Ep 165: Successful Self-Talk for Personal Brands with Jon Acuff | Recap Episode

Getting out of your own way and learning to believe in yourself, what a great chat with my friend long-time friend, John Acuff welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand podcast. Rolling solo here today. No AJ, but I’m dissecting and debriefing this, this discussion that I had with John and I, I love John because, you know, when I watch him as a speaker, I just think he’s hilarious. And, and insightful. But every time I spend time with him, one-on-one he always phrases things in a way that I can like grab hold of them. And

This conversation was no different and this is kind of a newer, a different space for him than I, I think, you know, a lot of his early work was really rounded, like really, to, I guess, more of like your career and, and, and how do you, you know, kind of keep track of your career and then he’s moved more and more into like the inspiration, motivation, and goal setting space. And so anyways, this is just a fun conversation, fun to see the evolution of his career and all the different ways, all the different ways that he uses his, the various assets and skillsets that he has. And so I want to give you my top three takeaways from the conversation like we do on every, every episode in terms of what stuck out to me. And the first thing was, you know, of course this was a, this was basically a conversation about successful self-talk for personal brands.

And the difference between overthinking and preparation was a huge distinction for me, where he basically said preparation leads to action. So preparation ultimately is pointing you towards action. You’re getting closer and closer to action. Whereas overthinking just leads to more thinking. And I think that’s really good, right. Is to go because there’s value in being prepared. There’s value in thinking through things. There’s, there’s a lot of value to go and let’s make sure we do things right and not just do them fast. And so, you know, that’s always something that I’ve wrestled with. I think a lot of, a lot of you wrestle with that is going okay, you know, how much is the right amount to widdle on my website before it goes live? How much is it right to like edit on my manuscript before I just send it in? You know, how many times do I need to edit my video before I just post it?

And, you know, so I think there’s this, this, this balance of like working in it and refining it and preparing for it. But also not with procrastinating and overthinking. And so that was a huge distinction to me of going, okay, you know, you’re doing the right, like, you know, it’s a healthy use of your time. If it’s like moving you closer to action and to better action and to more effective action, then I feel like that’s the, that’s the healthy indicator. But if you’re just thinking, and then it’s causing you to think more and think more and think more, and you’re not actually stepping closer to hitting publish or to going live or to launching or to action, then it’s really just creative avoidance to borrow a term from my take the stairs book. Right. That that’s really all it is. And I thought what John said was super powerful when he said over thinking is anything that anything that you think that gets in the way of what you want overthinking is anything that you think that gets in the way of what you want.

That’s super powerful, right? It’s just, just going, okay. You know, overthinking could be negative thinking. It could be procrastination, it could be distraction. It’s just any type of thinking that gets in the way of what you want. And this is so critical to me because I think becoming a, whatever, a best-selling author, a successful speaker, building a successful personal brand, being a successful entrepreneur, what people don’t realize is we think that the battle is out in the tactical of like, how do I do this? And what technology do I use? And who’s the right vendor and how do I structure? And, you know, there’s like a lot of the details and, and, and, and those things are important, right? I mean, a lot of what we teach at brand builders group is related to those, those tactical things. But you, you can’t win that battle until you first win the battle in your mind that you, you deserve this and that you need to take action.

And so that’s why I loved this episode was because, you know, you have John and I both kind of going back and forth sharing various insecurities that we’ve had to overcome and that we still have to overcome, and that we wrestle with to kind of get to where we are and, and, you know, to, to where we’re wanting to go. And I think, you know, that’s just really big, it’s understanding that distinction of what is healthy thinking in terms of preparation and Polish and, and editing and, and making things better versus unhealthy thinking, which is ultimately just an excuse to not have to take action. So I really enjoyed that. The second thing is less about something that John said specifically and more just about this topic in general. I think the idea of positive self-talk or affirmations, you know, this mental programming, these are, these are things that I’ve cared a lot about.

