Can Money Buy Happiness? An Unscripted Conversation with my Business Coach

Jenna Kutcher 

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April 29, 2020


can money buy happiness episode with Dean Graziosi

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Dean Graziosi is my business coach, and he and I are very different. We approach almost all aspects of business and life differently, but sitting down with people who aren’t like you is exactly how you grow. We have this friendly banter as an odd couple in business, and I love learning from him.

I’ve shared conversations with Dean before on the Goal Digger Podcast, but I hope you don’t mind me opening up my little vault of content to share with you a conversation we recorded together with a vision of launching our own podcast together. The files have been hanging out, waiting for a plan, and I thought now was a perfect time to let you listen in on a different chat with my coach.

We broach the often controversial topic of money and happiness, and Dean shares his views on how the two are connected. I talk about my transition from corporate life to entrepreneurship, and why you might not ever get the permission you’re seeking to make a big jump in your life.

I need you to know this isn’t scripted at all. We plunked down in front of two mics with a handful of topics we wanted to cover and we hit record. In a world that is so scripted, I hope you find this conversation and back and forth interview as refreshing as it felt for us. Ready for it? Let’s go.

Who is Dean Graziosi?

I asked Dean to tell me who he is in his own words. “Someone who is evolving obsessively to be a better version of myself,” he started. Dean’s childhood was challenging, lots of moving and parents remarrying and a feeling of instability. He said, “I just ran as hard as I could away from lack of security, lack of money, lack of a stable childhood. There are a lot of things you can get obsessed with, and I got obsessed with success.”

“If I got money out of the way, I wouldn’t have to make dumb decisions,” and as raw as that statement seems, it’s not hard to see the reasoning in it.

Dean became a millionaire in his 20s, but he realized the noise in his head was still there. He knew that money helped him achieve some big goals, but that he needed to work on himself right alongside building his wealth. That’s when self-education came into his life.

After listening to and learning from great leaders in the self-education space, Dean launched his first course in the era of infomercials. And that’s Dean’s story in a nutshell.

Jumping with a Safety Net

I’m a planner. For some people, they can jump and believe a net will appear to catch them. For me, I’m way more comfortable building a net and then jumping. When I landed in my corporate office, it was nothing like I had dreamed. No windows, a long commute both ways, and fresh out of college living in a tiny village with no money. I couldn’t help but look at it all and wonder… Is this really it?

I knew I couldn’t do it forever. You know the story of my $300 camera, but it was really what made me feel passion again. I was taking pictures of whatever I could to feel that inspiration. I shot my first wedding with a fake it ‘til I make attitude and knew that if I could do this again and again, and match my salary, I was OUT of that windowless corporate office.

Dean said, “Outside voices can be loud.” And I can certainly relate to that. Wanting to leave a corporate position with benefits and a salary was borderline crazy talk for my midwest upbringing. When those around me questioned my decisions, I made sure I had an answer for everything. If I was going to fail, I wanted to fail hard.

But it wasn’t really failure I was up against. If my wedding photography business didn’t take off, I’d update my resume, proudly approach new employers explaining my efforts at going solo, and get a new job. That’s not failure, it’s renavigating. When I figured that out, it wasn’t so scary.

Want to Make a Change Today?

So many make decisions based off “if, then” statements. You need to think about what kind of life you want today, not what you’ll do IF you reach a certain point or milestone.

Do you feel like you’ve been waiting for a permission granter to come along and tell you you’re good enough to chase your dreams? You might be waiting for the rest of your life. No one can be your true permission granter. Except you. The truly successful people didn’t wait, they went.

Acknowledge that you have something that only you have. And give yourself permission to start right now.

Money Motivation

I asked Dean what gets him out of bed in the morning, and it rolled into a conversation about money as a motivator. In his 20s, the thing that kept him hopping out of the bed was making more money.

If you worry about debt, money can make that worry go away. When you’re worried about your parents, you can financially support them to make your worry go away. You want to be in a secure house? Buying with cash keeps your worries away.

“When people say that money doesn’t solve problems, it’s bullsh*t,” Dean stated quite bluntly, but do you agree? Are you motivated to get out of bed in the morning to make more money so you can keep solving problems with it? I know that mindset well.

Now Dean’s drive to grow his business is led by his obsession with making an impact. He feels a responsibility to learn more, be better, and share his knowledge with others because he can make more impact that way.

What his business looks like right now

Dean knew from even the earliest days of his business that he was great at strategic partnerships so he could accomplish an end goal while only focusing on the aspects that he was good at and wanted to handle himself. On the live events side of things, he wants to be hands-on with the education and training and marketing, but logistics are better handled by a strategic partner. And this is a model he’s followed for every other aspect of his business, from real estate to the Knowledge Broker Blueprint and beyond.

Dean told me something mind-blowing. He has never worked for anyone in his life. Not even in high school. In fact, he’s always had employees of some sort, right back to when he paid the football players on his high school team to cut wood in his firewood business.

The key thing he knows about hiring and managing strategic partnerships is that the best employees are always the ones whose values mirror his own. It doesn’t matter their pedigree or education, what their GPA was in college, or their resume stacked with past experience. Core values and a culture match is what makes his team so strong.

More from this Episode

Dean gets real and raw about his personal life, we talk about hardship and success and how they connect, and he walks me through the core values he holds in business and in life that steer his decision making right now. Plus, I share my views on the question: Can money really buy happiness? Press play wherever you get your podcasts.

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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