Derek Sivers

Interviews → Cathy Heller / Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Great conversation on letting go of goals, developing laser focus for the most impact, finding a different angle on perseverance, questioning your own answers

Date: 2019-12

Download: audio (mp3) or video (mp4)

Link: https://www.dontkeepyourdayjob.com/episodes/derek-sivers


Cathy:

I believe that the opposite of depression is not happiness, it’s progress. I believe that every single person has something unique to contribute to the world. That’s why I want to create a show called “Don’t Keep Your Day Job.”

“Don’t Keep Your Day Job” is about figuring out what it is that you were here to do in this world that only you can do to make the world more whole and more beautiful and to stop selling yourself short. Stop sitting it out and figure out how to take this thing you love – whether it’s art, music, screenwriting, dance, or baking – how do you weave this thing you love into a life that you get to contribute. That you get to do what you love full-time. Because it’s not just about business, it’s about contribution. It’s about meaning. That is what we seek. That is what we truly want and you absolutely are here to serve the world and I want to help you figure out just how much value you have inside of you.

Every single week, we’re going to be talking with people who have something to add to help you get out of your own way. To help you be more successful. To help you be the truest expression of you. My name is Cathy Heller. I’m so glad that you’re here. Let’s dive in.

Today on this episode we have a really special conversation. I got to sit down with the incredible Derek Sivers. He’s a writer, entrepreneur, TED Speaker, and he’s also been a musician, producer, and a circus performer. He founded the company CD Baby, which some of you might know if you’re in the music world. It’s the largest online distributor of independent music in the world.

It actually plays a really key role in my own career. I’m going to go into some of those details when I talk to Derek, but in many ways, I don’t think this podcast would have happened without it.

Derek is such a student of life. He has so much wonder for what goes on in this planet, being a human. If you want to take a look at what he’s exploring, you can check out his site, https://sivers.org, or you can listen to his Derek Sivers podcast.

What I love about Derek is that he’s so present. He’s not here to talk about business and strategy because he knows that it’s also much bigger than that. It’s about finding what fulfills you, what brings you purpose, what makes you feel like you’re really making a deep, lasting contribution, and I just love that. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think about this. We also recorded this on video, so if you want to check it out, we have a link to that in the show notes. Without further ado, please welcome the awesome Derek Sivers.

Derek, thank you so much. Really. Thank you so much for making the time to be here today.

Derek:

Thanks, Cathy. I told you that it’s because I’m not here to pitch anything. I’m only here because I really love what you’re doing. I have to tell you that the first thing that caught my attention was just the fact that you use the term “day job,” because I was in my 40’s the first time I met somebody that didn’t know the term “day job.” I said something about a “day job,” and they said, “What’s a day job?”

It made me realize that “day job” is a term that those creative types think of. There’s the thing you’re doing for money, and there’s the thing you really love.

Cathy:

Oh my God, I love that you just unpacked it like that because it’s actually not about business. It’s about doing your life’s work and feeling like you are seen. You’re the first person that really got that. Thank you, but I’m not surprised because everyone who knows you – if you know him you know – he’s just one of those very genuine people. So I want people to hear your story because not everybody knows it. Can you tell us the whole journey? The evolution of Derek.

Derek:

OK. When I was 14, I decided I wanted to be a professional musician – seriously decided. I said, “This is it. This is what I’m going to do.”

Because of this, I knew since I was 14, I’m never going to have a job. I’m never going to have insurance, or a salary, or a boss, or a pension, or all these things that some people just take as a given in life. I think I started preparing for the hustle when I was 14.

Cathy:

Where do you think that comes from? That’s pretty young to know who you are.

Derek:

It’s not like it was a vivid and complete vision. It was always the doing. I put a guitar in my hand, found the distortion pedal and I was like,“Ohhh yeah, this is it.”

At 17, I went off to Berklee College of Music in Boston. And when I was 18, I got my first gig with the circus. For the next 11 years, I was a full-time professional musician. At the age of 29, I was selling my CD on my band’s website, but times were different then. There wasn’t even PayPal. Amazon was just a bookstore. There was literally not a single business that would sell your CD if you were a musician trying to sell your CD. So I just built this little website to sell my CD.

