The Old School Meeting

Technology has definitely changed the way we do business. I’m about to spend two months in Bali, running my practice from there thanks to the internet, Skype and cheap phone calls. It can be much easier to do business virtually – to have a webinar rather than a seminar, to communicate via the internet – than face to face. But sometimes there is no substitute for actually sitting in the same room as someone, being able to look them in the eye and have a real life conversation.


My good friend Chami runs a very successful recruiting business in the narrow niche of business intelligence. If you need to hire someone in that field, he’s your man. After living in Sydney for about a year, he just moved back to Melbourne. So I caught up with him for lunch.

I asked him how it was being back. He told me he had had 120 meetings since he got back … and that he had drunk a lot of coffees. He’d been back 3 weeks. 120 meetings in 3 weeks. I did the maths on that – its 40 a week. Pretty phenomenal.

I think all of us in business can learn something from Chami – and that is very simply to meet more people.

In the Million Dollar Expert Program we talk about meeting 150 people in your market for coffee such that you end up with 150 people who know and value what you do. For most of us that would take a year. Chami would probably take a month.

There are lots of other effective marketing strategies, but when we are getting started, when we are launching a new offering, and for those familiar with the white belt to black belt model, when we are below blue belt, nothing is half as effective as face-to-face meetings.

So take a leaf out of Chami’s book, and get face-to-face and belly-to-belly with twice as many prospects as you think is reasonable.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – you can leave your comments below.

Practice Longevity

Extract from Pete's upcoming book The Thought Leaders Practice (co-authored with Matt Church and Scott Stein, printed by Harper Collins)

Getting to black belt is often a three-year journey, and reaching financial independence from your practice can take around 10 years. Most of us aren’t strong at projects that run over this sort of time-frame. We haven’t built the muscles to go the distance and fulfill on long- term goals.

Many make the mistake of thinking that it’s about discipline. We have set out to fulfill long-term projects, failed, and then told ourselves it’s because we are weak and lack structure. Think about the last time you set out to achieve a long-term goal (be it around your exercise, diet, relationship, career, practice, business, etc) and failed. What was your self-talk about that like?

Being highly disciplined can actually be counter-productive — it can keep us going on things that aren’t really serving us.

If it isn’t discipline that has us achieve our long-term goals, what is it? We believe that it’s five things, as shown on the next diagram: choice, methodology, support, accountability, and structure.

Think about any long-term goal that you have achieved, and you will find that all these were present. You made a clear choice to go for that goal or undertake that project. You were committed to it, not just interested in it. Your motivation was strong; there was a payoff for you to get there. You had a methodology; you knew what to do (or you learnt it along the way). You had support; there were people in your life who were on your side. And you had a structure — what to do when.

Now think about a long-term goal that you didn’t achieve. One or more of these would have been missing. Either you hadn’t really chosen the project, you weren’t clear on the methodology (i.e. you didn’t know what to do), you didn’t have the support, someone to be accountable to or the right structures in place of what to do when. And yet, in your mind you were probably saying it was because you weren’t good enough, you didn’t have enough discipline or you were flawed in some way. Not true!

P.S. Want to read more? Download Chapter 1 here and order the book here.

It Will Be OK in the End

There’s a great quote on our fridge (not that I have any idea of how it got there):

"It will all be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end." – Unknown

I love it. The simple thought that it will all be OK in the end (even if it may be a bit naïve, or at times inaccurate) just has me feel more relaxed and happier.

I was talking to a client yesterday morning who was feeling a little overwhelmed and also frustrated that things were taking longer than he wanted. I’m actually all good with a bit of what we call “appropriate angst” about things taking too long. I want my clients (and myself) to get frustrated about things taking too long. Part of an implementation mindset is an impatience to get things published and projects complete.

But not to the extent that it become debilitating.

There’s some fascinating research about how much stuff we think we can get done in the short term and in the long term. Turns out mostly we overestimate what we can get done in the short term, and underestimate what we can achieve in the long term.

