Coffee N5 - James Whittaker
Episode 88

From Being A Dreamer To A Successful Achiever

with James Whittaker

Episode 88 – Coffee N.5 –  From Being A Dreamer To A Successful Achiever with James Whittaker

We are so excited to have business management specialist and author of bestselling finance and motivation book The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth James Whittaker. James works as a mentor for C-level executives, helps them map out their goals, and provides the necessary tools for them to reach their targets. He’s also the host of the Win the Day podcast, where he interviews different entrepreneurs in over 80+ episodes.

James defines success as having the freedom to structure the day however you want and having the resources to do so. But he also believes that surrounding yourself with the right people plays a big role in whether or not you achieve your goals. Above all, he says, you should be clear on who you are in order to stay motivated and know where you want to go.

According to him, what separates ordinary from extraordinary people is how you respond to adversity. Although they won’t be immune to making mistakes, achievers will have a resilient mindset that will lead them to get closer to their goals.

One great piece of advice he gives to want-to-be entrepreneurs is building strong relationships, as you never know when you’re going to need honest feedback or a favor. But first, he says, you should make yourself available to help the people on your network. 

What you’ll learn:

  • How can we define success?
  • What are the main traits of an achiever?
  • What is the importance of building strong relationships via networking?
  • Why is social media a necessary evil for business owners?


Connect with James on Instagram and through his Website

Listen to his podcast here.


Follow our host Lara Schmoisman on social media:

 Instagram: @laraschmoisman

Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

LinkedIn: @laraschmoisman

Twitter: @LaraSchmoisman


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Lara Schmoisman  0:02  

Hi, everyone, welcome back to coffee number five. Today, I got a huge surprise, like I got a surprise about Forbes next 1000. And you say, Wow, when does that happen? And now I got another surprise, we hit the 60,000 downloads, which is amazing to me that people are listening to this little podcast. And I should say that because I have things to say. And I wanted to talk to people that they were awesome. And I should think that everyone should meet them. So I guess that it work. But can I call that success? Is that six been successful? Oh, I don’t know. So I call today James Whittaker. Did I say it right? Yes, Whittaker. Yeah, awesome. I always messed up. But thank you so much for being here at coffee, number five, and having coffee with me. And you are a specialist and success and making people feel successful and become successful to get to that mindset of being successful. So what’s your definition of success?

James Whittaker  1:10  

Success, to me really comes down to freedom, it’s freedom to structure the day however you want, it’s having enough resources at your disposal that you can have the lifestyle that you want and contribute to the causes that you care about most. But it’s also making sure that you’re always around the right people that give you energy, and that when you look at your week that you’ve got coming up, that everything you see in your calendar gives you energy that, to me is what success is. And at the end of the day, we need to make sure that we’ve got a healthy body and healthy mind. And I just love spending time around the people who, who I love and near and dear to me, I have two children now. So it’s very, very important to me that I spend a lot of time with my family and and that I’m in good physical and mental shape to be able to do that.

Lara Schmoisman  1:50  

And you need that energy being around two kids

James Whittaker  1:53  

definitely over two and a half year old, she has the energy and strength of 10 people. So yes, you’re right.

Lara Schmoisman  1:59  

Been there done that. Enjoy it, because when they go to college, they don’t want you anymore.

James Whittaker  2:05  

I’ve heard that, you know, I’m trying as much as I can to make the most of every moment. And it’s hard, isn’t it when they’re they’re so cheeky. And so they like pushing the buttons and testing the boundaries. But you know, they turn around, they have that moment they have that smile, it just melts your heart. And it doesn’t matter what they’ve done. You’re just like, wow, just come here for a cuddle. Yeah, I love being a parent. Wow, favorite thing.

Lara Schmoisman  2:29  

Even though my kids are older, they’re 15 and 17. Now, I love to keep seeing things from their eyes is it gives you the opportunity to see things again for first time and over things. And I love that.

