Do you feel unsure about the focus or next steps in your business?
What if with one single action, you could get clarity, direction, and certainty about how to dominate your industry?
My guest on this episode is Ryan Levesque. Ryan will give us an inside look into his second book, Choose, by sharing the factors that will help you make the single most important decision about your business: choosing the right market.
Ryan is the Inc. 500 CEO of The ASK Method ® Company, and the #1 national best-selling author of Ask, which was named by Inc. as the #1 Marketing Book of the Year.
Gain wisdom with this exciting episode!
Listen to the podcast here:
Choose with Ryan Levesque [Podcast 219]
Have you ever been in a place where you felt like you were a little stuck? Maybe you’re a little unsure of what your business should be focused on, what your market should be focused on, where you want to take that next step to get to the next level in your business? Our guest expert will show you how to bridge that gap. His name is Ryan Levesque. He is the CEO of Ask Method, which is an Inc. 500 fastest growing company in the country. The number one national bestselling author of a book you’ve probably heard of called Ask. His book was named as the number one marketing book of the year. He’s been featured in all kinds of play. You’d have to be sleeping under a rock not to have heard about all the buzz around his business, his companies over the last few years.
He’s been featured in places like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Entrepreneur and over 250,000 entrepreneurs subscribed at his newsletter for his business advice. His book, Choose, helps readers, learners, lifelong learners like you and I, how to avoid making the single biggest mistake when starting a business. It helps guide people through answering the all-important question, what type of business should you start? I’ll even say if you’re in business, how should you make the decision of what to focus on next? Ryan, welcome to the show. How are you?
It’s awesome to be here. I’m super grateful and I appreciate it.
It’s my pleasure. You and I have known each other for years and finally, we’re getting a chance to connect. I am looking forward to this conversation. I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. I want to dive right into it. I would call it a phenomenon in the last several years with Ask and now your book, Choose. Why are you doing what you’re doing now?
After I published my first book, Ask, it far exceeded the grandest expectations I had for that book. When I wrote that book, my goal was I wanted to have a better business card and the book became a number one national bestseller. It’s published in all these different languages and it’s sold a lot of copies. When you sell a lot of copies of the book, two things happen. Number one, you get a lot of letters from people who tell you how grateful they are for sharing what you’ve shared and the results they’ve gotten, the success that they’ve had. You also get letters from people who say, “I followed everything that you taught me in the book and it didn’t work.” It was that second bucket of letters that I got, Facebook messages, physical letters in the mail, emails from readers, that left me frustrated. It left me the feeling of what’s missing? What’s wrong? Why are these people failing? I started doing some digging and the digging led to what became the largest three-year research project of my entire life, to figure out why people were failing and it all came down to the same thing.You need to decide if you need to niche up or niche down to get yourself into the sweet spot in the business. – Ryan Levesque Click To Tweet
The people who followed the process that I taught in Ask to launch and grow your business that still failed all made the same critical mistake, they all chose bad markets. They went into markets that had no chance of succeeding out of the gate. There’s a metaphor I used in the book that is helpful to understand. It’s like this. When starting a business, it’s like tossing a raft in a river. When you toss a raft in a river, you can have the greatest intentions. You can have the best raft money you can buy. You can bring your friends and get a crew to help you row in that raft. You can row for eighteen hours a day, but if you put your raft facing in the wrong direction in that river or worse yet, you put that raft in a river that has no current or there’s no water. You’re not going to get to your destination no matter how hard you row, and that’s what I saw. People were rowing, they were putting the eighteen-hour days in, but they were putting their rafts in bad rivers.
In the first book, Ask, I shared how I went into 23 different markets but what I failed to teach was how I chose those markets in the first place. I went back to all my successes, all my failures, all my clients’ and students’ successes, all their failures and inspired by Jim Collins. If you’re familiar with Jim Collins’ work, Good to Great and Great by Choice, looking at what was it that separated the successful markets from the failures, what were the commonalities? We discovered that there were these seven factors and that’s what the entire book is about. It’s how to make sure you make the single most important decision before starting your business the right way and that is choosing the right market to go into.
