I've been following Sean McCabe for years and learned a lot from his work ethic, discipline and creative mindset.
Today, I'm delighted to share my interview with Sean where he reveals his productivity and creativity secrets.
Sean McCabe has helped tens of thousands of students with his courses on copywriting, client work, pricing and marketing. On a daily basis, he runs seanwes, a learning community for entrepreneurs looking to do fulfilling work.
What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?
Writing every day has been the biggest game changer for me.
I used to think writing was boring and that only writers wrote. Now I write over a million words every year.
I realized that it all starts with writing. Everything you want to do starts with writing. Writing is the fuel for all other mediums:
- Want to present a speech? Write.
- Want to sell products? Write.
- Want to record a song? Write.
- Want to compose a book? Write.
- Want to produce a feature film? Write.
- Want to make a great podcast? Write.
- Want to teach an online course? Write.
- Want to shoot a compelling video? Write.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your career is build a writing habit.
How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?
I am a chronic procrastinator. What works for me is getting my back against the wall by committing to something and imposing deadlines.
We procrastinators psych ourselves out of doing something because we have the time and option to do so. We delay or postpone because the consequences or inaction aren't high enough.
I cannot afford to psych myself out of doing something.
If it's important, it's on the calendar. If it's important, I make myself accountable and get my back against the wall. I don’t give myself a second to think myself out of doing something.
If I want to be prolific in my output, I have to put myself in a situation where I don't have the freedom to psych myself out of doing the work.
I make a commitment—maybe it's a commitment to an accountability partner, maybe it’s public commitment—but I make sure people are expecting something from me and I have to deliver.
How Are You Modeling Your Life?
I see it as my duty to fulfill my potential.
I think the world is a better place when people are able to do what fulfills them and act in areas where they can create the most value for the world.
Most people feel stuck though. The primary aim of my book, Overlap is to help people get unstuck.
Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?
Start with the end in mind: what is the desired result? Now reverse engineer that and work backwards until you have the first step.
Next, make a commitment to show up and do the work. I never start with motivation.
A common misconception is believing you have to start with motivation. Motivation isn’t a source; motivation is a result of doing. Motivation comes after you show up.
If you look to motivation as your source of energy for taking action, you’re never going to show up.
What Do You Eat for Breakfast?
I eat cereal for breakfast because it's quick.
How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?
I used to feel like exercise just took time that I could otherwise spend working. How silly of me. What made it click for me was this quote by Jim Rohn: "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development."
Nothing in recent memory has hit me more directly in the gut.
I like audiobooks, so I only allow myself to listen to them while I run (as a kind of reward). This turns what would otherwise be a mundane task into a very enjoyable part of my day.
As far as mental clarity, I have a bean bag in my office. I like to sit in it and think. Just stare and think.
I heard someone once say successful CEOs spend 70% of their time thinking. I'm not sure whether it was an exaggeration to make a point or if it was supposed to be taken literally. Either way, I have a long way to go.
How Do You Meet and Connect with People?
As an introvert, I like to stay inside my house. It's where I'm most comfortable. But comfort is not how you grow.
As much as I wanted my success to be tied to WHAT I knew, it didn't take long for me to realize how truly important WHO you know is.
Connections are everything. Relationships are the key to unlocking your next level of growth. The time you spend building relationships will never be wasted.
We host a conference, I speak at and attend many conferences, and we also run a community for entrepreneurs at seanwes.
I make a point to travel to events as much as possible. I've never regretted it. It doesn't matter how many thousands of dollars I spend on events, the return is always ten or one hundred fold.
Meetups, retreats, masterminds, and conferences are all an absolute must—and being an introvert is no excuse for not going.
What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?
We have smart devices in our house. At 9:00 PM, all the lights turn off except the lamps in the bedroom. This is shutdown time: take a shower, brush your teeth, do whatever you need to get ready for bed.
I will read in bed until 9:55 PM until the lamps dim by 20% and shift warmer in color on a schedule. For every sequential minute until 10:00 PM, the lamps will get dimmer and warmer until they turn off completely. This way, I can mentally ease into sleeping mode.
If I am running, I will wake at 4:30 AM with an alarm. Otherwise, the fan turns off and lamps turn on at 6:00 AM.
This habit was not built overnight. It was a very gradual and intentional transition that I documented in detail.
What Are Your Investing Habits?
I invest in myself first and foremost. This includes my personal education as well as my companies and the people in them.
Courses and books are some of the best investments I've found in terms of ROI. I invest in both liberally. I have saved years of time by learning from others' mistakes.
In terms of cash reserves, I make it a goal to get to what I call "The New Zero," which is six months of cash in the bank.
How much are your monthly expenses? (This number can be either for you personally or for your business.)
Multiply that figure by six. Remember that figure. This number is what I call The New Zero. The New Zero is half a year of expenses saved in the bank.
If you have less than six months of expenses in the bank right now, you should think of yourself as being in the hole or in the negative. The idea is to create a sense of urgency for yourself. Let this fuel a hunger and drive within to create financial padding for yourself.
What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?
The 10X Rule, by Grant Cardone, is the greatest book I've ever read. It will change your life. You must get this book.
If I could only ever recommend one book to people (besides Overlap), it would be The 10X Rule without a doubt.