Bio: Joseph Ranseth has been helping individuals and organizations start movements for over 15 years. He has been a featured expert on national television including Fox News, CBS, CTV, CBC etc., in leading industry publications such as Advertising Age, and has been recognized several times by the Huffington Post for using social media to inspire the world.
Whether in his best-selling book, on the TEDx stage, as a keynote speaker or a boardroom consultants, Joseph passionately and powerfully shares the principles of purpose-driven marketing and transformational leadership in the digital age. Drawing on the inspiring case studies of those who have shaped history, Joseph shares the precise three step blueprint these great leaders have used and guides audiences on how they can create movements of their own.
Joseph is the founder of Vine Multimedia, a digital marketing agency with a social purpose. Designed with social benefit in mind, Vine’s business model allocates a significant amount of time to helping non-profit agencies and returns company profit back to the community either directly or through social awareness campaigns.
Joseph also shares his expertise in teaching PR & Marketing at the University of Winnipeg.
An active volunteer, Joseph believes that the best way to change the world is by starting locally. He sits on committees for several local charities, including the United Way of Winnipeg. He is on the board of directors for the National Autism Association in the U.S. and several local charities in Winnipeg. His favorite volunteer role, however, is that of Big Brother. Living on a small farm just outside of Winnipeg in an almost off-grid home that has no television or internet, Joseph enjoys spending time with his wife Tricia and their beautiful daughter Winter.
Zephan: Hey everyone. This is Zephan Moses Blaxberg from the Year of Purpose podcast and today, I’m joined by Joseph Ranseth. Joseph has been helping individuals and organizations start movements for over 15 years. He’s been featured expert on national television including Fox News, CBS, CTB, CBC, and more. Leading industry publication such as Advertising Age and has been recognized several times by the Huffington Post for using social media to inspire the world. Whether in his best-selling book, on the TEDx stage, as a keynote speaker or a boardroom consultant, Joseph passionately and powerfully shares the principles of purpose driven marketing and transformational leadership in the digital age. Today he’s joining us. How are you doing today?
Joseph: I’m doing well. I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me, Zephan.
Zephan: Yeah. No problem. Thanks for being here. I know that we’re going to get into a very interesting topic here because for me, a big reason why I left my full-time job to join the entrepreneurial world was I wanted to do something bigger. I think that that’s what a lot of our listeners are tuning in for today is that, they want to do something bigger they’re more than at right now. Big thing that you talked about is creating a movement. I thought that I would find that in entrepreneurial world and after about 3 years in my job or my business, I kind of saw it as a job because I wasn’t making as big of a difference as I really wanted to. That’s kind of where the Year of Purpose started for me and now we have a podcast with tons of listeners all over the world. Maybe start with us a little bit about how you got to where you are and what it really means to you to build a movement.
Joseph: I think it starts with what you’re saying that I believe that there’s little whisper inside of all of us and saying that there’s something more. It isn’t necessarily that everyone has a call to become an entrepreneur, it isn’t that necessarily everyone has this call to start a movement the way that Gandhi or Dr. King did. But I do believe that there is that whisper that says to us that we’re meant to have a bigger impact than we’re already having, that we’re meant to give voice to something inside of us to have a more full expression of who we really are and that’s nature. You look in the nature and you see growth. Nature is always growing and expanding. For us, we have that drive. It’s part of our human nature to want to do something meaningful, to want to have some sort of an impact. For some, we anchor that to money or profits. Others anchor that to philanthropy or giving back. I don’t think it necessarily matters exactly how we do it as long as we are giving that voice to the best inside of us.
That really is a perfect catalyst for how I got into the work that I had to do. I started in internet marketing years ago, back in 1999. What I found is I had this kind of ping pong game going on mentally as well as physically between what I did to make money and then what I did to find meaning. I do a big marketing campaign, big project, make a bunch of money and then I would go and volunteer for couple of months and do something. I realized “Oh I need to go back for money.” I kind of flip flap back and forth between those.
