Jim and Tyson talk about tapping into your why. The reason to have an actual why is for when times are hard, because if you know the core reason you’re doing something that will propel you through the hard times.
7:22 your why is personal
8:38 your why is not your elevator pitch
11:12 creating intentional awareness
14:42 why you aren’t honest with yourself
15:54 seeing the benefits of the bad
19:34 how to come to your why
24:01 relating to clients
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Becca: In today’s podcast, we’re giving you a sneak peek into an episode of the Morning Meeting Show from The Guild Community. In this episode, Jim and Tyson talk about tapping into your why and the real reason to have and know your why. Let’s get to it.
Tyson: So, it’s a Wednesday. How are you doing, man?
Jim: Good. How are you?
Tyson: I’m doing fine. Signed my lease yesterday.
Jim: Oh, yeah. I thought it was funny that you asked people to suggest or guess where your new spot was. And one person listed that bar that you and I went to when you got drunk that one time.
Tyson: [laughs] They actually said it wrong. They said 44 Stone and we go to 44 Canteen, but I thought it was funny, too, because people know us way too well.
Jim: You know what I meant.
Tyson: Oh, yeah.
Jim: Are those two different places?
Tyson: Yeah. It’s the same owner. He owns 44 Stone and 44 Canteen. Interesting story. So, stones, they’re means of measurement and–
Jim: Sure, that’s from Ireland, yeah. And England, yeah.
Tyson: He and his original business partner – his business partner is no longer involved in the business. But the two of them weighed 44 stone. That’s how they came up with the name 44 stone. And they’re both really big guys. So, that tells you what that measurement is. I think that, if there were like two of me, it’d probably be like 22 stone or less, but they’re some big dudes. Oh, you’re steepling. You’re steepling [laughs]. What’s up?
Jim: Well, I think I might make your day today.
Tyson: Uh-oh, here we go.
Jim: Mm-hmm. Okay. So, before I do, I’m going to screenshare–
Tyson: Are you retiring?
Jim: You wish. I’m going to screenshare something, okay? Now, I know that you’re big into Dukes of Hazzard but, I don’t know, was Happy Days before your time?
Tyson: Oh, yeah. I couldn’t even tell you. Like, is that the Fonz?
Jim: Yeah, the Fonz.
Tyson: Okay. [inaudible 00:02:17].
Jim: That’s specifically what I wanted to show you was a clip of the Fonz, okay?
Jim: Now, let me see if I can pull it off. I don’t know if it’ll work on here but we’ll try. The Arthur Fonzarelli, Henry Winkler played the Fonz. And for those of you cats, too young to know, the Fonz, he was like the coolest guy ever. In fact, in our class, in first grade – this is really terrible, but they separated out the smart kids, the regular kids, and the dumb kids. And the smart kids–
Tyson: Like the Germans do. That’s how the Germans do it.
Jim: The smart kids were the Fonz’s. The regular kids were the Cardinals. And I don’t remember what the lower kids were, but they– they–
Tyson: But they were literally called the Fonz’s?
Jim: Yeah, that was me. I was a Fonz, so–
Jim: So, they would say, “Okay, the Fonz’s, you go over to here and do that work. The Cardinals, you go over here and do that work. And you other kids, you don’t kill each other.”
Tyson: You dumb kids go over there.
Jim: Right [laughs]. I mean, that’s 100% true that that really happened.
So, anyway, we would watch Happy Days all the time. And it was Ronnie Howard was Richie Cunningham. And he had a mom and a dad. And then, they had this guy, Arthur Fonzarelli who was like a mechanic, who lived in the garage, above the garage. And he would say, “Ey,” remember with the thumbs and everything. Well, he also had a very hard time admitting when he was wrong. So, when I was thinking about telling you that you were right and I was wrong about something, it made me think of the Fonz.
Tyson: I can’t wait to hear what I was right about and you were wrong.
Jim: Yeah. I might be dragging this out for too long because the clips a minute and 16 seconds. So, let’s see if it’s worth it.
Tyson: I don’t know if we’re going to hear your volume, but we’ll see.
Jim: Well, if you can’t hear it, then I’ll turn it off. Let me know. Just give me a thumbs up, if you can hear it, okay?
Jim: [movie clip]
Tyson: Probably not good enough. Probably not good enough.
Jim: Okay. Well, Fonz would say, “I was wrong r- r- r- r- r–wrong.” Like it took him like a minute to say that he was wrong. And so, I was thinking about that today. And–
Tyson: Let’s hear it. What were you wrong about?
