James Whittaker is a three-time bestselling author, award-winning entrepreneur, and speaker. He has helped thousands of people in more than 20 countries to win the day and has personally coached Olympic gold medallists, billion-dollar CEOs, and Special Forces operators.
James is also the host of the Win the Day podcast. He has been profiled in Success Magazine, Money Magazine, and Entrepreneur. He was also featured on more than 600 radio, podcast, and television shows.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- James Whittaker’s background and his experience as an event organizer
- Best strategies for building relationships
- How relationships influenced James’ career
- The benefits of being resourceful and resilient
- James’ experience writing a book and producing a film
- How James’ Win the Day movement came about
In this episode…
What are the key attributes of entrepreneurial success? What does it take to be a peak performer?
Your mentality has a direct influence on your prosperity. You need to be resourceful and resilient, stand out from the crowd, and follow your own path. Start the day ready to conquer and win the day. James Whittaker advises entrepreneurs to learn from their every day mistakes and apply it towards building a better business.
In this episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein is joined by James Whittaker, an entrepreneur and author, to talk about strategies for winning in life. James discusses best practices for building connections, the benefits of being resourceful and resilient, and the value of having a winning mentality.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Goldstein Patent Law
- The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent by Rich Goldstein
- James Whittaker’s website
- James Whittaker on LinkedIn I Instagram I TikTok
- Don Green on LinkedIn
- John Gray on LinkedIn
- What’s in It for Them?: 9 Genius Networking Principles to Get What You Want by Helping Others Get What They Want by Joe Polish
- Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Napoleon Hill
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Napoleon Hill Foundation
- Andrew Carnegie’s Mental Dynamite: How to Unlock the Awesome Power of You by Napoleon Hill, Don Green, and James Whittaker
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process.
You can email their team at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’
Welcome to Innovations and Breakthroughs with your host Rich Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, Rich Goldstein.
Rich Goldstein here, host of the Innovations and Breakthroughs podcast by featured top leaders on the path they took to create change. Past guests include Joe Polish, Roland Frazier, and Mitch Russo. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein Patent Law, but we help you to protect your ideas and products. We’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 28 years. So if you’re a company that has software or product or design you want protected, go to goldstein patent law.com where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. You could email my team welcome goldstein pc.com to explore if it’s a match to work together. You could also check out the book I wrote for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work. It’s called the ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent. I have it with me here today, James Whitaker. James is a three time bestselling author and the host of the Wind Day podcast. He’s been profiled in Success Magazine, money Magazine and entrepreneur, and featured on 600 plus radio, podcast and television shows, including the Today Show, the Gabby Show, and Entrepreneurs on Fire. Uh, it’s my pleasure to welcome here today, James Whitaker. Welcome James. Hey,
Rich, always great to see you, my friend. Thanks for having me on.
Absolutely. My pleasure. And, um, so like looking at entrepreneurship, like how did you get started with your entrepreneur journey?
So I, it was, it was something that I had never realized was actually possible for me growing up in Australia with the career that I was on. I sort of fell into this career in financial services, which was pretty successful. By the end of it, I was managing an advisor team of more than 30 financial advisors with about 2 billion under management. But I just had this sense that there was something more for me. So I left Brisbane, Australia where I grew up for the first 28 years of my life. And I moved over to Boston to study an MBA that was nine months in Boston, three months in Shanghai and China. So very different to, to Brisbane, Australia where I grew up and about as far away from that as you can get. And that was where the fir for the first time, I was exposed to people who were launching products, coming up with business ideas.
They were pitching for investors, they were doing all, it was, it was around the time when Uber had just launched and there were a lot of similar type of companies being pitched. So it was amazing to actually be boots on the ground in an entrepreneur hub like Boston. I was organizing events in entrepreneurship and that was where I could see people who were my age and younger who were doing the things that they loved and, and on that journey. And I just, I loved being a part of that and I found that I naturally gravitated towards people who had their own business. And that was the moment for me where I just, you know, got involved in, in launching and involved in the launch of, of basically products and, um, companies in basically every industry you can think of.
Hmm. Wow. That’s fascinating. And, and you mentioned the events that you organized events. Tell me a bit more about that. Cuz I love events myself.
