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Lewis and Cesar

Coffee Conversations: Top 7 Takeaways from 2017

Lean into your curiosity today.

Back by popular demand, Cesar and I sat down again this week to record a third round of what we are calling “Coffee Conversations.”

This was a fun one because 2017 has been an incredible year for our business, the School of Greatness brand, the podcast, and much more.

I thought it would be cool to go over the top takeaways and lessons I learned this year from all the experiences I’ve had.

I also love hearing Cesar’s take on what we’ve done and where we are headed.

A few of the things we talk about might surprise you, but most of what I learned this year is confirming things that have proved true year after year in my career as an entrepreneur.

"You have a gift inside of you, something unique to offer to the world. No one else will be you."  

The more I think about what makes businesses continue to grow and be successful, the more I realize that when I focus, commit, and execute on what I’ve committed to, the results come.

Even when craziness is happening all around, even when things are uncertain, even when I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, if I am clear on what I’m creating and commit to the process, good things still happen.

I hope these takeaways serve you in some way in your own goals, business, or challenges you are taking on in 2018.

I can’t wait to see what we create next as you’ll hear us discuss in Episode 575 with Coffee Conversations.

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The biggest wins I achieved this year in my business (0:45)
  • The Top 7 Takeaways from 2017 for me:
    • Think bigger and take risks (5:18)
    • Build an all-star team (12:51)
    • Strategize, organize, systematize (18:53)
    • Innovate with new products and approaches (23:10)
    • Invest in your business and bet on you (29:35)
    • Health (37:50)
    • Do things that matter and bring you joy (41:20)
  • Plus much more…
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Lewis and Cesar

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:                      [Singing] Ooh-na-na-na! Ooh-na-na-na, it’s Coffee Conversa-sa-sations! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Yes! We are back! Matt Cesaratto is in the house and it’s Christmas!

Alright! Welcome everyone. This is Coffee Conversations part, what is this? Part three or four?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Three.

Lewis Howes:                       Part three. The year’s coming to a close, and I thought I’d sit down with Cesar, a wise Cesar, and talk about the seven big takeaways from this year and the most important things to focus on for next year. And they’re kind of both the same, when I was thinking about it.

So, 2017 has been a pretty big year. It’s been our biggest year yet, we’ve done some amazing things. We had our second annual Summit of Greatness, which was twice the size as the year before. And we already sold more tickets for next year’s than we did all of this year, within a couple of days, which was cool.

We launched our second book, The Mask of Masculinity, which was not really a wise business move, necessarily, but more of a missioxn for us to really build a legacy to give back to people. And it’s been amazing, the journey that people have been going on, discovering their inner pain and struggles of what’s been holding them back, so that’s been fun.

We tried something new with The Millionaire Morning book. If you guys don’t have that yet, you can go to, it’s a free book. Thousands of people signed up for it and that’s been pretty cool to test that out. It’s free. All you got to do is pay for shipping,

Podcast is almost at its five-year anniversary and we’ve almost doubled in monthly downloads from a year ago, which is pretty cool. So that continues to grow. We launched a membership program where people could get… Some people wanted to get strategies from us on how to continue to grow their audience, and their brand, and generate more sales online, so we…

But we have these bigger offerings that are $1000/$2000 so we just started to a monthly program for just $49 a month, where you get a powerful strategy to help you generate more leads, traffic and sales every month. And that’s been amazing! We’ve got so many people on there who are getting big results.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah, we had so many people that were asking for coaching from you.

Lewis Howes:                       So many.

Matt Cesaratto:                  So many, and the only way to really get that was through one of our high ticket courses, so we wanted to make it more attainable to get online, ongoing coaching from Lewis, for business strategies. Basically implementing the top strategies we do implement for our business.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it! And it’s been a game changer. So many people are getting great results. We launched our Greatest Mastermind, which has just completed its twelfth month, first full year, and people got incredible results, and that’s our high ticket, ongoing coaching, experiential learning with, we had 20/23 powerful influencers and entrepreneurs in this year. We’re adding another 25 for next year, so I’m pretty excited about that.

Matt Cesaratto:                  It’s going to be an amazing group.

Lewis Howes:                       It’s going to be an amazing group, and we’ve just been doing a lot of cool stuff. We’ve be trying to do stuff, some stuff we do last minute, sometimes it’s all over the place, but it always works itself out, which I like.

What else did we do that was big this year? We got on Ellen twice! That was cool!

Matt Cesaratto:                  That was pretty powerful.

Lewis Howes:                       That was fun! I mean, I had never done that so I was nervous out of my mind, but that was cool! To get on Ellen. And we started filming a documentary, that we haven’t really talked about, but we’re in the works of that now, and…

Matt Cesaratto:                  So, you’re ready to talk about it.

Lewis Howes:                       Well, we’ve been filming, but we’re not going to talk too much about it, so we’ll just say that we started filming, which was pretty cool. So I’m excited to see the rough cut, which we should be getting back in the next week or two.

But what else? Is there anything else I’m missing? The bigger things?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Those are all the big picture changes we’ve made.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah. We did a makeover model to our studio, the Greatness studio. We had some unbelievable guests on the show this year, which I’m super thankful for. Yeah, it’s just been rocking and rolling! It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of fun this year. Definitely had some challenges and some lessons to share, but I thought I’d cover the top seven takeaways from this year and also the seven big things to focus on for next year. So, they’re kind of one and the same.

So this is the first one. Matt doesn’t know what they are. For those that are curious who Matt is, Cesar. Matt is Cesar’s first name. So, Matt doesn’t know what they are, so I’m going to share with him what my seven big takeaways are from the year, and also the big lessons for next year. To remind myself to continue to do these things with our team.

