Be The First To Know

Welcome aboard! We are thrilled to have you.
Uh oh, something went wrong. Try submitting the form again.
The Futur Logo
Cart Icon

Pat Flynn

You can do everything right—even go above and beyond—and still be a fantastic failure. But as they like to say: failure is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

When your plan fails
When your plan fails

When your plan fails

Ep
132
May
05
With
Pat Flynn
Or Listen On:

Failure is inevitable

“Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” We love that quote from Mike Tyson. It encapsulates life so well.

You can do everything right—even go above and beyond—and still be a fantastic failure. But as they like to say: failure is inevitable. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

Pat Flynn is an acclaimed podcaster, author, entrepreneur, and Pokémon card collector. Yes, you just read “Pokémon.” Growing up, he did everything right. Earned perfect grades. Landed the perfect, dream job. And then, was laid off.

But that crushing defeat was the catalyst to his success to come. You might say that getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to him.

In this episode, Pat and Chris discuss failure’s role in success, the benefits of mastermind groups, and how helping others can truly change your life.

Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Pat:
I create content because there's people out there who need the help. If you imagine you're on like a boat and you see somebody drowning, they need your help. Would you ever tell that person who you could literally just reach over and go, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I'm not an extrovert"? No, you wouldn't say that. Or, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I've never done this before." Or, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I'm going to wait till my audience's a little bigger." You help that person because they're there.

Greg:
Welcome to The Futur Podcast, a show that explores the interesting overlap between design, marketing and business. I'm Greg Gun. Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth, I love that quote from Mike Tyson, it encapsulates life so perfectly well. You can do everything right, even go above and beyond and still be a fantastic failure. But as they like to say, failure is inevitable; it's what you do with it that really matters. Our guest today is an acclaimed podcaster, author, entrepreneur and Pokemon card collector? Yes, I just said Pokemon. In growing up, he did everything right, got the perfect grades, the perfect dream job, and then was laid off.
But that crushing defeat was the catalyst to his success to come. You could even say that getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to him. Now, you might already listened to his show, Smart Passive Income, or have even read his book, Superfans. But if you're not familiar with his work, then you, my friend, are in for a real treat. I'm super excited to finally have him on our show. So without any further delay, please enjoy our conversation with Pat Flynn.

Chris:
So first up, I want to say, thanks for doing this. I've known about you for a really long time. I can't remember how many people over the past several years who've mentioned, "Do you know about Pat Flynn? Have you checked him out?" I'm like, "God, I can't escape Pat, he's everywhere."

Pat:
I'm sorry.

Chris:
And it's one of those things where I don't know why, but then I feel like maybe I'm not ready to have a conversation with you yet because your name and your reputation precedes you, that kind of thing. And it's just a wonderful and how the internet works these days that somebody in our mutual tribes can say, "It would be great if you got Pat." And so that was just the nudge that I needed to take in order to reach out, and you responded like that, and I really appreciate you for doing that.

Pat:
My pleasure. And I appreciate your tribe as well for hooking us up. I feel the same way. You have this amazing audience and you have this reputation as well. I'm a little bit nervous too. So, why don't we get the nerves out of the way both of us, we could just like have a chat, Chris, because honestly, I was a little bit intimidated as well, but I think this will be a lot of fun.

Chris:
Okay. This is the first time where there's mutual nerves and it could make for the best episode ever or it could be a total train wreck, you never know.

Pat:
Exactly. It's just so weird.

Chris:
You just don't know. I love that part. We're going to do things a little bit differently, but before we do that, I just wanted to ask you to introduce yourself, tell people who don't know who you are what it is that you do.

Pat:
Sure. My name is Pat Flynn, I live out of San Diego. First and foremost, I'm a husband and a father of two here. And I'm just very grateful because I have several different businesses, but many of those businesses are run in a way that allows me to still have time with my family. And this was started actually in 2008, I got laid off from my architecture job. I thought I was going to be an architect for the rest of my life, but with the Great Recession, I got let go and I discovered my way into online marketing and business. I first started out by helping people pass an architecture exam.
Actually, very niche exams, it's called the [lead 00:04:02] exam, and that business that I started changed my life. It taught me that I could help people online, it also gave me a lot of... Something different in fact, because I got a lot of recognition, actually, from helping people pass this little exam versus doing so much in architecture. I have my fingerprint on many buildings and restaurants and even some casinos in Vegas that I helped design, but nobody will ever know that. And here I am helping people pass a little exam and people are like, "Pat, thank you. You helped me get a promotion. You helped me pass this exam that I was struggling with for so long."
And it really taught me a lot about, if I could just show up and serve other people, great things can happen, and definitely that has been the case. And I started showing up in different ways, not just helping people pass an architecture exam, but many people wanted to know how I did that so I built smartpassiveincome.com where most people know me from now, which then now has a podcast, I've written books, I've been on different stages around the world, with the goal of really helping people achieve a lifestyle that both includes businesses that can be built in a way that can also allow them to spend time doing other things in their lives.
Because I also know a lot of business owners who are doing very well on paper, but they're also not very happy, they're also overwhelmed and busy, and it's about that balancing so that we can have both business and life work together to live that fulfilled life and also help and serve others at the same time. And then here we are today talking about it, which is amazing. I get to connect with such great people as a result of the show, that's been my favorite thing about podcasting actually.

Chris:
And that really comes through in the content that you put out there. I recently read your book, Superfans, right here.

Pat:
Thank you.

Chris:
And you talk about this, and it feels like as I read the pages, that personality, that genuine desire to help people achieve similar things that you've been able to achieve, I think it comes through the entire book from cover to cover. Now, it's interesting, as an architect, you did a pretty hard flip. This is a pretty sharp U-turn from the career that you were on into something totally different. We were going to spend some time talking about that, but before we do, I just wanted to know, what were you like as a kid, relevant to, what prepared you as a child to be able to turn that quickly?

