True or False: If you want to realize your dreams and make money, you have to put in at least 60+ hours a week and work hard. You've also got to sacrifice your time with your family. Is that true?
Describing himself as a "a man who doesn't do Mondays or mornings," and as "a former poverty case who once got fired from a job as a dishwasher for being too slow," Marc Allen (along with Shakti Gawain) proceeded to create a publishing company called, New World Library. In spite of the fact that he sleeps longer than the average bear and doesn't like to work too hard, New World Library became a highly successful company, reaping multi-million dollar profits.
In this candid interview, Marc talks about his new book, "The TYPE-Z Guide to Success: A Lazy Person's Manifesto for Wealth and Fulfillment," in which he explains how anyone can realize their dreams and make a profit, without driving themselves into the ground in the process. Randy Peyser: First of all, can you define the Type-Z personality?
Marc Allen: I started using the term Type-Z personality as a joke because I am the total opposite of a Type-A personality. I'm a Type Z, as in the sleeping and snoring kind of "zzzzzz…."
RP: Many of us are scrambling around like little rugrats trying to be successful. We are working with intentions, writing down our goals, and practicing gratitude for what we already have, still the struggle continues. How do we handle the struggle?
MA: So much of the struggle, the stress, and the frustration is internal.
RP: How so?
MA: In The Power of Now, Eckert Tolle says, "Get the inside right and the outside will take care of itself." That's true in my experience. 99% of the work I've done to create success in the world has been internal. I had to deal with my own doubts and fears, and then with my own frustration. As soon as I could let those things go, really enjoy the moment, and focus on a goal, things started happening that moved me toward my goals.
RP: Can you give an example of a belief system that kept you in the internal struggle and what you did to transform that belief?
MA: The day I turned 30, I woke up in a state of shock, realizing I wasn't a kid anymore. I took a good look at my life: I was unemployed, I had no money, no family support, and no assets. I'd been an actor and had a rock band. I had always done what I loved to do. At least I had that piece of the puzzle, but I had no idea how to be successful.
That day, my life felt like sand through my hand. I had nothing to hold onto or build upon. That's the day I sat down and took a piece of paper and wrote "Ideal Scene" at the top. Then I let myself dream my ideal life. Much to my amazement, I wrote: I now have a successful publishing company, publishing my books and music, and supporting myself and others abundantly. And I have a big white house on the hill in Marin County, California.
At the time I had no interest in business, and I lived in a little slum apartment in Oakland. Suspending all realistic beliefs and doubts and fears, I added to my Ideal Scene: "I have a life of ease. I don't work too hard. I only work when I feel like it," and "I don't do mornings and I don't do Mondays."
As soon as I even dared to dream that, my doubts and fears rushed in. Impossible, Marc. It's way too much to build a business, and write books and record music. You've never done those things before. You know nothing about business. You can't do it and have a life of ease. You've got to work hard to succeed. Just pick one thing and focus on that.
When I told my dad I was starting a business, he told me I would have to work 60-80 hours a week. I realized then that there are certain people you don't tell your dreams to. I also learned that when people said negative things to me, they were reflecting my own beliefs. From age 30-35, I experienced chaos, struggle and losses.
Looking back, I can see why - my beliefs about money and success were conflicting with each other. I wanted success and a life of ease. On the other hand, I believed that I was a fool with money. I didn't understand money. I was out of control with it. Besides, maybe money was the root of all evil, and maybe going for this business thing would completely sidetrack me from my spiritual path and my artistic dreams.
I hit my financial low at age 35. My company had lost money every month for five years. Since I kept getting credit card offers, I would use them to get cash advances. I would put some of that money back in my company, but most of it I would just blow. By the time I was 35, I was $65,000 in credit card debt. This was the early 80's when $65,000 was a substantial amount of money.
My company was on the verge of bankruptcy. We were really struggling. Then I became aware how the entire struggle reflected my deep beliefs, which were negative and contradictory. At one point, I was heading down to a bank to get a cash advance on a new credit card offer to pay down the minimums on all my other credit cards. I'd done this repeatedly, and I felt all this anxiety. Whenever you feel anxiety, that's a good time to look at what you are telling yourself and look at your beliefs.
I then took myself through a process where I asked myself questions and answered them out loud: What are you feeling right now? I'm feeling uptight, angry and frustrated. What are you feeling physically? I have a knot in my stomach. What are you telling yourself? I'm telling myself I'm a fool with money and I'm out of control. I realized I was programming myself into bankruptcy.
Next, I expressed my deep belief in simple language, which was: I am a fool with money. I am out of control." To change a core belief, you have to write an affirmation that completely contradicts the core belief.
Affirmations are very powerful. The right affirmation can contradict years of negative core beliefs. My new affirmation was: I am sensible and in control of my finances. I am creating total financial success. This affirmation felt good emotionally, so I knew it was right for me.
Whenever any anxiety surfaced and I'd fall back into the old beliefs, I'd say: No. I am sensible and in control of my finances. I am creating total financial success. Then I tacked on a phrase to the beginning of my affirmation from Catherine Ponder, who's written numerous books on prosperity: In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, I am sensible and in control of my finances. I am creating total financial success. Those words - "easy" "relaxed," "healthy," and "positive" - helped me overcome those doubts and fears.
RP: You encourage people to make a deal with their doubts. Can you talk about that?
