This transcript is based on the February 12, 2013 podcast WAKE UP: What are Your Xfactors?
What are your X factors?
No matter who you are in society, the worth of someone is the value they bring to the table.
When you think of those who have made big contributions to society, who comes to mind?
For example, someone like Steve Jobs, who built the most successful company on Earth, the Apple corporation, clearly had a huge impact on society. When he passed away, it seemed as though the world lost a family member, didn’t it? People are so passionate about the products his company offers, and they were passionate about him as well.
We get attached to people who give a lot to society. We can name a long list, be it luminaries in business, entertainers, artists, or athletes (like Michael Jordan, whose value to the NBA was recently estimated at over a trillion dollars!). That attachment we feel to them is because of the service they provide. It’s the value they give society.
What value can you give to the world?
Your contribution to society may not be what you think it is; indeed, it will be different compared to anyone else’s. Determining that unique value, and how you can bring it to market (in a way that will get you paid for doing it), is why we’re going to take a look into your X, Y, and Z factors over the next couple of weeks. We’re going to tap into your potential.
Let’s begin by making a big assumption that you have within you right now, 99% of what you need in order to liberate your potential and consequently bring your unique value out into the world. This can be hard to believe when you feel like you aren’t “good enough” to succeed or that your circumstances are holding you back. That kind of thinking you have to suspend now.
Why? Consider this, there are many people who have been dealt with circumstances far more severe than most of us will ever know. Think about Stephen Hawking or Helen Keller, who, despite their circumstances, went on to live incredibly successful lives. Their value to society is substantially larger because of what they had to overcome, and that’s exactly where we start with your X factors.
What is it that makes you unique?
My personal X factors came about from certain experiences in my life; from something I had to overcome. Gleaned from our individual life experiences our X factors are formed in ways that are unique to each person, and from this stems a distinct value that only you can provide to society.
We as humans, ever since humans first came around a long time ago, are programmed just to survive. We’re programmed to avoid situations that make us afraid. These feelings are natural to us, but maybe we don’t need these kinds of reactions anymore. Quite simply, they’re not based in reality; they’re just our natural patterns of thought that we’re hardwired with.
What if we’re fearing things we don’t have to be afraid of at all? What if those are the things that are holding us back? What if?
The trick is to figure out which of our fears are founded in reality and which ones are just creations of our own mind.
The fears we create for ourselves hold us back from living the life we really want.
I grew up in a religious commune, and for me, my life experiences were very different compared to most everyone my age during my time there. Most people who grew up in that environment are still struggling with things that happened to them. If you’ve ever seen the movie The Village, that’s what it was like where I grew up. We were sequestered from the outside world. I acquired an 8th grade education and was socially awkward as hell. The indoctrination, the fear, the emotional abuse I suffered, all of them could have been things that I swept under the rug and pretended they never happened. All of them, could be great excuses as to why I never got anywhere in life. They could be things of which I’m ashamed.
Instead, I embraced them because they’re what make me unique. Those experiences are what empowered my self worth in the value I can bring to society today.
“Hold on a minute! Maybe there’s nothing wrong with me at all.”
About 8 years ago I was riding in a car with my friend Mike when I had my first epiphany about this. We had been having a conversation and laughing about something at the time. I used to be really shy and hate the sound of my voice, so I’d talk really fast. People would pick on me for it, and I was really self conscious about it. In that instance my friend Mike said, “Jay, that is why I fricken love you so much.” I asked him what he meant, and he said, “You’re a freaking dork. Listen to you! I love it.”
It caused me to think! “Hold on a minute! Maybe there’s nothing wrong with me at all. Maybe I just need to surround myself with people who love me for who I am.” That’s the paradigm shift that started this thinking for me. That was my first wake up call.
If you try to live a life devoid of failure and pain you will never truly thrive.
Adversity builds character. You cannot build stronger muscles without first tearing them down. So if you have fear of pain or discomfort, how are you ever going to get stronger? If you try to live a life devoid of failure and pain you will never truly flourish. You don’t learn character by studying it; you learn it by getting the shit kicked out of you by life. Like the phrase used by the Marines, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
So many people try to avoid facing their fears or failure. What’s the point? So they can arrive safely at the grave? By suppressing the things inside themselves that they think are inferior, these people are robbing themselves of who they could be and the potential worth they might provide to the world. That’s not the way to live a life that you love! All those things you think are wrong with you, those “imperfections” you think are holding you back, those are your personal X factors that could make you the next superstar, whatever industry you’re in or passion you have.
