Changing my mindset
Learning about high performance people
I discovered how I could completely transform my life through just changing how I think. Just fucking do it. Was the motto.
During my time trying to figure out how I could improve my businesses. I got heavily involved with sales and sales training. Each and every day I would seek to improve my ability to sell. Sort of like the gym but for the mind.
One time I stumbled upon someone called Grant Cardone when I was looking at how to improve my selling to car dealers. Grant was huge in the United States and was one of the main guys out there helping to improve the sales performance of car dealerships. I stumbled upon one youtube video he made once, he had a dealer sales training video. As soon as I saw it, I was hooked on Mr Cardone.
Grant is all about direct selling and marketing. He pushes a mentality of 10x. His 10X Rule says that 1) you should set targets for yourself that are 10X greater than what you believe you can achieve and 2) you should take actions that are 10X greater than what you believe are necessary to achieve your goals. Mr Cardone basically helps everyone who follows him improve on how they get stuff done. He also helps them work longer and harder. These are the aspects that moved me.
He also has something called Cardone University. Real world and actionable advice on how to sell, for every situation. Using the phone, cold-calling, closing sales. I took everything I could learn from him and practiced it. I was specifically interested in how to generate more business for my car sales enterprise, as Grant had lots of sales techniques dedicated to this. He was a car sales master. But then a lot of the lessons I learned were also about general sales and marketing. They could easily be transferred to any other industry. After all, every business is nearly the same. It all revolves around sales. Selling is selling.
Grant carried out an interview with someone in one of his video podcasts, that someone was called Dan Pena. They had a personality clash because they both didn’t believe each other had done anything of value or made any real money.
This Dan Pena really struck a chord with me.
Dan Pena was like the hard Father I never had. He showed me that whatever you do in life will be meaningless in the end, so just get on and do it. Don’t care about what anyone thinks of you.
He also said that perfection is paralysis. If you are ever in doubt, just fucking do it. He taught me that actually getting something done and saying you have failed is far far better than never trying at all. So just pull the trigger.
He also made me realise that people never really try or attempt anything risky because they are afraid of failing.
I also learnt many other lessons from Dan Pena, here are the main takeaways.
Dream bigger goals
After reading about Mr Pena my goals changed completely. It opened my eyes. I saw new possibilities in what I could achieve in my life and business. I saw more potential in myself.
Whatever I thought was my most ambitious goal, I should multiply it by 10.
Dan made me realise that whenever people set average benchmarks, they do this because they lack self esteem. In order to every truly set and reach an outrageous goal, it requires you to push yourself, to really stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Most people do not have this willingness or tenacity.
What gets measured, gets accomplished
Mr Pena taught me to keep track of absolutely everything I do during the day. You will never achieve anything if you do not measure your progress and work towards completing it every single day.
Written, reviewed, changed and affirmed
Goals should be written and reviewed often. I now make it a point to read my goals twice a day. Once in the morning then once late at night. I also read out my positive affirmations during this. I can visualise the type of person I will be in the future. Any accomplishments that get met are ticked off as completed.
Much like Olympic athletes, when a goal is met, I will set a new goal. Or adjust the goals based on how things have developed.
No time limits
Conventional Wisdom says “set time limits”. When I set goals or look to achieve anything I avoid putting time limits on them. Time limits act as a negative, a deterrent rather than a positive benchmark. For example when you have homework to complete in school. Say the deadline was in 2 weeks time. Nearly everyone takes the entire 2 weeks to complete the homework.
Instead Mr Pena says we should say – as fast as humanly possible! What happens when you’re told “I need it now?” It gets done now! No waiting around. I absolutely hate having to wait around. Especially when people take ages to do things. So I make sure after seeing this valuable lesson that I get everything done right now. Rather than leaving it on the back-burner.
Don’t be realistic
Another conventional precept is the notion of setting realistic goals. People advise you to set realistic goals so that when you don’t accomplish them, you don’t feel terrible and discouraged. The snowflakes of this world think people can’t handle failure of not reaching ambitious targets.
But really, if you don;t risk anything you don’t have a big enough incentive to do “whatever it takes” to get the job completed. Again if the goal and the actions to achieve them aren’t taking you out of your comfort zone – they aren’t making you really stretch.
