Do you ever catch yourself saying, “I would, but I don’t know how”? Or wishing that some guru would just tell you how to make your business work? Or that I would give you a foolproof plan for building a successful business and making as much money as you want?

That’s how greed, my friends. Asking someone else for the step-by-step, guaranteed-success process is usually a sneaky way of avoiding the need to take responsibility if it doesn’t work. And it makes us feel like we can skip over all the not-so-nice emotions that are part of the journey: fear, embarrassment, confusion, and all the rest.

In this episode, we’re diving deep into the concept of how greed and the importance of taking responsibility for your own process and success. If you determine your own how, you’re building a skill that will serve you in every area of your life. You’re willing to experiment, fail, and try again and again.

What you will discover

  • How asking for concrete directions can transfer the responsibility for your success to someone else.
  • Why you should want the responsibility of figuring out how to do something.
  • Why you have to accept responsibility for finding your how and accept that failure is part of the process.
  • How one of my coaches embraced this philosophy and made over $100K.
  • Four steps for discovering your own version of how.

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.

Well hello there my friends. I am recording this right after my yearly mastermind. We do a two-day mastermind for all my certified coaches once a year. And every year it gets bigger and every year it gets more epic and every year I love it more.

And this year was no exception. It was awesome. And it was great because the whole first day, I spoke and taught new material to them and gave out all of the awards for mastermind. We had dozens of winners of the 100K award, we had four winners of the seven-figure award, which we call the Two Comma Club award. And we had a top earner award, and then we give out some content awards and selfless contributor awards.

I mean, we had so many and all the master coaches got their awards. It was just a huge celebration of everyone’s accomplishment for the year. It was really powerful for me to see how much our community is succeeding and growing and everyone is up-leveling. To have so many people making 100K is just – I can’t even tell you. It’s delightful to me. I’m so happy for all of them.

And for all the people in the audience that are now determined to do the same thing for next year, it’s such an inspiring time to be together. And then the second day, I had asked many of my students who are amazing presenters and teacher and inspirers and influencers in their own right to get up and speak to us and I learned so much listening to them and was so inspired and proud of them.

It was really just an amazing two days of coming together and I’m still kind of riding high from that. So today, what I want to talk about is how greed – it’s just two words that I put together. It’s the greediness for the how.

Now, one of the things I see happen with my students and these are my students that want to make money, these are my students who want to lose weight, these are my students that want to quit drinking, these are students that just want to feel better, write a book, anything. Any goal that you have. What students want to know most specifically is exactly what they need to do in order to ensure their success. What are the steps that I need to take?

This is an innocent question in your mind and it’s one you may not even notice that you’re asking. But I want to point out how it transfers the responsibility. Whenever you hear someone say yeah, but how? They’re giving you the obligation of telling them exactly what to do to succeed or fail.

Now, the way that I see that as an obligation is if they do everything exactly as you say and it doesn’t work, then you’re responsible for it not working. Do you see what I’m saying? We don’t even realize our brain is doing this, but it’s that transfer of responsibility that creates so much failure and quitting because they say this doesn’t work, this step-by-step process isn’t working so therefore, I’m not going to do the goal.

Because you said I needed to do this, this, and this, I did that, that, and that, or you kind of did it or you half-assed it or whatever. So I want you to notice a couple of things. Do you hear yourself saying I would, but I don’t know how? That’s the biggest problem that I see with most lack of success.
Because anything that you want that’s worth doing, you’re not going to already know how to do it because you would have done it already. And many of the things worth doing, nobody knows how to do yet. You can’t even ask someone how to do it. And if they could tell you how to do it intellectually, you’d still not know how to do it because you have to learn by actually doing it.

It’s like I can tell you how to ride a bike, I can tell you how to drive a car, but you’re still not going to know how to do it until you do it wrong a lot until you get it right. So I think that we want this formula that we can follow because it doesn’t require us to fail, it doesn’t require us to go through messiness, it doesn’t require us to go through confusion, pain, or doubt.

We want it to be easy. And what I want to suggest that you notice is that this how greed, which I think is being perpetuated by Google because that WikiHow, they’ll tell you how to do anything. They’ll give you the steps on how to do anything, is it transfers that responsibility and listen, the responsibility for how to do something is a privilege that you want.

Responsibility for the how is something you want to own. It’s actually a huge asset to own discovering the how. Because if you discover the how for yourself, then you will own it. And here’s what it’ll do, and this is the biggest differentiator.

