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Principles Versus Tactics: Navigating Platform Changes with Kyle Wilson

TBT 47 | Navigating Platform Changes


Part of building success is learning to create platforms. However, things change a lot in the different platforms and the biggest thing that you need to learn is to navigate the changes. Personal development expert and marketing specialist Kyle Wilson says to help navigate platform changes, you need principles and tactics. Tactics, like social media, change, but the principles don’t. The biggest mistake people sometimes make is focusing more on the tactics when it’s the principles that are bringing great value, building an audience, building relationships, connecting with the audience, and having great products and services to offer. Kyle says once you understand the value of bringing service and great products, you’ll retain the right customer and build that relationship.

Listen to the podcast here:

Principles Versus Tactics: Navigating Platform Changes with Kyle Wilson

On this show, we’ve got some great people that are from different walks of life, from different businesses, and they’re all bringing extreme value. I can tell you that our guest is absolutely one of those people. Kyle Wilson is with us and he is the Founder of the Jim Rohn International OrganizationYourSuccessStore.comLessonsFromNetwork.com and KyleWilson.com. This guy is juggling a lot of different things at the same time. He’s worked with top names in the personal development industry, including his eighteen-year-old business partner, friend and mentor, Jim Rohn. He’s also worked with Jeffrey Gitomer, Og Mandino, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, and Robin Sharma. He’s been the wind beneath their wings.

He’s the author of 52 Lessons That I Learned From Jim Rohn and other great legends that he promoted that I promoted. He partnered with Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield on Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul. I could go on and on talking about how Kyle has filled seminar rooms. He’s launched multiple bestselling books and personal development publications. This guy is a rock star and he’s here with us. You’ve worked with some incredible people.

I’ve been very fortunate. Part of that was learning to create platforms. I became a seminar promoter. When you can fill up rooms, you can attract great people. That’s how it all began with a seminar promoter and then I adapt it. When the internet came around, I built a huge email list. That was the platform for people with great content to get their message out. It’s been a phenomenal journey.

What was one of the biggest challenges that you had starting out creating that?

I always say it starts with zero. Whoever you’re following, whoever you want to become, whoever that competition is, they started at zero. I had to start at zero, I had to learn through the school of hard knocks and challenges. It took me a while but I got pretty good and a big part of it was the influence of Jim Rohn. I’ve discovered this message and followed his principles and philosophies. That helped me grow as a person. The whole seminar promoter world requires a lot of activity and a lot of effort. I had to become a student, had to learn, but it’s something that over time, I got pretty good at.

How did you adapt? Things have changed a lot in the different platforms from when you started with Jim Rohn to how you might be promoting. What’s the biggest thing that you learned about navigating the change?

Never let a tactic interrupt a principle. Click To Tweet

We say there are two things. There are tactics and there are principles. Tactics change. Social media is a big tactic. Whatever the tactics are, those are always going to change. The principles don’t change. The principles are bringing great value, building an audience, building relationships, connecting with the audience, and having great products and services to offer. Once I understood the value of creating service, bringing great products, retain the right customer and building that relationship and then understanding the power of having advocates then empowering their advocates, I created a couple of different tools over the years. One moved over six million copies and a viral marketing tool, the Jim Rohn quote book that I have done for Zig Ziglar and other speakers too. What it was is empowering our advocates to go share the message. That’s the principle. I use the tactics of the book, but the principle was having a great product, having great service, and then finding out how to empower your advocates to go spread the message.

That is super important. I love that differentiation. I always talk about strategy and tactics. What’s important for everybody who’s in business is that those principles are what guide us in our business. Tactics may change and we can pivot and strategize on how we’re going to do them, but the principles have to come first, don’t they?

They do. I always say, “Never let a good tactic interrupt a principle.” A lot of people say, “This works. Let’s try this latest gadget,” as long as it doesn’t violate the principle and I see that happen often. People get caught up in something and oftentimes it doesn’t work. It works enough. Everything works. Putting business cards on windshields work, it just doesn’t work very well. People get confused about the risk-reward on some of the tactics they use. It’s crazy to me to see these companies will go out and spend fortunes and have horrible customer service. That makes no sense. Companies spend huge fortunes and have a subpar product. The core of any business is to have a great product, great service, great customer service, and be relational. It’s about relationships.

I’ve been on all sides of this. I was pre-internet when I had to build it all with no list. I was one of the early adopters to the internet. I built a million plus list. I’m looking currently. It’s about connecting with people and relationships, getting them from social media platforms to get together. I do inner circle masterminds and that’s where the real magic happens is when you can actually get people together. It’s just understanding how that works. Many people are doing things that I don’t think are sound. It’s because they bought into a get rich quick if you will.

Someone says, “Here’s how you go get 10,000 followers on Instagram in a month.” You could do that. You know it’s ethically wrong in how you’re doing it. There are many unintended consequences in how you do it versus building it the right way, which is great content, sowing good seed, and letting there be a harvest. I’m a big believer in being a farmer. If I’m going to go create a fantastic wine and have a vineyard, it’s going to take some time. That’s going to outperform over time someone else trying to get a quick result. You’ve mentioned I’ve done a lot of things. They were spread out, but the accumulation of doing good things that last, that’s the power. People just have to be patient. Jim Rohn said, “The twin pillars of success are greed and impatience.” It’s a hard lesson for all of us. Once people realize when you follow the principles, you do things right, it’s amazing that the results will happen.

TBT 47 | Navigating Platform Changes

Navigating Platform Changes: Principles are what guide us in our business.


People compromise a principle for a tactic. They’re looking for that quick result and I think that’s brilliant to check in when you’re developing something. Any type of company as you said, make sure that you’re checking in on the process and its quality from start to finish. A lot of people focus on one step of the process and they don’t manage it all the way through and that’s where it will bite you in the butt.

A lot of times it’s out of ignorance. It’s their first go around. They bought into a get rich quick type of mentality. I’m talking about internet marketing and that is my world. I’m an online marketer. I’ve built a million plus list, I have hundreds of products. I watch so much BS out there and people say, “I build it and they’re going to come. I’m going to make so much money. Let me throw it out there.” That’s the opposite of the truth. It’s not going to happen. If it ever did happen, it doesn’t happen now. Your stuff has to be good. Converting cold traffic into buyers is very difficult and very expensive. The only way to make it work if someone’s thinking long-term is to do it right. Create something people want and then put it out there in a smart way. Build a foundation. I have zero interest in doing one and done type of activity.

Anything one-time without a residual long-term compounding effect is just a bad use of time. When we’re talking about productivity secrets, one of them is to make sure everything you do is going to have a long-term build to it. We talked about being strategic. What’s that one domino you can knock down that will knock down the rest of the dominoes? When people think, “I’ll just go out there and people are going to buy,” it’s their first Rodeo, they haven’t gone through the experience. That’s not going to happen. It’s got to be good or at the end of the day, you’re churning through people. The results are going to be very minimal if not actually very bad.

You have to check in on yourself and do your homework. It could be from ignorance, it could be from greed or impatience. It’s a different way of thinking to think in terms of the long-term. The residual income and creating something to last, it seems like people don’t think like that anymore or is it just me? 

It’s a lot of noise. Fortunately, there are a lot of people that are very principle-based and you’re surrounded by them. I’m surrounded by them. Because of all of the noise on social media, a lot of the marketing noise, it gets clouded out. Everyone has to have a little bit of experience. My favorite clients are people that have failed because they’re not living in La La Land. They had figured out, “What they said didn’t work. How do I do this to make it work?” We can get somewhere because we’re going to do it right. A lot of times, it is out of ignorance and the aspect of greed and impatience along with it.

Outside of what you just said, which is critical, is focusing on those principles. What are some of the other things that you guide them around so they can be more strategic and work smarter?

Going way back when I partnered with Jim Rohn is this thing called The Wheel. Picture a wheel with the hub in the middle and you’re the hub and add spokes and every spoke is a product or service. The goal is when people get on the wheel, you take them around the wheel. With that in mind, my biggest goal is to get people on the wheel and build a relationship with them. It’s different from a funnel, people are caught up in the funnel. “I’m going to get cold traffic and I’m going to take them down this funnel and sell them something,” which does have an agenda to it. The wheel is more building a relationship and they pick and choose which folks they’re interested in.

Back to the strategic part of it is you have to be strategic about what those spokes are. I have some examples of one idea that changed everything. One spoke, if you added it, we get more people on the wheel and take them around and build the relationship. The question is finding that secret sauce. That’s the question I always tell people. You’ve got to begin with what makes you special. What makes you unique? What can you offer that most people can’t offer? Typically, it’s whatever makes you unique. Sally Hogshead said unique and different is better than better.

When we’re authentically ourselves, being authentically who we are, there is something powerful that shines through that truth that we carry. You’ve got to discover what that is. Once you discover it, make sure that that’s part of the wheel. Everything I’ve ever created, whether it was with Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, Ron White, Chris Widener, different people currently, people I work with. I’m always finding out what is that secret sauce, what makes them unique, then making sure what’s the one product. Don’t focus on twenty. What is the one thing that we did that would knock down the dominoes? For Jim Rohn, it was a little quote book. We sold six million of it. Then I get another one, a little audio called Build Your Network Marketing Business. It sold millions, but more importantly, it got people on the wheel and we built a relationship with them.

From there, they came to our seminars, they bought our program. We weren’t this constantly trying to upsell people to something bigger. We were actually building an audience, building a tribe, building relationships, getting great value. That’s when you have advocates and there’s nothing more powerful than having people out saying how great you are. A lot of people are in that cold traffic cycle versus warm and hot traffic. How do you get warm and hot traffic? You have to build a relationship, give people great values, and give them something they want. A lot of people take their customers for granted. That’s a bad principle, that’s a bad philosophy. How do I serve the people that love me? By taking care of them, they become advocates and you’re in the warm and hot traffic.

It’s dealing with your advocates. If they already love you and you take care of them, then they’re going to go and spread the word and then you’ve got an alternative sales force if you want to call it right, who are advocating on your behalf. It’s easier than like you said, just trying to spray and pray approach by knocking on everyone’s door and that’s not going to get you as far.

Many funnels out there are trying to take cold traffic and turn people into a sale so quickly. I get it. I understand. There are some scenarios where I get it, but for the most part, the more you can realize that if you have an opportunity to build a relationship. For example, I know we’re going to bring it up in the end, but it applies to what we’re talking about that is called 52 Lessons I learned From Jim Rohn and other legends. People get on it and then I give them a weekly lesson. I don’t try and sell them anything. What I do is when I’m talking to my list, if I have an event coming up, I tell everyone about the event. If I have a book project coming up, I tell everyone about the book project, but they’re not in the funnel.

I’m not trying to drive an agenda. I’m giving them great content. A lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford things I do and that’s totally cool with me. I’m not trying to sell them. I’m building a relationship talking to my audience and that’s what I tell people. Whether you’re a doctor, whether you’re an accountant, whether you’re a speaker and author, the key is you want to be building a list and talking to the list. I’ve given them a great value and then occasionally give them something to say yes to and say, “I would love to be part of what you have coming up.” In my mind, that’s fishing versus hunting. I’m not hunting, I’m actually putting out stuff. Those that want it will say yes.

I like how you’re comparing it to the funnel and so that we can see that it’s more of a relationship builder than a funnel that quickly weeds people out. When they’re not in the relationship, they’re selling. That’s why you’re so successful and why you’ve created successful speaker brands, and different people that you’ve been working with are raving about you because you’re helping them to build those long-term relationships.

There's nothing more powerful than having people out saying how great you are. Click To Tweet

I get the benefit of feedback. Part of it is over the years, I pay attention to everyone that says yes to anything. It’s always fascinating. Some people in an event, they sign up for whatever you’re doing. Some people though, it’s five years later but the cool thing was they got on my wheel, they got on my list. I’m not just trying to bombard them with stuff. I’m building a relationship. When the time’s right, they say yes. Sometimes there are people, they’re not candidates for what I’m doing, whether it’s economically they’re not there or right for them, sometimes they refer someone that it’s right for it. The key is whether you’re doing a podcast or an interview or you’re speaking, or you’re at a meet-up or you’re at an event, you’re meeting people, if there are potential candidates to build a relationship with I always encourage people, have a list and start talking to the list.

Give great content. Become a utility. Be someone that’s connecting people in the marketplace. There are so many great things that can come from that. Part of it is that platform. We begin the call with, you’ve created a platform. When you’re a part of someone’s event, you can send it out to your list and invite people. Now you’re more valuable when you’re a speaker or if you’re on a podcast or you’re doing an interview or you’re sharing responsibility with someone on an event. The more you build your audience, the more valuable because you’ve created a platform.

Those are great ways. We’re talking about taking back time. When we’re more strategic and we’re building a long-term asset, that is a way to take back time. It’s an investment in the in the beginning, but that investment pays off tenfold. I am a total believer in that because, for me, some of my best and most loyal clients are not the ones that said yes right away. Sometimes it’s the ones that I’ve built a relationship over time and then they became clients. They have been clients for ten plus years. I totally appreciate that value, that relationships are valuable no matter what stage they’re in.

TBT 47 | Navigating Platform Changes

Navigating Platform Changes: You have to build a relationship, give people great values, and give them something they want.


