In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Eric Hoffer

Our guest today is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, bestselling author of 10+ books, and is in high demand from some of the world’s most recognized companies to help them transform their customer experience. 

But you probably know Simon T. Bailey from the Goalcast video that went viral in 2018 and has since amassed almost 100 million views:

Simon’s SPARK framework is based on 30+ years’ experience in the hospitality industry, which included working as Sales Director for the Disney Institute, based at Walt Disney World Resort. He was recently awarded a Doctorate of Science in Business Administration for his global impact. 

Simon’s purpose is to disrupt people’s mental habits so they can lead countries, companies, and communities differently.

And, as I’m sure you’ll notice (if you're watching this episode on YouTube), there’s a level of authenticity, positivity, and calm in Simon that creates an immediate connection. 


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Simon T. Bailey does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this interview, we’ll go through:

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Simon T. Bailey!

James Whittaker:
Great to see you my friend, thanks so much for coming on the Win the Day Show.

Simon T. Bailey:
Good to see you as well, thank you for having me.

Also, a big shout out to Dave Wildasin and the team at Sound Wisdom for reconnecting us. I know in addition to an amazing energy, there's going to be a lot of great insights from you today!

Can you take us right back to your teenage years? How was your experience at high school and what did success look like to you growing up?

I was a total failure! I was in the bottom half of the class that made the top half of the class possible, if the truth be told. My freshman year I failed all the classes. I went out for sports, got cut from the football team, cut from the basketball team. Went out for track and field, they said, "You're too slow, maybe try cross country." If I was in Texas right now, even though I live in Florida, they would say bless my little heart!

I ended up moving to another school, because my parents decided I needed a fresh start. That's where I met my English teacher Miss Rita Lankes, and she said to me, "Young man, I want you to write a speech and give it before the entire school." And that changed the trajectory of my life.

So that was the foundation for the speaking career, right then and there!?

Totally.

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me how having one person believe in you can completely change the the course of a life.

We put so much pressure on kids at such a young age to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives, when there's a very good chance — it sounds like it was for you, it certainly was for me — that they don't even know who they are at that point. How did your personal experiences in high school shape the way that you parented your own children through that phase?

Well, I'll be the first one to say, I was guilty of that. I've been saying to my children, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I recently had to apologize to them and say, "That's the wrong question." In a world of artificial intelligence, automation and Alexa, the question is, "What problem have YOU been created to solve?"

The question is, "What problem have you been created to solve?"

I had to apologize to my children because I was doing that very thing to them. And I think for me, what happened in high school, once I found my swim lane, number one, it built my confidence. Number two, it gave me the ability to wake up every single day to say, "This is something that I'm really good at." And then number three, I stopped comparing myself to everyone else. And that has really informed who I've become as an adult.

Can you take us into that moment when for the first time you truly felt like you could do anything that you set your mind to — that you actually had so much more power than you had ever given yourself credit for?

I think when I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself about following the traditional path of finishing college in four years. It took me 10 years. And once I realized I didn't have to do it the way everyone else had done it or the way everyone else said it should be done, I woke up and said, "Light bulb moment. That's it! When everybody zigs, I should zag." Conformity robs you of creativity. It's recognizing I had that power when I had the epiphany to say, "I'm good, I'm okay."

How much of an attribute is having a creative mind, even if you maybe are not doing the right things as far as your teachers or parents are concerned? Is that a really valuable skill for people to move forward with in the world that we're in?

Yes. In fact, LinkedIn says the number one skill that's required by entrepreneurs and individuals right now is creativity. Number two, adaptability. Number three, collaboration. But that creative ability gives you the choice to figure it out, to say, "How can I see what others don't see?"

Conformity robs you of creativity.

It taps into your imagination, that invisible world, where you begin to ask questions and become curious. And the moment you say, "How can we? What if?" It opens up a whole array of options to you.

You served as sales director for the Disney Institute based at the Walt Disney World Resort. What magic did you learn being part of the renowned Walt Disney family?

I learned three things:

  1. It's all about plussing up the experience. Plussing up the experience, as you know, is that when the animators are creating things, they look for that little something extra that's phenomenal.
  2. Train for success. Training doesn't fix what an entrepreneur, leader or business owner doesn't catch. So, Disney takes twice as long to hire someone because they realize that families have saved thousands of dollars to maybe come to Disney for once in their lifetime. So, they got to get it right.
  3. Never, ever settle for anything that's less than excellent. If you can't do it right and you won't spend the money, don't do it at all. Because if you try to cut a corner here, cut a corner there, it ends up catching up with you. Make the investment on the front end, and it'll pay off in the long run.

Yeah, it reminds me of that mantra "Everything is everything" which I'm sure you've probably heard about as well. It's so powerful.

Your SPARK Formula is really interesting, and you created it after spending more than 30 years in hospitality and specializing in the customer experience. When it comes to the customer experience today, what are the biggest mistakes that you see business owners make?

I'll give you an example. I took my car to be serviced at an auto dealership. When I completed the service appointment, the gentleman says to me, "Hey, you're going to get a link with a survey, if you can't give me a five, don't fill it out. Call me back and let me know." And I was like, "Dude, dude, that's not the behavior that they want you to have!"

You might go out of business, but they're going to have all five stars on the survey!

But think about it, the five stars was tied to him probably getting a bonus, getting his paycheck. And if it wasn't a five, his boss would have a meeting with him. That's wrong. That's not the behavior or mindset you want.

What about business owners out there who say, "Look, I just don't have the money or the resources to be able to focus so much on that customer experience."? Is having an amazing customer experience almost a prerequisite for anyone who wants to be in business in 2021 and beyond?

Absolutely. Every business owner has to begin to embed the chip of what great service looks like. Because if you don't, you pay for it in the end. Here's why. You become very transactional in dealing with customers. And customers can easily sense that they are seen as a dollar sign, not a long-term relationship. Because when it's a long-term relationship, you're looking for opportunities to exceed their expectation and make sure that they come back and that they Yelp about your brand.

Every business owner has to begin to embed the chip of what great service looks like.

The second thing is, everyone that works with you realizes you have a 'don't care' attitude, just give them whatever. And that's the attitude that they're going to have. Because it's not important to you, it's not important to them. And then sadly, customers begin to tell their friends about the experience that they did or did not receive from your brand.

Yeah, and it's much easier to spend that time on retaining an existing customer, rather than go and find a new one, right?

Yes, that's what all the research says.

You mentioned a bad example before. Aside from Disney, what other companies out there do you see who are doing it really well from the customer experience side?

I think T-Mobile does it right. I learned from T-Mobile that customer service is a department, but customer love is a mindset. And that customer love mindset looks for a way to say how do I own the customer experience? If I hear it, I own it. And I solve their problem quicker and faster and do it with a smile. I think the other thing that I learned from T-Mobile is finding a way to say yes, instead of no. Because when you find a way to say yes and go above and beyond, that customer's forever grateful.