This is the difference between people that succeed and people that don’t succeed is people that take responsibility for the how understand that failure is part of the process. People that don’t take responsibility for the how quit when they fail because they think the process doesn’t work.

So if you think someone’s given you the process on how to do something and you think you’re following that process and that process doesn’t work, you’re out. But if you understand that you may get some direction from someone but you have to figure out your own process and you understand that failure is part of the process of learning how, then you don’t quit.

The difference between someone who gets there and someone who doesn’t get there is the person that doesn’t get their quits. The person who gets there doesn’t quit. That’s it.

Think about it as a GPS. We want the map and the turn by turn directions and we want it to work without any thought, which I think is one of the modern miracles of the universe. Just a little side note. I am directionally impaired. Whatever that spacial intelligence is that people have where they understand north, east, south, where things are, they remember directions, they remember street names, all that stuff, my sons have this amazingly. I do not have this benefit.

I cannot remember any kind of spacial directional intelligence at all. So the invention of GPS seriously changed my life. But I do want to say that GPS is one of those things that can give you the turn by turn directions, tell you exactly how to get from here to there, but as of this date, it can’t in many cases warn you about what you might run into along the way. It can’t anticipate an obstacle that might appear in the road or that you might want to turn around and go around it.

Now, it’s getting better. Now it can kind of anticipate accidents and traffic if it has enough time. But it doesn’t know what’s going to be happening in that minute that you get there. What you might have to swerve to avoid. The lane that you might want to be in. It can’t anticipate exactly what the weather might be as you’re driving through a certain area or the potholes or anything like that.

And so if you’re anything like me, you turn off your brain when GPS is on and this is what it looks like. One time I was with my son and we were driving to a soccer game and I was just listening to this GPS tell me exactly where to go. And then all of a sudden it said you have arrived. And we were at an empty parking lot with no field in sight. No soccer team. No soccer goals. Nothing.

We had not arrived, my friends. We did not know where we were. And it’s because I was just listening to these directions without thinking, wait, does this make sense? And how many times has that happened to you where you’re following directions and you’re like, wait, this doesn’t seem right. It seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Maybe you put in the address wrong or maybe the GPS just made a mistake or whatever, but because you’re just relying, you’re transferred responsibility over to the GPS, you may not end up where you want to go. And so that’s what I want to encourage you all to look at in your own lives is this entitlement that many of us have to being told how to do something.

And if we don’t know how to do something, we’re not going to do it, which means we’re not going to do anything we’ve never practiced or done before, we’re not going to do anything that someone else hasn’t already done before. And not only have they not already done it, but they need to tell us how to do it or we’re not going to do it.

I love the website Masterclass because it has like, all the masters in the field. It has amazing videos of them teaching us how to do their craft. So it has like, Serena Williams teaching us how to play tennis and Stephen Curry teaching us how to play basketball.

And I’m laughing when I’m watching this video learning how to play basketball from an NBA basketball player. And he’s telling me the how. He’s telling me what to do. But I still don’t know how to do it. You see what I’m saying? I’ve gotten the how, I’ve gotten the breakdown, I’ve gotten the steps. He’s even showed me how to do it, but after watching that video, I still don’t know how.

Why? Because I haven’t done it. And even if I follow those directions exactly, that ball is not going to go in that basket as many times as it does for him. I know this. Because the how is in the doing. I have to figure out how to do it by doing it, by practicing it, by trying it, by learning it, by training my body how to do it.

So one of the things that I taught in mastermind, the whole theme of mastermind was thought leadership. And I talked about how being a leader is really going first without knowing the how. Creating the how as you go and being willing to be the first one in the front of the line creating the how.

And it’s important to understand, the example that I gave them is that there’s three different kind of phases that lead into leadership and the first one is you’re a consumer. I use the example of if you’re consuming food in a restaurant, that is the first step. Learning and tasting and seeing what you like and understanding food and what tastes good and learning how to appreciate it.

That’s what we are when we’re learners. And then the next phase is really becoming a cook, which means you follow someone else’s recipe for something. You have the how. They tell you how to do it and you do it. And then the third phase is really leadership, which is you do it in your way, in a way that maybe has never been done before.

And my whole theme of mastermind was really teaching my students that it’s beautiful to be a student. It’s beautiful to be the cook and following the recipe and being the manager who has the how. But eventually, you want to step into leadership where you’re creating and leading with your own thought.

And if you’ve never practiced doing this, if you’ve never practiced discovering the how for yourself, you’re going to be really frustrated in a leadership position. Because you’re always going to want to know the how and you’re always going to want to be told the how.

