34. High Profit Thinking Part 3: ENGAGEMENT

High Profit Thinking Part 3: ENGAGEMENT

Today I’m sharing the exact 7-step recipe for high profit thinking. This action plan helps you make more money, because it creates the mental/emotional state of engagement. As an entrepreneur, you need engagement, because engagement creates contribution. You need contribution, because contribution creates cash.


  • Why “manifesting money” increases your risk and decreases your revenue
  • The most important mental/emotional state for making money
  • How to access and expand your own genius
  • The 7-step recipe for high profit thinking
  • Why this recipe is so valuable 
  • Why natural giftedness doesn’t matter, and what works so much better in business




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Welcome to Episode 34 of How to Make More Money, a podcast that helps you get seriously good at the game of making serious money. I’m your host Kelly Hollingsworth, and I’m thrilled you’re here, because today we are going to talk about the exact 7-step recipe for high profit thinking. Why are we talking about this today? Because high profit thinking will help you mitigate or eliminate risk in your business. And, not coincidentally, it also increases your ability to generate revenue. This combination is MONEY, my friends. Dialing down risk and dialing up revenue is always an amazing thing to do that will help you leap to new heights in your business, so we’re devoting considerable time to this topic in this series of episodes. If you hear nothing I ever say to you, please hear this: the hedge fund manager in me wants you to know that the idea that you have to take risk to make money is nonsense. This idea is the province of low-earning folks who’ve bought into the cash-sucking conventional wisdom that risk and revenue go hand in hand. They do not. In a high profit business, revenue rises as risk decreases, and the way you get a business like this is with the skill of high profit thinking.

The way you do NOT get a business like this is by focusing on “manifesting money.” If you were with us last time, in Episode 33, you know that we talked manifesting money, and how it’s a terrific way to increase your risk, by focusing on what you want. Contrary to popular opinion, focusing on what you want is pretty fatal to entrepreneurship. Why? Think about this. Which business would you rather deal with? The business where everyone is focused on what they want–that’s why they’re running the business? Or the business where everyone is focusing on making sure that you get what you want and need, as their client or customer?

I think we all know which is more attractive. And that’s why it’s weird that the advice for you to make money is by focusing on what you want. it’s weird that that is called the law of attraction. It should be called the law of repulsion. What works better for any entrepreneur who wants to become really, really attractive, is never to think about what you want, and always to think about what your customers and clients want, and how to help them get it.

You can obviously do whatever you want, but for what it’s worth, I can tell you which makes more money. And it is not sitting using your precious brain power to ask for things. Commerce does not involve writing letters to Santa Claus.

This leads me to the topic for today. Before we dive into the exact recipe for high profit thinking, I want to introduce you to a measurement tool that we use in high profit thinking to determine how profitably you are thinking in any given moment. I call this tool “the power spectrum,” and what you will notice is that at the low profit end of the power spectrum, the predominant emotion is entitlement or some other form of disengagement. Those who treat commerce as a giant cosmic catalogue–asking for things rather than delivering things–are disengaged from their customers because they are thinking about themselves, and believing they are deserving of the privilege of profit without contributing value in equal or greater measure. This is what it means to operate at the low profit end of the power spectrum.

How do you get to the high profit end of the power spectrum? Through a very different mental and emotional state–the state of engagement. Engaged is the mental and emotional state where the money is made, because it is the mental and emotional state that creates contribution, and contribution is what creates cash. We discussed this last time.

This is why the recipe for high profit thinking creates engagement. If you have a recipe for making chocolate cake, when you follow the recipe, you get cake. The recipe for high profit thinking creates engagement. It is a series of actions for your brain, and each action creates engagement at various stages of your business. When you take the actions as they are described in the recipe for high profit thinking, your brain necessarily becomes engaged. So the recipe for high profit thinking is a series of action steps that engage your brain in every phase of your business. When you are doing these action steps, every single thing you do, in the activities that make up high profit thinking, creates mental engagement. Am I getting repetitive? This is feeling repetitive, If it is, I apologize. And this is what you need, because as I said earlier, engagement is where the money is made. If you are feeling a form of disengagement such as entitlement—i.e. give me something for nothing—you are not in high profit thinking. You are off the profitable path, and off doing something else. Maybe you’re trying to “manifest money.” Maybe… who knows? But whatever it is you are doing is creating feelings of entitlement and not engagement, you’re not in the world of high profit thinking. You’re wandering around in the low profit hinterlands, goodness knows where, and this is good to know so you can get yourself out of there as quickly as possible.

