Highlights with Jonathan Fields:


For Jonathan, the good life ultimately is focused around love and depth of relationships.


The three buckets for the good life:

  • Vitality
  • Connection
  • Contribution


These three buckets do not exist in isolation from each other. All parts feed back into the other parts (body, mind, relationship, etc.).

The concept is: take these three buckets and put energy into what works to make each part thrive.

Checking into each of these buckets every morning gives you the awareness of what to intentionally give a little extra love to as you live the day ahead of you.


Jonathan’s top-rated podcast is called The Good Life Project. What makes a podcast become successful?

A podcast is valuable to people when you let people know they are not alone.

To cultivate an exceptional podcast, it is so important to make the interviewee feel they are in a safe place.


Jonathan’s “Good Life”

Jonathan is trying to find the balance between his overflowing contribution bucket and knowing how to take care of himself.

The challenges of balancing your buckets is knowing where to give affirmative action to and when.

Show Transcription

[00:37] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host, Kevin Miller, and I’ll ask…do you want a “good life”? Goofy to ask, but in truth, does that not sum up what we are all working towards or at least hoping and dreaming of? To have a truly…good life? One of the top podcasts on Planet Earth is “The Good Life Project,” hosted by Jonathan Fields. Jonathan has truly done something profound. In the pursuit of a good life…in the personal development industry worldwide…amidst everyone globally desiring to make individual progress, Jonathan has brilliantly boiled things down to…three buckets. It’s really tremendous. We, of course, talk through these points…the essence of his podcast and his bestselling book of the same name, “The Good Life Project.” But I also just dig into Jonathan and what got him to this point to embrace this movement and become the leader he’s become and is becoming to so many people. It’s incredibly intriguing and gives us all a lot to think about in regards to how we are living, loving, and leading. Connect with all that Jonathan has for you at goodlifeproject.com, or just search for it in iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Let’s get started!

[02:30] Jonathan, “A Good Life” is a monumental issue that encompasses so many aspects. But today, when you encounter people through your work, at the coffee shop, wherever, where do you find yourself most drawn initially regarding their “good or not so good life”? What necessary ingredient do you find on your mind the most?

[03:11] Well, first, thanks for having me on it, appreciate the kind words when I think about that ingredient. The thing that I think pops into people’s minds first and foremost is very often health, you know, and it’s that old saying, you know, if you’re healthy, you know, and and that’s certainly true, although what I have found — I’m 52 — on that, I’m into the middle years of my life and I’m at an age where I have a lot of friends who either live with some level of disability or chronic pain or have been through some severe illness; have been through loss, and health absolutely matters. What I found is that if you get it from there into life, health is really important, but there comes a time also where you start to realize that the depth of your relationships is the thing that really sustains you as you move through whatever life throws at you. So, you know, if we don’t have the vessel that contains us as we move through life to be healthy, to be as optimistic as we can get to be, if we don’t have anything, once we have that, the thing that really is the difference maker is relationships. If you think about the grant study for men, which is the longest-running study on human flourishing — and granted, yes, it was done on males, which it would be awesome to have a bigger dataset, you know, that included everybody — males, females, fluid, gender, whatever we can for them to that. But they’re the longest curator of that study. George Valiant was asked. you know. “When you have looked at literally every variable that’s occurred in people’s lives over a window. a span of 90 years. and these included everyone from former presidents to people who lived very hand in the neighbourhood. was any single unifying factor the big difference maker?”, and his answer was “Happiness is love.”

[05:37] So I want to come back to that now with my admitted focus that I often have on health and wellness. So, I’m just curious on your take on this because I keep looking at and I always bristle, being I grew up in the personal development world, and I still am today, and I bristle when, you know, whoever’s thing is the only thing — just like we have in health and wellness; this pill, this herb, well this whatever, is that the thing, and it’s not maybe in this, you know, with health and wellness, I don’t want to be that guy who says, “Oh, it’s the thing,” I do struggle with it being, maybe it’s just sequentially the thing, because if you don’t — just like you said, if your vessel is compromised, then it is harder to have those. If we put relationships as the Holy Grail, in a sense, it makes it harder, so is that, do you fall in line with that?

