How To Have A No-Holds Barred Approach To Life & Business with Steve Olsher


When it comes to getting ahead AND being fulfilled, a lot of people feel like they’re not on track to do BOTH.

That’s why I’m so excited today to interview my good friend Steve Olsher.

He’s been an entrepreneur for the past 30 years and is known as the world’s foremost reinvention expert. He helps individuals and corporations become exceptionally clear on their WHAT – that is the ONE thing they were created to do. He takes a NO-HOLDS BARRED approach to life AND business.

And I can tell you from personal experience he’s not only successful, but fulfilled as well.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this episode of the Get Ahead podcast as Steve shares his wisdom for getting ahead WHILE becoming fulfilled in your life.

In today’s episode:

  • Why Steve is so “bullish” on new media
  • Why it doesn’t matter how “popular” you are when it comes to online business
  • What the new media “trifecta” is and how to leverage it to increase your impact and your income
  • The difference between push and pull media, and how it directly impacts how successful your business will be
  • Why niching down isn’t always the best advice
  • Why you need more than money as motivation for getting ahead
  • How it’s best to have active AND passive income and what your active income should do for you
  • Why Steve turned down an offer to make $100K a year, working just 1 day a week.
  • The power of “yes/no” moments and how they shape your destiny
  • The main question you need to answer when you’re looking at any sort of investment
  • How to know what you want vs what you need and why it has a MAJOR impact on your happiness
  • Four steps to getting ahead and having a life that matters to YOU
  • And much more…

Transcript:

James Mel: Hey everybody, welcome to the Get Ahead podcast. I’m James Mel. On this podcast, what I do is I find successful entrepreneurs, and I dig deep to uncover the strategies, the mindsets, the techniques, and other things they’ve done to get ahead in their life and their business so you can do the same. I know if you’re here, you’re a high achiever. I know you want to get ahead. That’s a topic I’ve been obsessed with my entire life. That’s what I want to help you do, is uncover the different strategies and the techniques you need to be able to do that, to get ahead in your life. So make sure to grab a pen, a paper, or something to take notes with. Because as we uncover these gold nuggets, you’re going to want to write them down. 

Now before we jump into today’s episode, I have something really special to give you as a free gift. Like any successful person, I’ve got a mentor and I’ve had one for over 10 years, and it turns out that he’s also my business partner. His name’s Evan Pagan, and he’s written a book on opportunity. Now, if you want to get ahead in your life and your business, it’s super important that you not only know how to spot opportunity, but you know how to take advantage of it, and that’s what this entire book is about. I’d like to give you a free copy. Not only that, I’d like to ship it to you absolutely free. So you get a free copy, and you get it shipped to you absolutely free. The way you can get this is go to www.jamesmel.com/opportunity. It’s all on me. Go there now, grab your copy. You’ll be glad you did. All right, without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode.

Welcome to another episode of the Get Ahead podcast. I am super stoked for today’s guest. It’s good friend of mine for several years, and what’s so awesome about Steve Olsher, who you’ll meet here in just a second is, he’s just into so many different things. Typical serial entrepreneur, from founder of Podcast Magazine to creator of Nuvia Summit, to the host of Reinvention Radio, and another show called Beyond Eight Figures. On top of that, invests in real estate, something you know I’m passionate about, and has been in the online world for a bunch of years too. Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve Olsher: I appreciate you having me, man.

James Mel: So, I know, let’s get right into it. I know that you got your hands in so many different things, but lately it’s been new media, and in particular podcasting, right? In terms of getting ahead, things are changing these days. You know, from 10 years ago, they’re changing these days. What do you think about these new media channels? How do you get ahead? 

Steve Olsher: Well, you get ahead because it’s such a level playing field, which is a beautiful thing. I mean, like if we think historically on what it would take to reach the masses, and let’s go backwards for a minute in terms of what we mean by the masses. Like, if you were Chicago, and you wanted to reach a lot of people in Chicago, which is where I was born and raised. Maybe you had a television show, which of course was very difficult to get. Maybe you owned a television network, which was almost impossible to make happen. Or maybe you got on the radio. Maybe you bought broker time, or maybe you had your own show, or something of that nature. Right? 

So even in a geographically restricted environment, just like one city of Chicago, trying to reach a lot of people in that one market, really, really hard to do. And expensive to do, unless of course, you’re an Oprah, or something of that nature, which is, you know, again, very few and far between. 

So when you think about what it takes in order to be able to reach literally anyone, almost anywhere on the planet, at literally every moment in time, in order for that to happen, now it’s really just a matter of doing what we’re doing. Right? Which is hitting record, talking into a video camera, using a microphone, putting it out on the internet, and you know, presto chango. You are now a broadcast business. You have your own broadcasting network, so to speak. 