Number 1: Is to think bigger and take risks. Think bigger and take risks. Now, why I say that, is because I had a conversation with Navin Jain who was a guy who was on the Podcast. This guy is literally taking people to the moon.

And he was talking to me about, if you want to take your business from 7 to 8, or 8 to 9 figures, you really need to think on a much bigger scale first and see, and you have to think about how you can change everything. Otherwise you’re just going to get small incremental results, if you think semi-big. But if you think outrageously big, then your mind opens up and expands of what’s possible, or what you can tap into, other resources of abundance in the world, that you can tap into to grow your business.

So, thinking bigger and taking risks. I think, for me, is more exciting than just saying, “Okay, let’s double our business this year. Let’s do this this year,” but really what’s something we could do that could exponentially grow? I have to talk to you about that.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right, so let’s say… Yeah, this is huge, because ultimately, what? two and a half years ago, when I came on the team, I came from a kind of a corporate atmosphere, and nothing wrong with that at all, but I found that it wasn’t a place where people were really thinking absolutely huge.

Lewis Howes:                       How were they thinking? Like, “We just need to reach this next milestone for the quarters.”?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah, lets just make sure we hit…

Lewis Howes:                       Just make sure the bosses are happy.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That goal that is just going to make everybody happy. Instead of going beyond that. Instead of going, “Let’s blow people’s minds with the results that we can create.” And without doing something like that at the outset, what I’m finding, is that you’re never going to really, truly get to that unbelievably crazy goal that scares the crap out of you.

So, when we started working together, I think that was something that was always so exciting, also about our friendship. I was always, like, “Let’s go do something that is absolutely going to be super exciting, super fun, and just go for it!”

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it, man!

Matt Cesaratto:                  And ultimately to bring that into your business and to see what it’s done for our business. Now, listen, there are drawbacks at times. It scares your team, it scares individuals, and it basically sometimes paralyses you to not really know where to move forward to.

Now, that’s not something that should limit you from taking that huge risk, but ultimately it teaches you to back into, “How do we get there?” Start at that end goal, and then move your way back.

Lewis Howes:                       Reverse engineer.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That’s it. That’s it. So, that’s the exciting part about working in this entrepreneurial space, where we’re basically starting from a small business and trying to create a huge impact and ultimately, the way that I’ve seen you create this, even before I came on board is super powerful. I mean, you decided to start this podcast, ultimately, from what I understand, from the stories that you’ve shared with me.

You decided to go, “I’m not going to listen to what everyone’s telling me: ‘Go for something very niche, very safe, very this,’ ” You’re like, “No. I want to learn everything from everybody. From the biggest people out there, because I’m not satisfied by just focussing on one single thing. I want to focus on everything, I want to learn everything. I want to open myself up to all possibilities in my life. Health, wealth…”

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah! Total optimisation, yes.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah, spirituality, relationships, all of those “verticals”, that people want to create greatness in their lives. So, anyways, back to what you’re talking about.

Lewis Howes:                       Think bigger and take risks. I feel like there’s a lot of people who are playing safe, and even with the people we coach on the Greatness Mastermind, when we bring them on and we do our initial call with them, I ask them about, “Okay, what did you create in the last twelve months and where do you want to go in the next twelve months?” I always start with the twelve month thing.

And usually people are like, “I want to earn a certain amount of income in the next twelve months, I want to do this…” But sometimes I feel like it’s not big enough, and I’m like, “Okay, what would it take to do that in the next thirty days?” And then there’s a little bit of panic, because then they’re like, “Wow. I don’t even know how that’s possible,” and then I say, “Okay, if that was possible, what would need to happen?”

And then people start to say, “Oh, okay, well maybe, if it was possible, here’s what I would need to do.” And then they would say, “Okay, I would take these steps, this step, I would have urgency with these calls, I would have urgency here, I would launch this product,” whatever it may be. “I would hire that person I need to hire.”

And then I say, “Well, why don’t we just do that now? Why wait to the end of the year? Why don’t we just do that now?” And they’re like, “Well, I don’t know, I never thought of that,” and then I’m like, “Okay, let’s create a challenge.”

I think people don’t have enough urgency in their life. I go to the extreme with this example, and I’m not saying you need to, but I would say, if someone had a gun to your head and said, “If you don’t create this in the next thirty days, I’m going to shoot you and shoot everyone you love.” It’s kind of drastic, to say that. But you would figure out a way, if your life was on the line and your child’s life, or your wife or you husband or your family.

For you to create those results, you would do whatever it took. And you would do whatever it took in thirty days to create the results you wanted in twelve months. And then your like would be transformed. Now, is it easy? No, I’m not saying it’s easy, but you can simplify the process by simply taking extreme action and really executing.

But you got to dream bigger and you got to take those risks in that process. So, that’s number one, biggest take-away for me, and biggest lesson going into the next year, is to think bigger and take risks. And if you have not declared what you want to create for a twelve month goal for yourself, financially, your income and your impact, then write those down right now, circle both of them, how much you want to make, what impact you want to make from the work you’re doing.

You might want to put a health goal, also. What’s the health you want to attain throughout the year. Write those three things down and circle them. Get clear now, otherwise if you’re not clear, you’re going to have an unclear year.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right. And I’m going to stop you there, Lewis, just because I know while people are writing that down, right now, they’re probably writing down something that’s still limited, in their mind. So, times that by two, and figure out, reverse engineer how you’re going to get to that, times two.