It was having to list a lot of people think, “I don’t have time to deal with the responses.” That’s the number one thing. It’s actually the opposite. I have more free time than most people because I have systems. I let my list and my system do the work. I put good stuff out. If people are interested, they say yes. I send them, “Here’s how they could sign up or whatever they want, or if they want some resources, I give them a link to go get those resources.” What I am doing is building these relationships so when they’re ready, they say yes versus someone we have to hunt. We go out and get a new customer and I get that a lot. People are having a start over so often. If they created the right systems, they can have massive amounts of time and it also creates all the right behaviors and right results.

Systems create leverage. They enable you to scale and critical in taking back time. What are some of the systems that you recommend that you use?

I don’t know how many people have a list. If you’re a doctor, you should be talking to your audience. You have seasonal things coming up. School’s about to start, anyone in athletics has to get a physical. When it’s flu season, all these different things. If you’re just putting stuff out to your audience, first of all, you’re first on their brain and second of all, “We need to go see Dr. Jones and get our physical done.” To do that, that’s a missing piece for so many people. I use AWeber. There are a lot of different things you can do, MailChimp and some free services. I use AWeber because it has the best delivery rates for $20 a month.

The best thing is you can get on a live call. There are two or three things of why I would do AWeber over many of the other free resources. It’s not a CRM. You don’t want your email list to be a CRM. That’s the other big mistake people make. If they try to do everything in one system, like a constant time pack. I keep my CRM system that, but to make email marketing work, I have a separate way and I put everyone in my AWeber list and I talk to people that way. I have it segmented into different groups. Not everyone’s going to get the same message. If it’s not applicable to a particular group, I’ll make sure they don’t get that message. That’s one system, my email list.

Become a utility. Be someone that's connecting people in the marketplace. There are so many great things that can come from that. Click To Tweet

Another system, I have this inner circle, I have these book programs, I have high-end coaching and if someone’s interested and I feel they’re a candidate, I’m going to do a call with them. People reach out to say, “Can you talk?” I always give them a week to my scheduler. I use Acuity and if they don’t want to click it, I’m fine, we’re done. It’s one of those things. I’m going to make people jump through that hoop to schedule a call with me. We can talk if it’s a good fit for them and a good fit for me. That keeps my life simple.

I block out time in advance. Whether it’s a coaching client, two-hour, four-hour, one-hour or someone that I’m talking to the prospect for some of my high-end services and those are 30-minute call, everyone gets the same link. I never have to try and figure out if I have time, they don’t book it. I’m very careful what I block out. I know not everyone has this luxury but I usually will not do a call before 2:00 PM. I have my time, Tuesday and Thursday, for four-hour blocks that I do all my calls and some of my high-end coachings on a Friday. The rest of the time is when I’m working on my business and working on myself. That’s another huge time. The tip is to make sure you have your own personal time every morning. That’s probably number one is blocking out that first couple of hours every morning. I’m pretty protective of that time.

I love that you don’t take calls before 2:00 PM and that you’re clear. Those are definitely best practices that people have, that they carve out this time where they say, “This is my time to build my business or to develop myself to take care of my health.” A lot of times it starts the day proactive versus reactive. The minute you check your email and you’re on calls, you’re not as proactive as when you’re working strategically on driving that scalability or working on your health and things like that.

TBT 47 | Navigating Platform Changes

Navigating Platform Changes: Make sure you have your own personal time every morning.


Not everyone has that luxury, it’s just my business. I can do it that way. There are exceptions, there are times I have to make an exception, but because of how I do my schedule, it allows me to make that exception. I have an important interview I’m going to do with Success Magazine talking about Jim Rohn’s legacy. Fortunately, because I have that time blocked out for myself, I was able to say yes. It definitely works for me and it took me a while to get here. It’s just a couple of simple things. It’s important also to have a place for everyone. For me, everyone that I meet, there’s a place. I have all kinds of free resources. If they want to be part of my other things, I have three core things I do. If they want something beyond that, it’s probably not going to be a fit for me or for them.

I’m very clear about what I do and what I don’t do and why I do it and why I don’t do it. There’s so much free stuff that there’s a place to put people. I think that’s another thing. Life gets simple when you know that whoever you talk to, they’re either a candidate or not, and there’s a place for them to be on your wheel, if you will. Social media is a good example of that. We have friends on social media. It doesn’t always have to be agendas. You like, you comment. They’re not necessarily customers. That’s great. They appreciate, they follow you and you follow them. For me, I made sure I have things that applied to everyone with some of the resources I do.

Where can they reach you to get your 52 Lessons so that they can get to know more of those stories and more about you?

They can go to KyleWilson.com. It’s pretty simple. We’ll see you at the top. It’s a weekly lesson. Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Denis Waitley, Aaron Hardy, Les Brown, some amazing lessons and collaborations I’ve done with some pretty cool people.

You’re taking your valuable time to invest in these lessons. Kyle has 52 Lessons. All you need is one that’s going to make a difference, that’s going to create an impact for you so that you can work more strategically in growing your business and focusing on the things that are most important to your life so you can be efficient and effective, more productive, more balanced and happier in your life. That’s the goal. 


Important Links:

About Kyle Wilson

TBT 47 | Navigating Platform ChangesKyle is the founder of Jim Rohn International, YourSuccessStore.com, LessonsFromNetwork.com and KyleWilson.com

He’s worked with the top names in the personal development industry including his 18-year biz partner, friend and mentor Jim Rohn, as well as Jeffrey Gitomer, Og Mandino, Brian Tracy, Les Brown, Darren Hardy, Robin Sharma and many others.

Kyle is the author of 52 Lessons I Learned from Jim Rohn and Other Great Legends I Promoted! and partnered with Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield on Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul.

Kyle has filled huge seminar rooms, launched and published multiple personal development publications with over a million subscribers and has produced/published over 100+ hours of DVD and CD programs.

Kyle sold his companies in 2007 and became a Mr. Mom for 7 years. He now does coaching & consulting, host the Kyle Wilson Inner Circle Mastermind and has published multiple #1 Best Selling books the past 18 months.

Darren Hardy says Kyle is his Go To person for any marketing solution and Jim Rohn said Kyle is his trusted partner and friend.

Jeffrey Gitomer: Truthful Living With The Wisdom Of Napoleon Hill

TBT 50 | Truthful Living


What if you could go back into the mind of the great Napoleon Hill twenty years before his Think And Grow Rich? Jeffrey Gitomer gives it to you as he talks about his new book, Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill. As a the best-selling author of 15 books including the Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, Jeffrey provides with clarity and expertise the great wisdom of Napoleon Hill that continues to transcend through time. Speaking of time, he talks about how Napoleon Hill values time as the most precious thing in the world and how to implement it in life. He takes us further into the book and teaches us how to concentrate deeper, how to have a better belief system, and how to be more self-confident that will surely take us into that path of productivity towards success.

Listen to the podcast here:

Jeffrey Gitomer: Truthful Living With The Wisdom Of Napoleon Hill

We’ve got Jeffrey Gitomer with us. He’s the author of fifteen bestselling books and soon to be seventeen. He’s got two in the works and we’re going to talk about those and he is super creative on the edge. He’s a writer, speaker and his expertise is around sales, customer loyalty and personal development. He is world-renowned. He’s known for presentation seminars and keynote addresses that are funny, insightful, in your face, real world, off the wall and on the money. Jeffrey gives his audience information that they can take out to the street one minute after the seminar is over and put it into money. His podcast, Sell or Die, with co-host Jennifer Gluckow gets over 100,000 downloads a month. Jeffrey was inducted into the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame. He is the king of sales. Welcome, Jeffrey.

Thank you, Penny, for setting such low expectations.

I have so many things that I want to ask you because some of the stuff that you talked about was amazing. I want people to understand. Your bio states that you’ve written fifteen bestselling books. How many copies or how many months, years have you been on the bestselling list? Just to give people an idea of how amazing you are.

I have been blessed. The Little Red Book of Selling, which is my bestselling book, was on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List for 103 straight weeks. I’ve been on the bestseller list about 500 times and I’ve sold a lot of books both domestically and internationally. Jennifer and I are in Frankfurt, Germany at the International Book Fair to try to get some foreign publishers to publish our books in other languages.

Let’s talk a little bit about your new book. Give us a preview of the new book that you’re writing.

TBT 50 | Truthful Living

Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill

It’s called Truthful Living. It’s a Napoleon Hill book. It’s his first writings twenty years before Think and Grow Rich. It’s his original thoughts on personal development and it was pretty raw in terms of both its brevity and content. I was given the honor of editing it and annotating it for the 21st century and the book will be launched on October 30th.

It must be like a dream come true to be able to be a part of that original work.

My name is on the cover with Napoleon Hill. It can’t get any better than that. This is his work twenty years before Think and Grow Rich was published. It’s his original thinking. You think about anyone who was a great writer, wouldn’t you like to know what their original thinking was? Most of the time you can’t know that.

Do you feel pressure around it? “I want to live up to his expectations and he’s not here to be able to say whether you did a good job or not.”

My only pressure was the Eagles winning a Super Bowl. That was the most pressure I felt in decades.

The show that we’re on here is Take Back Time. I pulled out my book, Outwitting the Devil, that Sharon Lechter was a part of and I saw that he talked about budgeting time. Does he have any specific thoughts around that?

It’s unbelievable. I’m going to give you the chapter right now. It will corroborate with you 100%. He says that time is your most valuable possession. He totally gets the fact that you can’t buy it back. You can’t reproduce it. It’s there for the moment and once it’s gone, it’s gone. He says time is the most precious thing in the world. What he says is that you cannot misuse it in any way. You cannot waste it. Even if you’re on vacation, his statement is that the brain is never idle. You’re always thinking, you’re always planning. You’re always looking out for something and the more sober you are, the more likely it is to come up with some good ideas, the more you’ll take advantage of this. He doesn’t even refer to it as a commodity. He refers to it as a thing that you cannot do without, you cannot live without and you cannot waste.

We do waste it in so many different ways.

Especially when you have a diversion as easy as the internet or the television that can literally rob you of your time.

What I take from that and I’d love to ask your thoughts on how you implement this in your life. It’s about being intentional with our time. When we’re not intentional and we’re distracted, then we’re disconnected and then we’re not using it wisely. When we’re intentional and purposeful, I believe that even if it is a vacation, then you’re purposeful that this is a time to reset and relax and that’s what you’re going to do. Spend time with family, whatever it is. I think when we’re in touch and purposeful, then we’re making good use of it.

What Napoleon Hill says is to focus on it. Then he takes it further and deeper by saying concentrate on it. By concentrating, you eliminate your diversions and your focus is on. Keep in mind when this was written in 1917, there wasn’t that much to divert yourself from. There was no television, no computers, no phones. He was able to focus in pretty well. In 2018, it’s a lot more difficult because you have to return a text in two seconds or a phone call in nine seconds or an email, you hit notifications that your old boyfriend got a little fat on Facebook and whatever the crap is. The diversion is there for the asking. You have to, by choice, either turn off notifications or put your stuff in a position of concentration where you’re actually by yourself.

Time is the most precious thing in the world. You cannot misuse it in any way. Click To Tweet

Tell us how you concentrate.

I work while all the people sleep.

That’s the key is to be awake in that quiet, silent time.

Many of my clients know I’m awake so they’ll text me earlier or text me late. Sometimes I don’t get the luxury but I always get to talk to our customers.

Just to go off that point, you had mentioned when we met that if somebody can contact you at 12:00 AM for a book and a gig and you’re there, you’ll book it at any time. Do you have some boundaries that you do set so that you can remain sane?

So far it’s working. I can’t tell you whether it’s sane or not. If I’m tired, I go to sleep. I have responsibilities during the course of a day where I can’t afford to sleep in, but I don’t mind that. I don’t consider it work. If you love it, it’s not working. I’m very stable with respect to how I divvy up my time. I’m there with Jen or I’m there with my daughter, Gabrielle, or all of us and we’re okay with it.

If you’re there with your family, are you one that will respond if something comes in or do you turn your phone off or what do you do in those circumstances?

No, I don’t do that. We are aware all the time of all options. Sometimes I’ll pass on an option and sometimes I’ll take an option. It depends but everyone understands what circumstances are.

The key is to be awake in that quiet, silent time. Click To Tweet

That’s an important point. We’re always making a choice. It’s a choice and you’re making that more conscious.

It’s not just a choice of, “Do I answer this phone or not?” It’s a choice of, “My mortgage is due and payroll is next month.” There are choices that you make based on realities.

That is very true and every entrepreneur out there can appreciate that. Not everybody has the luxury to not pick up the phone because we’d also know. You are the king of sales, what happens when we’re not following up in a timely manner?

People are calling me because they want help.

What happens if you don’t pick it up? They might call someone else.

I might have abandoned them in their time of need if they need help.

That’s an interesting perspective too. I would debate that and say that if people know that you have something that they can do to help you, that they would also wait and leave a message and be okay if you’ve got back to them in an hour or two.

They might be, but they’re more surprised that I’m not. They’re more surprised that I’m present.

TBT 50 | Truthful Living

Truthful Living: There are choices that you make based on realities.


