On this episode of The Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast, I’m incredibly excited to welcome Dan Sullivan (@StrategicCoach), the founder and President of The Strategic Coach Inc. Dan has over 35 years of experience as a sought-after speaker, consultant, and strategic planner. He coaches many entrepreneurs worldwide and helps them reach their full potential in both their business and personal lives.
Dan is the author of over 30 publications, including The Great Crossover, The 21st Century Agent, Creative Destruction, and How The Best Get Better. He is also a co-author of two amazing books, The Laws of Lifetime Growth and The Advisor Century.
Dan joins the show today to share his wisdom, as well as some of the incredible teachings he has developed while coaching business owners in his Strategic Coach and 10x Ambition programs. In this wide-ranging conversation, we discuss Dan’s signature concept of why it’s easier to 10X your business than to double it. We dig into Dan’s Unique Process that he used to coach how to help eliminate dangers, capture opportunities and maximize strengths. Dan also shares how entrepreneurs can structure their schedule to lead a balanced life where they are able to not only be highly productive but also have enough free time to spend with their families. And these are just the highlights of the many topics we discuss in this interview.
You won’t want to miss the amazing takeaways outlined in this episode, so turn up the volume and listen in!
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Why Dan believes that it’s easier to 10X your business than to double it and how he helps entrepreneurs achieve that mindset. [4:17]
- The concept of “The Gap” and appreciating growth and where you’ve come from. [18:38]
- Why some people can’t take a compliment and why following your ideals is the main cause for addiction. [25:12]
- Dan’s Unique Naming Guide and why creatively naming your products and services is so important. [34:09]
- How Dan uses his Unique Process to coach financial advisors. [39:42]
- Tips for trademarking your services with ease. [47:49]
- His thoughts on the future of financial services and how advisors can protect themselves from robo-advisors and pending compensation changes related to the recent DOL ruling. [53:33]
- How entrepreneurs and advisors can break up their work week to lead a balanced and productive life. [1:00:07]
- How to separate your business from your personal life. [1:08:05]
- Dan’s book recommendation on where the future is headed. [1:13:37]
- Dan’s favorite success story. [1:18:53]
- And much, much more!
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- How to get a Trademark
- Make sure your named process isn’t taken – National Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
- The DOL’s Fiduciary Rule: What We Can Learn from the U.K.
- STUDY – Cass Consulting – The impact of the RDR on the UK’s market for financial advice
- Books by Dan:
- The Great Crossover by Dan Sullivan
- The 21st Century Agent by Dan Sullivan
- How The Best Get Better by Dan Sullivan and Catherine Nomura
- The Laws of Lifetime Growth by Dan Sullivan and Gordon Arlen
- The Advisor Century by Dan Sullivan and Gordon Arlen
- Unique Process Advisors by Dan Sullivan
- The Dan Sullivan Question by Dan Sullivan
- 10x Mind Expander by Dan Sullivan
- The 25-year Framework by Dan Sullivan
- The 4 C’s Formula by Dan Sullivan
- Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
- Genius Network
- 10xTalk – Podcast with Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan
- I Love Marketing – Podcast with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson
- Connect with Dan: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Michael Hyatt
- George S. Patton
- Jeff Rose
- Winston Churchill
- George F. Kennan – American diplomat
- Joe Polish
- William Shakespeare
- Sebastian Bach
- James Madison
[0:00:38] Brad: On this episode I’m incredibly excited to welcome Dan Sullivan. He is the founder and president of Strategic Coach. Dan has over 35 years of experience as a sought after speaker, consultant, and strategic planner. He’s coached entrepreneurs worldwide to help them reach their full potential in both their business and personal lives. Dan is also the author of over 30 publications including The Great Crossover, The 21st Century Agent, Creative Destruction, and How the Best Get Better. In this wide-ranging conversation, we discussed his signature concept of why it’s easier to 10x your business than it is to just double it. We also dig into a number of topics to include – the concept of the gap and how entrepreneurs learn to appreciate growth and where they’ve come from, Dan’s unique naming guide and why creating your products and services keeps you from becoming a commodity, tips for marketing your services with ease, his thoughts on the future financial services and how advisors can protect themselves from robo-advisors and pending compensation related to the recent DOL rule, how top performing entrepreneurs and advisors structure their work week to lead a balanced and productive life, how to separate your business from your personal life, Dan’s book recommendations on where the future’s headed, and Dan’s favorite success story of all time.
One last thing. Dan and his team at Strategic Coach made an incredibly generous offer to share not one free tool, but three. The first one is The Strategic Coach Approach to Management. It outlines how to focus, buffer, and free days. The second, “The Strategic Coach Approach to Overcoming Commoditization: Seven Steps to Naming Your Process and Differentiating from the Competition”. And, lastly, How to Get to the Top and Stay There, focusing on the multiplier mindset on 10x-ing your business. These tools are all available to download at bradleyjohnson.com/dan. As always, show notes that include links to all the resources, books, and everything else we cover are available there as well. Thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Dan Sullivan.
[0:02:46] Brad: Welcome, everyone! This is Brad Johnson and welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. Today, I am incredibly excited. We have Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach joining us. Welcome Dan.
[0:03:01] Dan: Thank you very much Brad. It’s a real pleasure and thank you for the opportunity.
[0:03:06] Brad: I was prepping for this, Dan, and we’ve got a little over an hour here today and I feel like I’ve got about a day’s worth of questions. It’s interesting, we have a number of clients and friends in common and they’ve all raved about their experience at Strategic Coach. Obviously we work in the financial advisory space. Strategic Coach is technically an entrepreneurial coaching, but I know you’ve really made an impact on a lot of financial advisors over the years. I just wanted to start by saying thanks because on my side, this will be hopefully interesting to you, I was trained on your calendaring process, the focus and the buffer days by a client who got it from another client, who was a Strategic Coach client originally on. I just wanted to say thank you because I’ve used it. It’s been incredibly impactful over my ten years or so on the financial advisor coaching space and you are a great example of the compound effect in motion because your ideas just carry forward and they’ve been passed on and people that you’ve never even met before are benefiting from them so I just want to say thank you to start this off.
[0:04:12] Dan: Thank you.
[0:04:13] Brad: So, as we get into this, Dan, I want to start with the question since you’ve coached a lot of financial advisors and you have this thought process that it’s easier to 10x your business than to 2x or to double your business. Can you dig into that and explain what that means?
[0:04:30] Dan: Yeah. A lot of what we do, Brad, in Coach is we get people to think about their thinking. Most people think about things, other people think about people, there are people that think about thoughts, but the actual activity of thinking about your thinking means that you’re treating your experience as your school and you go back in the past and you examine your experience and you draw lessons from it; independent lessons. This isn’t somebody else telling you how to think about it. You’re just thinking about it and you’re extracting those lessons to build something in the future that’s bigger and better than what you had before.
I would say that first of all, what we do when we address the issue of 10x, and I have a program that I coach for that’s actually the whole focus. It’s called the 10x Ambition Program. We have 15 other coaches who do more of what I would say a preparation programming coach. In the early days, and I started in the 1970s and throughout the 80s and 90s, the financial services industry was our main network basically because it truly was a network.
Financial advisors are different from a lot of people in the sense that they know that they’re success is based on relationship and that what makes them attracted to somebody else wouldn’t make another advisor necessarily attractive. It’s very much a relationship based business and therefore they don’t see each other as competitors in quite the same way that other industries and business do. They also know that they can share a lot at meetings. We have a tremendous referral power in the financial services because there’s just a lot of courses and meetings and association, affiliations where if somebody who was really seen as very successful, almost as a role model was in Strategic Coach and they said, “You know, you have to go and do this,” and that was very influential.