Oh, they’re great. So I was president of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club at my university, and that gave me a little bit of an avenue. And, and you, you’ve gotta take any competitive advantage that you can get. If I was some random who was email, you know, cold emailing or cold calling people in Boston, Hey, can you come and speak at this event? It would’ve been a lot more difficult because I had the backing of the university. I had a great relationship with all of those people there. They were owned by ef, which is, I believe the largest education company in the world. And I had a pretty good vision of the type of things that I wanted to go and organize. So we would have events like, um, where we had the, the founder of Kiva, Jessica, Jack, who would come and speak at that event. I would be speaking there. We we had all these amazing entrepreneurs and it was just so cool to be a part of that and, and just feel the thrill and the energy and exposure to, to different ideas. I’m a massive, and because I do a lot of speaking at events, I, I really understand the power of it, but even when I speak at events, I still love being part of it as an attendee because just the relationships that can be established, the ideas that you get are just absolutely phenomenal.
Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing that occurs to me too. Cause I attend a lot of events and it’s about relationship, right? Like, um, you get to, you know, I don’t like the word networking, right? Because networking sounds like, uh, in order to, right? Like I meet people in order to do something or accomplish something for myself, right? But, um, but really what it is, is, is is, um, relationships, right? It’s like, um, meeting people to create new relationships and cultivating existing relationships.
Yeah, it’s so true. So when, when I think about the term networking, all I think about is people with their business cards trying to flick them around like ninja stars, and it’s like the only, the only the only criteria of success they have is to get their card into the hands of as many people as possible, right? But if the end of the day, if the, you know, you, you have been there, I’ve been there. If at the end of an event we’re pulling out a stack of business cards out of our pocket, we’ve got no idea what’s going on. I, i, I much prefer the approach that Tim Ferris takes. He talks about go narrow, but go long. You’re trying to go there. I, and, and every event that I attend, I’m always, I always think about who are the sort of four or five or six people who are gonna be there, who I would love to connect with.
I research those people really well, and I’m trying to ask unique questions that they haven’t been asked before. I’m trying to bring a good energy. I’m trying to think about what can I do to serve and be of value to them. And if you can build yourself up to a point where you can add value to influential people, then they’re gonna want to be part of your sphere. They’re gonna want to connect you with other interesting people. You need to be committed to having a vision and providing that value. And once you do that well enough, that’s where people turn around and say, what can I do to help you? And that is where the whole world opens up for you.
Ah, absolutely. You just sparked an idea. Like, that would be a great podcast. You’d like to research those four or five people, um, going with, uh, you know, like an SM 58 with, um, a microphone flag that, uh, that has the name of the podcast and say, Hey, James Whitaker, I’ve heard a lot about you. I’d love to interview you, um, for a podcast. It’s gonna take about five, 10 minutes. So, you know, my first question to you is like, so when the day, what inspired that <laugh>? Right? So wouldn’t that be a great podcast? Like you could do it live and have cocktail, um, cocktail party, um, sounds in the background, <laugh>.
Absolutely. You know, there’s, there’s, there’s something that happened to me fairly recently, so I was, uh, yeah, a big part of that. What is it? The Wayne Gretzky quote, if you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, um, very good, very good friend of mine, Don Green, he’s the, um, CEO of the Napoleon Hill Foundation. I’ve written two books with the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Yes. He said he’s coming to, um, he’s coming to la Um, there’s this event being hosted by a guy called Ramy El-Batrawi. He’s a very successful billionaire. His house is in the, in the Hollywood Hills. And, um, I had so much going on. I’ve got two young kids. It’s, it’s difficult for me to, you know, to, to get out there on the pavement as much as I want. And my buddy Brandon Adams was in town and I said, let’s just, you know, let’s go for this for, for only a few hours.
Um, that’s better than, that’s better than nothing. So we were able to go to this event, uh, at this house there’s maybe 60 or 70 people there. And one of the people who was speaking at this event was Dr. John Gray, who wrote books like, men Are From Mars, women Are From Venus, sold more than 50 million copies. And after that, like, while we were at that event, I said to John, big fan of your work, um, I have a podcast. It’s got more than 10 million views now. It’s doing, it’s doing quite well. Um, I dunno when you head back, but I would love to bring you into the studio. Cause I do all of my interviews in the studio in la would love to sit you down and, and really delve into your work. That was Sunday night, Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM We were sitting in the studio because we were, I I turned up to the event, was able to find someone who’d been an amazing fit for my podcast.
I did the ask, I did the research and set everything up as quick as I could. That is by far the most successful, uh, in, in terms of, um, downloads and, and, and social media engagement by far the number one episode that I’ve got. And it just, it just speaks to me so much. I’ll, I’ll, it’ll never cease to amaze me the power of just turning up, um, to, to do things like that. You just have no idea what’s gonna happen. But if you say it, if you stay at home, there’s not gonna be a knock at the door of, of a huge opportunity being handed to you. You’ve gotta go and fund it.
