Chris LoCurto Finding The Life & Business You Really Want Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:01:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 35 Strategies That Shape Productivity Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:01:57 +0000 35-strategies-productivity

Did you know that the cost of interruptions to the U.S. economy is estimated at $588 billion a year!!! On today’s show, guest David Horsager joins me to talk about his new book, The Daily Edge, Simple Strategies to Increase Efficiency. 

Here’s what you will learn:

  • How to give focus and intentionality to the most important things every day through DMA’s (decision making actions).
  • Understand the meaning behind S.E.E.D.S. and why it is so vitally important.
  • Manage your energy
  • So much more….

Let’s dig in.

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Autonomy In The Workplace – How To Lead A Team Without Parole Tue, 10 Nov 2015 06:01:24 +0000 autonomy in the workplace

We all like to have freedom and independence to be creative and get things done. So as an Entrepreneur, how do you balance that in the workplace and create that great environment?

I received a killer question the other day regarding autonomy in the workplace. Here’s what Marc had to say:

“We hear a lot about what makes a great workplace and I’ve read several things recently from people that I really respect and one of the things that is often recommended for a great workplace is team members having a sense of autonomy.

That’s great, but sometimes you have jobs that require a certain way of doing things. For example, we have a situation where we have an inside sales team and we’d like things said a certain way or presented a certain way and so on.

We’re not asking to read a script verbatim, but feel like we need things done a certain way because these are methods that have been developed over time and have been proven to work, and will ultimately make them more successful.

With a sales team of over 30 people in two different locations, we feel the need for consistency in what’s being said and presented. I’d love to hear some examples or stories of where a company has some guidelines of having to do things a certain way, but can still give their team members that sense of autonomy to create that great work environment. Thanks.”

This is kind of a difficult one, which in leadership, what’s not difficult, right? When I think of autonomy, I think of it as being two types of things. One would be self-governing. Can you govern yourself? That’s the main concept.

When we talk about it in leadership, we’re kind of taking the self governing part away, or at least some people do to an extent in saying, it’s just freedom to work alone, which should mean the same thing, however without clear definition of autonomy, people can run with that all day long.

Especially according to personality style, which is why our download today is exactly on that, the autonomy according to different personality styles. The positives and the negatives. It’s just short and sweet and that will help you to look at the different personality styles and know what to think about.


Make sure that if you don’t know your team’s personality styles that you go to the store and have them take a personality test. Get that done. You’ve got to understand that.

Do I think autonomy creates a great workplace?

I think to an extent, yes. What that extent is depends. It depends on a lot of things. What is it that the person is working on? You gave the example of a sales team. Now you have two different locations, you’ve been doing this a while. This changes things for me.

What I believe you’re asking is do they have the ability, can they self regulate or self govern themselves to sell our product the specific way?

The answer for me is mostly no. With that being said, this is going to change a little bit according to different positions. Salespeople that are reaching out from our business, representing our business.

You’re the face of our business in a sense. You’re on the front lines, you’re meeting our customers, you have the chance to screw everything up or you have the chance to win. It just kind of depends.

I had a sales guy one time that came to me and had a really big sale. He was telling me all the things that he did, I said, “whoa whoa whoa stop right there. That’s not true.” He goes, “well it’s mostly true.”  I’m was like, “no it’s not true. If it’s mostly true that means that it’s not true.”

He’s like, “Chris, I got the sale.” I’m like, “you’re going back and you’re calling that person and you’re going to tell them the truth. If they want their money back, done. We don’t do this. We’re not going to take advantage of people. We’re going to be honest in our sales.”

He went right back. He was very frustrated and a little embarrassed, but he went back and he had to tell them the truth. That client saw that as integrity and stayed with us.

The point that I’m making is that sometimes if you give people too much rope without the experience, if you give them too much autonomy in the beginning phases without the experience (When I say experience, experience in selling your products and experience being led. You having the experience of what they can do and what you can trust them on), then what can happen is they can screw things up.

They can manipulate situations, they can over-promise and then you have to under deliver. All kinds of bad things can happen there.

It’s a balance

The balance is starting with, “we’ve done this for a long time. We know what works.”

Ask for their input. Ask what it is that they think you should do. Come together and discuss this. If you agree with them, then allow them to go and do some of it, give some of it a try, but give them parameters.

It does go against the concept of self-governing, but it doesn’t necessarily go against the freedom to do the things that I’d like to do. I’m giving them baselines or I’m giving them parameters.

When somebody’s been doing it for a very long time, then there’s a lot of autonomy. Joel who has been selling for me not only for a long time, but is phenomenal at doing it, there are rarely things that he needs to get with me on because I’ve let out a ton of that rope.

As he’s transitioning and we’ve got another person coming on that’s going to have to take that role off of him, we’re going to walk through the same process. Show them what works; show them how to sell the things that we have, show them how to care for people like we care for people.

All of those pieces are going to have to be done so that we know that at some point we can let out some more rope, let out some more rope, let out some more rope, so that that person can have some freedoms in this.

When we’re looking at a situation like yours Marc, you’ve got multiple locations; you’ve got a team of people that have proven what works. In those situations, autonomy is not something I’m going to give a ton of.

I would tell them, “If you have a system that you think works, discuss it with me. If you can’t prove to me that it’s going to work or if you can’t tell me something that I think is going to work, you stick with what we do.” As you can see, we have two sales teams that are making money themselves. They must be doing something right so follow the program.

Again when it comes to the making sure that the message is the same, that is a must. That for me is a must. We cannot have mixed messages out there. People have to understand what it is that we are selling or what the value of it is or what we’re willing to do with it.

We do not want to mix up the message because it does a few things. Obviously it causes confusion on the team. Confusion on the team causes fear. Confusion in a client causes people not to purchase.

If the client is trying to talk to you and maybe talks to the other sales team or something like that and is confused or they talk to a friend that purchased something and they got a better deal or whatever, then this becomes an issue. Now we have a customer service issue on our hands. Making sure that the message is consistent is an absolute must. Consistency is crucial.

Now if we took another role, Savannah is working on our social media stuff. There is a huge level of autonomy there because we meet a lot. She will do stuff, research stuff, pull information, do things, come back, give me metrics, but we had to set that up. We had to set this process up and say, “okay these are the things I expect.”

I expect excellence in this. I expect reporting in this. We’re not going to spend any money that you can’t tell me what happened to it. I want to see the process. I want you to give me your input; I want you to tell me what we should be doing. I want to hear all this stuff. If you can do all of that then go.

As we let rope out very quickly. She attacked it, she’s done a phenomenal job, and so she has a lot of autonomy in her role. There are still standards, there’s still expectations, and she still has to report on all of them and she has to let us know what’s going on, how’s it working, is it not working, what do we need to tweak?

The great thing is is when you find that right balance, especially according to personality style, then what happens is you are treating the team member with dignity. When you treat the team members with dignity, you get loyalty, you get buy in, and you get ownership, which is what you want from your team.

You want your team coming in every day owning what it is that they do. You want your team loving what they do so that it’s not a J-O-B, so that they come in, they kill it, they show you how they did it. Again we’re not basing this off of hey your worth is based on your performance. It can’t be that either so make sure you’re careful on that.

Set the autonomy up according to personality styles

If they cannot succeed with the autonomy because their personality style doesn’t lend to it, you’re probably not going to put a high I alone. You’re not going to put them at a place to work by themselves because eventually they’re going to lose their mind and they’re going to need people.

They’re going to need some sort of injection and they will start reaching out and doing things and sucking up time. You have to make sure that the autonomy is set correctly according to personality style; you have to make sure that it is set correctly with expectations and metrics, measurement. Show me how this is working. Show me that I should give you more autonomy.

Now some people don’t want it. Some people would rather work well in a team. This is where some negatives can happen. Some people who absolutely want to work on their own. What you’re going to find is they’re going to take things into their own hands. They will make decisions for you and ask for forgiveness later when they’ve screwed something up. You have to watch this.

Team is way more important than individual. When I hire people, I will turn down an absolute champion who is an island for somebody who’s really good who is a great team member. The reason for that is because the team effort is way more important in my mind.

I need that team to complete stuff. I need that team to make things happen. If I can get the team humming and I don’t have an island out there that doesn’t play well and is maybe a jerk or rude or whatever, I don’t need that. I need a great team because we move forward together as a team.

If I can have my own expectations set, the things that I’m willing to do, the things that I know will work, won’t work, how much rope I’m willing to give, give them parameters. If I can do all of those pieces, then it can add to a great work environment. It’s something I do here.

Everybody on my team has a level of autonomy. Some of it is great and some of it, it’s not even needed. It just kind of depends.

Examples of Autonomy

You can look at things like Google. You can see that all day long. They’ve got a lot of it, but they also have a lot of parameters on work hours and clock in, clock out, all that kind of fun stuff. They allow people to have a certain level of autonomy.

Let me throw my buddy Rory Vaden in there. I know his team is phenomenal, but that’s because they are phenomenal. Everybody on that team knows what their parameters are, they know what excellence looks like. This is what Rory’s really great at doing, is that he really digs in and finds out what the experience is of the person. That allows him to give some rope.

He’s putting a champion in place to do their job. On that sales team, they actually probably have more autonomy than a lot of sales teams. Again that’s because Rory is set on making sure that everybody is not only excellent, but very efficient as well.

Hopefully Marc that answers your question. Everything has got to be measured according to two main things:

  1. What is the role?
  2. What is the personality style?

That should give you a gauge of what you can get as far as autonomy in the role.

Question: Do you have an example where you let out too much rope? 


Click here to download the transcript of this week’s episode.

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How To Attract Customers Tue, 03 Nov 2015 06:01:26 +0000 attract-customers-calloway

Forbes magazine said positive word of mouth is without question the most powerful factor in buying decisions today.

The old number used to be that a satisfied customer will tell four or five people. A dissatisfied customer will tell up to 20. You can change the math on that now because a satisfied customer may tell 1,000 people. A dissatisfied customer might tell 2,000 people, given the advent of social media.

So, how do you grow your company? What is the key to attracting customers to your business?

Join me today on the podcast as a discuss with Joe Calloway, author of the book Magnetic, the art of attracting business.

What is the key or keys to attracting customers to a business?

The single biggest factor in your marketing, your sales, in the growth of your business without question is the quality of the experience that you create for your customers. Whether it’s a good experience or a bad experience, now more than ever before they’re going to talk about it.

What people tend to do is they say how can I manipulate social media in my favor or in my defense and they’re missing the point. You don’t manipulate social media. You create an experience that causes positive word of mouth. That’s the key.

People aren’t really interested in what you say about yourself. People are interested in what other people say about you.

So the question becomes then, how does the Internet impact a customers buying decision?

Here’s the formula that I think most people would agree with, People go on social media and talk about what they like, what they don’t like, what was fun, what was awful. I think it used to be in fairly recent history, that marketing consisted of, when it comes to the Internet, I need to get people to go on the internet and talk about me.

You really don’t have to worry about that. They’re going to talk about you whether you like it or not. Let’s pull back to the source of their conversation, which is their experience. You inherently control the narrative with the quality of your work.