One of my earliest mentors many years ago was Dr. Stephen Covey who wrote 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He gave me some advise that rattled my brain and really changed the course of my life and also me as an individual coming from the inside out. He said “If you want to be successful, you need to learn to integrate the spiritual with the secular.” It spoke to me right away because I can relate to that ping pong that was going on but I also knew that he was talking about something a lot deeper. By spiritual, I don’t believe that you necessarily meant religious although Dr. Covey was a very religious man, he didn’t keep secrets about that. My spiritual, he was referring to purpose, to that call in each of us to do something meaningful.
I often think of the parable of the stone covers where an old traveler is journeying and he comes across a stone quarry and he sees 3 men working in the quarry and he asks them the same question. To the first he asks “What are you doing?” That man, without even taking his eyes off his hammer, just kind of grumbles “I’m cutting stones and I’m getting blisters on my hands.” Interesting. He asks the same question to the second man “What are you doing?” That man stops and he looks the traveler in the eye and he says “I’m earning an honest day’s wage to support my family whom I love.” Interesting. To the third he asks the exact same question “What are you doing?” That man puts down his tools, lifts his gaze high into the sky and with his beaming voice says “I am building a cathedral to glorify the Most High.”
You can see that each man was doing the same action outwardly but driven by a different purpose. What we do matters but not near as much as why we do it. I would venture to guess that obviously that third man was experiencing much higher level of satisfaction in the works that he was doing. He was going home happier. He probably had more energy and could probably be a better husband, father, whatever his roles are because of how he felt about his job and what he did. Even though it was the same job as the other 2. I would also venture to guess that that third man was experiencing a lot more of miracles. Those little synchronicities that happen in our day that really whisper to us “Hey! You’re in the right place.” Those little magic moments that say “I think I’m onto something.” I bet he was experiencing those in awful lot more than the other 2 if they were experiencing those at all.
Zephan: I’d have to guess though is there any conflict between the first person versus the third person only because I think of it as I’ve worked tons of jobs in my life and I’ve had employees that absolutely love what they do and I’ve had employees that absolutely hate what they do but they’re still there and so is there any sort of conflict or battle of the one questioning your purpose or your meaning or where it comes from because the grunt worker who’s just doing it because he has to do it.
Joseph: What I find the important thing to remember is that conflict doesn’t happen between people, conflict happens within people. If there was any conflict in a situation like that, it’s going to be happening with the first person. It’s not going to be happening between that first person and the third person. It’s going to be happening within that first person who maybe has some jealousy or some envy or some anger toward the person who’s getting a higher level of satisfaction out of the same work. They may feel that they’re a victim. Space, for some reason whether they consciously label it or not. The reality is the only difference was really the state. When we see other people and we’re envious of them, it’s not necessarily because of their position or their possessions, it’s because of the state that we see them in. That they are what we perceived to be happier in a better space. We think it’s the money that they have or the fancy car or the big house but really when we think of why we want those things that all comes back to we want that millions of dollars because of how we think it’ll make us feel. The state that will put us in.
Zephan: Right. Despite what we think, it’s usually not the true side of things and even if we work to get that. We certainly wouldn’t be as happy as we thought we would be. It’s like how the lottery winners always end up going bankrupt a few years after they win the lottery. Circling back real quick, you mentioned this sort of miracle experience and I thought I’d share that the other day I had a race with my rowing team. We get there and this is actually my first real race so it’s a big deal, I’m pumped up inside. We get our bib numbers, much like you would get for a half marathon. My particular bib number actually had my lucky number on it. It was the number of my youth group chapter that I was in when I was a kid that I volunteer with now and very important number of my life. I sought that as a smaller miracle or sign that I’m in the right place at the right time doing the right thing and that this is everything that I could ever ask for.
That was a very unique experience but I think oftentimes people miss out on that because they’re not in the right mindset or they’re not present. I’m curious to hear from you, in this idea of creating a movement, how much does this require as to be present and actually aware of what’s going on around us?
Joseph: That’s really a good question. I think you really hit on a couple of things that are really important there. One of them obvious is staying present but the other is choosing our beliefs. You could’ve, as you mentioned, saw that number and just dismiss it but you chose an empowering belief that that moment to say like “I take this as a sign that things are in flow right now. I’m choosing to interpret this in my favor.” That’s really what purpose driven people do. The studies have shown that people who think they’re lucky end up having far more lucky experiences and end up being happier as well and more opportunities. Often, we look for the perfect circumstance to empower us when the reality is it’s our belief, it’s our state that really empowers us. It can help us make the most of the situation and it doesn’t matter if our beliefs are true necessarily, it matters that they empower us.
