10 Steps to Win the Day

June 27, 2023
James Whittaker

Check out this episode on the Win the Day Podcast

Distance yourself from people that you don’t want to become.”

Shane Parrish

We're halfway through the year and that means it's time for a recap of some legendary moments of the Win the Day podcast so far in 2023.

Before we do that, if you live in Australia, I’m headed your way real soon. On Friday, 14th July, I’ll be the keynote speaker for a lunchtime event in Brisbane. It’s being run by an amazing group called Springboard and their mission is to inspire, motivate, and accelerate your life and career. 

I love attending events like this – not just speaking, but attending – because getting out of your comfort zone to meet new people who could have a massive impact on your life is one of the best things you can do.

Plus, I’ll be there sharing some things from stage that I’ve never shared before – and I’d love to see you in person. 

So grab your tickets for this event in Brisbane:

👉  Register now

Let’s get into 10 Steps to Win the Day – and the best highlights from 2023 so far…

1. Your biggest fear should be staying where you are.

Our first guest for the year was billionaire concierge and marketing legend, Steve Sims. Steve is one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met, which is refreshing in a world where everyone is trying to copy someone else.

Steve shared a lot of gold during Episode 122, but one of the most profound was about how you manage your relationship with fear:

“Fear can dictate your response, but it’s how you respond to that fear that will help the response it dictates. Everyone moves with fear. We're frightened of being on stage, we're frightened of driving the car fast. We're frightened when we go past a bush and it rustles. We're frightened of launching a book, we're frightened of starting a podcast. We're frightened. 

My friends were terrified of having a conversation. I was terrified of being them. You see, I was terrified of being a poor guy that couldn't afford many beers and here was an opportunity for me to get smart. 

I was terrified of always riding around on a shitty motorcycle. I was just appalled that I was always going to work on a rainy building site, that it just forced me to just run away to something better. Fear pushed me to take those chances. 

So I didn't have imposter syndrome in the early stages, because I was terrified of being like my two clown friends leaning up against a wall. And even now my life's pretty good. I don't ride shitty motorcycles. Now I can afford more beers than I care to. But I am terrified of being in the exact same place today as I will be in six months time. So between now and then, I have to try new things. I have to have conversations with new people, I have to push myself. 

And that's what I like to do. I do like to respond to fear in, as I class it, the appropriate way.”

2. Excuses are a complete waste of everyone’s time.

One of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had was in Episode 126 with film composer Tyler Bates who, in addition to scoring films that have grossed more than USD $6 billion at the box office, has been a musician for some of the world’s leading musical acts.

Clearly a lot of people depend on him to deliver. But what happens when he hasn’t delivered the work or the performances that he promised? That’s where excuses can creep in, but Tyler’s attitude toward accountability is something we can all learn a lot from:

“Excuses really don't change much. And they don’t help the person you are even inclined to deliver an excuse to. 

So, you really just have to understand where you're at, and you have to figure out what is the most solution-oriented action I can take right now. Because the other just makes people more nervous, makes them less confident that we're going to get to manifest the end result that we wish to, that we're aspiring toward.
My job is to bring that comfort as much as it is to create the music and to conduct a process that engages everybody.”

3. Expect that it’s going to be a great day.

The most viral clips that we’ve had from the Win the Day podcast are with Dr. Daniel Amen, who has worked with everyone from top entertainers like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, to Olympic gold medalists and billion-dollar business leaders.

During our conversation in Episode 130, Dr. Amen shared the priming exercise he uses to Win the Day and also how it makes him more grateful automatically. Here’s what he said:

“Start the day with, "Today is going to be a great day." It's just a great habit. That way you're directing your mind to what you like and what you want. I do that every day.

When you go through your day, ask yourself, "Is this good for my brain or bad for it?" It starts with love, all of this is about love. I do the right thing not because I should, I do the right thing because I love myself. 

