379 – Lewis Howes: Where Do Breakthroughs Come From?

Lewis Howes is doing a TV show… he was told “No, not now” from Ellen Degeneres’s team. And six months later told “Yes” by Facebook.

The show is called Inspiring Life with Lewis Howes. And it’s out now.

“What’s it about?”

He told me the premise: Lewis gets an audience together and an expert. They explore one topic (financial fears, forgiveness, etc.).

Then he integrates the audience. Their stories come to life. And Lewis is the medium between them, their need to express themselves, and the advice from an expert (like Ramit Sethi, Gretchen Rubin, etc.) who can help them move forward.

The show was originally going to be called “Breakthroughs.” Or something like that. But they changed it to “Inspiring Life.”

I was honest.

“Inspiration is kind of a bullshit term, though,” I said. “Does it make you feel like a fraud that you have to inspire people?”

He was quick.

“The show wants to inspire people,” he said.

I asked about the production: Three cameras, writers, a set they built from scratch in a warehouse.

“Why did you partner with Facebook?” I asked. “Why didn’t you just do it yourself on Facebook Live?”

He explained the strategy (where the eyeballs are and what the stamp of approval from Facebook equals). I’m sure he’s right. And I hope it’s successful.

So I asked him, “What does success look like for the show?”

“Consistency in viewers.”

So, it’s not having a billion views. It’s having the same viewers or growth. No drop off.

I commend him for taking the challenge. And for not getting knocked down by the first “No” which was more of a “Not right now” from Ellen.

I think that’s sort of Lewis’ superpower. He has a lot of strategies for combating any sort of self-doubt or self-pity. I’ve never heard him complain. And he’s always genuinely present with you.

He started this interview by asking me questions. “What has doing stand-up taught you about human behavior?”

“OK, and then I’ll interview you,” I said.

He laughed. And snuck in a few more questions.

“How does someone become ‘likable?’ Who’s taught you the most?” he asked.

This is his other superpower. He knows how to take the pressure off of himself. And this is such a valuable skill.

He gave me an example. Here’s the breakdown:

Four Steps to Take the Pressure Off Yourself:

Step 1) Notice when you’re overwhelmed.
This is hard. But it’s the only way to change anything. Lewis said, “When I start to feel nervous I just say, ‘Ya know what? I’m gonna take the pressure off of me.’”


Step 2) He switches the focus.
He goes from focusing on himself to “focusing out.” (More on this in step 3.)


Step 3) He gives himself a non-selfish mantra.
“I say, ‘I’m here to give. I’m here to give. I’m here to give.’

As opposed to, ‘What are people going to think about me? I hope I look good. I hope I look funny or smart or as good as the last person who went on stage.’”

He lets that go.


Step 4) He re-focuses (again) on the real mission.

“I try to take the spotlight and put it back on the audience,” he said. “That’s what I try to do with this talk show. That’s what I try to do with my podcast, too, is not make it about me. Put it on the expert, put it on the guest, put it on the human interest, put it on the audience. The spotlight might be shining on me, but the goal is to reflect that light on everyone else.”


If you’re reading this… that means Lewis’ show is live. And if you’re thinking, “I want a TV show,” then you should be next. Take the Choose Yourself path. Grab your phone and a livestream.

Create your own breakthrough.


Links and Resources

Inspiring Life with Lewis Howes

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy“ by Lewis Howes

“The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships, and Live Their Fullest Lives“ by Lewis Howes

Visit Lewis’ website and subscribe to his newsletter

Listen to his podcast “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

Follow Lewis on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram


Also Mentioned

Comedian Steven Wright

Jerry Seinfeld

Failing Up” by Leslie Odom Jr

Ramit Sethi

Gabby Bernstein

Jay Shetty

Gretchen Rubin

Lewis on Ellen Degeneres

Tom vs. Time(Tom Brady’s Facebook show)

Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show 

Tony Robbins

Scott Adams’ “talent stack” theory

Lewis’ podcast interview with Tony Hawk

My podcast with Tony Hawk

Uber’s collaboration with Spike Lee

James Altucher Show animated podcast series(made possible thnks to Jon Briggs and FoodFight Studios)

Access to my ebook “FAQ Me


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  • James Buechler

    Steven Wright’s joke is not “It’s a small planet. But I wouldn’t want to paint it.” He said, “It’s a small WORLD. But I wouldn’t want to paint it.” I think that the joke is very funny. No one is familiar with “It’s a small planet” as an everyday phrase. Everyone has heard “it’s a small world”. In the same vein from Steven are, “Everywhere is within walking distance. If you have the time.” And, You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”

    All three start from a common everyday phrase, followed by a twist ending. By the way, a number of Wright’s jokes crash, and people don’t laugh just because it’s him telling the joke.

  • Markus Allen

    Every evening, I pick something to watch (or listen to) with my family after dinner. Last night, it was Lewis’ first episode.

    About 30 seconds in, everyone had a puzzled look on their face. And like the Gong Show of decades past, they wanted me GONG the show and switch to something ASAP. Surprisingly, my wife was really upset about it all. (And she usually gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.)

    The word authenthic comes to mind. And this show is not authentic. Lewis even admits this on your podcast. And it shows. As soon as I heard how many people produced this show, I knew this was going to be hard to watch. I sensed during the podcast that Lewis knows this will not end well – and if he puts out stuff like this regularly, oy vey. There are just too many cooks in this kitchen.

    Also, more bad news about Facebook – looks like Lewis is late on the gravy train:

    With that said, I appreciate Lewis’ hustle. How many people can brag about having so many podcasts up and published? Gary V would be proud.

  • clemdane

    Between this and that godawful “Get rich off Ivanka Trump’s revenge” offer I’m not feeling it this week.