We really grew out of financial services and just as a matter of fact about ten years ago, we went into the UK. We started in Canada. I’m American. My wife is American. We’re both born in the States, but I’ve been here for 45 years in Toronto because I love the city. I think it’s just a super city, but we started off where we first, I would say, first of all just one-on-one coaching for 15 years and then the first four years of the program we were just in Canada and then we started in Chicago in the early 90s and then we’ve grown through the States and then we started in the UK.
Every time that we go into a new market we go into the financial services because financial advisors are people who can change their future between breakfast and dinner just by having a different strategy, by having a different mindset toward the future. There’s no stuff in their business because all financial services are really based on concepts that are backed up by electronics. Today they’re backed up by electronics so every so called product in financial service is actually an agreement that at a future time if something happens there’s a whole series of actions that will take place, whether it’s an investment or it’s insurance or anything else. It’s a very light weight business and so financial advisors can really change their lives and transform their lives remarkably quickly, but it has everything to do with the thoughts that you think about your future and so I just started playing with the concept that maybe, since you’re going to be in this entrepreneurism regardless of the occupation, is a life sentence.
Once you’ve been an entrepreneur for a couple of years, you’re not going to go back and work for somebody. One thing you have to accept is that it’s a life sentence. You’re going to be in it and retirement doesn’t have the same meaning for entrepreneurs that it does for people who are in corporate settings or government settings. You’re not bound in by retirement age so you’ve got a lot more time you’ve got a lot more freedom to play with than other people but you’re either going to have a really liberating future or you’re going to have a trapped future based on your thoughts on how big your future can actually be.
So, Brad, I just started playing around with the idea that, “Why don’t we take last year’s income, what you did last year; last twelve months and let’s just modify that by ten?” Immediately there were reactions, “Well you can’t do that in our industry.” I said, “Just play with me for a half hour. This is just a game I’m playing. You don’t have to commit to this. I just want to see how you respond to this.” And then I said, “Why don’t we go into the future at the point where you actually have achieved that 10x at some point in the future. We’re not going to say exactly how many years you’re going to be in the future; and let’s turn around and look backwards and treat today as if it’s the past so you’re actually in the future. You’ve just achieved 10x. It could be revenues. It could be profits; whatever measurements you want to use. And, then, I want you to treat it as if you’ve actually already achieved the 10x and we’re simply going to write the history of how you got from that point back in the past. Remember that day? It was back in 2016 and you made this 10x goal and I want you to tell me the three biggest changes you made in your business that allowed you to go to the 10x.” So they write down three things that were big changes and then what are the three things and these are the only three things you now do in your business now that you’re 10x? They write those down and I say, “You know, this took delegation and it took the building of an organization, so tell me the three most important delegations that allowed you to go 10x.” They write those down and then I say, “And way back then in 2016 when you set this goal, what were the three things that you did immediately in the first 90 days?”
I’m telling you this, Brad, that basically you’ve just got me as a strategic coach where I put a future result in front of them and have them think through the future result as if they were at the future result and are just documenting how they actually got there and then I have them discuss this with each other where they break into small groups. Then, at the end of the half hour I said, “Well what do you think?” And they said, “This is doable. We can do it.” Once your brain can see the logic change from getting from here to some exponential resolve in the future and you can actually see the step by step logic chain, your brain actually accepts this as reality and then your brain immediately starts looking at what supports that future goal right now and what doesn’t support that future goal and starts screening out. Then people even that half hour we would reinforce it continually at Strategic Coach, but just that first half hour. I call this the 10x Mind Expander and it’s remarkable.
I’ve done this with cold audiences where they weren’t my clients. I was just a speaker and I’ve done this with 200 people and you could just feel the incredible shift that would go on in the room. A lot of them ultimately would join Strategic Coach, but I would meet people who would come up to me ten years later and say, “I just want to thank you. I’ve actually grown ten times in ten years and it is because of that half hour we did,” and I’d say, “Congratulations! You should thank yourself because you just allowed your brain to entertain this thought.” That sort of explains to your audience, Brad, the whole concept of 10x and now I want to tell you why it’s easier than 2x.
The reason is that 10x is really exciting. You’re talking to me but you’re probably going through the thinking right now and you did your last twelve months and you multiply ten times and I could guarantee you, you would be very, very excited about that day in the future when you are 10x; everybody else would. Now I’m just going to pose the other challenge. We’re going to think somewhere in the future you’re going to be two times and people say, “Well, yeah. I’d probably know how to do that; wouldn’t have to change too much,” but one of the things that you would come is hat going 2x isn’t very exciting and the reason is because you would be maybe improving this by 10%, and this by 10%, and it would be very, very hard for you to really significantly be willing to change anything for 2x where with 10x you have to change it.
It sets up a totally different framework for your mind. You say, “There’s no way, doing most of what I’m doing today, that I can get to 10x so there’s going to have to significant change.” Now the kicker that really convinces them and I say, “Okay. We’re back to 2016. Now I want you to go backwards and I want you to identify the point in the past when you were just one-tenth of where you are right now income wise.” Everybody to go back and they can find it and I say, “Now supposing we go back to that past day and ask yourself on that past day you could’ve predicted how you got ten times bigger whether you would even believe it if somebody said you could get ten times bigger,” and I said, “A lot of it is surprises.” Brad, you can certainly think of this. How you got to where you are today from where you were one-tenth of where you are. It was a lot of surprises and a lot of new people came into your life and a lot of new opportunities came into your life. It’s as though I said if you had set a 10x goal back then you would’ve got there a lot more quickly simply treating it is a formal structure and so that’s what we do.
I’ve personally coached about 6,000 entrepreneurs where they had me as their coach. We have about 17,000 in the program Strategic Coach, coached by other coaches. Easily, half of the ones that I’ve had did 10x within their first ten years. It’s a thinking process and we just treat it as normal that once you have this goal, then you’re just going to treat it as the normal thing. This is where I’m going. You’re going to be open to new opportunities and possibilities that you’re going to have to change the way that you think about things, how you communicate about things, but the big thing is that you’re going to go from being sort of a notion that you can do all this on your own because you can’t. You’ve got to open yourself to teamwork and that’s our big thing with Coach and now we’ve moved on.
Less than 10% of the entrepreneurs that I coach right now are in financial services. I’ve got growing number of people and technology and health care and marketing and everything. We’re global now. That was basically when we were Canadian or just the United States but we have a lot of entrepreneurs form around the world. That’s as quickly as I can give you the whole idea, Brad. That gives you the framework. I’ve done it since 1982. I’ve done it once, twice, three times and I’m on my fourth 10x right now so this would be 10,000 bigger than when I started back in 1982.
[0:17:35] Brad: It’s too bad you’re not a stock. We should’ve invested in you.
[0:17:38] Dan: Yeah. It’s kind of interesting. You could put together a portfolio; take 50 of my ten times people who were really serious about it there would be real growth potential.
[0:17:48] Brad: You need to get a; what do they call them in the startup world where you’re taking a piece of equity of everybody in the group? That’s what you need. We have a mutual friend and client of yours, Michael Hyatt. So we’re on the 10x talk and we were chatting before we went live here as far as the entrepreneurial mindset and your quote was, “An entrepreneur believes that the future is bigger than the past,” which is a strength when you want to grow, but form a mindset and a positivity standpoint, nothing is ever good enough. I just doubled, tripled my business this year but I meant to quadruple it. Michael wanted me to ask you to speak on the gap and the concept of actually appreciating the growth and where you’ve come from. So, if you could speak to that.
[0:18:47] Dan: Our minds can really play tricks with us, Brad. One of the tricks it plays is around the whole idea of having ideals about your future. Some people say, “I want to achieve my ideals,” and the moment that they say that they put themselves in trouble because ideals, by their very nature, are not achievable and the thing that I can say here and have it correspond is another experience we have where we can’t achieve something but it’s actually very useful for us and that’s in physical space with the horizon line in Kansas, and you know about this. There’s lots of horizon in Kansas.