You know, that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so bullish on new media for so many years now is because it really does level the playing field for all of us, where you don’t have to be a Rupert Murdoch or… I mean, just name the… Ted Turner, the entrepreneur, right? You don’t have to have billions of dollars in capital in order to make that happen. 

So what’s beautiful about this landscape is that no matter how niche you get, and no matter how, let’s just say, few people know about you or how “popular” you are, it doesn’t matter. I mean, there’s an audience that is literally waiting and praying for you to show up in their lives, and you can reach them at basically no cost. 

James Mel: Yeah, it’s so true to see how things have changed. It’s so true. I did Instagram Live earlier today, and broadcast into a bunch of people. Here we are here. What do you find? Because I know you’re big into the space. You’ve got an event. You’ve got, you know, your own shows. What do you find really helps people stand out and get ahead? Like, if somebody was brand new getting started, what are some of the things they can do to help themselves get ahead?

Steve Olsher: Yeah, you know, so at the New Media Summit, which is the event that we host that you mentioned earlier, of late, what’s really been going over super well with the audience, and I love teaching, is… Again, this would be for somebody just getting started in this space. What I really recommend, you think about, especially at it relates to a podcast, is leveraging what I call the new media trifecta.

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Steve Olsher: Well, what’s the new media trifecta? The new media trifecta basically means that if you’re going to get started in this space, you know, no matter how you slice is, you really have to start with the offer. Especially in this world. So if you’re going to go onto Instagram, if you’re going to go on to creating a podcast, if you’re going to have a video channel, whatever. Doesn’t matter. Everything starts with the offer. So what I encourage my clients to think about and again, what we teach at the New Media Summit, is start with whatever that expertise is that you have, that you plan on sharing with strategic abandon, and package that into some sort of online course. When you have that online course, you want to name it in a way that it translates to a podcast, and which ultimately translates to the brand. So in other words, the brand, the podcast, and the online course should really all be the same name. The more niche, the better. 

Let me give you an example. So we got a new program coming up called Closing from the Stage.

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Olsher: I buy a lot of stage time, I sell from the stage, I’ll bet on myself all day long. I mean, I’ll spend a lot of money to buy stage time, if I have an opportunity to put forth an offer. Because I know that I can close from the stage. So over the years, a lot of people have asked me, “Well, how do you do that? What do you do?” Et cetera. So I put together an online program called Closing from the Stage. Well, guess what? Closing from the Stage is going to be the brand. We will have brand extensions and whatnot, but it all stems from the brand being Closing from the Stage. Guess what else? We’ll release a podcast called Closing from the Stage, and that will then flow into the course, Closing from the Stage. So if you’re a podcast listener, and you turn into a show called Closing from the Stage, what do you think you’re expecting to hear, and why are you tuning in? 

James Mel: I want to close from the stage. 

Steve Olsher: Right. So when you come right down to it, you know, so many of us have done email marketing over the years. Right? There was a point in time where you could get 50, 60, 70% open rates. You know, maybe you could get a 10, 20% click through rate. I mean, that would be massive.

James Mel: Yeah.

Steve Olsher: Today if you get to double digits. I mean, if you’ve got an email list of over 50,000 or so. If you get to double digits, that’s pretty dang good. If you get to a 1, or 2, or 3% click through rate, that’s pretty darn good too. So if you liken podcasting to having the equivalent of a 100% email open rate, [crosstalk 00:08:22] 100% email click through rate, that’s how powerful this is. Because a 100% of the people who are raising their hand to say, I want to listen to that episode, and they’re downloading it to their device, and they’re listening to it. No one is forcing that down their throat. It’s the difference between push media and pull media. So again, 100% of the people are raising their hands to say, I want that. You can’t beat that anywhere else on the planet right now.

James Mel: I mean, since you’re so into this world. I mean, I’m just thinking about it now, when I went to college, and that sort of stuff. They were teaching a bunch of different skills, and now over the past 10, 15 years I’ve seen them evolve into podcasting, Facebook advertising. Like, what do you feel are the most important skills these days if somebody’s just getting started or maybe looking for a career change to really master? Get ahead. 

Steve Olsher: I mean, as far as the podcasting world or just new media, or just business in general? 

James Mel: Just business in general. Like, really to make it. 

Steve Olsher: Yeah, you know, so it’s interesting. A lot of people… So on one hand I talk about, obviously niching down, and being able to attract your ideal client, your ideal prospect to your work, to your offerings, to your lead magnets, to your free materials. You know, whatever. But at the same token, until you really got it dialed in, you have to throw as many things against the wall as you possibly can to see what sticks. Because what you have to do is stay in motion. Right? I mean, the reality is that we learn and we create and things happen when we are in motion.

