By Casey Grey
Over the past 5 days I have been playing full out at a Tony Robbins experience called Business Mastery. I'm not going to attempt to explain how transformative his events are and how they are not your typical conferences because I would not do it any justice. Instead, what I am going to do is write this post off the top of my head without looking at my dozens of pages of notes.
There have been lots of "ah-ha" moments over the past days and all sorts of things that I'm pumped about tackling with my teams back home but what really stuck with me? If I could do nothing else, what would I do? If I could only choose 5 things to focus on, what would they be? What would 10X, 100X or 1000X my life and business no matter what?
Proximity is Power
Another way to say this would be I am who I surround myself with. The most important thing that I'm going to focus on is my peer group. Who is going to force me to step up my game? Who do I want to model? Who has already accomplished what I want to accomplish? Who can I learn from? Who is not willing to settle? Who wants to accomplish more so that they can give more? These are the people I want to surround myself with. I'm committed to finding and connecting with these people.
The Power of Compounding
I've obviously been aware of this as it's discussed mostly in financial books. This, however, can transfer my life and my business. In the business, small incremental changes across different aspects will increase profits and revenue geometrically. For example, if I increase my leads from 50/month to 55/month (10%) and our closing rate from 10% to 13%, my brain thinks this will result in a 13% increase (10 + 3). That's not how it works though. Based on the previous math, I would be closing 5 out of the 50 leads. Based on the new math, I would be closing 7.15 leads out of 55 which is an increase in sales of 30%! I went from 5 jobs/month to over 7 jobs per month!
Managing My State
The only chokehold that my business has is me. It's my psychology that holds the business back or propels it to the next level. This is true for my life as well. It's my job to bring peak state to everything I do. Not only when I'm interacting with people but also when I'm working by myself. Managing my state is the single most important thing to making sure that I take massive action towards my outcomes. I am a Gladiator!
Training My Mind to Think Big
Anything is possible! The advances in technology even over my short time on this earth have been extraordinary. I am only limited by my thinking and my beliefs. If I think it's impossible, I'm dead in the water. Surrounding myself with the right people is important, as I already mentioned, but experiencing things outside of my "normal" is equally as important. Putting myself in environments that push me beyond my comfort zone and which show me what life will be like as I continue down the path of growth is extremely powerful and necessary.
Connecting With My Purpose
This is the only thing that will keep me going. Life is not all sunshine and lollypops and I'm not going to lie to myself and say that it is. I'm going to hit tough times and deal with challenges but those challenges only become easier and easier. I have already experienced this in life and in business. Just like a video game every challenge I surpass brings me to another level. It proves what I'm capable of. The only way, and the fastest way, to get through the challenges is to remember why I'm here.
We've all heard this saying although we may not have really given it much thought before. This change in perspective could change your life or your business though.
Imagine for a second that you're driving on a freeway and the road is completely empty. The top is down and you're cruising. The sun is shinning and you're well on your way to your destination. At this rate you'll be there in a fraction of the time you anticipated. From your point of view there's nothing that can stop you.
Now imagine flying above your car and getting a different perspective. From the air, the picture could be very different. From this view you can see all the possible paths to your destination. From this view the road that you're currently on may not look as attractive. Perhaps there's a bridge ahead and that bridge is out which is going to force you to take a detour and double the length of your trip. If this was the case, wouldn't you want to know that?
When was the last time you took a bird's-eye view of your business or life? Is it possible that there's a bridge out ahead that you don't know about?
I've been through my fair share of painful experiences throughout these first short years on this earth. I know there are people out there who have experienced many worse things than I have but I also know my experiences are worse than others.
One of the reasons I have, and continue to, experience pain is because I'm not afraid to put myself into situations where pain is a possibility. Most people spend their life trying to avoid pain. I can't say that I welcome pain but I do accept it. It's a part of life.
On the relationship side, my wife and I have been through our ups and downs. It's hard to measure problems in a relationship but I can tell you we've had our moments where we've thought about moving on. We're just humans having a human experience. The good news is that after almost 14 years of being together, we're stronger than ever because of these experiences.
On the parenting side, it's similar. I can tell you I have a huge amount of respect for single parents now. The tests that our son put us through are some of the greatest teachings. There are multiple days where I question my ability as a parent. Now, those days become fewer and fewer.
On the business side, same thing. The last 9 years have been a rollercoaster. I've had employee problems, "interesting" clients, been through a 4 year lawsuit, problems that flowed into my relationship and have lost tens of thousands of dollars.
Even after everything, I believe painful experiences are a gift.
