I’m really excited to introduce you to David “Hackman!” Hackett, who embodies so many of the principles of successfully pivoting. In this episode, we discuss the Hackman!’s secrets of being a successful serial entrepreneur and having fun along the journey. David talks about the importance of change utilization, what is really “living”, and the importance of being open to new opportunities and creating a clear vision for your business.
David Hackett’s life reads like a Hollywood script. A surfer turned skateboarding pioneer and icon, he was a world champion at 15. He was 20 when his brother murdered their mother in the kitchen of their family home. Hackett spent the next 20 years as a drug addict and alcoholic and one of his sports top professional riders. After getting sober, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and cured himself with lifestyle modification. Happily married and totally drug and alcohol free, “Hackman” became a highly sought after addiction recovery guru, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, award-winning graphic and product designer, brand ambassador, and fine artist. The “HACKMAN!” lives life on the edge and in the moment, a stereotype smashing world class athlete and master- of the art of the comeback! Learn more about David at HackettSlash.com and DaveHackettArt.com
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Secrets of a Serial Entrepreneur & Pivoter with David Hackett
I’ve got a dear, dear friend on, which is very cool, and he’s got an incredible story to share. I know you are going to be in a great position, wherever you are right now. Buckle your seat or take your seatbelt off, get comfortable, whatever it is. Strap in, strap out because we’re going to go on a little bit of a ride. This gentleman is the perfect person to help us navigate that ride.
He is a skateboarding legend. Before we hit the record button, we’re talking about the Skateboard Hall of Fame, which he was instrumental in getting that thing up and running and see it for a number of years. I don’t want to be the one to talk about him. I prefer to pass the baton and let our amazing guest to share what’s important to them as opposed to some canned introduction. David Hackett, welcome to the Conscious PIVOT. If you could share a little about what jazzes you up. What’s something about your history, about your past that you feel good about? That you feel like you showed up big, you served big and maybe the results were great, maybe the results were less than what you expected. Share a little bit about yourself if you could, David.
Thank you so much, Adam. It’s such an honor and a pleasure to be here with you and I love you and Randi. You guys are just such awesome people. I just love hanging out with you guys. Your energy is just amazing. Every time my wife, Zannah, and I have the ability to hang out with you, we just love it and it was just awesome. I really appreciate you inviting me to the show today.
A little bit about myself, I grew up in Malibu. I learned to surf and skateboard at a very early age. I grew up around considerable wealth and all the movie stardom and stuff like that. Just to give you an idea, my best friend growing up was Chad McQueen, Steve McQueen’s son. I hang out at the McQueen household a lot when Steve and Ali MacGraw were together. Chad and I were on the Malibu Skateboard team. I’ve pivoted a lot in my lifetime and that to me is really about taking what we all know as a given, change and being able to utilize that change either instantly or incorporating it into my life in such a way that it’s going to support not only my lifestyle but my family and more importantly my heart and my path in this journey of life.
Growing up in Malibu and hanging out, surfing and skateboarding, I thought I was pretty good but I didn’t know how good I was until I entered the 1975 Hang Ten World Championships and I ended up winning 1st place in the Jr. Men’s Slalom. At fifteen, I was instantly a world champion and I instantly had sponsors, travel requests. I was doing demonstrations. By the time I was sixteen, seventeen years old, I was making $10,000 a month skateboarding. That was big money back then in 1976 and 1977. I was able to start investing that kind of money that I had at that time into things that really made my heart sing. I’m also an adrenaline junkie. I was going skydiving and water skiing and racing motorcycles and doing anything and everything where you could almost die but live. We’ve surf together and it’s awesome. I believe for a fact that any time you can experience almost dying but living and being in control. I don’t have a death wish but I definitely like to do stuff that’s more dangerous than others. I feel that that life is really real there and it also takes a tremendous amount of consciousness, of being right there in the moment, in that second so that you don’t die or get hurt. That’s really living to me.
In a life of any professional athlete, you only have so much time where you can be that professional whether you’re a football player, a basketball player, in hockey or whatever. Your time is limited. You really got to cash in and you really got to figure out what you’re going to do after that all comes to a close. I turned pro in 1975. I went around the world three or four times. I won a couple more championships. I got all these sponsors and everything. By the time I was nineteen, skateboarding died as an industry. There I was at nineteen years old without a job, without a future, without a career and I had to really figure out what am I going to do. What is this change, this pivot going to look like?
