I’m so excited to have my friend, John Lee Dumas, as my first guest on the Manifest That Miracle podcast!

John is the host of the award-winning podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire which boasts guests such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Barbara Cochran, and Tim Ferriss.

With over 1.5 million+ listens a month, and seven-figures of annual revenue, JLD is a legend.

He is also a good friend and an exceptional human being so I was so thrilled to have him on the podcast!

We spoke about how he overcame trauma he suffered in the Army and how his trauma led him to his biggest miracle.

John and I go deep and cover the crucial insights and decisions that led him to success and fulfillment.

This episode is a vulnerable conversation between two friends who love to challenge each other so I hope you enjoy our humor and candor.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • The surprising way John defines what a miracle is — and how it changed the way he thinks about goals
  • How trauma he suffered in the Army lead him to his biggest manifestation
  • The series of broken promises that crushed him, but it also allowed him to change everything
  • John’s low-stress method for figuring out the right things to say YES to and what to say NO to across all areas of his life
  • How he’s working to transform his relationship with food into a healthy, supportive one and why this is an edge
  • The power of micro-wins and whether discipline is as important as focus

Lana: [00:00] It's my first interview and it is an epic one.
[00:04] Today my guest is John Lee Dumas, who is the host of Entrepreneur on Fire, an award-winning Podcast, where he interviews inspiring entrepreneurs who are truly on fire. His guests have included Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, Barbara Cochran, Tim Ferriss, and many others. With over 2000 episodes, I think it's closer to 2500 now, 1.5 million listens a month, and seven figures in annual revenue, JLD, as his listeners know him, is just getting started. Now you're going to get to hear a lot about John in our interview and how his trauma, his challenges really set him up for the success and miracles.
[00:42] As a little background here, John was born and raised in Maine, he went to college on an ROTC scholarship and was commissioned by the US Army to be an officer. During his four years of active duty, he served 18 months in Iraq. We will talk about that in the episode and how this shaped him. After serving in the army, John really struggled to find his next goal. He tried law school, life insurance, commercial real estate, and none of them really lasted. Driving to all of these jobs he didn't feel passionate about, John came up with the idea to launch a daily podcast, interviewing today's most successful and inspiring people. No one else was doing it. That's when he decided to create it. And the rest is history.
[01:25] How I know John is actually quite extraordinary and miraculous. When we first considered moving to Puerto Rico, I had looked at YouTube videos of people who've done it, and I saw him doing a video about this dream home, which was so spectacular, and so beyond anything I thought that I could have. And lo and behold, a couple years later, when we were visiting Puerto Rico, without knowing anybody here, we got connected to a friend of a friend who said, “Hey, come over for dinner. There's a birthday party happening.” And we showed up and John and Kate, who is the engine behind Entrepreneur on Fire, and John's better half, they were there. And I ended up meeting him and the next day, ended up showing up at his house, which was such a surreal moment for me because I had just visioned it, dreamed it, thought about it, and boom, here we were.
[02:15] And I thought on his social media and his podcast, he's so jolly, and he's got so much energy, and so I wasn't sure how he was going to be in person. And I just found myself so comfortable with him. He's such an open book. He's so genuine and present, I was really just impressed. And over the last couple years since we've moved to Puerto Rico, John and Kate have become some of our closest friends. We've had so many incredible conversations about life, about entrepreneurship, about family, about trauma, about challenges, frequently over dinner, because John will never refuse a dinner invitation when my husband is cooking. And I even told John one time, “I can't wait to have a podcast so I can have you on so that I can share these conversations because they are so inspiring and rich, and I want to share them with the world.”
[03:05] So this conversation was so incredible, and John really dove into how his traumatic experiences in the army really led him to some of his biggest miracles and biggest breakthroughs. How breaking promises to families of soldiers who he promised to bring home turned pain into gain. We discussed the power of little daily decisions and how they are the biggest factors of success. And we talked about his Freedom Journal, Mastery Journal, which I use and love in order to stay focused and increase productivity and celebrate the daily wins. John also gave us a surprising take on the key to life, and I even teased them and coached him a little bit on his relationship to food. It was an amazing conversation between two great friends who admire and respect each other and I know you will love it. So enjoy this episode and let me know what you think at the end.
[04:03] Welcome to Manifest That Miracle podcast. My name is Lana Shlafer. I bring years of experience as a mindset coach and law of attraction expert to share with you mindset, strategy, and inspiration to do the impossible. My guests and I are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. My commitment to you is to show up fully and imperfectly so we can learn and grow together. Are you ready to manifest that miracle? Let's get started.
Lana: [04:36] John, welcome to the Manifest That Miracle podcast!
John: [04:40] Lana, I am fired up to be here. Thanks for having me.
Lana: [04:44] Two fiery personalities getting together is definitely going to ignite something. I really wanted you to be my first guest for a couple of reasons and I sent you a video explaining them, and I want to fill others in on our connection, our relationships so they know why this is so meaningful. A), you're like the king of podcasts, so, fit for a queen. I love that you have inspired so many to start podcasting and to really understand how to connect with people through it, how to educate, how to entertain, and how to monetize it so it's a great part of your business. So I'm thrilled that you have provided some inspiration to so many and to me. Two is, I don't think I'd be in Puerto Rico, certainly not in Palmas Del Mar without you being the first mover. And then just really, we'll talk about my first impression of you in a minute because I definitely had some assumptions going in when I met you. But you were absolutely so welcoming and really were a key part of this huge transition our life.
[05:46] And third, but not least, is that you are a military veteran, and we are releasing this episode on 11/11. And you are not only a veteran, but you're one of the most healed. I don't know how else to say this, but you are one of the most well-adjusted veterans that I have ever met and so I definitely want to dive into that. So for all of this, I want to start by saying thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being you. Don't make me cry with gratitude just yet, we're just starting. But I hope we can have a real, honest, leading-edge conversation because you and I know each other personally now for a couple of years and we have epic conversations. I want there to be a recording of it so we can listen back and other people can be involved. So let's start with this. What's your definition of a miracle?