Pat:
The truth is, I don't think if I was the same way I was as a child when this happened that I would have turned around so quickly because I grew up in a house where everything had to be perfect. My whole life was laid out in front of me: Get good grades, go to a great college, graduate. I graduated with magna cum laude, 4.0 in high school, I got the perfect job. I was doing way more than I was supposed to. If it wasn't for getting laid off, I think that was the moment, the moment, despite doing everything the way I was supposed to, still getting it taken away from me, that was the thing for me to go, "Wait a second, is this really the path I should be on? What happened here because I did everything you told me to." You, society, you, my parents, you school, whatever, and yet I still got let go.
It wasn't like, "Okay, now I'm going to be an entrepreneur." It didn't flip right away. It was just more of like introspective, having conversations with myself and others about, "Well, what really is my next move? What should I do?" People like my dad, very much traditional, going, "Oh well, now's the time to go back to get your master's degree." Which he was right, I could have done that, but I'm very grateful because at this time, I discovered podcasts and it was a podcast that showed me there were other ways. And that's the thing I didn't have, I didn't have the openness to other options because I had my life set in elementary school, I knew where I wanted to go.
As a kid, I was very much trying to be perfect all the time. I remember coming home from school with a 97% on my tests and my dad going, "Okay. So what happened to the other 3%?" And then working for four hours on those problems I got wrong, not really appreciating what I had done right. So that was hard for me to get over while being an entrepreneur, because as an entrepreneur, I've come to learn that failure is a part of the process and if you're not willing to fail, you're not willing to learn. And so that was something that had to come in many different phases over the time of being an entrepreneur.
As a kid, I was also very introverted, very, very shy, always in the back of the classroom, never raising his hand because I was too afraid of what other people would think. Also, I was very short and so I got picked on a lot in school. I was the shortest kid in the entire class, and this is why I found refuge in the marching band because in the marching band, you're supposed to blend in with everybody. You wear the same uniform, you play the same song. You can't pick out anybody. And although you could still pick me out because I was the shortest kid, it wasn't about me, it was about just the music and the group.
And so that's where I found my nerdy friends and I got a lot of my buddies from music and college as well. But because I was picked on, I was very worried about doing anything different and I wanted to do things that wouldn't have me be noticed. But unfortunately, when you are trying to build a business and be an entrepreneur, if you're trying to blend in, you're doing it wrong. So again, another thing I had to battle, and it was really just putting myself in the deep end and really having no ability to go back into architecture. I literally, even though I was still building my business, I was still going in to get job interviews and put my resume out there because I didn't believe that I could do... I didn't think this was the right path for me.
Another thing I was thinking about was, "Well, my parents paid my way through college to be an architect. They didn't pay me to be an entrepreneur. So am I letting them down as a result of trying this new path?" Man, there was just so many things happening in the mind about what happened. Again, the layoff was the trigger, because that made me start... It was almost like I got unplugged from the matrix at that time, and I got to see how things really were because this whole time I was plugged in and just in this world that everybody built around me that I was supposed to be a part of.

Chris:
Right. It's like you thought you were eating steak and it's just like zeros and ones-

Pat:
Yeah. And then it disintegrates.

Chris:
... and then you could see it the first time. Right. There's a lot here I want to try to unpack. I connect with so much of what you're saying as a first-generation Asian-American immigrant, traditional parents saying, "This is the career path for you. An A is okay, why not an A-plus?" So when you were like, "What happened to the other 3%?" That really hit. The fact that you didn't quite fit in until you found band camp or the marching band, that was just like... Okay, high school is a difficult time, or junior high too. It's a difficult time for a lot of us, but if you're not in an alpha pack, the cool kids, it is a rough existence. And I was just sitting here thinking to myself, "I can't wait for this to be over." If there is such a thing.
And hearing your story, this is really shocking in how much there's similarity, but there are obviously some differences too, because you tried and you did do exactly the plan. You graduated top class, you go to architectural school, you're doing all the right things. So most people, when they're hit with this drastic change in their life, they fold, they revert into some other version, but you emerged stronger and better and probably it's one of the best things that ever happened to you. I'm still trying to figure out how marching band Pat becomes SPI entrepreneur. Where is that? Did you talk to your parents when you got laid off?

Pat:
I did. And I was very afraid of that conversation because I thought... I started to have feelings, when I got laid off, I know it wasn't my fault, yet I started to believe it was. What if I worked harder? Maybe I chose the wrong career. Why not that person, why me? All these things that were not about the future, but more about like the past and what happened. And it's interesting because around this time, the only thing that made me feel better was watching Back to the Future, which is my favorite movie of all time. You can even see behind me-

Chris:
I see that.

