As entrepreneurs, we tend to think that the world is full of competition and that certain markets are too saturated for us to stand out, but the truth is that although the world is full of people, that doesn’t mean it’s full of competition. Chances are, what you need to do to stand out from the crowd isn’t as challenging as you think it is. It just means you need to serve people’s needs and do it in a way that is better than most. Today’s guest explains why he quit his unfulfilling job to pursue freelance writing and landed an opportunity to write for the Washington Post with minimal experience and zero connections.
Jason Feifer is the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, author of the book “Build For Tomorrow”, a startup advisor and host of the podcasts Build For Tomorrow, and Problem Solvers. LinkedIn named him a “Top Voice in Entrepreneurship” for 2022.
In this episode, Jason and Mike discuss the topic of entitlement, why boundaries are not what they seem, and why Jason believes in the power of just getting someone on the phone. Jason shares his story of how it happened for him and his entrance into the entrepreneur world. Jason had an overwhelming feeling that there was a gap between the work he was doing and what he was capable of, so instead of staying stagnant and working at the level that someone else has placed him in, he bet on his ability and his hustle. Jason provides insight on how to pitch yourself even if you have no connections and very little experience.
- Jason’s background before Entrepreneur Magazine
- Why Jason left his job to pursue freelancing
- Boundaries are not what they appear
- How Jason got to write for the Washington Post with little experience and no connections
- How to pitch properly and what Jason would look for in a pitch
- The meaning behind the phrase “I can’t wait to do this a second time.”
- 4 phases of change according to Jason: panic, adaptation, new normal, wouldn’t go back
- Jason’s dominant question: “What am I missing?”
Check out episode 198: Jeff Peterson, I Don’t Call Myself an Entrepreneur (#198)
Connect with Jason Feifer:
Facebook: Jason Feifer
LinkedIn: Jason Feifer
Get Jason’s book: Build For Tomorrow
To Connect with Mike:
Write a Podcast Review
Also, podcast reviews are important to iTunes, and the more reviews we receive, the more likely we’ll be able to get this podcast and message in front of more people (something about iTunes algorithms?). I’d be extremely grateful if you took less than 30 seconds and 5 clicks to rate the podcast and leave a quick review. Here’s how to do it in less than 30 seconds:
Click on This Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/howd-it-happen-podcast/id1441722417
Click on the “Listen on Apple Podcast” Box
Click on “Open iTunes” – You will go directly to the iTunes page for the Podcast
Click on “Ratings and Reviews”
Click on the 5thStar (or whatever one makes the most sense to you 🙂
Episode transcript below:
book, people, jason, thought, write, editor, work, job, ideas, missing, question, podcast, story, pitched, newspaper, washington post, hear, new york times, freelancing, experience
Jason Feifer, Mike Malatesta
Mike Malatesta 00:05
Hey, Jason, welcome to the podcast.
Jason Feifer 00:11
Thank you for having me.
Mike Malatesta 00:13
I’m really excited about this. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I did read your book.
Jason Feifer 00:20
Oh, thank you. There it is.
Mike Malatesta 00:21
So awesome. I’m looking forward to digging, digging into it. So, folks, let me tell you a little bit about Jason. So you get as excited about this episode as I am. So Jason Pfeiffer is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. He’s the author of that book build for tomorrow. He is a startup advisor. And he’s the host of the podcasts are two podcasts actually built for tomorrow, same name as the book, which by the way, is a fantastic, like super well produced podcast. Thank you. And I’m going to complement it a little bit more when we get into the show. But that’s, that’s the podcast I’m subscribed to. And you also do a podcast called problem solvers, which I’ve, I’ve yet to listen to. But I will, because I wasn’t aware of that until today. So Jason is also a friend of my friend Jeff Peterson, who is the CEO of Geneva supply. And you can listen to Jeff’s episode with me. It’s episode number 198. LinkedIn named Jason a top voice and entrepreneurship for 2022. Prior to becoming the editor in chief of entrepreneur, he’s worked at a bunch of different magazines. In I guess, all in different capacities, right, Men’s Health Fast Company, Maxim and Boston Magazine, started at the Gartner news, I believe, is where that’s where you. That’s where it all began. And he’s written about business and technology for The Washington Post slate, New York Magazine and others. His book is a I think it’s, I know, it’s a Wall Street Journal bestseller. Is it a New York Times bestseller as well?
