Devin Thorpe Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Devin Thorpe
Devin Thorpe is today’s guest on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
He is a man who has a path similar to so many people in the world and certainly many of the guests of Join Up Dots.
He was on a path, that had been created out of study, education and hard work, leading him to perform as he says “The best job he’d ever had—as the Chief Financial Officer of the multinational food and beverage company MonaVie” until they let him go.
And upon those words “Sorry we don’t require your services anymore” his life it seems became what truly it should have been at the beginning.
He and his wife ended up living in China for a year where he wrote “Your Mark On The World” and embarked on the career he’d always wanted yet hadn’t dared dream.
And that is what truly fascinates me.
How The Dots Joined Up For Devin
Why does a man work tirelessly in his education, and his employment, but not allow this effort to take him to the land of his dreams.
The places where his heart, brain, enthusiasms, all come together and he wakes up excited every morning.
And now he is an author, advisor and Forbes contributor, and is a devoted full time to championing social good, writing about, advocating for and advising those who do good.
He travels extensively, sharing inspiring messages as a keynote speaker, and trainer.
So have the dots joined up naturally for him, or does he feel that he is now just starting the journey that is truly his?
And what would he say to his younger self if he could go back in time, do what he did, or change direction even earlier.
Well we are going to find out later, as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Devin Thorpe
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Devin Thorpe such as:
How he never felt the true passion flow through whilst working in a corporate land going for the big money.
How he would never have been brave enough to take the leap of faith, he simply had to be pushed to go for the dream.
Why he is so focused on solving big problems in the world, to empower others to want to tackle their own.
Why he feels that the world doesn’t need more believers, but we certainly need a lot more doers.
Devin Thorpe Books
How To Connect With Devin Thorpe
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Audio Transcription Of Devin Thorpe Interview
Today’s episode of join up dots is brought to you by podcasters mastery.com. If you’re looking for a way to boost income, explode your sales and get your boys out to the world go to win a Masters our podcasters mastery reveals the exact steps that will take you from a complete novice to an established expert and beyond, and so much more to test drive the information and see behind the scenes of the number one podcasting training in the world today. Go to podcasters mastery com Now, when we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:57]
Yes. Hello, everybody and welcome. To of course it’s join up dots Episode 419. And it’s been a good day today, I’ve been knocking them out of the park. This is the seventh episode I’ve recorded. And I’m really starting to get my measure of what this is all about. And that is what life is all about. Really, it’s, you hit certain peaks. And when you think that you’ve got to the top and then you realize, man, there’s another mountain to climb. So I feel like I’m at my sort of my lower mountain and I’m ready to go to the next stage, as is today’s guest, because he’s a man who’s really rocking and rolling. And I suppose he is on the path similar to so many people in the world and certainly many of the guests of join up dots. He was on a path that had been created out of study education and hard work, leading him to perform as he says the best job he ever had as a chief financial officer of the multinational food and beverage company mana v until they let him go, and upon those words, so and we don’t require your services anymore. His life It seems became what truly should have been beginning. He and his wife ended up living in China for a year where he wrote your mark on the world and embarked on the career he always wanted yet hadn’t dared dream. And this is what truly fascinates me. Why does a man work tirelessly in his education and his employment, but not allow this effort to take him to the land of these dreams, the places where he’s heart brain enthusiasms all come together, and he wakes up excited every morning. Well, now he’s an author, advisor and Forbes contributor, and he’s a devoted full time to championing social good writing about advocating for and advising those who do good. He travels extensively sharing inspiring messages as a keynote speaker and trainer. So have the dots joined up naturally for him? Or does he feel that he’s now just starting the journey that is truly Hayes and what would he say to his younger self, if he could go back in time, do what you do or just change direction even earlier? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. Devin Thorpe. How are you, Devin?
Devin Thorpe [3:01]
Great. Thank you very much. It’s great to be with you, David.
David Ralph [3:04]
It’s lovely to have you you’ve just jumped out of bed. It’s eight o’clock in the morning. It’s Salt Lake City. What what happens at eight o’clock in the morning in Salt Lake what what would we do if we was on a date together?
Devin Thorpe [3:16]
Well, if it were a normal day, I would be out for a run through downtown Salt Lake and up into the mountains. We have a really unique situation with with downtown Salt Lake is right adjacent to some mountains. And so when I leave my downtown condo home for a run, within one mile, I am to a canyon. And I can just run up that Canyon as far as I want. And just really enjoy being out in wilderness and then I came running back through downtown and watch all the people on their way to work.
David Ralph [3:55]
And so happy you kind of nailed it where you’re living The life but many people haven’t got but you’re not sort of clock Reliant. Can you literally up and up and go for a run in the afternoon just because you fancy it?
