The Formula For Finding Your Life’s Mission
Joe Sweeney has spent more than 35 years blending his love of business and passion for sports. He has owned, operated, and sold four manufacturing companies, headed up the Wisconsin Sports Authority, and launched a sports marketing firm.
Joe purchased equity interest in an investment banking firm and served as president and managing director. He is now an accomplished author, internationally-known speaker, and investor in private equity companies. Joe’s passion is studying human behavior. He has used the fields of sports, business, and military as his laboratory to better understand why certain people outperform others. He is especially devoted to helping and mentoring young athletes and executives to develop all aspects of their career, business, and life.
Joe has served on 28 boards of directors and is currently active on six including Wintrust Financial Corporation (WTFC), a publicly traded financial institution. At Wintrust, Joe also serves on the Management and Compensation Committee, the Audit Committee, and the Nomination and Governance Committee.
He has a wide range of experience in the general business, manufacturing, sports, and investment worlds, but Sweeney's expertise is in marketing and sales strategy, finance, and general management. He also has extensive experience in mentoring young, as well as seasoned executives as they transition to the next phase of their careers. He has successfully coached business executives, well-known sports figures, and members of the military, including over 300 United States Navy SEALs.
Joe received his BA in Industrial Psychology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and his MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Joe is the author of:
A Light Shines Through Us: A Nun, a Businessman, and the Power of Connection;
After Further Review: How Reflection and Action Will Turn Your Somedays Into Today;
Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life;
and The New York Times bestseller Networking Is a Contact Sport: How Staying Connected and Serving Others Will Help You Grow Your Business, Expand Your Influence — or Even Land Your Next Job.
Joe has given hundreds of keynote addresses to a variety of businesses and corporations such as Northwestern Mutual, General Electric, Wells Fargo, CUNA Mutual, Manpower Group, Merrill Lynch, Minnesota Wild NHL team, Morgan Stanley, Travelers Insurance, UBS, the Navy SEALs, and numerous universities, church congregations, and professional and collegiate athletic teams.
Joe is a dynamic, humorous, fun, and caring person that has found his passion in inspiring others to make the most of their lives by believing anything is possible. He resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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So, tell us a little bit about Pay It Forward Enterprises.
Yeah, as we talked about before, one of the big challenges I have at this stage in my life is people say, what do you do? I do a lot of different things. And what I've really tried to do is combined my 35 years of experience. And I feel really blessed today. I've had the opportunity to combine my love of business with my passion for sports. And I've done a lot of different things. I was the owner of several manufacturing firms. I was an investment banker. I ran the Wisconsin sports authority, started a sports marketing management firm that represented three-time MVP, Brett Favre, and as well as other professional athletes. And I spent a lot of time in private equity. And about 10 years ago, on a whim, I kind of wrote a book for my kids, published it.
It was called Networking Is a Contact Sport. I published it, marketed it pretty hard, and ended up making the New York Times bestseller list. So, everyone thought I knew what the hell I was talking about, who would ask me to come and speak to their company. So, and so what I've done now is I've tried to take all my experiences for 30 years in business. I happened to write four books. I D Networking was my first one. And I've tried to channel that into speaking poaching boards of directors. I still do a lot of private equity investments, so I do a lot of different things. But it really comes down to your life's mission, and it's really the theme of networking as a context sport. And I think part of the reason Dave, the book worked is it helps people transform what Networking is all about.
And it really comes down to my life mission. And what I say in the networking book is networking business and life are places we go to give and serve and not get, which is the antithesis of what most of us think. When we think of the word Networking, Dave, what do we think about? Oh, I got to go to that event, and I've got to get some business cards. I got to get some leads. I got a quota. There are networking things. A bunch of BS. It doesn't work, versus how can I go figure out how to help serve others? And if you really look at the great networkers, the great entrepreneurs, and the world's best salespeople, and I know that your audience, they start from a premise that my life and Networking are places where I can go and help others. And I don't mean to get weird or religious off the bat, but there is something from St. Francis that says, "it's a giving that we receive. I think that's the epitome of greatness."
Absolutely. Well, and I like your words, life's mission. Because part of the thing that we try and unpack here on our podcast is the intersection between personal growth and business growth. And where are those connect for a human being or entrepreneur like us? There's a lot of people listening, Joe. They don't really know what their life's mission is. They go through the routine every day, and they get up, they take their two weeks' vacation, they get their kids to school. I mean, there's a lot of that's going on, and there's nothing wrong with that. I like the fact that you're digging a little deeper and trying to unpack that life's mission. Do you have any advice for people listening that maybe, they see the entrepreneur in them, but they haven't jumped in? They haven't tried that. Do you have any advice to try and understand a little bit more about what their life's mission might be?