What would it be worth for you if you’re brand new getting started to choose the right market? Wouldn’t it be great if you could throw your raft in a stream that’s got an incredibly steady current just moving you down the river at a steady pace? On the other hand, have you ever found yourself in a place where you felt like you were going upstream? Even if you had twelve or thirteen people in the boat, you were trying to go up but it was a grind. What if you could completely eliminate that issue and solve that problem? You’re going to discover how you will be able to do it. Ryan, I want to go into a little bit of your history because it hasn’t all been successes. You’re an influencer, that fancy French word, influencer. You have grown a following of over 250,000 entrepreneurs, which is amazing but with all that, certainly there are some setbacks and those setbacks teach us some things. Can you think back what your biggest failure or your personal biggest mistake in your business journey was? What did you learn from it? What can our audience learn from it too?
There’s been more than one. In all honesty, there have been some failures along the way. One that comes to mind was when I was starting my first business.
Is that a paper route or what was your first business?
My first real business as an adult was I was working a corporate job and this was in 2007, 2008. I quit my job and my wife was in grad school and she was not making any money. I left my income behind me. We had a little bit in savings but not a whole lot and we decided to start a business. I had been going back and forth for months with my wife saying, “Let’s start this business and let’s start that business,” and finally she said, “We’ve got to pick something.” She stumbled across what was at the time, a brand-new website that had just launched. It was called Etsy.com. It was a big household name now, but it was a small little startup at the time. For anyone not familiar, Etsy is like eBay for handmade goods, for people who like crochet, paint, pottery and things like that. We were living in China at the time. I was in Shanghai. I quit my job. She was in Hong Kong. We were moving together in Hong Kong in student housing and this is relevant to the story.
She said, “There’s this jewelry that’s selling and it’s made with scrabble tiles and origami paper and it’s selling like crazy. Here we are, we’re in China and we have access to unlimited amounts of origami paper. We have unlimited access to inexpensive labor. Let’s manufacture the jewelry and we can import it into the United States.” We started our business and one of the goals I had was I wanted freedom. I had just come out of a corporate job where I was living out of hotels. I was on a plane every other week. I was flying around the country in these not pleasant second and third-tier cities in China. I said, “I don’t want to be tied to a factory in Southern China. I want the ability to travel. I want the ability to live my life on my own terms. We’re not going to do this.” She said, “Fine,” and we put it to bed.
Two weeks later, she came back to me and she said, “Ryan, I know that we closed the door on this scrabble tile jewelry thing, but I want you to take a look at this woman’s website.” She showed me this woman shop on Etsy. Etsy was one of these platforms where you can see how many sales someone’s making every single day. You can see exactly how much money they’re making. She said, “Take a look at this woman. She’s not selling the jewelry. She’s teaching people how to make the jewelry and she’s selling this digital PDF and look at her sales.” We looked at it, we were scrolling, we were going through the sales and she was selling between 20 and 30 copies of this PDF a day at $20 each. We did the math really quick and we were saying, “She’s making $500 a day. That’s $15,000 a month and it’s probably all profit.” At that time, making no money at all, I was like, “We’ve struck gold.”
We bought our product. It wasn’t very good. We created a better mousetrap. We started selling it. We were making $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $8,000, $9,000 a month. I learned an important lesson in all this. We thought we were going to hit it rich. This is great, first success out of the gate. What we realized was that the market was a complete fad. As quickly as the market started shooting up, it fell off a cliff and practically overnight our sales completely dried up. Etsy was overwhelmed with suppliers. Everyone was selling the jewelry. There was nobody left to buy it. When people stopped buying it, they were buying the guides on how to make it. My wife and I looked at each other and we said, “What do we do now?” She had finished her PhD program and we moved back to the United States and we started over. We had two suitcases. We were back to the United States. We were in our late twenties at this time and we started over from scratch.