How do you go about injecting the human as early as possible in the customer experience side with balancing profitability? There are some companies out there who drive me completely bonkers because I know a human can resolve the issue in five seconds, but sometimes the automated voice, the machine, can't even figure out what you're saying or where to direct you. You can spend 45 minutes waiting, when the very reason you're calling is because they billed you incorrectly in the first place!

Obviously the companies need to be profitable. How do they balance that profitability with providing a great customer experience?

They've got to listen to the voice of the customer and then actually do something about it. It's not as if customers don't give feedback digitally and online. Some companies just don't care. And they don't do anything about it. So, they kind of do the window dressing of, "Hey, we're concerned about customer satisfaction." That's a smoke screen. Underneath it all, they don't do anything about it. And then eventually it catches up with them because you realize online reviews are kind of on there forever. Then people really say, "They tell us they believe in great customer service, but they don't live it." And customers will see that disconnect and stop doing business with that business.

I believe companies who are really committed and businesses that are really committed, they are the ones who will win in the end.

Yeah, and I bet they're led by great people. People like Keith Ferrazzi, who joined us on the show for Episode 30, he's the number one New York Times best selling author of books like Never Eat Alone, talks about that often.

If you had to really narrow in on the Simon T. Bailey brilliance, what one or two attributes would you say have made you so successful and contributed to that prolonged success that you enjoy today?

First of all, I really care about people; I really care about those that I serve. It's just not lip service.

The second thing is I still operate with that Disney mindset. And it's look for an opportunity to create a magic moment, whatever that might be for the customer. It's in delivering consistency. It's in delivering consistency and I know that's not some big a-ha, but it's delivering consistency every single day. Not because I have to, but because I want to. And our team, that's just how we roll. That's what we do.

Yeah, and that builds trust. It means that if anyone is looking for someone else and you have an opportunity to fill that, they're going to say, "Simon and his team are a perfect fit to come on board." Without you having to do anything, you've got a whole bunch of frontline brand advocates out there to start driving business your way.

Totally.

As we mentioned earlier, you're an incredibly skilled speaker. Yet, people see the end result, but they don't see the reps behind the scenes. They don't see the years it takes of mastery of that craft to get to being able to seamlessly deliver a presentation in front of tens of thousands of people.

How did you turn yourself into a masterful speaker? And how has that skill aided your career?

One day I woke up and I decided to be myself. I realized that I had listened to Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hanson, and Les Brown and all of the greats. And there was a piece of them in me, but you never got to me. So, one day I had the epiphany, and I said, "You know what, I'm just going to be me. I'm going to be my authentic self and I'm going to show up and tell my story and be in that moment." That's when everything totally shifted.

There comes a time when you no longer want to be an annoying echo, but you want to be an original voice.

John Mason, who wrote the book An Enemy Called Average, says, "Most people are born originals, but they die copies." And I was tired of being a copy, or as I said at the National Speakers Association almost 15 years ago when I was blessed with the opportunity to be the opening keynote speaker, I said, "There comes a time when you no longer want to be an annoying echo, but you want to be an original voice." And that was my wake up call to really begin to understand how to be my authentic self.

What is your process to get in your optimal state before you walk out on stage?

I think remembering what my therapist told me a few years ago as I was on this journey. Her advice to me was, "Whatever you don't deal with will eventually deal with you and will show up on stage!" And I was like, "Hmm." So, a part of my process is to always go within and say, "How do I serve, how do I connect and how do I leave it all on the stage?" Literally that's the process that I'm going through in my mind.

I don't know if you've ever been to Italy before and gone to the Sistine Chapel. But when you walk into the Sistine Chapel and you see what Michelangelo did, you're kind of like, "How in the world did someone do this?"

And the reason I share this with you is because after I saw the Sistine Chapel, I just said a little prayer. I said, "God, before I go on this stage, would you simply speak through me like you painted the Sistine Chapel through Michelangelo?" That's my prayer. And I just release it and every place we go I'm never disappointed. Because it's not me, it's the light, life and love of God that comes through me.

Yeah, and I bet that removes any element of ego that you have a result of that?

Totally! It's so not about me.

People often think, "How do I get in the state to be the hero?" But on stage, and in many other forums, it's not about being the hero. As you said, it's about the opportunity to serve, to connect, and to give people valuable takeaways that they can use in their own way.

And I bet that probably removes a little bit of the nervous side too, since you're out there as a conduit to serve, to help people help themselves. It's going to be a much better outcome when you can step into that energy.

Totally. I've had opportunities when the PowerPoint didn't work, where the mic was cut, and I had to switch to a handheld. And what I realized in that moment, you know what, here I am, this is real time. I'm perfectly imperfect, I'm flawed, I've made more mistakes than I can count on both hands. And when I decided to come alongside the audience from that standpoint, it made me more human and more relatable. Because I wasn't trying to stand up and be so perfect.

Things will happen. How do you show up in the moment, in that human moment, and still be real with individuals?

Being a leader on stage is about the best thing that you can do, I believe, to build your influence at scale. What are the biggest mistakes you see amateur speakers make who want to get to that next level?

Number one, trying to tell the audience everything you know. If it's Googleable, they don't need to hear it from you. But what's your insight into what information you are presenting?

The second thing is trying to do all that those who have gone before you said, "You got to do this," and, "You got to do that." What happens is you end up being a floor lamp of diffused energy that's pulled in a million different directions. You never become laser focused. And I made that mistake, so I'm not saying anything out of school here.

And I think the third thing that amateur speakers make is they feel that they have to say yes to everything in order to get established. There are some things that you should maybe turn down and pass onto others who are truly that subject matter expert. And because of the law of reciprocity, what goes around comes around, you give it away and another door will open for you to walk through that was meant for you. I can't tell you how many times we have just turned things down. I said, "That's not my fit, that's not what I do. But let me refer you to someone." And totally being okay and letting that go.

You've spent decades shifting people into their brilliance. How can someone find their purpose and how important is that purpose in long-term success and happiness?

Finding your purpose is starting with what's right in front of you. So many times people think they have to do something really big outside of themselves. And it could simply mean walking outside your door and asking your neighbor, "How can I serve you? What is it that you need?" That's where your purpose starts.

Purpose is so critically important because purpose gives you hope that wakes you up to live better tomorrow than you did yesterday. I think everyone has to really begin to think about am I living on purpose, have I tapped into my universal assignment? And if I haven't, why not? And that's where people have to start.

Purpose is so critically important because purpose gives you hope that wakes you up to live better tomorrow than you did yesterday.

Because the moment you find a purpose, you are never late, you're always early. When you find your purpose, everyone that comes into your quantum field, they know that you're in the zone. When you find your purpose, it's not about what you can get in the form of money, but it's about what you can give.

