Hating yourself or what you do is not a barrier to success. But achieving success does not necessarily mean you have created your dream life for yourself. When people succeed for all the wrong reasons, no amount of frills in life will ever give them happiness. Laura DiBenedetto has been there and done that. Having achieved so much success at a young age, it took little time for Laura to ask one of the most dreaded questions any successful person can ask themselves – “Is that it?” In this insightful and highly relatable conversation with Jen Du Plessis, Laura tells the story of how she went through a series of epiphanies that would transform her life forever. Curating her experience through The Six Habits, Laura is on a mission to inspire more people to learn the tools that they need to achieve whatever it is that they truly want.
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Six Habits That Will Help You Create The Life Of Your Dreams With Laura DiBenedetto
aI have a fun episode planned for us. I’m sure it’s going to go in that way because I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting our next guest, Laura DiBenedetto. I don’t even remember how we met. We had a lot of fun together. She’s already proven herself to be someone I can lean on in times of difficulty. I am delighted to have Laura with us. Laura, welcome to the show.
Thank you. I’m pumped to spend this time with you. This is going to be great.
We’re going to have some fun. Let me tell you a little bit about Laura and then get into the good stuff. She helps successful people to realize their dreams and find lasting happiness. She believes that the solution always starts in the same way, and this is one of the things that we’re going to dig into, by addressing the relationship we have with ourselves. She is a TEDx speaker and number one bestselling author of The Six Habits, which we’re going to talk about, and Life Mastery coach which is cool because everything I do is lifestyle business mastery. Laura teaches how to create the life of your dreams without sacrificing what we love.
As the Founder and CEO of Vision Advertising, a company that she built at age nineteen, she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build and grow profitable enterprises entirely on their terms. I’m sure she’s going to be humbled to say it but she has sold the company for a gob of money. She lives in Hawaii. She’s originally from the wicked northeast. Everything is wicked. I used to live there for almost a year and I was like, “That’s wickedly great. It’s wicked. That’s wicked.” I get it.
She’s got an unbelievable story. To be able to retire at the age of 37 is pretty awesome. We’re going to talk about these six habits. What we’re specifically going to talk about is how these habits and the relationship that you have with yourself might prevent you from making transitions and breaking through ceilings, all these ceilings that we talked about on this show. Laura, I am excited for us to dig in. I want you to start with what was a tipping point for you that had you start thinking about, “Why do I need to create these six habits?” What kept popping up all the time? You said, “I got to get this message out.” We know that sometimes our mess is our message. What happened in your life that sparked all of this?
It was achieving the goal and getting to the finish line with all the toys, the fancy house, the money. It felt no better than an ordinary Wednesday and I was like, “Something is deeply wrong here. What is going on?” Being the tough person that always beat myself up and whatever, I was like, “What did I do wrong?” I wanted to feel better. I went on this quest to figure out, “What did the happiest people have in common? Clearly, I’m not one of them.” I got all the stuff. I’ve got the resume. I’ve got the money. I’ve got all the things that society and culture tell you. Something is not adding up.
Honestly, I was pretty pissed off about it and also remarkably burnt out. Being tired, being grumpy, bleeding internally, and having your new marriage already in the toilet, those are all recipes for like, “You need to do a quick pivot here. You’re going to die.” I was concerned about my whole life falling apart and being in flames. I didn’t create the six habits. The six habits are true as old as time. It took me going through the seventh circle of hell and enough curiosity to figure out and look for them. I’m happy to tell you about how I figured out where they are and assembled these things. I’d love to take credit for inventing The Six Habits. I wrote the book.
It’s important too because it’s your story. It’s your perspective of how to apply these to get massive success. At the time of COVID, we have a lot of people that are in this conundrum and some meandering around, “I don’t know where to go.” They always show those pictures of people coming off the Titanic. They come off the Titanic and they’re going, “I don’t know where I am. Am I here? Am I in this life? Am I not in this life?” There’s a lot of that going around. Even in people’s eyes, I can see. I’m a big reader of people’s faces. Everybody is lost.
It starts with themselves. It’s that self-talk that’s happening with them, “I’m not going to be good enough to make this transition. I don’t like my job. I hate my job. I’m living in this misery. I don’t like the way that my entrepreneurship is going. I don’t want to go back and work for the man. Could I go back and work for the man given this environment?” What are some things that we can start with? We definitely can start with The Six Habits and I want to go over some of them. What is the snap-out-of-it advice that you could give to people to clear the slate? It’s like an Etch A Sketch. It’s like, “Let’s shake the Etch A Sketch and get it back to clearing it so we can draw something new.” What are some things that knee-jerked you out or disrupted you to get you out so that you could then see clearly?