Devin Thorpe [4:12]
You know many times I can. Yes, yes, I would I unequivocably living my dream, there’s no no question about that, David, I just, I love my life. I tend to be a planner and organizer a little bit. And so I tend to plan my day rather than improvise it most of the time. But I absolutely love my life. And I guess there wasn’t a time that you did love your life. I’ve listened to quite a few of your shows because you are a man who pops up all over the place. And one of the things that seems to come out on the other shows that I’ve listened to, is the fact that you was on a par but kind of financial corporate part
David Ralph [5:00]
where there was never enough you always was aiming for the next big deal. You were always working but the next year was going to be the big year. Are you kind of settled from that path? Now? Can you see the error of your ways? Or is that still in you that the next home run is going to be the big one?
Devin Thorpe [5:19]
No, I, you know, I clearly have a, you know, some of those same issues apply to my new world. I love what I’m doing every day. I’m having a ball. I’m committed to this. But do I still have to make sales? Yeah, the sad fact of the matter is, I still have to make sales. But I love what I’m selling because what I’m selling is my true passion. When I was selling investment banking services, for instance, in my prior life, it’s hard to really be patient about that what motivates you there is pure and simple the money. That’s what it’s about the whole point is money. And, you know, I want to put lipstick on it and make it feel and look better. But the fact of the matter is, it was a big challenge to figure out how to make more money. And that’s just not what motivates me.
David Ralph [6:21]
But But you must have motivated you at a certain point, I think most of us would be motivated that certainly in the in the early stages of our life where most of us are kind of driven by what other people would think is acceptable, or a good career or just kind of a youthful ego. It must have motivated you at some time, surely.
Devin Thorpe [6:41]
But I would say that it it. Money was what was driving all of my decisions. And so certainly it was, it was a motivating factor. I wouldn’t say that it didn’t motivate me. But I don’t think money was ever the driving force in my life, which is why I think I never achieved all that I might have in that career. As much as I enjoyed it. And as successful as I was. I didn’t ever feel the true passion for that, that I feel for what I’m doing now. You know, I find myself saying every day, you know, if I had to, you know, choose something that I would do for free? What would I do? Well, I know what I would do for free because when I restarted my career four years ago, I was basically doing it for free. And didn’t know what or when or how I would ever monetize it was very lucky to have walked away with a nice severance package from my prior employer. But it I now am focused on those things that more truly intrinsic motivate me and and of course bring me happiness and joy, right. So. So the things I do every day tend to make me happier than the things I would do every day before.
David Ralph [8:11]
Because when we hear this all the time, Devin and I know most of the listeners into this show, and countless other episodes for our podcast, will hear the don’t go for the money go for the thing that lights you up inside. And the most of them, they literally want to punch the podcast host in the face, or the person that’s saying it because they, they they can’t see the angle of saying yes, I can live a life I love I can provide value to the world. And I can earn income at it as well. Did you struggle with that? That kind of mental aspect of Yes. All right, saying these things, but actually putting it into action as a different different game altogether.
Devin Thorpe [8:49]
Yes. And at some level, I still do. The,
it is really a challenge to start a career like this. Especially when I’m not working for an employer being paid a salary every month, I need to go out and sort of hunt for my food. so to speak, I’ve got to find speaking gigs, I’ve got to find sponsors for my show, I’ve got to etc, etc. So it’s it’s always work to get that cash in the door. But I find I don’t spend very much time on that I spend most of my time doing what I love producing my shows, speaking to people, just having a ball. So it’s it’s it really is a intrinsically rewarding thing. And and that has to be at least for me, I found that the joy comes from doing what’s intrinsically rewarding, not what’s financially rewarding, necessarily. So it I’m still working on proving that I can make the, the the adequate living that my wife would like me to make. But the but there’s no question, I’m happy and she’s happy. And I don’t want to ignore that. I’ve never heard of someone who’s really truly intrinsically happy, who’s married, whose spouse is unhappy. So I’m, I’m, I’m really feeling good about where we are. And I do think, you know, whether you’re young or old, I think there’s that opportunity to go do something you really like. But part of what has to happen is you have to put yourself in a financial situation that will enable that. And for me, I’m very fortunate because I got fired. And I got fired with a nice little severance package that gave me some flexibility that I couldn’t possibly have imagined before. And it gave me the runway, you know, I’ve been stretching that severance package now for over four years. So if you didn’t
David Ralph [10:55]
have that runway, do you think that you would have just gone straight back into similar job you would have done? What most of you think that would be the case, you wouldn’t have had that liberation of changing direction.
