“… the life I have today is so dramatically different than what I had when I was homeless in Dallas decades ago that it’s almost unbelievable, but it happens to a lot of people. There have been many people who have been homeless and they went on and they became inspired leaders or authors, making a difference in the world. How do you do this? You do it by constantly picking yourself up and moving forward and following inspiration. That’s what it takes.”
Toni Reece: Thank you so much, Joe, for agreeing to be part of this Project, and before we begin, can you please introduce yourself?
Joe Vitale: Well, I’m Joe Vitale. I’ve written numerous books, including the recent one, Attract Money Now.
Toni: Well thank you, Joe, for being here.
Joe: Of course.
Toni: So Joe, when you think of that word inspiration, who do you inspire, and how does it happen?
Joe: Well, I’m hoping I’m inspiring the people reading my books or watching the movies or listening to my audios. I’ve felt since a very early age that my mission is to inspire people to go for and achieve their dreams. So I’m hoping I’m doing that through everything that I’m producing and sharing with the world.
Toni: Joe, forgive those of us who may not be familiar with this body of work that you have created. Can you help us understand, how does that inspiration happen? How does someone learn from Joe?
Joe: Well, I would hope the primary reason or way that they learn from me is through my books. I’ve been writing books since 1985. I’ve written 52 books. The most famous is probably my book, The Attractor Factor that got me into the movie “The Secret” and, of course, that got me all over the place, all over the globe. I do all of this to teach people to look within themselves, find their goal, their calling, their mission, their life purpose, and then give them the techniques and the encouragement to go for it. This is what I’m doing with my production of books and audios and DVDs.
Toni: Joe, there’s been a theme that’s been flushing out, unintentionally, through the Get Inspired! Project, and it is, whether it’s been a jazz musician to a hypnotist to a hospice worker, and people are talking about, with these questions, their passion and purpose. When you are inspiring others to find that passion and purpose, what do you think is the number one thing that they have to do? What happens? What do you give them or teach someone that they can start to look towards that passion and purpose?
Joe: Well, there’s two or three things that I always ask people to do. One of them is to pretend that they were already wealthy. Everything’s paid for. They won the lottery, and it was up to 65 million dollars, and after they paid taxes and went around the world 50 times and bought 30 cars and five homes and did everything that they wanted to do and indulged themselves, they wake up one morning – what are they going to do now? That will help lead them to their inspired path.
Another thing I ask people to do is remember when they were a child, and what did you do for fun? What did you do for your pastime? What was your hobby? What did you do for relaxation? What did you say you wanted to do when you grew up? And that can be anything from “I wanted to be a fireman” to “I wanted to be the President” and anything in between. So I encourage people to look within themselves to find their own inspiration.
I end up telling my story, hopefully to inspire them, because I was homeless 30-some years ago. I was in poverty for a very long time, and here I am with all these books and TV appearances and everything else. And so I tell this story only to say “Look, wherever you’re at right now is only your temporary current reality, and it will change as soon as you start following your inspiration.”
And your inspiration is as available as your next breath. You just have to look within yourself and say “Okay, if I was carefree and everything was paid …” or “If I was a child again, what would I be doing? What would I be creating? What would I be serving? What would my inspirational path be?” That all helps to lead in the right direction.
Toni: How does that help people then explore their potential? Once they figure that piece out, what happens after that?
Joe: Well, they have to go and do it. I’m a great believer in taking action, and you can’t just think about these things. You can’t just nod your head and go “Oh, that’s a great idea, that feels wonderful, and that was a wonderful moment.” You have to then implement it. You have to bring it to life.
I really believe that each of us has an inspired path, and when we start following our inspired path, everything comes together. We start to feel happier. We start to feel healthier. I think our prosperity increases, our wellbeing increases, our connection with the other people and with the Universe increases, all when we start following that inspiration.
So for me you have to take action. I am the guy whose middle name is action. You don’t write 52 books without taking action. You don’t appear in all these movies without taking action. You don’t fulfill your own life purpose without taking action. So I say, once you find your inspired path, breathe life into it by getting up and doing something to implement it.
And usually it will be something fun, because when you’re following inspiration and you’re now living this inspired life, you’re doing what’s bringing you the greatest joy, so it’s not real effort. You’re certainly doing things; you’re certainly taking action, but it’s not that sweaty action that you always complained about. It’s no longer work. Now it’s your life passion, and you bring it into reality. That’s when it becomes really, really cool.
Toni: So not to take away the hard work that’s going to occur when you’re working on your passion, but what I’m hearing from you is that it’s the hard work of figuring out what inspires you, to get away from what might be having you tangled, to go back to what does bring you inspiration. That may be very hard for people.
Joe: It might be, but I think it’s only hard work when they resist it. I think actually the answer is there, and when they follow the answer that they do know what to do and they’re willing to do it. But most of us resist our own good. I have been asked several times from people that would say things like “I don’t really know what I want to do in my life. I don’t really know what my path is. I don’t really know what my inspiration is.
And when they come to me for that, I’m rather blunt, and I say “Look, you’re lying. You’re lying to yourself and you’re lying to me, and maybe you’re lying consciously, maybe you’re lying unconsciously, but you are lying.”
Now, why would somebody lie about their inspired path, about their calling, about taking action? It’s because as soon as they admit what they know they’re here to do, they have to take responsibility for it. They then have to either do it or not do it and have a rationale for whatever approach they’re taking.