[06:32] Yes. So my model of a good life is essentially, we all have three buckets; we have vitality, connection, and contribution. A good life is when you optimize your vitality, which is your state of mind — just in a body./ When you create, cultivate, deep in many relationships, and when you have a purposeful contribution, most people equate that with work, whether it’s the thing you get paid for or not. So the point you just brought up is really important in this context, because those three buckets do not exist in isolation from each other. There’s a constant feedback mechanism between the two. So if you talk to me about relationships, you know what? I think that I’ll tell you it’s that the state of your personal relationships will have a very real and measurable effect on both your state of body and your state of mind. The state — and like you just said, your state of physical well-being, your state of mental well-being and health, are also going to definitely feed back into your ability to develop code to be meaningful relationships, and those two things are also going to feed back into your ability to understand what matters to you, and then purposefully contribute to the world in a way that is really aligned.

[11:30] Oh, yeah, we’re going to talk offline on that one. So you know what I know, and it all devolves. I just got out of a meeting with a nutritional supplement company, one that we really like, and we talked about that we’re looking at on a big scale as we offer a national product that will be coming up soon on a nutritional supplement. So, here it is, here’s the price, and giving a discount if they will sign up for an automatic shipment/automatic purchase. Now, obviously, that may mean that we all, you know, on the selling and make more money, yeah, but if I make the zero, I need this, I need it, if it is not good should mind or I run out. I don’t take my…compliance goes down, so does my health, behavioral economics.

[12:08] Yeah, I know exactly, I mean, that’s why if you look at your average gym, your average health club, right, the vast majority of people sign up and never go after the first six weeks. And, in fact, the entire model is based on the assumption that something to 80%-90% of your paying customers will not attend on a regular basis. If they did, you would immediately close down. You don’t have the capacity to actually serve your existing customers, you, know but they also won’t cancel their memberships until very often months after you’ve stopped attending, because that means that you actually have to proactively say “No, I’m sort of, I’m opting out of this positive behavior that I’ve already automatically opted into.” It’s an interesting thing with what you’re just talking about is if you set somebody up on a subscription where they have to proactively opt out, it definitely reinforces that behavior. But, at the same time, what you’ll find is even on that model very often, if the behavior that you’re looking for is anything beyond really, simple action even, then even if it’s being shipped to somebody story, even if it’s automatically taken out of somebody’s bank, they still won’t do it, because there’s a lot more that has to be in place.

[16:50] I love that. I live in the framework, I mean, you know, so in this wellness world — and functional medicine is the focal point of a lot of what we do here, and we literally talk, and we’ve been kind of not being or has been, but we still struggle with that because we know there’s no global system that is going to work for everybody in this arena. It’s personalized, you know, medicine, personalized healthcare, is the only way, so in this, as you’re talking about The Good Life Project, I didn’t read that word in your book, but I see it is that as a framework, and you don’t get all detail down and you don’t have the fifteen steps; you have three buckets. Put into that bucket what works for you, then that is your good life framework.

[17:38] Yes, absolutely, I mean it’s a really simple, highly adaptable model. I am a huge fan of practical in-the-world tools and solutions, and I’m also a huge fan of simplicity, so one of the other things that I’ve seen — I’m sure you’ve seen this in your practice, right? In functional medicine out of things, is the minute people’s eyes glaze over and you’ve lost. You know, it doesn’t matter how right you are, doesn’t matter how much science is behind what you’re saying. If people can’t just immediately understand what you’re saying and understand how to implement it in their own lives, it just doesn’t matter.

[25:25] Well, so in that I’m even looking at you being in this. I’m going to come in a call — the personal development, you know, world — the self-help world, which is where we are here, which is where our entire podcast demographic, you know, is where they listen in to your show or The Ziglar Show, or whatever, they’re people who are aspiring. They do want more; they do want to progress, and yet, I’m sure you’re as aware as I am, more, that we are also in this industry where we take a knowledge saying we’re not always seen in the mood; the needle moves in people’s lives, which brings me to what you’re doing, because it’s amazing. And, folks, if you’re hearing that and don’t realize how significant that is, it’s a really big deal, and amongst so many peers with such good messages, what do you — as you look back now — amidst this Good Life Project, what do you attribute some of it to that, did it, did you expect it? What did you not expect? But is some of it to that degree that you made it simple so that people can remember it, they can engage?