Devin Thorpe [11:07]
That’s right. It’s, it’s it’s so scary. I couldn’t have made the leap. I you know, I’d love to be able to tell you david that I am so courageous. I’m so brave, so committed that I would have done this anyway. I’m not, I would have been too afraid to scared, too needy, and would not have done it. And I would not be as happy as I am today.
David Ralph [11:32]
But the true answer, though, isn’t it Devin, you know, I would say 95% of people are too scared to do it. They either do it when the choice gets taken from them, but they are made redundant. And then they have to go out and be creative and reinvent themselves somehow. But actually that leap that we hear all the time, where people are just do it and you you build your parachute on the way down. It’s too scary to do, I couldn’t have done that I gave myself a hell of a runway before I sort of walked off the end. And I think you’re absolutely right, that is the proper answer that people should listen to. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t side hustle, transitioning themselves to a point where they can be happy taking control of their life.
Devin Thorpe [12:18]
Yeah, I joined a group three years ago, of speakers. And, you know, it’s formal group we get together every month, and we do training and, and what I find is that there are a lot of people who are making very successful transitions away from jobs that they felt were unfulfilling toward job toward a career as a speaker that is very fulfilling. And they do this all while collecting a salary from the old job, or income from their old practice. And so so there is a path for lot of people, I think, to make that transition without sort of jumping off the cliff or being pushed as I was off the cliff,
David Ralph [13:08]
is when you look around at people and they are transitioning, do you kind of thing because I think now, but we should all go for it. We’ve all got the ability to come home after a hard day’s work. And instead of watching a couple of hours of mindless teli, work on something that will change our lives and change the lives of other people around us because that is the true value, isn’t it when you are building products and services that actually will change other people’s lives. It’s a it’s a true win win. But people don’t do it. They literally come home, flop in front of the TV, wake up the next morning they do it again. They go down the pub on Friday night by moan about their week, and then on Sunday afternoons, they are starting to get back into that oh my god, it’s Monday again, back into it. Why? Why do you think that people allow themselves to stay in that lot, just keep on going round and round and round, whether obviously looking for something.
Devin Thorpe [14:06]
I think there’s many reasons for that is there are people but some I suspect, do it because they don’t know what they love. I think others do it because they’re afraid to do what they love. But I suspect there are many, many reasons. But you know, if you had, I guess for me, I’ve known for a long time that I had each of the passions that I sort of play with today, my passion for talking to people, I’ve got a show kind of like yours doesn’t have the audience or influence that yours has. But I love doing my show. And it’s amazing for the little audience I have how much influence it has, it’s just a wonderful, fun thing for me, I love speaking to people, I get it, I get chances to go all around the world speaking it’s just the coolest thing. I’m amazed every time I get to go on a airplane, to go speak to somebody and then you know, the the the subject matter I’m talking about really changing the world is something that I’ve had as a core value, since I was very, very young. And now I’m sort of bringing all of these things that I love together and writing. And I tell you, it’s just it’s just a wonderful thing. But I suspect there are a lot of people that that haven’t yet found the thing that they really, really love. And so can’t quite get there. You know? How could you jump off a cliff to do what you love if you don’t know what it is? And so I think you have to sort of experiment a little bit, find out what really motivates you
David Ralph [15:49]
did you do believe, because the fame of join up dots is pretty much about all your experiences lead to where you are in your life. And the majority of the but you love doing as Devin now you would have loved doing as the very small Devin because they’re the free stuff that are things that you just enjoy doing. And it could be going for long rides on your bike or running in canyons or whatever. Now do you see that? It’s not the case that people don’t know it somehow that I forgotten that the clues are there. And if I spend time looking back over their life, joining up their dots, they can see themes that can lead them to where they they should be?
Devin Thorpe [16:31]
Yes, I think that’s that’s largely true. I suspect it’s not true for everyone. But I think for most people it is I think most people have a sense of what they would really really love to do. They there’s something that they’re either passionate about, or something that they’re incredibly good at. And they would rather be doing that than what they’re doing. And they’re just afraid to go pursue that. So I think you’re right,
David Ralph [16:56]
so let’s frame it for the audience. Because I don’t think we’ve nailed really why you do. So in the introduction. We were saying that you are a champion of social good. You write about it, you advocate it and you speak and you travel and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. So if somebody or met you in a bar, and it’s always the best way of phrasing this question and said, Devin, what do you do for a living? How do you come back?