You knew you had to reinvent something about yourself at nineteen. That’s early to be working on reinvention.
It was early and it was scary. I quit school and ran away from home to pursue a professional skateboarding career. My parents, they were not in support of that at all, absolutely, never. They wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. That’s what it takes to be one of the best. Whatever it is that you’re going to do, you have to be all in, mentally, spiritually, physically, the whole thing, and I committed completely to that. As a result, I was very successful in skateboarding. At nineteen, what was I going to do? The industry collapsed.
People were making millions of dollars selling skateboards and wheels and stuff, overnight, that was gone. I had actually had a friend who was a professional skateboarder but he had a house painting company. Sometimes while I was skateboarding professionally, he would ask me if I wanted to work when I was home from trips and stuff like that and he taught me how to paint houses. I went to work for him. I started running a painting crew in Malibu. What we did was we advertised ourselves as professional house painters specializing in beach house preservation. Because when a house is on the beach, on the sand, it’s susceptible to all that salt water and wind and weather and waves and it really needs a lot of upkeep. We specialized in keeping that home looking beautiful and we were able to charge a lot of money for house painting. We looked at it as more of an art than it was a job and being painters. We would never have that vision or that focus of us being lowly painters. We were artists painting your home which is our canvas and we were charging you a lot of money to do so.
I painted Streisand’s house, Nicholsons house, Larry Hagman, Paul Maslansky, all these big producers and actresses. It was amazing and we were making literally thousands and thousands of dollars every week. It was awesome. That was the first major pivot that I did. Soon after that, I got a call from a guy that I was starting to make art and stuff like that and I was using my skateboard wheels to make these paintings, oil on canvass. I was using my skateboard as a brush. That turned into a whole thing in and of itself. I met this guy, a Venice artist, a contemporary artist from Venice who goes by the name Jim Ganzer. He was starting to get really popular in his own art world and with his art. He asked me if I would like to work for him prepping his canvasses and being his go-for guy, an apprentice really. He is a surfer also like me, so we surf a lot together. It just so happen that in that same year, it was in the early 80s, he designed a short that had a Velcro waistband. If you gained a couple of pounds and your shorts felt tight, you could lose them up with this Velcro. It’s really cool. He called the company JIMMY’Z. I started working with him on this project and within our second year, we were doing $20 million dollars a year. That was a major pivot for me because I was able to take my entire skateboarding background and all the people that I knew in skateboarding and build a skateboard and surf team using this company as our umbrella. That helped promote the product and we went worldwide. It was an international success.
On our 4th year, we were doing $40 million dollars in sales and it was unbelievable. It was a crazy ride. There I was, I was the art director and it just turned out to be this incredible thing and I’m making almost $200,000 a year. That was another major pivot in my life and it was so much fun. Just going to all the trade shows and hiring the models and designing and developing the t-shirts and the fabric prints. I just was open to this whole new world where I had to learn really quickly on how to do this stuff. Along the path, I ended up winning this 1989 Tommy Award for Men’s Sportswear in fabric prints. I did this fabric print using my skateboard. We called it rollerball. It ended up selling over a million yards of this fabric. All of the sudden, I won this huge award and now I’m this award-winning artist designer. I was like, “This is great.” That was another major pivot and we had an amazing time.
Unfortunately, we didn’t really know anything about business especially in the rag business. Apparel business is really tough and there are a lot of slimy people in that business. We got taken to the cleaners here and there. We mismanaged the business because we didn’t know what we’re doing. It was just all off the hip of our pocket. Pretty much we’re really lucky. We ended up selling the company to Ocean Pacific Sunwear, OP at that time, because they were our major competitor. They bought us out and shut us down. Of course, they made us all these promises like “You’re still going to be able to do all the stuff and we just want you to be a sister company to us,” and that was all bull.
They bought us out, paid off all our debt and we walked away with a little bit of change. Then I knew it was time to pivot again. I was like, “What am I going to do?” I had built this portfolio there of all the design work that I’ve done and so I immediately thought, I’m going to open up my own design studio. I rented a space in Westwood. It was about less than 1500 square feet. It was essentially two rooms and a bathroom. I ended up actually camping out there and making a go at opening my own design firm.