80% of your time and effort and energy should go into product quality and improvement. That is marketing, because if you do good enough work, there’s no way you can keep people from talking about it, and that is what brings in more work.

You need to have a win-win strategy.

You’ve got to make sure the other guy wins. I don’t mean this in some let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya. No, folks, I’m saying this is the way the real world works.

If you make someone lose, they’ll go on the internet and tell everybody you made them lose. Not only that, they will stop giving you their money and they’ll take it somewhere else.

The people that I do business with, the companies that I am loyal to, are the ones that make sure that I win. Its’ the simplest, most powerful, and often most misunderstood idea in the world.

I read one time a computer consulting company had this as kind of a motto. They said buzzers and bells wear off. Quality never does.

Rule #1: Do great work. Rule #2: Have fun. Rule #3: Make money. Rule #4, and this is the one I love: Don’t work with people you can’t stand!


PODCAST DETAILS: Click here to download the transcript of this week’s episode.


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High Levels of Quality Communication Tue, 27 Oct 2015 05:01:38 +0000 COMMUNICATION

Today, on the podcast, we are answering a question that came in from one of our listeners.

Justin writes, “I have to start with the obvious. Thanks for all that you guys are doing and keep killing it. I know you’re always open to suggestions for podcast topics, and yes we are, so I wanted to throw out the idea of doing something high level on communication, and maybe topic in with your top 10 recommended books on communication.

I loved your list on the poverty mindset. I know how important you think communication is, and I think most of your listeners could benefit from what you have to say on the topic and from the books you recommend. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.”

Thank you Justin, we appreciate all of that. I’m going to answer Justin’s question but before I do I have created a tool for you to use to help you better communicate.

There are some do’s and some don’ts of body language when you’re communicating effectively. So make sure that you get today’s download if you want to know these things, and you want the power of understanding body language, and the things to do and not to do for effective communication. 


Now on to Justin’s question. Here are eleven ways that will help you have high levels of quality communication.

Verbal Communication

To have great communication skills, you have to start with caring for the other person. Yes, I said caring! Caring that they are not only an emotional being, but that they are a child of the Most High God! Which means He cares about how you treat them!

For communication sake, caring means that you are focused on leaning in the direction of the other person, so they can successfully understand what you are saying. This happens by understanding how they receive information, by staying calm, being focused, polite, interested, and to match the mood or emotion of the situation.

You first have to understand the person you’re talking to. How do they receive information? If they received it in sound bytes, it they need the scroll that is 10-feet long, if they need energy and excitement with it, if they need understanding and the least amount of conflict.

Whatever it is, you have to start by understanding how they receive information. That way, you can give it to them well. By staying calm in the process, by being focused on the things that you’re saying, by being polite, by caring about matching the emotion of the situation, whatever that is, the mood of the situation, make sure that you are following all of these pieces.

We are so usually focused on our own feelings that we don’t think about how difficult we make it for others when we communicate. I watch people be so absolutely short in their verbal communication, and give so little detail that there is no wonder why the other person doesn’t understand. If that is you, you’re not doing a good job verbally giving information.

Non-verbal communication

Your body language is constantly speaking. I am always watching every bit of body language from our attendees. It doesn’t matter who it is. Anybody coming in, I’m always watching body language. It’s nonstop. It tells me a ton about what they are experiencing.

It even tells me what they’re thinking. I can see things by the way that they respond. You can see specific responses that will tell you what people are thinking. There are all kinds of things that I watch. I watch whether people cross their legs.

Do they cross them towards somebody against, away from somebody, whatever it is? Do they put themselves in a position of power, where they feel more powerful when they’re talking?

All of that stuff is nonverbal communication, all of your facial expressions, your eye contact, whether you have it or whether you don’t, your posture, your gestures with your extremities.

Even the way you position yourself physically in a room, where you put yourself, where you stand, do you put yourself in the middle of conversations? Do you put yourself to the outside?

Whatever that is, all of that is revealing a lot about you, and for better or for worse. It could be good. It could be bad. Either way, you’ve got to understand that your body language tells a ton. You’ve got to understand your non-verbals.


Great communicators are incredible listeners, not good listeners, incredible listeners. Crappy communicators cannot wait for the other person to take a breath, so they can speak. You know them.

You’ve experienced those people. That may be you. Listening is half of the equation that makes me great at leading and coaching people.

Without it, I wouldn’t have any clients. They wouldn’t want to hang around. If all you do is communicate what you think someone needs to hear without listening to them, how will you ever know if you’re communicating successfully? If you’re going to communicate well, you have to listen really well. 


It needs to be at least equal to the content you’re communicating. Let me give a quick dive on that. You hear me say all the time it is your job as a leader to make your team successful. If you’re trying to make a team member successful, then your patience has to line up with the thing that you’re trying to teach.

If you’re trying to teach them or communicate to them how to make coffee, probably, not a whole lot of patience needed here. We probably need to run through this once or twice, but you really should have this after that. If you’re trying to delegate large tasks, then you have to have patience.

You have to understand that you may not be doing a great job communicating, or the way that they receive it may take more time. Understand that.

If you are just giving somebody an update, then understand that the patience for that is considerably less than making a team member successful on a large delegation project. If you’re giving an update, have the patience for them to ask questions, and make sure that they understand what it is that you’re updating on. 

Then if the ox is in the ditch, if it’s an emergency, then the patience is considerably less. “Hey guys, this is something we’ve got to do right now. Now unless somebody has some phenomenal input, we’ve got to go. Go, go, go.”

I’m the kind of leader who is always trying to teach. I’m always trying to make my team successful. I would spend a lot of time making sure that they understand stuff. If there is an emergency, if there is something we’ve got to get after, then there’ve been times that I’ve walked up to a team member and said, “Hey, listen, I don’t have time to explain this.

I need you to do this. Just go in this direction right now. This is something we’ve got to do. We’ve got a problem. We’ve got an emergency. Just make this happen. I’ll explain later, or we can talk through, or when the situations are normal, then I will sit down and teach.

This isn’t the time for me to teach. I need you to go move in this direction.” You’ve got to have patience, but make sure that it’s equal to the content that you’re communicating.

Ask Questions

Questioning is one of the best ways for you to gain perspective. It is the thing that shows people that you’re interested in them. It’s the thing that shows them that you’re listening. It also helps you to get a lot of information.

We don’t do a good job gaining perspectives. Since we’re not asking a lot of questions, since we’re not getting a lot of perspective, what tends to happen is we make uninformed decisions, or we show people that we don’t really care. We don’t want to dig further.

We don’t want to know more, and so they don’t care. They give up. You’ve got to make sure. Ask questions. Ask quality questions as well. Care enough to find out. The more perspective you have, the greater decision-making process you have.

Decision-making processes are usually junked up because of a lack of perspective. Make sure you’re asking great questions. I’m talking about the stuff that helps you to get real, good quality information. The more you do that, the better you’re going to be at communicating.


You have to respect people. You have to respect their situations and what they’re maybe going through. Stop and respect people. Respect their time. Respect their emotions.

Problem Solve

In high levels of quality communication, you have to be able to identify exactly what the problem is. You do that by dissecting the problem, so it’s fully understood. This goes back to question asking, listening, and patience.

You do that by gaining the information, not just talking or making statements about it, but gaining great perspective and then setting up a system of strategies or objectives to solve the problem.

Then taking that information, and putting together whatever it is that you’re going to do to solve the problem, putting together some objectives to get this thing done, whatever that is. Great communicators are also great problem solvers, or at least they can guide information to getting the problem solved.

Socially Aware

Understand you have to be in tune with other’s emotions. It is absolutely essential to understand. It is something that you need as an interpersonal skill. Is somebody going through something incredibly painful? Did they just lose a relative, or did they get fired from a job, or, or, or?”

Whatever that is, be aware. Be in tune. See how they are. Also, being aware of, like I said, what are people experiencing. If you’re the leader, what are they experiencing with the work that you’ve put on them? Have you done too much? Have you done too little? Are they being demeaned, whatever it is? Think about those things.


You have to be in control of your emotions. You have to be thinking about what is appropriate behavior. You have to be responding appropriately with appropriate behavior to the situation itself. What does it need?

If you’re flying off the handle on something that is absolutely small it does not require what’s nothing really requires, you’re flying off the handle. If you are overdoing it because you’re stressed out, if you’re overdoing it because of something you’re going through, you can’t just sit there and think, “Well, I’m going to respond this way. I don’t care what anybody thinks.”

It means you got to control yourself. You have to not get angry. There are times where I could be totally frustrated with a team member because of something that’s going on. The first question I have to ask, I have to self-manage myself, “Is this my fault? Did I not do a good job communicating? Am I the one to blame here? If not, then why didn’t I catch this?”

I first always try and look at myself, and say, “How are you the one who is contributing to this problem,” and solve it? Don’t get a little crazy. Don’t get frustrated. Understand what’s happening. Be aware of yourself. Be aware of your behavior.

Responsible and Accountable

You have to be responsible and accountable with your actions, with your communication. Responsibility says personal responsibility, being mature. If you say that you’re going to do something, actually do it.

If you say that you’re going to do something and you don’t, take responsibility. If something crashes or goes wrong because of something you did or did not do, take responsibility. “Guys, I am so sorry. That is my bad. I did that. I know I failed that. I screwed that up.” Whatever it is, take responsibility.

Also, hold yourself accountable for your own actions. One of the things I’m always doing or at least trying to do with myself is I’m always trying to tell myself, “Hey man, look at this situation. You need to act. You need to take responsibility. You need to apologize. You need to do whatever.”

That part of accountability and holding my own self accountable by calling my own self out helps me to be not only a great communicator, but it also gains a lot of respect. It also gains a lot of loyalty, because when others see that I am very quick to call myself, and I think I’m right, I think I’m right.

The moment I realize I’m not, “Hey, I’m wrong. I’m sorry, I’m wrong. I screwed that up. I did this or whatever.” That is a part of accountability. Get on it. Take responsibility. Hold yourself accountable.


This should not be used as a license to be a jerk. I am not talking about you being assertive in the jerk way, where you just start ripping on people. That is not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that it goes hand and hand with what you hear me saying when it comes to things like healthy boundaries.

If somebody’s trying to control you, trying to manipulate you, just not respecting you in this situation, then you may need to go ahead and give a little push back. You may need to go ahead and be a little assertive. Put a good healthy boundary in place. I am not saying being assertive by being a jerk. Please understand that.

These are all things that I want you to be thinking about. If you want to have high levels of quality communication, if you want to be a great communicator, if you want to lead your team well, if you want to do the things that create success for team members, create success for you, so you can communicate well in your relationships, in your work, whatever it is, then these are things you need to be focused on, things you need to be thinking about. By doing these, you would become a great communicator.


As promised, here are my top books for better communication:

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, by John C. Maxwell

  • John C. Maxwell says if you want to succeed, you must learn how to connect with people. In Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, Maxwell shares the Five Principles and Five Practices to develop the crucial skill of connecting

How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

  • Three fundamental techniques in handling people
  • The six ways to make people like you
  • The twelve ways to win people to you way of thinking
  • The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

Safe People, by Henry Cloud, John Townsend 

  • Solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, and how to avoid unhealthy entanglements. You’ll learn about things within yourself that jeopardize your relational security. And you’ll find out what to do and what not to do to develop a balanced, healthy approach to relationships.

Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson

  • Prepare for high-stakes situations
  • Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue
  • Make it safe to talk about almost anything
  • Be persuasive, not abrasive

Made To Stick, by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

  • A book that will transform the way you communicate ideas, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick. 

Communicating for a Change, by Andy Stanley

  • In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley and Lane Jones offer a unique strategy for communicators seeking to deliver captivating and practical messages. In this highly creative presentation, the authors unpack seven concepts that will empower you to engage and impact your audience in a way that leaves them wanting more.

The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

  • The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey 

  • Focus and act on what can be controlled and influenced, instead of what can’t.
  • Define clear measures of success and create a plan to achieve them for both life and work.
  • Prioritize and achieve the most important goals instead of constantly reacting to urgencies.
  • Develop innovative solutions that leverage diversity and satisfy all key stakeholders.
  • Collaborate more effectively with others by building high-trust relationships of mutual benefit.

Boundaries, by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

  • Biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.


We love hearing from you so please keep those questions coming! 

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How To Wow Your Audience with Michael Port Tue, 20 Oct 2015 10:00:26 +0000 michael port graphic

First off, when I say audience, you probably think a concert or a show don’t you? An audience is somebody who is listening. It could be one person sitting across the desk from you, or it could be a theater filled with people.

Anybody who you ask for attention from is an audience, and there is often an inherent value in that interaction based on performance. Performance in the way that we’re looking at is about authenticity.

The greatest performers in the world are the most honest ones, the most authentic ones. Performance is about amplifying different parts of your personality in order to achieve a particular goal.

Today we are talking to Michael Port, author of Steal the ShowHow to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life.

We have got a fabulous download from Michael today. It’s “50 Tips You Can’t Afford To Ignore If You Want To Wow Your Audience.”

michael port button

“Your life is made up of lots of high stakes situations, and how you perform during those moments, and if you fall flat, then your life is relatively flat, but if you can shine when the spotlight’s on you, then you get to do big things.”

The book focuses on on feedback, how to give it, how to take it, how to get the kind of feedback that you want. We tend to run away from criticism, and as a result, we don’t grow.


It’s easy to start something and do okay, but it’s the finishing that’s the key. @michaelport…
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Recognize that you don’t need to be an entertainer to be a performer. You just need to be somebody who wants to connect with others and deliver on promises.

You can focus on you, or you can focus on what the people are hearing. The moment you stop thinking about yourself, the moment you stop being nervous.

So how do you crush your fears and face your critics?

BE PREPARED: One of the reasons that we are often afraid is because we are not as prepared as we would like to be. We don’t know if we are going to be able to deliver what we want to deliver. If you’re prepared, then you tend to be calmer.

STOP BEING SELF ABSORBED: Once we start thinking about ourselves, and we go, “Oh my God, I look fat in these pants,” or “They’re going to hate me,” or “They’re not going to believe anything I have to say,” or “Who am I to say this? It’s already been said,” or any other number of things that we start to obsess on.

When we obsess on those things, it just gets worse. It’s a downward spiral. If we focus on the audience and every speech, every interview, every negotiation, every deal, every engagement, then we are serving our audience. Our job is to deliver on the promise, to focus on the people we’re meant to serve.

When your focus comes off of you, and your own needs, and anxieties, and on to the people that you’re there to serve, it gets a lot easier. You get a lot more relaxed.

You are more comfortable, and you forget about some of the things that were making you nervous, because you can’t hold those two thoughts in your head at the same time. Your mind is focused on one thing, which is delivering on the promise, that you don’t have the space in your brain for the anxiety.

How do people create a story that keeps their audience, whether it is thousands of people or two people? How do they keep people on the edge of their seats?

People, places, things, and then times or events. That simple! Here is where you grab paper and a pen.

Take out a piece of paper, and you would just put a line on the side of the piece paper with a title that says “Stories.” You’re not going to judge these stories. You’re not deciding whether or not you’re going to use these at any point. You’re just trying to remember the stories. That’s all.

Then you back later, and you look and go, “Could I use that in my next meeting to demonstrate the point of hard work,” or “Could I use that story to demonstrate that every once in a while we do things that make us look foolish, but you know what, we live to tell the tale?” You go back after and do that.

Then, brainstorm the whole story. Sometimes, it helps recording it. If you do it on audio, and then you listen back, you can write it down, what you said or you can have it transcribed if it’s a very long story.

It’s good to have just a big messy draft, because you are going to cut some of it. Cut it, sculpt it, and mold it into three acts.

ACT 1: The Exposition: The time, the setting, and the place. It’s the information that the listener needs to know in order to understand what comes next.

ACT 2: The Conflict: It starts with inciting incidence. Something occurs that creates conflict, and that conflict spurs some kind of action, and that action might create more conflict, which then spurs some more action, which the spurs some more conflict. That’s where the tension’s created.

ACT 3: The Resolution: Resolution is the thing that we’re waiting for. It’s not always happy. Sometimes it’s “they all lived happily ever after,” and sometimes it’s “they all died in the end.” The resolution determines the length of the story, meaning if the resolution is worth waiting for, it’s incredible powerful.

What is the biggest mistake that somebody in public speaking, in acting, or in selling can make, and how can they avoid it? 

Respect. If you do not respect the audience, it’s hard to win them over. You need to respect them, and love them no matter what they’re doing.

If you found this valuable, inspiring and worthy of your time, please share it!

Podcast Details:

Click here to download the transcript of this week’s episode.

]]> 2 Mastering Habits with Gretchen Rubin Tue, 13 Oct 2015 10:00:40 +0000 Mastering Habits with Gretchen Rubin

Do you have any bad habits? Do you wonder why so many successful Entrepreneurs are able to create habits that contribute to their success while others can’t seem to get them to stick? Well then you are in for a treat on today’s podcast.

The crazy, incredibly talented Gretchen Rubin in on to talk about that very thing! There was so much good information that our post today is the actual transcription from the show. I didn’t want you to miss a thing!

Today is a very exciting day. We have the very talented Gretchen Rubin on board. She’s going to be talking to us about changing habits, about understanding habits, about having a better life because of habits.

She’s so fantastic that she has allowed us to give you guys something very special, and that is a checklist for habit change. If you’re going to be successful, one of the first things you need to do is make sure that you’ve got a great checklist on how to do this.


Gretchen is the author of several books including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, The Happiness Project, and Happier At Home. Not only is she changing lives through her enormous readership, but she also is doing it on her popular weekly podcast Happier With Gretchen Rubin.

Gretchen, you are talking about stuff that is so near and dear to our hearts, which is how we can have a healthier happier life and doing it through the habit process.

I think there’s probably a lot of people that are currently listening thinking, “Okay, I’m really excited about this,” and probably some folks that are going, “Oh gosh. This is probably going to scare me a little bit,” because of bad habits.

Before we do that, I understand that you have a habit of self-medicating with the Harry Potter series.

That’s right. One of the things that I argue is that it’s really helpful to know yourself when you’re changing your habits, and for life generally, it’s really important to know yourself. One of the things that I noticed about myself is that I have a tell.

Just like in poker, I have a tell where you can tell if I’m really stressed out because I start reading children’s books because it calms me. When I realized that about myself, then I realized, if I need to calm myself if I’m doing something really stressful, I can go out and read children’s book medicinally.

I had a very stressful work period, so I allowed myself to re-read the entire Harry Potter series as a method of cultivating serenity.

That is a pretty fantastic habit. Is it because it gets your mind off of you?

Yeah. I think probably it’s that I’ve already read these books so I’m not anxious, like I know how it’s all going to turn out. I love them so it makes me happy and they’re very absorbing.

One of the things with happiness and habits, is to manage your own mind, to really think about the mood that you’re in or the way that you’re feeling and think about, “What can I do to fix this?

With my conscious thoughts and actions, how can I intervene?” Because we aren’t just these kites blowing in the wind. There’s things that we can do that can affect the way we feel.

Right. Today, we’re talking about Better Than Before. Tell us about the background, how you got into writing, and why you wrote this book.

I got into the subject of habits because I’ve been reading and writing and talking to people for years about happiness and I noticed a very striking pattern, which is that when I talk to people about habit, about a happiness challenge that they were facing, they very often pointed to something that, at its core, had to do with a habit.

Some people would say, “Well, my problem is I’m exhausted all the time.” That’s the habit of getting enough sleep. Or they’d say something like, “Well, I’ve been wanting to write a novel in my free time but I haven’t done anything on it in a year.”

It’s like, well, that’s about the habit of being able to make consistent progress. I’ve became increasingly intrigued by the role that habits could play in allowing us to have a happier, healthier, more productive lives.

You didn’t start out as a writer though. You had a successful career as a lawyer.

Yes. I went to Yale law school.  I was clerking for Sandra Day O’Connor when I finally decided that I wanted to be a writer. That was many books ago. I think I’ve written … I needed to count. I think I’ve written seven or eight books now. I had to start all over from zero after having put all that time and energy and money into becoming a lawyer.

Did people think you were nuts for making a left-hand turn?

No, they didn’t. I think I’m really lucky that the people who are around me were very supportive. Nobody really said I was nuts. I think some people are like, “Well, good luck with that.”

Certainly my parents and my husband were very … My husband switched out of law the same time as I did, so that was great because we both just … We moved from Washington to New York and we’re like, “Okay, we’re not lawyers anymore.” You’re always a lawyer at heart.

When you take a look at those people that are closest to you, if they are not supportive, then making a change like that is not going to happen.

No. I was so lucky. I really was very fortunate and that they were very supportive. I think sometimes the people who are closest to us, out of deep love, they don’t want to see us fail. They don’t want us to risk rejection or failure. They want us to be safe.

Out of love, they try to scare us at a particular direction, but in the end, there is no safety. I think if there’s anything in that last ten years has shown it’s like, “There’s no one safe place to be.” Then a lot of times, people burn out or they circle back to what they would have done in the first place.

I’ve talked to a lot of people who, eight, ten years later are like, “You know what, actually I’m going to go back to my first idea.” You’re like, “Yeah, okay. Well, you went to grad school,” or whatever in the meantime. I think it can be hard if people around you are really trying to get you to do something. Even if their intentions are good, they’re not helpful.

All right, so jumping in to habits. The first thing I want to ask you because there’s something that so many of us have heard forever, and that is that it takes twenty-one days to create a habit. What I would love to know is what your thoughts are on that and what are some of the biggest myths about habits?

Well, unfortunately that is one of the biggest myths about habits, which I expect you knew. Mere repetition is not enough to make something a habit, and we all know that from everyday life because there’s things that you can do hundreds of times and it never really quite becomes a habit, and there are things that you do three times and then it’s a habit that seems to lock in with iron strength.

Yeah, mere repetition won’t do it. I think the biggest myth and that’s sort of one face of it, the biggest myth is that there’s one magic solution. There’s a one size fits all solution, and if we could only identify what it was, then everybody’s habits would be fixed. Do it first thing in the morning.