But in order to master something and to really create a formidable business around that, you have to be in constant motion, as it relates to whatever that niche, whatever that industry is. The problem for most people is they don’t know where to remain in constant motion. So you’ve got to be in motion with a lot of different things, and trying a lot of different things. Before you land on what it is that you can be focused on or in, you know, in the case of what we’re talking about here, in constant motion with. 

So as you mentioned earlier, I’ve done real estate development, been online for a long time. Actually opened up my own nightclub when I was 19. Done catalogs. I mean, on and on and on. I will say that, you know, real estate development is all well and good, and that provides great passive income, and I can continue to do that, but it doesn’t really put fire in my soul, necessary; it’s great for commodities. You know, it’s great for generating revenue. But, you know, there’s more to life than just simply having money in the bank. You need money in the bank, but you still need a reason to get out of bed every morning. Right? 

So it wasn’t until I started podcasting, and then had a business deal gone wrong with someone who will remain nameless. But some of the ideas that were forged from that business relationship has led me into the current work that I’m doing now. So reality is if you want to succeed, if you want to do really, really well, you have to look at both passive and active revenue streams. So for me, real estate provides the passive, and then the active revenue streams, I believe, should more reflect what puts fire in your soul. That’s the work that I do around new media. But I wouldn’t have gotten here unless I had taken a million steps in a million wrong directions to land at this point. 

James Mel: Yeah, and I think that’s so important because a lot of times people will get discouraged, but it’s very clear to me hearing your story and your thought process, you’re not afraid to try stuff. You learn a ton from it, and it’s helped you ultimately get to where you are now. 

Steve Olsher: Yeah, and for sure. Look, I’m not going to sit here, I’m not going to pretend that I’m like this success story in terms of everything that I’ve done, you know has turned to gold. I’ve had so many failures, it’s not even funny. But I’ll simply say this, at the way that I look at failure is not in the same way that others might. I look at failure in terms of it being success with an unintended ending. You know, failure’s just kind of one of those terms of ignorance that weak minded people like to throw out at those who dare to soar in an attempt to bring them down. You know, just because something doesn’t go exactly to plan doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or there’s any real meaning behind it whatsoever. It just simply means that you had a vision for what might happen, and it didn’t happen that way, and you know, it’s really just as simple as that. 

James Mel: You know, I was just thinking about, Steve, I remember seeing a post you made, I think it was on Facebook, about you were offered, you know, a pretty large sum of money for somebody to personally coach with you, and you turned it down.

Steve Olsher: Yeah.

James Mel: I know a lot of times, especially when I was getting started, we think that to get ahead, we need to be doing things, and what’s on my to do list, and I got to do this, this, this, this, this. But I think it’s also important to help us get ahead is know what not to focus on. Why don’t we talk a little about that story, because I think there was an important lesson there. I know it inspired me in just your thought process around it.

Steve Olsher: Yeah, so the post that you’re referring to, and this is from a… This was a job offer from a mutual friend who we both know really well. They had wanted me to coach for their company. 

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Olsher: It would have required, after all the math was done and whatnot, it would have required basically one day a week. So one day a week, and I would have been able to gross, you know, roughly a 100K a year. So, on the surface it’s like, what idiot in their right mind would turn down a 100K to work one day a week? 

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Olsher: Believe me, it gave me pause. You know, I sat there, and I said, “Jeez, this is a pretty good opportunity here. Why am I hesitating? You know? I will tell you that that hesitation is typically where you will find… Well, let me put it this way. I call those moments the [yay/no 00:15:03] moments. You know, it’s like a fancy way of saying, yes, no. So it’s like a fork in the road. You know, saying yes to whatever it is. Like, this was a yay/no moment. James, you said, hey, Steve, I’d love for you to come on, and I’d love for you to share your thoughts on my new podcast. Awesome. That’s a yay/no moment. 

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Olsher: Right, it’s like, yes, I’ll invest an hour, however long we go here, 45 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever it turns out to be, with you, and whatever happens happens, or I say no, it just doesn’t make sense for me to do it, or I’m too busy, or whatever those reasons are. So we’re faced with those moments of truth, those yay/no moments, those forks in the road. It’s just super important, and what I’ve learned, now I’ll be 50 this year. What I’ve learned now is that being able to recognize those moments of truth, and just taking a step back and hesitating really spells a tremendous difference between creating the life that you want and having the life that is ostensibly forced by the whims and the agendas of others. 