Cathy:

Was it already called CD Baby?

Derek:

No, it was on my band’s website. It was like a “Buy Now” button on my band’s website. There was this guy, Marco, a Finnish guy and a musician I knew that said, “Can you sell my CD through your band’s website?”

I thought, “Well, I never thought of that, but sure, OK.” I just did it as a favor to Marco.

Then I got a call from Rachel who said, “Hey, Marco said you could sell my CD on your site?”

I said, “OK for you, Rachel.”

Then I started getting calls from strangers – friends of friends. It wasn’t until I had about 10 or 20 albums on my band’s website that I finally said, “I think I need to give this thing its own name.” That’s when I called it CD Baby, so I accidentally started this business.

Cathy:

[Laughs] I love it.

Derek:

It pretty quickly became the largest seller of independent music on the web at the time. I had a couple million customers and eventually I had 85 employees and giant warehouses and all that.

Cathy:

That’s amazing. How long until it really took off? Was it like within months?

Derek:

No, about four years. Very often I meet people who start their dream idea and they’re a few months into it and they say, “It’s just not going well!”

I’m like, “It’s been a few months! Come on!” Still, when I was three years into CD Baby, it was just me and a guy in my house.

Cathy:

No way...

Derek:

It didn’t really take off for four years. You have to give things time. Anyway, after 10 years, I felt that I had just personally had enough.

I had surpassed all of my dreams and visions for it – just feeling personally done. It felt like I had been painting this mural for ten years and I’ve got nothing more to add. It was time for me to leave. That was in 2008. I sold the company and went exploring different ways of approaching life.

Cathy:

That’s so cool that you continue to explore more of yourself. We are so multi-dimensional and sometimes we have this zone of excellence and people are like, “That’s it for you. That’s amazing.”

It is amazing and it’s genius, but then there’s even more. Right? You’ve given yourself the gift to keep exploring that. So what did you find?

Derek:

Let’s use a musical example: AC/DC may be great, but they did exactly one thing for 40 years. The first song they wrote sounds like the last song. It’s almost like they made the same album every year for 40 years and people love them for it. So some people really, truly find what they love doing at some point and they say, “This is it. I’m going to do this one thing until I die.”

And that’s great. That’s just a certain personality type that does that. Then you have – in a musical comparison – somebody like Madonna that wants to keep trying different things. Some artists like David Bowie and Paul Simon made a really deliberate change. Each album was almost a self-contained personality. It’s like, “Now I am Ziggy Stardust. Now I’m the Thin White Duke. Now I’m post-punk.”

Paul Simon did that with his Graceland album and then Rhythm of the Saints. So I think I’m more like the latter. I like to do things for a little while and then challenge myself to do something completely different. That’s just my personal take. I don’t think that people should necessarily do that.

Cathy:

I love it. I see you as a spokesman for all the creatives and all the broken souls who want to feel like they fit in. I feel like you’ve found a place as this hero of all the misfits.

Derek:

[Laughs]

Cathy:

The people who have all this yummy stuff. You did a TED talk, which was so awesome, called, “Weird or Just Different?”

Derek:

Aw, thanks!

Cathy:

And your book is just the simple truths about not getting caught up in the fear, not getting caught up and needing to be this guy in a suit, but embracing these parts of you.

One of the biggest hurdles – just in life – is a tremendous amount of self-doubt and fear. The feeling of, “I’m not enough. Who am I to start something?” How do you help people work through that?

Derek:

You shouldn’t ignore your doubts. Some of it should be heated. Your emotions have some wisdom in them. If your emotions are telling you, “I’m not ready yet.” Then you could choose to take that as a sign that you’re not ready yet and you need to practice more until you feel like, “Hell yeah, I got this.”

