August 11, 2023

Dan Sullivan, the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world, is also one of the most quotable people in the world.

One of my favorites, which is a credo for all entrepreneurs:

“I want it because I want it”

This quote came to life in real time after I hit send on my blog post two weeks ago which was titled, “Being Somebody to become nobody.”

I received more engaging responses to this post than any post in recent memory.

Many were profound and deeply personal (there were dozens of them) …which is an indication that I struck a chord…and I have now returned all those email responses…and I want to share some of them (which takes the discussion to another level).

Most of the insights were from entrepreneurs (and solopreneurs) …some were not…but all of them had some version of wanting something out of life simply because they want it.

Kudos to Dan Sullivan for spreading that gospel. 🙂

“Being Somebody to become nobody” was an exploration of two opposite ways to live life…as a “somebody” or a “nobody” …based on the teachings of marketing guru Dan Kennedy and spiritual advisor and professor, Srikumar Rao.

You can read it here if you missed it.

Exploring anything in polar extremes (which was intentional) always ignites response…and engagement…and disagreements…and new ways to address any thesis.

And I am aware of gradations on a spectrum…in this case that being somebody or nobody is not a binary choice…and many of you made me aware of that as you explored both ways of being in your own lives.

In addition to adding your own unique perspectives.

Here are some of the highlights of the “reader mail” and some additional observations about the somebody to nobody spectrum.

Being a big fish (i.e., somebody) in a small pond is OK

I received some version of this from quite a few of you.

Once you accept that being “famous” to a distinct audience or market is as powerful as being a big somebody to the masses, you are on your way to peace…and joy…without becoming “nobody.”

Your audience or market is rewarding because it’s yours, regardless of its size.

One reader shared that being a somebody to a small, niche audience is closer to being a “nobody” …which is also fine…when your first inclination and top priority is to serve others.

But I would maintain that you still shouldn’t ignore somebody status regardless how altruistic you are attempting to be, especially if it helps to further the cause and those you are serving.

Becoming somebody does not mean abandoning what is most important to you

Of course, if you are obsessed with fame and fortune above all (i.e., becoming a somebody is the most important thing to you) you don’t need to abandon anything. 🙂

The key is creating true freedom in your life…the overall theme of the post…with freedom being defined by some of you as sticking to your convictions above all else.

One reader, a veteran of the marketing wars over the last number of years, had this story to tell on this topic:

Your email reminded me of a story I heard about Dan Kennedy inviting someone to come speak at one of his premiere seminars…but this person refused because he had a family vacation planned that he was unwilling to miss or cancel.

Dan basically torched him for having his priorities misplaced–he could do the vacation anytime, but this opportunity was once in a lifetime.

My thought was that the achievement/value in this story wasn’t the one-time opportunity; it was this person’s freedom to choose.

So yes, I agree 100%, the end goal is always freedom, regardless of how you choose to get there.

Sharing this was not to make anyone wrong.

Dan wants what he wants because he wants it—while always being ruthlessly congruent.

But it’s the same for the guy who passed up a one-time opportunity to be somebody in Dan’s world in order to be a hero with his family.

That’s being a somebody too.

And being ruthlessly congruent that being with his family is also a “once in a lifetime opportunity” (at that moment in his life).

That takes FOMO to a new level. 🙂

Dressing for success…or just to be a somebody?

One reader shared this interesting perspective:

Back in the day when “Dress for Success” was a thing, research showed that the clothes lawyers wore in the courtroom contributed mightily to their success with a jury (still does).

Appearances matter.

Of course, they don’t matter in a spiritual sense, but in the nuts and bolts of the everyday life we think we are living, appearances help us connect with those we seek to serve.

How many times have you seen others hang on every word someone says just because he or she is successful and rich? It happens.

Understanding that and using it is the same thing as putting on a suit to argue before a jury.

If you have something to say or something to sell that can help others, becoming “somebody” in their minds will help you deliver that message.

And you CAN do that with the identity of a servant rather than a somebody.