John: [06:33] So for me, a definition of a miracle is something that you desire to happen at your core and you also believe that the chances of that happening are infinitesimal, and it happens. And that has happened to me numerous times in my life where I've literally thought the chances, the percentages of X, Y, or Z happening were almost nil, but I wanted it, I needed it, I just absolutely went forward towards it with very low expectations for various reasons, and then it happens. And it's usually like a snap of the fingers where you're grinding away, and you still think it's so far away, then you wake up one morning, and it's right there at your doorstep. And you're like, “Oh, that's the thing that I've been wishing, wanting, praying,” whatever form you do for that thing that's so important to you is and that's really my definition of it.
Lana: [07:33] I love that. And let's pick a specific example because I feel like that is what brings it to life. Think of the biggest miracle you can imagine that you've created and let us know what were some of the roles of mindset and the role of action? Because this is always really tricky in the law of attraction and sort of spiritual and mindset community. There is this sort of tension naturally. It seems like you don't need to do, do, do, do, do, you need to be, be, be, be, be but then how do you be the doing and do the being? So I want to hear about a specific miracle that you’ve created that seemed impossible. And looking back, what were some of the key mindset shifts that you had and key actions that you took?
John: [08:15] The first thing that comes up to me that I think is super relevant to stuff that you've already shared about my journey is going back to my military experience, because you so kindly shared the fact that you have seen in me one of the more healed veterans that you have experienced for various reasons. And the reality is, that was definitely not always the case. For me, when I was 23 years old, in Iraq leading a platoon of 16 men, four tanks, in a war type environment, seeing 25%, four of those soldiers in my platoon make the ultimate sacrifice, not to mention the other things that I saw going around me during that year of deployments, that really hit me hard at 23 years old. Because it was such a drastic change to go from living for 23 years in the United States, always feeling pretty protected pretty safe, having the best four years of my life in college, which was very carefree and responsibility-free, to the stark difference of “Okay, now you're graduated college, you're in the army, you're an officer, now you're in war, now you're leading men, now you're seeing death, now you're experiencing near-death yourself on a fairly consistent basis.” It was just so much to handle. There was such a stark contrast. Again, those first 23 years of my life leading up--
Lana: [09:38] Did they by the way give you any psychological prep?
John: [09:43] Zero psychological prep. The only prep they give you is military training, 74 shots of vaccinations that I'm sure I've had negative repercussions in a lot of different ways in my body, and zero psychological prep. It was all mission-focused, nothing to do psychologically. So that was one area that the US Army really came up short. They crush it in a number of areas where they do great, but that's unfortunately not one of them. And so kind of fast-forwarding through this story, though, is getting to 26 years old, reintegrating back into the civilian world, I really struggled of having this situation. I just remember walking around Walmart and being like, “Wow, I just don't feel like I'm in the same universe as these other individuals because of what I've seen and what I've experienced.” It was just a very weird feeling.
[10:32] And to get specific to the miracle point of it is, for literally 12 months after I got back from Iraq, I would wake up every single night, somewhere between like, 1 am and 3 am, not just sweating, like your normal night sweats, but so just drenched in sweat that I would have to literally either move to the other side of the bed, but usually, that was still drenched because I was so wet, I had to shower, I’d have to towel off, change the sheets, do the whole thing. And this was every single night. There were no dreams, that was just happening to me every single night. And what was such a dark spot in my heart at that time was I literally thought I was going to be dealing with that the rest of my life. I honestly believed that was what I was having. So at the time, I'm single, and I'm just like, “I'm never going to be able to be in a relationship because there's no way anybody could ever sleep in the same bed as me.” Any chance, no way. And there's no way I want to talk about this or explain this. And I thought that this was just my lot in life.
Lana: [11:32] Did you talk to anyone about this? Did you open up eventually? You had to, right?
John: [11:38] Eventually I did. And that was my mistake is that it took me so long, but eventually, it was probably more like month 10 or 11, so it had been almost that full 12-month cycle, I finally went to see a military psychologist. I sought him out on my own and I sat down and I shared it with him, and he's like, “Hey, this is actually fairly normal. You spent 13 months essentially at such a high, intense, adrenaline state that your body now is literally, every night, is just expunging this excess adrenaline that you no longer have a need for, that you did while you were in Iraq, but you don't have it anymore. It's expunging it. He's like, “Honestly, I'm a little bit surprised it's gone on so long, probably because you never sought correct help to know that this was actually kind of normal. So now you're adding stress on top of that, anxiety on top of that, adrenaline on top of that, which is continuing to keep you in this state. But just let me tell you that this is not super abnormal. You just need to take a break, to meditate, to relax, and to just let your body naturally heal itself.” And I really believe it was because of that, walking out of that office being like, “Okay, I thought all this time, I was putting all this stress and anxiety on myself that there was something wrong with me.”
[12:47] And again, I thought it would be an absolute miracle to get on the other side of that, to actually be asleep through a night and not wake up just drenched in sweat. And I did not think that was possible. I thought that was going to be my lot in life. Then another like 30 or 45 days passed where that was still happening, but I could see my body was kind of relaxing a little bit, understanding from his words that this wasn't super abnormal. I'll never forget that first day that I went to sleep, and I woke up the next morning and I was just like, “Wait a second, I'm literally still under my covers, I had a full night's sleep, I'm not even warm, let alone sweating. This is unbelievable.” And then from that point on, two or three nights a week, I would still have that. And then it went down to one or two nights a week. And then finally, probably after 16 or 18 months, it just essentially stopped. And that, to me, was this miracle because I never thought I was going to see the other side of that. And again, shame on me, because it's something that I could have and should have sought out, is somebody to talk to at a much earlier timeframe, but I didn't. And that's something that I look back on.
