14 Jun Thriving vs. Striving with JP Morgan
Today’s guest on The Successful Pitch is JP Morgan and he has a whole insight into the different types of commitment we need to make to ourselves and to others to really make something happen. He really takes a deep dive into whether a commitment is a trap or a choice. Some of the other topics he talks about that I really love is creating a container of trust within your team, and finally he said, “When you pitch, don’t pitch to impress. Pitch to impact.” It’s the difference between pitching to be of service versus pitching to sell. Enjoy the episode. The interview begins in 45 seconds right after this information on how hosting a podcast can grow your business. Enjoy the episode.
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Thriving vs. Striving with JP Morgan
Hi, and welcome to The Successful Pitch. Today’s guest is JP Morgan. JP is a very unusual man and has a whole vision of creating a new world, one leader at a time, and he does this in a way where he challenges leaders and entrepreneurs to discover a whole new way of looking at something, and it all starts with this deep personal integrity, which I’m all about. No matter what you’re pitching, you need to have integrity in order to get people to buy from you, invest in you, what have you. He’s got a really interesting background with formal studies in physics and math. He built a property investing business from a backpack, built a media web company that serve local and global non-profits. He’s literally traveled the world and lived nomadically for three years so he has a lot of fascinating stories including one about paragliding the Swiss Alps and cycling in Scilla for thousands of miles. JP, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, John.
I’m always interested to hear people’s story of origin. Obviously, you started in real estate and there must have been a moment when you said, “I am good at this. I like this, but I don’t want to keep doing this.” Can you take us back to when that was when you said, “I’m going to figure out a way to do something besides just real estate.”
Yeah. I think it goes back further than that like, one of the things that I’ve kind of taken on is that changes can be easy and miraculous and since, when I was graduating university, the President University was speaking and he said that the only thing constant is change. That really stuck with me and so I’ve changed industry numerous times and so that time, yeah, that was a moment and when I was in my mid 20s, I made good money. The real estate market was just flying up. I was in the northeast that time, so I’m flipping houses, doing some builds, doing some condo conversions and again, mid 20s, had a bunch of cash.
Most of my friends can hardly go out, afford to go out to dinner, so I said, “I wanted to go on to travels,” so I’m just going to take off. I packed everything up from my basement, from my car in the garage and I left. I thought I’d be gone six months, but I ended up being three years until I settled down again. During that time, I started another business, when I spent a number of years in that industry too, but then I turned the tap off on that and started something new once again and just what I do now.
Tell us about what you’re doing as the “Alchemist” which I of course read that wonderful book. This whole concept of, if we work at to finding who we are, how that affects culture is so important because I’m always telling people, when you pitch to get a customer, to get funded, to pitch anything, you’re pitching yourself, and you obviously have to define your own brand and your own culture even if it’s just you with your own company, so what do you do as an alchemist that helps people define that?
Well, working backwards from the end result, which is creating a business or getting buy in for your team or getting money for your pitch or whatever, it’s the same selling as to anything. I’m a big fan of Gandhi’s message be the change you wish to see in the world, and I’m an extreme pragmatist, so I don’t just like it as a nice phrase that makes you feel good. I’m thinking, well, how do we actually, pragmatically turn it into a doing and how can we actually do being, and so my way of thinking about is that the sum total of our both conscious and unconscious doings, what the things were intended, that is who we’d be, and if that’s the case, then how do we change all of the doings that happen intentionally and unconsciously. For me, that really comes down to how people see the world and how people see themselves. On the door to my studio in Santa Monica, I have Aramaic letters, which if you read them out, they say the words, abra cadabra, two words.
Etymologically, that means I create as I speak and so I’m a big believer that it’s through our language both internal dialogue and what we speak that actually creates our way of seeing the world and creates our way of seeing ourself and so when I sit with people, I call it alchemy because I create the container of a really strong trusting relationship and inside that strong bond of trust, I can really turn the heat up. I can challenge them. It can be uncomfortable because we have that trust and container. In alchemy, there’s three components. There’s the ingredients, the heat and the container, and if you have all three, those transformation from lead into gold so it’s kind of a metaphor for the idea, for the work, really transforming the way of seeing the world, seeing themselves through that relationship and that intensity.