The lesson in that, the failure in that was one of the first clues that led me to the importance of choosing a good market. I teach the five market must-haves in the book and one of the market must-haves is to make sure that you go after what’s called an evergreen market. An evergreen market is a market that was relevant ten years ago. It’s going to be relevant ten years from now. There are tools that you can use online to analyze keyword volume to figure out what markets are trending up, which markets are trending down, which you want to avoid, which markets are highly cyclical. They go up and down either seasonally or through different parts of the year and which markets are stable. You want to avoid those trend and fad markets that have the potential to shoot up quickly but fall off a cliff. I learned that lesson the hard way when we have to start all over.Life is not about achieving milestones. Milestones come and go. If you're not careful, you're always going to be chasing that next thing. – Ryan Levesque Click To Tweet
Ryan, we started to talk about one of your five market must-haves, number one, evergreen. You talked about the resources, understand what’s going up, what’s going down and those sorts of things. What are the other four market must-haves? We’ll circle back on some of the strategies to put in place.
The first market must-have is an evergreen market. You want a market that was relevant a decade ago. It’s going to be relevant decades from now. I made that mistake in my first business that was a fad market. We’ve seen this happen with the Bitcoin market. There was a period of time where you literally could not turn a corner without somebody talking about Bitcoin. When you study the keyword volume of Bitcoin, you’ll notice that it’s flat and then it grows exponentially and then falls off a cliff next to nothing and that corresponds very closely with the Bitcoin price. When Bitcoin fell off a cliff and you have a lot of people who built businesses around Bitcoin, whether it’s newsletters, exchanges, programs and things like that that are out of business because they made that mistake. That’s the first one.
The second one is it’s not enough to be in a market that’s evergreen. It’s not enough to be in a market that is relevant decades ago, it would be relevant decades from now. You want to be in a market that’s also what’s known as an enthusiast market and that’s in contrast with what we call a problem solution market. I made this mistake myself in one of our early businesses. You’ll hear about many of these business failures in the book but one of the businesses that we started was a flea removal business. I realized that you want to be in a market that’s evergreen and we started looking at problems that were evergreen and one of them was removing fleas. Fleas have been around for hundreds of years. They’re probably going to be around a hundred years from now.
What I discovered is that when you go into what’s called a problem solution market, you constantly have to chase after new customers versus an enthusiast market. You can sell multiple things to the same customer. You’re looking for markets like orchid care, one of our successful businesses. You’re looking for markets like guitar playing. You’re looking for markets serving entrepreneurs in markets in which people become repeat buyers for multiple things in that market. A classic example I share in the book is the dog market. If you’ve got a dog at home or you know someone who has a dog, you know what these people are like. We have a dog at home, so I say to these people, “I’m one of these people. You bring a dog home, you’ve got a puppy, what do you need to buy? You could buy all the puppy training stuff, the puppy pads, the crates, the dog bowls, all those things.” The dog gets a little bit older and you’ve got to train the dog. You’ve got to teach the dog tricks. You’ve got to teach the dog how to walk on a leash, teach the dog to come when they’re called. There’s dog insurance, doggy Christmas orders, doggy clothes, doggy everything. People who are dog owners buy many things within this area of their life. You’re looking for an enthusiast market as opposed to a problem solution market.
The third one is interesting. I went through the research of looking at the successes and the failures, this was a big one that separated the successes and the failures in its best. You want to make sure that you’re solving an urgent problem in the context of that enthusiast market. What that means is this, take the dog market, for example. It’s not enough to build a company selling doggie mugs or mugs with pictures of dogs on it because that’s not an urgent problem that people wake up and say, “Honey, we’ve got to solve this now.” You want to find a problem that people literally say, “Enough is enough. I’m going to fix this now and I don’t care how much it costs.” Are you looking for something like potty training? If you have a puppy that will not potty train just as peeing on the rug, peeing on the sofa, is making a mess everywhere, there comes a point where enough is enough and you say, “I’ve got to solve this thing now.” You’re looking for that urgent problem in the context of the enthusiast market.
The reason why that’s important is that these are problems where people search online, and they’ve got to solve the problem immediately. They’re not price sensitive to finding and shopping around for the best deal for weeks on end. They wake up and they say, “I’ve got to solve it.” I talk about some of the ways in which you can identify these urgent problems within the market that you might be thinking about. That’s the third one. The fourth market must-have is you’re also looking for future problems. You’re specifically looking for a market where when you help someone achieve success solving the first problem you help them solve, that good result leads to another problem that they then need to solve. A classic example is in one of the markets you serve entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, the first problem that you might need to solve is the one we’re talking about now. What business are you going to start? You saw that problem and you figure it out.
