I couldn’t initially read because my handwriting was so bad, because I just kinda scratched it down there. It was going for evening walks. That was the last thing.
Sam: Okay. Now, why does that feed your soul, John?
JLD: Because it’s a great way for me to wind down the day. It lets me just digest my thoughts, and everything that’s happened as well as just kinda have a good closure before I move into an evening.
Sam: Okay, John, I’m so glad you brought that up, because here are two great quotes to, once again, give context to square one. Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend –“
JLD: “ – how we spend our lives.”
Sam: That’s right. That’s right. And Dale Carnegie said, to live in day tight compartments. I think our goal is to live in day right compartments. John, you have just identified that going for an evening walk, Annie Dillard, you are living each day the way you want to live your life. And you are living in a day right compartment, because you know if you do that, even if it’s for 15 minutes, when you go to bed that night, your day feels right, right?
JLD: So true.
Sam: Okay, shall we go on to square two?
JLD: Yeah, this is exciting.
Sam: All right, what are you not doing that you want to?
JLD: Making and then consuming a morning smoothie of very specific ingredients. Fasting at least one day per week. Starting an academy that I’ve been looking to start, in the house base. And eating healthier foods, overall.
Sam: Okay. Now see John, I love what you’re doing, because I’ve had the opportunity to work on this quiz, on this happiness test, happiness box, whatever you wanna call it, with thousands of people, and there are trends that emerge. And you’re an example of the trend is that there are little things, make a smoothie in the morning, right? And then there are big projects, like start an academy, that has a lot of moving parts. So, would you like a story that – actually there are two stories that can both address little things and big things that we are not doing what we want to, so we can hack it.
Sam: Okay. The first one. I was in Waikiki with one of those someday workshops, and what a woman had put that she was not doing was being more adventurous. And I said well, like what’s an example? What do you mean? And she thought about it, and she said well, here’s an example. Here I am, in Waikiki, I’m right on the beach, and I haven’t even gone in the ocean. And I said well why? Why aren’t you? She said, I saw Jaws when I was a kid. Big mistake. Duh duh, duh duh. And I said all right. If we want to change something in box two, what we want to do is to do these three things. No. 1, we want to give ourselves an S-E-E, I’ll explain what that is in a second. Two, we want to reduce the risk, and three, we want to reframe what’s involved. So, do you know what an S-E-E is, John?
Sam: It is a Significant Emotional Event. And a significant emotional event is often dramatic or traumatic. It is losing a loved one. It’s getting fired. It’s going through a painful divorce. It’s having a health challenge. And that painful significant emotional event stops us in our track, forces us to reevaluate how we’re spending our time, and do things differently. The way I think about it, why have a painful S-E-E? Why not have a pretend S-E-E? Sound good?
JLD: I love that.
Sam: So see here, I said to Bev at that Waikiki workshop. So, tomorrow – when do you leave? She said two days. I said, okay then. Tomorrow is the day. I said set your alarm clock for 6:00 a.m. And she said why 6:00 a.m.? I said because you are going to be at the edge of the water at 6:30 when the sun rises over Diamond Head. Because when you do something different, and it has metaphorical significance, it has even more meaning, and you’ll remember it and do it for the rest of your life. So, I said, do you know about, now we’re gonna reduce the risk. I said, do you know about the natatorium? She said what’s that?
I said when Duke Kahanamoku used to be training for the Olympics, swimming in the ocean sometimes, it was rough. So they actually built a natatorium, which is right there, it’s part of the ocean, and so you’re swimming in salt water but guess what? There’s only a little three foot gap in the sea wall. So, the surf can’t get in, and the sharks can’t get in, and it’s only three feet deep. So, you cannot drown in there. You cannot get over your head. So I said now, the third thing is to reframe it. I said, I guarantee you, when the alarm clock goes off at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, you’re gonna wanna pull the sheets up, you’re gonna wanna roll over, tuck your head back under the pillow, and go back to sleep.
And I said do you know what you’re gonna say to yourself? What will matter a year from now? Will it matter a year from now that I got an extra hour of sleep? Or will it matter that I will have a lifelong memory of stepping into that ocean as the sun comes up over Diamond Head, and that I will always be grateful that I did something that I’ve been telling myself I want to do, which is to be more adventurous, and to make the most of my life now instead of later? So, guess what I got two days later, John? A little text from Bev.