So what I ended up doing was taking the time to really look at that opportunity with clear enough eyes to see whether or not I was just fearful of what would happen if I gave up that day, and what I was holding on to in order to say yes or no to that, and/or if my instincts were saying, you know, this is something that if you commit to this, it’s going to preclude you from doing something else with that time. 

Ultimately, the main question that you have to be able to answer when you’re looking at any sort of investment, is it expensive, or is it valuable? For me, the expense of giving up a day of my time was not nearly as valuable as what it was that I would be able to do with that time in terms of being with friends, family, with pursuing other business endeavors, et cetera. I got to [inaudible 00:17:25] my friend Billy Ruleman with that one. Because that’s a great question to be able to ask yourself is, is it expensive, or is it valuable? That was an investment, it wasn’t a monetary investment that I was going to have to make, where I was buying my way into something, but it was an investment in terms of time. 

James Mel: Yeah, and you mentioned opportunity cost, which I think is so important. Is, whenever you make a decision or investment of any type, what are you also forgoing. I remember hearing Warren Buffett talk about once that that’s the most important investment criteria he considers when making any type of investment, is the opportunity cost. 

Steve Olsher: Yeah. Opportunity cost is real. You know? For those who are unfamiliar with the term, I mean, it basically just means that what are you giving up in order to get whatever that is, is put in front of you? So in other words, if I have a $100,000 to invest as an example, or I have a $100,000 sitting in a bank, and there is a particular real estate deal that comes up, and it looks like a good deal. But that’s the only $100,000 I have to invest. If I take that $100,000, I put that into that deal, then if something else comes up that might be a much better deal for whatever reason, I do not have the wherewithal to move in that direction. So there’s a million different ways to skin this and describe it, but just using hard dollars, basically once that 100K is invested, the opportunity cost is lost in terms of my being able to invest it elsewhere. 

But at the same time, if you don’t invest it, then it just sits there. What’s the opportunity cost of it just sitting in the bank in terms of that property appreciates 10% a year, or whatever it might be. So that’s for your time, your energy, your resources, you name it. There’s opportunity costs involved. All elements of… You can look at your life and see where any of your time has gone, and whether or not you got the best ROI possible on that time or those resources or that energy. 

James Mel: Yeah. No, it’s so true. With your starting… Because you’ve started a bunch of different projects, and you’ve got your hands in a bunch of different things. What’s the mindset or energy, like, you bring into a new project? Like, I’m thinking that somebody who maybe is thinking about taking the chance of starting their own thing to help themselves get ahead, how do you approach that differently than others?

Steve Olsher: Yeah, you know, so it’s interesting. There’s two very specific paths that I have to go down and look at when I’m exploring new opportunities. Right? One is, am I exploring this opportunity simply because there’s potential for monetary benefit? So in that case, I would just simply say that it’s a commodity driven opportunity, where if I put time and energy and resources into this, I can make money with it. So that’s a commodity driven opportunity.

James Mel: Yep.

Steve Olsher: The other opportunity would be something that’s more of a fulfillment opportunity, where it really puts fire in your soul, where you’ll week up every day with just that passion to do whatever that is that you want to do, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get that work done, and things that used to bother you would carry a lot less weight because you’re focused on what really puts fire in your soul there. So there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s nothing wrong with doing something in a commodity driven opportunity way, versus more of a fulfillment opportunity. So, again, we’re not judging. There’s no shame in pursuing something that provides monetary reward. 

Ideally, you pursue something that provides both. But, you know, those aren’t hard and fast rules, so for me, just being clear on am I doing it because it’s a commodity driven opportunity, and I see the opportunity to make money, and not confusing that with the fact or trying to disguise my intentions of saying, you know, well, it is a commodity driven opportunity, but, you know, I might like it. Or I might enjoy it, right? Just being really clear on why you’re doing it and forgiving yourself for saying, “You know, hey, this isn’t a passion project. This isn’t something I’m going to wake up and go, jeez, I’m really glad I’m doing it. It’s just simply a matter of I saw an opportunity to make some money, so there it is.” 

James Mel: What do you… Because we know with entrepreneurship and life in general, there’s always going to be bumps in the road. One of the thing I think makes entrepreneurs in particular, particularly resilient is how they face those challenge and obstacles. Is there a time where maybe you faced one of those obstacles, and how did you overcome it?

