487 Laura DiBenedetto:
What are the habits that translate into success in entrepreneurship? If you study entrepreneurial success you will soon start to see patterns in behavior and regular habits shared by women who achieve 7, 8, 9 and 10-figure Unicorn success. So what are these habits?
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring serial entrepreneur who took on the challenge of understanding what habits spell business success.
Laura DiBenedetto is the author of The Six Habits – and these game-changing habits teach us how to create the lives of our dreams without changing who we are. Because it is also clear that the best entrepreneurs double down on their unique purpose and talents and dare to lead rather than follow. Today Laura and I dig deep into the Six Habits and why now … in the midst of the Coronavirus lockdown … is the perfect time to perfect them.
Melinda Wittstock: Laura, welcome to Wings.
Laura DiBenedetto: Thank you so much for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m always excited to talk to another entrepreneur who started out super early. Your first business was when you were 19. What made you take the leap so early into entrepreneurship? Did you just always know you were one?
Laura DiBenedetto: No. No. My parents, much like millions and millions of parents everywhere else, wanted me to go to college and get a good job. I went to college, I hated it. And I had a series of jobs, I hated those. And I was like, “This is not working out. I think we need to think about plan B, or plan D or G or something.”
Melinda Wittstock: You’re unemployable like me?
Laura DiBenedetto: Yeah. Oh my God. It’s so funny that you say that. I remember early in my career, I’d be like, “Nobody wants to hire me. I’m unemployable.” Now, I’m like, “Ha, not unhirable. Nobody wants to hire me because [inaudible 00:12:38] take over.”
Melinda Wittstock: What was it like? When everybody around you is saying, “God, are you crazy? What are you doing?” What was it inside you that just allowed you to persist in it and just start?
Laura DiBenedetto: Two things. Unquenchable curiosity. I’m a person that needs to know things and I will dive down a million rabbit holes. I just need to know things. I like figuring things out. Curiosity has always been a big asset. Well, I think every entrepreneur is going to agree with this one. Stubbornness to an epic level.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s funny how curiosity and stubbornness go together. I’m just a naturally curious person too, but stubborn in the sense that, “Yeah, this is going to work. I’m going to find a way to make it.”
Laura DiBenedetto: Yeah, you’re relentless.
Melinda Wittstock: To have that resilience, to be able to not, I guess, take it personally when things aren’t going quite right, and to be curious about why they’re not going in the way that maybe you envisioned them, to be curious enough to figure out, “Okay, how to make it work?” and then be stubborn, I guess, to just switch, “You’re going to make it work.”
Laura DiBenedetto: Oh, yeah. I had a million people and situations try to dissuade me from this path and lots of people, “Oh, you can’t do that.” “Oh, you can’t do that. That’s going to fail.” And blah, blah, blah. It’s like, “Yeah, okay, sure. Watch me.”
Melinda Wittstock: That’s funny. I had that same thing. I had so many people unsuccessfully talk me out of almost everything that I’ve ever, ever-
Laura DiBenedetto: Thank you, thank you. I was hoping that was [crosstalk 00:14:29].
Melinda Wittstock: … done. Unsuccessfully because people say you can’t do that. I’m like, “Why not? Watch me.” And then you get that determination to prove people wrong. Why do you think it is that so many people want to stop that? I think generally people are well meaning. Is it just their own fears that they’re projecting onto us?
Laura DiBenedetto: Totally. I just think about some friends that I had at the time and just thinking about how they regarded themselves. Their relationship with themselves was not one of a solid constitution. They were looking at what I wanted to do from the lens of would they be successful. They were looking at it like, “Oh, well, if I were to start a business, I would fail.”
Laura DiBenedetto: They were thinking, “Well, if you started a business, then you’ll fail and I don’t want you to fail, so I’m going to give you advice.” Not realizing, I’ve had a pretty good relationship with myself, it’s unshakable now, but I’ve had a pretty good relationship with myself and my capabilities. Pretty much my whole adult life. I know what I made up. I know I can do big things. Other people don’t have that self-belief.