Can you repeat that, JP? There’s three things with.
For alchemy yeah. Alchemy, the story of Alchemy from the Alchemist, it goes back thousands of years and there’s always been philosophers talking about Alchemy turning lead into gold but Carl Young had the insight that this is actually a psychological process and this is a metaphor. When you have a container and you put the right ingredients in the container — tincture, some lead — and then you turn up the heat, that lead will turn into gold mythologically but actually what that’s saying that if you create a container of relationship or if you’re leading an organization you create the container of trust where you’ve got 10 people and everybody trusts each other but no matter, what happens in here stays in here. No matter what you share here you won’t be judged et cetera, et cetera.
You have that strength of containment then that container can hold more energy and intensity, somebody can shout and it’s okay, somebody can cry and it’s okay. There can be emotional intensity and it’s when you have the emotional intensity and the containment so that it doesn’t leak out. You don’t start to shame for it, somebody doesn’t ran off and say something about somebody else, you don’t have to fear that. When those things happen then people transform. You’re willing to touch that, go to that place to see that thing. When I talk about the way we see our world, it’s not the surface level seeing, it’s the way we see the world unconsciously, automatically that started when we were a little kid. I’m not a Freudian psychologist where I’m going back and looking at life but at least referencing the idea of, this patterns began at some point.
There was a point where I thought that in order to be powerful I had to have a lot of money. When my dad used to take his money out and his cash when I was a little kid he’d say, “You put the hundreds on the outside so that when you have a bunch of ones, it looks like you’re rich,” and I was like, “Ooh!” That became my freaking operating system from age six or like how many feet is that boat? How many feet is that boat? We’re always comparing who’s got the bigger boat? As a little kid that was my orientation and in some ways that served me growing up but now I’m also seeing how it hasn’t served me because I’m not okay unless my boat is X feet or I’m not okay unless I have this much money so I’ve done work to undo that. That’s what I’m talking about.
I love that. We’re going to Tweet that line out, “Create a container of trust,” because especially if you’ve a small business, and you can get the people who work with you on your team to feel like they can … It’s a container of trust and they can be themselves and not be judged or tired than you’re going to have really committed loyal productive team. Then of course if you can get clients to join that same culture container of trust you really have something. One of the things I love about what you do on your website jpmorganjunior.com is very clear what you do and who it’s for and who it’s not for.
The more specific we are the … I always say that the riches are in the niches and so I’m fascinated by your niche. You’ve given a TEDx talk on your experience traveling the world and how to see that so tell us … Since we’re talking about the container of trust, let’s start with group partnerships. What does that look like and can you tell a story without having to give confidential names of what that looks like? A group partnership where there’s a container of trust?
Yeah, sure. I didn’t do groups for a long time, but I had a number of people that really wanted to work with me that couldn’t afford the investment at the time and so I decided I’ll do one and I’ll put a group together to see how it works and I capped it at six. I had also been a member of a coaching group with my own coach and I actually appreciated having a group of people that were on a similar mission and similar stage of their journey because of the energy that was created in the group. With mine, it was like I really do the same thing as I do in the one to one coaching but I do it in the group setting.
We take turns and our people turns, I’ll coach one person and I go onto the next and I go on to the next and over the course of two hours and I’m coaching one person and there’s a group of six entrepreneurs including them, they’re being served but also the five that are also on an entrepreneurial journey are being served too because that person is willing us to go deep and touch something that is probably going on for the other five people, helps them to go there too. You end up going places where you might not have had the courage to go or you might not have had the awareness to go. That’s the first piece.
Then the secondary gain is, because of the trust, which you just mentioned in the organization, you mapped that out. The people start to trust each other and then they start to serve each other and so we can set up a base camp, an online portal where everybody is supporting each other. They have calls between themselves and so it’s not just bunch of people helping each other out with business tips, the thing with my groups is just like … the leaders and entrepreneurs are from completely different industries and often at different stages, I’ve got some people that have been in business for years, some just starting off, some running a company with a team, some just a sole proprietor but it doesn’t matter because the work that I’m doing is so much more at the personal level that all of them are facing the same stuff on the inside. When we sort that out, when we straighten that out, the work they’re doing in their industry, in their business, it changes.