So that’s one thing to know. The actions involved in high profit thinking—in this recipe you are going to learn today—very reliably create engagement, and this is what you want, because this is where the money is.

The second thing to notice, before we talk about the recipe itself, is the ongoing effect of putting your brain through its paces and staying, as much as you possibly can, at the high profit, engaged end of the power spectrum. When you are at the high profit end of the power spectrum, and your brain is engaged, you are playing with and expanding your own genius. So something to ask yourself is, how do you feel about the idea of your own genius? Does this resonate? Do you recognize that you have some type of genius? Or are you resisting this idea or rejecting it in some way?

Think about this. Last time, in Episode 33, I went through a list of very famous folks who were named in Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret. She named these folks to bolster the notion that the book’s traditional notions of “manifesting money” were valid. The book held up some pretty famous names —Plato, Edison, Einstein, Newton, etc.– and said that these folks “know about” The Secret. The purpose in listing these great contributors to the human race was to create the strong and direct implication that “asking, believing, and receiving” is why they are successful. In that last episode, I went through the list of these folks one by one, and highlighted some of their major contributions to the universe and to humankind, so we could clearly see that they’re not where they are because they were asking for things. They are where they are because they were contributing value to the universe and to the human race.

So consider this. As I was talking about these folks one by one in the last episode, and listing their valuable contributions to the world, one after another, what were you thinking? Did you think to yourself, I can contribute in the ways these people did. I’m going to get in the game. Did you think, what they’ve accomplished with their brains feels distant. Removed from me. It has nothing to do with me. I’m not even in that universe. Did you possibly think, there’s no way I could do what they did, or anything similarly significant in any field of endeavor. I don’t have those gifts. I’m just not that smart. I need someone else to help me figure things out.  

What you were thinking about your own abilities is an indication, not of your innate intelligence, but rather, your current inclination to engage your brain in the resolution of problems and the discovery and offer of solutions. You need a measure of your current level of inclination, because here’s the thing. The reason a small percentage of people make the lion’s share of the money is not because they know some big secret, as Bob Proctor shares with us in the book The Secret. Rather, a small percentage of people make the lion’s share of the money primarily because they are willing to engage their brains in the resolution of problems and the discovery and offer of solutions. Figuring things out is a game for them, and the big problem for most humans is that they wander around in the problems assuming the problems are going to persist and that there are no solutions. Or, if there are solutions, someone else has to figure it out.

I remember once when my mom stuffed too many potato peels in my sister’s garbage disposal. She totally clogged up the sink, and we were taking care of my sister’s kids in my sister’s house in Boise while she and her husband were out of town. I don’t remember where they were. They were out of town, and while we were taking care of these kids, we obviously need a working sink in the kitchen. So I sat on the floor, figured out how to take the disposal apart, and how to get the potato peels out of it, and how to put the disposal back together. Am I a mechanical genius? Maybe not, but the day I engaged my brain to figure out how to get the potato peels out of the garbage disposal, I was one step closer than I was to mechanical genius before I figured that out.

So here’s the point. High earners assume that there are always solutions. Not only that, they assume that they can figure out the solutions, and this is why they are high earners. The person who is going to make the money is simply the person who puts their brain to work to determine what the solutions are.

This is what happens in the state of engagement, and it’s the key to using your brain to make serious money. So if you’re suffering from some low-profit thoughts along the lines of, I’m not on that level. I can’t be that person. I don’t have that kind of genius, this is obviously the kind of low-profit thought that can completely shut you down, in terms of engaging your own brain. Because notice what happens. The moment you think some version of, I can’t possibly do that, feel what your brain does. It literally disengages from the idea of even trying. If your brain were ready to step onto the field, the second you think, no, nope, not possible, I’m not a genius like those men Kelly mentioned in the last episode, and I don’t even want to try… the moment you think something like that, you just sent your brain off the field of play to sit on the bench of your business and drink sugar water out of a Gatorade bucket.

