Angela Caroline Abraham is a published author and the founder of Descriptionari. Her work is sold internationally and Descriptionari reaches millions of children, youth and young adults in over a hundred different countries . . .
Scott Duffy is the Best-Selling Author of Breakthrough and On Camera Personality. He started his career working for best-selling author and speaker Tony Robbins. He went on to work for big media brands like CBS Sportsline, NBC Internet, & FOXSports.com, before launching and selling a business to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group . . . more.
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Writer and a teacher, Angela aims to make Descriptionari the place writers of the next generation go to for ideas and inspiration.
Descriptionari was founded to inspire young writers, to help our creative visionaries to publish sooner. Youth are idealists and we need their song in the world. They are our children, our beating hearts.
Angela Caroline Abraham is a published author and the founder of Descriptionari. Her work is sold internationally and Descriptionari reaches millions of children, youth and young adults in over a hundred different countries.
Above all, writing is a healing art and those who write heal both themselves and others. Technical writing skills such as punctuation are best taught separately.
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Scott started his career working for best-selling author and speaker, Tony Robbins, and went on to work for several small businesses that became big brands like CBS Sportsline, NBC Internet, andFOXSports. Next, he founded Smart Charter, an online booking tool for private aviation that was acquired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
Scott has been listed as a “Top 10 Keynote Speaker” by Entrepreneur. He has spoken at the NYSE and provided commentary in numerous media outlets including CNBC, FOX News, and CBS Radio. He is the Co-Host of Business & Burgers & Author of “Breakthrough” from Entrepreneur Press.
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Full Episode Transcript
Are you ready for an open discussion with the best of the best and the best of what’s next? Welcome to the Tony DUrso Show. Join in on a great conversation today with some of the world’s great influencers as they showcase great advice and techniques that made them the game changers they are today. Now here’s Tony DUrso.
Welcome I’m your host, Tony DUrso I interviewed some of the top entrepreneurs in the world and I thank you for joining us. I broadcast every Friday at 2:00 PM Pacific on Voice America’s Influencers Channel and you can listen to all of our shows on your Android or Apple Device. Go to tonydurso.com/mobile and get the app, Tony d u r s so.com/mobile before we get going, here’s a big thank you to some amazing sponsors of our show. Please stay tuned for an important message from Capterra, the leading free online resource to help you find the best software solution for your business and listen for a vital message from LinkedIn on how the right hire can make a huge impact on your business. More info on them just ahead. So please stay tuned.
Today’s show is with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionary and Breakthrough Author. All right, here’s some info on Angela. Angela Abraham is a published author and the founder of Descriptionary. Her work is sold internationally and Descriptionary reaches millions of children, youth and young adults in over a hundred different countries. Here we go. Welcome to the show, Angela. So great to have you on with us today.
Angela: Yeah, it’s pretty good to be here with you, Tony.
Well, great. You know, I always love speaking to someone from another country. I love accents, your English for the audience. However, you’re also very Americanized. It’s not a very strong English accent. There’s little side joke here. I think we’re going to be able to understand you today.
Angela: I really, really hope so. Yeah. I mean for the audience, I spent 12 years living in Canada, which is what I see what you’re referring to. So yeah, a little bit Americanized: North Americanized.
All right, well let’s introduce you a little bit more to the audience, Angela. First things first, let’s talk about how did it all start for you? What’s your backstory?
Angela: Well, as you said, I’m English. I was born in Hastings, which is a little fishing town on the south coast. And to go right back, I guess at age three, I was a storyteller. I used to sit in the corner of the bedroom and tell my brothers bedtime stories. And so, my parents never had to buy story books. I will just tell stories and make them up. And I was always a child, loved nature. I just loved plants, loved animals. And really that’s who I still am. And that’s led me to where I am. So yeah, I found it Descriptionari back in 2011 and that is a website that helps to inspire millions of users worldwide with creative writing and increasingly with positive mental health. So that’s kind of where my creative storytelling part of me went. But also the part of me that loved nature led me to study biology.
So I have a Biology Degree and I have a Master’s Degree in Conservation. And the two of those things together led me to the other things that I do. So again, roundabout 2014 especially, I became increasingly concerned about the crisis in youth mental health with the increasing, levels of anxiety, depression, suicide, and self-harm. And I was also very concerned about, looking at environmental destruction, destructions of forests, pollution in the oceans, pollution of the air and soil. And then I added to that that I have a very strong faith in God and that God said that love is the answer. And to me, the destruction of the natural world is nothing short of the vandalism of creation. And then when we, when we deciding whether or not we’re going to act to protect the forests or to protect the oceans or to hold pollution, then it’s a form of gambling with nature itself, with creation.
And so all of those things, the creativity, the concern for our youth the concern for environmental destruction and pollution and my faith added up to me writing a book on social evolution. And that book is a one-third biomedically appropriate social policies. And about two-thirds of it is more about storytelling, linguistics, um, because before we had a financial system and before we had a modern world, we had storytelling and it was all storytelling that helped keep our cultures, on track and heading in the right direction. And the other reason I wrote that book on social evolution recently is like, Einstein said that to save the earth we would need a new paradigm. And so for me, again, as a person with a very strong face, God said, love is the answer. And that’s what I believe. So the way I went about doing social evolution was to say, well, I’m not looking for an answer.
