I made a big mistake this year with one of my mastermind courses. And even though I know it was a mistake, and I knew it halfway through, I still learned a lot from this experience.

I learned about creating the right incentives, recognizing the fire to succeed, and the necessity of having a hard why.

If you want to carve your own path as a life coach and entrepreneur, you need to have a hard why. A hard why is the thing you will cling to when everything else feels insanely difficult. When you’re questioning why you thought this was all a good idea.

In this episode, I’m sharing the story of the big mistake I made with my $100K mastermind group this year and what it taught me about what it takes to be a successful life coach. We’ll explore the idea of a hard why and why I think it’s essential if you want to keep going when times get tough (which they inevitably will, at some time or another). And I’ll tell you about my hard why and how you can (and need) to create one of your own.

What you will discover

  • What makes some people win, succeed, and achieve their dreams.
  • Why the offer for whatever you’re selling has to be absolutely amazing.
  • The huge lesson I learned from my $100K mastermind group this year.
  • What makes a truly successful life coach.
  • What a hard why is and why it’s absolutely essential if you want to travel the difficult but transformative path of entrepreneurship.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

What’s up? Hi everyone. Today we’re going to talk about the hard why. So I’m about to go to my annual mastermind event with all of my certified coaches. It’s a very fun, awesome event that we have here in Dallas for everyone that is certified, and we have lots of amazing, wonderful things planned for that event.

And one of the things that we do is awards, and we do awards for people who cross the 100K mark within a 12-month period. We also do awards for people who are in our Two Comma Club, which means they’ve made seven figures, and then we have the highest earner award.

And we have other awards too. We have a content award, we have a selfless contributor award, we have the contractor of the year award for people who work with us as contractors, all of those things. But as I’m getting ready and preparing for this event, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes people win and succeed and achieve their dreams, and why do some people struggle.

And one of the really most amazing things that I did over this past year was I did a group called the 100K group. And it was a mastermind that I sold at the previous mastermind for anyone who wanted to make 100K. And I made a huge mistake when I sold that group and I want to tell you about that mistake because it’s super important, and it also demonstrates our topic today.

It demonstrates this idea of why it’s so important to have a hard why for what you are doing. Because it keeps you going through the inevitable turmoil that will be between you and your dreams. So let me tell you first how I sold my 100K group. And one of the things that I teach a lot in my business is teaching is how important an offer is.

And when you have a really good business offer, it’s so easy to sell because the better your offer, the more valuable the offer it is, the easier it is to sell. And so one of the things I had wanted to do when I sold this 100K group in a room with all of my certified coaches was to show what a no-brainer offer is.

This was an application only group. So you had to apply to be in it, and then we selected people. But it was meeting with me and two of my master coaches, Kara Loewentheil and Corinne Crabtree coaching in between those two sessions with them, and a guarantee that you would make 100K or your money back.

So it was an unbelievable offer and accordingly, we had lots of people apply that wanted to be a part of it. Because 25 for 100K is a no-brainer. If I pay 25K and I’m guaranteed to make 100K, the only thing I have to lose is 75K if I don’t do it. And so that’s basically how I pitched it and sold it.

And doing that group was one of the most important things that I’ve ever done. You’ve heard me maybe talk about strategic byproducts and the idea of strategic byproducts are you set one goal and then all of these side things happen that you hadn’t anticipated that become the real benefit of doing it.

So one of the things that I did while I was teaching this 100K group is I recorded all of the coaching sessions that I did in person and all of the teaching sessions that I did in person. Once everybody signed up, I invited them to a six-day event that they didn’t even know was going to be included.

So basically, it was six days where I took professional photos of them, we did their website for them, I had my website crew come on site and do it. We wrote all their copy, we had a videographer there that did all their videos. We basically within that six days did everything they could possibly need to do to get their funnel set up, their site set up, their copy set up, to get feedback from us.

I was there, Corinne was there. Kara was there. It was an amazing awesome opportunity for them. Something that I easily could have charged $25,000 for because of the value that was there. And that was something that they didn’t even know that they were going to get before they signed up.

So anyway, so as we went through this training and as I was teaching it and recording it, I was sharing all the recordings with my certified coaches who just as part of being an alumni, they were getting all of those benefits, all the teaching that I was doing as part of that. That was a great strategic byproduct.