That’s the most important thing is when you do pick it up, then you are present. Anything else from the new book that you wanted to highlight and talk about?

This book is not a life changing book per se. I don’t want to get that blatant about it, but it’s a life-altering book. It will cause you to do things better, not only differently. It will teach you how to concentrate deeper, how to have a better belief system and how to be more self-confident. It will take all the things that you need for success and enhance them to a point where you can say, “I get it. I agree with it. I’m willing to do this. I’m going to try it.”

How many times did you read Think and Grow Rich?

Ten when I first started and it was a labor of love. It wasn’t like, “I’ve got to read this again.” It was methodical. I added a bunch of sales guys. We all met every morning and we did a book report on one chapter every day. We did that for a little over a year and there are only fifteen chapters in the book and so you’re doing the book every three weeks.

That’s a good approach to doing it and then discussing it with one another. What kinds of things did you find yourself implementing like in the break between the next chapter?

You look at faith as belief. You look at desire as what do you want to do. You look at helping other people. There are fifteen chapters in the book and you have to look at each one of them as, “What am I going to do? What can I do differently? What can I do better? What can I do more of? How do I divert my energies to doing this?” All of a sudden, it becomes amazingly clear that this is what you need to do. Once you’ve gone through the book a few times, you get clarity on the process.

It’s like taking karate. With each time that you practice it more and more, you’re going to get that extra precision in it.

Eventually, you can break the board whenever you want.

It’s not considered work if you love it. Click To Tweet

What does productivity mean to you?

Productivity in terms of getting something done. First of all, it deals with, “Am I wanting to do this?” Your boss may say, “Make 100 cold calls,” and you may say, “I’m not doing that, I’m going to do twenty.” You might say, “I was productive. I’ve got twenty cold calls,” but the guy next to you got 120. Who was productive? The second thing is procrastination because many of us will say, “I can do this tomorrow.” “Do I love what I’m doing? Am I willing to do it now rather than tomorrow?” Then finally, “What’s my focus factor? What is my ability to concentrate on what it is that I needed to be done so that not only is it done but it’s done to the best of my ability?” I’m proud of the fact that I did this and to me, productivity is all about checking something off of your list but being proud that you did it.

What I’m hearing you say also is proud of the way you did it.

Yes, because a lot of people will do what their boss tells them to do and go, “I’ve got that crappy thing done.”

Part of getting it done efficiently and effectively is that attitude thing.

If you don’t want to do something, then the best thing to do is quit and go do something that you want to do. Whatever you do, you want to be best at it.

I’ve got so many interesting questions for you here. Who influenced you most to be a great sales leader? Was it Napoleon Hill or was there someone else?

My influence is probably my family growing up. My dad was a great salesperson so I caught that from him. I grew up with it and it becomes part of your fabric. I had that to start out with and then I hung out with other people that could do what I did and looked at them and go, “I’m as good or better than that guy.” Sell in New York City, that will teach you if you can sell or not. That’s the whole deal. I exposed myself to all the people of that day, the Bill Gove and the Herbert Bruce and the Zig Ziglar of that time. They were the people and J. Douglas Edwards, the thirteen best closes and all the things that went along with that. While it’s not applicable now, it was applicable then. My job was to try to master the best I possibly could. Finally, I got to a point where I saw the flaws in them and I began to create my own. By creating my own and by doing, I became a different kind of master.

TBT 50 | Truthful Living

Truthful Living: If you don’t want to do something, then the best thing to do is quit and go do something that you want to do.


It requires the doing, doesn’t it?

You can’t teach it if you can’t do it.

It’s not the same. You can’t refine it like you’re talking about.

That will be like asking you a question and you won’t have the basis for an answer.

You said that your dad was a huge influence. Can you remember a time, a story or something where it was a pivotal moment for you?

I watched my father in his situations and then we began to do some things together later in life. We went to Florida to do a mobile home park together and we were selling second mortgages. It was not a bank situation, but a financing situation. My dad took me down and we went to three or four of these financing places and they all turned down the property that we were looking at. We go into this final place and I go, “Can I do the pitch?” I did it and we’ve got the deal. I can’t tell you that I was better than he was, but I can tell you that I got the deal and he didn’t get the deal. I was pretty humbled by it. He was pretty grateful by it and it was a turning point. There was equality at that point.

I’m sure he was super proud of you.

You don’t want to go overboard with your kids.

Whatever you do, you want to be best at it. Click To Tweet

You talked about creating a lot of your own methods and approaches. I know you’ve got some events coming up. Tell us when they’re coming up.

I’m going to be in Philly on the 18th and 19th. I’ll be out at Chubb Hotel out of town. We’ve sold a bunch of tickets already.

You’re going to be in Dallas on the 24th and 25th of October.

The first week or so in November, I’ll be in Atlanta. I’ll have one day on sales mastery and one day is on sales leadership.

It’s a must-go. If you’re involved in sales in any way, you’re an entrepreneur, whatever you’re doing and you’re selling, you need these skills. What’s the one-time saving tip that would be beneficial to our audience? I was thinking of it in terms of what do you think is the number one thing that you would work on if you were helping someone to shorten their sales cycle?

Meet with the person that runs the show.

Get to the decision-maker?

TBT 50 | Truthful Living

Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

No, get to the boss. Get to the CEO. The CEO is the number one main guy in any company. He or she will decide in about a minute and a half. Salespeople will say they have a long sale cycle or dealing with people that have to go talk to other people to get a decision. The boss calls down and says, “We’re going to hire Gitomer.” The guy goes, “Gitomer, great boss. Great idea. Glad you thought of it.”

What’s a tip for some people who have no idea how to get to some of these CEOs? How do you get through the gatekeepers?

I try not to go to gatekeepers. I try to post things that are valuable that the CEO would want to read. I’m going to post about productivity. I’m going to talk about profitability. I’m going to talk about absenteeism. I’m going to talk about morale. I’m going to talk about profit. Those are the things that a CEO is going to want to read and if he reads that and he likes me, then I’ll get a phone call from him or her. I want them to make the phone call. I don’t want to make the phone call.

Creating value directed at those people will have those people connect with you if it’s something that resonates with them.

Kyle wanted me to be at your meeting. I didn’t call him, he called me. There are no coincidences in the world. I’m a big believer in things happening for a reason. Several people have already contacted me about coming to Charlotte for a weekend and I think it’ll be a fun time if we can do it and I’d like to try to make something happen. If your people in your podcast land are looking to be able to connect with me and get a weekend worth of learning, it’s a little expensive, but they’ll love it.

It’s value. It’s an investment.

Kyle is going to be there too. Kyle Wilson, the guy that founded Jim Rohn International. The two of us are going to work. We have a pretty big agenda planned and I have a digital studio. Everyone will either be on the podcast or be able to deliver a five-minute video piece and they can get their five minutes.

For our audience who wants to get involved in Kyle’s inner circle or be considered for this weekend, what’s the best way for them to do? Contact Kyle directly?

Contact Kyle or my email address, Jeffrey@Gitomer.com. I answer my own emails and we’ll take it from there. The Kyle Wilson event was an eye-opener for me. He has a great group of people and they all have a sense of giving about them and that’s very pleasing and rare in a mastermind group.

You can't teach it if you can't do it. Click To Tweet

I love the people that I met there. They were good people in so many different contexts. It’s great and it’s important to invest in yourself. I’m sure that this is also Napoleon Hill, I don’t remember exactly the quote, but it’s the people that you hang around. It’s the people that spark different ideas. I had so many amazing ideas that sparked out of conversations that wouldn’t have happened anywhere else.

When you have brilliant people or bright people all hanging out together, good ideas flow.

Thank you, Jeffrey, so much for being here.

Truthful Living, Napoleon Hill and Jeffrey Gitomer. You can pre-buy it on Amazon. They’ll ship it out on the 30th. Just go on and click buy.

Pre-order it and also get it so that you can get to the event in Philly in October 18th or 19th or in Dallas on October 24th and 25th.

Thank you.

Thank you so much, Jeffrey, for being here.

Thank you so much, Penny.

For our audience, as always thank you for being here. We’ll see you in the next episode.

Important Links:

About Jeffrey Gitomer

TBT 50 | Truthful LivingJeffrey Gitomer is the author of 15 best-selling books. He’s a creative, on-the-edge, writer and speaker whose expertise in sales, customer loyalty, and personal development is world renowned. Known for presentations, seminars, and keynote addresses that are funny, insightful, in your face, real world, off the wall, and on the money.

Jeffrey gives his audience information they can take out in the street one minute after the seminar is over and turn it into money. His podcast Sell or Die, with co-host Jennifer Gluckow, gets over 100,000 downloads a month. Jeffrey was inducted into the National Speaker Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame. He is the King of Sales.

Personal Agility: Scrum For Individual Task And Project Management with Michael Alf

TBT 46 | Personal Agility


There’s so much happening in the digital age. For many, they feel it gets harder and hence, they feel this overwhelm. Michael Alf, founder of High Performance in the Digital Age, has had a 25-plus year global career across various industries, continents and functions which has given him an unparalleled skillset and expertise to support today’s entrepreneur both inside and outside the corporate world. Michael is fascinated about people and how we behave, what drives us, and what motivates us. He created his podcast show, The Discipline Disruption Podcast, at the intersection between digital disruption and personal transformation. Michael discusses personal agility and shares five productivity hacks specifically to help you prepare and not just survive but to really thrive in this digital age.

Listen to the podcast here:

Personal Agility: Scrum For Individual Task And Project Management with Michael Alf

We’re going to talk about High Performance in the Digital Age. What does that mean? We’ll find out, but we all know what high performance means and we all know that we’re living in the digital age. Let’s pack those two together and see how we can be more efficient and effective to take back time in this day and age. I have Michael Alf. We’re excited to have him because he’s a personal friend of mine. We met when we took a neuro strategy masterclass together, so we can know and understand all the habits and behaviors that we and everyone else out there is having and how to better shift those behaviors to what we want to have versus what’s automatic. We’ve got that Behavioral Psychology background together.

You’ve been doing so many exciting things. I’ve been hearing about lots of different things you’ve created that we’re going to talk about and you can tell us more about anything else you think that the audience needs to know. Most importantly, you were a successful consultant and CEO, CFO, COO in a number of different companies. You know business, you know what high performance is and how to activate it. You’ve created this program, you’re the Founder of the High Performance in the Digital Age. People will notice that you are not the typical American since you are German. Somehow maybe you even have an Australian accent by living in Australia for as many years as you have. Michael, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Penny. I’m so excited to be here with you. We’ve known each other for so many years. It was hard to stay in touch when I was in Australia and you are somewhere in the US. We tried a couple of times to get together, but somehow that was tough. At the moment, I’m in Berlin, the German capital, the startup capital of Germany and Europe. I’m excited to be here. It’s a lot easier to connect. I’m glad to be here on the show.

It can be at a reasonable hour. You’re like, “Can we meet at 4:00 AM?” I’m like, “No.” I love you but I love my sleep even more. Tell us what we need to know about your background in order for us to understand how you came about to talk about High Performance in the Digital Age?

I’m from Germany and I started my career with the German Armed Forces as an officer during the first ten years. That was my first big block. I finished there as a captain. I joined consulting and spent a lot of years in consulting in Germany, but globally, in global roles and European roles working on strategy, implementation, transformation, outsourcing and development and all the whole stuff. Then ten years ago we said, “We have to move somewhere else. We want to experience that and have something special.” We had an opportunity to move to Melbourne, Australia. We took it at the end of 2008. We went there with consulting companies and then from there, I had an interesting journey, a roller coaster journey in the last couple of years where I tried a lot of things which didn’t work, and some things did work. It was interesting but a lot was around the digital space.

The other thing I’m fascinated about is people and how we behave, what drives us and what motivates us. That’s why I created also my podcast show, the Disciplined Disruption Podcast, at the intersection between digital disruption and personal transformation. The question for me is around how do we prepare for this digital age? How do we change our thinking, our mindset, our approach, our methods that we are using to not only survive but thrive in this digital age? For many, they feel it gets harder. It’s this overwhelm. There’s so much happening and that’s what I want to address with my work.

The more flexibility you want the more structure you need. Click To Tweet

I hope you’re going to address this problem when people are attached to their phones. Digital is great and it does accelerate processes and it can definitely make things more efficient and effective, but it’s how we use it. It can be also an obsession and also suck away our attention, our energy, our productivity and so forth. I hope that you can figure something that point first.

I have something for your audience, some tips, five productivity hacks specifically for the digital age and your audience will love it. Maybe not the tips itself, all of them initially because some of them you have to change your behavior and you have to do things differently. When you get the results at the end and you see this improvement and you see, “I get more done. I feel better. I feel less overwhelmed,” it’s worth it.

I always tell people, it’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it. We have to keep that in mind that there is a happy balance.

One good example, a lot of people wake up in the morning and the first thing they do is email purge. They go for all the emails, swipe and kill all the emails or delete all the emails.

Like killing your brain cells as you go across.

I’ll tell my audience in keynotes and in workshops that the problem is that your brain still has to read every single subject line. That means you take energy away in the early morning from things which are not important at all to just delete these emails instead of focusing on what is important in the day and do these email purge, mid-day or something like that and delete all the unnecessary emails.