All super high performance people go against conventional wisdom. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Iacocca, Ford, Dell, Edison, Jobs, Tom Watson, Perot, Fred Smith, Knight, Bezoes, and probably any world beating superstar all set out to do what others felt was wrong. And in every single case, probably something that was not considered achievable. In other words, the very opposite of conventional wisdom. That same conventional wisdom is preached in our schools. And people wonder why they are not more successful.
Mr Pena says: With business goals you will find more wrong advice than you can ever imagine. Most people when talking about personal goals will have something to say about things they know little about, like having kids and raising them, etc. After all, everyone has lived a little, and learned something about life.
But when it comes to business, every man and his dog on the street has some rubbish to say. From the guy in the post office, to the Sunday league football coach, they all have some comments. And the problem is people listen to them, because we don’t know much about business ourselves.
So my take-away from Mr Pena’s advice is that I should only listen to business advice from people who have been there and done what I aspire to do.
Most people in business haven’t made any real money at all. Even the average accountant and lawyer only makes less than £100,000 a year. So if you want to earn more than that myself, I should not ask someone who is only making 100k a year. I should reach out to people who are far more successful than me and are where my end-game is.
Just fucking do it
In business and sales things can change rapidly if you ponder, plan or procrastinate for too long. The deal you’re talking about might not even be on the table anymore, it might have vanished.
The most important message I learnt from Dan Pena is to just fucking do it.
People procrastinate, overanalyze and spreadsheet things to death because they are afraid of taking action. They are afraid of failing. They are scared of hearing the word no.
Dan taught me to do the opposite. Try to make ideas fail as quickly as possible. With the rise of the internet and technology, ideas can be tried and tested instantly. You can see the results of your actions within a couple of days. You know if a business idea is good or not. If it is working.
If the idea fails, move onto something else. Pivot. Change. Improve it and try again. At least you have learnt by actually doing something. Instead of just thinking there and saying “what if”.
Trying and failing is better than never trying at all. So I will always pull the trigger.
In terms of deals and sales. Mr Pena also gives a very good metaphor. He says that if you see a woman in the street, or in a bar. You don’t need to spend a whole month spreadsheeting her to death, analysing all the possibilities. The what if’s and what not’s. She is either hot, or she isn’t. If she is hot, you go for the strike.
The same can be said for business and work deals. If a deal seems good, then go for it. Strike while the iron is hot.
Dan taught me that I should be aiming for geometric exponential growth in my business and life.
There are very few businesses he says that achieve great success just through organic growth. Using money generated from their own sales to expand and become huge. The odd few that have achieved greatness have done so over many years. 30, 40, 100 years.
The fastest way Dan says to grow a business and achieve success you would never dream about in your lifetime is through acquisitions. It’s one of the biggest and best tools the highest performing companies utilise.
Facebook et al, all have grown through leveraged buyouts and acquisitions.
Geometric growth is growing at a rate of multiples. Growing something 10x, 100x 1000x a year. This is where the aim should be.
Business should not be aimed at only growing at 10% a year. You’d be dead before you saw any real results.
So my goals are to grow anything I touch exponentially.
Focus on the few, not the many
New goals mean tough decisions. You can’t please all the people all the time, and sometimes you have to make a call. There are many idiots out there in the world. If someone doesn’t agree or like what you are doing. Who cares. You can always find someone else to replace them. Especially in business.
Sentimental attachment can’t be allowed to get in the way of a good business choice. Double down on what works, and be brutal. Your time is short.
Stop wasting time
This is something I can be even better at. Everyone can always be better at not wasting time. Bill Gates apparently cuts out all the waffle and schedules his meetings and time into 5 minute blocks. Anything he discusses can be discussed in the entire 5 minutes. If it takes longer to do it isn’t worth bothering with. Bill Gates also would rather the person try it out and see if it works. That’s how Microsoft got so big, because he allowed his staff to make mistakes.
Each minute counts in high performance, and wasted time cannot be bought back. As Dan always says, simply being aware of how you invest your time is often enough to shock you into upping your game in this area. Which is why I always try to keep myself accountable.
Don’t give tacit approval
This is something that has made me tougher and stronger as a person. I really don’t care about what anyone thinks anymore.
How many times in a day do you validate bad ideas, or give consent simply by avoiding a response? By avoiding the awkward moment, or being afraid of saying no, you shoot yourself in the foot. You end up committed to projects you know don’t work, and you let people treat you badly.
I definitely will never do this anymore. Never again. I am now always blunt, honest and direct with people. It’s far better than to be a nice person and let other people make decisions for you.