Most people will find it easier to just cop out. They’ll just say “I don’t know my inspired path. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. I don’t know what I really want to do with my life. I don’t know what makes me happy.” That’s all BS. It’s self-deception. It’s self-sabotage.
And so if somebody is in that mindset, yeah, it’s going to feel like hard work because they’re dodging their own answer. But when they accept the reality that we’re co-creating everything in our life as it is right now, and you can live an uninspired life, or you can live an inspired life. It really is a choice.
Henry David Thoreau said “Most people are leading this life of quiet desperation.” Most people still are, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Turn within, find what inspires you, take action on what inspires you, and the life path becomes easier.
Toni: So Joe, I think this is going to be a very easy question for you to answer – what inspires you?
Joe: Interesting. I don’t know what you’re imagining my answer would be, but I’ll tell you this. I am inspired by all the people who have gone before me, most of which have written books about what they’ve done.
I’m still a bookaholic. I write them, read them, collect them, buy them, share them, and so forth. I just love books. Even when I was homeless, my salvation was going into the public library. Anybody can go there for free. All the wisdom of the Universe, right there on the shelves. I’d pick it up, I’d start reading, and these people, whether it was Jack London or William Saroyan, some of the classic writers that have written some of the greatest American literature – those people inspired me. Those people encouraged me through their words, through their books, to reach for something more, and I’m always looking for that today.
There was a fellow by the name of Allen Carr who created a way to stop smoking, stop cigarette smoking, and he died – he got lung cancer and died because he believed in his mission. Now when I hear stories like this, I am inspired to do bigger and better things. So I’m looking for the people out there who are the trailblazers, the people who are either writing books or just … you know, Benjamin Franklin said “Either do things with writing or write things worth reading in order to really make a difference in the world.” I look for those kind of people to be inspired by.
Toni: Joe, what was … how did you have the courage to change your life? That’s been pretty apparent through the Project as well with other interviews. There’s been some phenomenal changes that people have gone through in order to change their life. Did you … was it an event, a process? What happened that got you to this point?
Joe: I’m often asked how did I go from homeless nobody to this celebrity with these bestselling books and everything else, and I used to be frustrated with the question, because I thought “Well, how do I answer that?” Until I finally realized that the best answer is to say “I did everything.”
I did everything. I read the books, I read the articles, I listened to the audios, I attended the events. I took action. I worked on myself. I worked on my beliefs. I worked on my self-esteem and deservingness. I kept moving forward. I would learn marketing techniques. I would learn about publishing. I would keep working on myself as an author, as a writer, and I would just keep taking action, just kept doing everything that occurred to me to do to move forward.
So the reason isn’t really due to courage, it had to do more with I did not like the reality I was living. I did not like being homeless. I did not like being in poverty. I did not like being unpublished and struggling. What I wanted was this vision, this inspired life that was awake in my brain and in my soul. I wanted to breathe life into that, so it was my waking reality.
And so I just kept working until that became my reality today. And the life I have today is so dramatically different than what I had when I was homeless in Dallas decades ago that it’s almost unbelievable, but it happens to a lot of people. There have been many people who have been homeless and they went on and they became inspired leaders or authors and making a difference in the world.
How do you do this? You do it by constantly picking yourself up and moving forward and following inspiration. That’s what it takes.
Toni: And the final question of the Project is, what are you doing now to explore your own potential so that you can keep moving forward and taking action, but then everyone can learn from that action as well?
Joe: Yeah … well, I keep raising the bar on myself. I used to be a runner, and I knew that during those days they had this wonderful phrase “Exceed your personal best.” It had nothing to do with competition. It didn’t matter if you won a particular race. What mattered is that you did better than the last time you ran. And so I’m always raising the bar for myself to raise my own personal best.
One of the things I’ve created is a movement called Operation Yes, and Operation Yes is a movement to end homelessness in America. And it seems like a big, wild, preposterous idea, yet I believe it’s possible, and I’ve already implemented it. I’ve got a team together. We’ve got a website up at operationyes.com. We’re working on a book for Operation Yes. I’ve got people ready to do a seminar with me on Operation Yes. I’ve got media lined up. I’ve got CNN that’s already been filming me about homelessness and ending homelessness. I’m working with another partner who’s already ending poverty in America.
It’s all coming together. Why is this coming together? Because I got the inspiration that it was possible, and then I took action to make it happen, and now we’re following through. As I do this, I’m inspiring myself, I’m inspiring the people who hear about this project, and I’m helping people realize that I don’t care what it is that you’re looking for or trying to achieve, I don’t think there’s anything impossible.
We don’t know the limits of reality, and what we have to do is go out there and test them. What I’m doing, which is coming from inspiration, is working to end homelessness with Operation Yes.
Toni: That’s fantastic. And you have absolutely brought a deeper meaning to that word inspiration in the Get Inspired! Project, and really, listening to you, Get Inspired! Project, based on your interview, could be all about getting to action, and listening to all of these people, yourself included, who have done amazing things to move themselves forward.
We can’t wait to follow this Operation Yes to see what happens next with you, and people will have all of your links at the bottom of the transcript so that they can find out more about you or buy your books. Joe, the time you’ve taken today to be part of this Project, I cannot thank you enough for that.
Joe: You are very welcome. It’s a great Project, and I encourage you to go forth with it. So Godspeed to you and everybody listening.
Toni: Thank you so much. Take care, Joe.