During a hot seat on our weekly Titans Xclerator call (they are now weekly instead of monthly—an over delivery as a “benefit” of COVID!), the member had a revelation.
And the ripple effects of his epiphany went way beyond what he was talking about—which led to a discussion about many other issues. I want to share some of the discussion with you today.
The facts around his hot seat centered on him attaining various assets—a list, endorsements, an attractive contract to do space ads and more—in an area of business he had learned well as a copywriter.
His question was how to monetize these assets.
As he started to talk about it, it was clear that there was lots of potential for this new venture but there was also no passion in his voice (or his body language—luckily we were on Zoom). 🙂
Then he started talking about his current copywriting projects that he was excited about (and not at all related to this “new business”).
He spoke about a spiritual calling in the religious space as well as some courses/presentations that were clearly lighting him up.
And those things were far from anything in his hot seat (despite how easily he could exploit the new venture).
His hot seat was about something new with potential but paled in comparison to other projects he was much more excited about.
Now this is not a post about “giving up the things that don’t jazz you in favor of things that serve your life’s purpose.”
Well, it’s partly about that.
It is more about that one day/some day when the circumstances fit and you are ready to go in the direction of your core mission.
There are many who only believe, “If not now, when?” Which is always a good question to ask.
However, I maintain that leaving a little room for legitimate circumstances which could cause a delay may be OK…although I’m not saying procrastinate forever.
Remember there are only two times, now and not now.
You just need to figure out when “now” is.
By the end of the call, he was prepared to negotiate out of the contract and give back all of the seemingly wonderful assets–and only focus only on the projects that spoke to him.
Rather than accept the gifts on a project that would only be about making money, he chose at this moment to make money inside his passions…now.
This is an obvious example of walking away from something which has no soul–although it could be profitable– in favor of other things that may not be as profitable currently but are completely uplifting.
For him, it’s also about asking a different question than “now/not now”—which is from the book Essentialism which asks you to rate everything you do, or rate every decision you make, as a “Hell Yes” or a “No.”
If “Hell Yes” is a 10, everything else below that is off limits and worth discarding.
I maintain that it just may not be the right time, every time, to discard 7’s and 8’s.
And even lower ratings under certain circumstances.
But not forever.
Our Xcelerator hot seat participant was at “now” because he could see exactly what he was giving up to go for what he really wanted.
But it’s not so easy for everyone to know when the time is right…or perfect…or on the other hand, “not now.”
If you were a member of the mastermind groups I am a member of, almost all entrepreneurs, and you sat on a hot seat where you asked these kinds of questions, you would receive thundering support telling you:
“Why are you doing THAT (i.e. the safe route, the financially secure route, maybe a route with little or no growth potential or relationship to your bigger purpose)…when you could be doing THIS (i.e. your mission in the world).”
Basically every time is “now” to entrepreneurs…and I’m not saying it’s wrong to think like that.
I will offer some different angles however.
I spent 34 years at one company, going from employee to intrapreneur.
Intrapreneur is not a word (yet!) but it means being entrepreneurial inside a larger entrepreneur-led company…with equity.
I waited a long time to get to “now” despite being encouraged often to make a break.
But as long as I was still passionate about the job, and I was still learning and growing, there was no reason to jump into something else (given my overall mission).
In 2015 I had my epiphany about my life’s work, realizing I had “done it” and it was time to “teach it.”
What if I hated my job for most of those 34 years?
Would I have been deceiving myself?
That was not my situation but I often think about if it had been.
And I don’t want to lecture anyone about leaving a comfortable situation despite it not being totally fulfilling.
Everyone has a different breaking point and everyone has a different tolerance for risk.
And everyone has to find out what fulfills them the most.
However, no one else can ever tell you when to make a move from job to mission. Or when to blend them. You can get advice, coaching and counsel…but I believe you’ll know it when you see it.
This applies when you go from job to job as well.
I recall that whenever I interviewed someone for a job at my old company, and they were unsure whether to come aboard, I would ask them to reflect even more about “what they are giving up?” rather than just “what is the opportunity here?”
