"Making money is not the issue. It's figuring out how you want to live and then making the money to support that.”
Emily D Baker
What happens when you achieve everything you thought would make life fulfilling, but it doesn’t?
Today Emily D. Baker and I are going to explore how three words can change your life and set you free.
After serving as a deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles for 10 years, she struck out on her own to empower women entrepreneurs. As a consultant, she ensures her clients understand the advice she gives them – instead of leaving them more confused than when she started – and helps them create common sense documents that protect their businesses and make total sense to everyone involved.
She’s blunt, no-nonsense, and loving – and today, she’s going to share the three words that will change your life, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
- How Emily’s DA work took a physical and mental toll on her – and led to her deep dive into the world of personal development.
- The knock on Emily’s door that changed her life – and how it transformed her outlook on success.
- How Emily shifted her identity from employee to entrepreneur – and why it was so important to ask better questions.
- What made Emily so upset about the way we’re raised to pursue and value careers – and why she prefers a life of freedom that allows her to chase passion projects.
- Emily’s exercise to find her three words – and what you can do to change yourself from the core.
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Hal: All right. Goal achievers, let’s do it! Hey, this is Hal Elrod and that was deceiving my “let’s do it” energetic like, “Wow. Hal must be feeling great.” I’m still a little under the weather, still a little stuffy, but I am excited. I’m fired up because today our guest I know her well, pretty well, and we actually just had her speak at the Best Year Ever Blueprint. In fact, she had the honor of being our very first speaker so you can imagine how much thought goes into the individual that we are going to put on stage to give the audience the first message, the first experience that they have of the entire weekend. If that’s not enough of an introduction, let me give you a formal introduction here in a second but if that’s not enough of an intro for today’s guest, you’re like, “Wow, this person must be super special and an awesome communicator if Hal and Jon trusted her to be the opening speaker at the Best Year Ever Blueprint.” Well, yes, that is all very, very true. And the message today, the conversation I should say today, this is about the three words that will change your life and I’ll ask you what happens when you achieve everything you thought would make life fulfilling but then it doesn’t.
And today’s guest is Emily D. Baker and her and I are going to explore how three words can change your life and set you free. And Emily is a legal consultant for purposeful female entrepreneurs who empowers her clients to actually understand the advice she gives them instead of leaving them more confused than when she started, and in the legal field, that can happen. She also helps entrepreneurs to have common sense documents that will protect their business and make total sense to everyone involved. After serving as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles for 10 years, having threats on her life, I know that much, and getting ever so slightly burned out, Emily struck out on her own to pursue the glittery badassery that’s all her own. The women entrepreneurs she now empowers through her legal expertise appreciate her blunt, no-nonsense, get sh*t down approach that is coded in support and love.
And I’ll tell you Emily is the mother of two. She’s a professional archer in her free time and she will tell us about that, coffee, DMX, and Pokémon are her love languages and the impact she’s committed to is to arm entrepreneurs with legal knowledge they need in order to focus on what matters most and today we’re going to talk about those three words that Emily is going to share with you that will change your life.
Hal: Emily D. Baker, welcome.
Emily: Thanks, Hal. I am so excited to be here and I am so excited to be on this podcast because before I found my three words, podcasting was one of the things that made the biggest change in my life because that’s what I listen to, to and from work, when I was like, “Why am I doing this again today?”
Hal: That was your personal development vehicle, the podcast.
Emily: It was and I didn’t even realize it was personal development at the time. I was like personal development is not something that’s discussed in legal like you are so into what you’re doing. Personal development is like woowooey weird crap. It’s not something that is thought of or talked about. It’s becoming more talked about because people are like, “Oh I need to market better. I should do some of this development marketing stuff.” But a few years ago, when I first found you in a podcast and pulled over to the side of the road, I know we talked about this when we first met in Chicago, but pulled over to the side of the road and bought Miracle Morning on Audible on my phone while I was like maybe 10 minutes into the podcast I heard you on. And that kind of started this journey of, “Oh, there’s other people who have been through this,” and your story really resonated very deeply with me like, “Oh, there are other people who feel knocked sideways by their life,” and though it was never a car accident, my job took a huge toll on my health and I had complete adrenal fatigue, and as I was recovering from that herniated my back and had two back surgeries in a year. So, the whole the emotional stress, the mental stress, the physical stress, it all kind of knocked me a little sideways.
Hal: Wow. And then you started diving into the world of personal development and that was kind of the game changer for you would you say?
