Philip McKernan (@PhilipMcKernan) is a speaker, filmmaker, and author of One Last Talk: Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It and Rich On Paper Poor On Life: 3 Paths To More Meaning (And Money).
What We Discuss with Philip McKernan:
- Do you rarely follow the life advice you’d give — without hesitation — to others?
- Why doing what you’re good at isn’t always a match for what makes you feel good.
- How honest vulnerability (not dinner party oversharing) helps you gain insight into what makes you tick and gives your life meaning.
- Why people travel thousands of miles and pay thousands of dollars for clarity about their own situation they don’t actually want.
- The deep lessons you can learn about yourself in 15 minutes from Philip’s One Last Letter exercise.
- And much more…
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Did you fall into your current line of work simply because you showed an early aptitude for some aspect of what it takes to get the job done? Perhaps you became an accountant because teachers throughout your school years told you were good with numbers. Maybe you’re a dentist because it’s what your father did when you were growing up and your lifelong familiarity with the lingo put you next in line to run the family business. But just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’re obligated to make it your livelihood if it doesn’t fulfill you in some way.
On today’s episode, One Last Talk: Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It author Philip McKernan will help you discover what you could be doing with your life tomorrow if what you’re doing to earn a paycheck today just isn’t making you happy. A note to the skeptical: this isn’t a “follow your passion” pep talk, but an honest and actionable call to action that opens your field of options instead of just telling you what you think you want to hear. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
If you’re not doing what you love for a living, you’ve possibly pondered alternatives that center around some kind of passion — whether it’s one you’ve had your whole life or one that remains undiscovered — at the prompting of some half-baked self-help guru’s new best-seller. But if you actually want to move away from your current career and find one that truly satisfies you in some way rather than just fantasizing about it, what if this is the wrong approach entirely?
“We’re in a world today that’s obsessed with finding its passion, finding purpose, understanding what people want to do when they grow up.” says Philip McKernan, author of One Last Talk: Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It. “And I think to some extent, there’s a part of it that we’re obsessing too much about it. You go back to cave drawings thousands of years ago. There’s not a cave drawing or any writing that’s ever been discovered that man obsessed around passion or purpose. They got up in the morning, they went…killed animals, they found food, they came back, they fed themselves, their family, they tried to keep themselves warm, and they reproduced — and that was it. Maybe we’ve evolved. Maybe we’ve gone backwards; I don’t know. But I think to some extent we often know the things we need to do.”
Philip relays a discussion he had with someone recently on track to build what seemed like a sound, sustainable business. The only problem: this aspiring entrepreneur was building this business in a city he admittedly hated with the idea that he could eventually make enough money to leave. But as most people who follow this line of logic discover, this is just laying down a trap from which — as time goes on — it gets ever more difficult to escape.
If you build a business in a city you hate, you’ve got to put down roots in that place. Maybe you buy a house there, which comes with its own set of expenses. Maybe you get married and build a family there. Your business could be thriving, but there will always be something eating into the profits you once intended as your escape fund.
“I’m sitting in front of a guy; he thinks X is the problem,” says Philip. “We start to focus on Y; he gets very uncomfortable. I said, ‘By the way, when you leave this room, just watch the pattern. You’re going to want to do something — you’re going to want to spend money which will rationalize and justify, in your brain, that you shouldn’t make the leap to something of more meaning in your life.’ And he said, ‘It’s so funny, because last night my wife and I discussed building an extension onto our home. It’ll cost us a lot of money, and that nest egg — which has a degree of freedom around it — will be gone!’”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about other ways we lock ourselves into lives we don’t love leading, how we rarely follow the life advice we’d give without hesitation to others, how to give yourself permission to do what you really want to do with your life, why the terrible time you’re living through today might be the blessing in disguise that prompts you to make much-needed changes, how almost dying (twice) woke Philip up in ways no other experience could, the difference between false and authentic vulnerability, passion versus excitement, and much more.
THANKS, PHILIP MCKERNAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Philip McKernan, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Philip McKernan at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- One Last Talk: Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It by Philip McKernan
- Rich On Paper Poor On Life: 3 Paths To More Meaning (And Money) by Philip McKernan
- Give & Grow
- Philip McKernan’s website
- Philip McKernan at Facebook
- Philip McKernan at Instagram
- Philip McKernan at Twitter
- Golden Handcuffs, Investopedia
- TJHS 94: Deep Dive | This Is the Vulnerable Truth about Vulnerability
- Humans of New York
- This Is What Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and 13 Other Successful Leaders Eat for Breakfast Every Day by Aine Cain, Inc.
- The Hero’s Journey — Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth by Dan Bronzite, Movie Outline
- Do You Have ‘Shiny Object’ Syndrome? What It Is and How to Beat It by Jayson DeMers, Entrepreneur
Transcript for Philip McKernan - Why Your Truth Matters and How to Speak It (Episode 145)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. Now, when I had to restart The Jordan Harbinger Show from scratch in early 2018, it forced a hard reset on a lot of the plans I had from my life and business. Moving forward, one thing I realized was that I really loved some elements of my work and others I'd been doing for years simply because I'd been doing them for years. That's not a good reason to structure your life around an idea, a person or a business. So when I met Phil McKernan and found out about some of his work, especially when it comes to keeping people aligned and what gives them meaning in their lives, I wanted to get him on the show to discuss getting clarity in our work. Now, I've known Phil for a long time, but I thought his stuff didn't apply to me as much, but recently, that's changed.
[00:00:44] And ironically, while people seem to seek clarity in their work, whenever we look at their words, we see that many of us are actually scared to death of finding what we really want out of our work and out of our lives in general. Phil and I also explore vulnerability, not the fake dinner party stuff, but the real deal and how this can help us gain insight into what really makes us tick and keeps us happy and fulfilled. This is an incredibly deep episode with Phil. This is not a surface guy. As you know, if you know Phil or if you don't, you're in for a treat and if you want to know how I managed to make all these amazing friends like Philip McKernan and build great relationships and a great network around me that saved my butt when we had to restart the show.
[00:01:23] Well, check out our Six-Minute Networking course. It's free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course it's a bunch of skills. I wish I'd known my whole life and just learned over the last, let's say 10 to 15 years. This is game changing stuff. So go grab it at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:01:38] All right. Here's Philip McKernan.
[00:01:39] Phil, thanks for coming back, man. It's been a long time.
Philip McKernan: [00:01:42] Yeah. It has been a while. Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:44] You are welcome and I'm glad to have you here because we go to a lot of events, we see each other at a lot of these events and the one topic that resonates or seems to resonate a lot with the audience is the clarity really when it comes down to it. And I think clarity is like purpose, and that nobody knows what it means. And also nobody seems to have it except for the people that swear they have it and are also selling it. So what's going on here? Why do we need clarity? Is it just for entrepreneurs? How is it different from being on “purpose”? And I put that in air quotes for people who are listening only.
Philip McKernan: [00:02:17] Well, I don't think we need it. I think it's a personal thing. I mean, I think there's an obsession about people who are just sitting around saying they need clarity about every aspect of their life. So I mean I think it really comes down to, it's an individual thing and then clarity about what, and I find that almost every single person I talked to who's looking for clarity an X. Actually, the real issue is Y. And when they get clear on Y or they begin to address Y, which is the thing they're often ignoring. Then X, which is the area they're seeking the clarity tends to almost kind of sort itself out. So that's number one. Number two is, I actually believe, and I'm going to put myself out of business straight away here and this one is the clarity that people seek they already know.
[00:02:52] They're just scared shitless at stepping in and addressing that. So generally speaking, I say a joke in me that people will travel thousands of miles and in some cases pay thousands of dollars for the clarity that they don't actually want.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:04] The clarity that they don't actually want. So you mean that they're going to get some clarity and it's going to be the clarity that in theory is genuine, but that they never really wanted it in the first place?
Philip McKernan: [00:03:15]Yeah, sometimes they are seeking clarity in an area that either it's not really a big deal because they're using that to avoid, maybe a decision they need to make in their business or a relationship decision or a parenting decision, for example, or maybe addressing a misalignment in their life. So generally speaking, it's less about attaining clarity and it's more about what do you not addressing in your life. So for example, if someone says to me, “Phillip, I want to get clarity about, you know, growing my business and making sure I'm in alignment.” I go, “Great.” “Why are you in this business?” And I go, “Well, so I make money.” And then I'll dig into the business. And what you'll always find is there's some element of something that's right in front of them that they're not addressing. And yet they're seeking additional clarity, but something else. So, in other words, they're almost creating more, they're looking for more complexity in them.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:00] Right. Yeah. So this clarity or fake clarity is an avoidance mechanism to avoid the thing that they're already maybe clear on but that they're scared of.
Philip McKernan: [00:04:10] It can be, often. Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:13] Why are we doing this to ourselves? Any idea?
Philip McKernan: [00:04:15] I think to some extent, and this might sound weird is, we're in a world today that's obsessed with finding it’s passion, finding purpose, you know? Understanding what people want to do when they grow up. And I think to some extent, actually there's a part of it that we're obsessing too much about that. And you go back to cave drawings thousands of years ago, there's not a cave drawing that was found or any writings that have ever been discovered that man obsessed around passion or purpose. They got up in the morning, they went, they kill, you know, animals. They found food, they came back to fed themselves, their family. They try to keep themselves warm and then they reproduced. And that was it. Maybe we've evolved. Maybe we've gone backwards. I don't know, but I think some extent, we often know the things we need to do. For example, somebody said to me recently, “I want to create a business. I believe, I'm on purpose with this business”, and just, “Let's go, let's get stuck in and I want you to support me”, and I'm not a business coach in the traditional sense.
