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Building a Good Life

Marketing Podcast with Jonathan Fields


Life is very, very good. But, there are many forces seemingly aligned to make it not so. It takes work to live the life you were meant to live, but the payoff is so rewarding.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jonathan Fields. Fields is a dad, husband, serial entrepreneur, growth strategist, and author. He is the founder of Good Life Project and author of How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom. He and I talk about building a good life through vitality, connections, and contribution.

Together with his team, Fields produces a top-rated podcast with millions of downloads, a video series with more than 50-million minutes viewed in over 150 countries, and offers a growing catalog of events, trainings and courses.

Questions I ask Jonathan Fields:

  • What is Good Life Project?
  • What is considered a good life?
  • Is there a prescription for a daily routine?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What the difference is between a network and a community
  • How science plays a roll in building a good life
  • What the role of a job has in building a good life

To learn more about the Good Life Project, click here. To learn more about Camp GLP, click here. To buy How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom, click here.

This week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by magicJack for BUSINESS, trusted by a quarter million small businesses. Reliable phone service at an incredible price: plans from just $14.99/month per line – flat. Get two months FREE service when you sign up at The first 100 listeners will receive a FREE IP phone for every line (each an $85 value)!

4 5 Most Popular Podcasts of 2013

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

photo credit: Bill Selak via photopin cc

Podcasting saw a huge renaissance in 2013 as major content producers woke up to the ease or production and portability afforded the spoken word. It didn’t hurt that Apple made the podcast app a default app of the iPhone IOS either.

I’ve been podcasting since some time in 2006 and I still find it one of the best ways to gain access to people of influence.

In continuing my year end wrap up I present the most popular podcast episodes throughout 2013. These were judged most popular by virtue of the number of downloads each received.

1. People Don’t Share Brochures, They Share Stories – In this August episode author Jonah Berger talks about what makes something go viral – Contagious: Why Things Catch On

2. Reboot Your Business and Your Life – For this May show I spoke with Mitch Joel about the future of business – Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends

3. How I Podcast and Why I Think You Should – In May I did a solo show talking about how I do my show and why I think others should podcast – great tool for though leadership and sales! (You can hear a replay of this one by clicking the playing above.)

4. Nobody Talks About Boring Businesses – For this March show I spoke with Bernadette Jiwa about how to make your ideas stand out – Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story

5. How to Play More and Work and Why You Must – For this March show I spoke with Jonathan Fields – check out his The Good Life Project for some real inspiration.

You can find the entire year of podcasts here.

So, who would you love to hear me interview in 2014?

4 How to Play More at Work and Why You Must

Marketing podcast with Jonathan Fields

A few weeks ago I started a series of posts I’m calling Recover You. The series is focused on practices and habits that I believe lead to a healthier mind, body and spirit, a healthier business and ultimately a healthier economy. You can catch the entire Recover You series here.

The concept of work just doesn’t seem that fun. And sadly millions upon millions of people go into work, even work of their own creation, and get the life sucked right out of them.

What if work was more like play? Remember when you were a kid and you and your friends and siblings could get lost for entire days in the invention and implementation of play?

Well, certainly it helps if you love what you choose to do for a living, but like so many things in life play is as much an attitude as a state.


photo credit: linh.ngan via photopin cc

In this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to visit with Jonathan Fields, creator of The Good Life Project. Jonathan is on a mission to help people find and develop meaningful lives through their work and his weekly show is a shot of pure inspiration. While we didn’t talk specifically about play during our interview, I chose to include it in the context of this post because there is an element of joy Jonathan’s work and his Immersion Program.

I believe every business and every employee can benefit by purposefully adding elements of play to daily routines and organizational process.

Productivity at work isn’t about how much time you spend doing the work, as it is about how well you spend the time you invest. I know that I am always more productive when I feel good and am charged up – two things that play always delivers.

From a practical business standpoint there is much to like about play.