When you find your purpose, you tap into kindness, love, and goodness. Because any person that is truly living their purpose, they realize that I can eradicate evilness and hatred on the planet by coming from a place of love. Because love starts with you. And when you're in your purpose, you have found your deeper love and people can feel it and connect with it and sense it every time you open your mouth or whatever you're doing.

A big part of my work is moving people away from wanting to be a spectator in life into being more of a participant in life. In your experience, do you feel that the thing that holds people back from really wanting to serve others and lean into their purpose is because they're so caught up thinking that changing the world is an insurmountable task so why bother?

That little task that you mentioned of being able to walk outside your door, and whether it's your neighbor or a friend or someone else in your network, just being proactive about asking how you can serve them. That's a really great way that they can start to participate.

Absolutely. It's taking that bold action to say, "I start with myself, I ask my neighbor, then together we impact the community, the community impacts the city, the city impacts the state, the state impacts the nation." But so many want to change the nation and they haven't started with themselves. But if I start with myself, we may change the nation. I believe that that bold action every single day consistently in a straight line, one direction saying, "Here's what I'm going to do today."

Bold action every single day, that's why you're on the Win the Day podcast, Simon! I love it, my friend.

One of my favorite quotes of yours is, "Brilliance is a decision." What is your process to get someone out of a victim mindset (e.g. "I can't") and into more of a growth mindset (e.g. "I can")? How can we shift people to actually be accountable, to empower themselves to take ownership of their circumstances so they can not only unlock their potential, but they can also sustain it for a long period of time?

Everyone listening to us right now should go and get a sheet of paper and imagine that a story is about to be written about you because your picture is going to be on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the top 100 most inspirational people in the world. What would you say in this interview?

And I want you to write out all the questions, all the answers. If you have photos, incorporate that into this story of you. The moment you do that, what you're actually doing is you are reframing whatever you've been through, to get a snapshot of what you're going to. Because the moment you begin to focus on what you're going to, you stop worrying about what you're going through.

The moment you begin to focus on what you're going to, you stop worrying about what you're going through.

Every person listening to us right now, you rewrite and reframe the story, as James Allen talked about hundreds of years ago, as if it's already happening. Because this life is not a do over, this is not a dress rehearsal, you can't get back the last year. It's gone. However, it's informed who you are becoming. And I believe when you come for this mindset, you literally live on fire every single day to say, "I can't wait to attack the day."

Powerful stuff, Simon!

Out of all the people that you've worked with, is there a particular transformation that you're most proud of?

Oh my goodness, I have had almost a dozen people who have reached out to me over the last few years to say that they have increased their income to six figures, many have increased their income to seven or eight figures because of something they read, saw, or some coaching that we did. And I've just been humbled by that.

When I started this journey and left Disney, I wasn't sure this was going to work. I believed that it was going to work, but I didn't know these people would show up with these results. And I think what's even more powerful, many of them have understood the power of a good mitzvah, the ability to give a deed, to help someone else, to give a hand up and not just a hand out. And that just absolutely blesses my heart. Because I think that is so important to reach back and pull somebody forward.

In 2018, a video of you on Goalcast absolutely blew up. In it, you spoke about the relationship with your family and how the wrong focus almost cost you everything. How did it feel to see that video just with such a powerful message just spread like wildfire?

It's humbling because it was totally organic. No boosting, no strategic meeting to say, "Guess what? We're going to make this go viral." It's humbling because when you tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said.

I have received thousands of comments from men who say, "I now understand what my wife was trying to tell me." And guys who perhaps they're a little bit further down the path and they said, "You know what, I wish I would have done something differently." I had a guy reached out to me, he says, "Hey, I'm on the verge of divorce. I watched the video." We were trading Instagram messages back and forth, and I said, "Make sure you get in counseling, try to save your marriage. You don't have to go through what I went through." It's been very, very humbling because I didn't see it coming.

I double down on being a better dad first, a business person second.

But one of the things that even to this day, I double down on being a better dad first, a business person second. Because it makes no sense to stand on a stage to tell anyone anything, and your house is jacked up. I think it's so critically important every single day to continue to do the work. I just want to be a better dad. That's my focus.

A metaphor you use in that video is that people put their ladder up against the wrong wall. In a digital world that's moving at such a frenetic pace, how can people figure out what wall they need to put their ladder up against? And how often should they check in to make sure their ladder is still up against the right wall?

I think number one, it's starting with what are your priorities: what's most important to you? Is it quality time with family?

Second, being intentional every single day to check in, to ask, "How are you doing? What's going on? What can I do?" And schedule an appointment. I know this sounds so crazy, but block your time to say, "You know what, this is family time. That's it." Point in case, my daughter who just finished her first year of college started a job. We decided that it's not time for you to get a car yet, so I'm going to take you to work. And I've had to fit it in my schedule between everything that I've got going on. But can I tell you, it's that ride to work that she and I get a chance to talk and catch up. And she's telling me about her world. That's what it's about right there.

There's a quote that I've seen you post that says, "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." What does that quote mean to you?

First of all, let me give credit to Eric Hoffer, who is a noted philosopher, that is his original quote that I share. What that simply means to me is that wherever we are right now, we have to continue to learn and unlearn. And begin to ask ourselves, "The learning that I had last year, I may want broadband results, but am I using dial up methods when it comes to staying on the edge of where things are going?"

I'm constantly channeling, saying, "Okay, we got to move in this direction." And the team knows that I have probably an idea a minute because of something that I learn or something that I'm interested in! And I'm like, "Okay, let's blow up what we're doing and let's do this." Because I think you understand, in the words of John Maxwell, how to fail forward by learning and trying something, not just sitting and waiting for it to come to you.

On this show, we like to keep it pretty real from a mental health perspective, especially because of what's been happening in the world recently. If you're open to answering this question, is there a particularly dark day that stands out for you, where you really questioned who you were or what you were doing on this planet?

Yeah. Obviously when the pandemic happened, I lost six figures worth of business within seven days. And it becomes very real when you have two kids in college and you're paying alimony. And it's kind of like okay, "Uh oh, what are we going to do here?" And the phone's not ringing, leads were not coming.

For a moment, if the truth be told, I got bitter. But then I said, "I got to live out what I teach and it's time to get better." So, we decided to host a series of virtual events free of charge called Spark Hope. And we had almost 1,000 people show up over the course of just a few weeks. And we decided that we would give to the World Central Kitchen and a number of nonprofits. We said, "Hey, here is the link, go and donate."

So, even in the midst of feeling like my business has just disappeared, I said, "How do we lift others up? How do we care and share?" And the moment we did it, all of a sudden, something just happened inside of me to say we're going to get through this. Because hope is a super power.

On your best day, when you're in your most optimal state, what is an affirmation that you would write on a flashcard that you could show yourself on your worst day?

I am Simon T. Bailey, I am brilliant, I am loved, I am cared for. And every single day, in every way, I am brilliant.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Simon T. Bailey does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


Bravo!