I went to a trade show and I had this huge portfolio, made some cards and within a week, I was in business. I landed this big job with Speedo America. I ended up designing their first Young Men Sportswear line. I had no clue what I was doing. I got a partner and he was a little bit of an apparel designer and I had all the graphic stuff going. We put this thing together and our first gig was $120,000. We were right back in business on the next journey and it was awesome. I ran that for about ten years and had a lot of fun, designed a lot of stuff and met a lot of people.
[Tweet “Everything that you are doing now is just a stepping stone to what you’re going to be doing later. “]
We talk about what is pivoting and how does it work. To me, it’s really taking advantage of, “Here’s an open door and I have all this history. A lot of it can match up with what the future is going to be if I go through this door. A lot of dots are going to connect.” Have you ever heard of people saying, everything that you are doing now is just a stepping stone to what you’re going to be doing later? That’s true if you take advantage of your pivot.
Especially if you look backwards. If you look in restrospect at your life from this point backward, things line up. The dots are all connected backward.
If I wasn’t clean and clear and had an open mind to see that door open and to see that pivot that could happen and take advantage of that, it wouldn’t have happened.
What I’m thinking is that a lot of people are thinking it themselves, “That makes sense,” yet getting clarity is one of the most difficult things for people. That’s why we love the book because the book gives people a pretty comprehensive and concise way to create clarity, which is really amazing. That’s a part of why we created online programs to that sort of thing too because a lot of folks go, “I wish I knew what I wanted.” They don’t know what they want.
Then there are some folks that want so much that their issue is, “How do I focus on just one thing? I’ve got all these ideas.” You’ve got folks have so many ideas and don’t know which one they want to put their focus on or they try to play six different things at the same time, playing six instruments at the same time and they’re not good at any one of them. On the other end of the extreme, you’ve got folks that they’ve convinced themselves or for whatever reason they’re just unclear. They don’t know what they actually want to do. Then they just continue down the road of, ”If I can’t make a decision for myself one way or the other, I’ll just let somebody else make that decision for me,” which is called a job. If you look at a job, you don’t have to worry about too much other than, “What do I have to do? What’s the minimum that I can get away with doing to earn my paycheck?” That’s the definition on some level of mediocrity. I could never live like that. For me, I could never go and have a job. However, I have probably five times more responsibility being a serial entrepreneur. I don’t just have one business. I have multiple businesses. You’re right, I have a hard time deciding what it is I’m going to be when I grow up or what it is I should do to make my heart sing or to make money. My thing is do it all, but in a balanced manner so that it all supports itself. Every single business I have intertwines with each other so they all support each other.
This is part of the theme that I wanted us to unearth through our conversation, which is that if you’re going to be a serial entrepreneur, what did you learn about how to do that successfully? What can you share with others that may have that same gene? The gene of I’ve got multiple things I’m interested in. I have multiple talents. Where do they play together? How do they play together profitably? Clearly, you’re not distracted. Clearly, you can’t run several businesses or be involved in different ventures if you can’t do them each well. If you couldn’t do them well, you wouldn’t be in any business. I know a lot of people that’s their experience of things because they don’t know how to be a jack of all trades, master of none, that type of thing. You can be excellent at different things and have those things cooperate or cross-pollinate or that type of thing. I’d love to get your thoughts and some distinctions in that area that would help a bunch of people.
That’s a really great question that you brought up because I think a lot of people think it’s too hard to own a business or run business or be successful in a business. The reality is, when I think of all the businesses that I have and how they work and what they do is one, I’ve got to make money. I’ve got bills. I have responsibilities. I have a wife. I have four kids. I have a huge house. I’ve got a bunch of cars. I have a huge nut. I love that because people have entrusted me with saying, “You have bills, we know you’re going to pay them.” One of those businesses has to make money. I focused on that one and I have other businesses that don’t necessarily pay the bills. They do make money and they’re in the black but I do them more because they make my heart sing. I’m not giving up one to be in the other. I’m having it all because I want to do it all. 90% of success is just showing up. There are a lot of people that don’t even do that. If you show up and you’re dialed and polished and you’ve got new ideas and you’re ready to take whatever it is that you’re doing to the next level, you’re going to be really successful at whatever it is that you’re doing.