One of my students who made 100K this year is Krista St Germain and her story is so awesome as an example of leadership and so I wanted to share it with you a little bit here. When she became a student of mine and applied all of the material to her life in a way that really transformed her life, she was an excellent student and really was willing to do all of the work in Scholars to really change her life.

She became a success story in Scholars. And shortly after she became certified, she wanted to quit her job that she’d been in corporate America for a long time and she wanted to come and work for us at The Life Coach School. And I hired her at The Life Coach School and when we hire people, we always do a trial with them. So there’s always a 90-day trial to make sure it’s a good fit.

And I want to say that I hired Krista and she is an excellent employee. She’s very hardworking. Amazing person. But because she’d been in corporate America for a while and because she was my employee, her expectation was that I would tell her the how.

And I have to say, at the time that I hired her, I was not in a very good position to manage her, to give her the how, to be clear in my expectations, to give her a really clear job description and really clear focus for what I wanted her to do. And so it didn’t work out between us, her being my employee and me being her manager, and I will say looking back and now I can see that that is my bad.

I feel like I failed her in that situation and many of my employees that worked for me in the beginning. I wasn’t quite ready to manage them in the way that they deserved and expected. But I’m actually super happy that that didn’t work out with Krista because she went on to become an amazing coach in her own right, in her own business, and she works for one of my colleagues who’s clearly a better manager than I am in a way that they both love and appreciate each other.

And Krista and I are super close as student-teacher and as friends. And I think there’s so much magic to her story because it could have been devastating for her, and I mean, it was very challenging for her to have it not work out between us. It was very challenging for me too.

Nobody wants something not to work out. It’s painful every time. But instead of her being frustrated at me for not providing her with a very clear how, instead of her kind of disconnecting and feeling like she failed or feeling like I failed her, what she did instead is actually quite extraordinary.

She went full on – because she had already quit her job – so she went full on into her own business and signed up for my 100K mastermind group and mentoring group. And worked her butt off to figure out how to make her business successful. Now in that group, I did give them guidelines. I did give them a general how.

As much as I could possibly give them a how, I gave them a how. But the truth is she had to mix that with her business and her niche and her energy and her clients and she had to work and test and work and test. So her how followed the guidelines that I taught and she really followed the direction, but her how looks very different than someone else’s how that made 100K because they each had to approach it in the way that worked the best for them.

And so when I saw her on the stage at that 100K awards ceremony and we give them - all their awards come from Tiffany’s. So as I saw her standing up there with her Tiffany box, I kind of had this out of body experience. I had this tremendous realization that that is how you do it.

You think that this is how you’re going to do it. You think that the how is oh, I’m going to go work for The Life Coach School and I’m going to work for Brooke. That’s what I’m going to do. And then that didn’t work out, and so then she approached – I’m going to do it this way, and then that didn’t work out. And then she tried all these different things within her funnel. Some things worked and some things didn’t.

But she got herself there by not quitting. So the original programming in the GPS had to be adjusted. She had to make adjustments to it and really come out on the other side of it. And it’s so fascinating to me to watch those students of mine who do not let “failure,” do not let obstacles, do not let anything turn them into a victim and feel sorry for themselves. They keep on working. They keep on moving.

And another one of our coaches, just to watch how many times they were frustrated and discouraged and wanting the answers and wanting me to fix their problems for them, to suddenly realize, wait a minute, I need to take back this responsibility, I need to stop being so greedy for the how, stop being so greedy for someone else to tell me what to do to fix this, and to take full responsibility for it.

Because the magic happens when you take full responsibility for it and you have the GPS and you have the teacher and you have the mentor. That’s when you have, I think, the perfect combination. Because you have someone that can guide you and coach you and give you some direction in some areas, but you’re taking responsibility for whether you’re actually going to follow those directions exactly or whether you need to make some adjustments based on who you are and what you want for yourself and your clients and your life.

It’s kind of like when I give the guidelines for how to lose weight or the guidelines for how to stop drinking, not everyone follows those exactly to get to where – some people have to make adjustments based on their lifestyle and what works for them.

And as long as they like the reason, they’re able to take responsibility for not only the how they get there, but then they get to take the responsibility for the success of getting there. It’s truly yours to own.

So I want to remind you, the difference between being told something versus discovering something for yourself, the how, the direction can get you started but you’re the one that has to have at the end of your day, your unique way that you get there. And you will keep going if you recognize that the how comes from failing. The how comes from trying things that don’t work.