[0:19:33] Brad: I think there’s one right me right now through the window.
[0:19:34] Dan: Yes. Absolutely. You know, we’re not very old as children before we realize that the line separating the ground from the sky isn’t actually a place that we can get to but it’s incredibly useful because our notion of where the horizon line is actually allows us to pick an actual destination somewhere between here and the horizon line that we can get to. I’m just going to call that, that’s your goal that you’re going to get to and then when you actually get to your goal; let’s say you walk a hundred yards, or 200 yards and you get there. What you do when you get there is actually going to determine whether your life is going to be happy or unhappy because there’s two ways you can measure where you got to.
One of them is you measure against the horizon and if you measure against the horizon, you actually haven’t gotten anywhere at all. The reason is, the horizon line is just as far off as it was when you began and you can’t reach when it’s night time when it’s dark and you can’t reach it when you’re real fast. The horizon line is always going to move away from us and the whole reason is that the horizon line doesn’t exist for us to achieve. It actually exists so that we can orient ourselves in space and actually achieve physical motion and spatial progress.
If, on the other hand, you were to turn around and measure where you came from, you’ve actually achieved an enormous amount. Just in that spatial or physical example, I’m setting up to understand what the ideal is. The ideal place, exactly the same purpose in time as the horizon line does in space. We’re creatures of time and space. We’re born into space and we have to deal with time and so the ideal there is actually to illuminate what our goals are actually.
The difference between the goal and the ideal is that the goal is actually achievable. You can put measurement to it and you’ll know it when you get there because it’s measurable and you measure either with a number or it’s an event. There’s an event you’re working for; you get to the event and it either happens or it doesn’t happen, but you’ll know it whether you achieved it. The ideal you never get to because just like the horizon line, as you go towards your goal, the ideal moves away from you. It gets bigger.
What I notice is that entrepreneurs, and I think it’s just because this is what happened when they were children, they got into this notion that, “Someday I’m going to achieve my ideals,” and where it was okay for them as children emotionally that they’re not going to achieve the horizon line, they really have this firm belief that they’re going to achieve their ideals and it’s impossible. It’s not the purpose for the ideals. It’s just to put in very sharp belief what your goals are. When you get to your goals and you actually achieve them, then we’re right back with the same situation as we were with the horizon line. If you measure from the achievement from your goal, forward to the ideal, you haven’t accomplished anything.
People looking from the outside think that you’re a tremendous achiever but you’re not feeling it because in your mind you haven’t made any progress. I have to tell you, you can tell right off the bat that someone is doing this if you pay them a compliment. Somebody achieves something and you give them a compliment because it’s a big achievement and they brush it off. The reason why they’re brushing it off because they don’t think it’s true because they’re not experiencing it as true. You can have people who are world champions, who, when they win the world championship, from their standpoint it’s nothing because it didn’t correspond to their ideal. They’ve got this false image of what their achievement is. It could be Academy Award winners, Olympic athletes.
All the astronauts, if you read the history of the Apollo mission astronauts who actually walked on the moon, almost all of them had nervous breakdowns during next 10, 20, or 30 years. My feeling is, if I read some of the biographies, why they had nervous breakdowns was that they had this notion from the time they were a kid that one day they were going to fly to the moon and they were going to walk on the moon and that was going to make them a transformed person; that they were going to be a totally different kind of person as a result of walking on the moon. Then they got back and they had the parade and the first day that they were back from after the parade, their wife said to them, “Well now that you’re back, can you pick up some hamburger on the way home? Now can you be busy around here because I’ve put up with this for about ten years so that you could walk on the moon. Now you’re back can you be yourself?” They don’t feel like a different person and that fades away very quickly. All that work that they thought was going to make them into an extraordinary, transformed human being. It really hasn’t done that at all.
So just following through, just to complete the thought here, you have the ideal that allows you to set the goal and you get to the goal and you turn around and you look backwards from where you started. You always get a sense that you made enormous progress. It may not have been 100% but it was real progress and so the situation of making yourself unhappy by comparing yourself with the ideal I call the gap, because there’s a gap between you and where you want to be. The other way of measuring, I call the gain because no matter what kind of progress that you’ve made, when you turn around, look backwards to where you started then you feel this tremendous gain and you can literally happiness yourself through life. Just always remember that you have to project forward but you have to measure backwards. That’s what Michael Hyatt was talking about.
It’s a very common thing among entrepreneurs that they have this because their futures are a bit more unlimited than people who work for a living in a corporation or they work for government where they basically tell you what you can achieve. There’s nobody who can tell an entrepreneur what they can achieve except themselves, but they can set it up the wrong way right from the beginning and it’s a game they can’t win. My feeling is that it’s one of the prime reason this dissatisfaction, this feeling of failure of getting to your ideal is actually the main cause for addictions of any kind. Any kind of addiction that you can think of, whether it’s chemical addiction or workaholism, or sexual addiction. It could be a gambling addiction or anything else. The reason is, you’re not getting that hit of what you wanted from it so you do it artificially and the other thing is that almost all addictions are acquired by human beings around the age of 14 or 15. Very few people become addicted to anything after 20 years old with the one exception of pain killers, which you yourself will know from football days, a lot of the top athletes become very addicted.
[0:27:30] Brad: My goal, Dan, was to make sure the other guys that I was hitting were taking the painkillers. Not so much me.
[0:27:35] Dan: I sound like General Patton. A great line, “Your job is not to die for your country. Your job is to make some other poor SOB die for his country.” I understand the sentiment. That in a nutshell is it. I’ve put out two concepts: the 10x Mind Expander and The Gap and the Gain and the reason is because I can set it up so that you make enormous progress; exponential progress that other people would definitely say, “That’s extraordinary what you’ve done,” but you have to have the mindset that you appreciate the extraordinary thing and that you get full value form that. A lot of entrepreneurs lead their whole lives and they change worlds but they don’t feel any of the progress. They don’t feel any of the contribution that they’ve made and it drives them to all sorts of self-destructive behavior as they go along. One last thing. If you’re doing that to yourself, you have a tendency to do it to other people. There’s nothing that other people can do that can really satisfy you and that causes enormous organizational problems; family problems. Many children of high achieving entrepreneurs develop this gap concept towards their life and there’s nothing they can do to please Mom or Dad.
[0:29:09] Brad: The good news, Dan, is I’ve done a lot of recon. We’ve got a lot of mutual friends and mutual clients. Some of our very top clients are Strategic Coach long time attendees. The 10x and the gap play off each other because of the fact I’m wired this way. I think a lot of top achievers are wired this way and until you do some self-analysis and figure out, “Oh wait! I am always just focusing on that horizon and it’s making me discontent and unhappy,” and Joel, mutual friend out of Connecticut, one of our top advisors; he coaches some groups for us. I sat in and he did the 10x and then divide by ten and if you look back to when your revenue was a tenth of what it is today and you look at all the progress you’ve made, you can kind of soak it in for a little bit and let’s actually celebrate, which is I think a word that is missing from a lot of entrepreneurs’ vocabularies.
[0:30:07] Dan: It is. Yeah, I think one of the reason it’s a bit of a solitary existence. First of all, there’s only about 5% of the general population. This is world-wide. It’s not peculiar to United States, Canada, or in the UK also. So we have three countries where we’re, really, it’s not peculiar. Generally, and I think that society that move forward doesn’t need more than 5% of its population to be entrepreneurs, you know that? Sufficient, but enough people devoted to this activity to create new products, new services, new markets, new businesses, new jobs.