Steve Olsher: I mean, look. I don’t think there’s been a business endeavor that I’ve pursued where there hasn’t been obstacles or bumps in the road. Ultimately, you know, in my world there is no sort of hard set, fast criteria for when I decide to cut the rope. Sometimes I’ve cut the rope way too late. Other times, you know, I’ve forged ahead, and made it work. But you know, I will say that those obstacles that you face, there’s definitely something going on where if you keep trying to jam a square peg into a round hole, and it’s doing nothing but resulting in pain, you can call it God, you can call it the universe, you can call it whatever you want to call it, but if you keep beating your head up against the wall to get something done, and it’s just always a challenge to get it done, that might be a sign that you just got to cut that rope. 

But the tricky part is, as you go back to, you know, some of the old stories or expressions or mantras about being three feet from gold. Right? You just never know if you’ve drilled down 97 feet, and it’s been a huge pain in the can to get there, if that line of gold is three feet away. That’s often where you have to bring in people who have an outside perspective, and who can say to you, you know, James, this on paper looks good, but in reality it’s probably just not worth your efforts. 

So when you, so for me personally, when the obstacles have become far too consistent, that’s typically when I bring in somebody to give me a fresh set of eyes on it, bring a unique, unbiased, singular perspective to the conversation. And ask for God honest, constructive, brutal honesty and feedback. 

James Mel: Interesting. So yeah, you’re not afraid to cut your losses, if you keep banging your head against the wall, and it’s like, this is just not working. You’re not afraid to cut your losses, but if I hear you correctly, you’re also, if you’re not quite sure, you won’t be afraid to go get an outside opinion, and be like, what am I missing here? 

Steve Olsher: Yeah, and look, sometimes you are simply throwing bad money after good. I mean, there is, it happens all the time. One of the ways to hedge against that is if you still believe in the opportunity, but you’re not believing enough to go into your pocketbook again, say I may be throwing good money after bad here. I guess that’s the better expression, good money after bad. You know, reality is you could cut someone off a piece of it, and say look, “If you see the potential in this, then I’m happy to cut off a piece of this for you.” That’s a good way to not only bring a fresh perspective, but hedge your losses while still holding on to the possibly for some of the gains, and you know, if somebody believes enough in what it is that you’ve been struggling with to cut you a check for it, then perhaps your instincts were spot on, and it is a good opportunity just for whatever reason, you hit the wall and couldn’t bring it to fruition.

So cut off a piece of it, let someone else come in and let them put their energy behind it, because maybe you just got to get somebody behind you a little bit and helping you to push that thing over, whereas you just couldn’t do it by yourself. 

James Mel: What are your thoughts when you’re, like if somebody’s starting something out at the very beginning, what are your thoughts on doing it yourself versus getting a team or getting support? Are you like, hey, I’m going to grind this all out myself or you get… How do recommend somebody approaches that? 

Steve Olsher: Yeah, I’m the wrong person to ask that question, man, because I take the opposite approach to most, although my track record doesn’t show it. What my track record shows is that I’ve always brought in people to help. Reality is, that’s cost me dearly. We can look back at some of the real estate endeavors. I can look back on everything that happened with liquor.com, which we didn’t get into, and don’t need to get into. But I will tell you that there, at this stage in my career, there is very little that I can be convinced to do that would involve partners. 

Investors, sure. Really talented people who are paid really well, and have upside as your business grows and as you find more success? For sure. But signing away management rights or having someone next to you who can make equal calls just to me, is… It’s a recipe for disaster. Because there really can only be one person who has the vision. There can be other people who help to support the vision and refine the vision and help bring the vision to fruition, but at the of the day, the definition of an entrepreneur truly is someone who sees an opportunity that others just can’t see. They pursue that with strategic abandon. So if you were smart enough to be able to see that opportunity when no one else could see it, don’t be dumb enough to bring in people who didn’t have that idea in the first place. Not as partners. 

James Mel: It’s a really interesting thing you mention that because I know especially like, you know, I tried a bunch of different business when I was in college and whatnot, and the tendency is to always go find a partner, and I don’t know, to some extent I guess for me that was insecurity and not confident. I remember hearing once that-

Steve Olsher: Or, or a lack of a desire.

James Mel: Or a lack of desire, right? 

Steve Olsher: Yep.

James Mel: I remember hearing once, it’s just like, if you’re not confident to do it alone, then you probably shouldn’t do it. If you don’t believe in it 100% then having a partner’s not going to help you out.

Steve Olsher: Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s a great point. So reality is, you know, if you’re not willing to go all in on it, why would you ask someone else to do the same?

James Mel: Yeah. Yeah, wow. Well, it sounds like you’re in a good path now. What’s the vision for you moving forward? How big are you into sort of like vision? It would be cool if you could paint out how you think about that for somebody listening, because I know for me getting ahead has always been, like, having a vision.

Steve Olsher: Yeah.

James Mel: Not just day by day, but having a vision into the future.