Let’s talk about the ingredients that are part of our business and personal life, I think a lot of people try to compartmentalize, “This is who I am at work and then my personal life is a completely different persona.” From what I have read and heard you talk about here, it sounds likes you’re about integrating the personal and business life. I’m I on the right track?
Yeah. You could integrating or you could say just not falling for the illusion, which you’ve already said that they are separate in the first place and just being myself as much as I possibly can in all arenas and letting that all shine through. And there is value in creating distinction too, like I’ve got an office where I do my work and a home where I do my home life. It wasn’t always like that. I had a virtual business for years but now just separating … Creating ways of separating them out is powerful too, creating distinction around my time. Yeah, I can meet you for coffee or you could come to my studio and we can have an in depth conversation. I think it’s important to be distinct about what you’re doing and when you’re doing it and at the same time, who I actually am, as the same person all around. Who I’m being as the same person all around. It’s just what are we doing right now?
One of the things you have here is that your job is to serve your clients not please them. Can you give us a story of someone that you had to serve and not please.
Yeah, everybody. Everybody, because my general tendency … A lot of the stuff on my website, it’s not necessarily marketing speak, it’s declarations to myself so that I remember that they’re true and so this would be one of them. It’s something that I live is true but I’ve created that and it’s because it was a edge for me. I spent my previous two businesses in industries like web media and real estate and just my life in general was being a very likable friendly person, really good at making friends, doing the thing that’s going to essentially please people and have them feel good to be around me, which worked great in real estate. You feel good to be around me, you trust me then, “Hey, then let’s go and do this business,” which is a separate thing, “I’ll sell your house for you.”
Then in web media it was like, “Oh, he’s friendly, lets work with him, right?” But in my work now what I do is that my relationship and the conversation, the dialogue is the actual service and so sometimes it becomes, you liking me in a moment or you feeling comfortable, or you feeling pleased by me in this moment is actually contradictory to what’s most going to serve you. There may be something I need to say to you, there may be a way I need to challenge you that’s not going to feel very good, that’s going to piss you off. People curse my name often, when they’re my clients. It’s understood that it’s coming in a package of love and we have that trusting relationship in the container that supports that but it doesn’t always feel good. That would be the serving side.
Now one of the things that everybody’s always looking at is, “How can I scale my business?” You did a whole video blog about that. Can you describe what you talk about there? The ax versus ads.
Yeah, I’ve seen that a number of times in my own businesses for sure also my clients have bigger businesses that I’ve had. I think for everybody, they start off sole proprietor or small business and you are just doing more stuff to make more money and doing more stuff to make more stuff happen. Then your life gets busier and busier and you try to be more productive, you’re like, “Let me more efficient with this, let me set up this thing,” but you’re really trying to do it all and you’re just going to run out of time, you fear and then it becomes a point where like, you could only grow your business if you completely radically change what you’re doing. It’s really hard to inch your way, it’s like almost a glass ceiling.
It’s hard to inch your way into scale, there comes a point where you have to just take an axe to certain things and maybe it’s you just stop doing these things completely or maybe you’re delegating certain things and hiring or may be you are just creating systems or hiring systems for it … Like you and I have talked about me potentially doing a podcast, in order for me to step into that I know it has be a step change in my business. I don’t want to just start taking on more work, I’ve been through it all before so I know the value in what you’re offering because it’s an end to end solution, otherwise it would be to me take on a podcast would just be me adding loads more time which isn’t going to be effective.
It’s not the smart way of scaling. And it happens over and over again, it’s not just people going from sole proprietorship into having team. I’ve worked with leaders that have 100 people on their organization and if you want to grow, you can’t just do more, it’s true for everybody, you have to remove stuff completely or you have create whole systems that in the beginning feel like an over-the-top cost or it feels like overdone but then it filled, it’s filled with responsibility and action. I think the important answer to this is that growth happens in step changes not in the smooth transition. If you’re feeling at your edge and you’re feeling like you’re strapped then it’s time for a step … Strapped for time then it’s time for us to have change.