I already have the answer. My job is to show why love is the answer. And I have done that at a fortuitous time because, near as science has recently shown that love is the right answer to, positive brain health. Medical biology has just shown that love is the right answer for treating positive health of the body as well. And so with my background in biology and with my background in, trait and storytelling, I was able to write this book about social evolution, which is a bit like a slow revolution. It’s about doing things in a way that’s, biologically appropriate and, in a way that’s kind of slow and kind to everybody, if that makes sense.
I think so. Social evolution to me sounds like planting a seed in the ground. It’s very small and it eventually grows in a bush or a flowering tree and it takes time. So that’s kind of the concept is to enact, create change now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean dramatic overnight, but start implementing, okay.
Angela: I think one thing that I really thought about was any time we look at revelations happening, they always come with really bad consequences. You know, whether it’s starvation or whether, all these social upheavals, they don’t tend to lead anywhere good. But as I think the way you said it, that it’s like putting out good seeds. To me that’s like a perfect analogy because certainly what I do on Descriptionari in a lot of the very small descriptions that I write, I put very small, good ideas inside descriptions as well so that they go out not as, um, not as anything dramatic, not as anything revolutionary, but to help slowly move us towards, a world is more loving, more kind, more caring and more mindful about our impact on the world and making sure that that impact is a good one.
I think some people are going to be in agreement with that, slight little joke there. I actually hold a lot of people. Angela, let’s introduce the audience to what is Descriptionari and how does that fit in with social evolution? You just mentioned a little bit, let’s take it from the bottom and kind of explain this for us.
Angela: Right, so Descriptionari has about 14 to 15,000 descriptions on it currently. And what I tried to do, and increasingly since 2017, 2018 when I became much more aware of the social evolutionary aspect of descriptionary is to firstly again put good ideas into descriptions to help you. So if you’re, reading descriptions about, emotions to do that in a way that’s constructive and positive for their mental health. So, I show that if I’m writing something about that’s difficult, like depression, I’m trying to show that, I understand where they are in a really realistic way, but at the same time through the word choices that I make and the way that I weave the words together to help softly implant ideas of progression towards a better place for mental health and it usually shows that really stick path because it doesn’t help people who are in initiating feeling depressed too to make light of it or to do it in a way that says, and now you can be happy.
So it is doing in a way that’s realistically helpful because when, when you are suffering from a mental health issue, small steps are like giant leaps. And so for somebody who’s mentally healthy, they might think that you know, the steps that you’re trying to make is inconsequential. But to you, it’s just massive and difficult. So I write in a way that is hopefully realistically bringing them on and softly planting ideas again by word choices because word choices are massively important because it helps to program the brain in a better way. So Descriptionari is part of what I do as a social evolutionist. It wasn’t, to begin with. I think when I started in 2011, I, I knew I wanted to do something. I knew I wanted to help youth. So I knew I was very concerned about the environment. I knew that it’s like the crisis in youth mental health was just, um, was just very painful to me personally as a mom, um, just as a human being.
So I started it and it did grow into being that and as I developed it, I learned Iself taught really new ways to make the writing better, for youth. And that’s it. As I was doing that, the things that I was learning and these small ideas I was putting out, I guess over time they were like tiny fragments of a jigsaw puzzle just and so of the years it started to build a picture of what a better world could look like in terms of how could we build differently. How could we farm differently? How could we tell stories differently? How could we approach our language differently? You know, what words I’m missing in our language? What words are dominant in our language and what is that, how does it change our culture? You know, how does that help us or prevent us from doing what we need to do as a species?
Angela for the audience it Descriptionari when I hear that word I think of dictionary, but this is more, can you, what’s the difference between a dictionary and you’re the founder of Descriptionari.
Angela: That is a great question. So as a dictionary, you look it up and you get a definition for a word on Descriptionari. If you look up the word happy, it will give you a lot of descriptions where the person in the description is happy, feeling happiness, and as you read that, it gives you the inspiration of happiness, a deeper intuition of what happiness really is, rather than just, I think a definition. After we read it and somehow it stops at a very cerebral level. Whereas descriptionari when you read about happy, you can get a very deep sense of what happiness is and even how to become happy because maybe often as writers were writing to heal, right? All arts are essentially healing arts and writing is the same. So often when we are writing, we are searching for how to be a better person or how to develop ourselves or how to be happy, how to raise ourselves up and mature, to escape the sadness. And so descriptionari helps with that.
Angela, when I hear this, I’m thinking, well, let’s put it this way. I love to get some examples. For example, on happy as a Descriptionari. I would think of, I’m just maybe a little silly happy as someone who enjoys life and doesn’t need drugs, is that sort of the description of your happiness to someone that doesn’t have to go to the psychiatrist? Is that sort of a thing or am I like way off base here
Angela: Your way, way off based.
We need examples.
Angela: All right. Give me a sec because as I’m talking to you now, I’m on my phone and I’m just pulling up my website. Okay, here’s one, it’s not happy. I am just going to take from the front page. So this one is called shocked; ‘My brain starters for a moment and my eyes take in more light than I expected. Every part of me goes on pause while my thoughts catch up. After a wash of cold, I stepped back. I stepped from the shadows, feeding new wounds to the day I placed one hand on Caleb’s shoulder. It will be okay. It will. ‘So that was shock.