Lewis Howes:                       Yes. And then some people will be super unrealistic and they’ll be like, “I want to make a billion dollars,” and you’re broke on your sister’s couch.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right. And that’s okay, listen…

Lewis Howes:                       You could dream that.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah, you could dream that and try to reverse engineer. If you find yourself having a real hard time trying to reverse engineer that, then ultimately maybe you are making that kind of silly goal. I mean, there’s no real silly goal, but…

Lewis Howes:                       It’s possible, I don’t want to limit anyone here, but I also want to say, a billion dollars in a year, probably not going to happen. I mean, very few billionaires in a year, do that. But, let’s get to a million first.

Matt Cesaratto:                  A safe thing that I’ve seen you use in a lot of your coaching is, think of the 10x, right, think of that 10x. Like, if you’re on a 1000 on your Instagram right now, what’s it going to take to get 10x that, in X amount of time?

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it! So, number one, think bigger and take risks. Number two, a powerful, powerful point and lesson and take away, but also a point for next year: Build an all-star team. I think, if you’ve got a really solid all-star team. But I’m always looking to optimise and push the team to get better, to improve, but also, I’m looking for key players always to come on the team. Always.

People e-mail me. You don’t see this all the time, but I get this every week from people saying, “I’ll come and work for you for free, I want to come learn, I want to come work as an intern, I want to do this…” People are like, “Don’t even pay me, I just want to work for you and show my value.” A lot of the times these people e-mail me, and I don’t, I love the passion, I love the excitement, but I need to know how you’re going to help 10x our business. Without me having to hold your hand and having to coach you all the time. And usually that’s what I get, unfortunately.

But I’m always looking for people. We did a meeting last week, where I’m meeting people and seeing who could add value to the growth of our company, to our business and our brand. And sometimes you’re resistant to it, because you’re like, “Ah, we don’t need to do more meetings,” but I’m always like, “Who are those players who are going to take our brand to the next level? This guy may or may not be able to, but he had some great things to say, and I’m excited to test it to see.

So, I’m always looking for people that can help us achieve those goals that we have over the next twelve months and beyond. So, that’s something to think about. And one of the things you can do, you know, our team has… a lot of the people on our team have been with us for three, four years, which is really cool, because in a world of start-ups, most people leave after like a year, two years. They get some experience and then go somewhere else.

So, we really try to cultivate a growth mentality within our team as well. Some of the things that we do to support the team, is we do a weekly team meeting every single Monday, going over what we’re grateful for, the things we want to create that week, any challenges we might be facing. So that team call, since half of us are virtual, and things like that, it’s really important for all of us to come on a video call once a week at least.

But the team, if you don’t have all-star players on your team, you can’t produce professional results in the world. You know, junior varsity, it’s hard to build a successful, thriving business if everyone is playing at a level that can’t compete with the professionals in the world.

Matt Cesaratto:                  And I think that’s the beauty of our team. We really truly have a bunch of all-stars on our team, in their niche. And it may not have been that way at the outset, and, I got to say, including myself, as someone who’s learned over the past two-and-a-half years what it takes to operate and support a small business with a visionary like yourself, and with a bunch of key players on our team. I mean, ultimately, when I first came on board, we needed to be in that start-up mentality, lean and mean, many hats being worn by many different people, and that’s still how we’re working, but I think, at this point in time, based on what we created this year, we are starting to see that it’s that time to start hiring some new people, some new support and positions.

So, we’ve beefed up customer support in this year, we’ve beefed up our editing of our content this year, you know, bringing on basically a full-time editor. Someone who is dedicated to just full-time video editing.

Lewis Howes:                       Video editing, full time audio editing.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right, yeah. I mean, we’re taking those steps and those big growth steps with hiring, are so key in any small business.

Lewis Howes:                       You’ve got to have the right people in place, and once you have the right people in place, you have to make sure you really take care of the people on your team. Listen to what they need, get the feedback, make sure they feel supported, because the challenging thing is losing people and then having to find new people and hire and train people. That’s a whole challenge in itself. So, really cultivating a growth mindset with the people on your team is important.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right. And a healthy culture in your program. I mean, whatever you business is, how ever many people, whether it’s three people, creating a safe, intimate culture to get to know each other, not only personally and professionally, but talk about personal goals, connect, rather than just being robotic and just connecting on business only, connect on a personal level with people. That creates long lasting relationships, long lasting business relationships.

So, ultimately that’s again, I have to say, a testament to what you’ve created, even with people that were on board our team long before me. Christine, our podcast producer, I mean, she has absolutely been there every step of the way and been a huge support. She’s got an amazing energy, an amazing spirit. Everybody on our team just has great energy, and are here to make the impact.

They’re here, invested in the mission. They’re also invested in our revenue goals, our metrics, our stuff that we have to hit, and we are setting out to hit, doing that big, crazy goal every year. But, ultimately everyone is invested in the mission and the vision that you are out there to create for this business, which is the impact of 100 million people, to living their greatest lives.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it. The team is everything. You can’t do anything on your own. I remember when I started out, I was trying to do everything on my own and I could only go so far, and it was exhausting. And I started gaining a ton of weight, I didn’t sleep well, just a lot was off, so you need a team if you want to scale your business or scale your income. Very few businesses I feel can do it, can scale with a small team, let alone a JV team. It’s hard to really create professional results with JV players, so invest in building and all-star team. That’s number two for next year.