Lana: [13:53] Shame on me is such a great expression because one of the things that I recognized over the years of studying healing is that shame is unexpressed pain. And when you went into that office, and you said, “Well, I don't know if there's any help, but I'm going to ask this professional if they can help me.” And I hope that if that person couldn't, that you would keep looking. And how often we are taught, and I know for me, this is a huge still point of growth is to ask for support and not stop until I get it. To keep looking for the solution versus “This didn't work. I guess this is my lot in life,” and how people just shrink their own possibilities and their own playground and then it really feels stuck, not because the situation is that bad, but because they have no hope. The difference between having that little bit of hope and not having it is huge. So how were you able to sort of use this to then create everything else? And obviously, I've done an intro already to you - people know your highlights and successes, but these kind of formative experiences really do frame how we rise in challenges going forward. So how did this experience of having this trauma, and then finding a way to address it and to heal it, how did that then set you up for the success you're experiencing now?
John: [15:13] Yes. So quickly to circle back, though, to something that you said that I really loved and I think is so true and so key in how I was able to make that miracle happen for me of being able to just sleep through a night without waking up in terrible sweats is that I had that particle of hope that was given to me by that individual who said, “Oh, no, this isn't so abnormal. You will get over this.” That's literally all I needed to hear. That's all I needed to hear. Because the fact that I wasn't hearing that beforehand, because I hadn't sought out that advice, was causing me to even go deeper into the anxiety and the stress and pour it into me and onto me, and that was continuing to exacerbate that whole situation. So you're so right, just getting that one particle of hope, literally was like that seed that just blooms into what ended up being essentially the miracle cure of me not having to deal with that. Again, not overnight, not over a month, but very reasonably over a timeframe, which was so huge.
[16:13] And so for me then moving forward and going into what ended up kind of being what I call my six years of struggle is what happened after that point. So I'm 26 years old, I've now been able to get over this anxiety and night sweats and all that stuff that I was dealing with, but now I'm just like, “Okay, now I'm free. I have some money in the bank, I have very low cost of living, I can literally go and pursue pretty much anything,” I had all these great opportunities. And I will say, I'm glad that I did this as well. I took a lot of opportunities to travel. So I spent a few weeks in Costa Rica, traveling through the jungles. I ended up living in Guatemala for four months. I ended up backpacking all of India for four months. So I really took these opportunities to get out and to travel and to have fun and to experience different cultures and things along those lines.
Lana: [17:04] Let’s pause that for a second because you’re saying so many great things. Because there are so many people who are like, “Yeah, but my parents expect me to finish college and get a job, and I have no money,” and I'm in all of these excuses. It's not like you were made out of money. It's not that-- I know your parents, they had high expectations of you and I'm sure they were not thrilled that John has taken off to backpack around Costa Rica, or whatever. So how did you give yourself permission to do this? Because one of the things that I'm guessing happened is that you've just seen enough of the world that you're like, “Life is short, I am going to live it up.” Like that kind of trauma, if you want to say, in the military, and having seen so much, the darkness, the dark side of life, how did you give yourself permission to essentially do this? How did you not lock yourself into some slave-driving job that was like, “Okay, now I got to do this how the rest of the world is taught through our school system and our parents”?
John: [18:00] I was able to take those dark moments you're talking about, and really turned them into a positive mindset. And specifically, what I mean by that is, during those 13 months, I had those four soldiers that were unfortunately killed in action. And so when that happens, you do have a fairly serious military funeral that's set up to honor “the ultimate sacrifice”, we call it. And at each time, you kind of walk up to the coffin, and you slowly give that individual what's called “The Last Salute.” And so I had to do that four times throughout my 13-month tour of duty. And what was really even additionally heartbreaking on top of that, beyond the obvious, is that every one of those soldiers, I had looked in the eyes of their wife or their parents, and I'd said, “I will bring your son home.” Because in an armor platoon, it's all men, and so that was a situation where I was looking at the wives, I was looking at the mothers, I was looking at the fathers, and I was saying, “I will bring your son or husbands home to you.” And, of course, in those four scenarios, I failed. And I had to be completely honest that this was my responsibility that I failed in.
[19:15] But what I mentally did during that last salute is I made a promise to each one of those soldiers that was laying in the coffin in front of me, I said, “Listen, I am going to refuse to live a life that's not worthy of the freedom and opportunity that I've been given. So I am not going to squander the opportunity if I'm able to make it out of here because again, this was still during the tour of duty. I said, “If I do make it out of Iraq in one piece and alive, I am pledging to you to refuse to live a life less than what I'm worthy of living.” And I'm doing that to essentially honor their memory, honor what they had sacrificed. So that's why, Lana, every time I came up to one of those moments that you're talking about where my parents were like, “Yeah, but you should be going and doing this more serious career path,” or “You should be in staying law school,” or “How can you be quitting your corporate finance job during a recession?” I was hearing that from everybody around me. I would think back, and I would say, “That promise that I made to those four individuals, am I living up to that promise by staying here, by doing something that I know is not worthy of the life that I know I can and want to lead?”
[20:30] And so that was what I call my defining moment that I was able to go back to, that I was able to draw strength from, because believe me, it was hard to drop out of law school. It was hard to walk out of the door of a cushy corporate job during a recession when they had been very clear that I was going nowhere. It was very hard to drive cross country to San Diego to a city where I knew nobody and had no job prospects. And all the things that I did during those six years of struggle that I had mentioned, all those things were hard, but drawing on the strength of knowing that I was going to keep my promise to those four individuals, taking that dark moment and turning it into strength.
Lana: [21:09] This is so like the philosophy in my book is you can and should. And that's what it's designed to do - turn pain into gain. All of your greatest pain is manifesting fuel if you know how to tap into it. That's like the miracle mindset if you want to call it that. So I love what you're saying because I feel this was my ancestors. So my grandfather is Jewish and became an orphan with his twin brother during World War II. And all the stories I heard growing up, all of the struggles-- And my grandma, same thing. My dad had struggled being in an anti-Semitic country, and all of the challenges. My mom-- I grew up with this lineage of struggle and pain. And when we got to the US, and I had tried fulfilling the American dream, I was like, “Okay, let's go. I'm going to struggle my way through this.” And I was sort of at the pinnacle of success. I mean, I had a six-figure job investment banking, flying all over the place first class. And deep inside, I was like, “Is this what my ancestors died for? This is the extent of this? Because I am miserable.”