Story, like a story dictionary sort of a thing?
Angela: Yes. And so sometimes I’ve had kids write to me and say, what’s the rest of that story you tell me? Because that story could go in any one of pretty much infinite ways. You know, depending, you know, everyone, anyone who, who read that and wanted to write a story with because you can just write a completely different story, right? To give you that feeling is to try to soak you into that emotionality of what it is to be shocked and how your body would respond to shock. And so if you, at some point in your life you felt shock, you would probably be more likely to recognize, oh, I’m feeling shocked rather than feeling confused, or not sure of what your emotion was. So it helps to boost your emotional intelligence in that way you’ll see yourself an understanding of who you are and how you’re feeling.
This is cool. This is the Tony DUrso Show just to head the chat continues with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author. But first, it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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All right, we’re back on the Tony DUrso Show. Today show is with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author.
Angela’s book, Social Evolution One ‘O’ One sometimes a flower covers both biomedically appropriate social policy-making and how the entertainment industry can help bring about healthy and happy societies. The manuscript of the book has been read by senior politicians of all parties in academics. It has been universally well received. All right, and now back to the chat with Angela. Angela, I’d like to know how does this impact politics and while we’re at it, can you pull up your Descriptionari of politics and give that to us? Give us the whole thing.
Angela: Oh my gosh. Politics Let me just see.
I hope it sounds like super long.
Angela: To talk about it in terms of politics first. I’m doing this as I’m talking, as I’m trying to look at something. In terms of politics. There are some things you need to just kind of understand a little bit before we can talk about that because when we feel loved, it switches on the sort of the supercomputer part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex. And when we feel afraid we get locked down into our primitive brain, which is like an old clunky computer that’s got, like windows 1.0 and it just runs all programs. That’s a bit like how primitive brain.
I don’t think that’s supported anymore.
Angela: It is actually,
That’s a little joke, Windows 1.0 sorry, no more support
Angela: Zero sizes are supported so when you’re living in a fearful society or when you are constantly exposed to theory or whether it’s through the news media or advertising or anything, you use more of, that primitive brain rather than your supercomputer prefrontal cortex. And so when you’re afraid you develop your primitive survival instinct small, they say the brain is more like a muscle than we ever knew before. It’s what you use, you develop and becomes more interconnected and it develops. So in a society that’s more loving and kind and empathic, more people are able to use their prefrontal cortex. They’re sort of the supercomputer part of the brain and that you have to have that bit of the brain switched on to use all the best bits of humanity, sort of empathy, logic, and self-control are all part of that higher region of the brain.
So when we tried to create a more socially evolved society, we have to know that’s true because if people are being afraid, that means people won’t have, they can’t have as much self-control. So that impacts law and order. If people are afraid and they can’t use this supercomputer part of the brain, they can’t do very well in school. So that impacts education. It also impacts how you are in personal relationships because that sort of primitive part of your brain is reactive and impulsive. Whereas the supercomputer part of your brain, your prefrontal cortex is responsive and responsible. So he wants to have a responsible society. People have to be in an environment where they feel loved. And of course that goes for children, you know, even perhaps more so than adults. But the other thing we need to realize is that when people feel, especially when children feel afraid, over 900 of their genes are switched into a survival mode and that prepares them for a shorter life.
And the other thing that it does is it keeps them in their primitive brain more so their primitive brain develops instead of the higher brain. And then they get a trauma brain architecture. And the other thing we need to know about stress and things is that it bubbles down in society to the most vulnerable to babies, to children. And that if you compare the brain of a three-year-old to a newborn baby, 90% of their brain development happens between birth and three years. So compared to all other mammals, humans are all born prematurely. So, we actually have a highly evolved or a society that’s moving in the right direction, we need to have a society where people genuinely feel more loved and, so now I just bring you on to politics because I had to just explain that for, I can talk about politics.
Angela: One quick pause. This is Angela Abraham, founder of Descriptionari and you can find more about this at descriptionari.com
Which I’m going to spell descriptionari, d, e s c r, i p t, i o n a r i.com descriptionari.com. All right, Angela, let’s get the politics part now into place.
Angela: Alright, so given that our brains and our bodies only do well in conditions where we feel loved, so in politics, we need to be creating biomedically appropriate social policies because when we feel loved and fear is reduced, that means stress is reduced. A reduction in stress means that we don’t get sick as often at all. We have to have a certain amount of stress in our lives, but too much is extremely damaging both to the body and the brain. And so when we have these conditions where people feel loved and safe, you have, everybody can have self-control because that’s a higher brain function. When you have self-control, crime goes down. So you have a nice more orderly, calm society. And also public expenditure on crime and such also goes down. So again, your health goes up and, educational results go up.
Social cohesion goes up. So you get to have a society, you get to have a community and we know daddy’s far cheaper to prevent all the problems caused by poverty. It’s far cheaper to solve poverty than it is to prevent or take care of all the problems that are caused by poverty. And it’s also, it’s the right thing to do. Social getting to love and care, it’s the morally right thing to do. And beyond that, in politics, we need to understand that we should be more having philosophical discussions with deep listening skills than debate because the debate is a verbal form of warfare and it creates stress. And the opponents are trying to trigger sort of theory actions and their opponent for an advantage. And so that’s very bad for the discussion itself because it’s knocking everybody down into their primitive brain.