Number three: Strategise, organise, systematise. Again, when we have our big dreams and we build our team, one of the things that Brendan Burchard said when we had him at our Mastermind talk, I think for four, five hours teaching, which was amazing, the biggest thing is strategy. You know, most of the time, people are just on social media all day, responding. Responding to e-mails, responding to tweets and Instagram, and just trying to get sales quickly, without strategising how you’re going to deliver on the bigger dream and the bigger risks that you have. So, first: strategy. What’s the strategy we want to create.

Then, how are we going to organise our plan? How are we going to organise our team, our all-star team that we have together? And how are we going to systematize the processes so that people can execute on their specific roles? Because if we don’t have a strategy for the team, it’s going to be disorganised. And so, we need to organise the team, once we have strategy and then get systems in place.

We were just talking about this today in our team call, about making sure we all have systems and standard operating procedures in place so that when we do bring new people on, they can have trainings, and get caught up to speed quicker than just trying to figure it out on their own.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That’s right. And that practice never ends.

Lewis Howes:                       Exactly. Strategise, organise, systematise. That’s why I think it’s important every week to continue to do strategy sessions. You know, me and you even get to do more of that ourselves. Sometimes we’ll go, like, a month or two where we’re just trying to stay caught up to speed because we’re doing so much.

Matt Cesaratto:                  You get caught in the grind, and when you’ve set those amazing goals, those huge goals, then you start getting caught up in just the grind of completion throughout the course of that.

Lewis Howes:                       Just executing, responding.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah. You always have to give yourself a breath to tap into that overall strategy at the top level. Even if it’s just you and I, I mean, we did that on the flight back from New York, just recently. I mean, that was the time…

Lewis Howes:                       We got more clarity. Six hours, five, six hours on the flight, but we got clarity, started planning next year, so it was great.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Right, right. It was actually hilarious! I was, like, “You’re sitting back here with me, because I couldn’t get the upgrade for business class or something,” and I was, like, “No, we need to sit next to each other.” So God bless you for hanging in there. No leg room.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s true. It’s good, it’s good, yeah. No leg room. It’s all good. I used to have no leg room all the time, so, I’m used to it.

So, strategise. That’s key, though, I mean, if you don’t have your strategy in place you’re always going to be just trying to catch up, just be in a rat race. We were in the subway in New York City, and, as much as I love the subway, I love the energy, but you’re also just, like, “I’m looking around, I’m seeing people running from place to place,” and I feel like there’s not much strategy in that type of mindset, so how do we get out of that rat-race mentality and really stratgise the bigger dream and execute it with systems and being organised with those procedures.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah. Those procedures, I mean, those are really key. And sometimes people think, “Oh, we’ve done this once, so the procedure is going to stay the same, it’s not going to change.” I mean, you have to continue to optimise those procedures as you continue to grow. The systems don’t necessarily stay the same as you start to grow or bring in new courses.

Lewis Howes:                       Or new technology, or whatever.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Absolutely, absolutely. So that’s an ever going practice in a business, those, you know, the standard operating procedures, the SOPs. I mean, those always have to be almost on a weekly basis. Now we’re starting to implement our Friday book-ended call, the Greatness Huddle, and that Greatness Huddle we’re stepping into every week, what is something that every person on our team is continuing to do more than once. And that way we sit down and go, well, that’s another place where we can set up a procedure, so that ultimately those mistakes aren’t made on processes that are handled over and over and over. So, I mean, you can get everybody on your team creating one a week, and that’s a win! That’s an absolute win. It takes a little bit of time, and I know some people are like, “Oh, I’m stuck in the grind, I got to get all of these tasks completed.” Take a breath, take a moment. You have to give yourself permission to do it, otherwise it’s never going to get done.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it! So that’s number three. Number four: Innovate with new products and approaches. I think a company that doesn’t innovate, sets themselves up for challenges in the future. Now, there’s also some companies that have been around for a 100 years or something, that continue to do the same thing, but are still thriving. I’m thinking of In & Out, because we just got back from the airport. The In & Out burger has the same five products, whatever, burger, fries, shake, and that’s it, I mean, I don’t even know what else they have. And cheese fries, or something.

Matt Cesaratto:                  And what have they done? They’ve delivered the same product…

Lewis Howes:                       Same quality product over and over for the last how many years. Whereas you see a McDonalds, which has innovated every year, they bring in salads, they bring in chicken, whatever it is. They used to be like and In & Out, but now they’re more innovative with their products and approaches.

Matt Cesaratto:                  More variety, right?

Lewis Howes:                       More variety. So, I say that because I think, I personally believe if you’re a small business you’ve got to be innovative. If you’ve got a brand that’s big, and you can deliver on the same product that people crave every day, then you don’t need to be innovative. Maybe you need to be innovative in your speed of delivery, or in your processes or in software or systems or things like that, and keeping the product the same.

But I think that as a small business, driving, trying to go from 6 to 7, 7 to 8 figures, you got to be willing to innovate with new products, new approaches. That’s something we’ve done. We’ve tested new products and approaches this year, that have paid off big time.The Greatness Mastermind, our monthly membership, called the inner circle, The Summit of Greatness last year was a new innovation that has taken on a whole new wave with our community, just bringing the community together.

Now this new book called The Millionaire Morning, trying something different, where we give away a book for free, and charge shipping. So, we’re innovating in ways that I believe are helping us grow our audience, make a bigger impact and bring in more revenue.

Matt Cesaratto:                  And let me tell you, I think, for everyone going, “Well how do you make those decisions and innovate?” Honestly, to share with everybody listening, it’s ultimately the customer asking for the things more than once. We’ve had multiple people asking for high level coaching from Lewis. We’ve had multiple people asking for lower price point coaching that’s attainable and affordable. We’ve had people asking, “What are the things that Lewis does on a daily basis? What routines has he implemented in his life to create success?” That’s where Millionaire Morning booklet has come in too.