The other thing that I was able to do is really have a lab where I could study why some people were successful and why some people weren’t successful. And kind of anticipate who I thought was going to win early, and who wasn’t and why.

Because my goal is always to become a better teacher, to understand who’s going to win, how do I know they’re going to win, what is their thought process, how can I teach that, how can I give that to more people so more people can be successful being life coaches, at making $100,000, at making a million dollars.

And so it was really a study for me in what makes a successful life coach and what doesn’t, and I think the main difference, if I was going to sum it up, is the ones that win have a hard why. Their why is more important to them than quitting. Their why is more important to them than easily giving up.

Now, I inadvertently attracted some people that didn’t have a hard why because my offer was so delicious. There was nothing for them to lose. And when you have a situation where you have nothing to lose, it’s so easy to quit. So the way that I had set up the offer was come work with me, I will show you how to make $100,000, and if you don’t, I’ll give you all your money back.

Well, all of the pressure, all of the stuff to lose was on me as the teacher. And let me tell you something; I can teach my heart out. I can give you everything I know. I can encourage you. I can help you. But I can’t make you win. I can’t win for you.

And so putting all of the stuff to lose on my shoulders didn’t serve my students. I needed them to have something to lose. Not me. Because what ended up happening is they didn’t have anything to lose so they were waiting around saying well, what are you going to do? You don’t want to give me my money back, do you?

And I don’t blame them, but here’s what I noticed. About halfway through the program, I kind of quizzed them, some of the students, on what I had already taught them. I’m like hey, what are the steps to building a business? What are the components? Who can tell me? Who can recite them?

And I had some dull stares and I could tell they hadn’t been studying. They hadn’t been practicing. They hadn’t been working on it. And they admittedly told me they were just waiting for me to fix their problems, waiting for me to solve it. And partially, it’s because of the way that I had set it up.

So were I to do it again, I would do it the complete opposite. I would say come into this program with me, I’m going to teach you everything I know. But if you don’t make 100K, you pay me the 25K. You see the difference? They have the money to lose and for me it’s not about the money.

I don’t make a lot of money on these programs. I mean, I don’t really make any money on these types of programs because I have to pay my staff and the venue and all that stuff. That’s not why I do this. I do this to help my students. My goal is to help my students make more money and to do the deep dive study.

So had I set it up where hey, you come, you don’t even have to pay me upfront, I’m going to teach you everything I know. But if you don’t do what I tell you and you don’t get to the point where you’re making 100K, then you have to pay me the 25K.

First of all, it would have attracted a different type of student that was much more hungry and ambitious. Can you see the difference? And it would have put the pressure on them, which is where it needs to be in order for them to stay on top of what do I need to be doing next, instead of waiting for me. They would have been studying. They would have been much more on top of it.

So what I ended up doing at about the halfway mark is when I saw that people weren’t – some people weren’t invested in it and they were kind of waiting for me to do it is I gave them an opportunity right there. I said I’m not just going to keep teaching you for the rest of the year. You have to remake that decision.

If you decide to stay with the group, you’re going to forfeit your refund amount. My guarantee at this point. And the people that weren’t invested of course, took their money. And it was a really good lesson I think for me and for them that they weren’t invested. And if you’re not invested and you’re not studying this and you’re not working it and you’re not on it every single day, you can’t expect to win.

You can’t expect to have this delicious, amazing job as a life coach making hundreds of thousands of dollars if you don’t invest in following the steps that I teach you. It can’t happen through osmosis, my friends. You have to actually do the steps. And doing the steps and failing and failing and failing, and then winning.

So the students that did well, the students that were all in struggled too for sure. We all struggle when we’re building our businesses. That’s what makes it great when you finally win because it was worth it. You earned it. But their why was stronger. Their reason for not giving up was stronger.

I had one student in there, no way was she going to let me give her her money back. It was for her, it was just a sense of commitment and pride and focus and desire. Absolutely never. Not. No.

And I saw that fire. And when you see that fire with someone, you know they’re going to win. That is the energy that you all have to bring to your work. Your why has to be so strong. So maybe your why is there’s no way I’m going to let my teacher refund me money that I paid for a course. That’s never going to happen.