James Whittaker  2:46  

It’s such an important point. And the thing that I struggle with a lot about parents is when I see parents who dictate to their children, that this is how the world should be. I mean, I just I enjoy observing. I sit there and I asked my daughter questions. And she tells me exactly how the world is I just sit there and I observe just the way that she interacts. The thing that she finds joy is in the the simple items of curiosity that really makes her day. I mean, that’s what it means to be a human. And over time, we just we our spark just dilutes over time. And it’s a horrible thing that that adults do. So I love I love listening to children rather than dictating to them what life

Lara Schmoisman  3:25  

absolutely I feel like I’m I always taught my kids to be outspoken, they got in a lot of trouble for that. Also, I taught them to be outside the box I have. I don’t want my kids. I mean, if they ended up working in a cubicle without a window, that’s their choice, but I want them to know that they there is other opportunities in life. So what are we can do in your life to make sure that you’re successful, you’re easy to work with Level C level executives and entrepreneurs and people from all over the world. I believe that I read somewhere that you work with people from over 20 countries and in being successful. And how what’s the mindset what that I mean, I know that I wake up every morning excited because it’s going to be something new in my life, and I’m going to be working. And not everything is positive, I have problems, so like every other person. But I think how you absorb those problems and how you confront them and how to deal with them is what makes you successful.

James Whittaker  4:32  

Yeah, it’s making the decision to win every single day. And it sounds like you do that in your own life. And that doesn’t make you immune from bad days. It just means that you’re better equipped to get up faster when you have those bad days. So my experience working with founders and C level executives in more than 20 countries, the people who feel like they’re not living with passion, they’re not living with purpose. They feel like they’re treading water every day. Even though they might be very successful in one point of their lives. Maybe they got a very successful career or the various successful financially, the people who feel like they’re treading water, it comes down to two things. They’re not clear on who they are. And they’re not clear on where they want to go. So it’s very, very important to think about at least once a year, check in with with your values, who am I? What’s most important to me? And then what do I want out of success out of all areas of my life? What do I want travel experiences, Korea, family relationships, mental health, physical health, what do you want out of life, and what are your values, then you can start to figure out the activities and pursuits that are going to really fire you up and give you that meaning every single day. And once you can really my biggest contribution to the work around success and mindset and goal setting is when you take that list of all the things that you want to achieve, and you reverse engineer, but then you create a system to do that. What are the actions that you need to take in the next 90 days that are going to help you achieve your 90 day goals, which will then make your annual goals come true. And your three year goals come true. And then you systemize that which means get clear on the items and put them into like a Google Calendar, or Trello, or whatever project management tool you use. And that way you can release yourself from any fear and worry and anxiety about what’s going to happen in the future. Or what happened in the past, you can focus on being present, because you already know how the story ends, because you’ve already written it. And once you have done that, I believe the two most important attributes for people to become successful are resourcefulness. Meaning that you can acquire everything that you need, whether it’s financial, whether it’s relationships, whatever it is, so resourcefulness, and then resilience, because how we respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes as it does for all of us. That’s what separates ordinary people from extraordinary achievers.

Lara Schmoisman  6:46  

That’s awesome, because I have a question because a lot of people think that success is tied to money.

James Whittaker  6:56  

It’s, yeah, yeah, no, no, no, go ahead. I was. So money to a degree, there’s statistics out there, depending on what country you’re in. But if you’re making about $70,000 a year, that is the point where money starts to wane in terms of having more is going to make you exponential exponentially happier. So if you’re making less than 70 $75,000 a year, that’s where money is actually very, very important. So I’d be thinking about what can you do to acquire some type of specialized knowledge, like what’s the expertise and value that you have, that you can give to other people, and you know, whether you’re an employee, or whether you’re a freelancer, or whatever it is that you do in life, make sure that you can create that foundation of financial revenue for your household. And once you have achieved that, that’s when you can start to focus on on some of those other things, and the financial increase is less of a benefit for them. But for people who want to be happy, I mean, it is very, very important to make sure that you have those resources and those means at your disposal. Because if you’re struggling with something, and I can throw money that helps raise you know, money to get a cure for it and awareness of that. It’s an enormous benefit. So I’m I’m a massive believer, like many people I’ve interviewed are that we have a duty and obligation to live up to our potential and what it’s what drives me. Because if I can fulfill my potential, it means that I can acquire as much wealth as I can, it means that I can help millions and millions and millions of others acquire as much wealth as they can. But the only reason we want to do that is so we can be of service to other people. And it’s really, really important that people who go after money alone, they’re not focused on service and not focus on what can I do to give value. Money is simply a byproduct of the value that we create in the marketplace. So we need to be focused on what are we going to do? What value are we providing and for who in terms of solutions that we care about? And once we do that, we will be rewarded. And as we get increasingly rewarded, we need to focus on increasingly being a value.

