How to have a great 2nd Quarter

The first Quarter is over. Bang, just like that.

Now, how do you make sure you have a strong 2nd Quarter?

I mentor numerous CEOs and founders, and here’s what I’ll be telling them to do:

1. Start acting with more urgency. 
Many CEOs start the year off slowly. This is often the result of only setting annual goals.
When goals are set purely on an annual basis, there seems to be plenty of time to reach the goals.
But that is an illusion. In my experience, almost any worthwhile business goal is hard to reach, and usually takes a lot more effort, focus, and time than anticipated.
That’s why it’s crucial to really instill Urgency in your team’s ( and your) mind.
Do tasks faster. Trim the fat. Obsess overdoing the few things that can really move the needle toward your key goals. Now, not tomorrow or next week.
Urgency must be your primary emotional state if you want to succeed big-time in business.

2. Do more outbound marketing.
In my view, 9 out of 10 businesses do not do enough outbound, proactive marketing.
Most wait for customers to come to them.
In Quarter 2, this crazy waiting game must stop.
Ask yourself: what ways can I reach out to potential clients cold, to introduce my company and what it sells?
This could include outbound email, Google ads, direct mail, seeking referrals, or cold calling. (I used to do 1 hour of cold calling a day for years, and made literally millions from the clients I got from it).

3. Triple what is already working.
Virtually every company has at least one way they are growing the business that works.
But strangely, most business owners I know do not spend enough time doing that one thing.
In 15 years of mentoring CEOs and entrepreneurs, I have found the single fastest way to increase income is to do more of what is already working.
By simply doubling or tripling the amount of time ( or money) you are spending on the method that is proven to bring in customers, within one month you will usually be bringing in more money.

So that’s what I’ll be talking about with my mentoring clients, to make sure they have a highly lucrative 2nd Quarter.

Which of these three do you think would work for you?

The 4 unusual traits of top entrepreneurs

I coach a lot of top entrepreneurs.
You’d be surprised what they’re really like.

Most people would assume high-performing, wealthy entrepreneurs are like superheroes – flying around the city, achieving the impossible and putting their pants on two legs at a time.
Not true at all.
In my experience mentoring Founders and CEOs for almost 15 years, the top performers are very different from what you’d imagine.

Here are 4 unusual traits of top business leaders:

They worry a lot.
They worry about revenue, staff, their marketing, their overall business strategy, their growth rate – you name it, they are concerned about it.
Rather than this being a negative, in my opinion, it works for them- their consistent concern for the mechanics of their business ensures they fix problems fast, and continually push for better results.
And a key point: just because they worry a lot, it does not mean they are despondent. Curiously, the elite business leaders I know appear to be concerned about their company while simultaneously being optimistic about the company’s future.

They spend a lot of time working from home.
In the old world, the CEO wanted to be physically working in the company Monday to Friday. Not so these days.
Some of the best business leaders I coach are spending around 2 days a week working from their home office.
Why? Because they need to escape the incessant noise and interruptions that engulf the typical corporate environment. And they also truly value planning and thinking time.

They have weaknesses in their knowledge.
The top business stars are definitely not holistic business geniuses. In fact, they are very open about areas in which they have little expertise or aptitude.
Unlike a lot of less successful CEOs who attempt to look like all-knowing gods, the high-level leaders I coach quickly admit a lack of knowledge – and promptly go and find other people who can fill the wisdom void.
As the great Canadian coach Dan Sullivan puts it, they don’t look for How, they look for Who.

Things go wrong a lot.
So many people think there is something wrong if something is wrong. The elite business leaders I work with are fine with lots of things not working, pretty much all the time.
Errors and falling short go hand in hand with aiming high. As Google co-founder Sergei Brin says, when they set goals at Google they are aiming for “70% stretch”. In other words, they only expect to reach their goals 70% of the time, and therefore almost one out of three goals will be missed. So they expect things to get messy often and they’re cool with that.