Jim: I’m throwing in the towel. I am conceding defeat. I am admitting that I was mistaken–
Tyson: The suspense.
Jim: –of you were right and I was wrong. I’m not too big of a man to admit that when it comes to tapping into your why.
Jim: And I still think I was partially right, in that, I think too many people spend their time trying to manufacture a why–
Jim: –as opposed to having an actual why that sort of manifests itself. It comes out of who you are. It comes out of your experience as opposed to prefabricated why’s, right? And so, I still don’t put much stock– and I think that’s why I was always resistant to it was because so often, I see it. Especially, I remember when you and I would go to InfusionCon or Icon, there’d be all these people who had clearly manufactured a why so as to justify what they wanted to sell.
Tyson: I mean, they created an elevator pitch. That’s what it was, I mean.
Tyson: And then you start asking all these follow-up questions about them and their life. And– nah, it’s all bullshit.
Jim: And the way I came to it was I was listening to a podcast and I was thinking about the reason it’s so important to have an actual why and not a prefabricated why is for when times are hard or for when you’re stuck, because if you truly know the part of you that’s broken or driving you to do what it is that you do, then when you get befuddled– and that’s the word I like. I love that word befuddled. I use that word with my therapist from time to time when I get befuddled when it’s sort of like, I’m fogged up, I don’t know my true north. That, if you have a why, that’s going to propel you through and get you back on track.
Tyson: Yeah. And it’s very similar to something Jay says quite often, whenever you’re thinking about firing someone. I know I’ll probably screw up the way he says it, but Jay says something–
Jim: Jay Ruane?
Tyson: Yeah, Ruane. Something along the lines of, “If you’re hesitating firing someone and you know you need to fire them, go look at a picture of your family, and then don’t fire them” because it’s all you have to do, right? You look at what– it’s funny but it’s true. Like, it’s okay. Like, what do I truly value in this world? All right. Look at the picture of your family. Okay. Now, do what you need to do because you’re, basically–
Okay. In a way, you’re saying, “Okay, I’m giving more value to this person than the family,” in certain aspects. You know, I’m giving them money whenever I could be giving my family money. I’m giving them time whenever I could be giving my family time, like you are sacrificing that. So, I think that’s sort of your true north. But vision’s a little bit more than that. But my point is, you’ll have that true north, that guiding light that’ll kind of bring you back on track.
Jim: I don’t know if that’s exactly what I was thinking. But–
Tyson: It’s not exactly [inaudible 00:07:12].
Jim: So, let me dive in a little bit more. So, you heard my talk last year at MaxLawCon and–
Tyson: Oh, did you speak?
Jim: When I’m talking about a why I think it needs to be a personal why that taps into your who you are, right? So, for me, I suffered an abuse as a child and that formed this thing inside of me that I hate bullies, right, and I get angry at bullies. I don’t like it when people are getting pushed around. And I don’t like it when the strong try to overpower the weak or the defenseless.
Jim: And so, I forget that when I get caught up in the, you know, the line item of my budget, or whether I’m going to get today’s video done, or even Tyson, all my bravado about, “Oh, I don’t want to practice law anymore. I just want to be a deep thinker and sit on a mountain, and have people come ask me shit.” But when I truly reconnect, whether in a retreat, or on a walk, or even just in a client interaction that reminds me why I’m doing what I do. I mean, there’s just so much energy there that it’s rocket fuel to take you through anything that comes up.
Tyson: Well, I think that– and I think you even sort of voiced this the other day. I don’t know what I asked you, but I asked you–
Jim: You asked me about what I wanted my legacy to be.
Tyson: Oh, yeah, yeah your legacy. And you started talking about immigration bullshit ya ya ya, whatever. But what’s interesting is, is that what you just said is that’s your why. What you just said is your why. A lot of people think that their why is the immigration stuff, right? And that’s not. Like what you’re– the thing that drives you, like the thing that really gets you up in the morning, right? Like that there–
Tyson: –that’s the thing. Not the thing that you say in an elevator whenever someone asks you what you do, right?
Tyson: Because there’s a distinct difference. Like you, the other day, we talked about legacy, it was more of your elevator pitch. It was all true. All right. It was all true. And it was– there’s all– it all had–
Jim: Yeah. When Alex asked me about, you know, “Jim, what would you say to someone if you were sitting at a table with them about why they should hire your firm?”
Jim: Now, that’s very different. You’re right.
Tyson: Absolutely. And it was all true. And there was passion behind all of it. And you believed every single bit of it. I believe that, for sure. But what really, really drives you is what you just said, I mean– so, I think that’s what people need to search for. And part of being– like, don’t you think that– let’s say you hadn’t gone to counseling, and getting therapy and all that kind of stuff and really addressed it, you’d probably still be lying to yourself as to what your why was, right?