I think about Leonardo da Vinci a lot. I consider myself a Renaissance man. I’m an artist, I’m an entrepreneur, I do a lot of different things and I make money in all of them. The one that I make the most money at, I don’t really think of that as a job. Once it becomes a job, to me, it becomes boring and I don’t want to do it. That’s a definition I think of a job is something that you hate waking up for and despised driving to. Then you have a job. Nobody wants a job.
[Tweet “That’s the definition of a job, something that you hate waking up for and despised driving to. “]
Right, but it’s not something you’re enjoying.
I don’t know that any obligation is necessarily something that we enjoy. I’m not talking about responsibility. When you feel obligated to do something, it’s not necessarily coming from a place of “I choose to or I get to,” it’s “I have to, I must.” Then you wake up in the morning with an energy of, “I have to do this, I must do this, I’m obligated to do this.” If the only thing that’s obligating you is paying your bills, I can say from my own personal experience having done that for a bunch of years, that ultimately it erodes you. You energy just tanks.
I’ve had a 9 to 5, if you will. I was a creative director at a big web development firm. I’m making $180,000 a year and it just wasn’t even enough for all the drama and the office politics and the drive, the commute and everything else I had to deal with. It was hell. I paid my bills but at what price? It was terrible. I actually had a party the day I got laid off. I got laid off because there was a big hiring spree in the internet world, the dot-com business. When the dot-com bubble burst, 300 other people got laid off at that company. I was one of the last to get hired so I was one of the first to get laid off. I got a huge severance package and it just meant that, “The next thing is going to be great. I just have to stay open and ready to pivot. Where is it? I’m ready.” I came home. I told my wife, “I got laid off today. Look at this check they gave me.”
Back then, we had some ideas about doing an eBay business. This was back when eBay started in 2001. We invested a lot of that money in products and stuff. Within a month, we had an eBay business that was doing $8,000 to $10,000 a month. We combined our love of thrift shopping and going to garage sales and going to the swap meet and buying things and selling them online. Back then, eBay was like the Wild West. It didn’t have all the rules and regulations and associated fees that it has now. It’s very difficult to do an eBay business now. You’ve got to really have a lot of stuff. Back then, it was pretty easy and that was our pivot then. That was the first time my wife and I actually worked together and had a business together. It was so much fun. I think we did it for about two or three years before we decided that we really wanted to become life coaches. She was working on her doctorate then and developing a technology that we own now. That was our second thing together.
Getting back to how does that work having multiple things? Again, I think of Leonardo da Vinci. He never said, “No. I’m not going to be an engineer. No, I’m not going to be a fine artist. No, I’m not going to be a scientist or a doctor,” or all these incredible things that he did. The only thing that I see that’s holding us back is the lack of time. We only have so many hours every day. We only have so many years on this planet, in this lifetime. I need five lifetimes for all the stuff I’ve got to do. I was thinking, I want to get my boat captain’s license. I don’t want to buy a boat. That’s just like having a hole and throwing money into it. I want to rent yachts. In order to do that, you’ve got to have a captain’s license. Now, that’s on my bucket list, captain’s license so that I can run a yacht.
There are so many things I want to experience and achieve and do. Just mastering the guitar. There is one thing, I want to play in a band before this life is over and I want to be pretty good at it. Am I good at playing guitar? No. Do I try? Yes. Do I have a great time doing it? Absolutely. Do I think I’m Jimmy Page sometimes? Sure. I just don’t want you to hear it because it’s not good but I have fun. It’s not all about making money. It’s about having fun along the path.
David, you brought something up, which is cool. It’s this idea of having a money maker, having a business or even a job, let’s not discount that, that pays the bills, that gets the job done or whatever that looks like for you. Having this ability to have other interests that are on the side that you pursue, that you don’t just allow them to be interests that are dying on the vine of your life but are actually a fruit that you cultivate. Whether you’re going to become Jimmy Page or you’re going to make it into a band or you’re simply going to decide to partner up with a guy who knows how to make guitars and you’re going to sell custom guitars, whatever it is. I don’t think there’s a better time in the world than now to be doing that thing because of what the internet has allowed people access to, in a way of resources and obviously people to market to and ways to have conversations and ways to develop your voice and your brand You can do it almost for free for crying out loud. If you’re willing to do it relentlessly and do it smartly and learn some shit from people that have done it well, just pay good attention and model what’s working.
