Work harder, dream bigger.

Eleven-year-old Dean Graziosi and his grandmother shared a secret. 

They were the only two people who believed he would do something important with his life; something that would rescue him from the trailer home where he spent his difficult childhood. Graziosi tells Jay Shetty he’s not exactly sure what convinced him of his impending greatness, but his grandmother helped fan that flame into fire.  

Today, Graziosi is an author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur who paved his own way to success and is passionate about helping others succeed too. His bestselling books share secrets for others to attain greatness of their own. 

Graziosi sat down with Jay Shetty in a recent episode of On Purpose to share practical truths for those who are ready to take their dreams to the next level. The wisdom he shares applies to anyone, whether they are in an overwhelming place or sailing smoothly along.  

It Starts with Mindset

Graziosi believes most adults would benefit from being reintroduced to their inner 11-year-old self. 

“Sometimes when older people come to me and they want to go to another level and they're stuck, I want them to go back to being more of a child when they didn't know limits and the world didn't tell them no,” he told Jay Shetty. Childlike innocence and tenacity can do a lot for people who are going after their dreams. 

Graziosi also explained to Jay Shetty that he believes everyone has to choose which voice to listen to when they go after their dreams.

“We have the voice that says, ‘You'll never do it, you're an imposter,’” he told Jay Shetty. “‘You have to be smarter, richer, faster.’ And then we have the other voice that says, ‘You can do anything. You're limitless.’” The experiences we have and the people we surround ourselves with help determine which voice we listen to. 

“You talk about freedom a lot,” Jay Shetty said. “Tell us about the starting point of that journey – when someone's literally at a point of like, ‘I'm not satisfied with my job. I'm not sure how that's working. I'm not really sure that this career line has something for me.’ Where does someone go from that kind of space?”

Although it’s tempting to jump into the most trendy new formula or template to try to figure out a way forward, Graziosi cautions that those tactics never work. True success is brought about through mindset transformation.

Live a Little Harder

How do you know you’re ready to take the leap? Dean Graziosi gives those who are wondering two key pieces of advice. The first is to write down your big goal and look at it every day.

“A lot of times, people create a goal and they'll pray on it quarterly. They'll plan it once a month,” he told Jay Shetty. “My prescription would be to look at it every day. I feel for something to change, you have to look at it so much that you're disturbed by your own inaction.”  

Second, he encourages people to find out what they love to do. 

“Figure out what it is that really lights you up and then do a hell of a lot of research,” he said to Jay Shetty. “Ask, ‘Could I take what I'm passionate about and actually make it into an income?’ Align yourself with something you could see yourself doing for 10 years.” 

For Graziosi, the time spent researching is worth it. Taking the time to research and set yourself up for success will pay off for the rest of your life. 

Graziosi is honest what it really takes to be successful – hard work. He urged Jay Shetty’s listeners to use this as motivation. Jumping in and tackling the hard work now will build a foundation of success for the future. 

“It's really easy to eat fast food and McDonald's and sit on the couch now,” he explained to Jay Shetty. “That's easy to do. But it's really hard later when you're 55 and you have diabetes and you're a bad example for your kids.” 

“Live a little bit harder today,” he said. “Make sacrifices, bring back that childhood enthusiasm. Take steps that your friends and family think are crazy. Find something you're passionate about and spend the next two years going all after it. Because the byproduct is you're going to work anyway. You're going to be stressed anyway. Life is gonna throw you obstacles anyway. You might as well be doing it towards something that fills your soul.”

Painful Money Has Potential 

There’s no way around the truth that with success comes money. Graziosi acknowledged that many people struggle to know how to handle the strange relationship they have with money. This reminded Jay Shetty of the two extremes of money that Graziosi talks about in one of his books. 

“There are two extremes,” he told Jay Shetty. “One extreme is you think money is everything. I've got to have the homes and grab the men and the women or whatever it is. The other extreme is money is bad. It's evil. Only bad people have money. You have to manipulate people with that money.”  

Growing up poor caused Graziosi to wrestle with the pain of money as well, but a chat with his friend Brendon Burchard changed everything. Burchard urged him to use his gift for making money so he could serve others more and issued him a challenge, which he shared with Jay Shetty.

“He told me, ‘Go out and make as much money as you can because that's your God-given gift. Then do what you want with it. Give it all away if you want.’” Burchard reminded Graziosi that while some can give the gift of time to serve, for others it’s more effective to be able to give money. 

“Some people are meant to put the time in,” Graziosi told Jay Shetty of Burchard’s advice to him, “But would it be better for you to go to a soup kitchen and work there all week? Or would it be better for you to work in your unique ability and go to that same soup kitchen and hand the owner $50,000 so they can help feed more people?”