Jim: For sure. And it takes a ton of work to be able to make that connection. And like I said, you fall away from it and you come back to it. You fall away from it and you come back to it.
I mean, I loved yesterday, when– everyone hasn’t heard this yet, unless they watched it in the group– when we were doing our podcast yesterday with Nicole, and she had this really sort of unusual obsession with having her own building. And we know, from a rational law firm sense, especially right now, owning a building for someone who is one year on her own seemed to be a curious short-term goal. And you dug into her childhood and this feeling that she lacked stability with the life around her and, you know, an office building with her name on it demonstrated success.
And the great thing is, is that so often we’re motivated by things, but we don’t know why. It’s so much better to understand why we’re doing it.
For me, I’m like trying to fix what I think is wrong with me. Like, I’m trying to fix what I think happened to me. I think part of it is I might be reliving part of what happened to me. And so, I think that that’s okay as long as you have that awareness of awareness. You have that consciousness of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Tyson: I agree. It’s been hard for me to come to that for myself. The reason why I asked those questions, I recognized it. I mean, like I completely knew what she was doing because–
Jim: You did it. And you did it faster than me You almost smelled it.
Jim: Well, yes because I’m in her shoes. I know exactly the same feeling that she has. I hate this. I mean, you tell me like things you don’t like about like that you try to find wrong. It’s just like I hate that I’m truly motivated by money sometimes, like it’s just coming from a background of lack of money. It’s like you’re driven by money a lot of times and you want to prove everyone wrong. You want to create these statues, right. That she wants to create the statue–
Tyson: –this building. Exactly. And she wants to show people that she made it. And that’s what I recognized. I was like, “You know what, I know what that is. I don’t think it’s a good thing.” I mean, that’s why I asked the question, because like, why–
Jim: It was funny because it was right around the end of the episode, right? And it was like that movie Parasite that just took a complete right turn and we just went– we were talking about, you know, ramping up and what practice areas are important. And then, we just went, womp, like over like that.
Jim: It was great. That’s what we should be spending more of our time doing?
Tyson: Well, here’s the thing. I mean, it takes honest discussion. I know, we’ve been talking about it quite a bit over the last few weeks. But like, it really does take that honest discussion with people because if they’re not honest with you– I mean, you can look at the episodes and you can look at every single one and see who’s being honest and who’s not just by their responses. And if they’re not willing to be a little bit vulnerable. And I understand like why people are not willing to be vulnerable on a podcast.
Jim: Especially on a recording. Right, right.
Tyson: I mean, like I completely– so I’m not knocking anybody for doing it, but I don’t think you’re going to get the breakthroughs that you would get– I think she got it. I think she had a breakthrough yesterday. I think [inaudible 00:13:10].
Jim: And we’ve also had one on one or you and me with somebody conversations and the same thing happened. So, it’s not that risk of public finding out or shaming. It’s that some people just aren’t tapped into that part of themselves. They haven’t done the work to recognize those connections.
Becca: Hey, guys, it’s Becca here. I’m sure you’ve heard Jim and Tyson mentioned The Guild on the podcast and in the Facebook group, that’s because we’re seeing some really exciting things happening with Guild members and their businesses.
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Now, let’s get back to the episode.
Tyson: Okay. So, I think I know the answer to this. Why do you think people aren’t willing to be honest with themselves? I mean, we know the truth about ourselves, right? But why aren’t we willing to open up and be honest with ourselves and make those tough decisions that we need to make?
Jim: Well, I think a big part of it is we forget because we get too busy, right, and we get too deep into the work. I also think that people try to ease that thought or block that thought with alcohol, or food, or sex, or overworking, or whatever. So, I think that’s another component of it.
And I think it comes and goes. Like, there’s times where I really, really, really want to work introspectively and do work on myself. And then, there’s other times where I don’t want anything to do with that. But as far as people who won’t do it at all, or can’t do it at all, either, I think, they’re significantly damaged in a way that just prevents it, or they just haven’t come across enough pain points to, you know, “hit the bottom” and be willing to look at their lives and look at– you know, maybe the problem isn’t employee number 13, after I fired the last three. Maybe the problem is with me.
Tyson: Let me ask you something. I’ve thought about it quite a bit because you’re talking about pain and pain [inaudible 00:15:50]. You’ve obviously suffered a shit ton of pain in your life. At least, early on. Do you think that you would have the successful firm that you have today-or do you think that you would be as driven as you are today without that pain?