Any transformation, no matter what it is, always begins with an epiphany. Epiphany is a great realization of truth. You may have always known that the sky is blue, but one day it occurs to you, “That is blue.” At one point, it hits you in the face. In order to manufacture epiphanies, you can manufacture them, you have to start asking questions. It was no different for me. It was like, “What are the happiest people among us have in common?” Once I started realizing, like, “I don’t have those. That sucks.” It was awakening. When you have that awakening because you’re seeing what’s written on the wall, that’s your invitation to be like, “Damn.”
For me, I had a succession of epiphanies. One, something is horribly wrong. I retired and I don’t care, like, “Come on. I should have been proud of myself and high fiving myself all day long.” I wasn’t. I didn’t care. I was like, “Screw the world. I want to go to sleep.” That was a big trigger of like, “That’s not okay,” then trying to find out what happiness is and then realizing, “No, it’s not this whole high chasing cycle that we put ourselves in that consumeristic America likes to reinforce, which is the chase, acquire, feel high and feel the low and repeat.” That hamster wheel is not happiness. It’s chasing highs. It’s no different than being a drug addict.
That was a huge revelation and then realizing where I stood and having a real raw moment with myself of like, “This is where I am. That’s the goal and I can bridge that gap. It probably won’t be that easy, but I can do this.” I’m sufficiently upset enough to do it. You’ve ever heard the phrase, “When the pain of staying put outweighs the pain of action, that’s when you’ll finally do something.” That’s what it does and that’s what we all need.
That’s exactly it. That is why I asked the question the way I did. There’s this meandering and this lostness that doesn’t address pain. You know that you’re not in the right place and there’s got to be a disruptor to kick you out of it. You do want to have some type of change. It doesn’t have to be a 180. It can be a few degrees that, down the road, has a huge impact on what you’re doing. The six habits, let me tell everybody what they are. They’re kindness, acceptance, gratitude, presence, a big one for me, goodness, and intention. Of those six habits, what is your favorite habit? What is the habit that you always seem to go back to and say, “This is the habit that was the kicker for me.”
The favorite one and the kicker were two different ones. The favorite one is the one that has brought the most joy to my life and the one that has been the most arguably difficult for me to master, but the most useful is entirely different. Which one do you want?
The one that you’re talking about is gratitude.
No. I didn’t accept myself, that was the one that made the most difference in my life and helped me to change as a person. I finally learned to love myself. I finally gave myself permission to not have as much money as my friends. I finally gave myself permission to be ten pounds overweight and have cellulite dimples in my butt. It is what it is and laugh about it and be like, “We’re all here in this crazy rock hurtling through space. Can we all have a sense of humor about it?” Being able to accept myself, which is unconditional love for me and from me, the humor was brought back in. I stopped taking things seriously. I stopped comparing myself.
I finally learned to truly love myself and stop falling victim to the, “I need to be this weight. I need to have this much money. I need to do this.” The cycle I described was the habit that kicked me out of that cycle forever. I don’t have a fancy car. I don’t need one because I’m great without it. I don’t even live in a huge house. I don’t need to. I don’t want to clean it. Accepting myself gave me the liberty to choose my definition of joy and happiness and not go along with what culture and my dear mommy put in my head.
I get that because all of us fell victim to that. There’s not a single person who’s even reading this who can say, “I have never felt that way. I’ve always felt good about myself.” I compare myself a lot to people. I usually compare myself from a success standpoint and a money standpoint. I don’t compare myself to a house. I probably had two new cars in my entire life. We’ve always bought used cars. They always have hundreds of thousands of miles on them. I’m driving one that has 240,000 miles. I’m blessed that my husband was a mechanic and he’s a semi-pro drag racer. He can fix all these things. You would never know they have those miles. Those materialistic things weren’t important.
What has always been important is achieving success. This comes from childhood, for me, achieving success and having money because I was comparing myself to my uncles who had millions and millions of dollars. They told me I couldn’t have millions and millions. They told me I was Jenny who’s not going to be without a penny and that I would be like my dad. It’s a gift. That’s a gift because that gift propelled me to prove otherwise. I got to the point where I said, “I have to stop proving and I have to start living.” My mom said, “Jenny, you have such a great quality of life.” I said, “That’s keeping up with the Joneses. What I want is a life of quality.”
That’s exactly the point. Who cares what it looks like to other people? The reason why we chase other people’s approval and having the fancy things is so they can see them, either the house or the fancy resume or all the money. I’ve had all of it right. We want those things and we want that approval from other people because we don’t approve of ourselves.
How does that affect someone’s ability to take that first step? We know about the imposter syndrome. We all have those days where we’re like, “I don’t think I’m as good as I think.” The next day, you’re like, “Yes. I am this good.” At least where we’re at, what I’m seeing from entrepreneurs is a fear of taking that first step. There’s so much doubt in themselves. We call it inner and outer space. The outer space and the inner space that’s happening. There’s such a fear of taking that next step, but there’s so much joy on the other side if you pursue it.