And ultimately everyone has asked for that opportunity to get together, get our community together. Get our School of Greatness listeners together at one place, in person, because we all know, that personal connection, I mean, just like you and I looking across the desk from each other, it allows us that opportunity to really connect as individuals, go deep, have an opportunity to say hey to everyone out there who is in the same mindset, same community, who are trying to just elevate their lives in whatever way. You know, just health, wealth, relationships, spiritual health, all those different things that people are looking for. So, it was a great opportunity to get people together at the Summit of Greatness.

And all those things, now, we’re focussed on: absolutely crushing.

Lewis Howes:                       Uh-huh. Optimising, systematising, all those things.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That’s it exactly, going back to the previous point. Focus on those things, and ultimately we’re going to hit our goals if we just have those systems in place.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it. And even the book, The Mask of Masculinity, I believe, was also very innovative and a new approach to our brand, you know, just because it kind of caught people off guard. It was different than what people thought I would do next, but I felt like it paid off big, because the impact it’s having on people’s hearts, to their relationships, and it paid off because we were innovative and sold that book two years prior to all the stuff in the media happening. It just happened to tie in with the media perfectly, unfortunately with all the sexual abuse scandals and everything else that’s happening in the media.

But I think because we’ve been innovative and we kind of predicting the future, but kind of having a sense of, “Oh, we think the puck might be over there in a year or two, or three years.” I remember when the podcast launched almost five years ago, I remember saying, “I think the puck’s going to be over there in a couple of years, so let me start it now.” Just with this book, I said, “I think the puck is going to be over there about mental health and men tapping into their vulnerability, in a couple of years.” I didn’t know it was going to happen the exact time the book launched, but that’s what I’m always looking for, is what’s happening in the space that people aren’t talking about.

You know, a few years ago it was meditation, like, whoever got into meditation three, four, five years ago, then, like head space, it’s paid off big, because now everyone’s overwhelmed and stressed, and on their phone and constantly in anxiety and they’re looking for solutions, and meditation is there as a solution. So, I think, look for the trend of what’s going to be the biggest pain point for people in your space. What are you hearing right now, and what do you see happening as they continue to happen in the future and start leaning into that space.

So, this is number four: Innovate with new products and approaches for your business. Number five… Anything else on that one, number four?

Matt Cesaratto:                  No, I think that’s great. I mean ultimately the last thing I’ll share is talking about Mask of Masculinity, that was something that you were so deeply passionate about, so you also kind of, like you said, “saw the puck” but it’s something that you were so deeply passionate about, and that’s why, I think, we had so much success with that book.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah, because it wasn’t a money play. It wasn’t, “Oh, let’s do this to make a lot of money.” It was like, “I feel like we have to do this to serve humanity.” And it was like, “Well, let’s do this because I’m passionate about it as well.” So, some things we do that don’t make us money, but I feel like it’s just important to do, and it’s part of just giving back, and being a part of the bigger ecosystem.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Making an impact.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah, making an impact. It’s more fulfilling. Number five. This is one that I think is very important. I’ve been doing this, I think, since the beginning, is to invest in your business and bet on you. Now, what I mean by that is investing back in your brand. For years, I was, you know, before Matt, Cesar came on, I was making money and then reinvesting it in other brands.

And a part of that was strategic to build relationships and get access to things from these other companies and be a part of these other industries, but none of these investments have paid off yet. Some of them I invested seven years in, and I still haven’t gotten a dime back from any of these investments.

I’m okay with that, because it’s led to other relationships and other things where I’ve met people at these specific events, where I’ve gotten to interview people on the podcast, which has led to other revenue and opportunities, so I’m okay with it. And I even got an opportunity today from a good friend of mine who’s got a company that’s probably going to sell for a billion or a billion and a half dollars in the next three to five years. It’s on that trajectory, and he reached out and he was like, “Listen, I want you to invest. We’re bringing on a few influencers to invest right now, and I want you to be one of them.”

And I had to say to him, “Listen, I already know you’re going to kill it, you’re going to make a billion dollars and I think it’s going to happen in the next three to five years. But I just put that same money into our business, into reinvesting in myself and my team. We would 10x faster my investment than your 3-5x would in three to five years for me.”

And I’m sure it could open up other doors, investing in that company, and I’d learn great things and it would pay off in multiple ways, but I’m also just like, “Let’s use the money to invest back into our own business and bet on yourself.” Put your money into ad spend, put your money into hiring a coach to help you overcome any challenges you’re facing. Put your money back into buying tickets to those big events where you know you can meet those influencers. Buy a big event ticket and go spend some time meeting people.

Matt Cesaratto:                  You have to invest in your business.

Lewis Howes:                       Invest in your business and in you. Invest in going to meetings. I take a lot of meetings with people. A lot of the time they don’t pan off, but every once in a while, they pan off big time. And sometimes they may pan off five years down the road, but I’m investing that time and energy into myself and into the brand more and more now, as opposed to into other things. And I think, as long as you bet on you, you will always be successful. You will always win.

But if you put your time and energy into investing in other things, it may or may not work out. But you are always going to work out, one way or another. You’re going to figure out a way. It may not happen now, but it will be investing for your future, which I think is important.

Matt Cesaratto:                  It’s the best bet, I mean, and I think anybody will agree. It may not, first of all, it may not always pay out for people right away, but ultimately if it’s something that you’re passionate about, it’s your own business, and the best opportunity for the best return on your investment, is to put it right back into the engine that you are, that you individually are focussed on, every single day.