My feeling is, of all the progress that we’ve experienced in the western world—primarily western Europe, starting with Holland being the first country, and then Great Britain, and then the United States and Canada—that it was like there was almost no progress for all of human history right up until about 1800, and then we’ve just got an exponential since then. The only factor that I can find that’s different from previous history, what happened over the last 200 years is that entrepreneurs moved from being marginal creatures at the edge of society to the center of society, so that 200 years ago, your great hero’s cultural heroes in society were John Rolleston, politicians, and scientists starting to be scientists.
Today, it’s Mark Zuckerberg, it’s Elon Musk. So, entrepreneurs have moved right to the very center, and if you ask so many young people what they wanna be, they don’t wanna be any of those traditional role models; they wanna have an IPO, they wanna have a start up, they wanna do this. It’s just testimony to the fact that this entrepreneurial role is being recognized as the actual trigger for growth for everything else in society. But having said that, the decision to become one is scary. It’s scary to put yourself in the marketplace with no guarantees of income and no guarantees of opportunity, and you have to create these for yourselves.
Not everybody’s up for this. They don’t have the nervous system. I think you’re born with the mindset. You’re not born with the skills, but I think you’re born with the mindset that you’d be willing to do that.
[0:32:52] Brad: Mm-hmm. Switching gears a little bit here. Once again, I’m pulling from the benefit of having a lot of mutual clients here. Another guy named Jeff Rose, the long-time strategic coach guy, he shared with me—this is fun, so I’m actually on a podcast with the guy where the name on the podcast came from. You didn’t know this, but Jeff shared with me a number years ago, the unique naming guide. This whole concept, it was a combination of him and Michael Hyatt, and I remember I was in a mastermind with Michael, and we went through, what do I Brad, what do I provide for my clients, we walked through the whole coaching framework. Does any of your competition do that? No.
So I was puffing my chest out I was getting kind of proud. We go all the way through, and Michael says, “What do you call it?” And I said, “Coaching session?” “What does your competition call what they do?” “Coaching session, I guess.” And he said, “Well, how do your prospects know the difference?” What was interesting was, the value proposition was very high, the packaging was horrible. And I changed it. Once again, another thank you, because it was actually your framework that lead the name of this podcast and the name of my coaching process. I wanna spend some time on that. Where did this whole unique naming guide come about? You speak to financial advisors about why it’s so important.
[0:34:15] Dan: It’s truly interesting. I’m a history nut and I was a Philosophy major in college. I’m very convinced the world is created through ideas, and that it’s the widespread adoption of ideas that changes physical reality for human beings, and so everything starts with, “What is the starting idea?” One of the things about the book of Genesis, if you go back to the very first book of the Bible, it says there what the first skill is that was given to human beings, and Adam was given the skill by the Creator to name all the animals and plants in the garden, so it’s naming.
And I said, “Why is naming the first skill?” And the reason is that naming creates new things, and the whole thing of naming something actually makes a difference, and there are some great historical examples. I remember Churchill who was one of my historical role models after the second World War, he actually came to a little college in Missouri. He was on a speaking tour, he had been turfed out as Prime Minister. He was a wartime Prime Minister; he wasn’t a great peacetime Prime Minister. But he was on a speaking tour, and this was in 1946 and, of course, the Russians knew that the Cold War had started, the Americans and the other people had been informed how it started.
He gave the speech and I don’t remember the college, but it was in Missouri. He just said that across the ancient capitals of Europe, from north to south, an iron curtain was coming down, dividing free Europe from captive Europe, and that now, this was the new reality. The moment this came out the American president, everybody was furious, because they were still making nice with the Russians. Churchill never felt nice about the Russians, especially the Soviet version. Within a matter of weeks that word, “The Iron Curtain”, became a name. A couple of years later, there was a very famous diplomat by the name of George Kennan. He said, “This isn’t a hot war, this is a cold war.” He named it.
So, what you notice is that throughout society, society develops; there’s names of things. Social media, I never knew about social media; I was born in the 1940’s. And yet, social media describes the new reality in the world.
One of the things, and this goes back to my early work with financial advisors… Brad, I had a particular experience, and that is, I started in the 70’s with the American and Canadian financial advisors, and then in the early 90’s. Once we started the program, we started getting British financial advisors. This is really where it started, I mean, the birthplace of financial service is really Great Britain. I noticed that something had happened to them that I very quickly began to realize what’s gonna happen to all the financial advisors in the world, and that is that they were getting regulated out of existence.
The big move which had the greatest impact is in 1991 or 1992. In Great Britain, they made full disclosure of commissions for financial advisors to be mandatory, so that when you settle the case and the insurance was placed and you got your commission check, the customer would receive a letter from the insurance company saying, “We want you to know that your life insurance agent made this amount of commission on the sale. For really good life insurance agents who have a great relationship and they have a real confident approach to the value that they’re actually creating, that isn’t the real problem.
The reason is because the person says, “well of course you should get paid.” But, if you’ve been convinced from the beginning of your career, that you personally are contributing no value to this, that the only thing as valuable is the product you’re selling and the company that you’re representing, this was a devastating move. So this is the early 90’s, and I would say within about 15 years, I lost 90% of the life insurance agents. The reason is, what were you selling? You were selling something that it was impossible for you to say why what you were selling was different from what anyone else was selling.
Starting with the British agents, and this was just, first of all, life insurance. And then it started spreading to the investment industry. I started getting, you know, you’ve gotta get off leading with your product, and you can’t even lead with your service, you gotta lead with something else. Brad, this is what I came up with, and I did this old test with people. I had them draw three columns on a sheet of paper, and they labeled the columns, ‘product’, ‘service’, ‘experience’. It was kind of like a matrix, so I would have them write down the names of the 10 best clients that they had ever had, and I said, “I want you to put a checkmark in the column that tells the truth about why your client chose you and stayed with you and is really loyal to you. So if it was the product, put a check mark there; if it was the service, put a check mark there. You could only have one check mark.
At the end, invariably, all ten check marks were in the experience side. There’s a particular type of experience that actually happens when I’m with them. He thinks in a different way, there’s sort of a magic that happens in our teamwork. They become very, very clear about their future. They become where before they were paralyzed, because they weren’t sure what you do. They become very confident, very certain about their decision-making and they take action.
We followed through, and we put the solutions in place. I said, “This is kind of very, very interesting. It’s that you’re competing with everybody else in the marketplace for product and service, but the actual thing that makes the difference is the thing that you don’t get paid for. You don’t get paid for your experience, you only get paid for your product and service. And I said, “What if we were to take the actual experience and actually analyze what actually happens and break the experience from first meeting to actual solution and place?” We broke that down into a process, and I called it the unique process, and 6 or 7 stages, and you would always approach things this way.
We named each of the stages, and we gave an overall name to the process, so when you go into a situation, you don’t talk about product, you don’t talk about service, you don’t talk about your company, you simply say, “I’ve got a thinking process that will allow you to take a lot of complexity right now that you’re up against things where you feel there’s real dangers, but you haven’t thought them through. You have some opportunities, but you’re kind of paralyzed; you’re not taking advantage of them. And you have strengths that you know you’re kind of squandering. I put a process through where you would eliminate your dangers, capture your opportunities, and maximize your strengths. Would you be willing to embark on this process?
The really good people would say, “Thank God somebody understands what it’s all about. I’m so tired of people coming in, trying to cut old products and services. And I don’t care what company they work with as long as it’s reputable and triple-A in terms of I get my money back, and they follow through.” We really started that, and the people first in the pool for billing this was all the British clients. I said they’re gonna take everything away, I said, “I’m gonna predict that there’s a point in the future where no financial services company will be allowed to actually pay you a commission or fee, and I just wonder how you’re gonna continue your career when that happens.”