Jason Feifer 02:05
No, no, actually didn’t make the journal best-selling list either. I thought it did. Well, if it did, I missed it. But if you saw it, please let me know. It would be. That’d be exciting. One week, I mean, I thought I thought I had the sales for it. But I didn’t, I didn’t see it, but maybe somebody missed it. If you saw it, you tell me because battle that I’m going to put it in my bio immediately. You know, I it didn’t make any lists. And that’s because, you know, I didn’t concentrate all my sales in the first week. And, and the lists are our, it looked for anybody who ever writes a book, I’ll tell you, my publisher and my publicist, and my agent all asked me at separate times, what’s your goal for the book? And I said, Look, I know what you’re asking me, my goal is not to make lists. I know that that is a goal that many authors have. But my goal, I always set goals based on what I can control. And I can’t control whether or not I’m going to be on a list, because it’s not actually just about sales. It’s about like, you know, each there are they all do these analyses, and who knows, but what I can control is writing a great book, telling people about a great book, getting it out there, utilizing every possible connection, I have to make sure that people are aware of it. So to me success is that people get a lot of value out of it. And that’s how I always focus my energy.
Mike Malatesta 03:22
Okay, that’s fair. And I agree, whether you I know there are ways to make less, there’s ways to gain ways to you can buy your you can buy your way on to less. And I think I saw you do a post about that, about whether you should buy your way onto a list or not. But anyway, whether you’ve made that any list or not what I did see was you your book up in Times Square. Yep. Right. And then in a bookstore with, you know, like in the front window of a boiler. And I don’t know which which store that was Jason. But to me, that’s more impressive than any list. I mean, if you could get that done. That’s because it’s so hard to get a book in the bookstore. That’s not easy.
Jason Feifer 04:04
Yeah. Yeah, it was really cool. The book. I mean, the book is in bookstores nationwide. It’s in airports. But what you’re referring to is that I got it. I got a giant window display at the Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. And that was really, really cool. It was just, I mean, I just started giggling when I saw it across the street. And that happened because the that bookstore celebrates authors who sell a lot of copies through their store and I made sure that a lot of people bought it through that stores so that I could I could get on their radar and they put me on the week just before the week leading into Christmas, which was pretty awesome.
Mike Malatesta 04:43
And did you know that was coming? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay. Okay. And it was it sure. Anyway, very impressive. But before I get too far into this, I start every one of my podcasts with the same simple question and I want to ask it of you right now and that is how it happened for you.
Jason Feifer 04:59
Yet No, it’s funny, because I guess it depends. And this is this is everyone’s probably response to your question, which is that you get to define it. But I would say that how I’ll take a definition, which is, it is where I am now. But not literally, how did I get the job that I have now. And I would say that it happened because I quit a couple jobs, I quit my first two jobs. And I quit both of them. Because I came to different realizations. Those first two jobs were both local community newspaper jobs, that was a reporter. And the first time I quit, because I was really frustrated that after a year, of working at this tiny little paper that I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere. And I recognized or I realized that, you know, I can’t sit around waiting for someone to, like, notice my genius at this tiny paper, like the New York Times is not reading my little paper and calling me up and saying, kid, we loved your coverage of the local middle school dance, you now cover the White House, like that wasn’t going to happen. So I needed to go to them. I needed to go to them, them being whoever it was that I wanted to work with, and impress them and get in front of them. So I quit that first job. And I sat in my bedroom, and I cold pitched the New York Times, The Washington Post, and all these other places. And I eventually got in front of them. And I’ve started to write for them. And that was transformative. And then the next job was a somewhat larger newspaper that I worked at, at the same time as I was doing this freelancing. And because I after quitting the job nine months later, I needed some money. And so I took this other job and, and I quit that one, two years later, because I had started freelancing for Boston Magazine. And I saw that there was an opening for a junior editor, and I wanted that job. And I wanted Boston Magazine to make to understand very clearly that I was committed to getting that job. And so I quit, I quit my newspaper job in Central Massachusetts, and I got an apartment in Boston. And I said, I’m basically I’m here, and I’m ready to work. And they hired me. And I, I think that taking big risks has to be a part of a journey. Because the prescribed that everything that you do have some kind of prescribed path, there is always some kind of logical next step. But that logical next step is often a very small one. And I was not interested in that. I wanted to figure out something
Mike Malatesta 07:36
