To come from a place of caring in helping others, what entrepreneurs need first is to become authentic. A heartrepreneur knows this to be true, doing business with a heart that is no longer transactional, but that is from truly caring for others. Terri Levine invites someone who greatly embodies this, Justin Donne. Among other things, Justin is an author, trainer, speaker, and strategist who aims at helping creative people find that sense of direction in their personal and professional lives. In this episode, Justin shares the secret to achieving whatever we want in life: authenticity. He takes us across his upbringing and artistic career journey that shows the importance of that lightning in the bottle moment of being real, of doing things that come from your truth.
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Authenticity: Doing Business With A Heart With Justin Donne
The first thing I want to remind you is that the word heartrepreneur starts with the heart. It stands for doing business with heart. There are three words that encompass the heartrepreneur philosophy. That is transparency, integrity and authenticity. That’s how you do business with heart. You’re no longer transactional. You come from a way of caring for your prospective customers, patients, client family members, your current ones, and even the ones that are past. They’re all part of how you do business.
For this episode, I have a super special guest. I’ve been excited about this for a week. Justin Donne is someone that I am delighted to call my friend and someone that I have high regard for. You will, too. His life has been dedicated to helping people just like you and families like yours receive focus, intelligence, and persistence that most people would never have even known are possible. He touches the lives of 10,000 plus people a year. He does it in all different ways, presentations, consulting, seminars and conferences. Justin is magical, trust me. Businesses get aligned for the first time, confidence gets rekindled. Business growth gets awakened because of all of that. I want you to welcome my friend, Justin Donne.
Thank you so much, Terri, for that incredible introduction. I am honored to be here with the Heartrepreneurs community. I consider myself as a heartrepreneur. I am part of that community. It’s touching to be able to be here with you and to share because I care.
Yes, you do. That’s one of the things that I wanted to start with. In your life journey, what brought you to the place of caring so much and wanting to make a difference for others?
It’s almost like one of those things that I want to answer that I’ve always been that way. I was born the kind of person that is an empath and cares for other people, sometimes crossing the line into sympathy and doing harm to my own self. Being wiser now in my years. I tend to manage that pretty well. It’s been a long journey, over four decades. I’ve experienced a lot of things. If I were to answer that more intelligently rather than saying, “I was born this way,” I’d say that it’s because of the fact that I’ve experienced so many of the things. I was born in Israel. I was raised in Philadelphia and Detroit. I did my university studies in Chicago. I spent eleven years in Los Angeles in the movie business. I’ve resided in France because my mother is French. I’ve spent eleven years in England because my great grandfather was the viscount. I moved here to try and rekindle some of that.
I’ve lived in so many different places and moved around a lot, I’ve gotten to see and mix with people from the inner city of Detroit to Vietnam veterans to royalty. I’ve noticed that our common humanity or humanism and compassion for each other is the thing that links us together. It makes us like each other. More than that, it’s the people that I’m drawn to. The aggressive types who trample on and exploit people, I’m not drawn to those people. We don’t magnetize towards each other. I want to see everybody benefiting that’s why I care. I want to see those folks who think that they have to exploit and abuse people in order to survive and thrive, I like to try and show them that they don’t have to. They can still be rich without using other people. That’s a longer and more thoughtful answer to your question.Our common humanity, our compassion for each other, is the thing that links us together. Click To Tweet
It’s a beautiful answer. I always have people talking about how they want to be heartrepreneurs. I tell people, “That’s within you.” We can teach you business skills. You’re either naturally the kind of person who wants to make a difference and you’re there for a heartrepreneur or you’re someone who is transactional, not connected and doesn’t feel that connection that we have. Every human being is aligned in some way, shape, or form because of our humaneness and because of our DNA. How do you make a difference in business, Justin?