Steve Olsher: You know, it’s interesting. So as much as I consider myself to be, to some extent, a visionary, and I’ve been really early, I’m not saying that to sound arrogant. I mean, we launched on CompuServe’s electronic mall in 1993. That’s how long ago I believed in what was going on with the internet. We had mentioned radio, we launched that show as a podcast in 2009. So, I mean, reality is I have a tendency to see quite clearly where things are going, and those trendlines, and some forth. 

But at the same token, when I bring things to fruition, like the New Media Summit or Podcast Magazine as a couple of examples here, I’m doing it more for the love of the endeavor. Not for the longterm vision of, hey, I want to build this thing up, and I want to sell it. Or, you can look around my office. I don’t have vision boards. You know, because I just want to do something today that I enjoy doing. Is that short term thinking? For sure. But at the same token, if I’m doing something today that I’m enjoy, and I’m able to generate enough revenue that helps to sustain the lifestyle that I need, and take the excess and put that away, I’ll have enough for tomorrow. I have enough for tomorrow now.

So it’s an interesting point of my career, and for a younger person, someone in their 20s, someone in their 30s, I would just simply say that you can have, of course, a longterm vision on where you want to be, and if you can live off of 50% of what it is that you’re bringing in, and you can put the other 50% away, awesome. I mean, it’s never too late to start throwing that money away. But at the same token, don’t set yourself up where you’ve got this line in the sand, and you say, look, I’m going to bust tail for this next 10 or 20 years so that 10 or 20 years from now, I can live on that beach, I can not work, and this, that or the other.

Because what I’ll tell you is that if you’re a true entrepreneur, you’re never going to stop working. Seriously. You’re never going to stop working. So that line in the sand that you draw, you know what that line in the sand is, James? It’s the line of boredom. Because once you cross that line, you cross into obscurity, you cross into this land of boredom, that you can’t wait to jump back on the other side of that line to do something else. 

So if you’re not an entrepreneur, go get a job, do that 401K to the max. Let them max out every dollar that you possibly can. let them pay for your insurance. Put as much money as you can away for the next 20, 30 years, and then you retire. Because you’re not an entrepreneur.

James Mel: Yeah.

Steve Olsher: But if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to enjoy the short and the long.

James Mel: Wow. I think that’s the biggest insight you’ve shared, definitely that I’ve gotten from this interview so far because it rings so true, and I remember first, you know, thought, oh my gosh, I’m going to get ahead, I’m going to get ahead, and had all the vision boards and stuff, it’s interesting how all those things, now that, and I know you’ve achieved them too, it doesn’t actually juice you up and make you as happy as you thought you would. It’s so interesting because I’m going through this in my own life right now. You know, I had the downtown office, penthouse suite with the perfect view, and then the beach house. I’m giving up the condo, because I’m like, it’s too much. 

It’s like, I just want the simplicity now, and focusing on building this brand, and doing things I love, which is like this podcast, and I can see you’re following a similar route. It’s just, I think it’s really important to not lose sight of that, especially when you think about, hey, what do I need to get ahead, and not make it all about the material gains because probably be a dead end for you. 

Steve Olsher: Look, it’s a super important conversation to have, and I’m glad we’re going in this direction, and the way that I teach this is I teach it, James, around the conversation of being really clear on what it is that you want versus what it is that you actually need. Having clarity on that as early as possible in life is going to spell a tremendous difference between the amount of happiness and fulfillment and sense of contribution that you have with where you are right now, versus always going for that arbitrary line in the sand that we’ve drawn out there, which is typically based on the definitions of how others have described to you what an ideal life might look like.

So let me give you an example here. So you may say I want that penthouse condo with the awesome view. Because when I take my clients there, they’re going to look at this, and they’re going to go, “Damn, James, damn. You made it, man! Look at this… Oh my God, right! It’s unbelievable.” Or you may feel like you look out, and you’re inspired, and you know, and you need this in order to feel alive, and feel like your work is worthwhile. So you just have to gain clarity around, is that your truth? Or is that someone else’s? So if you find that what you want is the office here, the beach there, the condo there, but what it is that you actually need is a two bedroom spot where you and your girl have, or your guy, whatever, have one room, and the other room you use as an office, and your house is paid for. Your cars are paid for. You take trips as you want to, this, that and the other.

What’s really interesting is that the more clarity you have around what it is that you need versus what it is that you think that you want, the less pressure that you have in order to live by this definition of how others believe success is defined. So that’s the first thing I would encourage you to really think about doing, which is defining success. So for me, one of my favorite definitions of success is having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you were meant to be. If you have the courage and the determination and the will to become the person you were meant to be, you’re a pretty darn impressive success story in my book. None of that has anything to do with the McLaren’s and the this, and the Gucci’s, and the that and whatever. 