The question you brought up is so good, and I've actually thought about it for 20 years. And so, as I said, Networking was the first book. The second book is called Moving the Needle, get clear, get free, and get going in your career, business, and life. And I have a chapter in there on finding your life's mission. And part of the reason I wrote the chapter is that David took me 50 years to figure out my life's mission. And I keep thinking maybe it's because I'm not that smart guy, but that is such a critical issue. And part of the reason I wrote the chapter is I gave dozens and dozens of talks to universities around the country. And I kind of pride myself on going early and staying late because I love connecting with people. I get energy from it.
And so, what I heard from students is I got to get a job. I got to get a job. And it's really the wrong question. We go to college, and I could spend a lot of time talking about the problems of higher education, but we try to train people to get a job. We spend very little time in practical life skills, trying to figure out why am I here? What, why am I at this university? Why am I on this surf? And so, what I put together was a chapter, and I, I tell all the college students, and it's true with all your audience. You don't need a child. What you need to do is to figure out your life's mission. They're two different questions. And so, what I did is I put together on page 46, kind of your chart on your life.
And so, I have what I call a four, three, two, one formula of how to find your mission, and I'll explain it to you. Here's the formula you take: P to the fourth power + S to the third power + S O squared = YLM.
And what I mean by that, in order to find your life's mission. I asked people the fourth power find four passions, find out things that you're passionate about. And if you don't know your passions, drinking beer and watching the Packers are not. And that's your life's mission. If you don't know your passions, think of two things I say, think of the last time you did something for three or four hours, and you lost track of time you're onto something. And then the other one is, think of the last time you did a job and got paid for it and said it was so much fun.
I would have done it for nothing like Dave. I love connecting with you. I do it for nothing. In fact, I am. So, find or passions, and you add that. I said, S to the third power, three of your strengths. What am I really good at? And if you don't know, ask your mom, ask your parents, ask your girlfriend. What do you think I'm really good at? So, when you take your passions and strengths, add that or ask yourself, how may I serve others. So, squared, find two ways to take your passions and strengths to serve others—another way of saying that it's cool. Pay me to do it, Dave. I always say I'm passionate about the guitar. I've got a bunch of guitars. I'm not very good at it. If I had to make a living playing guitar, I'd be one hungry guy.
And so, a lot of times people say, follow your passion. No, that's just the first start of it. But if you can identify your strengths and your passions, figure out how to serve others, that will help you find LM one, your life, your one's life's mission, and your readers or your people who watch this. They're not going to hear this and find their life's mission in a week. But I think the key to this chapter in this book, and what I'm saying is you, and I did, can help people begin to process. I wish someone would have told me this at 21 when I was in the ground. I wouldn't have banged my head against the wall so many times trying to figure stuff out. But through that process and a lot of trial and error and a lot of mistakes, I was able to come up with this and what I would, when the three converged, just what you said at the beginning, your strengths, your passions to serve others.
That's your sweet zone. And we've all had moments in times where we've operated in that sweet zone or as I call our zone of genius, but not very often. So, I think the key is to identify those passions strengths, and you can't do it. Dave, if you're on your iPhone all the time, if you're busy, busy all the time, you got to get quiet. You got to go for walks, and you got to do something where you can think and then put all this together and then create a path for your life's journey. Does that make sense?
I think about some of the issues that you brought up, and I'm thinking to myself, as an entrepreneur, I was on board until you said, stop doing, get off your phone, take a walk. You start thinking about investing time in yourself. And then it crosses that line where you know what, I'm not comfortable with that. I don't have time to do that. I don't see the value in that. How did you determine that that was so critical in finding these passions for yourself?
Well, I think if people say what's your number one passion, I've got a lot of them, but as I reflected, my number one passion is to understand human behavior. What makes people tick? Why do people do what they do in life? And so, to get back to your original question, what really got me onto that was not only my own personal experience but watching hundreds and hundreds of people, what I would call either lost or drifting aimlessly through life. I spent some time on deathbeds with people, and maybe 15, 10, 10, 12 years ago, I spent some time doing hospice work and listening to people on their death bed. And it's interesting, Dave, most people don't regret the things they do in life. They regret the things they didn't do. And so that was sort of a wake-up call for me to take action.
