For today’s episode of Elite Advisor Blueprint, we have the honor of welcoming back Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt). Michael brings his expertise as a virtual mentor to this one-hour overview of his excellent goal-setting framework, 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.
Michael is a prolific author and speaker in addition to his work as a mentor. His latest book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, (co-authored with Daniel Harkavy) is a roadmap for those of us that are excited about coming up with a plan to become our best, most successful selves in all aspects of life.
In this episode, Michael gives us a crash course in his 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever framework so that you can plan for 2017 as 2016 winds down. We discuss the actions each day entails, as well as the life experiences that underlie each day’s lessons. Michael also touches on some outside concepts — like Dan Sullivan’s gap vs. gain idea — that further enrich the Best Year Ever course. We also discuss some of the goals we’ve not quite reached, and how these setbacks can sharpen our focus for the future.
There’s so much actionable advice in this episode that if you apply even a few of Michael’s many tips, you’ll be on track for your own best year ever.
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.
- How Michael invented the 5 Days framework and why it’s important to design your year. [4:21]
- An overview of each of the 5 days before we dive all-in. [8:00]
- How Day 1 asks you to open yourself up to the many possibilities that next year holds. [10:02]
- The damaging roles that limiting beliefs play in our lives, professionally and personally. [13:06]
- A perfect analogy for the boundaries we build for ourselves within our minds. [13:44]
- Why Day 2 is focused on acknowledging the past, then closing the book and dreaming big for the future. [16:59]
- The importance of recognizing the gap between your current and future self, yet appreciating the gains you’ve already made. [18:28]
- What happens to yourself and your team if you permanently focus on the gap. [20:20]
- How Michael uses this framework with his entire team. [25:45]
- How Michael structures habit-forming goals versus goals with one end-date. [27:34]
- The crux of Day 3 – designing the future by gaining clarity about what you want from it. [30:03]
- Michael’s SMARTER framework for setting goals that are personally compelling. [33:47]
- Why you should set your goals in the “discomfort zone.” [35:50]
- Why it’s key to remember that your goals should align with your season of life. [40:02]
- How to use Day 4 to find the “why” that underlies all your goals and will help you push through the messy middle of your journey. [41:11]
- Why being familiar with your motivations will give you peace of mind if you need to remove a goal from your list. [44:15]
- How keeping your goals super-visible will help you stay on top of them. [47:15]
- What Michael’s research about goal-setting reveals to be the number one reason people don’t meet their goals. [48:30]
- Why Day 5 is all about action, and how many goals you should aim to set to avoid burnout. [49:18]
- How to inch closer to your goal each day and how this step is critical to getting there. [52:00]
- Michael’s book-writing process and how he builds momentum to tackle tough tasks. [53:18]
- The best business advice Michael’s ever received. [56:08]
- Michael’s morning routine. [58:06]
- The one piece of advice for success Michael will give above all else. [58:44]
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Michael:
- Sign up for Michael’s new course, 5 Days to You Best Year Ever
- Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt
- 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever
- What Ron Carson Learned From A Billionaire Client on Elite Advisor Blueprint
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey & Jim Huling
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile – The Enneagram
- Stu McLaren – Michael’s Business Partner & Co-Founder of WishList Member
- Dr. Stephen Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Dan Sullivan – Founder of The Strategic Coach
- Dr. Gail Matthews – Strategies for Achieving Goals
[0:00:38] Brad: This episode is a special one as it was actually a private video conference I hosted for my clients with my friend, Michael Hyatt. I decided to release it as a bonus episode for you all because Michael’s content was that good. He also extended as a special favor and early bird offer for his goal-setting course to all the Blueprint listeners as well. It can be found at www.bradleyjohnson.com/bestyearever. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Michael, he’s a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author. He’s also a former CEO of one of the top publishing companies in the US. In this conversation, he breaks down his framework for achieving big results and explains how he created his goal-setting system five days to your best year ever. One of the reasons I wanted to share this process with my clients is that it’s the exact goal setting framework I’ve used the last two years and I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Most of us think about setting goals as this torturous process we have to sit down and just basically beat your head against your desk. Therefore we just flat out don’t do it. Michael’s process is intuitive and streamlined. Essentially the exact opposite of the frustration I’ve experienced with setting goals in the past. With about a half day blocked and his process, I’m able to layout my goals for the upcoming year and most importantly stick to them. So you’ll want to grab something to write with as Michael shares some incredible wisdom on how to accomplish those wildly important goals for 2017.
Here are just a few of the highlights of my conversation with Michael. We start with how Michael invented his goal setting framework and why it’s important to design your year. And then we have a quick rundown of these five steps. Day one: thinking big and opening up to the possibility of what next year could be. Day two: the key to acknowledging your past allows you to move forward. Day three: designing the future by deciding what you want from it. Day four: how to use your “why” to power through the messy middle. Day five: how to take action and focus on what matters. Along the way, we have a few side conversations you don’t want to miss, what Michael learned from his time with Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach and the gap versus the gain, why good goals should make you uncomfortable, setting the right amount of goals so you can actually do them, and why keeping goals visible is the key.
All right. So I want to get to this conversation. And once again, for those of you who want to check out Michael’s goal setting framework, Five Days to Your Best Year Ever, he’s opened up early bird pricing for all the Elite Advisor Blueprint listeners. You can find it in the show notes at www.bradleyjohnson.com/bestyearever. Also full disclosure, 100% of all proceeds I make from sales of Michael’s goal setting course will be donated to our annual March Madness charity event so you can feel extra good about crushing your 2017 and helping an awesome cause.
As always, the show notes will include links to all the other resources, books mentioned, everything else we cover. So without further delay, thanks for listening and my conversation with Michael Hyatt.
[0:03:30] Brad: Welcome, everyone, to this month’s version of the Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast. We are coming to you live today for the first time in a while. My good friend, Michael Hyatt, decided to do a huge favor here, carve out an hour of his time to join us live. So welcome, Michael, to the show.
[0:03:48] Michael: Thanks, Brad. Good to be back with you again.
[0:03:51] Brad: Yes. We were just chatting before we went live here. I’ve gotten to know him well over the last couple of years for those of you that have maybe just followed via his blog. Incredibly generous guy. Just had my wife Sarah and I out to Blackberry Farm for the last week for a marriage retreat. If that wasn’t enough, you also brought in your good friend, Ian Cron, who am I saying his last name?
[0:04:13] Michael: You are. Yeah, that’s right.
[0:04:16] Brad: So, who went through his new book, “The Enneagram,” with all of us as spouses and just an incredible few days there, Michael. So thank you again. I’ll just do it publicly here as we get started.
