What does it mean to 'own your shit'? Get ready, because this swear word gets used a lot (but intelligently). Meet James Boileau, business coach, author of Own Your Shit and shit owner. What?!
Oh yes, he certainly owns 'his own shit' when it comes to personal growth, self awareness and building a career that he's innately good at.
This interview was a lot of fun. We had to scale it back quite a bit as there was just so much (great) content we covered. But if you're still curious by the end of this article, we recommend ordering a copy of his book. You'll learn about what it means to find your passion versus what you're good at, owning your actions and the impact they have and, how to move from a place of grounded simplicity and apply it to life and business.
We wanted to interview James because 1) He's the first cool guy we've met thus far whose brand is compelling. And 2) He has a wealth of experience with business marketing and consulting from the solopreneur to the multi-million dollar corporation.
But before diving in, we must also note here the unique live-in work space that is just so rad. Walking down the street and curious to see inside? Neighbours are always welcome for random chats!
But we digress. Let's dive in and learn about his brand and perspective on using personal strengths to find success.
1. Why did you move into business coaching?
Each of us has something that we’re really good at and for me, it’s people and human patterns. Math wasn’t a high pattern recognition for me. My pattern with a high aptitude was with seeing subtle nuances, knowing how to poke at it, seeing what people are hiding, what they’re proud of and good at. At almost the age of talking, I could tease everyone. I would because it would entertain me. In hindsight, it entertained me because it was fun and I was good at it. It was a playground for me. So coaching made a ton of sense because it’s studying human patterns. Before, it was marketing, advertising and business development. Looking at influence and buying patterns. How products are developed and how they’re marketed, which I love. But the people I was pitching to were stuck on some of the new ideas. They were afraid by the unknowns and that was not constructive. They were stopping their ability for their business to grow and succeed, but something was holding them back personally. I wanted to work with the individual to find out how they could get out of their own way. I thought ‘hey this could be a really good vocation’ and I still do it. It was a really interesting storm of a belief system and value system that I been exposed to my entire life. It was about relearning what I’m good at and using those skills in my own life and help others use them. Then asking ‘how do you build a business around it?’. Then layering in recognition patterns and people, to pull out the salient bits of what their business is struggling to achieve. Building plans to get there. It all made sense to me, which started in 2006. Coaching was still somewhat new for that time too.
The other caveat: I always wanted my own coach and mentor. I had some coaches along the way, but nobody was significant or had notable influence. I had built most of what I do in this world around wishing “how do I do that for myself and ultimately, for others?” That’s the deep, personal thread. “how do I give to others the things I see so much value and wish I had in my life?” Then I take guidance ques and guidance from a multitude of people.
2. You offer so many elements/services? So you can create custom packages?
3. You’ve now answered what makes your brand unique! Is there anything else to add since there are now a lot of coaches out there?
It’s honest. It’s direct. It’s empathetic. It is the thing we wish somebody would say to us, not what we think somebody should do. Far too often when we give advice, we’re giving it through a filter. We’re watering it down because of fears far too much and not factoring in our audience and what they need. With the brand that I’ve built, can it be the best piece of guidance that they need in that moment and nothing else? My participation with someone both needs to resonate forever and be forgotten about as soon as they leave.
4. How is that possible?
5. Woah! Is that how you deem yourself successful?
Ya! Not by how many people I work with, but when I do have conversations, it’s how deeply do they resonate. If the conversations ripple for long periods time, then they don’t need me. I’m intending to show up as the thing you might need in this moment. But once this moment is gone, you shouldn’t need me, then that takes you to your next moment. I want to show up and do that one little thing you need.
6. And how does Own Your Shit fit into your success?
Own your Shit is still the umbrella in which everything exists in my world for business. Because it’s about ownership and taking responsibility for who you are in this world. And what affect that has to all of the things to which you touch. If each of us has ownership over who we are, then we are not looking to the external to blame or fight. We know our world is internally shaped. And if we are not happy with the external manifestation of it, then you need to do something about it. Not it needs to do something about it.
7. That comes back full circle to working with people to find what they’re innately good at. Easier to ‘own their shit’ when authentically in touch with themselves?
Ya! But doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It’s often very messy. But it’s your mess, so just take responsibility for what that is. What is impact? The challenge to create individuality within such a large generation, we’re challenged to find space and uniqueness. The strive for ‘unique’ is futile. You don’t need to strive to create validity to your uniqueness. Just show up everyday. Most of us are trying to do that. I’m still trying to do that!
8. So with this work, how do you see your path changing and evolving?
My physical space is so important to me. Where I’m spending a lot of time is a lot more business focused these days. I’m finding a renewed sense of joy doing business consulting, coaching and marketing coaching. It’s fun because there’s also a scalability. My goal was never just one-on-one coaching. That was the low hanging fruit. But I’ve always wanted to have books, products, do workshops, etc. it’s interesting, I don’t know where the evolution of it goes because I don’t know where the evolution of me goes. I’d like to find more clients I like to work with such as solopreneurs and small businesses. I love watching them grow and getting over that hump. To me, the big challenge is to how do I share content? I how do I reach a larger audience with fantastic connections? It’s always been the goal for me. How do I sell a million copies of my book? What I love to do and what I find I really enjoy is creating content. Because my brain is so people focused with marketing, every idea runs through my marketing lens. So, I always consider the value and if it’s consumable. I’ll eventually need someone working as a partner as a compliment to my creation. To allow me to continue to connect. But they can help build the audience and community. I give a shit so much about those people, but I have no interest in doing something that tells them they have to pay attention to me. Part of the struggle for me is that I’m not interested in sharing all the little bits and pieces of my life. It’s challenging for me to look at it and think it should collected and shared. I hate having to think through that lens. Yet, it is a highly effective marketing tool. So, where I’m stuck is that I do it or, in a better world, I find someone to do that with me and can filter it for me. I’m happy to live in a glass house, I have nothing that I wish to hide. Yet, I do not feel the desire to perpetually share. So, that’s where I struggle in reaching that large audience. So, a partner could compliment this.
9. What’s the day-in-the-life like for you?
I get up around 8:30-9, shower, walk the dog. Open my computer to see what’s going on in the world. I like finding articles and always pay attention. Usually, I have 1 or 2 clients in the morning. Or, I’ll sit here and do what I need to do for my other clients or take client meetings. Middle of the afternoon, I’ll chill for half an hour to an hour. Then, I finish up the day, make dinner for my wife, help her with some of her work stuff. Walk the dog again. Then, I will usually sit back down at my computer and create stuff (late at night). If I want to work, design or research, it’s happening after the world no longer needs anything from me. Everybody is taken care of and I have my brain to just focus on me. The rest of the day is involved on focusing and solving. I love seeing and I love solving. I like a fairly structured life, but I’d lose my mind with a list. I rather have a random conversation and deal with what comes up. I always feel like I’m infinitely resourceful, so nothing could occur that I couldn’t deal with. I’m never stressed about what I need to do. And I also know that I don’t have all the answers, because I don’t need the all the answers! So, if you’re resourceful, you don’t need to carry a lot around with you. You just need to know what’s around you and know how you utilize it.
So, interested in his book? You can purchase it on Amazon here.
Or find more information on his wealth of expertise here.
- JM -