It’s so easy to lose yourself in all the things you “should be doing”. It’s so easy to come up with an endless list of things that would be good for your career, your wealth, your well-being. But if you do all these things, more often than not you’ll end up climbing a ladder that leads you to the wrong place. There’s a better way of choosing what you do: Do more of what gives you energy.
[00:00:00] Should I not be doing more X, Y, and Z. The answer to that will always be yes. Should I be doing more content? Yes. Should I be doing more PR? Yeah. Should I have more networking on LinkedIn? Sure. Should I be more tweeting? Yeah. Should I send more emails to old colleagues to stay in touch? Yeah, the answer to, should I be doing extra professional activity?
[00:00:21] More of experts. But you’ll fucking kill yourself and get nowhere. If you attempt to do everything, that’s a really big, good. If I also bra. And then if you extended from work to your personal life, your children, your husband with family, and you add all the sure. Wouldn’t it be nice. Shouldn’t it be couldn’t it be good if I also, you cannot you’ll die will explode. No human can hold that many should-haves and could-haves and would-havesyeah.[00:01:00]
[00:01:09] I had an interest in conversation earlier today about content and building a personal brand. And so I was asked, Hey, I’ve been thinking maybe I should invest more time in building my personal brand. I get invited to panels once in a while to podcast, I’ve done a bit of content and maybe I should do a lot more, but then again, I wonder or should be my goal in all.
[00:01:34] Is this really the best use of my time. And then I was asked, well, I also wonder with you Steli, I mean, you’ve done a tremendous amount of content to drive the business and business growth, but today, for instance, you have a personal podcast and I wonder, how did you decide to do that and invest that much time in it?
[00:01:53] Does it feel like it’s accomplishing your goals or like, how did you decide to do something like that? [00:02:00] Trying to find an answer to, should I do more. Should I try to build more of a personal brand or not. And I really liked that. She asked me this in a thoughtful way. A lot of times, people that are wondering about building a brand and doing content, they already jumped ahead over the fundamental question of what would be my goal here.
[00:02:18] Like, why would I want to do this? Is it really something I should be doing? And they instantly go to some sort of a well. Don. And I talked a little bit about it. You know, I’m always such a unique case that in many ways I feel bad about giving people advice on content because it’s just not usually applicable the way I did it.
[00:02:37] And the way things were for me, like every sassy CEO that I know that did a ton of content work way harder at it than me. I have been very consistent. I’ve created as much if not more content than most saucers, but it was much easier for me to do then for them like net net, the amount of time, same thing with keynotes, like I would just spent an hour to two.
[00:02:55] Before, when other people would spend three weeks as one of their main [00:03:00] projects preparing for a keynote, I always had an unfair, competitive advantage. When it came to content, I started doing it. It instantly worked. It was easy. When you do something that comes easy to you and you see success, it’s very energizing.
[00:03:12] Like you just want to do more of it. Right? So that creates a very good kind of wheel that keeps going then a work podcast. I was like, I fucking love doing that podcast, but why that is a completely different project. It is energizing, not draining because. Mostly about capturing this special time in my life in a very raw and different way.
[00:03:31] And honestly, my experience of it is like having a coffee meeting with my best friend every day, talking about literature or shooting the shit about the world in life, or just, you know, talking about my latest psychosis, you know, whatever it is. But it’s like, it’s interesting. It’s stimulating and it’s fun.
[00:03:48] And we had had sessions where it came in with a pressure to perform, or I felt like I didn’t create anything good lately. So I, today. And then it always was exhausting and very difficult. And I’ve had [00:04:00] moments of a little insecurity about it. Oh, should it be bigger? Or should he be better? Should it be this?
[00:04:04] Should it be that, but that net for most of the time, I’m just having fun. Right. I don’t really care. I operate, we record and we work on this in this wildlife zone between pretending there’s nobody else than us. And then at times realizing, no, this is sort of like, we do it for ourselves, but also for the world.
