For Greg Yates, owning over a dozen businesses with nearly a thousand employees came to an abrupt end when he found himself in prison. It wasn’t the story he anticipated telling his grandkids, but Yates nonetheless wrote a book about how hitting rock bottom propelled him to reinvent himself.
When touring with his first book, Yates discovered he wasn’t alone. In fact, he found that people around the world felt imprisoned by their own limiting beliefs. Yates went on to become a successful coach, teaching the foundational principles that allowed him to rise from the ashes. Along the way, he discovered that beyond any motivational speech or productivity hack, he had the ground-level truth that who we believe we are is who we become.
Yates began helping his coaching clients shift the stories they told themselves about who they are, and even started his own mastermind group, with the help of what he learned from The Mastermind Playbook.
Greg stands out as a remarkable example of someone who redefined his vision and purpose to dramatically transform his life circumstances. Perhaps that’s why his life story reflects many of the principles detailed in Chapter 11 of Who Not How.
The Foundation of Meaning
Sullivan begins Chapter 11 by offering a quote by Blake Mycoskie particularly relevant to Greg Yates’s wisdom:
“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger—something that matters.”
Sullivan gives several examples of how meeting the right person can unlock a greater sense of meaning and purpose in one’s life.
He explains how he and his wife encountered legal trouble when trying to adopt children, and how, at one point, they even had their foster children illegally taken away from them. They had no idea how to prevent such a thing from happening again, until they met an esteemed adoption attorney in their area named Dale Dove.
With Dove’s help, they ensured their rights as foster parents, and adopted the children who became their greatest life purpose. By finding the right “who,” Sullivan discovered the greatest sense of meaning for his life by getting the chance to raise children.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more examples of how leaders can find a sense of meaning and purpose.
Expanding Your Definition of “Possible”
Sullivan also provides another example of someone who needed the right “who” to find his life purpose, one familiar to fantasy fans around the world.
Sullivan talks about the friendship between Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien and The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis. Sullivan explains that Tolkien would not have written The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion without the encouragement of Lewis. In fact, Tolkien said that for many years, Lewis was the only member of his audience.
Similarly, Lewis turned to Tolkien and his fellow Oxford colleagues after having a crisis of faith and suffering from depression. With their encouragement, Lewis was able to regain his faith, and the inspiration he needed to complete his life’s work.
Sullivan uses the story of Tolkien to demonstrate the broader psychological principle of fundamental attribution error, also known as correspondence bias or over-attribution bias. This cognitive bias causes individuals to overemphasize personality-based explanations for how a person acts.
The phenomenon is especially pronounced in Western cultures that emphasize individual autonomy. As a result, people often assume that an individual’s behavior is simply the result of the “kind” of person they are. However, in reality, situational variables play a profound role in influencing how an individual behaves in the world.
Sullivan explains that it would be foolish to assume that Tolkien writing The Lord of the Rings was an inevitable consequence of his literary and linguistic genius. The truth is that without Lewis, and other environmental influences, the trilogy would never have come into existence.
Sullivan gives many other examples of how surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to uncovering your life purpose. He even goes as far as to say that the “whos” in your life become your life purpose, by expanding your definition of the word “possible.”
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more information on the importance of vision and goal setting.
The Power of Moonshots
Sullivan also discusses the “moonshot” philosophy that John F. Kennedy implemented when he set the audacious goal of putting a man on the moon. This seemingly impossible goal spurred a groundswell of scientific innovation and public enthusiasm.
No wonder the moonshot philosophy has become an integral idea for the most influential business and government leaders today. Google even has an entire department dedicated to moonshots, called Google X.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for advice on how to define your own moonshots, and achieve them.
How Mastermind Leaders Can Expand their Vision
Mastermind leaders absolutely must know how to connect with people who expand their vision and purpose. Mastermind facilitators should always bring new members into the group who can expand the vision of other members.
Moreover, finding the right members, business partners, and collaborators can expand your vision for what’s possible for the mastermind group itself. A big part of helping members to succeed is connecting them to the “whos” that can make the “how” irrelevant when it comes to achieving their most ambitious goals.
Check out The Mastermind Playbook for more tips on how leaders can help their members expand their beliefs of what’s possible.