I am going to do what I started to commit to do. Maybe your why is I want to be able to support my family. I want to be able to get out of debt. I want to be able to help people in the way that I’m dedicated to helping them.

It doesn’t have to be this altruistic why. I think a lot of times people think their why has to be for other people or it has to be something deep and meaningful and spiritual. That is not the case. It just has to be compelling. It has to be more important than negative emotion. You have to be willing to pay with your tears, your sweat, your blood to get it. You have to want it hard enough.

And when I was sitting in this room, it was so interesting. I was sitting in this room with my 100K students and I was talking to them about hey, have you guys done what I asked you to do here? Where are you? And a couple of them were kind of like, nonchalant with me about it.

Lovely people, by the away. Amazing students. All certified coaches. But just a little bit nonchalant about well – you know, you always know. Well, I kind of worked on it and I did. Whenever there’s that, there’s not that fierceness, that drive that I got to do this no matter what.

I expected them to be like okay, listen, I did this and this and this, and this is what’s happening. What do you think about this? Can I fix this? I don’t know why – all the details. But it was all very vague. There wasn’t any grit in it. It wasn’t deep I am doing every single thing you told me to do and here’s what’s working and here’s what isn’t.

And so I started thinking about that and it really made me understand like, it doesn’t matter what I teach. It doesn’t matter the how if the why isn’t hard. If the why isn’t deep. If the why isn’t compelling. Because it’s way too easy to quit, my friends.

There’s a reason why most people aren’t successful entrepreneurs, and it’s because you have to be willing to go through the fire. Now, I want to teach you and I am teaching you how to go through the fire. But when you’re in it, when you’re in the middle of it, when you’re struggling, when you want to quit, the only thing you’re going to want to grab on to is that why.

You’re going to have to want that why so hard that it doesn’t matter how much it hurts. It doesn’t matter how much struggle, it doesn’t matter how much doubt, it doesn’t matter how much frustration, it doesn’t matter that your Facebook ads aren’t working. None of that even compares as important as a reason to quit, to the reason of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

So I started thinking about this for myself. I started talking to actually one of my friends. I was talking to her about it and I asked her, I said, “Is your why hard enough?” That’s how I asked her the question. And she was like, well, what do you mean by that?

I said, what is your why? Is it hard enough? Because if your why is money, if your why is to purchase stuff, if your why is a vacation or a lifestyle, I promise you it’s not a hard why enough because if you want to be successful because you want a comfy lifestyle, your main goal is comfort, you’re not going to be willing to go through the discomfort in order to have the comfort.

You hear what I’m saying? If the only reason – I had someone ask me the other day, they’re like, I think I want to do a business like you, Brooke, so I only have to work three days a week. That was her why. I said no, the why – your why is to work less? You’re never going to work as hard as you have to work in order to work less.

You see what I’m saying? It’s like the why – it’s like the process to get there, the journey to get there is the opposite of why you’re doing it. So it’s so incongruent. You’re never going to do it.

So I started thinking about this for myself. What my why is. And I’ve told you many times, my why is to be an example of what is possible with the model, to demonstrate when you use the self-coaching model, when you use thought work, when you have self-awareness, that you can bring so much more compassion and so much less suffering into your life.

That is my why. But why is that my why? When was my why born? And I think that is a really powerful question for you guys to ask yourselves. Because some of you don’t have a born why yet. Some of you still need to conceive it and birth it. That’s okay. You don’t have to have a why going in. But you have to conceive it and birth it before you can use it as your propeller to get you through the hard times.

So for me, I was so aware when I was suffering and I was so hungry for help and a solution that for me, when I was in the middle of my suffering, I had a thought. If I figure this out, I’m going to share it with as many people as I can. That was my thought.

It was almost like a prayer. It was so convicted and so deep that that moment, my why was born. And that is a really hard why. So when I feel doubt and frustration and I’m upset, I think about that one person that I haven’t helped yet. I think about that one person in her pantry binging. I think about the woman that’s drinking too much. I think about the guy that’s suffering at his own expense unnecessarily, and it’s intolerable for me to think about.

I was just talking to one of my coaches and friend Corinne, and we were talking about money. And her coach actually had asked her about you know, what if you don’t meet your goals or whatever. And Corinne told me that she just started bawling because for her, it’s all the people that she’s not going to be able to help that are suffering with their weight.