I’ve practiced a lot. I’ve read a lot about research, a lot about and written about, I mean, and, and take the stairs. So in my first book, take the stairs. There’s a whole section called the creation principle of integrity which talks about this very deliberate connected pattern between the, the things you say to yourself in your head, which John calls, soundtracks, which I think is kind of a cool, a cool metaphor illustration of, of it, and how that ends up manifesting the results that you experienced in your life. And it becomes a huge part of the mechanism. And, and I think, you know, so there’s just a, this is a moment to recap some of those, but the biggest thing is just for you to know that the way that your brain works is that you don’t believe what is true. I don’t believe

Leave what is true. We don’t believe what is true. We believe

Ever. We hear most often, like our brain is neutral in its ability to determine truth. What, what we associate as truth is just whatever we’ve heard with the most frequency and we’ve decided and convinced ourselves or allowed ourselves to believe that that is his truth. Rarely do we take everything that we believe to be true and run it through, you know, like data analysis, or do we test it against historical accuracy or, or scientific corroboration? Most of the things that we believe is kind of like, you know, it’s because we heard them. And so the good news about that is that you can rewrite your programming. I mean, your brain is like an operating system. I, when, when people talk about belief, you know, I think the mind often kind of wonders, at least mine, mind thinks of that as kind of almost like touchy, feely or esoteric or abstract.

It’s kind of like out there in the world of, of go. And the, I don’t really know how do I believe in myself that is you know, it’s, it feels somehow impractical, but when you think, okay, my brain is an operating system, it’s like a computer and it runs on a program and the program is whatever. I tell it to run, whatever, I’ve what I, whatever I have been telling it most often, that is belief. And, you know, John calls those soundtracks, which I think is a great as an easy parallel for people to understand. But whatever you’re struggling with is, is not the truth. Like whatever, your, whatever you’re telling yourself about why you can’t succeed or whatever question you have about like, am I good enough or smart enough or experienced enough? It’s not based in truth. It’s based in unfamiliar unfamiliarity.

That’s a hard one to say unfamiliarity, because as you tell yourself over and over again, this a new, you, you restate something it’s, it literally is a new neural pathway that’s formed in your brain. And the more times you have that thought, the easier it is to, for those synapses to fire. And that becomes accepted as truth as a way of thinking, it’s, it’s, it’s written into your programming. So you have to architect your own operating system. You’ve got to program yourself. And if that feels weird to you, like, Oh, I have to program myself. The only thing that’s weirder than that is going, if you don’t do it, you’re allowing other people to do it. So this is happening, whether you want it to happen or not. Most of our programming comes from our parents and our friends and our TV, you know, like the media and our church, or like whatever we’ve been told.

So either you’re doing it intentionally, or it’s just happening to you accidentally. And that’s a real dilemma. And I’ve been shocked over time because I, I grabbed hold of this concept early in my life. I’ve had pretty healthy self-talk for most of my life. But as time has gone on, I’m realizing how many people have never been exposed to this or got exposed to it late in life. And they have all of this negative conditioning. And what, what scares me is that most of us would never let someone talk about their family member, the way we allow ourselves to talk about ourselves. That’s scary to me. You would never let someone talk about your mom or your spouse, or your brother, your sister, or your kids. Like you would never let some stranger say the kind of things about them that you allow yourself to say about yourself all day, every day.

And that is scary and heartbreaking because it’s not true. The only thing that is making it true is that your telling yourself that over and over again, and it is just as easy for you to say the complete opposite of that and say it again and again. And that is what becomes truth is you might say, well, it’s a lie. It’s not that it’s a lie. It’s that it’s new. And so it’s unfamiliar. It’s kind of like walking. I use this illustration a lot is like, it’s why you go hiking in the, in the woods or something. There is a path it’s easiest to stay on the path. That path has been paved, right? Like the path has been made. If I want to go off that path and go a different route, there’s no path there’s literally brush and trees that I have to peel back and knock down and pull apart.

And you might have to dig or lay rocks across the stream or build a bridge, right? It’s, it’s, it’s much harder the first time to form that new path. But then every subsequent time you go down that path over and over and over, even the second or third time, it’s exponentially easier than it was the first time. And by the 50th time or the hundredth time, that path is just as clear as the one you used to take. And so it becomes just as easy. And that’s how truth works. Well, that’s not how truth works. That’s how your brain works right. There, there are things that are true. I’m not saying that there isn’t truth. I’m saying what our brains perceive and receive and accept this truth are what we hear most often. And that is something you have a lot more control over than you realize.