But if somebody is feeling like they’re playing too small, for example, it might just be a matter of the amount of time you’re investing in it. You might just be spread too thin. There might be people who think they want to do something. They’ve dabbled in it and they’re feeling insecure about it. Of course you’re feeling insecure. You haven’t put in the time yet. Imagine an alternate scenario where you would wake up at 6:00 AM everyday and do this one thing from 6:00 AM to midnight.

You do this one thing for 18 hours a day, seven days a week for six months at a time. There is no way at the end of that six months you would feel that you don’t know what you’re doing because it’s just a matter of time. You have to put in the hours and put in the real work. Give yourself the education, but also just give it the focus. This laser focus can make all the difference in the world.

Have you heard that metaphor of the sunlight on a log versus the magnifying glass? There’s a metaphor I heard that sunlight on a log doesn’t make the log catch on fire. But if you hold up a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun’s light into a single point on the log, you can make the log catch on fire.

So the metaphor being that if your energy is dissipated across a lot of things, nothing’s going to catch fire, but if you concentrate all of your energy on a single point on a single thing, something’s going to catch. People are usually spread too thin doing too much.

Cathy:

It’s such a good point.

Derek:

You’re not on the mastery path if you’re trying to say ”yes“ to everything.

Cathy:

It’s such a simple, clear direction. One thing I want to ask you, in terms of you finding your own sense of fulfillment – because you did pivot and start to do that – to focus your time on building CD Baby, and you said early on, “I want to be a rockstar.”

Derek:

Yeah.

Cathy:

Then you built a multi-million dollar company. How did you do that without feeling like, “Well, I sold my soul! I give up.”

Derek:

The time where I was selling my CD and friends asked, “Can you sell mine?”, and this thing started happening – by that point in my life, I had been touring non-stop for 12 years. I was starting to get a little sick of it.

Cathy:

[Laughs] You think?

Derek:

It was starting to be the same old gig for the same amount of money. It’s not like I was going way up. So I had achieved a certain amount of success by my own measure. This helped too, that as a professional musician, I bought my house in Woodstock, New York, with the money I made touring. As a musician, I was pretty happy.

Cathy:

You bought a house. Yeah.

Derek:

So I was already feeling pretty good with what I had done and I was starting to feel kind of bored with what I was doing. When this new thing came up, at first I was belittling it. I said, “OK this little CD Baby thing, this is just my hobby. I’m really pursuing my music.” But then I found that as I was learning about databases and learning HTML and all that. It was fascinating!

How intellectually stimulating is it to get in the van and drive six hours to do another gig versus that same fifteen hours round-trip spending time learning as SQL and learning programming? My brain was sparking more than it had in years. I thought, “This is so exciting!”

I welcomed it intellectually, but I did have a lot of coming to terms with letting go. Oh, God. That’s a whole subject we could get on – letting go of goals. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. A few weeks ago, I gave away all of my musical equipment.

Cathy:

Ohh! I felt that.

Derek:

[Laughs] No, this is good. This wasn’t a sad thing. The Latin root of the word ”decide“ means to cut off.

Up until a few weeks ago, I felt conflicted. Everyday I’m sitting here, answering emails, working on my book, doing something tech-y, and I’m loving what I’m doing. But everyday, I look over at my piano or over at my guitars, and I’m thinking, “I’m not balanced. I really want to spend more time doing music.”

I have a concept that says that your actions reveal your values better than your words. No matter what you say you want to do, your actions show what your values really are. You can say it all you want, but if you’re not doing it, you don’t really want to do it that much.

I had been saying for the longest time, “I want to spend more time making music. I want to spend more time working on songs. I’m going to get serious about this. I’m going to start budgeting time. I’m going to turn off my computer every night at this time and spend this hour to this hour only doing music.”

As soon as I thought that way, the first thought that came into my head was, “Oh, but that’s time I could be spending doing something better.”

I thought, “Whoa, what did I just think? Doing something better?”

I think music has fallen down in my hierarchy without me realizing it. So I had this thought. I thought about it for a second, “Whoa, what if I just gave my keyboard and two guitars to my friend who is a professional musician? That would feel great.”