Pat:
... there's this hover board, literally. I love that movie because every time I watched it for the hour and 56 minutes, I believe that maybe there would be a time machine that I could travel into and change things or do things differently. But after the hour and 56 minutes, it was always back to reality. But then I started to think about the story itself and how Marty goes back into the past, literally changes a couple of things, and then the whole entire feature is different, it's a completely different timeline. And so eventually, after, I don't know, 50 viewings of this movie during that time, I started to realize that I'm writing my story right now, and I get to choose where this story goes.
And the way I was behaving, the way I was thinking, thinking about the past was going down a deep, dark hole and that's not where I wanted to end up. I had actually just proposed to my girlfriend and we were supposed to get married, so we both moved back in with our parents. So I was living at home, I was going backwards. And for somebody who was 4.0 and who wanted to get this incredible job, living back with their parents, I love my parents, by the way, but this was working backwards. So it was very difficult. But the interesting thing is, the one time in my life where I felt like I was able to take charge and change things was actually in marching band because my high school band director went to Cal and he inspired me to apply to go to UC Berkeley at Cal.
I went to Cal, I joined the marching band, and I was actually so obsessed with the marching band that my junior year, I was up for student director my senior year and I lost by one vote. And I was so devastated by that, that I said, "You know what, I'm going to bend the rules a little bit, I'm going to take one additional course my fifth year, landscape architecture." I didn't have to, I could have graduated, but I took one additional course to stay qualified to do the band one more time. I tried again to student director the fifth year. I got it by a landslide. And it was a life changing year for me, partly because I figured out a way to make it work, even though it was not normally how it should have been done.
This is the first time that I'm actually making that connection by the way, so thank you, Chris. But secondly, it was that fifth year of college when I was a student director that I got access to a private dinner with the other leaders in the band with one of the graduates from Cal who had influence in the world of architecture. He introduced me to somebody who got my first job as a result of getting to go to that dinner. And I wouldn't have gone to that dinner if I didn't say, "No, I want student director, so how can I still make it happen?" And I found a little loophole in the constitution of the band where I could do it again as long as I was taking a class.
So it was like, I think it was Matt Leinart from USC who took one ballet classes fifth year just to be quarterback. I did these essentially the same thing. But yeah, that's where it was like, "No, no, no, I'm not going to do what everybody else said, I'm going to find a way to make this work because I want it that bad." And when I got laid off, obviously things weren't happening the way they were. I actually, I tried to get back into architecture, and I said, "You know what, what actually matters to me here? I need to build a life that allows me to support my family and I need to take control, so I have to be an entrepreneur because that allows me to then determine my future, there's no more ceiling. And I get to choose what happens. And if I fail, it's because of my own fault, not because of some external factor or whatever."
Yeah, this is the first time I'm making that connection, so I appreciate that.

Chris:
That is nuts. That is nuts because I couldn't wait to finish school in every form that I got into, even in college, I just wanted to be done with it. And here you are, a little bit psycho, I have to say that you want to become the band director, and you're going to put yourself through another year, another year of tuition, another year of whatever on-campus activities, just so that you can get the votes that you needed to become director. And that obviously changes the course of your life, but that is some level of intense focus there. Now I start to see you. I see you as a hyper driven person, that when you set your mind to something, one way or the other, you're going to figure it out.

Pat:
Dude, my wife would agree with you on that one. That's for sure.

Chris:
Why do you say that?

Pat:
That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Like when I get into something, nothing else matters. Still things matter, I don't just like put myself in a hole and my family doesn't see me for years, but case in point, during the pandemic, I got really, really into a hobby collecting Pokemon cards. So much so that I now have a YouTube channel called Deep Pocket Monster that just launched last month. Now it has 7,000 subscribers because I'm going all in on it right. This is the way I work. You've heard of the ONE Thing, a great book by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan, only work on one thing, that's how you have full focus.
But for me, and I know for a lot of other people, especially entrepreneurs, you have to have like another thing to scratch that itch or else it just feels like you're not fulfilled. So for me, I implore what's called the 20% itch role, which I dedicate 80% of my time to the things I've already said yes to, my responsibilities, my team, all the businesses I already have, that's there. But I allow myself 20% of my time to play, to experiment, to have fun. Even if it fails. It's okay. Because I'm still taking care of the 80%. Where people run into trouble is, I'm just going to focus on everything at the same time.
So I try to create a container, a little bit of space for me to try something new. A couple of years ago, my something new in that 20% was this invention called the SwitchPod. I had built a physical product called a SwitchPod with my partner, Caleb. And we had no business doing that, but it was the itch I wanted to scratch. And now as a result, this product is going wild and it's helping serve a lot of the vlogging and YouTube community. Now, with extra time because those things are taken care of, my team's working on a lot of the other stuff, I have this extra time to go all in on pieces of cardboard that are very expensive with these little characters on them from Japan.
And it's crazy because I'm having so much fun with it. And I'm putting a lot of my entrepreneurial spin on it and I'm making some noise in that space now to a point where I'm now a mod in a lot of Poke-YouTubers' live streams. I'm getting invited on Pokemon podcasts to talk about my collection. I wasn't even into this like eight months ago, but because I have that hyper-focused nature, like you said, that's what's happening.

Chris:
I would refer to that as like having Terminator vision, I go really deep into something and then I exhaust myself and then I'm done and then I'll stop. And my wife doesn't always understand that because like if I'm into mixed martial arts, which I am, I'm watching. I go back on eBay and buy the events on VHS tape back before it was so readily available. Or if I'm into fishing, I'm reading the books and the magazines, watching the videos, I'm doing everything I can because it's like that deep focus in something else, a distraction, if you will, it just makes me a happier, richer person and it can't be work all the time. So, I'm really connecting with what you're saying there.

Pat:
You and I are very similar, in fact.

Chris:
Yeah. You have a lot more hair than me, but we are very similar.

Pat:
We can change that.

Chris:
You have a pretty thick beard that's going on. Is this just a result of the pandemic?

Pat:
It is. It's interesting, February, 2020 I launched a new course, an email marketing course and it went so well. It was a lot of hard work and I grew a little bit of a beard because of it. My team was joking, they're like, "Oh, it's your lucky launch beard." And I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to keep the lucky launch beard till the next launch." Well, then the pandemic happened and I've just kept it ever since. First of all, I didn't know, as a half Filipino person that I could actually grow this thing, so I'm keeping it while I have it because this is new for me. I don't know.

Chris:
That is a righteous beard, my friend, I'm just saying.

Pat:
Thank you.

Chris:
It is. Look at you.

Pat:
It's kind of insane. There's a little bit of gray in there. I don't know.

Chris:
We need to just drop it on the set of Vikings, you're good to go, man. Impressive, man. Beard game on point right now. That's a distraction, but okay. I'm sure, you just humor me here a little bit, I'm sure you've already talked about this and answered this a gazillion times, but I'm trying to make a complete story here. I get your drive, I get your focus, you're into architecture, that all makes sense. The lead test is a difficult thing. You're like, "Hey, I'm an A student, I'm going to help other people pass this thing." But that's the next part that doesn't quite make sense because I don't put architect and internet entrepreneur together, because I know a lot of architects too.
This is a strange. How one go from, "Okay, I can help other people to actually getting this thing out there and getting people to see the value in it, getting the word out and turning it into a business"? Can you just give us the high-level summary?