Works for you, works for me, works for everybody. Just get up early and do that first thing, that thing that’s your priority to do it first thing, then all your troubles will be over.

Well, that works sometimes for some people. It doesn’t work all the time for everyone. Like night people, there really are night people. Night people, they’re more creative and productive later in the day. For them to say, “Oh, I’m going to wake up early and go for a run.

I’m going to get up early and write that novel,” that is not going to set themselves up for success because they’re night people, so the morning is not a good time for them to be doing anything that requires self-command.

Just over and over, I see with habits, I’ve talked to people and even people who are very discouraged about a habit that they’ve tried and failed to make or they feel unable to change. A lot of times, I think you really haven not given this a shot that reflects what’s true about you.

I think if you think about yourself and what you need to have a habit work, I think you’re going to have a much better life ahead of success. Fortunately, I’ve talked to many people as I’ve gone out with these ideas, and many people were like, “Oh man, now that I know XYZ, I’m able to quit sugar.

I’m able to go to bed on time.” It’s usually not some big thing. It’s some little thing but it’s the right thing for them. That’s the thing, it has to be the right thing for each of us because if it worked for Steve Jobs, if it worked for my sister-in-law, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for me.

That is the biggest myth is that there’s a right habit that everyone should follow and it will work for everyone.

How do you go about, and I want to get in to the four different personality styles that you talked about, but how do you go about discovering what that right thing is? Because it’s so funny, as you’re saying this, I’m thinking of a conversation that I had a couple of days ago. I’m talking with a friend.

I’m exercising at night and work sometimes just cuts into it. It just doesn’t happen, so I’m looking at, okay, I’m going to go back to putting it in the morning. I’m not excited about exercising in the morning.

I just know that I can do it, but as I was talking to a friend, my friend’s just like shaking their head, “Yes, it’s the absolute best time for you to be doing this.” I catch myself thinking, “That’s exactly what Gretchen is talking about.”

Like, “Oh, that’s the best time for you to be working out.” Well, that’s the best time for you to be working out, I would prefer doing it later on if I didn’t have such a crazy schedule. What are your thoughts on how do you find the right way to go about doing your habit?

I tried to pose a million different questions that will help shed a light on different aspects of people’s personalities so that they get a sense of how to think about what kind of habits will work for them, what approach?

The example that you just gave is an excellent example of one of the best questions that you can ask yourself is, when have I succeeded in the past? When have I done this well?

Because if you look back and you’re like, “Well you know what, I’m not that excited about exercising early in the morning, but when I’ve done it in the past, I’ve been really much, much more consistent.”

It’s like, “Well then that seems to be the habit that works for you.” Maybe part of the reason that you like exercising in the afternoon is that you let yourself up to hook a lot more. You bring in the loophole, I have a whole chapter on loopholes.

Or you might say to yourself, “Look, if I look at it, I might think that I’m missing a lot of exercise but actually I’m more consistent doing it in the afternoon when I feel more into it, when I feel more energetic.

I actually do a better job in the afternoon than I do in the morning, even though it seems like the morning makes more sense, for me I actually do a better job.” Really think about when have you done it in the past?

A lot of people are like, “I have this roommate in college and we did XYZ.” Okay, well, what was different about it then? Or, “Before my kid went to school, I did XYZ.” Okay, well, what was different then?

Because there’s a lot of clues in there about you specifically when you think about your own past because as circumstances change, maybe it’s that your gym used to be right across the street from your office so it was so much more convenient and that’s what made you go.

Maybe you went with a friend and that sense of accountability or that fun made you go. Maybe you went to a huge gym that had tons of options and so you never got bored and you always felt like you could choose what you wanted to go and that helped you go.

There’s all different factors that could influence whether someone found it easier or harder to keep their habit of exercise. An important clue is, when have you succeeded and when have you failed?

Yeah. That was definitely the deciding factor for me was knowing I have done this successfully. I didn’t care for it, but I’ve been successful at it and that’s what’s worked out.

The morning works better for you. Usually morning is good for people because it’s more regular, it’s more predictable, and things haven’t had a time to crop up, but just because it works for most people doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everybody.

Absolutely. It is the smartest choice for me, because of the way things happen in a day. I mean it could be a fantastic day and I definitely want to go out exercise. It could be a horrible day and it’s the last thing I can even think about. Talk about the four different personality styles or different styles. I absolutely know which one I am.

Excellent! I’ll describe them and then I want to hear about you. I love hearing about people talking about their tendencies. These are the four tendencies. I’m going to describe them where most people can get it just off of the brief description, but there is a quiz on my site for people who want to quiz which will tell you an answer.

I developed this framework because as I was studying habits, I was very struck by the unspoken assumption in just about everything I read that we all have the same aptitude for forming habits and we all have the same attitude towards habits. That just seemed to me obviously incorrect.

It’s clear that some people find it easier or harder to form habits than most people. Some people love habits, some people hate habits. Then there’s also a few in between.

How do you measure people against each other? How do you create a framework for understanding the patterns that we see? This thing almost melted my brain, it was so hard to grasp. I realized that when it comes to habits, people fell into four very striking patterns. I divided all of humanity into four.

It has to do with how you meet and you respond to the idea of an expectation. We all have outer expectations that’s like a work deadline or request from a spouse coming from the outside. Then we also have inner expectations, our own desire to keep a New Year’s resolution, our own desire to start playing guitar again. It’s an inner expectation.

There are upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels.

Upholders readily meet outer and inner expectation alike. They meet a work deadline, they keep a New Year’s resolution without much fuss. They want to know what’s expected of them and to make that expectation, but their expectation for themselves is just as important as the expectations of others.

Then our questioners. Questioners question all expectations. They’ll do something if they think it makes sense. They hate anything arbitrary or irrational or inefficient. They want to know, “Why am I listening to you anyway while you get to tell me what to do?”

Once they decide that they’ve accepted an expectation then they have no trouble following through with it. In a way, they make everything an inner expectation because they have to endorse it before they meet it.

Then obligers. Obligers readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectations. My insight into this came from a friend who said to me at lunch one day, “You know I’d be happier if I exercise and I can’t.

The weird thing is when I was in high school, I was on the track team and I never miss track practice, so why can’t I go running now?” I thought, “Well why not? Same person, same behavior. At one time it’s effortless, now she can’t do it. Look at her past. What’s different?” I realized she’s an obliger.

When she had a coach and a team waiting for her or a like a boss or a deadline or a trainer or some form of external accountability, when she had an outer expectation, no trouble. But when it’s only her own inner expectation, then she struggles.

Then the final category are rebel. Rebels resist all expectation, outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want do in their own way. If you ask or tell them to do something, they’re very likely to resist. They don’t even like to tell themselves what to do.

Like if they think, “I’m going to take … I always wanted to learn how to woodwork, I’ll take a woodworking class at 2:00 on Saturday.” Then they’ll be like, “I’m not going to woodworking class at 2:00 on Saturday. I’m not going to buy-in myself.

No one can tell me what to do.” They don’t even want to tell themselves what to do. These are the four tendencies. Now, come on Chris, what are you?

No doubt I’m a questioner.

You are?


Why did that ring through?

See, here’s one thing. We deal a lot of personality styles and we deal a lot with values as well. Something about me is I’m what’s called a high economic. I am huge about having a return on my investment.

For me, I question things consistently of, what’s the value here? I will absolutely pour my life out to change somebody’s life in our of our events or in something or just a conversation with somebody who’s going through something painful, but if I’m talking to somebody who is not going to do anything with the information, I’m done, I don’t want to do this. I do that. I question stuff all that time.

There’s so many things I could be doing with my energy and that’s right now and it’s slam time, is this something I should be doing? What I do know, oh absolutely, okay, go. I have no problem whatsoever.

But I feel like I’m also a quasi obliger to an extent. I feel like I’m definitely a questioner but also an obliger in some aspects, from the external, meaning the outer expectations. As I read through that, I was laughing at myself going, “Yup, that is definitely me.”

It’s true that we all have a little bit of questioner because nobody likes to do something that’s totally irrational or that’s arbitrary. We all want to be mindful of our energy and our time and everything.

Also, we all have this phenomenon called reactants which is if people, if we feel too controlled, if we like people are telling us too much what to do, then we push back. All of us, most people, external accountability is something that people feel aware of and that makes it, you know, is an influence on their behavior.

The tendencies really are like, what is your impulse? What’s your first instinct? What’s your default? Why do you do what you do? Because we can’t look at somebody from the outside and know what their tendency is in manners because you can have people do the same thing from all four different tendencies framework but their thinking about it would be wildly different.

Let’s say are you actually a questioner or are you actually an obliger? This matters for habits because for a questioner, if a questioner needs to stick to habits, usually the thing that they need is more justification.

They need to really accept the fact that this is the thing that’s going to make the difference. I’m listening to you because I trust your judgment and I respect your authority. I’m doing it this way because this is the right way, this is the efficient way. I’ve done my research. I’ve read up on it.

Now, if I’m taking a drug, I’m taking it at this dosage at this time and it’s this brand and I’m listening to this doctor. The obliger, very different thing needs to be plugged in. For an obliger, the key if they have an inner expectation that they’re having trouble meeting, the key isn’t more information the way it is for questioners.

The key is external accountability. Obligers needs external accountability in order to meet an inner expectation.

In my case no, I’m not.

Yeah. That’s the crucial thing. If you feel like, “Oh, I can meet other …” Like a very obliger thing to say, “Promises to other people can’t be broken, but promises to yourself can be broken.” I was like, “That’s an obliger way of thinking about things.”

The secret is make a promise to someone else for something that’s our own inner expectation. It’s been hilarious to hear the brilliant ingenious strategies that obligers come up with to give themselves outer accountability for inner expectations. They’re ingenious and it works and then they have no trouble meeting it.

Do you have an example off the top of your head?

Oh, I’ve got a million. One of my favorites, I thought this was hilarious. This was a woman who lived alone and wanted to get up at 8:15 in the morning. You think, how can you create an outer accountability for getting up in the morning when you are by yourself?

What she did is she used Hootsuite to make a really embarrassing Facebook post. Then, that post everyday automatically at 8:15 unless she gets up in advance and disables it. That’s really ingenious.

I talked to two people, they were two friends at work and they both had been commiserating about the fact that they’ve just ate fast food for lunch everyday and they kept vowing to start bringing in a healthy lunch pack at home and they would save money and be healthier but then they never did.

They just never could do it, never could do it. They decided what they would do is they would do a salad swap. Half the days, one would cook and half the days the other friend would cook. When they would do it, one would have to cook or the other wouldn’t have anything to eat.

When the other friend cooked, the other had to eat because her friend had gone to all this trouble to make lunch. The obliger said, “The thing is, I could never justify shopping and looking up healthy recipes,” and all this one, it was just for me because I’m like, “Oh no, I’ll just pick up something at work tomorrow.”

But when they knew that someone is expecting me to bring lunch, then they felt completely justified and looking through recipes and going to buy the right ingredients and it’s actually fun but I could just never get myself to do it. That again is, by using outer expectations. A lot of times people use coaches, right? 

All kinds of coaches, because coaches hold you accountable and that is a great thing. Now, sometimes people don’t want to pay for a coach or they want to do something different. What you can do is use an accountability group.