[00:05:09] And I go, “Great, just curiosity, you're living in where?” And they mentioned the city they're living in. I said, “Do you love it there?” And they go, “Oh no, I hate the place.” I go, “Well, why would you start building a business in a city you don't want to live in?” “Oh, no, well when I make enough money then I can leave”, and I go, “It doesn't really work that way.” “What if he’d addressed where you live first, are in tandem with growing the business that you want to grow?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:30] Right. That sounds like golden handcuffs. I used to work on Wall Street as you may or may not remember, and it's like living in New York, living in the financial district, and then you get this job and you don't really want the job, but you have crushing debt from law school or whatever. So you go and you get that Wall Street job, work six, seven days a week and then you're making money and you're paying off that debt, but you're really miserable. So what do you do? You get a summer home somewhere in the Hamptons or whatever, and then you keep working. And you're working, now you got to pay off that home and you've got law school debt, then you meet somebody, you get married, so now you got a wife, or sick, or husband support. You have some kids and you get them to support. That's fine. People have done that on less than $500,000 a year. At least I've or so I hear, right? And then the kids have to go to private school and then you buy a boat to go in the summer home because that's what you do. And all your friends have boats. Now, if you want to leave that law job -- Good luck. You have millions of dollars of crap you got to pay for. So that's why we call it the golden handcuffs because it looks like you've got it made, but you can't leave ever because you've adjusted your lifestyle to fit what you're doing to make you happy because you hate what you're doing.
Philip McKernan: [00:06:38] Yeah. I mean, my sister-in-law -- I hope she never watches this, not that she doesn't watch your show, but this episode based on one of them…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:45] Yeah, she’ll skip this one because she's like, “I've heard this guy so many times.”
Philip McKernan: [00:06:48] Yeah, totally. But, I remember sitting down with her one day and she was, let's just say she was kind of complaining about her kids and how stressful it was and how busy it was. And I just looked at her and I said, “Well, why didn't you stop having kids?” And she didn't appreciate that comment at all. And, you know, I think what we do is, the time that you're most likely to build an extension -- have a baby or buy a puppy, is just when you're about to discover something very important about yourself or perhaps your life. And I've literally witnessed this where I'm sitting in front of a guy, again, he thinks X is the problem. We start to focus on Y, he gets very uncomfortable. And I said, “By the way, when you leave this room, just watch the pattern. You're going to want to do something. You're going to want to spend money, which will rationalize and justify in your brain that you shouldn't make the leap to something of more meaning in your life.” And he says, “It's so funny, because myself and my wife last night discussed building an extension onto our home, which would cost us a lot of money. And that nest egg -- which has a degree of freedom around it -- would be gone!” And that's often the case with people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:51] Right there by locking him into whatever he's doing now that he doesn’t like. So is this just Murphy's law here where, “Right when I bought that boat and now all of this stuff hits the fan and I realized I hate what I'm doing”, or is it because we're subconsciously doing this to ourselves by spending, like you said, spending money so that we're locked in so that we don't have to think about it because we're locked in any way because we'd got the extension, we got the boat. So it doesn't matter. There's no point in even thinking about whether this is right for me anymore because I got bills. But if I don't have bills then I have to sit there on the couch with my free time and my flexibility and say, is this the best thing for me? And that opens up all kinds of uncomfortable doors.
Philip McKernan: [00:08:33] Yeah. I think it's Murphy's. I think it's avoidance. I think a lot like I was chatting to a girl, let's just call her Mary and let's called the company, Google. It's not Mary, and then Google. And she was telling me that she was on the phone to me to talk about transition to something of more, let's just call it a line or something of more meaning, and I discovered something and I just found her saying something that's really dangerous. She said, “You know, I think the reason I'm not leaving is because I'm just so comfortable. And I looked at her face -- it was on a zoom call, and I said, “You know what?” I said, “That's a really dangerous statement.” She goes, “Why?” I said, “Because you don't look comfortable to me.” And then I just shut my mouth. And within, I would say five and a half seconds, the tears started to come.
[00:09:15] And in that case, I think she is telling herself a story that prevents her from having to make a decision. And she knows she's really happy, even though she's paid well to do a job, but she doesn't feel, she's not getting the satisfaction from it, but she doesn't feel she's adding value. She feels she's overpaid. She's not doing enough work for the role that she's got, which she's not being stretched from, you know, creatively, she's not been stretched, which is a problem for her.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:39] By comfortable she meant, “I'm getting money and I don't have to worry about money. And then everything else doesn't matter because at least I can pay the rent.”
Philip McKernan: [00:09:44] Yeah. But she's not in touch with them. She's not in touch with the cost. So I was at a conference, you and I spoke at a conference -- a similar conference in Vegas. And I remember going to a guy in the audience and I said, I get this whole passion thing and I wasn't speaking about passion specifically, and he said, “You know, I'm in a job, but I just don't know what else to do, so I'm just going to stay where I am until I figure it out.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:07] And you know what though, that doesn't sound so bad. So people are like, “Oh, I would never do that.” Everyone does that. Yeah, of course. Why would I switch jobs if I don't know what else I'm going to do? Of course, I'm going to stay here. This is how you…
Philip McKernan: [00:10:19] I did that for 15 years -- at least 15 years. And then I looked at him and you know what I said, “I'm not sure you want to change.” And he goes, “I do. I absolutely, I hate this job.” And I said, “Well, I'll prove it to you.” And I said, “How long have you been in this job?” And he said, under his breath, “14 years.” And then I pretended, and this went down and live, it's all on video. And I said, “Excuse me?” He said, “14 years.” And I said, “I cannot hear you.” And he said, “14 years.” And the whole audience shifted because at that point they’re thinking, “Where are you going with this?” And I said something to him, and I said, “Let me ask you a question, have you got children?” And he said, “Yeah.” I said, “Give me the name of one of your kids.” And he said, he called him Johnny. “Fast forward 20 years or 30 years from now. And Johnny comes to you with the same predicament, what would you say.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:09] “Get out right now!”
Philip McKernan: [00:11:10] And without missing a BS. He didn't even -- my last syllable hadn't left my mouth before he launched into, “Oh, get out of that job, Johnny. Don't do something you hate. Certainly don't do it for 14 years.” And I said, “Here's the challenge to you”, and I'm not trying to knock him. I'm not trying to judge him for saying, that's not my job, but awaken him to see what's possible. And I said to him, “Do you want that to be a lecture in 20 years? Do you want that to be a conversation where your son truly looks at you and goes, “Dad, I'm listening because you did it. I remember you did it.” Or do you want to create an environment where maybe the conversation never even happens because your son is brought up in an environment to put a value on his own skin and not to settle?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:53] Sure. Yeah. Johnny might be afraid to ask his dad because he goes, “My dad had a job he hated for 34 years. I'm not going to ask him if I can follow my passion, he'll kick me out of the house.”
Philip McKernan: [00:12:02] Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:03] Meanwhile, the dad's like, “I hope he doesn't get stuck in the same rut that I got stuck in providing for him so that he doesn't have to do this.” Right. So we do repeat patterns a lot. I mean my dad worked for Ford. I know, I think he really liked it actually, but he worked a lot. You know, I've talked about this a little bit pre-show and then he retired probably in like 98. Totally turned new and totally different person, and I was like, “This is kind of BS. You know, I'm 18 and now you're nice and you got tons of free time?
[00:12:29] Like what the hell, man?” And I guarantee you that if I told him I was really unhappy in whatever I was doing, he would tell me to go find something else. He'd probably say, “There's plenty of opportunity for you. It's not that hard.” This is a guy who for sure never thought for one second about leaving Ford because he wasn't having fun anymore or because he didn't feel the spark -- if that were indeed the case. Because he worked his butt off so that I didn't have to do stuff like that. But then I just fell right back into the pattern. You know, and I definitely didn't think, “Hmm, well, when I'm leaving law, maybe I should ask my dad if I should start my own business.” I naturally was a little more stubborn, but I found myself repeating that pattern. Even my old business, and you and I had a call about this where I was really comfortable.
[00:13:10] I didn't like working with the partners I was working with. I grew tired of the things we were advertising. I stopped believing a lot in what we were doing because I was doing my own thing and there was a lot of toxicity and negativity, but I didn't think I could leave. And the answer that I gave to zillions of friends of mine, when I brought them all of these litany of real problems that were in that business, they said, “Well, why don't you just go off on your own?” And the answer was always, “Well, they're never going to let me go easily, peacefully.” That part turned out to be true. The second part though was, “Well, I'm making so much money, I'm never going to be able to just jump into something else at the same rate of pay. I take a huge lifestyle hit.” And when the company finally did fall apart and I left and did my own thing, I took zero lifestyle hit.
[00:13:57] I have less money going into investments and things like that. My lifestyle as far as consumption has stayed exactly the same. My happiness has gone through the roof and the only real difference is I'm saving differently for retirement. And this is only the first year. So I expect that problem, if you can even call it that, to be solved. So that's when people go, “Oh, well, sorry to hear what happened to you.” And I say, “No, no. This is the best thing that ever could've happened to me.” There's two out of every four people go like, “Sure, getting your butt handed to you is the best thing that ever happened to you?” And then there's two more guys like Kim Harold or somebody, or some other guy who's been through it and they go, “No, no, no, I get it. This happened to me 12 years ago.
[00:14:37] It's really the best thing that's ever happened to you.” In fact, some of those guys, CEOs and all these old sort of salty entrepreneurs, these guys were the first people I called and they said, “Oh, you're lucky. You just don't know it yet because you never would've made that decision on your own. You had to get your ass-kicked by fate or you know, your business partners or the universe or whatever of higher power there is, because you would have stuck in, suffered for 20 more years and not thought to just pull the ripcord.” And the ripcord gets pulled for you and it chokes you initially and then you're fine.
Philip McKernan: [00:15:09] It always gets pulled for you. I was going to write a book called Wake-up Call and I give the premise of the book now. So even if they do have a right and no one needs to buy it, so basic premises, I interviewed tons of people who had a wake-up call, whether it was a business failure, a personal failure, depression, facing their own mortality, sickness, somebody else passing away close to them, et cetera. And I interviewed them based on what they were doing, what the wakeup call was and how they pivoted if they pivoted in their life. There's an assumption in society that if you ever have a wakeup call, you're just going to change that. Well, that's not always the case. You know, some people just go back to doing what they were doing, maybe under a different lens. But the essence of the whole thing is people just simply gave themselves permission to do what they always wanted to do.
