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

Announcing my new podcast – interviews with business titans

I’ve just started an amazing new business podcast.

It’s really worth a listen.

Because it’s different from almost every other business podcast, in one important way.

The quality of the guests.

I’ve been able to get some of the world’s most successful business people to agree to be interviewed.

People most podcasters are unlikely to get.

First up is Graham Turner, co-founder of the giant travel business, Flight Centre

Graham speaks really honestly about:

  • How he built two businesses from scratch.
  • Growing a business with very little capital.
  • How to survive business disasters.
  • His strategies for developing an awesome team.

 And so much more.

You will be amazed and inspired by what Graham Turner has done in business- and how honest he is about it.

The podcast is called The Business Lounge.

To subscribe to it, just search it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

The advice from these business greats is gold.

Elon Musk’s 5 commandments

Everyone has been talking about the new Walter Isaacson biography of Elon Musk.
And there are definitely some fabulous stories about Musk in the book.
But I think he’s also got some really strong business leadership ideas worth trying out too.

One is known as ‘The Algorithm’.

The Algorithm is the 5 principles that Musk, not only, personally uses to run his multiple high-growth companies. It’s also what he endlessly tells his leadership team to follow.
As he puts it, “I became a broken record on the algorithm, but I think it’s helpful to say it to an annoying degree.”

So what are Elon’s 5 most important business commandments?

1. Question every requirement.
Do you really need to do this many employees to get the job done?
Does the project really have to take 3 months to complete, or could you do it sooner?

2. Delete any part or process you can.
Most procedures and methods are too complex. Strip everything down that you can.
This will almost always make it cheaper, quicker and easier to get done.

3. Simplify and optimize.
The parts that remain should also be made as simple as possible. Then once you have achieved that, look at ways to make each part of the business process as excellent as it can be.

4. Accelerate cycle time.
Almost every part of a business can be done faster.
Examine everything, looking for quicker ways to get it done.

5. Automate.
We are not just talking about automating factories like Musk famously did with his Tesla ‘giga factories’
We’re also thinking about which events occur in your company repeatedly, and are there ways to automate many of these processes?

These are Musk’s 5 business commandments.
Simple to say, but very demanding to actually do.

Which one of these could you activate in your company this week?

Are you too slow?

If you want to be great in business, you have to be fast.
So here’s a question for you.

Out of 10, what would you rate your ‘Speed To Opportunity?’
How quickly do you respond when an opportunity comes your way?

Here’s an example that happened to me recently.
I was looking to hire a PR firm for a coaching client of mine.
I rang three PR companies and left a message, asking them to ring me about a significant account they could win.
Two days later, only one had called me back!
Their Speed To Opportunity was ridiculously slow. And no surprise, they did not get the contract.

What about you?

How quickly do you call a prospect back when they call?
When you have an idea for your business, how soon do you implement it?
When you want to try some marketing, how long does it take before you actually do it?

When you act fast lots of good things happen:
You win business you wouldn’t have won if you were slow.
You hire good people, that would have chosen a job elsewhere if you had not acted swiftly.
You build momentum – and opportunities naturally occur from that increased pace.
And you personally feel ever more confident as you see positive things happening quickly in your business.

There’s an old saying in business: ‘Money loves speed.’
If you ranked your Speed To Opportunity under 8 out of 10, it’s time to speed things up.

How to grow your business in 4 minutes.

How quickly can you grow your business?

How about in 4 minutes?

Here are 3 ways to do it…

1.  Send an email out to your clients offering a 24-hour deal.
What product do you sell that you can offer a very short rebate on?
You could position this 24-hour discount to your clients as a reward for their loyalty.
The great thing about this technique is you can’t lose- some people will buy it, but even the ones who don’t will be reminded of you, your company and the good things you offer.

2. Spend 4 minutes coming up with a more expensive option for what you already sell.
Usually, around 20% of people will buy a more expensive version of what you already sell.
What could you add to your product offerings to justify a higher price?
Come up with a few ideas in 4 minutes and start testing them with potential customers.

3. Contact the media about what you are selling.
Could you think of a story about your company that the local newspaper would run?
What about an angle that your industry trade press or industry websites would be interested in?
The more people see articles about you and your services, the more likely it is someone will contact you to buy what you offer.
Try spending 4 minutes brainstorming media angles, then start emailing some journalists.

As the legendary Koren entrepreneur Kim Woo-Choong said, “Every street is paved with gold.”
There are so many ways to build your business- stay open-minded and try at least one of these this week.
It’s amazing what you could achieve in 4 minutes.