JLD: Oh, Bev, she did it!
Sam: Bev, at the edge of the ocean, at the natatorium, sun coming up over Diamond Head. And now I am reaching out to you, John. You wanna talk about your smoothie, you wanna talk about your academy, how we can hack that right now, so that you start doing something that you know you wanna do?
JLD: Let’s do the smoothie.
Sam: Olay, let’s do the smoothie. All right. So, No. 1, how can you reduce the risk? Or how can you give yourself an S-E-E around that?
JLD: That’s – I know that the smoothie is gonna keep me energized for the rest of the day?
Sam: Do you know John Kotter out of Harvard said, do you know what the No. 1 prerequisite is for change?
Sam: A sense of urgency. So see, maybe why you’re not doing the smoothie is because you always think you can do it tomorrow, right? There’s no urgency. It’s like, yeah, you want to, but it’s a casual want, right?
Sam: Here’s my question to you, John. How can you give yourself a sense of urgency? So, when you look at it, you think – John Legend said, “The future is already here, and we’re already late.” So, how can you give yourself a sense of urgency?
JLD: That if I don’t have my smoothie completed by 6:30, made, that I can’t enjoy it by my poolside reading time that I have from 7:00 to 7:30.
Sam: Boom. Boom. You want another way to give yourself a sense of urgency?
Sam: Ask yourself, how long does it really take? How long does it take to make a smoothie, John?
JLD: I’d say between 10 to 12 minutes.
Sam: Okay. 10 to 12 minutes. Is 10 minutes a day an investment in you looking back at that day and knowing, in your heart, in your gut, that you took responsibility for your happiness, and you did the things that made you like yourself, and like your life?
JLD: Yeah, that’d be a sense of accomplishment.
Sam: Okay. There we go. Shall we move on to square three?
Sam: Okay, I’ll tell you some wonderful success stories of actions people have taken about these boxes. Because Brene Brown says, “Stories are just data with soul.” So, people listening to this may be thinking of well, you know John, you run your own business. I’ve got two kids, I’m working at a job, I can’t afford even 10 minutes in the morning, I can’t do it. They are probably coming up with reasons why they can’t do this. I don’t know their life. I don’t understand everything they have on their plate, right?
Sam: So, after we go through your box, we’re gonna share some real life stories of people who, even though they did have kids, even though they were working two jobs, even though they were paying off college debt, even though they were commuting two hours a day, they still made little changes that made a big difference.
Sam: For now, let’s go on to square three. Okay, what are you doing and you don’t want to?
JLD: So, I’m overall, eating unhealthy. I have some very specific scenarios within that. And it’s not all the time, but just some of the time, and I also put going to too many conferences. Committing to too many work travel events.
Sam: Oh boy. And do you – how about spending time on social media? Are you spending too much time, or you’re happy with that?
JLD: I’m happy with that. I’m very good. I wasn’t for a while, but I got my act together a couple years ago.
Sam: Good. So, you put that in square four didn’t you?
JLD: I did.
Sam: Maybe we’ll ask how you hacked that, because that is, by the way, the No. 1 answer I get from people in square No. 3, is that they’re spending too much time on social media or TV. So, we’d like to know how you hacked it.
Sam: Okay. So, let me give you a story of something that happened in three, and then we’re gonna come back to eating right, or going to too many conferences, all right? We’ve been talking about some business things. Let’s talk about a personal thing. One man was very honest, and he told me that what he was doing that he didn’t want to was starting to resent his wife and his kids. Because he was not doing the things that were important to him, because they were up through the night with the kids, up early in the morning with the kids, and taking care of the kids when he got home from work. And so, what we decided to do is to understand it’s not selfish to do what makes you happy, it’s smart.