A lot of people ask me about what I do and how I make a difference. To answer that, I’m going to tell you that I like to help creative people who might lack a certain sense of direction at life, work, and business because they’re all linked. I’ve seen boardrooms where there’s a personal matter that if it’s not resolved, we’re not getting out of here in a negotiation. I help them to succeed on their own terms. Ultimately, my belief is that you work with people’s willingness even if you have the level of pay over them and salaries or whatever. It’s their willingness that you’re always working with. Financially, emotionally, relationally, even health, I work with people.
I have a process. I help people to define what they want where they want to go. I don’t stop there. First of all, most importantly, we don’t fix what isn’t broken. Secondly, we uncover those previously hidden solutions. That’s the thing that people say, “Justin’s got a magic wand.” I do. There it is. I wave it around. That’s a secret first step. Once we’ve done that, we get together to design the winning formula in five simple steps. I’ve made it as simple as humanly possible to use and leverage the most brilliant research in systems thinking with decades of validation. You know this and so do I. A lot of people might not realize that the best-laid plans, when poorly implemented, don’t do much good. That final step, I’ve developed over decades and validated in the real world under fire. I empower people to deploy it with seven secrets to make sure nothing slips through the net. Nothing falls through the holes or falls through the cracks, that we don’t miss anything at all. That’s how I make a difference.
I’ll share with our followers and our readers that Justin’s made a huge difference for me every time that we have a conversation. This episode is no exception. I walk away having learned something and felt something of greater knowledge and clarity. There is so much within you, Justin, not just intelligence. It’s the language in a way that you can get through probably more than most people that I know. You might be the number one person that I know at this who has used language that helps me personally. I believe it will help the audience. They know what helps your client’s family members get clarity and get focus. Would you address that? There’s a huge difference between you and anybody else I know in this area.
I’m so glad you said that. It’s absolutely true. You’re not the only person, by the way, to have given me that feedback. I’ve had that for many people. I will say that I’m not NLP trained. I am aware of NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I have surface awareness of it. I’m not some kind of master trainer or practitioner that uses embedded commands and coding. I’m not doing any of that. I am also aware of several marketing techniques that certain mentors have shared that you and I both know. I’m aware of their methodologies and techniques. I’m aware of the Zeigarnik Effect, also known as cliffhangers. I do like that. I like to employ that. There are tricks and tools that I use. Ultimately, if I tell you what the secret sauce is, it’s probably going to surprise you. It’s the one thing that I can’t teach.
What is it? You have me on a cliffhanger right there.
I can transfer and teach my life’s work, the process that we talked about. That is duplicable. I can teach that to you. In fact, it’s one of the things that I work on as a consultant. I over-empower my clients and then they don’t need me anymore. I catch them on LinkedIn making all the right moves, thinking, “I’ve got nothing to say on that. That’s exactly what I would tell you to do if you hired me. In 1.5 hours, they’re empowered forever to make the best strategic decisions for their business. I can transfer that.
What I cannot transfer is the ability to write poetry and have a sense of aesthetics and musicality. That’s not transferable, unfortunately. There are people that try to give you little mad libs, scripts, or formulas that you plug in that it creates some kind of thing for you. Before I was anything else, before I was a martial artist or an actor, I was an artist. That includes visual arts as well as the piano. I’ve played piano since I was four years old. In fact, there was a shaman at my birth. I don’t know what a shaman was doing at my birth. He told my parents that I was Schubert reincarnated. I’m like, “I hope not because he was notoriously depressed and riddled with health issues.” Anyway, they were told. I don’t know whether that’s true or not. What I do know is true is that my training in musicality, in piano, in music and the arts have always impacted everything that I do. I call it, “I play the piano of an organization,” because I know what notes to push to get what results. I look at things with a sense of rhythm and poetry.
Here’s an example. In credit cards and banking, most people don’t realize that there’s a rhythm to it. If you pay your credit cards and all your bills with the rhythm, you can shave off, for example, 30 years off a mortgage. I don’t want to belabor that point because that’s not the purpose of our conversation. There’s a rhythm that you can’t notice unless you have that sense of music. I’m no dancer. I’ve got no rhythm when it comes to moving the body. That’s what I mean when I say that I like to cross-pollinate and synthesize. I went to a special school where they do horizontal learning or lateral thinking and all that. I go beyond that. I look at the music of your credit cards. I can’t teach that. That’s not transferable. That’s a part of where it comes from.