You’ve gotta show up.
Yep. You’ve gotta show up. But yeah. And so, um, you know, um, what kind of, what role have relationships played in developing your career? Like, you know, how what is the impact of your focus on relationships on all of that?
It has been everything because I had a really interesting, um, turning point in my life when I realized once you reach a certain point, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this, you don’t need to chase opportunities because opportunities start finding their way to you. It’s a really amazing position to, to be in, whether it’s relationships, opportunities, whatever it is, it’s so many different thousands of, of ways that that can, that can manifest. But to take it right back, anytime that I would’ve a conversation with someone, I’ve been, I’ve been interviewing people now for, for over 10 years for different projects and things that I’ve been involved in. I’ve always tried to get better at the skills of interviewing, and I’ve always naturally had a curiosity about other people and what makes them successful and all of those different things. And I also do a lot of research to make sure I’m not asking them the same generic questions that they’re gonna be getting asked on every single show that they’ve been on.
So inevitably at the end of the interview, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s very likely that the person’s gonna be very appreciative for the conversation that we have had. I’m thinking about what can I do, um, to add value to that person. Maybe it’s someone that I can connect them with in my network or whatever it is, and I’m always staying front of mine with them as well. Like, I’m, I’m, I’m staying in touch. I’m, I’m sending them audio messages. I’m just letting them know that I’m here, I’m providing value to you however I can. And, and I’m thinking of you. And when you can do that, and you have a, have built up that social capital with people and you have a specific ask like, Hey, um, whoever person I know you are connected with this number one New York Times bestselling author, it’s a dream of mine to get that person on the podcast.
What do I need to do to make it happen? By the way, here are some people who I’ve had on my podcast recently who could be a good fit for you, or, um, it’s a bit like what Joe Polish talks about in his new book, what’s in It for Them? I know Joe is a, um, a good influence for, for both of us. Um, he always talks about making sure that you can lead with that value of what you are providing to someone else. And a big mistake that people make is they focus so hard on the transaction, they’re reaching out like, rich, I need you to do this for me. And it’s like, well, who the, who the hell are you? And like, what, what’s the, what’s the point? I’m a I’m a busy person. Why do I have to go outta my way to, to do that?
But if you can say, rich, you know what? I know that this is a big goal of yours for the next 12 months, I found two or three people who I think could be a really valuable connection for you. Here they are. Here is a link to more information about them. If you’d like an introduction to those people, just let me know. Also, this is something that’s really important to me. I’m fully respectful to your relationship. So if the answer is no or you don’t feel comfortable doing it, that’s totally fine. But I noticed you’re connected with this person. If you felt comfortable making an email introduction or a text message introduction, I’d really appreciate it. And then you follow up with that a few days or, or a week later. That’s the exact strategy that I’ve used to be able to interview people like Barbara Corkran, Rob Deek, Bob Proctor, um, you know, some of the most successful people in the planet. And, and it’s just, it’s, it’s amazing to see it all snowballing.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, you me, it’s funny you mentioned that Joe Polish, um, has been a, a big influence on both of us. And, and the immediate thing that popped in my mind is like, you and me have both wearing black t-shirts, <laugh> Joe Polish raises a black t-shirt. So clearly he has influenced us stuff.
<laugh> We got the memo. I’m sure Joe’s sitting somewhere wearing his black shirt right now.
Right, exactly. Except his says Genius network, but <laugh>, uh, but nevertheless, yeah, absolutely. And, um, so, and kind of what about resourcefulness? Like what is, um, yeah, how does resourcefulness help, um, help an entrepreneur and help you in, in, in what you do?
Well, that, so if, if I was to really, so much of my work now has been is studying the essence of success. What is it? How can you create it? There’s so many different methodologies out there, and all of them, all of them are great. But to me it really boils down to two things, resourcefulness and resilience. If you can get really good at resourcefulness, meaning that you are able to acquire whatever you need to be able to achieve your goal. Relationships, like we just spoke about, is a very big component of that. So resourcefulness on one side as well as resilience on the other side, meaning that you persist in the face of adversity when it inevitably strikes, then the world is your oyster.
Recover from getting knocked down <laugh>.