Lara Schmoisman  9:05  

That’s so smart, so smart, but I, I have a question because a lot of people that probably work with our entrepreneurs and as entrepreneur like you are like I am you need to sell yourself or you need to sell your product. And a lot of people I see that there are a lot of excuses out there. Excuses, oh, I can sell my product because of this and that or I couldn’t reach the owner of this company to buy my product. So how you overcome those things that prevents in your head to success.

James Whittaker  9:40  

Relationships are everything, absolutely. Everything and I feel like I’m just scratching the surface of that. So if people are very clear on where you want to go and what they can do to help you, then they’re going to help you people out there. A lot of people have got this wrong mentally. There’s actually a lot of people out there, dozens and Dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe even 1000s of people in your network who are desperate to help you. But if they don’t know that you need help and what you need help with, they can’t help you and they won’t. So the best way to get that to happen, like you, of course, can send out audio messages and, and ask people different things, you can email people and ask. But that’s not the best way to do it. I would rather you check in with those people in person as much as you possibly can. I know the last couple of years has made that pretty crazy. So I like to grab a phone and send audio messages to people, even if you’re sending just three audio messages a day, I’m a big fan of audio messages. Great, yeah, just send three audio messages a day, or before you even start your workday, send three emails of gratitude, just to thank people for whatever they’ve done in your life, or to check in with those people and ask what what you can do to be of service to them. If you do that. And you do that well enough, they’re going to turn around with one simple response at the end. And they’re going to say, what can I do to help you? And that’s when your specific ask comes in? And if you say nothing, then you’re leaving lots and lots of opportunities on the table. But if, if you have, you know, so you want

Lara Schmoisman  11:10  

to be potential of networking, a lot of people do the networking only when they need something.

James Whittaker  11:15  

Exactly, exactly. They don’t do it to give, yeah, don’t plant the tree, when you need the shade, plant the tree, before you plant the tree before you need the shade. It’s a really, it’s a really, really important point. So as you continue to get more and more valuable, you can continue to offer more and more value to people who are higher and higher up the food chain. So if if you you know, like if someone comes on my podcast show, and we have a really great relationship, I’m asking them, I’m always thinking about like, who in their network would I love to get access to? And then at that point where, you know, a lot of these things just happen organically at that point. Now there are billionaires and special for so many amazing opportunities that have happened purely by thinking about what can I do to be of service to every single person that I that I that I speak with? And then when they turn around and say, What can I do to help you, I make sure I have something specific if you do that, and you’re patient, and you have something specific about where you want to go. It’s a game changer. I had a call with a client of mine yesterday, a guy who’s based in Europe, and he wants to crack the US market for his business. And he was thinking very, very small. And I said, Well, let’s make the goal should be to get on the Joe Rogan podcast because that’s the biggest media outlet in the world. If you can get on the Joe Rogan podcast, what do we need to do in terms of the steps to be able to get there? Who are the people in Joe Rogan’s network and in their network and their network, you can slowly start to build up to get that access to me.

Lara Schmoisman  12:39  

I mean, I people when I got named for an X 1000 People told me how do you do it? I first I worked my ass off. And I I built that the income from one day to another that for seven Hey, you they find me? No, I put myself out there. And I put a lot of work.