So it’s not going to be a thoughtful listening type conversation and it will also impact the public. So if your audience is listening to a debate, it evokes stress, and it’s going to trigger them into a stressful frame of mind. They’re less likely to think of, solutions than they would if it was a philosophical discussion. And beyond that, we can extend these ideas into things like the world of work. So when society evolved into what it is now, it was best that people work from age 20 to 60 years because most of the work was manual labor. But now we’re moving on into an age of automation. It makes a lot of sense for people to have a lot more time to raise their children and raise their families so that they’re not so stressed. So, the stress is not bubbling down to children and to babies. So that those 900 genes stay switched on for longer life in a more cooperative society and so that we will have better health and all those good effects, like better law and order and better education results and such.
Actually, I can see how this can trickle down into things like taking care of business, parenting, education. It’s trickled into everything.
Angela: Yeah. Everything becomes like a puzzle that comes together to make, it looks like the life that we all know, but it’s got subtle differences or new ones that actually make it work better. And we also know that when we do knowledge type work in our later years, it’s protective against age and related diseases. So, if you’re doing more work with your brain from age 40 to 80 or till whenever you want to really, I suppose it actually protects you from a lot of age-related diseases as well. And again, with the age of automation, like a lot of people saying that we shouldn’t need to work more than about 15 hours a week. And I think that’s what people would want. Like if the first things that any retired person I know to do this they run off and volunteer to do something or they want to learn something like that period of doing nothing like a vacation, it doesn’t last. People don’t really like it. But again, with this age of automation coming, no one should really have to work more than 15 hours a week anyway, which means that parents would have time for their kids they would have time for each other. You know, they’d have time for a life.
Angela, these are great causes, great qualities, a great purpose. If someone wants to get more involved with this and help build this community and help strengthen it, what could someone do?
Angela: Well, for now, I’m not sure if I have a great answer to that. I can tell you what I’m doing. I write on Descriptionari Descriptionari is open to other people to contribute to, so you can write things on there.
This is the Tony DUrso Show just to head the chat continues with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author. But first, it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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All right, we’re back on the Tony DUrso Show. Today’s show is with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author. And now back to the chat with our guests.
Angela: Beyond that, I have written a book on social evolution, which has just recently gone out to two publishers. Hopefully one of them will decide they want to publish it. So that book will come out and right now it’s provisionally titled Sometimes a Flower Social Evolution One ‘O’ one. But I think just getting, talking to people about these ideas, becoming more aware and just, I think a great way to do it is just a really try to see things from other people’s perspectives to retry hard, not to be triggered by certain words, but to dig deeper to what it is they’re trying to say. To give you an example of that we’ve got, into the climate change thing is back in the media now. Especially with extinction rebellion. And a lot of the time it feels that people are being, to me anyway, they’re being triggered over linguistics.
Cause the way I feel about it again, as a person who has deep faith is that we really talking about not vandalizing earth. We’re really talking about not destroying creation when talking about preserving creation and tried to look after the forest and not polluting the skies, which is bad for all of life on earth. We’re talking about trying to save our oceans and when we talk about it like that. Everybody agrees. Like I’ve never met anyone who thought it was a great idea to vandalize earth and demolish the rainforest and all of that. I’ve never met anyone who thought that. When we say climate change, somehow people start getting angry and that’s when the productive conversation stops and it’s when we get into this sort of logjam of no progress. And I think in terms of all the things we want to do for the world, whether it’s creating a better educational system that really does care for and love children, whether it’s a situation whereby parents really can raise their children in a feeling of sort of joy and really enjoying being a parent or whether it’s taking care of the environment that just to really try to, when you’re talking to somebody, have that sort of self awareness or whether you’re being triggered by the words or whether you really disagree with the substance of what they’re saying. Because I think that then we would find a lot more peaceful ways forward in every area of life.
Those are excellent points and these are really good. This is a great cause to get into. So if you feel like you want to do something out there in the audience and you’re not sure what to do, head on over to descriptionari.com check it out and contribute and be apart of this social evolution change that Angela Abraham has put together. Great stuff, Angela. I hope you get a lot more support and let you grow this, yes.
Angela: Yeah, and also people can contact me through the website so they don’t want to talk to me.
Very good. And also your, books. People can get a hold of your books because you have them listed on your site at descriptionari.com
Angela: The social evolution book isn’t yet published. I’ve, I’ve got an agent and it’s been sent out to publishers, so I’m just hopeful that it’s going to find a publisher soon. On descriptionari. Every idea I’ve ever had for social evolution is on there, but there are literally thousands of descriptions. So it kind of helped the information to go out in a sort of soft diffuse way. But the book is the first time I’ve ever put it all together as a sort of this is a new paradigm. This is how love is the right answer for humanity and it’s quite a big book. It’s like 360 odd pages, but that’s the first time I put it all together as a book, but it’s not published yet. So, unfortunately, I can’t yet direct you to that.
I understand that we’ll just keep going to the site then we’ll when it’s published, we will see it there. This is Angela Abraham, founder of Descriptionari. You can find her at descriptionari.com Angela, thank you so much for awakening us up and awakening more of the audience to social evolution and what we all need to do to create the change. Put that seed in the ground, start making those ripples start making changes now. Absolutely love it. Thank you so much.
