As you’re working with your coaching clients, how have you applied that in a business context? What are some examples of ways that they’ve used that to achieve bigger results?
With all my coaching sessions, what we do is we do a 90-day plan. We start with an outcome goal. Now, an outcome goal is something numbers-based. I want to make an extra 25 sales this quarter or something like that. We don’t actually control the outcome goal. We just control what we do to get there and those are called process goals. Once we’ve identified the outcome goal for the coaching client, we go and set three major process schools. Say you wanted to do 25 more sales, you don’t control whether or not you close all those sales, but you do control the fact that you contact 100 of your best past customers and ask them for referrals and you can control that you speak in front of ten groups that have the right customer for you and you can control that you will go into your database and send whether it’s print newsletters or direct mail to a thousand clients. You know from past experience that if you do all of these three things, you’ll get as close as possible to getting those 25 new sales.
That’s the first step that we do. Then we break it down even more. We know that we’re going to do in the next 90 days. That’s our quarterly plan with really big process goals. We then break it down into a 30-day action plan. Starting with what do you do in the next 24 hours to move ahead? 90 days is still an abstract leap, but if we say, “What can we do in the next 24 hours?”We can make that list of 100 people that were going to contact next week. “What can we do in the next 72 hours?”We can start contacting 25 of those 100 people.””What can we do in the next seven days, this that, and then what can we do in the next 14 days, 21 days and 30 days and now we have very tangible action steps and that’s how we break it down in our coaching sessions.
Something you said there has come up again and again as we’ve talked with successful entrepreneurs. In fact, I think Steve Sims probably said it best a couple of episodes ago. He said, “Anytime I’m trying to do anything, whether it’s plan a wedding at the Vatican or whatever it is, the first thing I do is I think who am I going to call and I got call them as fast as I possibly can.” Take that first step and get into action. That sounds like that’s a big part of what you’re doing in this process.
People want to see progress because progress gives you momentum and motivation and there are studies on employees that show if they don’t see progress in the work that they’re doing, that’s when they disengage. That’s the same for high-level entrepreneurs. That’s a really great quote from Steve and it’s really awesome that you had Steve on your show because that guy is amazing.
He’s awesome. Planning and prep is the first pillar. Second pillar is professional accountability. Talk a little bit about that and where that fits in.
Professional accountability. It’s like having a coach. I like to break this pillar and the next pillar down using running a marathon as an analogy. If you’re running a marathon, you need professional accountability, you need a coach. A coach is going to give you two things that nobody else will give you, and that’s expert advice and they’re going to hold you accountable like nobody else. If you say, “I miss my training session.” Most people will go, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll get it tomorrow.”A coach will say, “That’s unacceptable. What are you going to do to make up for it? What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future?”That level of accountability is really the secret ingredient for success. Professional accountability is all about having the right coach or mentor in place.
It’s really important. I’ve had one for a long, long time. I always call it my paid pain in the ass because you need somebody. You need somebody to come and when you’re running a business, you’re not accountable to anybody really if you think about it other than yourself. I’ve always found that I’m a poor accountability partner for myself. You talked about having professional accountability rather than going and getting, getting a peer. Why is that so important?
This actually came from a study in the weight loss world that I’ve found way back in 1999 when I was still a graduate student and it was a study from Stanford University and they found that people in a weight loss who we’re accountable to a professional meaning, a doctor or a nutritionist, got better results than being accountable to just a friend. I can’t remember the exact reason why, but I think it’s something to do with the relationship and also the accountability that the professional would give versus the friend because we’ll talk about that in the positive social support pillar too. Then the third thing that I think is really, really key in accountability is making sure that you’re accountable to someone that you do not want to disappoint. You can be accountable to somebody who you really don’t care what they think and at the end of the day, you’re going to slide on that accountability. If you’re accountable to somebody who you look up to as a mentor and a friend and you say, “I don’t want to disappoint that person.”That is really what’s going to hold you accountable, which is what’s working with the coach that you have.
The third piece here or the third pillar is social support. And I know that ties in very closely with the second pillar. How do they relate and how are they different?
The positive social support, I call it like having cheerleaders for your life. When we had our coach for running the marathon, he gave us the workouts, he told us what to do, but the cheerleaders are just the people on the side of the road. They’re not going to give you expert advice. Keep on going, Keep on going is not expert advice, but they’re going to lift you up when you’re feeling down. This works really well in the weight loss world when people go into these bootcamp environments. They go to a gym where there are other people that are supporting them. They’re not going to get expert advice from those people, but they’re really going to be lifted up on those days when they have low mental energy. It’s the same with the environments that we can create at work. We can be great leaders and really build cohesive culture in our businesses and that provides positive social support for everybody in our business. You’re always looking for that and then it goes to the classic Jim Rohn quote, which is, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and if you spend time with positive, likeminded, successful people, then you’re going to end up that way too.
It can make a world of difference in just giving you a little bit of confidence that somebody else believes in what you’re doing and is behind and that can be hugely, hugely important. I got to tell you, the fourth one is one I’ve always struggled with, this fourth pillar you talk about incentive. I like to just, “I don’t need to do anything. This is just part of the job. I’m running a business.”Talk about the role of incentive and why you think that’s so critical in this?
