New Thought Leader: Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes

A former professional football player and current high-performance athlete, 36-year-old Lewis Howes has truly carved a niche for himself in the world of personal development, using his expertise in sports to inform his teachings.

His podcast, The School of Greatness, regularly ranks in the Top 100 on iTunes, and he is a New York Times best-selling author with two books, The School of Greatness and The Mask of Masculinity.

In addition to his podcast and books, Howes regularly hosts online classes, as well as his annual event, The Summit of Greatness, which this year will be held in Columbus, Ohio, in September.

Howes doesn’t take his success for granted.

“I’m constantly blessed because I get to interview some of the smartest people in the world,” he says, adding that he often develops strong, ongoing relationships with guests on his podcast.

He’s interviewed countless personal development masters, from Gabby Bernstein and Simon Sinek to Brendon Burchard and Rachel Hollis. If you asked Howes whether he wanted to collaborate with his competitors 10 years ago, he would’ve said no. Back then, he says, he operated with a scarcity mindset, not an abundance mindset. He’s since changed his tune.

“As I matured and grew and learned, I realized that in order to truly make an impact, I needed to collaborate with the right people—and more people,” Howes says. “I don’t care if they’re bigger or better than me, or smarter or have more followers or whatever it may be. I want to support people with a great message that can serve my audience.”

Credible Creator

With over 150 million podcast downloads, over 2 million Facebook fans and nearly 1.5 million Instagram followers, Howes doesn’t take his influence lightly. He says the most important part of cultivating a loyal community is not only getting personal (which he regularly does), but also creating a brand that is credible. He sees himself not just as a thought leader, but as a brand.

“Brands stick around for much longer,” he says. “Brands have credibility. Brands have a story and they have a connection to their audience. Without being a brand, it’s hard to build trust in a relationship with someone. You have to be willing to invest in your brand, invest in your design, invest into longform quality content and doing things that are challenging or hard, like writing a book.”

Reliability has always been a crucial element of his brand, too. Howes started his podcast seven years ago, and he always releases a weekly episode, no matter what. “That consistency builds trust,” he says.

Howes says one of the biggest hurdles he faces in the future is figuring out the best place to disseminate his work. There are more channels than ever for spreading information, and it’s an ongoing challenge to determine the best platform to pour his energy into.

“There are amazing benefits to changing technology—and challenges,” he says. “The benefits are that there are always new tools to help you spread a message and build a community. The challenges are that you could put all of your energy into one platform, and then the platform doesn’t work for you anymore.”

The Comparison Trap

Howes thinks personal development has surged in popularity in recent years because young people need more help than ever before, in part because of the effect social media has had.

“I really think millennials are struggling with comparison, with judgment, with feeling like they’re behind, and with feeling like they’re not getting what they want, and therefore they’re seeking answers,” he says. “They’re seeking information, wisdom and resources to help them improve their life quicker because they feel more insecure, depressed, uncertain and unclear with all that’s happening in the world.

“They need the tools to help improve their lives. And that’s why they’re invested.”


Across the Board Advice

Personal development is exactly what its name implies: personal. But there are a handful of daily tasks Lewis Howes thinks everyone can benefit from:

  1. Changing the way we think.
  2. Moving our bodies every single day with some type of physical activity.
  3. Getting the right amount of sleep.
  4. Meditating and focusing on one’s breathing, even if it’s only for two minutes a day.
  5. Being in service to someone else every single day.

The final habit resonates with him the most.

“The fastest way to overcome insecurity or self-doubt is to help other people and to give to other people,” Howes says.


The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

“The thing that’s always resonated with me is being a passionate, loving individual. We attract what we are and we attract what we bring to the table. If you want more love and passion and excitement, then bring that.”


Meet the other New Thought Leaders:

Rachel Hollis
Trent Shelton

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Illustration by Hanane Kai

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Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider, among other publications. When she's not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband or surfing Etsy late into the night.

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Cecilia Meis is the integrated content editor for SUCCESS magazine and SUCCESS.com. She recently earned a bachelor's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. A Kansas City native, Cecilia enjoys sand volleyball, new stationery and a heaping plate of burnt ends.

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Scott Bedgood is a freelance writer and the author of Lessons from Legends: 12 Hall of Fame Coaches on Leadership, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Sami.

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