The Buddha once said, “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” And Tim Fargo said, “Your friends will believe in your potential; your enemies will make you live up to it.”
Since today’s podcast is the last episode of 2020, we decided to do something a little different. My COO and friend, Matt Cesaratto, sat down with me to reflect on some of the biggest moments of 2020 in the world and for our business.
This year has been one for the books. We’ve experienced a global pandemic — COVID-19. We’ve seen a new Presidential Election — one of the most hotly contested in history. We’ve had protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve experienced a lot of economic turmoil, job loss, and anxiety. 2020 has not been an easy year, but there have been more than a few silver linings.
Over the course of this year, I’ve conducted some of my greatest interviews yet. I pivoted my business and watched it thrive. I had the privilege of engaging with incredible human beings who are personally pursuing greatness and inspiring others to do the same. And I learned some valuable life lessons.
Today, Matt and I are revisiting some of the greatest moments of our year! We’re looking back on some of the highlights from 2020 and sharing a few of the lessons we learned. I think you guys will enjoy getting a behind the scenes look at The School of Greatness and hearing some of the greatest lessons I learned in 2020. Let’s get started!
At the end of 2019, we created a studio for The School of Greatness. After seven years of being a remote company, we decided to take the leap and have a designated space to record podcasts and build an in-person team. This February, we recorded our first episode in that studio!
While that was a huge step for us, it ended up being a lifesaver. Throughout the last nine months, it’s allowed us to have some sanity because we’ve been able to come here and be COVID-safe. When most people have been working from home, it’s given us a sort of routine that has been crucial to our growth over the last year. Matt, who has a three-year-old daughter at home, said it’s helped us take massive action:
“Honestly, this has been a saving grace for me. And I think for the business because it’s allowed us a place where we can dive in and fully be focused and take massive action. … I think this place has rooted us [and given us a much needed] studio and Greatness HQ.” – Matt Cesaratto
Since having the studio, we’ve been able to invite guests to join us for in-person interviews instead of just on the computer. We’ve also run more live webinars this year than in past years. Having a designated Greatness HQ has been a game-changer for us as a company, but also for me personally.
When I worked at home, I was always on and working. Having the studio felt like I had a place to get work done and then go home and relax. My girlfriend moved in with me this year, so having a separate space for me to work has given her freedom of space without having people coming in and out. It’s also helped us have more quality relationship time!
If you’re looking for a way to take your business to the next level, I highly recommend creating a specific space for your work. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your business, just set aside a specific room. As I said, I’ve been running this thing from my home since 2013. We all have to start somewhere, but if you’re ready to scale to beyond six figures, a real designated space could help you in a big way!
After seven years of podcasting, we hit 1,000 episodes! That was a big number! And it shows the power of consistently showing up. As Matt pointed out, hitting that sort of milestone and approaching our eight-year anniversary gave us a moment to look back and see how far we’ve come.
“It was a moment to sit and reflect on all the incredible people that have sat across the table from [Lewis]. It was crazy. … And, when I look back, … there’s a lot of different formats [Lewis] played around with, and it’s definitely become the interview show that I think [Lewis] intended it to be. It’s also got a little variety, a little spice, and a little sound.” – Matt Cesaratto
Looking back on this milestone with Matt was extra significant because 15 years ago, we played football together. We were college roommates who split a $250 apartment. Having a top-rated podcast and putting out more than 1,000 interviews weren’t even on our radar.
This year specifically, I’ve conducted some of my greatest interviews, including conversations with the great actors and performers Kevin Hart and Matthew McConaughey. I also sat down with Michael Beckwith, Laverne Cox, and Emmanuel Acho and gained truly valuable insight into what it means to be a minority in America. And I talked with Rhonda Byrne, Dr. Edith Eger, and Tim Ballard, all of whom taught me a lot about abundance, forgiveness, and true greatness.
Having these big names on The School of Greatness podcast was such a breakthrough experience for me. I had been emailing Kevin Hart’s publicist pretty much every couple of months, for five years, asking if it was the right time to interview Kevin. She always said, “No.” But he had a self-help book that came out this year, and the timing was finally right! The same thing happened with Matthew McConaughey.