There’s a starter kit on my site to give you ideas for how to start a group. The people in the group don’t have to be holding each other accountable to the same aim. It’s like, you don’t all have to be trying to exercise. It’s the accountability.

Everybody could be working on different stuff but the idea is we’re going to get together and hold each other accountable. A lot of times, people form accountability partners. The only problem with this is if one person loses interest or wanders off or gets distracted, then the other person is left hanging.

Many obligers who’ve tried this have said to me, “I get really frustrated because over and over, I get into it and then the person lets me down and I then I just crash to a halt.” If you have a group, there’s more energy and consistency to a group.

If a couple people wander off, we may be able to get a couple of people to join and it’s fun to be part of a group. There’s just an energy and you get ideas from being part of a group. People do this on Facebook. You can meet face to face. There’s all different ways to do it. It’s just this idea that someone’s looking over your shoulder.

With the different types, are there some that are better? I assume yours is because I believe if I remember correctly, you’re an upholder. Are there some that are better at creating habits?

Well, it’s interesting. It definitely is the case that upholders. They tend to have very positive associations with habits. They really love habits and they do find it pretty easy to form habits. It comes pretty easily to them.

The other tendencies, it can also be easy depending on if they go about it in the way that takes advantage of the strength of their tendency because all these tendencies have strengths and weaknesses. So, the challenge for each of us is to take advantage of the strengths and counterbalance the weaknesses so we can get ourselves to the place we would want to be.

A questioner can have no trouble forming habits but they have to get themselves into that place like you described of inner buy-in. They have to really power buy-in to it and then they’ve had to problem, so then they would find it easy to form a habit once they’re convinced.

Obligers, once they have that external accountability, similarly, they are incredibly consistent. Rebels can also form habits but they have to do it in the rebel spirit which means tying it to their identity and their sense of authenticity and also the sense of themselves choosing to do something.

I find that for me, if it has to do with muscle memory, I can do it in a heartbeat. If it’s something that I can very quickly go, “Oh, if I create this habit, I don’t have to think about that thing,” done. That is super easy. I don’t even have to do a ton of research on that.

But it is so funny because there are so many things that I will spend hours researching, is this the absolute best thing depending upon the value of it in my life, then create that habit going forward.

In fact, you’re pointing out something that is often questioners find to be an issue that they have to grapple with which is sometimes they can drain themselves or drain other people by doing too much research.

One questioner said, “Well, I get analysis paralysis where I want perfect information,” but often the world doesn’t give us perfect information or it’s just too much time to be devoting to something.

If you’re a questioner or you’re managing a questioner your round one, it can help to say something like, “We need to make a decision by the end of the week,” or “You can interview five people but not ten people,” or “This is what works for that team, we’re going to do that.

We’re not going to question it any further because they’ve had a good experience with it is as much research as we need.” Because it can be draining, too much questioning.

Both for the questioners themselves and also for the people around who sometimes are like, “Man, we made this decision. It is time to move on.” The questioner’s like, “Wait a minute. There’s lots that we haven’t considered.”

We’ve got a ton of leaders. We got about forty percent of our audience is entrepreneurs, about forty percent are leaders. Leading people in the different types, in leadership, obviously, you have to set expectations.

If you’re going to have incredible communication, one of the greatest things you have to do is set clear expectations. How do you know? Like, do you set the expectations for your team members differently? How would you do that?

This is a very important question because let’s say you’re managing a rebel. They often like a challenge and they like having something like, “You Chris, you’ve got the chops to do this. Show me what you can do. You’ve got six months, blow me away.” Then they can do it in their own way.

The more you try to micromanage them, the more you ignite their spirit of resistance. A lot of times, rebels need something, like they need the energy of having something to push against. “You’re telling me to do this?

Well, I’m going to tell you what, I’m going to do it my own way and it’s going to be better and I’m going to ignore all your instructions, but here I’m going to go off and do it.” That’s one with rebels.

Now, I should note that rebel is by far the smallest tendency. Very, very few people are rebels. Obliger is the largest tendency. Most people are obligers. Questioners close behind. Those are the two. Rebels and upholders are like the extreme wings. They’re very small number of people in there.

Obliger, it’s very important for managers to understand this. There is a pattern among obligers of obliger rebellion, where obligers will meet, meet, meet, meet, meet expectations and then all of a sudden it’s like they snap and they will put their foot down and almost arbitrarily refuse to do something.

This can be real problem in the workplace because sometimes it’s small and funny, but sometimes it can be very, very destructive.The thing about obligers is they feel like other people take advantage of them, and they are correct. In fact, the other two tendencies definitely exploit obligers.

Everybody does. Because if you want somebody to do something for you, you’re going to go to the person who’s going to most likely to say yes. An upholder’s going to be like, “I’m sorry I can’t help you out. I got my own deadline.”

The questioner’s like, “Why should I help you?” The rebel’s like, “I don’t feel like doing that.” The obligers, they’re amazing team members. They’re amazing bosses. They’re the rock of the world.

I know somebody who was managing an obliger and he said everybody wanted this woman on their team because she made everything look good. He said at her annual review, he said, “You’re doing too much work too well, and I mean that as a sincere criticism.”

What can happen with obligers is they can get to the point of rebellion and then you get this extreme resentment. You get burn out. You’re going to get destructive behaviors like people just often quitting, people just dropping the ball. Like, “I can’t do anything.

I can’t do it, so instead of dealing with the fact that I have too much work, I’m just going to let something completely slide, and maybe not tell you about it because I feel bad about the fact that I’m not meeting an expectation, so I’m just going to drop this ball.”

When are we going to figure out the consequences of that? 

The exact wrong time.

Exactly. If you manage an obliger or you are an obliger, you want to look for burnout. You want to look for resentment. You want to look for people taking advantage of them, and build in safety measures. “I know how many vacation days you’re taking and I expect you to take all of them.

I see that somebody’s added you to their team, that is their problem, not your problem. You got your own problems. I don’t want to see you helping these people. Everybody’s going to do their copy on this report.” Whatever it is to help them build in those limitations so that they can do their great work.

You really would, as a manager or as a leader, want to be thinking about how to speak in the language. Probably you have a little bit of everything.

If you want to get people on board, you need to provide ample justification and take the time to answer questions. Sometimes that can feel like someone’s undermining your authority or questioning your judgment, but a questioner just needs to have those reasons in order to get on board.

The obliger needs external accountability. Now, I have to say as an upholder, I was just talking to an upholder leader and a problem with being an upholder leader is that we don’t like to have to hold other people accountable.

We feel like everybody should be like us and just do what’s expected of them without any really reminders or supervision. That’s not very realistic, by the way, upholders. Most people are not like that.

He said that it was very hard for him to manage people who were not like him. Very few people are like him. He’s managing mostly people who are not like him and so even though it went against his nature to have things like deadlines and supervisory meetings and check-ins and all those kind of thing, it was important because that’s what he needed to do in order to lead his team and to get the best work out of that team.

Now, if it was rebel, that kind of stuff could backfire. You really do have to know what you’re dealing with.

Makes sense. I can totally see that. As an upholder, do you believe that rules are made for a reason and they should be followed?

That is my instinct. My instinct is to accept a rule and my instinct is to follow it. That is one of the great weaknesses of upholders is they too readily follow the rules and meet expectations.

That can get us into trouble in a lot of different ways. With age and wisdom, hopefully all of us can counterbalance the negatives with tendency.

I’m married to a questioner. My husband’s a questioner. That’s been really helpful for me because it’s just a model of like even if my impulse is to do it, I can stop myself and say … I have to take a step.

It doesn’t happen automatically but I have to take a step and say, “Wait a minute. I don’t have to do that. I’m a grown-up. I can choose what I do. Do I want to do that or not?” For you, that’s probably the first thing you think. That’s just flying out of your head.

I have to remind myself to take that step. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to do it or else I’d spend a lot of time meeting expectations that I don’t need to or in the end I wish I hadn’t bothered to.

Right. All right. So much on good habits, so much on bad habits, that I would love to ask. I guess the question to jump in that direction is, is there a more important way to go about it? Is it more important to create good habits or more important to change bad habits?

That’s interesting. In my book, I identified twenty-one strategies that we can use to master our habits. We use the same twenty-one strategies whether we’re making them or breaking them, because usually with a habit, you could put it either way.

You can say, “Well, I’m going to quit sugar,” or “I’m going to start eating more healthily.” “I’m going to stop staying up late,” or “I’m going to go to bed early.” That’s one of the distinctions that I draw that it can help people to know, do you gravitate more to something where you’re going to get a benefit?

We’re you framing it as a positive? Or do you gravitate more to it, does it have more power for you if you think about how you’re all setting a potential negative because people respond differently.

I don’t think the making or the breaking is the key thing, but I think it’s what it is, is to have very clearly in your mind what exactly it is that you want to change? What are you expecting of yourself?

Then go through all the twenty-one strategies and think, how can I use every possible strategy to help me make this important change? Because sometimes with habits, people would say things like, “I want to get rid of the habit being so stressed out.” What does that even mean?

I mean, they can get stressed out because they have conflict with their boss. They can be stressed out because they can’t pay their bills. They can be stressed out because they have a horrible work community. They can be stressed out because their refrigerator’s on the blink.

They can be stressed out because they are having a fight with a friend. They can be stressed out because … There’s a million reasons you could be stressed out, but just saying you’re stressed out doesn’t suggest a solution.

If you say to yourself, “I’m stressed out because I really know that I need to switch careers and I just haven’t taken any steps.” Okay, that’s something that can be addressed like behavior. We can work on that. What would the habits be that will help you switch careers? “I want the habit of networking.

I want the habit of doing consistent research even though it makes me anxious to do this.” Use the habit of scheduling. Use the habit of monitoring. Use the strategy of other people. There are strategies that you can use.

It’s really about knowing exactly what you want to change and then thinking about strategies that can help you do that because I think for a lot of people, there’s a lot of stuff … It’s not rocket science, like you read it and you’re like, “Oh man, I totally know about that.” It just hadn’t occurred to you to use it.

You’ve described the strategies, is there a best time to begin creating or changing?

The best time to begin is now. Yes. I mean, you don’t want to pick a bad time, like when you got the flu. Most times when we think, “Well, you know I’m going to start in the fall because then everybody will be back on schedule. I’m going to start in the summer because everything’s going to come down.

I’m going to start after the holidays.” I mean, you can do this all year long for decade after decade. That’s tomorrow logic which is to think that for some reason, it’s going to be easier tomorrow. Tomorrow Chris. Tomorrow Gretchen. They are going to have an easy time with this.

But tomorrow, as little orphan Annie says, “Tomorrow is always a day away,” so really, you want to begin now.

We experienced two New Years. I’m assuming you experienced that as well. There’s always the January 1st as a New Year. Everybody’s changing. Everybody’s trying to create habits. I think eighty percent are dropped within the first couple of weeks or something like that.

We see that a ton. We like to say it’s after Labor Day, but once your kids get into school, you have let go during the summer. You’ve done whatever and now it’s, “All right. I’m going to get back on track.” It’s so funny because it’s like if you were doing the habit in the first place, there wouldn’t be another New Year.

