Intrinsic Drive™

The Common Path to Uncommon Success with John Lee Dumas

March 30, 2022 Phil Wharton - Wharton Health Season 3 Episode 2
Intrinsic Drive™
The Common Path to Uncommon Success with John Lee Dumas
Show Notes Transcript

John Lee Dumas showed early signs of his dedication and commitment to process. He pivoted to swimming after injuries forced him to leave the soccer pitch and basketball court his senior year in high school. JLD quickly transformed one weakness in technique each day; in the final competition of the season, John touched the wall first, winning the Maine State Championship in the 50-yard freestyle.  

After graduation from Providence College, John served our country as an Army platoon leader in Iraq.  He continued searching for his purpose or "zone of fire" (to coin a phrase from John) -  a place where passion, expertise, and experience intersect  - and ditched law school, left the financial sector and real estate behind. He began devouring podcasts, quickly realizing the absence of a daily show dedicated to interviewing entrepreneurs and business leaders. John reached out to the host of his favorite podcast The Eventual Millionaire  and the host Jaime Masters became his podcast guide and mentor. 

Fast forward to today, JLD has interviewed over 3,600 of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. John, his partner Kate Erickson, and their small virtual team are the highest-grossing daily affiliate and sponsorship show online. John and Kate are co-creators of Podcaster’s Paradise, an online course, community, and resource assisting fledgling beginners to seasoned broadcasting professionals to realize their podcasting dreams. In his new book The Common Path to Uncommon Success  John distills essential qualities, mutual habits, into 17 focused steps to success. 

We are honored, thrilled, and excited to welcome this podcast inspiration, John Lee Dumas, to this episode of Intrinsic Drive™. 


Intrinsic Drive™ is produced by Ellen Strickler and Phil Wharton. Special thanks to Andrew Hollingworth, our sound engineer and technical editor.  For more information on this and other episodes visit us at www.whartonhealth.com/intrinsicdrive   Follow us on socials (links below) including Instagram  @intrinsicdrivelive  




Phil Wharton:

A lifetime of training, practice, study, hard work. Through discipline, some achieve excellence, mastery, fulfillment, self actualization. What can we learn from their beginnings, discoveries, motivations and falls? How do they dust themselves off and resume their journey. During these interviews, stories and conversations we reveal their intrinsic drives. John Lee Dumas showed early signs of his dedication and commitment to process. Pivoting to swimming after injuries forced him to leave the soccer pitch in basketball courts his senior year in high school. He quickly transformed one weakness and technique each day. In in the final competition of the season, he touched the wall first, winning the Maine State Championship in the 50 yard freestyle. After graduation from Providence College, John served our country as an Army platoon leader in Iraq, searching for his purpose or zone of fire to coin a phrase from John, a place where passion, expertise and experience intersect. He ditched law school left the financial sector and real estate behind. He began devouring podcasts. Quickly realizing the lack of a daily show interviewing entrepreneurs and business leaders. He reached out to the host of his favorite podcast, the Eventual Millionaire. The host, Jamie masters became John's podcast guide and mentor. Fast forward to today, JL D has interviewed over 3600 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs. John and his partner Kate Erickson, and their small virtual team are the highest grossing daily affiliate and sponsorship show online. John and Kate are co- creators of the Podcasters Paradise an online course community and resource assisting fledgling beginners to seasoned broadcasting professionals in realizing their podcasting dreams. In his new book, The Common Path to Uncommon Success. John distills essential qualities, mutual habits in 17, focused steps to success. We are honored, thrilled and excited to welcome my podcast inspiration, John Lee Dumas, to this episode of intrinsic drive. Let's just go to your beginnings, John, was there an inciting moment for you? Where did you begin this journey of yours?

