RCC 107: Joy with Robert Hartwell

When was the last time you did something purely for the joy of it? Maybe you took a day or even a week off work. Maybe you went skinny-dipping or got muddy outside. Did you treat yourself to a gift or a fancy dinner or a night out? If you can’t remember the last time you did something purely for the joy of it because it’s been that long, we need to fix that.

Joy makes you rich. Seriously. The more joy you infuse into your life on a regular basis, the more money your coaching business will make. Why? To start, no one wants to hire a life coach that is leading a joyless existence. You need to be a joy model, like my guest today.

In today’s episode, I’m interviewing my dear friend and one of the biggest joy creators I know, Robert Hartwell. Not only is Robert a successful Broadway performer, but he also founded The Broadway Collective to help other young performers follow their joy. He’s sharing the secret to his amazing attitude, the importance of support, and why it’s time to give yourself permission to shine. 

No matter how shaky things might feel right now, you can create a major turnaround in your business by registering for Finish Strong. It’s happening virtually this October, and this event is going to help you whip a plan together so you can finish 2020 feeling proud, powerful, and successful with extra money in the bank.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why joy makes you financially and emotionally rich.
  • What happened when I started taking Fridays off 12 years ago.
  • How Robert transformed massive loss into inspiration during COVID.
  • The importance of support when going after your dreams.
  • The hilarious thing that makes Robert feel rich without spending a dollar.
  • Why if you have breath in your body, you have a gift to share.

Featured on the Show:

Enjoyed this show?


Susan: Welcome to the Rich Coach Club, the podcast that teaches you how to build your dream coaching practice and how to significantly increase your income. If you’re a coach and you’re determined to start making more money this show is for you. I’m Master Certified Life Coach, Susan Hyatt and I’m psyched for you to join me on this journey.

Today’s episode is all about how joy makes you rich, emotionally rich and financially rich, too. Coaches, when’s the last time you did something purely for the joy of it? When’s the last time you took a road trip? Took a painting class? Took a day off or a week off? When’s the last time you went skinny dipping or got muddy hiking in the woods? That was me yesterday. Or treated yourself to a gift, something just for you?

Maybe you can’t remember. Maybe it’s been a long time. Maybe you’re like, “I don’t even remember how to have fun. What’s joy? What’s pleasant? Who dat? These are alien concepts to me.” We need to fix that. On this episode we’re going to talk about how to infuse more joy into your coaching business and your life because, look, real talk, nobody wants to hire a life coach who’s leading a joyless existence.

So, if you’re chronically stressed, anxious, bored, uninspired and you never make room for joy in your life it’s going to show in how you write, how you appear on video, how you interact with people, it shows in your body language, in your eyes, in your overall vibe. Clients can feel it.

As a coach, you need to lead by example. You need to be a role, a joy model. The more joy you exude the more money you will make #Fact. With this episode my goal is to convince you to quadruple the amount of joy in your life. Big joy and big money, too. Here we go.

Here’s my premise, joy makes you rich, emotionally rich and financially rich. So, maybe you’re nodding and thinking, “Yup, I totally believe that,” or maybe you’re like, “Susan, you’re high as a freaking kite. It doesn’t work like that, at least not for me. If I’m flouncing around having fun and joy then how am I going to make any money? Does not compute.”

Okay, so I used to be very skeptical about joy, too. I used to feel like it’s not a priority. I don’t have time. It’s not helpful, all those things. But then 12 years ago I experienced a major attitude shift because 12 years ago that’s when I decided to do a challenge with a client of mine. We called it the Fun Friday Challenge and it went like this. I told my client for the next 4 weeks I want you to take Fridays off, no work, no clients, nothing at your desk, take Friday off and go play. Go have fun, go get some joy in your life. Take your daughter to get a manicure or go to the beach or wander through a park or treat yourself to a special lunch or whatever you want, Fun Friday. Do this 4 weeks in a row and then let’s evaluate and see what happened.

I promised my client, “I’m going to do this with you, too.” I do that a lot when I organically assign homework for my groups, masterminds, or my clients. I’ll do the homework with them because I like to walk my talk. So, I got to admit I was a little nervous because back then I felt like I need to work 5 days a week, I can’t afford to only work 4 days a week. My business will suffer. But I promised my client I would do this with her so I couldn’t back out. I had to follow through and keep my promise.