Emily: That was absolutely the game changer. I knew I needed to make a change. I didn’t, to be perfectly honest, I’m just going to be really real. I felt like an asshole like a total asshole. I was like my life is really good and this is exactly, I went to law school and spend like 100 plus thousand dollars to get this degree to do the job that I’m blessed enough to do. There is no better job than standing up for victims of crime and giving them a voice like fighting the good fight in court every day like they make TV shows out of that stuff. But I was miserable and I’ve got a great husband and two kids. I live in a beautiful area, overpriced, but beautiful and I wasn’t happy and I felt, I really did, I felt like a total d*ck for not being happy. I’m like I have everything I ever wanted. What is going on? And that’s when I started searching for other answers and starting to look inside myself, but I didn’t do that until I started to find things like The Miracle Morning where I’m like, “Oh, other people asked these questions and find answers both internal and external answers,” and that’s when I started really searching.
I came to Chicago. I had missed the first Best Year Ever because of my back surgeries but I came to the Chicago event and started meeting people from all walks of life who are asking these questions and I felt so wrapped in community that that was when I started going, “Okay. What other questions can I ask? What other questions can I ask about my life?” And these are people who weren’t asking, “Where is my career going to take me?” It was, “How can I serve the world? How can I make a difference? How can I live my best life every single day? How can I have those front-row moments?” These are better questions than what I was asking but they didn’t sink in, because I had to change myself a little bit first. Because even though I started asking the right questions, I didn’t internalize it yet.
Hal: Well, I want to go back a little bit before this. So, you are a, I know about you, that you’re a Division I athlete, and you play D1 water polo at Harvard for lack, right, there’s a story behind that.
Emily: There’s a story behind that. I actually played at UMass Amherst and I talked about this in my TED Talk because I was really challenged by learning disabilities going through school and I had very smart friends and the people who played water polo were very smart. I always felt like an imposter. I always felt like I was barely scraping by. Had a really hard time reading, remembering, really struggled with attention deficit, and never quite felt good enough. So, when I tried to prove myself through sport, which was aggravated by the fact that back in the 90s there were not very many women’s water polo teams so I played on the men’s team in high school and at 5’6 by my senior year in high school, everyone else was like 6’4. So, as I’m trying to prove myself, I was also kind of tearing up my body a little bit but I want to UMass Amherst and I kind of talked about in my TED Talk that being on the Harvard campus system where I never thought I would be but that is the game where I ended up injuring myself and that kind of threw my life in a different direction.
Hal: Was it the end of your water polo career?
Emily: It was. That was the last water polo game I ever played.
Hal: Got it. Okay. And then talk about after that, I wanted our audience to hear about the knock on your door in I think it was 2016.
Emily: The Harvard game was the first knock on my body because I wasn’t listening. When your body tells you it’s in pain, that’s meant for you to listen to. So, when I injured my shoulder, I became very, very depressed, which is why later in life as an adult when I was struggling with being unhappy, I was really afraid of it and people who’ve been through major depressions, it can be really scary to start feeling unhappy again. It can be really scary like, “Oh, this was really bad last time. I don’t want to do this again like I don’t want to go down this road,” and it was frightening and that had come from losing my water polo identity. I was the girl who played water polo. When you’re the only girl on a men’s team, you kind of stand out. You have this whole identity like I punch people in the face. It’s amazing. So, then I decided I wanted to go to law school. While I was recovering from injury, I met my husband and I was like, “I want to go to law school, but I’m not sure.” He’s like, “Look, I’ve seen you argue your way in and out of everything. I think this feels like what you want to do.” I’m like, “I’m not smart enough.” He goes, “Why do you think that?” and started really questioning me on why I thought that. And I started finding ways to study better and worked really hard to get into law school and I knew I wanted to be a district attorney when I went to law school.
So, I got that job and it was shocking because when I interviewed for the District Attorney’s Office, the district attorney at the time, Steve Cooley, was looking at me in his office and like triggered all of my insecurities and he looked at me he’s like, “Well, why should I hire you? I have thousands of applications. We’re taking up 200 people. You are not the absolute top of your class. You didn’t do some of these things.” And I was like, “I am the hardest worker you will ever meet. Juries will absolutely love me. I communicate well and I’m going to come back and interview every single year until you get sick of me and just hire me. I’m also really well-versed in fraud, white-collar crime, computer crimes, and I’m ready to do this,” and I got hired after my first round of interviews, became a district attorney, and started working my way up doing everything from pimps and hoes and gangs and drugs and fraud and embezzlement and eventually murder cases. And that is where the knock on my door comes from a murder case I dealt with. But still, there are still times I get choked up talking about this case because it was a mom who was killed and she was killed because her daughter was a victim of the crime and the defendant tried to silence the daughter and killed her mother.