So here are the four steps to discovering the how. And one of the exercises that I had them to at mastermind, and one of the exercises that I have my employees do all the time is when you don’t think you know the how, sit down and imagine everything you would ask me to tell you how to do it. Or anyone.

Tap into your how greed. Tap into what are you greedy to know? This is what I do with myself too. What am I greedy to know the answer to? So I write down all the questions. Every single question I have that I wish the guru in the sky could answer for me and tell me exactly how to do it.

And then I reapproach those questions as someone who has the answers. And I may not know exactly how to do it, but I know the first step of what to try. I may not know exactly how to get there, but I know how to figure out how to get there by trying different things that don’t work until I find the thing that does work.

So that’s a really – before you even get started, that’s an awesome exercise to do. Write down all the questions that you have about how to do something and then attempt to answer them by guessing or having an indication to yourself of what you could do to figure it out.

Step one is taking a guess at what might work. I don’t know how to make a million dollars. Okay. Well, step one is guess at what might work. Let’s break it down. What could you do today to get started? Make a guess. Because sitting around saying that you don’t know how to make a million dollars is certainly not going to help you make a million dollars.

But what could you do today to figure out? Maybe I could, I guess I’ll try, let me make a plan and try it out. That’s step one. You’re just guessing at what might work. Step two is trying it multiple times. Step three, take notes, change as needed. Step four, try something else if needed. Repeat.

That is how you get the how. So what I want you to think about doing is taking all that energy, all that greed. I love the word greed for this. I think it’s so good. That hunger. That how hunger, that how greed. We’re so greedy with it. Give me, give me, give me, give me, give me. I want it all. I want to know all the hows.

And then when I figure out the hows, I don’t want to tell anyone. I want to be the only one that know the how, right? So here’s the thing; you want to take the energy that that is, that desire to know the how and you want to pour it into figuring it out, finding out, by taking the action.

So you take a guess. What could work? And your brain will say I don’t know, I don’t want to feel failure or messiness or confusion or pain or doubt. What might work today? What could you do today that would get you closer to making a million dollars than what you did yesterday? There’s something.

Make one offer. Design a product. Design a program. Tell people you do what you do. Whatever it is. Take a guess at what might work. And you just keep guessing and trying and adjusting and repeating and trying and adjusting and repeating.

This is bad news for some of you because you want there to be this secret formula but here’s the thing; the process of getting it wrong is what gets you towards getting it right. When you do something that doesn’t work, you know what doesn’t work and you’re that much closer to what does work.

It’s the simplest thing in the world and it’s how people have been doing things forever. It’s how all amazing discoveries are made. It’s how all things are accomplished. It’s how all expertise is created. It’s how all skill is developed. Trying, failing, trying again.

That is the formula. The opposite of that is sitting around being greedy for the how. Somebody else figure out how to do it and then teach it to me. Now listen, sometimes that works. Sometimes someone can tell you how to do something and you do it and you get the result you want.

But here’s the tragedy of that. This is why our education system is such a bummer in my eyes. If we are told to just repeat back or do back what we’re told to do, we never learn the skill of learning how to learn the how. So our goal stays small and they’re always determined by what other people have done. They’re always determined by things we’ve already done before or things we know how to do already.

Our lives remain very small, but when we learn the skill of discovering how, of taking responsibility for the how, and owning that, and not being greedy for someone else to give it to us, then we learn the skill of creating the exact life we want because we just declare what it is that we want and we do whatever it takes to get it without quitting.

It’s simple. It’s clean. But yes, it requires failure and messiness, confusion, pain, and doubt. But that is such a small price to pay, my friends, if you’re willing to process negative emotion. Such a small price to pay to have your life be what you want it to be.

And don’t be in a hurry to get there because it’s going to be so much better there than it is here. That’s why we want the formula. We want the GPS so we can get to that place where it’s going to be better than here. We realize there is no hurry, it’s not better there than here, and we have time to develop the skill of learning the how, we just open up possibility and option and all different roads.

All different ways that we can get to new places and discover new things outside of ourselves and outside of our brains but also within our brains and also within ourselves, and that’s when growth happens. And as soon as we get greedy for another how, we can just look inside, make a guess, try something, see if it works, don’t get upset when it doesn’t. Try something else and repeat.

Alright my friends, stop being greedy for other people to tell you the how. Take responsibility for it and go figure it out, my friends. Alright, I’ll talk to you next week. Bye-bye.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the Make sure you type in the I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

Get Coached in Self Coaching Scholars Today