You probably know Lewis Howes as the host of the massively successful self-help podcast, The School of Greatness, and, now, as the best-selling author of his book of the same name. You probably know him as a guy with extreme entrepreneurial chops, too—since he co-founded LinkedInfluence in 2010 and was recognized by President Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country in 2013 and all.
But before he built his multi-million dollar online media company or launched The School of Greatness and it received millions of downloads, Howes was a heartbroken dreamer living on his sister’s couch. After getting injured playing professional football, something he had dreamed about doing for forever, he was broken (and broke).
That is, until he figured it out again—how to do what he loved… full time. Howes has always dreamed big; he’s always strived for greatness. So it only took him a couple of years to go from sleeping on his sister’s couch to running a seven-figure business. What did it take? “Lots of hustle, passion, focus and consistent vision,” he writes on his site.
I recently got to talk with Howes in his West Hollywood condo about his journey from that couch. So if you have dreams of your own—whether it’s to be an entrepreneur, a podcaster, an author, a whatever—here are just a few of the many valuable lessons we can learn about living your ideal lifestyle from the headmaster himself:
1. Be a connector.
When Howes found himself without a home or a plan, he started thinking through everyone he knew who he could ask for guidance. He was learning new insights and meeting more people, all while building a profile for himself on the (then) new professional network LinkedIn. And as his LinkedIn profile improved, so did his ability to help others—even early on when he didn’t have the skills or an audience, but he did have the capability to connect people to someone who did, someone who could help them.
“Being the champion of someone’s network is a really powerful thing,” he says. “When you’re the connector, you become that champion, they always refer back to you—‘Hey, Lewis is the guy who connected us, Lewis the guy who gave me this information, Lewis is the one that gave me results.’”
If they know they can count on you, Howes says, eventually you’ll be able to monetize that in a creative way.
2. Share the knowledge.
As he reached out to mentors and influencers for his own personal guidance, he realized he was receiving information other people would want to know.
“What I really loved doing [in my LinkedIn days] was connecting with people one at a time, interviewing them essentially, asking them about how they got to where they are, what their biggest challenges are, and I was learning some incredible information from people from all walks of life. And this information, I didn’t feel like other people knew.”
And so The School of Greatness came about.
3. Get clear on what you want.
Howes is and has been always committed to getting to the next level—by committing to his vision of making a better life for himself and helping other people live their ideal lifestyles, too. His original goal, when he was broke on his sister’s couch? To make $1,000 a month by “this” month.
“A lot of people don’t voice what they want,” he says. “[It’s about] getting clear on what you want and being very detailed on when you want that by so you can start reverse engineering how to make it happen with the days you have,” he says.
He might have started with $1, but he’s worked his way to earning millions—because he stuck with his vision and grew his goals with his commitment.
4. Give and give and give.
When you are the connector, you’re giving so much value to other people—and they feel like they have to do something in return, they want to help you out. It’s about letting people lean on you, not asking for anything in return, just giving. It’s about making that your intention.
“I ask for help sometimes, but I’m really more reaching out and saying to people, ‘How can I help you?’ How can I support you? What’s your biggest challenge? What are your needs? If I can’t help you, how can I connect you with a person that can help you?’”
Howes, at his core, genuinely listens to people’s problems, finds a solution and then teaches it. And his generosity has paid off, because his audience keeps asking for more.
“Just give and give and give. Figure out how you can support the maximum amount of people.”