So, I did it. We both did it and it was fascinating to see what happened next. We both made more money in those four weeks than in the previous four weeks. We both felt happier, more energized, more creatively inspired. We both noticed that we were totally able to get our work done in 4 work days rather than 5 by working smarter and more efficiently. The Fun Friday experiment was a total slam dunk, win-win. So many positive benefits and really no downside.

That experience made me a believer in the power of joy. It gave me solid evidence that I could measure in my bank account. Joy really is good for business and that’s why I’ve been doing Fun Fridays for the last 12 years in a row, but now I think I can’t afford not to take Fridays off because Friday is my joy time. It’s when I recharge and fill my spirit. I wander, I play, my brain can untangle problems in a new way. It’s when I get my best ideas. My million-dollar business ideas usually arrive on a Fun Friday.

Really it should be called Money Friday because that’s what happens. So, coaches, here’s the dealio, you need a Fun Friday or your own personal version of a Fun Friday. You need a regular, consistent appointment with yourself, an appointment that’s all about fun, pleasure, and joy. This is not a frivolous luxury. This is an important part of your business plan. This will help you make more money.

If you wind up making all kinds of reasons why you just can’t do this challenge those thoughts and give yourself an attitude adjustment because if you’re thinking, “I don’t have time for joy,” change the way you’re speaking to yourself and say to yourself, “I can make time for joy because this is crucial for my mental health and financial health, too.”

If you’re thinking, “I don’t deserve to experience joy,” adjust your attitude. Say to yourself, “Every human being deserves to feel safe, loved, and cherished and deserves to experience joy including me.” Here’s a fun question, what would happen to your coaching business if you quadruple the amount of joy in your life for the next four weeks?

Try this, infuse tons of joy in your life. Way more joy than you typically do, like 4 times more and then after 4 weeks evaluate and see what happened. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Did you earn more money? Were you able to accomplish more work in less time? Assess those results. I have a hunch that you’ll be very, very pleased with your outcome and I hope you’ll post inside Rich Coach Club, our Facebook group and share what happened for you. I would love to see.

In summary, joy makes you rich which is why if you’re determined to make more money than you need to be equally determined to bring more joy into your life. Prioritize it, schedule it, make room for it and enjoy the sweet rewards. Pep talk complete.

Okay, hey, something a little different today. I want to start introducing you to my new YouTube show, Go Time TV. I do weekly shows with compelling interviews and I’m sharing with you an interview today with Robert Hartwell who is one of the biggest joy creators I know. I specifically wanted to feature him on this episode because he is filled from within with light and every piece of this episode is like gospel at your door, so let’s dive in.

Sometimes a house is so much more than just a house, it’s a symbol of hope and progress. It’s someone’s legacy. We’re sitting outside of my friend Robert Hartwell’s new home and he doesn’t live here yet because he’s going to renovate before moving in. He has graciously agreed to let us be the first ones to peek inside.

So, let me tell you a little bit about the house. This property was originally built in 1782 and at that time in Massachusetts slavery was still legal. The home was demolished and rebuilt in the early 1820s, 200 years later it’s been purchased by a young, black entrepreneur, my friend, Robert. His dream is to discover the home’s history, uncover its secrets, fill it with love and give it new life and make his ancestors proud.

Shortly after purchasing this house Robert posted a message on Instagram and he wrote, “I know this house is bigger than me. I wish I could have told my ancestors when they were breaking their backs in 1820 to build this house that 200 years later a free, gay, black man was going to own it and fill it with love and find a way to say their name even when 200 years later they still thought I would be off the table. We are building our tables.” Robert is making his ancestors proud. How will you make your ancestors proud?

Robert, you’re a homeowner.

Robert: Isn’t that wild?

Susan: It’s so exciting!

Robert: Oh, thank you, friend.

Susan: I’m so happy and you know this episode we’re talking about legacy and you’re building and continuing quite a legacy and I understand that there are two women really important to you after this tour that you’re like naming rooms after.

Robert: Yeah.

Susan: Let’s talk about your Aunt Paulette.

Robert: Yeah, so it’s so interesting. I feel that what COVID has done it’s like one, yes, we’re all at home, but I think that there is beauty in that as well. If COVID hadn’t happened this house would not have happened in the sense that I think you get the opportunity to let pain produce purpose, you know?