Play is a great way to connect

People are drawn to playfulness. It can be a defining personality trait of a brand or simply a way that you approach the things you need to do. Playful handbooks, emails and policies help people feel good about this thing we call work. Laughter is one of the greatest connectors in the human toolbox and study after study has proven the positive mental and physical health benefit offered by play. Who dictated that business and work was meant to be so darn serious anyway?

Play is super food for creativity

Creativity is the life-blood of any vibrant business and most of the work we end up doing leads to clogged creativity over time. Get the office together once a day and have a white board drawing contest or crank up Pandora and play name that artist and watch how the creativity begins to re-flow.

Play builds teamwork

The basic framework of most games depends upon teammates working together, within a set of rules, to achieve a common objective. Now that sounds like a healthy work environment to me. Take that up a notch and get people outdoors, into nature working together, playing a game and watch how quickly they resolve differences and work together.

Play reduces stress

Work can be downright stressful at times and play provides an outlet to reduce the physical and mental damages caused by stress. Play doesn’t have to mean a full-blown pick up basketball game in the warehouse either. We have two office dogs and I always feel recharged after taking them for a romp around the community garden that sits right outside my office. Dogs can teach us a thing or two about play.

Play doesn’t seem like work

When you are engaged in a game you enter what Psychiatrist and writer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as a flow state. The state many gamers suggest takes over and allows them play for days on end. Now, I’m not suggesting that you install an X box 360 in every cube, but I do think you can add game like elements to just about every function. Creating sales contests, allowing people to win prizes for scoring points, and designing ways to turn reporting on objectives into games are just a few of the ways that organizations keep work fun.

Play is an attitude that can run through every element of what makes a company what it stands for. Playfulness has its own brand of attraction and every organization could benefit by creating a position responsible for keeping play alive inside and out.

25 What Makes Work Worth It To You

The title of this post might be one of the most important questions that entrepreneurs never ask – or at least fail to consider the answer to frequently enough.

The Commitment Engine - Making Work Worth ItTruly understanding the answer to this question may define the difference between a feeling of success or failure in business – regardless of how well a business seems to do outwardly.

I’ve written an entire book on this notion called The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It. (Oct 2012) The book is a study in how entrepreneurs find and commit to work worth doing and then how they build an organization with a culture based on work worth doing and finally how they create a community that believes in and wants to be a part of the work worth doing.

The book features some pretty amazing stories from some pretty amazing entrepreneurs, but today I want to get your story. For the next few weeks I am collecting as many answers as possible to this seemingly simple question:

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

It’s such an interesting and at times arresting question. As I’ve begun to pose it to more and more individuals I’ve come to appreciate the distinction between those that know it immediately, without hesitation, and those that ask to get back to me or what my deadline is.

Here’s what I’ve learned. If you don’t know the answer to this question off the top of your head, you’ve got some work to do. I don’t say that as a form of judgment, it’s just that I’ve become convinced that it’s nearly impossible to be fully alive in this world without a commitment to some purpose that makes the work you do worth it.

And the funny thing about this idea is that it doesn’t matter what that is, as long as there’s a strong commitment. I’ve interviewed people that gain a great deal of success serving a higher purpose that involves changing lives for the better and I’ve also spoken with those that understand their work and the money it brings simply serves a means to a different end that fulfills them.

There’s no right answer and that may be part of the challenge because we immediately think a term like “higher purpose” should point us in a spiritual direction, but it doesn’t need to. The only thing that matters is that we understand and connect to why we do what we do – end of story.

Again, please take a minute and share your work story in the form of answer to this question – What make the work you do work it?  please add it to this form

I want to share two very different stories I’ve collected because I think they help illustrate just how important, yet how unique, this idea is to each individual. (I plan to share lots of these stories, including yours, over the next few week.)

1) Penelope Trunk –

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

I get paid. That’s what makes the work I do worth it. Because I already know how I like to spend my time. I don’t need to get paid to do stuff I love. I’d do it anyway. But I need to feed my family. So I adjust the stuff I love to do so that I can get paid for it.