If I had not gone through what I've gone through, my relationship would not be as strong as it is today, my parenting skills would not be where they are today, my business would not be where it is today and, most importantly, I would not be the man I am today.
Do I have more things to work on in my relationship? Yes! We will always be growing together.
Are there things I can work on as a parent? Absolutely! Everyday is a new test.
Are there things to improve in the businesses? Hell yes! Change is inevitable and I need to stay on top of it.
There will never be a day in history where pain is not experienced somewhere. Pain is not a bad thing unless you label it that way. Pain can create massive change. Unfortunately it often takes massive pain for somebody to make that change or realize there's a problem.
The question becomes, what are you going to do with that pain? Are you going to let it ruin your relationship? Your business? Your life? Or are you going to learn from it and take yourself to the next level?
As Bill Gates says, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't loose."
I love to give. Whether it's a gift, an experience, advice, a coffee or a lunch with somebody, I like to be the person doing the giving. Being the receiver makes me a little uncomfortable and is something I have been working on over the last few years. What has helped me is knowing what it feels like to be the giver and changing my belief.
Now I know that it's a gift for the other person when I receive gracefully and allow them to be the giver.
This actually happened to me twice yesterday. In the morning, I was gifted a coffee and in the evening I was gifted dinner. I was also also gifted all sorts of other things throughout the day like advice, hugs, great conversations, new friendships and so forth but it's easy to use physical things as examples.
In the evening, my team and I went for a quick dinner and we were working on some things for Business Mastery. After dinner, one of the team members grabbed the bill for everybody. I noticed that this was his way of giving. We were planning an event and I was working on the flyer, another member was making phone calls, others were brainstorming and doing posts on social media and he was sitting back for the most part. He would give his comments and advice when required but, being an entrepreneur at his core, he was sitting back and letting us Artists and Managers do our work (something we learned at the program).
At the end when he came back and said the bill was paid, other members started giving him money to cover their costs. Some of them were giving more than they needed to. They were stealing the feeling of giving away from him. Of course they did not do this on purpose. It was an unconscious reaction. It's a natural thing to do. We all do it. I have done it as well. We think we're helping but in reality we're just making ourselves feel better.
Learning how to receive is just as important as learning how to give.
As I write this right now, I'm getting ready to head off to Day 2 of Business Mastery. As usual, Tony Robbins is over delivering and I'm even more juiced to take my businesses to the next level.
As per usual with events like these, my head is spinning with ideas and things I need to start working on with my teams. The trick is always figuring out what needs to be focused on first and working from there.
The biggest takeaway I received from yesterday is that winter always comes.
Physically, we are in winter right now. This year, Natasha and I set up winter to win as a family so we're loving it. We're on a business trip now, we have skiing planned, we've been doing lots of outdoor activities, we have a spa day planned, it's amazing!
In the economy, it's currently fall. If you own a business, you're reaping the benefits. It's hard to fail at business right now because money is flowing. The tricky thing about the economy is that there's no set date for when winter is going to show up. Even the best of the best have no idea. All we know is that it's coming.
Plan for winter and it will be the greatest season ever. When you get through winter, spring is on the other side and it's beautiful.
I was recently in a nice restaurant with my wife and we were marvelling at the decor. Hanging on the wall directly beside our table was a beautiful mirror with what looked to be a hand carved wood frame. Knowing what's possible today, that mirror could have easily been produced by a CNC machine on the other side of the world and shipped over the week before. Alternatively, it could be 100 years old and have an amazing story to it. Or perhaps it was carved by a local wood worker recently...
We did not ask where the mirror came from but it did spark a fascinating conversation. If that mirror were hand carved by a person today, the amount of time it would take would likely be dozens of hours. What the person would need to charge for this mirror to make even a modest income would price this mirror out of reach for the majority of the population.
That being said, the person would only need to find one buyer of the seven and a half billion people on earth.
Every day people spend more money than they have on things that they don't need. They buy things or experiences that make them feel a certain way. If this mirror were hand carved today, there is somebody out there who would happily pay $5,000 for it knowing the person who carved it. If this person was known for making unique pieces of furniture, perhaps they would pay $20,000 or more. They would be buying the feeling of owning that one of a kind mirror made by that artist.
We all have an artist within us and that artist is meant to serve.
There's something inside of us that the world needs. I used the example of selling something to prove a point but it does not always have to come down to money. Perhaps what's inside of you could save a life and what kind of price could we put on a life?
Whatever it is, I believe it's our mission as humans to figure it out and share it with the world.