You can literally open up a Facebook group tomorrow and start cultivating a relationship with strangers and Facebook Live into that group and share what you know about something you love whether it’s playing guitar or it’s making guitars. Before you know it, in six months, if you put the time in and you do it smartly and that means to me watching others who are doing it well, doing it successfully, you can have a community of several thousand people. Then ultimately create an online product for them of some kind and blink your eyes and it’s a year later and you’ve got something you love and you’re interested in and you’re making money. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the thing that’s doing all the heavy lifting in your life financially, and that’s what I’m hearing you say.
I’m all into balance. Zannah and I, we’re both also life coaches and professional business life coaches too. The thing that we focused on with our clients is fourfold: health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. You’ve got to have your health. If you don’t have your health, everything is really hard to do. Wealth, you’ve got to make money to pay the bills and do the things. Having wealth is freedom from bondage, it really is. Money is a great thing but it’s only a tool. It’s not everything. I know a lot of people that are billionaires and they are unhappy. Wealth doesn’t bring you happiness. Love, you’ve got to have love. You’ve got to connect and be connected either with a loved one or a family or whatever. We all need that connection. We all thrive on that. We all want to be either helping somebody or connecting with others. Then lastly, perfect self-expressions. To me, that’s playing guitar. I’m expressing what’s in my heart and my soul. Things that I want to do. Those four things: health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression really all connect together. When a human being has those things, they are really whole. If you just put all your time and energy into making money, nobody is ever happy just making money.
[Tweet “Nobody is ever happy just making money. “]
That’s not an authentic life. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. When I hear that self-expression piece, a part of that what drops in for me is that you’re living an authentic life. I’m wearing a shirt that says “I love my life” and that’s not a slogan. That’s my intention 24/7 and I don’t wear the same shirt 24 hours a day. If I could, if we have enough style of shirts, which we are developing, I might just wear an “I love my life” shirt every day that I’m blessed to be standing upright or whatever, to be alive. It’s because that’s the authentic life that I want. I know why it is on some level that we’ve connected and why it is that we get each other and enjoy each other’s energies because we both are chasing the same thing, which is the love of our lives, the love of living our fully expressed lives, our authentic lives.
We’re talking about lots of things about business and the share economy. This terminology has been used for where we are as a society. I think we’re moving in and have already moved into what you might call an authenticity economy or a truth economy where the generations of people that are making decisions now are on the internet, making buying decisions and then the ones that are yet to be doing that are so much more capable of recognizing bullshit when they see it, when they hear it. They can smell it farther away than we could. Because of that, you’re on display. We put our lives on display just by what we do on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. We’re displaying ourselves to the world. We are marketing ourselves all the time. We’re putting ourselves out there for some reason. I’m not entirely clear on that. I think there’s some really interesting sociological implications of all that and it’s going to be great to see 20 years, 50 years from now what that all looks like and where does it fit in Maslow’s pyramid. Where does it fit in our movement as human beings toward actualization? It’s toward self-expression. Toward the realization of our truth, our true purpose, our true being.
Where does Facebook and Instagram and all the things that we’re putting out there in those platforms, where does that fit in the process of us being a more fully realized, actualized, self-expressed person? I can’t answer that question but what I can say is that it won’t take us very far to be full of shit, to be fake. That’s where I think even from an economic standpoint where people are making decisions about who they want to hang out with and whose products they want to buy and all that kind of thing is going to come from that place of reality, of nakedness, of vulnerability, of honesty, of truth. Are there people that can portray an image of their business of their product or themselves that is fake? Yes, and there is definitely that out there for sure. Yet I feel like the best thing that we can do to be better at business and better marketing our business is to just be more real. Be more of the truth of ourselves and have that expressed through our product.
I was listening to the radio and they were talking about how Twitter doesn’t really have the kind of traffic that it used to and it’s not really growing. In fact, it’s really down in the number of people. Facebook now has over two billion users. I have a Facebook account. I’ve got six of them. All my businesses have one. I don’t really do Twitter. I have an Instagram account but when you think about, “We only have so much time during the day, how much time am I going use creating content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, this, that?” At some point, you’ve got to pick and choose what’s going to work. A lot of people are just doing that because it’s just sheer vanity. They just can’t take enough pictures of themselves. I myself personally, I try to touch at least one person through a positive message. Type something that’s going to really affect somebody in a positive way. I think that’s the best thing that social media can be used for.