For example, I would probably lock myself in a room and write my memoir, but I’m scared that I wouldn’t earn enough money while I was doing it. So i write almost a memoir via my blog, and I get paid really well for it.

And I love speaking, and I’d speak to large groups for free because it’s so fun. But I get paid $10K a speech if I talk about Generation Y, so I do that, even though, to be honest, I’m totally sick of talking about Generation Y and they are the most conservative, non-risktaking generation to come along since World War I and why can’t we stop doing speeches about them already?

So I think it’s totally disingenuous for anyone to answer this question with anything but “I get paid”. Because the difference between what we do for work and what we do because we love it is that we get paid. No one gets to do 100% of what they love for work. That’s not how the world works.

Those of us who are happiest in our work are getting paid to do something we really enjoy.

2) Jonathan Fields – Good Life Project

What Makes the Work You Do Worth It?

A few key elements make the work I do worth it.

First is a deep sense of alignment. I wake up every morning excited to create experiences and solutions that are organic extensions of who I am, what I care about and what people want, need and value. I feel like the work I do matters. To me and to the people I serve. And it lights me up along the way.

Second is the pursuit of craft and mastery. As a an author, entrepreneur, artist and web-producer, I spend much of my days pursuing craft and mastery. I geek out over language, twists of phrases, metaphors and storytelling that rises to the level of transcendence engine. I love the challenge of creating immersive experiences for clients, readers and customers that leave them in some way changed. Striving to solve complex problems and teaching people how to do the same makes me giddy.

Whether I ever achieve that elusive state of mastery isn’t so much the point, but the quest, the journey, the voracious seeking after the craft is something that pulls me to do more of what I do.

Third, it’s about the people. I’ve launched, built and sold a few companies and am current building a number of global digital tribes and ventures. People often ask what the best part of entrepreneurship is. Is it the money? The freedom? The glory? It’s not any of those, most of which take an insane amount of work and years to come if they ever do.

The real magic lies the opportunity to hand pick the people you surround yourself with and cultivate a culture of joy, respect, service, delight, connection and impact. You get to build a hive of people you can’t get enough of, and that makes a huge difference in the way you experience each day.

Last thing, family is the heartbeat of everything. I’ve worked to build my career in a way allows me to be deeply present in the lives of my wife and daughter and also take care of myself (still a work in progress, lol). Because, it’s not enough to be physically there, but checked out or so sick and burnt that I’m not really there. I want to be physically, emotionally and spiritually present, which means creating time for the self-care needed to build this foundation.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it contains the big rocks for me, the things that make the work I do worth it.

The Commitment Engine is due in stores in October and I’ll certainly offer my share of promotional opportunities over the next 6-8 weeks, but today I simply want to ask you to share your story. Click here to share your story

2 Create, Amplify and Embrace Uncertainty

Marketing podcast with Jonathan Fields (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Uncertainty, and the occasional chaos that accompanies it, is a force that excites and drives me in my daily work, but it wasn’t always the case.

My guest for today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jonathan Fields, author of the book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance and the storyteller featured in the moving video above.

I think one of the signs of success in business is when you can begin to recognize uncertainty as a good thing, a creative force, that signals the kind of change that happens right before real growth.

The challenge with this idea is that uncertainty can unlock fear and fear often leads to resistance – either or both of which cloud our ability to take action on things and ideas that help us do the work we are meant to do.

Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes that it is often the thing we fear doing the most that we are absolutely meant to do and that our intense feeling of fear is actually a lantern showing us our path.

Fields presents a strong case for embracing uncertainty coupled with a prescriptive approach for bringing it into your life as a positive force through a set of behaviors.

Most business owners know that must be okay with uncertainty, but Fields suggests that it’s also a behavior that can be learned and mastered through workflow adaptations, daily personal rituals, and cultural shifts in ways that allow you to look for and amplify uncertainty as a driving creative force.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

22 A Simple Way to Increase Referrals 300%

This post is a special Make a Referral Week guest post featuring education on the subject of referrals and word of mouth marketing and making 1000 referrals to 1000 small businesses – check it out at Make a Referral Week 2010

I’m always amazed at how much is written about sales and marketing and how little is written on the nuts and bolts of driving business through referrals. Which is why I’m so excited for The Referral Engine to finally hit the street!