As we mentioned earlier, relationships have been the single biggest forced multiplier for you and I to get to where we are today and all of the opportunities that we've attracted and continued to attract. What can people do to start identifying the right relationships to focus on, and how can they leverage them for long-term, mutually beneficial gain?

I think if there's a relationship you really want to connect with, think about the value that you can bring to that relationship. Just don't go up with hat in hand saying, "Can you help me?" Coming from that place to say, "How can I be in service to you?" That's the first thing.

The second thing is when you're looking to establish a relationship, do more than what is asked for. Find a way to go that extra inch. I had someone who I've gotten to know over the last few years and he has more money than he knows what to do with. But his birthday was coming up, so we decided to make a donation to a charity that he supports. And we just did it and a note was sent from the charity to him that we made this donation, we heard from him, he was elated. He reached out and said, "What can I do for you?" It's always just looking for another way to build that relationship.

When you're looking to establish a relationship, do more than what is asked for.

And I think the third thing to consider is to go back to a relationship who has given you feedback or advice and say, "Here's what I did, here was the impact," and, "Thank you. What can I do to return the favor?"

We have two questions now from the Win the Day community. We've got Danny in Sydney, Australia who asked, "What did you do with your children from a young age to build positive relationships, establish resilience, and put them on the right path?"

I took my children as many times as I could, on trips with me, to expose them to the world. The kids have been to Hong Kong, they've been to Singapore, and just exposing them to what's possible.

The second thing is a couple summers ago, I actually hired my kids to work for the company. They had to listen to podcasts, read books, read articles, watch videos that I had sent to them already curated, and then write a report. It was my sneaky way of them hearing the best of the best from others, instead of dad telling them! And I paid them.

We had another question from the Win the Day community, from Will in Brisbane, Australia. Will asked, "How do you make time for the special moments, when you've got both work pressures and life pressures and you know you can't drop the ball on either of them?"

Yeah. I would say well first of all, I love Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney! I've been to all three places. Australia is one of my favorite places in the world. Great food in Melbourne, by the way.

Great food and coffee, too!

I have an app called the Day One Journal that I use. And in that app, I'm constantly tracking how am I doing? What am I going to accomplish that day? And I might write down a word or two, but it informs my state of thinking and it sets the tone for the day. I just looked at my Day One Journal app, and I have almost 1,000 entries in it. Because it's that habit of going to it and seeing where I was this time last year, the year before, that allows me to say, "Here's how we're getting better." But then the second thing, it also holds me accountable to say, "You know what, you've been stuck in this rut of thinking and it's time to shift gears and think in a new way."

Final question, what's one thing you do to win the day?

Every single day, wake up and I take a deep breath. And I say, "I am so glad that I have this day in front of me." Because somebody laid down last night and they didn't wake up this morning. So, the ability to pay attention to your breathing and getting centered, that's how you win the day, every day.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Simon T. Bailey website.

📙 Shift Your Brilliance by Simon T. Bailey.

✔️ Simon T. Bailey on LinkedIn.

📝 Simon T. Bailey on Facebook.

📷 Simon T. Bailey on Instagram.

🚀 Win the Day group on Facebook.

📚 An Enemy Called Average by John Mason.

💚 The Go-Giver by Bob Burg.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

“Fear doesn’t prevent death. It prevents life.”

Naguib Mahfouz

During the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to attend events around the world, from Dallas and San Diego to New York and London, and it never ceases to amaze me how important gatherings of like-minded people can be, not just for our happiness in the present but to help us adjust our sails for what we want in the future.

In particular, the Pathfinder Mastermind in Austin, Texas (don’t worry—I’ll be sharing everything I learned at that with you very soon!) was a powerful reminder that the key to connecting the dots on our future is found in the conversations we have with others. The better our process of meeting new and interesting people, the quicker our route to making an impact will be—and the larger our impact will be.


Want to get your hands on a free signed copy of 'Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy'? Check out the YouTube or Podcast versions of this episode for details on how you can win!


If you work by yourself a lot of the time (or have a mundane routine)—which is a huge trap for entrepreneurs—it’s easy to feel increasingly rudderless without even realizing that it’s happening. Sometimes, simply attending an event can give you the jolt of inspiration and direction you need.

If you’re serious about your professional aspirations, the message is clear: you’ve got to show up to blow up. And events can be used as the ultimate forced multiplier for your life and business.

Let’s look at the three different types of events and how you can leverage them.

1. Attending events.

There are many benefits to attending events, such as:

Wherever you live, there are probably hundreds of events happening each week. The key is connecting with one or two people who can help you pinpoint the ones that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Then, show up!

2. Speaking at events.

One of the best ways to position yourself as an authority in your field is to speak on as many stages as you can. But remember, just like every good leader was once a good follower, you can only be a powerful orator when you’ve watched dozens of other leading speakers work their magic.

To this day, I love seeing how some of the world’s most renowned speakers, such as Janine Shepherd, Brendon Burchard, and Vinh Giang use the stage to tell their story in a way that excites people to make actionable change in their own lives. Some speakers would rather avoid being seen in the ‘audience’ but I sit attentively with a notepad and take notes on things that I can do to improve and make my next speech more impactful—we can learn from everyone.

Watching other speakers on YouTube is an okay substitute, but you miss out on the myriad benefits of attending in person. If you have any desire to be on stage at some point in your life, and you should—whether it’s a wedding toast, business presentation, or product launch—the best education is to:

This year, I’ve spoken alongside some of my heroes, many of whom I now call my friends because of our shared experience at these events. That process has been enormously invigorating in itself, and never would’ve happened if I hadn’t made the decision to show up.

3. Hosting events.

Hosting events incorporates the previous two, since you’re not only an attendee but you’ll also act as the facilitator too.

While there are many different types of events, some of the most beneficial ones can be found in small groups. I really enjoy the format of having 6-10 people in a room where you spend a good amount of time on each person individually and then having some free time to mingle afterwards. Learn more about how to host masterminds that work.

Regardless of what service you offer, or what problem you’re currently facing (personal or professional), providing an environment for people with similar values, who are trying to solve problems for the same audience you have but in a complementary profession, is one of the most powerful ways to multiply your impact. Having a small group setting enables you to minimize costs while positioning yourself as a super-connector who can readily bring together interesting people.

Even if it’s just those with similar values, forging a meaningful connection with them will open you up to their entire network. If you’re looking to grow your business or network, this is an absolute no-brainer.

Better yet, if you’re hosting the event, it forces you to show up!

(Check out the YouTube and Podcast versions of this episode for some practical examples of how you can host life-changing events.)


Showing up to events might scare you—it does for most people, and it’s certainly uncomfortable walking into a room of strangers. But think again about the quote for this episode:

“Fear doesn’t prevent death. It prevents life.”

Your best life is on the other side of that fear you’re feeling, so make a commitment to show up—time and time again.