I’m not saying that we should believe in things that are patently not true but I’m saying that when we choose our beliefs, we need to look at things and say “Does this belief empower me?” When I was a kid I played on a basketball team, I would generate this belief in my mind that I was Michael Jordan. Now, that wasn’t necessarily true but it put me in a peak state and it helped me to play the game at a higher level and to really stay and flow. We can adapt that same thing. That personal work really is critical to starting a movement. I share the blueprint of how Gandhi and Dr. King started their movements and I’ll be happy to share that hear but it always comes back to there’s also one other thing. Part of what you’re saying is a component to that, that we have to not only do the right things, we have to be in a certain space if we’re going to make things happen.
Zephan: I want to jump into that in just a second here but one quick question before we get started on that is, what prevents more people from starting bigger movements? When I originally was starting to write my book Life Re-Scripted, I actually found that someone owns LifeRescripted.com. I’ve reached out to them wanted to buy the website off of them because they weren’t doing anything with it. They said “Oh well, it’s been kind of this dream in my mind to essential create this movement.” It was 10 years ago and it never really happened. What is it first that’s preventing people from doing this? How do we get into the steps of the blueprint to actually make it happen?
Joseph: There are 2 main things. I think one is fear and fear will come up in a couple of ways. Fear that we’ll fail and look bad or fear that we’ll actually succeed and not have to deal with that. There’s fear. I think the other thing that stops people really is ego or selfishness. I’ll explain that a little bit more after we go into the blueprint. Anytime I’ve seen people have a lot of ambition or have really inspiring dreams, what falls apart is one of those 2 things. They’ve got fear or they’re selfish.
Zephan: Got you. Got you. Let’s jump into the 3 steps here. Let’s learn a little bit about what it takes to start a movement.
Joseph: If you look at all of the great leaders throughout history who have started these movements, in particular Gandhi and Dr. King because they’re particularly relevant to us but they all had 3 things in common. This is kind of a simplification but we’ll go through it at a high level this point. They all had first, a big idea. By big idea, I don’t mean that’s Doc Brown “Whoa! Marty, I’ve got it.” I’m not talking about that you rick a moment. It’s big and it’s bigger than ourselves. It was bigger than any one individual. It was a big idea, transcends individual. What also makes a big idea is that there’s something that we’re willing to live and if needed, give our lives for. It’s that big that we can have that level of commitment for it.
If you examine these ideas, they also are things that will bring people together and unite them that otherwise might’ve divided. It allows people to come together and they say, we can unite in this and still celebrate their differences. A big idea is something that recognizes that our differences make us unique, it should be celebrated, they don’t need to divide us. We see that obviously in some of the recent movements that we’ve either witnessed or read about. The other thing is that at a deep level, any of these big ideas are all in one way or another in expression of universal truth that we are all one. We’re all connected. They may express that through a variant degrees but it really touches on that core truth that we’re all in this together. You look at any great movements will have that component to a big idea that will bring people together to labor for something bigger than themselves.
The second thing, if you look at it is a clear message. I teach at the university and in one of my classes, I’ll often put a slide up of Dr. King and we all know the picture. Either he’s standing there with almost 300,000 people hearing him give his speech and his arm is out. I’ll ask the students “What is he saying?” Everyone knows and even without seeing the picture all the listeners probably know he’s saying “I have a dream.” Everyone knows the message. Very few people, I would wager who are listening right now know every word to that 16 minute and 21 second speech but they know the message, they know it’s I have a dream and that his dream was that one day that his children would be judged by the content of their character, not on the color of their skin and that children of all races could play together as friends. We all know that that’s the heart of the message. In any movement, even any really really great marketing campaign or viral social campaign, will have clarity around the message so that when you share it, people get it. Not only do they get it and understand it but it’s compelling like it stirs emotion.
The third thing to any movement is evangelist. An army of advocates for the cause. 300,000 people didn’t show up to hear Dr. King that hot summer day because he invited them all himself. It wasn’t his personal network. It was because people heard that big idea and it spoke to them so much that they were willing to adapt it as their own big idea. As well to identify themselves with that cause and that they were able to go and knock the doors and make the phone calls and hand out the fliers for the exact same cause and were able to pass that same message along and to keep that fire going.