Sometimes the message that you convey could be just your challenge. Whatever it is, it could be the thing that you are dealing with, and your honesty about it might set somebody free to be honest and more open about what’s going on with them. I was on the phone with somebody talking about the numbing that’s around. She lives in a very wealthy community and she is surrounded by people that don’t have money issues but they drink and use drugs all the time. They’re just constantly numbing themselves out, numbing themselves down, stuffing their emotions. There’s just stuff they don’t want to deal with and so money didn’t cure it. Actually in some ways, it made possible for them to hide. Money is great tool for a lot of things and some really positive things. It also has other things that it’s capable of doing, which is to mask and allow people to mask things or hide from things because they can do that. You could stay on Jimmy Buffett time all day long, and the bottom is a different thing to different people.
I’m intrigued about this conversation but I want to shift. I want to pivot us back for a moment. You’ve identified inability to pivot successfully. What I mean by that is when you pivoted from the age of nineteen forward and maybe even earlier than that, you’ve been able to pivot not necessarily to more money even though that’s happened or to pivot to greater “success.” Looking back and connecting those dots, the progressions is an up one, is upward. Meaning it’s more you’ve lived an interesting life. A life filled with a lot of excitement, joy, love, passion and it’s been anything but boring.
Pivoting to this higher ground, to this higher state of self-expression has been a process. I’m wondering whether you can identify what the recipe, and maybe not the whole recipe but just some of the ingredients in the recipe. I’ll state just two of them that I heard you say. That is the way to prime the pump maybe that will pull out a few more. One you said several times is open, that you’ve been open. You used the analogy of an open door, that you’ve been open, that you’ve been able to see things, space, opportunities. If we told everybody listening to this, “We’re going to give you a magic wand. You could pivot in any area of your life so you could do more of what you want to do and make money doing it and have a lot of fun doing all that. Here’s the magic wand.” Everybody I believe would take that magic wand. The fact is we don’t have one of those so we can’t give them one of those. The best we can do is share. I know how to cook this recipe up for myself. I’ve done that continuously. You didn’t pivot once and this is a story about your one pivot. This is a story about a trail of pivots. What I’m saying is what are the common denominators? What’s in that recipe for you to find the resilience that you’ve had and for the ability to continue to pivot successfully over and over and over again? What’s in the recipe?
Being open I think is the very first thing to that equation. I knew that something is going to happen here. A change is going to happen. Obviously in life, in the world, on the planet and the universe, change is inevitable. The earlier that we know how to embrace change and use it to our maximum benefit, the better. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, change is going to happen. Remaining open and recognizing there’s a change about to take place, that’s the first part.
[Tweet “The earlier that we know how to embrace change and use it to our maximum benefit, the better. “]
Instead of the bumper sticker that said, “Shit happens,” this is like, “Change happens.”
Embrace the change that’s going to happen. That’s the first part of pivot. The second part is recognize the path of where it could go, where it’s going, what’s happening, what are the possibilities? Make a list of, “I see the store opening, I’m going to embrace that change.” Be fearless in that. The only thing getting in the way of your inner voice telling you this can’t happen, it won’t happen, it’s never going to happen, get rid of that fear. Brilliantly and valiantly go forward in that knowing that this is a good thing and it’s going to happen. That’s the other thing. The third thing is I look, “This is probably the direction that my life is going in so who is doing this already? Who can I model?” I pick out the number one, number two people that are already doing that in that space whether it’s designing clothing or making an art piece or being a coach or whatever it is that I see this change is going to pace and then do what they did.
It may not necessarily be the exact results that they’re going to get but if somebody is doing something that I know they are successful at and these are the steps that they took to make them get there, I can do those same steps and I’m going to probably get the same results. Definitely do that, model that. Do the research and then throw my own flare of creativity into it. That makes me unique and makes the end pivot that I’m going to do my own. Give it my signature thing. What am I going to do to raise the level of consciousness within that or raise the level of style in that new thing that I’m going to embrace and do? Then really use my connections. They used to say that there’s six degrees of separation. There’s a movie about that. We all know thousands of people. I’m connected to let’s just say Brad Pitt, for example. I’m sure that I know one person that’s really good friends with Brad Pitt. If I wanted to get to Brad Pitt and have a conversation with him, if I really wrack my brain and went through all my contacts and ask everybody that I know, “Do you know Brad Pitt?” I’m sure one of my friends does. If that’s what I needed to successfully get to the next place that I’m pivoting to, I need to have a conversation with Brad, I know I can make that happen. It’s no longer six degrees of separation. It’s a one or two degrees of separation.