more. And sort of the sort of, you know, I’m, I’m not going to get noticed here, I need to do something different. Do you? Was that part of you growing up and stuff, Jason? Or was it something that just sort of came to you when you’re in this position? You didn’t feel like? What did you What did you not feel like besides getting nose? Did you feel like the work you were doing wasn’t important? Did you feel like the work you were doing wasn’t, didn’t do didn’t meet your capabilities, what
Jason Feifer 08:11
was the work, the work I was doing did not match my expectations for myself, I had a sense of myself, that I could accomplish bigger things. And I didn’t know what those were I hadn’t fully defined them. I’ve never really walked around life with like a very specific defined goal. Outside of that, I, I have this confidence that I can I work at a high level and do more and that I wanted to do more, it would be more satisfying. I wanted to reach more people, I wanted to challenge myself. And the work that I was doing just wasn’t that, you know, there was a, there was just a major gap between what I thought I could do and what I had available to me. And, you know, I came to realize that you that we all have some amount of stuff available to us. And then there’s the stuff that’s available to us that we aren’t recognizing, you know, I mean, there’s like, there’s you show up at work every day. And there’s that work that’s most available. But there’s all this other stuff that you could do. You could do it on your own time. Or you could you know, depending on what company you work for, if you work for a company that you could build something or you could join a new team, you could take on any responsibility, you could you know, there’s like all this other stuff that you could do. And that early moment was was one of my first realizations that the boundaries are not where they appear, right? Because I mean, think about it. I show up at work every day. The gardener news I’m writing local news for a very small audience is not satisfying. I could just sit around and say, Well, this is really frustrating because nobody’s letting me write for some other larger place. But what does that even mean? Nobody’s getting nobody’s letting me right now he’s letting me write because I’m not going to them. There’s a whole other world of people who I could work with. But I’m going to have to change some things, I’m going to have to stop showing up at this office every day and doing this work. And I’m going to have to start committing myself to figuring out how to do other work and how to reach people who aren’t looking for me. And that’s hard, different work. It also happens to be available, it’s available, I just have to go towards it.
Mike Malatesta 10:25
That’s interesting, because the in the book, you talk about the boundaries we build. And when you were just going through that, what I was hearing in between what you were saying was that, you know, most people might look at your experience at the Gartner news and say, I just haven’t been here long enough to earn the next opportunity as but and by doing that they’re basically, maybe they’re basically building boundaries about what they’re entitled to, or what they’re able to ask for whatever. And as I was listening to you is like, well, the boundaries, aren’t there. Because the gardener news put them there, the boundaries, are there, because you put them there, for example, is that do I have that? Right? Is that how your thinking goes?
Jason Feifer 11:06
I mean, I think that that’s correct. But let’s add some nuance to it, which is, of course, there is somebody somewhere will, as we’re talking right now, the word entitled will pop into their head that I was acting entitled. And then they’ll say young people always act entitled. And here’s the thing there is, there is a belief in yourself. And then there’s also situational awareness. What I understood was that I had some raw talent, I didn’t think that I was amazing at the time. And looking back on it, I certainly wasn’t, but I definitely had some raw talent. And I thought that I could apply that to work at a higher level than I was currently working at. And but I didn’t think that the New York Times was going to hire me as, as one of their premier columnists or something, right? Like I understood that I there was a lot of work to do. But I wanted to, instead of working at the level in which somebody had slotted me, or even at the level in which I was able to get a job as a kid with basically no experience not coming from a fancy journalism school with no connections, what I was able to get was a tiny newspaper job, I wanted to see what was within actual reach, based on my abilities, and my hustle. And I knew that what that was going to be was not the major publication hiring me. I knew it. But what was available, something was available, I had to figure out what it was, in my case, what it was was freelancing, I could write individual articles, I could pitch an individual idea to an editor who has never heard of me before. And, and and, and if I intrigue them with this idea that I can convince them that I should write it. And if I write one article, and they like it, they’ll let me write a second one. And I’ve heard a second, let me write a third. And then we’ll see where it goes from there. That’s all I was looking for. Right? Not the entitlement of give me the world because I deserve it. But rather, let me find the door that I can crack open and then prove that I’m worth letting in. And and that is a that’s an attitude that I think, really can take you far.