That conversation shifted his perception of money. Graziosi determined to earn as much as he could with the intention of giving most of it away. 

“It shifted me to another level,” Graziosi told Jay Shetty. “I think people don't realize the impact they can make. That's my soul. That's my heart. This year we fed 6 million people through feeding America.”

Collaboration Changes Everything

Graziosi also highly values collaborating with other high level leaders in various industries, including finance, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Although their industries are different, the common thread for all the leaders in Graziosi’s network is humility and a deep desire for collaborative community. 

“For a long time I have found the most endearing quality to be humility,” Graziosi said to Jay Shetty. “I find humility more admirable than any jewel in people. It's the thing I admire and respect the most.”

Part of that humility includes the desire to collaborate instead of compete. Helping each other solve problems and find solutions allows each of them to share their gifts. 

“We can't wait to go around the table and collaborate and solve each other's problems and share what our gifts are,” Graziosi told Jay Shetty. “There's things that you do way better than me, and there's things I do better than you. When you and I get together, we both rise.”

Jay Shetty and Graziosi both agree that collaboration has been life-changing for their work and personal lives.  Having a group of people cheering them on and helping lift them up has catapulted their growth and success.  

The School of Self-Education

Dean Graziosi has found an effective way to grow and develop through trials – self-education. Living through his parent’s painful divorce as a child was ugly and disturbing. He vowed never to put his own children through it. Unfortunately, Graziosi’s first marriage ended. When he finally accepted that he couldn't stay in his first marriage, panic began to set in. 

“I had this inner child that was so fearful of divorce,” he admitted to Jay Shetty. “The thought of leaving and not being there every morning for my kids … I didn’t know how to handle it.”

For the first time in his life, Graziosi found himself at a loss as to how to handle things. Although he thought he’d done the work to recover from his childhood trauma, it all came back at the thought of putting his own children through a divorce. 

“I was going to do to them what my dad did to me. For the first time in my life, I could not control my anxiety,” he admitted to Jay Shetty. “I was taking Xanax twice a week just so I could sleep two nights a week cause I stayed up all night thinking ‘They're going to dislike me.’”  Desperate for help, Graziosi hired a relationship coach and got to work. 

He and his coach worked step-by-step through fears and anxiety together and focused on how to approach his relationship and interactions with his ex-wife. 

“What solved everything was replacing every emotion with compassion,” Graziosi said to Jay Shetty. “I just love her through it, no matter what happens. I made her this promise of 10 things that I would do, and I promised her I would never talk bad about her, no matter what. I would be on her side with the kids. If I brought someone new in my life, we would all be friends. We would communicate.”

And they do. Graziosi brought other friends on board to hold him accountable and encourage him to continue growing. He asked Tony Robbins for help. Others encouraged his progress too, and he never stopped learning. 

Because of his proactive stance and drive to self-educate, today Graziosi has good interactions with his ex-wife, a healthy relationship with his kids, and a wonderful second marriage. Stepping into growth has paid off. 

“I devoured self-education everywhere I could, anything that could bring me out of this funk, so I could focus on that solution,” he told Jay Shetty. “I figured it out and it worked. Self-education saved my life because I didn't go the traditional route and I learned from other people.”

Sharing Self-Education with the World

Next up, Dean Graziosi is joining forces with Tony Robbins to form a mastermind group, and he couldn’t be more excited. He describes the group as a program that brings all of the pieces together; teaching people how to live out their dreams, make money and use it for impact by promoting collaboration with some of the biggest names in the business.

“When you have the ability to help other people impact other people's lives and then create revenue? Wow!” he told Jay Shetty. 

Dean Graziosi is thankful his grandmother believed in him all those years ago in that humble trailer park. His early years were hard and lonely, and he didn’t get much encouragement from others around him. He often heard things like:

You’re just a broke kid who lives in a trailer park with dyslexia.

You're not going to college.

Oh, you're going to be successful and take care of your mom? That's so cute, little Dean. Okay, I'll see you when you're drinking your six pack, kicking your dog. 

“I felt alone a lot in my thoughts and in my life and in front of my teachers and my guidance counselors,” he said. “I just seemed like the oddball.” He is so thankful he listened to her voice and followed his dreams. 

Today, Graziosi is a highly successful owner of 13 businesses, the author of several bestselling books, a happily married man and adoring father of three children. What started as just a spark of belief in himself has fanned into flame. 

In many ways, Dean Graziosi’s fire of success is taking the world by storm as he shares his wisdom with others. 

More From Jay Shetty & Dean Graziosi

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “How To Master Your Relationship With Money & Playing To Your Strengths” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.