[00:15:54] Whether it's adventure, travel, you know, being an entrepreneur, whether it's, you know, whatever it happens to be, that isn't the essence everyone said that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:02] Then what's the catalyst for that? Because there's a lot of people right now going, “Great, all right, I'm writing this down, give self-permission to do whatever I want to do.” And they're doing this at the red light on the way to work. And then they get home and they go, “Yeah, but…” and then just fill in the blank, right?
Philip McKennan: [00:16:17] Well, I'm talking to people who had real wakeup calls, not everyone sitting on the red light is having a wakeup call. They think they are, they think they can kind of preempt this. I mean this does sound dramatic, but I almost died twice and not that I would wish it on anybody.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:30] You almost died?
Philip McKennan: [00:16:31] I almost died twice and yet, I would almost wish it on everybody. I think when you come close, extremely close ones and pretty close. I was white water rafting trip, pulled out of the water unconscious. Everyone thought I was dead but the other one was even closer and that was an elephant chased me down in Nigeria. Almost got me and if he caught like within feet, a bull elephant, if he'd caught me, he was going to squish me to death and back. And those two times, I mean, you know me, I can't stop talking. I could not speak for two or three hours after the elephant [00:17:04] [indiscernible].
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:06] That's a cool way to almost die though. I'll give you that.
Philip McKennan: [00:17:08] Well, on hindsight, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:10] There's a lot of other lame ways that you can almost die. That's a good one.
Philip McKennan: [00:17:13] Yeah. Being hit by an Uber is not quite expected.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:15] It did not nearly, yeah. I wasn't wearing a bike helmet. I fell, not cool.
Philip McKennan: [00:17:19] Honestly, it's only looking back is like it creates you, it awakens you in a very different level and therefore when you're sitting at the red light, I would have been sitting here listening to this podcast and saying, “Yeah, yeah, great. Yeah, but I've got my bills to pay. I got my mortgage. I'm trying to get my shit together.” When I have enough money, then I'll have the freedom to go and do what I really want. Then I'll have a choice to, you know, a time to look at what's my passion and what my purpose. Right now I'm just barely above water right now. Don't give me any more shit to think about or don't give me any more information that's going to me even feel worse about myself. I find a lot of personal development and personal development arenas. They may not set out with the intention, but actually it fires everybody up initially, but then you start to feel inadequate. I used to leave these events feeling I'm a total loser based on what this guy is doing and what that guy is doing. So I think that's one of the downsides of a lot of this conversation about passion, purpose. You know, what are we going to do when I grow up, et cetera.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:12] It's a problem because you're right, it does. What it does is, for example, if you and I are both friends and we're both trying to lose 30 pounds and you say, “Hey, let's go to the gym. I just signed up”, and I go, “Cool, I'll do it next week.” And then you go to the gym for the next six months and you lose 30 pounds. And I never got around to it. It highlights all my inadequacies. But these events are just that friend, except you're surrounded by a thousand of them and it's all jammed into two days. So you get out there and you're like, “Yeah, I'm going to do it.” And then you realize in the Facebook group where all the maintenance things afterwards that everybody else seems like they're doing a bunch of stuff and you're not doing anything. So then you shy away from the group, you distance yourself from the community of other people that are moving forward and then you don't want to go to the next one or you think you need to go to the next one to get pumped up again.
[00:18:59] But it's just this weird cycle and nothing ever really gets done. Basically, each one of those pumps lowers your self-esteem another notch or two because you realize subconsciously that you're never going to do anything. And I feel like that happens a lot with not just self-help stuff, but people thinking about, “All right, well I love photography. I'm going to start a side hustle”, and then that doesn't happen because work gets in the way. So what is the catalyst other than the wakeup call, like can I not almost get killed and also figure out how to get myself together and follow something that I want to do or increase my level of fulfillment? Or is it all about chasing your purpose somehow and figuring out what your one thing is? Because what I want to avoid is people going, “Okay, I have to find the one thing that I'm going to be best at in the whole world and then only do that as a job. Otherwise, I'm a huge failure.”
Philip McKennan: [00:19:50] Yeah. Well, I mean the example I use when it comes to the one thing which is an enormous amount of pressure is like, I use it as it relates to where you live. So I'm going to find that place I want to live and I'm going to make that decision. And I'm sitting in Vegas and let's just say, I don't like Vegas and I know that for certain. My answer, if it's really bad and you really don't like it, we'll then move and then people go, “Yeah, great. Well, where [00:20:10][indiscernible].” I haven't found the one place -- anywhere, like move anywhere and give it a go. And they go, “But what happens if it doesn't work out?” Well then it doesn't work out. “Then what do I do?” Move again, and then keep moving. I'm not trying to every six months or 12 months, but keep doing things and keep that momentum going. I don't think there is this ‘one thing’. I mean people say that I'm born to do what I do, but how I do it will change and morph and move. But I think this obsession we're trying to find one thing as really actually potentially very dangerous.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:38] Yeah. I agree with you. Yeah. Okay, good. I wanted to make that distinction because I think there's a lot of, I don’t know, Instagrammers or YouTubers or whatever, self-help people that are like, “Sit down and write out your passion right now. That's what you were born to do. Never give up.” And it's all these platitudes but what it does is it makes people feel like crap because not everybody's supposed to be a professional toilet paper sketcher or whatever the hell it is. None of that. Sometimes things are just hobbies and that's the way it is and it doesn't mean that you're never going to live a life of fulfillment because you're not the next Humans of New York guy or whatever. And I see that a lot of people are really hanging everything, putting all their eggs in that basket of purpose. Before we move on though, moving, it's a great idea generally to change environment. We know that. How do we know if we're just being an escapist, “Well, now everything's screwed up in New York. I'm going to move to Israel.” “Well, Israel magic didn't happen. Didn't meet the person in my dreams, I’m moving to Paris.” “Well, this didn't work out. Reality sets in, I'm going to move back to LA.” How do we know if we’re escapist or if we're changing our environment and things are actually getting better for it?
Philip McKennan: [00:21:44] Maybe we don't know initially, until afterwards in hindsight, hindsight is a great thing, potentially. Or two is, it really comes down to our level of self-awareness. I don't believe, I really don't believe people are doing a lot of deeper, richer work on themselves. So when I went back to a time that I was very lost, I was chasing my passion. It was going to these personal development events walking in. And I remember this guy finally talked about some guy who talked about meditation. I remember sitting in the audience going, “It's meditation. That's the missing link for me.” That's the only thing I haven't tried. So I came home, I did meditation for 45 minutes in the morning, 45 minutes in the afternoon or the evening. By the end of the week, I hated meditation. I hated the guy who spoke and I hated myself even more because I couldn't do it like I should. And it just drove me absolutely nuts. So to me, I think a lot of the challenges are that a lot of people are not doing the deeper work. They don't have a degree of self-awareness and therefore when they make a decision, they don't understand why they're making it. They make it from here from their head, but they don't make it from a slightly more emotional intuitive place because they don't know who they are.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:22:51] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Philip McKernan. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:55] This episode is sponsored in part by BiOptimizers. Probiotics don't make it into your gut. Well, I should say they probably do make it part way there and then die immediately. 99% of them don't do this. We know this because Naveen Jain over at Viome is testing this stuff like crazy and research shows we need good bacteria to fight the bad guys. Most of us, by the way, have killed our bacterial colony in our gut by taking antibiotics as kids. I didn't realize this, but that's really how it is. We mostly have just annihilated healthy gut biome and so the solution to this or part of the solution is this. There's a single strain, proteolytic probiotic called P3-OM and essentially this is like the Navy Seal of probiotics. It kicks bad bacteria’s butt. It kills viral retroviral proteins, eliminates pathogens in waste and it's maintainable in the human digestive system and it doubles every 20 minutes, helps get rid of the bad guys and then is safely eliminated.
[00:23:52] And if you don't believe me, go ahead and try some P3-OM. You can also go to p3om.com/Jordan and you can watch it dissolve a piece of raw steak, which is pretty cool -- and you could try it risk-free. My friend runs this company, BiOptimizers. He's got a full-year money back guarantee, which is kind of crazy. But that shows you how well they believe in this stuff. p3oM.com/jordan and you can enter coupon code JORDAN20 to receive 20% off and just try it out. You will know the difference, you will see the difference. And if you don't, there's a money back guarantee, because my friend Matt, he runs a tight ship over there. This episode is sponsored in part by Skillshare. We've been using Skillshare around the house. Jen's used it to learn a lot of stuff -- from how to edit video, to organizing bookshelves, to creating different sort of layouts for the house.