Well, just to use that analogy you’re talking about, whether you’re going to host your own podcast or not, it all becomes about what you vision is, “Do I want to help more people than I’m currently helping and do I want to scale my business? Is there a huge return on my investment for hosting a podcast?” You’re creating blogs now as a way of getting your content out there to attract your right customer but if you could enhance that with a podcast once a week, targeting the right people then that might be something that works for you especially if you see other people who been able to do it in a way that scales their business then you think, “Ah, that’s for me.”
That goes back to what I said earlier, you’re so clear on who this is for and who this is not for and the same thing is true before you start a podcast or any other tool you might use to create, enhance your brand, get perceived as a journalist, as a host of a podcast. The things that have happened for me from hosting a podcast to turning that into a book, to getting on television have been revolutionary, so that’s why I’m so passionate about helping as many people who are thought leaders like yourself, take a look at that journey because it’s rocket ship ride and if you love talking to people and getting to talk to people that you would never get to talk to, then it’s a fascinating and wonderfully rewarding way to connect.
Because this is called The Successful Pitch, one of your blogs is How to Pitch, and we’re going to Tweet this out, “Pitch to impress versus pitch to impact.” Please JP explain the difference.
Yeah, it’s subtle and it’s about where we come from. When we think about going to pitch, embedded in that word is much meaning, so much, we could say cultural meaning expectation but I’m going out there to throw this thing with the hope that they catch it and if they catch it then I get would I want. I’m pitching this thing out there and if they catch it then I get what I want. When we say the word pitch we’re thinking, I hope. It’s almost like I hope I get what I want.
Yes, somebody might catch it, somebody might not catch it.
Yeah, and if they catch it I’m okay and if they do not catch it I’m not okay.
Yes, so you want to transform the whole concept of pitching into something that is not about pitching so that hopefully they catch it and then you’re okay. It’s pitching as a service, like servicing the ball and they help it back and if you really give them a really good pitch then they get a great hit, then they’re happy and they’re in a good place. Them hitting a home run is them being able to hit this ball, meaning they’re able to invest in you. That’s the service, that’s an offering.
It is this very subtle thing but so powerfully different because when we walk out on stage or in a room to pitch and you’re pitching as an active service then you’re thinking, how can everything I say right now add value to these people’s lives? How can everything I say right now show them that the opportunity to be involved in this organization is a gift to them. How can I show them that this is one of the greatest chances they have not so that they’ll like and give me money, so for them, for their sake. This is really just a shift from for me for them. Pitching to impress is for me, pitching to impact is for them and we come from a different place, different ideas will come off right off the bat.
Also, your confidence goes up because you’re not so worried about whether they like you or not, right?
Then, they’re not going, “Oh, I’m I good enough?” All that stress goes way down and then your confidence goes up when your serving versus selling as you say, which is just fantastic. Now, another topic that’s of huge interest to everybody is this level of commitment. Whether you’re pitching again to get someone to join your team, pitching someone to become a client or invest in you, everybody wants to know, what’s your own personal commitment and do you keep your commitments? You have a really wonderful fresh take on the three types of commitment. Please tell us what those are.
Yeah, just kind of hit me because when I worked for for my clients and asked them to make commitments and call a commitment out of them, I’ve just categorized different types of commitments. Making the first category of commitment is the commitment to self, like I might say to myself while sitting in the studio, “I’m going to go to the gym tomorrow.” I’ve committed that to myself and I made a commitment and I may be my word, I may be my commitment and go to the gym tomorrow.
A step up from that is what I call the witness to commitment, so from self-commitment to witness commitment. That is where I’m at home sitting at the table and my wife is there and I say, in the presence of my wife, “Hey babe, I’m going to go to the gym in the morning.” Now, not only have I made a commitment to myself but I’ve made it in the view of somebody who has heard it and witnessed it and not only do I want to do what I said but I also want my wife to see me doing what I said to myself. That’s a witness commitment. It’s a bit more powerful because I’m not only accountable to myself, I’m accountable to what somebody sees of me.