The next problem is maybe you want to grow your email list. You help people grow their email list. They grow their email list. Next problem after that is, “I’ve built this great email list, what do I sell to people?” You start selling, you start making money, you start making profit. Then you start saying, “I’m making all this profit, but I’m doing all the work myself. I can’t keep up with it. How do I hire my first employee?” You can see how every success along the way leads to a new problem that didn’t yet exist. A future problem that you can help people solve, that’s what you’re looking for, it’s markets that have evidence of that future problem. The fifth one is interesting. This one is a phrase that I learned from a mentor of one of our mutual friends, the late great, Gary Halbert. He is largely regarded as one of the greatest direct response copywriters of all time.
Gary Halbert had this phrase when he taught. He called the phrase, PWM, which stands for Players With Money. You’re specifically looking for a market in which there’s evidence that people are willing to spend a disproportionate amount of their income in that area of their life. It’s not to say you’re looking for a market filled with billionaires or multimillionaires. You’re looking for a market where people will spend a high percentage of their income in that area. The classic example that Gary used to share is the golf market. If you know any golfers or if you play golf, golfers spend crazy amounts of money on golf clubs, on golf instruction, on golf vacations, once in a lifetime experiences, taking golf cruises around the world. It’s crazy what people will spend on a game, but that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for a market which there’s evidence of PWM. You’ve got evergreen, enthusiasts, urgent problem, future problem and PWMs. If your market doesn’t check those boxes, chances are it’s going to be like rowing upstream to get to your destination. You’re looking for a market that has each of those five things, each of those must-haves.
What would happen for you as you’re reading this, if you lean into these five simple truths right here? I want to have Ryan speak to the elephant in the room. Maybe you’ve been taught like a lot of people have been taught especially in old school marketing or old school selling which is, the key is you’ve got to find a need and fill it and this seems to go completely against that because this is more of finding a hungry crowd, find a want, find an -aholic, find a desire first, then fill it. Ryan, speak to that in case someone’s got the red flag jumping, “It’s find the need first.”
There are needs that exist within groups of people. The conventional wisdom out there is all focused around what. We’ve been taught, it’s what type of business should you sell? What type of product should you create? What should you build? The question that you want to be asking yourself when you’re at this stage of your business is who are you going to serve? What does that person look like and what group of people does that represent? That’s the question that you want to be focused on. You’re looking for markets in which you will be serving the same individuals for many years. The question is who do you want to be spending your time with for the next 10, 15, 20, 30 years of your life?Life is about momentum. It's about progress. It's about getting better. – Ryan Levesque Click To Tweet
Who is more important than the what? I would even propose that the who is more important than the how or how to. Who opens the door to greater profit potential, a greater impact than a whole lot more? You worked with over 250,000 entrepreneurs. What would you say would be one to three big breakthroughs that you’ve discovered through this process that our audience can apply and take action with now?
There are two mistakes in particular that I see people make that have led to big breakthroughs and I’ll share what those breakthroughs are. When it comes to deciding what type of business to start, whether you’re looking to add a side hustle to your full-time job, whether you’ve got business right now that you feel like you need to pivot in another direction because it’s not getting traction or you need to make some change. If you want to go all in and you’re ready to go all in, become an entrepreneur and make this your full-time thing. There are two big mistakes that I’ll talk about that have led to fascinating breakthroughs. The first big mistake I see people make is they go into markets that are either too big or too small.
I see this time and time again. People get excited about, “I’m going to get into the weight loss market and I’m going to do this.” It’s like throwing that raft that we talked about on a previous segment in the middle of a vast ocean that you’re about to be swallowed up. Conversely, I see people say, “I’m going to be conservative. I’m going to take this little micro niche.” They put their raft in the middle of a puddle on the side of the road and then they’re rowing and rowing and they’re not getting anywhere and it’s like the market’s too small. The question is, “How do you decide? How do you figure out if the market you’re thinking about going into is the right size?”