I said, this to the Americans and Canadians, they said, “Well, they would never do that.” So I started with the people where they were actually doing it. Three years ago, on the first of January 2013, in Great Britain, they took away all the commissions and fees, and the only people left in the marketplace over there are my strategic coaching people who got started in this in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They’re like sharks at a beach party right now, because first of all, they’ve been selling the process. I said that once you made the process, once you sell the process, and I said if you’re really courageous, why don’t you give the product away for free?
I can see that it’s happening differently in the United States and Canada because the jurisdictional regulators are different. Life insurance is a state thing, and I had stayed. But you’re seeing in California, you’ll see it in— New York will be the first so go.
[0:44:15] Brad: Well, this is incredibly timely advice. The Department of Labor ruling.
[0:44:19] Dan: The Department of Labor Rule retention-
[0:44:21] Brad: Yes, is trending towards what you’re talking about over in Britain. So, on the advisors that survived in Britain, they are now the only advisors that charge a fee for their planning process. Is that what…
[0:44:35] Dan: Yeah. And the thing is that in essence, it’s not much different than what they were doing before, but the amount for the process will depend upon assets under management, and they’ll put a price. The thing is that it’s so great about it, Brad, and what they all say to me is that they’d move from regulatory legal system to the civil law system, so it’s not different than most businesses operate; you have a customer, you have a provider of something, and there’s an agreement that come under civil law, you either live up to the deal or you don’t live up to the deal, and there’s provisions, you can sue people for this and everything else.
What they’ve been freed up is from the third party pay, so your best clients actually never pay you, they pay a third party, and the third party pays you. It’s the same problem with medicine under most systems is that you’re not paying the doctor, you’re paying a third party, and the third party pays the doctor. Any time you get third party pay, it creates enormous complexity, and in the end, the lawyers run everything; they control everything. Government lawyers are, in many ways, more punitive than private sector lawyers….or restrictive and everything like that.
So that’s where we headed, then we move this into all the other industries which are much easier to do, because they don’t have the same regulatory constrictions that the financial services does. But I have doctors who do this, just opt out of all health plans and all services. They just have concierge services, you know. Your family pays 10,000 dollars a year, and you go to a process every year that checks every part of your health, it becomes very pro-active. And then, there’s actual surgical things or special need things. That gets paid for, in the same way. But I have, there’s doctors in the program. They have 200 families, 10,000 dollars each.
If there’s special things that’s added to it, all the tests are added to it and everything. But they have a sold 2 million dollars a year. And you know, the doctors haven’t increased in their income for a long time in the American and Canadian system.
[0:47:04] Brad: I wanna drive this home, but, obviously, we’re speaking to financial advisors. There’s so many nuggets Dan’s already shared, but the one that I’ve seen dramatic results from with our advisors is taking the generic terminology of we do income planning, we do risk and fee analysis, we do portfolio design. All these generic terms that get thrown around in our industry, and now speaking to what you’re talking about right now, Dan is, take this, name it the “XYZ Financial Planning Blueprint Whatever,” trademark it, and now that is your unique, proprietary, 5-step process that you walk your clients through to give them the retirement that allows them to live the lifestyle they wanna live.
So, one thing that I wanna hit on because a lot of people think it’s a lot tougher to trademark than it actually is, can you just speak to that for a second?
[0:47:58] Dan: Well, first of all, there’s a very, very quick trademark thing that you create, and it goes public, just put TM after the name that you have, and that will stand up in 90% of the law, because usage is 90% of the law. What you do is, let’s say you create a diagram which lays out your process where it’s a thinking exercise that lays it out, you’ll have a name at the top and put TM at the top of it. Under most circumstances, that will stand up. And then, if you’ve got one that’s usually in your early days for your just testing out, but, well, everything that I ever create automatically gets a TM at the top.
And then there’s certain things which just really are gonna last forever, and are gonna continually become more important, then you go through what’s called the registered trademark. It’s not a TM, it’s got a little R and it’s in a circle. That’s a registered trademark. That costs legal fees to get that, but then it’s stands up forever. One of the things that’s happening more and more is that people are creating algorithms, software, a lot of the robo-advisor thing that if you take a look at one of the robo-advisor thing, that’s actually an algorithm. That’s a software program that actually takes a unique process, but it’s the computer that’s actually asking the questions, and those get patented. You can actually get a patent.
It falls under, first of all in BOB’S technology, and second thing was that there’s a transformational experience from the time the customer comes in until the other end, and that qualifies as a patent. And patents are the nuclear weapons of the intellectual property world. When you got a patent, it stands up everywhere. For 10 years, I had the number one IP lawyers for startups in Silicon Valley and my program. That’s all he did, was give startups the same legal protection as large corporations.
One of his study was an 18-year-old walked in and he said, “I got this idea; it’s called Facebook.” So he did all the legal structure for Mark Zuckerberg when he came in. One of the reasons it’s gotten so big is that he had nuclear-level intellectual property protection from the beginning. It’s a lot tackling about the way the world’s moving, you don’t need to trademark; and I said, “Yeah, but just in case the world’s not going the way you think it’s going, put the trademark on.” And anything you write is copywritten, but you can put a copyright down. The moment you write it, put down copyright, your name, probably your city where you did it, and the date, and that stands up as a copyright.
[0:51:03] Brad: Well, it’s official, the Elite Advisor Blueprint got the R-Circle around it, so…
[0:51:06] Dan: Yeah. Here’s the thing about that, Brad. If you say “Elite Advisor Blueprint,” the person says, “What is that? What is that Elite Advisor Blueprint?” And that’s the big thing about the difference tree and the commodity name, and a unique name is that it invites the other person to say, “Well, what is that? Can you show me?” The word blueprint, I have to tell you, it’s like technique for humans. I mean, humans wanna know blueprint, you know, show me the blueprint. Everybody wants to know what a blueprint is. And it’s intriguing. Elite is an intriguing word. So, taking advisor, you could do anything with advisor as long as the name suggests that it’s not a commodity.
I think that’s a big thing because everybody’s getting commoditized, and you see, probably, the equivalent for the financial advisors in North America that will sort of have the same devastating impact as the British experience that I described, is the robo-advisor thing. I look at it from the bank’s standpoint or the big wirehouse standpoint. Robo-advisors show up for work in the morning, they work all day, they’re constantly productive, they don’t take coffee-breaks, they don’t go to lunch, the don’t have an attitude, they don’t argue, and everything else. Get rid of all these misfits that we hire as advisors, let’s get the robo-advisors in there.
So, the competition isn’t gonna be other advisors, it’s gonna be robo-advisors, so you better have something that’s a lot more special than a robo-advisor if you’re gonna be out in the marketplace in the next couple of years. It’s happening in all industries. Doctors are going to be replaced, GPs are going to be replaced by really, really smart diagnostic systems that can crunch your symptoms against 10 million other people and give you an answer in 15 minutes of your next steps and where you could go. And not only that, they’ll go make the appointment for you and will check out your insurance, and there you are. It’s a world that we’re going into.
[0:53:33] Brad: Dan, can you speak to the financial advising space, and how do today’s advisors hedge against the coming robo-advisors? How do you protect yourself?
[0:53:44] Dan: Yeah, well, first of all, just imagine right off the bat that you’re not getting paid commissions. I used to say this, I remember there was one incident I think was around 1998, I have a book actually called Unique Process Advisors, if anybody wants to get it, where I take ten advisors and I actually identify ten unique processes. The story is the same story for each one of them, and I remember the push-back with each of them that I got from them, and saying, “What’s gonna happen when they take away all your commissions and fees?” “Well, they’re not gonna do that.” And I said, “Yeah, not in one move, but they can nickel and dime you to death so every year the compliance becomes more annoying, you end up spending half your time and talking to 26-year-old lawyers at that office who haven’t got a clue about what the marketplace is and really annoying. They start chopping down your compensation and they add more and more legal complexity to it. Fiduciary, you have to take a complete course, that’s the Department of Labor thing, and everything else. One January, you wake up and say I can’t do that. I just can’t do this anymore.That’s right, they just took away all your commissions.