Angela: And thank you so much for having me on the show.
And now we have Scott Duffy join us. Scott Duffy is the bestselling author of Breakthrough and on camera personality. He started his career working for bestselling author and speaker, Tony Robbins. He went on to work for big media brands like CBS Sportsline, NBC Internet and Fox sports before launching and selling the business to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Here we go, welcome to the show Scott. I am so honored and grateful to have you with us. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Of course I’m such a big fan of the show and it’s great to connect again.
It is great and you know, speaking of that, I’ve just got to share something that I’m just going a little bit of off-protocol here. I’m going to share something with the audience and how we met because I think it’s so appropriate to the title of our show, the big breakthrough and before the audience even finds out who you are, who Scott Duffy. Let me explain I was at a veterans luncheon in Costa Mesa, California and I’m listening to a speaker speaks and I’m kind of sitting near the back end. This gentleman walks in and I’m like, who’s this person? And I’m going, I should know this person and there’s the Arora, the space. The presence was so big. I’m like, this is the person that should be on stage speaking. I need to interview this person. I want to know who it is and I apologize in advance.
I don’t remember who was on stage speaking. I was just like, who is this guy? And the next thing you know he’s introduced as Scott Duffy and he goes up on stage and gives this amazing speech and I’m going, my instincts are right. I do have to interview him and I think that day, I think we didn’t speak for 60 seconds. I handed you my card, I said I really want to interview you and then I’m finding out who you are and I just want to say you’ve got a great presence. I thought I was looking at myself. Okay, there’s a little Italian joke.
Well, that is awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
And it was great to meet you. We had a great time that day.
We did, we did. Then there was a dinner, a dinner event, also helping the veterans later that you spoke as well. And we chatted for a little bit, which was great. All right, so now the audience is wondering who is Scott Duffy? What’s this all about? So I tell you what Scott, first things first, how did it all start for you? What’s your backstory?
Oh Wow. Well I, I grew up in Los Angeles. I’m a South Cal guy and I went down to college, Young San Diego, University of San Diego. And it was interesting because I got some really great advice from one of my family members. What they said is they said on the first day of school, before you go to class, they said, go to the career counseling department and find out who runs it and become best friends with that person and tell them that after your freshman year, that summer you want to do an internship and tell him what did you sit you’re looking for and build that relationship and maybe they’ll help you to file it. And it was crazy because, well that’s what I did and I’m probably halfway through my freshman year. And by the way back then, if you were going to be an intern, you wanted to work, at least I wanted to work for the big companies at that time, like Microsoft and FedEx and IBM and Xerox and, one day I get a call and it’s the head of the career counseling department.
He goes, Scott, he goes, I have got it. I have got an internship for you. You are going to be so stoked. You said you got to come to my office today. So I’m like, sure and I’m totally fired up. I go right to his office and I’m thinking to myself, who is, it is a Microsoft? And so I said, who is it? And he says this Triple ‘A’ Student Painters. And I’m like, what? Student painters? And he goes, no, Triple ‘A ‘Student Painters. So like all of us old guys, you know on the phone know that back in the day we used to have these phone books right before Google, and in the phone book, whatever category business you were in, do you want to be listed first? And it was all alphabetical. So if you want it to be student painter, she’d be like ‘A’ student painters.
And then there were double ‘A’ student painters, we were triple ‘A’ student painters. So we will be up at the top triple a student banner and the guy says yes. And he said, look, here’s the deal. He said, I looked at all those other companies, but he said, you are just, you’re an entrepreneur. And he said, and you’re going to be a guy that goes out there and builds companies. And he said, well, what they’re going to do is they’re going to give you an opportunity to participate in something that was like a franchise. And you said they’re going to teach you how to write a business plan and build a team and go out there and execute and you’ll have a mentor. And I signed up for it and my freshman year I think I had like 15 people, college kids, they were painting houses for me in San Diego.
And that’s really how I got started. And by the way, the whole thing was a total disaster. Like every, every single thing that I did, I did wrong. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck in this trap. The company had been doing this for years and they were all across the United States and they were all across Canada, offering cartoons, like franchise things. And, here’s the thing, there are two ways to learn, right? There’s, there are trial and error, which takes a lot of time or money. And then there’s modeling, finding people out there, producing results you want. You do the same thing, you should produce the same results. Well, what I kept trying to do was reinvent the wheel. So they’d say, do it this way in their manual. And I put my own little spin to it. And every time I did that, I got myself in trouble, which was a good life lesson for me down the road. Every time I followed the road map, that’s when I succeed. And so it was a great learning experience. And for me, that was really kind of like my start as an entrepreneur.
And you’ve done so much in your life, it’s so varied and so successful. How did you wind up getting into training as a result? Where did this fit in?
Oh excellent. So well, so I did that at the student named thing. By the way, I was one of those people. I totally love the whole college thing. I, you know, I had a business, I was, I did a fraternity thing and I played sports and I really dug it. And when I went to school in San Diego, we had this tradition and the tradition was after midterm exams in the fall and in the spring everyone would get in their cars and we pile in and we go nine hours south to San Felipe de Mexico. And we have just like an incredible couple of days of just partying, having fun. And in my junior year, my third year of college, I just happened to get done with my exams early. So I decided to go down early and help set up and for people that had been down there to Mexico or to Baja Mexico, they can visualize what it is that I’m talking about.