There’s no such thing as failure. It’s all about lessons. The more lessons you can have in life, the more you’re going to be able to get ahead of life. I want to go back to that question. If you are someone reading this and you’re not you and you’ve already experienced it, you can do it again. They’re second-guessing themselves. Is it possible for me to be successful in a new endeavor, whether that’s a career change or whether that’s going into entrepreneurship or whether that’s retiring and going into philanthropy? What would you be saying to those people or to yourself to snap yourself out of it and say, “You’ve got to move forward?”
You read the book. There’s a powerful point in there that I’m excited to reiterate right here. You don’t need to be special to do this. I am quite the opposite of special. For some reason, I found happiness, joy, and all the material success I could want. We all do this, we think, “Look at that person with all their money and all their career accomplishments. They started a charity. I could never do that.” Except they were born with the same toolbox as you were. It doesn’t matter if you have money or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or you’re not or if you’re healthy or not healthy. It all comes down to what’s inside of you.
To throw myself under the bus and throw some tire tracks on my back, I have attention deficit disorder. Learning is difficult for me. It always has been. Focusing is difficult. It complicates the heck out of everything. I was not a good student. I did my best. Starting a business at nineteen was not because I’m great, it’s because I couldn’t hold down a freaking job. I had to make one I couldn’t get fired from. That’s an important distinction.
That is something to share with somebody, too. Sometimes you fall into success. It’s not always on purpose. That’s pretty cool. I got to admit it.
There’s a lot of different things. I declared bankruptcy. I’m also a domestic abuse survivor. I also went through a lot of bullying and all this other stuff. Here’s the thing. You can achieve success if you hate yourself. You absolutely can do it. I know because that was my journey.
You can achieve success if you hate yourself.
You can. It’s going to burn yourself down in the process.
I get it. That’s powerful because that is like the floodgates opening and saying, “I can step through because I don’t even have to even like myself at all.”
I don’t recommend that path.
There’s no barrier.
The woman I am at 39 is different than the woman at nineteen. Those twenty years have been important at proving a couple of things. You can achieve a great deal of success if you hate yourself. You will succeed for the wrong reasons. The successes will not be as sweet and it will never be enough. You will constantly be on a cycle of self-destruction and you will be trading your health and your sanity and everything that could potentially smell like joy for material stuff that doesn’t matter.
This is what I figured out. When you decide that’s no longer good enough, we need to have this moment where we’re like, “Better is possible for me. The journey will be messy, but I deserve to be on it.” Give yourself permission to start the journey. If you hate yourself, start it anyway. You’re going to suck. It’s okay to suck. Nobody ever says this to us in school. In school, it’s like, “You better get an A-plus.” Life doesn’t work that way. You can get an F and still come out on top. I’m a college dropout. I needed that degree. Society wants to encourage us to set ourselves on fire so we can be this stupid little mold.Any transformation, no matter what it is, always begins with an epiphany. Click To Tweet
We’re all going to be like these little robots. Go to school, get a degree, get a job, save in a 401(k), retire, and have all the great things that you have. We’re all trying to measure to that one scale constantly instead of being individuals.
Our parents love us and they want the best for us. Buying into the idea of the American Dream and all that other stuff, they put this into our heads. My parents wanted the best for me. They’re like, “You got to go to college. You got to get a degree. You got to get a good job.” Your daughter is not built for that. Your daughter is built to be the boss and she needs entrepreneurial training. What she needs is to not be condemned for not fitting into boxes. What she needs is education on how to build the boxes. I didn’t get it. I had to give it to myself. It was a rotten journey inside.
This is the thing that I’m writing in my TED Talk, which is still going through 85 revisions. It’s this crazy thing where you go on this journey and you do all these things because you think they’re going to make you happy. You try to live in this idealized version, except, at some point, something breaks and you realize, “There’s a cycle here. I’m chasing highs. I’m not happy.” I have many designer handbags. Guess how happy they make me? Zero. It was awesome for fifteen minutes.
I’ve gotten to a point in my life and I was talking to my neighbor about this as well. I’m on 21 acres. My neighbor is 35 acres away from me. Her fetish is shoes, mine is handbags or was handbags. I have all these handbags, a black one for this and that. All the blacks, we have this size, that size, gold, silver matching.
I can fully relate.
You can. I know women can. I know men who are reading this can relate that their women have done it. When I see them, I get anxious. Why did I spend so much money on something that means so little?