Melinda Wittstock: What were some of the first challenges in the early years of your business? Because we all have them. Was there something that happened that shook you to the core where you had to really learn or think differently? I guess the other way of asking it, what was the first time… When was the first time that that happened? Because it invariably did like to every entrepreneur I know including me.
Laura DiBenedetto: It’s hard for me to answer the question because I feel like every single day for the first probably 10 years of my entrepreneurship adventure I was being given a new opportunity, a new challenge, something going wrong. It was just a constant cascade of dominoes just falling down. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know, man.” The fact that I didn’t quit says a lot about me.
Melinda Wittstock: Entrepreneurship is hard. It’s not really for everybody. But again, and I apologize to all my listeners because I make this joke every single time, if you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur.
Laura DiBenedetto: I love that joke and I happen to agree. If you want to grow as a person, be an entrepreneur.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s true because there’s all these things that happen that are beyond your control, the only thing you can do is control how you react to these things and who you choose to be in that moment and how you choose to be an alchemist in a way. You’re presented a whole bunch… First of all, you have a business because you’re solving a problem. You’re solving other people’s problems. You’re already an alchemists, but then stuff comes up that challenges you to improve, better, different, look at things with a different perspective.
Laura DiBenedetto: Every day.
Melinda Wittstock: All of that. What led you to The Six Habits? It seems this probably came from your own journey and I want to make sure that we have time to really go through all six habits.
Laura DiBenedetto: Sure. Entrepreneurship began for me at 19. I’m currently 39. I retired at 37 from the first company and I want to be really clear about this, the first 10 years of the business, it was very frustrating because I had the wrong business model. I was getting my wings, to use the pun on purpose, I was really just going through it and I had been through a lot of unfortunate stuff early in my life, a lot of bullying. I went through domestic abuse. I had a lot of challenges I had to overcome.
Laura DiBenedetto: The unfortunate part about a lot of my successes that came is because they came because I didn’t love myself. I achieved because I thought that’s why people would come to love me [crosstalk 00:18:29] worthy and that sucks to admit, but I think it’s important for people to hear. Yeah, you can achieve and you can do great things all because you hate yourself. But when you learn to love yourself, my God, the lid gets blown off and anything is possible.
Laura DiBenedetto: I finally got the right business model after 10 years and then I was like, “All right, well I’m already tired. So I’m going to try to just figure out how I can retire and go do something else.” And I managed to pull it off. I found an unbelievable successor. She is the woman of my dreams and I love her brain. She is awesome.
Laura DiBenedetto: Before I retired though, I noticed I was fatigued. I was burnt out. I wasn’t feeling well physically and I just was like, “What the hell is going on with me?” The closer I got to retirement, you think I’d be really excited, I wasn’t. I was just burnt out past all recognition. I was becoming really cranky. I was no fun to be around. I fully admit I was not the best boss in the world. I wasn’t the best leader in the world. I was just tired and burnt out and you can get burnt out from something you love, to be clear.
Laura DiBenedetto: I was ready to start another business. I was like, “Okay, what am I going to be when I grow up? I’m going to open a bakery. I’m so excited.” I started doing research and I hired some consultants to help me, manufacturer, develop my business plan, do the research and make sure that I knew what I was doing. I wanted to have a chain of really upscale, Italian/French bakery with lots of fancy pastries and espresso.
Laura DiBenedetto: My problem was when I had the business plan done and I was shopping around for investors and doing all sorts of stuff, I found myself feeling the exact same way that I was trying to get away from so I had to walk away from it. That walking away did something to me. That broke me. Because I was already really, really tired and that was the last thing I could handle.
Laura DiBenedetto: So I gave up and I just sat there like a kid in its poopy diaper. I started pouting and getting mad. I was like, “That’s it. I give up. I can’t do this anymore.” Through the surrender, feminine energy, I was given an unbelievable gift. I was able to use my stubborn, type A ways to be just, “No, I need to reframe my thinking. I’m going to build a 90-day program for myself because I know everything and all the books out there are wrong.” I told you I was stubborn.