If you keep your artist bottled up inside of you, you're doing the world a disservice. Take just one step today to get closer to the artist inside of you. You'll be surprised how far you an go with just one step at a time and amazed at the life's you can help along the way.
Three weeks ago I started an adult gymnastics course and have been loving it. Alex MacInnis does a fantastic job teaching and explaining the purpose for everything.
In yesterday's class Alex talked about the importance of strength. Yes, we want to be flexible but flexibility without strength can cause injuries. One without the other is also a lack of control.
This is true for life. The person who is most flexible is in control however that person also needs to be strong when it counts.
Life is unpredictable. We may think that we're in control but the truth is that the only thing we really have control over is how we act or react in any given situation. And most of us have trouble controlling this. We may think we have control over other external things or people but that's all just an illusion. Working those mental muscles to become stronger and flexible is what gives you real control. Control over yourself.
If you're strong and rigid, you miss out on a whole world of opportunities. If you're flexible without being strong (or standing your ground) then you'll get walked all over and ultimately end up being hurt.
Each option without the other leads to pain.
How do we become mentally stronger and more flexible? The same way we do it physically. Through consistent practice and exercise routines. We don't go to the gym or yoga class once and say, "Perfect! I'm set for life!"
And if you do, how is that working for you?
We often hear people talk about the importance of YES. "Say yes and figure it out later!" is something that comes up often in the world I'm in. Although I agree with this statement, I think we need to counter balance those yeses (is that a word?) with some nos. We also need to put some context to it.
One piece of advice that has stuck with me is that for every yes I say, I'm saying no to something else. This relates to things that will take up my time. For example, if I say yes to helping a friend move next weekend, I'm saying no to spending time with my family.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you should not help your friends. What I'm saying is that you need to protect your most important asset, your time, and keep it for what is most important to you.
This is something I consistently work with. As an entrepreneur, I say yes to a lot of opportunities (or things I perceive as opportunities). This especially gets tricky when money is involved. A project will come up that we're not really interested in but we could use the money or the work for the team. In the past we have taken those projects but we have committed to stop doing this.
What's interesting is what happens to our subconscious mind. When we say no to the projects we don't want, our subconscious mind says, "Oh! You're serious about this! Let's figure out how to find you the better projects!" All of a sudden, things start to fall into place. The right people show up and the right events happen. It really is amazing to watch when you're aware of it.
The other thing NO can do is create trust and respect as it can show your integrity.
A perfect example of this is when I was volunteering at the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association Booth for the Ottawa Home and Remodelling Show this past weekend. I was speaking with a lady about an upcoming renovation project she was starting to plan and she asked, "Do your projects usually end on schedule?"
My response without hesitation was "No." To which she followed up with, "Thank you for being honest." This obviously lead into other conversations about what could happen on a renovation project but it was the beginning building a new relationship.
Where can you bring NO into your life in order to make more room for the big YES?
How would your life change if you made the choice to be happy right now?
As somebody who puts a lot of focus on achievement and accomplishing goals, I have found that I delay myself the privilege of being happy. And when I say happy, I mean to really experience joy and laughter. I say to myself things like;
"I'll be happy when I get this project."
"I'll be happy when I pay off this debt."
"I'll be happy when we clear $3,000,000 in sales."
"I'll be happy when I get a Tesla."
This list goes on...
The truth is that none of that will bring me happiness. Happiness can only be experienced in the moment. Happiness is a choice and we get to choose how we want to feel right now.
Work and fun are interesting words. What is considered work to one person could be fun to another. Work can also carry some negative feelings around it as a good portion of the population does not like what they do for "work".
I find myself "working" a lot but it's not work to me in the typical way you may think of work. I love what I do. It's all fun for me. Yes, there are times, especially as an entrepreneur, when I need to focus on things that are not fun however those times usually set me up for even more fun down the road. Those are the times that I grow from the most.
Over the weekend, we received a good dumping of snow. We were suppose to go skiing as a family but decided it was not worth the risk of driving on the roads as they were completely snow covered. Instead we had a great day at home.
In the afternoon we headed outside to our backyard to do some tobogganing. Since we had so much snow, Sullivan and I were able to make bobsled-style tracks. At one point, Sullivan asked me if I could carry his sled up the hill for him. My response was, "No. You'll have more fun if you work for it."
I don't know where this response came from but it clicked for me. It was true for my life and it was true for that moment. We were putting in the work of making these tracks and in return we were having more fun.
Work and fun are a team in my opinion. Work creates more appreciation for the fun and fun brings out more satisfaction with the work.