[00:04:22] And there’s a small group of people that actually listened to. Sometimes it’s terrifying. Right? The other day, when I got a message from an old friend that she was listening and sharing it with other people, I got a little terrified for a moment. I’m like little jolted into no, what, what, no, you’re not listening to this.
[00:04:39] And then he was done with people like, is this really a good idea? I’m not sure. Right. Like I do get, sometimes this is a little panic that I realized, oh shit, People that I know really well and respect, and I had forgotten that they know me. If they are listening to this, I had a shocking, but it’s just fun.
[00:04:56] You know, one interesting thing about the podcast, because I had many, [00:05:00] many moments that as a desire to serve, but also has the desire to be seen. Like I’m a storyteller. Performer in some ways, and these kinds of talents and traits lend themselves, ideally to personalities that really want to be seen that want to be on a stage.
[00:05:14] They want to be admired. They want to be looked up to right. All these things definitely check off for me. I want an audience reaction and I want an audience right in the past seven, eight years. I’ve never felt more intimate than now. I never felt like having a small audience and now there’s been no talks that adds to it.
[00:05:32] But also this podcast is much smaller than my last podcast. And I used to do these YouTube videos and tons of content. And we’ll get 30 emails a day, 40 emails. People asking me questions and wanting things from me. And now that number has gone down drastically. A good amount of that is now captured by the marketing team from other channels.
[00:05:49] Some people still send emails, but you know, it goes to different people in the organization, but still I get less of an audience response. So feel much more isolated in that way. [00:06:00] So do have moments and you know, there’s better than anybody. Well, I’ve had a bit of a Hanok of, I need to be bigger. Like I’m not big enough.
[00:06:06] I’m not sure. People, I don’t have a big enough audience. I should be way bigger than this guilt that I am slacking off, that I could serve a lot more people and I could create something much more significant. And here I am fucking wrong with my friend talking about fucking I’m Kowski his friend.
[00:06:21] Although he died when I was 10 or something, right. Like that shit. But today, as I was thinking about this question of hers of, should I build. Should I create content. I was pondering this very podcast that I was thinking, you know, what’s cool about this podcast is it’s not building my brand. At least I’m not doing it to build my brand, but it is building my character.
[00:06:42] Like this podcast is helping me build more character than I thought many people try this in reverse. They try to build a brand and then a character that’s a really. That much better when you’ve developed the character and then the brand happens and the fame and whatever. And I’ve had this a little bit, [00:07:00] you know, when I got my little bit of a taste of fame, go-to Vince, having people want to take pictures and having a line of people waiting to get an autograph for me.
[00:07:08] Like I’ve got a tiny bit of the towing to fame or being recognized on the street or an airplane. So in places I’ve gotten a bit of all of that. None of that made me go nuts is because I ate shit like. Three years before I got to that point. So I had a bit of character. It was not that easy for me to lose myself in that kind of bullshit.
[00:07:27] Right. And in my own bullshit. But this podcast now, weirdly, although it’s not a period where I am venturing into creating more Steli FD, personal brand or building bigger audience, so creating more content, it doesn’t even feel like creating content. Although we’ll record more than I’ve ever recorded before.
[00:07:42] It’s just, we just don’t publish most of it. It feels like I created zero content because it’s not really content in some way. Podcast is character. Building is also, art is being creative. It’s also friendship. Like this podcast is our friendship, our unique relationship conversations that I [00:08:00] could have with no other person on earth than you and people get the benefit of whatever the FARC listens to.
[00:08:05] This gets the benefit of getting to know me is intimately as you. Because the conversation I’m having with you, no other format. Could you hear me and get to know me as openly as raw as a conversation that I have with you? No interviewer, no. Steli FD five minute video summary would ever give you me as fully.
[00:08:25] And so I thought, you know, first you should build your character and then you can like, then the brand thing, maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t happen, but it is built on the right kind of foundation. I started reading a book about finding the sell-through yoga, something. It was recommended in some way.
[00:08:39] From Richard Schwartz, the creative internal family system therapy. And so I thought, because Richard squirt, recommended this book and it said yoga and finding the self, and I’ve started being a yoga practitioner in the past three months or something I thought, oh, I’ll get that book, Salud reading it so far.