Laura DiBenedetto: I got curious and I got stubborn and I wanted to figure out what was wrong with me so I started researching happiness and realizing that we define happiness all wrong. We externalize it. Happiness is found in the car, the big boobs, this shaved legs, the great sex life, this, that. No, happiness is found within. My research found what the recipe for that is and it is the six habits because they all define the relationship with ourselves.
Melinda Wittstock: So well said. It does come from within. That’s such a liberating thing, but there’s also responsibility to it because you can’t blame someone else. You can’t be a victim. The minute you accept that, “Okay, I’m responsible for my own happiness and I can just make a choice right now to be happy.” It’s revolutionary.
Laura DiBenedetto: Happiness really is a choice. I talk about that in my book. I actually think that’s one of the opening lines, Happiness is a choice. I think that was one of the things that I discovered is that society and our culture just has discouraged people from choosing themselves, discourage people from choosing happiness, encourage you through marketing, and I say this owning a marketing company, marketers want you to think that happiness is on the other side of whatever product it is they have to sell.
Laura DiBenedetto: But the reality is happiness is free. Happiness is complicated, but if you do the right things, you can choose it and it can be sustained. That’s the tricky part is the sustenance of it.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it truly is. Before we get into the specific six habits, there was something you said that I really wanted to pick up on. Being a victim of bullying and domestic abuse. I have that in common with you.
Laura DiBenedetto: Yeah, really?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I was bullied as a kid and I was in a marriage that was verbally abusive, but it took a terrible toll. It lost me all my money because he took that, but also my confidence. I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is business five, a lot of success, all of that, but it was a drip, drip, drip. But I look back on it now and I think, “Wow, this entrepreneurship, for me really, was about healing.” And that experience was also about healing. And I too had that thing that, “Oh, if I’m really successful, if I do a really good job, if I’m the best that, then people will like me.”
Laura DiBenedetto: Because we perceive that that’s going to fix us.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. But that’s not the answer and the more I went that way, and by the way, also in masculine energy-
Laura DiBenedetto: Are we the same person?
Melinda Wittstock: I know, right? Also, it’s so similar. It’s amazing. But also in that masculine energy which lead to burnout and all those things all at the same time, all of it though, I look back and I’m so grateful for it because walking through that to the other side of it with the consciousness of that, with that knowingness, I guess, nothing scares you anymore. Because we sit here in the coronavirus stuff and all of that we’re like, “That’s okay. It’ll pass. There’s an opportunity in it.” I don’t know. It’s just a very different attitude. It’s fascinating to hear your story for that.
Laura DiBenedetto: I’m so excited to discuss habit number three with you.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, yes, please. Okay, let’s do three first. Just to be different.
Laura DiBenedetto: Okay, let’s go out of order. The habit is gratitude. You are nailing it so well. You literally give me goosebumps because you are literally speaking the words that I speak all the time. As a victim of abuse, I hate the word victim, just recipients of abuse, as someone that’s been through all this stuff, both of us, I choose to see and you choose to see that, “Yeah, you know what? Those things really sucks. But wow, look what I got out of it. Look at the fortitude that I can see that I have and look all the gifts that I received from this as well as the crap.”
Laura DiBenedetto: I choose gratitude and you’re choosing gratitude and that is remarkable because right now there’s a wonderful trend going around that I love where people are writing down 10 thoughts of gratitude every single night before bed. That’s great. But I want to see people take their gratitude to a crazy deep level.
Laura DiBenedetto: What went horribly wrong in your life and why can you be grateful for that? What are the gifts you always take for granted? What are your hashtag first world problems that you can be grateful for? Beyond the 10 things that happened today were awesome can you be grateful for? What parts of your childhood can you be grateful for? You know what I’m saying? Looking for the hidden, broad, deep, painful pieces of gratitude actually starts to form a gratitude lifestyle, which basically rewires your brain.