We were on that federal highway and these old federal highways had one lane picture this one lane in each direction. And then it’s like deserts as far as you can see. And for some reason, these highways, they rise up at certain points, I don’t know. And there’d be this drop on both sides of the road. And then just desert. Well, we’re cruising along, me and three other people. We’re cruising along this road and a truck had gone off the side and he tried to get up on the road and get back on and he didn’t see us and we didn’t see him. And we smack this guy square on going like a zillion miles an hour. I’m telling you it was the worst day of my life.
This is the Tony DUrso Show just to head the chat continues with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author. But first, it’s time for us to take a short break. See you back here in just a moment.
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All right, we’re back on the Tony dear soul show today shows with Angela Abraham and Scott Duffy, founder of Descriptionari and Breakthrough Author Scott Duffy has been listed as a top 10 keynote speaker by entrepreneur. He spoke at the New York Stock Exchange and provide a commentary on numerous media outlets including CNBC, Fox News, and CBS radio. He’s the co-host of Business and Burgers and author of Breakthrough from Entrepreneur Press. And now back to the chat with Scott.
And the question I always have for entrepreneurs is this, it’s like how many times in your life have you been going down a road and maybe as an owner, maybe is an entrepreneur, a business leader? You’re doing everything right. Like you had a perfect idea, you had the perfect plan, you built the perfect team, you executed flawlessly and then something came out of nowhere and like Bam, it totally knocked you off. Course. It could have been the economy, it could have been a change in your industry, in regulation, it could have been an illness and everything that you did to that point, every call you made, every email you wrote, every presentation that you had, you had to throw everything out and you had to start over. Well, that’s what happened to me. I mean, I thought that the day of the accident, I thought that was the hard part. Getting better was even harder. So when I was getting better, it was really tough. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t watch TV. I couldn’t really like listening to music cause everything made me sick and I dropped out of school. And, but what happened was I picked up this crazy habit. I started a list of motivational books on tape. My roommate came into, my dad thinks you should listen to this. It was a cassette tape and it was by a guy named Dennis Wade. It’s called the Psychology of Winning. And I started to listen to this thing. I started to listen to it all day, every day, and before you knew, and they start to develop a library. And before you know it, I’m listening to Dennis Waitley and Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins who is just really breaking out and I listen to these guys.
And when I got better, I made this decision. I wanted to go work for one of them as an intern and go back to college and graduate. And the first person I applied to intern for was Tony Robbins. But instead of offering me an internship, I was offered this awesome job. And so I was first hired at 20. Tony was 30 years old. We were young guys back then, but I went on the road and I promoted Tony and I conducted workshops all over the United States and Canada and sold tickets to his events. And it was really fortunate to not only work with Tony and Jim Rohn and, and, and some of the other kinds of leaders in this space back then. And it was a great experience.
Absolutely impressive Scott. And it shocks me, what you say, we could have everything going just right, but this one thing, this contingency something we didn’t plan for, shakes the whole foundation of everything that is strong. What a message. Where’s our contingency plan?
Well, it’s true in the mindset that we need to have around these things. I remember it was, a while later. We were having lunch at an event up in Seattle and I said to tell you, I said, you know, I don’t know if you remember how I got to you and you know, like what that was. And I told him about how it was having the time of my life. I told them about the accident. I said, but here’s the thing, the crazy thing is all of that garbage is what brought me here. And since being here, I’ve been around all these incredible people that are part of your community and they’ve completely reshaped my vision about what’s possible. And he’s put up his hands. And by the way, if he ever been around Tony Robbins, this guy’s got big hands. So when he puts them up, you stopped speaking. And he said to me, he goes, Scott, he said, I always want you to remember this. And for me, this has been an operating principle my whole life. He said, we have good days and bad days, but we don’t know which is which until sometime way down the line because we don’t know what we’re going to make of those experiences. And it’s so true.
Wow very poignant. Very, very true. And then, and then we go, we wish, sometimes we say, well we wish it was like back when, you know, but back when we didn’t realize what we had only told later. So it was very, very smart. Very true. And you’ve taken that kind of a message to go forward and building businesses.
Yeah, I mean seriously. Here’s the thing, right, entrepreneurs, it doesn’t matter how rosy it looks on the outside, right? We look at other people and we’re like, play out that person. They’ve got the Midas touch, right. Everything that that person touches is gold or that person’s business or guiding everything seems to be going so well. But here’s the thing about life and entrepreneurship. We all have highs and lows. We all have ups and downs. We all have the cash comes the cash goes it comes back again. And I know, you know, in my life that’s been the case. People will look at me sometimes they’ll say or they’ll talk to me and they’ll say, man, based on the big brands associated you’re associated with and your, your, your background. It looks like things were so easy.
I mean, I, worked with Tony Robbins, I was on, early-stage teams of companies that became big brands like today, CBS sports.com NBC Internet, you know, I help watch Fox sports.com and they started and sold the company to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. And so you pile all that up and it looks kind of cool when you look at those brands. But look, we all got it. And for me, I was a guy that, felt like I had everything. I mean in 2007 I sold the majority of my business. I’d sold to Virgin, we rebranded it as a Virgin Company and then we relaunched it as a Virgin Business in March of 2008 and we all know what happened in 2008 and for me, it was a disaster. At least it felt like one for me.
