In the last episode, we talked about why adopting the “Everything You Want, Nothing You Don’t” philosophy as a world view and guiding principle for all decision-making is essential for growing your business and earning more money. In this episode, I discuss why it’s also essential for weight loss.
Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps serious entrepreneurs get everything they want, and out from under everything they don’t want. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and if this is you, I’m glad you’re here because today we’re going to begin talking about something that largely goes missing from our conversations about entrepreneurship.
What I want to talk about today is addiction, and now you may be saying, what? I thought we were going to talk about getting everything you want. And to this I will say, yes, that is exactly what we’re going to talk about, and we’re going to talk about it using a litmus test of addiction, because my hypothesis is that addiction is what occurs, it’s the sign, that we believe it is impossible to get what we want, and when we have this belief, that’s when we succumb to addiction or indulge in behaviors that smack of addiction, such as binge eating, binge drinking, binge drug use, and all other forms of self-destructive sabotage, such as overeating, overdrinking, and overspending, that we want to quit but can’t seem to stop. I’m lumping all of these behaviors under the heading of “addiction” because we don’t have to be scientists or physicians here. All we have to do is get results, so I’m just going to talk about addiction in terms of the thing you desperately want to quit doing but feel powerless to stop doing. Rather, you feel compelled to continue.
Why does addiction matter in a podcast for entrepreneurs? A few reasons. Today I’ll discuss two. One, this is a show about creating true wealth. Not just money. In this show, you get everything you want and nothing you don’t, and I doubt any of us have addiction or addictive-like behaviors on our wish list. Ask the poor soul living in a crack house if his current situation is what he wanted for his life, and I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say that no, this is decidedly what he didn’t want for his life. So addiction is something we’re going to have to eradicate if we want to feel truly wealthy. After all, a hallmark of wealth is freedom, and if you’re addicted to something, you are enslaved to it. So addiction to anything is the opposite of wealthy. And, if we had to say one thing we know about addiction for sure, I think we’d all agree that it’s counterproductive to serving our customers and growing our businesses. Start a story with, “Once Upon a Time, there was a great entrepreneur who got addicted to ___________,” and we will all see exactly where that story is going, and it’s nowhere good.
So today I hope to clarify why I’m talking about weight loss in a podcast for entrepreneurs. Weight gain is a sign of food abuse, a sign of food addiction, as we’re using that term in this show, and this in my mind is the type of addiction that most entrepreneurs are struggling with. Why do I think this? For one thing, 70% of us in America are now obese or overweight. Food is our most socially accepted form of addiction. Few people would ask, at an industry conference or networking mixer, why you’re eating too many cupcakes. But they would give the side-eye on too many Manhattans or too many lines of cocaine. Can you even imagine doing that at a professional event? In most industries, no. It’s not the eighties anymore, people. But I’ve been at meals with very high-earning, very successful clients and colleagues, where dessert–way too much dessert–is a form of bonding. To a very large degree, sugar is still a drug we do together, and no one thinks twice about it.
Food also happens to be my bugaboo, and we all know in what form. My drug of choice is called Cherry Garcia, and I recently learned that one of my most successful friends also considers this her favorite ice cream. She didn’t say that she abuses it, but this got me wondering. Is there a hidden caste of entrepreneurs who secretly harbor too much desire for this particular Ben & Jerry’s flavor? Maybe. If you’re out there, get in touch immediately. firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to hear from you, because there could be much to discuss on this topic.
But in any case, the other night my husband came bounding out of the hot tub and into the house, and he said, “I listened to your podcast episode for the first of the year, the one on clarity, and I don’t understand it at all.” This was of course music to my ears. He went on to say, “Why, when you said you were going to spend this year helping entrepreneurs with their marketing stories, did you then cap off the episode and say, ‘By the way people, join me for a second episode each week to discuss weight loss?’ What are you talking about? People aren’t going to understand what’s going on here at all.”
So I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that was a fun night in our household. My objective is to make each episode clear and concise and logical, so to hear my husband ask, “what the heck is going on,” revealed that I haven’t possibly been terribly clear on this topic. And what do we know about unclear messaging? It’s a sign that we’re unclear in our minds. This is a major reason that I’m combining causal coaching and creating compelling copy into my signature offer for this year. I can help you get clear even if I’m occasionally not clear with my own stuff. But the good news is now I am clear on the question of why rich and thin go together in a single show, and why these are both important concepts for entrepreneurs.
This question about why these two things go together is basically a question about the relationship between food addiction, weight loss, and entrepreneurship, and it’s something I have been pondering for a very long time. I wrote a novel about this about ten years ago, the main character is a woman who loses weight through the process of growing her business, and I’ve heard it said that every author of every novel is drawn to write a particular work of fiction because they’re trying to work something out in their subconscious or in their own life. That was definitely the case with me. I always knew I wanted to be more successful in my work, and that I felt weighed down in my efforts, and I always knew that the weight I felt in my business and the excess weight on my body were profoundly connected. I just couldn’t, for a long time, articulate exactly what the connection was. I couldn’t distill the connection to its essence. I was talking about this with my friend and coaching colleague Adriane recently, and she said, “Everyone knows rich and thin go together.” I agree with her, but the question is why? Today I think I finally have enough clarity to give you a concise answer to that question.
