Why Most People Don’t Change (How to Work with Me Next Year)

Does personal transformation happens instantly or take a long time? Can we choose to change, or do environments shape us? Is it even possible become our best selves or are we doomed to mediocrity? The answer is, “It’s complicated.”

What It Takes to Change & Why Most People Can’t Do It (How to Work with Me Next Year)

Recently, I was speaking with a ghostwriting client, and she asked, “What kind of experience do you have in the personal development space?”

This was someone who had directly studied under many of the prominent self-help teachers and experts over the years. In the past four decades, she’s helped empower millions of individuals to become the best versions of themselves. Frankly, I told her I hadn’t done nearly as much work as she was always curious about what it takes for a person to truly change.

I grew up in a small midwestern farm town an hour outside of Chicago amongst your typical salt-of-the-earth blue-collar workers. I was surrounded by farmers and factory workers and people who prided themselves in not being better than anyone else. This was the standard: to not stand out too much or appear too haughty. And as part of this package was the understanding that people don’t change. People are what they are, they do what they do, and you never leave home.

So when I left my hometown in search of another narrative, that was the first step in my re-taking control of my own story and seeing what it really might mean to create my life instead of accept the one that had been given to me. Even then, though, I wondered: Can I really be whatever I want? Is such a thing even possible or just a cruel taunt with which we tease children only to learn later in life that no one is truly free.

Eventually, these questions led me into the world of self-help, personal development, and even spirituality and religion. I wanted to know the answers to the big questions, like:

  • What is life about?
  • Who am I and why am I here?
  • How do you live a good life?

This topic of transformation has always fascinated me. Why do some people drop the weight and keep it off and others struggle for the rest of their lives? Why does money seem to come more easily for some people than others? Is it really about motivation? Is “just do it” helpful advice? Or is there some secret that helps certain individuals change their lives?

Over the past four years, I’ve been working with a handful of individuals through coaching groups and masterminds to try to answer these questions. After working with tens of thousands of writers and creatives over the past decade to help them succeed, I started focusing on working more closely with fewer people to try to help people get the actual results they want, instead of simply teaching them about it.

Three requirements for personal change

What I’ve found in my own work an in observing the work of other people who are successfully helping individuals achieve phenomenal results is that transformation is contingent on three important factors:

  1. An attitude of ownership. Whatever you do, whatever happens to you, whether you succeed or fail—the only way to affect the outcome of your life is to take 100% responsibility for it all. To make your success—and your failure—nobody else’s responsibility but your own. Until you do that, things will always feel out of your control and you won’t make any progress on your goals.
  2. An environment that requires change. Many of us, more than we realize, are products of our environment. The fastest way to change, then, is to simply change the scenery. Ben Hardy calls this forcing the function. When an internal change seems all but impossible, tweak the external and see what new response is generated by a new stimulus. The best way to do this is to surround ourselves with people who challenge us to step up instead of holding us back. We cannot grow without inviting others into our journey. This doesn’t mean people are checking on you constantly but rather that you are consistently checking in with those who care about your growth and being honest about your shortcomings.
  3. A bias towards action. We don’t learn from just gathering new information. We learn from doing, from trying and failing and trying again. So when presented with an opportunity to either act on what you know or gain just a little more information before taking action, acting is usually the better route to go. So many of us get stuck in a paralyzed state of analysis, and the way out is simply doing something.

Recently, when I threw out this idea of only wanting to work with 100 people next year, I had no idea how many would respond asking for a chance to work on a project with me.

Next year, the majority of my focus will be spent on working with a handful of people through my one-on-one work as a ghostwriter and book coach and by leading a mastermind of creative entrepreneurs called Portfolio People. Portfolio People is a program we’ve been developing for the past four years, doing lots of trial-and-error to see what leads to lasting transformation in an individual. After trying a lot of things, our group has discovered three core values that help us grow more than anything else:

  1. Ownership.
  2. Accountability.
  3. Action.

Those three values have become the bedrock of the mastermind program and allow each member to continue growing.

Portfolio People Mastermind

Here’s what the mastermind entails:

  • Group strategy session on goal-setting and planning for the year (this will be our first call on January 8, 2020).
  • Two in-person live events that last two days (Thursday and Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm) in the Spring and Fall. These are hosted in Franklin, TN. Your travel and lodging is not included in the cost of the program but breakfast and lunch each day are. The first is March 26-27 (with a reception the evening of the 25th). The second is September 17-18 (with a reception the evening of the 16th).
  • Weekly video conference calls every Monday at 1:00 p.m. and ever Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Central.
  • Access to a private slack channel where you get to connect 24/7 to me, my team, and the rest of the mastermind.
  • Subscription to a private audio chat tool via Voxer that allows you to ask daily questions of the group.
  • Quarterly check-ins with our leadership team to ensure you stay on track.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You apply to join the mastermind and submit a $500 nonrefundable application fee. If you end up not being accepted, that $500 will go towards another program of your choosing.
  2. I will call you to conduct a 30-minute screening interview.
  3. I will send you an email (within a week of the interview) accepting you into the program or explaining why you weren’t a good fit.
  4. If you have been asked to join the group, you will still have an opportunity to accept the invitation or not. We will hold your spot for 24 hours and then open it up to someone else if we don’t hear from you.
  5. To accept the invitation to join the group, you will have to submit your first payment or pay for the year in full (and save 20%).
  6. The first week of January, we will meet as a group to go over expectations for the upcoming year and help you clarify what you want to get out of the experience.
  7. The program officially begins January 6!
  8. All applications must be submitted by December 30, 2019.

Click here to start the application process: Portfolio People Application