Exactly. And I mean, as a, as a parent now, I mean, like, these are the things that I’m trying to be focused on, on teaching my kids who are one year old and, and almost four years old. So they’re, they’re still very young. But I, I think back about the times in my life when I really struggled. And yes, of course there’s a lot of lessons that we find in, in struggle, um, and there are things that are just gonna come out of us no matter what happens. But if you can be resourceful enough to think about that, even if you don’t take the traditional path of doing really well in high school, doing really well in university and staying at the same company, if you want to take a completely different entrepreneurial path that you can be very successful if you are focused on resourcefulness and resilience, and if you are in a relationship or a business partnership or your company tanks or you have a, a health challenge, there’s a lot of people I’ve interviewed who have been literally hit by trucks and all sorts of crazy stuff. Um, a an 18 year old who became a triple amputee, uh, after serving in Afghanistan during the war, crazy stories. If you can be resilient enough to find the gift in these challenges and keep moving forward, and that’s what opens it up for you to be able to have that income and that influence and that impact that you want to have. So I’m very, very big on on those three Rs like you and I were talking about, being relationships, resourcefulness and, and resilience. I think they’re absolutely critical.
All right, cool. Well, let’s make a segue then, um, using resilience, right? And here, watch this and tell me if, if this was a, this was a good segue, <laugh>. So, um, resilience was, was key to the success of, um, Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie in, uh, in, in the collaboration and what created Think and Grow Rich, right? So more than a century ago, um, thinking Grow Rich came out and it was a groundbreaking book. And this movement and, uh, this, this mentality of resilience helped to bring us out of the Great Depression. And it’s been a classic Napoleon Hills thinking Grow Rich, uh, for more than a century. Uh, and then fascinating thing happened is they, that you got involved with the foundation to, to update that and bring new conversations that stem from there into, into our modern time. So tell me about that and how you got involved in, uh, in the foundation and to author these books.
Yeah. Well, there were these people who were already making a movie about Think and Grow Rich, as you said, it’s the bestselling self-help book of all time, but there was never a movie made about it. And a lot of people since it came out in 1937, which was within one year of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which is another all-time classic. So there must have been something in the water back then, but this, this book, they were making a movie about it. A lot of people have sort of cannibalized it and tried to rewrite it ever since it came out. And I just, it it frustrates me because I’m very close with the people in the Napoleon Hill Foundation and I want to see, I know how powerful these principles are, and I wanna see them, um, the essence of that staying true so it can help the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.
So they were making a movie about it, and I said, well, you must have a book coming out with it. Tell me about the book. And they were very vague on the details. And I basically said to them, there’s 13 principles of Think and Grow Rich. You should provide an overview of each principle in a modern context so people can naturally identify more with that. And then tell the stories, short stories of each chapter of two or three people who personified each of those principles. People who are around today, people like Barbara Corkran and, and you know, a whole bunch of other amazing people. And that’s really what it became. So they said to me, um, can you do it? And I said, yes, I’ll knock it outta the park for you. Because they, they knew that I had, um, written a bestselling book in Australia on personal finance and motivation before that, but it was still a, a, it’s, it even seems weird now.
It’s a very daunting mission to write a modern companion to the bestselling self-help book of all time. But ever since I came up with that initial concept, which I was very happy just to give them, you know, just to, just because I thought it was a good idea for them to run with. They turned around and said, can I do it? So the next bit of that was to not overthink it. I just needed to stay true to that vision and make sure it was something truly unique that would actually enact change for people who read it. So I came on board as executive producer of the film and author of the book, um, not long after that meeting. And that’s how I got involved with the, the foundation.
That’s amazing. And, uh, um, and so, and, and the books in particular, it’s, um, mental Dynamite was the, the about the initial conversations.
Uh, yes. So that was an unreleased Napoleon Hill manuscript that they asked me to come in and, and revise. You know, there’s a lot of, a lot of things have changed in that time. One of the first things I did was change the, the, the, um, the masculine language so much of around, you know, what he thinks he becomes type stuff to make it, to make it more inclusive. And that’s just the way that they wrote. They were being inclusive at the time, but today it doesn’t sort of feel like it if you were reading that. Right. And also providing examples of some extraordinary people who have done some really cool things since that was first written. So that was Andrew Carnegie’s Mental Dynamite. And the other book is called Think and Grow Rich, the Legacy. That’s the one that’s, um, released alongside the film.
Absolutely. And, um, and so tell me about the film and, and like the production of that and, and what that’s created.