Pat:
Here's the part of architecture that I love the most? It wasn't the drafting of the blueprints, it wasn't the long hours although I still did them, and I did them because the joy on the client's face when they saw the thing built, literally walking through it, you could see the client look up and look around and want to like run across the whole building because this thing that was like in planning mode for years often, they finally got to walk in and experience it. And then when the restaurant opens or when the casino opens or whatever, to see their customers come in and people walking through to create experiences, that's the joy that comes with architecture for me, is the end result and the client getting what it is that they wanted through all the problems, all the pains, all the having to cut budgets and everything. Finally, we're here and everybody can enjoy it.
As an entrepreneur, my client is the customer or the subscriber. And I get to build things. I'm not building buildings, but I'm building courses, I'm building resources, I'm building something that then has them the ability to have something that they didn't have before. And I get to design that. I get to design that experience. I get to design the story. I get to help them understand more about what it is that they actually want to, which in architecture, that's a big thing like, "Okay, client, you want this, but can you elaborate on that?" You don't even know what you want exactly." And that was one of the hardest parts working with clients as an architect, is trying to extract exactly what they want when they don't even know what they want.
And same thing happens with business and entrepreneurship. I love that challenge and I love the joy on a person's face when they launch their podcast and they see listeners. I love the joy that a person has when they launch their online course and they start to make money. I love the joy that when people put their face on camera for the first time in publishing on YouTube despite being afraid, that they're getting comments like, "Wow, thank you for this. This is really helpful." So for me, I am architecting still in a way, and I do get to put my own design into things. It's just a different medium now, it's not bricks and mortar, it's ones and zeros.

Chris:
Well said. You just made my friend, Anna, very happy because she's an architect and that was one of the questions she sent to me to ask you about connecting your architecture education to now your business. So building experiences and communities and stories. I get it now. Perfect sense.

Pat:
Thank you. Beautiful.

Chris:
Well, all right. So here's the part where I think I want to I do things a little differently. Normally, I'll just sit here and I'll talk to you, geek out over this and that. But since you have such a huge tribe and super fans who are so in love with what it is you're doing, I just asked the fans what kind of questions should I ask Pat. This is going to be a little different. We'll try it out, if it doesn't work-

Pat:
I like it. I like it.

Chris:
I think it appropriate, apropos here. So Joey Cornman who runs the School of Motion, he's asking you about-

Pat:
School of Motion.

Chris:
You know them, about the impact that mastermind groups have had on your life and your career, especially in the business and entrepreneurial world. They're very popular, but in the world that we're in, the creative world, feels kind of weird and misunderstood, I suppose. So can you talk about your experiences with masterminds?

Pat:
Yeah. I thought they were weird at first too. I was like, "Oh, these people get together in like a secret society, cult-like fashion and they close the doors and talk about secret evil things." And that's like what I had perceived masterminds to be like, because it almost sounds like evil, mastermind something. It almost has a tone to it. But then I started to understand more about it after I got invited into one. And I got invited into one from a friend of mine, her name's Jamie, Jamie Masters. And it was her and four other people who... The way these mastermind works, there's many different kinds and many different styles. The one that Jamie had me in is, we meet for an hour every week, just virtually, whether it's freeconferencecall.com or whatever.
And what happens is we round-robin talk about our wins from the previous week. Then we spend 45 minutes on one person helping them in some way, shape or form. The rest of the group asking questions, being brutally honest, offering advice. And at the end, we talk about our goals, all of us. And then we do it again the next week with a different person in the hot seat. And I love that because every month it seemed that I get the opportunity to share something that was happening or a problem that I was having. And I would have not just one person, but like the entire room, all that brainpower focused on one person is so powerful. And it's this power of the group thing. And that group, which started in 2009, I'm still in today, we still meet weekly, every single week.
And it's been tremendous because over the years, we've gotten to know each other more than just the business that we each had at the start, but we've all pivoted in one way or another. We've all been a part of the process with each other. And as much as I give value to others, I get more back, it seems. And I think everybody else feels that with the group. I entered into another group with my buddy, Cliff Ravenscraft after I started my podcast in 2011. And this group now has been around since then, and we meet weekly on Wednesdays. Jamie's group, I meet on Mondays and other group, I meet on Wednesday.
I've been a part of other groups too, some that are in-person, but I find that the ones in-person in fact, often, we just get distracted in some way and we just have chats about whatever. I like the structure and the format that keeps us going. And the cool thing is, it's virtual, so I can be in the car or, or be doing chores while still providing value. And it's been absolutely life changing. Everything from helping me name my books, to getting me out of some very depressing times, to giving me inspiration when I was feeling down, to helping me understand that I should celebrate something that I was already just moving forward into the next thing.
So these people become your advocates, they become your support system. And oftentimes, we don't get access to this level of support that we need from even our loved ones who just aren't in the same world. And so I can rely on and I can count on these people and they can count on me too. And it's just this beautiful situation. And no, we don't do anything evil.

Chris:
Okay. A couple of questions for you there. How big is the group? And who determines who gets invited? And if somebody is just toxic, how do you determine who to get rid of?

