Show # 450: Master productivity, discipline and focus – John Lee Dumas

Show # 450: Master productivity, discipline and focus – John Lee Dumas


INTERVIEW: John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas set the podcast world on fire with his show, Entrepreneur on Fire, and his business success. Last year we discussed his “Freedom Journal” on goal setting and achieving. Now he has come out with a product, really as a result of requests from his audiences who ask the question, “Hey, to achieve my goals, how can I be more productive, more disciplined, and have more focus?” These are strengths of John’s, so he didn’t just write a book, he crafted a journal to help you work through achieving success in these three areas: Productivity, Discipline, Focus. This was an intriguing, valuable, and truly fun show. Thanks to Constant Contact, Blue Apron, and Princess Cruise Lines for supporting this episode.


[00:00] Welcome to The Ziglar Show. This is episode number 450, and today we are talking with Entrepreneur on Fire superstar, John Lee Dumas, back for the third time with us. He has a new product, The Mastery Journal. The point of it? To help us increase three necessary areas for our success. I’ll list them out right after Zig speaks…

[01:34] Hi, everyone, I’m Kevin Miller, your host and the producer of The Ziglar Show.

[01:39] If you aren’t aware of John Lee Dumas, his podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire, has been revolutionary in the podcast world. He interviews an entrepreneur EVERY DAY.

[01:58] On our last show with him, he had a new product called The Freedom Journal, and the focus was a Ziglar favorite…setting and achieving your goals.

[02:07] Now he has come out with a product, really as a result of requests from his audiences who ask the question, “Hey, to achieve my goals, how can I be more productive, more disciplined, and have more focus?” These are strengths of John’s, so he didn’t just write a book, he crafted a journal to help you work through achieving success in these three areas: Productivity, Discipline, Focus.

[02:35] In this show, Tom Ziglar and I dig into these three issues with John. But first, I want to back up a bit and ask John about his experience in achieving his own business and life success, alongside his experience in talking with so many other successful people, and discuss his views on inspiration and motivation. What we got was a bit of an address on the state of personal development…what we are missing that we desperately need is really insight stuff from John and Tom Ziglar.

[03:14] So, what follows is a very insightful discussion among the three of us, and, as you’ll hear, we also have a lot of fun and laughter.

[03:31] Before I queue it up, our downloads for The Ziglar Show increased by nearly one-third in the past 60 days. A huge upswell. Thank you…what this means is you are finding enough value in the show that you’re recommending it to others. Thank you! If you hear something that resonates or inspires or equips you today, think of someone else you think would appreciate the info…and pass it along! Find us wherever you listen to podcasts, or send them to

[04:05] OK, here, then, are Tom Ziglar and I talking with John Lee Dumas:

[04:10] OK, John, third time here with us on The Ziglar Show, which makes you our most interviewed guest! Thanks for coming back.

[04:28] John, you sit today as an incredibly successful businessman. A stellar story. Today you are also, in my perspective, in the top list of today’s true motivational and inspirational personalities. There are many people putting out great content in the personal and business development sector, but a short list who are really devoted to lighting a fire in people’s bellies. We all know Zig Ziglar was much more interested in leading people in how to be than simply how to do. Because he knew we can’t do before being!

[05:38] You began EO Fire years ago, with the initiative of interviewing entrepreneurs…one a day. Was there a tangible evolution in the show where you saw the need to give more focus to inspiration and motivation, or did it happen organically?

[06:02] You know, one thing I will say is that EO Fire has really evolved in the organic manner. What I mean by it is that I was not sure what my show was really evolving into. And I think it must be comforting for lots of people who are listening right now, because probably you don’t have to see the whole staircase for the steps, as I didn’t see the whole staircase, but I knew inside the core that’s what I needed to do.

[07:35] I think there will be a great relief for lots of listeners who are listening right now to know to just be a person of value in the area that you love and you can give quality value in, and let your audience evolve and let them guide you along the way.

[09:33] Do you feel we, as a culture, have moved more into seeking how to do advice and are suffering from a lack of how to be knowledge?

[09:53] I think there is a problem right now when everybody is getting into this with the wrong mentality. And I don’t mean that everybody is getting into it with wrong mentality, but those who do might think, “I am seeing somebody who is doing it this way; I am just going to copy everything they are doing and, hopefully, get the same results.”

[11:04] Others will be learning from others that we need to be consuming the right content. I am always consuming content on a daily basis, because I wanna continue to learn. I am taking that knowledge and I am applying it towards what works for me and my business.