So my sense about this is the first thing that you have to do is you have to create an alternative income model, and what you got up and what you’re doing, Brad, is exactly what I would advise people, is that they have to have a unique process that’s uniquely named that they can charge for it. I have a lot of advisors, after they really became successful, they just gave up all their licenses. And the reason is, you don’t need a license to sell a unique process where you’re simply asking the individual about their future. In other words, you’re not talking about product, you’re not talking about service, you’re talking about what are their dangers for their opportunities, what are their strengths, and how do they prioritize, and if they were starting to make decisions, what would be their first decision, what would be the game plan, how would they measure their progress. None of that involves any product or services. There’s no promises in there, but it is a phenomenal know-our-client document once you complete it. It’s the best know-your-client KYC document in the world, and this really stands up in lawsuits.
We have a thing that’s actually a book of mine which is called the Dan Sullivan Question, but we have a thing which called the DOS worksheet, which stands for Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths. I say always make this your first conversation with a prospective client, and even though back to existing clients and do this. The question is, Brad, if we were meeting here and it was three years from today—so we’re in 2016 here, it’s 2019 on a particular date—and we were there and you were looking back over the three years, what has to happen to you both professionally and personally for your to feel happy with your progress? And then, one of two things is going to happen. The person’s going to answer your question or they’re not going to answer your question. If they don’t answer the question then they’re rejecting you, and you should say, “Thank you very much, since you didn’t answer my question, I realize I can’t do anything for you,” and you leave. You screen out the people who don’t wanna play with the question.
People who do wanna question, all you have to do is you sit back because they’re gonna talk for an hour, they’re gonna talk for two hours, they’re gonna give you more information in a one/two hour setting that you’ve never gotten from any client in your life, because one of their goals this year was not to buy your service. As a matter of fact, most prospects, when they meet you, they were hoping to get through their life without meeting you. But when it’s all about them, and you’re just sitting there and asking about them, you may be the first person in their life who ever asked them this question, or allowed them to do that thinking. It seals the relationship right up front.
The first thing all of us have to do in my business, in your business, and people who take the Elite Advisor Blueprint, is the first thing you have to sell is a relationship. This way of approaching things sells the relationship, and then you come back to them then with the layout of the process just based on the information that you get from this first meeting. And then there’s our price fee. Kick this off, it’s gonna take 5,000 dollars to kick it off, and you give a complete transfer-ency that there’s gonna be products that are gonna be necessary to implement solutions here.
So what happens with the advisors who actually give up their licenses, they have an organizations, and they have license to advisors in the organization, but they’re kind of the person who sets up the opportunities. And I’ve got a lot of American and Canadian advisors who give up their licenses. I mean, it sounds like suicide, but what I’m describing, probably, is fast suicide, but the way most advisors are going about it is post suicide.
[0:59:18] Brad: Alright, so I wanna go a direction here because our time is limited, and I’ve got, like I said, days’ worth of questions for you, man. One of my most successful clients, and he got this from another guy that was probably a strategic coach client at one time, I’m not even sure the name, ’cause I guarantee it’s named, “Your Focus Days, Your Buffer Days?”
[0:59:39] Dan: Free Focus and Buffer, actually. Yeah, you see, you should have been sitting on a three-legged stool, but you only had two legs. I’m going to give you massive comfort in futures, so yeah.
[0:59:54] Brad: Perfect. Well this is a good question, then. What do you call this week, and speak to the strength of it. If you can just give everybody that’s a listener watching here just an overview of what this is.
[1:00:07] Dan: Yeah. Before I got into my coaching career. I had a number of years in the entertainment industry, mostly in theater. And if you noticed the entertainment world – which would include sports, because athletes are entertainers – they operate by a completely different time system than most people do. They don’t have weekends and work weeks and everything like that. What they have is that they have show time or they have game time, when they actually do what they get paid to do. But then, before that, they have other kinds of days which are called rehearsal or practice days, OK? And it’s the practice that really allows them to perform at a level, the really top ones, who can really come and have extraordinary incomes, you know, really phenomenal. I was just paying attention to the NBA free agencies. And you’re talking about some real serious money out there.
And why do people get paid for that? Because of the add, the total number of hours that are involved in the season. I mean, in NBA, it’s 82 games. But it’s 242 hours. Divide that by an eight-hour work day, that’s 30 days. So, again, some guys are getting paid $25 million for 30 days. And in the entertainment, it’s the same, movie, everything else. So these are individuals who don’t get paid for time and effort. They get paid for results. They live totally in a results economy. And whether they get paid like that depends upon their ability to just be totally present when they’re actually performing, but also the preparation that went into it. And sometimes, there are a 10:1 or 20:1 differential between one hour of performance versus 20 hours of preparation.
And the other thing is they also have a third thing. And they take lots of free time off. So they’re either rehearsing or performing or they’re on free days. So when I got into the work world right after college, I was a copywriter in a big ad agency in Toronto. And it didn’t operate that way. Here you were doing creative work, but you were doing creative work as if you’re pushing paper. And because you had to be there at 9:00 in the morning. You had to be there until 5:00 at night. And you got weekends off. But even there, the other people did actually take weekends. But if there’s a big job, you work weekends. You work nights. I remember one project I was on. We had some big clients like Chrysler and Kraft. And I got up on a Sunday morning and I went to bed on a Wednesday night. It was just straight work.
[1:03:06] Brad: And that was before Red Bull. So how did you do it?
[1:03:08] Dan: Well, you know, old time people knew things too, anyway.
[1:03:18] Brad: We’ll leave that one on the shelf.
[1:03:18] Brad: Red Bull is more about maiming. It’s not actually about the substance. But, anyway, so when I got into the entrepreneurial world, I said, “You know, entrepreneurs should act like entertainers.” And mutual advisors or entrepreneurs, in the sense that you’re not guaranteed anything. You don’t kill it, you don’t eat. So what I said is that you should arrange your time in three parts. And I just take a circle and break it into three pieces of pie. And one of them is called “free days”. And so free days are days, midnight to midnight, when you don’t do any work-related activity at all. So you can’t check your emails. You can’t check your cellphone. You can’t work on files. You can’t read things. You’re doing free day activities, hopefully with the people who mean most to you.
And second one is “focus days”. And focus days are money-making days. These are the days where you arrange things so that you use that day for the purpose of closing sales and getting paid. And then there’s a third day which is a “buffer day”. And a buffer day is the preparation day. And so, in the financial services industry, if you look at these three days on a weekly basis, you would always have Saturday and Sunday as free days, OK? This is what I would encourage because a lot of the advisors are working at home when they should be paying attention to their families. And I think it’s the biggest cause for a divorce. I think it’s how people handle their time is actually the thing that annoys their family the most.
I had a financial advisor who almost got divorced on the day when his first child was baptized because he took a business call while she was being baptized. And he said to his wife, “This is really important.” And walked away, he went over and answered the call. And he said, “Yeah, but you stood up in front of the whole bunch of witnesses at one time and said, she was the most important thing.” But he just disproved it. You say your wife and your children are the most important, but every time you’re tempted you prove that they aren’t number one. So it’s really to protect the home life because you can be as successful as can be. You screw up the primary relationships and it doesn’t mean anything. And you don’t do justice to your marriage and you don’t do justice to your children. Nothing you do in life is going to replace that.
So we really want people to protect their free time and we want them to increase their free time as I want to show them that if they prepare properly and they really reserve their time for closing, they don’t have to work nearly as many hours. And so, then, Monday might be a buffer day as a preparation day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday might be focus days, closing. And then you would have Friday as a buffer day, a preparation day where you’re cleaning up everything from the week to get it moving towards all the administration work that has to be done to get cases in or regarding what branch of financial services you are. And then you have the weekend off.