It didn’t silence the daughter. He is serving life in prison without parole but we did three trials on that case, me and another prosecutor. We convicted him in the third trial and when the conviction finally came down, the courtroom just exploded. There was so much tension between the defendant’s family and the victim’s family. The crime had taken almost 10 years to prosecute from the actual homicide because trials take a long time. There were three of them so by the time that he’s finally convicted, there was a lot of built-up tension. During this trial, I was pregnant with my now six-year-old and I had really difficult high-risk pregnancies, so I was sick and I had to go to the bathroom a lot but the judge, this lovely judge refused to let me use the bathroom in the back of the courtroom because I might seem like endearing to the jury. I might accidentally interact with the jury. I’m like, I’m a professional. I happen to be pregnant.
Hal: I just happen to go to the bathroom.
Emily: I just had to go to the bathroom all the time so I had to use the public restroom. I got followed into the public restroom by the defendant’s family on more than one occasion. So, then I had to have like a police escort to go to the bathroom, which is kind of mortifying like just to have your male detectives have to escort you to the bathroom. It just doesn’t – it was mortifying to me but after that case, you know, we got rushed down the back stairs, escorted out of the courthouse. The jury had asked to be taken out of the court through the back after the verdict came down because they had a sense that this was how this was going to go. The defendant’s family got into a huge fight with the victim’s family in the courtroom in the hallway and then again outside the court and the defendant’s mom at some point in that made threats against me and my family. So, when the police knocked on the door that night, I was sitting on my couch and my husband’s like, “Hey, hon, there’s like a police car in the alleyway,” and I’m like, “Yeah.”
So, I know we talked about the case and we talked about the verdict and the jury had been deliberating for five or six days so we knew the verdict was coming. I hadn’t told him about the threats yet and my four-year-old was sleep upstairs and I’m sitting on the couch in my living room pregnant and I’m like, “What am I doing with my life?” And the cops are like, “What happened?” and I gave them the whole rundown and then everybody who changed shift that night came by. I live in a fairly small town so everybody who changed shift that night came by and knocked on my door and was like, “What happened?” because at the time there were two district attorneys that lived in my community, so the cops knew who we were and I was prosecuting my local courthouse. So, I kept relaying the story and that in law enforcement, there are times where you know you’re doing your job well and listening to jail calls and hearing people call you names you’re like, “I’m doing my job well because I’m pushing all of their buttons,” and when you get death threats, you’re you like, “I know I’m doing my job because someone wants to kill me.” And in this moment with my two kids at home, it struck me that that was maybe a bad measure of success.
Hal: Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Emily: This is maybe not the metric I want to measure my life and when I was a law clerk I was working in crimes against peace officers with a lovely attorney who had done some very high-profile cases but there was police protection on his kids to get them to school safely and my 20-something-year-old-self law student was like, “That’s amazing,” and I still remember it because I’m still horrified that I had these thoughts, but I was thinking that’s amazing like you do your job so well, not only do you have protection on you and your house but your kids have police protection. As a parent and as a mom, there’s no way I would get to that point for me because I’d be like, “I’m out. I’m out. I’m out. I’m not doing police protection on my kids at school like I am out,” and there are plenty of DAs and such good district attorneys who go their whole careers and this doesn’t happen and who are safe and it’s very rare that district attorneys are harmed or killed, but you still have to be constantly vigilant.
And there are so many people who do this job so well, it was time for me to take a step back and let other people do it. And I hedged back a little bit and started doing more of the fraud cases and changed out of the blood and gut stuff as my kids were young but when my health stuff started going, I realized that I just was unfulfilled. When you try to make yourself smaller in any aspect of your life, it really starts to eat you up inside and that’s not being in trial and not doing those kinds of cases was me playing smaller and I had to find a stage to play bigger and I had to start figuring out what that looked like because my identity was wrapped up in being a district attorney. Like, I went from I’m the girl water polo player to like I’m a district attorney so trying to wrap my head around being something else like I remember telling my husband after back surgery, I’m like, “I feel like I’m not a DA, I’m nothing like I am actually nothing,” so that…
Hal: So, quitting that profession was not an easy thing for you, obviously.