Pat:
Group size, five to six at most. I've been in groups where there's like 20 or more and it's just like, you never get a chance to get in the hot seat, nobody really dives into a super deep relationship with each other. So five to six max, but you can have a group where literally it's just one other person and you just meet regularly and you switch back and forth. How do we let other people in? Typically, if there is room for another person, we'll all talk about it, we'll have a specific meeting about that and nominate people. And then what happens is, we'll often invite that single person in, if we all agree, letting that person know that, this is a trial run, we'd love you to join our group and see if it's the right fit for you. Not just you fitting into our group, but are we a good fit for you too?
And so it works both ways with no obligation, no commitment required, just like, "Hey, let's see if it's a good fit. If it's not, that's cool, but it could be something great. If not, well, now we know." We've done that a few times with new people who've come in and some are still in some have gone out. If a person becomes toxic, we're lucky enough that we haven't had anybody toxic, if you will. But you can get a sense of the group, and it's really important that everybody's remain understanding that it's for the benefit of the group. A couple of times we've had a person who just wasn't really contributing very much. I think they were perhaps feeling maybe more lower level, and I think it's important if you consider your level, whatever your level is at, you are maybe a five just out of 10, you want to connect with people that are maybe up to a seven and down to a three or four.
When you have like a 10 in your group and you're all fives, that person's never going to feel like they're getting value and they're going to leave. But the other way around, if you have like a one, if you will, in terms of knowledge and contribution, you're going to always feel like you're teaching them, but then you're not getting anything back. And it's just that honesty is really, really important. And we've had a time where we had a person who was just like, "You know what, this is probably not a good fit. Do you agree?" And they're like, "Yeah, I'm not feeling it either." Okay. And then it just moved on.
So we luckily haven't had a toxic person, but the biggest rule is whatever's spoken about in the group, doesn't leave the group. And you have to have that mutual understanding because you're going to share some stuff that is very serious sometimes or secretive or proprietary, if you will. And that understanding is really important. So when you're trying to start a group, it's hard to find an existing group, but you can start your own group. It's best if it's with people who you already have some sort of relationship with. And in addition to that, it's going to take some time before you get to the super serious stuff because you're feeling each other out in the beginning still.

Chris:
Very good. That clears up a lot of things. So if you weren't sure about masterminds and the nefarious means or goals in the world, there you go. Maybe there are other evil groups, but this one... Or it's just the structure, it sounds really solid way to learn from each other. And what I got from it, from what you just said was, it's good to have people you can learn from and people you can help, and it's a balance of that. So if somebody's too far on one side of the spectrum, ultimately it's not going to work out well for them either way, they're going to feel like they don't belong, right.

Pat:
Agreed. Agreed. And they don't need to be in the same niche as you either. I actually think it's better if they're in different niches. I have. And I do flip flop between niche and nish, just so you know, to cover both bases. In one of my groups, he's no longer in the group, but his name is Roderick Russell, and he is a hypnotist and a sword swallower. You're like, "What value could you get from a hypnotist and a sword follower? And what value could they get from you?" Well, when I started speaking on stage in 2011, you can be sure, Roderick was teaching me everything about stage presence and holding an audience and attention. It was some of the most valuable information I've ever received.
And Roderick building his online presence for his very offline brand, got a lot of value for myself and the other group members too. So you can see how like different industries can actually help each other. You don't just have to stick with your people time.

Chris:
That's very neat. Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back with more from Pat. Welcome back to our conversation, Pat Flynn. Every time somebody sees somebody like yourself, who's producing a lot of content on YouTube, multiple channels, on Twitter, and Instagram, and podcasting. They assume then no, you're an extrovert, you're all these kinds of things. So can you talk a little bit about how you might've dealt with the challenges of being a very public person?

Pat:
Sure. And for me, what helps me understand if a person is an introvert or extrovert is do being around groups of people and putting yourself out there take energy away from you, i.e. introvert, or do they give you energy, i.e. extrovert? And none of them are bad or good, that's who you are, and that's how it is. And for me, for example, when I am behind the microphone like here right now, I'm showing up, this is taking energy for me. That's not a bad thing, Chris, don't feel bad about that. I just know that my way of recharging is literally locking myself in my room and watching Queens Gambit or something. That's recharge for me versus some recharges getting in front of people.
And so that's something that helps me with the definition, but when you see me out there and I'm getting in front of people and I'm out there, what helps me is understanding why I'm doing that. Despite it being difficult and not feeling natural, I do it because I know that when I help and serve others, it always comes back to me in some way, shape or form. And I don't do it like, "Oh, I'm going to be on Chris's podcast, so maybe I'll get some more students coming into my courses. That's not what it is. I always just let nature take its course with relationships that I build. And now you and I are building a relationship together too, and that's a value to me as well. So I'm already getting value from this conversation.
But for me, it's like I imagine, especially when it comes to creating content. When I create content, because there's people out there who need the help. If you imagine you're on like a boat and you see somebody drowning, they're outside of the boat, they're drowning, they need your help, would you ever tell that person who you could literally just reach over and go, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I'm not an extrovert." No, you wouldn't say that, or, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I've never done this before." Or, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I'm going to wait till my audience's a little bigger." Or, "Hey, I'd love to help you, but I don't know if that's going to work or not." You help that person because they're there.
And it's hard to really empathize with the people who are in our audiences often because it is virtual, there's a lots of layers of in-between versus a person who is literally joining next to you. That's how I feel about the content that I create and the solutions that I offer, it's like, if you have the ability to help some, if you have a cure for a disease, isn't it not your obligation, is it not your responsibility to get out there and share it with somebody? So I feel like if I have this fear, this resistance, this doubt, ultimately, it's almost selfish if I'm like, "Yeah, I'm going to let that get in the way of actually helping others." So for me what drives me is the service to other people.
And for me as an Enneagram three, I know that to be very true with what motivates me, this is so much in fact that something that helps me when I'm down is I have multiple shoe boxes full of thank you notes from people. And almost weekly, I go in there and I don't go in there and I read it and I'm like, "Look how awesome I am. Huh, huh, I helped this person." I'm like, "I need energy right now to remind myself why I need to do this really hard thing that I'm about to do. And so let me just remember the fact that I have helped people before, and then if I stop myself because I'm fearful, because I'm scared, because I've never done it before, because I don't think I'm qualified, well, what if I did that with this person? Or what if I let that get in the way with this person?" So that's what drives me more than anything

Chris:
Intellectually, I get it. You're here to serve other people, don't focus on yourself and your ego and you're going to be just fine. Emotionally, there's the battle that's going on in my head, in my heart. And I would like to know if you could share a time in which you were backstage and this whole thing didn't go well, was there a moment like that when you went out there and you're like, "I wasn't able to win the intellectual or logical battle that time and I'll do better next time"?