[22:17] And I feel still to this day this like, I like to think of as like the wind beneath my wings, propelling me. I feel like I am the answer to their prayers, and I'll be damned if I squander it. It gives that fire and that drive. You had that in your actual physical life experience and that's the foundation of success you've built, right? How can you sort of look at everything you've created without that foundation without that formative sort of experience that you stand upon? And so often people want to dismiss or hide away or skip over the pain and the challenges. They're like, “Yeah, I just want to get to the shiny stuff.” I’m like, “But this is the path, right? This is the path.”
John: [22:59] Well before you go into something Lana, I really want to just share another example of what you and I are talking about, that I think maybe other people could resonate with, as well or better than what we're talking about. And that's the sunk cost fallacy. And this literally sinks more ships and destroys more lives than anything else that I know. Quick example, somebody spends one year in medical school, and they hate it. They know they're miserable but guess what? They've invested $40,000 into med school, and all their parents and friends are so “proud” of them, so they relegate themselves to another 40 or 50 years of misery because of one year that they've “invested”. Somebody that goes to nursing school, or like I did with law school, I did one semester, so many people were right in my boat. There were people that loved it, and they were going to go on to crush it and be great lawyers, good for them. There are other people just like me, though, that are like, “What are we doing here?” We had these conversations, but they're like, “Well, I've got my loan in and I spent the money. I guess this is--" You know, they were resigning themselves to this life because of the sunk cost fallacy.
[24:08] And so what I want to just let people know, just like I've had to do, by the way, so many times in my life, I've had to wake up and I’ve had to say, “Hey, today is a brand new day. What direction is my heart, is my soul, is my gut, is my intuition telling me to go towards? What direction is that? And if that's not the direction I've been heading in, then I need to make a change. And I need to look at the past and say, “The past is the past. The past does not own me. The past does not rule me. The past is not going to continue to make me unhappy if it's been doing so in the past. It’s not going to continue to make me unhappy in the future. Today is a new day. I’m shifting my direction. I'm pointing my boats in a new path. I'm following a different North Star,” whatever that might be for you.
[24:55] And I've had to do this, Lana, literally six distinct times, but like 700 minuscule, indistinct times, and it's the reason why literally, and I can say this with complete honesty, and you've seen it because you've been living in Palmas with me for two years now, and I've been here now for four years total, is it's brought me exactly where I want to be. I want to be in the house that I’m at. I want to be in the relationship that I'm in. I want to be in the community that I'm living at. I want to be in the business that I'm in. And it was not a straight path here. And it was not without making a ton of hard decisions, but I had to make those six unbelievably hard decisions, those 600 smaller and difficult and still challenging decisions. But boom, here I am 40 years old, and I'm right where I want to be. And I can say that with complete and genuine honesty.
Lana: [25:50] Love it! And I feel like the small decisions that you're talking about-- So my definition of worthiness is giving yourself permission to do what you need to do. Like what you know you need to do, like what your body, your heart, your soul is calling to do. So what gave you the permission? What gave you the permission to say, “I deserve this,” or “I'm going to go for this,” or “I'm going to try this”? Is it the fact that you felt like if “I don't, I am dishonoring the mates that had transitioned”? Especially in those micro ones. The micro ones are the harder ones because--
John: [26:26] Those are the tough ones.
Lana: [26:27] They're so. It's like, it's internal. Other people can't see it. It feels so icky or uncomfortable. You know you got to make a decision or redirect, but it's not so obvious and in your face where your back is against the wall. How do you approach something like that? What are the steps that you take? What are the questions you ask of yourself? What are the processes and tools you use?
John: [26:49] So there is a phrase that goes along with what you just said that I'm a big believer in, which is “What's easy to do is also easy not to do.” And so that's why that resonates so well with what you said about those little decisions. It's so easy just to let those little decisions kind of fluttered away. But then before you know it, you've done that a few times where you haven't made the right choice on those little decisions enough that you're way off course. It's literally like that plane that takes off from San Francisco. It's adjusting in the air thousands of times landing in New York. And it doesn't adjust it just a handful of those times, it's going to be somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s not even close.
Lana: [27:28] Yep. That one-degree shift will take it in a totally different course. Yeah
John: [27:32] One degree over time. And that's where I look back on my journey and where I really clicked with this was reading two books called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Actually, Jeff Olson was Darren Hardy's mentor, so these books actually build off of each other. And the book just underlies that very truth of just doing the small things right every single day leads to massive success. Goes from that slight edge to a massive edge of success down the line, because of the compounding effect, because of you continuously doing the right things. Like hey, listen, getting up seven days, and working out every day for seven days, over a month, you're not going to see massive results. You might feel a bit better and this or that, but man, in a year, you're going to be a different person in the mirror by doing that one thing every day that you otherwise might not have done. And so these small decisions compound on top of themselves. And to me, that's been everything.
[28:27] So like you said, yes, I always can go back to my core - those four promises I made to those four soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice - for the really tough things. But for those day to day, those little micro difficulties that we're always going to face and always going to challenge us, for me, it's kind of more of a forward-looking thing where I'm saying, “Okay, finger on my pulse right now, looking at my North Star, which is the direction I want to be leading towards, is that still the right location? Is that still the right direction that I'm heading in?” And it's a simple answer for me. When I wake up and I take my pulse and I look at my North Star, my answer is yes, and I keep moving towards that. And guess what? Not every single day you're going to wake up and be like, “Oh, my God, I know I'm doing the exact right thing.”