[16:25] When you look at the biggest inspirational personalities of the past, with Zig at the top of the list, a majority of the content and messages were presented a generation or two ago.

[16:45] With the core principles still holding true, how do you feel the message needs to be altered to better fit today’s culture?

[18:52] People are scared of failing; they are scared of losing, and I feel it over and over again. I get emails every single day from my listeners, audiences, saying that, “Hey I wanna do this but I am scared that it might not go well.” And this inspired me to write a book. And the book title is How to Finally Win. And my whole point behind this book is that it is not about not losing, it is not about being scared, it is not about the feeling. It is about how to finally win.

[24:05] I get the fear, but do it in a responsible way and hustle, work hard, and, if you really want it, you are gonna make the time, you are gonna make the effort, you are gonna make it happen.

[26:13] You’ve interviewed how many people now?

>>Hear John’s response on the show

[26:25] So, in looking at them all, regarding inspiration, motivation, drive…what are some common threads you see with so many people along this way?

[26:48] The biggest commonality, by a long shot, was the successful entrepreneurs on my show knew how to set and accomplish a goal. They were goal setters and accomplishers. Which is exactly what led me to the inspiration of launching a freedom journal.

[27:30] Successful entrepreneurs and the people who struggle -- they struggle with the exact same thing. That is number one. The number two is, successful entrepreneurs understand, they know, they identify their strengths. What they can do is they can identify their weakness also. If I look in my strengths I have three major strengths: productivity, discipline, and focus. And I use them every single day to my advantage.

[29:30] In the same light, you have also walked with thousands of people who aspire to be in the position of your interviewees -- members in your Podcasters Paradise, people who have attended your many events, audiences you’ve spoken to, panels you’ve sat on. In those many who are striving and not progressing, what do you see they are primarily missing?

[33:40] I want to ask about your experience with The Freedom Journal. You crafted the book to help people actually achieve their goals. A year later, where do you see the most value? That people did have success in achieving more of their goals? OR…that people simply…actually contemplated and just tangibly clarified goals for the first time ever?!

[35:30] So, from personally interviewing thousands of successful entrepreneurs, while becoming one yourself, the first product you decide to come out with is The Freedom Journal, “Accomplish your number one goal in 100 days.” It wasn’t a book so much as a…workbook.

[36:05] Now you’ve come out with The Mastery Journal, where you hone in on three things: productivity, discipline, and focus.

[36:10] Productivity: Successfully completing sequential steps in a timely manner that bring you closer to accomplishing a task, project, or goal you’ve set.

[36:20] What is the chief enemy of most people’s productivity?

[36:25] The chief enemy is that people produce content, but they produce the wrong content.

[36:55] Discipline: Being able to stay on task and still make progress even when you’re feeling unmotivated, distracted, or discouraged.

[37:10] For many years I’ve had people comment about my own discipline. It’s a compliment I’ve always struggled with. Inside, I don’t really feel disciplined. I usually feel I’m slacking. The only reason I do the things that look like discipline is…I wake up every morning with desire. So, I’m curious of your perspective and experience…do you find people more often committing to being disciplined, or finding a big enough desire to become disciplined?

[38:23] If you are able and willing to be a disciple to your plan of action, setting that plan and then executing that plan, you are going to be a disciplined individual.

[40:25] Focus: Following ONE course until success and remaining distraction-free in the process.

[40:38] This is an area that used to cause me anxiety. So many things to pursue, so much opportunity. To figure out what to say yes to and what to say no to…and focus on the yes…feels like it takes a measure of faith. Faith that the focus one is committing to is the right choice. What has your experience been?

[41:25] I am not asking you to cut off your distractions for 3, 5, 7 hours or a full day, because that is not tangible. I have these focus sessions which I have recommend to take 35-45 minutes that you have to settle down and focus on one thing. If you are going to win the focus game, that will mean going in small and meaningful chunks. That is why every day I have four focus sessions and I win the focus game.

[43:02] If you had to drop EO Fire completely and not compete against it, and start a new endeavor, what would it be?

[43:17] I would go to the tour of passions, not that I have a big, successful business, but I have a passion to travel. We might be doing, at some time in the future, the business we have called Cities of Sound, where we will be going to live in the world’s greatest cities like Paris, Rome, etc. It is like spending four to five months in the cities and making audio travelling files of the cities, uploading to the website so that other people can enjoy them.