[0:04:26] Michael: You’re welcome, Brad. My pleasure.
[0:04:29] Brad: So, with that in my mind, the whole point for today, I know we did this at the end of last year and one of the big things as 2017 is right around the corner here, and one of the things that’s been huge for me the last two years is I’ve used Michael’s framework, Five Days to Your Best Year Ever, as a goal setting course to not only set my goals but actually reach some of them as well. And so what Michael’s agreed to do is to really give us and set a Five Days to Your Best Year Ever really one hour overview of Five Days to Your Best Year Ever with the thought process that everybody can take something from it here today. And then we’ll have some special things as far as an early bird offer and everything that we make available to all of you for joining in today. So with that in mind, Michael, what I would like to do is just hop right in if that works for you.
[0:05:20] Michael: Yeah. Let’s do it.
[0:05:22] Brad: OK. So let’s give maybe an overview, Five Days to Your Best Year Ever does not necessarily have to take five days. So can you give us kind of like a cliff notes version of what it looks like and begin a little bit there.
[0:05:34] Michael: Yeah. Well, this was a practice that I began back probably 1999 and 2000, where I took that week between Christmas and New Year’s to really plan out the next year. And by that time, I had realized that work wasn’t everything, that there was some other areas of my life that I wanted to grow and to enhance and really realize my potential, things like my health and my marriage and my parenting and my hobbies, my recreation and my intellectual growth and so forth. So I would set goals and I typically took an hour a day for five days. So I did specific things and over time they got very specific what I did on each day.
And so, at one point, my daughter, Megan, whom you know, who runs my business, came to me and she said, “Dad, would you want to do a master class for one of our membership sites on that topic?” And then another friend of mine, a business partner, Steve McLaren said, “No, no, no. I think this is a course.” And I was like, “What?” I mean, this is like something I do. I take it for granted. And so we did it and we had several thousand students in at the first year. I think by now we’ve been doing it, this would be our fourth year. We’ve had 20,000 students go through the course. And basically, the idea behind of the premise is that most of us don’t drift through a great year.
You got to have some intention about it and you can design it. And there’s a specific architecture or a framework that you can use to try to beat your last year. Now, why is that important? Because I talked to some guys, they say, “You know, honestly, I’m tired of being on the hamster wheel and just always striving for more.” To me, it’s not about getting more stuff, but it’s about becoming more of who I’m designed to be. And for me, that takes goals and it takes stretching myself. And always love to do that because a different part of me has to show up to try to solve the problem with how am I going to get there and even beat last year and make it better than a year before. So that’s kind of the premise behind the program.
[0:07:34] Brad: Perfect. So I failed completely because this is a live version. And so let me go ahead and throw this out there for all of you advisers that are on the call. One of the benefits to having Michael live here is he’s here live so we can ask him questions. So Brady’s here riding shot gun with me. So for those of you that have questions as Michael goes through this framework, go ahead and feed those through the chat down there at the bottom and we’ll moderate these as we go along. So without any other delay, can we give an overview of those five days, Michael? And then dive into each one separately?
[0:08:08] Michael: Yup. So day one is really about opening yourself up to the possibility that this next year, 2017, for you guys that are on this call, it’s a blank slate. Or to think of it another way, it’s a white canvas. It hasn’t been painted on yet. Nothing’s been determined. There’s probably some things that are in motion already. Maybe you’ve got some things planned for 2017 but to open yourself up to the possibility that it could be different. It could be an extraordinary year or it could be another version of the same year you had just last year but it’s up to you. So that’s day one. I’m going to give you the high-level overview.
Day two is really about completing the past. And I’m not talking about the deep dive into your childhood. This is not psychotherapy, but just looking at this last year and asking yourself some important questions about it. What I’ve discovered Brad, is that if we don’t complete the past, then we have a tendency to let it shape our future. We drag it into the future and then it pops up in unhealthy ways.
And then day three is really about designing your future and just taking each of the domains of life. And it’s not just work. Hopefully, people that are listening to this know that life is more than work. But I think unfortunately, for many of us, we apply what we know about designing the future to work and it never occurs to us to apply it to the other areas of our life. So that’s what day three is about.
Day four, which is one of my favorites, is all about getting in touch with your key motivations. Why are this goals that you set on day three, why are they important? What’s the at stake? What do you get if you accomplish it? What do you not get if you fail to accomplish it?
And then, day five is all about make it happen. How can I get a game plan and action plan to actually realize these goals so they’re more than just something I put in a notebook and then file away and don’t look at until next year. And that’s the principle difference between a goal and a resolution, as we all know, people don’t achieve them typically.
[0:10:03] Brad: Well, let’s dive into day one. So when you say “believe in the possibility,” what’s the framework to where you start to get your mind wrapped around that concept?”
[0:10:10] Michael: You know, it’s amazing to me, Brad, with the people I talk to. How many people think they’re really – and I hate to say this so harsh – but they’re like a victim. The future’s kind of, determined. They’re almost fatalistic about the future. They’ve got this job or they’ve got this business. They’ve got this family. They’ve got the health and the genes they’ve been dealt. So all the cards have been dealt. And they kind of give up what I would refer to as their agency, their ability to impact the outcome. And so, what this is about, this first day is about rediscovering that agency that we have more power that we think we do because the alternative to that is just to be the victim.
It’s kind of like right now, at least the United States. I don’t know how many people are on this internationally. But tomorrow’s the big day in the States because we have a huge election. And it’s been a very difficult time, I think, at our nation’s history, probably not the only time this has happened. But I think a lot of people feel like things are outside of their control. And if you watch news, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, it just feels like, “Oh my gosh. There’s so much outside of my control.”
And there have been a lot of studies that have been done in the last several months showing this is actually creating anxiety in people, where people are just – they have a pessimistic view about the future, some people. But here’s the thing and this is a lesson I learned from Dr. Steven Covey. And that is there’s your circle of concern which is all this stuff. There’s your circle of influence or your circle of control, the stuff that you can actually impact. And so often, we give our best energy, our best thinking, our best resources to our circle of concerns, things that we have very limited ability to impact. Yes, I can vote. You know, I can put a yard sign out. Maybe I can campaign if I’m really enthusiastic. But our lives, the things that are near and dear to us, our own priorities, our own health, our families, our businesses, our impact in the world, that’s inside the circle of control or inside the circle of influence.