Then the third level, which is even more powerful is what I call an entangled commitment. An entangled commitment is when my commitment, if I don’t do it, it will actually impact another person. Not just their perspective of me but the flow of their life in what’s happening, what they’re planning on. An entangled commitment would be, “Hey John, I’m going to meet you at the gym at 7:00 am tomorrow morning and we’re going to work out together.” Then not only have you witnessed me making a commitment to myself to be there but you’re entangled in my commitment such that if I’m not there you will be impacted by that directly.
There’re so many opportunities in life for us to use entangled commitment but we’re often stop at a witnessed commitment or even if we’re even brave enough to go there from a self commitment. This was really born from a video series I did some years ago which is called the DIY Lie. One of the ideas in that is that we beat ourselves up for like, “Oh, I’m really good at doing something when I’ll say I’ll do it for somebody else but I’m not as good as saying, doing something that say I’ll do for myself.” We beat ourselves up for that, when I look at it, what if that’s actually beautiful and perfect? What if it’s such that it is through our engagement and our entanglement with other human beings the we’re able to access our highest capacity to be an action and to be our word?
If that’s the case, let’s not beat ourselves up, let’s use it. Where can I make entangled commitments? With the client the other day it was like, “I want to achieve this amount of money, well what’s going to entangle you in that? How about committing to your wife that you’ll take her on holiday to Mexico or something by this date. It’s not just you making or not making it, it’s suddenly you’re entangled into somebody else’s world and they’re counting on you and then it pulls you into action and into integrity in a more powerful way.
Yeah, I love this whole thing, I’m going to Tweet this line out too, that you have which is, “Commitment is either a trap or a choice.” Of course committing to get married or committing to have a client’s back or committing to the investor you’re going to be a good steward of their money. People feel like, “Aah, I don’t want to be trapped into this,” but if you shift that distinction to, “This is my choice,” then I think it’s a huge shift in everything.
Let’s talk about some of the outcomes that you’ve been able to have by creating these creative partners in the world. I think the one that really jumps out for me is that Brick and mortar school for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Can you talk about that one?
Yeah, Escape The City is a beautiful company in London and a client and I spent a day in a canoe on a river in London just envisioning what he wanted to create there and we worked together for a number of months. It’s one of these things where you just put your possibility out and you make these bold asks and people say yes, miraculous things occur and so from nothing … Oh, actually no, he had a company going already, it was a recruitment company for many years and through our work together and him just being willing to put himself and ask for it, he was able to secure an entire floor of a huge building right near Bank Station which is totally in the center of the belly of the beast of the city of London and this whole floor was dedicated to what he called The Escape School.
In that school he has thousands of people who come through there that are bankers, lawyers, insurance people that are just looking for another way of being in another life. He had a lot of his philosophy going already and this company going already and our work was really around, how could he, can take who is and what his philosophy is and how can he bring it into these people’s lives in a way that has them be more liberated too. This often happens, in his situation it was very … Along the same lines of my work it looked like it but all the leaders that I work with, the coaching that we do often becomes part of their way of their leading in their organization.
I’m thinking of a client right now who’s running a tech company and we have conversations about who he’s being and his willingness to show up and to be self expressed and to be vulnerable and to hear people out. He has meetings with his team and he’s coaching them, he’s leading them but he’s coaching them. He’s helping them to draw this stuff up themselves so coaching for me is very much leadership as well so bringing with the work I do into an organization, people often ask me “Would you come in and work with my team?” I say, “How about I work you, then your break it with your team?”
Mm-hmm. Because once you have coached and healed yourself and are comfortable in your own skin and know what your business is then you can lead other people because you’re living it as opposed to just having somebody from the outside come in, would that be accurate?