It’s the same question for someone moving jobs as it is for someone who is seeking their “personal legend,” which is not always entrepreneurial. (Shout out to Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist).
And then there’s copywriter Jim Rutz…who stayed in both camps his entire career…ascending to become one of the best copywriters who ever lived which was actually the purest way to fund his life’s vision, The Open Church.
My mind drifted to Jim during this hot seat and I shared my thoughts with the Xcelerators. I will share those with you after sharing this excerpt from a previous post about Jim:
Jim Rutz understood the power of religion–he actually organized his own church–one that was true to the very early origins of Christianity, when people met in each other’s homes in small groups.
He was VERY serious about it and had quite a following.
He used his incredible talent as a copywriter to build his “Open Church” with story and messaging that was as persuasive as the best magalogs he wrote for the largest marketers in the world.
For me, reading his copy and then watching it perform in the marketplace was truly a religious experience.
Jim liked it when I said that.
I believe his incredible faith is what made him unique among all the great copywriters.
He had faith in God.
He had faith that the products he was selling could help people.
And he had faith in the intelligence of the reader.
I used to kid him about the fact that I thought he had a two person copywriting “agency” in his house…himself and God…and it just wasn’t fair to have a partner with that much power.
The fact that he knew how to invent a religion and move people at that level, I have to assume that writing copy to sell books and newsletter subscriptions probably came easy to him.
I assumed that Jim was just as passionate about his copywriting as the Open Church (which included such things as building a school for wayward boys which my company funded with a huge prepaid fee for a promotion package).
His sister, Ginger Rutz, recently corrected me.
Ginger, who entrusted me with all of Jim’s archives (see the P.S.), said on the same Titans Xcelerator hot seat call, that Jim decided he could still be the world’s best at something (i.e. copywriting) and make a lot of money…and that would be the way to fund his true mission.
I didn’t know that copywriting was not at least “1b” to his “1a” (the church).
That is, I assumed he loved these two missions equally but copywriting was clearly the weak sister of the two. (“Weak” does not mean he wasn’t great at it…just that it paled in comparison to his passion for the church).
But it shows you how funding your mission is just as important as having a mission.
The funding can come from projects that you do just for the money (hopefully without compromising yourself)—and it’s obviously better if the funding comes from related endeavors to your mission or stuff you are both good at and you like to do.
Sometimes you just can’t have those things in sync all the time. You may need to go with the flow.
And if the funding part makes you one of the greatest in your field (with only mild passion), and the mission itself has nothing to do with money, fame or fortune, that’s pretty special.
P.S. I’m obviously a fan of Jim Rutz…and when I wrote about him in this post, I felt it was a good time to tell you about a special product I’ve put together (with the previously mentioned “Copy Sister,” Ginger Rutz).
Read This or Die: The Lost Files of Jim Rutz,, named after one of his most famous packages, contains over 200 swipe files, most written by Jim, with some others written by the best copywriters (i.e. his friendly rivals) of his day…which were his personal favorites.
You can read here how Jim used those competitor’s mailing pieces as furniture! 🙂
But wait…there’s more.
There are also promotions of “Rutz selling Rutz” (i.e. ads selling Jim’s services, by Jim, to prospective new clients in the early days)…and assorted other pieces for the Open Church (and other pro bono work he did as well).
There are also selected letters to Jim from some people you will recognize—our “Dear Jim” section.
Almost as interesting as the letters between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. 🙂
In addition, there is a “Jim Rutz Live” section, which includes an interview he did with the late, great Clayton Makepeace and an exclusive webinar that I did with John Carlton and David Deutsch talking about why Jim was a level above other copywriters…from three guys who worked directly with him.
There were three other copywriters who volunteered to be my partners on this project (from this online family you are a member of), and Ginger, who all wrote intros to each of the sections (financial, health, general consumer, business etc) and they are all “Jim Rutz scholars.”
Plus there’s an appendix with “The Lost Files Headlines” for easy reference when you are struggling for a subject line, headline or copy platform.
Remember, stealing is a felony; stealing smart is an art.
This is a reference tool for a lifetime and I am proud to tell you about today in the spirit of how Jim “funded his mission”—but as you’ll see, he funded it with excellence.