Lewis Howes could have gone to the school of hard knocks. His athletic abilities were a blessing for a dyslexic boy who became depressed and painfully self-conscious in school. Then a wrist injury ended the All-American’s pro football career as it was just beginning.
“Broke and broken,” Howes took the energy he’d put into football and threw himself heart-and-soul into learning more about business and marketing. Within a year, he’d cultivated a LinkedIn network that became invaluable for its 10,000 members. In the process, he discovered the power of “adding value to influential people” when, he says, he had “nothing to give.” His passion was sparked, for helping others and living life – rather than simply surviving it.
24Life caught up with Howes on the eve of the launch of his new book, “The School of Greatness,” building on the premise of his enormously successful podcast that’s been downloaded more than 5 million times. Howes is also launching the School of Greatness Academy, an eight-week bootcamp designed to help identify your passion, talents, and vision and then take action on beginning to create them.
24Life: You’ve encountered adversity, tragedy and disappointment in your life. So what made it possible to make such a lifestyle transformation?
Lewis Howes (LH): I credit my dad for teaching me from a young age that I could do anything I put my mind to. Even when I was broke, depressed, and injured, I knew it wasn’t going to always be that way. I didn’t know how I was going to make it, but I knew I was going to find a way.
24Life: What’s your message in your new book?
LH: Everyone has greatness inside of them and the world needs that greatness to be developed and shared. It’s possible for anyone to step into their potential with the right training and vision.
24Life: You also cover eight principles of greatness in your book.
LH: I’ve taken eight main principles from the incredible minds I’ve interviewed through the years that consistently show me greatness. They are each an essential component of developing the best within you, and combined together they are like a guidebook to greatness. Just like anything worthwhile, the principles need to be applied over time with a lot of dedication, but the results will follow.
24Life: Can you share more about your everyday habits that make it certain that you’ll achieve your dreams?
LH: I am big on daily habits because I know how easy it is for me to get distracted and off-course. I focus on a lot of gratitude every morning, as well as planning out every hour of my day. I drink a green juice every morning after my workout and make sure to eat healthy during the day. Every night before I go to bed, I ask the last person I talk to tell me the three things they are most grateful for.
24Life: You have so many athletic interests, from handball to acro-yoga. Can you talk about your relationship with movement and exercise?
LH: Sports have been my saving grace and sanctuary since I discovered them as a kid. I was terrible at school, struggled with dyslexia, and felt like a loser. So I channeled all my energy into sports. It’s become my foundation where I learned all my big lessons and how to keep sane. To this day it’s really important to me to stay fit and active, especially because I still want to be an Olympian someday.
24Life: It’s really easy to lose yourself in an important project – at the expense of self-care. Did you have a daily routine while you wrote the book?
LH: One of the principles of greatness I cover in the book is to build a winning team. There’s no way I could have written this book and run my business and kept healthy without my team. I delegate almost everything to them so that I can focus just on the things that only I can do. No matter how busy I’ve gotten, I make sure to take a break every day and get outside for down time and exercise.
24Life: What did you learn about yourself as you wrote the book?
LH: I really love people a lot. I feel relationships deeply and make sure people around me feel loved. I learned that when I genuinely invest in relationships without asking for anything in return, it pays off big time when I need support. I’ve spent the last 5 years giving constantly to everyone in my network, supporting them in their dreams. When it came time to ask them to support my book, I was blown away by their generosity. I’ve been doing interviews and press non-stop for the past few months because so many people have said they want to feature me. I’m really grateful.
24Life: Why do you think so many people are timid about speaking their own greatness and aspirations out loud?
LH: A lot of people are scared of the vulnerability it takes to be great. When you put your work and message out there for the whole world to see, you’re going to get haters. People will misunderstand you. You’ll be seen for who you really are. This can be really intimidating, but it’s the only way to reach your full potential.
24Life: You’ve had many mentors and now, you mentor thousands. Any advice for choosing a mentor, working with one and putting advice into action?
LH: Only think about how you can give to a mentor, not what you can get. Mentorship means both people are being served, so when you are developing a mentor relationship, think of all the ways you can support that person in their goals. You’ll pick up plenty of wisdom along the way and eventually that mentor will ask how they can support you.
24Life: How do you stay inspired? Where do you discover new ideas?
LH: I am on the internet a lot. I spend a lot of time every day on Instagram, news sites, blogs, etc. following my friends and what they’re creating. It’s really inspiring and I always get new ideas from them. Also, whenever I meet up with a friend, I pick their brain about what they’re up to and what trends they’ve been noticing.
24Life: How do you balance that screen time with time for life?
LH: I spend a lot of time on the internet (mostly on my phone). This can definitely get out of hand, so I make sure to unplug daily, either during my workout or at dinner with friends. I also go to a lot of movies by myself just to decompress and think of something new. I took my first off-the-grid (no phone or laptop) vacation to Hawaii a couple months ago, and it was amazing.