Devin Thorpe [17:19]
Well, I would probably say I’m a an online journalist. So I write for Forbes. And I have three websites where I produce news. And in all of those four places, I’m writing about social entrepreneurship, impact investing philanthropy, it’s basically all things social good, trying to change the world kinds of topics. And then I, I also because of that platform, I’m invited to speak in lots of places, and I love doing that. And then I am also I’ve written four books, I’m working on others. I’ve been so busy the last 18 months or two years that I haven’t finished a book in a while, and I’m getting anxious about that. So then, but in and among all of that, what I’ve become more focused, and probably 50% of my time is spent on my show. And I post my show, which is a video platform a little different than yours and platform. But we I post my show live on Forbes most of the time, and then sometimes on my other sites, your mark on the world calm and good crowd info, which is a site where we talk about crowdfunding for good causes so that it’s it sort of starts out neat and tidy want to answer this question online journalist and then as I explode the story, it sort of gets messy, doesn’t it? so
David Ralph [18:58]
well. That’s the beauty of it, though, isn’t the messiness is where opportunities come, when you start anything, you kind of have a fixed idea of what dream you’re aiming for. And then halfway down the line, you realize that that dream wasn’t quite right, it was in the ballpark, but it’s not quite right. But as you get noticed, you will find yourself getting pulled from pillar to post by people asking you to do certain things. So how do you sort of keep that messiness under control? How do you tidy up that messiness, so it doesn’t dilute what you’re actually trying to achieve?
Devin Thorpe [19:31]
Right? Yeah, I struggle with that all the time. But one of the things that I’ve done is to hire people to do so the tasks that I don’t like to do as well, as much, right, so I have hired delightful woman in in Bangladesh, to help me with maintaining my websites, so that I’m spending my time on creating content. And she’s spending her time taking that content and putting it on the web, so that I don’t need to spend as much of my time doing that task. And that really has helped. So she’s spending about 20 hours a week on that. And that’s 20 hours a week that I would be spending which would be impossible for me so so she’s really freed up me to do more creative stuff, which I love. So I don’t know if that really gets what you were saying, but but I’m still trying to push the envelope on being creative to find that, that piece of that thing that I love, that the world love so much that they’ll pay me generously to do it. But
David Ralph [20:51]
and you’re talking about, yeah, your your authentic message, aren’t you that the thing that only you can deliver, which is somewhere in, it’s almost like a lump of sort of granite that’s being chipped away. And every now and again, you kind of vaguely see what you should be presenting to the world. And then suddenly, it comes together and you think well, how could I not see that it was quite obvious it was going to be whatever it is. So you feel that you’re sort of close to that message, or you’re a long way away from it.
Devin Thorpe [21:20]
Now, I really think that the central message that I have for the world that that that is the centerpiece of my career is that there is a model for solving big world problems. And so I’m about trying to share this principle that this model for how we solve big problems and with the world so that people will feel empowered to tackle those problems. And and the model is is, is fairly simple. But it’s based on an important principle. And that is the the principle is you don’t have to believe it will work. And there are a lot of people who get focused on belief. And, and my fundamental concept is the world doesn’t need more believers, the world needs more doers. Right. And, and so this step one in this model is we simply need to start working on solving the problem. So if you say I see, global warming is a big global problem that I would like to work on. Okay, great. The first thing to do is to start doing something about that, to literally be actively engaged in doing something and not to spend too many cycles, planning, organizing, and trying to build support. Instead, start, start doing the work. And then start building the support, build partners, raise money, gather followers, etc, etc. So the you build support. And then finally, that and this is an important lesson is you have to have an end game strategy. Because for most global problems, the last bit of this will be the hardest, not the easiest, you won’t coast over the finish line, it’s very much like running a marathon. When you train for a marathon, you’re not really training, so that you can run the first five miles or the first 10 miles, you’re training. So you can run the last five miles, the last mile that you don’t pass out before you get to the finish line. And anyone who’s done marathons or seen them or watch them on TV even knows that that’s when it’s those final miles when people literally will pass out, when people will literally collapse and are unable to finish, you train for that section of the race. That’s where a lot of the real emphasis goes. And and it’s the same, we’re talking about a good problem, I believe we’re going to quickly accelerate and find some real momentum on global warming, largely driven by technology, solar power, and wind and other renewables. But we’re going to make some huge progress. But to really reduce our co2 emissions to a level that was is you know, 18th century ish, is going to take a real huge push at the end of that process. And if we want to do that over the next 30 years, we’ve got to get get to work today. So that’s kind of the model the message that I share with people. And I think everything else that I talked about, in my mind, I will try to fit into that message in some way to connect it in to that theme that model for for changing the world. But let’s play some words
David Ralph [25:04]
now. And then I’m going to sort of delve into your your mindset because it’s it fascinates me that you are somebody that believes that you can change problems where most people would go, that’s a government’s issue, or I can’t do that. It’s just me. But these are the words of Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [25:22]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [25:49]
Now, the question I always ask now, Debbie on that is, have you found the thing that you love and took a chance on it? Or did you take a chance on something anything? And then you found the thing that you love? Did you know kind of what what direction you were going?