Mike Malatesta 13:29
And when you first sent out those pitches, let’s say, Were you, like, were you confident enough that you thought this is they’re gonna like this? Or were you like, oh, my gosh, I don’t know if they’re gonna, you know, what, were you excited for the feedback? I guess?
Jason Feifer 13:48
I, I, you know, I don’t remember exactly, but I would guess, I thought everything that I was sending out, was good enough that somebody might react to it. Not that I was the best at it. Because I was brand new, but I did my work. I had, you know, I bought a bunch of books on freelancing, I had reached out to a bunch of freelance writers, I gotten some kind of education, what it was that I was doing. And now what I needed to do was learn. And the only way that I’m going to learn how to get better at this is to just do it and see what happens. And, and so I was I mean, I am sure that if I tracked down an editor at the Washington Post and sent an email to them with an idea that I thought that there’s a reasonable chance that somebody will think that this is good, but I’m sure that I also knew this is not the best thing anyone’s ever seen, because I’m too young for that. So I’m going to need to hustle. And I mean, I remember the very first pitch that that I got a bite on was was actually with the Washington Post was Washington Post health section and this woman named Susan Morris, who’s a editor there at the time, replied and wanted to talk. And so I got on the phone With this woman and I was, you know, here I am on my 22. I’m incredibly nervous. I’m pacing around this dumpy apartment of my aunt. She’s asking me all these questions about the story that I pitched her. And I didn’t have all the answers. And I didn’t also have the most compelling argument as to why I was qualified to write it. But you know, I think that she just saw that I was willing to work really hard, and that I wasn’t a Yahoo. And so she said, You know, I’m not willing to say yes, yet, but I’m also not willing to say no, so if you want to do some more work on this, then go for it and send it to me. And that’s all I needed. That’s all I was asking for. And I, I I called like, 20 people 20 Different sources for that story. And, and I, and I interviewed everybody. I basically reported out the whole story before she said that she wanted it from me. And then I wrote her this, this outline, it was, like, 3000 words much longer than the actual story itself would actually be. And I emailed it to her. And I said, here’s, here’s everybody who I talked to, here’s everything that would be in the story. What do you think? And then she said, Yes, because at this point, there was no risk. I was eliminating all risk for her. She was saying, yes, at this point, knowing exactly what she was getting, and that I could deliver it. And I did, and she liked it. And then I wrote, I wrote a whole bunch of stories for her. It was it was magic. I was writing for The Washington Post 22 year old kid with no connections. And and that was because all I was asking for was the tiniest amount of attention, and then making sure that I maximized it.
Mike Malatesta 16:39
Yeah, it was brilliant. Because you were, you’re basically offering a guarantee, like, yeah, I guarantee that if you pick me, you’re going to like it, because here’s what it’s going to be sort of thing. And yeah,
Jason Feifer 16:50
and I’ll tell you, as I mean, as someone who’s now on the other side of that, as an editor who people pitch, most people do not do that at all, they don’t even come close to it. And if I found a writer who was willing to hustle like that, I would absolutely use them, I would love that they would be a resource. To me, it, it’s funny, you think that the world is full of competition. It’s not the world is just full of people. And a lot of those people are not actually great competition, all you need to do is make sure that you are serving someone else’s needs, and they will really like you for it.
Mike Malatesta 17:30
It’s so funny, you say that because I tell people all the time, you know that the bar is really not high. If not, all you need to do is a little bit more, and you stand out as if you’re, you know, doing a ton more than anybody else. The bar is that low in most things in life, the bar is, is low. Yeah. All you need to do is do like what you said this at one of the things you mentioned in the book, and and this sort of sounds a little bit like it, but you talk about this your first experience with a dating site, and how at the end of it, you were like, I cannot wait to do this a second time. And then you’ve used that use that several times for different stories throughout the book. Do
Jason Feifer 18:15
I have that? Yeah, well, the context is that I had never been on a date. And the reason I was 28 I never been on a date. The reason for that was because I had this long term girlfriend started dating her sophomore year of college, and then we broke up when I was 28. A long time. So I moved to New York, I’m single, I’ve never gone on a real date before. And I didn’t know what I was doing. And the date was kind of a disaster. I kind of blew it. And and at the end, I thought to myself, I cannot wait to do this the second time or because like, you know, it went bad. But whatever it went bad like now I know more than I did before I’ve gone through the first one, the first one was not going to be amazing. It’s not going to no first one is amazing. So what am I even? What’s the bar here? Right? The bar? The bar should be how do I learn so that I have more experience about this than I did before? And if that’s the bar, then anything that happens just doing it is a value. And I have applied that in many ways throughout my career ever since?