Zephan: I think it’s very important that last part there is to have other people that are willing to spread the word too and that can be just as enthusiastic and jump up on stage like you can because anybody can jump up and grab the microphone and start spewing very enthusiastic commentary but that doesn’t mean everyone else is going to listen. I think that we do it as herd or group mentality where we have to see other people supporting it too before we’re like “Oh. Okay. Maybe I’ll start to listen to that.”
Joseph: Yeah. What’s interesting about that is it requires a tremendous amount of inner courage and inner strength both to lead as well as to join a movement like this because one of the other criteria for a big idea is that something that we’re willing to labor for without receiving credit. It takes an awful of inner conviction to say “I’m going to try and labor for this big cause and I’m okay if I don’t get the credit.” It also takes a lot for someone to say “I’m going to join this even though it wasn’t my idea. I’m going to assign my name to this and labor under it even though I didn’t start that company or I didn’t start that cause or message.” It’s going to be that compelling and it requires obviously certain amount of person who isn’t in it just for personal gratification to be able to get to that point.
Zephan: I’m sure that takes a lot of inner work and growth to get to that point because I think we live in a generation of people who want credit for the things we’re doing. I mean, look at social media and Facebook, it’s a giant scrap of “Hey! Look at all the things that I did.” I’d imagine it’s probably very conflicting with a lot of ways that we live our lives now and maybe that’s another aspect as to why people aren’t creating movements is because we really want that confirmation of “Hey! I did something good and everybody knows it.”
Joseph: Yeah. You really hit on it here because quite a while ago I was having this conversation with my business manager and for years, as a keynote speaker and consultant, I’ve been sharing this blueprint of how to start a movement. It’s just kind of the question came up about “If it’s so easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?” I said to Kristal, my Business Manager at the time I said “Well, there’s actually a fourth thing but it’s not a fourth thing because it actually comes at the beginning. It comes first.” We didn’t have enough time to really go into what that meant but a few days later she said “Hey! I want to pick up that conversation on this element zero you’re talking about.” I was like “Element zero? What are you talking about? That doesn’t make sense.” She said “You know, that fourth thing. That fourth element to the blueprint but it wasn’t fourth, it actually came as first so element zero.” Like “Hmm. That is not a clear message.”
As a marketer, I’m looking at that. It’s kind as through this branding label and saying “That doesn’t say what it’s all about. It wasn’t meaningful but there’s something about that that I like.” I said “Hmm. That’s interesting.” I went on to explain to her that it was about that personal growth, that personal power that Gandhi, that Dr. King were able to posses because of the inner works that they did that allowed them to come to this place of being a vessel worthy of carrying that message. Less than 24 hours later, I was doing some more research and I came across this story of when Gandhi went to Britain to meet with the monarchy about India’s liberation. A journalist ask Gandhi and said “What is your secret?” Basically, they’re saying like, how does this little 90-pound guy in homespun loincloths coming to meet with the monarchy. How is he crippling the largest empire on the planet?
His answer was “I make myself zero.” To dive into all of it would be longer problem that we have. Essential what he was saying was “This isn’t about me, in everyday I’m waking up and I’m getting rid of the little me so that I can work for the welfare of others.” That element zero that, fourth thing really is not only the power that we develop personally but the purpose of letting go of selfishness, of arriving at a place that we’re so filled with love and so motivated only by love for others that we completely abandon whatever we think we might get out of it or whatever our personal desires are that we’re so committed to say “I’m doing this for the well-being of others.” That was what allowed him to develop that conviction to go through all of the difficulties and trials and challenges that he did that all those great leaders went through in order to see it through was that selfless love for all of the people that they served.
Zephan: That’s such a tough place to get to and I’m sure people listening in right now that really connect to us wanting to make a change are like “All right. How do I get there? It’s not just like I snap my fingers, I wake up tomorrow and do a little magic and it happens.” What are maybe just a couple of good examples of self work that we can do to at least get us on the path of increasing our awareness, increasing our ability to give up ourselves to others and things like that?