Looking at these 4 unusual aspects of top CEOs and founders, I hope it’s comforting that they too are human.
The more people in business who realise that even the best leaders are struggling a lot of time and that even the greats are a long way from being perfect, the better.

How to reach your goals faster

There’s an excellent way to increase your chances of reaching your goals.

It’s used by pro sports teams with great success.

It’s called Process Goal Orientation.

The way most people set goals sets them up for failure.
That’s because they only come up with goals that centre on the outcome, or final result.
For example,’ I will make a seven-figure income.’

In the professional sports world, they have these kinds of outcome goals too, but 90% of their time is spent focusing on another type of goal.
The Process Goal.

A Process Goal is a clear set of activities that you must do, usually daily.
It emphasises preparation now, over a final prize later.
The theory is that if you follow a series of actions meticulously (your process), then getting an excellent result is virtually inevitable.

Here are some examples of Process Goals:
I will do one hour of lead generation daily.
I will meet with my team for 15 minutes each morning.
I will exercise 20 minutes every day.
I will follow up 3 times after every presentation to potential clients.

In pro sports, Process Goals are an obsession.

As America’s greatest college football coach, Nick Saban, puts it:
“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

I think that if daily Process Goals Orientation was used in the business world, our results would be vastly better.

We need to do less dreaming about victories in the future, and do more of the right actions in the present, methodically and repeatedly.

3 ways to improve your mood and performance.

Feeling a bit down and unmotivated? Here are 3 techniques I use with my coaching clients to lift how they feel and perform:

Do everything faster.
When you place artificial, tight deadlines on yourself you become far more engaged in what you’re doing. Pushing yourself to get things done quickly gives you a surge of energy and positivity, as you forget your problems and just focus on winning in the present.

Go wide and shallow.
If you feel overwhelmed or slow on progress here’s a really effective solution: Write down 6 areas of your business or life that need addressing. Then immediately spend 20 minutes on each one, one after the other.

Within a couple of hours, you will be amazed by both how good you feel, and how much progress you have made. You will be shocked at how quickly you can create progress on a goal- 20 minutes is easily enough time to move most projects forward.

Triple your voice communication.
Good things happen when you talk with people. Just by tripling how many conversations you have this week, you can radically improve the quality of your business, your mood and your world.

Reach out to potential or current clients. Talk to a friend or two. Tell your partner how much you appreciate them. Contact your suppliers. Give a quick call to your key team members. Conversations create wealth, opportunity and much stronger relationships.

Those are three easy things to do, that most people don’t. Do any of them and will lift your mood and dramatically increase your results.

Try all three this week and you’ll see how much better you perform and feel.

Are you thinking too small?

Are you thinking too small?

I was absolutely stunned when the CEO of Open AI, Sam Altman recently revealed he was trying to raise between 5-7 TRILLION dollars.

That’s a trillion with a T!

It made me wonder, are the rest of us thinking too small?

After all, to give you an idea of how outrageously big that $7 trillion figure is, the entire Australian economy is about $1.7 trillion.

The. Whole. Freaking. Country.

And Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world.

How can one person think that damn big?

Sam Altman has more than a massive dream, he must have tremendous vision combined with an insanely strong self-belief to even conjure up a figure like that, let alone go public by announcing that he’s attempting to raise it.

Now I know, most of us have no interest ( or even use for) 5- 7 trillion dollars, but I mention Sam and his financial moon shot only to encourage you to consider applying that magnitude of thinking to your own world, industry or business.

I think it’s very powerful to ask yourself, what would be an outrageous dream for my company?

It may not even be about raising money, it may be about creating a game-changing product, expanding internationally or increasing your team massively.

The point is to apply the spirit of what Sam Altman is trying to do, to your own life.

I think if we all did this, in our own way, we would both achieve a great amount and also taste the true excitement that only pushing boundaries to the nth degree can engender.

It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, from the 1844 novel, The Luck Of Barry Lyndon, by William Thackeray:

“Let the person who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim. Attacking is his only secret. Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb.”