I say the same thing. It’s an energy suck. It makes you reactive first thing in the morning and be on point. There are other ways also technologically so that you shouldn’t have to go through them, swipe, and get them out. There are lots of different things that you can do with filters and stuff to make your life easier as well.

That’s a very simple but very effective tip people should try out. Try it out for a week, it’s always a nice one. I know from working with my clients also in the coaching space and the high-performance area, sometimes it’s hard even a week, but this is something you have to bring up the energy because the results and the return you get is it makes you feel a lot better and it makes such a huge difference. That’s one big tip, which I have in terms of the digital age and what you can do around that.

Our audience will do that. I want you to check in and let us know how it went. Take one week and do that for one week and see the difference that it makes. The first day might be hard and it might create more stress because you’re detoxifying, you’re addicted. Face it, you are addicted. One week, take the challenge. Thank you, Michael. We’ll do that. Tell us more about what is a high performance to you?

TBT 46 | Personal Agility

Personal Agility: How do we prepare for this digital age? How do we change our mindset and the methods we are using to not only survive but really thrive in this digital age?


How I use it is based on the High Performance Institute because I’m a certified high-performance coach there. They did a lot of research around what drives high performance and what makes a high performance. There are certain habits which make all the difference between high performers and less high performers. Those clarity, energy, courage, productivity, influence and then there’s a necessity. You have these six high performance habits and they build this foundation of high performance. What I did is I use these elements. The interesting thing is this is all about mastery. It’s not like when you are productive, you are productive, so you are a ten out of ten.

It’s like you can always improve because your circumstances change. Therefore, things work differently and you have to apply in different ways and so on. Clarity is the same thing. You might have a certain level of clarity now. Let’s say you’ll get promoted tomorrow, then suddenly your clarity is gone. You have to start all over again. It’s on every level you can look around and look at those six high performance habits and see how you can improve them. What I did then is I used that as a foundation. Think about back to the smartphone. The smartphone operates with a simple spec. You have an operating system, your iOS or your Android, you have applications, your email program, your browser and you have the user, so yourself.

That’s a very simple three-part stack. What I did is I use the stack analogy and use that for your personal operating model. How do you operate yourself? The operating system is basically this high performance. This high performance is the foundation. It’s your operating system. Think about how often you upgrade your operating system on your smartphone on a regular basis? The reason is that otherwise, it doesn’t work. It’s not functioning enough or it’s not performing well. The same applies to the high performance in your own world. That’s how it works. On top of that sits all this digital stuff and the digital elements you need to look at. In principle, it’s the simple framework and it works well because it addresses the need for high performance and then it looks at the digital age, what else is required?

What are those things in the digital age? What else is required?

There are three components from my perspective that make it up. The first one is digital literacy. We all have to learn and embrace all this new stuff, IoT, artificial intelligence, Blockchain, Infinite Computing, Industry 4.0. Whatever it is, you need to understand what’s happening in your industry, in your world and need to learn that. You have to have this constant learning much more than in the past. There’s a lot of talk about it, but it becomes more and more critical that you stay up-to-date. The second one is path clarity. What I mean by path clarity is a short-term half clarity because things are changing so quickly. It’s around understanding what are your three top projects at the moment and how do you get there.

You simplify. You only have three projects in your life and you focus on those three projects. You create this clarity, how you move forward in these three projects. You block out everything else because you will have overwhelm. It’s unavoidable. There’s so much coming upon us. Overwhelm is the new normal as I say. The question then is, “What do you do?” If you know that overwhelm is normal, you then accept it and focus on what is most important. That’s the second one. The third one, which is nice into the productivity discussion is what I call a personal agility. A lot of people talk about Agile and Scrum, but we need to start with ourselves because when we don’t understand how Agile works and how we think in a more agile way, then an organization can’t do that.

If you can’t do it personally, how are you going to do it collectively?

That’s the whole purpose of it. The idea of that is you start with yourself, you create your own personal agility. One way how I do it is if using the Agile approach or the Scrum approach for your personal productivity. I break it down and apply that to the productivity. You might have to-do lists or whatever it is, but I basically use the Scrum approach, which is in principle the core element is a Scrum board, so it’s a whiteboard.

Overwhelm is the new normal. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of people who don’t know what Scrum is. Let’s back up. We’re going to go into more detail in that third area on the personal agility. For the people who aren’t familiar with it, what is Scrum at a high level and why should we care?

A couple of decades ago, Jeff Sutherland looked at all the projects and how long typically the projects were going, IT projects, infrastructure projects, everything. When you think about large projects, developing a new bridge or a new car or a software system, the big things, he said, “That can’t be,” then he developed the Scrum Approach.

It can’t be because there’s a statistic that it was over 30%. It was closer to 50% of those projects fail. How do these massive investments fail? That’s my remembrance of it.

It’s in this high 30% plus up to 70%, especially for the large projects. It’s quite massive. It’s millions of dollars getting lost there. He said, “I have to solve this problem.” He came up with this new approach, Scrum approach, and developed that. That has started in the software development space. When you look at the Silicon Valley, venture capitalists would typically not invest into a startup if it wasn’t run in Agile. That shows you how powerful this methodology is because that’s the standard. Interestingly, Silicon Valley is ahead. They use that everywhere, but it’s coming now around the world. Here in Berlin, almost every organization is looking into Agile-Scrum, I’ll put that the same. Using that and trying to educate the board, the leadership, and everybody else to understand how that works because it’s a very different approach to thinking.

I’d like to highlight what I understand it, you tell me if it’s correct and why everybody needs to think about this because it is a different level of thinking and I always say that it’s about thinking and acting more strategically. Traditionally, in large project planning, they spend a lot of time planning out all the way to the end of the project. These Gantt charts were so out of hand. They spend more time updating the Gantt charts for everything that changes, as things do in a project and they’re less flexible. There were so much time and resource. If I understand and remember correctly, Jeff Sutherland would say, “It’s over-planning.” This Agile-Scrum method, the way that I understand it is more like rapid prototyping. It’s a short-term type of planning and just improving the communication and also, the way that you manage any particular task. Did I understand that and explain that in a fair way?

That’s very true. It’s moving away from what is called a waterfall. You do one step after the other and when something goes wrong you have to go all the way back to the beginning. The problem when you have a $10 million project, then it gets very expensive when you have problems after $7 million and you have to go all the way back. Agile tries to instill more flexibility in an approach but in a structured way and most people miss that part.

The most important part is you’ve got to have structure.

The more flexibility you have, the more structure you need, which is counterintuitive.

The more flexibility you have, the more structure you need or the more flexibility you want to have, the more structure you need.

TBT 46 | Personal Agility

Personal Agility: We all have to learn and embrace all this new stuff.


It’s because you open up what people want and how people are doing it, but therefore you need a frame to bring it together. Otherwise, we have anarchy.

Can you imagine if you want to have a glass of water, but you pour it and it’s all over the place. It’s a container to make sure that you’re directed and moving forward in the direction you want to go in.

That’s a beautiful visual. I’ll continue on that because when you have the water and you drink water, that’s the maximum flexibility because it’s fluid. Therefore, it needs a container. When you have the water in the form of ice, that is far less flexibility, therefore you don’t need a container.

You don’t need as much structure. The ice may still spill over, but that structure is going to depend on how fluid it is.

That’s what most people underestimate. They think Agile means chaotic. I always ask people and say, “Do you think you are Agile?” and Agile doesn’t mean that when your boss says right today and left tomorrow, you do right and left. That’s following your boss and that’s another topic. Agile is about achieving key milestones in a very efficient and effective way through a very nice and simple process. What I did, I use this process, which was used to develop software, to simplify and strip out everything, which is not necessary and leave the core of it, the benefits of it and apply that to your personal productivity. That’s the idea of that program.

Tell us about the structures that are in place. Tell us a little bit about how it works and what the structures are that are there to support us.

There are a couple of challenges we all have. One is think about how many things you have on the go. Everyone has so many things in their head going on, juggling all these balls. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to think about it anymore? That’s one what this does. It has this so-called backlog and basically, everything you think about goes in there. The beauty is the moment it is on this backlog, it is out of your brain, so you have a free capacity up there.

That’s like David Allen who talks about, “Get it down on paper.”

Start with yourself. Create your own personal agility. Click To Tweet

There’s a process in between how you process these items. In the end, there’s another fascinating thing. Have you ever had a Friday where you looked back at the week and said, “I was so busy, but I didn’t get anything done?”

Not me, but I’m sure somebody else out there.

We all have these Fridays. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of this forever? That’s what this program does. One of the big problems is the moment we complete something, be it small or big, it’s forgotten.

We forget it totally. It’s ridiculous. We’re so hard on ourselves. We do not even recognize our successes when we have them.

This is another key element component. What you do, you collect all your achievements in a week and at the end of the week, you say, “I did that. I completed this letter. I did this proposal.” It felt like I wasn’t doing anything but I look at my list now and it’s pretty impressive. I could have been better, but I was quite good even if I feel it’s different. It’s such a huge difference and it gives you this great feeling when you move into the weekend.

TBT 46 | Personal Agility

Personal Agility: Agile is about achieving key milestones in a very efficient and effective way through a very nice and simple process.


We’re very much in alignment in that context. Somebody that we both know, we work together on a regular basis and coach each other and whatnot. We started to put together this process of collecting our wins and going through our wins because of the same reason that is why do we have to be defeated at the end of every day or the end of the week? Psychology tells us we delete, distort and generalize things because that’s the way we process. We have to remind ourselves of all the great things that we did as opposed to focusing on what we didn’t do. We get to do both. We get to focus on what we did do and feel good about it and then say, “Here’s what I can do next week.” I love that. That’s systematized in your program that helps people to put that as a regular habit and practice in place because that is so valuable.

That’s the power of that. That’s one element which can lead to this personal agility, which is so critical in our world that we learn these skills and this different way of thinking and seeing what is necessary. That framework and that’s what is high performance in the digital age. When you maintain your high performance, master that, and you look at those three components, digital literacy, path clarity and personal agility, you are in an excellent path into the future.

When you maintain your high performance and master that, you are in excellent path into the future. Click To Tweet

Thank you for sharing that because everybody could take away that tip for themselves. Those are a couple of good nuggets that they can put into practice right away. You have also a system that can support somebody. Sometimes we know we’re not so good at doing it on our own and sometimes we need to have systems, coaches and people that support us so that we stick by our intention and follow through because that is somewhat challenging. What I’m understanding is that our habits are what make the difference between high performance. We’ve got to balance those from what we need on the high-performance side together with the digital age and what’s happening in our current environment so that we can stay current and even proactive, and at the same time not overwhelm ourselves but to stay focused on the key objectives. Thank you so much, Michael, for being here. I know you said you had a gift and you might have some other places that people can check out this high-performance program. Where can they go to do that?

What I have is the Five Productivity Hacks for the Digital Age and you just go to Content.MichaelAlf.com/productivity_hacks. Just download the Five Productivity Hacks. You can find out more on my website, MichaelAlf.com. I suggest you download the Productivity Hacks because they will help you and you can implement them and then let me know how you go and if you want to have any further discussion.

You also have this six-week program that helps people sell online to build these habits. Is that right?

TBT 46 | Personal Agility

Personal Agility: Learn by guided doing, which is the best way to learn.


If that’s of interest, you go to ThePersonalProductivityProgram.com. It’s a simple straightforward, six-week program where you learn exactly step by step this methodology, you apply that to yourself. The beauty is the ideas that you get into action, using the framework as quickly as possible, which is already in week two and you learn by doing but by guided doing, which is the best way to learn.

Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you, Penny. It was great to see you again and be with you on the show. You are doing great work here.

Thank you and I appreciate it. For all of you who were here and interested in high performance, thank you for being here, but even more importantly, put your money where your mouth is. If you want to be a high performer because there’s always another level wherever you are now. Think about Karate, there are multiple levels of black belt. Wherever you are, there’s potential to grow. Hold yourself accountable. Get a buddy, get a coaching program, do Michael’s program. It’s only six weeks. What could be different? What if you took this and in six weeks you could take back time and be able to spend more time with other things that are important to you or to focus and put that effort towards reaching your milestones faster. That’s what I want for you is to be able to take back time.


Important Links:

About Michael Alf

TBT 46 | Personal AgilityMichael Alf has had a 25+ year global career across various industries, continents and functions which has given him an unparalleled skillset and expertise to support today’s entrepreneur both inside and outside the corporate world. He has trained with some of the best trainers in the world in high-performance coaching to help those struggling in the digital age. He is now focused on working with managers and executives to help them make a real impact in today’s fast-changing world.

Victoria Buckmann: Finding The Sales Magic With Energy

TBT 45 | Sales Magic


In business, the sales process connects us to people. It is the bridge where we can cross-over to present our products and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives. This is the kind of sales magic that Victoria Buckmann finds. As a certified Dream Coach, Higher Guidance Business Coach, Former Premier Success coach for eWomenNetwork, a hypnotherapist and Intuitive, she teaches people to be aware of their energies in how it affects the way they deal with business and selling. She shows how to shift your energy alongside the goals to actually get the results you want. By also shifting your energy to gratitude and clarity, you will see the most effective way towards the results.