What happened was the market crashed. I lost everything. I went from having all of this stuff, having made all this money, I mean I was in business with my hero as an entrepreneur, which your brand, like this is the guy that I always wanted to emulate and I’m in business with him and his companies and I lost everything and I not when I left the business, but I lost in a period of months. I was like $400,000 in debt and it was all, and I did what I think any good Hunch Brunner would do at that time. I basically curled up in the corner of my bedroom and I was the fetal position for six months. Like I didn’t know what to do and my head wasn’t strong enough. My mindset wasn’t strong enough to really deal with all of that at that time.
By the way, during that period, I not only had all this lost, but we had our first daughter and we got pregnant with our second and again, all that happened in less than a year. So yeah we all have it and for me. The question is what do you do when you’re an entrepreneur, when everything kind of goes upside down, like how do you handle that? And like I said, I started in the field position and then what I did is I decided together and I made the mistake that most of us make when trying to turn around, which is, I did the same thing that has worked for me in the past, but I did it more and harder, more and harder, more and harder, more harder and world was changing and so instead of getting better, getting better. I did more and harder and so nothing was working for me until one day it felt like I just hit rock bottom. I got a call in the call was from an old friend.
This is Scott Duffy talking about Your Big Breakthrough and you can find out more about him at scottduffy.com and I’m going to spell that. S, c o, t, t, d, u, f, f, y scottduffy.com. All right Scott, so one, one day you got this phone call. What happened next?
I got a phone call from an old friend, he says; hey Scott, you said, I hear you’re looking for a new gig. I hear you’re looking to run something. And I said I am. And he said, awesome, you’re hired. And I’m like, I am hired
That was easy
Right! I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m so happy. I remember I was bawling, crying. I was so excited. And I was like, yeah. And I said, what am I going to run? And he said, what does it matter? He’s like, you’re not working. I make things so hard, right, over complicated. So, he said, come and have lunch with me today go and see him. I go out to Pasadena, we have lunch. I, what am I gonna run? They said, I’ve been thinking about since we talked, you said, I’m actually not going to have you run this business. He said, instead, you’re going to be a salesman. I said, okay, well maybe I could offer more. He said no, he said you’re going to sell. I said, great. I said, thank you for the opportunity.
I said, what am I going to sell and he said this, pee and I’m like, pee? He said, yeah. He said, guess what? He says, I just bought a new laboratory and we specialize in processing urine and he said, think about it. He said, you go to a Doctor’s Office, you pee in a cup. He said we get that cup, we run this thing through it. They will create a report and we send it back to the doctor and the doctor tells you about your health. He said, that’s us, and he said, so I have a vision for you and it’s like, oh great. Here comes my vision for you he said you’re going to call on every doctor’s office in Southern California over the next year and you’re going to win their Pee business. You said, in fact, my vision for you is in one year you are the king of Pee. And that was my first job offer after running a company for the Virgin Group.
Oh my goodness. That’s so funny.
We all go through it and I think it is entrepreneurs sometimes being an entrepreneur is a very lonely job, right? And it’s who do we talk to? Who do we share this stuff from? Who, do we open up to? Who Do we learn from? And so I share that story with people because I think it’s really important for everyone to know the world is together and we’re all going through the same crap. And it’s really, it’s not what happens to us, how we deal with what happens to us. And people always ask, did you take that job? And the answer is absolutely not. The answer is instead of taking it, I just got pissed off.
Oh, I got pissed. And I did the same thing more and harder until one day I went back to one of my mentors, Dave Meltzer, and like I called Dave and I go, Dave, I know the best people. I have the best mentors. I have this, I’m doing it all right, what is wrong? And he said this, he said, starting today, we’re not going to focus on your business. We’re only going to focus on your head, and there are four things that you have to do starting today. He said,
● Number one is this, he said, you have to take accountability for everything in your life.
● He said, number two, you have to forgive yourself for everything in your life. For me, that was the hardest part.
● Number three, he said, you have to learn the lesson from all of it.
● And number four, he said, in every cell of your body, you have to be grateful for all of it.
The moment I stepped into that is the moment things, things changed.
Wow. Very powerful. And we have so much more. I want to go over. I can see how you’ve taken that to do what you do. And I do want to kind of cut in a little bit here because I wanted to go back to Richard Branson and I’m just very curious because you’ve worked with him. Just perhaps you could tell us what lesson, what would you say is perhaps the biggest lesson you learned from him?
I guess real quick, I was invited to his home on Necker Island for a Virgin CEO Conference and I’d never been, I was so excited to go. I always heard about this place. And on the first night when it was time for dinner, they had all this go down to the beach and getting these little tiny boats because Richard didn’t just own that island. We were staying on Necker. He had just bought the one next door called Mosquito. Cause I guess if you all are one island, you should probably own the one next door, right?
Why not? So we get these boats and we head over to, Mosquito. And what he had done is on this little tiny strip of beach set up, there’s incredible barbecue. And I remember I got out of the boat, I grabbed my plate, I’m looking for a place to sit and they see Richard and he’s cross legs on the sand with this and he’s negotiating this deal and he’s so confident about what he’s trying to buy. Everyone else around seemed to kind of know. And so if I asked them to say, hey Richard, what is it you’re trying to buy? And he said this a rainforest and like the rainforest, which one? And he said the Amazon.