So I’m putting at that a lot of people. So I sit and dice it in different ways. Some people take four-day weekends. I like taking a week off. I like taking two-week offs. I always take Saturday off. I work on Sundays. I’m a writer. I do a lot of things. So once you learn the basic system, then you can custom design it to your circumstances.
But the rules are that when you’re having your free day, it’s midnight to midnight and it’s about rejuvenation. When it’s a focus day, it’s midnight to midnight and it’s about money-making. And when it’s a buffer day, it’s midnight to midnight. And it’s about preparation. And the teams really love this. The families really love this.
A lot of entrepreneurs have, by our definition of a free day, they’ve never had a free day in their life.
[1:07:42] Brad: That’s true. Well, what would you say the financial advisor right now that’s sitting there listening, thinking, “Well, but that baby boomer that’s still working. I can’t not see him before 5:00.” I see that a lot. I see advisors who want to aspire to this calendar, but they just can’t jump in with both feet and they have a tough time committing. So can you speak how you’ve helped people make that jump?
[1:08:04] Dan: Yeah. You know, we have to do this in our very first workshop when people come to us because they’re not going to, in the first 90 days, they’re not going to put the whole system. And I tell you what I would be really happy with. I said, “I like you in the 90 days ahead, pick one day that’s going to be a perfect free day. You’re going to assign that day and you’re not going to do any business-related activity during that day. And I think probably you’ll want to do it away from home because you’re probably using your home for an office.
And so you’ll have work-related temptations and I want you to be away from that. And spend it with your most important relationships and let them know for the whole day your attention is going to be totally on them. You’re not going to be thinking or communicating. I just want you to have the experience of what that day feels different from the way that you’re doing it right now. And then, I want you to pick one day when you’re going to pack the maximum amount of closing activity, so that you’re striving for it to be probably, from a money standpoint, the most productive day you’ve ever had, OK?
Just one day, I just want you to have the feeling and then compare it to the way you’re doing it otherwise. And then, I want you to give yourself the freedom on another day to have a complete preparation day, where you don’t even wear a suit, you come in old clothes, and you just sit there and the staff doesn’t have to be-there’s not going to be any meetings that day. Clients are not going to come in. And everybody can wear casual clothes. And you’re just going to to go through preparations, setting things up, and doing everything else. And just give yourself the permission to actually do that. And then, if you really like one, maybe you’ll have six of each of them.”
And once they get the feeling, Brad, of what it feels like to really have a free day, what it feels like to have a focus day, then they’re really open to expanding the quantity. I’m giving them the sense of quality. One of them feels like we’ll just have them expand that. And then gradually, over a year, over two years, you can see it just morphs. And they start doing this. And you know, I’ve got over the years, I’ve got stacks of letters and cards from family members, where like the spouse, in this case a woman, writes and she said, “My husband went missing 15 years ago. And I said to myself, “If he doesn’t come back by this Christmas, we’re going to end it.” And she said, “I just want to thank you for bringing my husband back to me because he was missing for 15 years.”
You know, and you get children writing, “Dear Mr. Sullivan, thank you for giving us our father back. We didn’t have a father.” And it’s what they think. You think you’re getting away with it bribing them with treats and bribing them with money, but they know what the score is.
[1:11:12] Brad: That’s powerful right there. How rewarding is that for you, your full-time job.
[1:11:18] Dan: Yeah. And that’s why you can’t do this in corporations, you know. You can only do this with entrepreneurs. We don’t allow corporate people to come into the program. You have to own your own business to do this because you got to have right up front the decision-making power that you can make this. And all that requires is a little bit of courage on your part. Corporate people can’t do this.
[1:11:41] Brad: Can you speak to today’s world with this little device right here that never goes away, business in your back pocket. So on these free days, do you recommend leave the cellphone at home?
[1:11:55] Dan: I have two cell phones. I have a business cellphone and a personal cell phone. So when it’s personal relationships, I would have a second cellphone that’s used on free days.
[1:12:05] Brad: So do you have strategic coach clients to do this? Like here’s the business cell phone, I’m setting it on the shelf and personal cellphone in case anybody important needs to get hold of me?
[1:12:14] Dan: Yeah. And you do that and gradually they leave both cell phones. They leave both cell phones. And they’ll just put a message on their cellphone on the way on free days. You know what I mean? If there is an emergency, there’s the number in the phone.
But you know, we think the world demands this. The world doesn’t demand anything. You made up this game and you’re the one who’s saying what you think other people expect of you. And if a client is going to fire you for being in touch with your family, you gotta ask yourself, “Do you really want that client?” And this is where the ten times rule comes important, because I can guarantee you, when you reach ten times, almost very, very few of your existing clients are still going to be clients.
[1:13:02] Brad: All right. We’re getting towards the end here. So if you’re ready to transition to what I call “rapid fire questions”. I’ve already been kind of throwing them rapid fire. But we’ll just speed them up a little bit since time is short.
[1:13:16] Dan: Yeah, this time, I won’t slow down.
[1:13:18] Brad: I know. You’re good. I’m loving this. Obviously, you’re a well-read guy. I’ll ask this two parts. You can answer both, if you want. Your most gifted book that you give away the most or your favorite book that’s made the biggest impact on your life.
[1:13:33] Dan: Yeah, I’ll answer the first one. And when I turn 70, I set goal of how I was going to be when I was 95. So I was 70, two years ago, and so I created a 25-year framework because I wanted to communicate this to my team. We have about 120 team members in three countries. I said to them, “You probably know 70-year-olds and you observe how they are. And here’s Dan and he’s 70, and you probably had the thought. Even though you’re may have not shared it, you know, how long is the old guy going to stick around?”
And I’ll just tell you when I’m 95, I’m going to be doing workshops. I’m going to have more energy. And I’m going to be a better coach. I don’t know what the fee structure is but I’m going to be coaching. So I just want to give you some reassurance for the next 25 years. And then, what I said is not only that, but I’m going to write a book every quarter for the next 25 years. So I’m going to write a hundred books. They’re little books. They’re about 40-page books and they have cartoons in them and everything else. And I have a whole team and we knock it out in about two months and you can print really quickly these days.
And so my favorite would be among the ones I’ve just written. And they’re really inexpensive because they’re small. And there’s actually three I would recommend and you can buy them for the price of one normal book. And one of them is the “10x Mind Expander”, which actually explains in detail what we actually talked about here. And then the next one would be “The 25-year Framework” of actually planning your future in terms of 25 years, where each quarter is just 1% of 25 years. So you get a hundred quarters each. And then the third one would be called “The Four C’s”.
And there is a structure that you can actually simplify your life if you think that your forward progress just consists of four stages, each of them starting with C. First of all, you have to commit. And you have to commit before you have the capability to actually achieve the commitment, which puts you into the second C which is called “courage”. And so, commitment and courage is what’s necessary to move forward. And once you do that, and you’re sufficiently out there, the third thing, new “capability” will emerge as a result of your commitment and your courage.
And then out of that commitment, you’ll get a higher level of confidence. And then you can repeat the process. But everything I tell strategic coach clients, I would say any growth in your life, I want to tell you right now, we can’t do it without courage, because you’re going to put something from the past and the present at risk when you go towards the future. And so the only thing that you’re going to get to a point in your life where you’re going to have a courage-free future, the moment you start thinking you want to courage-free future, the universe wants its cards back.
So those three books and Strategiccoach.com, knowledge products. And we get those. And they each have an audio component which has a demo to-go audio. It’s about two hours of audio where I talk of this. I’m just thinking through your second question. And the second question, I would say, if I was recommending a book right now that gave people a total handle, where the world is going right now, by my client who’s in the program by the name Peter Diamandis.