Listen to the podcast here:

Victoria Buckmann: Finding The Sales Magic With Energy

We’re going to talk about sales magic. There’s got to be magic in sales because when you’re selling, there’s got to be magic to create that connection with somebody who’s buying. We’re talking to Victoria Buckmann and she has over 30 years of sales success and she loves to create sales magic. She has created a successful corporate career for herself with a Fortune 100 Company, achieving a 1,000% of quota month after month and year after year. She is a certified dream coach, higher-guidance business coach, and former premier success coach of the eWomenNetwork. She’s also a hypnotherapist and an intuitive so it’s the in and out game. With coaching, training and sales experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to those who want to learn the inside secrets of sales. Victoria, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Penny. I’m glad to be here.

What do you think is so magic about the sales process?

What I think is so magic about the sales process is that we get to connect with people. We get to make a new friend, find out what their dream and vision is, and help them achieve that. That’s magical.

It is magical when you have something that someone else wants and you can make that connection. Click To Tweet

When you have something that someone else wants and you can make that connection, that can be magical. Where’s the trouble? Where do salespeople have the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge that people have is they don’t really recognize that they lead with their energy first. We’re energy beings. You have EKG, you have an EEG. When we have this emotion of fear, desperation or anxiety, that comes across long before we ever say a word.

I just did a keynote to an organization that was full of veterinarians and whatnot. To make that point, I said that there’s a thing that dogs can smell fear. They can’t really smell it. We can’t smell someone else’s fear but we can totally feel it. Just like that dog knows when somebody is apprehensive and then they react, their energy changes accordingly.

We are the same way. How many times have you walked into a room and there’s no one in the room but you know that somebody had a heated fight in that room ten minutes before? You can feel the energy in that room and it’s still lingering. When we show up with this fear, anxiety or this desperation, that energy is going to show up. The other party, the person who you’re speaking to, you’re going to feel it. They may not pinpoint it and know exactly what that energy is, but they’re going to go, “Something’s not right. It doesn’t feel good. Something’s off.”

It’s going to affect their energy and it’s going to affect the experience that they’re having in that conversation. I want to go back to the point you talked about desperation. So many people are goal-oriented and what they don’t realize is that they’re a little too goal-oriented. It creates an obsessive behavior towards the goal. It becomes more of that desperate energy. It becomes more of a scarcity than it does in terms of a motor towards that goal. How does somebody handle that? That’s maybe the way that I’m showing up in my sales process. How would I know that I’m probably not getting the results that I want and people are not buying from me? How do I shift that?

The fastest and easiest way to shift that is to think about something that you’re passionate about, someone that you love, if that’s an animal or a baby, just go into really deep gratitude. What do you have gratitude for? That will shift your energy so fast and it’s palpable.

I also recommend gratitude as a place to go into because you can always find something that you’re grateful for, whether it’s nature or whether it’s an animal.

Think about something that you did in your life that just excited you, it was so much fun, it was just madness and memory, and you’re just so grateful for having that experience.

TBT 45 | Sales Magic

Sales Magic: It’s really important to connect what is your drive and purpose to something you are excited about being a part of.


It’s really important to connect to what is your drive, your purpose. It’s not a goal, but something that you were excited about being a part of. If I am in sales and I’m selling something that isn’t just a product, how is this going to enhance someone’s life? Really get connected to the value that it provides. If I’m selling houses, for instance, I could look at it as though I’m building communities and that I’m creating happy families because they have a place to live and to call their own and to be comfortable in. It can be a different focus by focusing on what the other person is gaining than just making the sale.

You are not only building communities, but you are also providing somebody with a home. It has a whole different feel than selling a house. Even just the word.

Stop talking about selling. That’s a good point right there.

Even the word sales, it’s gotten a bad rap. For women, we think that we’re not good at that or we don’t know how to do it because of all the things that we’ve heard. We don’t want to be pushy. We don’t want to be aggressive. We don’t want to be salesy.

That in itself is describing that energy that you’re talking about that people don’t want to feel. That’s absolutely a good point. On this show, we’re talking about how we help people to be more strategic so they can take back time and they can do things more efficiently and effectively. Let’s put that into what that means in terms of the sales process. What kind of result will someone get when they can shift the energy that they’re bringing to a conversation?

They can double and triple their sales.

Could they do it faster or does it take just as long?

If you are coming from the right energy, your own energy, energy of gratitude, and you add to that your energy of, “I want to be of service to the person in front of me. I want to find out what do they dream about and I want to help them either reach their dream or get this much closer to their dream,” that’s that value that you talked about. When you can help somebody get what it is that dream about, you’re putting your own agenda aside. You’ve left your agenda, you’re there to serve them, and they are going to come closer to you, if not physically. That shortens up the whole timeframe of how you create trust, likeability and the whole know, like and trust factor.

When we have this emotion of fear, desperation, or anxiety, that comes across long before we ever say a word. Click To Tweet

It’s to speed the trust but it’s going to shorten the sales cycle. If we can optimize and improve our conversations, we don’t have to have as many of them. That in itself is an efficient and effective process. It really does, I totally believe, that it comes with the energy that you show up. It’s not just when you’re selling something. I was on stage three times last week. In one of those three times, I felt like something was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it and I record a lot of my sessions. I listened back through the session and I watched and I said, “It was my energy. My energy was not as powerful and as animated as it normally is. Something was a little flatter. I could feel it in the audience.” Either I was affected by the energy that was around me or I affected the energy that was around me because it’s a symbiotic relationship.

It is a give and take. It can go both ways.

It’s everywhere in our life. It’s not only if you’re selling. If you’re having a meeting and you’re just in a regular meeting at work or it’s happening in your relationships with your kids or with your spouse. Energy is everything. There’s this whole thing where you get in a fight when you walk in the door because everybody’s energy is in different places and so you’re responsible for your energy.

That’s funny that you say it’s not just selling. It can be talking to your kids or talking to your spouse or at work in a meeting. In fact, in all of those places, you’re selling. You are sharing an idea and selling somebody on some idea. If you’re working with your kids and you’re communicating and you’re trying to influence them in a certain way to be a certain person, to take care of their room or whatever it might be, you’re selling them on another idea. Whether it’s leadership or a meeting or at home, you are constantly selling in your life every moment. Whether you’re selling yourself on an idea, whether I have to sell myself to get my little fanny to the gym.

We’re selling to ourselves and we’re selling to others all the time. We might as well embrace it and know what drives a successful outcome.

One of the things that you said about speeding up time, being efficient. Not only will you pay attention to your energy and if you need to shift it but when you have clarity, you are very clear on where you’re going. If you see the end result of what it is that you want to happen, whether it’s an interaction with your partner, interaction with your kids, meeting at work or an interaction with someone who you want to provide your services or product to. When you have a very clear goal in mind, clarity of intention is how I would say it. You know what the best outcome could ever be and you state that or you think about that, and that also speeds up the timeframe.

That clarity, as you’re saying, that’s also directing your energy because I talk about that in terms of your time management. Before you sit down for any task, whether it’s a conversation that you’re having around a sales product or service or it’s just getting something done, set an intention for that timeframe, “What you can accomplish in this 30 minutes or this hour’s timeframe?” and be clear on your intention of where you’re going to focus. It’s the same kind of thing. It’s just giving you that focus so that your energy stays aligned to what it is that you want and then you can get there faster.

I see it like a laser. Our energy and our ideas are all over the place, but if you focus it and you direct it right to where you’re going and what result you want to have, you are laser-like in your clarity and your intention. You are going to get things done in a very short period of fine. You read my bio. I was over 1,000% of quota for thirteen years. All of my cohorts work eight, ten, twelve hours a day. I worked about four or five.

TBT 45 | Sales Magic

Sales Magic: There is that freedom when you can help other people get what they want, what they need, and what they dream about.


That’s because of these techniques, right?

Yes. That’s why I call it the magic.

The magic is being able to do it in four hours instead of eight. I understand that you also have a program around teaching people. Do you have something like that where people can find out more information about how they can get in touch with you?

We have a Sales Magic series of different classes. The best way to get ahold of me is to go in and apply for a strategy session where I can help you see where you need help with sales. The easiest way to do that is to go to SalesMagicMakeover.com. There’s a very short little application and I’ll answer you and we can have a great chat.

Tell the audience something personal about you that they can connect to why this is important to you.

I have a passion for helping women. That’s one of the things that I have a passion for. When I was in sales, I was a single mom and when I was over 1,000% of quota. That allowed me to buy a house, take my child on trips. It allowed me to get up and leave the office if my kid fell down and skinned his knee. It’s the freedom. It’s not necessarily just for women. It’s the freedom that it gives you when you can help other people get what they want, what they need and what they dream about. It not only fills you up, but it gives you this freedom to explore more opportunities in your life and that’s something I’m really passionate about.

What’s one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had that you overcome?

I actually had my financial advisor steal my life savings and that was a big one.

We can’t smell someone else’s fear, but we can totally feel it. Click To Tweet

Was that also a driver in this where you said, “I’ve got to work and do this in four hours so that I can get my money back?”

That was the turning point. Not only that, a lot of times we have our self-worth wrapped up in our net worth. That doesn’t do you any good. We are all amazing beings and however much money you have or you make or whatever your product you’re selling, none of that makes any difference towards who you are. We are magnificent beings. We’re all geniuses in our own right. I love to help people find their genius and go towards their dream and make their lives more fulfilling.

Was that one of your challenges? I had that same challenge where I had early success in my career, big time, major and then I switched careers and started at ground zero again. It was very humbling. I did have that complex of feeling like, “I’m not making the money and so I’m not worthy,” or having that lack of confidence because of that. I know that was something that I had to overcome. Is that what happened in that process?

I got the rug ripped out from underneath me and I toppled for a couple of years. I got to know who I am, what I love and what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about people. I love being in a relationship with people and helping them achieve their dreams. It took me a little bit to figure that out. That was definitely the catalyst.

That’s great. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you. This was fun.

For all of our audience, thank you for being here. We all have challenges in our beliefs that tell us we’re not enough, that create fear, that make us want to reach that goal in desperation. The truth is you are worth it and all you need to do is bring that energy from within. Love the people that you’re selling. Care about them, want them to have more and just bring the energy, the intention and that clarity that is going to help you be more successful, to shorten that sales cycle and double your sales at the same time. That’s how you take back time. Thank you all and I will see you in the next episode.

Important Links

About Victoria Buckmann

TBT 45 | Sales MagicVictoria Buckmann has over 30 years of sales success and loves to create ‘Sales Magic’. She created a successful corporate career with a Fortune 100 company achieving 1000% of quota month after month, year after year! Victoria is a certified Dream Coach, Higher Guidance Business Coach, Former Premier Success coach for eWomenNetwork, a hypnotherapist and Intuitive. With coaching, training and sales experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to those who want to learn the inside secrets to sales success. She has coached women business owners internationally and throughout the United States to successfully lead and grow their teams. By connecting your heart and mind, Victoria specializes in helping you master the ‘inner game’ to easily triple your sales and grow your client base.

Ari Meisel’s Counterintuitive Take On Productivity With Doing Less

TBT 44 | Doing Less


Counter-intuitive to a lot of people, sometimes doing less could give you more. Ari Meisel is a great believer of this as he talks about his own take on productivity and how we should think a little bit differently. As an author, developer, consultant, productivity expert, and CEO of his company Less Doing, he teaches how instead of working harder, we should work smarter. He shares the common mistakes people do when it comes to writing to-do lists and document processes, why simplicity is very important and more efficient, and how do we make people replaceable without actually replacing them.  Finally, he imparts the importance of the methodology—optimize, automate, outsource—and why it’s important.

Listen to the podcast here:

Ari Meisel’s Counterintuitive Take On Productivity With Doing Less

We’re going to talk about the thing that everybody wants to do, which is do less and at the same time achieve more. We want that, but why can’t we do it? We’re going to talk to Ari Meisel. He’s the Founder of Less Doing and he’s got the answers to everything or at least that core question of what we’re looking for. Ari, welcome to the show.

Thank you very much. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you, Penny.

We’ve interviewed a couple of times before and I always take away some new perspectives. I want people to hear your story because it’s powerful in understanding the perspective shift that you were forced to have that had you start to think a little bit differently. Why did you get on this mission for or in this passion around doing less?

Everybody wants to do less and at the same time achieve more. Click To Tweet

Some of the best businesses choose you and not the other way around. I was working in real estate development in upstate New York and working a very hard lifestyle. I was under a lot of stress. When I was 23, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which knocked me down. I don’t know if it’s possible to create that kind of an output. I had a lot less time and less energy to get things done and after a long process of self-tracking, self-experimentation, I was able to get off all my meds and start to overcome the illness. The real strides came when I started to experiment with and create a brand-new system and productivity, which I would call Less Doing, as in less doing, more living. The overarching idea there was to show people how to optimize, automate, and outsource everything in their lives and businesses in order to be more effective.

TBT 44 | Doing Less

Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier

I want people to think about this as an area of a huge perspective shift. What if for some unforeseen reason all of a sudden, instead of having eight hours a day or however many you take, let’s say that you only have four hours, you have half a day. I know you might’ve even had less than that, but I want people to imagine what would happen in your perspective shift in the way that you create priorities, in the way that you look at anything and everything that you do. That, in itself, is like an eye-opening wake-up.