And as I absorbed a lot of that and continued to write books, I thought it was important to take that message and put it into the book and the books. But the answer, your real question is why is that so important? It's because we're all done a long time. And if you go to the end of your life and kind of reflect on your life, what worked, what didn't work? Can I do this at some of my seminars? And then I have people come back today and put together a game plan between now and the time they leave the service. You can't do that without a life's mission statement or without life purpose. And I just, I find, and I don't mean to sound old in today's society. We've missed that. We spent so much time putting things on Facebook, trying to keep up with the Joneses, and look at me is that we kind of missed the big picture.
And I like what you said, and I wrote down live intentionally. And I think that there are so many people, like you said, that just kind of they live just they drift as you said. And that's why when I wrote my book growing on purpose, I ran into a lot of people and still do that grow by mistake. So, I really appreciate that intentionality where there's actually a formula. There's a thought process. There's something to do. Give me a formula, as you said, and then I'll just jump on that thing right away.
So, once we pass the four S, I'm thinking to myself, the three strengths, I mean, I don't know about your research, but what I found is a lot of people can talk a lot about their problems and a lot about their negative experiences and their shortcomings. They struggled to say what they're good at, you know? And I, and I even, when you like in an interview job interview, it's hard when you say, what are some of your strengths? I mean, we struggle with that. So, you suggest asking other people you have to find somebody who's going to be confidant is somebody you trust. I mean, I see a lot of blind spots there as if I asked you, Joel, what are my strengths? If we knew each other well enough, where you confident and several of my books I have a chapter and say, who's your wingman or wing woman, right?
Those are what I would call your personal board of directors. And if you study great entrepreneurs and even great salespeople, most of them have wingmen, and wing women who watch their back as they go through this thing called their career in life. And I think the loneliest people in the world are entrepreneurs, and here's why they have an idea. They go there. They kind of trying to crush it on their own ribbon. They're ambitious. And sometimes they get lost. If you study big corporations. And again, I've been on 27 or 28 boards over the last 35 years. All the large corporations have something called the board of directors. And the reason they have a board of directors is to help the CEO when he gets, he or she gets stuck.
And so, the question I have for all your listeners, where do you go when you get stuck, and entrepreneurs, and even salespeople say, well, it's just me, Dave, I'm just starting this little business. I don't need a board. I wouldn't argue that person needs a board more than a big CEO. Sure. Cause we all get stuck. And where do we go? So, you, you asked the question about, you need a confidant to figure out your strengths you're right. But it's also deeper and bigger than that. If you're growing a business, try to put together your own wingmen when women or your own board of directors. And the number one question people ask me is who I should get? I always use this rule. Find people who play in areas where you find work and find people who play in areas you find work. So, Dave, if I'm really good at a technical aspect of my startup entrepreneur company, but I don't know anybody. And you're Mr. Networking out in Waukesha County, and that's my market. I need you on my team. Sure. So, find people who can really help you fill the gaps in and put the holes in the dike where you're not good.
I think that's one of the biggest values that a coach adds to somebody's life. I mean, I look at tiger woods, and I look at Michael Jordan, and I think two of the best personally, two of the best athletes ever. And they, for whatever reason, needed a coach. And I look at Phil Jackson, and I think what could Phil Jackson possibly you don't tell Michael Jordan, but you know what? And seeing that relationship, they really relied on each other for success. If you're listening and don't have somebody find somebody to Joe's point, because that I'm my next book is, is on business blind spots that I'm working on right now. And it's one of those things that you don't know what you don't know. So that's why in your meeting, in your car, you have a rearview mirror, you have side mirrors to see those areas while in your business, you don't have those necessarily. So, you need somebody to come alongside you and help you. So, I'm assuming on your end, Joe, as a coach, that's what you are kind of, one of your responsibilities is to kind of help somebody with their blind spots or help them with something they don't necessarily see.
Exactly. And Dave, one of the reasons I'm so high in coaching when I reflect on 35, 37 years of business, I realized I'd had coaches all the time. I bet a business coach, even in my free time, I have a, I have a swim coach when I was playing golf. I had a golf coach. I picked up tennis. I have a tennis coach. When I did strength work, I had a strength coach. So, I have coaches in every area of something that I want to get good at. That's all. I picked up the guitar. I have a good teacher.
I'm a big believer. And I think one of the things a coach can not only help you with your blind spots, but they can also accelerate things in your own development that you can't do on your own.
Absolutely. That's awesome. Well, and I think because you mentioned earlier about the Navy seals, so you've done some work there's got to be an in kind of were the ego and the coaching. I mean, who's this guy telling me what to do. I know way more than him, whether it's a Navy seal or an entrepreneur. I think that's one of the biggest things that I find when I coach people is that tendency to question me, and I don't mind people questioning me. That's not the issue; it's why are you questioning? Are you really trying to learn more? Are you trying to press the boundaries, or do you just not trust somebody, or do you think it all, so how did you navigate through with the Navy seals? Unpack that for us a little bit and tell us what you do for them?