Mike Malatesta 19:19
Yeah, like with your speaking I remember you mentioned it with your speaking and it’s just I think I’m glad it was in there because it’s a very healthy way to look at things because I think so many people do what you did on that date. And then they’re like, Oh, I’m not doing that again. Because I don’t want to feel that way. I don’t want to make that mistake or I don’t want to whatever. And they start, they start instead of using it as an experience to get better. They use it as a obstacle to stop. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. You know,
Jason Feifer 19:51
I think when an experience is bad, the best thing that you can do and it’s not easy, I understand. The best thing that you can do is To try to back away from it and look at it as an object, right? It’s an object. And this object is a little ugly, but it contains something in it is useful. If you could rifle around in there, there’s some part of it, that’s pretty useful that you’re going to stick in your pocket and carry forward. It’s some insight at some lesson, it’s some something, it’s maybe it’s just the fact that it happened. And therefore you don’t have to do it again. Whatever it is, I think if we can gain some kind of distance, from the things that we’re we’re experiencing, by giving ourselves something to do with them are going to be part of the problem with when something goes wrong is that you don’t feel like you have a sense of agency anymore, that the thing has happened, you are not in control of it. But you are, you’re not in control of the situation, which has already happened. You can’t travel back in time, but you are in control of what you do with that experience. And that is something that as long as you can recognize, you can start to use.
Mike Malatesta 21:05
So let’s talk a little bit about your podcast because I mentioned it in the bio. It’s, I wonder, I wonder how you Well, I wonder how you come up with your ideas. But then the production is just very, very interesting. You know, where you’re on the phone with someone or you’re, you’ve got that woman that does the voice impersonations for you. And, and the topics that are like very interesting, Vic, for example, folks, what people have 1923 predicted about 2023, stop obsessing over what if, why nobody wants to work anymore is BS, and then the teddy bear one. And I could just go on and on. They’re just Jason basically picks these stories. And he, he, it’s sort of like a debunking of now, it’s maybe not always a debunking, but it’s sort of has that feel to it. So right? How do you? How do you pick what you’re going to work on? And then how long does it take you to do them to?
Jason Feifer 22:06
Yeah, it’s a long process. Basically, what you’re hearing, if you listen to the show, it’s it’s just like the book, it’s called build for tomorrow. What you’re hearing is the closest that you might, it’s, it’s sort of like a radio documentary. So there’s a narration from me. And then you’ll hear other people’s voices. And I’ll be describing what somebody said, and then you’ll hear a little bit of them, and then we’ll come back to me, and then I’ll go back to them. I do have an actor perform old newspaper articles that we’re talking about. And, and it, it’s, I’ve always struggled to describe it, simply but it is a show about how things change and how we misunderstand that change. And and the way that I pick the subjects is mostly that I just stumbled upon something that it makes me curious. And, and, you know, I think a lot of people, when they’re curious about something that they just hear some weird thing. They either Google it, and just like read whatever Wikipedia entry comes up, or they just say, well, that, that sounds interesting. And then they move along. I don’t do that. I contact people. That’s, that’s my, that’s how I learned. I’ve discovered that I’m, the best way for me to learn is to talk to really smart people, and then communicate what they said to someone else. That’s when something sticks in my head. And so this project has really been a project of me, wondering about the world and wondering about why we continue to misunderstand the world around us and the changes that we experience. And, and you know, it just turns out that if you wonder about something, and then you call someone who genuinely knows about it, they will tell you stuff that just blows your mind, that is just so much more interesting than anything that you could have imagined and way more interesting than just like some garbage that you find on the internet. And I couldn’t recommend it more highly, but both my podcasts are calling people calling people like yeah, like just ask somebody where people people are fountains of information, and they’re often really happy to indulge people’s genuine curiosities.