If you listened to the money episode from earlier this week, the “Rich” episode, you know that this year we’re talking about getting everything you want, and getting out from under everything you don’t. I recently crystallized in my own mind that this paradigm, this world view, is necessary. If we’re going to achieve this state of true wealth, we must first adopt this “everything you want, nothing you don’t” philosophy. Adopting a philosophy or stepping into a paradigm means making the decision that this is how we will live, and then using that philosophy or paradigm as a guiding principle for all of our actions. This is because everything starts in your mind. The Stoics were writing about this 2000 years ago. Napoleon Hill wrote about it decades ago. My wealthiest clients credit this principle with their success.
In working with the 1% over the 2 ½ decades of my career, I’ve noticed something about them. I started out as a hayseed from Idaho, and I saw that their world is different. They don’t just have money. They have everything they want, including the bodies that they want, and I came to realize that this is not a coincidence. It all stems from the decision to have everything they want, and nothing they don’t
And now I want to tell you how this relates to addiction and overeating and weight gain, and overspending and debt, and all other combinations of addictive behavior and adverse, wealth-killing results that we are so desperately wanting to escape.
I found a great Ted Talk that helps illustrate this relationship. In his Ted Talk titled “Everything You Know About Addiction Is Wrong”, Johann Hari, a journalist who spent three years researching the war on drugs and whether it’s counterproductive, notes that addiction to hard drugs doesn’t happen as we think it does. We tend to think that if you take heroin, you’re addicted. It’s just so amazing that once you have a taste, you can’t quit.
But he says that this isn’t the way it works. He reports that 20% of Americans fighting in the Vietnam war regularly used heroin, and upon returning to America, promptly quit that use. They didn’t need treatment. They didn’t go through painful withdrawal. They just quit.
He goes on to describe studies that led us to believe that a taste of hard drugs would instantly result in addiction, overdose, and death. He says you can duplicate these studies at home. Take a rat, isolate it in a cage, and offer it a choice between plain water and morphine-laced water. What happens? The rat ODs on the morphine and dies.
But he says this research is flawed. What if the rats had something to do? Bruce Alexander was a researcher who asked this exact question, and he created an experiment now famously known as “Rat Park,” which Johann Hari describes in his Ted Talk as heaven for rats. In Bruce Alexander’s experiment, the rats didn’t just have a choice between plain water or morphine water. They also had rat playmates. They had fun toys. They had sex. And they used the morphine-laced water occasionally, but they didn’t OD on it, and they didn’t die. They had better things to do.
Portugal used concepts from research like this to determine that the U.S. approach to drug addiction, which is basically to imprison, punish, stigmatize, and shame addicts, was the wrong way to go. Portugal had been mimicking what the U.S. and other countries were doing in the war on drugs and found that their rates of heroin and other drug addiction were skyrocketing. So they instead did a 180 and took the opposite approach. They decriminalized all drugs, and took the money previously spent on isolating and punishing addicts and spent it in a “massive program for job creation and micro-loans” so that addicts could start small businesses, or at least get a job. And lo and behold, what happened? When addicts rediscovered their purpose, when they had a reason to get out of bed in the morning, they also rediscovered bonds and relationships with the wider society, and Portugal’s rates of addiction and overdose from hard drugs plummeted.
In my mind, Portugal’s experiment in decriminalizing drugs, destigmatizing addicts, and reconnecting them to their purpose and to society, goes to the heart of what I’ve been dancing around with in my head, in trying to answer the question, why are entrepreneurship and weight loss so inextricably connected.
In his Ted Talk, Johann Hari basically posits that addiction is not about pain, but about living in a cage devoid of connection and purpose. Here I’d quibble just a little bit, because in my view pain is a cage, but I agree wholeheartedly with the cage sentiment, and here I’d like you to notice something. What is a cage, as far as human beings are concerned? Unless we’re among the unfortunate individuals who are living in modern-day slavery, which I don’t imagine includes many listeners of this podcast, any cage we find ourselves in is a mental construct. It’s the idea that we must live with burdens that we don’t want. It’s the idea that we can’t have what we want. It’s not literal, it’s figurative. It doesn’t really exist, but rather, it’s an idea in our heads. And what do we know about those? We know that we get what we think, so if you’re encased in a cage in your own mind, you’ll also create one or more cages in your own life. It might be the cage of debt, in which you don’t feel the freedom to breathe a single breath or make one wrong move. It might be excess physical weight, the weight that encases our bodies, in which case you can feel as if you’re living in a literal cage comprised of your own excess body weight.
I remember reading in, I think, Oprah Magazine a long time ago about a famous woman, maybe she was an actress, who was at a spa one day, and they had put her in a mud bath and then closed the bath with a wooden lid with her head sticking out of the lid. Then she was left alone in the treatment room, confined in this mud-bath-in-a-box, and she was fine at first but then she started to feel claustrophobic, so she asked for help in escaping the cage. She yelled for people to come and let her out. And eventually a woman came to help, and she said, “All you have to do is lift the lid. We didn’t lock you in here.”