And when you do show up, always remember that the best way to GET is to GIVE. Solve other people’s problems, and you’ll have an army ready to solve your own.

Get out there and win the day!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS - If you’re not sure what events would be a good fit for you, just join the Win the Day group and post a comment with your location, area of expertise, and goals, and I’ll help you as much as I can.

“When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity. You cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others.”

Robert Greene

As the modern world increasingly exposes us to the criticism of others, it’s more important than ever to protect your energy and stay focused on your own actions.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with the haters.

1. Check in with your state of mind.

Our mental state has an enormous correlation with the meaning we assign to a given situation. To help create a positive outcome, ask yourself: What else could this mean? An errant comment mightn’t always be as harsh as it appears. For example, perhaps:

To change your state of mind, get moving. Change your posture, breathing and thinking to align with happiness, love and gratitude—after all, positive motion leads to positive emotion. Avoid or limit your exposure to things that sap your energy.

2. Know who your real friends are.

Napoleon Hill once said, “One of the unappreciated benefits of adversity is that it accelerates the process of identifying your true friends.” If people do not reciprocate your positive energy, take comfort knowing that the quicker they’re out of your life the better.

The world is a big place, yet so many of us cling to friendships that no longer serve us. Channel your energy into supporting those who bring out the best in you, and you in them.

3. Haters gonna hate.

One thing the world will never be short of is opinions. However, criticism and judgement are generally based on the sender’s own insecurities and ego, and it says much more about their character than it does yours. Interestingly, people who support the critics will eventually find out the hard way that those who talk trash on someone will happily do it to everyone.

If someone in your life allows their mind to be possessed with jealousy, envy and resentment, wish them the best and run like the wind.

4. Action / Discard.

The most successful people on the planet actively seek out feedback to help them improve. Tech visionary Elon Musk famously said: “Pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”

A “congratulations” won’t help you, but a specific tip might. Action what you can then willingly discard the rest.

5. Proof that you stand for something.

Think about the athlete, entrepreneur, musician or politician you look up to the most. Are they immune from criticism? Absolutely not. In fact, those who make the decision to stand for what they believe in attract a whole swarm of haters. On the naysayers, UFC President Dana White said: “No matter how successful you become, one thing never goes away: negativity. Let it fuel you to get up and fight every day.”

If you’re willing to surrender to the critics, you’re not ready for success.

6. Comes with the territory.

Today, almost every post comes with a like, share and comment button. This has given every single person, no matter how ill-informed (e.g. internet trolls), a platform to vent their feelings. Instead, revisit your Success Planwhy do you want to achieve everything you’ve got listed? The clearer and more emotionally invested you are on what you want, the more resilient you’ll be.

Opinions comes with the territory, but as you’ve heard me say before: never EVER let those people who have given up on their dreams talk you out of yours.

7. Stay resolute and focused on your own path.

Too many people go through life wanting to balance the ledger. Yet, all you’re doing is robbing yourself of happiness in the present. As my mum (who continues to prove she’s wise beyond her years) once said after I had been wronged by someone I regarded as a close friend, “It’s not your job to dish out the karma.” She was right.

Stay resolute and focused on your success, and let the universe take care of the rest.

8. Lower your expectations.

Here’s the hard truth: it’s not everyone else’s job to support you, believe in you, or give you a pat on the back when you feel like you deserve it. For new entrepreneurs, especially, it can be a tough realization that—after investing all your time and money in a venture—the overwhelming support you thought you would receive from your social circle disappears as soon as your product/service is available. In fact, most people would rather buy from a celebrity who they don’t know in favor of supporting their friends.

Rather than let it frustrate you, continue to focus on creating more value and you will quickly attract a large audience of people excited in you.

9. Help those less fortunate.

One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to help those less fortunate—when you see their faces light up, it will give you gratitude and an instant attitude adjustment. I used to do a lot of work mentoring high school students, and I spoke to one of them last week who is now a successful professional in his early 20s. Of course, I’m immensely proud of the life he’s made for himself, but what made me happiest was hearing that he now volunteers at his old high school to help others.

Pay kindness forward, while the haters hold themselves back.

10. Play the long game.

People are typically jealous of short-term success. The best way to prove them wrong is to continually work on your own version of excellence every single day.

Over time, even the most ardent critic can come to appreciate the sustained effort you took to make your mark on the world.

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My challenge to you is to be you. Not a discount version, but your best self. Use your actions to win the day, every day. While others gossip, your results will say more than words ever could.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

In case you missed it: ‘How to Overcome Bad Days

50 Quotes for Dealing with Haters

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch

“People will always have an answer for the question they won’t have to answer themselves.” – Conor McGregor

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” – Will Smith

“One of my greatest weaknesses is also one of my greatest strengths: being underestimated.” – Sara Blakely

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.” – Napoleon Hill

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey

“When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” – Marcus Aurelius

“When you show yourself to the world and display your talents, you naturally stir all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity. You cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others.” – Robert Greene

“Most haters are stuck in a poisonous mental prison of jealousy and self-doubt that blinds them to their own potentiality.” – Steve Maraboli

“Never take constructive criticism from people who haven’t constructed anything.” – John Shin

“I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.” – Leonard Bernstein

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

“If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius

“The time you spend hating on someone robs you of your own time. You are literally hating on yourself and you don’t even realize it.” – Joe Rogan

“He who has a why can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.” – Napoleon Hill

“Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots.” – Nishan Panwar

“There will always be haters. And the more you grow the more they hate; the more they hate the more you grow.” – Anthony Liccione

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.” – Jordan Peterson

“Never EVER let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.” – James Whittaker

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston S. Churchill

“Put your foot on the neck of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do or say.” – Napoleon Hill

“There will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be non-believers, and then there will be you proving them wrong.” – Jennifer Van Allen

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” – Jordan Peterson

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington

“The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you.” – Tim Ferriss

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.” – Napoleon Hill

“A critic is a legless man who teaches other people to run.” – Channing Pollock

“I don’t worry about the haters. They are just angry because the truth I speak contradicts the lie they live.” – Steve Maraboli

“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.” – Chuck Palahniuk

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.” – Jim Rohn

“Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.” – Jordan Peterson

“Haters are all failures. It’s 100% across the board. No one who is truly brilliant at anything is a hater.” – Joe Rogan

“Learn to use the criticism as fuel and you will never run out of energy.” – Orrin Woodward

“When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity—regardless of what others may do—you are destined for greatness.” – Napoleon Hill

“People work better when they know what the goal is and why.” – Elon Musk

“I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection.” – Drake

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

“I don’t have time, energy, or interest in hating the haters; I’m too busy loving the lovers.” – Steve Maraboli

“No matter how successful you become, one thing never goes away: negativity. Let it fuel you to get up and fight every day.” – Dana White

“The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.” – Chris Jammi

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Don’t believe me? Just watch.” – Bruno Mars

“Haters don’t really hate you, they hate themselves; because you’re a reflection of what they wish to be.” – Yaira N. Juan

“We must all wage an intense, lifelong battle against the constant downward pull. If we relax, the bugs and weeds of negativity will move into the garden and take away everything of value.” – Jim Rohn

“The more successful you become, the more haters you get.” – Daymond John

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New Facebook Group:

Join our brand new Facebook Group ‘Win the Day‘ and surround yourself with positive energy!