There are certain things that are true. They can be proven true. They’re scientifically true, but that’s not, most of what’s in our head. Most of what is in our head, we’ve never even bothered to ask to say, who said that? Who told me that? Is that even right? Like, you know, is that even accurate to Thomas Edison really invent the light bulb? I don’t know, like I wasn’t there, but, but, but a lot of people go, well, of course he did. Well. Why? Well, because my history teacher told me and I read it in a book. But in fact, the more you dig into that, the more you’ll find there’s quite a lot of discrepancy about whether or not Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Right now. I’m not here to challenge Thomas Edison. I’m here to say that there are things like that, that you accept as certainty that are not certain, they’re just familiar.

They’re just repeated with regularity and our brain interprets that as truth. And so belief doesn’t have to be this hooey phooey kind of gushy abstract thing. It is a concrete matter of programming your own brain, the way you would program a computer. And you’re either doing it deliberately to yourself or you’re allowing it to happen accidentally through other means. And which I think is kind of the essence of what John’s whole book and the conversation was all about. So that was really good. And then the third takeaway for me, which I loved, and this was, this was inspired by something John said, but I don’t think he said it exactly like this. But as I went back and I was listening to the interview and I was replaying it in my head and I was reviewing my notes, what really hit me. And perhaps this was the most salient learning moment of the conversation for me personally, is that your clients can’t hire you at a level that is higher than what you believe in yourself to be right.

Like, I can’t hire you at a level that is higher than you believe yourself to be. And there are certain clients who would pay more, who look, they look at you and they see you in a way that’s even higher than you see yourself, which is kind of wild, right? It’s like they don’t even know half of what you’ve been through. They don’t even know half of what you’ve learned. They haven’t seen half of the strife and trouble and problems and challenges and experiences in education. You know, that, that you know about yourself. And yet they see you in a more elevated light than you see yourself. That shouldn’t be right. That’s not fair. That doesn’t make any sense. Why is it that way? It, it, it’s just because some of us, a lot of us are harder on ourselves and more demanding on ourselves even than the people around us.

And that is something that is holding you back. Like you might think, Oh, this is just like a, you know, a good idea that I should believe in myself, but this is literally a dollars and cents thing. Like they can’t hire you. They can’t pay you for more than you think you’re worth. Like you’ll, you’ll sabotage it. It won’t work. There’ll be this disconnect and, and many cases, they probably see you even better and more credible and more qualified than you see yourself. So you have to proactively intentionally deliberately develop your, your own. Self-Confidence in a way of how you speak about yourself, what you tell yourself, your worth based on what you’ve done, because clients, aren’t going to be able to hire you at a level that is beyond what that is for you. And so that raised starts in your mind, you know, that level of credibility, that level of cachet, that level of respect starts in your mind.

And, you know, you throw out whoever the names are in your industry or your space and, and, you know, in your mind you kind of go that, that person’s the leader or that that person is the number one, you know, and, you know, in your mind, you kind of like rank, where do you compare with that person? And you’ve got to proactively, like, if, if you don’t really believe you’re at the top of your game, and I’m not saying that you have to think you’re the best. You may, you may not be the best, but, but where are you at really? And that’s based on how much value can you provide to your clients? How much experience do you really have? How much education do you really have and, and going okay, if I’m struggling with self doubt, I either need to do some things proactively.

I need to increase my education. You know, I need to increase my education. My experience, I need to increase my network. I need to grow my platform. My following, like there’s certain things that I need to do that would help me do that. And, and some of them are tactical and practical, and some of them are just the mental conditioning of your own mind, the way that you would strengthen a physical muscle, you have to do the same thing, which you know, very directly and repeatedly in this conversation is self-talk. And what you tell yourself about yourself. So, you know, the way that John said it, which I really loved, I thought this was, was clever retire, replace, and repeat, retire,

Replace and repeat. Because you probably wouldn’t let other people say some of the things about your family that are things that you say about yourself. You’ve got to develop your own. Self-Confidence your own conviction, your own level of certainty that you’re speaking from your uniqueness. You’re speaking from a place of experience. You’re speaking, not just from a matter of what you’ve done, but because you’re living a calling of who the world needs you to be, and that you’re fulfilling a purpose that was set out for your life and out of that should come a great conviction, that it is worth something very, very honorable. That’s all we got for this week’s influential, personal brand podcast recap. Keep coming back, my friends and stay tuned. We’re so grateful for you. Bye-Bye

Ep 19: Managing the Beast That is Social Media and Making it Work for You with Jon Acuff | Recap Episode