If this is you in any moment, this means nothing about your intelligence. If your brain is currently inclined to disengage, all that means is that you’re human. So if you find yourself thinking, “I wasn’t born with that kind of ability. I’m not capable of genius-level thinking,” it’s helpful to pause and remind yourself what genius actually is. We all know what it is. Genius is exceptional intellectual or creative power. That’s clear to everyone. What’s not clear to many people is, how do you get it? To answer this question, let’s go back to that tool used in high profit thinking that I just told you about. It’s called the power spectrum. In high profit thinking, you are using your brain in a way that puts you at the profitable end of the power spectrum. Your brain is engaged. In low profit thinking, you are using your brain in a way that puts you at the under earning end of the power spectrum. Your brain is entitled or otherwise disengaged. It’s in the neighborhood of, would someone else figure this out? And would the universe please send me a house and… I don’t know. Some diamonds and a horse? (I love that line from the movie Pretty Woman. Do you remember that scene?)

But in any case, when you use your brain consistently and repeatedly and persistently at the high profit end of the power spectrum, what you need is to use your brain in a way that creates exceptional intellectual and creative power. Why? Because at the high profit end of the power spectrum, when your brain is constantly engaged, you are playing with your own genius. You are bringing your own intellectual and creative power onto the field of business, thereby using your brain to create profits. And when you do this persistently and consistently, you get better at it. Your genius expands. That’s what’s happening at the high profit end of the power spectrum, and the most important thing I can tell you is that it is available to everyone. High profit thinking, and the genius that it creates, is like a golf swing. It’s like singing. Anyone can learn to sing or hit a golf ball. You need to know the mechanics, and you need to practice, and high profit thinking is exactly the same. If you know the mechanics of how to do high profit thinking, and you practice, particularly with a coach who can spot errors in your form and correct them right away, you absolutely can do it. You, too, can play with your genius and expand your intellectual and creative power to create more profits. Yes, some people may be born with more natural giftedness than others. But if you want to engage with, and develop, and profit from your own genius, it’s available to you, too.

How do I know this? Because, in business, the great leveler is engagement. This may not be true in other realms. Physics. Mathematics. Some types of really complicated stuff. Maybe there is a natural level of giftedness that you have to have to excel. But in business, engagement trumps IQ. I’ve been in rooms where the average IQ is so high that my IQ gets a nosebleed and needs a tank of oxygen to keep up. And the oxygen I found to keep up is engagement. In those rooms with all those super-smart people, when I’ve been mentally and emotionally engaged in the discussion, and working in my head on finding the elegant solution, I have experienced the thrill of seeing solutions that no one else saw. Over decades, this has made all the difference. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. I hope this doesn’t sound like bragging, but I think over the years I have gotten much smarter than I was before, because I’m constantly bringing my brain to the game and working on thinking in new ways and solving problems in new ways. I am constantly engaged to the point that my head is now bigger than it was when I was 30. Hats that used to fit me no longer fit me. Sort of freaky, but it’s happening. If it’s happening to me, I know it’s available to you too. You can get smarter over time.

Who has the biggest biceps? The person who has the most natural giftedness? Or the person who goes to the gym, consistently over decades? It’s the person who puts in the reps, and this is as true with your brain as with your biceps. At the high profit end of the power spectrum, this is what you find. People who are working their brains out. Not people who are born with a certain level of natural giftedness or innate intelligence.

What do we find at the entitled or otherwise disengaged end of the power spectrum? We find brains that are conducting themselves as baby birds. They are looking up at the sky, mouths open, waiting for the universe to feed them something. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is not a high-profit posture. It’s the essence of powerlessness. This is why baby birds are not known for making big bucks in business. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

And this is nothing to criticize. Your brain, my brain, all of our brains– we are all capable of being at the engaged, high profit end of the power spectrum. And we are all equally capable of finding ourselves at the entitled, low profit end of the power spectrum. We also are encouraged to operate at the low-profit end of the power spectrum, because a) that’s what brains like to do. They dread exerting effort. And because b) we are encouraged to stay at the low profit end.