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

None of us are immune to change—it is one of the great constants of life, alongside death and taxes. As people age, they often become set in their ways and increasingly resist challenge. Some start to feel old at 18, others at 80—there is no consensus. Regardless, if allowed to fester, this mindset erodes even the brightest and most enthusiastic among us.

For those worried about the future, I have some good news: age is the one number that doesn’t matter.

Fear of old age can be seen when people begin to renounce their abilities as age increases. You have probably heard someone, whether a parent, grandparent or even yourself, blame their age for not participating in an activity. Knowing what we know about the power of the mind, perhaps welcoming a new milestone—such as retiring from a career, selling a business, or celebrating a birthday—would be better viewed as an opportunity to seek new challenges or grander goals.

Those who feel increasingly despondent as their age ticks over use it to justify staying within their ever-shrinking comfort zone, but countless studies have proven that keeping the mind and body active considerably increases not only longevity but quality of life, too.

For example, Johanna Quaas is a regular competitor on the amateur gymnastics circuit in Germany. The 92-year-old continues to dazzle spectators with her strength, dexterity and mobility, performing somersaults, headstands and cartwheels at will. On the connection between body and mind, Quaas believes, “If you are fit, it is easier to master life.”

Similarly, after the sudden death of his wife, Englishman Thomas Lackey (below) decided to walk along the wing of an airplane to raise money for cancer charities. Full of vigor after his first effort, Lackey continued his wing-walking career well into his nineties, breaking numerous world records—including standing atop a prop plane for 40 minutes, despite being 94 and wheelchair-bound—and raising $2 million dollars for charity.

French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, the longest living human on record, continued to enjoy cycling beyond her 100th birthday. She eventually passed away aged 122. And just last month, 91-year-old John Carter made the news for his love of doing backflips off the high diving board.

Quaas, Lackey, Calment and Carter did not listen when people told them they couldn’t do something. Instead, they viewed their age, wisdom and experience as a blessing, warding off fear with prompt and decisive action.

In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” Those who repeatedly tell themselves they’re too old are the ones who actually are.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

PS – Join my VIP community AND get a free bonus from Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy (instant download).

Examples of people who enjoyed success later in life and against the odds

Mobile phone salesman Paul Potts was 36 when he auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. His unorthodox music choice and everyman image struck an instant chord with the public, paving the way for his debut album to reach #1 in 13 countries. His first audition has since accumulated more than 177 million views on YouTube.

I just wandered on and did my thing, treated it like it was the last performance I’d ever do—which, had it gone badly, could have been the case.” – Paul Potts

Fashion designer Vera Wang only became an independent bridal wear designer at 40. Today, she is regarded as one of the world’s leading fashion designers, having made gowns for Michelle Obama, Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton and amassing a personal fortune of $630 million.

Don’t be afraid to take time to learn. It’s good to work for other people. I worked for others for 20 years. They paid me to learn.” – Vera Wang 

American businesswoman Robin Chase was 40 when, on a break from work to be with her children, she decided to launch a car-sharing company. In 2013, Zipcar was bought by Avis for USD $500 million in cash. Chase was even listed among the 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine.

You have to recognize failure whenever it happens and look it straight on. When the evidence says that you’re wrong, you have to be willing to relinquish even your most deeply held beliefs.” – Robin Chase

American comic book writer Stan Lee was 41 when he published Spider-Man for the first time, which is now regarded as the gold standard in the modern superhero genre; today, Spider-Man films boast more than $5 billion in box office receipts. Lee recently passed away aged 95, but continued to be heavily involved in the publishing and film industries until his last days, even appearing in 2018 film Venom.

With great power comes great responsibility.” – Stan Lee

Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his big break until 43, when he appeared in the Spike Lee film Jungle Fever. Today, Jackson has appeared in more than 100 films and is ranked as the highest all-time box office star, averaging more than $70 million per film and totaling more than $12 billion at the box office.

The best advice that was given to me was that I had to be 10 times smarter, braver and more polite to be equal. So I did.” – Samuel L. Jackson

American innovator ­Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T, changing the automotive world forever. He successfully sued The Chicago Tribune for $1 million after they printed a story labeling him “ignorant” despite his enormous success and willingness to improve the conditions and wages of his workers.

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford

Clothing manufacturer Jack Weil was 45 when he launched classic western brand Rockmount Ranch Wear. He maintained the CEO position until he passed away aged 107 as the oldest working CEO in the United States.

The west is not a place. It’s a state of mind.” – Jack Weil

Stand-up comedian and voice artist Rodney Dangerfield was 46 when caught his big break on The Ed Sullivan Show, more than three decades after he first started performing stand-up. That one performance, as a last-minute replacement for another act, became a surprise hit and catapulted the aspiring entertainer to industry legend.

My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.” – Rodney Dangerfield

Susan Boyle was 47 when she appeared on Britain’s Got Talent as a tribute to her mother. A rousing performance led to enormous popularity, and her album became the UK’s bestselling debut of all time, catapulting her to superstardom.

There are enough people in the world who are going to write you off. You don’t need to do that to yourself.” – Susan Boyle

Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando was 48 when he invented instant noodles. His most famous product, Cup Noodles, sparked global demand. Ando passed away in 2007 at the age of 96, while his products have surpassed more than 100 billion servings.

Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.” – Momofuku Ando

Charles Darwin wasn’t always regarded for his views on evolution. In fact, his first career path was physician, but he switched when he realized he couldn’t stomach the sight of blood. At 50, he published On the Origin of Species, which—despite its contradictory views with the scientific community at the time—is now considered the foundation of evolutionary biology.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin 

Chef Julia Child was 50 before writing her first cookbook, which brought French cuisine to the American public. Until passing away in 2004 aged 91, Child was regarded as a culinary pioneer with an acclaimed career as a celebrity chef, author and television personality. She was also a recipient of both the French Legion of Honor and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child

NASA researcher Jack Cover was 50 when he invented the Taser stun gun. As a non-lethal weapon for law enforcement, the device is credited with saving more than 100,000 lives and is in use with more than 15,000 law enforcement and military agencies around the world.

Let me figure out something better than shooting people.” – Jack Cover

Practicing attorneys Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51 when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews. Starting out as a guide to New York restaurants based on opinions of friends, the Zagat brand quickly became a full-time business rather than a hobby. In 2011, the company was bought by Google for $151 million.