When you look at those things and you survey them, it’s a bit of a mirror and it’s you seeing yourself and your insecurity on full display. When I moved to Hawaii, I happen to be listening to Marie Kondo’s method. I don’t remember the title of it. I was going through it. It’s like, “Does this give me joy? Nope. Out you go.” I’m not proud of this, but I’m going to tell you this anyway because it’s interesting. I had two large, full walk-in closets full of nothing but my clothes, my shoes, my accessories. I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 handbags. I probably had well over 200 pairs of heels and whatever.
I remember watching Paris Hilton one time be like, “I’m never photographed in the same thing twice.” I’m like, “I’m going to be her.” That was such a bad idea. I had every season, every color, every this, every that. When I was going through all this stuff, I was like, “I was an insecure woman. Look at all of the physical proof of how much I didn’t love me. Also, I hate these freaking pants. I only wore them so that people in the boardroom would take me seriously. I hate them. It makes my ass look flat.”
That is hilarious, but it’s true. I know we’re talking about women here, but men have the same thing. It’s a collection of cars. It’s a collection of hats. It’s a collection of cigars. It’s a collection of golf clubs. It’s suits, watches. It’s all the same thing. We have to take the time to sit back and think about who we are. We’re going to continue to beat that up, I’m sure. The bottom line here is, love you for who you are. If you don’t love yourself right now, screw it and go through the door and get started on a path that you can. Let’s talk about these six habits to the relationship with yourself and then finding happiness. Let’s see if we can go through them pretty quickly and get through all six of them. Let’s talk about kindness. Tell us about your thoughts behind kindness. Is it kindness for me? Is it kindness to other people? Is it reflecting back on me? Be kind to people so they’ll be kind to me. What is kindness?
Kindness is how we treat ourselves. It’s simple. Kindness is usually associated with how we treat others. No. It’s how we treat ourselves. It’s simple. I’m going to break it down for you. Think of two people that are important to you when you are five. The one that’s good important and bad important both live in your head. Kindness is the nurturing parent, the mommy, the daddy, that someone that says to you, that little voice that’s like, “I believe in you. You’re smart.” They treat you with kindness. On the other side of it is that little jerk on the playground that keeps pushing you down and be like, “You’re stupid. I don’t like you. You can’t do anything.” I’m using the example of the five-year-old because it is important. We don’t think that we are not kind to ourselves. We’re like, “I treat myself fine.” No, you don’t.
Unfortunately, we have become masters at treating ourselves like absolute garbage. We’ve got that bully running around in our heads and be like, “You’re not going to make that sale. Who do you think you are and ask for that price tag? Don’t you dare lower your price now.” You don’t get to say no to this. You have to say yes or they won’t like you. This is important that we master kindness because we screw this up so much.
I have two questions about that. I always feel like that person running around, but I do want clarification on this. That person running around in your head is your 7 or 9-year-old because we know that’s when the tattoo of who you are going to be is created. That person is the one who’s saying it. That’s why it’s childish because it’s, “You’re stupid.” That’s why the thoughts are mundane, they’re elementary. I wonder if new thoughts come in because of the experiences you’ve had throughout your life. New thoughts come in that are older self-talk but they’re still childish in nature. That’s the question. The second part of that is, how do you kick that out of your headspace?
We get new thoughts. Essentially, if you strip away the new vernacular and fancy terms, like, “You’re going to suck in the boardroom.” No nine-year-old is going to say that to you. They’re going to be like, “You’re going to suck today.” You just still it and take the adult paint off of it, it’s still the inner child being afraid and trying to protect you from pain. They’re afraid of failure. There’s a lot of stuff going on.
How do we stop that? What is a trigger? If that child is talking to me, how do I recognize it more frequently to change that vernacular, to create the habit of kindness to myself?
It begins with awareness. All of these habits are going to have the same answer. You have to know you’re doing it. You were reading the book. I don’t know if you noticed all fifteen invitations to go online and download all the free workbooks that go with it. In the workbooks, it’s an inventory of how you speak to yourself, how you perceive the world, how you allow toxicity into your life, etc. It all begins with awareness. You can’t fix anything if you’re not aware of it. The first step is you have to admit you have a problem.
Alcoholism. There you go.
It’s the same thing. You have to see it. The epiphany, that impetus to change has to come from seeing the writing on the wall and being like, “Damn,” and having this moment with yourself of reckoning. From there, you need to attune yourself to hear it all the time and then lovingly redirect yourself, like, “We’re not going to talk to ourselves that way. We love ourselves.” Some of it is telling the truth in advance. The thing about habit, it’s an automatic behavior. We need to love ourselves. Easier said than done. It’s not a decision. It is a thing that happens through repetition and sucking at it in the beginning.