Oh my goodness.
Right, cause like if you’re going to buy a rain forest, you might as well buy the Amazon. The biggest one.
Yeah. Why not?
And so I said to him secretly, you can’t do that. And he looked at me like, why? And he goes, you want to learn how to buy a rain forest? I’ll teach you how to do it. And you know, the question I always start with is, what is your why? Because being an entrepreneur is tough. To do anything great is tough. If you’re not truly rooted when times get tough, it’s too easy to quit. If you don’t really, you’re not really stuck in that thing with a purpose. With him, he wanted to stop the forestation and protect indigenous animals. The question is how, and he said, if you got me in a room with a willing seller, do you think I could negotiate a deal, good deal? I said, well, yeah, Richard, I would bet on you, actually you said this first, he said, if that’s our why, do we really have to buy an own the Amazon or could we just lease it now for me leasing, that’s a huge shift in thinking, and they said, if you put me in a room with a, a willing seller, could I negotiate a good deal?
I said, yes, I’d bet on you. He said, great. So here’s number three. He said, how would we finance it? And everyone started to throw out names. These like multimillionaire people. What I said to him and when he put up his hands and he said that, he said to me, he said, what if you didn’t have to put in a bunch? What if all you could do is contribute a dollar or a dime, like effectively crowdsourcing buying Amazon rainforest.
And here’s my point, and this is the lesson is that less than five minutes by the Amazon rainforest seemed easier than eating my bowl of soup and I want to learn from Richard that night was this. If you have the right mindset, you put the right people, the right resources around you, you can achieve virtually anything that you dream.
That’s a powerful story and I get that. Totally. It’s just a matter of shifting the thinking. What sounds like, you know, it sounds easy, but it’s how you shift your thinking and how do you really do that, which I believe you teach entrepreneurs. I know that your mantra is quote, “I help build great companies” This is one of the things I presume you teach them and you shift their mindset to make them into great companies, to help build them into great companies.
Sure in the simplest way to shift your thinking is to change what it is that you’re focusing on. The way you change, the way you focus or what you focus on is to change the questions that you ask yourself. Here’s what I mean I think our brains are just like Google, whatever question we ask it, it’s going to give us an answer. And so as an entrepreneur, like we’ve all been through this like you get up in the morning and you check your phone and it says the big deal you’ve been fighting to get for six months just came through. They said yes. And then two hours later they bail out. And then the big hire that person, you got them and then they take another job and then the money comes in. And so as entrepreneurs, I think the hardest thing that we have to deal with is this emotional roller coaster that we tend to go through every day.
Now here’s the thing. Whenever something happens to us, our brain asked two questions, what does this mean and what should I do? That’s it. And so what guides that thinking is the questions we ask. So when you lose that deal, if the first question you ask yourself is something like, man why does business keep out or why do I suck, right? Your brain is just like Google. So if I typed into Google, why do I suck in less than a second and I’ve done this, go do this. Google comes up with 7.6 million reasons why you suck
Your brain does the same thing. And what happens is because that’s what you’re focused on, it changes the way you feel and the way you feel changes, the way you behave and the way you behave, change the results that you get. No, when that thing happens to you, if you ask a better question, you know, what can I learn from this experience? What can I learn from this experience? Apply next time and enjoy the process. If you learn to change the quality of the question that you ask, what you do is you give your Google-like brain the opportunity to come up with six points, 7.6 million reasons why you’ll succeed. And so again, the difference, between a person like a Richard Branson or a Tony Robbins or other high-performers and everyone else, it’s because they go through the same stuff we do is they’ve learned in those moments to ask a better quality question. And what they’ve done is they focused on that like building a muscle and that muscle is so strong if they’re constantly shifting their focus to something that empowers them and drives them forward.
Very impressive and just very fast, Scott, we have just another moment here. Is this information, some of this information I presume in your, in your great new book called Breakthrough.
It is. For the last three years, I have traveled around the country not only taking my experience but sitting down with everyone from, you know, like Gary Vaynerchuk to Daymond John to uh, you know, Sarah Blakely and others to learn what is it that they’re you. Like what is the difference that makes the difference between today’s top performers in business and everyone else and in Breakthrough, what I do is share those breakthrough moments that they’ve had, right. I break it out is a step by step roadmap for you to prepare yourself and optimize yourself as an entrepreneur, to take your ideas to market and then grow scale and position your company for sale.
Absolutely amazing. And if we go to scottduffy.com we can find out more about the book and actually find out where we can get it at our favorite place, correct?
Sure, go to scottduffy.com or visit Amazon or your favorite retailer.
Absolutely impressive. What great stories definitely have to have you back. There’s so much to talk about. There are so many more questions. You filled our heads with some really great insights. I just want to thank you so much, Scott, for joining us and telling us about your big breakthrough.
Thank you so much.
And once again everyone you can find him at scottduffy.com thanks again, Scott.
And for my amazing audience. Thanks so much for listening. Remember, success awaits those who persevere and remained steadfast despite the odds be righteous. Join me on the next episode of the Tony DUrso show
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