It’s an important thing for people to think about and so the number for me was an hour.

How do you get anything done in an hour?

The question at that point becomes, “What aren’t you going to do?” which is nice. I love doing that experiment to people because you say to somebody that works 9:00 AM to 5:00 AM, “You have to leave the office by 4:00 PM.” That’s easy, “I’ll skip lunch,” or “I’ll shorten one call or whatever,” but then you say, “What would you if you only got an hour?” It’s a totally different way of thinking about it.

It’s that dramatic change that creates you to think differently. Incremental change doesn’t get us to think differently, it’s a dramatic change.

Another way of looking at it, too, is do you know Snap-on tools?

I haven’t heard of that.

You can’t buy them anywhere. There’s a Snap-on tool truck that goes to professional garages. It’s one of the best tools that you can buy. They’re gorgeous and they’re always wonderful sets. They are arguably some of the best tools there are for a car. If somebody wanted you to work on a spaceship, you couldn’t use those tools, those tools don’t work in this area. That’s the thing. You have to come up with a completely new set of tools and completely new methods when that’s the challenge. A lot of my productivity advice and a lot of things that I teach people are very counterintuitive and counterintuitive to what a lot of other productivity people teach.

I want to point out when you talked about tools, I want everybody to also think about the main tool that we have, which is our brain. It’s our mindset. It also requires a different mindset.

Technology will only amplify habits. Click To Tweet

I love to say that I’m tool agnostic. I love tech, I love lots of tools, and I recommend lots of tools, but I always try to temper them and tell people that technology will merely amplify habits. If you have good habits, it will make them better. If you have bad habits, it will make them worse way faster. I am always looking at that mindset shift that needs to take place first. A lot of it is that there’s so much psychology wrapped up in what makes people more or less productive.

Let’s talk about the point of being very productive and counterintuitive. What is that? What do you mean by that? Give us an example.

One thing is I’m very anti to-do list. A lot of times the question is, “What’s the best to-do list or how should I manage the to-do list?” My response is, “Get rid of it.”

Why is that?

99% of people do the to-do list wrong in terms of what psychology requires of us. The biggest issue with most of the to-do lists is that they’re very static. I don’t care if you’re using a nice notebook or you’re using some fancy app or something like that. Most people do it wrong and they don’t treat the to-do list like an assembly line, which we need to do. The to-do lists need to have movement to them in some sense so that at the very base level, you want to have some form of to do, doing, and done in that format.

There is something called Kanban, which is a Japanese project management scheme from Toyota. You can do this with tools like Trello, but you can do this with post-it notes on a wall, too. It’s so important to have that sense of movement. To do, doing, and done is a little loose scheme. If you’re a real estate broker to do, doing, and done might look like lead prospective property, visited once, offer made, negotiation, and then close.

TBT 44 | Doing Less

Doing Less: Treat things like an assembly line. It’s important to have that sense of movement of to do, doing, and done.


There is still this arc of to do, doing, and done, which is something that is on deck, something that we’re doing now, and something that we did. It gives that sense of velocity and movement. Not only can we psychologically be motivated by that movement, we’re moving towards that goal. We also get a sense of how long things take and shouldn’t take in this 50,000-feet overview. A lot of people do to-do lists in static and a lot of people do their to-do list flipped on their side, which they organize things in a wrong way and they organize things categorically rather than by phase.

The best way to organize the way that we’re doing things is as a project and the phases of which it is to get them done. We should be managing our tasks and activities based on projects.

Treat things like an assembly line. In that way you know where things break, you can fix them in that way, you know where things are getting held up. That leads to the second one for me, which is a lot of people love the all-in-one software.

Is there an all-in-one software?

When they have that even in the marketing, that’s a big no for me. It’s a deal breaker when something is an all-at-one software. I did this thing on social media where I put two pictures, one was of this gray box with an on-off switch on and the other one was a Rube Goldberg machine. I said, “Which process would you prefer in your business?” A lot of people said the black box and I said, “Never in a million years would I want the black box. I would go for the Rube Goldberg machine ten times out of ten. I might have to duct tape together several different automation processes and tools, but if something doesn’t work, I know where and why. If I want to change something, I can do that. I don’t have to hire the Infusionsoft specialists to come in and open the black box and fix it.”

That’s another one. It’s like people are always for that one piece of software. It’s going to fix everything and it doesn’t work like that. It’s a wrong way to go at it. CRMs are great examples of that. Probably one of the most common questions that I get once a week is, “What’s your favorite CRM?” I usually answer like, “What do you need a CRM for?” Literally, I can build a CRM in Trello that’s better than 80% of the CRM out there and you can do it for about fifteen minutes.

Incremental change doesn’t get us to think differently. It’s the dramatic change that does. Click To Tweet

That’s because it’s following the phased approach that you’re talking about. Is that right?

Yes, you can automate it where you need to. I can tie in machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to suss out better prospects versus not and follow-ups and you keep it simple. People tend to pay for 80% of the features that they don’t use.

Simplicity is so important because the more complex it gets, the more we tend to procrastinate or end up in perfectionism. It helps us to keep moving, to create that traction and to communicate it to others. If you have a complex process, how are you going to delegate that to somebody else? It’s going to be a lot more difficult. That’s why people hold onto things to, “It’s too complex.”

There’s another one that people do wrong and it is how they document processes. It’s a reverse for me, it’s our trademark POS process. It’s process optimization system because it’s a reverse thing. What a lot of people do is they will Screencast a process, send it to a VA somewhere, and say, “Do the process.” That’s a problem because most people are not efficiently relaying the processes in their head. They’ll leave out parts that they inherently know without even realizing it. The better way to do it is to take the Screencast, give it to the VA or whoever, anyone who’s never seen it, and say, “Watch the video and now you write the process. Further to that, don’t give it back to me. Give it to a third person who has never seen it before and have them run through the process.”

Ten times out of ten, that’s going to fail and it’s great because they’re going to get to step three and say, “I don’t understand how you got from here to four,” and then you fix it. What you end up with is a process that works at a tertiary level that is unbreakable. You could literally pull somebody off the street and have them go through that process without there being an error and then training costs go down, too. It’s a much better approach to it.

Some of the best businesses choose you, not the other way around. Click To Tweet

I believe in that wholeheartedly because I’ve worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and business people who needed to optimize the way that they were doing things and delegate certain pieces. They didn’t want to hand over the process. They didn’t even know what the process was. I had somebody follow them, document the process, and ask them questions as they were going through. They didn’t have to do it, so they felt, “I don’t mind doing it as long as I don’t have to do it. Someone else will.” Then it needs to make sense to somebody who doesn’t do it on a day-to-day basis and see if it works by having them do it. That’s a brilliant, smart, practical, and pragmatic approach.

The thing that you said about asking somebody a question along the way, too, is a good one as well when you have something that’s very qualitative. Every business, whether it’s a founder, it’s usually the founder but not always, they’re somebody who knows how to pick a winner. I had this guy whom I was talking with. He was a lawyer. He said that the biggest challenge in their businesses is that his father, who’s the senior partner, is a huge bottleneck because all of the six junior partners have to have the senior partner review everything that they sent out. I said, “Have you ever documented the process for that?” He was like, “We have a whole process for how we do that.” I was like, “No, have you documented the process for his review?” He was like, “No, it’s all how he does it.” Watch him do it and ask him why he makes a change here or change there and then you have a process.

Some of the best processes are the processes in people’s heads. They’re experts in their space and all that experience is in there and they don’t know how to get it out. It is through those questions that people can ask that make them then think about it like, “What I’m doing is I’m looking at X, Y, and Z.” I know you’ve dedicated so many years to this topic and you’ve got some great books out there. You have a new book coming out. Can you tell us about it?

It’s called The Replaceable Founder. It’s my ninth book and the focus here is on business growth. When Less Doing started, it was around personal productivity and their nine fundamental system, which is what the first two books were based on. I parlayed that into nine fundamentals for growing a business, broken down into three main areas of communication, project management, and processes. I’ve taught it as our course and we’ve seen incredible results with the businesses that have gone through it. A lot of it is about removing bottlenecks. I’m always trying to help people be as replaceable as possible without replacing them.

Simplicity is so important because the more complex it gets, the more we tend to procrastinate. Click To Tweet

If you use that as a goal, you end up removing yourself as a liability from your company and everybody else. I had a team of seven people in my company and now I have three. Those four people replaced themselves and the other three replaced themselves and then took on bigger things. We’re always trying to make people irreplaceable as possible. One of the metrics that we look at with our business as well as our clients is something called Days to Departure. That’s how many days you notice you’d have to give before you could go on vacation. For me, it’s zero, which is great and it should never be more than three or four. The Replaceable Founder helps you to get out of your own way and let the natural growth that should be happening happen.

Where will the audience go to either reserve a copy or to get it when it’s available?

The best place is Less.Do/Penny. We have this blueprint that they can download but they can email us and people can find out first when it’s available. It should be available on Amazon.

You think differently. That is the way that people need to look at things. That’s a unique approach, the Days to Departure and the value that that brings is we all know when we go on vacation we get a lot more productive. You’re getting that vacation mindset, all of a sudden, to say no to a lot of things that aren’t important and so forth. The goal to replace yourself is so important. Very often I see as well that the business owners or people in key roles get caught up in the minutiae and things that they shouldn’t be caught up in. They’re the creative thinkers and they should be the ones that are troubleshooting, innovating, being free, and flexible.

They’re not able to be creative, free, and flexible when they’re in the minutiae then they see the same perspective as everyone else in the company. I know that they do this in the military. They teach that. I did a presentation workshop and they wanted me to integrate extreme ownership. In the military, they talk about how they do that, so that the leaders aren’t caught up in the minutiae and that they can see the project plan, the mission from a different perspective. In that way, they can identify where those bottlenecks are for instance and identify those things. That’s a super important point for all entrepreneurs and all businesspeople to set up the processes and organize themselves in such a way that they can replace themselves.

If you’re not replaceable, then you’re a liability. It’s that simple.

It’s one of those things that feels good and you feel like it’s making progress or that it’s making you more productive, but it’s not. How do we deal with those things where our brain tricks us and makes us think and feel good about it but at the same time, it’s creating more mistakes and counterproductive? It’s multitasking but it shows up in other areas in our life too. Where it feels good, so we do it and we think it’s the right thing, but it’s not bringing us closer to our goal. It’s like saying yes and getting into the minutiae and taking over somebody’s problem versus coaching them to solve it themselves.

It’s a constant struggle and it really is. I fall prey to it every now and then as well. No one’s perfect. The thing is to recognize that like having a 20/20 eyesight vision. A lot of people just do it and then move on from it and they wonder what happened. It is a classic overwhelm. We, as human beings, can handle a lot of crap being thrown at us, but we get on autopilot mode at some point. It’s like you hit your threshold then you’re like, “I’ll be dumping water on fire.” I’m not thinking about it, I’m going through the emotions and I’ll get it done eventually, but it’s never going to stop. I’ll never go to take that time to get out of the rut and figure it out. It’s making that habit, which is important. As far as multitasking, it doesn’t exist. Parallel tasking is something that I do believe in. Parallel tasking is where you flick the domino on several different things and let them go into motion not dependent on you and then you can go back to what you’re doing. It doesn’t take away your focus from what you’re doing and you can set things in motion.

That’s my favorite thing. I love to delegate something and then to know that progress is happening and I’m not doing it. It makes me feel so good. There are some sources that I use to make that happen. When I get a delivery, I’m super excited and proud of myself for putting it in motion. What are some of your favorite tools and resources? They’re going to get your new book and they’re going to get on your list. Give us a preview of some of the things that you would say if they didn’t have all of that information available to them. What are the two or three tools that you think could boost somebody?

The two top tools that I always recommend when I work with businesses, it comes up almost all the time. I talked to somebody from a political campaign, I’ve worked with the army, Trello and Intercom are the two game changers for me. Intercom turns company communications into a team sport.

Does that make it fun? Is that what that means?

It definitely makes it fun. There is no question. Trello, in my opinion, is the best project management tool there is. It’s so flexible. You can use it as a CRM, you can use it for the actual organization, for team project management, or personal task management. It’s pretty essential.

I am doing a new series with product reviews so that people can hear from people not from the company that’s producing the product but from people who are using the product and how they’re using it and what they’re getting out of that. How do you personally use Trello for instance? You say you use it for CRM. Give us some insight as to how that is set up and how you make that work?

I have three main Trello boards that I use. One is called Talk Tuesday. I do this thing every two weeks called Talk Tuesday, which is the newest productivity tips, articles, studies, and apps that I’ve found. All of that is automatically populated for me by a machine learning algorithm that I created from a service called MonkeyLearn, which is an amazing thing. MonkeyLearn basically will look at blog posts from 200 different websites as well as product hunt and a few other things and based on how I’ve taught it that I pick things that I think are interesting. It populates that Trello board with cards for each item. I can go in and I can move it to the good list or I can archive it. If I archive it, it goes back to the MonkeyLearn algorithm and teaches it further that this was a bad one. If I move it to the next list, it says that it’s a good one and it reinforces it that way.