Let’s go to gratitude. This is interesting because this is a buzzword that’s out there in the world. Write three gratitude, journal gratitude, find the happiness that is around. Go on a gratitude walk every day. There’s a lot. Someone calls it the G-word instead of the G spot. It’s the G-word, gratitude. They have a book like it. It’s a whole life of gratitude. I’ve worked on being grateful throughout the entire day when something happens good to me instead of moving past it and not recognize it. I am stopping for a second and saying, “Thank you, God.” For me, it’s like, “Thank you so much for that.”
Remembering that gratitude and breathing outside and taking an extra second to take in Mother Earth and walk on my grass with my bare feet. I love doing that. I’m already planted here. It’s not a problem. When I travel, I do that too. All of that gratitude, how do we get more gratitude in our lives? There’s so much negativity in the news and everything else. I’m being facetious in this. I’m a grateful person, but how can you be grateful for anything when all this stuff is going on?
Honestly, I’m glad you’re being facetious about it because that’s how people feel, like, “The world is on fire. Screw this. I’ll see you in 2021.” Who’s feeling grateful? We all have different levels of mastery already within each of the six habits. It sounds like you’re already doing a great job with gratitude because you’re doing more than writing down ten things at night that went right for you. You’re stopping throughout the day. The truth about gratitude is it’s like the lens through which you view your life including your problems.
This COVID business, the political mockery, and whatever, it’s precisely 0% fun. It’s crappy, but it doesn’t mean that there are no blessings within it and good things that are emerging as a byproduct. The trick with gratitude, at least the way I like to explain this to people is, “I’m grateful.” Are you? Ask yourself. Do the inventory. Are you grateful for your problems and the lessons they give you? Are you grateful for the world being on fire and how it’s changing people for the better? Can you look at a problem and pull yourself out of an emotional tailspin because you have a different perspective?
I find that most people that have a generally dismal point of view in life and that don’t make things happen to feel like, “Life sucks. I’m a victim.” It’s easy to feel that way with how toxic everything can be around us. If we start living this gratitude lifestyle and viewing everything through the lens of appreciation, even the sucky stuff, even the stuff we take for granted, it changes us. We become better, kinder, sweeter, more thoughtful people that others enjoy the hell out of.The only reason we want the approval of other people is because we don’t approve of ourselves. Click To Tweet
That’s attractive. That’s an attraction mechanism or a magnet to your success because people then want to have that magnet. We were talking about what my uncle called me and told me I was going to be worth nothing and all that good stuff that I even said, but it’s a blessing because it made me who I am, even with my back going out in two places. I had a down moment. The backside of that was the gratitude of knowing that I’m not going to go someplace. I’m going to save some money. I’m going to divert that money into getting something else done that I want to get done in my business. I’m thankful for that because it slowed me down enough to say, “This is where I should be spending my money in my practice.”
I’m going to give this advice to everybody who’s reading. When I first started for gratitude, I’m an author but I’m not great at journaling. I’m not great at writing forever. I can’t read my handwriting. I’m great at dictating my thoughts. I was like, “I’m working too many hours. There’s no way I could do any of that.” I gamify everything I possibly can. Even in COVID, I tell myself, “I can’t have my cup of tea in the morning until I do fifteen push-ups on the counter.” I have bad shoulders. I can’t do them on the floor. I do fifteen push-ups on the counter.
I have this little game that I play myself. The way I started with gratitude was when I got home at night, that’s transition. You’ve got your day and you’re like, “Ahh,” all day long. You get home. You get out of the car. You can’t wait to get in the house because you want to get away from work, but then you can’t stand the thought, “My dog wants me. My husband and my kids want me. I have to cook.” There’s no transition. There’s no transition. I started by keeping a journal in my car. When I got into my garage, that’s when I took out my journal and wrote down three gratitude in a bullet. I’m grateful for the sky. I’m grateful for the weather. I’m grateful that I have a car. It was the stupidest stuff, but it was a place to start. It became more profound for me.
Be okay with not being awesome at it in the beginning. I have mastered the fine art of talking to myself like a crazy person while I’m driving, and I’m fine with that.
At least everyone next to you thinks you’re singing.
If I bounce my head a little bit while I’m talking about stuff, people think I’m slightly less crazy and whatever. I remember the beginning of this whole COVID crap. They were locking down the beaches and you couldn’t go to the beach. I have political thoughts about this that I’ll keep to myself. I remember being afraid of walking on a beach and not walking fast enough because I didn’t want to get a $5,000 citation. I remember being afraid of that. I was upset. I was starting to hyperventilate.
By the way, the six habits do not mean that you’re never going to be unhappy again. You pull yourself out of the unhappy a hell of a lot faster. Immediately I was like, “I need a gratitude bonanza.” I was speaking to my husband, I was like, “Come on. Let’s do this.” I started spitting off everything I could possibly think of that I had to be grateful for. I probably went through like 50, 55 things. He listed off a whole bunch. At the end of it, I was like, “It’s like an elephant got its foot off my chest.” Also, I’m still afraid of getting arrested but I feel okay if it happens.