Also, doing the right thing is love for your family. It's love of your spouse, love of your children, love of your coworkers. When you do the wrong thing, it's stressful not only for you but for everybody who loves you. Is this good for my brain or bad for it? We'll talk about love more, especially around food.

Then when I go to bed every night, and this is so powerful, I say a prayer and then I go, "What went well today?" I start at the beginning of the day, when I get up, and I go hour by hour looking for what went well that day. I have a lot of really cool things happen in my life and I often don't focus on them because I'm busy. This time at night is a treasure hunt and I love it so much. I've been doing it for a decade. If people do it for just three weeks, it increases their level of happiness.”

4. Get clear on your message – and attract your tribe.

I’ve worked with people from just about every industry you can think of, and the ones who struggle on the relationship side – as in struggle to expand their professional network while also retaining a small circle of incredible and influential friends – is because of their inner dialogue. 

As in they haven’t taken the time to understand exactly who they are and what gifts they can offer the world.

In Episode 136, former PR powerhouse Tory Archbold joined us on the show to talk about how she renewed her purpose in her 40s and embarked on a completely new career, after cutting the deadweight relationships from her life. That meant she had to attract a new tribe fast. 

Here’s how she did it:

“I can normally tell within a hot minute whether or not I want to give my energy to someone. And if I don't, I just quickly wrap it up. You can always tell when someone comes in and it's about “me, me, me” – which means that they're ego-led – whereas I attract heart-led. 

I feel that we have a digital footprint that's so powerful. Anyone can Google your name or my name today, and what Captain Google says about you really should be anchored to your truth, your intent, your purpose, but most importantly your integrity. What's your message?

So I tend to now attract those high vibrational people because I'm so clear about who I am. Whereas years ago with TORSTAR, I had that success and survival story, which I know we're going to delve into. I wasn't necessarily attracting the high vibrational people, like yes, they were from the outside. But on the inside, they were rotten. And I had to work out a way to navigate and get myself through that phase so that I could only attract the good ones.

That's why I think you should always lead with, how can I help you? Share your story. What are your energy blocks? And then you can actually say, "Well, actually, I feel like I can help you this way." Now if that person is a really good energy match, they're going to turn around and go, "well, I think I can help you that way." 

That's the power of attracting the right energy fields and also having that magnetic presence when you walk into a room. We've spoken about coffee dates, but also when you're doing a deal or when you're walking into a room of unknown people, you can either walk in all closed up or you can walk in just because you're so happy with who you are from the inside out, that you attract all those good energy fields and you attract the right people. 

Which means that you're in flow with your life, which means that you're not attracting people that aren't meant for you. You're attracting people that are meant for your journey so that you can pay it forward.”

5. Come from your champion’s mind, not your human mind.

I’ve never met anyone more committed to winning than Dr. Jeff Spencer. He’s worked with U2, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova, Richard Branson, more than 40 Olympic gold medallists, and hundreds more elite performers.

Yet, the most fascinating thing about Jeff is how humble he is. He is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met and would do anything to help someone who needed it.

Here is what he had to say about the mindset that it takes to win:

“You just have to learn to come from your champion's mind, not from your human mindset. Your human mindset is fear-based. It's like, "Well, what do I stand to lose here?" So all you do is sit and you worry about all the things that can go wrong. Well, the Olympians don't do that. You look at the one or two things that have to go right, and you know when you step onto the field, you execute those one or two things, and that's how you win. 

So it requires a lot of mental discipline, but it's not a rigid mindset, like, "I'm going to go out and mow everybody down to show everybody how tough I am." It isn't like that. It's like, we know human nature. We know human nature is susceptible, and it's entirely predictable. And we know that if we do not control our human nature, we have to supersede it with our supernatural nature to do what has to go right to be able to prevail.

And that's probably the most important take home, because if we're going to live a life of distinction and a life of quality, aspiration, value, and contribution, it's exactly the same lessons. We have to learn restraint, the most important word in the prolific achiever's vocabulary. 