Lewis Howes:                       So, some of the investments that we made back in our business this year, I don’t even think we’ve told people this either, but I’m going to say it. We invested in the domain name, because we wanted to be innovative for the future and really strategise, organise and systematise our big dreams.

Matt Cesaratto:                  We won’t share the amount.

Lewis Howes:                       No, we won’t share the amount, but we in a domain name,, because we want to continue to grow the brand of “Greatness” and kind of make a clean brand, you know, School of Greatness is the podcast, but really, we’re talking about the word, “Greatness”. And is something we’re investing in, it was a big purchase for us, and we haven’t done anything with it yet.

We’ve had it for six months and we haven’t done anything with it yet, because we want to make sure we strategise, organise and systematise where the podcast is going to be over the next three to five years, with online education, with content, with media, with websites, with all of that stuff. So, we’re talking about it now, and we’re strategising with different people.

So we invested in this domain name,, we also invested in this documentary, we spent a lot of money on this documentary, that could make us nothing, but we believe is going to pay off massive dividends for us.

Matt Cesaratto:                  It’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to be powerful, I know that. Yeah, but the payoff? We don’t know.

Lewis Howes:                       We don’t know, yeah, because we’ve never done it before. We’re innovating. We’re trying something new, we’re innovating, but I like doing this because other people in our space in the online world, I don’t know of anybody else who’s doing this. There’s a couple of people in, like, the health and things like that world who are doing these cool documentaries, but not many people in my space, our space, are creating beautiful, cinematic documentaries where they’re investing heavily in them and doing them well.

Some people do these interview style documentaries, but I feel like they’re kind of skimpy on the investment and it’s like, “Oh, that was a cool thing,” but it wasn’t like, “Whoa! You blew my mind!”

Matt Cesaratto:                  I think it goes back to you and I being in college. We just loved beautiful, epic films.

Lewis Howes:                       We did! We would go… Me and Matt would walk… We walked most of the time? Down to the Arena district?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah.

Lewis Howes:                       We walked down there? No, we would drive.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That’s true, no we wouldn’t walk that far.

Lewis Howes:                       We would drive down to the park. There was an amazing, nice little theatre in the Arena District. I wonder if it’s still there, in Columbus, Ohio.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Actually, I think we might have walked once or twice.

Lewis Howes:                       Maybe we did. That was a far walk though.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Yeah, and we were at the music hall over there.

Lewis Howes:                       Anyways, I feel like we may have lived closer, for some reason, but we didn’t. So we would go there at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, and even now, before you had your baby, we would go once a week to the Sundance Theatre down the street and watch some foreign film or some film that’s not even in the mainstream theatres. Just because we’re fascinated, I think, with the story and being moved. At least I know I am.

Matt Cesaratto:                  I love beautiful storytelling, yes. Whether it’s non-fiction, fiction.

Lewis Howes:                       Ah! It’s the best!

Matt Cesaratto:                  Absolutely, I mean, I remember the days of college. We would…

Lewis Howes:                       We’d see so many movies!

Matt Cesaratto:                  I remember when Lord of the Rings came out, we were waiting for the next one to come out, what? like, a year or two later. And when it came out it was just, you know, just to see that epic film making was really powerful, and I think that’s ultimately where a lot of that came from.

Lewis Howes:                       And now we’re in Hollywood, so we’re just trying to live the dream in Hollywood, you know, couple of guys from Ohio.

So, what else did we invest in? We invested in the documentary we’re doing. We invested in the domain name.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Back into our team.

Lewis Howes:                       Back into our team, we’d bring in new people. We invested in relationships with, you know, I’ve got an entertainment lawyer who’s amazing, Tod, Tod and Jeff who have been supportive in helping cultivate different TV shows and opportunities for us, we’ve been investing in that time and energy with that relationship. Investing back in our event, all these things.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Back end of our business. Really investing in the back end of our business, with software, CRM, upgrades to specific platforms that we use.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah, so we can scale for the future. Because we were in more, say, intermediate level software for e-mail marketing and things like that, and now we’ve kind of gone the Enterprise corporate level and paid a lot more, probably like 10x more than what we were paying before. So, that’s my good. Invest in your business and bet on you. And if you don’t have a coach, make sure you invest in a coach as well.

That’s number five. Number six. This is, I put, “Health, health, health.” Now, we went on a challenge before our Summit of Greatness, where we said everyone had to work out five, six days a week or something, and when people on our team are working out and moving their bodies, and are committed to their health, I believe it’s just a happier, more fulfilling life.

Matt Cesaratto:                  It was a cool energy that it created with our team when we had a fitness health challenge.

Lewis Howes:                       And everyone was posting every day, what they did, “I went running, I did a workout, I went swimming,” or whatever. It was cool. Yoga. And then people would post photo’s on our group text and we had some prizes, we had some other consequences or whatever if you didn’t fulfill your thing, just fun stuff.

But beyond the team building exercise of that, I had a trainer as well for a period of time during this year, and it was the best shape I’ve been in in years. And I just felt strong, felt lean, felt confident, energised. It was very powerful, so I just, it was a big lesson and take away to find a consistent plan to be healthy, moving your body, eating well. Because when our bodies are optimised, I believe we’ll produce better results in our business and our life. I believe we’ll be happier when we are moving.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Get the endorphins going.