Yeah, it was very cool. I have had absolutely zero experience in films before. You know, I, I enjoyed, I still enjoyed watching, watching films, but I had no background whatsoever. And a big thing that that taught me was that you can have expertise, a type of specialized knowledge. As Napoleon Hill describes it, you can have it in a completely separate industry. And because you haven’t had the experience of being involved in a specific industry, that those people almost had the blinkers pulled over their eyes so much because they just have a way of doing things. You can offer a fresh perspective. And that’s what I was able to do to really help with the, um, the film production. So we had a, a, a big premiere in la which was a, a really cool moment, had the red carpet and, and all of those, um, all of those different things. So it was a, a really cool project to be involved with.
Awesome. Um, and so when the day is a is a catchphrase of a lot of what you do, including the podcast and, um, and so, so really like, I guess the, the glue that ties together is what you call the win the Day movement. So, so tell me about what, what’s at the core of that,
That all that all stems for me from when I was young. I had this debilitating, um, battle with anxiety and absolutely crushed me. I reached a point when I was 23 years old where I basically just said, I can’t live like this anymore. I was just at a complete rock bottom. And what I realized is that I was very reactionary to life. I was just going with the flow. I had zero intent about the people I was hanging out with, what I was putting into my body, how I was sleeping, what I was reading, you name it, all the attributes of success. And I was doing the complete opposite with zero intention. And the way that I like to think about that is the opposite of Think and Grow Rich, because just as we can think and grow rich, we can think and grow poor.
And that was where I made a decision to really just basically plan a flag to life and say, here I am, come and get me. And I’ve committed to consuming every single thing that I can find on peak performance and interviewing the most successful people in the world to really unlock what are those secrets and what is that formula to success to be able to help younger people to succeed. And a big part of that was when I sort of realize that each day, if you do not make the decision to win, you have automatically made the decision to lose. That’s where it really got my brain ticking about, well, how can we give something, how, how can we give people something that they can remember when they wake up every day? Just that simple mentality. And that all comes down to that win the day.
It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday, there is no tomorrow. What are we gonna do today? And how is that, how are we gonna turn up? What is the, the rhythm through how we want to go about the day and what standards does that win the day commitment dictate how we get out of bed? Um, do we give ourselves some type of sacrifice, like a cold shower or doing yourself doing something that you don’t wanna do first thing in the morning? How are we sending love to people? How are we improving our skills? How are we making the time for physical health, mental health, connecting with our children, our partner? How are we honoring our, our legacy through the work that we are doing? So all of those things are incorporated in that win the day mentality, and it’s something that I just really love to do.
Yeah. And so it’s about, um, setting, setting a mindset or, um, setting it sounds like setting, setting a mindset and asking the question of how, like how can I win this day? Exactly. Putting your attention on that.
Yeah, exactly. Because if you don’t, if you don’t have a focus, and, and really there’s even one part of that that’s very simple that it’s most people don’t do, is when you wake up at some part of your morning routine, make sure you have an idea of the three things that you’re going to do today that will make today a win. Most people wake up and they’re just, they spend all their time on emails and as a result of that, they’re on autopilot, getting addicted to the accumulated stress rather than having any intentional actions of doing the specific two or three things each day that are gonna move them closer to where they need to be or even, and, and they don’t all need to be about work. I mean, the three things that I write down in my journal every single day, uh, there’s usually two related to to work.
One of them is always related to the family. It might be something like, today I wanna make sure I, I can cook dinner to take some pressure off the, off the household. My wife works very hard. It might be to make sure I can go and get a fitness class in that I want to, that I wanna do. It’s to make sure I can pick my daughter up from preschool at the very first minute I can, so she doesn’t have to stand there wondering where I am. So there’s little things like that that I include in that what would make today a win. But every single day I always have three things that I’m gonna do today that that’re gonna help me embody that win the day mentality.
Awesome. So if people wanna learn more about you or get in touch with you, how they go about doing, so
Yeah, you can go to my website, JamesWhitt.com or connect with me on Instagram at James wit, uh, or even TikTok. TikTok. I’m, I’m focusing pretty hard on at the moment, so my handle for TikTok is JP Wit.
And so that’s, um, Whitt, w-h-i-t-t.
Awesome. Well, um, James, thanks so much for being here. Great to see you. Um, and uh, I appreciate you taking the time to, to do this interview.
Hey, thanks Rich, having such a great podcast and for having me on.
Thanks for listening to Innovations and Breakthroughs with your host Rich Goldstein. Be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web at innovationsandbreakthroughs.com and we’ll see you next time.