And so, day one is really about opening ourselves up to that possibility that in large part, 2017 is going to be the year that you want it to be. Now, you made a fall. You made the unconscious. We’re hearing about this last week in the marriage retreat kind of going through life in a trance. And it just becomes another version of what you had just last year. Maybe your results are incrementally better in your business than they were last year. But your marriage may be pretty much the same, maybe you’re drifting a little bit apart. And it’s not as intimate or as close as it was last year or maybe your health is incrementally deteriorating. But my own position or my own conviction is that if you’re not advancing, if you’re not growing in each of these areas, you’re probably sliding backward. So just getting aware to that and then confronting your limiting beliefs about the future too.
[0:13:08] Brad: What I like about day one is the fact that everything is still on the table. You don’t necessarily have to put yourself in a box of, “I’ve never ran a marathon before. Therefore, I cannot run one.” It’s really opening up the horizon to look at be it if I was just living in a dream world for a little bit.
[0:13:27] Michael: Yeah. Well, and this “limiting beliefs” thing, we do a lot around limiting beliefs because these are the things that often hold us back. And so, I tell this story I have in previous years and I did again this year. We re-shoot the content every single year so it’s video and it’s workbook and some stuff. I told this story about this English Setter that I used to own named Nelson. And at the time, we didn’t have a fence around our yard. And so, this is a real problem because we live in Downtown Franklin, Tennessee in the historic district on a very busy street. So I didn’t want the dog to get out and get run over. So we finally invested in an invisible fence. And that’s a really interesting technology. Some people think mistakenly that it’s not humane. But what happens is that the dog wears a special collar. And you sync a wire around the perimeter of your house. So when the dog approaches that he’ll get an audible sound and you could also change it so that it also gets a vibration. So it’s not a shock, it’s just a vibration.
But it’s amazing. It didn’t take long to train him. And it got to the point where we could turn the fence off and he still wouldn’t go across the boundary. Even if my grand kids were on the other side of the boundary, tempting him with treats, he wouldn’t go right up the boundary and he would stop. So it occurred to me, “Where is the invisible fence?” If it’s not turned on, where is it? I’ll tell you where it is. It’s in his head, right? And that’s where most people’s boundaries are, where their limits are. They’re in their head.
And so we have all kinds of boundaries like this. When it comes to our health, we think… I hear this all the time, people say, “Well, I’m really too old,” or they say, “I’m maybe too young. I don’t have time to give attention to that,” or “This is just my body type. It’s just kind of a given. I’m kind of destined to be fat. I got the fat gene, whatever.” Or when it comes to their marriage, they think, “Well, unfortunately, I didn’t marry someone that’s as compatible as I thought. They’re so much different than I am. But there’s no way that we can ever experience a kind of intimacy that we had when we were dating or when we first got married.” Those are limiting beliefs.
And it can also happen in your business. You think all clients suck. They’re just high maintenance. I mean, I don’t know what it would be in your particular industry. Or “We can’t get ahead in the current economy”, or “the structure’s going to be so different that there’s no way to win.” But these are all limiting beliefs. There may be some reality out there. But I would just challenge people to ask themselves the question, “Does the fence exist out there or is it in here somewhere and is that what’s holding me back?”
[0:16:00] Brad: A lot of truth to that. It’s amazing. We did this a few years back. We do a big event called “The World Series of Sales” and it’s every January. And it’s really an award ceremony. But it’s also what can this next year be. And the theme from a couple of years ago was “dream big.” And we have this massive “dream big” sign, right? And everybody was supposed to write their dream on it. And it’s amazing how many of some of our most successful advisors, you go back a couple of years because we actually kept this, right? And they wrote a dream on there that was incredibly big at the time. And now that it’s in the rear view mirror, they ran right through it.
And so it’s a little bit. I don’t know if we want to bust out the Dan Sullivan gap versus gain at this part in the conversation. But I think there’s a ton to the whole concept of a lot of times people measure what they didn’t hit versus while you grew your business 75% even if you missed your goal a bit. Is this a good time for that?
[0:17:01] Michael: Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk about this because… Actually, let’s go to day two and talk about that because I think it really fits into this whole framework of completing the past.
[0:17:10] Brad: OK, day two. Let’s do it.
[0:17:11] Michael: Yeah, once you open yourself up to the possibility that this next year could be different, substantially different, and it begins with an intention. Once you confront the limited beliefs that are holding you back, we actually go through the exercise where people write those down. And then they add to it or contradict it with what I call “liberating truth”. If that’s the limiting belief, what’s really the truth? And so we write that down.
And then, on day two, we talk about completing the past. And I take people through a series of eight questions, things like, “What were the disappointments from last year?” Let’s just be honest. Let’s get it out there. Let’s not try to gloss over it. But let’s be honest. What were the disappointments last year? What were the things that you wish you’ve been acknowledged for but weren’t? Maybe nobody noticed. And you’re little miffed about it or you’re disappointed, or you just wonder what’s the use? So we go through a series of questions like that including, by the way, “What were your biggest accomplishments for this last year?”, “What were the lessons that you don’t want to forget?”. If you had to boil it down to a movie them for last year, what was the movie theme? So all those kinds of things we talk about on day two. But I think apropo to that day, let’s do talk about Dan Sullivan’s concept of “the gap versus the gain”.
So I’m sure a lot of people on this call are familiar with Dan Sullivan. But Dan is a coach. He has a company called “Strategic Coach”. I’m part of this program. But a concept that I got two years ago from him that was brand new to me, that was huge for me, was the concept of “the gap versus the gain”. And it goes like this, Dan says that when you’re planning the future, you want to measure the gap. In other words, you’ve got to go out there that’s on the horizon. And at some point, you have to acknowledge where you are and there’s a gap, right? There’s a gap between where you are and, ultimately, where you want to be. And it occurs again in all areas of your life. It may be a gap in your weight, what you weigh now versus what you like to weigh then. It may be a gap of where your business is versus where you’d like it to be at the end of 2017. That’s the gap.
Now, the problem is, for high achievers especially, and I consider myself one, I consider it as one of my top strengths. But it can also be a liability that if I get up close to that goal but don’t actually achieve it, then I still don’t focus on the gap. So I literally had a conversation with somebody in my office this morning who had hit 90% of their goal that they had that was just doing. And this person was just beating themselves up because they had missed the goal by 10%. And I said, “But where were you last year? You’ve had like a 50% improvement over last year. Let’s talk about that.” That’s the gain. So you measure the gap as you look forward. But then when the deadline comes and goes, then you turn around – and by the way, you got to acknowledge the gap. If you missed it, you missed it, OK? – but the question is where are you going to dwell? Where are you going to camp out?
And so I said to her, I said, “Now, it’s time to look backwards and measure the gain. How far have you come? And let’s celebrate that.” Because what happens is – and this is Dan’s insight – but when we focus on the gap, particularly as entrepreneurs or as business leaders, it dings our confidence, right? So you’re thinking, “Ugh, I can never hit a goal. Is this whole goal setting thing even worth while?”