[00:08:53] I’m not loving it. Right. It’s fine. But it’s not like been amazing to me in this reading. But one little thing authors talking [00:09:00] about in that book is these. Basis and places that we in transitionary periods of our lives it’s sometimes do in a very specific period. Like maybe when you just became apparent as a transitionary period from being not a parent to becoming a parent, but then, you know, once you’ve been a parent for a little while now, the child is like one years old between one and whatever.
[00:09:21] You were in the period of being a parent of a young child, right? And then you become the parent of a teenager. That’s a transition to a totally different phase. And eventually children move out of the house. You are a parent, but you don’t have children in your household anymore. Totally different face.
[00:09:34] Right. And you know, people go through midlife crisis. 40th sort of like maybe most of your life is behind you or you’re the midway point. And now the end is much clearer inside. And so it was talking about these meditation temples or like yoga special temples that would be set up and designed in a way as a special place for people that are going through a transition in.
[00:09:55] Right. And these places have certain hallmarks even breaks it down. I don’t remember all of them, [00:10:00] but it’s like in new and different environments, it’s not your everyday kind of environment. So you can have fresh thoughts. You can experience yourself freshly, but it’s still an environment that feels intimate.
[00:10:10] It’s an environment of great. No matter how confused you are, no matter how much you want to change, no matter how radical your thoughts or ideas or emotions are. It’s a place that holds a great level of like empathy and acceptance for whatever it is that you’re going through. And it’s a place to both be challenged and inspired by others that are going through this space, or that have gone through this phase and can inspire you and guide you.
[00:10:33] But at the same time, a place of great self reflection. So being with yourself, seeing yourself more clearly, there’s a bunch of other things points that he’s like, these are the hallmarks of a place that you would want to visit to go through a transition period of life, like a vehicle it’s more of a spiritual vehicle to get from one shore to the next shore of your life.
[00:10:53] And in most societies we don’t have. Places we don’t think about these transitions in life. And so when people [00:11:00] get into these stages in their life today, maybe it was always true. But today definitely lots of people struggle and stumble. It’s difficult to transition and become a different person and end up in a completely different place in life.
[00:11:12] He’s describing this big, magical temple. I was thinking that’s the podcast, but vehicle of this podcast is the transitionary boat that I’m borrowing from the shore that we started to. I don’t know what that. Was going to be that we’re going to end up. It feels very much like that. It has all these little hallmarks that can be different here.
[00:11:31] I can experiment that. I’m also seen I’m supported great acceptance here. And some one hand 80% of what’s happening in this podcast is me having self-talk like, it’s just me having a monologue with myself because I’m so unfiltered with you. It’s my inner dialogue spoken out loudly for the first time.
[00:11:51] Right. There’s zero filtering. And at the same time, there’s. Seeing me fully. And then once in a while, you’ll ask the question or you’ll challenge ear, open a [00:12:00] question for you. It is my meditation temple in the mountains is what this podcast is. And so it doesn’t have to be a meditation template of the mountains, but this is it for me.
[00:12:09] And so I was talking to her about this stuff and I was telling her, listen, ask yourself, what is the main driver for asking this question right now? And if it is something that’s external, like, should I be doing more of this look, other people do. This wouldn’t it be good if I did more, but if you’re in that world, it’s very different than it was something that you feel comes from the insight.
[00:12:32] Like you have ideas for content, you write down little notes, you feel inspired and excited about recording something. You find energy when you are contemplating different ideas. If it’s something that comes from the insight, explore it, follow it, find out. But if it’s one of the. Trey not be doing more X, Y, and Z.
[00:12:50] The answer to that will always be yes. Should I not be doing more content? Yes. Should I be doing more PR? Yeah. Should I be more networking on LinkedIn? Sure. Should I be more tweeting? Yeah. [00:13:00] Should I send more emails to old colleagues to stay in touch? Yeah, the answer to, should I be doing. Professional activity or more of experts always.