[00:24:40] It's pretty amazing. They've got over 25,000 classes in design, business photography, creative writing, illustration, social media marketing. There's a ton in here, so whether it's curiosity, creativity, or career – Skillshare has got a lot on offer. If you could start a side hustle with this stuff, gained some professional skills or just get some hobby stuff going on here. This is a really, really… there's tons in there. It's a community of learners so you can teach your own skills in there and you can make money doing it. Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare. We've got two months of Skillshare for free and Jason's going to tell you how to get that deal.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:25:17] Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare today with a special offer just for our listeners. Get two months of Skillshare for free. That's right. Skillshare is offering our listeners two months of unlimited access to over 25,000 classes for free. To sign up, go to skillshare.com/harbinger, that's H A R B I N G E R. Again, go to skillshare.com/harbinger to start your two months now. That's skillshare.com/harbinger. Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Philip McKernan. That link is in the show notes at JordanHarbinger.com/podcast. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit JordanHarbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to JordanHarbinger.com/subscribe. And now back to our show with Philip McKernan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:09] I know that you work with a lot of professional influencers, speakers, things like that, and we talked about vulnerability on a previous show and I think you and I have talked about vulnerability before. There's this other tricky layer though, of a false vulnerability where we all feel like, “Okay, well I have to be vulnerable because that's what makes me relatable. But since I don't really know who I am, on that last thread, I'm going to just fake it because that's what everybody expects of me.” But instead of taking away layers of the onion, instead of peeling away the veneer that we were socially that we expect other people to have, we're actually adding layers on, but they're just really convincing, right? It's like a painted skin where it looks like you're being true to yourself, so you're confusing even yourself, but really you're just playing a show for the audience
[00:27:03] which is really difficult and I found myself doing that years ago too. “I have to be entertaining because I'm on video.” “Oh, I have to be upbeat all the time because I'm in the self-help industry back in the day.” “Oh, I have to make sure that everyone thinks I'm cool because if I’m not, then nobody will want to listen to this.” And that's a lot of pressure. And I think we do that not only if we're a performer like we are, but somebody who's sitting at home who's a soccer mom is doing the exact same thing. Whether they're sharing in a crappy Silicon Valley dinner party and selling some fake story about vulnerability is one thing. But I think all of us are trying to pretend that we know who we are because that's what other people expect of us. And yet that's just taking us further away from knowing who we are in the first place.
Philip McKernan: [00:27:45] Yeah, I mean, I said at a keynote, this doesn’t sound out of context, and even in context, it might sound arrogant, but I said to a group in Silicon Valley, I said, “I hope you're half as happy as you pretend to be on Facebook every day.” And I don't think that originated from me. I don't know where I heard it or where it came from but you know, I think there's people out there who are using vulnerability genuinely to manipulate people. I think that's a minority, or at least I hope it's a minority. But there's other people out there and my heart goes out to them because they're trying to share a story that they haven't done the work on. They're sharing a trauma, a part of their past and insecurity within themselves, but they've never actually done the work.
[00:28:26] So they're talking about the work or they haven't done the work. So we had a speaker speak at an event, you know, basically about a year ago. And I turned to my wife and I said, “What do you think?” She goes, “I just didn't believe him.” And I think one of the challenges for a lot of people is they'll sit in an audience and they'll give way too much respect to a speaker because they're bestselling author, because they're running whatever event or podcast or whatever. And I don't think that person deserves that. They deserve perhaps a degree of respect, and maybe a degree of trust initially so you can really listen to their message. But if you're really just observe them, not just what you think, but actually how you feel. I mean I read an article recently about what famous or successful people eat for breakfast and they talked about their granola that Richard Branson eats.
[00:29:14] Now it wasn't a nutritional high energy, you know, magazine. It was basically implying indirectly that if you eat this breakfast, you're going to have the same results.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:24] That's so ridiculous.
Philip McKernan: [00:29:25] And I had somebody on an event that you and I were at recently just turned around and say, “One quick question. What should I do with my life?” I’m thinking…
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:31] Oh yeah. Real quick question.
Philip McKernan: [00:29:33] Are you kidding me? Like we're giving so much of our power away to individuals, including myself, I don't have the answers. And even if I do, it's my answers not yours. And we're just giving up so much of who we are. I know I'm off topic a little bit, but the vulnerability thing, I think vulnerability is magical. I don't think it's a tool. It's a gift and we can share where we feel it's appropriate and some of us don't do it at all, but others are doing it for the wrong reasons.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:58] Yeah. In fact, I've learned to spot this. I'll give this a quick practical here. You can tell when people are BS-ing you with the vulnerability thing -- tell me what you think about this, because their vulnerability, the thing they're being vulnerable about is always years past. So that's the first tell, that's fine. Hopefully all of us don't have present trauma that we think we draw on, but the other thing is there's never anything in the present, right? It's always, I learned years ago I used to be broke and sleeping on Phil McKernan’s couch or something like that. Then their stories somehow magically mirrors the hero's journey where it's, “I'm dipping into this pain and now I figured this thing out and I solved this problem and now it's my calling to help other people solve the problem.”
[00:30:42] Still these two things put together, not necessarily evidence of a con man. We all drawn our experiences to try to help others, but they set up this aspirational vibe, right? Where it's like, “I used to be like you, but now I'm inviting you to be like me.” That's the real one. Because when the difference here is look, your vulnerabilities, some of them are in the past, right? You're dipping into the pain of having done the things that you've done in the past to help other people get clarity because you've been through that. That's fine, but you're never, you don't say, “Look, how great everything is for me now. That could be you, just sign up for my $5,000 course.”
Philip McKernan: [00:31:16] [indiscernible]. I'll give you an example, and I'm not sure, I think it does build on this. I'm in Vancouver. I'm on the 30th floor of this office building. I do a keynote talk, or that wasn't a keynote. Keynote sounded very elaborate. It was a talk. It was a gathering.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:30] It was a long talk, that’s what a keynote is at the end of the day.
Philip McKernan: [00:31:34] And this guy walks up to me, he goes, “I really want to do what you do.” And I'm thinking to myself, actually I didn't think to myself, I say it to myself, “I hope that doesn't happen again.” And he goes, “What do you mean?” I said, “I hope you do what you do”, and whatever. But I said, “By the way, what is that? What is it that I do?” He goes, “Inspiring people and whatever and speaking.” And he goes and I said, “So what's your story?” And he says, “Oh, I knew you'd ask.” He said, “I was really wealthy, really successful, got into drugs and went down a nasty path. And then I blew it. But I’m building all my way back up.” And I said, “So when are you going to speak?” He goes, “When the story is right, when it's finished, like when I'm back to where I was.” And I went, “Ah.” So I brought him over, put my arm around him. I brought him over to the window. Where at a window like this and we're looking down in Vancouver and I said, “There's a drug addict down there.” He goes, “Yeah, of course there is.” So there's people down there that don't even know what chapter they're going to become drug addicts in the next year, there's people down there that were drug addicts and are just barely keeping away from going back and going in time and you’re standing up here, waiting for the perfect goddamn story? I said, “You have no right to be a speaker, unless you have the courage to stand in the stage and die.” This is what my life was like. I haven't figured it all out, but you know what? I'm going to do everything I can to help you, to support you. When you're looking for the perfect story, you're looking for the magic bow and therefore, my view, other people may disagree with that. I said, “You have no right to be a speaker.” I said, “They need help now. Not when you've got back to the top of the mountain. And you can say, ‘Here, look at me. I've done it again’.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:06] Well, the audience changes, right? Depending on where you are in your own story. So if you're a kid who's just gotten an amazing dream job out of college, your audiences -- kids who want dream jobs out of college or are stuck in a job they don't want. And I think you're right, this perfect bow that people are looking for, that sort of, it's like the trappings of success that say, “You are now granted permission to tell other people how to live because look at your life. It's so great.” And that encourages a lot of these online, especially influencer people to exaggerate their position, which makes other people feel worse having seen it. It's like, “Well I don't have a jet so I can't teach people sales.” “Well I don't have a life where I'm nomadic 360 days a year with my family in an RV so I have no right to tell people how to be happy and have a functional family.” These things are just not true. That actually was the last bullet of the ‘how I spot the fakers is they always set these aspirational goals that are financial or other aspirational goals.’ Like you can do this and you can be like me, but you need to have all of this amazing stuff, right? They have to have the ability to be a photographer and travel around the world and live based on your Instagram and these things are certainly not true. Going back to your earlier point about whether people even want clarity, it seems to me like a lot of people would rather fail at a job that they don't want than fail at a job or an occupation or calling that they really do want because it's easier on the ego somehow.
Philip McKernan: [00:34:38] I think that's at the core of why a lot of people don't want clarity. And what's very interesting is when I present that possibility to people or that reality to people that actually maybe the clarity about what you need to do professionally and what's next. You don't want it. Just their reaction is interesting. If they're curious and go, “Wow, really you think that's possible?” What if they get very shitty and defensive around, which almost everyone does. It just tells you, you've struck a chord, immediately tells you you're onto something. But I agree with you. I mean, you know, it's easy to look back having failed in it relationship or business or a job, or as a parent and well, your parents probably not the greatest example, although it could be and you can always get out of jail card as, “Yeah, my heart wasn't really in it. It wasn't like the thing.” And noticed that a lot of people go to these kind of five-year increments. I'm not talking about, ‘it's okay to pivot every five years. It's okay.’ But what they're saying is, I've found my latest passion and what you'll find is that passion doesn't run out, but excitement does. And often they're just, it's excitement. You know, let’s use an affair as an example. Sometimes people have an affair because it offers a degree of excitement in what might be a stale relationship, but it's not love necessarily. So that's an example, maybe a silly example, but I see that all the time. And real estate is a great, a great, you know, one of these, right? A lot of my clients historically, I came from the real estate world, would say I'm really passionate about real estate. And I remember at a conference picking up, I got the contractor friend of mine brought a big two by four piece of wood and a big brick.
[00:36:13] And I stood there on the stage and I said, “So you're passionate about this?” I said, “No one on earth is passionate about this.” And I dropped the two of them and they hit the hit the ground and the organizer came in and they thought the stage had fallen apart. What I was trying to make, and I think it came across as I was judging people, which was not my intention. I was trying to make the point that you cannot be passionate about bricks and mortar. It's what it represents and what it does. It's the people element is what always, in the end of the day, stirs people emotionally and intellectually at the same time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:43] That difference between passion and excitement I think is important because we see people, there's a lot of people listening right now who will write into your eye and say, “Yeah, I get really excited about something.” So photography, and then they'll even do it for, it's either a month, six months, a year, 10 years, whatever. Usually it's a shorter period of time and then they're onto the next thing and they're onto the next thing. And this is damaging them because they can't get businesses off the ground or they lose interest in even the circle of friends that they have. And they find that how to think, we call the shiny object syndrome where it's just, “Oh well, I like this thing and then I want that.” And then they use that as an excuse. “Well, you know, I'm wired to look for the next shiny object. So I'm always on to something new”. And it's kind of subconsciously, we're just protecting ourselves all the time.