A while back at one of our Master Marketing events, I did a presentation on how you can turn your biggest insecurities and weaknesses into your most powerful strengths. Check out this Youtube video from that presentation on my channel here.
Whatever is holding you back is potentially your biggest asset.
When I looked back at what it was that made me a bad communicator, I discovered it came from a deep-seated belief due to being picked on all that time when I was young; from being a dork who couldn’t win anything. Because of that, I had to work harder, and I worked my ass off to change that. The character I needed to do that came from the adversity I experienced.
“Thank you God for the opportunity to know what it feels like to be the last kid on the playground to catch a fly ball!”
If you list all of your good character traits, you will see that all of them have come from experiences in your life that were not pleasant. You developed them through adversity.
Try this exercise: make a list of all your strengths, and make a list of all the shit that’s happened to you in your life. I bet you’ll be able to connect them! You’ll see the relationship between character and adversity in your life.
My point is this: let go of your attachment to being comfortable and to being safe. If we want to increase our value to society, we need to go back through our lives and identify the adversities we’ve dealt with in the past. Share them. Talk about them. They are absolutely unique to you, and they will attract people to you. They will make people want to tell their own story. They will inspire people to live on their own terms and embrace their own adversities in life, by seeing you do that, will give people permission to follow suit.
This is why we love movies and biographies of actors. They convey vulnerability, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, and we get to see their weaknesses. They pour their passion into it. That’s what makes a blockbuster and the best seller. That’s what creates value.
Telling your story can do the same thing for you; it’s easier than ever to do in the Digital Economy, and it can make you millions of dollars.
What makes you unique? What are your X factors?
Take a look at your life and cultivate those traits that make you special and I promise you that it won’t be what you expect. It’s not just what you are passionate about; passion and fulfillment are by-products of doing something that aligns with your core values. Take a look at what you’re good at. What makes you feel good and fulfilled as a person? What really means something to you? What makes you want to make things better? Maybe you’re a problem solver, or wherever you work, you the kind of person who wants to make things better.
Whatever it is, exploring that is like a rabbit hole that takes you into yourself and shows you what your X factors are. Inside you will find your worth, the value you can give to the world. That’s where your power is to change your life.
For me, I liked Internet marketing and was good at it, but the feeling of lasting satisfaction wasn’t there. That only came when I started showing other people how to do what I was doing. Along the way, I learned that all these shitty things that happened to me can be turned into something positive. I’m incredibly thankful for that.
Who I am today is a result of how I choose to process my past.
The same is true for you. You can’t control what happened to you, but you can control how you perceive it and how you use it. Think about what makes you unique. Think about what you’re passionate about.
When I was a kid, I loved to build with LEGO. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was because of a passion I have for building things and analyzing them to see if I could build them better. (I also built model airplanes; most of them crashed, but I didn’t care! For me it was about “building”.)
Looking back at that I’ve learned something about myself. This was an epiphany for me, going down the rabbit hole of my passion and discovering that I wasn’t really great at inventing things, but I was great at taking other peoples’ ideas and making them better. I’m good at identifying a problem and helping that person come up with a solution. Out of this I can take a lesson and apply it for the benefit of both myself and others!
That’s a form of creativity, which is what we’ll get into with the next WAKE UP call when we discuss your Y factors. Take a look at your life and what you do. There will always be a need to solve problems, and you can examine the ways your creativity can help do that for people. You figure out how to do that on a big scale, and all of a sudden, you’ve created a ton of value for society and yourself in the process! There’s no limit to where your life can go.
Over the next few days, let go of fear and any discomfort you may have about what people will think of you, and what you can’t do. Those feelings are there for survival mode, and they’ll never help you get to where you want to be. There is no fulfillment in survival. That empty feeling you have just from surviving is NOT good enough, is it? If you’re anything like me, fulfillment’s where it’s at. You’ll do anything to get it, even if it’s scary or uncomfortable.
Your weaknesses will be your biggest strengths when you use them the right way. The things you think are wrong with you are what will give you the power to change your life; we’ll get more into this on the next WAKE UP call!
If this inspired you, share it with your family and friends. I always love your feedback.