[00:13:08] Yes, but you’ll fucking kill yourself and get nowhere. If you attempt to do everything, that’s a, wouldn’t it be good if I also did block. And then if you extended from work to your personal life, your children, your husband, your family, and you add all those. Sure. Wouldn’t it be nice? Shouldn’t it be?
[00:13:24] Couldn’t it be good if I also, you cannot like your value will explode. No Schuman can hold that many should have and could Epson would have, should I be. Spending less time caring. Like most people will not ask these questions. Most shirts are these. Should I do more, more? Should I do something I’m not yet doing, but others are doing right.
[00:13:46] The answer to that would always be yes. Sure. Could it possibly be good for me? If I spent more time on LinkedIn connecting with people that are writing to me, they’re looking through interesting people and writing to them. Could [00:14:00] there be an alternative universe? Good. After 10 years of doing it lead to something good.
[00:14:06] Yes. Fuck. No, I’m not going to do that, right? No, that’s dumb. Now there’s some things that are easy like this, but there’s other things that are difficult. I don’t think anybody’s above this shit. Like. Practice to get less and less into this could even for me like Twitter, for instance, like there’s many things where it’s easy for me to say, no, there’s zero itching going on inside of me.
[00:14:26] That’s like, ah, you should be doing like, I stopped doing podcasts interviews two years ago. I still get maybe like three invitations a month or so it’s just no on every podcast interview, the answer is no, and I have zero trouble. I have zero anxiety. There’s not a moment where I thought, oh my God, is this going to lead to my ruin?
[00:14:44] Is nobody going to care about me anymore? If I keep saying no to these podcasts requests now I don’t care. Like I have zero anxiety. Now when it comes to Twitter, for instance, at least twice a month, I have a moment where I think mother, fuck, I need to be more active on Twitter. I’m not treating enough. I know what it takes to become [00:15:00] huge there.
[00:15:00] I know it exactly, but I’m not doing it and I could easily do it. I’m just lazy. I just need to do it. I should do it. Look at all these idiots because all these. I need to be one of the awesome people. I’m not doing it because I don’t want to, and I’m not really inspired to, and this is the other thing that I told her.
[00:15:16] And this is such a powerful framework. It’s powerful because it’s simple, but not easy. It checks off on that sanity check. Does it give you energy? That’s the fucking money shot. That is the question. Is this giving you energy or is it zapping your energy? If it’s an activity, it gives you energy. It almost doesn’t matter if you suck.
[00:15:34] Because if it gives you energy while you do it, you will do it so much. If you don’t stop yourself from it, that eventually you should get okay at it. Eventually you get good at it. If I loved weeding and I just tweeted like a crazy person, like a maniac, like I get somewhat good at it. I might not be the greatest pal did get pretty good.
[00:15:53] And along the entire time I was fucking. I was having a great fucking time. The more I was [00:16:00] Sweeting the boy energized. I was the better life was independent from the results. Fuck. Fuck. Yeah. Like why shouldn’t I be tweeting all day long and most people that are that energize about something and do that much will get really fucking great at it.
[00:16:13] Does this give you energy is a beautiful framework for real, you get good at this eventually. And all not only will you get good at it, but how will you get good at it? Will you get good at it and sacrifice your soul on the alter of greatness? Your life and you got a second, like, because you can get great at things while hating them that is possible or way slightly disliking them.
[00:16:38] But you just sacrifice yourself. You just brulee force yourself to go through something that’s destroying who you are, killing your life. You can do. But what we’re talking about. If you do something that energizes you and you do a shit ton of it, and you have a shit ton of energy and you get really great at it, you also are creating an amazing life for yourself because you constantly are doing something that [00:17:00] fucking gives you energy.
[00:17:01] So by definition, it gives you pleasure. It jolts you, it enlivens you. And when you are getting better and having success. While at the same time, having fun, that’s an incredible wheel. Like it’s a credible flywheel because the success is then also very energizing and very inspiring, right? And that inspiration and energy leads you to do even more.