Using our contacts and what we’ve already done and who we’ve already come across to know, that’s really huge because when it comes down to it, it’s all about who you know and what you’re willing to do and connect with and take a chance with. Our network is really important. Connecting with you and Randi and people in your network is really important for me. You connecting with me and Zannah, my wife, and all that work is really important for you too. We’re all connected already. Why don’t we use those connections to our benefit to not only help ourselves but to also help others? That’s what we’re here for.
Don’t you think that a lot of people who are pivoting, whether they are being forced to pivot or they’re pivoting because they choose to keep it to themselves? The connotation of pivot sometimes is one of, “Something didn’t work, so I had to change.” In Silicon Valley, it’s the epitome of the business model or the app or whatever it is, crashed or didn’t work or nobody came, “I built it and nobody came.” Now, we are going to change directions, and made a business that might actually work. It’s almost like a word that describes a failure of sorts. I don’t know if this is experience but a lot of people keep their pivots hidden. They keep the changes, a lot of the things that they will be thinking about changing to themselves for a variety of reasons.
Some people do that because of certain industry and trade secrets maybe. Some people are afraid to put it out there because they fear that they’re going to be judged because they may be successful or unsuccessful in that pivot, that new business or whatever it is they’re doing. I say, go for it and go for it hard. I never used the word fail. I have experienced things not being as successful as I would like them to be, so what? What’s next? I’m open. I’m ready to change. I think the combination of being open and always being fearless, ready to change, that’s a lethally successful combination.
Then you combine that with a few of the other ingredients here which are modeling people that have been there and done that. People have done it well. Adding your own signature or your secret sauce to the mix so it’s not just you copying somebody else’s thing, which is not authentic but you putting your signature on it. Then again, getting out there, being big enough, being bold enough to actually use your connections. It’s not so much about declaring to the universe or getting on Facebook with a bullhorn and saying, “I’m pivoting. I’m changing. I’ll start a new business.” It’s really about who can you connect with or how do you leverage your connections in your network. You can’t do that if you keep it to yourself.
Who is going to help you if they don’t know that you are asking for that support? Or you’re looking to be connected to Brad Pitt. People probably listening is going, “I don’t know anybody who knows Brad Pitt. I can’t relate to that.” The truth to the matter is if you called every single person in your network and you said, “I’m pretty clear that you might now know Brad Pitt. If you do know Brad Pitt, you never told me and you suck. You should have told me that long ago that you know Brad Pitt.” It’s like, who do you know that might know Brad Pitt? The truth is that’s how that network thing works. When you start to think about how many people we each know, that every person you know has 400, 600, 800 contacts themselves, you start to do the Math, you have access to hundreds of thousands of people. Somebody is going to have somebody that’s a PA for Brad Pitt or was the au pair for Brad Pitt, cooked for Brad Pitt, painted Brad Pitt’s house. Painted people’s house and whatever it is, “I painted Brad Pitt’s agents house,” whatever it is.
I just see that as an example, but it’s all possible. I don’t think that people are really leveraging all their true gifts. I think that’s part of the thing in being successful in a pivot. You really got to look at that and say, “What do I have available to myself and how can I utilize those gifts and those things that I have to the maximum ability?
That to me is the true alchemy. Change is the only thing that is a full-on constant. It is inevitable. The rate of change is exponentially greater all the time. We use the word disruption, change, etc. and you can either embrace it, embody it and utilize it, which is the truest alchemy or you can resist it. We know Buddha said all suffering comes from attachment to resistance.
The ability to not change. That’s a hard life.
It’s a tough life because it actually is rubbing up against what is natural and yet it’s also going against the stream of life which is that things are constantly in a state of becoming and changing. The only thing that we know that is dead is something that’s stagnant.
I want to interject this because I think one of the most powerful tools that we have in this universe, I know this for a fact, is the power of our word. When we use our words with clear and clean intentions, we can achieve anything we want and that is scary for people, because they don’t believe. First of all, it’s just too simple. Second of all, it blows their mind that they could be able to save what it is that they want and create things just with words. It’s terrifying for the people but it is that simple and it absolutely works. If everybody could harness the power of their word, combined with their clear and perfect intention, they could create whatever they want, all day long every day.