My Aunt Paulette Frances made this for me.

Susan: I know all about it.

Robert: For sure, for sure.

Susan: And she made peek mucho mucho.

Robert: So, she contracted COVID and she went into the hospital and she passed away from the virus. She passed on a Friday and then that next day I just needed to get out of the apartment because it was just too much in the city for me. So, I grabbed a House Beautiful magazine and I went to the dock on the Hudson River and I’m just flipping through and just looking at these beautiful homes and I saw this home in this stunning neighborhood and I was like, “Where is that?”

I had never heard of it before. I was like, “The Berkshires, what in the world?” So, I went on to Zillow and I scrolled and then I saw this house and I was like, “That’s my house. That is my house. I am getting that house.” So, the next week I came to see the house and then the following week on Juneteenth I paid for the house.

Susan: On Juneteenth?

Robert: On Juneteenth, and then the following Wednesday I came and closed and got the keys. So, the front parlor, the formal living room where the adults will drink and play is going to be Paulette’s Parlor. I asked Frances, one of her things that she would always say to me was, “That’s awesome, Rob.” I just know that she would’ve come on this property and just said, “That’s awesome, Rob.”

She is having the biggest shout Hallelujah and so, to know that that room will always be there and she’ll always be there for when I’m not here and when my children and their children aren’t here her namesake will still be here.

Susan: She left quite a legacy because the story that you told me about her is that she was the one when you had dreams of being on Broadway that was just like, “Hey, you need to take care of yourself. Not if you get an audition, but when you go on audition, you better be on point.”

Robert: Absolutely.

Susan: It wasn’t if it was always when.

Robert: That’s her and she spoke things into the universe and made you declare and made you say it. So, when I moved to New York, graduating school with my BFA in musical theater, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to audition,” and then auditions are hard, much harder than you ever think they’re going to be in school. She just always stayed positive and always stayed in faith and always made sure that whatever came out of my mouth was when and not if, and can and not can’t.

So, she and my Aunt Deb were hugely influential in that first year because so many people don’t make it after that first year of moving to New York City.

Susan: What do you think the major difference is? You see tons of kids. You run an amazing company that brings Broadway to kids, trains kids how to claim their Broadway dreams. What do you think the biggest difference is between the people who make it past that first year and the people who don’t?

Robert: Their support system.

Susan: Really? That is not what I thought you were going to say.

Robert: Yeah, I think it comes down to their support system because one, the obvious thing is you have to walk into a room and you have to be talented. You’ve got to be good, you’ve got to have the goods, you have to be a kind person, but I think it comes down to what happens between here and there, what happens between getting the audition and going into the audition room. It’s the people that you surround yourself with, so if you surround yourself with people that are saying, “When you get to Broadway, when this audition goes well,” you’re just like, “I’m going to win. There is no way that I’m not going to win.”

Susan: Right.

Robert: So, I see it – speaking of the kids that I get the opportunity to work with, I see a completely different trajectory for the ones that have parents that are all-in, that are out trying to educate themselves or out saying, “Hey, I don’t understand what this is, but I got you, boo.” Then, the students that are working so hard to pay for it on their own and their parents don’t come to the performances or their parents don’t show up for the work and you just know it’s going to be very different for them.

So, I think it comes down to support system like who you flock with. Which is like, how do you do things like this? You have friends like Susan Hyatt who are like, “We’re going to be extra,” but seriously you have always encouraged me to think bigger and to act bigger and to do bigger, but it comes down to who’s in your squad.

Susan: It is true, we have an amazing squad.

Robert: Yeah, we do.

Susan: What was it that Alex was saying the other day? Our squad text is like a combination of a TED Talk and something else and it was like –

Robert: It’s like a TED Talk, but Super Soul Sunday, but also a sketch comedy.

Susan: Yes, a sketch comedy.

Robert: It’s all of the things, yeah.

Susan: No, but you are also the one in our squad texts that’s always – you’re carrying the legacy of your Aunt Paulette because you’re always like, “I don’t want to hear the words ‘We’ll see if it works out.’ It will work out.”

Robert: It will work out don’t put – oh right, we always have to – we got to get it together because like don’t put those if vibes in this thread because I’m serious I know that what you speak will be.