James Whittaker  13:00  

Yeah, that hard work is such a big thing. And for people who will listen to the audio of this not the video. In the background, I have this giant canvas print that says action the difference between having and wanting like that action there. Yeah, as you

Lara Schmoisman  13:11  

Yes, I My next point is about that. Life work balance. And for me such a vague name, because balance is what it makes you happy what it works for you. I love what I do. And I think about it, and I want to go and do it. And I don’t care if it’s night where weekend. And it doesn’t matter if you’re an employee, if you’re a contractor, whatever you are, if you love what you do is you don’t need to force yourself to have 5050. And I feel like lately something that people are saying they’re forcing themselves to have a balance that who said what’s right.

James Whittaker  13:53  

Yeah, if you’re on balance, go and get a nine to five job, you’ll never get bothered on the weekend, you’ll plenty of people, if you if you’re an employee, you don’t have to worry about those those different things. But if you’ve got a family, you’ll know that it’s very hard to have balance in the short term. If you’ve got your own business, you’ll know that it’s very hard to have balance in the short term. And they’re just, they’re just different seasons of life. If you’re launching a business, you need to get your ass into gear, there’s a lot of work and things that need to be done, that can be able to provide you time off down the track like that to share a personal story here. Literally the day that I got home from the hospital with my firstborn child. Two hours later, I was on stage at the Anaheim Convention Center on a Friday afternoon, two hours after we just got home from the hospital after barely sleeping the entire week, because I had a really important speech with a really, really large audience. Now a lot of people might hear that and say, Wow, that’s That’s horrible. You neglecting your family? Well, the reality was that I had the next month of no commitments whatsoever that I could spend and there are a lot of people out there who would love to have a month where they could spend all that time with their, with their family and their newborn. So Oh, you just have to, you know, I’m a big believer that you need to kick, the asset needs to be kicked. And I used to work seven days a week, and I was very, very, very happy doing that. Once I got married, I was like, Look, I need to, you know, it’s important that I put more time into that relationship. And that’s when I became a parent as well, I needed to get better at structuring those different boundaries there. So I work very, very, very hard. But I’m getting better at having more defined parameters of what those working hours are. And mobile phones are the devil, they really aren’t. You can be you can be reached at all hours now. So

Lara Schmoisman  15:33  

you can but also you need to put boundaries, like, for example, for Friday nights are my Shabbat dinner with my kids and my family, are they I mean, I’m not religious, but it’s our time together that, that we can take a break, and even the dog knows that they need to come through it. But I it’s really important to have those traditions, I found the word tradition, a very important word, even for my team, we have traditions with my team, we have traditions with family, it’s important to create those traditions, because it’s what is legacy?

James Whittaker  16:10  

Yeah, definitely. And I mean, there’s, there’s a word that it’s very similar to traditions called rituals, I mean, the rituals that we have, as individuals, the rituals that we have, as a team, a big part of that can, when we know what those rituals are, they should be rituals that help hold the standard of this high performance life that we want. Now, as part of your high performance life, if you want to be a high performance parents, like if you want to be a really, really good parent, I’m sure you’re a very good parent, I really want to be a good parent, I’m very focused on what are those standards and those rituals that I’m going to uphold to to make sure I am a really great parent. But for people who don’t have those rituals, and you don’t have those standards, it’s easier for you to say yes to something that you shouldn’t

Lara Schmoisman  16:54  

be in a parent, it comes without manuals, every child is different, like every project is different. Every person who works with me is different, every relationship is different. So you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes about being parents, like you make a lot of mistakes in business, or I wouldn’t call it mistakes. Sometimes you make the wrong decisions on the right or wrong choices, but you can make sure first to learn from them. And second to me is not how many times you fall is how graciously you get up and you keep going.

James Whittaker  17:26  

Absolutely what’s the the old proverb is an old Buddhist proverb, it says, fall down seven, stand up eight, like that’s, that’s it? You know, yeah, persistence and resilience to keep going.