I thought this was another fascinating take…and I would add that servants can be reluctant somebodies whether that is their intention or not.

Somebodies and nobodies come in all shapes and sizes…and some dress for the part while others don’t.

And…there’s no “uniform” for serving others. 🙂

Ashamed to be “somebody”

I received multiple email responses like this one:

I feel like I live straddled between the two mindsets of Kennedy-style and Rao-style that you explain here.

Only, with me, I not only trend towards Rao-style but I have a history that makes me feel ashamed of any tendency toward a Kennedy-esque attitude.

That has held me back. It’s something I know doesn’t serve me. I’m working on it.

BUT, entertaining the conflicting values and finding a coexistence for them—to me—is practically the meaning of life.

Responses like this are always refreshing…a very thoughtful response to “conflicting values” and an exploration of what serves you and what doesn’t.

I felt comfortable telling this person (since he is a member of my Titans Xcelerator Mastermind) that he should try to avoid words like, “I know it doesn’t serve me” (to not embrace Kennedy’s teachings) and go to something like, “what can I take from Kennedy to serve me better.”

That way, he’s going for what he wants because he wants it…not because of some internal or external voice telling him he is not serving himself properly.

And he can continue to love himself in the process.

Maybe it’s just semantics…but I thought it was important.

We strive to be somebody for the first half of our life…and nobody thereafter

This felt a bit rigid (from a more spiritual subscriber) …but there is some truth to it.

The reader who shared this observation referenced an American priest and author, Richard Rohr, who said that the first half of life is about creating the false self (somebody?) while the second half of life (which some never get to) is about becoming the True Self (nobody?).

Again, a bit rigid and absolute for me.

I refer to what I mentioned earlier regarding gradations and absolutes…but age plays a part in the journey to becoming somebody…or nobody…or both.

Jeff Spector’s approach on this takes this idea a bit deeper.

Jeff is a world-renown performance coach…and he authored a chart/system he calls the “Life Lens Decade Dilemma: Time Released Life Purpose Progression” …and here it is:

Lots of descriptive words to give meaning to the decades of our lives…and I think it adds dimension to what motivates us at various stages.

Words like “Acquisition,” “Achievement,” “Validation,” “Tenacity,” “Blindness” scream “becoming a somebody” (between the ages of 30-40); while lenses like “Contribution” and “Mentorship” are more suited for the second half of our lives…as we become a nobody who was a somebody…or still is a somebody. 🙂

No matter what, it’s important to always look at progression which Jeff appropriately has in the subtitle on this chart.

The reader who shared the first half/second half insight, ended his email to me with this, which I would classify as “Assessment” (a Spector word for the 80–90 decade life lens) … but this reader is younger than that, with “Wisdom” being his strength before he hit 80 as well:

It feels like we must become the Great Grain of Sand so that we can alas become okay with just being part of the Sand.

In our Western culture, many people invest their entire life without success in becoming a somebody… so becoming a nobody seems impossible and without allure.

And those that become a somebody find it hard to let go of the somebody they used to be.

This can even cause deep psychological pain when they let go…or can’t let go.

Now, I’m free to be nobody; and yet, the game I’m in as an entrepreneur is being a somebody.

For me it’s immensely freeing.

I’m free to learn much faster, fail, and continue experimenting.

I guess he…like most of you…want what you want because you want it. 🙂



P.S. In “Being somebody to become nobody,” I mentioned a group of “post graduate students of Kennedy University” …and I will be with many of them this week as part of a “pop-up mastermind” called “The Wizards.”

I plan to write about how “The Wizards” came to be next week (it’s a story of giving and opportunity) …and I will also share what I learned in this special mastermind meeting.

“The Wizards” are proof positive that masterminds come in many different flavors, all perfect in their own way, whether there is a fee to join them or not.

The “Wizards model” is free admission as long as you are at a certain level in your marketing education…travel costs are on your own…and it includes making a generous donation to a charity of the host’s choice after each meeting.

You could do something like that couldn’t you? 🙂

More on this (and other) models next week so you can eliminate excuses not to be part of a mastermind.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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