Philip McKernan: [00:37:29] Absolutely. You know, I mean, when I do, I'll be doing what I do now for the rest of my life. How I do it, I can pivot. So that's my way of experimenting because I'm similar in the sense that I liked the variety. I won't just do the same coaching program, the same coaching calls, the same conversations. I'll get bored, but I pivot how I do it. But what I do, I will do for the rest of my life. And I think the challenge is that when you're experimenting with something, don't just start telling the world this is your passion, this is the next greatest thing. And what a lot of people don't know about me is I used to coach people for six weeks, one hour every week in a pub in Dublin many, many, many years ago because I couldn't afford a meeting room. Why did I do it? Because I loved it. Why did I do it? Because I want to do. Why do I do it? Because I felt that this, at some level, was something I needed to try. And I'd meet them for six weeks and it was a flawed business model from a financial standpoint. And at the end of the six weeks, they would write a check for whatever they felt it was worth to the charity of their choosing or the charity of my choice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:28] Well, there's your flaw in your business model right there and not making any money.
Philip McKernan: [00:38:30] No. Well, exactly. But it wasn't my primary thing. I proved to myself in hindsight that I was so keen to do this and people are picking up cameras, picking up guitars and going, “This is my passion and I got to monetize it straight away.” The amount of people that say to me, “I want to do what you do.” And I'd go, “Well, I'd love to know what you think I do, but let's leave that aside. And I want to make 250 grand doing it and I want to speak on those big stages.” And I go, “Great! One client.” And they go, “No, no, no, you didn't listen to me. You didn't answer my question.” And I go, “I did answer your question. You just don't like the answer -- One client.” Because when you do one coaching call, one coaching client for six weeks, you and I will be having a very different conversation. It'll go something like this, “Well, I don't like, you know, talking of business. I don't like talking about relationships. I don't like you'll know what you like or what you don't like and suddenly you'll start to question it and everything else.” If somebody wants to work with me and become a coach or train, whatever, unless they're prepared to take on one client, I have no interest in working with them. And then, we'll assess it after that and see how good they are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:32] It's a great way to find out what you like and like you said, it's a great way to find out what you don't like -- Which both, would you say those are both equally important?
Philip McKernan: [00:39:39] Extremely important. I won't. And, you know, people have judged me for this, I'm not paying for my kids to go to college. And every time I make a statement about what I'm going to do with, you know, my, or our kids, depending on our perspective to myself, my wife, we're aligned on something, and often we're not. People say, “Oh, we'll wait till they get older and it'll change.” And I've yet to deviate. I'm open to changing, but I want them to leave school. If they stay in school for the entirety of it, and I want them to go and experiment for two years at least, and then they come back and if they really have something they truly want to pursue, then I will support them. I'm not going to fund them for another five or six years on the assumption that they may or may not pursue this thing because I need a lot of people going to college and coming out of college and they just did it for an extra four years because they weren't certain of what else to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:25] Oh, that's exactly why I went to college and then I'll tell you what, that's why I went to law school. “Crap, I'm done with college? Let me go get a job at Best Buy” -- which if you don't have that where you live, is basically like this electronic store -- and then I went there and they're like, “Yeah, you got to sell CDs for two years and then you can move up to computer repair.” And I was like, “Wait a minute, I have to sell CDs? Look, I'm not above any kind of work. I'm just saying that I built my own computer and the guy who repairs it back there is looking for the…he doesn't even know what he's doing necessarily.” I'm not even interested in music. What am I going to do for two more years? Well, here's an idea. You like to argue, Jordan? Go to law school. So that's exactly how I became an attorney. People go, “Oh man, did you always want to be a lawyer?” “No, I never wanted to be a lawyer, including and up until and including the application process for law school during all three years of law school and after law school itself.”
Philip McKernan: [00:41:17] But it brings up an interesting point because often we make decisions from a place of what we don't want in this world. And that can be both, it's good to know what you don’t want, what it's not good to light that to fuel all your major life decisions. So for example, my wife grew up in poverty. It wasn't like, you know, living on the streets, but they were pretty poor. And she decided in her mind over a period of time that she is not going to be poor. And then the career guidance person said, “You're great with numbers and your sister's an accountant and that's a way for you to pursue something. Get well paid”, and off she goes. The worst accountant in the world, I mean the worst, not because she's bad with numbers and kind of use a calculator, but because she was never meant to do that. I mean honestly, this is an example of like chalk and cheese, like not meant to do this at all. And I think a lot of us spent a lot of our times, we build entire businesses, corporations sometimes based on what we don't want, but then eventually, sometimes it's just really cool to stop and say, “Okay, I’ve learned from that. I've outrun that. I proved the point. Now what do I want in life?” And I know that sounds so ridiculously simple, but so few people do that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:27] I want to get into how you recommend people do that, but I want to find out how you discovered all this about yourself. You said you worked in real estate and you were passionate about that. You had a stint with coffee. What's going on here? How come? I mean these things don't sound so bad.
Philip McKernan: [00:42:40] Real estate, coffee, wine and vitamins, and they were all in hindsight, very exciting industries. There were a lot of fun and I met some beautiful people, but they weren't leaving in my mind, a positive impact in the world and I do believe for me personally, that's at the core of that's very important to me. Where now I feel I get a degree of meaning. The work that my clients do is all that. That's all that. I'm a catalyst for a minute part of it. But to play a small role in something that really changes somebody's life, I mean not even changes that even creates an environment for them to step in and become more of who they're meant to be. That's a very special place to be.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:43:24] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Philip McKernan. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:29] This episode is also sponsored by Blinkist. What I like about Blinkist, essentially what this is, is like a book summary, best takeaways, key takeaways, need-to-know information from thousands of nonfiction books. It condenses them down into just 15 minutes or so. You can read or listen -- which of course I love, and it's made for busy people like you, I assume, who want to get the main points of the books quickly without reading the entire book. And what's great about this for me is I can decide whether I want to read the whole book by checking out the Blinkist beforehand and with the audio feature, Blinkist makes it really easy to finish like four books a day if you're on the go and then decide which of the ones you actually want to take the time to read the whole thing. And they've got 8 million users, massive library from self-help to business to health, even history stuff is in there, which I think is pretty cool.
[00:44:18] And I, of course, use this to decide what's coming up next on the show sometimes. They've got some great stuff you can review as well. Like you probably read Getting Things Done by David Allen ten years ago, or The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg like freaking five years ago. You can read these things first on Blinkist and then go, “Oh yeah, that's right. I want to do this 4-Hour Workweek.” You can review it. That kind of stuff is really popular inside Blinkist. In fact, 4-hour Workweek is one of their most popular books. Jason, we've got a deal with the Blinkist. How do they get it?
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:48] So how did you find out that you didn't want to do those things? I mean, were you just busting your ass and you decided one day, this isn't for me?
Philip McKernan: [00:46:55] Yeah, I mean you can scare the internet. There's very few things I'll say I'm good at, very few. I let other people to decide that for me, but I'm very good at, in the absence of clarity, taking action. And I'm very good at getting a sense of when things are running out of steam and not waiting to figure out what's next. And some people would say that's irresponsible. So when the vikings got to shore, they'd often burn the boats because there was no going back. And I would be dishonest to think that I don't believe that that is required sometimes. So at the end of five years, the vitamin business walked into my boss said, “I'm done, heading off around the world a year.” He goes, “Yeah, go on. How much more money do you want?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:31] Oh nice. He thought you were leveraging…
Philip McKernan: [00:47:34] You know, I don't operate like that. And he goes, “I would've been surprised.” And I said, “I'm done. Not because of you, the business is great. It's just time.” And I've been very good at calling that time. And then I joined, I went into the wine business, I worked in a winery in Australia. I was going to say a system winemaker, but that's very glorified. I was a cellar rat -- cleaning up, washing shit, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:55] Stepping on grapes? With your bare feet?
Philip McKernan: [00:47:58] Well, almost. And then I pivoted from there into coffee with my brother and we built a very successful business, but that was 99% him. I played a small role there. And then again, five years increments and I eventually realized with each of those five years I was lost and I was not in a good place because I was suffering with a degree of like almost depression from the realization that this wasn't my greatest thing, my big gift, my purpose and the uncertainty and the worry about what's next. And they were downer times. I think one of the challenges as human is we're afraid to feel pain. I don't think we should wallow in it, but we're afraid to feel pain that sometimes the pain can give us a tremendous about insight at who we are and what's important to us.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:44] So how do we lean into that? Because you're right, we avoid pain. When I was in my old company and things weren't going well, I would either find something I really liked doing, ignore everything else or try to minimize pain for other people. Like, “Oh, you don't like working with this guy?” I would cut, I would isolate my team from the people they didn't want to work for or with. And I was sort of the conduit between those two. So I was sheltering other people and then I would minimize my contact with those people as well. So I would just say like most humans, I'm pretty good at avoiding pain too. Are we supposed to lean into the pain itself? Is that what we're trying to do? So what does that look like in practice?
Philip McKernan: [00:49:23] So I'll give you an example. So I think examples are probably a good way to do this. I remember a gentleman giving himself a birthday and the birthday was to come and spend a week in Ireland with me and doing deep reflective work. And the story in this particular experience, we go back into childhood, unapologetically, because it has a purpose as it relates to this work. And then we look at the present. And I believe that the past, you know, has created the present of who you are, what you've been around this. You know, where you were in society, the people you've met, the things that have happened, the things that have happened to you, the choices you've made, the choices you didn't make -- have determined who you are today. Who you are today is determining your outcome in the future.