Emily: It was not and it wasn’t just leaving a profession. It’s leaving a lifestyle and it’s leaving a group of friends. I lost a lot of friends in that process. I maintained very few of my DA friends when I left the DA’s office and it’s hard and it does make me sad but I do what was right for me and my family and now I serve entrepreneurs. And in court when you would put a witness on the stand who wasn’t thrilled with you, you’d be like, “Hey, I know I’m talking to you in front of all these strangers about horrible stuff that’s happened in your life. We’re just going to go ahead and talk about that.” And sometimes they’d be like, “You know what, F**k you. I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t like you. I’m not talking to you. I’m not saying anything. I’m not saying anything.”
When I deal with my entrepreneur clients, I get, “Oh my God, thank you. I don’t know who I could’ve asked. You’ve made this so simple. You’ve made this make sense. I feel like I’m in charge of my business. I feel like I’m so powerful,” and I get to use my gifts to fulfill people in sharing their gifts. I get to help entrepreneurs protect what they’re building and creating online so that they can go and do good and serve others. And so, I found a way to change that but I had to change myself first, and that was really dialing in the three questions or the three words and asking myself, who am I? Because I kept saying to my husband like, “I’m nothing. If I’m not a DA, I’m nothing,” and he’s like, “Well, you’re something. You just need to figure it out.” I’m like, “How do you even figure out what you are?”
Hal: Yeah. Let me ask you here. Here’s kind of a pivotal question and I think it’s applicable to a lot of people listening. How can you effectively shift your whole life and, more so, your identity from employee or professional employee to small business entrepreneur or small business owner or whatever word somebody is going to resonate with or title or identity, new identity, they’re going to take on? From employee to entrepreneur though, in general, how do you effectively shift that?
Emily: It is an interesting shift and the thing I found was, one, asking better questions and the first question I asked was why do I feel like I am owning this job title? And I kind of trace that back to this is what we’re taught like in school and in society. You go to cocktail parties and people are like, “What do you do?” When you’re a kid, people ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and they want you to be this job title. And so, I realized it was so ingrained like what do you want to be, it shouldn’t be a job title. So, I started getting kind of angry first like, “This is BS. I’m not going to ask my kids what do they want to be. I’m going to tell my kids, “You need to decide how you want to be when you grow up. Do you want to be adventurous? Do you want to travel? Do you want to explore? Do you want to build robots? How do you want to be but how do you want to express that?” And so, I started to ask myself how do I want to show up in my life? Not identifying myself in this little lawyer box like I’m this one thing because none of us are one thing. We’re all so diverse in so many things.
So, I realized I had to dial into my essence and my core and figure out how I wanted to show up in my life because that gives you the freedom to do anything. It doesn’t matter if I’m an entrepreneur or if I’m a speaker or if I’m mom. I changed so many hats in a day. My identity is not connected to my production, how much money I make, any of that. It’s whether I’m being authentic to who I am and asking what those words were and the words resonated with me because I started doing these values exercises like what do I value and I’m like that’s not it yet. I haven’t gone to how I want to show up because when I was asking myself who am I, the thing that kept coming up in my head was I’m nothing. And so, I’m like, “Okay. I can’t keep asking who I am because I’m not there yet.” So, now I need to figure out my future self like how am I going to show up and be my ideal self? And that’s what I started asking. So, I started asking myself what those words would be like how do I show up in my life as a future self? And during this time, I was doing a lot of personal development because I was recovering from back surgery so recovering from a spinal fusion, I didn’t have much to do but like sit in bed and scroll through Instagram and watch YouTube videos and listen to audiobooks and all of that kind of fit in to figuring out how I want to be in my life.
And for me, part of what I loved about being a water polo player and a DA and now even with archery is there had to be some component of badass-ness in my world and it’s funny because when people meet me, they’re like, “Nope, that fits you. Badass is a fit.” And then I had to figure out what the parts were that were stifled in my career. What was I holding small? And that was kind of my shiny and sparkly. So, I came up with “shiny sparkly badass” because it encompassed all of me.
Hal: Those are your three words.
Emily: Those are my three words and I had leaned so far into the badass. I was a very, very like television written district attorney early in my career. It was only black suits, pearls, short like sensible hair, nude nails. I was very much playing the role of the district attorney because I had such imposter syndrome from being like the dumb kid growing up. I was so like these people are going to figure out that I am not as smart as they are.
Hal: What was your plan of attack for that to just look as much the part so to speak?