There wouldn’t be New Years, it would just be a process as you go along. That’s one of those things that is always so apparent in our business but it’s something that I try to battle in my own life. Don’t get stuck to the same way that everybody else does it.

Keep your habits going forward so that you don’t have to solve a health problem because you’ve destroyed yourself through Christmas. What if habits of other people affect you in a negative way? What do you there?

That’s a hugely important topic. One of the strategies of the twenty-one strategies is called the strategy of other people, because as your question rightly points out, other people have enormous influence on our habits and we have enormous influence on other people’s habits.

Even sometimes with the drive-by comment. I was very struck when I talked about my own habits and talked to people about their habits. Sometimes people would just make an offhand comment or be like, “Oh yeah, I read this is interesting book.” People will just pick it up and run with it.

This stuff is coming to you all the time and of course you are very much influenced by the habits of the people around you. It’s hard when they’re not helpful.

Sometimes they’re not helpful because they’re not being helpful. Sometimes they’re actually undermining, because your new good habit could cause other people to feel uneasy. It could make them feel judged because you’ve changed what you’re doing.

You’re doing something different from them. It might make them feel guilty because they know they should make that change but they haven’t, and so they feel bad. It makes them feel bad to think about what you’re doing. It might be inconvenient for them.

They’re like, “You know, now that you’re getting up and going for a run at 9 a.m. on Saturday, I got to get breakfast for the kids. I actually prefer to sleep in so I don’t want you to exercise in the morning.” You know what I mean? All these things come into play.

I think the best response is a different strategy which is the strategy of clarity. The strategy of clarity comes back to this idea that the more clearly we know what we’re asking for results and why, the easier it is when other people aren’t supportive. It still matters.

It’s still hard and you really want to be very aware of what people are doing and how that could be influencing you, but you want to be very clear. Then there’s the strategy of safeguards which is thinking about failure.

What happens if you slip up? How are you going to get back in the saddle? How are you going to avoid slipping up? What’s you’re if-then planning?

Let’s say you know you’re going to work and you don’t want to eat sugar anymore, and you have a co-worker who you know is just like, my sister calls this the evil doughnut bringer. The person who’s constantly bringing in treats and trying to get people to eat them.

What are you going to say to that person? You might say to that person, “Oh you know that looks great but not right now. It’s not that I never eat, I’m just not going to have one right now.” The person says, “Oh come on, you lost so much weight.

Life’s too short not to eat a cupcake. What? You’re scared to eat one cupcake?” What are you going to say? Have a plan in your mind, like what are you going to say to that person? What’s your response going to be?

When you have that plan in your head, then you’re much better able to figure out what to do in the heat of the moment. A lot of the things that people say or do, it’s predictable. Like, we know how Aunt Sally is going to behave. We know how our husband or wife, what they’re going to do.

We can think about it in advanced, how can I take that into account? How can I have a plan?

I love it. That was something that was a difficult thing for me when I was in the much larger corporate workplace, some people bringing in stuff and it’s like, “Please stop. I don’t want this.” Then it’s that one time that you actually do want it, they’re like, “Oh, you haven’t wanted it up till now.”

Yeah. It’s funny because you mentioned I have a podcast now, Happier With Gretchen Rubin, and I deal with my sister who’s a TV writer. TV writers, I mean, oh my gosh you cannot believe the food. Like it’s in their contract.

I think they have this giant store of goodies and you just get anything you want, plus people are bringing stuff in all the time. My sister is a Type I diabetic so for her this stuff really matters. She said, like she just has to say to people like, “I’m not going to eat it. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want you to bring it in. You’re not doing me any favors. Don’t kid yourself.”

The thing about the podcast is a lot of people responded saying, “Oh my gosh that’s so mean. You’re so selfish.” Like, “I bring in those doughnuts and everybody loves it.” It’s just like, “Do you really think that you’re …” I mean, you think you’re making people happier because they’re all crowding around and getting excited and eating the cupcakes, but in the longer, is that making them happier and healthier?

In the long run, is that really what they want? Sometimes a happier, healthier, more productive life means that we have to say no to ourselves in the moment or deny ourselves something. I mean, that is just the fact.

The people in the organization and of course the organization itself, the rules of the organizations can have tremendous influence on your habits because of the kind of stuff that they put in place. That’s the strategy of convenience and inconvenience too.

We’re much more likely to do something that’s convenient. We’re much less likely to do something that’s inconvenient. If your office puts in a gym, that’s good. If they put in a giant candy dispenser where you can go up anytime of the day or night and help pour yourself a giant bag of candy without even measuring it, that’s not good.

All these decisions, they’re all acting on you all day long.

It’s so difficult when so many people get validation or get self-worth by, you know, “Let me include you in this,” and “Oh, you enjoyed it? You liked it?” The person who’s saying no is a bad person.

If you were to go back to a young Gretchen, what is the one thing that you would tell her?

Well, I have twelve personal commandments. My first commandment is to be Gretchen. That’s what I would tell my younger self because we can build a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own interest, our own temperament, our own values.

When I think back, it’s when I know most what I want, what’s true for me, what’s true for Gretchen. Not my fantasy self. Not what other people wish I were like. Not what I assume is true or what I actually know is true about me and for me. That’s when I’ve made the decisions that made me happiest.

Absolutely. I love it. We have barely scratched into this thing and gotten some pretty phenomenal information. It’s such great stuff. How can people get more of you? How can they get the book? How can they get more of you?

On my site,, you can find out more about habits and happiness than you would ever want to know. I have links to buy my books, to my podcast, Happy With Gretchen Rubin. I’ve got all kinds of resources for discussion guides and checklist and how to start a group and all these things and more.

Then I post there almost everyday something about my adventures and happiness habits and human nature. I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and YouTube and LinkedIn, all that, under my name Gretchen Rubin.

There’s way more than anybody would ever want to see. I love to hear from people. I love to hear your own experiences, your habits, what’s worked for you, what’s not worked for you, your challenges, what you’ve done for your happiness. I love hearing from people.

Thank you so much for doing this. It is such a pleasure to have you on and it is so great getting information to help people that are out there trying to lead their lives, lead their teams, and obviously lead the businesses as well.

Thanks for coming and doing this!

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Life After LifePlan – Part 2 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 12:01:02 +0000

If you listened to part 1 of our Life After LifePlan podcast episode, then you are in for a treat on today’s podcast! Don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it. You can always go back and listen to it here.

Also, be sure to grab today’s download and find out if your relationships are toxic or healthy. download-buttonIf you have listened to me long enough, then you have probably heard me talk about Marybeth a gajillion times. For those of you who don’t know, Marybeth was my personal assistant for six years. And when I say personal assistant, I mean she pretty much ran my life!

Marybeth recently went through her LifePlan, and had some amazing revelations that we wanted to share with you guys.

It’s taken a while to get in here for the LifePlan. Why did it take so long to come in?

Well, there were a couple reasons. First was just baby land, which is where I lived.I have been busy. Our youngest is now  almost 18 months. 

The other reason really kind of went away, because I was getting to the point where I’m like I just really want to come in and do this. After Joel did his LifePlan, and we talked so much about some of the stuff.

I was just, I don’t know if intimidated is the right word, but it’s you, we have this relationship. We’ve had this great relationship, great friendship for 11 years now. You are an incredibly safe person for me to be around, and I can share anything with you, but there are still these things about me and those deep dark places…

To have a really good LifePlan, you have to be willing to be vulnerable and open up and share things. That’s still hard to do, or at least I imagined it was going to be hard to do.

Amazingly when life plan came around, it was not nearly so, but I was ready for the tears, ready for the, “this is going to be so dramatic”. It wasn’t. I was hesitant because I had these things inside that I just didn’t want to talk about and I didn’t want to be vulnerable about.

This is the toughest thing for me because I’ve had close friends that have come through. It’s tough because of two things: one, I know you so well. There’s very little hiding, because I know a person so well, but the great thing about that is there is no judgment, it’s a free place to be.

It’s all about how great do I want my life to be on the other side of this as opposed to what can I hold back on. I’ve had a lot of close friends that have come through that it’s been tough, because I know more about them.

I’m able to get to those places that are a little bit more painful that also turn out to be insanely freeing. I also have to shift into I can’t be friend mode. I have to be here to walk you through this process and guide you through it. It’s difficult.

Going into it, like you just shared, probably the thing that held you back, other than the schedule was having to be vulnerable. Once you got in here, what was that like? What did that turn into?

It was easy. It really was. You ease into it, and so even though I think I was coming in with my guard up a little bit, I was like, “I really do want to do this, and I just need to just put my guard down”.

At the same time there’s this discomfort. Then we’re just talking and we ease into LifePlan. It’s not a big deal, and as long as I’m willing to be honest with you, we are able to talk about some things that were challenging.

Let’s dig into a little bit of that if you’re ready to get vulnerable again, for all the people that are listening. There are so many people going through what you’ve gone through and experiencing this and thinking, “Gosh, I want to change my life, I need change in my life but I’m afraid to go get change.”

As you’ve gone through the process, obviously we always say the first day is the emotional day. We’re not going to lay you down on the couch and talk to you like a psychiatrist. We do go through very intense, emotional stuff, but our goal is not to sit there and live in it.

Our goal is to get to the information, pull it forward and not show the “what”. That’s where so many people focus is they focus on is the “what”. We blow past the what to the why.

We go heavy into the root system and find out the “why”. Why did that happen. Why did these people do this. Why did I experience this in life. Why have I felt this way forever?

Let me ask you, what was the greatest revelation that you’ve received going through LifePlan?

Without a doubt, it was the truths and the lies, and really I would say the lies. I had a belief system filled with a lot of lies. I would say probably my biggest one that overarched everything was that perfection, or at least very near perfection, was where I needed to be.

If I didn’t make it then I was a complete failure. There was no middle ground. There was no grace. It was just I’m either perfect or I’m a failure, and if I’m a failure, I’m therefore not lovable, I’m not valuable, I’m not worthy.

I filtered so much information through those lies and it ended up taking over my life in a sense.

Did that lead to freedom by knowing that?

Yeah, it’s crazy! I’m not a failure.

There were certain aspects that you looked at and said, “This is happening, I’m a failure,” or, “Because I’m feeling this, I’m a failure.”

I would say overall that was just how I viewed anything. In things with my relationship with Joel, it would be like if I did something or said something, or I didn’t meet these expectations I had in my head of like, “Well, Joel’s coming home and dinner should be ready and the house should be clean,” like I’m a ’50s housewife or something.

Seriously, I had these expectations in my head, and I would feel frustrated and then it would turn from frustration into failure pretty quickly.

Especially if it was like okay, that was the day that some business stuff didn’t go well with piano, and that was the day that the kids were just crazy, but they were probably kind of crazy because I was trying to focus on some piano stuff.

Then the house didn’t get done, and it’s like everything would compound, and then at the end of the day I would be like, “Oh for the love of all that is good and right.” I would just become such a frustrated person, and it was all because my perspective was just jacked up.

I think the craziest thing, now, is I think I judged myself more than anybody else judged me, but I would just assume other people were judging me.