So a few weeks ago, I gave it all to my friend, who’s a full-time professional musician here in Oxford, England, and he was thrilled. He was so thrilled! I said,“Dude, do you want my nice studio monitors, too?”

He goes, “Oh my God, yes!” I just gave him everything and he uses it every single day. I’m like, “OK, all is right in the world.” It felt really good.

Cathy:

You literally just brought me to tears because I used to be a musician and then I started like you – because of the CD Baby podcast – other artists started asking me if I could help them license their music. That was what I started doing. They would thank me so much for being this empathetic island in the storm. I loved it so much. I poured myself into helping these artists. I host a big event once a year for a few hundred artists now and it’s grown into this beautiful thing. Then, I started a podcast helping all kinds of creatives and wrote a book.

Then there’s been a part of me that’s like, “Well, did you sell your soul? Are you supposed to be playing music?” When you just spoke such truth to me, it reminded me – do you remember that movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner?

Derek:

Oh yeah.

Cathy:

Remember, they play the game again and there was this guy who had to give up baseball to become a doctor? They tell him, “You’re gonna get to play with DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig. This is your chance. You were supposed to bein the major leagues and you got pulled back home to be a doctor.”

He says, “Awesome. I’m going to get to do my dream. I’m going to get to be on the field,” and he goes out for the game. While they’re in this beautiful, fake baseball game with the greatest legends of all time from baseball, this little kid falls from the stands and needs a doctor.

Just before the doctor gets up to bat, they’re searching for a doctor, and he runs back and he doesn’t get to play.

Derek:

I forgot about that. Wow. Nice comparison!

Cathy:

Kevin Costner goes, “Aren’t you devastated?”

He goes, “No. I wouldn’t have been able to be a doctor all these years. I’ve gotten to be a doctor.”

What you just said, especially coming from you, is so important to me, because I think so many artists don’t know. Are we supposed to give this our entire life? If we don’t, does that mean we’re not going to get seen? We’re not going to be true to ourselves?

Then you had this opportunity that’s just so organic. Where other souls said, “Could you help me?”

You said, “I guess I could,” and then another one, “I guess I could.” Then you go, “Wow, I’m helping all these people.”.

Derek:

Right.

Cathy:

I really like it! Does that make me less of a self? That is just such an important thing! I keep saying it, but I feel like the greatest human need is people want to feel seen, but really, when it comes down to it, what I’ve also noticed is that the opposite of depression isn’t happiness, its purpose. Somehow when we help other people feel seen and we give that to other people, that’s the greatest feeling. Then you do feel seen!

Derek:

You’re also more directly helping. I’m going to tell one side tale and then connect it to my tale again. At Berklee College of Music, my roommate was a trumpet player who dropped out after one year to go to engineering school. We lost touch. Then eight years later, I ran into him in a parking lot. I was like, “Matt?”

He goes, “Derek?”

I said, “Dude! What’s going on? What are you doing?”

He said, “Well, I was an engineer for five years. I made a lot of money and it felt pointless. So I quit and I went and got a degree in nursing. I’ve been a registered nurse for the last year. Dude, it is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’m making less money, but every single day, people say, ’Thank you.’ I’m helping people’s lives in a concrete way. And people grab me by the hand and say, ’Thank you so much.’ This means way more to me than income from engineering. I’ve never been happier. This is amazing.”

I felt the same thing with going from being an artist...Being an artist is a weird thing, isn’t it? It’s all about...

Cathy:

Me.

Derek:

Yeah! Me, me, me, me, me. It’s all very one-sided. It’s all like, ”rip it out, push it out, rip it out, push it out.“ Then to suddenly be helping other musicians felt like my friend going into nursing. Everyday people were like, “Thank you! Thank you so much!” Nobody had said “thank you” before for me stewing myself into the world. So I wasn’t that conflicted. It felt a little weird at first, but I could just feel my energy.

Cathy:

That’s amazing. Let me ask you this, because there’s so many makers, so many artists, that are still going down that path of, “I just want to make a living, just people paying me for my music.”

