Momentum Podcast: 224
The Danger of Fake Status
by Alex Charfen
I made a promise to myself when I started this podcast. I promised myself that I’d be totally transparent and share what I was thinking. This might rub some people the wrong way. Status does not create success.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we're the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.
We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly, the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution, and we always will be.
The danger of fake status. When I started on this podcast journey, I made a commitment to myself that I would be real, and be raw, and share what I'm really thinking with the people who were willing to listen to this podcast because I feel like these days it's a massive exchange of your time for you to be here with me. I made the commitment that the podcast would be as good or better than anything we've ever sold, and I also made the commitment to myself that I would share raw and real even if it made some people angry, even if I frustrated some people, even if I called some people out every once in a while.
This is one of those podcasts because I think I'm probably gonna really irritate or annoy a lot of people, and I'm gonna try and do this as carefully and as graciously as I can, but I think there's this challenge today with fake status. Entrepreneurs who are trying to create success in their lives by first trying to create the appearance of having status or success and then thinking the success will come afterwards.
Entrepreneurs often get confused. We do this. We look to examples, and we say, I wonder how that example achieved what they achieved, and then we try to replicate what they're doing. What often happens is as one example, we will look at someone who's really killing it, someone who we respect like crazy. You go look at Robin Sharma, and you'll look at what's Robin doing. Robin's doing YouTube, and Facebook, and Instagram, and he's all over the place, and he's got tons of content out there. What does an entrepreneur try and do? They try and replicate that, everything. They try and go do everything Robin's doing, and well, that's just a misassociation.
You have to first do one thing really well. Then you can go to the next one, and the next one, and so far, too many entrepreneurs try to copy an existing model and think that they will create success, but the challenge is you have to look at where you are versus where that person is, and one of the biggest issues that I see today is that entrepreneurs think, somehow, that status will create success for them. Here's the fact that anyone who has enduring status, anyone who has any type of notoriety that persists, actually does something worth hearing about, actually does something with value, actually does something amazing, and today, entrepreneurs are trying to buy status.
People these days, I've actually talked to entrepreneurs who have told me that if they could just get into the right mastermind or the right group where they could get the right pictures, they would be successful. As if, somehow, what is standing in between them and success is pictures of them with the right people. I don't even know how to comprehend that type of thinking. There's no situation in the world where pictures of successful people are standing in between you and success, and let me tell you how I know because for the past five years, since 2013, I was a member of Genius Network, and I had pictures with some of the most successful people on the planet.
In fact, I made a lot of friends in Genius Network with people who have, in that timeframe, become household names. Steve Sims, and Dave Asprey, and Sean Stephenson, and a lot more people who are in that organization, and I had photos, and I spoke on stage with Tony Robbins, and Peter Diamandis, and Joe Polish, and I had all of the status in the world, but because we as a company didn't have a clear business model around what to do with that status, we were not succeeding at all. I want you to understand. I can say with confidence, with 100 percent experience that status does not create success, and this challenge is so big that there's now an epidemic of people who are trying to sell entrepreneur status.
Here's what I can tell you. It works against you. Let me share. This is what I'm talking about. There are people now who will sell you a status book. Someone will tell you, look, we will interview you for two hours. We'll write a book for you. We'll put it on Amazon. We will get it to the number one, to bestsellers status in a niche category, and then you can say you're a number one Amazon bestseller. What happens is the author sits on the phone for two hours, somebody ghost writes the book really fast, they get it up there, they do it in a few weeks, it gets done really fast because entrepreneurs are crazy inpatient, and then they go write a book, and then they go out, and they can tell everybody that they have an Amazon bestseller, but here's the problem with doing it that way.
It's not real. It's not real. You can manipulate those lists and get a book to the top of the bestseller list, but you didn't really sell any books. The reason to write a book is so people will read it. The reason to write a book is so that when you put it out into the market, it is the foundation for your movement. Every movement needs that foundational book. Every movement needs its bible. If you're going to write the book for your movement, then write it, and put some time into it, and make sure that it matters to you.
When I put out the Entrepreneurial Personality Type book, I was emotional about it. I read every page of that book tons of times making sure that it was right, making sure that it was gonna move entrepreneurs in the right direction, and as a result, thousands of people have read that book. Hundreds of people have sent me messages telling me it changed their lives. They understood themselves for the first time. They understood their son, their daughter for the first time, their spouse. People told me it saved marriages. It saved relationships with kids. That's the type of book you should write.