[29:13] In fact, a Steve Jobs quote is, “Hey, when you look into the mirror, you to ask yourself, ‘Am I doing what I want to be doing?’” And if you don't say, yes for multiple days in a row, meaning you're saying no multiple days in a row, then you might want to say, “Okay, let's identify this.” But we all have our days. Lana, you've had your days. I've had my days. I had one just actually last week where I was just like, “Well, I just need to stop doing everything that I'm doing. Nothing's working. I hate everything that I'm seeing in front of me right now. Let's get out. Let's go play some pickleball. Let's go for a walk. Let's go snuggle with Gus, my dog. My little seven-month-old golden doodle. Let's just disconnect from this.” And then when I reconnected the next day, I was like, “I love it. I'm back on track. My North Star is right. I’m where I want to be. Let's do this.” So neither Lana nor I are going to be like, “Oh my god, we know, every second of every day that we are just living this perfect life.” There are still struggles and challenges and obstacles and ups and downs but it's that overall feeling of taking that pulse that makes you know you're on the right path.
Lana: [30:17] So I call this “stop, drop, realign”. There are those micro degree shifts that you're constantly doing, and a lot of the stop is just be aware. The drop is you got to walk away. It's like a hot potato, just set it down for a second. You'll get so much perspective by walking away, and then you can realign. And one thing that you said is an exercise in my book, The Future You, is I think about would the future me be deciding this way or this way? Or the me that I am moving towards and becoming, how would that version of me approach this? And a lot of times, it brings so much clarity on the decision. It's like you're taking your pulse, not just where you've been, but where you want to go. And that allows you to see very clearly, “Ugh, this is not what I want to continue into my future.”
[31:02] So those of you listening, I really want to take a moment to think what is your North Star? What are some experiences that you've had? What are some promises that you've made? Or if you haven't, start today. What is the promise you want to make to yourself? I think of in terms of my kids and my grandkids, I want to be able to look them in the eye and be able to say, “You can do anything because I did.” Or “This is possible for you because I live this.” So I want to ask a question about today and about now. And you talked about some of the daily sort of ups and downs and challenges because people have this idea that you're so perfect, and you never have any struggles and you live in your stunning home with your dog and your happy partner, and everything is so great, right?
John: [31:46] Remember, you were also supposed to talk about your first impression of me when you first met.
Lana: [31:50] Oh, yeah, I thought you were full of yourself and full of yourself is a great thing in my book, I just assumed that you were going to be fake. That's just my real, because you kind of have this personality, right? And one of the compliments that people often give me that I also gave you was, “Oh my God, you're so real. You have other facets to your personality. They just don't all come out in a 30-minute video that you did. But you are so authentic and real and open and engaging and interested. And so I just sort of assumed you would be a little standoffish and kind of put on a face.
John: [32:37] Yeah, which is not uncommon in our industry. I mean, there's a lot of people who kind of have those two different personas.
Lana: [32:34] It's always striking to me because then I don't know how to react. I’m like, “Am I talking to this one or this one? I don't know who I’m talking to, which faces.” But the thing is, you are so open. I think that's a part of-- I don't know if you know this, but I think one of your strengths is really that you are willing to be uncomfortable in a conversation and be vulnerable. That within itself has already oriented you in so many directions that you probably don't even know. Whatever got you there is a gift. And I feel like now I want to sort of let people in on what are the things that you're currently struggling with might be too strong of a word, but the things that are not clear to you yet, the things that are blocks or limits or things that you are now moving past and a year or five in the future will be in the rearview mirror but right now feel very real, and maybe there's a growth edge and there's discomfort. What are they? And how are you addressing it? What are you doing about it? How are you thinking about it? How are you supporting yourself through it?
John: [33:34] Yeah, so the biggest thing that I'm struggling with on the business side of things, and then we can definitely talk about on the health side of things, too, which is a huge - as you know - focus in my life, for sure.
Lana: [ 33:45] I always make fun of you for your crazy health kicks.
John: [33:47] Yeah, for obvious reasons. I mean, I am just really having a difficult time. And I've gotten better over the past year, but I'm still just trying to find the right path on this. And this is what every entrepreneur is going to kind of be experiencing in their journey as well is that you first start off, like, rewind for me back in 2012. I was looking for any opportunity. I was saying yes to everything. If you said, “John, can you fly to Mars today to be a guest on a show that gets to viewers?”, I'd say, “Put me in a spacesuit, let's roll. I’m off. And it doesn't matter if it's going to take a week. I don't care if I get space sick. I'm there.” I was saying yes to everything. And that's great. That was like a season in my career, 2013, ‘14, ‘15 when I was saying yes to every opportunity. I was just blessed and honored to have the opportunities. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and my calendar was always checked in full and just I was going, going going, and it was great. I look back very fondly on those memories. But then I shifted into another season of my life where I became a lot more intentional about what I was saying yes to and what I was saying no to, and this is more like the ‘16, ‘17, ‘18 kind of range. And this is years 2016, etc., where I was saying yes to a lot of things, but I was definitely starting to say no to certain things that were just, I know, not going to add value to what I was trying to grow. Go ahead, Lana.
Lana: [35:11] It’s like a muscle, right? It's a muscle. At first, it's so hard. You're like, “Oh, no, these people are going to hate me, no one's going to ask me again, this is going to cost me. How dare I?”
John: [35:21] And the FOMO like, “This might be the best thing in the world and then I've missed out.” And so you're so worried about missing out and FOMO and all that jazz. But I started developing that muscle, like you said, because I started using it. I started realizing, “Oh, it actually feels amazing to have a more open schedule. And all those things that I missed actually, weren't the end of the world and they still went on without me, and everything was good for them and everything was good for me.” And then in ‘19, and ‘20, these past two years, I've really ratcheted it up and I am now just basically a no for everything. And there's actually a Derek Sivers quote, which I love is that “If it's not a heck yes, it's a no.” It's just an absolute no. And that's really where I'm getting to. Again, that's where I'm struggling because I still need to get to that point. I still see some things like every Monday, I sit down, I open my Google Calendar up and I’m just like, “John, you did it again, not a lot, but there are just a few things on this schedule that just don't need to be there that you've committed to. So now you're doing it, but they just don't need to be there.”