Here’s an example. My husband and I just accepted an offer on our house in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and if the offer goes through and we close the sale, it looks like we are heading to Vegas to enjoy what we like to think of as “Disneyland for Adults” for a little while. Post-pandemic, we want to be where the action is—restaurants, concerts, shows, flights to anywhere. We want to be around all of it. And we’re going to buy a house with a pool, which I have always wanted and I have never had. And I am also going to decorate for the first time in my life. Instead of furnishing my house with the items that are already in my possession or that were cobbled together from Craigslist and this random furniture store and that random garage sale, I am finally going to have a house that looks like it could be in a magazine. Have I mentioned that my husband is ultra-frugal? Getting this done is going to be a bit stressful for him, I’m sure, but it’s going to be just like our wedding. In relative terms, it was not that expensive, but he was stressed out about the cost, and finally I said, “Listen. This is happening. Just relax and enjoy the ride.” And he did, and at one point in the middle of our wedding, he turned to me at our wedding and said, “I am so happy we are having this wedding.” And this is exactly how it’s going to be with this new house. Now, is this is super important thing to have in life? No. But it would amuse me greatly, and I have finally decided to have it. And I’m telling you all of this as a backdrop.

In the process of getting this house that I want, what is not happening with the new house is all the random stuff being boxed up and sent down to Vegas. It’s being sold or otherwise distributed to folks who want it. And one of these things is my grandmother’s china. 12 place settings, including bowls–big bowls, little bowls–platters, saucers, tea cups, serving bowls, gravy boats, the whole deal. A big reason it’s not going to the new house is because I’m not going to spend one more second of my life washing dishes by hand. Also, my sister wants the china. Also, when I packed it up from the east coast to bring it up to Idaho, it took up 12 boxes. So it’s not going to Vegas.

But here’s the point. When I brought all that china from the East Coast to Idaho, I was packing it up and I was on the phone with my mom. I was in the middle of getting divorced from my first husband, which is why I was packing up the china and heading back to Coeur d’Alene. And I was on the phone with my mother and she was very worried about my divorce settlement. She is very worried that I was going to be taken advantage of. And she said to me, “What are we getting do about the money? I mean, things like your stocks? Your portfolio? Someone is going to have to figure out how to value those things. So what we need is someone with a solid legal and accounting background.”

And I remember pulling the phone away from my head, and looking at it and thinking to myself, Hmmm. Who do we know like that? Who do we know with a solid legal and accounting background who could value these stocks and the rest of the portfolio? Could it be me? With a legal education and a CPA and working at a hedge fund. We needed to look for somebody else who could do this????

And in my head, I was just laughing my head off, because if there is a single person on the planet who could do this, it is obviously me. And it was also obviously my ex-husband. He had a specialized MBA that emphasized derivatives and other cutting-edge financial instruments and he was an investment banker at the time.

So between the two of us, we could obviously figure this out, but my mother was thinking that neither of us could figure it out. And I wasn’t even going to discuss this with her. I said, “Look Mom, I can’t talk about this now. I have to get off the phone. I’m packing Grandma’s china.”

And she said, “Oh honey. Do you even know how to pack the china?”

Now, does my mother honestly believe that I am someone who can’t pack china? Does she think I know nothing about anything? No. She does not. So I’m telling you this story because it illustrates the human tendency, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, to assume that when there is a problem, we can’t possibly figure out what to do about it. We can’t value the portfolio. We can’t pack the china. Things that are very easy to do, we can’t possibly do.

This is going on even today. Because my husband and I are moving, and I’m changing my decorating style from donated items to items I actually selected, I packed Grandma’s china last night to send down to my sister’s house in Boise. I was telling my mom about this latest transfer of Grandma’s china, and she asked, “Where is your sister going to store the china?” And I said, “She’s going to get a china hutch, evidently.” And my mom asked, “Oh honey, how is she going to get a china hutch?” As if this were an impossible task that no one could figure out.