It’s like that drunk monkey. It’s like, “Get off me drunk monkey.” I get it. Gratitude is big. This is important information about gratitude. Start with everything and start with baby steps. You can’t go in and become a dancer without taking baby steps. It’s a path. A lot of us forget about a path, a roadmap to get us to places. We want it.
I’m sure it goes without saying. For those reading that have not read the book, we’re doing a surface-level skim on this. The book itself, that’s something you want to read. It’s loaded with actual, practical action steps to figure out where you are. Do something about it. Acquire habits. Awareness is the whole thing. It’s nice. It’s an invitation. That’s all it is.
It’s an opportunity to look at. Let’s talk about presence. Presence is a big thing for me. I’m looking at this list and there are quite a few things that I have stories behind. Presence is a big one for me. I had to learn that a hard way. Tell us about your thoughts on presence.
As the proud owner of a hefty case of ADHD, presence is not exactly my default. It’s hard to be checked out, especially with scary headlines and people angry with each other. You’re worried and afraid of what’s going to happen. You’re like, “I wish things are the way that they used to be.” It’s easy to get stuck in the past or the future. The thing about presence, it takes practice like everything else. For me, I’ve mastered the habit. The result, for me, has become I hear the news and I’m like, “That sucks.”
I’m thinking about the things that have happened to my companies and all this stuff. I feel it and I’m like, “Okay,” I’m not going to live there. I constantly remind myself and feel free to steal this, “Those moments might suck, but this one is pretty awesome. I’m healthy. I have a wonderful love around me. I got blessings coming out of my nose. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. It technically doesn’t even exist. This moment is awesome and I’m going to enjoy it.” I’ve become a ninja at leaving my phone at home.
Here’s a tiny story. You’ll appreciate this. I live in Hawaii. I remember living here for a month, and that’s how fast I transformed myself. In the beginning, I was on the beach taking pictures of the sunset. A month later, I was watching the tourists take pictures. I sat there in full deep appreciation looking at the tourists with sadness because they were behind their phones trying to capture the perfect thing versus sitting there in blissful appreciation and being fully present with it. As a result, the tourists, they didn’t enjoy the moment. They missed the moment trying to capture and preserve it versus living it.
That went down and then they walked away and they go, “It’s over.”
Meanwhile, I’ll stay on the beach until I can barely find my way back to my car because there’s so much more there, the moments of stillness, the moments of peace. Listen to the waves. With the world being on fire, we need to be present because there are a lot of things that are going right. If we don’t choose to opt into the things that are going well or sometimes even choosing the stuff that sucks, if we choose that, we can think about it more carefully. Solutionize it better. If we don’t opt into these moments, we’re missing them. We’re missing the beauty in the mundane.
My husband and I were driving down the road one day and the hill was covered in grass. We didn’t have the music on. We were not talking anything. We both appreciated the ride and how beautiful the hillside was and watching these waves of wind teasing the grass around. If we weren’t present, if we were listening to some music or this or that, we would have missed it. That was such a mundane, ordinary moment but it was stunning.
It always reminds me of a pendulum. A pendulum swings, the future, the past. It never stops. It oozes in there like a hammock. It’s settling. It takes a little longer for it to stop. For me, that’s what presence is. It’s not a thing instantly. It is sitting in the present.
You’re being with whatever it is.
In the morning, I sit out on my porch and my cup of tea and I’m listening to the birds starting to chirp and wake up and then some crow in the background. I might hear a cow mooing or something and then a big hop comes across. Maybe an owl hasn’t figured out its morning yet. He’s still hooting. It’s cool to listen to all the stuff that’s going on. We don’t have any cars or anything. There’s none of that. It’s not, “Listen to that bird. That’s cool, but I got to go.” It’s sitting at that moment. I love that about presence. Tell us about goodness.
Think of this one as simple math. Good energy in, bad energy out. I’m looking at you, news and social media, you are toxic and you got to go. Keep this in mind. If it’s free, you’re the product. You get the news for free and you get social media for free. Your attention and your well-being are being bought and sold. I’m not okay with that.
Russell Brunson said that, “You can be a consumer in social media or you can be a producer in social media.” Therein lies that thing that you were talking about. The producer part of it isn’t all sold. The producer part of it is to give.