TBT 44 | Doing Less

Doing Less: The optimize, automate, outsource methodology is really important. There’s an order to that that matters.


You’ve automated that process. You almost don’t even write your blog, you just teach it. You invest in the teaching of the learning system. It’s not that you don’t write it, you review it and then it goes up.

It’s something I do, like a webinar every two weeks. That’s where that material comes from. We have a team board that’s all of the tasks that we’re working on as a team. I can assign to different people. See where I’m the bottleneck, where I’m responsible for things or they are. I have a board that’s just for members of my mastermind coaching program I would call the Listing Leaders. It’s like a picture of each person in their profile. If they have been with the program for two months, they are labeled as one thing. If it’s four months, the labels automatically change. I can look at any given time and see who will my newbies are and who my old ones are.

What tools would you use to have them change labels and things like that?

Zapier is the glue that ties together all these other tools.

Do you work with an outsourced organization or do you work with somebody in your organization that creates zaps and every time you have a new automation that makes that work for you?

I’ve trained a couple people on my team that are good with that, but there’s also a service called Automation Agency that’s based out of Australia that is great. They are $249 a month for unlimited automation tasks. They’re pretty cool. They can do Zapier, they can do Infusionsoft, they can do any of those things but we do everything in-house now.

I was getting that because there are a lot of people who are on the call who go, “This stuff is great,” but the default in their mind goes, “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t have the skills to learn this new tool and then create this integration.” I want to look for ways that they can challenge that thing in their head to say, “You can. There are services or there are people that you could go to that already have this expertise.” It’s an entrepreneur’s curse where we think we have to do everything and I say we because I’ve gotten caught up in that. I love to give things away when I can and that’s because I learned the hard way that I take too many things on and I still do from time to time.

I have to look at where can I find somebody that can do this for me, that can do this specialized thing. You’ve got this Automation Agency. Getting on Ari’s list is going to get you access. What they do is they open up his head and they use MonkeyLearning tool to put a node to your head into his head. That’s what it is if you’re in his mastermind is they node it directly from his head to your head.

I like to joke that I want to get to a point where my team just rolls me out when they need me and then puts me away.

If you’re not replaceable, then you’re a liability. Click To Tweet

Are there any last words of wisdom, advice or anything that you want to share with this audience before we before we sign out?

I would say that the optimize, automate, outsource methodology is important. There’s an order to that that matters. The reason that outsourcing is last is that it’s supposed to be. A lot of people make a mistake by outsourcing first, so they’ll be like, “I don’t want to do this. I’m going to hire someone to do it.” You take something that you don’t understand or you’re frustrated with it and give it to somebody who has less information, context, and training than you do and you expect this magical result. It’s the reason why most people have a bad experience with outsourcing. You have to start with optimization, looking at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, intrinsically figuring out the inefficiencies and whatever process. Then automate what you can, which nowadays is almost everything. That’s when you look at giving it to some sort of outsource specialist or generalist. Keep that order in mind when you’re looking at your business challenges.

I was thinking about this when I forget what I was doing and I was thinking about, “Sometimes to solve a problem, I throw money at it.” That would be like outsourcing, “Throw money at it and I am bound to solve it.” We all know that doesn’t work. That’s why you making that point is critical. It’s optimizing at first, understanding where the bottlenecks are and then automating what you can and then at the last source, outsourcing it. The first step is never to throw money at it, it’s to understand it. Thank you so much, Ari. You are awesome. I appreciate you.

Thank you, Penny. It’s always a pleasure.

Thank you all for joining our show. I know that you got a lot of value out of the show. I want you to make sure that you get over to Ari’s site. It is Less.Do/Penny. Go there, sign up, get on his list, and look forward to his book, which is The Replaceable Founder. I’ll see you all in the next show.

Important Links

About Ari Meisel

TBT 44 | Doing LessAri is a best-selling author, productivity expert, CEO, real estate developer, green building consultant, and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. Several years ago, Ari encountered and ultimately overcame severe personal roadblocks and that journey transformed his life. His discoveries about personal and professional productivity have improved the lives of thousands of individuals and businesses. His proprietary process, the Less Doing System, is the foundation of his company Less Doing which offers individuals and enterprises road-tested methods to optimize, automate, and outsource everything. The goal is to learn how to work smarter, instead of harder.

David Allen on Productivity, Passion, And Getting Things Done

TBT 43 | Be Productive


In our everyday lives, we are always hankering to finish a lot of tasks. Sometimes, we fall off and become too overwhelmed because we just can’t seem to organize what needs to be done first and how. Productivity consultant and bestselling author David Allen talks about getting things done, both the act and his book. He is a space guru and he teaches us the importance of clearing our head space before anything else to truly be productive. David also touches upon the topic on passion and goals, giving great insights and tips on how to achieve desired results.

Listen to the podcast here:

David Allen on Productivity, Passion, And Getting Things Done

We have an amazing guest because he’s the guru in this space. If you want to listen to anyone, you want to listen to David Allen. He is a productivity consultant with more than three bestselling books on the market. He’s considered one of the leading experts on organizational and personal productivity. He’s best known for the highly popular Getting Things Done or as all the people call it, GTD. That’s a time management method. He has a book of the same name and I’m excited to report that there is the teen version that’s coming out. We’ll get some information about that. David Allen is also ranked among the top five executive coaches in the world. That does not come easy. That comes from a lot of experience. David, thank you for being here.

I’m delighted to be here, Penny. Thanks for the invitation.

Before we started the show, you were talking about you living in Europe and you’re loving it with your new adventurous lifestyle.

We don’t want to get stale. My wife, Catherine, and I don’t have kids. Several years ago, we have thought that it will probably be really nice to get outside the US and we saw people slightly older than us, they were looking a little more sedentary than we felt comfortable being. We said, “Let’s throw a dart and let’s make it happen.” We had no idea how long we were going to stay or where we were going to pick. We really threw a dart. My work is now pretty global. Amsterdam is much more the center of the world than Santa Barbara was. We love it and we fell in love with the city and we’re still here. We’ve been here four years.

Why are you so passionate about productivity? What was the moment where you said, “This is what I want to dedicate my life to?”

As life becomes more professional and complex, the easier it is to screw up the clear space. Click To Tweet

Passion is highly overrated. Whatever you’re passionate about, you’ll crash and burn with depression about an equal amount sometime soon. I’m not a motivational speaker, I’m not a, “Get up. Let’s go do it.” If you wanted to say what most interests me most attracts me, it’s clear space. I’m a freedom guy. Having nothing on my mind or having only on my mind what I want on my mind with no distraction, no pull, no worry, none of that internal stress about any of that has been highly important to me.

I would embark many years ago, 40 plus or 50 years ago, in my own self-development journey how to stay clear, different spiritual practices, martial arts, and in all various personal growth stuff that I’ve got involved and in terms of self-development, training, and intensives grow yourself things. I’ve been involved in that for many years and then discovered that as long as you’re on the planet, you can’t quite check out from it. There’s a part of me that for many years, I wanted. I don’t want this world. I’m much more interested in the inner world and the exploration of that but they weren’t paying people to do that.

It was not quite my style. I like good looking women, Chardonnay, and the cooler things in life to enjoy that. As someone who still has that life and is involved in this life, as I started my consulting practice back in the early 1980s, how can I stay clear? As my life became more professional and more complex, I discovered how easy that was to screw up the clear space. If you’re on a retreat and you can’t talk for ten days, those are some of the easy ways to start to uncover and explore some of the inner worlds and inner-outer worlds that you might want to explore.

The real challenge is when you leave that space.

You walk back into the tsunami of the day-to-day fire hose of life, how do you somehow maintain the clarity of space or know how to get to that clarity quick in case something out here in this material world disturbs you?

We’re all disturbed. The statistics are alarming how disturbed people are in terms of how they’re emotionally drained and constantly distracted. Before we go there, for a number of years, I had a different show called Take Charge of Your Productivity and I did ask every guest one key question and I want to ask you that here. I know what your answer is based on what you said but to simplify, what is your definition of productivity?

TBT 43 | Be Productive

Be Productive: Productivity is achieving desired results.


Achieving desired results.

I was surprised it doesn’t have any bit of freedom or clarity in there.

If you got the desired result you want, and you’re not engaged in it appropriately, you’re not free. It owns you. You’re not in the driver’s seat. If you go to a party to boogie and you know boogie, that is an unproductive party. Most people, their vacation takes them half their vacation to rest from the last 48 hours before they leave. If you’re going to vacation to relax and you’re not relaxed, you’re not appropriately engaged with your commitment about relaxation or changing your environment. You have a different perspective on life, which, for me, would be the desired outcome. Life is a vacation, so I don’t take vacations, I just change environments.

The big key to getting things done, it’s a big secret. Getting things done is not so much about getting things done, it’s more about how do I appropriately engage with all the levels of commitments in my life that I have so that I feel comfortable about what I’m doing. I’m present with what I’m doing so that there’s no distraction. That’s the best place to hit a golf ball from, fire somebody from, cook spaghetti from, tuck your kids in the bed from at night, it’s when nothing’s on your mind except that. Being present with whatever your experience is, you actually don’t even have to like your life to be present.

I’m not a motivational speaker. The truth is that once you are present, you will. You are a creative, dynamic being. As you start to clear the space inside your psyche of these things that will disturb that space, assuming you have an intention to appreciate that space or explore that space. My stuff creates space without fail. I absolutely will guarantee you that if you implement any version of the methodology I uncovered and packaged together in the Getting Things Done methodology, you will create more space. How you use that is totally unique to you. You may use that to be more creative or be more strategic or just be more loving and present with whatever you’re doing and be able to watch your girl play soccer without being on your iPhone. I’ve had testimonials from parents who said that was transformational.

It is a proven system and you’ve got a cult-like following of people. It’s because of the results that they’re getting. They want to share it and they’re dedicated. I want to talk a little bit more about the system to give people some insights. They can read your book but I want them to hear some things from you. Do you ever get overwhelmed or are you always mind like water?

The easy way is to start to uncover and explore the inner and outer worlds. The challenge is when you leave than space. Click To Tweet

I’m overwhelmed. I fall off this wagon daily. If you don’t, you’re probably not playing a big enough game. It’s not about always being in some sartorial on the mountain. There is nothing wrong with that, but the whole idea is once you fall off the surfboard, you need an ankle tether to get you back on the board. It’s your creativity, your aspirations, and your motivations that throw you out of your own comfort zone and throw you out of control. You don’t want to stay there. If you have some new vision, set some new goals, you have anything that’s new that comes up in your life you need to deal with or you want to deal with or some new opportunity, you’re going to have to undo all your previous stuff, recalibrate, and refocus so you feel comfortable about how you know in the driver’s seat about the new game.

It’s like a bicycle. If you get on a bicycle and try to ride it and stay there, you’re going to fall off. That doesn’t work. You’re going to constantly be off and constantly course correcting. That’s what this methodology is really about. It’s about how do you keep course correcting. Once you notice something has your attention, that creates a stress. How quickly can you decide what’s got your attention? What do you need to do about it if anything? If you can’t finish that and handle it right then, how do you park reminders about what you need to do about it in a sub-trusted place? That’s how you stay clear but you’re not clear all the time. You wouldn’t want to be.

TBT 43 | Be Productive

The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time

I wrote the book, The Productivity Zone, and how to get quicker in it when you get out of it. People are like, “You must be always on time and always perfect.” I’m like, “No.” I wanted to hear from you. You have been doing this for so many years, we won’t name how many, that people appreciate that this is not about being perfect or perfection. As you said, it’s about understanding how to quickly course correct.

It’s like if you like to cook, no meal is ever totally perfect especially if you’re like most women I ever hung out with. They’re always trying something new. Especially when friends and guests are coming over, they always cook something they have never cooked before. Then I was wondering, “Why is that? Why did they do that? Shouldn’t you cook the thing you know you are going to do perfectly?” “No, we have to try this. You got to try this.”

I don’t think I would do that but I did do that once. I tried to make crème brûlée and that was a total disaster. It’s because around other things is we want to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone. We want to please somebody and we are bored with the same things that we make. That’s the same in other things that we do in our lives is we get to a point where we’ve done that, we want to do something bigger, we want to add more value.

The point is it wasn’t quite perfect but you course correct. “Next time, I’m going to add a little more pepper,” “Next time I’m not going to add too much pepper,” or “Next time, I’m going to sauté this a little earlier.” Cooking is infinite in terms of how good you can get at it. I make the point that this whole getting things on methodology in terms of staying on top of your world is a lifelong lifestyle, art, and craft. It’s not a one-time, time management tips and tricks. There are lots of tips and tricks here that emerged in the process of me uncovering this. It’s mostly can you live your life in such a way that no matter what happens to you, you can get back on course, stay focused, and grab the things that suddenly have your attention and know how to process them so that they’re not spinning around your brain at 3:00 AM.

I have my techniques, but what do you say when people say, “Everything is urgent, so it’s really hard for me to prioritize. I’ve got this list but everything is top on my list.” How do you deal with that?