Devin Thorpe [26:05]
Yeah, I knew in a vague sense. For instance, I wrote a book in 1998. And I was never able to get it published. And so when I got fired, and decided, with my wife go to China, and teach at South China University of Technology, one of the things that I did is I gathered up the draft of that book, so I’m going to go through it and update it, if I get time, I will do that. Well, I got time updated that book and published it. And it was really quite a thrill and a thrill on a scale that I really couldn’t have anticipated. And and put that into context, what I was doing at the time was volunteering, essentially, I call it volunteering, we were being paid Chinese wages to teach in, in China. But we were essentially working as volunteers there. And it brought together two great passions, and put me on a path. So I knew I wanted to write because I had gone through the exercise of writing a complete manuscript to a book. And I knew that I wanted to volunteer because there I was in China volunteering. And when those two things came together, there was kind of a moment like an aha moment that this is sort of magical. And so I wrote a book about using our money for good, right? Because I’m a finance guy, and, and embarked on this new career. And when I get back to the States, I was invited to write for Forbes, what a privilege and an honor. And
David Ralph [28:00]
so how would you invite it for them? The fact that you weren’t like a published author as such, what what made them go, yeah, Devin, he’s the man, we want some of these content.
Devin Thorpe [28:10]
Well, at that point, I had two books under my belt. And I had a great friend who was a Forbes contributor, and she invited me to write a guest post as sort of an audition. And the editor, liked the post, and took me on as a contributor and gave me my own page. And so I’ve been writing for Forbes now for three years. And what a great privilege, it’s really been a lot of fun. And then it was about nine months into that when Google created this platform for doing a live video broadcast that could be embedded anywhere. And I just thought that was the coolest thing in the world, especially at the price, which was free. So I could take my Forbes platform, take the Google technology, put a live interview into my article on Forbes and sort of accidentally converted my Forbes column into a show. And I’ve kind of expanded that to my other websites now as well. But, but that has been just truly fun. So there’s been a combination. I guess I would say David, you know, you were asking this come? Because I knew exactly what I wanted to do, or did it come serendipitously? It’s a combination, there were elements of what I’m doing now that I knew I wanted to do. And there were elements that have just sort of serendipitously come together.
David Ralph [29:54]
So do you buy into the words that Jim Carrey was saying that, you know, you can find out what you don’t like doing so you might as well take a chance and doing what you love.
Devin Thorpe [30:04]
It really is absolutely true. I think people who are self employed, for instance, learn over time that the best thing about being self employed is that they can’t be fired. You may not be successful, but you can’t be fired from being self employed. And in any other job. Like when I was the CFO at Mona v. I really think I did a good job. And can count the people who fired me is as friends today. Do I think they made a mistake when they let me go? Yeah, I do. I do think they made a mistake.
David Ralph [30:53]
And I wanted to let you go. Well, why did I let you go? Then? Why? Why? If they’re still friends today, and you think it was a mistake? Why did they let you go?
Devin Thorpe [31:03]
I think the the company was not doing real? Well. At the time, the company had been fabulously successful, they had built a billion dollar business in about six years. And in the nearly three years that I was there, the business was headed the other direction. And I think they were course the mood in a company where where revenue is declining. I’ve been in that situation a couple of times in my career. It’s always rough, always, always rough, because everyone tends to start pointing fingers at the other folks. And some of that is informal. Some of that’s very formal. And I think in that context, I became a target for some people. The sad fact of the matter is, after I left, things got much worse, much faster. And the company was this company that was once worth well over a billion dollars was was recently sold for 15 million, and essentially dissolved.
David Ralph [32:22]
So So was it a good thing? When you look back on it? Did you go? I wouldn’t have made that decision myself. But thank God it happened.
Devin Thorpe [32:30]
Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s certainly one of those things that as kind of a faithful person I would call the greatest blessing in my life was to be fired. At that point in my career. It was the single most life changing, bliss enhancing experience of my whole life. And I recognized it for what it was the day it happened. For what it’s worth.
David Ralph [33:02]
So did you will count singing showtunes thank God it happened and doing jazz hands, or did you walk out and go through that was lucky.