Melinda Wittstock: It does. It’s my turn to get goosebumps because that’s what got me out of where I was when in 2013, I’m sitting there with $4 in the bank, two kids, just broken, my business all over the map at that point because I was a mess. The first thing I did, I was actually… It was funny I was walking through the bookstore and sometimes a book just pops off the shelf at you, I don’t know for some inexplicable reason, called Gratitude. I picked it up, bought it, and I went deep into gratitude. I practice gratitude three hours every day. I would write long journal pieces, think of every person in my life, every experience and the bad all of it.
Laura DiBenedetto: You rewired your brain, didn’t you?
Melinda Wittstock: It was three months of three hours every day. That’s the kind of thing that an obsessive entrepreneur does though. You just go okay when something’s…
Laura DiBenedetto: I can relate so hard right now. I’m just like, “Yeah, that’s something I would do.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Not just a little bit of gratitude. No, no, I’m just going to go all in on this. But it did. It was the beginning of the process. Gratitude to me is everything and it’s a great starting place and it’s a great sustaining place as well.
Laura DiBenedetto: It’s a beautiful thing that you’re doing.
Melinda Wittstock: Likewise. I love that you’ve done these six habits. Do you just want to go back to number one?
Laura DiBenedetto: You know what? Dealer’s choice. Why don’t you pick a number out of the magic hat? [crosstalk 00:27:46]
Melinda Wittstock: Okay, I’m just going to pick number four.
Laura DiBenedetto: Number four. Okay. That is the habit of presence. Presence is choosing now. Now, here’s the thing. There are so many reasons for people to not be present. They’re worried about what is going to happen at work. They need to take care of their company. There’s a global crisis. “Oh my god, how am I going to treat my clients?” “What’s going to happen with my revenues?” Blah, blah, blah. They’re living in the future or they reflect on the past. “I went through this and I went through that.” “Oh my God, I can’t believe they said this to me,” or just reflecting on the good old days, and “Wow, remember when [crosstalk 00:28:20].”
Laura DiBenedetto: The trick is being aware of the past and the future, but just be like, “Okay, those are there.” But this is the only moment that matters. Literally, I’m talking to you right now I don’t care what else I got going on today. I don’t care what I was doing before. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters in this moment is you and this conversation.
Laura DiBenedetto: Because of that, I’m able to opt in. I’m able to fully enjoy every moment that I spend with you, every word that I hear you say, every question, and this is enriching and I love it. If I was distracted, I’m missing out. I could be messing with my phone and I can be doing all these things then I’m not really living my life. I’m just on autopilot and just checked out.
Melinda Wittstock: So true. All right, well, I love that one as well. Okay, let’s go back to the top. Let’s go to number one.
Laura DiBenedetto: Okay, this is fun by the way. All right, so I am going to take the next two in order because they’re connected. Habit number one is kindness. Now, when I say the word kindness, your brain, I guarantee you and everybody else’s brain, immediately thinks of gestures towards other people. Kindness, generosity, yada, yada. What I mean is kindness to yourself.
Laura DiBenedetto: This is the opposite of the mean bully that lives in your head and by the way, we all have the mean bully that lives in our head, this is the nurturing parent. This is the voice that says, “You look great today.” This is the voice that says, “You can do that. Of course you could do that. Don’t listen to anybody.” This is the voice inside that’s like, “I’m capable. I can do anything.” “I look amazing.” They look in the mirror when they just woke up and they’re a hot mess like, “Still fabulous.”
Laura DiBenedetto: Unfortunately, we tend to have the opposite of kindness in our head. We always got that mean bully. “You can’t do that.” “Oh, it’s going to go so badly.” Or “You look like crap today. Why’d you even get out of bed?” Or like, “Oh my God, your ass is too fat.” You can’t thrive in life if you are so mean to yourself. Having been the recipient of bullying, I can tell you it doesn’t help you do things in life. It pulls you away from them. However, also being the recipient of very nurturing parenting, that builds you up. And as we grow up, we need to remember we still need parents except we need to be our own parents and be the nurturing voice in our head. So that’s kindness.