John Lee Dumas:

So my journey actually did begin back in early 2012. So coming up on 10 years now, where I was just kind of searching for something that lit a spark in me something I was excited about. I mean, you know, post army and law school and corporate finance and commercial real estate, I was kind of, at this moment where I'm 32 years old, I don't feel like life has to be work that does not inspire you, like I feel like work can be something that also you enjoy, and that you're impacting others, and you feel great about when you wake up in the morning. And nothing, not that there's anything wrong with those other careers that I mentioned. It's just for me as an individual. They weren't letting that spark. And so I kind of just kept my eyes open and my heart opened my ears open, and was willing to kind of let the universe speak to me at that point. And I found myself just walking along the bay in Maine listening to a podcast, and I said, wow, like, I just love consuming this type of content. What if I produced this type of content? What if I emeshed myself even deeper in this world that I'm really enjoying as a consumer? And that kind of just lit a spark of saying what would that look like? And you know, here we are 10 years later, over 3500 episodes of Entrepreneurs on Fire later, over 100 million downloads, you know, millions of monthly listens. And now I'm not in Maine, I'm in Puerto Rico for six years now living the dream.

Phil Wharton:

That's amazing. Because, you know, when I first connected with you, virtually it was through your book, Podcast Launch. I noticed that in that book, it was it was really interesting to me that you first became passionate because you were listening to them and they were speaking to you; podcasts. Because at first you know, listening to regular radio, there's tons of commercials and there's you know, and there's all this selling and use of okay, this is free content, but there's nothing out here on a daily basis. That speaks to me in my entrepreneurial journey. Here you are in the real estate space, and it's 2009. The market crashed in 2008. So you're in this horrific period, then right you move back to Maine, as you said and okay, you're back in the real estate Estate market but you wanted to find something different something that you could bring to the world is that when you went to Blog World in 2012, in June, I think that was, is that the moment you really got turned on and you met some other kindred spirits in this world of entrepreneurship and podcasting?

John Lee Dumas:

So after I kind of had that aha moment of, Hey, maybe I want to get into the podcasting game, but I don't know really what that looks like I said, Well, who's somebody that right now is where I would want to be? who is somebody who is running a successful business podcast? I just went to my feed on my iPod. And I looked at the podcast I was listening to, and one of the ones that I really enjoyed by somebody who I really respected, was a show called Eventual Millionaire with Jamie Masters. And I said, Man, Jamie is actually where I want to be in a year from now. She's about a year, year and a half into her journey, she seems to have a great listenership, she seems to be really connected in the space. What would it look like if she mentored me. So I reached out to her, we actually both lived in Maine randomly. So we got together for a cup of coffee. I can still remember seeing her walk into Starbucks that day. We had a great conversation, okay. And then she said, This is what it's gonna look like for me to work with you. And I said, I'm in. And one of her first strong recommendations, okay, was you've got to go to Blog World 2012 in New York City. And so that's when we made it happen. I went down there. And it was a game changer.

Phil Wharton:

And that was a three month as you call zone of fire, where you find that commonality of passion and hard work and expertise, and all these things that you teach us on the things like this, the podcast journal that I'm holding up for the listeners right now that I've used to launch our podcast. And I think it was amazing, because even with all that, even with your motivation, as an athlete, you know, teaching yourself swimming as a, as a guard in basketball, right? As a three sport athlete, teaching yourself swimming, there, you are on the line in high school with baggy shorts. And you know, you're, you're I mean, as I read it in the new book, which I highly recommend, which we're going to tag at the end, the Common Path to Uncommon Success, a Harper Collins book, which just came out this last year. And it's unbelievable how you trained yourself through the reps, as we, as you say, in business, but the reps we know from athletics is coming to that context. But even then, we still have that reptilian mind that, part of us that saying, part of our brain that saying I can't or stops us from from full achievement, and you kept pushing back your launch, isn't that right? And she had to your mentor had to say, hey, look, John, I'm gonna fire you if you don't push this button to launch this podcast, which happened September 22 or so of that fall?