People are looking for different things at different times, and we empowered them to make their own decisions—to make choices that were the right ones for them.” – Nina Zagat

Milkshake salesman Ray Kroc was 53 when he partnered with the owners of McDonald’s, buying the company from them six years later. Kroc revolutionized the restaurant industry and passed away with a net worth of $600 million.

It’s better to be green and growing than ripe and rotting.” – Ray Kroc

Economics professor Taikichiro Mori was 55 when he quit to become a real estate investor. In 1992, the Japanese businessman was listed as the wealthiest person on the planet, with a net worth of USD $13 billion (double that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates).

I guess I am called the world’s richest man, but that doesn’t necessarily do anything for me.” – Taikichiro Mori

American restaurateur Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised the first Kentucky Fried Chicken, modelled after the food served at his popular Kentucky service station. The company rapidly expanded and in 1964, aged 73, Sanders sold it for $2 million ($16 million in today’s dollars), becoming a salaried brand ambassador.

There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.” – Harland Sanders

After losing everything in the 1929 stock market crash, former teacher Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when her first Little House book was published, inspired by her childhood adventures. They soon became literary classics, and the basis for TV show Little House on the Prairie, selling more than 60 million copies in more than 100 countries.

Home is the nicest word there is.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder 

After arthritis made embroidering difficult, former housekeeper Anna Robertson was 78 when she first began painting. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman presented “Grandma Moses” with an award for outstanding accomplishment to art. She died in 1961, aged 101, and was memorialized by President John F. Kennedy.

Life is what we make it. Always has been, always will be.” – Grandma Moses

In 2013, Yuichiro Miura, at 80 years old, became the oldest person to climb Mt Everest. Incredibly, the Japanese alpinist has also skied down the highest mountain on all seven continents and was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

It’s important to have a dream, no matter how old you are.” – Yuichiro Miura

Former pilot Gladys Burrill was 86 when she ran a marathon for the first time. Nicknamed the “Gladyator”, Burrill was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest female marathon finisher after completing the Honolulu Marathon in 9:53, aged 92.

Just get out there and walk or run. I like walking because you can stop and smell the roses, but it’s a rarity that I stop.” – Gladys Burrill

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Thomas Edison

Welcome to 2019!

I hope you enjoyed the holiday season, and congratulations to all those who were also able to craft a detailed plan to attack the next 12 months. In case you missed it, I posted a short video about finishing the year strong.

Coming into the new year, let’s think about the three different types of people:

Dominant performers in every industry, whether CEOs or athletes, are experts at making a habit of appearing in that first category.

A US News & World Report revealed that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Just six weeks after they were set! You can probably tell that those people are the ones who make it into the second of the above categories, which is better than third because at least they’ve enjoyed some progress.

But, clearly, there’s huge room for growth.

Regardless of where you’re at now, the GOOD news is that even if you didn’t get around to creating a detailed plan for 2019, you can still do it! Here is the best way to get started.

Iconic media announcer Earl Nightingale once said: “Most people tiptoe through life waiting to make it safely to death.”

Read that again.

Now, close your eyes and imagine what the perfect destination in ALL areas of your life looks like—a broad definition of success. Then, through your actions, show what comforts you’re willing to sacrifice—such as partying with friends, watching television and pressing the ‘snooze’ button—to make that perfect destination a reality.

Napoleon Hill, the most renowned personal development author in history, had a knack for converting lessons from the world’s most accomplished people into something that could be understood and applied by anyone. Here is one of my favorite Hill quotes—think about it in the context of what you want to achieve in 2019:

“Having a definite plan for your life greatly simplifies the process of making the hundreds of daily decisions that affect ultimate success.”

With your unique and comprehensive definition of success imprinted on your mind, you just need to ask yourself a simple question whenever you’re faced with a decision: Will this help me achieve my goals? If the answer is “No”, opt for a more productive task or set a timer so you can properly manage your time and energy flow.

Once you’re crystal clear on where you want to go, you’re able to intuitively make the right decisions. Better yet, as each day progress, they become a habit.

The best performers in any field know this and advance to greater success. Accordingly, those who fail either have no plan or a weak plan to obtain what they want, and therefore make poor decisions. When you understand that drifting is the primary cause of failure, you’ll be able to recognize it in the fortunes of almost everyone in your life.

In fact, I recommend you create an actual calendar note for ‘Monday, 11th February’ so when it pops up you’re reminded of the day when most others have quit. That’s your motivation to go extra hard.

Sometimes, life throws challenges our way that require us to revise our plans or create new ones entirely. But we must never lose sight of our dreams, nor accept temporary failure as permanent defeat. Jim Rohn, one of my biggest influences, famously said: “Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”

Dare to dream as big as you can, then turn those dreams into vivid goals, then detailed plans—and, finally, daily actions. Through that simple process, the same dream that is retained as fantasy for others is delivered as reality to you.

Wishing you every success and happiness in 2019. Together, let’s make this the best year yet.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
‘The Greatest Lessons and Best Quotes from Napoleon Hill'

“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation.”

Margaret Wheatley

Early on in my career I made the decision to get good at networking. Whether it was striking up a conversation with a stranger in an elevator, trying to be memorable at events, or adding value to people far higher up the pecking order, I wanted to forge a meaningful relationship based on emitting a vibrant energy, an organic connection and unconditionally adding value.

This decision, along with being committed to simple and consistent action, has been the cornerstone to every success I have achieved to this point.

Being your natural self is an important part of building relationships. When it happens as organically as possible, authenticity reigns, time is saved and value increases tenfold. I’ve seen too many networking ‘experts’ say that the solution is to start at the finish line, where you spend big money to attend events, enthusiastically ‘appear’ (rather than meaningfully engage), and dish out business cards like ninja stars.

Remember, extraordinary achievement only comes with a strong foundation. A few meaningful connections are far more valuable than exchanging 500+ business cards.

Here is a five-step system to take your networking skills to the next level. This process can be followed by anyone and I absolutely guarantee it will have an enormous impact on your life.

1. Build your knowledge

True mastery in any field—including networking—only comes from ridiculous amounts of purposeful practice. Before diving headfirst into the deep end, work on your stroke. Here are the three best networking books I have encountered:

Grab a notepad and spend one hour each day reading these books, until you’ve finished all three, being sure to jot down ideas and inspiration as it comes to mind. When you’re finished, keep increasing your knowledge with podcasts like Build Your Network by Travis Chappell.

I guarantee you will 10x your networking results from this first step alone.

2. Get clear on your definition of success.

Retain a laser-like focus by being crystal clear on your objective, i.e. what you actually want to achieve from networking. Perhaps it’s to:

It could be anything. Once you have a clear objective, you can work on crafting an elevator pitch that gets people excited about wanting to help you achieve it. The result? A sizzling first impression.