Emily: Absolutely. Look the part and no one’s going to question it like I’ve got my serious suit, my serious heels, and no one will question me. And they did all the time and I met other DAs who there are so many DAs with so much personality, especially in Los Angeles and I was always envious. I’m like, “Damn, I want your hot pink stilettos,” but I don’t feel confident enough in my own ability to really let my whole personality shine so I really felt like I was playing a role. And as I got later into my career after having kids, I stopped feeling that way and I was transitioning and growing into my own ability as just as an attorney and as a human as we get older and started expressing more of my personality, but the court still has a lot of rules and you still can’t be all of you.
I almost got fined once by a judge for being funny and when you get fined, you have to report yourself to the State Bar and he was like, “Ms. Baker,” he pulled to the sidebar and he was like, “You need to get your checkbook and bring in to court because if you make this jury laugh one more time, trying to be funny, I’m going to fine you $1,200,” and I was like, “Your honor, I’m not trying to be funny. I just am.” I wanted to be like, “I’m just amazing,” and these people are bored and they have nothing to do but sit here for days and look at my face. That’s all they can do is sit here and look at me talk. I have an inflection. I tell stories. I am a storyteller. So, it’s not my fault if they think it’s funny.
Hal: I love it.
Emily: I didn’t end up getting fined thankfully.
Hal: You didn’t get fined. Good.
Emily: I did not.
Hal: I want to take one step back and make a comment and then I want to ask some questions to dive into these three words in terms of I want to explore the three words and what’s the value for someone to do this exercise and then I’ll let you unpack. Maybe you said it in your story here but unpack how you figured out your three words, what that does for you so we can break that down for our listeners afterwards. But first, I just want to comment on something you said which is when I asked about how you effectively shift your whole life and identity from being a professional employee to an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you talked about looking at how do you want to be. And what I love about that is like for me, you referenced it in the realm of kids, asking kids what you’re going to do when you grow up but how do you want to be. What I love about that is it’s like for me, I want to set my own schedule, set my own hours. I have freedom like I value freedom arguably above almost anything else.
And so, to me, that’s where entrepreneurship became the path. It’s like I want a life of freedom where I get to do what I want, when I want, with whoever I want. I also would like no ceiling on my income and it was like, “Wait a minute. Check, check, check, check. Oh, I’m supposed to be an entrepreneur,” like I didn’t realize that. I didn’t know that was even a career choice when I was young but, yeah, so I love that being kind of the guiding question around what do you want your life to be to like, your days to be like, and then you build a career around that versus what career do I want and then go ahead there.
Emily: Right. We’re taught to do it the wrong way around. We are taught that you follow this path and you go to school, and then you work really hard to get into a better school, and then you work hard to maybe get into a better school, and then you work hard to get this job, and then you keep working hard to get this promotion, and then you work hard to get this other promotion, and for what?
Hal: And then you realize…
Emily: For what? I’m like we’re taught the wrong way. We’re not taught to pick how we want to live our lives. We’re taught to work really hard to get a bunch of money so that when we’re in our 70s, we might be able to travel and I got really pissed about that. I’m like, “Why didn’t anyone tell me I needed to pick my life first?” What I wanted my life to look like first? Because this wouldn’t be it necessarily and now, I have the freedom to do passion projects. I’m actually on a tear today because there was a client came to me with a website that’s reselling courses from all kinds of entrepreneurs and they are ripping these courses it looks like from the backend of websites and then selling them for like $49. So, like Lewis Howes is like a $2,000 course. It’s up there for $39 and they’re selling all these courses and I am like on a passion mission to take this website down. I’m not charging my client for it and I’m hoping to take it down for all the entrepreneurs because I get to do that now. I still get to do what fires me up and not worry about whether I’m getting paid to do it. I get to follow my best life and still do good and this is one of the ways I can do that.
And now that I got to pick how my life looks, it doesn’t matter what my job title ever is because I love the way my life looks and some of that is working for Disney Cruise Vacations like I’m going to be straight up. I want to go play Pokémon with my kid. Those are things that are important to me and my kids are only going to be little for a little while and I’m noticing that now that my 10-year-old is almost 11. He’s sassy and he’s becoming like a tween person and it’s a lot of fun, but I also feel that clock ticking that that’s only a few more years until he’s ready to start living his own life, not under my roof. So, picking my life first and then making money. You can make money, guys, doing anything. Making money is not the issue. It’s figuring out how you want to live and then making the money to support that.
Hal: Yes. Will you say that again?