Jim: This was in one of my books that I was reading yesterday. It was the Benjamin Hardy book, Personality is Not Permanent, and talking about trauma. And he asked the question like, can we get to a point where we don’t necessarily say we’re glad what happened, happened but that can we come to terms with it and see what benefits it gave us? And, you know, when I read a book, I have my pen and everything. And I highlighted the paragraph and all I wrote was ugly. Like ugh. That was it. That’s a really, really big ask.
Tyson: I know. [inaudible 00:16:41] like specially. And so, for those of you that are watching this because not everyone that’s in the Guild was at the conference and saw you speak.
Tyson: I think we need to probably– Becca, if you will put that in the group, just so people can watch that. I think that it’s important that they know that about you.
Yeah, I’ve often wondered that about what happened with you just because like it’s you’re told to forgive. You know, like you’re told all these things and what you just said– I mean, I can’t imagine getting to that point. I just can’t.
Jim: You can. But also, again, for me, Tyson, it ebbs and flows.
Jim: I mean–
Tyson: I think [inaudible 00:17:20] does with anything where you go back and forth but with [inaudible 00:17:24].
Jim: I love my life. And I love the way things are in my life. I’m reading this book by this guy named Parker Palmer about how, you know, finding your purpose really comes from looking back at your life, and the things that have happened to you, and the decisions that you’ve made. And there’s no doubt my life would have been fundamentally different if I hadn’t been abused as a kid, right? So, that’s something that’s true.
And one of the things that I’ve been working with my therapists on is the paradox. So, it’s not either/or. It’s not, that was bad what happened to me and it was only bad. It’s like, that was bad to me and it made me this way or, and it taught me this or, and it made me more empathetic to other people. Right.
And so, it’s living in that paradox of both things can be true which is really hard.
Jim: It’s much easier to be black and white and say, “I’m pissed. That was bad. I’m going to be mad about that the rest of my life.” But there’s another thing is like, you know, I have this concept in the 12 steps, “Take what you like and leave the rest.” Can I take some good out of that? And then, you know– but, again, it’s always a process. It ebbs and flows. And I never have it all sort of figured out.
Tyson: So how do you let go of that anger? I mean, I know what you just said but– I mean, I guess, you’ve got to still have anger, right?
Jim: Yeah. And my thing is, I always minimize it, right? So, I was talking to a guy who had a similar type of abuse that I did and, in my mind, I was like, “Oh, he had a worse. He had it worse. He had it worse.” I always minimize and then I eat over it, right? So, I always try to tamp down my emotions with food, and busyness, and other things, right? So, I don’t know that I’ve let go of the anger. I don’t know that I will. There’s times where I think that I have but it always comes back.
Tyson: Yeah. So, let’s shift gears a little bit.
Jim: Yeah, sure.
Tyson: And I know part of your answer will be, you know, counseling, and therapy and all that good stuff, but I want you to dig a little bit deeper.
Tyson: Going through the therapy that you’ve gone through, how did you come to your why? Give people some hacks, if you can, like how they can get to their why. How they can be honest with themselves and get to that.
Jim: So, my second son, Yusuf, he’s 16. And I started going to therapy when he was two months old, so I’ve been in therapy for a long time. And it’s funny, I think, that a lot of ways, Tyson, it was sort of the way that Maximum Lawyer has gone in that I recognize the need and I filled that need. And I filled that need for a while before I figured out why I was drawn to that need.
In other words– I think I might have talked to you about this before but, in Kansas City at that Union Station, there’s a dinosaur exhibit. And in the dinosaur exhibit, there is a pit and it has dinosaur bones all around the pit. And it has these little, little black rubber pellets. I think they’re, you know, recycled tires. And kids can get a brush, and clean off and expose the dinosaur, right, sort of like an archaeologist would with dirt.
I think that our job, in trying to find our why, is to be like that child with the brush, that it’s not– and we’ve talked about Anthony before, in here, about Anthony declares, “I’m going to start a business that says this,” or some lawyer says, “I really like family law. And even though there’s 300 family lawyers, attorneys in my town, I’m going to be number 301.” It’s not that. It’s about getting out that brush, and thinking, and reflecting, and writing, and journaling, and walking, and meditating, and praying, and asking for help, and seeing what I’m good at.
And, you know, you might have to jump into the business. But, eventually, you’re going to have to figure out why does this connect with me? Because if not, you’re not going to do a very good job and you’re not going to be very successful. I don’t think.