MA: When I was imagining my Ideal Scene and writing down my ideal life, I picked up another piece of paper and listed my goals to reach my ideal life. I had 12 of them, such as: "Start a publishing company" and "Start recording an album." There were a lot of starts because I had nothing happening.
As soon as I did that, the doubts and fears overwhelmed me. Impossible Marc. When I added, I have a life of ease and lightness and I don't work too hard to my Ideal Scene, my doubts and fears had a field day. You must work hard to succeed. My true ideal, when I was honest with myself, was that I wanted to be as lazy as I wanted to be - and still be a very successful multi-millionaire.
I had heard a story that Buckminster Fuller told in which he had decided in his 20's that he would either commit suicide or treat his life like an experiment. I latched onto that word, "experiment," and I told my doubts and fears: I am going to try this as an experiment.
My doubts and fears replied: It is impossible to create success with ease - especially for you. While I paced back and forth in my little one-room slum apartment, I told my doubts and fears: This is my experiment. Give me a year or two to go for my own Ideal Scene and do it in my own lazy way. My doubts and fears said: Impossible. This is a waste of time. I said: No, this is not a waste of time. This is a worthwhile experiment. Give me a year or two to try it, and if worst comes to worst, then I won't be any worse off than I am now.
At the time, I didn't have a job or money at all; I was a total poverty case. My doubts and fears caved into that. Okay. Try your ridiculous experiment. You'll fail, and then a year or two from now you'll realize that you have to work hard for a living, and work 60 hour work weeks, and you'll have to get up in the morning.
I tried this experiment, and within a year it was working - despite all my doubts and fears. It boils down to these essential questions: Do we believe it is possible to succeed and still have a life of ease? Do we believe it's possible to live the life of our dreams, and do what we love to do, and still be successful?
Most of us have contradictory beliefs, and until we deal with them, we are working against ourselves. When my affirmation came true, after many years, I changed it to: "Miracles follow miracles and wonders never cease, for all my expectations are for good."
RP: You are inviting us to work smarter by dealing with our internal belief systems, rather than to work harder in the external realm. However, you also offer valuable advice for dealing with the external world as well. For example, you talk about the three essentials for success in which you advise people to 1) find a product or service they love; 2) find a multi-pronged strategy to market their work; and 3) establish financial controls.
MA: Right. Each of these is quite simple. The first key to success is to do what you love to do, do the best you can do, and don't compromise that. Our product or service is what we love to do. Next you have to become your own Marketing Director.
Take an afternoon a month to put on your marketing hat and ask yourself, "How do I promote myself as an artist? How do I get my work out there?" The key to success in marketing is to always have a multi-pronged strategy that doesn't take "no" for an answer. You try what's been tried and true, and if that doesn't work, try something that's brand new. Find some way to market and sell your work. Don't give up!
Then every three months, put on your Financial Controller hat. Look at your income and your expenses and do whatever you can do to get your expenses down. With good financial controls you can succeed at even a very modest level of income.
RP: When people are in the process of going for their dream and doing what they love, do you recommend they quit their day job?
MA: No. If you have responsibilities and expenses, start in your free time. Find a few hours a week to sit down and write your Ideal Scene. List your goals and create a one page plan in writing for every major goal you have. Keep reviewing and changing that plan, and keep doing something every week to move forward on that plan. That's the external stuff, and that's not difficult at all.
If time is an issue, I guarantee that if you decide you want to succeed, you can find the time. Our beliefs about time and money are often similar. Most people think there isn't enough of either. But when we look at both those beliefs, we can change them. In my early 30's I believed there was a shortage of money and time in my life. I changed those beliefs. I now have plenty of time and money. I live in a very abundant world, whereas, I used to live in a world of scarcity and not enough.
RP: Any last thoughts?
MA: I did three things that turned my life around in a remarkably short time. First, I did the core belief process and found the affirmation to contradict my core beliefs. Secondly, by my phone I posted the Napoleon Hill quote: "Within every adversity is an equal or greater benefit. Within every problem is an opportunity." That really helped change my thinking.
Every time someone came into my office saying, "We've got another problem," I would ask myself, "What is the opportunity here? What benefit can there possibly be in being on the verge of bankruptcy?" When you ask that question, you start getting answers.
For example, I realized I wasn't being responsible. I hadn't taken full control of my company; the buck wasn't stopping with me. The third thing was that I hired a bookkeeper who taught me about financial controls.
For every industry, there are industry averages about what percentage of your income you should spend to create your products or services, to market them, and to cover your overhead. Compared to the industry averages, we were spending way too much money to create our books, and way too little money on marketing them. My bookkeeper showed me how to watch my expenses and get them inline with the industry averages.
Once we established the right financial controls we became consistently profitable. Those three things took me from a struggling poverty case to substantial success in a very short time.
RP: It's funny to hear you call yourself a "poverty case." Most people want to glamorize themselves, but you are just the opposite.
MA: I believe that it's good for me to show people what a space case I still am. I am totally unorganized; I have a terrible memory; I forget things; my desk is chaos; I'm still the creative type who doesn't understand finances and has no interest in marketing. I want to show people how "untogether" I am to drive home the point that if I can do it, they can do it. I have nothing special.
Every successful person I've ever met has been just as neurotic as every unsuccessful person. Successful people have nothing special that unsuccessful people don't have, except they are able to focus on a goal, take steps to get there, and turn their obstacles into opportunities.