It’s funny, we were actually talking earlier, Joel would make these comments from time to time. For example, and I can share this, I know, but we were having breakfast the other morning and he chose not to have a waffle because he just didn’t want the calories, so he says.

Meanwhile, I had just eaten a waffle, and so pre‐LifePlan, when he would make a comment like that, I would be like, “My husband thinks I’m fat. He thinks I make bad choices about food, he thinks he’s so much better.” All Joel was thinking is, “I think I’d rather have eggs this morning.”

It has nothing to do with me, but because I have all these lies that I’m filtering what is said through these lies. I would take it completely different than how it was meant.

Is it also possible because somewhere back in your past is somebody who would judge you or somebody who would tell you things about yourself? You line that up, you get this training in your brain and these things that are lies from somebody else, it becomes a broken belief system, and you’re stuck with it.

How freeing is that on the other side to realize, and what’s the process? When you hear that now, what’s the process that you go through in your brain?

It’s funny, because it came up because he made a comment like that after LifePlan, and I just started laughing. I think he was confused for a minute maybe, but I was like, “Okay, so pre-­‐LifePlan,” and I love that he’s gone through this and that the facilitates this, because he totally understands.

I’m like, “Pre-­‐LifePlan, when you would say things like this, and this is what I would hear. You, I did not like in those moments.” It was so funny, because he’s like, “Wow, I was just talking about this about me,” he’s like, “I had no idea.”

It’s so difficult until you know, and Joel is phenomenal at doing this, and he does an incredible job of walking people through this, but until you pull that out, even a guy who lives and breathes this stuff, until you know it doesn’t matter.

I tell spouses all the time when they come through, like if a spouse sits in on somebody else’s LifePlan. I say, “I don’t care how many times you tell them,” because they’ll say to me, “I told them that a thousand times,” I’m like, “Did it work?” No, of course not, because you’re telling them the what.

It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them the what, if they still don’t understand the why, it doesn’t matter. It’s so difficult to go, “How come I can’t guide this person to freedom”? It’s because we’re only focusing on the what.

Now that you’ve dug down and you discovered the why, it changes everything. With that, let me ask you this, what is the most empowering thing that you learned through LifePlan?

Gaining perspective on what has caused me to become this way and what influences have been in my life and how I’ve gotten to this point of believing the things that I do.

With that perspective, I can say, “okay, well I’m not this horrible person for believing these things; this is just how I was trained to be.” Now going forward, I know this and I can choose to view things differently. You can’t just choose to see things differently when you don’t know. 

I needed LifePlan; I needed to really dig down to the why, to my root system to get that perspective.

The important thing to understand is, people say, “Well why can’t you just change?” I hear that all the time. “Why do you need to understand your root system, why can’t you just change your decision? You can make any decision you want.” You literally make your decisions based on what you know.

Based on training, based on information, based on influence. Here’s what I see almost every single time. I see people, and since you’re a music teacher, I see people grow up one way, have influence one way, and do a pendulum swing to the other side and say I am not going to be that way, and go all the way to the other side and do the same exact thing from a different direction.

If they have a controlling parent they become incredibly lenient, if they have a submissive parent, they become incredibly controlling. Those are just examples, there’s a ton of stuff, a ton of decision-­‐making processes, but it basically still comes down to the same thing.

As long as you don’t understand why those things happen in your life, why those influencers did what they did, why they taught you, why they said, why they lied to you, whatever, it still is virtually impossible to make great decisions on things in your life.

Now that you’ve been through this process, you’ve discovered a lot, you discovered perspective, you discovered the influences in your life, you discovered how to make greater decisions with greater perspective, and you’ve unlocked all of these pieces.

How does it change the way, you’re a mom of two tiny kids, how does it change your perspective, how does it change the way you view your kids, motherhood, all of that?

Freeing, oh my word. I love my kids, I wanted them to feel loved, and it stressed me out to ever feel like what if I’m doing something and they don’t feel loved? That controlled my parenting. Now, I’m just like okay, I do love my kids and I show them that I love them, but it helps me to not be controlled by them.

My darling Josiah, he was already learning how to manipulate mom, but, and it was frustrating because I wanted to make sure that he felt loved but when he would get fussy then it was challenging for me.

I was like, he’s whining, he’s fussy, this isn’t acceptable, but at the same time, I don’t know how to respond to him in a loving, kind way and resolve the situation. Whereas now, I’m just like, bust it out baby.

If that’s the choice you want to make, that’s the choice you can make, but you’re not getting away with what you’re fussing about. Now I’m like okay, you can make your choices and those are your choices and here are those consequences. You can’t control mom any more.

Instead now, you give him options. There are consequences for good, and there are consequences for bad. You can choose, but instead of getting your self worth from parenting, your confidence from parenting, instead you’re looking at more of I need to raise adults instead of kids.

We’ve had a lot of women that have come through the process. Some still had reservations about sharing this information with a guy? What is it going to be like to talk in front of a guy about some of these things?

First of all, there’s no judgment, so I think that’s a huge thing. I think that also I think when you’re willing to be vulnerable and open up and know that you’re not going to be judged, it really, I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter.

I know that hearing that, somebody’s going to be like, yes it does, but in seriousness, it’s going to be so freeing. It’s going to be so worth it to just talk about that, open up, be vulnerable and get through that. There is freedom on the other side.

That, for me, I have been through so much crap in my life, and I’ve experienced so much in life, which is obviously why I do what I do, that judgment is pointless for me in these situations. I always tell people coming in, if I’m getting my needs met by you, I shouldn’t be doing this.

My goal is to help you get all of your needs met and discovery and perspective and all that. I think that’s the thing that I do want everybody to know is that there is no judgment in this process.

There isn’t anything that I’ve heard, and the funny thing is I’ve had people that have tried to, it’s not that they tried to shock me, it’s that they thought, “Okay, I’m going to share this right now, and you’re going to be shocked.” I’ve even had people say that, and it’s like nope, no shock here.

The reason why is every single person has gone through something, some level of something. Some have just gone through so much more, so that there’s no point in judging. The judging is what people do, I say focusing on that surface level, the what. You focus on the what, you judge on the what.

The what is not the problem, the what is the outward expression or inward expression of the struggles from not knowing the why.

What would you say to anyone out there who is sitting there, thinking, “Is this something I should do? Is this something I should experience? Can I feel safe going and doing this and can I trust in the outcome?”

Yes, you can do it. Yes, you should do it! The freedom on the other side of it is so worth it. Not everybody’s going to have the same experiences that I’ve had, and so for me, my freedom was huge and freedom from judgment and a lot of that was even just self-­‐judgment.

That was probably one of the biggest things in my life plan that I gained freedom, and I’m able to go forward and have a better life and make better decisions. I think other people are going to have other things that they’re going to have freedom from, but it is worth it.

Do it!

Folks, hopefully that helps. That is something that we want you to hear, we want you to understand that our goal is to change your life, our goal is to help you find freedom, our goal is to help you live without the lies, live without the judgment.

Stop telling yourself so many lies, and that I think is something that we discover in so many people’s LifePlans, and Marybeth’s as well, is that so many of the lies are ones that come from you. Living without that, living, not telling yourself that junk, is complete freedom.

If you would like more information on  LifePlan, click here and signup today to get more information. All you have to do is fill out the information and Joel Fortner will be the one contacting you.

He will contact you, he will tell you anything you need to hear, give you all the information you need to make a decision to come and do this right now, but make the choice to do it now.

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5 Essential Leadership Questions Wed, 30 Sep 2015 00:55:34 +0000 PODCAST GRAPHICS

We just wrapped up our Next-Level LIVE Event for our Coaching and Mastermind clients (we open some seats to the public and they go quickly!) and it was AWESOME! We have three events scheduled for next year.

This is where our clients come together with like-minded individuals to grow their leadership, their business, their team, and strengthen their community!

While the teaching is always powerful, (eh-hem…duh!) the greatest comments are usually about how wonderful it is to get out of their businesses and usual circle of influencers to spend time with people who are experiencing EXACTLY what they are in business!

For me, the greatest thing is watching leaders and business owners experience growth in a way that they don’t get to back home.

I love it so much that I wanted to bring it to you! This episode is about the 5 Essential Leadership Questions you MUST be asking yourself to find out if you are primed for your greatest growth.

Listen and I would love for you to answer the question below.

Question: What’s keeping YOU from your greatest growth?

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The Power To Grow Tue, 22 Sep 2015 05:01:24 +0000 the-power-to-grow-podcast

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. I’d wager some big money that you’re someone who wants to grow. The fact you’re reading this tells me that!

Growth in business is something that everyone in our coaching program, or our mastermind groups is focused on. Growing themselves. Growing their revenue. Growing their leadership.

Focusing on growth is so powerful, and we’ve now been doing this with our clients for years. And the results have been staggering at times!

A key to their success is the fact they’re not alone in what they’re doing.

As I was thinking about that recently, I said to myself, “‘I need to be able to share with people the power of growing through a community.'”

Below are 3 keys to look for in a great mastermind or accountability group. 

We’ve also got a phenomenal FREE download detailing 10 things to look for with an accountability group. This is coming straight out of our groups. The things that are making our clients absolutely successful! accountability-group

We’ve talked about masterminds on The Chris LoCurto Show before, about how powerful they are, but there are some new things I want to share with you.

Network Of Challenging Minds

First off, you may be wondering what that is! Well, here you go!

A network of challenging minds is:

Like-minded individuals who are focused on pushing each other to grow themselves and others in the process in the same area (i.e. Entrepreneur, leadership, small business).

If you are not surrounded by people who are like-minded, by people who are aiming for the same goal, than how in the world are you growing you?

There Is incredible Power In Community

There are 2 aspects to community. Having it; having people around you to keep you from being isolated in your own thoughts. It’s also a community of people that are sharing the same experience.

When you have that community of people sharing the same experience, growth happens. Jim Rohn said a long time ago that, “You are the sum of the five people you hang out with the most.”

If you have 5 people that you spend most of your time with, whatever that is, whether it be work influence, whether it be family influence, whatever those influences are, the top 5 people that you hang out with, that’s your influence.

Having that community is incredibly powerful when it comes to your growth, assuming those people are healthy for you.

So why is community so important? Well first off, when you’re not surrounded by folks who are going through the same struggles you are and who are taking the same walk you are, what happens is you become isolated.

This tends to happen even if you have friends and family you spend time with because they’re not experiencing a lot of the same stuff that you are.

This means they have difficulty relating to your day-to-day issues, stressors, problems, and even successes. You can’t talk through growth, leadership challenges, goal setting, work-life balance, and all of the stuff that comes with being your own boss.

And when that happens, you become isolated, and with isolation comes being left alone to your own thoughts.

When we are left to our own thoughts, we get ourselves in trouble. You need to have folks who are walking the same path as you. It also lends to accountability.


People willing to take on the responsibility to hold others accountable to their own expectations. How they accomplish this is by not filling their own needs but by helping others to achieve theirs.  

Accountability is incredibly vital to growth.

It starts with you and asking questions like these:

“What are my expectations?” What are my goals?” What are the initiatives that will move me toward accomplishing those goals”

Once you have your expectations down, it’s time to build people into your life to help you get there.