When we measure the gain, then we can celebrate that and it builds our confidence so that we go forward to the next year upping our goals. Let me give you a good example. So, my number one goal for 2016 was to get my book, “Living Forward”, on the New York Times Best-Seller List. And I wanted to get it on the list by, I think it was April 30. So the book hit the Wall Street Journal Best-Seller List. It hit the USA Today Best-Seller List. And it hit the Publisher’s Weekly Best-Seller List. It did not hit the New York Times Best-Seller List.
So I could say “I failed at that goal. I’m just defeated. I’ll never set that goal again. What was I thinking? What was I smoking?” or I could say, like I did say, especially to my team that works so hard to make that happen, I said, “Look, here’s the deal. Here’s the reality. Yes, we didn’t meet the goal. But if we didn’t end up and shooting for that goal, we would not have achieved these other goals of the USA Today Best Seller List, Wall Street Journal Best Seller List, Publisher’s Weekly.” So we fell a little bit short. Truth was we saw the book scan numbers. We had enough to make it on the list. But for whatever reason, the people at the New York Times didn’t put it on the list and that’s their prerogative. It’s their list. But you see the difference that makes. I could kind of be all deflated and discouraged that I didn’t make the New York Times list. Or I could say, “No, I made three other really important lists and helped a ton of people in the process.” That’s the difference between the gap and the gain. Does that make sense?
[0:22:07] Brad: Completely. Ron Carson was a guest earlier this year. And he had a great analogy, talked about Ted Williams being the greatest baseball player in baseball. And he got on base four out of ten times, right? And so, I think that a lot of kind of plotted goal setting is if you set some really great goals and you don’t hit them all and just the process of moving towards those goals still taking you much further past where you are today.
[0:22:31] Michael: Yeah. And I’ll tell you what, Brad, this is critically important for people that lead teams. I’ve been on teams before. You probably have two, where the leader was totally in the gap all the time. So I was on teams where we came so close to meeting our goal. I mean, we set a big goal and we came so close to meeting it. And we missed it and we got beat up for missing it. Now, think about this, all of the people – let’s say these were smart people – but we can do some really dumb things. When you do that, what happens to your salespeople or any of your people when they set the goal the next year? They start sandbagging, right? Because they just say, “Wow. I had this huge gain. I missed a goal by a little bit. I didn’t get acknowledged for it. And I’m not going to do that again because evidently, the way to winning this organization is set a lower goal and then achieve that.” And that never brings out anything good in people. People don’t have to grow. The organization doesn’t grow. I mean, if you’re satisfied with incremental growth, a little bit of growth every year, fine, do it that way. But that’s not what I’m after. I’m after breakthrough results. And that’s only going to happen if you get focused on measuring the gain.
[0:23:45] Brad: There’s some incredible insight right there. Based on how you run your team, you can actually lose from them hitting goals more frequently than not hitting them. Just based on not acknowledging that gap right there because they’re going to set smaller goals just to get that to be able to check it off the list for lack of a better term.
[0:24:03] Michael: Yeah. Well, I hit like this gal I was talking about that had 90% of her goal, she was really dejected. I mean, I could tell she was kind of like on the edge of tears. I mean, I gave her a big hug and I said, “You need to exercise some self-compassion here. Look what you did.” I was like, I had to shake her a little bit. “Look at what you did. You had a choice of what you’re going to focus on.” And I was working out with my trainer. I’m going to have a talk with him. I’ve got a great trainer. But he will always point out what I’m doing wrong when I’m lifting. It never had to be like that.
[0:24:36] Brad: Oh yes.
[0:24:37] Michael: And so it’s like, “Hold your stomach in. You got to rotate your arms more.” Whatever it is. And so, I’m going to have a talk with him about this because I think there’s a strength based fitness training that would be more. It would be more helpful to me if you would say to me, “That looked great. I love what you did with your biceps there.” Whatever. But just to focus on the gain, that motivates me to strive for something even bigger. But if I get the feeling that I can never do it right, I can never make dad happy. It’s almost like that parenting kind of thing, that I can never make that person happy. People will stop trying. And the problem is, as a leader, you’re usually the last to know because they’ll build an elaborate rationale, an entire world view, an entire set of limiting beliefs that will explain why they can’t get you more than 2% growth next year. And it all has to do with the psychology of the culture that you’ve created as the leader, not the objective reality.
[0:25:34] Brad: So true. Well, side note, if you ever want to come work out in Silver Lake, Kansas, my gym is always open. There’s no membership fee. Just let me know when you’re going to show up. It’s open, all right?
[0:25:45] Michael: OK, good.
[0:25:46] Brad: We’ll keep the positive. All right, first question coming in from Garrett. Do you take time with your team for sharing your big picture goal-planning? How you celebrate great results?
[0:25:57] Michael: Yes.
[0:25:57] Brad: Two-part question there.
[0:25:59] Michael: Ok. So we do, probably like a lot of organizations, we do a strategic planning retreat. Ours is coming up in a couple of weeks right before Thanksgiving. So we’ll go off. Actually, I think it’s three days this year. We’ll go off for a strategic planning. And we’ll actually go through the same exact framework in the five days. So we’ll talk about the possibility this next year. We’ll confront the limiting beliefs that we have. We’ll complete the past. We’ll design the future, find our motivation and then create action plans to make it happen. So we’re going to go through that with the team. So, yes.
And it’s a good reminder to all of us of what’s important in the planning framework. Then, in addition to that, once a month when we get together, we get really focused. My team is all remote. So I’ve got 20 plus people in all kinds of remote locations, most of them in Nashville area, but not centralized at an office. So we get together once a month at my house for a cocktail party and dinner, heavy hors d’oeuvres. And the first thing we do is we talk about what do we accomplish this last month? So we’re immediately in the game. So if it was the launch of a product or it was a certain promotion, or it was a new initiative that we were implementing, we celebrate that first. And then, I as a leader, stand up and articulate kind of what the focus is for the next month and what it is we’re trying to achieve.
So that were in the gap, we’re talking about next month, here’s where we were last, you know, the same month last year perhaps. That’s a sales goal. And here’s what we want to accomplish this year. But when I’m looking back on celebrating the wins from the last month, totally focused on the gain.
[0:27:34] Brad: Perfect. All right. We’re warming up here. Justin from North Carolina: How do you structure habit-forming goals that don’t ever really end? Such as work out five times this week rather than a goal with an end date like write a book by this date? Justin actually completed, he did Best Year Ever this year. And so, that was his challenge this year in the framework.