[36:23] And that's one of my biggest struggles because it takes away from your creativity time, it takes away from your free time, it takes away from your recuperating, rejuvenating, refresh time, which I'm very passionate about. It’s kind of shift over now to the health side of things. I'm so passionate about exercise and I have a virtual trainer I work out with three days a week. From time to time, I force Lana to come over and put me through one of her sessions. That's a butt-kicker, I will tell you. That kicks my ass all day, every day. I'm usually sore for a week after that.
Lana: [36:54] I think people don’t even know because it's not what I lead with, that I did years of yoga and yoga training, and--
John: [37:00] Yeah, you're intense.
Lana: [37:01] And I love the body, period, and movement. And it's such a part of my approach to life. And that's something that people I think, also forget, that you are in your body all day and that's where you get to live and that's where a lot of the clarity and the messages and the signals are coming from. And if you're not in it, you're missing all of that information and wisdom. So yes, back to working out. Yes?
John: [37:23] Yeah. And you're completely right, and that's one thing that I missed for really the first four years of my business was I was just so business-centric and so business-focused, I let that part of the body, you know, I just kind of ignored it to the degree where it was hurting me in all facets of my life because that was just the reality. And so having my workout with Jeff three days a week, doing my off day workouts, which he gives me which are shorter, but still pretty intense. I have an infrared sauna that I'm obsessed with, so I love getting in there and just sweating it out and I feel great after that. You and I have both recently become passionate about a racket sport, it's actually called pickleball. And we've been having a lot of fun with that. And that's been actually honestly a big missing component of my life. Because listen, I love throwing weights around and doing yoga, and getting in my sauna but, man, there's just something about competition and about having a teammate, which pickleball is typically two v. two, and just getting out there, and having a great kick butt workout, but feeling at the same time, like you're just having fun, which is what we do during pickleball. And so that's been a huge value add to my life, just in the last month, literally. I’ve only been playing for like three weeks now and it's been so much fun.
[38:31] And the final shift that I'm still trying to get into my life is-- This is an absolute struggle with me, which is a struggle with 99% of humans. I don't take it too hard on myself, but it's nutrition. It's really dialing in the right foods and consuming them at the right times in the right amounts and all that jazz, and just really doubling down and focusing on real foods, healthy foods, not preservatives, none of that crap. I just basically just need to hire Francis to be my full-time chef.
Lana: [39:02] Francis is my husband who is an amazing cook. But you and I have had some words about this, and maybe we'll bring you back for another time once I'm done sort of coaching on this. Because you know I have all these eating disorders and everything I went through, and I got heavily into nutrition and was very controlled, so I feel like I've been on every aspect of this and quite intensely because I am an intense person. I forced my husband to do the raw food diet with me for like a month, poor guy almost died. His body was not meant--
John: [39:30] He’s already super lean, I mean, goodness.
Lana: [39:31] I know. He’s like, “My jaw hurts from chewing all the nuts.” He did not handle that well at all. So it's that we need to feed ourselves emotionally first and foremost, and our emotions will result in the way that we approach everything in life including food. And I feel like that’s my tip for you, free tip, free coaching for John.
John: [39:54] Cool. I understand
Lana: [39:57] There's an emotional root, and when you are able to connect with that and discover that, you start to approach food as something that you just get to enjoy from a place of alignment and freedom and not resistance and not attachment. And I've told you, I've come around so full circle where every time I eat anything that other people think is bad or negative, I'm like, “I am going to get every vitamin, mineral, nutrition from this ice cream and I'm going to enjoy it to the max and this is serving my body.” And I connect with my body and say, “Body, do you feel good before, during, and after?” I care more about feeling good than anything else. And that's the shift where you just feel like you are taking care of yourself with all of these ways, including nutrition. And that's when you can extract the most out of everything.
John: [40:44] I still have a lot to learn from you, Lana.
Lana: [40:47] Well, I'll keep learning about podcasting from you and we'll trade. So a couple of questions that I want to wrap up with. One is, you have the journals that once I have my journals, which are going to be better than yours, I'm just saying that right now. It will be a competition.
John: [41:03] Yeah, yeah.
Lana: [41:04] You picked the two best names, so I'm going to need to come up with a better name. Mastery and Freedom. I mean, come on. I mean, Freedom Journal, which by the way, I have never told you this. I wanted to say this. So we met when we visited Puerto Rico, and I was like, “Okay, he's not a total douche. I actually really like John, so hey.” And then I ended up getting the journal, and I don't think I told you that I used this right before we moved to Puerto Rico.
John: [41:28] You did not tell me that.
Lana: [41:30] I did. I went through the whole hundred days. My focus was not to move to Puerto Rico. And I cannot remember because I don't have that original journal with me, I left it in Long Beach, but it was to get my business-- In my mind at the time, I was putting a limit. My business had to be at a certain place for me to move to Puerto Rico, but what ended up happening is I got my real goal, even though whatever dollar amount, or whatever I picked really was irrelevant at that time. And I want to talk about the role of daily focus for you because you're really into this. You're really disciplined, which I told you, I'm super not disciplined at all. I did a cameo on your blog when Kate interviewed me and I was like, “I do not believe in a routine. I don't like the word routine.” But this gives you this structure and foundation. I adapted it to me. You have a morning part to it, and you have an evening part to it. I added more emotional things and things I like to do. But talk to me about your sort of daily practices and why they are so important to you so much so that you created journals that are bestsellers all over the world.
John: [42:33] Yeah, and I'm happy to help you with that as well. I know you're going to create some amazing journals. And it's definitely an art to actually find the right people and places and distribution for those things.
Lana: [42:44] We’ll talk.
