Jen Sincero is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and success coach who wrote You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, which has sold well over a million copies, and continues to grow in popularity around the globe. Her follow-up, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth, also a New York Times bestseller, is written with the same inimitable sass, down-to-earth humor and blunt practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller and Jen a celebrated voice in the world of self development.
Here is my interview with Jen about her book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life:
Armen: I thought it was cool that you started out the chapter “The Drama of Overwhelm” by explaining how you had a separate index card set for each chapter before starting. That is a cool way to set things up so that you have structure in place, and have a small guideline for what each chapter will have in it, so you can separate the concepts out and not repeat any. What led to you coming up with this method, and do you use this method elsewhere?
Jen Sincero: I think it’s much easier, and a nice break, to be able to get off the computer and actually see what you’re writing in some sort of solid, organized form. I don’t really do this anywhere else in my life in this particular way, but I guess you could compare it to scheduling out your time. I’m a big believer that if you really want to make some serious changes in your life, instead of just hoping you will or saying you will, writing the things you need to do down on the calendar and actually doing them is extremely helpful. Start with the end goal, figure out what you have to do to reach it and chunk out your time accordingly so you can reach it.
Armen: In chapter 7, you have a hypothetical dialogue between individuals who don’t support accomplishment, where they are discussing the Wright brothers and their efforts. I liked this inclusion of the dialogue because it includes that entertaining fake non-support that we see in some folks casual conversation. My favorite line from it is where Helen, after speaking as a downer about the Wright brothers’ efforts, says “You gonna eat the rest of your tapioca pudding? Mind if I help myself?” I thought this line was wonderful because it represented Helen not only as a downer trying to discourage effort and risk-taking, but as a person trying to leech off of anything good that still remained. What is your experience with the Helens of the world, and how have they impacted your efforts leading up to where you are now?
Jen Sincero: Personally I’m pleased to report that I’ve usually been surrounded by extremely supportive people. Most of my roadblocks came from more subliminal beliefs passed onto me by society and those close to me (while they were cheering me on). I’m pretty good at removing myself from the company of negative people or anyone who drags me down. As well as seeing their negativity as something that’s ultimately holding them back, not me.
Armen: In your chapter about procrastination, you mention that “There’s no better teacher than necessity.” Do you have any suggestions regarding creating a sense of necessity where it is not visibly clear that there is one? How can someone create such a necessity that leads to effective learning if the pressure of necessity is not genuinely there?
Jen Sincero: As a writer, self-discipline is essential, and when you have no clear deadline and nobody demanding anything from you, you have to create this necessity to get it done on your own all the time. I recommend taking classes, taking time off from your work or family and demanding of yourself that you get it done before that time ends, chunking down your time into small, bite-sized pieces (I’m going to write and do nothing but write for the next 30 minutes) to help keep you on task, things like that. In the book I also talk about making a bet with someone for a large chunk of money — if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do by a certain date, you have to pay them.
I also think it’s important to note that lots of times we act like we don’t “need” the things and experiences we’d so love to have because we don’t believe we deserve them or that they’re available to us. So the first step is to get mighty real with ourselves about what we want, work on clearing out the subconscious shame or doubt or whatever is fogging our beliefs around it, and then we can dream big and actually truly go after it instead of settling for what we have and pretending that’s fine.
Armen: In the chapter about money being your new best friend, you mentioned that you were worried that if you raised your prices, you would lose all your clients. You had explained that you went to purchase the vehicle that fit you, and then adapted your prices to be able to handle such a cost. If a person were to not purchase an expensive item first, would you recommend raising your prices and then adapting by matching the level of value you thought those prices required, or to work on matching up your services and value provision to those of others who were at higher price levels already, or how might you approach the change?
Jen Sincero: What I’m talking about in this chapter is raising your awareness of your self-worth. Very often people charge only what they think they can get (and live their lives only going after what they think they can get). I’m encouraging people to blast past this limited thinking and go for it on a completely different level, to go after “the impossible” — i.e. whatever their hearts truly desire — and not be held back by thinking it’s too much or they can’t have it or they’ll get yelled at by someone. Yes, you absolutely have to provide value to your customers and be worth what you’re charging, but that’s usually not where the problem lies. The problem lies in deciding what we’re worth. How do you place a value on a product or a service? One person could charge ten bucks for a t-shirt and another could sell the same t-shirt in a fancy store for a thousand. Money is currency and currency is energy. It’s abut raising your energy around your self-worth, not comparing yourself to others or playing small because you’re in fear. if you’re truly happy and fulfilled playing small, that’s a different story, but I find that people often pretend they’re fulfilled because they don’t think they can have what they truly want.
Armen: There is an exercise in the book where it says to look around and count the number of items that are a certain color, followed by an explanation that items of a different color were completely overlooked in the process. What are some examples of things you were not looking for in the past that you now look look for?
Jen Sincero: I’m looking to reach a much bigger audience than I ever was before, I’m looking for international speaking opportunities instead of just in the U.S. I’ve got lots of big writing ideas that I’m excited to pursue and am looking to get them produced o a much bigger level. The more I grow and expand, the more things come into focus as possible. That’s what’s so cool about all this — it’s available to EVERYONE once we get out of our own ways. Every time we blast past a fear and step out of our comfort zones, we find ourselves standing in a new reality with all these new opportunities in it (all of which were always here for us, of course, we were just too busy focusing on our fears, doubts and worries to see them). We get one go around on this planet as the creatures we are, why not make the ride as awesome as possible?
Thanks to Jen for taking part.