Emily: Yeah. It’s figuring out how you want to live, and then making the money to support that. I mean, Tim Ferriss talks about it a little bit too, right. Like with the four-hour work week stuff, he was like, “Look, if you want to live location independent, just make it happen because you can live in Guatemala way cheaper than you can live in Southern California.” So, the thing you think you need isn’t really what you think you need. And joining the entrepreneurial community, I’ve met people who are schooling their kids in all different ways from unschooling and homeschooling and wonderschooling and moving into an RV for two years and exploring the United States. There are so many ways to live your life. The way we were taught is total crap. So, pick your life first.
Hal: Yeah. And by the way, if you’re listening to this, goal achievers, and you are like, “All right. Well, I’m not in the beginning phases of my career like I’m not in the picking phases anymore. I’m 10 years in, 40 years in, whatever.” It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Actually, let me say this, it’s never too early, but it’s definitely too late meaning don’t wait like it’s too late. I mean, don’t wait. It can definitely become too late. You’d wake up in five years and go, “Damn it, why didn’t I do it when I listened to that podcast with Hal and Emily?” So, it can be too late but it’s never too early like there’s no time better than now to reinvent yourself and billionaire, Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty is famous for teaching that you can change your life radically. Essentially, you can create anything you want in the next five years. Like no matter where you are right now, if you want to be worth $10 million, you can do it in the next five years.
If you want to change careers, you can do it the next five years. If you want to start a business and have it succeed and have passive income, you can do the next five years. So, it’s going to create passive income so you can retire, you can do the next five years. And while the number five years is arbitrary, I think Gary makes it less arbitrary because he breaks, I haven’t heard him talk in a while, but he breaks down why that is like a year to really like study and learn something, a year to get a huge product off the ground, a year to iterate and perfect it and then a couple more years to grow it where you want it to be. It doesn’t matter what your age is. We have Colonel Sanders, right, with the famous story. He’s like 65 when he started KFC and became a multimillionaire. Yes, you’re never too young and you’re never too old.
Emily: It’s absolutely never too late and I think you don’t even have to. Your radical shift might not be like upending your life and quitting your job and I realize that’s not practical for everybody. You can still change how you show up and how you feel about it. I was afraid to ask for vacation. If I was still working in my job if it still worked for me, I’d be like, “You all, it’s 4. I’m out of here,” like I’m on salary. I’m going to work and be productive and do what I need to do and I’m going to take my vacation and get out. My attitude about working would’ve shifted if I was still in a typical job. So, when you decide how you show up, you can say, “I’m going to show up and be the person who is uber productive. I’m not just going to fill out stupid things. I’m not going to sit for three hours of meetings. I’m going to be productive. I’m going to do my job and I will get on with my life. And you can decide how you want to be without upending your job. You can decide how you want to be and start your side hustle and let it grow over the next five years. You get to pick your life and nobody told me that. Why didn’t anybody say, “Honey, you get to pick how you do this,” instead of, “Go to school, go to school, go to school, get a job, get a job, get a job, get a career, get promoted, retire, die.” Like that’s a sh*t way to live.
Hal: I agree. So, let’s close out the podcast today with some action for our listeners by unpacking how you figured out your three words and reiterate too just the importance of like what’s the value of someone listening, doing the exercise you’re about to give them? So, what’s the value finding their three words by you unpacking how you figured out yours and then breaking that down for our listeners so they can do the same?
Emily: Absolutely. So, the importance is asking the question, how do you want to be? And it’s changing the core of you and really reconnecting with the core of you because when you’re not outcome determinant or success determinant or your identity is not hinged on a job title, you have the freedom and flexibility to choose, really choose your life because it takes the ego out of it. Like, it feels really good when people are like, “Ooh, you have this fancy job,” but once you decide how you’re living, that goes away because you’re honoring yourself and your true individual. And the feedback I get on this from people who do it is always so powerful and when you listen to this and do the words, please share them with me, I love celebrating you really getting connected to how you want to show up in life and know that your words can shift and change as you shift and change. So, the first thing that I did was really start exploring what I missed about myself like the parts of my personality I felt like I was hiding, and I felt like I was hiding my shiny and my sparkly.
But then I was asking myself, what do I love about myself? What are the words others might use to describe me that I really love? And people who meet me generally say I’m kind of loud and kind of a badass and I love that and I was like, “I do love that,” and there’s this other part too that I’m clearly not sharing. So, I did some journaling around it and you guys are here to not count your goals. You are the kind of people that are already identifying what’s important to you, so identifying what’s important to you isn’t going to be hard. Take five minutes and evaluate what do you want to bring in to your future best version of yourself and what do you love about yourself? And just write those words. I just got a big sheet of paper and start writing words and then as I narrowed it down and took a minute to reflect on it, I was like, “What jumps out of me? It’s these three words.” And you might be sitting here listening to this going, “I know exactly what these are.”