Well, about seven years ago, I got a call from, I gave some talks to the military and really kind of Networking. And I gave a talk down in Ford Sheraton down in Chicago, and they had, I believe it was 800 returning troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. And, and it was one of those things you speak to Dave. Sometimes it works. m. My purpose and talk were to help them reengage in the community and network to find what's next in their life. And it really well, long story short, the guy there talked to some people off of San Diego, and the Navy seals were having a really hard time transitioning from the military life to the civilian life. And so, I went out there and paramount six and a half years ago. And at work, I dealt with a small group of Navy Seals, and it's really through a group called the honor foundation.
And I was the first faculty member to put together this program. And I believe we're at like 670 elite military that has gone through that part of why would they listen to me? One of the things that gave me credibility with them is in a previous life. When I was a sports agent, I represented 24 pro athletes and coaches. And at the beginning of my talk with the Navy seals, I got to give that background. And I say there were five challenges with pro athletes when they transitioned from the professional sports life to civilian life or normal. And those are identical to the five challenges with the Navy seal. And so, I have to retention, and so I go through the five challenges and help them transition from the military life to the civilian life. And I used the material on all four of my books, and Dave, I don't know what it is, but I seem to resonate a lot with entrepreneurs, salespeople, military, and sportspeople.
Not that I don't work with government and education institutions, but the programs work. And it's one of the things that gives me one of the most meaning in my life right now. I love doing it, and we've expanded it to the East coast to Virginia Beach there, seal teams on the East Coast and West coast. And I just started with a group called the Marine Raiders. They're kind of the Navy seals of the Marines spend about six or seven times a year. I'll go through that cycle and work with our elite military. That's transitioned. So, you're doing it virtually now. Or I did my last one in person down in Virginia Beach in February. Now I do it virtually.
Thank you for helping them out. That's got to be a really challenging spot. As the general public, we see a lot of stuff on TV, and you'd never know what's accurate, what's not. So, you're living it. You're right in it. So that's awesome that they're trying to integrate back into society as best they can. It's things we never even thought of. I mean, you do a job. And then, at the end of the day, you come home, and it's really easy to integrate into the home. Right? For most of us, obviously, it's a whole different ball game with them. And there are situations that we don't even really understand. So, and that's where I think the balance between personal life and business growth and personal growth. Cause there again, and they look at serving in the military as a business. I mean, that's their career, that's what, that's their passion. Hopefully, they fall in that. But then they're kind of at the end of that. Both sports professionals and military professionals have that kind of ending. That's got to really be tough for them to kind of come to grips with the fact that that's done. Now, we're going to try and open up another chapter that that's got to be a really tough transition.
It's a challenge to quickly summarize the five challenges, and it's the same when people retire or have a transition or career. Number one, fear that this seals out just like the pro athletes, I'll never find anything as meaningful as what I'm doing right now. Athletes go out and perform in front of 30 million people. Navy seals go on high adrenaline missions, and they found something, but their careers are short. Th the average life in the NFL is 3.2 years. That's why the NFL stands for not for long military or the elite military; their bodies break down in their early to mid-thirties. And so, they've found a mission now. They got to refine it again. The second challenge they have athletes and elite people. The greatest years of my life are behind me, and I get them to stop and say, wait, wait, wait, you're going to live 33,000 days. You've only lived whatever 12,000 dates you still have another 20,000 days.
Here's, what's interesting data for a lot of people in the military and sports. Their number one challenge is to overcome the fear of Networking. People say, what are you talking about? Seals work in teams, and all players work together. Here's, what's interesting. They have a hard time networking outside the locker room or outside the seal. So, I do a whole day on how to get reconnected and show them the tools of Networking and connection. And so, it's funny how they're the same. And so, I spend a lot of time kind of working through overcoming their challenges. So, you got to what's the other three. Those no, that's three. I'll never find anything meaningful is what I've done now. My greatest years are behind me, Networking, and here's a big one. Finance pro athletes have a hard time with finance, should say, make a zillion-dollar.