Joseph: I think a couple of things come to mind and the first is, you can’t fill on anyone else’s cup unless your cup is full. Now, the dichotomy that goes with that is that we actually get a lot from giving. We need to always kind of be in that space of service but also remember that we need to come from a place of being full. They go hand and hand. We can’t focus solely on filling up our cup without serving others. If not going out doing anything until we feel like our cup is full, but we also can’t completely give ourselves to others without doing the self care stuff.
I think one of the best tools that helps illustrate that point is what a lot of people will call a metta meditation. Really this is in the morning or whenever but starting off the day as a great way where you just sit, close your eyes, get into whatever kind of comfortable meditative state you can and imagine this light, this pure love either coming into you or springing from within you. See it start in your heart and fill that up and expand out through your whole body then slowly visualize it expand into the room and watch it go into the rooms of those that you love, watch it going across your city into the houses of the other family members or friends. Watch it expanding going into the homes and the hearts of your clients and those you serve and slowly, removing your gaze further away and watching yourself shift higher and higher and seeing it expand out over your state then the country and the globe and filling the whole world with this light of love.
That is such a great way obviously to put yourself in a beautiful state of love and mindfulness for others. It’s also a great way to anchor that throughout the day as we walk around we’re now thinking “How can I share love? How can I give?” It sounds overly simple but one of the most powerful tools when I’m working with clients and people that I’m coaching and so forth is just exercise to count throughout the day. As you’re going throughout the day, count how many times you can ask the question in your mind or out loud if you’re driving your car, whatever but ask the question “How can I serve others today?” Just the simple exercise of trying to count how many times you can repeat that to yourself will be a very profound spiritual experience of realizing like “Wow! So often my mind is tempted to go to thinking of that funny video I saw on YouTube or worrying about my work or exams.” Whatever is on your mind that were preoccupied with ourselves and shifting that to saying “How can I serve others?”
It serves in so many different ways both at intellectual, even down to a physiological level. It can profoundly transforms us.
Zephan: This form of visualization and awareness is something that even the best athletes use. Before an Olympic lifter walks up to the bar, they’re picturing themselves doing that. I think that it’s a very powerful experience that we still don’t know everything about it but it’s great to see how that plays out in our physical life even though it’s just a thought, it’s just something in our mind. It’s really brilliant and powerful stuff.
I want to thank you for being here today and for sharing this. I’d love to share with everyone who’s tuning in how they can learn more about what you do. I know that you have a TEDx talks that’s out there and where they can find out more information about you.
Joseph: Yeah, josephranseth.com is a great place to connect with me. There’s an opportunity you can download the blueprints, kind of this how to start a movement. If you’re interested, you can get that manifesto.
Also, I love connecting one on one so reach out to me by Twitter or on my Facebook page. It’s just Joseph Ranseth, is my handle. I just am so passionate about this work because it really allows us to heed that call that each of us have. It speaks to us on the inside, it says “There’s something more.” We don’t need to know it. We don’t need to be able to articulate it perfectly but being engaged in this type of work allows us to do that in a work that cultivates the best in us while also bringing more and bringing the best service that we can to others whether it’s in a job or some higher cause. I’ve got a number of great tools that I find that I share them on a blog and so forth. I encourage people to reach out and learn those steps on how to cultivate their own element zero.
Zephan: Absolutely. Any sort of final words of wisdom or encouragement to inspire those in the action?
Joseph: Yeah. I think just remembering what the great Tony Robbins says is that “Emotion comes from motion.” You don’t have to see it all to get started. Just get into motion. Start taking some action and if you’re still trying to find out what you love, just do a bunch of things, just try different things. A lot of times we have this idea in our mind of what we think we love that “Oh my life would be great if this. When I graduate and I can do this job, then I’ll feel great.” All of those are still at best speculation. We need to do with with we know makes us feel great and we know that when we’re in the moment with it. Find things. Get in the moment. Get busy. Listen for those little nudges and confirmations that say “Hey! This feels good, doesn’t it?” Maybe you’re in the right place.
Zephan: Yeah. Absolutely. Joseph, this has been a great talk. Thank you so much for being here today and spending some time with me and definitely looking forward to keeping in touch.
Joseph: It’s my pleasure to be here. Thanks so much, Zephan.