Given how acidic everything seems to be with the political landscape and the fears that are around either government overreach or civil liberties or the disease itself or financial ramifications or whatever it is a person is afraid of, there’s fear present in every human. When you’re giving into that stuff, you can’t possibly be happy. You can’t. There have been studies that show that it erodes your well-being. Meanwhile, all these people are investing like crazy and finding ways to make it even more effective at destroying your joy. You have to realize that if it’s free, you’re the product. They don’t care about your well-being.Nobody has it all figured out. We’re all on a journey and it’s okay. Allow other people to pull you along as they climb. Click To Tweet
I’m going to tell my husband that because he calls the news crack. He’s like, “I’m going to go watch some crack tonight.” He goes, “There’s the problem.”
It is crack. I’ve never seen a crack addict have a healthy outlook on life.
It drives me crazy. The last one is the intention. This is a fun one for me because my entire practice is talking about working on purpose so that you can go play with passion. Part of that purpose is having that intention and focus. How is that going to make us happy? How did you stumble upon intention as being something? That’s almost like presence. Intentionally being present. I’m thinking back to you running this big, mega-corporation and saying, “I have intention everywhere.” I know you didn’t have it at the time. These are things you discovered later or that maybe you had but you weren’t aware of. How does intention fit into happiness?
The intention is being clear on what you want, why you want it, what you’re going to do about it, and then taking action toward it, even when you’re scared. The fear will always be there. People are like, “You’re fearless.” No. I’m a gigantic cowering blob. I just choose to take action while I quiver. That’s it. Sometimes my action of moving my business forward if I’m having a bad ADHD day is as simple as asking for help or I need to go to the post office and put this one thing in the mail and that’s it. Other times, it’s changed the world inside of five hours because that’s how ADHD brains work.
The intention is the vehicle that’s going to get you where you want to go. If you don’t know what you want, you’re not going to get it. If you don’t know why you want it, you’re not going to do the work to make it happen and discover how you’re going to get there. The habit of intention is constantly looking at what we want and bringing it into fruition no matter how slow. This is an important thing that I want to clarify for anybody reading. If you take twenty years to build the life of your dreams but it fully felt good to you and it was on your timeline and it honored your spirit and your needs, that’s okay. If it took you five days to do it, that’s okay too. There is no expediency required with intention. It’s simply being in the habit of being clear and doing something with that clarity. That’s it.
Presence, by contrast, is being in the moment despite the future and despite the past. They work well together. All the habits work in concert together. One thing you asked me is how I discovered all of these habits. At the beginning of this journey, I felt emotionally on fire. I was the unhappiest I’d ever been in my life and yet, theoretically, I had every reason not to be. I started the research by asking the questions. The big thing that surprised me, once I started doing data collection, I’m asking, “This person is happy because. The retreat says this. The book says this.” It was data collection. It was noticing patterns.
The world has a wealth of wisdom already. There are many wonderful books out there and I don’t discredit them. A lot of the things are missing from these. The Six Habits puts it all together. People, for example, visualize and work on vision boards. What do you think that is? That’s intention. A lot of the specifics that are out there fall in these six main buckets. I would love to teach you how to build a vision board, but that’s not the point. If you build the mental muscle and build yourself the habit of always being clear and moving forward or always being kind to yourself, the little doodad’s specificities, they don’t matter. You can pick and choose from a huge menu of stuff.
I love that. It’s been wonderful talking with you, Laura. All of these things, they’re exciting to hear about. I like getting clarity myself. I always say, “It’s going from cloudy to clarity.” I like hearing all this too because it gives me extra nuggets. One of the reasons I do this show is because I like to learn. I am such a life learner. I’m trying to improve professionally and personally all the time. I know the questions I have are the same questions other people who are reading are having as well. I like being vulnerable and letting everybody know that I go through problems too. Nobody who’s on a podcast is perfect. If they say they are, that’s crazy. That’s why we have the podcast to get ourselves better.
The value of all of these conversations is the raw humanity that comes from you, that comes from your guests and, personally, reassuring people, “Nobody has it all together. We’re all on a journey and it’s okay. Here’s what I’ve learned. Let me help. I’ll pull you along.” It’s the whole lift as you climb concept.
Here’s the best part, the free gift you’re going to give to everybody is your eBook. I’m excited about that. It’s pretty long. I remember making a comment to you about it too. Here’s what I would recommend. First of all, I’m a speed reader. For me, it was easy to get through it. I would go section by section and master it before you take the next section. I would say do it that way. It’s like the first of the year, if you’re going to try to quit smoking and stop drinking and work out and show more love, you’re not going to do any of them.
Take your time to learn what she’s teaching. Reread it read. Relisten to it. Download the exercises and do the exercises. Put them away and then go back to them the next day and say, “I forgot this. Why did I say that?” That’s part of being able to do this. We always say this, “We’re speeding up to slow down instead of slowing down to speed up.” Slow down a little bit so that you can speed up in being able to create these habits much faster. I want to thank you for that because that is such a great gift to give to everybody. If someone wants to reach out to you, what is the best way? I know we have all kinds of links and stuff so that people can follow you and be with you and go hang out with you. What is the best way for someone to reach out to you if they want to continue this conversation?