Mike Malatesta 24:27
I do like when you go to is it newspapers.com? That? Yes, for us? That’s really interesting. And the way that she acts out the voices of someone from the 1920s Let’s say it’s really
Jason Feifer 24:40
his fun. Yeah, so yes. So I use I use newspapers if anybody’s ever curious about old newspapers.com Is this great? archive search engine for old newspapers. You can you can search by keyword, and then you can slice and dice by time period and location. And what you’re referencing here is that I do this I something I do every year, which is that I go to newspapers.com. And I search for what people from 100 years ago predicted about the year we’re about to enter. So in December of 2022, as we’re looking towards 2023, I went to newspapers of 1923 and searched for the for the phrase, the year 2023. Like, what did people in 1920? In 2019 23, right, that contain the phrase, the year 2023? The answer is always predictions about the 100 years. And, and they were fascinating, but the one that everyone was talking about back then was by this guy named Charles Steinmetz, who was one of the fathers of electricity. And he was predicting that by 2023, everyone would be working a four hour work day, and that the rest of our time would be leisure. And that was because electricity, which was totally new at the time would you know, have have made work so efficient, that we wouldn’t need to work as much as we do. And you know, the the so I got curious, well, why did that happen or not happen? And what can it tell us about? You know, it’s so interesting, because here, Charles Steinmetz was predicting, basically a world of automation that would lead to luxury. Now we have the same exact conversation, we’re talking about AI and automation, replacing jobs and replacing work, but now we don’t see it as leading to luxury, we see it as leading to an economic crisis where people aren’t gonna have work, and they’re not gonna have money. So what happened to the last 100 years? And what can we learn about it from what can we learn about that, and then apply to the next 100? So you know, what do you do you call a historian, you call an economist, you start to figure it out. And then yes, I also call a Jia, Jia, Maura, she’s amazing. She’s an actress in LA, who I’m friendly with who always acts out these old articles of mind.
Mike Malatesta 26:50
And in your book, also build for tomorrow, you’ve, you chose to put it into four parts I did the same thing with with my book, and I’m interested, why you chose that sort of formatting. So first part is panic. The second part is adaptation. Third part is new normal. And fourth part is wouldn’t go back. And it almost sounded like a product cycle to be like a new product sing. But it’s but it’s not that but what why did you why did you choose that?
Jason Feifer 27:19
So it’s the four phases of change, I argue that the everyone goes through change in four phases, panic adaptation, new normal wouldn’t go back. You know, it’s, it’s funny, when I pitched the book and sold it to Penguin Random House, it did not have that format, and had a totally different format. And that format was going to be the first half of the book was going to be about why we panic over change. And the second half of the book was going to be how to adapt to change. And my editor when he acquired it, Matthew Benjamin, you know, when I first the first conversation I had with him, he basically was like, really excited about this book, the structure that you pitched doesn’t work at all, but you know, you’ll find it. And, and I thought, Okay. And, and so he said, then, when we had our next conversation, he said, Well, okay, here’s what I want you to do write the first four chapters. And then let’s talk. And I said, All right, and so I wrote the first four chapters, and I sent it to him. And we got on the phone, he said, our well, these were interesting, but they were basically four magazine articles, they didn’t, they weren’t connected to each other, they didn’t feel like they, they built upon it. Like one idea didn’t seem to build upon the next. And they like each, each one had a kind of different structure and just didn’t feel coherent. So spend some time thinking about how could you create coherence out of these ideas that you have, and organize them in a way that that feels like it builds across a book, so that the book itself is one coherent narrative. And, and so I, I stepped back, and I was thinking about this, and I decided, you know, what I needed to do is I need to go look at other structures in books, I don’t read business books, and part of the reason is because I don’t want to accidentally steal people’s ideas. And so I’m not that familiar with other business books, but I haven’t, uh, somebody had sent me I have a bunch of my office because people send me them. And so I was flipping through them, and somebody had sent me, Greg McEwan essentialism, which is a best seller many times over. And I looked at the table of contents, and he had structured it in this way in which it was, it was, it was four parts, and each part had four chapters in it. And they built right. So it was like each part was, was building towards a bigger idea was moving you through how to learn essentialism. And I thought, this is a really nice way to do it, where you have you build, you break a book up into how to move through a big idea, and then you subdivide it with with with ideas and exercises and lessons. And I thought, well, what would mine be? And at first, I just kind of took my own ideas, and I reorganized them into four sections, and I was like, this doesn’t really make sense just kind of random. And, and then I realized, you know, I’ve been telling this story about the four phases of change, panic, panic adaptation, you normally wouldn’t go back this is this is how people go through change. People really liked the story I’ve been, you know, I’ve been talking about it on stage and podcasts and meetings, people just like connect with the story. And I wonder if there’s something that I could do with it. And then I was like, Wait a second, that’s a force. Those are four things like what happens if I break the book down into those four, like the story that I already have, but it becomes the central driving organizational construct. And so I did that. And then I started to move the ideas and insights and exercises that I had around, and I realized that they matched up really well. And that’s how I had it. It, it was a, it was it was luck. And also finding the right ways to use the ideas that you have.
