hero Archives - Jeff Walker

What To Do AFTER You Sell 150 Million Books

by on Apr 02 2013
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So last November I got a chance to sit down with Paulo Coelho for dinner. I’ve written about Paulo before… and the impact that his book “The Alchemist” made on my life.

(If you’re not familiar with Paulo, he’s sold 150 million books, he has 7 million Twitter followers and 10 million Facebook followers, and “The Alchemist” is the fifth most read book of all time, ever, in the entire world.)

With Paulo Coelho

It was an amazing dinner – there were five others there in addition to Paul and myself – bestselling authors Brendon Burchard, Chris and Janet Attwood, David Bach, and Paulo’s agent extraordinaire Monica.

As you could imagine, with that cast of characters, the conversation was extraordinary – and it leapt from topic to topic. Writing, publishing, books, war, spirituality… and that was just the first 10 minutes. ;-)

We were in Geneva, Switzerland, at one of Paulo’s favorite restaurants. After a leisurely dinner, we decided to walk to a nearby bar to have a drink.

And, for me, this next part was simply amazing – the path we walked to get to the bar was literally on the Road To Santiago – the ancient and holy path that is the subject of Paulo’s book “The Pilgrimage”. I had no idea, but it turns out, a portion of that road is in Geneva. Who knew?

It was there, as I walked on the Road To Santiago with Paulo, that I got to tell him the story of the impact that “The Alchemist” had on my life… and consequently, the lives of thousands of others. The whole thing seemed magical (or at least mystical)…

So what was Paulo like? He was charming, engaged, curious… and most of all he was passionate. You might think that an author who has sold 150 million books might sit back and rest on his laurels. Not Paulo… he is all about his next book. He is all about engaging with his millions of fans. He is all about making an impact.

What a group to have dinner with! Brendon Burchard, Janet Attwood, Paulo Coelho, David Bach, myself, Paulo's agent Monica (Chris Attwood is not pictured.)

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people that are making a huge positive impact on the world. And I’ve gotten to meet a number of my heroes. And the thing I see over and over is a passion for their work. A passion for honing their craft. A passion for their business. And a passion for their impact.

Each of them have had a true Heroe’s Journey, where they heard the call to adventure… and they struggled with that call. Some of them refused the call, some of them couldn’t answer the call. Some of them tried to answer and failed… the first time. Or the first twenty times.

But you know what happens next. Each of them faced many challenges along the way, and each of them eventually persevered. And that’s the path we all face if we’re going to lead our biggest and best lives.

It never comes easy… even for the people that make it look easy. But there is no dress rehearsal. We only get one shot at this world. Make it count.

One more thing, and this came directly out of that dinner with Paulo in Geneva – Brendon Burchard lucked out and snagged the worldwide exclusive video interview with Paulo Coelho for his new book, “Manuscript Found in Accra.” The video interview is only available for a limited time, and you can see it at this link:

CLICK HERE: Worldwide Exclusive Video Interview With Paulo Coelho

Go check it out now. Paulo is amazing, and it’s a great interview.

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The Fear of Heroes (and Meeting Mine)

by on Feb 17 2013
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So it’s a risky thing to meet one of your heroes. In fact, it can been pretty scary.

Lots of weighty expectations hang in the air. What will they be like? Will they live up to your expectations? Or will you walk away disappointed? Will you lose one of your heroes?

So last November I was sitting in the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. I was about to get on a plane and fly home to Colorado. I had just gotten a chance to spend several hours with Paulo Coelho. Now Paulo is another hero of mine, and one day I will write about having dinner with him… but he’s not who this post is about.

In any case, meeting Paulo was really cool, and it inspired me. And as I sat there on the runway in Geneva, I thought to myself “OK, that was awesome – now it’s time to meet Pressfield”…

You see, Steven Pressfield is another author who has made a big impact on my life. Many entrepreneurs are familiar with his incredible book “The War of Art”… and I love love love that book, but it just barely scratches the surface of his work. His fiction is equally amazing, and a personal favorite of mine is “The Legend of Bagger Vance” (I know it’s cliche, but you should skip the movie and read the book).

So after meeting Paulo Coehlo, I decided it was time to figure out some way to have dinner with Steven. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I knew there would be a way… I learned long ago that I’m pretty good at “manifesting” things. So I figured I had a good chance of meeting him, but I had no idea it would happen so fast…

You see, just a few weeks later I got a surprise package from my friend Victoria Labalme. In it was a personally signed copy of “The War of Art” and a note to me from Steven Pressfield!

Steven Pressfield and Jeff Walker

With Steven Pressfield in his home...

It turns out Victoria had heard me mention “The War of Art” when I was speaking on stage, and she just happened to be a close personal friend of Steven. And to make a long story short, it was only a matter of a few weeks before I was on a plane to Los Angeles to got to dinner with Steven, Victoria, and Victoria’s husband.

And there we are – back to me nervously wondering what it would be like to meet one of my heroes… and whether it would live up to my expectations.

Well, I don’t know if I just have great taste when it comes to “hero selection”, but I haven’t been disappointed yet. It was a wonderful meeting. Steve was gracious, kind, engaged, and funny. In fact, dinner was too short, so we quickly made plans for breakfast… and then breakfast evolved into spending the entire morning together.