Lewis Howes:                       Absolutely! When in doubt, workout. But make it a consistent lifestyle thing and I highly recommend having a trainer if you can afford one, if not do group classes where you have and accountability person that you go to with these classes.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That’s it! I mean, our team at this point, I just had a baby. I’m not going to pay a trainer to train me, so it was cool to have the team with our fitness challenge. Keep each other accountable. I mean, that’s essentially all you need. By yourself, nine times out of ten, most of people out there, will just allow yourself to not work out when you’re too tired or don’t want to do it, or making excuses.

Lewis Howes:                       Yeah. I did that all year. I did that a lot this year. I work out pretty hard on my own, but even today, I had set myself up to do a high intensity interval training, where I was going to do five rounds of five for a minute each, and I was like, after the fourth round, I was like, “Alright, I think I’m good.” And I just stopped after four rounds.

I haven’t worked out in a few weeks because of Thanksgiving and everything else, and I’ve been eating a little too much, but I was winded and hurting. And if I had a trainer there, I would have finished, or if Jen, my girlfriend was there, we would have finished. Because she would be still going, so then I’d be like, “Okay, I got to finish.” So have someone keeping you accountable, or go to a group class where you’re just in that environment. So, again, you don’t need to pay a trainer, but find a way to set yourself up to win with your health.

And go listen to The Whole30 episode with Melissa Hartwig, which was a couple of weeks prior, if you want to learn about The Whole30. I felt my best when I was on that lifestyle, nutrition food plan. So check out The Whole30 with Melissa Hartwig on the podcast.

Health, health, health was number six for next year. Number seven: Do things that matter and bring you joy. I think at the end of the day if you do things that don’t matter to you and that bring you the opposite of joy, ,which is, what? Anger? Frustration? I don’t know, what’s the opposite of joy? Laziness, unfulfillment.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Unhappiness.

Lewis Howes:                       Unhappiness, yeah. So, do things that matter to you and bring you joy. When you’re not doing those things, I believe that life is just not as fun and you’re asking yourself, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” So, figure out what brings you joy. And, listen, there are going to be some things you do in your business or your job, wherever you’re at right now, that may not be fun.

Matt Cesaratto:                  They may not be, but there’s ways around that too.

Lewis Howes:                       There are ways around that.

Matt Cesaratto:                  The first Coffee Conversations we talked about it, just gameify those things for yourself.

Lewis Howes:                       Gameify them. I remember Grant Cardone talking about how he was a car salesman for the first ten years, and he hated it, but he found a way to make it a game so it was fun for him. He found a way to have interesting conversations with people. He found a way to do different things that would bring him joy throughout the day. And he got great learning and great lessons out of it. So, figure out a way.

There’s a lot of things. I remember when I was truck driving, that was not fun. Sitting by myself in a car, this is pre-iPhone, so I couldn’t call anyone, there was no social media, I didn’t have Instagram while I was driving. It was like, I had to put a CD in to listen to music, and I could only go like 55 miles an hour.

Matt Cesaratto:                  You wished you had a School of Greatness podcast at that time.

Lewis Howes:                       I wish I had that man! That would have been so motivating and inspiring. But I found ways to make it fun. I decided, “Okay, I’m going to stay on the right side and try to go round people fast, see if I can get there a little faster this time. I’m going to see if i can…” I had car parts that was moving in the back of the truck, delivering to Cincinnati, and then moving them and taking other car parts up that were used for cars in Columbus.

And I’m like, “Okay, how fast can I make this transition?” I was just making a game out of it. It sucked. I did not like it, but I found a way to bring joy to moments that I didn’t find fun. And I would also sing songs to myself, sing musicals and just be as silly as I could. I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do whatever I can to find meaning and joy in this moment.”

Until I said, “Okay, this isn’t what I want anymore. I need to think bigger and take some risks.” So, I left that job and I started going out and doing things on my own. So, again, which brings us back to number one, which is to think bigger and take risks.

So, number seven: Do things that matter and bring you joy. And I’m always trying to talk about that, and I know you are as well, with the team, where we’re saying, “Hey, listen. There’s probably things in your role,” for each member of our team, that they don’t want to do. There’s certain things they don’t want to do. There’s certain things I don’t want to do. You know, you guys ask me to do stuff all the time and I’m like, “I really just want to sit here and chill, you know. I really don’t want to do this right now.” You know, it’s like pulling teeth sometimes with me.

But I also think about the bigger vision of what we’re creating and that’s why, on our team calls, we always talk about what are the testimonials from listeners, from our book readers, from our course buyers, from people who come to our events, what are the things they are e-mailing us saying, “That has transformed my life.” What’s the thing that’s made a difference in their lives? And I try to bring it back to the difference we are making and how the things we are doing matter to other people in the world.

And I try to think, you know, I try to emphasise, “I think what we’re doing is pretty cool!” Even though some of the roles maybe aren’t as fun as other roles, and this and that, but we’ve got a great team we get to connect with, we get to create meaningful content and bring inspiration to the world, to people. We get to work on lots of different types of projects. And I’m like, “I don’t know. I think it’s pretty cool!”

Matt Cesaratto:                  Those testimonials, I mean, those are huge.

Lewis Howes:                       They are so powerful.

Matt Cesaratto:                  They lift us up.

Lewis Howes:                       I don’t know any other business that gets this many cool testimonials. Every single day we get e-mails from people who listen to the podcast, or, again, read the book and find something new out about themselves, they take action on some of the insights, the lessons, the stories, the strategies, and they get results. And then they e-mail us and tell us about it. It’s, I don’t know, it’s pretty cool.

Matt Cesaratto:                  It’s the taking action part about it. That’s ultimately it. You have to, at some point, take action.