We have to be in a state of receivership. We need to know how to commit. We need to know how to say no. We need to know how to abstain. We need to know how to step up and deliver on the goods when it really counts.

We need to resist our human nature tendency to talk ourselves into things that aren't real. For example, human nature is, given an opportunity, it's, "Well, what do I stand to lose here?" Champions don't think like that. It's, "What do I stand to gain here?" 

Given an opportunity, the human mindset, because it's fear-based, it's survival based, it's not about excellence. It doesn't care about your Olympic gold medals. It only cares about survival. You can't get to excellence if you're reacting at a life based on survival. You just can't get there from that.

We need to recognize that there is a biology there that holds us back, and that's not us. We think it's us because it happens through us, but it's actually a survival biology. And if we don't get that, we don't know how to transcend it, then you can't get to the winner's circle. It's not possible.”

6. Add discomfort to your daily routine.

One of the most valuable episodes ever was with my good friend, Navy SEAL Commander, Rich Diviney. In addition to being a long-serving member of the renowned Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), Rich was tasked with creating the process that would determine what SEALs would make it through from regular teams into DEVGRU.

Clips from this episode have gone viral all over TikTok and YouTube. If you want to know why, go and check out the full version of Episode 124

In the meantime, here’s why Rich believes everyone should add discomfort to their daily routine:

“That's absolutely essential for people to begin to grow, you have to step out of your comfort zone. Listen, growth is uncomfortable. You can't grow without being uncomfortable. It's a prerequisite, and so anything that allows you discomfort is going to help you grow, regardless of what it is, and so I would always encourage someone to look at those things that make you uncomfortable and practice that.

In fact, it's funny you should say that. I was just talking to a young man who's in college right now. He's Navy ROTC, and he wants to be a SEAL. And he asked me, "Hey, what can I do to prepare?" And it's an interesting question, because in SEAL training, in BUD/S, you're going to get really cold. You're going to have to run with logs.

Cold is usually the worst. Cold is what gets most people, and so a lot of aspiring BUD/S candidates – and maybe even folks who are past their prime and they wish they could have been SEALs, they wonder if they could do it – will expose themselves to cold over and over again to see, "Well, maybe I'm getting used to the cold." You'll never get used to the cold. One of my buddies says, "It's like practicing to get kicked in the balls. If you're going to get kicked in the balls anyway, you might as well not practice."

But what I did tell him was to practice doing things that are uncomfortable, and that could be anything. It could be that girl you've wanted to talk to and you've been nervous, go up and talk to her. You're stepping into discomfort. You're stepping into challenge. Anytime you can pick something to do, you're going to exercise that muscle.

But then there's one more factor, and the other factor is uncertainty, because there are certain disciplines of discomfort that aren't uncertain, and I would place a lot of physical disciplines in this category. Going to the gym, it's going to be uncomfortable, it's going to be challenging, but there's something certain about that.

The more environments of uncertainty you can find yourself in and navigate through, that's real training, because navigating through uncertainty is a whole other level of being able to step into challenge, stress, and fear, because that's when the fear comes in, the stress comes in.

It’s not very scary going to the gym, in most cases. I certainly say that if you're just starting, it could be. But if there's fear involved, you've added a whole other level to that challenge, and I think that's very, very healthy.”

7. Keep showing up.

We hear so much about the importance of consistency over the long-run, but there should be more emphasis on how we turn up when the first signs of adversity come our way.

In Episode 128, food blogging sensation Toni Okamoto shared an important message about the seeds you plant each day, rather than the harvest you reap. In this excerpt, she’s talking specifically about social media growth, but see if you can spot the parallels to every important pursuit we embark on – and how the Universe can help us, often in mysterious ways, when we start to achieve some momentum:

“Consistency is key. Sometimes it can feel like the algorithm is against you. You can feel like, oh, I've nailed it, and then the next day it changes and you have no impressions on your content that you worked so hard to create.