James Mel: Yeah.

Steve Olsher: It takes a really secure, strong person to live life on their terms, and to live life based on what it is that they actually need versus what it is that everyone else says that they should want. 

James Mel: Man, you’re making me a little bit uncomfortable, Steve, because I’m literally realizing that own lesson in my own life right now. Like, for so long I did what I thought I was supposed to do, or what other people wanted me to do. That’s part of the reason why I got all that “stuff”, you know, in my own life, and now I’m literally shedding all that because I’m coming back to what do I actually need? All this other stuff is traction. 

Steve Olsher: It’s interesting because you and I have a lot of mutual friends. We won’t name names, who have moved to a particular state, which is sort of a state, but sort of not a state. It’s more of an island in the United States, and it’s initials are P and R, but we won’t say the name of it. But you guys can do the math on that, and they have moved there. Their number one reason, and all the people that I’ve spoken with about why they moved there is because they can save on taxes. It’s interesting because many of them teach these mindsets of abundance. It just feels to me that that’s coming from a place of scarcity. So, you know, it’s just such an interesting question of how much is enough? When will we have what it is that we actually need?

You know, we live in San Diego, and environment’s a big part, I believe, of happiness. I was depressed, like super depressed, for a while. Really bottomed out in November 2013. You know, it was at that point that I really had to scrape myself off the floor, and fortunately I had help to be able to do that. But it was at that point where I became much more clear on the four pillars of life that are most important. I think, you know, when you look at these four pillars, and if you, or check boxes, or whatever you want to call them, but if you check off any one of these boxes of the four, you know, it does make it a little more challenging to find fulfillment and happiness in your day to day life. 

So growing up in Chicago with the cold and the dark and the gray and whatnot, one of those four boxes that I became very clear on is that environment is super important. Right, and so that can mean the people that you surround yourself with, it can mean where you live physically, et cetera, et cetera. So environment is really important to finding that fulfillment and that place in life where you feel aligned and you’re happy, right? So for me, moving from Chicago to San Diego, even though we left friends and family and whatnot, being able to make new friends, you know, here. Obviously family is a different story. But moving from Chicago to San Diego helped me from an environment perspective tremendously. You know, with the sun, the vitamin Democrat, and the whole nine, right?

So I know a lot of people say, well, we moved there to that place with the PR because of the environment. You know, I mean, because of the palm trees and the sun, and this, that, and the other. I’m like, okay, I get that. Maybe there are other options that are closer to the people that you love, and so on. Anyway. So environment is one of them. 

Number two is being physical in some sort, in terms of exercise. Right, having the sweat, having the, you know, just the oxytocin and the neurotransmitter levels and all that serotonin. All that stuff just fired up on a daily basis, right? So having that sweat, having that desire to actually do something and push yourself, and I know you’re big on the outdoors and whatnot, is really important. 

But then the other two pieces of the puzzle in terms of number one, they’re not being self absorbed, where you actually do things for other people. What I find in the want versus need discussion is that oftentimes people are so self absorbed. When you’re focused on the want, you’re focused on the self absorbed part of life. When you’re focused on the need, you’re focused on service. Because it doesn’t take as much for you to have what you need. 

Then the last thing is being really fired up about something that makes you want to jump out of bed every day and kind of puts that fire in your soul, so whether it’s the purpose or your passion or understanding what your what is, as I teach in my book, What is Your What, you know, whatever you want to call it. You have to have something that drives you from a career perspective, from a life perspective, et cetera. So again, all of this sort of plays into the what is it that you want, versus what is it that you actually need conversation. 

Again, I just think when we’re so focused on having more, more, more, and thinking that will get us more of what we want, want, want, it just flies in the face of actually living how I think we are designed to live, which is having what we need, and then giving our gifts away to the world to help them get what they need too.

James Mel: Wow. It’s, I was just taking notes there because that, it’s just, thank you for just sharing, you know, what’s so true for you, and this is obviously come from a bunch of experience, and I relate to it so much, because it’s interesting how when I first started, I was in the other camp. I was like, to get ahead, I need to get my wants, wants, wants, wants, wants. 

Steve Olsher: Yeah.

James Mel: Now I’m having this almost 180 where especially what you mentioned there, doing for others is becoming much more important to me, and I’m now realizing, that’s how I really get ahead in life, and in business, by being of service to others, and doing thing… Like, you know, this past weekend, going to a volunteer event, and just love… There is no business connections, network. Just doing. 

Steve Olsher: Yep.