So, he and his wife did the happiness box together, and they had an honest conversation, because she was starting to resent him, too. Because she was putting on the shelf things that were important to her out of a sense of responsibility to the family. Once again, that is a slippery slope, and it is preventable. So, Monday night is now Sue’s night, and she goes to yoga, and Tom watches the kids. Wednesday night is game night, and Tom goes and plays games with his friends, and Sue watches the kids, and Friday night they invest in a babysitter, and they go somewhere new, because they wanted the romance in their marriage again. They didn’t wanna just go to a movie, or go out to dinner, no.
Where haven’t we been before? What haven’t we seen or done before? So, they could insert some excitement, and some anticipation, and some enjoyment, and some affection. Within one month, they said they’re no longer resenting each other or the kids. They have put themselves back in the story, and they enjoy each other, and have affection for each other, and it’s because they looked at what was in box three and they did something about it instead of ignoring it, or feeling ashamed or embarrassed about it, or that they didn’t have the right to feel it. So, John, how about you?
JLD: Wow. Well, I can definitely say I wanna focus on the travelling to too many conferences side of things.
Sam: Okay. We’re talking metrics, John. We’re talking metrics, here. Because if our boundaries don’t have metrics, they aren’t boundaries. So, we don’t wanna just to go to fewer conferences, or not as many conferences, let’s talk numbers. So John, how many do you go to a month right now?
JLD: I’d say over the course of a quarter, I go to two.
Sam: Oh, two. All right. You wanna get that down to one?
JLD: Yes, I would like to do a max of four per year.
Sam: Okay. Now, let’s have some criteria. So, if you go to a conference, is one criteria that you have to speak at the conference, not just attend the conference?
JLD: No, I would say, I would wanna be speaking at a minimum of two, and then attending two if it was the right content at those two I’m attending.
Sam: Ah ha, magic word, content. So, now we’re coming up with a discerning criteria that will help you say this is worthwhile. So, when you say content, what kind of content will pop it to the top of your list and make it worth your time?
JLD: Health, wellness, and biohacking.
Sam: Okay, so health, wellness. So, that’s one criteria. Now let’s talk about the audience. Do you want a cross section of people? So, it’s not just people in one industry, that you’re meeting people from different professions. So, you’re really expanding your network and meeting a variety of people? Does the demographics of the audience matter to you?
JLD: No, really more the focus on the other speakers.
Sam: Ah ha. All right. Now, what are your criteria for speakers that would, once again, pop it to the top of your list, and help you make a discerning decision about how you triage your time?
JLD: Well, if I was an attendee, it would be speakers who I really look up to and admire in the health and wellness space, and I would be learning important stuff from their talks and presentations. And if I was a speaker at a business conference, then it would be about the other niches within entrepreneurship and business that I’m not an expert in, but I would be able to learn from those speakers as well.
Sam: Okay. Now what’s interesting John, because see, you – here are your decision criteria. You’re just writing down, and you’re giving yourself a way to make an informed decision. I had a colleague who was in a similar position, because she got requests all the time. She was a very high profile entrepreneur, she’s being asked to speak all the time, and to come to conferences and support other people’s projects, or missions, or summits, etcetera. So, one of her criteria was at least 50 percent of the speakers needed to be new. Because – and think about it, John, because Seth Gordon in fantastic, isn’t he? Jim Collins is fantastic.
There are so many people who are good. However, if we’re trying to decide when to go and when not to go, if we look at the lineup, and we have heard all those speakers before, maybe that isn’t the one this quarter that we go to. What do you think about that?
JLD: Makes a lot of sense to me, because I have been to those conferences before, where a lot of the same speakers are giving a lot of the same presentations, and so it’s just regurgitated content for me.
Sam: Boom. And do you see how, everyone please, come up with your own decision criteria. Now, I’ll give you a quick story about this. John, I came to the same conclusion you did a few years ago. And one of my criteria is that I needed to go to a conference I had never been to before. So that year, it was BIF, Business Innovation Factory. Saul Kaplan runs a great event in Providence, Rhode Island. Now, here is why I do that. Why one of my criteria is to go to an event I’ve never been before, I probably will not know a lot of people there, and at least half the speakers are new, is that there was Alan Webber of Fast Company, there was Tony Hsieh of Zappos, really impressive people. Do you know who the most impressive person was, John?
JLD: Who’s that?