I mentioned that in this book. I embarked on what became the largest three-year research project of my entire life and in that process, one of the things that we did, Dan, is we analyzed the keyword volume on every single one of my most successful businesses. We look at the keyword volume of every single one of my failures. We extended that same process to look at my most successful clients and my clients who failed. We looked at my students who failed and what was fascinating is that when we talk about a very specific type of business, which is one of the things I advocate in the book, which is selling education and expertise which has everything from digital courses to consulting and coaching to membership sites, to hosting events, boot camps, summits and things like that, anything within that universe. What we found was that every single one of the successes, the keyword volume was within a very specific narrow band. Every single one of the failures was either outside, being too big or too small.
When we stumbled on this discovery, it felt like we had struck gold. One of the things we debated for months was whether we wanted to share this in the books. We felt it was so valuable. In the end, we made the decision that we were going to reveal what those keywords are. In the book, you can compare the keyword that you’re thinking about starting your business around against these keywords as a baseline and you can see, does it fit within the sweet spot? Is it too big in terms of the volume? Is it too small? The tool to do this is 100% free. It’s a tool called Google Trends and Google Trends is a free tool where you use Google’s keyword data to analyze the size of your market and using this process, comparing your keyword against the keywords of known successful businesses as well as the ones that failed, you can see where you are on that spectrum: too big, too small or right inside what we call the market size sweet spot.
Speak to the market size sweet spot. You certainly got us curious about what and how to determine that range.
The process is pretty simple. You take what we call Rosetta Stone keywords. We call the Rosetta Stone keywords because these are keywords like the original Rosetta Stone. If you’ve been a student of history, ancient hieroglyphics were lost in translation. People could not decipher what they meant until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone which had the same script in multiple languages, one of them was ancient Greek, one of them was ancient hieroglyphics. They were able to translate what those hieroglyphics meant and so we call these keywords the Rosetta Stone keywords and the process is simple. You literally go to GoogleTrends.com. You type in these keywords included in the book, you type into your keyword into Google Trends and you compare the keyword volume.
If your keyword volume is outside the narrow range that you’ll see for all of these successful businesses, then it means it’s a business that you need to rethink. Sometimes it means if your market is too big, if it is weight loss, for example, and I share one of these stories in the book. There’s Dr. Beverly Yates, a naturopathic physician in San Francisco. She wanted to go into the weight loss market. It was too big. She started looking at possible sub-niches within the weight loss space. She was looking at the HCG diet versus the PCOS diet. PCOS is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She was looking at these different sub-niches based on the patients that she’d helped in her practice.
Eventually, she found a keyword in the PCOS space, the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome space, a specific keyword that fell within the sweet spot, she made that her focus. There are stories of entrepreneurs in the book who had markets that were too small. They picked a market but there’s not enough keyword volume. One of those markets that I share in the book is the violet care market. Caring for violets as in a flower. That’s a market that’s too small. It’s outside that market sweet spot. Then you need to niche up. You need to find what’s a market that’s a little bit bigger, maybe it’s houseplants, maybe it’s for succulents or whatever it may be. You need to decide, if you need to niche up or niche down to get yourself into the sweet spot. That’s basically the process in a nutshell.
If you’re reading this right now, do you want to put yourself in the sweet spot? Do you want to be in a range where the most successful businesses live? I want to encourage you to get Ryan’s book. If people want to go deeper with you, Ryan, how do they go ahead and get the book work and they go learn more about what you’re up to?Be curious. Ask questions. Seek truth. – Ryan Levesque Click To Tweet
We decided to put together an offer for every one of your audience and the offer is this. I’m going to ship you a free hardcover copy of the book anywhere in the world. All that I ask is you pay a small shipping and handling fee to get it to your doorstep. When you do that, we’re also going to include over $200 in free bonuses. I know many of your audience love to listen to audio so we’re going to include the audio book version of the book for free. We’re going to include my top 25 lucrative niches for 2019. These are markets that fit within that sweet spot that I just told you about as well as the other seven tests that you go through in the book.