Melinda Wittstock: We speak to ourselves sometimes in a way that we wouldn’t tolerate from our worst enemy. Changing that dialogue is so important especially if you have kids. To think about the way you speak to your children and just figuring out how to use, assuming that you’re a nurturing parent of course.
Laura DiBenedetto: One would hope.
Melinda Wittstock: One would hope. And using that on yourself. That’s a lovely definition of kindness. I love that. What’s number two?
Laura DiBenedetto: Number two is acceptance. I like to introduce these two concepts at the same time because they appear similar at the outside, but kindness is how you treat yourself. Acceptance is how you feel about yourself. They’re two sides of the same coin. The way you feel about yourself is often laced with, “I wish I was…” “I wish I did…” “I can’t believe I…” Blah, blah, blah and it’s usually like, “I love myself when I lose 50 pounds.” “I will finally feel beautiful when I’m fitting into a size two.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. It’s conditional rather than being unconditional because-
Laura DiBenedetto: That’s the exact word.
Melinda Wittstock: The acceptance you’re talking about is really unconditional love for yourself.
Laura DiBenedetto: Absolutely. That is the absolute way I was going to say it. Thank you for being in my head. I love it.
Melinda Wittstock: I don’t know. This is really spooky actually.
Laura DiBenedetto: No, I’m digging it. I like brain sharing. This is my jam. Yes, unconditional love for yourself is like, “You know what? I forgive myself for all the stupid stuff I’ve done because I did the best I could with what I had at the time. I love me.” “You know what? That girl has a really nice bum. Good for her. My bum is great, too.”
Laura DiBenedetto: You don’t need to compare yourself or scroll through Instagram and always feel less than or like, “Oh, I’m only going to be happy if I’m a millionaire and I’m not a millionaire, so I’m a loser.” No, maybe money isn’t important to you and you just need to accept that.
Laura DiBenedetto: Acceptance is unconditional love and appreciation for yourself, but also just be like, “Yeah, it’s good. Whatever I am, it’s good.”
Melinda Wittstock: I find that when you do actually finally achieve that or get close to it or whatever in different moments in your life and get more consistent at that self-acceptance, you start to attract people into your life that treat you better, too, that really 100% accept you and love you unconditionally the minute that switches over in your own life. Because we attract the sort of vibration that we’re putting out.
Laura DiBenedetto: Oh my God. You’re so in my head. You’re literally stealing all of my thoughts out of my head. Stop it.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s hilarious and I say that one of my superpowers is being an empath. But it is actually.
Laura DiBenedetto: [crosstalk 00:33:37].
Melinda Wittstock: But this has just been my journey, too. These are all the lessons that I’ve learned along my entrepreneurial path and it’s not by like… I’m not an expert in any. I have no credentials. I have none. It’s just really from life lessons. It’s like-
Laura DiBenedetto: You’re an experienced human and that’s all anyone needs to be to master these six habits.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s so true.
Laura DiBenedetto: You don’t need a degree. You don’t need fancy qualifications. Literally, you just need to take whatever success you’ve had double down.
Melinda Wittstock: You’re absolutely right. Okay, so let’s do number five.
Laura DiBenedetto: Number five is the habit of goodness. Goodness is something that people… *They think they’re good at but they’re not. Goodness is something where it is energy management. Goodness is the addition of loads of good energy to your life and the removal of all the toxic negative stuff.
Laura DiBenedetto: For example, if you have that family member that’s constantly whining on you and [inaudible 00:34:32], “I can’t do it. Oh my God. I need help paying my bills.” Okay, well, good for you. But no. This is where… The habit of goodness demands that we learn boundaries. The habit of goodness demands that we proactively add good things to our life on purpose and it’s not just like, “Oh, well, that was a nice day,” but we didn’t intentionally create it. No. Go out of your way to add good things because you know they’re good for you. It’s brushing your teeth. You do it because it’s good for you.