Tyson: Yeah. I think that’s a tough thing to ask of people but, I think, what you said is the right answer. Because let’s say that you are a year in like Nicole Reed is, right? Nicole Reed is a year into her practice–
Tyson: She may not know what her why is, right? She just might not–
Jim: That’s okay. That’s okay.
Tyson: –and it’s fine. I think the way– and I’m sort of guilty that sometimes I kind of try to force the vision and the why on people. It’s because I want you to get to it, right? I think it’s really, really valuable to get to it. It’s extremely important.
Jim: Well, with her, I mean, I think that it’s good to get the firm up and running. And if we’ve tapped into this thing that, you know, she had this period in her childhood where she didn’t feel stable and safe, then I think what you do is you say, “If that’s the thing, how do I transfer that? How do I tap into that energy when I’m doing my work with my clients? How do I infuse this, “Hey, I didn’t want what happened to you, it happened to me, it could happen to your kids. I don’t want your kids to be in that same boat that I was in.” And that’s what drives me.
I mean, for me, thinking about you, you know, like, you talked yesterday and you’ve talked before about, you know– you know, you’re the first one to go to law school and, you know, first one, you know– and you’re trying to build a life, both for your kids and for your clients’ kids, that really sets them up in a way that you didn’t feel like you were set up.
Tyson: Yeah, and I can see a way with Nicole, back to what you were just talking about, too, because she does some intellectual property. So, let’s say we’d stick to IP for a second.
Tyson: A trademark or something like that, where her story– like when she’s talking to clients is like, “Listen, you know, I did not have a stable childhood for a variety of reasons. And what I don’t want to happen to you, as a business owner, is someone comes in. They steal your business idea and your trademark idea because you did not do these X, Y and Z. And I want to make sure that your children are stable. I want to make sure that your company is stable.” She can use that story in her sales. And I think that that’s really freakin’ effective in the same way that you can use it whenever you’re talking to your clients. The same way I can use it whenever I’m talking to my clients.
I’ll tell you. One of the most effective things for me, whenever I’m talking to my clients, because– especially when I did criminal defense, this was really a really effective way of relating to clients is–
Jim: Your long felony history?
Tyson: No. Not that.
But clients, whenever they come in to see a lawyer, most of them automatically assume that we’re these, you know, silver spoon fed, you know, lawyers that we’ve always been rich. And I was always able to set them at ease like, “Hey, listen– I would tell them like, “Listen, I’m not your typical lawyer. My parents, neither one of them graduated from high school. I had a different background. There’s no lawyers in my family,” and automatically I had connection with them.
Jim: Do you have, what you just said and more fleshed out, is that on a video on your homepage? It should be.
Tyson: No. I think it’s on my bio on the website though. It should be. I don’t know if it’s exactly what I just said but something similar. I tell my story. And I’ve had plenty of clients reference that whenever I’m talking to them. But it definitely does put them at ease because a lot of people don’t like lawyers. A lot of people don’t trust lawyers. A lot of them just think they were rich babies. Like, they think– they have all these misconceptions about us and it really does help put them at ease.
Jim: I know that’s a big thing because you always like to compare my childhood to yours and you always like to think about how I had it easier than you did. So, I know that’s important to you.
Tyson: It is one of those things. And it’s hard for me to get away from. I mean, it’s that– it was Christopher Nicolaysen [inaudible 00:25:09] was about a while back about that middle-class mindset.
Tyson: It really– I mean–
Jim: Yeah. Chris’s talk on this subject was great.
Tyson: Yeah, you get sucked into it. I mean, you really do. And that’s why I hate it. I would like to be able to focus on something else but, I’ll be honest with you, I want to fucking dominate everybody because I want to show that I made it. You know what I mean? Like, that’s part of what drives me. It just– it does.
Jim: I think you might need to go one level deeper on all this.
Tyson: Maybe. I mean, like what? Try to therapy me.
Jim: Well, we only have one minute left and I’ll think about this. But I think that the question then would be, “Well, going beyond the fact that your parents didn’t go to college. What else is driving you to want to dominate your competitors and to dominate the insurance companies?” Because if you can tap into that, that’s going to propel you one whole extra level. I think you’ve got it now.
Jim: And I think, if you spend some– you know, obviously, you can’t decide it here but if you spend some time reflecting on that, and working on that, and just sort of tapping into it, there’s a tremendous amount of energy that’s right there beneath the surface that’s just going to take you to that next level.
Tyson: I’ll give it some thought and we can maybe talk about it on Saturday.
Jim: Yeah, good, good.
Tyson: I like it.
Jim: Good stuff.
Tyson: All right, man. We’ll–
Jim: Bye, brother. I’ll talk to you later. See ya.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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