The connection between Taylor Swift and your career

I heard an amazing thing about Taylor Swift recently.

It shocked me and I think it’s very relevant to your career.

I heard that to prepare for her current Eras Tour concert series she had an extraordinary regime.

Every day she would get on her treadmill and sing every one of the songs on the Eras song list, while she was exercising.

Every one of them.

How long is the Eras Tour song list?

Three hours and fifteen minutes!

As she put it, “Every day I would run on the treadmill, singing the entire set list out loud. Fast for fast songs, and a jog or a fast walk for slow songs.”

And when I heard that, it explained so much of Taylor Swift’s phenomenal success.

Yes, she’s a superb singer and songwriter, but look at the work ethic!

Have you ever heard of anyone practicing that much? Or even exercise that much?

Every single day!

Now I’m not suggesting that any of us do the same. But we should all have to think about whether we are doing enough training to improve our performance.

Are you regularly training to get better?

Or are you just relying on your natural talent and experience to get you through?

Taylor Swift is one of the greatest pop music stars in history. She just won Time magazine’s Person Of The Year.

Yet she still puts that kind of practice in.

When speaking with Time she said ” I wanted to get it into my bones. I wanted to be so over-rehearsed that I could be silly with the fans, and not lose my train of thought.”

Mind-blowing.

It’s a great reminder to all of us that to be great at any career, we must be great at training and practice.

Why mental fitness is so important for business success

Business is not just a strategy game. Or an effort game.
It’s a mental game.
The cold hard truth is this: If you don’t have your mind in good shape, you will not reach the levels of business success you could have.

When most people read that, they would quickly agree- of course, having the right mindset is important to succeed in business. So why is it that close to ZERO entrepreneurs and senior executives work on the health of their minds?

It’s ridiculous.

When I am coaching entrepreneurs or CEOs I like to ask these two questions:
“What will the most successful people in your field be doing in 50 years?”
 “And how can we start doing that now?”

Well in my view one thing that almost all senior executives will be doing in 50 years is keeping their minds as fit as their bodies.
Arguably mental fitness is even more important for business people as physical fitness. If we are thinking well we will act more effectively- and with effective actions will surely come better results.

We need to treat the state of our minds seriously if we aspire to optimize our success at work.
To do that, we need to do two important things:

  1. Learn techniques that keep us mentally excellent- sharp, motivated, calm, clear and happy.
  2. Spend time daily training those mental techniques.

They do exactly this in pro-level sports. And in elite military units, like the U.S Navy Seals and the army’s Special Forces units.
Bear in mind that these kinds of groups are extremely results-oriented- they would certainly not be doing mental skills training if they weren’t seeing good results from it.

It’s time we in the business world did the same.

There are three main areas of mental performance for business people to master:

  •  What we say to ourselves– is our mental self-talk positive, motivating and well-focused?
  • What we picture in our minds – are we envisioning being successful and anticipating handling the inevitable setbacks well? Or imagining pictures of failure ahead?
  • The quality of our mental energy – are we relaxed, but also sharp and energized at the optimum level for the particular business task we are doing?

Take a minute now to rate yourself in each of these areas. How well do you do these three key mental performance skills?
If you’re not happy with your answers then please take appropriate action.

A good place to start is to Google articles and videos on sports psychology, grab 3 tips that resonate with you and start practicing them for a few minutes every day.

I will also include some mental performance techniques in future posts that I use with my executive coaching clients, so keep an eye out for those.

Mental fitness is absolutely crucial for success in the business world. And you can gain a huge advantage over your competitors if you get great at it before they even think of studying it.

Becoming truly mentally fit will not only help you reach your business and financial goals, it will greatly increase your happiness as you travel on the road towards them.

Do you need to improve your self-identity?

When I coach entrepreneurs or CEOs, there are two main areas we work on improving.
The first is their actions.
(Where they focus, their strategies, delegation, team building, productivity, etc.)