John Lee Dumas:

Right? Yeah, I think it's a great analogy you bring up with swimming, because when I was a senior, you know, supposed to be my big year, as you know, the starting point guard for our varsity basketball team and Class A sports which is the highest level of Maine. In Maine, okay. You know, I had been the starting point guard for the two years prior. So my sophomore and junior years was to be a big year, injury wiped me out of that. Fortunately, it wasn't a bad enough injury where I couldn't swim. Right. So when I got into the pool, I quickly realized that you know, what, like, everybody has essentially a similar body, but it's the people that work harder, train harder, put in the reps, have better stamina, have better technique, have better form, just adapt better to the water by being more those the people that are winning. That's right, so I just went all in on swimming. And fortunately, my dad was actually a collegiate swimmer at Georgetown. So I did have decent genes from that. Right. And he was willing to work with me

Phil Wharton:

tech and technique, which is so important in the wall.

John Lee Dumas:

Yeah, my start my flip turn. Yeah, I'm able finally to man up and wear Speedos. And all those things added up to me ended up I ended up winning first place in the southwestern which is essentially the entire South southern state of Maine. For the 50 yard freestyle, which is a very competitive stroke. i The fastest time. And that was you know, starting off with an incredibly slow time, like I ended up cutting my time like 40% over the season, which is almost insane. But I had I had a really bad starting place. So I mean, you know, getting getting there wasn't easier well, but I was able to apply that later in my life to podcasting. I'm like, just like swimming where I was terrible when I started, but I quickly got better. Why did I get better because I put in the reps I was doing right? We practice afternoon practice or after? Yeah, twice a day three times a day putting in the reps. And it just clicked for me that it would be the same with podcasting. Of course I was going to be not good at speaking to a microphone being interviewed interviewing other people public speaking all these things, right, like put in the wraps. And so that was a huge label for me that said, Hey, I'm going to do this. I'm doing it daily.

Phil Wharton:

That's amazing. And you, so we're kind of seeing your ascent you're rising in your craft, the discovery, the drives, you're motivated. What kind of take us to your lowest moment, John, what's what's what was the fall for you in this process? And how do you And how'd you

John Lee Dumas:

get after podcasting launch? Or Yeah,

Phil Wharton:

after after the launch? Is there a moment that for you that okay, it was sort of a, you flatline, you weren't improving? And how did you pivot after that?

John Lee Dumas:

I'd say my, my lowest points was trying to figure out how to actually monetize what I was doing. I mean, I went all in like I was, you know, doing a daily show, I had no other job, no other income, no other revenue. I went all in with a daily podcast. And even my coach Jamie was like, so how are you going to make money? And, you know, she was making money by doing a bunch of different things. And I was like, Well, I just want to make money just from this craft of podcasting. And we were brainstorming ideas. And she was like, Well, I mean, that might work. That might not work, that probably won't work, and yada, yada. So

Phil Wharton:

it hadn't been done yet, either. So then you're almost in a freefall in that you're on your own. You have great mentors, but it's a suspension of disbelief, you're in there.

John Lee Dumas:

So then the lowest moment would be when I launched my first products, which I thought was something that was going to be my launch pad, it's actually generating real revenue in my business. And it just flopped. Like, it just flopped. Nobody wanted it. Like looking back hindsight now that I speak about that in the book that you reference the path to uncommon success. It's obvious to me why that book, that excuse me, that product flopped. But the reality was, it taught me a lot. And my very next product, very shortly after that was the most successful thing I've actually launched today, which some of the you mentioned podcasters paradise, which, which we're still running to this day, yes, nine years later. So that's, you know, a big learning point for me. And I think for a lot of people that are listening is, you know, that biggest, like failure, that's lowest point that you have in your business, in your life with your products with your services, could really be the launchpad that you use for the next big thing.