Sam: It’s this person who walked out to the center of the stage, she paused until it was quiet, she leaned out toward the audience and she said, I know what you’re thinking. What’s a 13-year-old got to teach me about innovation? And then Cassandra Lin, 13-year-old Cassandra Lin, said well, we 13-year-olds know a thing or two, like how to start a non-profit and make it profitable in one year. She had us at hello. She started a turn grease into fuel. And she discovered that the sewers of Providence were filled with FOG, fat, oil, and grease. And she thought, somebody’s gotta do something about this. And then she thought well, I’m as much a somebody as anybody, I’ll do something about this.
So every Saturday, she and her fellow seventh graders go around and collect the FOG, and then they have it recycled which gives them money, and they give that money to families in Providence that can’t afford fuel during winter. So, do you see the win, the ROI, of going to an event? I never would’ve encountered Cassandra Lin otherwise, and that is the kind of experience that just elevates our life, isn’t it?
JLD: Well, I love that story. Specifically because I’m a Providence College graduate, so that’s my city.
Sam: Hey, boom! Now hey John, in real time, guess who you’re gonna ask to be on Entrepreneur on Fire?
Sam: Because John, that is Entrepreneurship, isn’t it? It’s seeing a problem, or need, or an opportunity, and thinking somebody ought to do something about this. I’m as much a somebody as anybody, I’ll do something about this. She’s be perfect for your show.
JLD: Oh, I’d love it. That’d be great.
Sam: Okay. Shall we move on to a four now?
JLD: Yes, but before we move on to four, Fire Nation, I know you want to hear everything in my box four, and I hope you’ve been following along and making your own happiness box as well, but we’re gonna take a quick minute and thank our sponsor, and we’ll be right back. So Sam, we’re back, we’re moving on to happiness box No. 4. What do you got for us?
Sam: Okay. Well, this is what you’re not doing and you don’t want to. And now John, you had said that you actually came to a really important decision about spending too much time, either on TV or social media, and you already hacked this. So, reveal all.
JLD: So, I listed out going to bed late, waking up late, vegging out in front of the TV, and wasting time on social media. So, I definitely have those things in my box four of things that I’m not doing, and that I don’t want to do. And yes, like I mentioned earlier in the interview, a couple years ago, I really did figure out where I wanted to be spending my time when it came to social media, because I do spend time with social media, but I don’t waste time on social media.
Sam: This is so important, and one of my favorite success stories is a young man, what he was not doing that he wanted to in square two was to meet women and work out. And what he was doing that he didn’t want to is that he was coming home from work, he was working at a corporate job that was sucking the life out of him, and he was kinda mini depressed. And so, he would come home, and he would turn on the TV, and the next thing he knew it was 11:00, trying to go to bed, and then drag himself to work the next day. He did one catalytic change in square three. Guess what it was?
JLD: He went to the gym right after work?
Sam: Actually, he got rid of the TV.
JLD: Oh, even better.
Sam: See, and when I say catalytic change – one thing is about discipline, right? One thing is about changing your life. So, now he had no reason to go home because it was like, there was no TV, and he knew he was gonna be home at 6:00 with “nothing to do.” So, yes, that’s when he started going to the gym, that’s when he started meeting young women, that’s when he met the love of his life. They’re happily married now, and he looks back and he wonders, John, if I hadn’t gotten rid of that TV, would I have gone to the gym? Would I have met Mickie? Would I have met the love of my life? And would I have a happy two-year-old son now?
JLD: Wow, fascinating.
Sam: Yeah. So, now I’ve got lots more stories. However, where would you like to go next?
JLD: Well, maybe just a little bit of a recap. So, you know we went through these four points, here. The one, the two, the three, the four. I was just kinda sharing what my four were about, that I’m not doing that I don’t wanna do, which is going to bed late, waking up late, vegging in front of the TV, wasting time on social media. When you have these things as we’ve gone through and described them, as to what they are, and we have this box now listed out. What’s the next step?
Sam: Here’s the next step, and I’ll tell a story, and then the steps are embedded in the story, okay? So, I’m fortunate. One of my clients is Sandra Joseph. And now, did you ever see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway by any chance, John?
JLD: Not on Broadway, no.