You just need to remember to show up the next day to continue creating content, even if it feels like no one is watching or engaging with it. You never really know. It can go viral in two months or in three months and bring in a whole new part of your community that you didn't realize or ever could have imagined.”

8. If you want change, you have to face where you’re at.

You know what we have way too much of in this world? The “ignorance is bliss” mentality. 

In Episode 140, social entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, Darin Olien, came on the show. I’ve known Darin for a long time and he’s a man with a big heart who practices what he preaches. 

All he wants to do is raise awareness that there’s a better way for all of us to live – especially with the hundreds of toxic chemicals we’re faced with each day – but only when we accept that change needs to occur:

“If you want change, you have to face it. And if you're not willing to face it, you don't get to change. You don't have another choice. And that's as good as it gets.

Parabens, which show up in most of the personal care and beauty products and phthalates as well, and PFAS. The reason I say all that stuff is that of those hundreds of chemicals that you and I potentially –  if we don't have the awareness – we're getting exposed to, the parabens and the phthalates have half life, so for a few hours. So the body has to deal with them. They are causing endocrine disruption. They are causing some problems, but the body rids them. 

Not even getting into compromised bodies already. Maybe there's something going on with the liver. Maybe there's something going on already with the kidney. Maybe there's something going on already with the gallbladder. That aside. If you're being exposed to these things, but then you're always being exposed to them.

So, okay, I get exposed, I put my lotion on, but then two hours later, I'm touching up all my makeup. Or I'm putting on clothes that I just washed that have formaldehydes and fragrances and 100 other chemicals. So you're constantly phthalate, phthalate, phthalate, paraben, paraben, phthalate, PFAS. It's the constant and then it's the everyday. 

Then you're also talking about your second skin of your home. Where are those exposures? 

Ultimately, as someone who cares about all sentient beings on this planet, the planet herself – I care about you, I care about your producers, I care about everyone listening, I care as a human family – I would rather not have people suffer on my watch. So I want to give them an option. 

Again, if you're cool with as good as it gets, that's fine. I'm not here to convince you. I'm not here to convince anybody. I'm here to supply knowledge because I saw my mentor, my father, my first teacher suffer. So it's in me. It's in me. That's why I'm doing it.

People can do whatever the hell they want with this information. They can burn this book. It's not on me to do it. Even if you open it every week and just go, “Okay, I'm going to work on this one.” Maybe just continue to change your patterns.”

9. Bring your children into your life (but be careful about how you communicate ‘work’).

As a reluctant ‘girl dad’, I found it was an interesting journey to begin but quickly became the greatest joy of my life. My wife and I now have two children and we’re becoming more attuned to the words we use and how that shapes the belief patterns in our children’s minds.

In Episode 132, author of ‘Girl Dad,’ Madeline Anderson, shared an interesting view on how most people describe work to their children. Here’s what she had to say:

“What it comes down to is how parents can communicate work with their children, especially at a young age, because you have to think back to when you're a kid – and maybe that's tough – but basically there's this thing called ‘work.’ And when you're a kid you don't really know what that is, it's just this concept that your parents have to do, they have this work that they have to do.

If the parents are constantly talking about how stressed they are, how much they hate their job, how much they hate their boss, but their actions are showing that they prioritize work over their kid, then the kid's looking up and they're saying, "Okay, there's this thing called work, my dad or my mum doesn't like it. Yet, here's where it's at on the priority list and here's where I am. What's up with that?" 

Whereas even if you hate your job, first, maybe look at other jobs because life's too short! But second, if you hate your job, just be really careful about the way you're talking about your job. When you're around your child, or your daughter, just make sure you're highlighting the positives if you can, and also, you're including her in conversation so that she even knows what you're doing.

That was one thing that my dad did really well. He would sit me on his lap, show me the projects he was working on. He would even bring me to work on the weekends if he had to work on the weekends, which he did sometimes. He was always working. He would let us draw on the blueprints, because he's an engineer.