[26:47] Yeah. I mean, it’s funny because I’m constantly trying to deconstruct the effect, that very thing, and figure it out, because, as somebody who maybe can be creator but also a teacher, I’m always trying to figure out what’s reproducible and put — a couple things come to mind. I think, to a certain extent, fortune favors endurance, and what I mean by that is, yes, if you look at where we’re sitting today, we’re number sixty overall in the world out of like four or five hundred thousand podcasts. Sweet, right? But then, if you take a look back, what you’ll see is that we actually started in 2012. We’ve been producing consistently on a weekly basis for, like, going on six years now, where probably 99% of the field that started producing media with me then is gone. You know, they just — there was no sort of commitment to long-term growth, to long-term sustained improvement, long-term value provision, and also to the development of craft, which there is no way to really, you know, accelerate that dramatically. It takes an investment of time.

[38:02] OK, that’s really curious, I’m sitting here trying to be bright enough to put these pieces together, and I don’t know that I can do it on the fly like this, but from a sales standpoint, Ziglar, you know, has begun on sales. We just had a big event with Secrets of Closing the Sale. It’s on sales, but, of course, that was his venue to get into your life and have impact there. So you’re about “This isn’t sales. You’re just talking about humanity.” At the end of what’s not a sales pitch, necessarily, but from your standpoint something they’ve shared.

[38:56] So that the pause is, is a gateway to vulnerability and spontaneity and serendipity, right? Because it unlocks a deeper truth, right? And unlocks that was not prepared, and it’s that stuff in life that leads to the best friendships, the best adventures, the best experiences, the best conversations. And in sales, you know, it’s that is that space that also deep in, it creates the same thing. It deepens the conversation to a level where people are getting real, and what we know that sells, right? Why do so many people focus on report-building? Because trust is everything, right? Trust comes from vulnerability and a series of deepening disclosures. And that emerges very often when you create the space for it to emerge, not before. So it’s one of the things that you know we talk about sales and also just having good conversations. It’s kind of seeing stuff, you know, when it comes down to it.

[41:45] I’m looking at the success of your show. I read some of your testimonials and I saw a testimony to what you just said that didn’t resonate as much till now, as you discussed it of creating safety. I will raise my hand, admit that as a podcast host with a show with great numbers and good ranking and great, you know, the best of the best interviews, I’ve never thought I needed to create safety in my show, and yet, what you say resonates because it is relationship, and that I know it, but I didn’t bring it here. So if we were to all bring that into, I don’t know, our personal relationships, but our work relationships, and even to the aspect of being a presenter going to be on stage, have you thought about this, as you’re on same thing as you’re on stage in front of live humans, that you are there to create safety so that I let you fill that in?

[42:44] So that I can take people from a place that they’re beginning through a journey and deliver them into a different state or place. So in a very past life, I’ve been in the fitness industry in a number of different ways to one point I owned a health club, at one point I owned a large yoga center in New York City for seven years, and I taught those on the floor, teaching thousands of students, and trained hundreds of teachers. And in New York City, if somebody comes to you after a really hard day and they’re giving you ninety minutes of their day, it’s a huge responsibility, and if you pack people match mat into a room, you know you multiply that ninety by a lot of people, that’s a big responsibility, right? So I realized that pretty early on, and my goal was, I said everybody is landing here in a frazzle, kind of burned out, and they all need something a little bit different, but there are some sort of that universal things that they all need, and I knew that my job was to take on from the state that they came to me, and take them through some sort of collective journey that would leave them in a different state, would leave them in some way changed. And what I learned really quickly was that I needed to create safety, and for them to let go to be present, to not be thinking about, like, themselves and whether they could do  a pose or how they look doing this, or being, you know, in judgment about themselves, I needed them to just let go and know that they’re completely safe and it was just, if you needed to be, like, curled up in a fetal position, weeping for ninety minutes, that’s ok. If you want to fully express the most, you know, outrageous, you know, physical manifestation, and that’s ok, too, and everything in between.