Sam: Okay, well, she was the leading lady. She is Broadway’s longest leading lady, as she played Christine in Phantom of the Opera. So, and across America, I hear people going oh, I saw her, she was fantastic, wasn’t she? However, after doing it 10 years, she was ready for her next. And how John, this box can also help us also figure out our next, because many of us, maybe we’re successful in our life and we’re wondering, now what? Well, guess what she had put in box No. 2, not doing that she wanted to?
JLD: No idea.
Sam: She wanted to write a book. And she wanted to give a TEDx talk. But guess what her obstacle was? Guess why she wasn’t doing it? The good ol’ who am I syndrome.
JLD: Oh, impostor.
Sam: There you go. Who am I to write a book? It’s like I’m not perfect. It’s like putting yourself up on a pedestal, and telling people what to do, it’s almost arrogant. And you know what I asked her, John? I said, what’s an example of what you would want to write in your book? And she said I would want to write that even though I was Christine in Phantom of the Opera, that on the way out to the stage, there is an exit door, and that I suffer from stage fright every single night, even after 10 years. The pressure of performing, the pressure of turning in an excellent performance, the pressure of making it worth it for all those people who came with such great expectations. And every single night I was gonna take the stage, I looked at that exit door, and I wanted to open it and run out. So, I said Sandra, the question is, if you wanna write a book, it’s not are you perfect. It’s not do I know everything, it’s not arrogant to put your self up. Do you know what the question is? Would someone reading my book benefit?
Because if someone reading your book will benefit, not only do you have the right to write, you have responsibility to write. The lessons learned in your head help no one. It’s stories, experiences, observations in your head help no one. If you’ve been through something, if you know something, if you believe or have observed something that you think might inform others, or educate them, or entertain them, or enlighten them, or inspire them, then you have a right and a responsibility to get it out of your head. So, then we reduce the risk, because one of the other things is do you know another big challenge for why we don’t do what we want to do?
Many of us, if we don’t know, we don’t go. Well, I’ve never written a book before, I don’t know how to write a book before. It takes a long time to write a book. It might not be very good. All those doubts and fears come up, and we don’t know, so we don’t go. So, guess what is one of the biggest epiphanies I’ve had? The only way to know is to go. People can’t jump on our bandwagon if we don’t get it out of the garage. So, I said all right, who do you know that has written books? She knows all kinds of people who have written books. She said, why don’t you, this week, put something on the calendar, and just call five of them, and say what’s the biggest lesson learned about writing a book?
What would you suggest someone who is thinking about it? So, guess what happened? Each of the five people she called told her that writing the book was the pebble in the pond of their legacy. That it was one of the most satisfying things they had ever done, because it gave their life purpose and meaning. If we experience something, and we just stop there, it only serves us. But if we get our books, or our ideas, or our stories, or our lessons learned out of our head and into the world, now it has a chance to serve others, right? So John, here’s my question for you. Do you know what Pablo Picasso said about this?
Sam: The purpose of life is to find your gift. The meaning is to give it away. So, in box two, for many of us, what we want to do, whether it’s write a book, or give a TED talk, or start a business, or do something, it really is our calling and our gift. And giving it away is really the purpose and meaning of life. And if we reduce the risk, if we reach out to other people and ask for their advice, or for their support, or for their suggestions, and if we get past that who am I, and come to the clarity that keeping our gifts to ourselves is what’s selfish. Giving them away is what serves. What do you think about that, John?
JLD: I think it’s powerful. I think a lot of people go through life, and they don’t even know what’s in their box No. 2, because they just never take the time to sit down and to think about it for a couple seconds. It literally only took me seconds to write down what I want to do, but what I’m not doing. And now I have this printed in my mind of things that I’m not doing that I actually want to do, because I actually took the time to think about it, and to me, that’s what super powerful, Fire Nation. Are you taking the time to think about things that you want to do, but you’re not actually doing, and then creating a structure, a plan of action, to make that happen in your life.