Lara Schmoisman  17:37  

Yeah, and it’s just, you’re gonna fall and you’re gonna make a lot of decisions with as a parent and as a, as a leader, when you have a team or as a business owner. And as you grow and learn, you’re gonna say, Oh, I shouldn’t have done that 10 years ago, but you weren’t the same person. A lot

James Whittaker  17:55  

of people out there they have that fear of failure. They’re afraid they have that voice. What if I fail? What if I fail? What if I fail, but if you’re afraid of failure, you’re afraid of success. So you need to make sure that you have that right relationship with with failure and recognize it as an opportunity rather than a weakness?

Lara Schmoisman  18:12  

Let’s success on social media. That’s another myth these days. I can I see everything from the analytics because I come from the marketing side. So for me, it’s everything numbers, what is about performance, but there is an expectation out there that you as sin successful person, you need to be in social media, what’s your opinion about being your personal brand, or your business run and how much you need to put yourself out there?

James Whittaker  18:44  

Yeah, I for for the most part, I really hate social media, I consider it a necessary evil. Like, as someone as you said, someone who’s a personal brand. It’s a great way of being able to reach people and to communicate with people. And I had a situation about six months ago, where someone had taken photos of my daughter that I you know, that I’d put up on my stories and on Instagram and things because family is a very big part of who I am in my identity. And I want to put that out there. And, you know, especially if you’re catching up with family and things who are keeping track of that on social media, someone had taken all of those photos and created a fake LinkedIn profile that had more than 2000 followers over like a six year period. And there’s this fake profile of me had more more connections than the real profile of me. And we were able to get that taken down very, very quickly. But that’s a really bad part about social media. I think social media is 90% evil, I really do. But if you’re a business owner, you need to be on social media, and you need to have a presence. And if it’s something that you’re really resistant to doing, just outsource those tasks to make sure that you still have a presence and you’re still you’re still getting out there. You need to have a presence online in some capacity. Today, I’m a massive believer in that, especially with things like tick tock. It’s a good timing now on things like tick tock and reels to be able to build that brand. That being said, some of the most successful and happiest people I know, don’t even have social media. And that works fine for

Lara Schmoisman  20:18  

every case is completely different. You need to know where your audience is, yeah, maybe your audience is not in social media. So why to bother?

James Whittaker  20:27  

Yeah, for sure. And people have that that bond. And that trust in that connection. Like when you’re, if you’re doing like a sales call, you might have a product that maybe it’s $10,000, or $20,000, if someone is having a strategy call or a sales call with you, and they’re like, Wow, I’ve been a fan of your podcast for a long time, it seems weird that I’m that I’m talking to you. Now. I feel like I’m talking to a celebrity, like a bit of a pinch me moment. That is a huge credibility piece. They’re already sold on you before they get on the call.

Lara Schmoisman  20:55  

That’s amazing. But always my recommendation with social media is be yourself. So if they get to know you, it’s the same person is that you’re putting out there a character?

James Whittaker  21:08  

Exactly. There’s so many people out there who are playing a different, a different character, you know, someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, he strikes me as someone who is the same person, everywhere. And then there are some people that you just you just know, and I’ve heard a bunch of stuff, you know, I do a lot of work and in personal development, and I’ve heard a bunch of stories from some people who I won’t, I won’t name any names. But you know, it’s sad when you hear these things from people that you one point you’re really looked up to. You hear some of these things that happen behind the scenes, but that’s okay. You can only focus on

Lara Schmoisman  21:40  

in a previous life. I used to do interviews and red carpet and junkets. And so you get to know a lot of people and you have certain expectations, and then they turn to be something else. And it’s interesting. Yeah,

James Whittaker  21:54  

I just what’s the what’s the point of that? To me, it would be so there’s an old quote that says, tell the truth, there’s less to remember. And I feel like I feel like it should be that way in terms of who you are online as well. Like, just be who you are. And that way you don’t have to worry about that inevitable contradiction when someone gets to meet the real you or you get you get found out behind the scenes.

