Who Helps You Achieve Your Goals?

You may remember my coach and mentor Ben Hardy from a recent issue. In case you didn’t see that issue or don’t remember Ben, I’ll repeat my introduction to him:

Benjamin Hardy holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. He’s also the author of Personality Isn’t Permanent and several other books exploring personality change. He knows what he’s talking about!

three students figuring out how to Achieve Your Goals

Ben’s book I’m focusing on today is his latest, WHO NOT HOW, which he co-wrote with Dan Sullivan. Interestingly, Sullivan didn’t write a word of it. Ben was Dan’s “Who”, and Dan was Ben’s “Who”.

You’ll come to understand that distinction as we move along in this discussion. If you read the book, you’ll understand it with crystal clarity. I just finished reading the book, and I find it transformational!

Dan Sullivan, the co-author, is the founder and president of The Strategic Coach Inc. A visionary and a gifted conceptual thinker, Dan has over 40 years of experience as a noted speaker, consultant, strategic planner, and coach to entrepreneurial individuals and groups.

Ben says that, without Dan’s support and coaching, the book wouldn’t exist. Dan says that, without Ben’s dedication and writing, the book wouldn’t exist.

The premise of the book is:

  • Find the person or group that is uniquely able to help you achieve your goals. Trying to figure it out by yourself is inefficient and ineffective.
  • “How” limits you to your own knowledge and capabilities. Who” immediately connects you with different knowledge, insights, and capability.
  • “Who” can immediately free up hundreds of hours, which you can spend in better and more meaningful ways. 
  • Self-expansion is a core human motivation, and it occurs through Whos.

Time Freedom

Procrastination, while it can cause immense frustration and loss of ambition, is actually wisdom. Creative procrastination is saying, “This goal is amazing! But I’m not the one to do everything involved!”

Leadership is having a clear vision, delegating its pursuit to the right “Who” and getting out of the way. Your potential is virtually limitless when you stop asking “How?” and start asking “Who?” Asking “Who?” can create results 10X or even 100X faster than asking “How?”

Money Freedom

Time Creates Money. You can’t have money freedom until you achieve time freedom. Improving how you spend your time automatically improves your ability to make money. Chapter 6 is titled: “If You Have Enough Money to Solve a Problem, You Don’t Have a Problem.”

Adding a Who to a specific area of your life eliminates decision fatigue in that area. Decision fatigue depletes motivation faster than any other kind of fatigue.

Engaging in Hows to avoid costs actually costs you and your future hugely in the long run.Investing in the right Whos is not a cost, It’s an investment that can create transformational relationships. It can quickly 10X or more your income and revenue.

Be a Good “Who” for Others

When you enter a relationship, first create value in that relationship. Keep creating value and nurturing your relationships. Ask “What’s in it for them?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” Know what the other person cares about. Do your homework!

To have Freedom of Relationship, you must intentionally engage with people who align with your vision. Avoid directly working with people who aren’t relevant. As you say no to people and opportunities that don’t align with your vision of your future self, your confidence will increase. Your team will also become more confident in you as a leader.

Your current self no longer tolerates situations and people that your former self tolerated.Your future self will not tolerate situations or people that you now associate with.

Wherever you see brilliant work happening, there’s collaboration. No one has all the answers. It’s wise to consider yourself ignorant on most things and to seek other people’s perspectives and solutions. Avoid over-obsessing about your part of the project. Get feedback fast! Be radically open and honest in your communication. Ask for help when you need it. Ben says he violated that principle himself when he got sick and faltered during his writing!

Focus on Collaboration, not Competition

Focusing on “How” leads you to being isolated in your goals, and ultimately slows your progress. Being isolated in your goals diminishes your dreams.

Competition stunts creative innovation and limits your future. Collaboration allows you to focus on what you want to focus on and feel good about getting help.

Collaboration improves a project. It becomes better and more impactful than you would have created on your own. By expanding your vision, your Freedom of Purpose also expands.

Expand Your Purpose

Through Whos, important miracles and blessings can happen in your life. You can transform and expand your purpose and life through Whos.

Whos help you see potential in your future, and in your work that you can’t presently see alone. You need another’s insight. Whos expand your vision, giving you the confidence to pursue big goals. Your Whos become your purpose.

If these ideas and principles appeal to you, I recommend you read WHO NOT HOW. In any case, have a wonderful week.

Maintaining Mental Health In The Face Of Challenges

As the quarantine, however severe it currently is for you, wears on, your mindset can turn negative. This is hardly a healthy or effective way to face issues in your life and business. So once again, I’m offering some suggestions to help you keep a positive outlook in the face of challenges.

Joely Simon, an Inc. magazine editorial intern, offers some practical tips for maintaining mental health in the face of challenges.

Central to this discussion, she borrows Eve Lewis Prieto’s definition of mindfulness: The ability to be fully engaged and present with a soft and open mind, or “paying attention on purpose.” She identifies three practices for maintaining mindfulness.

  • Identify your feelings. Then express them in writing, even if it’s just listing them. If you find going deeper to be helpful, by all means, do it.
  • Talk with others about what’s going on for you and how you feel about it. Of course, invite others to express themselves too. In the pandemic, this may take a bit more effort – make it happen!
  • Give yourself a break. If you find exercise to be good therapy, do some, even if it’s just a short walk. I find a half-hour bike ride after a couple of hours work clears my mind.