Lewis Howes:                       You got to take action, that’s the key. So let’s… Anything else on that point? Do you think? Do things that matter and bring you joy? Anything else you’d add there?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Ultimately, even if it’s just acknowledging yourself at times. For completing the things at work. You know, give yourself a moment. I remember your mom, every now and then she’s just got to give herself a moment to get… You know, if you even just take a walk after completing something. Give yourself a reward for the completion of your day. and over the course of time you can continue to create those habits for yourself and it’s going to be a lot easier process, even if it’s stuff that you’re in that daily grind mentality.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s it. That’s it. So, let’s go over them again. The seven big take aways and big lessons and insights for next year as well, to go into next year.

Number one: Think bigger and take risks.

Number two: Build and all-star team because you can’t build a great business with a JV squad.

Number three: Strategise, organise and systematise your business and your life, your mindset, everything. But constantly, every month, do check-ins with strategy, and see: Where are we? Where are we going? Are we on the right path?

Number four: Innovate with new products and approaches to the way you do things in your business and in your life.

Number five: Invest in your business and bet on you. And, again, you can do that through hiring coaches, or reinvesting back in your brand or your business, your team, going to events, all those different things.

Number six: Health, health, health. When you optimise your health, you set yourself up to win for your business and your life and your relationships. You feel more confident, you live yourself more, you appreciate things more, you have more energy. Health, health, health. That could actually be number one, but we put it at number six.

Number seven: Do things that matter and bring you joy. Even though you may not be doing everything you love right now, you can always optimise and gameify it and then get back to a place of saying, “Okay, how can I think bigger and take some risks, to start doing things on the side, that bring me more joy or fulfilment, or to do things that matter on the side, until I can make that more of a full time thing.”

But even, let’s say you love to surf, and you start a surfing school, you know, even though you love surfing every single day, you got to build a business around it, there’s going to be things you don’t want to do. There’s going to be little things here and there that you’re frustrated with or you don’t want to do, even though you’re teaching people how to surf. So, you just got to be mindful that there are some things you’re not going to want to do, and that’s okay, but if you’re working on things that make an impact, that matter to you, bring you joy, and you see transformation or great results in the people who are part of that business, then that’s pretty sweet, pretty sweet.

Did I miss anything? Those are the seven things that I had, and from the things that we did this year and what I think we should continue to focus on for next year. So, I’m going to get you back into health, even though Matt never has put on any weight in his life. He can not work out for a year and eat whatever he wants, and he’s still skinny.

Matt Cesaratto:                  That doesn’t mean I’m healthy.

Lewis Howes:                       That’s true. Skinny-fat, you know what I’m saying?

Matt Cesaratto:                  Skinny-fat?

Lewis Howes:                       So those are the seven take aways I got. You want to add one? Is there any one that you think I missed that you would add? Or you think I…

Matt Cesaratto:                  Nah, I think for 2017, those seven take aways, those lessons learned, whatever it may be. I mean, if you focus on each one of those seven, even into 2018, I’m sure you’re going to find more. It’s a continual search, continual growth. I’m excited about it. I mean, the bottom line is: That last one. You got to find joy in what you’re doing. In your business, in your life, rally the relationships around you to support you by picking you up.

Potentially, find the things that are holding you back, let those things go. That’s another key way, I think, of creating joy in your life. Let go of the things that are holding you back and bringing you down, limiting you. Whether it’s yourself or other individuals. That’s a powerful thing as well.

And that goes right back into the team. If the team, if you feel like there’s someone or an impact on the team that is holding you back, not creating that forward momentum, it’s continual head against the wall or something like that. I mean, I feel very fortunate and blessed that our team is just all in, all on board.

Lewis Howes:                       They’re awesome. All-stars, they are all-stars.

Matt Cesaratto:                  Absolutely.

Lewis Howes:                       Well, this has been a good year. Cheers to the Coffee Conversations! Yes! Cesar is the man! We’ll have to come back on maybe at the end of the first month of the year, to do more of them. So, if you guys continue to like this, this is part three. You guys keep asking for more. If you continue to like the Coffee Conversations with Cesar, then just reply on social media, on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook, e-mail us and let us know. We’ll do more of these.

If you have any specific questions for Cesar, go ahead and message us as well. You can get to know the mystery of Matt Cesaratto.

Appreciate you guys! Hopefully you guys enjoyed this one. This is a fun one. It’s been a great year. So excited for next year. We have some massive things coming your way, so if this is your first time here, make sure to subscribe to the podcast, sign up for our newsletter at We’ve got tons of free training, resources, information.

Grab our free book, All you got to do is pay for shipping and you can grab a physical copy of a great little book that will help you with your morning routine to help you make more money that day. You can also, get The Mask of Masculinity, Give it to a friend for Christmas as a gift. It’s a great gift to give to a partner, a friend, brother, father, anyone in your life. Just give it to them.

Matt Cesaratto:                  I’ve got a stocking stuffer for each one of the men in my life.

Lewis Howes:                       There you go. Love it. And as always, subscribe to the podcast, we’re also on YouTube. We have 210,000 subscribers there. We’re on Spotify, if you listen to music on Spotify. Go and subscribe to the podcast over there. You’ll get notified when it comes out, and over on iTunes, leave us a review. We’ve got tons of amazing reviews and we shout out the reviews of the week, every single week, so go leave us a review there.

You guys are amazing! Cesar, you’re the man!

Matt Cesaratto:                  Awesome!

Coffee Conversations Part Three is complete!

Music Credits:

Music Credit: Way Is Up by Gigatop

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