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Why do you think it scares people, David?
I think people don’t really know how powerful they really are. I think by having that power, I think a lot of people are afraid of having that much power available to them. When they already have that power and they just don’t know it and they know how utilize their true gifts and their tools.
This has been incredible. I love this conversation. I feel like we could talk about this for days about it. I think this recipe is really important. I want to restate what I believe the recipe or part of the recipe is. I want to add one ingredient that you’re probably aware of but I’m noticing it. I want to point it out. First piece of this recipe for being able to pivot successfully, pivot elegantly even, is to be open. You’re open. The door is open. Sometimes you’re looking in an open door and deciding whether you should walk through it and sometimes the door gets opened and the universe pushes you through it. Either way, being open, being able to embrace that situation. Embrace that opportunity. Randi and I always ask this question, what is the creative opportunity in this change, in this pivot? Embrace it, number two. Three, being fearless. Being able to act in spite of fear, not to remove fear. Fear is going to be with us. I don’t think that ever goes away. How do you act in spite of fear is number three. Number four, modeling it. Modeling what has worked and so seeing who’s the master in that space? Who’s the best in the space that you’re interested in and then modeling them, then putting your own signature on that, number five, so that it’s authentically you. What’s your signature? What’s your secret sauce?
Number six is the connection; to utilize the power of your network and to fully ask for that support. Putting it out there that you are doing something you’re excited about and who is it that can actually assist you, help you, introduce you. The six degrees of separation that you chunked down to maybe two or three degrees when we’re really fully engaged in it. Number seven, which is the one I want to add to your recipe, which is what you’ve modeled again and again as I can see it is resilience. Just the way that you look at something like failure. A lot of people have done things in their life that they regret or feel like they’d do again, let’s say, or they want to be different. They sometimes put a label on that and it’s a negative label and sometimes the word is failure. I replaced the word failure with feedback a long time ago or find out is another one. You find out what doesn’t work. When you know it doesn’t work, you know what does work. It’s a very simple equation to creating great clarity and getting what’s the essence of the lesson. When you know what doesn’t work, you know what does work at the same moment. Then you got a lesson that you can use for moving forward.
You have consistently reframed your situation, whatever it’s been, reframed it into some positive light, into some learning experience so that you utilize that learning to continue to progress and develop in your life. I know you take good care of yourself physically as well. You take care of your body. You’re active. That resilience is built from three things that we teach in the book that we teach that you reframed, you framed up. You get the lesson, the learning, the nugget, the golden nugget and that you take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually even. That combination of things makes you able to just deal with the change and knocks a lot of people down change.
When the storm has come or the wind blows or things just are different than you want them to be at the moment, and you’re preferring comfort and you’re preferring things to be settled and easy and predictable and the universe says, no, they’re not going to be settled, they’re going to be unpredictable, they’re not going to be comfortable and you’ve got to deal with it. Either you’re going to thrive in that environment the way a willow three will bend with the wind or you’ll be an oak and your branches will break off. Then when a big enough wind comes by, it uproots you, your whole life and you get that choice.
I just love that what we unpacked today was a recipe for something that people can utilize their whole life, which is the art and the science of changing, of pivoting and of living a passionate and a beautiful life, a self-expressed life.
Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it. I always love it when I get to spend time with you or come to one of your events, which is so incredible. I just can’t wait to be at the next one. Thanks again so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.
David, what a pleasure. To the listeners, please go ahead and check out Start My PIVOT Community. I know this conversation resonates with folks and they go from podcast to podcast and we’re doing them weekly, which is great. Of course, if you haven’t yet gone ahead and registered to receive those notifications, subscribe to the Conscious PIVOT Podcast. Subscribe and then you’ll get access to it any time you want. That’s first.
Secondly, if this conversation about how it is that you intentionally, purposely, clearly, elegantly, effectively and successfully pivot again and again and again in your life, that conversation can still sit with you in a place that is of greater and greater interest, then just go to the Start My Pivot Community on Facebook where you’re going to find a lot of other people just like you being very vulnerable and intentional about what they declare and how they support each other. We look forward to seeing you in that community. Ciao for now. We’ll see you very soon again.