Just remember the cardinal rule of networking is to focus on other people’s interests before your own. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

3. Invest in your personal brand.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is scrimping on their personal brand. Tidy up your social accounts and your personal website, and get some good quality business cards that:

In the world of Squarespace/Wix and Fiverr/Upwork, there’s no reason not to have at least a reasonably professional online presence, irrespective of where you’re at in your career.

In reference to creating a killer website for his brand new (at the time) School of Greatness podcast, Lewis Howes told me, “The website needed to look professional if I was to attract high level people to appear on the show. If it looked amateur, I would only attract amateurs.” Invest in your personal brand.

4. Get out there.

At this stage you should be fired up and ready to go, like Usain Bolt on the starting blocks! Test out your skills in every interaction you have, whether at a coffee shop, the dog park, in a business meeting—everywhere. The aim is to quickly establish rapport and get comfortable communicating with authenticity. Carry an air of confidence, trying to draw out a smile from others. If you’ve done step one, you’ll know that you need to be:

Find a list of conferences/events that are in your industry. If possible, connect with a few people beforehand who might be attending—you can easily find them via an industry FB page, the event’s FB page or posting to your own network. Having some conversations locked in can help you warm up and feel more confident than fronting it blind. Make sure you look professional, but natural and authentic.

When you start to meet people of interest, and have offered value to them, ask them to suggest 1-2 people you absolutely need to connect with at the event. When they offer some names, ask for an introduction. The original lifestyle entrepreneur Tim Ferriss once outlined his networking strategy as: “Go narrow. Go long.” A deep, trusted relationship with a few people is exponentially more powerful than a surface-level acquaintance with many.

Experience is an essential part of mastering your craft, and remember that you’ve already done most of the hard work, so excitedly get out there and get your “sea legs”.

5. Keep in touch.

Continue to offer value without the expectation of anything in return—perhaps it’s an article that might interest them, an introduction to someone you know, or a brief catch up to hear more about their journey and how you can help.

Down the track, start hosting your own mastermind catch ups to really turbocharge your network. Never underestimate how valuable a core team of enthusiastic supporters can be on every aspect of your life.

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Remember, networking is not event-specific—it is an “all the time” skill. Judge success on the number of real relationships you’ve made and invest in them long term, rather than risk burning them for short term gain.

Follow this simple formula and see how quickly your impact is amplified. After all, your network is your net worth.

Onwards and upwards always,
James W.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Jim Rohn

We ALL have bad days … every single one of us. There are many reasons why we might feel forlorn—whether it’s financial hardship, relationship stress, injury/illness or any number of other possibilities.

Symptoms of a slump include being irritable, tired or exhausted, low on confidence, feeling frustrated or angry at our situation, and being negative or indifferent to our future. But make no mistake, the response to adversity is what separates extraordinary achievers from the herd.

While there’s no magic pill or quick fix, you have MUCH more power over your future than you think. Here are 14 proven tips to help you level out the bad days and put the spring back in your step.

1. Recognize you’re not alone.

We’re all fighting our own battles and trying to do the best we can based on our life experiences. Often, we shield our greatest vulnerabilities from those closest to us. Rather than sitting a home alone where you can get caught in your own head, reach out to others. As Janine Shepherd says, recognizing we’re not alone removes the isolation and empowers us to take action.

2. Start a daily gratitude practice.

Get into the habit of daily gratitude. Not only does it allow your mind to reset, it helps you identify the multitude of gifts already in your possession and what you need to do in the present. In the last newsletter, you read about how Nelson Mandela was able to do this while being in a South African prison for 27 years. Unsure of where to start? Grab a copy of The 5 Minute Journal.

3. Watch what you’re eating.

Harvard Medical School recently pointed out that “a healthy diet was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing depressive symptoms.” To get the most out of your body, give it the right fuel:

4. Change your environment.

Numerous studies (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) have proven the benefits that getting outdoors and wandering through nature can have on everything from stress and inflammation, to self-esteem and energy levels … even life expectancy. Find a nearby park or forest, do a yoga session, play a team sport or enjoy some outdoor exercise that enables you to connect with nature, be present in the moment, and recharge.

5. Divide and conquer.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with everything on your plate, especially those with young children. Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink recommends coming up with a plan of attack: deconstruct your tasks, sort them by priority, ask for help where you can, and take purposeful action until you’re back on track

6. Volunteer to help those less fortunate.

Helping those less fortunate is one of the most gratifying things we can do: it enables us to share a warm embrace with those we’ve been able to help, while also giving us perspective on the good in our own lives. Whether it’s helping children at a local special needs school, feeding the homeless, teaching military veterans to surf, or providing companionship at an aged care facility or hospice, there are countless ways to give back.

If you’re not in the right mindset for volunteer work, focus on less confronting options, such as giving a cheery “hello” to someone on your walk, picking up litter on the beach or engaging in friendly banter with a shop assistant.

7. Turn notifications off.

Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode or switch it off for a few hours each day. Free of distraction, you’re able to focus on the present.

8. Everyone has their own truth.

You might recall the quote: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” If you’re dealing with some type of conflict, try and see it from the other person’s perspective—after all, everyone has their own truth. This enables you to keep calm and respond, rather than impulsively react where the situation often ends up much worse.

9. Starve negative situations of oxygen.

Hang out with those who you have a common future with, not a common past. If someone in your life does not reciprocate with positive energy, allocate more time to those who align with your vision and values. Your energy focus is the most important weapon in your arsenal—protect it at all costs.

10. Increase your intake of positive material.

I’m constantly amazed at how much people allow the news to dictate their mood. Rather than let the sensationalist news cycle wear you down, focus on replacing it with inspiring books/audiobooks (e.g. The Obstacle is the Way), uplifting positive music, and informative podcasts like Win the Day with James Whittaker (also available on YouTube).

11. Plot your future.

Often, bad days can stem from a disconnect between where we are now and where think we should be. Get on the front foot and define what success looks like in all areas of your life (download the FREE Success Plan Template). It should be exhilarating to undertake that exercise—it’s literally a wishlist for the universe! You can then focus on recalibrating your routine to make sure you prioritize the most important tasks.

12. Give the best you’ve got on that day.

An essential part of long term success is to focus on giving the best you’ve got on that day. That advice came from Alethea Boon who, in an elite sporting career spanning two decades, has had her fair share of ups and downs. Putting additional pressure on yourself to notch a productivity record each day only increases your chance of burnout, injury or illness.

13. Train yourself to embrace the struggle.

Those who have read Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy will recall the stories of Janine Shepherd and Jim Stovall who overcome enormous adversity on their remarkable journeys. You are much stronger than you know. Make the decision to embrace the struggle and show the world just how great you are.

14. Ask for help.

Be honest and upfront about how you’re feeling, especially if your bad days have lasted for a while. Courage is asking for help and letting others in, not suffering in silence.

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Wishing you a week of action, adventure and laughter!

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

PS – Learn more about how you can use adversity as a stepping stone to greatness.

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