The best way to do any interaction with me is through TheSixHabits.com. If you go there, you can get the audiobook, which is not available anywhere else except on my website. An autographed copy of the physical book. I can’t do eBooks because my brain will not compute. There’s also a 90-day habit mastery program. If you want to master these habits, you read the book and you’re like, “This is everything I’ve been looking for,” and you do the damn work that comes free with the book, the 90-day program will change your life. That’s where you can find out about it. You can follow and find my TED Talk when it comes out.
It’s funny too because people are like, “It can take me 90 days to do this.” If you try to do it on your own, it might take you 90 years. You decide.
Being the CEO of a marketing company, I want to leave everybody with a parting thought. This is all science at work here. Marketers love to tell you what you want to hear so you’ll buy stuff. Marketers want to tell you, “It’s 21 days to learn a habit. It’s 30 days.” These are things you think you can handle. However, I don’t BS people. If you want the results, you need science. Science says it’s 66 days. Since you’re a human, I’m a human and you’re probably as stubborn as I am, if not more so, 90 days has bumpers on it. You’ll get successful no matter what and no matter how stubborn you are.
No matter how difficult it is.
The truth is always convenient.
You took out weekends. People could fluff away on the weekends.
It is what it is. I built this whole thing initially for me because I am the most stubborn human alive, in my humble opinion. I needed something that was fully Laura proof so I could get that damn result no matter what and I could still be human, stubborn, and me and make excuses, “I don’t feel like doing this.”
Laura, it’s fun talking to you. I know we’re going to continue to talk about all kinds of other things. For those of you that are reading, I’ve already talked to Laura about coming and speaking at one of my workshops. More information will be coming in on that as it comes about. I hope that she can come and speak to one of them. We’re crossing our fingers. You need to be live, not virtual live at one of my workshops.
Do I have to wear pants?
No. Wear a dress. It’s okay. We’re going to get more and more of Laura as time goes on. I want to say thank you for coming and sharing this with me. I love how real you are and how authentic you are. Hopefully, you made some people laugh. They had some a-ha moments and great breakthroughs so that they can take the next steps to find their happiness and chase their dreams like you’ve done for yourself as well. Thank you again so much for being with us.
I am honored to spend time with you. It’s always a blast. I’m excited to do all kinds of great stuff with you. Thank you for having me.
Everybody, thank you again for reading. Please don’t forget to give us a great rating and write a review. Let us know what you loved about this show. If you ever have a topic that you want to discuss or if you know someone who has gone from success to significance or has experienced multiple glass ceiling breakthroughs in their lives, let me know. I’d love to bring them on the show and share their stories as well. Thank you for taking time out of your day to spend it with us. We are eternally grateful. That’s a little gratitude right there. We’ll catch you next time.
- Laura DiBenedetto
- The Six Habits
- Vision Advertising
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About Laura DiBenedetto
I’am an ordinary person who’s been through the ringer, and came out swinging. I don’t consider myself to be special, and because I’ve done great things with my life as an ordinary person, I’m on a mission to show you how to build the extraordinary from right where you are now, just in case you’re ordinary too.
Like you, my resume doesn’t describe what’s most important: who I am or why I’ve done what I’ve done. But… it’s below if you’re curious. Who I am is the story I’d rather tell you… because you and I have more in common than you might think. I’m the woman who for years felt crippling self doubt and stopped herself from going after what she wanted, never believing she was worthy. I’m the woman who would be depressed for months on end as winter set in and the blackness of the season wreaked havoc on my mindset and I hated my life and everyone and everything in it. I’m also the woman with ADHD who struggled for years to get out of her own way, took enough swings to hit a few, and who never learned to love herself. I let people walk on me for years, and I lost more than I’ve won.
At the core of all of that, I’m the woman who never thought others liked me, so I’d kill myself to do anything it would take so others would like me… because *I* never liked me. I was the living embodiment of the opposite of the happiness I’m dedicated to living and sharing now.
One day when I got a massive career win and it felt like total nothingness… I knew something was wrong, and decided to do something about it. I decided to discover what happiness really was and how to create it. In my quest to address my own pain, I discovered something so much greater than myself or the pain… I discovered the formula for a truly happy life that anyone could use. It wasn’t success, beauty, a certain number on the scale, or an amount in the bank. It was all in the mind.
When I put the formula to work, I changed my life. When I shared the formula, others changed their lives. In sharing the formula with you… I hope to give you the gift of the most tremendous happiness you’ve ever felt.