I could keep going, but I think you get the point. When you try to do something difficult with your brain, people will tell you not to. They will discourage you. Don’t let them. Every single time someone discourages you from engaging your brain, you have a choice. You can disregard, and go on to reap big dollars. Or you can capitulate to their discouragement, disengage your brain, in which case, you may as well just open up your wallet and hand them a bunch of cash, because the effect is the same.

If you pay attention, you will be amazed at the staggering number of times in a day, week, or month, that you are invited to think that you don’t know what you are doing and that you can’t figure it out and that someone else must be consulted because they probably know better than you. This happens so often, I can’t even tell you.

So please take this from today’s episode. Engagement is the great entrepreneurial leveler. It doesn’t matter if someone else knows better than you, or more than you or is smarter than you in terms of natural giftedness or IQ. What matters is that you are more engaged than them. Engagement creates entrepreneurial success, no matter what. So it’s important to get really clear on the fact that engagement is the mental and emotional state that you want and need to make money.

So now that you know what you need—engagement–and why you need it (because it makes you a genius at making money), now I will give you the exact recipe that creates it. Today you’ll get a summary of this recipe. A quick once-through. And then, in the upcoming episodes, I’m going to break down each step in the recipe so you more fully understand each step, and I will also explain, step by step, one by one until we’re done, how each element of high profit thinking is different than “manifesting money.” So now I’ll tell you the steps, and then we’ll talk how they differ from manifesting money in the upcoming episodes. So here’s the recipe for high profit thinking.

First, you discern the problem. You get very clear in your mind on exactly what’s wrong, and why it simply won’t do.

Next, you decide you are going to do something about it. You are going to be the one to solve this problem and end this wretched situation, whatever it is.

Then you determine the action plan—the critical path–that accomplishes this result. What exactly needs to be done, to take care of this wretched situation, and create a new world in which this problem no longer exists? What doesn’t need to be done? What’s a distraction that can be removed from this action plan?

Once you’ve determined the critical path of only the required actions, then you dissolve the obstacles that are thwarting action, or rendering your actions ineffective.  You use your brain to take these obstacles down, so that they simply don’t exist and so there is nothing in the way.

Once you’re on a clear path, then what? Then you double down. You declare that you are done messing around. You are mentally rolling up your sleeves and you decide to dig in, even deeper than before.

Then you’re at step 6. With this new mental commitment to doubling down and digging in, then you develop your skills so you can go ever deeper into the problem. Skill, as we’ll discuss in an upcoming episode dedicated to this point, begins in your brain. Because it begins in your brain, developing skill is an element of high profit thinking, and when we get through with these episodes on this series on high profit thinking, you will understand the elements of skill and why bringing your brain to the game is so important in developing skill.

The seventh step is the part where you get paid. You dial up the delivery, to maximize the mark your solution is making on the world, and the dollars you collect from it.

So now let’s recap. It’s pretty simple. This is the process:

1.       Discern the problem.

2.       Decide to create a new world, in which the problem doesn’t exist, for you and for everyone else who wants your solution and to live in the new world with you.

3.       Determine the critical path. The action plan to create this new world.

4.       Dissolve the obstacles that prevent or thwart the achievement of the solution.

5.       Dig in. Mentally double down. Based on what you know now, decide you’re going to take what you know and dig deeper and deeper until you get to the end.

6.       As you go deeper, develop every single skill that takes you all the way to the solution.

7.       Dial up the delivery, to maximize the mark your solution is making on the world, and the dollars you collect from it.

These are the action steps in high profit thinking. They are significantly different than the elements of “manifesting money” as we will discuss in the upcoming episodes. The elements of high profit thinking are all about contribution and engagement, whereas manifesting money is all about the entitled actions of asking, believing, and receiving.–as if you are a baby bird and the universe is going to drop worms into your mouth. That’s the overall difference, but stay tuned for the next episodes in this series, because we’re going to discuss each element of high profit thinking in more detail, and I’ll explain how each is different from manifesting money. This will set the stage for your eventual mastery of these concepts, so please stay tuned for those, and thank you so much for being here today.