In my TED Talk, I actually invite people to explore. Is it adventurous or irreverent or silly or loud? I mean, what are those words that would define how you want to show up in life? And then what I did with them, and this was a Brendon Burchard suggestion, he talks about setting alarms on his phone and making your alarms work for you. I set my three words as phone alarms because it’s my check in with myself whether I’m authentically being me, like when my shiny sparkly badass alarm goes on, I’m like, “Oh, I’m in my head about something or I’m not honoring that or it’s not shiny sparkly badass to not stop working at 4 and go hang out with my kids like what does it mean to me?” And then I check in with myself if I’m living authentically with that. At Best Year Ever this year, Dr. Sean was talking about your goals kind of being the destination and it really resonates with me that the words are kind of the thing you’re kind of working towards in the future like you’re constantly saying, “Am I showing up how I want to show up?”
And it gives you a way to check in because then it doesn’t matter how much money you made today or if you worked out or any of it. What matters is, did you authentically honor yourself? Everything else can stem from that. And when everything else stems from that, it’s okay sometimes if maybe the huge crazy goals you set you didn’t hit because you’re still reaching for that future best self. It gives you a constant destination so you’re always moving forward and evolving as a person.
Hal: In a minute I’m going to ask you I love some examples of other people’s three words that from people you’ve done this exercise with. I just want to share kind of personal experience with this and this is pre-Emily D. Baker experience and it’s only one word experience so it’s not to become three times better here as I tell the listeners and implementing this exercise, but for me, I do find my purpose in life in 2004 I believe to selflessly add value to the lives of the people and the word it really is selflessness. That’s my word. That’s my virtue. It’s my value. It’s my purpose. And it has become so central, I mean, that’s been, gosh, what 14 years ago, and to this day that one word drives my behavior maybe more than any other in that every day, every moment, in any conversation with anyone, I’m backtesting the word against my behavior or my actions or I’m using the word to set my intentions and it’s always my underlying intention. So, I’m engaging in a meeting with someone. I’m always thinking of how can I selflessly add value to this person’s life? Like, I want to make sure that I’m adding as much value as I possibly can.
And in doing that, actually like that has been the secret to my success if you will is I’m always looking to add value for everybody from my wife and kids to clients and customers to prospects, to business strategic partners. The idea is that that word became who I am and it’s who I’m known for. It’s like, “Oh yeah, Hal, he’s always trying to figure out how he can add value for me and so I like doing business with him or working with him.” You know what I mean?
Emily: Right. I think you see it because what you see and for people who haven’t been to Best Year Ever, it’s time to start thinking about next year, but you see it.
Hal: Get your tickets right now at BestYearEverLive.com. Throw that in there.
Emily: Perfect. You see it at your event that’s different from other events I’ve been to as most of your speakers and this is unique to your event, most of your big keynote speakers stay. They stay and engage with your audience. They stay and engage with you and your community and that’s because they get so much value from being around the community that you create that they stay and give back. The way that you show up, Hal, allows other people to show up that way too and selflessly show up. You don’t find events like that where your keynote speaker two hours before is sitting at a table journaling with people. I vividly remember Chris Ducker was doing this year. Joe Polish was doing it last year. They were there for the whole event and engaging with the community and the process and working through what the other speakers were talking about and that is just an outcropping of the selflessness because other people embrace it and run with it and they do that out of love for you because you add so much value to them.
Hal: Well, thank you. Thank you for that and I have heard that before, and, well, obviously, I’ve seen it firsthand but I’ve definitely heard a lot of people say, wow, no other event that I go to where, yeah, the speaker’s there like Dr. Sean Stephenson was there a day-and-a-half before he spoke. He was in the audience the whole time. Yeah. So, that is a really special thing. All right. Last but not least, any examples for people of kind of thought joggers of like what are some of the three words you see or even just individual words when you string them together but that you’ve seen other people that have used this exercise?
Emily: Well, I’m going to thought jogger you. Did you pick three words at Best Year Ever?
Hal: Yes, and I have to – this is my fault. I’ve written it in my Best Year Ever binder and I was looking for it.
Emily: Oh, Hal. Put it in the show notes.