In the weight loss contests that I would run, people would take a before photo after photo, very classic. You’ve seen these in magazines all the time, but what we also had them do was write a 300-word essay of the changes that they had made over the twelve weeks. I also had a forum where people would post their progress and you’d noticed a lot of people drop out after about two weeks. Only about 25% of the people that start one of those things finished. The people that would drop out, we’re doing it for the money that I was giving away to the winners and they would drop out because the money wasn’t meaningful. What I found in life is that money and stuff generally isn’t meaningful to people. What was meaningful to the people that finished the contest and that won the contest that I ran was that they were doing it for a bigger purpose and usually for somebody else.
Most guys who finished the program said, “I’m doing this to have more energy for my kids. I’m doing this so that I’m around in twenty years when they graduate college,” right now their cholesterol was really high and they were very unhealthy and they were doing it for the kids. That was the meaningful incentive. I find that that is what keeps us going through troubled times. Buying a new pair of jeans or buying even a nice fancy car, that’s not enough to keep you going through the hard, hard times that we come up with in weight loss contest or in business. It has to be meaningful from your heart and your mind more than your pocket book. That’s what I found. That was a big lesson because I used to just call it the incentive. Fourth pillar, just having an incentive, but then I realized it had to be meaningful.
That’s such a key thing because I’ve done the whole incentive thing before on goals. Say, “I’m going to go play golf someplace that I really want to play golf,” or, “I’m going to go buy this or that,” and at the end of the day, it’s not that important. It sounds like it all comes back to people having somebody that this is going to be meaningful for if you achieve it.
It all comes down to something that I say about life. At the end of our lives, we’re not going to look back at all the money and stuff that we had. We’re going to look back at the people that we spend our time with and the experiences that we had with them. Most of those experiences will be $50 experiences, not $50,000 experiences. Sitting around the fire at the cottage or whatever it is that, that is really the big experiences that we’re going to be most grateful for. It’s just a mindset shift and then it’s really like, “What am I doing this for?”That’s when I work coaching clients. Before we get into any business planning, the very first thing that we cover are values. What are the values in your life? Those are going to dictate your goals and how you spend your day and how much work you are willing to do and where you’re going to draw the line in life.
We’ve been through planning and prep, professional accountability, social support, incentive, and the fifth one is, I think the most important, the big deadline.
It is the most important one and the big deadline has to be there because we’re humans and we procrastinate all the time. I always like to use the joke of Christmas. Christmas is December 25th. It’s going to be December 25th next year and every year after that, but it’s always December 24th when the mall is most packed because humans, we just wait until the last minute. The deadline helps us in three ways. First of all, it spurs us to action. If we wake up on January 1st and say, “I want to know to achieve this goal this year.”This year is such a long time. It’s very abstract and it doesn’t get us going. If we say, “I want to make ten new contracts or get ten new clients before the end of January, now we’ve got a deadline and it’s going to get us off our butt and going. That’s the first way it gets us. The second way is about halfway through whatever we’re doing. Whether it’s transformation or whether it’s a sales goal, we’re like, “I have to go and do the hard work again.”
You’re halfway through and you’re like, “I’m on the home stretch now. I’m going to keep going.”If it was to the end of the year, you’d be like, “How am I going to keep going through that?”The deadline helps us keep going through tough times. Then finally, as we get closer and closer to the deadline, we actually move faster. If anybody runs say a business where they do lots of sales with deadlines, you see this all the time. People will wait until the final day of the sale and you’ll probably do like 50% or even more of your revenue in a sale on the very final day and often in the very last few hours because that’s our stupid human trick is to procrastinate. You always have to have that deadline for both yourself and for your customers if you’re in a sales business.
I find that without the deadline, it’s impossible to create any urgency, whether if it’s for me or for anybody else. It’s so easy to kick the can a little bit further down the line and then nothing gets accomplished.
There has to be meaningful consequences in there too because you can set a deadline and not hit it. If nobody else knows about it, well it’s almost like you didn’t have the deadline in the first place. That comes back to having that accountability and putting meaningful consequences in place with your deadline.
We’re here with Craig Ballantyne. We’ve talked about the five pillars that you lay out in your The Perfect Day Formula book. I know there’s a lot more in the book and I know you’ve got a lot of other things happening. What’s going on right now that you’re most excited about that you want to share with folks?
We started a lot of coaching programs based on the book. We started something called Our Perfect Life Workshops, which are small group coaching environments with high performing entrepreneurs and executives and authors and even sometimes some actors in there. Then I also had my first big event based around The Perfect Day Formula, it’s called the perfect Life Retreat. We had 265 people there. We had Lewis Howes as a guest speaker and I take people through these worksheets. It’s not like a traditional seminar where you sit there and you take 40 pages of notes and then you get home and you’re like, “What do I do with all these notes?”We actually do all of the work there, including the 90-day and 30-day blueprints. I just love putting actionable advice into place because I know that people are just so busy these days, we don’t get a lot of opportunity to do that. Our life is reactive and when we’re reactive we struggle. If we’re proactive and we do that planning, that’s when we succeed. Even if we’re just proactive in planning our days, that helps us get ahead of the curve and feel way less stressed and we end up being more successful.