John: [42:45] We'll definitely have some future conversations. But to want to circle back to things that we've kind of been talking about which I love when conversations do this is they kind of develop some themes and this has definitely been happening with our conversation today, but it's just that man, doing the small things right every single day. And it doesn't have to be in a routine, it doesn't have to be at the same second and minute every single day. It just has to be there in your life when it's right in a consistent manner. It just adds up to massive, massive results. And so for everybody that I was speaking with, and this is back now rewinding to 2016 when I created the Freedom Journal, and I was asking these individuals “What are your biggest struggles?” And they say, “Well, John, we’d listen to your podcasts and all of the [interviewees] who are successful, they're just accomplishing these massive goals, but I don't even know how to accomplish a goal.” And I'm like, “Well just tell me what you're doing every day to get closer to the goal you have.” And they're just like, “Well, I'm not really doing anything every single day.” And I'm like, ‘Well, why would you think you're going to accomplish anything if you're not doing anything? I mean, it's not just like poof everything appears in front of you.”
[43:48] And so I kind of went through this process and this understanding, and I said, “Okay, what people need, number one, is the understanding of how to even set a goal. And there's a great acronym that I did not create is called SMART, which is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. And those are just five characteristics that every goal should have is those five to make it a SMART goal. So I incorporated that into the journal for people to actually learn how to set a correct goal that actually would mean something if they accomplished it. And then I set up a hundred day essentially accountability partner that will ensure that you accomplish that goal in those hundred days. Because a lot of people, they have this big goal, and it's just overwhelming and they're stressed, so they procrastinate. And so we just made things simple. We break them down now into 10-day sprints. So there's 10, 10-day sprints. So essentially, every 10 days, you're 10% closer to that goal, and you're able to have these micro wins along the way. So now you're like, “Wow, 10 days I accomplished it.” So now you're feeling accomplished throughout these hundred days.
[44:52] Every 25 days, we have what's called a “quarterly review” where you actually get to look back and say, “What worked? What didn't? What should I adjust moving forward?”, like really do a personal check-in with that. And that's just the structure of the journals, which does, I will say, start off, and what I think is something critical that we haven't touched upon, even though I know you're a huge believer in it, is gratitude. So the very first line of the journal every single day is “Something unique I am grateful for,” because I'm telling you, people don't understand the power of gratitude. And even people that do, those people do it wrong, because what they do is they just say, “I'm grateful for my kids. I'm grateful for my kids. I'm grateful for my kids. I'm grateful for my kids.”
Lana: [45:34] It’s [totes] repetitive, like lazy kind of--
John: [45:38] Yeah, then it just loses its meaning. And so I'm like, “Listen, I know you're grateful for your kids. Check. Okay, now, what are 99 things that you're grateful for beyond that?” So every day it’s meant to be something unique that you're grateful for. Look around and say, “Man, I'm just really grateful that I can walk over to that Keurig machine, and in 30 seconds, have a fresh brewed cup of coffee. I'm grateful for that.” And that just made me happy right there, just thinking about that. I never would have thought about that by the way, had we not been talking about that but now, I'm a little bit happier and I'm definitely more grateful for that machine. I want to give that machine a hug right now. And that's just a random example that I could have looked around and said it about anything.
[46:16] And so this journal, launched it on Kickstarter, just to kind of gauge interest for it. And Lana, it was such a needed product. It blew up. In 33 days, we did $453,000 in sales in 33 days. And since then…
Lana: [46:30] Miraculous!
John: [46:33] …We're way into the millions now of dollars in sales for the journal since then. We launched the Mastery Journal a year later, which did $280,000 in 33 days, and has since gone on to crush it financially as well sales-wise. And kind of back to your main point, your main question is, both of those journals, they really just encourage you to do the small things right every single day to move you forward. And what I'll kind of end with before I pass it back to you is one of the things in the Mastery Journal is productivity, because the focus of the Mastery Journal is being productive, disciplined, and focused. And what a lot of people don't realize with productivity, and I don't know for sure you struggle with this, Lana, but you might struggle with this is, a lot of people are busy. They're doing a lot of things. But what I say is, when you're being productive, you are producing the right content. And that's where most people are not doing things correctly.
Lana: [47:28] Not just checking things off. They think productivity is making a list and checking it off.
John: [47:32] Or doing all this work in this thing, but it's not the right thing. They're working so hard and they are doing work, but they're producing the wrong content. And then guess what? It's not super easy to know what the right content is. That's a challenge in and of itself of course.
Lana: [47:47] But this is where assessment has to come in. And this is what I love is that see, I feel like I-- Because you know the words discipline, productivity, those are not the words that I would use, but the way that you approach it is the same way that we approach it. I call it focus and consistency. That's what it takes. Focus and consistency, and you either win or learn. And both are huge wins and necessary steps. And so if you just keep focusing and adjusting that focus, like the micro alignment, the degree for where you're heading, and then taking consistent inspired action. My definition or my equation for miracles is inspired intention, meaning you are really connected to it body, mind, and soul, not just some intention you pick because your parents thought it was great, or you just thought a billion dollars would be great for just no apparent reason. Inspired intention plus inspired action, that's what leads to miracles. And that is an iterative process. You got to do it over and over and over again. And that's when you said, “And then it just happens,” but it didn't just happen.
John: [48:48] Are you looking for a co-host? Because I feel like we're crushing the game right now. This is good content.
Lana: [48:55] All right. Last question. You're sitting there in your rocking chair, wherever you're sitting, it's the end of your days and you are reflecting back on your life. I want you to think about two things. One is what is the biggest accomplishment that has the most meaning to you, or the biggest legacy that you want to create? The second one is the one key to life that you now feel like you have figured out.
John: [49:24] Cool. So I'll tackle the first one first. And what's interesting and we won't go down a rabbit hole because I don't know how much you agree or disagree with this, but the reality is, I'm not big on legacy. I don't really have any drive, any desire to build or create a legacy because honestly, when I'm gone, I'm gone and I'm good with that. There’s a quote--
Lana: [49:48] I am 100% with you. We are so on this.