But they only do it for a short period of time. And unfortunately, they spend what they make, and then they get accustomed to a lifestyle. Even the seals are trying to figure out or the military, how do I repackage and refrain? My financial game plan is moving forward because they don't make a lot of money, and they go through what to do next. Many of them leave injured. They got a bad shoulder, bad knee. And so, I helped help them try to work through that. But that's the best thing about that is working with athletes, working with the elite military, it's kind of scratches that curiosity itch I had when I told you my number one passion is understanding human behavior. How is it that someone can win back-to-back to back NFL, MVP, spread fire?
Why is it that some people can go through the torture, his training of becoming a Navy seal? And then why is it some people can't get out of bed in the morning? What are the tools, what are the traits? What are the habits I've studied all of them? And I've tried to put those together in the books and take what they have and help people on their own journey. Wow. Well, that's a good segue into moving the needle, which is the book that you referred to earlier. So, I mean, there are probably people right now in that stuck position, you know? So, what's your suggestion you talked about clarifying, get clarity, get free, and get going. Let's unpack those a little bit if you're okay with that. Because I'm guessing there are people stuck. I know I run into people; they're stocked. They might see what one of the paths is for them to take, but they're really kind of stuck with fear. They're afraid to move. How do you address those people when you run into them? That is a career question. So, here's the book. If you look on the inside, cover words, say I'm stuck.
And so that's how it starts. Part of the reason that I wrote the book is after I wrote Networking, I went out and did a lot of talks, and it took me a couple of hundred talks because I'm not that smart. As I told it, it takes me a little bit longer to pick things up. I kept hearing people say that was really good. Can you come back in, continue to help our team move the needle? And after I heard the term numerous times, can you help us move the needle? It made me stop and think about what prevents us from moving the needle. And I spent a lot of time thinking about researching, and it's really, in my opinion, three things. It's an inability to get clear. Clarity is a key, an inability to get free. And people say, well, what are you talking about?
A lot of it, it's, it's eliminating what you just said, Dave, self-defeating thoughts. And the other thing that I find today in this age of entitlement, it's taking a hundred percent responsibility. You can't be free if you're blaming your ex or your mom or your boyfriend, or your boss for every problem in your life. And then sometimes we just need tools to help us get going. So, I called it moving the needle, get clear, get free, and get going in your career, business, and life. And the book is really three sections on how do we get clear? How do we get free? And then the last third of the book are tools to help us when we are stuck to a re-engage and get going.
Wow, that's really good. I think that the clarity again surface level. I don't want it in my mind. I hear clarity. And I think, okay, Joe, this is going to take again, time and energy, which I just don't have. Just tell me what to do. Well, yeah, I mean, I think that as we grow in this society, we're spending less and less time just stopping and being and, and thinking, whatever, meditating, praying, whatever. There's just less and less time sitting and being self-aware. What are some tips to help us with that?
It is part of the reason I wrote this. I've seen a lot of people climbing up that ladder, working hard, doing everything in life, and I'm a little bit older than you. And then I see they get to the top of the ladder, and they realize, Oh, shucks, it's on the wrong house. And so, you say, well, I don't have time to, to get, get clear when I say in this book is to get clear, you've got to get quiet. And that's the number one challenge today a day because we live on this thing. Right? And so that whole theme Guinea in quiet, I thought about the question you asked Dave, I've heard a thousand times, literally a thousand times. So that's why I wrote the third book after further review. And I just, you say I don't have time, but I use this book after further review, the book starts out at an NFL football game.
And when a coach doesn't like the call, he throws the red challenge flag. So, the stadium gets quiet, and the ref reflects and looks at the play from every different angle. And when he finally gets the call, right, he goes to the 50-yard line. He turns his mic on. And what does he say, Dave, after further review, you're a smart guy question. If an NFL official, you do that at a game of football or football game in order to get the call, right? What if we could all do that with our own lives? I've spoken in front of tens and tens of thousands of people. And the number one challenge everyone has, I think because we don't go into that locker room and get quiet and figure out what the hell is working in our life, what's not working. And how do I make my halftime adjustments?
And you can have halftime at 28, 58, 78. The challenge I find is that most people never go to the locker room. They live their life. You just said they're busy doing all that. And one day, they wake up. They're 86 years old, and they're dying under death. So, the purpose of this book is to force the reader to go into the locker room. And it's based on like 12 football feet. Cause it's kind of a football book. The subtitle is how to take how reflection is what you're talking about—getting quiet, reflecting how reflecting reflection and taking action can turn all your someday into today. And it's basically going in that locker room, and I do this in coaching. You do the same thing. I always start by asking three questions. What's working in your life. What's not working, and how can I help?