Pat:
There's multiple cases like that. And I think a lot of that happens because... And in fact, now that I'm thinking about it, a lot of that is me looking at things I did wrong instead of looking at the things that I did right. And that takes me back to the 3% that I had gotten wrong. So I am my own worst enemy and there are many times where I'll come off stage and I'll remember that I forgot to tell a particular story, or I know that I missed the timing and the punchline of this very important lesson. And that's literally all I can think about because that's how I'm trained, and how I'm conditioned. But then again, what helps me is I will go to the audience leader and talk to people to confirm that at least they got some value.
And so after a talk, I'll be out in the hallway and just talking to people like, "Hey, what was the most helpful part of that for you?" I do that also because I want to know what the most helpful thing is so I can do more of that. But I'm very fortunate that I haven't had like a fall flat on my face situation yet. And I think that's partly because I am in the realm of trying to still be a little bit perfect so much to a point where I over prepare. So if anything, I'm a little bit too stiff because I'm following a script, therefore not connecting with the audience as much as I should versus forgetting what to say. So I hope that makes sense, I'm not trying to back out of a moment that maybe went terribly wrong.
There's been many moments that have been terribly wrong in many cases, like trying to start a software company for the wrong reason and losing $15,000 because I took the wrong approach and was too afraid to share and validate that idea, to other moments where I've written or filmed videos that I thought were going to be the most viral video in the world and then it completely falls flat, which I know any YouTuber can really relate to. And then like the next day you just spend like literally 30 minutes on a video and it goes viral, and you're just like, "Why am I even preparing this? It doesn't make any sense."

Chris:
The universe works in strange ways sometimes.

Pat:
It does.

Chris:
It can't be predictable, so you try and you show up every day and some days it works better and some days you learn a lesson. I don't want to manufacture false drama, so if there wasn't one, that's fine. It is consistent with who you are and who you present yourself to be, is this straight A-student who's always going to do his best to prepare. And preparation is one of those things that prevents those disasters from happening. And you may be a little bit too rehearse or a little tight, but better that than to show up on stage and be stumbling your way through. Now, as a late to the game public speaker, I've done it myself, but I've seen people just crash on stage, and I was thinking, "Oh my God, how did we get here? And what must they be feeling because I'm feeling terrible for them?"
Here's one little quick example. Early on in my speaking thing, I was just a nervous wreck. I'm in the green room with other speakers and there was a very extroverted person, a female. And she was just like, "I got this." I'm like, "Okay, please don't talk to me, I have to go through this thing in my head. Don't even make eye contact with me, I just need to be here alone." I go out, I do my talk, I'm totally fine. She goes out, very confident, starts to do her thing, and then she blanks, literally, I've never seen anybody do this. She just went blank. And she started and she stopped and the whole audience was just like, "We're going to give her space." And she just total train wreck right then and there, meltdown.
And I was like, "Wow, this is uncomfortable." And eventually, she got back on, but I have no idea now because it was so uncomfortable for everybody. That minute that they say that feels like an hour, it definitely felt that way, and I wasn't even on stage. So maybe preparations-

Pat:
There is something to say for her with being maybe too overly confident that we were talking about. Your story about the green room actually reminded me of a time that I feel like I failed, not necessarily onstage, but it was actually backstage. And this has to do with my introvertness, so maybe I can tie in this story of a failure. I went to speak at a Dave Ramsey event, which has really great, EntreLeadership in front of thousands. I presented about Superfans in fact, which was really cool. And before the talk, I was really focused on my presentation, I was going through the iterations of the intro as I always do. And in the green room walks Simon Sinek, who I admire like crazy, start with Why, the whole thing.
And he's there and he's just sipping on some soda, water or something, and in my head I'm like, "It would be amazing to meet him. I should just go up to meet him." 15 minutes go by, I'm called to go up on stage, never spoke a word to Simon because I was way too afraid, I was in my own head. I wasn't following the advice I give others, which is the three second rule, don't give yourselves more than three seconds to do the thing that you know could be great. And again, what's the worst that could have happened? I just put him on a pedestal and I was like, "I'm too below you, I'm not worthy." There's no reason, looking back, I'm like, "What was I thinking because I should have at least thanked him for what he's taught me."
I didn't even have the opportunity to do that, I got on my own way of actually thanking somebody who's had an impact on my life because I was too afraid of looking bad, I was too afraid of being too below a person. Ah, man.

Chris:
Everybody can relate to this, come on, everybody can relate to this. So did you get another chance to speak to him on a different conference?

Pat:
Not yet.

Chris:
Okay. Now you know what to do next time you see him.

Pat:
Yeah. I stopped with why, that's what happened there.

Chris:
Well played. Well played. Let's talk about content because you're a beast, especially on your podcast. I lost count, but you're hundreds of episodes deep into your podcast. Darshawn is asking this question, when you've been doing this for so long, has there been a moment where you thought about quitting and just stopping?