And that compelling why is so much stronger than all our sniveling about how hard it is. It’s like yeah, this is hard. Get over it. There’s people that need us. Let’s go. That’s what compels us. And for some people, it’s taking care of their family. For some people it’s retiring their husbands or their wives. For some people, it is being able to move into a bigger house, a different place, help their parents out, whatever.

But when you feel that conviction of your why, you know that it’s hard enough because nothing you have to go through matters, it’s all completely worth it. So why does your why matter is an important question. Why is it more important?

Now listen, if you’ve always just wanted to be a life coach or you’ve always just studied, whatever your profession is, if you’ve always just been in this space of wanting to do it because you want to have a better lifestyle for yourself, you have to make sure you really deep down deep understand why that matters and what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to get that.

Because the pain that you have to go through to get a better lifestyle is way more intense than that lifestyle is going to end up providing you. The cost is more than the reward, if you know what I mean.

So the reward has to be ongoing and compelling or it won’t get you through. It can’t just be well, I think it would be fun to do that. I think it’d be nice. No, you got to dig deep.

Now, that’s a good place to start. Maybe you want a life that’s more fun. You want to enjoy your life more. You want to be more connected with the real authentic you. Why? Get into it. Make it matter to you so much that all this other doubt and frustration won’t even be able to sway you off of it.

The last question I want to leave you with, and this is super powerful and something that I offer to a lot of my students is what is the emotion of your why. So if you think about the self-coaching model, your why will be a sentence. It will be a statement.

And when you say that, that sentence, it will bring up the emotion. It will generate the emotion that will propel the action. So when I think the thought, I want to be an example of what’s possible when you use the model, that brings up so much determination inside of me. So much commitment. It’s such a hard why for me that nothing else matters.

None of the doubt matters. So you want to ask yourself if the emotion of your why stronger than your doubt? Is the emotion of your why stronger than you’re tired? Stronger than your frustration? Stronger than your confusion? Because if the answer is no, you won’t keep going.

By the way, if the answer is no, you don’t want to sit back and go well, I don’t have a hard enough why so forget it. No. The answer is to create one. If you don’t have a hard enough why, get one. If you don’t have a hard enough why, create one that generates the emotion that will overcome doubt, frustration, laziness, confusion, all of it. It will matter so much more.

So when you think about it like, the strongest why most of us could probably have is the lives of our children. Like, if the lives of our children were on the line, we would not be crying about our Facebook ad not working. We would fix our Facebook ad.

If our lives of our children were on the line, we wouldn’t be complaining about not having enough time. We would get it done. See what I’m saying? All of a sudden, everything becomes laser focused. Now, obviously it doesn’t need to be the lives of your children, but you can see how when the why is harder, everything else becomes clearer. You don’t waste as much time. You get to work.

So when the why is you have something to lose, kind of like the reference that I gave where I took on all the risk in my last group, they didn’t have anything to lose was the wrong way for me to do it. I need to make the why compelling for them so they have a lot to lose if they don’t win.

In their minds – and it’s different for everybody, but how do you set it up? So I have watched the people succeed this year who all stand on that stage at mastermind and who will make $100,000 for the first time in their careers as life coaches, and I can feel their whys. I can feel how compelling their whys are. Their reasons for doing it.

And anyone that didn’t quite make it, their why wasn’t quite compelling enough. And so we just need to make it a little bit harder. Make it a little bit deeper. Make it a little bit more important in order to get over that hump, that reason, to get them over their doubt and their frustration.

And that’s what I want to offer to you and that’s what I want to suggest that each of you do. Make sure you have the hardest why you can possibly have so you can have a tool to get you through the hard times, because I got to tell you, on the other side – I was just talking to one of my students today who – she’s like, I’ve made more in the past three months than I thought was even possible to me.

I just kept believing and kept working and kept trying all through my doubt, all through my disbelief. I wanted to quit so many times. She’s just landed in this place of pride and excitement and joy because she didn’t give up, because her why was strong enough. That is available to each and every one of you.

So ask yourself, what is your why? Is it hard enough? What is the emotion of your why and will that emotion get you through the hard times so you can make your dreams come true? Alright my friends, I’ll talk to you next week. Take care. Bye-bye.

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