The thing that stuck out the most for me was how wonderfully curious Steve was, and what great questions he asked… he kept asking me about me and my life. And his insightful questions kept pushing me to make distinctions I had never thought about before.

In Steve's office, looking at a diagram for his next book

I’ve long felt that asking great questions (and then having the good sense to shut up and really listen to the answers) is one of the most powerful skills that anyone can have… and Steve truly is a master at it. There is incredible knowledge and wisdom that is bottled up in the people surrounding us, and for the most part we walk around oblivious to it. Our lives are hugely enriched when we wake up and tap into that innate wisdom in the people surrounding us. It was inspirational to mentally step outside myself and “watch” Steve ask great question after great question.

Another thing I’ve noticed about people who lead inspired lives – they’re always looking to grow. They’re always striving to make their “art” better (no matter if their art is writing, building a business, or making a better cheesecake). And they’re always trying to “level up” and play a bigger game.

In other words, as my coach Dan Sullivan says, their future is always bigger than their past. And, of course, Steven Pressfield fit that description perfectly… he really wasn’t interested in talking about his past work. He was far more interested in talking about his current and future projects. And truth be told, he was most interested in talking about the people around him.

(Funny story… during our conversation, I mentioned something that one of the principle characters in Steve’s amazing “Gates of Fire” did. But I couldn’t recall the character’s name – even though I’ve read the book at least two or three times. As I was making my point, I said “sorry, but I can’t remember the character’s name”… and Steve quickly interrupted me and said with a smile “Either can I”.)

My signed copy of "The Ware of Art"

Steve graciously signed my copy of "The War of Art"

Our time together flew by all too quickly, and soon I had to head out to catch my flight home. But I left inspired. I left happy to have met an inspired, driven, and gentle soul. And best of all, I left with a new friendship.

P.S. I’m on a roll now… anyone want to introduce me to Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, or the Dalai Lama?  :-)

P.P.S. Who would you love to have dinner with? And why?

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You Are My Hero

by on Feb 10 2013
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Tonight I’m going to dinner with someone who has made a big impact on my life. One of my heros, if you will. It took me two flights and most of a day to travel to California for this meeting.

We’ve never met before – and since I’m an introvert, I’ll naturally be a little nervous. But I’m really excited… in fact I couldn’t really sleep last night.

The thing is, I don’t think anyone ever gets sick of hearing about the impact they’ve made on someone else’s life (at least I never get sick of hearing that!)

And that’s why I flew half-way across the country – to tell my hero about the impact he made on my life. To say thanks… thanks for showing up in your life, thanks for doing the work, thanks for putting yourself out there, thanks for playing big, thanks for staying inspired, thanks for playing hurt, thanks for fighting your doubts and fears, thanks for battling resistance in your life every day.

We live in a world where the word “hero” almost sounds quaint. It seems like it comes from a different time. And everywhere we look, we see “fallen” heroes. Every time we open a newspaper or turn on the TV, there’s another scandal about another “hero” who has fallen from grace…

But I don’t think the idea of heroes is old-fashioned. And as far as those “falIen heroes”, well that’s another discussion… but I think we need to forget about the idea of “perfect” heroes. I don’t think you’ll ever find one of those perfect heroes… but I still see heroes everywhere I look. I seem to be surrounded by them.

I don’t care if they’re starting a business, writing a screenplay, raising a child as a stay-at-home parent, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, creating a meditation practice, or taking care of an aging parent… I see people doing heroic stuff all the time.

So how do you become a true hero? Well, I’ve got a recipe for you. There are two things you have to do. One of them alone isn’t enough – you have to do both of them. The good news is that they’re both very simple to do. And, unfortunately, the bad news is that they’re also very difficult.

First, you have to do the work. There ain’t no way around this… you have to show up and do the work. Whatever “your” work is… however, you’re going to make your impact… you gotta do the work. And then you have to keep doing it. You keep showing up day after day, and year after year… and you keep getting better. That means you have to turn off the TV, close down Facebook, forget your email, stop checking ESPN.com, shut down YouTube… and you have to do the work.

It’s never easy, and there are no short cuts. If you see someone who makes it look easy, it’s because they were doing a lot of hard work before you were watching them.

And then the second thing you have to do is even harder… you have to keep growing. You have to keep stepping up into a bigger vision of yourself. You have to keep stepping into a bigger future. You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. This is the deal – all of us are full of doubts and fears… we all have a little voice in the back of our head that wants us to retreat into our “safe zone”. That is the voice that holds us back. That is the voice that stops us from being great.

Make no mistake, that voice will be there with you… everyone’s got that voice. And it’s up to you to decide whether you will let it rob you of your power. Whether it will rob you of your greatness. You need to ignore that voice. All growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone.You can’t have your biggest life if you stay in that comfort zone. You can’t be a hero if you stay in that comfort zone.

And that’s your recipe for your Hero’s Journey. You need to show up. You need to do the work. And you need to keep playing a bigger game. And you need to keep doing it. If you do that day after day, year after year… then I’ll tell you how to find a hero…

Go look in the mirror and you’ll see a hero looking back at you.

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