[00:50:02] So therefore, a lot of us are forward-facing. We're looking at the future to pivot change, attain, grab, whatever, build. But yet if we go back into the past, we will see so many of these patterns of why we sabotage, why we do this, why did we do that? And one man was determined to hold onto the story that his childhood was brilliant and it was free and he was independent and people were actually joking, like not in a malicious way. We go, “Oh, here's Mr. Happy.” You know, “Because guys, I'm telling you, my child was happy. I had my little bike and I cycled around. I had independence.” And then we're having a pint one night in this bar and he calls me, “Philip, what's the problem? It’s like, I’ve only expect me to find shit in my childhood.” And I said, “Well maybe, it's not there, number one.” He goes, “Oh good, thankfully.”
[00:50:45] “Or maybe you just don't want to see it.” And then he looked petrified. “Maybe you're too busy telling yourself a story of how great it was because you don't want to face the reality that it was painful.” Now there's a purpose here. I don't just dig up shit for the sake.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:02] Yeah, I was going to say, we’ve ripped opened some wounds.
Philip McKernan: [00:51:04] No, there's a purpose. And then he comes in the following morning, puts his hand up. He says, “Can I speak?” And I said, “Absolutely.” He said, “The story I tell you about independence, was bullshit.” He said, “I was just lonely and I was an extremely lonely child, and I'm extremely angry with that loneliness.” And every time I met this man, and he's an amazing human being, but I could always tell, “Don't ever push him too hard. Don't piss this guy up. Don't poke this bear.”
[00:51:29] And he would have this open-door policy in his business and he ran a very sizable business and he'd tell everyone he has an open-door policy, but they were all scared shitless of him. He was very passive-aggressive. He would surround himself with people who would challenge him only as far as they felt safe. And he had this wall between himself and his kids and his wife that he didn't even know about. And it was because of the anger. And when he got in touch with it, he could not believe how much anger he was holding towards his parents, towards himself, et cetera, et cetera. He was able to name it. He was able to process it. He was able to let some of it dissolve except some of it, and I'm not exaggerating, Jordan, when he said he went back and he literally changed the way he did business and how he lived his life. And the conversations he had after that changed the trajectory of his relationships. I'm not talking about, you know, 360 changes. I'm talking about 20%, 30%, 20 degrees, small shifts, but to this day he would say that was probably the biggest realization and it was negative. It was a negative thing, but he learned so much about himself as a result of that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:35] I think that there's strategic ways that we communicate with other people and it's kind of all about manipulating the outcome, right? Like if I can convince you that my childhood was good, then somehow that'll help me realize that as well. Even though I know that maybe that's not true and there's probably a better example of this, it's just not coming to me right now. But there are these strategic ways in which we communicate that are about manipulating the outcome of our discussion or about what other people think of us so that we think of ourselves differently. Do you see this a lot in your work?
Philip McKernan: [00:53:09] I do. You know, I see this really around, I see lots of areas, I see it around money. I see it a lot around money. I mean, I remember spending a half a day with clients and telling them in advance, which I don't normally do and I said, we're going to spend some time and money to two women, two entrepreneurs sitting in the room, said that, “Just how long are we going to spend on this?” And I said, “Probably half a day”, and not investing money and not making money but your relationship to them. And two of them looked at me and just went like, “Half a day? Like there's other more important things I want to talk about.” Fast forward 45 minutes later, one was vibrating, one was vibrating with anger, and the other one was balling crying, because one realized that she had every decision she had made, she told herself it was from a place of intuition and beliefs and all this. She made it purely based on mine -- which is not a bad thing. It's just being aware of it. And when she's aware of it, when she now has a further decision to make, then she can look at those things. And I'll give you one other quick example: A beautiful lady came to work with me, and she found a way to get around to everybody in the room before we even kicked off in the first morning to tell her tragic story about her ex-husband who had ripped her heart apart. And when I came in and sat down and said, “Alright guys, we're going to kick off. I just want to check in with everybody. Why in essence are you here? Give us a sense of who you are.” This one was like, “”Let me go first,” you know,
[00:54:33] and I said, “Yeah.” And the minute she started her story -- back to your vulnerability point, I'm thinking, “Okay, this woman wants to be heard. What's the point?” And she told this dramatic story about her husband cheating on her. It was horrendous and everything else. And it was tough. It was a tough story. And I looked and I said, “Did you see it coming?” “Absolutely not. And I'm amazed you would ask that question.” And I said, “I don't believe you.” I said, “You're way too smart and way too chewed of not to have seen this coming.” And then she looked at me and she was so mad and I said, “I see the anger. I know it was directed at me. Now let's just get beyond the anger. And my question still stands.” And then the tears started coming and she said, “I knew the day I met him and I knew that day, the day we walked down the aisle.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:16] Oh man, that sucks to have that level of responsibility.
Philip McKernan: [00:55:20] Now, here's where this gets really powerful. Up to that point, she was telling herself a victim story where she, I mean she was hurt, don't get me wrong, she was hurt, but he was the bad guy and therefore she was blind and there is a 90% chance she would find herself in a similar situation attracting the same energy unless she understands there's a degree of responsibility that lies at her door. I don't want her to take all of it. I just want her to seek some of it because then she's informed and then she can make better decisions.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:50] Right. So the awareness around things like money for example. The reason it's important to know our motivations for decision making is so that we can then what construct our life accordingly because I'm thinking if we know that, “All right, I've got to do these three things so that I can make money. I want to make sure that I know that those are for money because if I don't love them, then once I have enough money, I can stop and not worry about it.” But if I'm lying to myself and I'm saying -- my purpose is to create online Zoom call mentorship, whatever, then we keep doing that even though we have enough money, which was the real reason that we didn't want to admit to ourselves. We keep doing it. We keep doing it, we keep doing it. Then five years later we're like, “I hate my business or I hate my job or I hate my life because I built this thing that I thought was my passion, but really I was just lying to myself. I needed to do it for money. It could have stopped on round three. Now I'm on round 300, and still going.”
Philip McKernan: [00:56:46] Absolutely. I met an entrepreneur recently who said to me, he based on an awareness of how he grew up around money and his parents went bankrupt and he would've said, “No, they went bankrupt. It's not a big deal.” It’s just one of those things that happened. Never took the time to realize how deep that ran and the friction and the problems are caused at home. And he had such a charge around money and he was making these decisions to acquire other businesses and getting to a point where his life was really super complex. He was owning these businesses he didn't even want and he just couldn't understand why there's so much stress in his life. And when he started to piece the pieces together, that actually the trauma that was created, the hassle, the struggle, the pain that was created when his parents went through this bankruptcy and this loss of a business, his dad shut down emotionally, the mother disappeared as well. He was isolated. There’s a lot of anger in the house and he got in touch with that and he said, “Isn't that scary? So I didn't realize I held that.” He said now when he walks into a meeting, he just knows that that's there. And he says, “Am I making this decision based on a place of my intellect and intuitiveness? Or not based on pure fear of the past?” And now he feels stronger in his decision making process, if that makes any sense.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:02] It does, yeah, because if we don't know why we're making decisions, we can't really focus on the things that we need to focus on in order to make those decisions appropriately. Yeah. So you end up doing things for this reason that's not really accurate and you have no idea how to navigate. Yeah, this makes sense. Okay. So tell us about one last talk.
Philip McKernan: [00:58:21] So One Last Talk is a platform that we've created -- a movement if you like, where we do live events, where people, who in many cases have never spoken publicly before, standing on stage and in 15 minutes or less share the one last talk they'll ever give. So the question is, “If you had one last talk to give to the world, what would you say and who would you say it to?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:42] Okay. And so they have to decide who this is going to be for. It sounds terrifying already with the public speaking thing.
Philip McKernan: [00:58:48] Well, I think if public speaking is interesting, has been proved that it's the greatest fear in the world. And yet it's not. It's not at all. It’s what it represents. And what it represents is that you're afraid you'll look stupid, you'll be cut out. You'll embarrass yourself, that people won't like you. But ultimately the big human fear below it all is you won't be loved by the audience or by other people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:08] Any world that has fighters, public speaking is not the worst thing you can do.
Philip McKernan: [00:59:12] Totally. So it's never public speaking. So, and the reason we created this is that we believe that this is one way, it's not the only way, but it's one way to help get super clear on what's important to them and to share a part of their personal truth or narrative that perhaps the world has never heard before. And that truth is about them, but it's enough for them. And I believe to my core that your greatest gift lies right next to your deepest wound.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:38] Why do you think that's the case?
Philip McKernan: [00:59:40] Well, I have seen people stand on stage and share the thing that they thought the world would judge them for the most. So for example, one man who shared his story, about committing suicide, or attempting to commit suicide obviously, and actually started off a spoiler alert. It didn't work.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:00] Yeah. I was like, wait a minute, hello?
Philip McKernan: [01:00:01] But his talk was so funny.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:02] He started off by saying, “Spoiler alert”?
Philip McKernan: [01:00:05] Spoiler alert. And he talked about that in the Middle East, a ‘spoiler alert’ that might sound, you know, kind of obnoxious to people who have experienced suicide. He just brought this beautiful humor when he's literally talked about standing on the edge of a building, closing his eyes to lean forward, and he fell backwards and opened his eyes. The first thing that crossed his mind and the first thing he said out loud, “You're such a loser. You can't even kill yourself.” -- Which by the way, I think is at the core of why people really struggle and that as a self-worth issue. I believe that is at the core of every problem that humans’ face or at least the major source of it, and he shared this talk. He really struggled with the idea of sharing it.
[01:00:46] I didn't push him to share it or force him. I certainly nudged him. And then he realized that actually the world didn't judge him. The world accepted all of his story and saw him differently, and then people reached out to him, his cousin, for example, who is thinking about suicide, didn't want to share with anybody, heard his talk, reached out to this man, shared his story. Now, I don't want to be dramatic. Did he save his life? I can say but, this gentleman Matt, he said it's just changed how he seen, how he perceives himself in the world. It's his connection with his family. Everyone around him. Now that this big, dark, shameful, secret is out, and no one judged him. In fact, the opposite happened. And I do believe that that is an insight into Matt's gift as opposed to his talents in this world.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:33] That makes sense, right? So our wounds or whatever's causing us pain often brings us through an experience that can help other people experiencing similar pain.