That gives you great markets that if you’re not sure where to start, these are markets that I would go into if I had the time. I have mindset training for launching your business where I share seventeen psychological hacks for overcoming all the things we feel when we start a business. Self-doubt, fear of failure and analysis paralysis, all of those things that we go through, over $200 in free bonuses. The link that we set up just for your people is ChooseTheBook.com/growth. Go to that link and claim the free copy of the book. I’ll ship it to anywhere in the world and pay a few dollars shipping and handling. We’ll also throw in all those bonuses as well and that’s the special offer.
If you want to be at a place where you want to start your next business, where you want to get into a market in that sweet spot to enhance your opportunity for success or you’re already running a business and you’ve hit a plateau. You want to look at that next level or you want to research or understand a precise way to research that next big market trend that you’re going to capitalize on, I want to encourage you to go get Ryan’s book at ChooseTheBook.com/growth. You’ll get over $200 of amazing bonuses. You’re going to get his top 25 niches list. You’re going to get the audio version, seven tests, the mindset training and a whole lot more. Ryan, I’d like to pivot a little bit and get into some personal things too. What are one to three action steps that you hope our audience take as a result of our time together now?
Number one, if you have an existing business right now, I’d encourage you to go through even the one test that we started talking about. This market size sweet spot test, just identify the market that you’re in, is that the right market? It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to throw your business out the window, but I’ll give a real-life example. There’s a big difference between serving online businesses, serving digital entrepreneurs, digital marketers, serving internet marketers, serving internet businesses. Every single one of those keywords represents a different market. Sometimes it’s a simple pivot that’s going to put you in the right direction. For those who don’t have a business right now at all, I’d encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom around obsessing over what and shifting your focus to thinking about that who and making that your focus before you launch your business, or start your own thing or decide to become your own boss because it is the single most important decision before starting your business.
Paint us a picture of what it was like as you grew up. What were you known for in high school?
I grew up working class kid. I was the first person in my family to go to college, in high school and I share some of these stories in the book. For me, it was this constant juggle between not measuring up and not measuring up. I’ll share an example, at the end of freshman year of high school in ninth grade, I remember I walked into school one day and I remember everyone was looking at me. Everyone was looking at me in a different way. I was a little bit of a troublemaker in school. I got suspended. I was a bit of a class clown. I didn’t take school that seriously but they were looking at me and I showed up to the first period, first class. One of the girls, an upperclassman, handed me this piece of paper. The piece of paper had academic ranking and I was ranked number one out of almost 400 kids. It was the first moment where I was like, “Whoa.” I know I did decent in school. I know I wasn’t an idiot, but I thought maybe I was in the top 50, top 25 maybe, but number one. It unlocked this thing.
I fast forward a few years later and I talk about when I applied to college. I was the first in my family to go to college. I applied to Brown. I went to an Ivy league school and I remember my first day of school. On the first day before class, I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep. I was crying under my pillow because I felt like I was so overmatched. I was this working-class kid. No one in my family had ever gone to college and the kid across the hall from me went to one of the top prep schools in the country. Everyone went to these top private schools. Many of the people that I went to school with, their parents went to Brown, they went to Harvard. They’re doctors or lawyers. My dad worked nights as a shipping clerk and my mom cut hair in the basement of our house. I thought to myself, “What am I doing here? I don’t deserve to be here.” I felt like such an imposter. I remember I wanted to go home. I was ready to quit.
I share stories like that in the book of times in my life where being at the top of the game in one level and you get to that next level and you’re that tiny fish in that big pond. As entrepreneurs, we constantly go through this. We get this one level that we break through and we get past it and get to the next thing. We’re the dumbest guy in the room. We’re the smallest fish in the pond. It’s this constant tug back and forth when you’re starting a business, when you’re building a business, where you’re on that rollercoaster ride. Where one minute you feel you’re on top of the world and the next minute you feel like, “What am I doing here?” I share stories like that of when I was growing up and how I’ve used some of the lessons learned from some of my teachers, some of my mentors, my parents and how they’ve applied it in business, and how anyone reading the book can use those same lessons in their life as well.