The fact that they even stopped to ask me that question means that was the most important thing and they put everything else to bed. You don’t do one thing at a time, so your glass is either half empty or half full. I like what I chose to do right now. The main problem is that most people are not feeling appropriately engaged with all those other things, so they keep encroaching on them and they’re trying to use their head as their office and your heads are a crappy office. Most people are trying to use their head to remember, remind, prioritize, and manage relationships between all of those gazillions of commitments most people made that they’re not aware of. I’ve spent literally tens of thousands of hours one on one with some of the best, brightest, and busiest people on the planet getting to unload stuff out of their head.

I know that the basis of capture and get it out of your head to free your headspace and when you get to some of the steps, you’re clarifying and you’re organizing them. Is the organization the priority? How do they then decide what’s the very best next thing to do?

Let’s skip up to the top, do they know why they’re on the planet? What’s their purpose as a human being, as an entity here that is incarnating in this world? If they know that, then they should ask themselves which email to write first, should you clean your toilet right now, do you want to cook spaghetti right now, do you need to take a nap right now, or do you spend time with your girl right now? I’ve identified the six horizons we have commitments, why are you on the planet and what are major important to you. That’s horizon five.

Horizon four is what’s your vision of a successful life of implementing that. Horizon three would be what are the things you need to accomplish over the next three to 24 months. Horizon two will be what are all the things you need to maintain your health, your vitality, your relationships, and your finances. Horizon one is what are all the projects. You’ve got about all that stuff. “I need tires on my car, we need to handle the next vacation and I’ve got to get my kids into the school for the next school year.”

You need to get all the things out of your head so that you can see them from a larger perspective. Click To Tweet

Don’t keep it up there. The point is you need to get all that out of your head so that you can see it from a larger perspective. Most people are letting their minds run them. You’ve heard of emotional intelligence, this is mental intelligence. Don’t let your mind run you. If you ever change your mind, who did that? That’s who I’m talking to. It’s the part of us that has a mind and you use your mind for very appropriate things. You use your emotions for very appropriate things but that’s not who you are.

This gets you more back in the driver’s seat to get more in control of all of those things that have engaged these various parts of yourself and to be able to identify what are they. What are all the commitments I got about mom and her birthday? What are the things I need to do about the next vacation or the things I need to do about potentially changing my career? Should we get a divorce or not? Those are the things that you need to get out of your head. Identify those and then start to engage with those appropriately. What’s the desired outcome and what’s the next step?

Getting Things Done, the two keys are what does done mean and what is doing look like. That’s all you really do. What does done mean about mom and birthday? What does done mean about looking into whether divorce or not? What does done mean? Your done doesn’t mean that you are going to get divorced, it means you need to put that issue to bed. Either decide to or not to or park it for another year to think about it. It’s whatever the heck you do to get engaged appropriately whatever this commitment, this bell ringing inside of you. I identified the algorithm that you need to apply to be able to get those things off your mind without having them finished.

A structured approach is absolutely key in helping people to make it simple. When there’s a structured approach, it helps them to follow it. You also make it very easy and clear for somebody to follow. That’s why there’s such a huge following behind that.

It’s a simple stuff but you’re not born doing it. You actually have to learn it and it’s a cognitive muscle to train. What do I need to do about this email? Everybody’s got ugly emails. You open them, “What would I do with this?” What do you need to ask and answer? What’s the outcome here? What’s the next step you need to take to get clarity on it? You can train yourself about, “How do I approach these things that show up in my world and yank my chain that grabbed my attention?” You don’t need to go very far at all to understand or to see where to apply my methodology. That is what’s gotten your attention. Those people who have been reading this have had their mind go I’ll bet somewhere different than what you and I have been talking about.

TBT 43 | Be Productive

Be Productive: Understand the necessity to identify what got your attention.


If I were coaching them I’d say, “Where’d your mind go? Why did your mind go into that?” Because you’re not a properly engaged with it yet. “I need cat food.” “I need a life.” “I need tires.” “I need a new VP of marketing.” Whatever the hell it is, whatever grabs your attention about any of those things, that’s what you need to start to identify. I understood the necessity to identify what’s got your attention. If you want to clear your head, you better clear it from whatever has got your head unclear. Why is cat food on your mind? It doesn’t mean you have to go buy cat food, it means you need to better write cat food on a post-it on the fridge so whoever goes to the store buys cat food. Otherwise, you will wake up at 3:00 AM and go, “I need cat food”.

It’s so important. You use a lot of computer references and I’ve used that in the past, too, that each task and each thing take up energy and it runs in the background until you’re able to write it down. People don’t recognize that anymore because the computers are so different now. When I was younger, you’d have a certain number of windows open and then it would use up the entire capacity of the computer and then you could no longer work on the current application. That’s a great analogy. I’ve heard you use it.

Life is a vacation. Don’t take big issues, just change environments. Click To Tweet
TBT 43 | Be Productive

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

You have a number of great analogies for us to really get it in a simple way. What I find sad is that we are grown adults, so I am so excited because we don’t have the skill sets. A lot of us are getting them a lot later in life. The fact that you’re bringing out a teen program that’s going to address this at the core of when they’re starting their habits and behaviors around studying, around managing different tasks before they start piling more and more on, I think that’s fantastic. I’d love to hear a couple of words about what’s special about Getting Things Done for Teens.

It’s out in the U.S., in the U.K. and in the Netherlands. The Dutch version came out. Getting Things Done for Teens is out. It’s the same methodology. It’s just using examples and a little easier to engage with it with some cartoons and some characters in there built in to help explain what this is about. It took a long time for me to get to the place where we figured we could write the book for teens. I’ve been doing this work for 35 years, coaching and in the training world. People would go through this, my training or my coaching and go, “I wish I’d learned this when I was twelve,” or “I’ve got kids that got to know this. How do we get it to them?”

I don’t have kids. I didn’t have a very good base to come from about how to frame this methodology for a younger age group. It took me twenty years to figure out what I figured out, to begin with, and then I wrote the book Getting Things Done but it was targeted for the fast-track professionals out there in the world. In the ‘90s, in early 2000 when the book came out, the first edition of Getting Things Done came out. It was really targeted for the folks that were on this tsunami of e-mail coming at them and the whole overwhelming world. My business was basically in training and coaching in the corporate world. I didn’t know really how to address the younger set with this. Franklin Covey has done a pretty good job where they did the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. That was pretty successful and it still is. He said, “Is there another version of this I could do?” I looked around and I didn’t know how to address the education market with it or to address that thing.

I’ll try to make a very long story very short. I met a guy senior manager at General Electric Healthcare in Vermont and he had come across my stuff. He was a huge champion of it and using it inside of GE with all of his teams. He had young very young kids at that time. He said, “Let me frame this for my kids.” He started to develop techniques for his kids and he started to blog about that. Mike and I wound up connecting with each other. He became the president of my company for five years. Mike came on board and said, “If there were somebody who could add some great material and potentially be an author of the book.” Then we ran across a guy three or four years ago, a public school teacher in the Minneapolis School System who had himself he had come across GTD, turned him on, changed his life.

He said, “I can’t hold this back for my nine, ten and eleven-year-olds that I’m teaching.” He started to frame Getting Things Done For Kids in that way. He did that quite successfully. Those two guys are the co-authors of the book. They really did the heavy lifting of, “How do I take the David Allen methodology or the GTD methodology and how do we frame this?” A very simple example would be when you or an executive, everybody comes home you’ve collected business cards, receipts, and meeting notes from the board meeting, whatever. Where are they? They’re in your briefcase, they’re in your pockets, and they’re somewhere. You need to empty those.

A nine-year-old needs to empty his or her pack. How many parents have had your kids show up with something that you should have signed two weeks ago because it was stuffed in a pocket of their pack that they didn’t unload? The necessity to unload their pack on a consistent basis, regularly, not miss anything that they’ve collected out there is exactly the same principle of one executive that needs to empty their briefcase with their board meeting notes. Same thing, just different content for sure.

What I’m hearing you say is that you’re getting into the school systems as well. Is that right?

It’s not about perfection. It’s about understanding how to quickly course correct. Click To Tweet

We’d like too. We partnered with VitalSmarts in the US as our exclusive distributor of Getting Things Done training in the US and they’re very interested in the education market. The key is to reach teachers and administrators with this methodology. Once they get it, they’re not going to help but be able to then transfer to the kids. If you get the kids to get this and the teachers don’t, they’re not going to be able to support these new behaviors for the kid. Yes, stuff is in the works, is in process. Getting Things Done for Teens is available on Amazon and any place you buy books. It’s written equally for caring adults as well as for the teens. This is for teachers, counselors, parents, ministers, and anybody that’s working with teens or young people.

Kids, once they leave high school, mom disappears as a trusted system. They have to manage themselves. Along the way, they had to be fed and they had to feed themselves. They have their homework done for them then they had to do it themselves. They had to have mom make the Halloween costume then they have to make it themselves. At some point, it’s a graduation of kids taking on the ability to be able to manage themselves. There has been a big gap between their world they’re living in and the world they’re walking into once they leave the school system especially these days.

I met a woman not long ago whose son is eleven years old. She looked at his phone. He has 500 WhatsApp messages on his phone. She said he’s classy enough to go on, “I don’t pay attention. I got to do my homework before I go play.” He was mature enough to be able to not have that distraction but that’s pretty mature.

It’s a huge issue and I believe that there could be a connection to suicide rates that have been going up sky high with teens and the pressure that’s on them. The fact that they are overwhelmed and they don’t have the skill set because they’re not teaching at school about how to deal with this. Like you said, if you’ve met a lot of people who have come to you and said that it’s changed their lives, I guarantee you that this is going to change lives for a lot of teens and that’s got to be super exciting for you.

We had dinner with a couple of friends here in the Netherlands. The Getting Things Done book itself is pretty thick. It’s a whole manual of everything I’ve gleaned from my 30 years of experience I wanted to park in the Bible and get it in there. It’s pretty daunting for people if you’re not familiar to look at it. She said, “I want to read the Getting Things Done for Teens first.” It’s the lower barrier of entry to be able to get into because you got cartoons and it’s easy to play. It’s all the same stuff. There was no denigration of the methodology for kids. It’s exactly the same methodology. There’s no lesser about it.

Thank you for sharing that. Is there any anything else that you want to share with the audience that you think is important for them to know other than to go out and buy not just Getting Things Done but all your books have such incredible insight and wisdom in them that they should get the set?

If you get it, you don’t need to buy any of the books. Anything potentially meaningful to you about what you might need to make a decision or take an action or anything at all that might be potentially meaningful to you needs to be captured in some external bucket that you trust you will get to sooner or later. Step two, you need to make sure you pick up whatever you’ve captured in that bucket and decide exactly what it means whether it’s actionable or not. If it is, what outcome are you after and what’s the next action you need to take.

Once you make those decisions you need the step three, park those in some organizational system you trust that you’ll be reminded of the errands you need to run, the things you need to talk to your wife or partner about, the stuff you need to do at your computer, the phone calls you need to make. You’ll see reminders of all those activities and actions that you’ve decided you need to take at the appropriate time when you have actually taken that action.

You keep that sole external system reviewed on some consistent basis and current so that you trust that your brain doesn’t have to remember or remind anymore, it just needs to know where to look and then it can then make intuitive choices about what to do. You feel then comfortable and confident that whatever you’re doing is exactly what you need to be doing. That’s it.

I wish that it could just go from your mouth into our brains and then be fixated there.

The brain is easy, and your behavior is a whole another trip.

If you don’t fall off the wagon daily, then maybe you’re not playing a big enough game. Click To Tweet

When you talk about an organizational system for reminders and ways to review that, are there any apps or tools that you’ve used that you think are great for supporting your system?

I’ve used a bunch. All you need is a list manager. I’ve done everything from the early days in 1981 or 1982 when I uncovered this methodology. File folders with pieces of paper inside it. Use that. That was great. When personal planner shows up in the mid to late ‘80s, I use one of those for twenty years because all you need is a page that has a list of phone calls to make. It was just a way to externalize that in a loose notebook. That works fine. Since my book came out, there are over 300 apps that have been built around my methodology purporting to support that and they’re all just lists. All you need is a list. They’re good if you’ll use them.

They’ll all work but it comes back to our behavior. David, thank you so much for being here. For those of you who are listening online, of course, you can go to David’s website. David, what’s your website again?


They’ll give you a lot of the resources. You can also go there to get links to getting the book. For those of you reading, this is an important and yet simple thing that we’re really getting at to make yourself more productive, to get that clarity in your head and for you to take back time. You’re taking back control, you’re taking back creativity and the access to get clarity on the things that are most important to you and make those things happen. Thanks again, David.

My pleasure, Penny. Thanks.

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About David Allen

TBT 43 | Be ProductiveDavid Allen is one of the world’s most influential thinkers on productivity. David Allen has 35 years experience as a management consultant and executive coach have earned him the titles of “personal productivity guru” by Fast Company Magazine and one of America’s top 5 executive coaches by Forbes Magazine. The American Management Association has ranked David Allen in the top ten business leaders. David Allen’s bestselling book, the groundbreaking “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”, has been published in thirty languages; and the “GTD” methodology it describes has become a global phenomenon, being taught by training companies in sixty countries. David Allen, his company, and his partners are dedicated to teaching people how to stay relaxed and productive in our fast-paced world.

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