Philip McKernan: [01:01:43] Yes. But also the other thing is, it goes back to your point or your on as it also removes that, dare I say, reason or excuse from your life. So the thing I told myself for years is, “Oh, I can’t write a book. I'm dyslexic. I'm dyslexic.” And I kept telling myself this and it's practical as real practicalities of it. But then one day I woke up and said, “McKernan, you can write. You just can't spell.” And when I said that to myself, I have to own that, “Okay, you're going to write a book.” And I've gone on to write a number of them. But you know, we use these things behind the scenes as ways to not necessarily live in a more fulfilled way.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:21] This is totally off topic. I don't care though, it's my show. When you're writing something and you're dyslexic and you're typing things in and you can't remember how to spell, do you turn off spell-check? Because I feel that would be so annoying to see those red lines under all of these words that you're typing.
Philip McKernan: [01:02:39] It's a fair point. I don't. I tend not to write much at all. I try to not write -- emails included, but yeah, it's a constant reminder of how stupid you are. Again, so all these red lines, but no, I don't.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:51] What about auto correct on the phone? It must guess wrong all the time. Then you're like, come on. It can't be useful at all.
Philip McKernan: [01:02:58] Yeah, all the time. And it's in the simplest of words I find the most, the more difficult the word, I focus more on it and I sometimes get it right. But there’re the simple words and then like I've spelled people's names wrong and that people feel the need to come on and tell me I've got a spelling mistake here. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:12] So it's just highlighted for you constantly.
Philip McKernan: [01:03:15] I mean, here's an example. I spoke in Zurich in Switzerland and the night before I was so excited. We had our DVD. I did a documentary a few years ago and with the DVD and we chipped them all over. I'm thinking the world gets the DVD, the documentary, that's the first audience, two or three people in the audience, kind of a high level kind of leadership kind of conference. And I'm in my room the night before and I've got this weird pit in my stomach and I'm looking at the DVD and I'm thinking, “Something's off, but I can't figure it out.” And we used Pablo Picasso, a quote on the very front cover of the DVD. They called them Pabli.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:51] Oh, no! Nobody else caught it though?
Philip McKernan: [01:03:53] No, but here's the thing, if this was five years ago, I would have freaked out and I would've blamed the person that had edited and designed the front cover. But this time I said, “No, this is your mistake, buddy. You take ownership.” Number one. Number two is I rang my wife. I was crushed because when you understand that you're sitting in a classroom everyday feeling like a complete loser because you can't do what everyone else can do. And the teacher has made a fair job of letting me know in many cases how stupid I was. And as I discover this and I'm thinking, and they have all the DVDs that's downstairs, they're already been distributed in bags or whatever. And my wife is like so honest, where this would normally be reversed. My wife said, “Will anybody notice?
[01:04:38] I just let it go. Like, will anyone notice?” And I said, “I fucking noticed.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:41] Yeah, I would notice too.
Philip McKernan: [01:04:44] So l go down the stairs the following morning, I get onto the stage and I opened up with a mistake. And I name it. And I felt I just needed to do that, to honor myself, to honor the audience. It didn't go on and on about his name. And I said, “I'm so embarrassed, but I'm here. The mistake is made, let's get going. Is that okay?” And it was such a cool thing to do, but we call them ‘Pabli’.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:06] Pabli Picasso. I mean, is ‘i’ next to the ‘o’ on the keyboard? It has to be.
Philip McKernan: [01:05:10] Yeah, [indiscernible] that I don't know.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:11] That's too bad. That's a –
Philip McKernan: [01:05:13] Your laughing doesn't help the situation, you know. My confidence is going to get…
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:17] But like, this is where you need spell check. Like, Pabli? Not a word. Pablo? It's totally a common name. Oh my gosh. All right, so one last talk is the event itself where people find essentially their gift next to their wound, which makes sense…
Philip McKernan: [01:05:35] At least to begin to explore it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:37] To begin to explore it. Okay. How can people at home dig into this a little bit without being at the event itself? I know you have a concept of writing a letter to yourself.
Philip McKernan: [01:05:47] Yeah, so how we do is we structure. In the book, we have a series of exercise that people go through just to kind of get the juices flowing and what we don’t want for One Last Talk is and what it is not is, it's not an opportunity to tell the world what they should do. There's enough conferences that they're doing that. It is not an opportunity to talk about it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:03] Yeah, it’s my job.
Philip McKernan: [01:06:04] Exactly. It's not an opportunity to talk about the political landscape or the health system or gun control or whatever. It's a part of your person narrative, typically something that the world has never heard before. So we asked people to say, just if we're going to doing a workshop, “Hey, write a one last message, napkin kind of job. You've got like 30 seconds, what would you write to the world?” And typically people write things like, “Oh, live your dreams, go for it.”, whatever. So it's kind of telling people what they should do.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:30] Platitude crap.
Philip McKernan: [01:06:31] And we just do that just to get the ball rolling. And then we move into kind of other exercises. One is where I would encourage everybody who's listening or watching this is to write your one last letter. And then people said, “Okay, great. What is that?” And I go, “Well it's your letter. I'm not going to tell you what it is.” You got one last letter to write, who would you write it to? And what would you say? And I feel that on purpose, people don't need any more prescription on that. Because if you overprescribed these things then people you end up almost drawing people in a direction that you feel they should go. I've asked people to do that in different workshops around the world and the letters have in their own writing profound -- their letters of apology, their letters of love, their letters of forgiveness, their extraordinary letters.
[01:07:15] And just that if you did nothing based on the show and you just took time, now or later on, to sit down and just one piece of white paper, not 25 pages -- what is the one last letter? And then I would encourage you to consider giving that letter to that person, maybe. But don't think about that in advance of writing it. So if I asked you to write a letter today that you'd have to read out in front of the cameras or write a letter that no one will ever read or hear.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:41] Yeah, it’s going to be two very different letters.
Philip McKernan: [01:07:43] And that typically it shifts from, here's what you should do to something much more personal within you. And then we bring them on two other exercises just to get opened up and that is, the five happiest days -- to look at your five happiest days of your life. There could be moments in there. They're not nine o'clock to nine o'clock at night, you far be happy all day. And when I did that exercise, then what you do is you hierarchy them, one to five. In other words, what was the number one day? And for me, my number one day was my book's party or my stag party, my bachelor party.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:18] Yeah. The bachelor’s party, buck's party. I thought you said books party, I was like wow.
Philip McKernan: [01:08:23] And then that inspired a retreat. And then the second day was a day my self and my wife had in common. So you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you and then go into your darkness because actually that's the place a lot of people avoid. And the five darkest days and understanding what they were about, why they were the darkest, and you learn a ton about yourself. And that starts to build towards equipping you with the knowledge and the information of what you might deliver in the One Last Talk.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:48] So the five happiest days aren't necessarily to show you what you're happy doing or are they? Because I'm imagining people put like -- the birth of my child, the day I got married, the, I don’t know, watching my son graduate, something like this. Whereas, it would be easy for me to go, my five happiest days are, and so these are specific days, not like, “Generally, I'm really happy when I do this.”
Philip McKernan: [01:09:12] These are very specific moments within that day. So it could have been just a moment. And what you'll find is a number of things. One is every single one of those days contains people, our relationships. Whether it's with yourself or other people. And then what you ask is the question behind it is just very simply, why? Why was that a happy day? And because it's not about getting married, it's not about having a baby, it's about what it created around or the feeling we associated with it. Having people around you, being surrounded by people and life leaves clues if you're willing to see them. And some of the five happiest days can give you an insight into what really fires you up and what turns you on. And it literally has been, that exercise alone has been a catalyst for me probably doing the most important work that I've ever created.
[01:09:56] Because the second day for me was a day in an orphanage. I'm thinking [01:09:59][indiscernible] come from. My wife's second happiest day was in orphanage. Her first day was her wedding day. My wedding day wasn't in my top hundred. Not even in my top hundred. So that was a bit of an awkward conversation. And then how do you create more of these days? Not more weddings, more babies, but necessarily, but how do you create more these days? And myself, my wife got together and then we brought our first group to a giving project, and so on and so forth. And then they created the documentary. So that one exercise has created probably the most important work that I've ever created.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:29] That's super interesting. The reason I wanted to find two of those instructions are because I initially tried to do this a little bit yesterday, at least in my head and I did it totally wrong because I was like, “Oh my happiest days are when I'm recording, when I'm doing it.” And I did not go when I did this very specific thing and there was a lot less information that I gleaned from that because I already know, of course, I'm happy doing my show, duh? You know, but doing one specific activity or being with specific people is a completely different ball game.
Philip McKernan: [01:11:01] And do it with your team, do it with your friends, do it with your kids. And what you'll find is, little Sarah’s happiest day was in Disney and little Johnny's happiest day was fishing with his dad. And then you're going to go, “Hang on a second, he doesn't really get Disney like she does, so why don't we bring her to Disney separately? Or mum goes with her dad, but let's bring Jack.” You know, so you can start to understand people and then why it's the most important day. What does that excise? What it's done for me as a parent is extraordinary. I won't get into the details right now, but it's allowed me to understand my kids, what is meaningful to them and why it's meaningful for them. It's really simple what it is. So the challenge is, it's so easy to come in here with complex exercises. Would you believe in another sensory? You know, maybe I'm very slow when it took me so long just to create these exercises, the context around them to simplify the shit out of them because it's really easy to create complete complex exercises that people struggle to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:55] Yeah. I like the idea of not prescribing it too much and letting people follow what they think they're supposed to do because that's probably where they're going to find the most meat. When you say five darkest days, is this the same concept, five darkest moments? What are we going to get from that? Because aren't we just going to find things? Well, I think I already answered my own question. Aren’t we just going to find things -- I'm not supposed to do that on this show. We're just going to find things that made us sad, but some things would have more information than others. Like what if it's, “Oh, it's when my parents passed away”, or something like that, right? Knock wood. They're alive and well, but like people will say that, what do we learn from something like that? Of course, I'm really unhappy when this happened.
