New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Jacob Lief

Stay True To Your Purpose


It can be exciting to receive connections to the rich and powerful.

Fancy dinners, galas, and White House dinners can be tempting.

But if these things are keeping you from accomplishing what you set out to do, you’re better off without them.

Money comes with strings.

If the people pulling those strings don’t align with your message, that money has too great a cost.

For this 5-Minute Friday, I revisited a conversation I had with Jacob Lief where he shared what has made his non-profit Ubuntu so successful.

Jacob Lief is the Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organization that takes vulnerable children living in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career. Ubuntu’s programs form an integrated system of medical, health, educational and social services, ensuring that a child who is either orphaned or vulnerable can, after several years, succeed.

Jacob has been able to stay focused on one area and one community of people by being consistent about what Ubuntu says yes to. It’s not the most glamorous route, but it’s the most impactful.

Learn how to stay disciplined and focused on your goal in Episode 849.

“Not all money is equal. Not every dollar is worth the same.” @UbuntuJakes  

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The thing that has worked the best for Ubuntu (2:00)
  • Why you sometimes have to say “no” to things (2:30)
  • About the struggle to keep people interested in your cause (3:00)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Jacob Lief

Transcript of this Episode

Male Announcer: This is 5-Minute Friday.

[background music]

Lewis Howes: Welcome everyone to today’s episode very special episode with a guy by the name of Jacob Lief, who has dedicated the last 15 years of his life to serving people and to serving a specific community to change their entire mindset, their entire process, their entire way of living, to have it all in life, to improve their lifestyle, in a place where poverty is extreme, to improve their education process, to improve the way people feel about themselves.

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[background music]

Jacob Lief: What’s really worked for us is about staying focused. Right? I’m we’re one area.

Lewis Howes: Not shiny balls like going to the next city or trying to expand or do things but just diving deep?

Jacob Lief: Yeah, being prepared having a discipline to say no to money not all. I really want – you know it took us a long time to learn that not all money is equal, that every dollar is worth the same. And so you know we used to raise $8 million – $9 million a year but we’re taking a lot of this huge foundation money and government money that was forcing us to do things we didn’t like, you know, we called it a drug money, sexy is exciting that is the big conferences but it’s killing your soul. 

You know you’re getting a lot of — was very glamorous, a lot of attached to a lot of this money and having the discipline to say no, to turn it down, if it’s not right for your organization. You know, I made an analogy to startups in Northern California. But you’re in Silicon Valley with the tech startup you’re taught. You spent a lot of time talking about, who you want investing in your company? Right? What type? What should your portfolio look like? And we don’t do enough of that in the nonprofit sector. And I’m really encouraging nonprofit leadership to have that discussion with their team and not just take all money because it’s there. Because a lot of it can do a lot more harm than good. 

Remember that the nonprofit lead, you know your business better than others. And just because some guy made billions of dollars creating group or doesn’t mean he knows how to do global health, right?

Lewis Howes: Exactly. Yes.

Jacob Lief: And [00:03:32 – inaudible] gift. I say that because it’s oftentimes, a lot of those with the financial means dictate the agenda.

Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.

Jacob Lief: And we have to listen a lot more to nonprofit leadership. So you’ve mentioned Scott [00:03:46 – inaudible] have both spent a good majority of their careers understanding their issues, right?

Lewis Howes: Yeah.

Jacob Lief: Global Education, clean water initiatives. Let them tell you what needs to be done.

Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s cool. Okay.

Jacob Lief: But we’re before heading for us, I think one of the biggest frustrations before I get to that for us and what we continue to struggle with is, we work in one little corner of the world.

Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.

Jacob Lief: And how do you attract the massive funding of. I wanted to expand the seven regions; we could climb to $20 million organization pretty quickly. 

Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.

Jacob Lief: So how do you continue to sell people on the idea –

Lewis Howes: On one little town.

Jacob Lief: And we think that staying success, it’s an exciting for people. It’s weird. Like, you know, if you have your money in some stock that kept going up each year, you wouldn’t take your money out, you’d leave it in.

Lewis Howes: Um-hmm.

Jacob Lief: But in the nonprofit sector, people get bored. They want the next big magic bullet and what we’ve realized is there’s no magic in raising children.

Lewis Howes: Right. It’s just time or energy and a lot of love.

Jacob Lief: A lot of love, a lot of hard work, a lot of energy that’s all it is and that’s so how do you from a marketing standpoint things [00:04:56 – inaudible] it’s just done? I mean, you mentioned Scott and Charity. What are they? I mean, I look at what they done as a model from the branding perspective. And how do you reinvent yourself in a way and to constantly come up with new ways of selling your stuff and they do it very well. Really, they really do. So that’s what we’ve struggled with is, you know, taking constantly having to reinvent ourselves, sell the same product really.

Lewis Howes: Okay.

[background music]

Lewis Howes: Hey guys, if you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called “The Millionaire Morning”, and includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at and just pay shipping. Again, check it out right now,



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