James Mel: It’s amazing how you find that that then fires me up when I’m in… Like, I feel myself even getting more fired up talking to you, talking about this stuff.

Steve Olsher: Yeah. 

James Mel: You know, it’s…

Steve Olsher: Yeah. I’ll tell you, it’s like, one of the things that I’ve learned how to be able to do, and I’ve been married now for 22 years. We’ve got a 16 year old and almost 13 year old. I’ll tell you that just the whole, when you come into a conversation where you’re actually listening to the other person, and you’re actually interested in who they are and what they’re saying, and helping them with whatever it is that they need or are struggling with, et cetera. You get out of your head in that conversation. You kind of just, you know, just drop down into your heart in that conversation, where you don’t have an agenda in that conversation. Where you don’t have an outcome that you’re looking for. You’re not looking to speak next and share what’s coming up for you, like, it just completely changes the dynamic of the relationship. 

I mean, I’ve got a ton of work to do around that for sure, but the point being in terms of what you’ve described, you went into that environment, you weren’t there with a, I want to share what’s going on with me. I need this, and like, you weren’t in that environment with this agenda. You were just in that environment of let me listen. Let me learn, and let me help. 

James Mel: Totally. And contribute. Then naturally through there you meet others, and it’s just on the same wave… It’s just all around. These things stack on top of each other. Like you mentioned, like the exercise, the environment. When you consciously create this, it’s hard not to get ahead of all areas of your life, so, wow.

Steve Olsher: Yeah, you know, it’s… Again, yeah, I understand that this conversation may have been intended to go in one specific direction as far as getting ahead is concerned, but what, I think maybe we start and maybe you do this for future episodes. But maybe you start the conversation of what that means to your guest. 

James Mel: That’s a good question. Yep. Is there any other questions you ask yourself, like throughout the day, throughout the months, throughout the year that you just help align yourself with? 

Steve Olsher: It again goes back to the conversation that we had about 40 minutes ago now, around having clarity on those yay/no moments. So the question that I’ll paraphrase here, and I just, I definitely try to ask as often as possible. You know, is, is this decision that I’m making, whatever that decision in that yay/no moment, is that decision leading me towards, well, whatever that vision is? That I have for myself and what’s most important to me in terms of what it is that I want for my life and my world. Or is it leading me away from whatever that desired destination is? 

Just that simple question of, you know, is this decision leading me… It’s almost like, and the hard part here is you just have to recognize in those yay/no moments that while your goal is to stack as many of those yay/no moments in your favor. I mean, as humanly possible. The important thing here is to also recognize that the decisions that you make by saying yes or by saying no, it’s going to impact others. 

James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Olsher: Ultimately their response is theirs and theirs alone. That’s what is so hard because often time what we do we do from the place of how is this going to affect the person with whom I’m either saying yes or no. You know? So ultimately if you can align more of those decisions, and what I ask myself is, you know, is this a yay/no moment. Okay, great. If it is, I have the power now to choose what it is that I say. So if more often than not my answers align with who I am and what puts fire in my soul, I will find more fulfillment, more happiness, and more often than not, a much stronger sense of contribution.

James Mel: That’s amazing. Contribution, that’s what it all comes down to.

Steve Olsher: Yep.

James Mel: Why don’t we end on that note? Steve, this has been awesome. Thanks so much.

Steve Olsher: Yeah, man. Appreciate you doing the show, appreciate you having me on.

James Mel: Well, I hope you loved this week’s episode. If you did, tell your friends! That would be a huge favor for me, and it could help build this community, and we can all get ahead, and something I’d like to do is give you a special gift. It turns out that one of the ways to get ahead is to be able to find, spot, and then take advantage of opportunity. We all know this, and it turns out that my business partner and mentor, Evan Pagan, has written a book on this very topic, and I’d like to give you that book and ship it to you absolutely free. So the book is called Opportunity: How to Win in Business and Create the Life You Love. 

All you got to do is go to www.jamesmel/opportunity, enter details, and I’m going to send you the book free. You’re going to get the book for free, and I know you’re going to love it. I have learned so much from Evan Pagan over the 10 years we’ve known each other, and it’s truly been one of the ways I’ve been able to get ahead in my life, in my business, and I know what you learn inside of this book is going to help you do the same. So go there now. Www.jamesmel/opportunity, and grab your copy while you can. I’ve got 4,000 copies that I’m doing this for and sending absolutely free. Shipping is on me, the book is on me. So grab one while you can. 

Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for joining here. Thank you so much for investing in yourself to get ahead. By you getting ahead, it’s going to inspire other people, and then we’re all going to get ahead. So have an amazing week, and I look forward to talking to you on the next episode.