Pat:
Yes, in fact. And this was early on. We're 1,700 episodes in across all the podcasts, so quite a bit, but around episode 80 or so, it was at the point at which after doing this for a year and a half or so, it started to feel like a chore. And while I was still the one editing and doing the show notes and stuff, it was just like, "Wow, there's so much time involved." This was before I finally had the courage to finally hire somebody, and then realize that other people can do that stuff faster and better than me. Anyway, I was at the point where I was like, "You know what? The blog is still getting more traffic, search engines are so much easier to find content than podcast directories," and it's still the case today, "But I think I'm going to give up on the show. It's done its thing, but it's just so many hours of work and it's the same audience size every time."
Well, around this time, just by happenstance, I get an email from a guy in Poland, and his name is Michal, M-I-C-H-A-L, even though I called him Michael for years. Michal sent me an email, and the subject line was, "Please read Pat, your podcast saved my life." That's a really good subject line if you want me to open an email. I'm not saying, just send me emails that say I saved your life, but I will open it if that's the subject line. And I opened this email and it's like 50 pages long. It's not that big, it's this guy's life story. And I'm so grateful that he mentioned that the podcast had something to do with it because normally I don't read emails that long. So I'm reading the story and he's telling the story about how he had a terrible accident in a snowboarding accident, actually.
He broke both of his legs. He literally included the x-rays and everything with like bolts in it to hold them up because he had a terrible accident. And as a result, couldn't work, let his family down, was totally depressed. And on his bed while recovering, he discovered my podcast. And he said that to make a long story short, he had discovered a podcast that I had where I was talking about setting goals. And when you set goals, I recommend you set goals that are nearly impossible, like shoot for the moon, because at least even if you don't get to the moon, you're still in the sky and space and flying high.
So he decided with two broken legs that he was going to run a marathon in Warsaw, Poland, 26.2 miles in about a year and a half, he was going to recover. And I was like, "A year and a half? You discovered my podcasts a year and a half ago? This was around the time I started." I didn't even know this person existed or was listening to my show despite all this things happening. Anyway, I scroll down to the bottom, there's this image of him running on two feet across the finish line in Poland, holding up a sign in Polish. I don't know what it says, so he translates it for me. It says, "Thank you to God. Thank you to Gabby and his kids." And then in the corner, it said, "Thank you, Pat Flynn."
And I'm breaking down while reading this email, just like raindrops on the keyboard. That was the moment I was like, there's no way I can stop this podcast because I didn't even know this guy existed until he sent me this email, who knows how many other stories or people like that who are being affected by this content, and I'm letting the fact that, number one, I think this is a chore getting in the way, again, to my point earlier of me being able to connect with and help influence the people in this way. I was able to change this person's life. He went on to become a podcaster for himself. Had the number one podcast in Poland for a while, has written several best-selling books.
And what's interesting now is he's shared with me because he tells this story, he shares with me that there's people crossing the finish line of their marathons with now his name on it. And it's just like the circle of fact, it's just like, "Wow, imagine not throwing these rocks and creating these ripples, I have to keep going. So that was the one time that I was close to giving up on it. And I have tripled down since then because of these kinds of stories.

Chris:
I got some chills from you telling that story. And I'm not sure if I'm reading into the lens here, but I think you got a little emotional there too just telling that.

Pat:
Dude, I've told that story several times, and everytime... because I remember how close I was to giving up on it and just God sent me this email and Michal had gone through this terrible time for me to have the ability to just realize that this podcast was more powerful than I ever thought it could be.

Chris:
This a very strange, this is probably like one of those strange movie scripts, like Tenet or something, your past episode, safest future self-and his current self, keeps your current self-into the future.

Pat:
Dude, you're speaking my language, back to the future fan.

Chris:
It's a little complicated there, but it's like if you didn't do that thing in the beginning, it doesn't hit him, he's not then not able to send you the message in the future where your current self at that point needed to hear this because you're like, "This is just a grind doing this, what am I doing?" And then somebody tells you what you're doing is important and it matters. And so them paying it forward to someone else, but just sending it back to you, that's so wonderful.

Pat:
That's crazy. It is crazy. And it just makes me realize how many more Michals are there that would have never sent me that email. There's no way I could stop.

Chris:
I think that's the message that creative people need to hear. And I use the term creative in its most broadest, expansive and inclusive definition that you do something and you think it doesn't matter, that it'll never affect anybody or who are you to be doing this thing in the first place, but it just takes out really literally that one person who needed to hear at that moment in time and you may never hear from them or you might hear it from them in a year and a half, but that's why you do it. We're connected in this thing, the human race and we can't forget that. It's just not about our solitary existence. And I love that.
Here's another question for you. I think you're going to like this one. This one is from Burhan Patel. I know I screwed that up. He wants to know how you can keep up with doing daily live streams and they look so scripted and so well-prepared, the question is, are you human?

Pat:
I'm definitely human, trust me. I've been going live on YouTube today, it was day 327 in a row, for one hour each day. I started this in March of 2020 after the pandemic and after the lockdown started and I showed up just one day because I wanted to help people who were struggling with what was going to happen with businesses during this time, so I showed up to just provide some help and support. The one day turned into two days, turned into week, turned into a month, and then I've just been like, you know what, let's just go for a full year and see what happens. Because first of all, I don't think we're going to get out of this anytime soon, but secondly, I want to provide some stability for people and something for people to look forward to every day.
And to the note of it feeling scripted, number one, it's not scripted. I do have some thoughts about what topic we're going to talk about, and I just tell stories. I just tell stories. I can't not know the story that I've lived about these things that I'm talking about, so I just tell these stories like I'm telling stories here. These aren't scripted, but these are stories that I've lived through. I'm not pretending to share something that I don't know about or trying to be somebody else, but me. So that helps. The more that you can step into who you are and you're sharing experiences that you've been through, the more likely it is that you are to tell the story as if you're in a coffee shop with a friend. And that's the kind of feeling I want to offer to my audience who's watching me, who's hearing me teach through stories.
And that's what I love about podcasting and the live stream format is I can teach, but telling stories to support that not only allow yourself to more easily get into the lesson and prove it, but also provides context, it provides relatability, and it also is more entertaining when you tell a story. Going live daily has been interesting because I just try to reduce the friction as much as possible, it's a habit that I've built now. And part of habits as we know in Atomic Habits by James Clear is like, let's remove as much friction as possible to just get the thing done. So in order for me to go live, I just sit down in this chair that I'm in right now and press a button. It's literally that easy now. Otherwise, if I had to set up every day, I wouldn't do it.
Again, also considering who shows up every day, and I've gotten to know those people by name, and know them as a friend now, it's been amazing to see a few hundred people every day, come in and make me part of their routine. And it'd be bittersweet after the year is over because I'm going to go for 365 and we're going to celebrate with a 365 minutes stream on that last day, on March 15th. But it's been a lot of time and I know I can use that time probably to create more prerecorded videos that will help me reach more people on YouTube, which is the plan for the rest of the year after the year is up. So I'll be trying to double the size of the channel on YouTube through... The lives haven't been doing a lot for growing the show, they've been a lot for growing the relationship, but for growing the show and reaching new people, it's not really doing anything for that. And that's okay. That's not the purpose.