Thank you for sharing that. You have two kids, seven and four at the time we’re doing this interview.
Two boys, seven and four. It’s like WrestleMania 24/7 in my house.The best time to get your thing going is right here, right now. – Ryan Levesque Click To Tweet
You have a great lifestyle. I want to ask this for your kids, if you had to pick one to three characteristics you hope to instill in your two kids. Part of this asking is selfish because I have eleven and thirteen-year-old. What would be a couple of values or characteristics, one to three of them that you hope to instill and why?
I’ll answer that a few ways. I’ll share a few things right now but one of the things I decided to do, it’s a bit of a risk and I decided to do this. The very last minute, the eleventh hour before the book went to print, I reached out to my publisher and I said, “I want to include an epilogue.” The epilogue is a letter that I wrote to both my boys. It’s a letter that represents the advice that I want them to take to heart. A letter that I hope that they read and re-read many times in their life and it was the advice that I would pass along to any other young person in the world. I wanted to share it in the book because I think they’re lessons that we even as adults can take from that. There are a few things from that. Number one is to seek momentum. What I mean by that is life is not about achieving milestones. Life is not about making your first million dollars. It’s not about having your first million-dollar day, your first sale or whatever the milestone that you’re fighting after because milestones come and go.
You get that thing and then you move on and if you’re not careful, you’re always going to be chasing that next thing. Life for me is about momentum. It’s about progress. It’s about getting better. It’s about moving forward, that’s the first thing. One of the things I’m most proud of is we worked with a nonprofit. We built a school in Kenya and the school serves 400 to 500 elementary school students every single year. When we built the school, they said, “You can put whatever you want on the plaque when kids walk into the school, you could put your name, you could put your organization. I said, “No, I’m going to put the exact words I share with my kids every single week and it’s this, ‘Be curious. Ask questions. Seek truth.’” That in many ways, is a recipe for an incredibly fulfilling life. If more of us heed that advice and heed those words, we would be doing pretty okay. That’s the second thing.
Number three is something I learned from one of my mentors called a throughline. Her name is Victoria Labalme and she’s amazing. She taught me this concept called throughline. We all have a throughline in our life. It’s something that we believe at our core and when you stumble upon your throughline, she has a process that she takes people through. The most common response people have is they cry because it’s that truth. It’s the thing that you believe at your core more than anything else. It’s the thing that if you’re on your deathbed and a young person walked up next to you at your deathbed, and this is the last person that you were about to say goodbye to before you pass on to wherever you’re going, what advice would you share with that young person? Whatever those words are, whatever that thing that comes to mind, that’s your throughline. For me, my throughline for years was to leave it all on the field.
That’s the message I pass but leave it all on the field, nothing else. Your son’s an athlete so you can appreciate that and in this letter that I wrote to them, with more age comes more wisdom. The line that I share in this letter, as I say, “Leave it all on the field but even more importantly, live and love fully.” I think that at the end of the day is the recipe, live and love fully. Leave it all on the field but live and love fully. Those are a few things I would pass onto my boys. I hope they hear those words over and over again and it’s an honor to be able to share some of those same words here.
I want to encourage you. This is a great way to cap this off. Seek momentum, be curious, ask questions, seek the truth, leave it all on the field and live and love passionately and amazingly. Ryan, what is something I should have asked you that I didn’t?
We covered a lot of great ground. The last thing I’ll say for a final piece of advice that I’d leave your audience with is something I share with all my students. I say, “You don’t have to get it perfect. You just have to get it going and the best time to get it going, whatever that thing is, is right here, right now.” Go out there and change the world.
Change the world right now, right here and if you want to get a deeper glance of what Ryan’s up to, I’d encourage you to go get his book. He’s making it available to you at ChooseTheBook.com/growth. Ryan, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Likewise, I super appreciate it and it’s been a lot of fun.
I want to encourage you, take action with what Ryan has shared with you. Apply the principles. Go get his book, go get the resources, go get the tools and dive into it. You won’t be disappointed. Seize the day, make it a great week and we’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Ask Method
- Good to Great
- Great by Choice