Phil Wharton:

I think that was so wonderful about the book to Jonasson. Okay, creators like to be in the intuitive and they like to go into the cave and create, create, create, but you said, hey, look, I didn't have proof of concept in this first thing, as you just described, but then as podcasters paradise, we're interfacing, we're getting this amazing real time data from people, hey, what do you need solving their big problems and being of service? How can I help you? I mean, one of the greatest things I get in the letters from people that have read our books now, you know, first book 1996. And now it's a blacklisted best seller and all these things. Again, thank you for helping me to help myself, in giving the tools. That's what I love about you. And Kate is it's full disclosure, if you look on the website, today, if you go to entrepreneurs on fire, you know, in December income was $217,000. I mean, it this is a person that's willing to go take you behind the backstage and give you that backstage pass of how exactly they're doing it. And it's just, you know, as Meriwether Lewis said, Every journey is only contingent on the provisions. And so you're giving the tools and the provisions here on the anvil GLD. What is a defining moment, what what moment you think defined you to make help you become the leader in this podcast space?

John Lee Dumas:

You know, I'm gonna stay with the theme that you brought up there, which is transparency. I mean, I love the fact that we are so transparent with our business. And I think that really does define a leader is somebody that's willing to say, you know, what, like, I've got nothing to hide, I'm gonna open the kimono up, I'm going to show you everything. It's not all wins. It's not all rainbows and unicorns, right? failures or struggles or obstacles or challenges. But there's also wins successes and amazing moments, we want to show you everything so you can look at the successes we're having and emulate those successes, but also look at the failures that we're having, and avoid those failures. So now for over 100 months in a row. We've been publishing a monthly income report, we have never been below $100,000 a month, remarkable 100 months which is just, you know, like such a, like a tribute to the type of business that we've built and as you mentioned, some months were two three, you know, I think our highest month was close to $500,000. So we've been like really steady living a lifestyle that we want, you know, living location independence. very lean, small team, we have a total of three other There are virtual assistants on our team besides myself and Kate's fantastic. Two of them are in the Philippines, one of them's in Pakistan. So I mean, it's just truly virtual truly connected, truly lean. And we're happy to inspire other people to do the same.

Phil Wharton:

And creating systems. I think that's one of the strong points that Kate brings to the team. If you go to Kate's take his her blog, and a blog and Audio Blog, it's amazing, showing you how you can do this, wherever you are. And in today's economy, a lot of the young people coming up really have the Wanderlust want to be anywhere. And that's something they can leverage. And you guys have been off for even 90 days on break and being able to produce daily, amazing content with some of the great entrepreneurs of our new century in the new economy, in your journey. What's, what's next for you?

John Lee Dumas:

Honestly, I don't know. And I'm happy with that, because I believe there are so many amazing opportunities just around the corner, that I just want to be ready for the one that makes sense to me. I mean, I'm getting, you know, so many opportunities every single day that, you know, it's just has to be a note of basically everything because I want to be ready and willing and have the time, energy and bandwidth, right? Say yes, when that next thing is the right thing. So right now, we know what's working. Right moving forward. You know, we have a lean team with systems, you know, our businesses thriving, you know, working less than I've ever worked before, but you know, I'm enjoying life, you know, as much or more. So right now, it's just like, what's next? We'll say,

Phil Wharton:

fantastic. And in the slipstream on the show, we kind of look back and give gems of wisdom and parting advice. What would you like to leave with us today, as we close on intrinsic like to leave

John Lee Dumas:

with a quote from Albert Einstein try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value. And when that quote really sunk in with me, I realized that I needed to just focus on providing value to this world. And that success would find would follow and find me. And that's been true.

Phil Wharton:

John, you know, just such a pleasure to be with you. I'm going to leave you with I know your schedule is so busy, but I'm so glad you're taking time for your own health. We need more of you in the world. We need you at full capacity. And so that's a blessing. Thanks for coming to intrinsic drive. Such a wonderful time to be with you. Thanks, brother. Appreciate it. Phil. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate you opting in subscribing, and reviewing us for thumbing us up and following us on socials. liking us. We like you. Drop us a note. Tell us what stories move you for books, videos, resources and more information. Visit us at W H AR t o n health.com forward slash shop Wharton health and be sure to join us for the next episode of intrinsic drive.