If you're gonna write a book, make sure that it matters to you, that it's real, and the challenge is if you go through one of these processes where it's one step, one, two, three, slap it together, do it in a week, then you're a bestseller, you might not ever circle back and say, hey, maybe I should write that book for real, maybe I should make it count this time, maybe I should actually sit down, and tell the world my manifesto, what really matters to me. When people come along and say, hey, I can get you a bestseller, and it's one of these companies that for a few thousand dollars is gonna run you up the ten poll on Amazon, I just want you to think about is it gonna demotivate you from doing the real thing in the future, and here's the other challenge.
That can absolutely work against you and backfire. If the book sucks and people go and read it, they're gonna think you suck, and so if the book isn't good, if it's not who you really are, if it's not part of the conversation you're gonna have with the person, if it's not in your voice, if it doesn't include your concepts, then it's not gonna work the way you want it to. It's going to backfire. It actually becomes a liability. If anybody reads it, then they're read a piece of work about you that isn't really about you.
See, when someone reads the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, they're getting my manifesto on who we are as entrepreneurs, and where we came from. It took me forever in my career to write a book. That was the first one I did, and the reason I wrote it is because it was too important not to write. Today, people who are writing these books that just don't really mean anything, but here's the challenge is that they think that they mean something.
Now, I want you to know I'm not saying that everyone who's gotten an Amazon bestseller is in this category. In fact, I also want you to know I know of companies where you get on the phone for a couple of hours and the writers are so good. If you're willing to sit there and go through iterations with them, you actually get a very good ebook or short book out of it. I'm not saying that it can't be done the right way, but if it's flippant, and you don't put time into it, and you don't put energy into it, and it's no really about the book, it's more about the status, that is a mistake.
These days, the people selling status have taken it to new heights, and this is something that I'm probably gonna lose a few contacts over because I've been in mastermind groups with the people who have companies like this, but there's this new status sale where you buy events where you go and get fake status and fake recognition. Let me just explain to you how it works.
When I first heard of this, I was like how on earth would anybody ever buy that thinking that it would move them in any direction? In fact, at one point, I was offered to go to one of these, and here was the pitch. The event was at Harvard, but it was in the Harvard Faculty Center, and it was made very clear during the pitch to me that I was gonna go to Harvard. I would be able to speak at the Harvard Faculty Center, so I could tell people I had spoken at Harvard, and I thought to myself, well, I've spoken at MIT. That would actually be pretty cool. I've spoken at MIT and Harvard and a few other colleges, and at Lynn University, and a few ... I can't remember the other ones, but ...
Then I would get a five minute video of my presentation, and I asked five minutes, why would I fly to Boston to give a five minute presentation? The guy's like, well, for the video, and I'm like, what do you mean? He said, well, then we take high resolution photos, and everybody who's there is part of the group, so they give you a standing ovation, and we have really good cameras on the audience. I was like, wait a second. You mean the event is produced so that you can be at the event that's produced? I'm confused, and he said, yeah. The event, they produce it so that you can get the pictures and the video, and it's embarrassing because it's not real status. You cut a check so that you can stand in front of logo at Harvard and say that you spoke at Harvard, but the problem is you didn't do anything to actually get you to speak at Harvard, so there's no real accomplishment there. You're literally buying the perception of accomplishment. What the heck is that? It's buying the perception of accomplishment.
Recently, I've noticed on Facebook that four or five different people I knew had, for some reason, been featured to speak at NASDAQ and to stand in front of the NASDAQ billboard in New York on Time Square where their picture and logo was flashed for what seemed to be maybe like a minute or two. When I saw it appear on a whole bunch of different people's website or Facebook feeds in one time, I knew immediately it was another one of these events. What was this one? This one was probably slightly more expensive. You flew to New York and you spoke at NASDAQ.
The Harvard Faculty Club, that other event, it was probably just rented. You probably just get some rented space on one of these places, and that's probably how they do it. I mean, I don't really know, but the challenge is this last one, NASDAQ, let's just look at this one. People paid money so they could go stand in a room with everybody else who paid money, or sit in a room with everybody else who paid money, then speak to all of the people who paid money to be at an event speaking to all the people who paid money, and then they all went over to Times Square and stood there while their picture flashed up on the big screen TV for a minute or two.
Now, here's the issue. How the heck do you explain to people why you were speaking at NASDAQ, and why NASDAQ was kind enough to put you on the Times Square billboard? What do you say? You're gonna have to lie because here's what you're not gonna say. Oh, I cut a check for whatever, however many thousand dollars, and that was an event where you pay to stand in front of the billboard, and then you give a speech to everybody else who paid to be at the event. You're gonna have to make something up. You're lying. That means that the foundation of everything you say next is screwed.