Lara Schmoisman  22:15  

I I remember the first days of social media. And I remember I had my Facebook account that actually I shut it down after a few months, because I found myself with, found with friends with people that I honestly didn’t feel like getting in touch in my life, like why now we’re friends and trying to force relationships. And it was too much for me as a person. Even though I’m super social, I love to follow up with people. But for some reason those relationships even evolved. So while we’re trying to force it back, because now we’re social. And then I found out that there were people, they were trying always to show that their grass was greener. And I have a huge issue with that. And I feel like it was affecting people emotionally. And I mean, I am taking a romantic walk with my husband have romantic can be if you are posting a picture,

James Whittaker  23:15  

for sure. You see that with a lot of people who you know, they’re like an inch away from their kids faces recording videos for 10 minutes, it’s like, get out there and enjoy that moment, enjoy the sunset, whatever it is, like if I’m down at Manhattan Beach or something, having a, you know, three hours a day with my family, I might do like a five or a 10 second video of like, Wow, beautiful day, I’m grateful for this, for the rest of the time is completely being present. A lot of a lot of people, I’m sure in your audience as well who are struggling to create content on a consistent basis. There’s a big mindset challenge with that you need to make sure that you’re creating content for the people who want to be in your life, the good people rather than the people who have no future worth. Often we worry so much about what are these people going to think. But to the right people, you can do no wrong and to the wrong people you can do no, right. Anyone who’s going to be you know, talking smack about you is not your friend. And you should not worry about their opinion in terms of creating the content you should be thinking about, who is the life that you’re unable to save if you’re not posting that video. So think about who are the people that you’re really passionate about helping. And if they don’t hear from you, and you can’t walk them through the steps they need to achieve their goals, then you’re doing them an enormous disservice. That’s what it comes back to that obligation to be successful and unlock your potential like we spoke about earlier.

Lara Schmoisman  24:34  

Yeah, I think that’s amazing. It’s amazing to think to get that mindset of like, I’m doing this for others. I’m giving information. I always say that every piece that we need to and that I use your work through that content drive action. We need to create content that is always informative, entertaining, memorable and actionable.

James Whittaker  25:00  

I agree 100%

Lara Schmoisman  25:02  

You need to inform you need to give more than say, and it’s a lovely day. Why its a lovely day, they will give more information about this. I’m tired of seeing content without nothing. It’s just a picture. I know that the picture can say more than 1000 words. But if you’re trying to put yourself out there, you need to tell who you are and tell your story and how you see that day.

James Whittaker  25:27  

Totally. Yeah, I agree. 100%.

Lara Schmoisman  25:30  

So what’s next for you? You’ll have books when the day another book coming?

James Whittaker  25:37  

A lot of Yeah, so I actually have too many book projects on. I always have a I’ll be driving along the highway and I’ll say to my wife, can you send me an email with this is a book idea. I always have have interesting book ideas coming through. Time is obviously the next one is how do we figure out time to get all these things done? But yeah, book projects, different different business things. You know, my own podcast is a big focus. We’re having a holiday very soon on Tuesday, next week, I’m going to Australia for a month, which is going to be fantastic. My first time, home, you know, my home country back to Australia, and in two and a half years. So yeah, short term, it’s holiday. And long term. It’s just continuing to I love

Lara Schmoisman  26:18  

holidays, because it gives you that perspective. And you come back with so many ideas.

James Whittaker  26:23  

Definitely, definitely. And it’s it’s a sad part about about COVID. You know, like politics aside when you when they’re, you know, I have 11 nephews and nieces in Australia who have not been able to see now for two and a half years. And if you’re if you’re less than 1314 years old, there’s a lot of growth and change that occurs in that time. So I’m really looking forward to getting home and seeing everyone.

Lara Schmoisman  26:46  

That’s great. Well, thank you so much, James, for having coffee with me, was my pleasure, pleasure talking to you and to you guys. I’ll see you next week on coffee number five

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