Chris:
On that subject of YouTube and content creation, is it safe to assume because you're doing the live stream an hour a day that you're not doing other kinds of content or are you?

Pat:
No, I'm not.

Chris:
It's a lot.

Pat:
When you say yes to one thing, you're also saying no to something else. So if you look at my backlog in YouTube, there's very few prerecorded videos that have come out. The only videos that have been able to come out with are videos that I actually am purposefully filming the video live while live, and then I'm taking and extracting a part of that and making that a video. So that's definitely going to change, but it's been a lot of fun, and I've gotten to know the community really well. And it's been something that honestly lights me up in the morning every single day, and I know it does that for others too.

Chris:
Yeah. And then on the other thing that you touched on real quickly is that if you do live streams, very rarely, is it going to be the thing that grows your channel. It is difficult. People on YouTube, I think are mostly just in time learning so they need something highly searchable, super quick. It's one topic, and I'm ready to go, and live streams are whole different thing. I think there was a moment in YouTube where live streams were getting a lot of attention and then they decided we're abandoning that. And so you actually might be doing harm to your channel as I've heard from some YouTube experts.

Pat:
I've heard that too.

Chris:
Live streams can hurt your subscription because it's like people aren't tuning in, this is not working. But it's a commitment and it's impressive. So you're almost there. In a blink of an eye, it's going to be March, and you're going to be celebrating your 365th episode. So impressive.

Pat:
Yeah. It's amazing.

Chris:
So this is in the weekends too?

Pat:
Yeah. Weekends too.

Chris:
My goodness. Wow. Let's see here, here's your next question. And if you don't want to do this one, this one's okay because sometimes these credit questions annoy me, but here we go. This one's coming from Frederick Hill, and his question is, what has been some of your most memorable moments doing your podcast?

Pat:
Episode 121 with Shane and Jocelyn Sams was when I heard this story about how they first discovered the podcast. Shane who lives in Kentucky, he was mid-mowing his lawn, stopped mowing the lawn after hearing an episode of the podcast, went to his wife, Jocelyn, and said, "Hey, we're going to start an online business." And she said, "You're crazy." They have a multi-million dollar business now as a result of that story. Episode 51 with Tim Ferris, how I fanboyed for 10 minutes over Tim Ferris and forgot that I was recording a podcast. Episode 275 with three people, in fact, three students in my podcast who told these beautiful stories about why they started the show, but then without even asking, gave me the best, most authentic testimonials for the podcast course that they took that then accounted for over $150,000 worth of sales from that podcast episode specifically.
There was an episode of the podcast, I can't remember the number, unfortunately, but my kids were on it, in fact, I interviewed my wife in fact too, and she's very, very behind the scenes, but it was really cool to get the whole family involved. And that was a special moment in time where I can go back and listen to just how high all the kids' voices were and how cute they were. They're still cute just not as cute. Those were some standout episodes for me.

Chris:
When you were rattling that off, I was thinking, "I know this." Was this included in your book, Superfans? Because I think you get that specific sometimes in your stories I'm like, "How did he know what episode?"

Pat:
It probably was.

Chris:
Yeah. Because as you were saying that it felt really familiar to me. Beautiful. All right. I can't remember what I did last week, so to ask me one of those kinds of questions, forget it. It's not going to work. Here's a question looking towards the future, I'm being mindful of time, we're almost out of time. Here's the question, and then we'll probably wrap on this, seeing that you're such a prolific content creator and have been doing podcasts for really long time, I wanted to get your input, your opinion on audio platforms like Clubhouse and soon to be Twitter Spaces where  it feels like a podcast, but it has a component of life and it's very community driven. Do you have thoughts on that?

Pat:
It's amazingly powerful Clubhouse, especially when you can consider that you hear often that people are on there for hours a day, that tells you something. I think a person's average time on Clubhouse is one hour and 30 minutes. We haven't seen anything like that since podcasting. So it's really a nice extension, especially when it comes to connecting with another community and connecting with your community. I think it's a great place for researching and just having conversations and being more open. Again, that live feel combined with podcasting, that lights me up. But like with anything, I think we have to create boundaries, we have to be careful, we have to have purpose when we go into them. And I think that's the biggest thing, but I think we're starting a new revolution of different ways that people can get access, and that's really exciting.

Chris:
Pat, thanks for being my guest today. If you guys want to find out more information about Pat, where should they go?

Pat:
You can check me out on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/patflynn, and of course, smartpassiveincome.com, or @patflynn on most social media channels.

Chris:
Beautiful. Thanks so much for giving us your time today.

Pat:
Thank you, Chris. This was awesome. Thank you.
Hey, my name is Pat Flynn, and you're listening to The Futur.

Greg:
Thank you for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app, and get a new, insightful episode from us every week. The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do, and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barro for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by reading and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts, it'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me, head over to the futur.com/heychris and ask away.
We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

More episodes like this