So, Sam, we’ve gone through this audio master class of someday is not a day in the week. We need to clarify what matters, and we need to do it now. We’ve walked through what it means to create a happiness box, we’ve gone through my happiness box, one, two, three, and four. I’ve shared with Fire Nation what each one of my boxes includes, an again Fire Nation, you should be taking a little more time than Sam and I took to write things down in these boxes. Because we wanted to respect your time as the listeners of this podcast.
But in closing, Sam, what do you wanna make sure that our listeners are really getting from this happiness box, and what do you wanna make sure they do going forward, so that they can start doing what they wanna do, but they’re not doing currently?
Sam: What I want them to know is that it’s you’re never too old to have new dreams. That I am a shining example of acting on what was in the happiness box. That I took my business on the road for a year by the water, and what did I want to do? I wanted to write more, I wanted to – I love water, I wanted to visit bodies of water and write about them, and I wanted life to be more of an adventure. I wanted the opposite of my always. And so, I announced my year by the water at the National Press Club. And I tell you, John, most of the people said yay, take me with you. But there were two people who took me aside. And one, obviously thought something was direly wrong. That I was having – I was on my death bed. That that was the only thing that could motivate me to do such a bold thing. And she said Sam, are you having a midlife crisis? And I said, I’m not having a midlife crisis. I’m having midlife clarity. And another person took me aside and said Sam, you’ve gotta control this story.
It’s like if you take yourself off the grid, and your clients can’t hire you to speak, or hire you to consult, you’re business may go away. And everything you’ve worked so hard for, you may just lose it. And I really had a crisis of conscience, and maybe people who are listening to this feel that doing what they want somehow is going to have these negative ramifications. That they’re going to risk something, or lose something. And I’m so grateful, because I saw James Taylor interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning that Sunday, and he gave me the answer to this quandary. Is that the interviewer said, you know, it’s been 12 years since your last recording. What took you so long?
And James Taylor said well, I’ve been on tour for 12 years, and I need time and space to write. And the reporter said, oh, so you took time off work to write, huh? And James Taylor gets this beatific expression on his face, and he said no, I didn’t take time off work. I did a different kind of work. And so John, you asked how – the biggest lesson I got from this is that folks, we don’t need more time, we never have more time than we have right now. We don’t need more money. The things that matter, in meaning, not money, and anyone can afford that. All we need to do is to reframe that what we want to do, what we want more of, what we want less of, that many of us can do it right now.
That putting it off is a preventable path to regrets. And if we really value life, then post this box where we can see it, where it’s in sight, in mind. Talk about it with people you care about. Find out what’s going on in their life. Decide together how you can make your life more right now. You will never regret it. You will only regret not doing it sooner.
JLD: Fire Nation, Sam Horn, coming at you live, or of course, you’re listening to this in 2020, 2022. What I love about this is, evergreen content. This is content that’s always going to matter to anybody that’s listening that wants to bring their happiness box to life. So, Sam, tell us about your book, and where can Fire Nation learn more about everything you have going on?
Sam: Thank you so much for asking, John, is that the book is coming out on March 12, from St. Martin’s Press. And of course, you can either go and buy a copy from your favorite book seller, you can jump on Amazon, or Powell’s, or Barnes and Noble, etcetera. You can also go to my website, which is intrigueagancy.com. So, it’s intrigue, I’m the intrigue expert, I-N-T-R-I-G-U-E agency, intrigueagancy.com. Not only is there a TEDx talk there on Someday Is Not a Day in the Week, I’ve got all kinds of articles about how your day dream could become your day job, and what you could do to be happier here and now, instead of here or later.
JLD: Fire Nation, this episode went live on March 21st of 2019, so the book is currently available. If you’re hearing this, Someday Is Not a Day in the Week. Do yourself a favor, besides listening to this episode again and making sure that you’ve completely got your happiness box all squared away, go get Someday Is Not a Day in the Week, and complete your learning and your training around these topics. So critical, so great. And of course, intrigueagancy.com is where you can go to connect with Sam even more, which I highly recommend.
So Fire Nation, make sure you recognize the fact, you’re the average, of the five people that you spend the most time with, you’ve been hanging out with SH and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And Sam, I wanna thank you for sharing your truth, your genius, the result of your year by the water with us here today. For that, we salute you, and we will catch you on the flip side.
Sam: Thank you, John.
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