Devin Thorpe [33:11]
It was it was at least the ladder I was at least I was in a good mood. I was excited about what the world my brain. And I went out. And I did a couple of interviews, brother CFO jobs that other companies that were available at the time and quickly recognized that I was just not going to go do that. And so my wife and I had started immediately. I mean, on that day, I left we started talking about the opportunity in China. And within two weeks, we had committed to do that. And we put all other things aside. And it was just, you know, to go to China turned out to be as truly a life changing experience as we hoped it would be tremendous, endlessly fulfilling, you know, we made some great friends, both the Americans we worked with there, and then wonderful Chinese people that we were teaching and working with their, you know, just a tremendous opportunity in and of itself. But then, in our second semester of teaching, I had a light teaching load. And I said, Well, I’m going to take this opportunity to write a book and did oh my gosh, you know that the impact of that whole experience on my life. I can’t, can’t even measure can’t even measure. You,
David Ralph [34:34]
you seem to become I’m saying you but generally people, they seem to become more authentic when they can start playing when they can decide what to do when the things that become a fun in their life. Actually reap the greatest rewards? Do you find that with yourself now when the things that you kind of almost bash out? Because it’s really easy to do? They’re the ones that the and better and people reward you greater for it?
Devin Thorpe [35:04]
Yes, yes, there’s certainly a lot to that. When I write an article, a piece or even do an interview that really connects with me, and I find it also connects with an audience. And more people read it more people watch it, and more people love it. And so, yes, abs absolutely and and those things that you’re doing, from a place of real passion are the easy ones to do. Time stands still while you do that, and there’s no pain. In doing the moment, we can all remember times when we’ve been tasked with doing something we didn’t like. And we count the hours, we count the minutes, and it just seems to take forever. And of course, we all remember working on projects, even projects that were challenging, maybe even different called, but they were within that passion zone, right? So we’d love doing them. And we get quite literally into what people call the zone or the flow. And time literally seems to stand still and our our concentration or you know all that. But I think that only comes about really, when we are doing something that is motivated by passion in our hearts, just go to it. And we can put everything else aside and focus
David Ralph [36:29]
is remarkable, isn’t it when you can get into that study, you know, I love doing these shows, I if you did if I wasn’t earning any money from doing the shows, I would still do them. There’s just something that lights me up. And on a Thursday, when I haven’t backed up back to back. I literally skip up to my office and I set up the microphone is the happiest day I’ve got and not once do I think to myself, how much money am I going to make today? It’s just simply a task. And it is true, isn’t it? We can come back to what I said at the beginning when people struggle to buy into the belief that if you do something that you love, the money will follow. But it is true. I can see it. You can see it every single one of my other 440 guests may can see it as well. But doing the thing that lights them up. Yes, it’s been a struggle to get there. Yes, I’ve had to find tuning yes has been dead ends and obstacles in the way. But once you get there, it all comes together. And it’s just like magic, isn’t it?
Devin Thorpe [37:29]
It really is. It really is. It’s just so so much fun. And I can tell you you know you’re a wonderful interviewer I’m I listened to this show, and every other show you’ve ever done over and over just so I can master your accent I mean, master your, your skills and your techniques for for interviewing, because you’re a masterful interviewer. And it’s really something that I hope to get better at.
David Ralph [37:57]
I’m sorry, coming to you to say when when you listen two people on Well, let’s talk about writing, first of all, what’s what’s the kind of writers that you look at and you go, Wow, they’ve just kind of nailed it, no matter what they put out really speaks to me. And that’s the kind of level that I want to achieve.
Devin Thorpe [38:17]
Well, Nicholas Kristof is really my, my hero. And he writes for the New York Times, of course, and he is the closest thing I have to a role model. And he and his wife, also new New York Times columnist, or writer, Cheryl done, wrote together, of course, the book, Half the Sky, and just an incredible, incredible book. And just so inspiring. And so you know, as I look to hone my writing skills, that’s, that’s where I go, because I want to be able to capture the analytical objectivity that he demonstrates, or that they demonstrate, as well as being able to capture at the emotions that they capture, you know, they they’re, they’re writing is a perfect blend of analysis and objectivity on the one hand, and powerful emotional stories, on the other hand, and that’s what I’ve tried to do in my own writing, not nearly with the impact that they’ve created. But still, I that’s what I aspire to. They perfected that are, that’s where I’d like to go.
David Ralph [39:50]
So how would you manage to compare what you want to achieve, but not be frightened by not looking at his work and got, I’m never going to get there? So there’s no point in even trying? How do you manage to look at back and still want to push forward?
Devin Thorpe [40:05]
Well, for me, the math is easy. And it is this. I don’t believe I have to be as good as he is. to be happy. I love what I’m doing. I mean, I love what I’m doing. I just I just, you know, I couldn’t be happier with my current career. Unless, of course, they were making a little bit more money. And and that I look at him. And for instance, his speaking fee, he gets about $25,000. What’s that? 10 or 15? pounds? I don’t a current exchange? Yeah, a
David Ralph [40:48]
little bit less than nothing.