[00:17:26] And that gives you a more success. That’s an amazing flywheel. Most of us are trying to climb mountains, doing activities that zap us of energy. We’re like everybody else seems to be doing this. I should also do this and I don’t like doing it and it exhausts me when I do it. So I will have to find firsts and punishment and guilt and shame.
[00:17:55] And performance enhancing drugs. Like people will take Adderall [00:18:00] all day long or cocaine or alcohol or coughing or whatever, nicotine or sugar they’ll pump themselves up with stuff because they feel so horrible because the shit they doing all day long, zap some of all this energy, they have to resupply somewhere cheaply and quickly.
[00:18:15] So they just fucking eat like crazy or they drink like crazy or they fucking on pills on some shit and they had. Well sacrifice them. I have to get on the top of this mountain to do what now yet the top of a mountain, you fucking, your legs are broken. Your face is smashed in. You just sacrificed 10 years of your life.
[00:18:37] And it’s a mountain you hate, and the view sucks balls for you, but people down there will say, wow, Steli is up there. Awesome. Fucking a that’s awesome. Great. Other people. I bet people would have liked to be at the top of the month. That’s the whole reason you’re doing all this shit. You’re fucking [00:19:00] slaving your life away.
[00:19:00] You’re ripping your back all day long. You’re both the slave and the slave owner, and you’re crushing your life and your soul because other people might say, oh, I would have loved to accomplish. Awesome. Congratulations. But that’s what many people do you would just would, and I’ve done this many times in my life, especially when I was younger, chasing these mountaintops, never asking myself, do I really want to be there?
[00:19:26] Do I like, just because know, everybody else seems to want to be at the top of the mountain. So let me just get there so that other people admire me. And he is a milestone for you. We talked about this the other day about this question of what would happen. If five years from now, I look back at where I am today and I’ve, haven’t changed.
[00:19:46] I’ve always talked about this framework that I get really nervous when a year’s past that I don’t think I was a total idiot and many things I said and thought and felt I disagree with. They always felt to me like that means nothing. Really, no [00:20:00] evolution has happened this year. The real growth has happened.
[00:20:03] So to me, it feels like this was a wasted and this is very, still very true to. But I had this conversation with a friend about what if that didn’t happen? Why is it that bad? Aren’t you already pretty fucking dope. Aren’t you already awesome. It’s nice if you get even better, but pretending that who you are today is worthless and less who you are keeps dramatically improving.
[00:20:30] Changing. Evolving is very devaluing of. You today, like you’re already pretty fucking awesome. You’re already somebody that’s deeply loved. You’re already really creating lots of value for lots of people. You’re already good the way you are now. It’s awesome and exciting if you’d get better, but if not, why would that be the end of the world?
[00:20:53] Like you, that would mean that who you are today is not, is worthless unless it’s improving, but who [00:21:00] says that? That’s true. And I’ve been pondering this and then spontaneously. Out of nowhere. I had a moment a week ago where for maybe the first time in my life, I thought if this was it for me, like if for the next I get to live a long, good life, I get to live to my, whatever, eighties, nineties spot.
[00:21:21] I don’t get more successful financially. I don’t get more successful. Business-wise I don’t get more well-known or famous. I don’t create art. That’s more. Admired by anybody. I don’t do anything that seems remarkable to me. Like I become a fucking monk or like something that would seem cool to me or interesting to me, none of that happened.
[00:21:44] It’s just this, but I keep living a life where I love the people in my life, exploring the world and storytelling and myself. I keep creating things, writing stories, [00:22:00] paintings, recording things. Brainstorming attempting to do a movie with you that fails miserably. Like just whatever. Like I just keep doing some shit.
[00:22:08] I do this podcast for another 30 years. Let’s say as an example with the same listenership, like, it’s just, this is growth. And so like we all get old together. It’s like the same fucking, you know, whatever, 52 to 200 people per episode that listened to this forever. Like this is a zero growth. That’s fine.