This just goes to show that continuing to create great content and build your platform, even when someone says “no,” pays off. Keep following up. Keep building what you have. Eventually, you’ll attract those big names. I really liked the way Matt summed up this journey:
“The consistency of [Lewis] showing up for [him]self, for the audience, for the mission got [him] there. … [It takes] persistence and consistency.” – Matt Cesaratto
The people I interviewed this year are people I have wanted on the podcast for the last eight years — since I started! But the platform wasn’t big enough, and they weren’t working on something that made sense for them to talk about on this type of show.
If you have a podcast and dream of interviewing big names, I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely possible. Keep showing up for your mission and giving value to your audience. If you are persistent and consistent, the opportunities will come!
2020 was the year we decided to go all-in on YouTube, and it turned out to be such a good decision. We’ve been neglecting this side of the business for the last five or six years. We did start creating video content for the show before any other audio program. While most people were just launching podcasts, we decided, five years ago, to hire someone to film.
So while we were somewhat ahead of the times in that respect, we were simply filming and posting content — we weren’t optimizing it. We were just throwing it up on YouTube and getting a million or so views a month and a million and a half dollars in passive income.
But this year, we said, “You know what? Let’s optimize this and really go all in.” Shout out to my girlfriend, Yanet, and YouTube expert Evan Carmichael for not giving up on encouraging me to growth-hack and monetize my YouTube channel.
It really wasn’t until the last four months when we started to see the results pay off. But the payoff has been incredible! We’ve doubled our views from the last lifetime of being on the platform. And we have tripled the subscriptions and views from last year.
Guys, growth-hacking is real. And this journey has been incredible! Lots of people have messaged me or come up to me at the mall recently. When I ask them how they found out about The School of Greatness, so many of them are saying YouTube! It’s an incredible feeling to know that we’re reaching so many new people by being intentional with something we had already started.
I still and always will love podcasting. However, if you want to grow your audience, YouTube is a powerful platform for optimized content. If you already see incredible results with YouTube, ask yourself, “What is an area of my business that I can leverage more intentionally?” Like me, you might already have started something that could triple your impact if you would go all-in!
2020, we appreciate you for the lessons you’ve given us. We are grateful that we get to come out of this stronger and hopefully more prepared for the future. We had some great times and created some great content. The School of Greatness community has grown tremendously. I am grateful for all of you who decided to come here to listen, watch, and educate yourself on how you can become better.
After everything we accomplished in a year of unprecedented uncertainty, we’re looking forward to epic things in 2021. We’ve got some big plans, but who knows what’s in store. It could be the smoothest and easiest year we’ve had in a while, or it could be even more challenging than 2020. We don’t know. But what we do know is we’re prepared for anything and ready to take on the challenge.
We’re excited! We have a positive mindset. And we’re going to do our best to have fun, no matter what. That’s, truly, all you can do, and it’s one of the greatest secrets to success!
Here’s to staying flexible, being persistent, and resolving to have fun!
Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoyed it, be sure to check out the full podcast episode where I shared how we sold out Grove Theatre premiering a documentary we’ve been working on for several years. In that episode, Matt and I also talked about ten lessons we learned in 2020. I think you’ll really enjoy it and find a lot of valuable takeaways.
Your comments, encouragement, and reviews mean a lot to us! Every Monday, we read messages and reviews from you during our team call. So, keep them coming. And if you haven’t already subscribed to our YouTube channel and left a comment, please take a minute to do that right now! Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, too. Every time you click the subscribe button and leave a review, it helps this content reach more people and build this community.
If you want weekly inspirational text messages from me, text the word “podcast” to (614) 350-3960. I get so many messages from people saying that my text messages are exactly what they needed to see and hear at that moment. So make sure you get on my texting list! And, if you want to take your life and business to the next level, check out my new coaching program called Greatness Coaching. You’ll use our own Greatness Performance System to clarify where you are now and create a compelling vision for your future. You’ll define your mission, craft specific goals, and develop a monthly gameplan to get the results you want!
Before you go, I want to leave you with this quote from Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
And if no one has told you lately, you are a miracle — just being here in this world, being alive at this specific moment, in this time, on this planet, in this year. You’re a miracle. And everything you have overcome to get here is absolutely powerful. You are loved, you are worthy, and you matter. I’m so very grateful for you being part of this community!
If you enjoyed this message, please take a screenshot of this and share it on Instagram. Tag me, @lewishowes, and let me know what your greatest takeaway is!
Now, you know what time it is. It’s time to go out there and do something great!