With the language, it’s the same thing. It’s a study of poetry. I do write poetry. I’ve written it for my cats and various other funny things like that. That’s what I do. That is number one. Number two, which is also not transferable, is the fact that it’s real genuine intention. My intention is always to uplift and have a positive impact on the other person. The words that come out are not planned. They may seem like that sometimes but they’re not planned or strung together in specific sequences or anything like that. There is a poetic musicality to my way of talking. I know that. There is no predetermined language pattern. It is my genuine heartfelt desire to do something for you or whoever it is that I’m talking to. It comes out that way. Unfortunately, that’s also not teachable. I cannot teach someone to have good intentions towards someone else.
However, what you said is relevant. I want to make a point about this. If all of us come from a place of genuine intention and we don’t use NLP or manipulative language, you don’t need that. I did study NLP but I rarely use it. My experience is that 5 or 6 people that I know who use it all the time. I do mean I’ve never had a conversation with them or don’t hear some embedded commands. My own experience is that I feel a little less trusting of them because they’re using language in a manipulative way. Not that they’re “bad people.” They’ve trained themselves to do that and I’m aware of that.
What I want people to hear is to be authentic. I don’t have the amazing language that Justin has. I have a simpler language. However, we come from the same place. That is the place of heartrepreneur, of being genuine and authentic. No, we can’t teach someone else to be us. I can’t imitate or model Justin. I don’t think Justin would want to imitate or model me. He’s an original. You’re an original. The beauty is that we can all do business from the authentic place of being ourselves and teaching people the skills and knowledge that we can teach them.The best-laid plans that are poorly implemented don't do much good. Click To Tweet
I want to share a funny story. Many years ago, I owned an art business with my husband. We had about 2,000 other art consultants. I was the trainer for the whole company. I would hear some of the art consultants do our shows using all of my words. They would use some of my “jokes,” but nothing would land. Nothing would work. They’d be like, “Why does it work for you?” I respond with, “It’s because I said them. I didn’t memorize and script them.” I want people to get this lesson. Be you. You don’t have to be another version. Does that resonate?
Absolutely. We can do this now. If people had a wish and their wish was that they could have the results that you have, then we can grant that wish. I worked at Disney before so we can grant that wish. Unlike Aladdin’s genie, we can’t teach people to be us. I could teach someone to play the piano but not the way I do. I could teach someone martial arts but not the way I do. The whole point is that we can open the door for people. If they can be themselves and bring their own spin to it, that’s when they get the best results. The people who use NLP the best are the ones who have internalized it and made it their own. You’re not sitting there seeing them do it to you. When you go to see acting, whether it’s a play or a movie, the good actors are the ones where you’re not sitting there and thinking, “I can see Chris or whatever doing the roll.” You forget that it’s Tony or Anthony Hopkins. You’re sitting there enthralled by the beauty of the performance, lost in character.
Professional wrestling is the same. Good wrestlers are phenomenal actors and athletes. You get lost in the match. There’s none of this, “That looked fake.” We all know it’s not real but the good ones make you believe it is. It’s the same thing with people who are reading this if you make it your own. You don’t need my words. You don’t need clever words or anything like that. One of the greatest salesmen and marketers of all time in direct response marketing revealed his secrets to us. I won’t say his name because he’s a controversial figure. He said, “It’s not the language. There is no script. It’s not anything. We’ve done it all in one take. The big secret is that it’s all been real. The reactions you see in my face are real. The reactions in my interviewee are real. We’ve never met before. I didn’t give him or her the questions. I didn’t receive the questions before I went to that show. All of this is capturing the real moments of the genuine human interaction, the genuine energy between us that’s flowing for real.” It’s almost like Spielberg being the only director to have ever captured twice a shooting star on film, you’re capturing that lightning in a bottle. You cannot do that when it’s scripted.