That's not real. You're building the entire relationship based on a shame. We both know that's complete BS, writing a check to stand in front of a logo and say that you spoken at an event. You know what? I know there's gonna be listeners that I lose over this because I know there's people who have done this, and there's people who think I'm crazy because I think you shouldn't. I know a lot of really well-known people like if I called them right now, they would take my call, but you're not gonna see pictures of them on my website, you're not gonna see me trying to jump in front of cameras with them, and make it so that everybody sees who I'm with and why. I mean, you can see it on my Instagram stories, but I don't need to broadcast who I'm with to let the world know who I am.
I can get a tremendous amount of attention with my content standing in front of a wall without anything on it. I don't need to go fly up to New York to be at an event where I pretend like I'm there ... where I sit in an audience pretending like I'm there to see 50 other people who wrote a check to get the same fake status I did. If this is something you're considering, or if this is something you've been pitched, or if this is something you've heard someone do that you've thought about, I want you to understand something. You don't need status to be successful, and there are no cases where status will actually create your success.
You have to do something about it if you want to be successful, and I coach a mastermind of million dollar plus entrepreneurs, and not one of them, not one of them spends a minute thinking about their status because they're too busy thinking about how they grow their business, make their team more effective, and make their contribution to the world. If anyone tries to convince you that where you need to start focusing on first is creating status, they are making you do it backwards, and when you do things backwards as an entrepreneur, they backfire.
We both know all it takes is for one customer to ask a few questions about your NASDAQ speech, and it would be embarrassing because I'm sure at the status event they tell you the dialogue to use. When somebody says, hey, why were you speaking at NASDAQ? Oh, I was invited to give a keynote, and they were kind enough to put my logo up on the screen for a couple of minutes. Well, that probably kills most questions right there, but then what if somebody asked you, oh, well, why were you invited to give a speech? What kind of event was it? Did you get paid? Were you speaking with other people? Who was the host of the event? Why were you there? And you're gonna feel so ridiculous for having tried to buy your way into the club of people who are doing extraordinary things in the world.
My advice to you is get to know yourself better. Slow down. Take some deep breaths. Figure out what matters to you more in the world than anything else, and go chase it down, and create massive success because that will create the status for you. I can tell you I have status for years standing next to some of the most successful people out there and documenting it all on Facebook, and there was no success that came out of that, but figuring out who I served, and how to stop their pain, and how to create the product that actually created momentum in their lives, changed everything, and that's creating more recognition, and more attention for us than anything else, and there is no way possible that I could buy the amount of attention, and recognition, and traffic, and referrals, and people talking about us that we have going on today with fake status.
We were up at Russell Brunson's inner circle a couple days ago, and what was amazing was how often either one of our products, our name, my company name, me, the Billionaire Code, or my presentation at Funnel Hacking Live came up. In fact, Matt Olaya started putting down hashtags, and it was, on the second day, 15 times ... sorry, that was a little emotional. That is one of the most intense rooms of entrepreneurs I've ever been in, and they are all so wildly talented, and for us, with Russell's help and support, to have been able to create a podcast and product, and the impact that we'd been wanting for so long to create has been incredible. That is what's really created success, and that's what's created everything, the attention we're getting, Russell wanting me to help do Two Comma Club X Program, the ...
I spoke at Funnel Hacking Live and that day, our podcast listenership doubled. Half of you are here because of that presentation, and doing actual real speeches at real events, and making a real difference in people's lives, and making clients so thrilled that they refer you to speak, and they tell other people that they need to hear about you, and the refer people to your podcast, and you write a book that's so good that people download it, and they forward it to other people. You write a book that's so good that people tell you that they free book you gave them changes their lives, and that is how you create real success, real momentum, and you don't have to buy status.
If you're gonna do something like that, do it because you mean it. The only reason to give a speech is to change the world, and that's the responsibility you should think about every time you get up in front of a room because that's the opportunity you have. If you go buy that moment for yourself, if you go buy that experience for yourself in this trumped up and kind of faked out way, you never know what you're doing to your future ability to attract the reality into your life. If somebody offers you fake status, run. That person is not someone you want to do business with. If you want to know more about yourself, understand yourself better, and create more momentum than you ever thought possible, let me help you. Don't chase fake status. Instead, figure out what really works for you. Download my book, the one I was talking about today, the Entrepreneurial Personality Type. Go to freemomentumbook.com, freemomentumbook.com, and download a copy.
Do me a favor, if you read it, print a picture of the cover, and take a picture of yourself on social media, and tag me. Let me know what you think. I'm looking for feedback. We are re-writing that book, and it's gonna come out again, published for real this time on Amazon and in bookstores. You can be part of that if you take a picture with the cover, and post it on social media, and tag me.