Susan: After we did the town hall, I was texting, I’m like, “Did I say any dumb white lady stuff?” And you were like, “Do not talk about yourself that way!”

Robert: I was like, “You’re being unkind” because you and Cora had sessions. By the way, you were incredible on that town hall.

Susan: So were you.

Robert: Oh, you stop.

Susan: Oh stop.

Robert: No, you stop. But yeah, it matters. It matters and I don’t think that we even realize that we’re doing it, you know?

Susan: Yeah, I know. So, one of the things that I’ve asked viewers in this episode, a statement to complete, a question to answer. “Before I die I will – “ How would answer that?

Robert: “Ahh! Before I die I will meet the love of my life.”

Susan: Oh, Robert. It wasn’t who you met in Italy during the retreat?

Robert: Okay, we’re not talking about that. Edit that out. Edit that out. No, he was definitely not the love of my life, but he was an incredible Italian moment in memory that I –

Susan: An Italian moment!

Robert: I’m so grateful. It was an Italian moment I’m grateful for. It was an experience.

Susan: The silver fox won’t chime in on that.

Robert: I know. The experience, yeah.

Susan: So, before you die you will meet the love of your life. Of course, you will. Of course, you will. What’s something that makes you feel rich that doesn’t cost any money?

Robert: Something that makes me feel rich that doesn’t cost any money is random, showering.

Susan: That’s not random.

Robert: I really do feel really luxurious and rich when I’m like, “I am clean. I’m clean.” Oh shit!

Susan: I can’t, no [inaudible]

Robert: Yo, we falling out of chairs up in here.

Susan: That is the best.

Robert: Take a shower, you’ll fall out of a chair, too.

Susan: Listen, that leads to my toilet paper answer. Listen, pre-COVID I was overstocked with toilet paper. These people in – I’m like what y’all trying to catch up?

Robert: Wait, wait, wait, but here’s the thing, the real of the real of this is that you, actually, are the one that taught me that.

Susan: I did?

Robert: You were totally the one that taught me – because you were like my first coach.

Susan: Oh yeah, that’s right.

Robert: Legit, you were the first coaching program that I ever paid for, that was huge for my journey.

Susan: I forgot.

Robert: And you said, “What does success look like to you? What does it feel like to you? What are things from your childhood, from your life that you see from other people, other families that look like success to you and then how can you start putting those things in,” and one of – it’s kind of connected to the house in the sense that I loved my – I spent my summers with my dad in Easthampton and so those folks’ homes, those big, gorgeous Easthampton, Bridgehampton kitchens with those huge – stunning.

But I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, they have all of this fresh fruit laid out in these beautiful bowls,” and that has always been something that has been, to me, a success and you were like, “Well, boo, you’re going to get yourself a white bowl, you’re going to go to Whole Foods –“

Susan: I forgot!

Robert: And I started doing that. I started feeling what you talk about all of the time, like allowing yourself to experience it. Like, you talking bold, and so that was huge for me that you don’t have to wait for the kitchen to be remodeled to have your beautiful fruit bowl with your organic cherries. You can do it now.

Susan: Life is a bowl of cherries, Robert.

Robert: When you take a shower.

Susan: You don’t stink while you’re eating it.

Robert: When you don’t stink.

Susan: Okay, so there’s probably a lot of people watching who are like – I hear this all the time from people who find out we’re friends, “Robert is so beautiful. He’s so talented. He’s so charismatic. He’s got this special thing that I don’t have, so I don’t know that I could do big things or make a big difference in the world because he’s got something I don’t,” is the reference. What do you say to people who might be watching who are like, “Oh, he’s all these things that I’m not”?

Robert: I think it’s you haven’t given yourself permission to then believe that you have it because I think we all – if you have breath in your body you have the gift. It’s what will –

Susan: You’re going to make me cry on my own show.

Robert: But seriously, what will you do with it? What will you do with it? So, I think –

Susan: Are y’all going to cry about this? Like, Jesus.

Robert: But no, I think it comes down to what do you do with it? Because if you didn’t have the gift, you’d be six feet under, but you’re not. So, I think it just comes down to do you believe do you have it and do you believe that it’s okay to share it?

Susan: Yes. Okay, final question for you, because you mentioned meeting the love of your life and children and grandchildren, what do you want your grandchildren to say about you?