Philip McKernan: [01:12:32] Yeah, I mean, I'll just give a personal one which I've never shared before, but the most humiliating day of my life was the day I was dropped from a rugby team. And again, it doesn't sound very dramatic in the context of the world. But if you understand where I was in my life, how it happened, the way it happened, the significance of it, people may realize, for me, it was a massive issue at that time. And I've always struggled with this sense of people not coming. People like not coming to my work, people not, you know, buying my services or whatever -- whether it's in coaching or previously. And I always took it very personally and it was almost like they didn't want to buy wine off me. It wasn't like, “Okay cool, they don't like my wine.”
[01:13:10] I was like going really deep and I would get like rejection. And it wasn't until I remember that day and the significance of it. And every time someone said no to my coffee, my wine, my coaching or anything else, they weren't saying no to the product or the service. They were saying no to me. And that's just one simple nuance. And it allowed me just to reframe it differently rather than taking it personally or allowing me to spiral into a negative spin and allowing maybe a couple of days of negativity, take productivity away from me, allow me just to go, “Hey, that's just that rejection thing. I'm scared shitless of it.” Because it happened when I was 14 so dramatically, it keeps playing out today.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:48] So then how do we interpret these things? So let's say I write something out like the day that my first childhood dog passed away and I had to bury him. That actually is a true example. I had to bury my own dog. I was really sad. My parents tried to make me do it for a week beforehand, dig the hole and I was like, I'll do it later. And they didn't push me because, you know, it was going to be sad. The worst thing was doing it on the day that we put him to sleep because I couldn't even see and I was like so upset and I had to dig this hole in the backyard. That stuck with me for a long time. How do I interpret that though? Does that just mean that I really loved my dog? What does that mean? How do I know what it means in the context of my life?
Philip McKernan: [01:14:25] I don't know. I don't know if it keeps showing up. I don't know. I kind of answered that with [01:14:29] [indiscernible]
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:30] Yeah, it probably doesn’t. It’s probably a [01:14:31] [indiscernible].
Philip McKernan: [01:14:31] But maybe it's just a case of it was just a traumatic time and you were really sad and the dog represented something. But then, and I don't want to read too much into something, but let's just say maybe the dog, you know, I'm just playing with something. Maybe the dog represented too much in your life because maybe your parents weren't as available emotionally. So the dog represented almost everything to you and therefore you can start to piece some of the pieces together. Or maybe you just love dogs and the dog died. You were sad. Yeah, my cat, Jimmy, died and I was devastated. Do I have to read into that? Not necessarily. But if my parents didn't allow me to mourn and if I was told to, “Hey pucker up, then you start crying. Is your lip show shivering there? Bury that stupid animal.”
[01:15:09] If they didn't like animals or whatever, then that was traumatic and that plays out in different ways so I don't want to get caught in the past that that is the only source of what's going on today. I just want to plant a seed for people to say that what we tend to do is either get lost in the past or we never look at it at all. And what I'm saying is by looking into a dipping your tone and going back, not all the time you can learn a lot more about yourself than you can imagine and you can learn about yourself, why certain patterns keep going on. So I'll give you a quick one. A couple, I do a lot of couple’s work now and again. And a couple came to work,
[01:15:45] we're doing this couple’s thing and this lady put her hand up and said, “What do you guys do with money?” I set my wife and I said, “Like spending it?” “No, what do you do with it physically? Do you put it in one account, joint accounts, whatever.” And I said, and it's interesting, I tend not to answer those questions because first, I want to see what's going on for her. And I go, “So tell me what you guys do?” “We have separate accounts.” I looked at him and said, “What do you want to do?” He goes, “I want one account.” Hence the question, and I said, “So why is separate accounts important to you?” She says, “I want my independence,” which sounds very logical, but I don't buy that because I want to go deeper. And I go, “Great. So talk to me about independence as a woman sitting in front of me today, do you feel in your life, independent?” She goes, “No.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:27] So it's not the bank account?
Philip McKernan: [01:16:29] So it’s nothing to do with the bank, right? It's nothing. And it's never money. And it's never time. If someone says to you, “My biggest challenge or the reason for this challenge is money or it's time.” It's never either.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:39] Oh, it's like sales.
Philip McKernan: [01:16:40] Always below.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:40] I don't have time. I don't have any money, okay? Both of those things are not true, what's the real reason? I don't really like what you're selling, or whatever.
Philip McKernan: [01:16:45] Now let's go back to independence. And then it went back to her mother wasn't independent, her mother's reliant on a man who was abusive and everything else. And that is simply playing out in a new relationship because she hasn't done the work and she's asking the wrong questions. And he was sitting there going, “Oh my God.” Then he turns to get an insight. “Oh my God, it's not that she wants to take my money or she doesn't trust me. She just has this trauma from the past. Now she's just trying to protect herself.” And then he got compassionate and he was being an ass about it up to that point.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:14] Right. Because she wants security and he's thinking, “Why the hell won't you put your money in the bank account? What are you hiding?”
Philip McKernan: [01:17:18] Nothing to do with money. Nothing to do with bank accounts.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:21] So write that letter, create those five. And how do you set this up? Are you sitting down for an hour and thinking about this? I know the answer is as long as it takes, right?
Philip McKernan: [01:17:31] Get a white piece of paper. You sit down, you set a timer, and you give yourself no more than 15 minutes. You do not think about it. The more you think about it, the more you'll screw yourself up.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:39] The more you fine tune it or memorializes or whatever.
Philip McKernan: [01:17:42] 15 minutes and be open to the fact that maybe you're going to write the letter to a person who is not walking on this earth. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, the person's up there, wherever they are, but somebody who may have passed away, that's who you might end up writing. But this is not a letter to the Trump administration because you're pissed off about something. This is a letter that is deep and meaningful. It's the last letter you'll ever write and maybe you'll write it yourself. Maybe you’ll write it to your kids, but it's typically to somebody that you know really well,
[01:18:07] somebody very close to you, somebody you have a lot of love for, and just go with it and see what happens. And that exercise alone and that exaggerating? I can’t even speak now, exaggerating, Jordan, that that exercise alone has blown. Just open people up to possibilities and different things, create a closure. Sometimes it creates closure. Move on. That's one thing in life I've been working a lot with people is I almost feel like it's just you. The analogy of the light at the end of the tunnel -- I just used the light at the end of the corridor and there's five doors here and five doors here and they're all open and they're soaking all this oxygen out of the room. I'm not getting angry at dad, number one. The other one is I've got this legal thing that's hanging over me.
[01:18:47] Number three, the thing is I've got my sister and myself don't talk. We haven't had the conversation. I'm all about closure. Close all the doors, one at a time systematically. You don't lock them. There's always openness if you want them. Close those doors, close that energy and move on. And the amount of people that I have at any given time, so much uncertainty going on in their lives about different things that they could execute on these so fast. What is the most important conversation that you're not having today? What is the most important conversation that you're simply not addressing? Everyone has a conversation they're not having. The freedom and the peace of mind that we'll get from having that conversation, we know we need to have, and someone said to me, “Hang on, McKernan.” My purpose represents 80% of my energy and my big quest. The issue of my dad that I've been avoiding is only 5% of the pie.
[01:19:43] Great. I'll take 5%. I'll take 5% all day long because that 5% can kind of create a capitalist or a domino effect. And those 5% represents a lot. So that's a question for your audience. And one of the questions just to throw out there, that is my favorite question that I created about six months ago, and we've created, we've had entire conversations on this is -- What do you know deep down you need to do, but for whatever reason, you're just not willing to do it for now? And it takes the urgency and the need to execute off the table. But everyone knows deep down what they need to do but the problem is they won't name it because then they think it goes into a contract. What is the thing you know deep down you need to do but for whatever reason, you're just not willing to do it now? That is an incredible question because it'll stir people in different ways.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:33] This exercise and all these exercises will be in the show notes. Phil McKernan, thank you very much. Is there anything else that I haven't asked you that you want to make sure you lay in here?
Philip McKernan: [01:20:40] The only thing is the book, One Last Talk. It's just out and it brings you through a deep dive. It's not for everybody, but anybody who takes it on. I encourage you to go through the process and deliver your One Last Talk to at least one other human being. Otherwise it doesn't have the kind of therapeutic and cathartic, you know, your result and it doesn't free you of that suffering or pain or that story and certainly doesn't help humanity. So that's the ask.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:06] Right. So they have to give it in front of someone else because that's the accountability, right? Otherwise, you're doing it in front of the mirror and it's just bouncing right back at you.
Philip McKernan: [01:21:15] And it's a part of your truth as opposed to just your story. And they're often very different things.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:20] That's great. Thank you.
Philip McKernan: [01:21:21] Thank you. Cheers.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:24] So like I said, Jason, Philip McKernan, not exactly the shallow end of the pool. Always likes to get straight to the point and doesn't sugarcoat a lot, which I like about him. Great big thank you to Philip McKernan and the book title is One Last Talk and it's getting quite a response from people who wrote in to tell me about it. If you want to know how I managed to book all these great people like Phil and manage my relationships with great network of supportive people, well, I've got systems, tiny habits designed to take just a few minutes per day. I wish I'd had these skills my whole life and I'm giving them to you in a free course. It's all online. You can find the info there at JordanHarbinger.com/course.
[01:21:59] Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway from Philip McKernan. I'm @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram and this show is produced in association with PodcastOne and this episode was co-produced by Jason “Going Clear” DeFillippo, and Jen Harbinger. Show notes by Robert Fogarty, worksheets by Caleb Bacon and I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love. Share the show with those you don't love so much, they need it to. We've got a lot more in the pipeline and I'm very excited for what we've got coming down for you. And in the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show so you can live what you listen and we'll see you next time.
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