And this book actually, Lou Holtz, a coach at Notre Dame, did the word of it. He was awesome to work with, and he added a lot to the book on the whole football themes and that type of thing. So, I tried to use football themes and apply them to life. But it gets back to your original question. You can't get clear unless you go in that locker room and get quiet. And that's the hardest thing for us today to do today, Dave, because somehow, I say, Dave, how are you doing? Oh, I'm so busy, Joe. I'm so, so busy. What are you really saying? Look at me, Joe. I am so important. Cause I'm so busy. And I think we're, and I'm sick with a disease called busy-ness, which eliminates people from going into that locker room and getting quiet.
Don't I get a badge if I pull an all-nighter? I should be able to have these badges of all of these busy things that I've done. Right. And I know that that's really important to some people. I have to say practically, though. So, this is where I want to challenge you a little bit. I want to dig a little deeper so let's just say, because I think our retreats or I think of all when, when I think about getting quiet and just sitting there, I know what I struggle with is all these thoughts come into my mind and all this stuff, oh my gosh, I got to do this. And maybe I should try that. I mean, when I sit to get quiet, unless I write stuff down, it's really like mayhem in my brain because there's all this stuff going on.
And I want to say, okay, I have an idea. And whatever the idea is, let's say I want to work on my life's mission. And before it, I'm on every other thought life's mission that your books are. Does any of your research or your experience, do you have any tips for somebody like me that might try it, but it doesn't go as planned that doesn't a miracle magical list shows up. It doesn't work that way. At least it hasn't for me. So, is there a way to kind of, I mean, what do you do in that?
Well, you say mayhem. We have mayhem in our life because we've created mayhem, and everyone is in a different season of life. What I talk about in this book, the football book, there were four quarters in a game of football. There are four quarters in the game of life. And how old are you? 50, 56. 56. Did you still have kids at home?
I got four grandkids already, so I'm good.
So, you're in the third quarter. And how do I get, how do I find time on when you say get quiet, and you've mentioned this, I'm not saying you have to go to a retreat for a week. You don't have to meditate for two hours a day because I talked to a lot of people in the second quarter, people are trying to build their careers. They're trying to raise a family. They're trying to keep a husband or wife connected. They're trying to take care of their mom. They got all these things, and they say, sweetie, you want me to take for two hours a day? I don't have a bathroom. Each quarter of life has different challenges. I'm in the third quarter; you're in the third quarter, two different quarters. And so, what I say is, if you don't have time, just take five minutes in the morning. And so, one of the tools I talk about it, I think in moving the needle, is how to bookend your days, how to start with five minutes of quiet time in the morning, and then in your evening. And I have things to write at the end of the day to review the day to help give you clarity. But people say, I don't even have time, five minutes to work on my life. I'd say, if you don't have five minutes to work on your life, you don't have a life.
Well, you're not going to have time to get it right the second time if you don't do it right the first time. And so, I say whatever, whatever season of life you're in, try to understand that and try to create. And that's why I go back to the human behavior thing, some rituals, some habits, to help really get you centered. And I get the busy-ness. I had four kids running a couple of companies at the same. I mean, I get all that. Sure. But if you don't take time and that second quarter, I find that when you go into halftime, you go, oh my God, did I screw up in that quarter? And if you don't take time, watch it. And you can see it now with the pandemic alcohol increased drug uses increased.
I think you'll find during the seven or eight months, domestic abuse has gone up. I wonder how great our kids are really being educated by this stay at home. Sure. A lot of challenges today. And I think the number one thing we're all needing more than anything is this thing called connection. When I use the word Networking, I'm really talking about how do we connect with others? How do we connect deeper with ourselves, with other people, and do power and greater than us? That's not the things you and I talked about at the cocktail party.
That's, what's so awesome about this is we get to unpack things that we just typically are too busy to think about. So, from the clarity piece, then is the get free piece. And I think the self-defeating thoughts that you talked about it's so easy for us. I don't know if it's a society thing or what, but it's so easy for us to focus on the negative, you know? And that's one of the reasons that I call my company positive polarity because I want people to think of a positive because we get to choose each day. If we look at the bad stuff or the good stuff. And sometimes, you know we, we think we don't have a choice, but I think, I believe we have a choice pretty much all the time. What do you look at when you are talking about getting free? What, what is, once you sit with your and get your clarity, then you jump into this gift free piece. How, what does that look like? Let's walk through that.