Robert: That he did his best. That he did his best, yeah. That I did my best, that’s all.

Susan: That’s so beautiful.

Robert: With what time I had that I did everything that I could do.

Susan: I similarly say I want them to be like, “My grandma, she fucking did the damn thing.”

Robert: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Susan: “Let me show you a picture, 85.”

Robert: Receipts. Receipts, yeah.

Susan: I love you, friend.

Robert: I love you so much.

Susan: I love you so much. I hope that I get to come back and Christen this –

Robert: Okay, we’re going to do an Aunt Paulette exercise right now. You just said, “I hope I –“ Bitch, okay, for Aunt Paulette, for Aunt Paulette, “When I come back –“

Susan: When I come back –

Robert: It’s going to be lit.

Susan: I’m going to have a custom gown made so that we get a proper boomerang coming down those stairs.

Robert: Done.

Susan: I love you.

Robert: I love you. I love you so much, truly.

Susan: Yay!

Robert: Go Time, Go Time.

Susan: That was so fun.

Robert: I love you.

Susan: Oh hey, one more quick thing, do you ever feel like, “I don’t even know what makes me feel joyful? Netflix, I guess. I can’t think of anything else.” I challenge you to make a list of 7 small things that bring you joy. Make a joy list. Netflix can definitely be on your list, but it shouldn’t be the only thing on your list, all right? I love me some Netflix, but there’s more to joy than Netflix.

Maybe your joy list includes coffee, yoga, listening to Lizzo, sunflowers, looking at photos of puppies, reading, watching make-up tutorials online and practicing, puzzles, doodling, gardening, hiking, texting your best friend, or something else. Put your joy list on your phone, bridge, desk or wherever you’ll see it often and try to check off something from your joy list every day, 7 days in a row. This is so simple, but it seriously changes your mood, your energy levels, your whole life. Do it, joy it up.

Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I hope this episode inspired you to infuse way more joy into your life. Remember the question I posed to you earlier, I asked, “What would happen to your coaching business if you quadruple the amount of joy in your life for the next 4 weeks?”

Try this, saturate your life with joy, way more joy than usual and then after 4 weeks evaluate and see what happened. I bet you’re going to feel amazing and make more money, too. I’ve witnessed this happen in my own life and for hundreds of clients, too. Joy changes your health, your mood, your financial situation. Try it! See for yourself. Become a believer. Have a beautiful week. See you next time.

Thank you for listening to the Rich Coach Club podcast. I’ve got one final question for you, are you ready to finish strong? Look, 2020 has been a challenging year full of disruption, lots of challenges we’ve never faced before and maybe you’ve been struggling to adjust, struggling to pivot, struggling to find clients and make money.

Well, guess what, coaches, 2020 ain’t over yet, not even close. Even though this year feels like it’s been 500 years, this year’s not over. We’ve still got plenty of time left in the year. This means you’ve still got plenty of time left to get your coaching business back on track, launch a fantastic new service or program, get plenty of clients, bring money in the door and finish the year feeling strong financially.

No matter how shaky things might feel right now you can create a major turnaround in your business, a comeback victory. I want you to Google, “Susan Hyatt Finish Strong,” and register for an event called Finish Strong. This is an annual event, I do it every October. It’s happening virtually this year, so you can join from anywhere in the world.

The Finish Strong event will help you whip a plan together so that you can finish 2020 feeling proud of yourself, feeling powerful, feeling successful with extra money in the bank. Each year after attending Finish Strong many coaches go on to their most profitable quarter of the whole year. This event is a mindset boost and a money boost that you need.

Again, just Google, “Susan Hyatt Finish Strong,” you can get the exact link in the show notes because you are not going to throw up your hands in defeat and just coast into 2021, no way. You’re going to finish strong. I’ll see you there.


A Never-Before-Seen, 6-Month Mastermind with Susan Hyatt 

Go BEYOND what you thought was possible in your life & business. Reach BEYOND what you believe your goals “should be” by thinking bigger & bolder. Stretch BEYOND what you’re here to do, let pleasure lead the way, and live your life in complete fucking delight!

Our mission is to help you feel confident, powerful, and mentally and physically strong so you can help others do the same.

If you want to shatter glass ceilings and make history, the BARE Coach Certification was custom-made for you.

Share This Episode