RV: (00:00) Hey, welcome to this special recap edition of the influential personal brand. We’re breaking down the interview today with our longtime friend, Dan Miller, who I absolutely just love. I just love his energy, him and Joanne are awesome. And we met them on a cruise a few years ago and I’ve just been, been friends. So we got your top three takeaways from AJ and from me. So, get us going. AJV: (00:32) Yeah, I think the first thing he said this like really close to the beginning of the interview and I loved it. And he said if somebody or three different people ask me the same question more than three times, I’ll just make a product for it. I think the whole concept of what should I make a product about or where do I find content is really simply answered when you just figure out what do people already come to you for? And so instead of repeating the exact same thing over and over and over again, why not turn it into a product, a course or a video series or a book or a coaching program or certification or all the things that he has done and is doing really, he said most of that comes from just, you know, if I get asked the same question more than three times, then I really consider turning that into a product. RV: (01:24) Yep. I love that. I was one of my takeaways too, is just, you know, the power of listening to your audience. And I think one of the, one of the techniques or strategies that you can use is to ask your audience. So in his case, he’s just listening. But the other thing you can do, like if you need content ideas or you need product ideas, or if you need copy for like your sales page, send a survey to your audience, ask them some questions about what they want and what they’re struggling with, and then take their words that they write back to you and use some of their language in CRE in actually marketing what you’re doing and create a product for them. So that was one of my takeaways too. I just love that. It’s such a simple, a simple, practical, actionable thing that any of us can do, you know, right away. So that was good. So what was your second one AJV: (02:17) Second one was this concept of not doing the new and trendy thing that everyone is doing. And he said, I’ll try to recap it here. He said, but I, I resist the temptation to do every single new and trendy thing that is out there. And he talked about, he said, could I be missing out on lots of money? Maybe do I care? Not really. And I think that’s really just really powerful. It’s like, if what you’re doing is working, why would you derail? What’s working to do just what everyone else is doing. That’s new and trendy. And one of the things that I thought was really insightful and something that you don’t hear a lot about, he said, now I’m not saying anything is wrong with funnels or webinars or with anything he said, but you hear all these people all over social media promoting, I made six figures, seven figures in this launch. AJV: (03:10) He said, what you don’t hear about is how much money they had to give back and refunds. And I thought that was really interesting because you hear a ton of people. You see a ton of ads. It’s like how I made six figures in this funnel, or there’s this one out. And I don’t, I won’t say what it’s called, but it’s how do you have a seven figure funnel? And then he talks about how he came up with this whole thing. And yeah, probably you could do that. I’m sure people are doing that all the time every day. And Dan said, but what you don’t hear about is how much of that they’re actually giving back in refunds because a buyer’s remorse or they didn’t get what they thought it was, or it was a little bit misleading or a little bit of a bait and switch. And I’m not saying everyone is but I do think there’s some accuracy in the fact that you hear a lot of the revenue promoted and that a lot of the backend of what was it even profitable and how much did you actually give back and refunds? And I thought that was just very insightful. RV: (04:09) Yeah. I mean, you got the refunds, you also have affiliate fees and, you know, Facebook ads and paying your graphic designer. And, you know, at the end of the day, it’s like, how, how much do you really keep in? Which is but I think his thing into your point is more about the reputation and like the, AJV: (04:26) Oh yeah, no, I love when he said, he said it, he said, I’m way more about building a consistent audience than having huge infusions of cash said, I’m way more about the consistency time, over time, over time, that will last me 20 years than I am about this one time, big infusion of of cash. And everyone is different. Perhaps you are someone who’s looking for that big infusion of cash and like go for it, do it. But I loved what he said. It’s about playing the long game and making this a, a true, a true business versus this one time push. RV: (05:00) Yeah. So for me, the other thing that I thought was fascinating you know, we teach something to our brand new members that we call the fast cash formula, which is how do you, if you need to make money quickly. And we talk about how coaching a lot of times is the fastest way. If you need to replace an income is to offer coaching. And when he was telling his story, that was how he started. And still to this day, he does one day a month of one-on-one coaching work. And I love that because he was a real life example of what we talk about that, you know, coaching is the fastest path to cash in terms of replacing a large you know, income need, but it’s the least scalable longterm. And, and yet, so he sort of toward the story about how he started with that. RV: (05:51) And then after he had done enough coaching, he created a course for the people who couldn’t afford coaching. And, and so he was teaching this course and then people invited him to come speak because there were people seeing him teach the course. And that, you know, basically out of that coaching work came his content which became also his business model. And I just think that’s a really great way to do it is to do the work, to kind of get your hands in there. And obviously we love coaching. We, we believe in coaching in the power of one-on-one and I just, I just thought that was really encouraging. And, and, you know, he, he does have multiple streams of income, but it’s been developed over years and it’s, it really started from one great body of work, you know, that he flushed out with coaching and real life scenarios then applied it to a course, you know, then applied it to live events and speaking. So I thought that was just a great, a great example. AJV: (06:51) Yeah. There’s a great evolution of evolution. That’s a great one. And I think that’s somewhat similar to my third and final point, which is which I thought is very indicative of what you hear a lot. But yet there’s this mystery around it. He said, but I don’t count on any income from my books. And, you know, in his book is super successful and has been out there, just did a 20 year edition, right? 20Th year, RV: (07:18) 20Th or 25th. AJV: (07:20) Yeah. But a long time, right on. He said, but here’s what I have found. He said, it’s not the book itself that makes all the income, it’s the actual content within the book. So the book is the calling card. It’s the credibility source. Then not to say that you won’t make income. He just doesn’t count on that in his forecast or his budget. But it’s the content of that book that he then takes that and turns it into all these different curriculums. It’s a coaching curriculum. It’s a certification curriculum. It’s a course, it’s a video series, it’s a live event. It’s all these different things that are all circulated around the content of the book. And the book is at the center, but probably isn’t, what’s bringing in the most income for him. However, from that, there is just this entire huge circle of all these things that are moving to make this very successful, a very healthy business, even though most of the income is not from the center of it, which is the book it’s from all these other ancillary income streams that have become his primary revenue. RV: (08:27) Yeah. That’s good, good perspective on the book. For me, my third takeaway, which he talked a little bit about, but it’s more of, of what we know about him and Joanne behind the scenes. And I don’t know that he said this directly, but every time I’m with Dan and Joanne, it always occurs to me how they build their life or, or they build work around their life. They don’t build their life around their work. And so it’s, it’s one of the great possibilities of a personal brand is to be able to like fit work in and around your life. And it’s hard to do cause when you’re an entrepreneur, especially early on, it’s like a lot of times, you know, we’re kind of his life, but you, you want to get out of that and you can get out of that. And AJV: (09:14) I think that goes to a lot of what he talked about, where he resists the temptation to do all of the new and trendy things. Because, well, for what reason, it’s like, are you living to work? Are you working to live? And he talked a lot about his time and his schedule, but I think that is a part of it is resisting the temptation to do. RV: (09:34) Yeah. And I, and I hope for you, like, w w I wonder, I would bet if we could take all the podcast listeners and ask if you’ve heard of Dan Miller, I bet less than half of you have actually heard of him. You’ve probably heard of some of our other guests yet. He has one of the biggest businesses of everyone we’ve ever had on the podcast. And, and his example speaks to the power of steady consistency and just trust and playing the long game and plodding along. He’s the tortoise man. That’s a, that’s such a great that’s a great metaphor. And, and, and we mean that AJV: (10:14) It was his, he said, he said, I’m the tortoise. RV: (10:18) Yeah. That’s. And, and that is, you know, and we say that in the most honoring way, AJV: (10:23) He said it so we can say it. RV: (10:26) But even to that extent, it doesn’t mean you have to be slow. It’s just, it’s the idea of consistency. You don’t have to be the person with a million followers. And, and you know, this, these huge extravagant launches and given away cars, and like, you can do those things like, but, but you don’t have to be that person in order to be successful. Like you can just do the right thing for a really long time, and it will work out like you can’t fail if you just pour back into people’s lives. So I’m as encouraged by that. AJV: (11:01) Yeah. Well, I think it just, in general, there are a million different ways to build your personal brand. And Dan gives a one, one really great perspective of how to do it. And there are many other different perspectives that you will hear from other guests, but to what Roy is saying, it’s like, it’s, it’s all about. And what we talk about a lot, it’s playing the long game and Dan is a great example of the long game. RV: (11:26) Yeah. So there you have it. So hopefully you’re playing the long game and you’ll keep coming back here. We’re going to keep working to provide amazing guests for you and hopefully useful insights. We’re so glad that you’re here. We’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.