I've taken time, whether it's five minutes or I've done a retreat, right? I have a little more clarity, and you're not going to wake up, Dave. Some days I got to figure it out. This is a process. And again, I can't hear anyone, or I can't really help anyone solve everything. You and I can help them begin a process. So, let's say we get quiet. We get clear. Then what happens? All sorts of things bubble up just because you're clear. A lot of times, you go whole crap. Think, think of this. Dave, think of a pond when it's really wavy, and the winds are coming. You can't see the pot; you don't have clarity. And then what happens is once it calls, then what happens? You can start to see, you can start to see the bottom, the water gets clear, but here's what you find.
You find a bicycle tire. So, Coke cans are the bottom. And when we get quiet, when we go inside, a lot of us don't like what we see. So, you know what we do? We shut it down and go back and get busy again. Right. Just getting clear. Isn't the answer. Once you get clear, you've got to go inside and see what's good. What's not good and make some adjustments. And so, what most people do is they have all these self-defeating thoughts. Well, I want to change my job. Oh. But I can't do that. They're clear. They've got to get rid of, they got to get out of this toxic job or, but I can't do that. So, getting free is eliminating self-defeating thoughts in my experience has been, and I don't know if it's America today and the people I deal with. People can't get free. Cause they don't take a hundred percent responsibility.
That's what I call this kind of an age of entitlement, and usually, an entitlement is derived from the fact of victimhood. I am a victim. I was treated poorly. And the reason people want to become a victim, it creates a path for lifelong entitlement. Dave, if I can figure out that somehow you damaged me, and I am a victim or going to pay for it.
I listened to people talk about how they're victimized, and I'll stay out of politics for sure. When people want to become a victim, it's a license for them to have a lifelong entitlement.
Like you said, in that case, Joe, to blame others. I mean, it's when I trained sales professionals. It's the industry, and it's the economy, it's the government. It's the competitor. It's the customer. It's my boss. I mean, I've heard pretty much everything on what really is. And it's rare to find somebody that says, you know what? I just didn't try hard enough. I didn't care. I don't have the ability. It's on me. And in my conflict resolution training that I do when I have two people that are like, can't talk to each other on either side of me, and I'm trying to resolve some conflict for these two, the reality is there is it's I've yet to have this. And after 20 years of doing it, I get to have somebody that's a hundred percent to blame and 0% to blame. There's always responsibility that both sides have. Where in the world did that come from that I don't want to take responsibility for what I did or didn't do. I mean, if you found any link to anywhere the heck this came from, because it's killing us as well, it's going on for generations.
But if I'm going to be critical, I'm to blame; I'm part of the problem because I think what's happened the past few generations, Dave is we always want our kids to have a better life than we do. It's natural. But what I have found is that the families, it became, so kids centered, and we have this for some reason, I don't know why we don't want our kids to experience any pain or any sharp points in life and reflect on your life.
I think a generation that does not want to experience pain suffering. And I blame a lot of baby boomers, parents like me, that you don't teach kids how to fail. You want to make sure your kids don't fail. I always say this, that if you look at your greatest passion, it's in life, and some of our life's missions are born out of our unmet needs in our deepest wounds. And, and think about this, think about you. So what are you talking about? Think about mothers against drunk drivers. I know a lot of them have experienced a death by a husband or a kid that died drunk driver that became their mission, but it was born out of their deepest wound. Passion. If you don't have any wounds or you don't have any experience of failure, how the hell are you going to grow? And I think that's the disconnect that we have. And I'm at a point, I'm not sure Millennials are, but when you try to avoid pain, which is a process in life, a natural process, you don't, and I think that's part of the problem, this whole entitlement, and David, you studied the whole concept of entitlement. And I have, if you know anyone, that's got an entitlement mentality. Eventually, they all turn out angry. They're just angry.
So, people say, how do you solve that?
Somehow you got to get them to reflect and take them from a mindset of entitlement to gratitude. When people say, Oh, my life sucks. I have nothing to be grateful for. Do your breathing look at the sunshine? And that's one of the things that and not to talk about all these books, but I just call the light, shines through us. And it's really a book about a relationship I had with 95-year-old nuns, sister Camille. And the reason I wrote that the book is, and I called that light shine through us. She had a light that shown through her, and her number one thing in life is she was grateful every day. So, I say the world needs two things right now, a cure for the pandemic and a message that light can shine through us, even in these dark times.
And that makes sense from clarity to freedom to them. That third part is getting going. So, what you're saying then is, and we talk a lot about that too, is it starts internally, and you have to kind of deal with yourself, work to some of the things going on with yourself before you're able to, you know to help other people. And I always laugh when they now say in an airport or on an airplane to put your mask on your kid first, and then you can put yours on it seems kind of counter and then, yeah. Sorry, thank you. It seems it seems like, oh my gosh, I got to help them first. That's what I need to do. But the reality is if you're struggling with oxygen, you're not going to be successful. So, although at the surface it doesn't make sense when you dig down, it does. And then it's like, okay, get going. You know my parents said, don't just stand there, do something. I mean, that was how I was raised. And then, as I'm getting older, I'm realizing don't just do something stand there. It was kind of like a different take. And it's like, oh my gosh, there is, there is that little bit of reflection, but then there's the ability to go. So, what is it going to look like? In that last part of the book?