If you get the right group, it’s nearly impossible to not achieve and grow.

As you experience life with others who are experiencing the same thing with you, it is amazing how much you grow. I can’t tell you how greatly my leadership blossomed when I started spending much more time with smart, healthy people.

A lot of the people you may have heard on the show are people I experience life with. We do things outside of business. We talk a lot of business, we share a lot of stuff on that level, but we also go to dinner together, and some of us go on vacations together.

As you share life together with folks who have a growth mindset, who are willing to hold you accountable, who have challenging minds, an amazing thing happens, you grow. And you grow exponentially.

Again, when it comes to business, if you are not growing, you are dying. Period! Every long-term, successful business succeeds by having a continuous growth mindset. Therefore, it is important to have like-minded people around you.

So these are just 3 things. Again, grab the FREE download to get all 10 things to look for when you’re pulling together an accountability group – a group of people that will help you grow. accountability-group

These are the things we do to help our clients be absolutely successful and grow like crazy.

Question: What do you suggest people look for in a mastermind or accountability group? 

Read The Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here.

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Life After LifePlan – Success Stories Part 1 Tue, 15 Sep 2015 05:01:58 +0000

We hear a lot about people saying, “We’d like to hear from more people who have experienced some of our events, LifePlan, StratPlan.” We have somebody who has been through both on today’s show.

Brent Van Haren is joining us today to talk about the impact that LifePlan and StratPlan has had on his family and business.

I wanted to talk a lot about LifePlan, but since Brent went through StratPlan as well, I wanted to know  what the experience was like for StratPlan. So I asked.

“That’s a good question. StratPlan was pretty powerful for us in our business. I think I told you afterwards in the first couple of months afterwards that it was by far the most impactful thing that I’ve been a part of in the business.

I’ve been there about 8 years. It has helped change our direction, changed our understanding of who we are. It’s really allowed us to focus on what we need to rather than just what we thought we should.”

Your dad had just gone through LifePlan. What did you experience going through that event? Obviously, the event itself was big and intense. Here you’ve got your dad that’s just a couple of days out of LifePlan. What did you see? What did you experience? What did you notice?

“I think the first thing, my dad’s a high D and raised by a Dutch farmer. Emotions aren’t really worn on the sleeve at any point. The first thing I noticed is just how open, and vulnerable, and then emotional in a really healthy way that he was for the first couple days.

That was really powerful. There was only 72 hours between the LifePlan and the StratPlan. He was still riding high on the LifePlan wave. It was intense, but immediately I realized how much I wanted to attend the LifePlan.”

You came down and did your LifePlan. What was that experience like for you?

“What was it like? It was probably, other than the birth of my daughter, as far as a 48 hour period goes, it was the most powerful 48 hours that I have had in my life. It was just so eye-opening and beneficial for me.

To be honest, it’s been about 10 months, and the longer I am away from it, the more impact it has had. It allowed me to really start to put into place some of the things that I learned.”

What would you say was the most profound thing that you learned in that process?

“There are a lot of things I learned in that process. For me, the thing that was hardest, that we spent 2 hours of you drilling into my head one morning was that I’m not responsible for other people’s well-being.

That was a hard one for me to get my head wrapped around. That took a while. My number one talent that we identified is a happiness transfer agent, conducting people on the happiness train. :-) I was able to acknowledge that that’s a real strength. I had never really looked at it that way.”

A strength because you are talented at it. It’s something that you do great! Pre-LifePlan, would you say that’s where you got self-worth?

“Yeah, it was very much a burden that I put on myself. I felt I had to make other people happy, or bringing them forward, or that it was my responsibility. It’s shaped a lot of areas in my life.”

Are you still able to use that talent now in a different way?

“I get to embrace it for what it is and not feel that it’s my responsibility. I have a brother in the business. I don’t feel like it’s my responsibility to make him happy, or to make him feel a different way. I have an impact on that, but it’s not my responsibility.”

What would happen pre-LifePlan when you were trying to make people happy, or make a person happy and it just wasn’t working? How would you feel and what would tell yourself?

“I don’t have a lot of negatives when you look at the things that put the brakes on, but that would be one of them. I felt like I had to bring someone out. Number 1, sometimes they just don’t want to be.

Number 2, it’s just not healthy how much energy I invest in trying to do that. I can’t say it was a conscious thing, but it was something that would really weigh on me. It created a lot of stress in my life.”

What other things were profound for you in the process?

“I always knew I didn’t have physical boundaries. I didn’t know that I didn’t have emotional boundaries. It ties in with that responsibility, that sense of responsibility that I had for other people’s well-being.  

I had zero boundaries in my life, and it also created a lot of stress. I’m a high D/I personality. My wife is a 99 S/C, polar opposites. My need to just do things that other people ask to make other people happy and to do whatever, created a lot of stress in our relationship.

The understanding and the ability for me to process and say, “Do I want to do something? How is that going to impact my real goals, which are, my family and my spirituality, and the other things in my life? Is this something I have to say yes to?”

It brought stress to your marriage, your relationship because would you say that you were a people-pleaser?

“I had to say, “Yes” to everything. I still struggle with it. It’s something that I’m still working on. I’m able to acknowledge it very quickly if I’ve over-committed and if we have created that stress. I know where it’s coming from. I’m able to fix it quickly.”

As an individual, would you sum it up as health? The greatest change has been your healthier emotionally? Healthier in where you get your self-worth, your self-esteem?

“Absolutely! I feel comfortable with where I get those things. I know quickly now if I’m out of line, if I just need to re-adjust.”

I think that is one of the most powerful things on the other side of LifePlan!

You have the tools to be able to go, “Ah, there it is. All right, back off of that and move forward.” I love that freedom of being able to know what it is and see what it is. Did you come in with reservations?

“There were definitely reservations. I was working myself up the day before and the morning of.  I was praying for honesty, openness, vulnerability, just wanting to make sure that I was just in the right place, that I was honest with myself. I was worried I would dodge some of the harder things if I could.”

What made it safe for you not to do that?

“You say it a lot, but I don’t think people really realize it until they get to know you that there is just zero judgement in the process. There is nothing but openness, and engagement, and sincerity. That made it easy, knowing who you are. Also, the value that I knew would come of it.”

You plugged these things into your life, but you also go back to a business that has recently gone through. Dad’s gone through LifePlan. He’s got big changes in his life.

The company has just gone through a huge event, StratPlan, big changes in the company. How do you see the business coming out of your LifePlan? How do you see it now? How has that helped?

 “It’s a lot easier for me to embrace what I do well and not get trapped in the things that I don’t do well, which has been the previous years, the last 4 years before StratPlan and LifePlan.

I didn’t really realize how much of my role was things that just aren’t natural to me. I wasn’t very effective at them and wasn’t the leader that I wanted to be. The LifePlan really helped me understand what I’m good at; allowed me to embrace it.

It allowed me to focus on more of my strengths rather than some of the things that just don’t come easily to me. Personally, that’s definitely impacted me. As a leader, I meet with all of the people that I lead, 1 on 1 every other week.

They’re like mini 1 1/2 hours sessions of LifePlan now instead of before it was just focus, how are we doing. Now it’s all about the individual because I understand so much clearer now.

It doesn’t really matter what is happening and how they execute the job if there’s some stuff underneath that we just need to understand and talk about and be open with. It’s really changed how I engage with my team.”

You’re really experiencing how people bring their root system to work every single day?

“It’s amazing once the curtain’s pulled back on that! We really dig a lot deeper with my team members and understand each other.

I am able to share what I struggle with so much easier because I know. That makes a big difference in how open we can be with each other and where we can get as a team.

We have a phenomenal team here. It has had a huge impact. We’ve been focusing on culture as of StratPlan. That was a big thing that came out, is how we communicate, what our culture is. This has really helped be a catalyst for that even more that it would have been.”

Your Dad went through. You went through. Your brother went through. You guys have sent 3 other leaders through. Why and what are you seeing there?

“There’s a different understanding now of each other, a different patience, not just with each other who have been through LifePlan, but just with people. It’s so much easier for me to look past the behaviors because I understand that they come from someplace else.

We’re able to really just engage with each other as people rather than as business acquaintances, or whatever. We just really engage as people. It’s really shaping our company to be a pretty phenomenal place to work.”

Power in team members, and leaders going through. It’s not just one person who’s realized this and is trying to change a culture, but now you have a team of people that are in it together, working to change the culture. Does it make it easier for you to lead?

“The big thing that I think it helps me as a leader is so much of it comes back to understanding myself. It’s so important for me and for really anyone to understand who they are. I am able to engage with others.

It’s changed every aspect of how I lead. There’s just this openness and comfort with me and with others that is just so different than before.”

I want to step back again just a little bit. We’ve talked about you. We’ve talked about the business. We’ve touched a little bit on what it’s like coming home. What’s the experience like now as a husband?

What is the experience like for you? What is life like now for you? How do you see your daughter? What adjustments have you made as a husband? What do you see as a husband? What adjustments and what do you see as a father?

“I was talking to Stacy, my wife, about how I’m trying to be deliberate with Addie, our daughter. I understand I’m not going to do everything right. I’m at least trying to be deliberate in what of my natural behaviors I push on to her, or I encourage or don’t encourage within her.

One of the things that you really helped me see is that I get self-worth by being productive in any given moment, so trying to make sure that at some point I instill a good work ethic in Addie.

The ability to choose and find her self-worth from the right places, from her spirituality and other things, not just from what she thinks other people want to see.”

For anyone who’s out there, there’s a lot of people listening, business owners, leaders, individuals, stay at home moms, that have not gotten around to doing LifePlan. “I’ll get it. I need to, yeah, I need to do that. Ah, I’ll get to it.”

That is one of the things that we hear a lot is people saying, “You know, I know I’ve needed to do this for 2 years.” What would you say to them about getting in?

“My dad has been through LifePlan, my brother. I have been through LifePlan. It changes generations. It’s going to change Addie. She’s going to have more awareness for her children, or the people that are close to her in her life. It has a long lasting impact. I would never have realized these.

There’s just nothing else in my life I ever would have encountered that would’ve helped me see that. To have that big of an impact, is pretty amazing. That’s where some people do have a lot of anxiety, or concern about the experience, about the 2 days that LifePlan is.

I just try to really look at the big picture, 2 days of discomfort, I’ll say, is worth a lifetime of better choices, and better understanding, and better decisions. For me, it’s a no brainer to invest the time, and the money, and the effort, and the discomfort to come out on the other side so different and so aware. It’s amazing.”

Last question. If you could go back to a young Brent Van Haren, what would you tell him?

“I made a lot of decisions when I was young for other people. Still working on that today. I wouldn’t change any of the trajectory of my life because of my amazing wife and daughter.

There are plenty of decisions that I look back on and don’t understand myself. There are just a lot of things that I would’ve changed about me and my need to please others rather than just a passion that isn’t a need to make others happy. A lot stems from that for me.”

That’s one of the best things that you can learn coming through LifePlan, is that the thing that you’ve done that unfortunately you got self-worth from remains the thing that you get to do most likely. It’s from a completely different direction, different purpose.

QUESTION: What is holding you back from LifePlan?


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