[00:22:26] It doesn’t matter. Like I, the thing that matters to me is that I am a life that I live, that I do. Interesting things that. Create the best stuff I can create that I’m engaged with the most interesting things that can engage with it. I live as good as I can and love as good as I can. And then if just status wise, this was the peak.
[00:22:48] It’s not just like a one stop on my up and to the right exponential growth. Never stopping, going further up on the chart. No, but it may be what if [00:23:00] this was the peak and now it’s going to. It’s going to be fine, but this was this, was it more success in some measurable way would not be found in my life for one moment.
[00:23:11] And now for the week or so I’ve had this vibe. I’m okay with that. I don’t know if that’s going to happen and I’m sure that anxiety or that voice in my head, that’s like floods fucking rule. The world will keep coming back because it’s also who I am, but I’ve never even had this experience ever before in my life where I had moments where I thought this is fine.
[00:23:32] If this was it, suck my Dick. Like I’m not yet. And I’m talking to that voice that would make me go, oh, are you crazy? Why would this is this enough? You’ll lose it and be like, suck my book. I’m awesome. It doesn’t matter. Like I want to do now, if you told me, I’m just going to be like watching TV all day and waste the way my life.
[00:23:51] No, I’m not okay with that. That would terrify me. But if I don’t accumulate more fake. More riches more [00:24:00] status in some way, external, even if it’s, oh, this is life totally changed. And I was an artist in the lives, in the desert. Like anything that I find to be at least interesting to the general public, none of that happens.
[00:24:13] It’s just where I am today. But every day I love, I live. I explore, I create and that’s it. I was at the peak of my success. At a point in now I’m just like having an okay life and no like great and greatest success. That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. This is not terrifying me. And it’s never been a thought that did not terrify me.
[00:24:36] Like as long as I can remember the thought of not getting more successful, richer, bigger, better. The thought of that was absolutely terrifying. It’s the first time, like for a week or so now. Been testing this jacket on and I’m like, this is dope. I don’t care. Like I want to do cool shit. And if I get famous, awesome.
[00:24:59] Everybody knows. [00:25:00] I love admiration. I love an audience, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. Like I’m, this is not a scary monster under my bed anymore. Like I’m not scared of that monster anymore. It’s just a Teddy bear. It’s not a big deal. That’s nice. I’ve never had that before. Like you, it’s also more freedom.
[00:25:17] Yeah. It feels almost as if I am claiming more of my life for myself, not in a way where I go, I’m going to be more selfishly mystically, chasing pleasure. Cause that’s not it right. It’s not like, how do I make my life easier or more enjoyable pleasurable. That’s not, it. It is a, I am living this life. And the only who responsibility I have is to myself, experiencing life as fully as I can.
[00:25:54] I want to be famous, but I want to be doing the dope shit. That will [00:26:00] make me feel. Admiring of myself that will make me the group and the fan of my own life. Be like, this is dope. This shit is awesome. That’s what I want. And that’s what I feel a responsibility for it. Not living my life for, for society or for the world or for others or for what people will say in how history will measure me living for my legacy.
[00:26:27] I’m like, fuck all this. I want to claim more of me for me. And if that leads to great external. Validation. And if other people enjoy the shit that I want to do or that I’m interested in, I will love it. And I will go. I knew it. I always knew I’d be well famous and I’ll give a speech of why all these new, I would be most famous person on earth.
[00:26:52] That’s fine. But if that weren’t to happen, but I am a fan of what I’m doing and I’m a fan of the way I live my. [00:27:00] That’s fine. That’s cool. I can live. I can die. Okay. With that, I’m happy with that. And I’ve been on this track of moving more and more. Being more okay. With living my life and be more, more authentic living, a more authentic life and being less reliant on the world, so to speak.
[00:27:19] But this is a, this feels at least in the moment, like a significant step for me, because I didn’t think myself into it. A million little things all led up to this. It’s not like it was one moment, but I’ve never had the. Imagining having the envisioning my future in this way and just shoulder shrugging going.
[00:27:39] So that’s also cool. Like I don’t care. Yeah. Let’s see.