Laura DiBenedetto: But you also have to get rid of the toxic people, the toxic circumstances. I actually suggest stop watching the news. It’s so harmful. If you really insist on watching the highlight reel, fine. Find a safe way to get it. But some people sit there in front of the TV for an hour or two hours every day consuming tons of negative energy and there’s the prize, they’re not happy in life. Come on.
Melinda Wittstock: The interesting thing as a recovering journalist, I will say, the way that the media makes money is keeping people in fear because it’s eyeballs. It’s a business. It’s a business model. That’s why you never really see very many good news stories-
Laura DiBenedetto: That’s right, because they don’t pay the bills.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, you see the sort of stories that trigger you in fear and keep you watching.
Laura DiBenedetto: I cannot wait for you to read my book because you’re [crosstalk 00:35:53]. You’re going to be chuckling on every single page being like, “Yep. Yep. Oh my gosh. She’s in my head.”
Melinda Wittstock: Thank you for writing it. It’s so important. I think we have a responsibility to get these ideas and things out into the world. When we have this, we learn this stuff for a reason. It’s the reason I do the podcast, the reason you wrote the book. We really do, and especially now when society is in what seems some sort of existential crisis. It’s really, really important to just be the lighthouse and provide that inspiration. A profound thanks for getting this out into the world. It’s so important.
Laura DiBenedetto: [crosstalk 00:36:35] you’re welcome. It’s truly a privilege to do it and to help people find actual meaning and separate the lies from the truth. Unfortunately, all of us have been lied to for years about what happiness is and isn’t.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh, yeah. Okay, so we’re coming to the magic six. What’s number six?
Laura DiBenedetto: That would be intention. Intention is action. It’s clear, deliberate, incremental action toward what we want. We intend to create things. We have the intention to build our dreams. Too often, they sit on the shelf. When you think about your dreams and your aspirations and what you want out of life, sometimes they can be really, really big and scary, sometimes too audacious.
Laura DiBenedetto: I always wanted to do a TED talk. Well, guess who got picked to do a TED talk? Yes, girl, and I’m super pumped. So I get to do that later this year.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s amazing. Congrats on that.
Laura DiBenedetto: Thank you. I’m so pumped but that was really, really intentionally part of my vision for what I wanted my life to be because I love sharing love with people and I just really wanted a bigger platform to do it from. So this has given me an unbelievable opportunity, but if I didn’t have mastery of the habit of intention, I would have been intimidated. I wouldn’t have applied. I would have felt like, “I’m not ready yet.” “Oh no, my book isn’t published yet.” “Oh, no…” Just constantly feeling I’m not ready.
Laura DiBenedetto: But instead, intention commands that we take the big goal, we look at it and then we build a tiny incremental path forward where every single day, even if they’re small, we’re just moving little things forward towards it. Sometimes moving little things towards our goal is as simple as clean your desk that way you can clear your mind. Other times, it’s calling a reporter, doing this or doing that, but it’s actually courageously going after the stuff you want.
Laura DiBenedetto: These, in total, are the six habits and they all connect with each other. They’re not independently siloed concepts. Kindness relates to gratitude relates to goodness relates to presence relates to intention relates to acceptance. They’re all interconnected but they’re six parts of the same.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. Yes, absolutely 100%. Gosh, I could talk to you, Laura, for hours.
Laura DiBenedetto: Same. We should do that.
Melinda Wittstock: With your self-mastery course and mastery program and whatnot, tell me a little bit about what the process is like working with you and how entrepreneurs and folks generally with these things to actually put in. Because it’s one thing to learn them intellectually. It’s a whole other thing to put them into daily practice. You call it habits. They have to become habits to be sticky. What’s that process like?