[47:45] So those people who are listening to this as I’m listening to this, Jonathan, as a student of your own progress as well, and I want to tell you we had a Ziglar meeting this morning about the podcast and I told them that I’ve been listening to your stuff and looking at it, really intrigued with what you’re doing and desiring to emulate some of it. I love the spirit of it, as people are listening to this, myself included, and we hear that where do we go. Where would you lead people for resources on that? I’m becoming the type of person who is aware of the deep behavioral of social dynamics that realizes they can lift a group, that they can deepen a group, that they can do that with an individual, but also with a group as again we have a majority of folks here who are desired, they are leading or influencing, or they are deciding to do that. They want to become that and they’re here with the desire, and yet they need leading, they need some resources.

[48:47] Yeah that’s it, that’s actually a tough one. So I have found a lot of ideas and this is going to sound weird. The intersection between social psychology and nonviolent revolution theory. Every marker, every copy writer on the planet can probably cite you like you know page and verse on that book because it deconstructs the process of human influence. But what it really is just understanding the psyche of action taking right and it’s more you know teller towards individuals. But it is such a core, it’s something like 33-34 years old at this point, is as relevant today as it ever was because it speaks to the human condition and the human condition fundamentally doesn’t change. Who we are as who we are you know the circumstance of humanity changes but the essence of who we are it’s largely it is what it is. So that’s you know like a starting point I think for a lot of people.

[52:56] Again in this room, I have always been emerged with burdened with people who have life altering, changing, beautiful, annoying to messages that unfortunately can be you know judged by its cover and not going anywhere and that burns me. And so lately I know with the new business endeavour, I have you know it’s only as good as can we get people to engage in to me. Behavioural economics is the term I recently read again the book Nudge. It just feels as business one-o-one. So my part is that yeah you got to read that because yeah if we can’t get people to get which again comes back to you in this good life project and to me what is somewhat of a phenomenon to see what you’re doing, how you’re doing and the fact that people earning engaging at such a high level. So it’s a beautiful thing I do want to ask you in the time we have about you and your own good life.

[54:38]. Contribution is overflowing to point where it actually be overflowing too fast. Too and some people feel like or is it me or make a ton of money now. You know what I mean by that is it’s at the end of last year, we’ve made some really substantial changes in business and focus and and the truth is I’m a big fan of not just talking the talk but walking the walk and I realize that I had actually hit a point of pretty extreme burnout. And I was like you know what this can’t continue my contribution bucket, I’m doing all these things that are being very much of service and it’s nourishing a lot of levels but there’s a whole bunch of stuff that is really a deeper part of who I am that I’m not doing. I am fundamentally at heart and the maker and I love to deconstruct stuff and then share it in a way that changes people. And I wasn’t doing that nuff I was raised outward focused in various service focused. I’m also on the introverted side of the social spectrum. So we’ve made a bunch of shifts and business now where I am now sort of like very much in in my case and developing, I mean we’ve got a new website that’s like almost rolling out, rolling out a second podcast we are rolling out I’ve been developing a whole new set of. Intellectual property around contributing to the world actually and how to find and to work, that’s deeply meaningful whether that’s something you get paid for are not.

[1:03:04] Well there you go folks, did I say this would be good, or what? Again, connect with all that Jonathan has for you at goodlifeproject.com, or just search for it in iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Coming up next in show 535 we go behind the scenes into Jonathan’s personal life and the healthy habits he consistently walks out to maintain his…good life. A preview…He’s not a morning person, he puts big emphasis on meditation. He doesn’t miss his morning coffee, he’s not a fan of indoor exercise, his biz partner is his wife and they are nearly always together, he works to keep himself sharp mentally by being physically healthy, his career efforts are wrapped around the question, “will this opportunity allow me to spend as much time as possible swith people I can’t get enough of?” and he loves making stuff and just signed up for a month long course on guitar building! So till then, thank you, for letting me walk with you as we inspire our true performance…together!