How can they get some of this? How can they weave some of this radical empathy into their life? What would that look like? Artists feel like, “Either I’m going to get paid to just write what I write or just forget it. I guess I’ll have to go get a day job.”

Derek:

Hmm. What I would advise to musicians wanting to make this kind of leap, is to not think you need to be Cathy Heller and to not think you need to be Derek Sivers or anybody [laughs]. Pay close attention to your past actions. Notice what you naturally gravitate towards doing. Not saying you want to do, but actually doing. In fact, you need to actively forget your past words. Be disloyal to your past proclamations. Just because you announced something to the world once, doesn’t mean you need to stick with it for the rest of your life.

Cathy:

Oh, that’s so good.

Derek:

No matter what you say you’re interested in doing and no matter what you have said you will do, look at what you actually tend to do when you’re at your best. Then, you just have to wholeheartedly embrace that. This is my nature. This is what I like doing.

Cathy:

Yeah. Wow. I realize that for me, all my music was really about this prayer that people would feel like they matter. I realize that’s really what I want to do is get that across. It doesn’t have to be through music. Even though I was told as a child, that’s the thing that makes you unique, is that you can write a song, but there was so much more that I wanted to do.

When people are persevering and looking for their path and the doors not opening, how do you know when you have to keep persevering, and how do you know when this door is not your door? This door is not going to open. You have to go find a different door.

Derek:

I think we mistake persevering for doing the exact same thing over and over.

You’ve got the wrong key to the lock and you’re like “Well, gotta just keep at it!”

No, no, no. You need to find a different way. You need to persistently keep trying different things until you get what you’re after.

Here’s a great example. My friend Mara Hitner – I met her when she was an artist on CD Baby. She had a day job at Music Connection magazine for a number of years doing ad sales while full-heartedly pursuing her solo artist career.

After a number of years, she came to this conclusion that she has given it her all, music wise. What she really loves doing is just playing to crowds. She likes being onstage and singing to crowds. She realized it didn’t even need to be her music. So she realized that she was so happy being on stage, singing Journey and whatever other like 80’s music. She made this decision. She shut down her solo artist career. Her band has been gigging every single Friday and Saturday night for 15 years, and she’s thrilled.

Cathy:

I want to tell you a really quick thing that I think that you’ll find interesting. I was signed to Interscope for five minutes. I was there for a few months [laughs]. I was with Ron Fair. He says, “I want to tell you a story. Years ago, I was trying to get my legs as a songwriter and I had a meeting with Bill Conti.”

For those of you listening who don’t know, he wrote the music to Rocky and all these other iconic movies. Ron says, “I’m sitting with Bill. I play him my music. Bill says to me, Ron, ’You’re a good songwriter, but you’re an excellent producer. Just think about that because you’re really a good producer.’”

Ron said to me, “Kath, in that moment, I felt like I was punched in the gut because I wanted him to think I was an amazing songwriter and I was going to be a rockstar, and he gave me an incredible gift because he was kind. He wasn’t nice. He was kind. He said, ’You’re an excellent producer.’

I made a decision. I was going to double down on being a producer and I am so glad I did.”

I thought, “Whoa!” So, I love what you’re saying. Let’s talk about your podcast. What made you want to start a podcast?

Derek:

I write articles for my site. I call them essays, or articles, or blog posts – whatever you want to call them.

Cathy:

They’re so good!

Derek:

Thank you! They’re very succinct. I know there are a lot of people who have long drives and/or walk their dog an hour a day and they really just prefer to listen, not read. I’ve been meaning to do this for years.

Cathy:

Yep. That’s this audience! Let’s talk about the substance of what inspires you to write these essays. Is there a theme? Is there something that you really want people to walk away with, which is why you show up and do those so often?

Derek:

I found out that the word “essay” comes from the French word, a French verb which means to search, or to discover, or to explore. Usually, I sit down to write like that for hours a day. On a bad day, I write for three hours a day. On a good day, I write for fifteen hours, and I spend hours and hours a day exploring my thoughts on a subject.