Laura DiBenedetto: First of all, I actually love you because you’re still stealing thoughts right out of my head. What are you doing? I always say, and it’s even in the book, knowledge is great to have but without an application, it’s pointless. Why know it if you’re not going to do anything with it?
Melinda Wittstock: A lot of people do that. They think they get the dopamine hit of, “Oh, hey, I know this,” but they go back-
Laura DiBenedetto: Oh, I read the book, I’m all set now. Nope, you’re not.
Melinda Wittstock: I find that… There have been a couple of books that I’ve read that have been really game changing for me. One of them was The Surrender Experiment and The Untethered Soul.
Laura DiBenedetto: Oh, I like The Untethered Soul. I read that one.
Melinda Wittstock: Amazing. It was about letting go of stuff that just doesn’t serve and his whole process… The Surrender Experiment was how he arrived at it. He became this monk like, meditating 23 hours a day, hardly eating anything. Isolating himself and all these things to just quiet the voice inside his head, the inner bully that you talked of. So he finally arrived at this whole thing, just let it go.
Melinda Wittstock: For a long time, I stressed of like, “Well, how do you let it go?” I sort of assumed there had to be some struggle of letting it go until I finally was… Every time I was ever triggered, and I don’t really get triggered very often anymore, but for a while, when anything bugged me or you get triggered into judgment or any of these things and be like, “Oh, how interesting.” That’s showing me something about myself. I could investigate it or you know what?
Laura DiBenedetto: [inaudible 00:41:13].
Melinda Wittstock: You know what? I’m just busy right now so I’m just going to let it go. So I hereby now, let it go.
Laura DiBenedetto: It was awesome.
Melinda Wittstock: It was actually pretty easy.
Laura DiBenedetto: I got to read that book.
Melinda Wittstock: It was that easy.
Laura DiBenedetto: I know. I know. It’s hard for type A, go getters, to just let it go. They’re like, “What do you mean? Let it go. I can’t let it go. You let it go.” But when you actually let it go, it’s like, “Oh, that was easy.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. But it took a little while. I don’t know why I picked that book. But it was a big one for me so I remember just taking time to figure out, “Oh, how do I practice this?” Just meditation is a practice. When I first started meditating, I was terrible at it and then I realized… Someone told me, “Well, hey, Melinda, it’s a reason it’s a practice because you have to practice it.”
Laura DiBenedetto: It’s amazing how so many of us feel like, “This is my first time doing it [inaudible 00:42:10],” except that’s actually true.
Melinda Wittstock: Nobody’s good at anything until they do it for a while. I think that’s really important about entrepreneurship, too, that we learn so many things. I think that’s what makes it fun. That’s why I love being an entrepreneur actually is because it’s different, because I never know what’s going to happen. I sort of do, because there are predictable patterns if your pattern recognition thinker, you do kind of know what’s going to happen. But there’s always stuff that surprises you, always stuff to be learned, which is amazing.
Laura DiBenedetto: Yeah, totally. Let me answer your question. The knowledge is one thing, but the application is another. I’m going to be talking about how I originally was like, “Oh, I’m going to build a 90-day program for myself.” So I did. But that’s where all of this began and the book actually came as the explanation. That’s the way I originally had designed it for me and my friends because it’s like, “Oh, well, they’re going to need some context, if they’re going to try this whole 90-day thing with me because some of their situations are unpleasant, I want to help them be happy too.” So whatever.
Laura DiBenedetto: A few paragraphs turned into 55,000 words, and here we are. I was like, “Oh, okay, this is different.” Now, the book provides the framework. You can provide so much clarity and wisdom to yourself. There’s tons of free exercises that I built. They’re all found within the book and you can download a whole bunch from my website completely free once you have the book. If you do those exercises, you will change.