John: [49:51] Really?
Lana: [49:52] I use that word for other people really to explain it, but legacy, I'm talking about a personal feeling of--
John: [49:59] I know what you're talking about and I'm going to that rocking chair that you are referencing, and I 100% have what that thing is. And it’s two words for me. It's ripple effect. It's the fact by that time-- I've currently done 2,700 episodes for Entrepreneurs on Fire. Hopefully, by that time, I'll be closer to 10,000 episodes of Entrepreneurs on Fire, and I'll be in my rocking chair and I'll be able to look and say, “Ripple effect. I had a ripple effect on this world.” And what I mean by that is that my podcast, or my books, or my journals, or the content that I've created in some way, shape, or form inspired somebody and somebodies, to go and do something that they otherwise may not have done. I've given them the courage or the idea or the permission or the confidence or whatever it is that they needed, I gave that to them, then they've gone off, and they've created something amazing for them that’s now inspiring a whole audience of people that is now being inspired by that person to go and do a whole creation to inspire another whole subset of people, and so on and so forth.
[51:03] So, me in that rocking chair, that second degree of separation knows me because I inspired them, but that third, fourth, fifth, sixth degree, they've never heard the name John Lee Dumas, and they never will, and I'm 100% good with that, which goes back to my legacy thing. I don't care. What I care about, though, is that they are off doing something amazing in this world, having that ripple effect. And that is what is going to make me smile in that rocking chair, for sure.
Lana: [51:29] And this is one of the reasons why I love you and we get along so well, because you're about impact, not some sort of influence or fame. It's very shallow, and it is just not satisfying. But when you have received the impact, and you feel the impact, there's no more satisfying feeling. And I want to add that it's not just what you've created, it's who you are. Like you, who you've become, how you've touched people just through being who you are, is, to me, the quality of presence that you show up with is the highest compliment to a person that I could give and the biggest sort of value that I could receive.
[52:06] So the second one--
John: [52:07] Well before the second one, one last thing. I really do think, and this could sound a little harsh, but I do believe it, that people who are really working so hard to build a legacy, I honestly believe that they're just a little bit naive. I mean, I really believe that they're naive to think that people are really going to care. And not that people are being mean, and just don't care, it's just that man, life is tough. Life is busy. Life is crazy. I mean, it is just very naive to think that a generation below us, four generations below us is really going to look at this legacy that we've created and be like, “Ahhh,” like this. It’s just like that, to me is just a very naive thought.
Lana: [52:51] Well, it comes from a wound, right? I mean, this is a big statement to make, but I stand by it, is it's the void. You want to fill the void. And when you are full and overflowing, you're like everybody else can create full and overflowing so I don't need to--
John: [53:07] And that does kind of go to something that I thought might come up and actually hasn't, but I think it's a very important topic, which is abundance versus a mindset of scarcity. I had a mindset of scarcity, for sure, in my 20s in corporate finance and all these things but I was able to shift into a mindset of abundance and I just feel like that has been one of my bigger drivers. So without going down that rabbit hole, what was the second thing you wanted to end with?
Lana: [53:31] The key to life according to John.
John: [53:34] The key to life, and this actually has to be credited to my uncle, who said this many, many times when I was super young and super impressionable that it really just stuck with me, in his words, were, “Be humble, be happy.” And when he said it over and over again to me as a young child, I always just equated the word humbleness with happiness. So I just thought, “Oh, to be happy is being humble.” And so that was really drilled into me at a young age and I feel like that has been a big key to my happiness in life.
Lana: [54:08] What does humble mean to you?
John: [54:11] Humble to me, of course, is another word for humility. And I think that the biggest mistakes and the biggest travesties that happen in this world is when people stop being humble, when people lose their humility because they think they can't be wrong, because they think that they are infallible, because they think that everything they say or do is right or is correct. And so for me, being humble is just realizing that to err is human, and we are all humans, and we just need to realize that I can learn from you; I can learn from every one of your listeners. Just because I've achieved a level of success both finding and business-wise and life doesn't mean that I'm better or worse, it just means that I am, in a lot of ways, lucky in timing and combined with some hard work and some effort and some opportunity. But at the end of the day, being humble to me is just always being open to learning from those around you.
Lana: [55:16] It's called “beginner's mind” in yoga to show up each practice each time like it is a new first time.
John: [55:23] I look at a homeless person in San Diego pushing a cart, and I'm like, “I 100% can learn something from that person. I'm positive. I have zero doubt.”
Lana: [55:33] But this is why you're walking around learning from everything, and everyone. And this is what makes you great. And then it overflows and you share it. And I think that that's something that people miss. They think that what you did made you great, but it's really your mindset with which you did it with that allowed for the greatness, for the success.
[55:53] We're going to have a part two and three, I don't know. This is going to become a frequent conversation. I love you, John. Thank you for taking the time. You really are an extraordinary human being, not just the sort of successes that people see, but the way that you show up in the small moments. I really consider you like a brother, and I'm just so grateful that you are my first guest and you get to be starting this podcast on this powerful note. So thank you for all of your wisdom.
John: [56:21] It's my pleasure. I do feel like we're family. I mean, you're able to keep me in my place like a good younger sister would and I'm grateful for so thank you--
Lana: [56:28] I’m only three months younger, okay?
John: [56:32] I didn't want to give it away. I was being generous and just letting everybody know you are younger than me and life is good.
Lana: [56:38] All right, take care.
[56:43] Thank you for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Manifest That Miracle podcast. I'd love to hear your reflections and any questions, so feel free to find me on social media and let me know. If you'd like to hear more, please subscribe on iTunes, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you're ready to learn why you don't have what you want, and how to get it, get a copy of my best-selling book, Manifest That Miracle at www.manifest.that.miracle.com.

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Be sure to check out the journals that we discussed in this episode (that I personally swear by!). You can grab the Mastery Journal here and the Freedom Journal here.

Connect with John at www.eofire.com or on Instagram and Facebook.

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