Devin Thorpe [40:50]
Yeah, so but he has $25,000 per speaking fee, per speaking engagement. He doesn’t have to speak very often to really make a difference in his income. And on top of that, of course, I’m sure he’s got a nice salary at the New York Times. So I look at myself and say, Okay, well, I don’t have to get $25,000 per speaking fee to be happy. You know, I’m available probably more of the time because I don’t have an employer like the new york times as sort of expecting a certain quota of articles or anything else. And so I have a little more flexibility in my schedule. So if people want me to speak more often I’m available. So I don’t need to make $25,000 per speaking fee. I can, I can charge $5,000 and be perfectly happy. So in, you know, pound terms, I’m practically free.
David Ralph [41:51]
It’s still difficult to assess, isn’t it, but you’re standing up there, you’re talking and you’re being paid more for that hour buying some people earn in a year, I’m never going to shake. Even if I get to a point where I was earning, you know, David Letterman salary or whatever you earn per episode, I don’t think I would struggle with the fact that I was earning that when nurses and doctors and all that kind of stuff on anything nearby is kind of a working class aspect. Do you see that as well, when you hear those towels about the guy who stands up there and gets 25 grand for an hour’s talk? Do you kind of think really, is that valuable to the world?
Devin Thorpe [42:33]
Yeah, the, of course, given the profession I’m in and the way I make my living, I don’t begrudge speakers their fees at all. But what I love about guys like Nicholas Kristof, who are speakers is, I see the good that he’s doing. And I know he’s using his money, not just his time, his money, also always going to support good causes. And I know, that is what inspires me. I’m not doing this to get rich, I’m doing this to do good. And that’s what I will use the money to do. To enable me to continue to do good work, and I’ve got enough money to live. And my wife would like me to continue to have enough money to live. But the rest of the money will go toward doing good in the world. And I can’t wait for the opportunity to do that. And, and so that that’s how I come to terms with it. Because there will be no mansions there will be no private jets, there will be no Mercedes in the car park downstairs. I’m, you know, I’m a simple guy. And I will use the money to do good. That’s why I want it. So that’s how I come to terms with it.
David Ralph [44:02]
You’ve now the avenue you’ve now to in your head a lot of the mental aspect that people struggle with, you seem to have got past that. And you’re in, you’re in liberation lane, where as long as it’s going towards where you want it to go, you’re happy with it. Not a lot of people get to that point that you’re in?
Devin Thorpe [44:21]
Well, I think it it. It’s more difficult if your passion isn’t solving the world for me, it’s easy. You know, I think I genuinely optimistically look at the world, I’m not a Doomsayer, I see all the world’s problems. But what I see standing next to every problem is an army of people with good hearts trying to solve these problems. I was having coffee yesterday with a woman who was on my show last week. And we were talking about this principle, and and she’s been very successful at raising money for her organization, one heart worldwide, that helps women with give childbirth in Nepal. And she’s saving thousands and thousands of lives. And as we were talking to her about this, and we were talking so you know, I think that the key is that you are absolutely 100% committed to your cause. So when you ask for money, no one questions where that’s going to go no one questions what you’re going to do with the money, they understand the good you’re doing and your heart is in the right place. And it makes both the asking, and the giving easier because of where your heart is. And I think that was for me in a way that was the first time might I been able to sort of pull that together. But it was true, you know, that. Arlene is just absolutely 100% living for her cause and I think she sees herself dying in the work. Whether that happens next year in a tragic accident or, you know, you know, being crushed in an earthquake or if she’s shot dead by dissidents. And she’s been threatened in every which way over the years that she’s been doing this. But whether that’s near or long, I think she sees herself dying in the work and dying happy.
David Ralph [46:39]
Well, let’s play the words of a man who is no longer with us. But he has left a legacy of sorts. He’s inspiring chap who’s left so many great products in the world, but nothing greater than these words. This is Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [46:53]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [47:28]
So can you join up your dots, Devin?