[0:27:56] Michael: Yeah. So, now, the framework includes two kinds of goals, outcome based goals which we’re all familiar with, where you have a milestone, a date, that for example, drives the goal, with a specific outcome that you’re trying to achieve. And then we have something called “habit goals” which don’t really have an end date but they have a start date. And they’re also measurable. And they’re measurable in some kind of increment. So, like, “I want to do strength training three times a week beginning on January 1” would be a good habit goal.
So, yeah, I think realize sometimes the habit goal can be a means to an end. Like let’s say, for example, I had an outcome-based goal that I wanted to write a book. And I wanted to write it by a certain date. Well, maybe one of my subgoals under that would be that I’m going to write 500 words every other day or 500 words a day until I get there. So that’s a habit goal in the service of an outcome-based goal. But sometimes, the habit goal can be an end in itself. So, for me, I suppose there’s a sense at which strength training or cardio are just kind of overall wellness. But sometimes people have an aspiration to becoming more healthy. But what that really is, there may not be an easy way to measure that other than to take some habit goals that you want to install into your life and to observe forever.
[0:29:15] Brad: We’re putting an outcome based goal on that habit goal, such as I want to get my body fat percentage down to 10% and it’s going to take this activity leading up to that.
[0:29:26] Michael: Yup. I think they’ll recognize that there are two different kinds gives you some freedom to say which of these really motivates me that most. Like when you’re, “I want to be in the best shape of my life”, and if that was really motivating me that year was that I wanted to run at half marathon which I’ve never done before. So I didn’t even think about the fact that we’d have to get on a training program. And it just kind of happened based on that outcome goal. I set up a training program for myself. But I wasn’t really thinking of habits. But there are other things where focusing on the habit can actually yield a result. It’s just a question where you want to focus.
[0:30:04] Brad: Well, let’s keep rolling here. I know we’ve got a lot of content. So are we good on day two to move to day three?
[0:30:09] Michael: Yup. I think so. So then, day three is all about designing the future. And this is really about goal setting as most people understand it. So in a sense, this is more formal goal setting but we’ve taken two days to get there. And we’ve taken two important days to set up this day. One of the things that I point out in this day is that if you just write down the goal, and if you never look at it again, if you just write down the goal, you have a 42% better chance of achieving it than if you don’t. And this is based on some research from Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University in California. And so, she found that one variable alone increased your chances of achieving the goal by 42%. Now, I think it’s because you get clearer on your intention and you get focused on it.
So some people, I ask people when I go out public speaking and I’m talking in this topic, I say, “How many of you believe in the power of goal setting?” And if you’re with a bunch of high achievers, CEOs or whatever, every hand goes up. And then I say, “OK. Now, how many of you, and be honest, how many of you have a written set of goals per this year?” And people are kind of like, they’re trying to decide if they do or they don’t. But usually about 10% of the hands go up. People believe in it but they don’t do it. They don’t actually go to the effort to write it down. I don’t think if they think maybe they’re too smart to do that or that’s to rudimentary for them to follow. But I’m telling you there’s huge power in writing down your goals. First of all, first and foremost, it forces you to get clear on what you want.
I mean, you’re dealing with financial advisors. And my guess is that that’s a huge part of the process. Somebody comes into your practice and you ask them, “What do you want?” Well, they don’t really know. And you have to walk them through a process to get clarity on what it is they want on their money, which is pretty objective. But it involves all this other stuff that they have to get clear on. So writing it down gives you clarity. And clarity is power. So to write down, sure, you’d like to have better health, you’d like to have a better marriage, you like a business that’s growing, you want to increase net worth. But to be specific, to write it down specifically what you’re after in this next year is critically important.
Now, then in addition to that, I use a framework that most people are familiar with. Everybody’s heard of SMART goals, right? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and all that. But I have a framework called “SMARTER” which includes “Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound, Exciting, and then, finally, Relevant. Now, let me deal with the “E” and the “R” at the end of SMART. Because, again – let me just give those to people again – “Specific, Measurable, Actionable – and by that, I mean you can’t use a “to be” verb. Like a bad example would be “I want to be more consistent in prospecting.” Instead, it needs to be actionable. Begin with a verb like “You’re going to contact 10 people a week”, whatever – Then, Realistic. And I talk about the comfort zone. We probably have to come back and talk about that in a second. And then Time-bound, and then Exciting, and Relevant.
So let’s talk about Exciting and Relevant. A lot of times people will write down goals because they feel like they have an obligation or a duty to write down a goal. They don’t really care about it. They’re not passionate about it. They don’t get any energy around it. They’re just writing it down because maybe they’re boss or wife or their trainer or somebody said, “You need to have a goal.” And it’s got to be personally exciting to you. If a goal is not compelling – and we’ll see this in day four – if the goal is not compelling to you, the likelihood of you achieving it is going to be remote.
Let me just go back and talk about this whole thing about Realistic. Sometimes people, they want to set a realistic goal. And by that, what they’re really saying to you is they want it inside of their comfort zone. So maybe last year, they got – I’m just making this up, it’s going to be different by industry – but let’s just say they got 10% growth over the previous year. So 2016 is going to give them 10% better growth on a top line over the last year, 2015. So they think, “OK. I know how to do that because I just did it. So I don’t want to get out there too far. So I want to be in the comfort zone. So this next year, I’m going to see if I can do 10% again. Or maybe I got the low hanging fruit. I don’t even think 10% is possible. So I’m going to ratchet that down to 6%. Or maybe I’ll go 11%.” That’s all incremental.
So the comfort zone is one way to do it. And the characteristic of a comfort zone, how you know you’re in your comfort zone is you don’t feel any fear. You don’t really have a lot of doubt around it. You’re pretty confident that you have what it takes to accomplish it. Now, you might be tempted to set a goal there. But all the research I’ve seen – and I’ve covered the research specifically in Best Year Ever – says that if you set a goal in a comfort zone, the likelihood of achieving it is going to be diminished dramatically. Why? Because it’s not compelling. It’s just like, it’s forgettable. Every now and then when you meet somebody that’s old and you’re accountable, you kind of remember it? But there’s nothing about it that ignites your passion.
So what I suggest is that people set their goals in the discomfort zone. And there’s a third zone which is the delusional zone. So I’m not advocating for the delusional zone. I’m saying going up to the edge of that and dial it back a couple of clicks. But so for me, an example of a delusional zone would be, I think, “You know, I’m a fair golfer. I think with a little work, maybe I could be on the senior tour.” I think that’s probably in the delusional zone, to think that I could find the time to do that in this time of my life or that I really have the talent? I don’t think so. I’m not going to play in the NBA. I’m probably not going to perform at Carnegie Hall singing a vocal solo. That’s a delusional zone. But the discomfort zone is where the magic happens. In fact, that’s where all the great things happen.