Yeah, exactly. I tell my clients like, wear the robes of your religion and your religion is like, whatever your vision is and your culture for your organization, just be that completely. Like you said I have a niche, it’s a niche that’s submerged and my niche is I work with people at the top of whatever it is they’re doing, whether you’re a sole proprietor or they’re running a small-medium sized company. That’s who I work with so I’m not going to come work with your team because that’s your job. You’re going to grow and create your company through who you be. Also it’s a challenge back to people to see that there’s so much more impact that they can have through their being and they realize. One will ask me to come in and fix their team for them, I’m going to really challenge them to push back that there’s something that they need to change.
You’ve also worked with another client that did something in nondeveloped countries in the start up world. Am I getting that right?
Yeah, I’ve worked with a number I don’t know which you’re referring to or thinking of but years and years ago … What happened, my web media company prior to this business, it was working strictly as non-profit, pure social enterprise, most are non-profit. I found myself immersed in the world of a lot of these organizations and doing the web media noticing that they didn’t really have their language, having a bit of background in business helping them kind of put together how they speak or what they do, then I started more working in just how they’re doing what they do.
I’ve worked with a bunch of leaders of these organizations the one that’s close to my heart is Ravi Kumar — he’s just an incredible beautiful man in India who’s worked tirelessly, 13 days out of every two weeks away from his family, sleeping on a cot and just helping this village that was disseminated through industry coming in and changing their whole way of life. Then industry being pulled out because of the environmental damage it did, then there’s a quarter of a million people around this lake that have nothing and he’s helping them to rebuild and fighting for their rights and communicating with the government. I just spent two weeks with him and talked to him about communicating and got to see the work that he’s doing.
Yeah, I coached him and helped him with a few things but the truth is, me spending time with him was more impactful on me that I imagine was on him. Just to be around somebody who lives and breathes service like that, night and day was such a gift and it’s true for all the people that I work with as well. There’s always a gift that I receive from everybody, I just sat in the back of my studio before this call being photos of my clients at my desk just looking at them because this is week off with what I call social alliance week so they don’t have a coach this week. One week a month they go back to being on their own but I was just sitting and looking at them all and looking at their faces and just realizing how deep the relationship is and how much I love them and how much each of them are a gift to me. I learned something from every single one of them.
Sounds like a great two-way street that … One of my favorite lines is when we’re healed we’re not healed alone and I think that’s very true with the work that you’re doing.
I love that.
JP is there any book that you would recommend that inspired you in hustle or business development?
Yeah, there’s loads but the first one that comes to mind is one that I’m immersed right now in a year long course which is “The Way of The Superior Man.” I get it’s mostly a book for men but “The Way of The Superior Man” by David Deida, it’s a spiritual book, it’s about being an enlightened masculine we can say. I love that book. Then there’s “Self Reliance” by Emerson, it’s an essay which I’ve read, I don’t know, loads of times which I love. It’s a short essay, it’s a bit dated to some gender and race stuff, that doesn’t really apply nowadays but the essence of it is really powerful and “Tao Te Ching,” man it’s just sitting right net to me and it’s just a go to for me.
Well that’s great. Well, people can follow you on Twitter, your Twitter handle is @jpmorganjr. I’m a big follower, I love your posts, obviously your website you’ve been generous enough on your website to allow people to get some of your stories and things that you don’t share on your blog which is a great incentive to get people to engage with you over and above what they can read on your LinkedIn profile.
Yeah. It’s really just for me, the email list, like I don’t really market, I don’t have anything to sell anyway, so when people sign off my email list, I really take really personally. You’ll get a personal thank you from me and I look to really personally connect to everybody on there and just be on conversation with you as much as I can. Everyone is welcome.
Well, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your calm, you obviously did a lot of work on yourself because you have a very relaxing presence to you but it’s not attached to an outcome if that makes any sense.
It makes perfect sense. I’m really grateful for that and your graciousness and also just to say here in the podcast, not afterwards, John, I’m really grateful for your acknowledgement and the time you’ve taken to look at my work and what I do and how you’ve a point to really help people know where they can reach me and what I’m up to. I really appreciate that.
My pleasure. I love to help spread the word of people like you and yet another reason why I love hosting a podcast is I get to be a little bit of a channel to help other people get their great message out. Thanks again JP for coming on the show.
Thank you, John.
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