I had an acting class at Bobbie Chance’s ages ago, when I was a young man and still an actor. If someone wants to hire me, I am still an actor. I’m a member of the Screen Actors Guild. I would love to do it. What I don’t do anymore is send headshots, résumés, and go audition. I’ll audition for someone but I will not start to go through that whole rigmarole. The point is that he came as a guest to our class and told us that he could never work with someone like Kubrick who does a zillion takes because he was good for about 6 or 7 takes and then it gets stale. He’s already rehearsed it and memorized his lines hundreds of times. He’s read the script out loud. He’s pacing in his living room until it’s memorized. What he doesn’t do is once you roll the camera, you’ve got 6 or 7 takes out of him and then it’s stale.
It’s the same concept if you know your stuff. If you’re coming from your truth, your real history, and you’re not making stuff up, guessing, or reading a script, there is no need for perfection. Perfection reduces believability. Perfection reduces the results and the outcome of a call to action. My friend, who is the famous marketer I told you about, did a test on that once. He did one tape thing like he always does. They redid another one that was letter-perfect, not a comma out of place. The original one outsold the other one by a factor of 100. We’re talking a difference in several hundred thousand to over ten million in sales on a weekend. That’s a huge factor. The only difference was the perfect one sold less than the imperfect one with some uhms, ahs, and stutters.
The reason is that it’s genuine authenticity versus the slightly stilted overly polished thing that was produced. That’s not to say that we have no appreciation for aesthetics and for something to be right, done right, and practiced well. When we come into these interactions, we ostensibly know our stuff. We know our history. How much more rehearsal do I need to teach my sister? I don’t need any more rehearsal for that. I’ve done it for 30 years. If I was learning something new, that’s a different question. I need to learn my lines. Once mastery is attained, that’s when you have to trust and let go.
That’s a brilliant thing to share a couple of things with our readers. I typically do a lot of presentations and speak all over the world every year, some virtually, a lot of in-person conferences. I show up without PowerPoints even though many people will say you need to have PowerPoints. I like to be in the moment. I don’t prepare and say, “I’m going to do this and then I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this move.” Nothing that I do, literally, is scripted. I show up at the moment. I look at my audience and I feel my audience. I choose how that presentation will go. I’m constantly in the moment, changing it.
The reason I don’t typically have slides is that 99% of the time, I go, “None of this is relevant. I’m going to do something different.” I feel my crowd. When you have mastery and you know your stuff inside and out, and you’re not trying to achieve what I call a manipulative outcome, “I’m going to pitch you,” “I’m going to close you,” or “I’m going to have you buy.” In the end, if you’ve created value and say, “Here’s what I have to offer,” people will line up. They will buy it without using any sort of background or trickery that some people use.
In these conversations on my radio and television shows, I don’t allow my guests to send me questions nor do I allow them to send me their press kits. Often, their publicists are like, “They go on every show with this.” Not on this show. I want people who are real, authentic heartrepreneurs and know their stuff. I should be able to ask any questions because they’re an expert in their stuff. I wanted to share that. That is the first time ever in all the years of doing the show that I’ve pulled back the curtain and let people know that. When you’re going to present, speak, or whatever it might be, if you know your stuff, just breathe, be centered, show up, and feel your audience on how you can create value. As a heartrepreneur, if your biggest question is, “All I want to do is create value. Please help me create value,” “How may I create value?” or “Show me how to create more value,” in my experience, you will always create value. I want to add that. Justin, I want to make sure that we tell people where they can reach you and connect with you.
There are options for people. They’re simple and they will always be there. First and foremost, I want to share a private email address with everybody. Private meaning you’re welcome to email for the purpose of connecting with me. That is MentorMeJustin@Gmail.com. It’s simple, easy, and secure. Email that so we can connect. I’d be happy to send somebody a free copy of my book. That would be wonderful. It’s not for sale so I’m not going to give out the title. It’s a descriptive book about my process. For some people, that’s enough and that’s all they need.