And Peter wrote a book four years ago called “Abundance”. And it’s the best picture of the future I’ve ever seen. And he just tells you how technology is transforming everything. And for financial advisors, I would totally want them to understand how things are moving forward. And Peter had never taken a free day in his life. And now, he takes after three years in the program, he takes four weeks off this year. And all electronics go down for weeks. And he’s got five-year-old twins. He’s been married for about seven years. And he says, “You saved my life.” He says, “You probably saved my life.” So I want entrepreneurs to get the full reward of happiness and satisfaction out of having taken the original risk. And that’s kind of my passion in life is that entrepreneurs should be totally rewarded in every way or the risk that they’ve taken to not require other people to provide their income and provide their opportunities. Not many people are up to this.
And I think the people who do it are the building blocks of the future for all of society. But I think that they’re unique individuals and they should be totally rewarded and they shouldn’t be beating themselves that.
[1:18:38] Brad: I want to build off that last comment. You’ve coached entrepreneurs for you said ‘72 was when you started?
[1:18:47] Dan: ‘74. August 15, 1974.
[1:18:51] Brad: So many decades. Can you reach back and tell us the story, maybe the condensed story of your favorite success story to ever come through Strategic Coach. And you don’t have to share names if you don’t want to, but your favorite success story ever.
[1:19:09] Dan: Well, they’re all in the present. And one of the things that happened is as the program has gotten better, the entrepreneurs have gotten better. And Michael is a good example. You know, Michael’s only in the program a few years compared to the vast number of other people. But first workshop when he came in, and I said, “Whoa. I have a superstar over here.” And you could just see the way his mind worked.
I mean, I could just tell the speed with which he pick up things. But I would say – and this would be my closest friend of all the clients I’ve ever had, and his name is Joe Polish – and Joe runs an organization called “Genius Network”. And he had a childhood that I wouldn’t want to wish on anybody. I mean, he was abused as a child. He was severely drug addicted in his teens. And I’m not revealing anything here that Joe doesn’t reveal himself. And somewhere around age 20 or 21 he just reversed himself. And I’ve never seen an example like this just out of sheer desire for a better future, where somebody just literally transformed themself.
And he’s in the 18th year of the program. And we’re great buddies and we have a podcast series which is called 10x Talk. And we’re very different from each other. But we have this enormous, I think, common ground that we really want to be heroes to other people. And we really want to make the world that we have contact with, we want our impact to always be transformative and impactful on other people. And Joe shares that. And we share that in common. And just that resonance of those mindsets, I think, we’ll be together forever. I mean, we work together, we just know that. And so, that would be the biggest success story in terms on a number of levels just what Joe has done with the 18 years since he’s been in the program.
And then also, what we’ve created together, and then the friendship that we developed. So that would be number one.
[1:21:28] Brad: I don’t know Joe personally but I’ve listened to a number of your guys’ podcast together, I love it.
[1:21:34] Dan: You have to listen to Joe.
[1:21:35] Brad: Yeah. So he’s mentored me from afar. So that success story started kind of way back in the Strategic Coach days.
[1:21:44] Dan: Incredible guy. Just an incredible person.
[1:21:48] Brad: All right. I’ve got two questions, if you have time.
[1:21:52] Dan: I have an infinite number of answers, so.
[1:21:55 Brad: I know. But I also know you have a very segmented calendar so I don’t want to get into the free time on a Friday afternoon. So when you hear the word “success”, who’s the first person you think of and why?
[1:22:07] Dan: It’s really, really interesting. Now, I’m going to have to differentiate there. I have no notion of whether this person actually felt this way about himself. But I have some historical role models, you know, going back in history. I’ll tell you, I’ve got a handful. And one of them is Euclid. He was the first person to compile all the geometry principles in the world. And he did this around 200 or 300 BC. And literally, everything that’s built in the world follows the principles in his book. And I doubt if there’s a book that’s ever been written that had more of a material impact. You figure out right angles, and it’s a bad world without right angles.
And then, moving ahead in history, Shakespeare. I think Shakespeare’s the smartest human being who has ever lived. And he literally created a third of the English language himself during the 30 years/40 years. And we have a big Shakespeare festival close to Toronto. And I go all the time. But I’m just amazed to go to something that was written 400 years ago. And it’s so modern and it’s so clear.
And then, the next one is a favorite of mine, he’s a musician, Bach, the great composer, Bach. I won’t go into that. But the one who I think is probably made the single biggest difference going forward is James Madison who was the actual architect of the Constitution of the United States, which created the greatest society on the planet. Now, I say this, I’ve been 45 years living in another country, but it’s kind of interesting, Obamacare, when it came out. It was 2,700 pages, 8.5 x 11 pages. The US Constitution, if you printed it out on 8.5 x 11 is 27 pages. It was originally about 22 pages. So 240 years later, it’s added five more pages to it. And it’s the law that governs government.
And I think it’s the single, greatest probably printed document in terms of economic progress, technological progress that’s ever been written. So I put in James Madison. I know Hamilton is getting very famous for the play. But the guy who knew how to put together a constitution is actually Madison. And he was 5 foot 2 and he weighed 105 pounds. And when Madison talked, George Washington listened, Benjamin Franklin listened, Thomas Jefferson listened. Everybody listened. And these were brilliant people that he created. So I would say the greatest success in the world would be James Madison.
[1:24:53] Brad: All right. Final question, what is the one thing you can share with all the listeners and the viewers that you think has led to your success?
[1:25:02] Dan: Hands down, my mother. And I think that I got to live the life that my mother couldn’t live because she was born in 1910. And being a woman, she couldn’t live that life that… She just gave me enormous amount of freedom. And I grew up on a farm, and I loved the farm and then they put me in a school. And I hated school. And to this day, I hate school unless it’s my school. But about a month into first grade, I came home and she said, “You know, reading is more important than going to school. So during this year, you’re going to learn how to read.” And once you learn how to read, you can go anywhere you want with your mind. But you have to go and learn how to read.
And then a little later, she said, “You know, the teachers are only teaching you what they were taught. So you have to be aware of all sorts of other books and other things so that you develop your own independent view on what’s being taught.” And when I was about ten years old, she said to me, “You know, when you’re 18, you’re going to graduate and you’re not going to grow up around here. You’re going to go out into the world and you’re not going to live here. You’re not going to get married here. You’re going to do it.” And so right from the beginning, I had this massive permission just to basically follow my own dream. And my dad was, he was an entrepreneur. And I really admired him. But he didn’t give me the same kind of permission that my mother did. And I think she died about 20 years ago and I think that if she saw totally what I’m doing, she say, “I did well.”
[1:26:50] Brad: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. I think that’s a great bookend to the conversation today.
[1:26:56] Dan: Thank you, Brad.
[1:26:57] Brad: So with that, Dan, I just want to say thank you. Also, I want to say thank you to Nancy, my client, your client in Chicago, who connected me with your team. So thank you, Nancy, for making this awesome conversation happen. And, Dan, you are welcome back any time. So whenever you get bored on one of those free days, you just call me up. I’ll pull the laptop up and we’ll have another conversation like this. I’m incredibly grateful for you sharing your time with us and the listeners.
[1:27:26] Dan: But I won’t do it on a free day.
[1:27:29] Brad: I just blew this whole thing, didn’t I? Right at the end. Well, we’ll go buffer day then. All right. Well, thank you for your time, Dan, and enjoy the rest of your day and your weekend.
[1:27:40] Dan: Thanks a lot, Brad. Great opportunity. I love this and I got more answers where those came from.
[1:27:47] Brad: All right. Appreciate it. Take care.
[1:27:49] Dan: OK. Bye.
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