Think about it in your business when you kind of go out there on the fly, you’re passionate about something and it really works. Or even in your marriage when you choose to be vulnerable and courageous, to have a difficult conversation with a teenager. Or look at your own health. When you do something, you don’t move. I don’t know if I can do that or not. But the three markers of being in a discomfort zone is that you feel fear first of all. It’s got to scare you a little bit, like there’s got to be the possibility that it might not happen. So, for me, that goal of hitting the New York Times list, that definitely was in my discomfort zone. I’ve done it twice before. But I’m thinking of myself, “There is nothing guaranteed.” I might not hit this. And, in fact, I didn’t. So I have some fear about that. Like even to set that goal, I thought, “Man, it would be a whole lot easier not to set this goal.” So there’s got to be a little fear. There’s got to be some uncertainty.
So here’s what I mean by uncertainty. If you don’t know how to achieve the goal when you first set it, that’s perfect. That’s uncertainty. So like you set a goal and somebody in your team says, “That’s nuts. How are we going to do that?” The answer to that as a leader is, “I have no idea. All I know is that it’s uncertain and that gets me excited. And I know that we’re going to have to grow as a team to actually achieve it. We’re going to have to find a way. It’s going to cause expansion of our thinking. It’s going to cause us to tap into new resources. It’s going to create something that causes us to grow both as individuals and as a team.” So uncertainty.
The third marker that you’re looking for is doubt. And here’s how that one shows up. I don’t know if I’ve got what it takes to achieve this. Like when I was running my first half marathon, I’ve never run that far in my life. I don’t know if I can run. I might die of a heart attack. I’m not sure I’ve got what it takes. Or when we set in my company my sales goals for this year, I thought, “Man, I don’t know if I’ve got what it takes to lead the company at this level.” So it’s much more self-focused. And let me tell you something about high achievers. Every high achiever I know feels that kind of doubt. The only people that don’t feel that are usually narcissists and people that just, for whatever reason, overly confident. But I like to feel a little doubt. So rather than those negative emotions turning you off and making you dial back the goal so that you pull it back into the comfort zone, I use those three as indicators that I’m exactly in zone two which is where I want to be, because this is going to make and to tie it back to where I started. This is going to make for an exciting goal, one that captures my imagination, one that keeps me motivated and focused all year long. So that’s what I mean by exciting.
[0:39:31] Brad: That’s awesome. Thanks for digging in there because that’s some really, really important stuff. I mean, that’s been always a challenge coaching financial advisors. How do you know when the goal is at a level where it’s high enough coaching them but still not disheartening where they don’t feel like they can never get there? I heard another guy. He sets goals at a coin flip, right? So I’m setting this goal and if I do all the work, it’s 50-50 maybe. And so, I like the comfort zone analogy there. For the sake of time, I know we still want to keep going here, so is that good on day three or do we want to…
[0:39:31] Michael: That’s good on day three. The only thing I was going to say on Relevant is just that it needs to be appropriate to your season of life. And there are certain things. Like if I hit a goal, I hit a goal one year that I was going to really improve my golf game dramatically. I was going to take lessons and all that stuff. Well, that would have been appropriate when I have small kids at home. You know, just wasn’t a season of life for me. So I think you’ve got to be attuned to that. Is this the right season for that particular goal which is a good check mark.
[0:40:35] Brad: I like the season analogy we’ve obviously dug into that, the last couple of years in our small group. You know, if you’re a startup company, to think that you’re going to just work 40 hours a week, probably not a relevant goal there. So knowing that, “Hey, this is the season where it’s going to take a few more hours. I’m getting this thing up off the ground to where I can dial that back in later years.”
[0:40:56] Michael: That’s a good conversation to have with your spouse too so that you’re on the same page. So your spouse doesn’t resent the fact that you’re putting in those extra hours. But you get aligned around the goal. So that’s a good. I think on design, your year, which is day three. Day four is about finding your “why”. My wife says it this way, “When people lose their “why”, they lose their way.” And I think it’s true. You know, when the why is the gas that keeps us going. Inevitably, in the pursuit of any goal, there comes time when you hit what I call the “messy middle”. And the messy middle is when you got too much invested to quit. But you’re not sure you’ve got the resources or the strength or what it takes to finish. This happens in everything.
I remember when I was writing my next to the last book, I had a contract for it. The publisher paid me a lot of money to write it. And I got really busy and I was having a real hard time making progress. And I got the first draft done. And I looked at it and I went, “This sucks.” And the book went on to be a New York Times Best Seller. But at that moment, it just felt like all was lost. Well, here was the problem, it was the messy middle. I was discouraged. I didn’t want to continue. I didn’t know if I could write a better draft. But I had too much invested to stop and I wasn’t sure I had what it took to finish it. All I had to do was reconnect. And, thankfully, I had written a bunch of “why” statements as to what was at stake. So I’ve written about seven or eight “why” statements as to why that goal was important for me.
For starters, I really wanted to help a lot of people to build a platform. That was my book, “Platform”. And for others, I wanted it to credential me on that topic so that I would get speaking invitations. And so, it would open up new business. So I went through and listed those motivational statements that really help me kind of tease out or unpack what was at stake. What happens if I don’t write this book? What happens if I do write this book possibly? And so day four is all about getting in touch with your key motivations, so that when you hit the messy middle, which we inevitably do in any goal that’s in the discomfort zone, that you’ll have what it takes to keep pressing on. You know what I mean? You look at where the Cubs were in the World Series. They’re down, it was like 3-to-1.
[0:40:56] Brad: 3-1, yeah.
[0:43:29] Michael: Yeah. And it’s like, it’d be really easy for them to think, “This is lost. There’s too much of a gap. We can’t come back to win.” But, somehow, they figured it out, or to see where they were going into that 10th inning. And they had that discussion in the locker room about remembering who they were. And that’s kind of a motivational talk about, again, what’s at stake. Why is this important? And so if you can identify those when the goal is the most present to you, which is when you’re setting it, then it’ll serve you later on.
[0:44:05] Brad: That, to me, I don’t want to pick a day and say it’s the most important day of your five. But, to me, that the “why” on all of those is so important. Because what’s interesting is I’ve gone through this process over the last two years. Because of that “why”, either, one, it makes it really clear that this is an important goal I want to stick to, or actually give yourself permission that, “You know what, I set this goal at the beginning of the year. And you know what, my motivations really aren’t there like they were.” And give yourself permission to cross it off and say, “Don’t worry about this, the whole recipe, because I’m not hitting this goal.” You’re going to speak to that? I know we’ve had that discussion before.