I also have a private VIP Facebook Group where I welcome people to join in. I share things and nurture people. The idea behind it is that you can get a little bit more attention and interaction with me. That is called The Business of Living. If somebody goes to Facebook and searches The Business of Living, they should find it. I’ll have my face on it. They’ll be able to find that group and request to join it. I would, of course, welcome anybody to join that. Those are the two best ways to connect with me. I don’t keep some kind of website. JustinAnswer.com, I have that domain. In those two ways, I would love to connect with people.
I’m all about one-on-one connection and interaction. I’m not necessarily looking to have a million fans. If I can have a group of people that I earnestly, truly, and genuinely help, and we can have a long-term relationship, that’s the way I’d like to look at things. I’m not the right mentor for someone who wants that cold butt-kicking who says, “I’m not your friend. I’m your mentor.” I’m not the guy. I genuinely and generally end up friends with the people I work with for the simple reason that I love people. I get along with people. For some reason, when I’ve done something wonderful for them, we end up being friends that in no way harms my financial well-being or relationship. I don’t often have people abusing the friendship. I’m always respectful not to abuse someone else’s friendship by requesting too many freebies of what they do professionally. It’s not been a problem for me. I understand, for other people, that’s not the right way to go about it. For someone in my life situation, that works well for me.Perfection reduces believability. Click To Tweet
I like friendships that are based on value, friendships where we make a difference to each other in our lives, and not just hanging out drinking whatever. I’m not such a good hanger-outer and drinker. I’m a cheap date and a lightweight. For me, it’s more about, “Can we do something wonderful together?” Before I forget, this Facebook group came out of such a situation. One of my client friends sent me a beautiful little testimonial as a Facebook message. He said, “What you do for people like me is enormous. It’s a pity that people on low income can’t access you.” That’s why I set up the Facebook group. He’s right. I’m inaccessible to most people. This way, I’m accessible to most people. It’s free.
Let me sum a couple of things up. The Business of Living, I got goosebumps with that. It’s a brilliant name. I hope that as a reader, you feel Justin’s heart. This is the lesson that I want you to take away more than anything. He’s here. He’s authentic, sharing, caring, and builds relationships. From the relationships, not only do clients come but friends come. These are long-term relationships. This is hunting to get a transaction. That’s the heart of heartrepreneurs.
First, I want to say thank you so much for being with us, Justin. I appreciate you so much. As we sum up for the readers, I want to thank you for being with us. I want to let you know that there is an educational webinar for you. It’s over at TLWebinar.com. Have a pen and a piece of paper. It will make a big difference to your business. Finally, think about how you can be more authentic. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks. Show up and be who you are because we already know that you’re a unique and beautiful human being. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time here at Heartrepreneur Radio.
- Justin Donne
- Bobbie Chance
- The Business of Living – Facebook Group
About Justin Donne
Justin’s career began in Hollywood, but after a few TV shows, some commercials, voice-over work and a film, he realized that under the performer was a businessperson bursting to get out, so I transitioned to running the holding company for a celebrity. He started in business at the age of nine, helping his grandfather support customers in his import/export business. He started volunteering as a karate instructor while in high school and has been a zealot for having a positive impact on the community ever since. Justin studied Communications with a marketing focus at Northwestern University to understand business from a higher altitude. Justin then snuck into Disney Parks & Resorts as an operations management consultant, in retail Store Operations at The Disneyland Resort in California before transferring to Park Operations at Disneyland Resort Paris. His paternal grandfather served in British Military Intelligence, hence the English heritage, my mother being French. Most people don’t know his great-grandfather was a Viscount, so when the opportunity came to move to the UK to work with Prince Charles, it was something he wanted to do since he was little. His goal is to help people succeed at work and in business whether that means re-inventing processes, coaching employees and leaders or writing a friendlier Employee Handbook.