Sometimes I’m reading a book on something and I think that the author has come up with a brilliant point, but I’m not satisfied to just echo that point. I have to ingest it and take it in and see what I think of it myself, or I have an experience in life and try to find the common threads of something that just happened to me to explain it to myself. I spend hours in my diary asking myself questions and then answering those questions and then, most importantly, questioning my answers.

That’s my favorite step, is going beyond my first reaction and questioning my first answer.

What am I doing here? I’m making music.

Why am I making music? Because that’s really important to me.

Is it really important to me?

You have to do that thing. You have to question your own answers. You have to put a question mark on the end of your statements or on the end of your previous statements so that you start to doubt them and question them.

That way you get to explore it a little deeper. That’s when you get on to be the more interesting second and third level stuff. So you’re not just skimming the surface. Now, you go underwater. Now, you’re looking at the corals [laughs].

Most of my writing is my personal exploration like that. I spend hours being verbose in my own diary, and when I come across something that I think is really interesting and worth sharing, then I edit the hell out of it until it’s 20 sentences that capture the essence of this thing in one minute.

Part of the reason I keep my writing and podcasts so short is that I do read a lot of books and I often feel bad when the author has a brilliant idea that’s on page 273 of a 400 page book. Come on, how many people on earth are going to notice that brilliant idea?

So I have a theory that says that each idea deserves its own spotlight. That’s why I really like writing articles as it’s one idea at a time. If I have two ideas on something, I’ll save that second idea for another article. Each idea gets its own little spotlight.

Cathy:

I love it. If you had to boil down, “I’m Derek Sivers and this is what I want people to know.” What would that one thing be?

Derek:

I have to disagree with the...

Cathy:

The one thing?

Derek:

Yeah, I’d refuse. If I caught myself feeling like I had one thing to share with the world, then I think I would stop and do something else. That’s just my nature. I like being an explorer.

I’m going to start publishing books next year. Just about one year ago, I had a moment where I said, “I think I’m a writer.”

Cathy:

I would say so.

Derek:

No, up until a year ago, I really felt like, “I am an entrepreneur and programmer that every now and then, if I find something worth sharing, I might write it up and share it on my blog.”

Cathy:

That’s interesting.

Derek:

About a year ago, I did an interesting thought experiment where I asked myself, “Who are my heroes?”

This is just me writing in my diary. I wrote for an hour about this. After I was done, I looked at this list of 13 people and I was like, “Whoa. Every single one of them is an author. These are my heroes. Whoa, I think this is an indication of which direction I’m facing. If this is the direction I’m looking up to [laughs], I think this is the direction I’m facing.”

Cathy:

That’s such a cool exercise. Wow. I never thought to do that.

Derek:

Now that I’ve just recently realized that I’m an author. Now, I’m taking it more seriously. My goal is that every time I have a book out, I don’t want people to be able to predict what it’s going to say.

So that’s what I meant. If I felt like I had one message for the world, I’d think, “OK, well then it’s time for the next one.”

Cathy:

OK. So let me ask you the question in a different way. In this moment, in this season, when you’re thinking and working on this next big project, the book. What really feeling like it’s weighing on your heart? Like, this is one of the big messages I want to get out.

Derek:

There are so many ways to look at things from different angles. I think of it as like a gem with many sides to it.

Cathy:

Facets?

Derek:

Yeah, I think there’s a different way to look at almost anything in life and they’re all true. It’s not that one is correct. It’s just a matter of which one is useful to you right now.

If it’s useful for you to believe that you’re going to die tomorrow because that’s what it takes to get you to do something you need to do, then the fact that you’re probably not going to die tomorrow and you could say, “Well, that’s not true.”

It doesn’t matter if that belief is useful to you right now. I think it’s so much more interesting thinking about what’s useful over what’s true. That’s my current fascination, since you asked [laughs].

Cathy:

That’s really cool. What I’m currently fascinated with, just being in your presence is how present you are. It’s really unique to be that way. You are such a true original. I feel like you are unapologetically you. One thing that I would say is one of your big messages, just by being you, is that it gives other people permission to be unapologetically themselves. You being you is a big gift.