Over the last 12 years, I’ve built a number of small businesses and online brands. The small businesses were brick and mortar, serving very local markets. And, despite the fact that I knew each was considered a “word of mouth” business, I spent a lot of money and time throwing nearly every marketing idea I could conjure out there.

What I discovered was, driving people into the businesses was easy. There are a million ways to do that. But, that’s not the challenge. The real challenge is driving new customers who will spend many times what it cost you to acquire them.

Getting 100 new customers who spend $100 each is a recipe for ruin when it costs you $110 to bring those customers through your doors or to your website.

So, what we’re really looking for as small business owners and marketers are the business strategies that yield the greatest return on our efforts. We want to know that for every dollar we spend, it comes back to us in the form of new business many times over.

Which is where the referrals comes in. Hands down, they’re the most cost-effective way to generate new leads and clients. Even if you need to incentivize them in some creative way.

But, what I discovered over the years, both on and offline, is there are two small steps you can take that dramatically increase the likelihood of referrals.

1. Find Your Organic Referral Window –

Those who love you may well always love you, but there’s an energy connected with the “new-ness” of experiencing your product or service that creates a near-palpable drive to evangelize in the beginning. The honeymoon phase. So, you almost always have a short window where the likelihood of referrals and verve of those referrals is substantially higher.

In the fitness and lifestyle world, where I operated, that window is about 4 to 6 weeks. Because the commitment is still there, the product has been used long enough to generate results and the “shiny new” energy is still there.

Question is, what is the optimal organic referral window for your business?

Take a look at your business’ history and see if you can determine where the intersection is between:

  • Tapping the “new-ness” energy and
  • Allowing enough time for substantial results to fuel delight.

Then test a number of different windows and let the results tell you what works best.

2. Facilitate Referrals With Tangible Prompts –

Scenario 1: A group of women are having lunch. One arrives late and as she approaches the table, all jaws drop. The group hasn’t seen her in a few months and she’s lost 30 pounds and become ultra-fit. Of course, the first question, once she’s settled, is “what did you do?”

She reveals how she’s been working with a new fitness and nutrition center and she loves them. A few minutes pass and the conversation moves on to the next topic. An hour later the lunch ends and everyone goes their separate ways.

Scenario 2:

A group of women are having lunch. One arrives late and as she approaches the table, all jaws drop. The group hasn’t seen her in a few months and she’s lost 30 pounds and become ultra-fit. Of course, the first question, once she’s settled, is “what did you do?”  She reveals how she’s been working with a new fitness and nutrition center and she loves them.  

Then, she remembers the center has given her a beautiful card-case with 10 VIP Referral Invites that expire in the next 6 weeks. She hands one to each person and says, “these guys will change your life.”

A few minutes pass and the conversation moves on to the next topic. An hour later the lunch ends and everyone goes their separate ways.

If you’re the fitness and nutrition center, which scenario do you think generates more leads for your business? Scenario number 2. And, the difference can be huge if you do a really good job of matching the incentives and timing with your ultimate client persona. Now multiply that by hundreds or thousands of “card-carrying” evangelists…and smile.

So, yes, referrals are great, but creating a tangible prompt, a physical tool that can be used to share referral information serves a strong reminder for the recipient of the referral that (a) a referral was made, (b) action needs to be taken, and (c) the contact information is “right there.”

This same strategy can be used for both online and offline businesses, with or without incentives.

Indeed, combining the effects of asking for/encouraging referrals within the optimal window and offering tangible referral prompts generated a nearly 300% increase in referral-generated leads for my businesses.

I wonder how it might impact your business?

Jonathan Fields writes on entrepreneurship, marketing and lifestyles at and is the author of Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love. He’s also a twitter heavy-user at @jonathanfields.