Well, I, I try to outline the best tools that I've found again, in my 60 years on this earth, what are the best tools that the best people have done? An example, I have a chapter in there is a tool creating your ideal day. How do you do that? Where do you do it?
And I always say an ideal day starts the night before you and I have talked about this, and you walk through the next day, the night before, what do you want to do? How do you want to do it? And you mentioned an earlier date, the intentionality to it. And people think that people have great lives. You just wake up and do it. Now. I think a lot of people have become intentional, but they don't talk about it. And so, what I tried to do is to take the best tips.
I just talked about the ideal day. I have another one called an ideal week. How do you create an ideal week, an ideal month, an ideal year? And what we're really getting at is this is to answer this question. What would my life look like if it really turned out great? So that's where in coaching. And a lot of my talks, I take people to the end of their life, come back and say, okay, I live today. What do I have to do between now? And the time I transitioned from this to create a really great life. Again, that's enough. The stuff we talked about at the cocktail parties, what are we talking about, Dave? Hey, Dave, did you get that new BMW, five series, seven series, nothing wrong with that. But the three hours of that, you're kind of, at least I feel like talking and eating junk food all night, right? It's rare for people to open up in normal communication. But that's where I think growth happens when you're able to really understand somebody and unpack things with other people.
And that's what I like about this venue right here, people that have just gotten kind of a glimpse into a different way maybe then they're used to looking at things. We're not saying that they have to do anything. I mean, this is just exposing people to a different way, you know. And I'm hoping that people take to heart what you share today. If you were going to, as we start to come in for a landing, if you had a tip of the week if it was Joe Sweeney's tip of the week, what would it be for anyone listing?
My two tips. I look at this every day, the first one for all you entrepreneurs and salespeople. I look at this everyday initiate. I mean, I say I've done a lot of things. I've never really had a job. I think I'm unemployable, but I try to initiate every day. But I think my thought for the week, that's great. I have a lot of people who I try to emulate in their lives. People I respect that a lot of them are dead. And I have a wall here of 30 people that I look at every day that I call it my cell it up there. You can see it up there. My virtual board of directors, as soon as one guy, will be the tip of the week. This is a guy, John Wood basketball. I've read two dozen books on his life was, in my opinion, the finest college men's basketball coach.
His number one trait in life was humility. He said, humble. People don't think less of themselves. They just think of themselves less. In my mantra, what I do every day, I've got this next to my bed. It's my screensaver. And I have it right here in my office. It says this, and you haven't lived the perfect day until you've done something for another person who can never repay you. That's my favorite thing. I say that every day and I wake up, I journal every day and I, I write down who are some people that I could, I did things for today that could never repay me. Do you know what I find out? I get paid, paid back like a hundred times.
Well, that's so great. Thank you for sharing that. And I think this is the challenge. If you're listening and you haven't really been focusing on other people, if you've been focusing on yourself, this has just been an encouragement to look at things a little bit differently. I mean, the guy's company is to pay it forward. So, find some ways I want to challenge you. If you're listening, find some ways to pay it forward, find some ways to think of other people first. It's so easy for us to be self-centered. I get that. I just appreciate all that you shared today, Joe, on that, because I'm hoping that little by little, we as a society one entrepreneur listens to this, and they go out of their way to do something special for somebody else. Then you know what? This was, to me, was worth it.
Yeah, why don't we end this way? Why don't we go to your listeners and for the first 10 people that respond to you, where you figure out the rules they will receive, and I'll send these to you. You send me your address, your first 10 people, you can create a contest or whatever that write you, that connect with. You will get a free copy of Networking Is a Contact Sport, and I'll send you 10 books, and we'll get them out to your list.
And I will match that. And then we'll do 10 of Moving the Needle from you because I want there to be a choice. So, anybody watching anybody listening, the first 20 people, Joel's got 10, I got 10, and we're going to again, hopefully, make a difference. The only challenge responses you have to read this. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to follow up with you. Made sure you read it. So, because I don't like people ordering books and then they don't read them. So, thank you for that. What we'll, we'll work out the details, and I'll get Katie and the producer involved, and we'll get that going.