The second is equally important but rarely addressed:
Their self-identity

.Successful people have profoundly different self-images, compared with average people.
They may look similar on the outside, but inside they see themselves very differently.

Average people let their circumstances dictate how they see themselves.
For example, if they are having trouble increasing their income, they often see themselves as poor, or struggling.

Highly successful people are far less likely to let their current circumstances lower how they see themselves.
Even if their business is not going well, they tend to see themselves as highly successful, but just with temporary bad results.

It’s a really important difference, as over time having a successful self-image affects a lot of the actions they end up taking.
People with strong self-identities tend to be bolder, more confident, and more persistent.
They will keep trying until they get it right because they believe they will ultimately succeed.

In a way their belief in themselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Another way to look at it is that successful people are like thermostats, and unsuccessful people are like thermometers.

The thermostat stays at a particular temperature, and the air heating unit attached to it keeps working until the room matches its aim.
While a thermometer observes the temperature around it, and says that ‘This is how things are’.

Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?
Have you chosen an ideal self-identity, or do you merely react to your results and choose a self-image in accordance with that?

In my experience as a high-performance coach for business people, almost nobody has consciously designed a self-image that really supports them and helps them become someone wonderful.

It is actually not that hard to create an excellent self-image.
There are 4 simple steps.

  1. Choose a self-image that you like- someone you would like to become. Write it down in a paragraph or two.
  2. Write a list of valid reasons why you are (or could become) that person.
  3. Read these two daily, at least, so you become very conscious of them. This ideal self-image should be front of mind most of the day.
  4. Attempt to act and think like you are that person already, as best you can.

It may feel strange at first, but eventually, you will become very comfortable with that vision of yourself, and then you will start behaving like that kind of person, most of the time.

In prominent business schools, they don’t talk about stuff like this. But I can assure you, having mentored many highly successful business people, developing a strong self identity is one of the most effective moves you can make.

Take control of your self image and you will take control of your life.

The unusual thing all entrepreneurs must learn to succeed

Everyone starts their business off with excitement.

Then after a while, it becomes just moderately interesting.
Then all too often running a business becomes a bit of a drag.

At this point, many entrepreneurs do one of two things:
They start looking for a new, more exciting business to switch to.
Or they continue in their business, but with little enthusiasm, and soon little results.

When I coach business owners, I see this occur very often.
And one of my main jobs is to yes, get them excited again about the future of their company, but also do one other thing that’s really important:

Get them to understand that it’s okay to be bored.

If you’re bored with your business, it does NOT mean you are in the wrong business.
You must understand that boredom is a very common feeling for a founder. It’s normal. It’s usual. Nothing is ‘wrong’ if you are feeling bored with your business.
Almost every business owner feels the same. Often.
But so many of us feel bad about feeling bored, as all the other entrepreneurs we read articles about and watch on YouTube seem so excited about their companies.

Don’t believe it.

I have been mentoring entrepreneurs and CEOs for around 14 years. I’ve coached them at every level, from absolute start-ups to people doing over a billion dollars a year in revenue.
Almost all of them experience boredom at times.

So, step number one is to not feel down about feeling bored, and accept that it’s just a part of running a business.
And step two is to realize that your ability to push through the boredom is a superpower.
If you can just get good at persisting with building your business through periods of boredom, I can assure you that you will come out the other side, not just with a much bigger business but one that excites you again.
(By the way, step number three is to re-dedicate yourself to being truly excellent at what you do. When you do this, almost instantly business becomes interesting again.)

So be okay with being bored sometimes. And get good at pushing through it.
It’s an aspect of being an entrepreneur that is very important to master.

How do you build a $7 billion company?

Here’s a fascinating interview with one of Australia’s greatest business success stories, Matt Rockman.

Matt is one of the 3 founders of Seek, the online job company that is now worth over $7 billion dollars.

How did he start his internet company?
What mistakes did he make along the way?
What is his advice for other entrepreneurs aiming to create a great company?

Find out, when you listen to my interview with Matt on The Business Lounge podcast, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Disrupt Radio