When someone’s feeling like, “Oh, gosh. I’m not perfect, and it’s gonna be messy if I’m not prepared. I gotta know what I’m gonna do in the moment.” What’s your advice for people to sort of generate more of that self, that presence of not needing to predict it? Not to be formal, not needing to have it all together? The perfectionism and planning – I think so many people get so stuck on this formality, and on the preciousness of the perfect plans. What’s your advice on that?

Derek:

This isn’t advice, but just an observation. When you’re thinking like a musical artist and wanting to put yourself out into the world, you constantly think about what differentiates you. You don’t want to be like other people. It’s almost your mission, not to do what others are doing.

Even marketing wise, there’s a cute story that’s on my site. Search for “Captain T” on sivers.org, and you’ll hear the story about when I was helping a friend market his album to college radio back in the day. I visited some college radio stations and I saw that all these college radio stations were getting like manila envelopes with CDs arriving at the station. I said, “OK, we need to not do that. Whatever everybody else is doing, let’s do the opposite.”

We took this hilarious angle where we found these jet black envelopes and rubbed them in dirt and wrote a ransom note inside. That’s what we used, and they got a ton of attention.

Cathy:

That’s awesome.

Derek:

To this day, my friend, who is the artist, Captain T, says people still come up to him and go, “Dude you’re Captain T?! I worked at a college radio station 20 years ago and that was the coolest CD we ever got!”

Because it was different. I think we can do that with ourselves, too. I have a natural rebellion that if everybody’s being this kind of stiff, know-it-all, trying to do this puffery to make themselves look like a brilliant pundit, well, then just naturally, I’m going to rebel against that and do the opposite. You just have to trust that standing out from the crowd, and doing the opposite of what other people are doing is hugely beneficial. You have to try it to find out, but almost always it’s going to work in your favor.

Cathy:

Everything is so good! I’m so excited for you, and the books, and the things, and the who-knows because that’s the way you are. You guys there’s so much more of him out for you to soak up from TED Talks to all the essays, and you can listen to those on the podcast if you don’t feel like reading and you want to listen.

But Derek, thank you so much for all of this time and all of you! I got so much personally out of your courage. Your courage and that story about how you recently made this decision. That’s what’s so cool. People always say that fear is something that’s contagious and spreads, but courage is also contagious.Your self-realization winds up being something that then lights the way for other people. Thank you for doing that deep work because you just gave me a gift today.

Derek:

Thanks, Cathy. That’s amazing!

Cathy:

I’m so excited about it, really. I’m like, “Wow, I didn’t know I was coming to get that.” Tell us where we can find you.

Derek:

Go to sivers.org. It’s all there. I don’t know if you’d call it old school, or again, if it’s just rebellious that I just keep all of my stuff on my own site. I’ve even just decided to self-publish my next few books. I’m kind of feeling DIY rebellious right now. I’m thinking I might not even sell through Amazon. I think I’m just gonna kick it direct. So anyway, go to sivers.org

Cathy:

I love that and I really would love to follow up with you. Maybe you’ll come back when that book comes out?

Derek:

I would love to chat with you anytime. I loved this conversation!

Cathy:

You’re such a gem. Thank you so much for today.

Derek:

Thanks, Cathy.

Cathy:

I love talking to Derek. He’s so great. Alright, so here are the takeaways:

1. Let each new creation have its own personality.

2. If your energy is dissipated among too many things, it can’t catch fire, but when you are focused, something will catch. That laser focus can make all the difference in the world.

3. Your actions reveal your values better than your words.

4. Perseverance is not doing the same thing over and over again. It’s trying different things until you get what you’re after.

5. Go beyond your first reaction. Question your own answers.

6. Each idea deserves its own spotlight.

7. Life is a never ending exploration. There are so many ways to look at things from different angles.

8. Trust that standing out from the crowd and doing the opposite can work in your favor. Try it and find out.

Thank you guys so much for listening.