Laura DiBenedetto: But the thing that I wanted just because I’m again curious and stubborn is I don’t like leaving things to chance. I like guaranteeing my success and knowing for absolute certain that I’m going to crush this. There is a zero percent margin for failure. I started researching habits and learning that lots of people will make claims like, “Oh, change and develop a habit in 21 days.” Nope, you can’t do that. “Do it in 30 days.” Nope, you can’t. Science is science and I believe in science because it’s fact and science is basically the hobby for the curious.
Laura DiBenedetto: Science says that habits take on average 66 days to form because I again, like a margin of error, 90 days turns out and actually is the correct amount of time to actually develop a program, allow for failures along the way because you will fail along the way, and still come out on top. [inaudible 00:44:44] the whole thing.
Laura DiBenedetto: If you do it right, you read the book, you do all the exercises that I give you completely free, do all of those, and if you are into hardcore habit mastery, that’s when then 90-day habit mastery program is really just going to be the super glue that binds everything together and keeps your habits inside of you. It’s not just a fun experiment you did that one time where it’s like, “Oh, yeah, I remember that book. Yeah, that was pretty cool.” But [crosstalk 00:45:16].
Melinda Wittstock: A lot of books end up on shelves. They don’t end up being used.
Laura DiBenedetto: The six habits is a lifestyle.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s the thing. It’s much more than a book and a program. I really think that almost, I don’t know, every incubator, I don’t know, whether it’s Techstars or Y Combinator or anyone starting out in business or with a new startup, any kind of business should do this first. Or should do this as part of their growth as a business owner and as an entrepreneur because you can seek the strategies and you can do all the things you can do a million and one online course on how to market this or how to write this kind of copy or how to do, all this stuff, all the stuff you got to do.
Laura DiBenedetto: You know what I-
Melinda Wittstock: Master these things?
Laura DiBenedetto: I know right? I want to give you an important point that you just brought into my head and I have to share this. The things that we get out of working on ourselves is massive. I can tell you the tale of two different businesses very recently.
Laura DiBenedetto: When I started the marketing company, I was none of the six habits, but I ultimately learned to embrace them basically as I was retiring. But what happens to an entrepreneur who hasn’t mastered these six habits is you can achieve success but it’ll be for the wrong reasons like I did. When you have the money it’ll never be enough. When you achieve the success it will never be a sweet victory. You don’t know how to proceed that correctly. You isolate your friends and your family. Your work is your life and your life is well, insert naughty word here. Your life is just… It’s not a joyful place to be.
Laura DiBenedetto: Then, if you can start a business from a place where you are a habit master, you’re going to constantly tell yourself that you can do it. You will constantly accept your limitations and be excited about breaking through them. You’ll be grateful for everything, including when things go off the rails. You’ll be present with every moment. You’ll be able to get rid of toxic clients right away without hesitation because you’ll love yourself enough to do it and you’ll be able to powerfully move your dreams forward because it’s really not even optional to do it any other way. This is the explosive gas in your tank.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s so, so true. I’ve seen so many business owners be unhappy with all the success and you can just keep adding more and more zeros to unhappiness. If you think money, for instance, is a destination or is some sort of finish line, it’s not. It’s just a marker of exchange value.
Laura DiBenedetto: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: All those things. Oh, gosh, okay. You’re going to have to come back on this podcast again because there’s so much to talk about. But Laura, I just love our conversations so much. How can people find you and work with you?
Laura DiBenedetto: I would love to come back. I have to say I’ve loved this conversation every minute of it. Thank you so much for having me. People can find me online at thesixhabits.com, the word six is spelled out, thesixhabits.com. If people like a challenge, they can go to my other website which is lauradibenedetto.com but have fun spelling it. It’s there but both of them work. They all point to the same things [crosstalk 00:48:38].
Melinda Wittstock: If you’re driving as you’re listening to this, this is all in the show notes. Don’t drive.
Laura DiBenedetto: Oh, that’s good. Safety first.
Melinda Wittstock: Folks will know how to spell your name. I love this interview. Thank you so much for putting on your Wings and flying with us.
Laura DiBenedetto: Truly a pleasure. Thank you so much.