Devin Thorpe [47:33]
Yeah, I can I can, I can join up a lot of my dots. As I look back on it, I think
some of the things that I did in life
were evidences of where I should have been perhaps rather than great stepping stones to where I am. But I look back at my first effort to write a book in high school. And think about I remember sitting down to write and writing for hours and hours. And it was haphazard, it was unschooled it was unprofessional. But I remember how happy I was doing it. Oh, gosh, channeling that. today. I just remember how how gleeful I was that I don’t know that I ever told anyone I was working on it? Well, I think I did. I remember telling my father that I decided I’d wanted to be an author. And I remember him telling me that wasn’t a job that I couldn’t do that for a career. I remember being heartbroken. I wasn’t brave enough, wise enough or sophisticated enough to think that my dad might have been wrong, that certainly some of the books, you know, library were written by people who made a living as authors. And so but I remember that, that spot that dot, right in my life. I remember it. When I was in graduate school at Cornell, I was drawn to the school newspaper and ended up as the editor in chief of the school newspaper, what a what a thrill I was having, you know that I look back on graduate school. And, and that’s what I remember. I remember hanging out with Nigel walling, my great English friend, right working on the school newspaper together and the rest of the team, but just had wonderful, wonderful experiences. With my friends, writing and publishing the newspaper, what a thrill what a, what a great privilege and opportunity. And so yes, I see So of those dots. And I mentioned my book that I wrote back in 1998, that sat on the shelf for almost 15 years, before I actually got it published. So, you know, I there are those dots scattered along my path. I wish I’d made some different turns along the way that might have gotten me to where I am. Now, when I was 26, or 28, instead of waiting until I’m old,
David Ralph [50:33]
but but it might have got you into a different place money, those those turns that that’s the beauty of this whole show. The fact that the decisions that you make through your life, you can’t worry about them, you just have to move on and do something else. And ultimately, you will end up where you where you should be.
Devin Thorpe [50:52]
Yeah, it’s entirely possible that despite the fact that I wanted to be an author, that I might never have been able to become good enough to actually make a living at it. And I may not have been as passionate and capable as an investment banker as other investment bankers, but I made a living at that. And and I other finance, jobs is a treasure as a CFO, etc, etc. Those things allowed me to make a living and get to a place where I would have this window of time, this multi year window of time to transition to something that I’m truly passionate about. And it’s possible that no other path would have ever given me the opportunity to actually become a full time author, speaker, thought leader that I love being
David Ralph [51:50]
when I’m glad you’ve made all those decisions. I’m glad that all the wrong ones, all the right ones, whatever you’ve done in your life, because it’s led you to this point now, not necessarily this point on join up dots I wouldn’t say this is the pinnacle, but certainly what you’re I don’t know, it might be a good well, but yeah, let’s let’s all hope, but it certainly you’re on the route, aren’t you? You’re on the route to leave your mark and your legacy on the world.
Devin Thorpe [52:14]
Yeah, yeah, I really do feel like I’m in a good place on so many levels.
It I’ve talked about being happy. So many times that I think it’s important to just know that it isn’t about necessarily being happy. That’s only a small part of it. following your passion and bliss sometimes isn’t make you happy, but I’m sure happy and love what I’m doing when I am. And so I think there’s a lot to what you say,
David Ralph [52:50]
Well, this is the end of the show. Now this is the part that we’ve been leading up to. And this is the part where we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Debbie, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out, because I’m gonna play the theme tune and when it fades, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [53:19]
Devin Thorpe [53:33]
Okay, let’s talk I guess I guess the Devon I’m talking to is the Devon that is in high school and college and making those life decisions. Devin, I want you to be more courageous. Because you know, you have a real passion for doing good in the world, you know, you have a real passion for writing, you know, know, you know, you love speaking to an audience and you you’ve had all of those experiences. By the time you’re 18 years old, and yet, you’ve let some of the silliest little experiences stop you from pursuing your real passion. Here you are an 18 year old, working on writing your very first book. And in a casual conversation with your father who says it’s not, that’s not a real job, you can’t do that. The book project gets set aside and it’s forgotten. In college, you take a creative writing class, and you and you give up on writing because you got an A minus in the class, for crying out loud. For crying out loud to give it another go. It was an A minus not a day.
You know, I think back to
all of those experiences
you know, you’re working on the student newspaper at Cornell, you’re you’re doing these things. And if you had pursued your real passions of, of writing, speaking and as a vehicle for doing good in the world, you might well have done more good. And so I want to append to this. I want to speak to Devin of the future for just a minute. And I hope David will forgive me for speaking to debt Devin of the future instead of Devon of the past. But Devon, I want you to go back and listen to this in six months. And make sure that you are still on the path that you haven’t given up. haven’t let frustrations or challenges get in your way. Because Devin of the future, you can do this David is living proof of it. There are so many people who are out there living their passions, living their dreams. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t do the expedient. Don’t chase the money. Chase the vision chase the passion. stay on course.
David Ralph [56:32]
Devin, what’s the number one best way our audience can connect with you sir?
Devin Thorpe [56:37]
I think the easiest and most fun way for people to connect with me is on twitter at Devon D. Thorpe, d e vi n. I spell it wrong. Please forgive me. d e vi n d. Thorpe th o RP
David Ralph [56:54]
will have all the links on the show notes, Devin, and thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Devin Thorpe, thank you so much.
Devin Thorpe [57:10]
David Ralph [57:13]
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