Mike Malatesta 30:55
Well, you did a wonderful job I in my estimation of building like you just described on not only your own stories, but the stories of other people that you knew from your podcast, or from your work at entrepreneur or wherever you had met and talk to these people like the chip Gaines thing sort of comes into comes into play. You do a fairly nice job blending and molding those together. I know we’re bumping up against time here. So I do have one more question for you, if you don’t mind. In the book, you’ve mentioned, Jim, quick in this thing, he asked people, which is what is your dominant question? And I thought I would ask that of you. What is your dominant question, Jason?
Jason Feifer 31:38
So Jim, quick, is a world renowned brain coach and his he says your brain is a is a is a filtering device? What information should it pay attention to? And what shouldn’t and, and the direction that the filtering device has is a question that you ask yourself over and over again, what and everyone has one? And and he calls that your dominant question. And, you know, by way of example, you know, he works with Will Smith, he said, Will Smith’s dominant question is, how do I make this moment magical? And so you know, the problem with dominant questions is that every dominant question has a has a kind of problem with it. And you should be aware of that and identify it. Will Smith dominant question problem? How do I make this moment magical is that it supposes that moments aren’t already magical, and that they require him to make the magical. So the so he worked with will to to adjust the question to make it how can I make this moment even more magical? And as he was talking, I realized, you know, the question that that I asked all the time is, what am I missing? I think I learned it as a as a journalist. I mean, I don’t think anyone told me that line. But that’s just kind of what I started to think, what am I missing? What am I missing? Go into any situation? I’m interviewing somebody? What am I missing? And then I started to apply it to my career. What am I missing? Right? I mean, when I’m out the Gartner news, and I’m not doing the work that I want, what am I missing? What I’m missing is that I could be freelancing for national publications. And I think it served me very well. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s kept me curious. It’s made me push myself into unfamiliar situations. When I asked him about it, he said, it’s great. You know, the, the downside to it is, is probably that you, you probably suffer a lot of FOMO fear of missing out. And that’s totally true. Obviously, you know, if my wife and I go out on the rare times we do because we have two little kids, I always want to stay out as late as possible. i Oh, I don’t want to miss something. And not in a like, I need to be there but rather just like there’s more fun to have. There’s like more more to experience I want to experience it. And and that can drive her crazy because she’s like, it’s late. I’m tired. Let’s go home. And but anyway, that’s my dominant question is What am I missing? And, you know, it’s, it’s worth thinking for everybody about what yours is, too.
Mike Malatesta 34:00
I wrote something down before we started. I’m not going to share it now. But it’s, it’s it was a great, it’s a great thing to think about because I you know, how can I make this more magical? Well, yeah, priests priests, presupposes that most moments in wills life are not magical, right. So that’s, that’s what am I missing? Right? Like, right. So I’m always missing something. So it’s like, yeah, FOMO or paranoia?
Jason Feifer 34:31
Totally, totally. Well, it’s great. I’m glad that it got you thinking. I mean, it’s, it’s worth knowing that because then it can, you can be aware of the structure of your thoughts.
Mike Malatesta 34:39
Right. Well, Jason, I really appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you so much. Congratulations on the success of your book build for tomorrow and your podcast build for tomorrow. And your work at Entrepreneur Magazine as well. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you want to share before
Jason Feifer 34:57
we go I thought this was great. I really apprec She did appreciate reading the book and your support and great conversation I’d say if anybody wants copy build for tomorrow is available anywhere you find books online Amazon, Barnes and Noble in you can find that in an airport bookstores. Also audio book, I read it myself and book so however you are interested, and then you can find out more about me and reach me directly at my website, which is Jason pfeiffer.com.
Mike Malatesta 35:24
Got it. Jason, thank you so much. Thank you