The famous woman who relayed this story in that magazine went on to say that whenever she’s feeling stuck, she has to remind herself, I am not locked in here. All I have to do is lift the lid.
I think this story very readily illustrates what is going on with our addictive, wealth-killing behaviors. We think we’re in a cage, we think we’re stuck and we don’t like it, and to alleviate the pain and frustration of feeling stuck in a place we don’t like, we do our additive behavior. If the cage is bad enough, as it was for the rats who were alone with the morphine-laced water, we kill ourselves with our addictive behavior.
How do you escape a mental cage? You lift the lid. You do what Portugal did. You do what they did in rat heaven. You declare nothing contraband. It’s available, sure, but it’s just not interesting because there are so many other fun and purposeful things to do. When you’re out of the cage, that means you’ve opened up all of your options in life and in business that are so much more fascinating to you than some morphine-laced water, or whatever your drug of choice happens to be, and so the illicit stuff that doesn’t serve you, the junk that kills you, just isn’t that interesting anymore. Maybe you use it for fun once in a while, maybe not, but either way, you’re not highjacked by it because you’ve decided to have everything you want and nothing you don’t.
So to put a very fine point on this, or as fine a point as I can do at my current level of clarity, I’m sure this may sharpen over time, but here’s what I see right now. The relationship between entrepreneurship and weight loss is this: the way you get a lean, successful business and a lean, beautiful body and create true wealth is that you decide to have everything you want, and nothing you don’t. This paradigm works for rich just as it does for thin. It’s how you lift the lid. This is how you dissolve the cage in your mind that leads to addictive behaviors like overeating and overdrinking that put weight on your body, and unproductive behaviors like underearning and working beneath or outside your zone of genius that will kill your business and keep you in a cubicle.
In short, stepping into the paradigm of having everything you want and nothing you don’t is where you create true wealth, because it solves the problem of broke, and it solves the problem of bulky. This is why rich and thin go together just as chocolate goes with peanut butter and Bradley Cooper goes with Lady Gaga in the amazing movie A Star is Born.
I don’t expect you to take my word for this. One of the reasons I wanted to start doing two shows a week is because I still want to discuss concepts that will help you grow your business, we’ll do those generally on Tuesdays, but I also want to report to you on the work we’re doing in the Rich & Thin™ Workshop, which is where we’re using the “everything you want, nothing you don’t” paradigm to lose weight as we grow our businesses.
So here I want to say two things that I hope will put my husband’s mind to rest. One, the reason I’m talking about weight loss on a podcast for entrepreneurs is that all of us who are struggling with excess weight have been told that we must put yourself in a cage to lose it. To this, allow me to gently suggest that there’s another way. A wealthier way. The cage of hunger and deprivation that is the modern-day approach to weight loss is where the addictive behaviors of overeating and binge eating are born. They lead to weight gain, not weight loss, just as the cage of “entrepreneurship is going to be really difficult, suck it up,” leads to the cubicle, not to true wealth through business success.
I’m utterly convinced that this is the answer. If it’s difficult you’re doing it wrong. So in the spirit of having “everything I want and nothing I don’t,” I created a worksheet to help me assess which foods are exactly the foods I want, and which foods aren’t quite doing it for me. Why did I create this? Because after a lifetime of dieting and restricting and telling myself I can’t have this and I should eat that, I am not always terribly clear on exactly what I want. Sometimes I just think I want something because I’ve told myself “I love it but I can’t have it” for so long, but then when I actually sit down to eat it and assess it by using my worksheet, I realize, nah. I don’t really like this food at all. I had one client who also used the worksheet after she insisted that she absolutely loved Ritz Crackers, and then she realized that she didn’t love Ritz Crackers at all. The worksheet helped her slow down and analyze her experience of Ritz Crackers, and she realized she didn’t even like the taste of them. If you want a copy of this worksheet, I’ll send it to you. Text the phrase wealthyweightloss (all one word, with no spaces) to 44222 and I’ll email you the worksheet so you can use it yourself.
The second thing I want to say that I hope will put my husband’s mind at rest about my podcast is that I want to do two episodes a week this year, but only when I want to. We decided that in the spirit of being truly wealthy, we’re going to take about one vacation a month, each month of this year, and he was concerned that the podcast schedule might get in the way, especially now, I can sit at a desk for the first time in three years and I’m finally getting back to work in a serious way, and my business is exploding. So I want you to know that the general Tuesday/Thursday is aspirational and a fun thing to try for, but if I don’t hit it one week, it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s because I just didn’t want to kill myself hitting this arbitrary deadline on a particular day. I like my sleep and this is why I was never a litigator. The deadlines associated with a lawsuit are at times just too punishing. So if it’s a choice between me working tired and getting the podcast out, or me having everything I want, including a good night’s sleep, I’m going to go with the latter and catch up with you in the next episode. I hope you understand.
With that, I’m going to close for today by saying I hope this clarifies why I’m doing a show that combines growing your business with shrinking your body, but if it still doesn’t make sense to you or to my husband, I’m okay with that. Because it’s my show, and this year I’m doing everything I want to. I hope you do the same, and I look forward to talking with you next time.