You’ll probably get less done than you think you should this week. And yet in five years when you look back on what you’ve achieved you’ll be amazed.

So keep playing hard, but go easy on yourself if you’re not as productive as you think you should be in a day or a week or a month. You’re not alone. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it will all be OK in the end.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – you can leave your comments below.

Failing Flat Out

I read a great blog from Seth Godin last week titled “After you’ve done your best”. He posed a question on what do you do when you’ve done your best, and still failed. He makes the point that it is critical to learn from failure, and crippling to connect to failure at an emotional level. I hadn’t thought about it in these terms before, but when I aim to fail 50% of my big goals and major projects, I’m trying to make it emotionally OK to fail. I’m setting myself up in advance to not feel disappointed, or ashamed, or a failure, or any of the other feelings that have us seek to avoid failing.

When I read that, I did what all good Thought Leaders do, I imagined a quadrant model – four boxes that make up a square. In my mind, it looked a bit like this:

Which give us four options:

1.    Succeeding half-hearted. Some things we can only put a bit of ourselves into and still pull off. Nice when you get it, but generally not going to be the big things. 2.    Succeeding full out. These are the things that give us the greatest satisfaction – we’ve left nothing in the tank, and come out victorious. 3.    Failing half-hearted. This is playing safe. We can fool ourselves into thinking we didn’t really fail because we didn’t give it everything. Too much of this is dangerous. 4.    Failing flat out. This can be the hardest, and is by far the most important. All successful people have had spectacular failures giving there all.

Failing flat out is what we want to get comfortable with, and why I recommend that people aim to fail 50%. Because if we aren’t able to risk failing at 100%, then we’ll be half-hearted in everything, and never succeed full out either.

In Bull Durham, one of my favourite movies, Tim Robbins’ character, “Nuke” Laloosh, is in the middle of a winning streak when he says something very profound about success and failure. “I love winning … you know … it’s like better than losing”. And emotionally he’s right. But in terms of building character, and learning about yourself, failing flat out beats winning every time.

So go out and fail, fail hard, fail often, fail spectacularly, fail at the right things and fail flat out.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – you can leave your comments below.

Implementing An Implementation Mindset

I don’t think the key to being successful in your practice, business or career (or anything else for that matter) is being intelligent, or well resourced or even well connected. Although these things all help. I think the single most important factor in your success is your ability to implement significant projects. Here are six things you can do to develop an implementation mindset:

1.    Recalibrate your self-talk. You are not a good judge of your success or your ability. Find a more objective measure of your ability to implement and calibrate your self-talk accordingly. Fight to make your self-talk an asset rather than a liability.

2.    Fail 50%. Aim to fail 50% of your major projects / goals. Each month / quarter when reviewing your progress, make that your benchmark. Successful implementation is about launching lots of great projects, not about having a great success rate on the ones you launch.

3.    Value shakti. Shakti is your life force, your spirit, your energy, your essence. Implementation takes shakti. Big projects take all of you ... you can't just show up and go through the motions. It’s more important to manage your shakti than your time or your activities. When you are on, don't waste it on trivial stuff. When your shakti is low, adjust accordingly.

4.    Fight for 3. You can't put in 80 hours a week of significant, creative, real work. Fight for 3 sessions a day of productive work on your big projects. Three one-hour blocks of your best work is a great days work, and better than 16 hours of responding to requests, shuffling emails, following systems and getting stuff done. After your 3 sessions, go back to task list or knock off and go to the movies.

5.    Play hard. Remember it’s a game, and it’s a game that you made up. But when you're in the game, play hard ... play like your life depends upon it. And when the game is over, remember it was just a game.

6.    Publish ruthlessly. Finish version 1.0 and get it out into the world. Declare you intent at the start, and publish your result at the end. Be ruthless with yourself about getting projects done and the results in the world.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – leave a comment below.