[0:44:42] Michael: Yeah. This is really important because a lot of times people will get to the messy middle. And they’ll feel guilty if they cross of the goal. They’re not quite sure what to do if they get stuck. And so I’ve tried to reduce it to a set of three possibilities when you get to the messy middle and you’re stuck. One is, and these are in descending order of priority, number one is if possible, recommit. So in other words, look at the goal, look at where you are, look at those motivations that you articulate when you set the goal, and say, “Do they still resonate?” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.” If they do, awesome. Recommit to the goal. Get jacked back up and do like Cubs, come through in the 10th inning and win the game.
But there’s another possibility. And that’s to revise the goal. So recommit, if you can’t do that, then revise. So when you set the goal – and it’s probably going to be December when you set the goal – when you set the goal, you’re kind of seeing through a glass darkly. You don’t really know all the stuff you’re going to know six months from now. So maybe the information has come into play. Maybe the season of your life has changed. Maybe there’s something you didn’t plan on that’s interrupted your life, you know, god forbid, death in the family or sickness or the sale of a business, or whatever.
So suddenly, that goal is no longer relevant in its current form. You can revise it. This is your game. There’s not somebody that at the end of 2017 is going to pull out your original goals and say, “Well, let’s just see how you did,” and grade you. No, it’s your game. Nobody’s going to be evaluating you but yourself. So if you can’t recommit, revise. And if you can’t revise, remove. This is like the last option but it’s totally legit. And sometimes, the best thing you can do for a goal that’s like constantly wearing you down, and you know you’re not going to achieve, get it off your goal list. So I don’t have an algorithm to tell you how judge which of those three you should employ. I think it’s more art than science. But just know that you have those options. And besides, this is a game or a design that you’ve created. You can employ whatever makes sense for you in the time.
And if you don’t get it quite right, it’s ok. This is an ongoing game. I play this game every year, better year than the last year, my best year ever. So you get a chance to do it next year. And you’ll be smarter when you do it.
[0:47:15] Brad: It’s amazing, just the clarity from writing it down to the “why”, which I’m going to throw this out there too, because maybe this might be this year’s best year ever. I don’t know. But one thing that really helped me – actually, another Ron Carson reference he mentioned on the call we did – one of the ways he keeps his goals in front of him and to continue to motivate him kind of that “why” factor, is he laminates them and puts them in the shower. And, for me, I know I’ve got them on my phone. I know I’m supposed to check them once a week, kind of reevaluate, but there’s nothing better than just you get in the shower. They’re right there. You have no distractions whatsoever, right? And, to me, that’s been a huge thing because even if I’m not consciously setting time on my calendar on a weekend to check in, they’re right there where I’m checking them daily, at least at a high level, right?
So that was a big why. I guess going back to the “why” factor, I’ve had a couple of this year that weren’t necessarily, I should have actually probably put a sharpie through the in the shower. They still bug me. But I think that’s another way. Whatever it takes, whether it’s on your computer monitor or they can just be in front of you, I think that’s key to the “why” factor because I think there’s a lot of people that set goals and then they just shove them in a drawer and hide them somewhere and then forget to check them until the end of the year.
[0:48:36] Michael: Yeah. We did some research this years. Because I said, like we have 20,000 students that have gone through this. So we’ve been able to do a lot of research. I don’t know anybody else that has the kind of research base that we have. But we found that the number one reason why people failed to hit their goals is they lose visibility. So they do what you said. They stuff them in a drawer. They forget about them. So we talk a lot about how to keep them visible.
I love the shower idea because in the shower, you’re relaxed. And when you’re relaxed, stuff can seep into your subconscious. That’s where most, the creativity happens when we’re relaxed. There, it could be out in the golf course. It could be a number of different places. But when you’re resting like that or when you’re relaxed, some of your most important best work gets done. So I love that idea.
[0:49:19] Brad: Awesome. Well, day five, right?
[0:49:22] Michael: Yeah, day five. I cannot believe how fast this is going. Ok, so day five, “Make it happen.” You know, it’s great to set the goals. But eventually, you got to work to plan. It’s all about execution. So a couple things about execution, I’m talking about a lot of thing about execution on day five. But here’s a couple of things, one is we highly recommend that you set between seven and ten goals, no more than ten. Seven’s even better. But this is a critical thing. And this also came from research from our database. First of all, visibility was the number one reason people didn’t accomplish their goals. The number two reason people didn’t accomplish their goals is because they set too many goals. And as a result to that, they lost focus.
Now, I like to quote that ancient Chinese proverb that says, “Man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” And so, setting too many goals will hurt you. What we say is to do seven to ten but no more than two or three per quarter. So here’s how to not set a set of goals is seven to ten goals that have them all due on December 31, 2017. That doesn’t work. That is a recipe for not hitting the goals and giving up on goal setting. So there are going to be some that you’re doing for Q1, some for Q2, some for Q3, some for Q4. A book that’s really influenced us – and I know it’s influenced you, Brad – is “Disciplines of Execution”. And they talk about your wildly important goals, no more than about two goals per quarter. So that’s what we found is really helpful. I give a little exception, you can go three. But just really focus on a couple.
The other thing I do too is I don’t get really elaborate in the action plans. And here’s what some people do, they spend an inordinate amount of time framing up a detailed action plan, which, by the way, is really important if you’re building a nuclear submarine. But it’s probably not important for most of the goals that you and I are setting. Now, if you can think of some ideas and they come to you, great. Put them in whatever past management system or goal setting system that you’re using. But the most important thing you need to know is what do I need to do next? What’s the next thing I need to do? Because, usually, if a goal, when you’re uncertain of the path in the discomfort zone, you’re not going to see the beginning to the end anyway.
So the most important thing to do is to take a step in the direction of the goal. And it’s like walking through a forest at night with a flashlight. You’re not going to able to see the destination, although you may have one. But you see enough to take the next step, maybe the next two or three steps. So this is where I also unfurl this acronym on day five called “START”, Schedule The Action Required Today. So as I’m looking at my goals, what is it I can do today and what can I put in my calendar to actually move me in the direction of that goal? So, Schedule The Action Required Today, START. That turns out, starting is the most important part of achieving your goal.
[0:52:28] Brad: That could be the best acronym for a goal setting course ever. Whoever came up with that, give him a raise.