Hal: Yes, I couldn’t find it before our interview. I’m like, yes, so yes. So, yeah, I apologize. I cannot remember my other two words but the exercise and…
Emily: It’s alright. This is why you put them in your phone, you guys, because you’re integrating new behavior and so when it is integrated into you and you remember it, it will actually become ingrained the way that selfless has become ingrained for Hal. The words that people share with me are half like the thing they love about themselves and half the thing that they hide about themselves. So, from women, I got a lot of bold, loud, authentic, and a lot of themes around adventurous and free-spirited and things that people want to embrace but maybe feel like they shouldn’t because they maybe feel like that part of their personality is too much. It’s not too much. Be you. And it’s just finding a way to say your three words in a powerful like I say, “I am a shiny sparkly badass.” That is kind of the core of what you get with me. I’ve met people who are like, “I am a confident self-sufficient traveler.” Awesome. Awesome. And especially for women that traveling alone can be a little scary so I hear people talking about their empowerment and owning themselves and embracing all the quirks.
So, you know, if you are a nerdy, adventurous Pokémon trainer, be it. If you are an empowered successful loud adventurer, be it. If you are a healthy and kind authentic human, be it. So, those are how you pick and please, please share them with me. I let everybody slide up into the DMs on Instagram so seriously, you guys, send me your words. I want to know and I want to celebrate with you, the words.
Hal: Is Instagram the best place to share those?
Emily: Oh, Instagram is so fun. I love it so much. I should not be on Instagram as much as I am, but I am TheEmilyDBaker on Instagram and yeah it is. It is my favorite place to have conversations. It’s so easy to have conversations there. I love it.
Hal: Awesome. So, TheEmilyDBaker?
Emily: Yup. TheEmilyDBaker. That was part of me owning myself this year was saying, “You know what, this is what it is. That’s me. I am The Emily D. Baker, I’m actually going to write it into my speaker agreements so I start getting introduced as The Emily D Baker when I come out to my…
Hal: X going to give to you. X going to give it to you. They’re going to give it to you. Knock. Knock. Yeah. Emily comes out to X Gon Give it to Ya by DMX and her dance moves are right on point. Emily, like I told you every time I freaking love when you come out to that song. It makes me so happy. In fact…
Emily: It makes me so happy too.
Hal: I was actually it was just two days ago before I crashed my car, I actually thought of you and I’ve literally thought of you and I’m like, “Play X Gon Give it to Ya by DMX,” and I freaking listened to the song.
Emily: Awesome. And it’s a great, it’s a great, it’s just a great song and there was a time when I was working in Long Beach with a number of my friends and there were probably four DAs in a Prius because there were four DAs rolling through Long Beach in a Prius bumping gangster rap and, you know, we love it, I love it, my friends love it, and there’s nothing like four DAs bumping through downtown Long Beach in a Prius to gangster rap.
Hal: I love it. Awesome. Well, Emily, absolute love you. What is the best way for people to get in touch with you? What’s your website? We obviously know your Instagram handle, TheEmilyDBaker on Instagram. Where else to get hold of you?
Emily: TheEmilyDBaker on Instagram and then my website is just www.EmilyDBaker.com. I am therefore whatever you guys need. If you are running online businesses, I am there to help you and to empower you. If you just want to follow along with the journey, Instagram is the best place to do that but if you do run an online business, you can hop over on my website and my email list. I keep you guys up to date with all the legal stuff that keeps changing in the online world because it’s constant.
Hal: Yeah it is and take it from me in terms of, you know, better safe than sorry. You want to dig your well before it’s thirsty, Harvey Mackay, like one of the most important things to do and when comes to legal, don’t mess around.
Emily: Yes. I talked about building the moat before you build the castle because people will come to burn that crap down.
Hal: Yeah. That’s a great, great, great analogy. So, Em, I appreciate you, love you.
Emily: Hal, love you too. Thank you.
Hal: Thank you. Goal achievers, I love you guys and gals. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Achieve Your Goals Podcast. We do have the advanced reader team that we just launched for the newest book in the Miracle Morning series, the Miracle Morning For Couples, Create Legendary Connection One morning At A Time co-authored with Brandy and Lance Salazar with Honoree Corder as always. And yeah this is a great book. If you’re a couple, you’re going to love this one. So, go over to MiracleMorning.com/CouplesART and if there are still some spots on the advanced reader team, I can’t promise by the time this goes live because we launch it today and this will go out in like a week or so but check it out. So, goal achievers, love you, appreciate you. Emily D Baker, love you, appreciate you, and I will talk to everybody next week.