We felt really involved in his work even though we weren't, but it created that relationship where we had open communication. I didn't feel like he was prioritizing work over me unfairly. I admired how he liked his job, and it actually motivated me to find something that I like just as much, rather than discouraging your kid because there's this thing called work that they hate. 

Why would your kid want to go find a good job if that's what she's looking up to?”

10. Share the cost of not taking action.

Episode 138 was definitely one of my favorite interviews, not just because I was joined by fellow Aussie, Simon Mainwaring, but because of the incredible things he shared.

Simon is a New York Times bestselling author and works with some of the top companies in the world. But, to get those companies as clients, he had to have a process for a bulletproof pitch.

If you’re a business owner or in professional services, this might be one of the most valuable things you’ve ever heard about how to significantly increase your chances of getting a ‘yes’ when you’re sitting across from a prospective client:

“You often have to win over a new customer or client who is hesitant or unsure if they want to make the investment in whatever you're offering. 

There's three things that you should do. The first thing is you should look at the data in and around what you are doing. So in our case, if you really want to help companies understand what their purpose is or bring their ESG or sustainability commitments to life or really have some impact work out there, what does the data tell them in terms of attracting the talent you want? Fostering a strong culture, inspiring conscious consumers to buy the market, buy your product, differentiating your reputation in the marketplace, research.

The second thing is to look at the competitive landscape. So say whoever you're talking to, say, listen, just as context, here's what your competitors are doing in this area, and that triggers their competitive instinct. They go, well, wait a second, if our company competitor X is doing it, either they're idiots or there might be something here. 

Then the third thing, and this is the most important, is to do a cost benefit analysis where you say, if you're going to do this, if you're going to buy our product, if you're going to work with us, if you're going to be a partner, what is the cost of doing that? But also what's the cost of not doing that? And do a cost benefit analysis at the cost of not doing it, which might be you're not relevant to the marketplace.

A competitor takes a greater market share, and as soon as you sort of triangulate the research that supports what you're doing, competitors pointing in that direction and a cost benefit analysis of actually doing it, but also not doing it, invariably, I've found a client, will be, or prospective client will be like, maybe "Let's talk a little bit more about that, or I'd like to understand more."

Very quickly you can unlock them and because you have to talk to people in terms of what they're willing to listen to and what potential buyers are willing to listen to today is cost consciousness, or if you're a B2B company, how are you going to deliver productivity and performance in my business? 

You've got to start with what they're going to listen to. And so show them the research, showing them competitors, show them a cost benefit analysis and then upgrade them from there.”

That’s all for this episode!

Remember to grab your ticket if you want to meet me in person at the event I’m speaking at in Brisbane, Australia, very soon. 

I hope these lessons have been valuable. And get excited for some big guests appearing in the second half of this year.

Finally, to help more people activate their Winning Life, here are three ways you can help right now:

  1. Hit the ‘subscribe’ button wherever you’re watching or listening to this podcast.
  2. Leave a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and
  3. Share your favorite episode with someone who needs to hear it.

I can’t thank you enough for your support. It’s what motivates me to keep stepping it up. And there are a lot of people who need our help.


That’s all for this episode! Get out there and win the day.

Until next time…

Onward and upward always,

James Whittaker

PS - If you have a question and want it featured on the Win the Day podcast, email your question (in writing or as an audio message) to: info@jameswhitt.com


Resources / links mentioned:

Go for Stupid with Steve Sims (Ep 122)

Your Life Soundtrack with Tyler Bates (Ep 126)

Master Your Mind with Dr. Daniel Amen (Ep 130)

Renew Your Purpose with Tory Archbold (Ep 136)

The Champion’s Path with Dr. Jeff Spencer (Ep 134)

How to Succeed in Uncertainty with Rich Diviney (Ep 124)

Healthy Eating on a Budget with Toni Okamoto (Ep 128)

Fatal Conveniences with Darin Olien (Ep 140)

How to be a Girl Dad with Madeline Anderson (Ep 132)

Purpose at Work with Simon Mainwaring (Ep 138)

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