[0:52:34] Michael: Yeah, I came up with that actually in the shower, by the way. So the most important thing to do is start. If people won’t start and a lot of them won’t start because they’re afraid, right? And so, one of the most important things about starting is that it dissipates fear. So you make that first phone call. I keep using a book analogy but that’s what I do. So writing a book, as you know, because you’re in that process now, it’s scary to think about writing a 50,000 word manuscript. Oh my gosh. I didn’t write even papers in college anywhere close to that link. How can I write a 50,000 word manuscript? So, for me – and by the way, this is where a lot of goal setting people say, “Eat the frog. First, do the most difficult thing first.” – I actually encourage people to do the exact opposite. And here’s why, I think when you do the easiest thing first – and provided it’s not procrastination, ok? So that one provides them – but if you do the easiest thing first and build momentum, then you can tackle the most difficult thing. I’ll give an example.
Whenever I write a book, I always start with the easiest chapter first. I don’t write fiction so it doesn’t have to be sequential. But I write non-fiction. So of all those 12 chapters that I did in my last book, I said, “Which is the one that’s going to be easiest to write?” Banged that out. It’s pretty easy. But I said, “Ok, what’s the next chapter that’s going to be the next easiest?” I did that one. I left that big gnarly, ugly chapter until the last, the one I didn’t want to write. But now, I had 11 chapters under my belt. Am I going to let that 12th chapter stand in the way of me finishing? Heck, no. You now, I had the momentum. I had ahead of steam and I knocked it out. In fact, I did that last chapter in one day because I had the momentum.
Now, if I had started with that chapter, I may have never finished that book because I wouldn’t have the confidence, I wouldn’t have the momentum and I wasn’t in the groove. So I just, I say to people in day five, “What’s the next thing you can do, the easiest next step you can take to start turning this into a reality?”
[0:54:42] Brad: That was another big key. And it’s not rocket science. That’s what I love about it. You set a big goal of write a book. What’s your next step, right? And so, for me, it really chunked it down because that’s just… I’ll give an example here since we have a bunch of financial advisors listening in here. The good example there would be, in our business, a lot of times, let’s say a guy captured $10 million of assets last year, they might say, “I want to do $20 million next year.” Right? And it’s this big gnarly numbers you stated, kind of like the big goal of writing a book. Well, what’s the next step? The next step in our scenario is, well, how many new clients did you bring on per week when you did ten, right? And so, now, if we just do some simple math, I need to double that number, new clients per week to do 20, all else being the same, right?
And so, what’s interesting is when you take those really, really big goals, which, as you said, are in a discomfort zone, it’s so important that you now really chunk it down to that next step because then it can actually start to get attainable and seem achievable. And so, without that step, I don’t think any of the rest of this matters. And that’s so key that you have that in there.
[0:55:56] Michael: That’s good. There’s a sense in which to accomplish the goal that’s in the discomfort zone. You’re bringing in bite-size piece into the comfort zone so that you can keep the forward momentum. That’s a good example though.
[0:56:08] Brad: I love it. Well, we have three minutes and that was a great summary. We fit that all into an hour. That’s impressive.
[0:56:17] Michael: Thank you. Well, a good interviewer. You did good.
[0:56:19] Brad: Well, I appreciate it. I’m working on it. I had a good network of people to help me this year. So let’s in with a couple of questions, if that works for you, Michael.
[0:56:28] Michael: Yup. Let’s do it.
[0:56:29] Brad: All right. What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
[0:56:29] Michael: The best business advice I’ve ever received is coaching helps you go further, faster. If there’s anything you’re trying to do, you’ve got the choice of trying to figure it out on your own or I like hiring somebody. Now, it could be reading a book, listening to a podcast, getting an advice of a friend, joining the Master Mind. I just hire a coach. When I started learning to fly fish, I never went fly-fishing without a guide, training, personal training, marriage, whatever.
[0:57:05] Brad: Well, I’m going to bust out one of your quotes because this was a life changer for me. And it was around use it for a personal trainer. You could use it for a psychiatrist, whatever you want to use it for. But you said it’s the healthy people that ask for help, not the unhealthy people. And I think as a guy with an ego, like most of us have, I think females are much better at this than we are. We just hate to ask for help.
[0:57:31] Michael: We do.
[0:57:32] Brad: And it’s amazing how when you do, that thing that would have taken you six months to do all of a sudden takes like two weeks. Just simple things.
[0:57:40] Michael: Marriage is a good example because guys don’t want to go to marriage counseling. They feel like somehow it’s failure. That’s like a guy that says, “I won’t go to a financial advisor. I can figure this out on my own.” How much easier is it to go to a financial advisor? You can cut years off the learning curve. Same thing with marital counseling. All the people that go get counseling are people that want a really healthy marriage and they’re healthy enough to realize they could use some help.
[0:58:05] Brad: Yeah, completely agree. We might not have enough time for this but I’m going to ask you anyway. Do you have a morning routine? And if so, can you walk through it?
[0:58:14] Michael: Yes. I’ll try to make this fast. So I get up at 5:00 A.M. every morning. First thing I do – and just honest, I mean, I read the bible. I pray. I journal and I meditate. And then, I hit the gym. So that first part of that process – again, and this is my season of life, it’s not everybody’s season – it takes me about an hour that I hit the gym for an hour. Then, I come home, eat breakfast, shower, get into the office. That’s pretty fast.
[0:58:38] Brad: That’s about 9:00?
[0:58:41] Michael: Yes, about 9:00. I get at the office at about 9:00.
[0:58:44] Brad: Cool. All right. Last one, thank you so much. It’s always awesome. But you always blow the expectations out of the water so I appreciate it.
[0:58:53] Michael: Thanks, Brad.
[0:58:54] Brad: What is the one piece of advice that you can share with everyone joining us here today that’s led to your success?
[0:59:01] Michael: This sounds so cliche, maybe even cheeky, but be a life long learner. My dad was the best example of this. My dad, at 82 today, is still learning. He’s always got books. He’s got a new hobby. He’s got something he’s learning. But i think just being curious and being hungry and being willing to learn and being inquisitive, that’s been the secret to my success.
[0:59:25] Brad: And you truly are a life long learner. I’ve seen that first hand the last couple of years. So I appreciate it because a lot of it’s rubbed off on me. So I’m a better person because of it.
[0:59:37] Michael: You’re a great learner. I love that about you.
[0:59:40] Brad: Well, I read a lot more books since hanging out with you. So I appreciate that. Well, Michael, this has been awesome. I know everybody listening in that either watched this live or will hear it via the podcast is going to benefit. So thank you so much for carving out some time to join us here today.
[0:59:55] Michael: You’re welcome, Brad. Privilege to do it.
[0:59:57] Brad: All right. Take care.
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