Joely tells several stories of applications of these methods. I won’t steal her thunder by re-telling them myself. I will relate that, for me, all my deeply ingrained practices of meditation, focused breathing, journaling, etc. have served me very well.

It’s my good fortune to live in rural Argentina, where the effects of the pandemic have been fairly limited for me and my friends (not so for many local people, whose businesses depend on tourism). I also hear horror stories from many in other parts of the world.

However the societal conditions impact you, strive to find ways to focus your mind on important things. There are many things happening that you can’t control. Stewing about them will only keep you from seeing the positives, and paying attention to what you can do to improve your life.

As Napoleon Hill reminds us, every diversity has within it the seed of equal or greater benefit.

Joely’s article is a good guide for being mindful. I hope you read it.

New Perspective = New Reality!

This week, we return to our common theme of directly addressing leadership. What is it? How, specifically, does one accomplish effective leadership?

Sam Shriver is the Executive Vice President at The Center for Leadership Studies. In a recent LinkedIn Live episode, he interviewed Daryl Davis, an accomplished pianist and civil rights activist extraordinaire.

Davis has accomplished amazing shifts in perspective of some people who were deeply invested in their white supremacist ideologies. He’s done this with a unique style of communication. As we discuss here often, communication is one of the keys to effective leadership.

Below, I’ll discuss a few highlights of their conversation. However, you’ll miss the full impact of Davis’ communication technique without watching the interview. I promise it’s worth at least a listen!

Skipping to the 6:30 time in the video will jump past the introductory stuff, which I’ve already given you. In the last 20 minutes or so, Davis talks about how he’s viewed the civil rights movement evolving over the past 60+ years. Leaders at every level of government, and even businesses, have reacted very differently in the last few years than before that. All very important to him and to black leaders everywhere. With that said, that last part of the interview is off my topic. You may well find it interesting, but it doesn’t pertain directly to my theme of individual leadership and communication. If you choose to skip that, you can get the gist of my article in a bit over 30 minutes.

New Perspective = New Reality!


Davis leads off his comments with this: True leaders want to help others do something better. More importantly, they want to help them learn to lead others in what they do.

In order to help others learn to lead, these leaders must develop trust in those who are following them. That’s the only way they can offer their followers useful advice, coaching, and mentoring.

After performing his music all over the world he concludes everyone, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, or whatever wants to be:

  • Loved
  • Respected
  • Heard
  • Treated fairly
  • Able to provide the same things for their families.

By feeding these desires in others – especially their desire to be heard – he’s been able to communicate respectfully with people who appear to be his natural opponents.

Example: As a (very) black man, he developed a respectful and friendly dialogue with the Grand Marshall of the Ku Klux Klan! They visited each others’ homes and had an active friendship. Most of the video focuses on how he developed that communication and friendship.

In a conversation with anyone, particularly someone whom you know to have a different, and likely opposing, view to yours:

  • Keep your emotions in check. Keep them “behind you”.
  • Listen to what they say – until they’ve finished saying it. Remember, people want to be heard.
  • Present facts in support of your view, but not to confront or attack the other person or his/her views.

Davis engages people whose views he’s interested in studying. In those conversations, he’s sometimes attacked and insulted. He listens intently and respectfully to whatever they say. He doesn’t get “hooked” or take any of it personally. He says, “I may not respect what they say, but I respect their right to say it.”

Most people, Davis suggests, when they become aware of truths contrary to their beliefs, begin to experience “cognitive dissonance”. They gradually become uncomfortable with the disagreement between what they now know to be true and their established beliefs. They begin to wonder:

  • Do I stick with my old belief and ignore the truth? or,
  • Do I embrace the truth, and change my belief?

Are You Logical or Emotional?

Davis focuses in part of the interview on the reality that some people are swayed by facts and some by emotional concerns. Trying to use logic to sway an emotional person is futile, as is the opposite.

He provides an example of this: A white supremacist he knew quite well was murdered. The man’s emotional father vowed to kill the person he knew had killed his son. Davis avoided logic in convincing the man not to carry this out. He suggested “You have other children and grandchildren. If you commit murder, even in the name of ‘justice’, you will lose them as well. You’ll be in prison!” That emotional appeal swayed the man from avenging his son’s death. He was willing to endure the penalty until he realized how it would feel to be taken away from the rest of his family.


One’s perspective is his or her reality. If someone is offered a new perspective that resonates with them, and it differs from their current reality. it may alter their reality. Davis offers a couple of scenarios to demonstrate this.

Daryl Davis is proud to claim that he’s the impetus for over 200 white supremacists changing their ideology. That happened because he offered them a new perspective.

He says “I did not convert them. They converted themselves by seeing a different perspective.”

Your Past Has The Meaning You Give it!

Have you considered the meaning you’ve given your story of the past? Your past has the meaning you give it. It’s just a story. Tell it the way you want it to be!

Now that you’ve done that, consider this – there’s also a story attached to your future. That’s where you can get really creative!

The meaning you give the stories of your past, and of your future, shape your present.

Here‘s a 13-minute video of Ben Hardy diving deeper into these concepts. It’swell worth your time to check it out!

Benjamin Hardy holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology. He’s also the author of Personality Isn’t Permanent and several other books exploring personality change. He knows what he’s talking about! Here’s an article I wrote in August introducing some of his ideas.

Ben’s introductory comment pretty well sums up the concept.- “Your identity is the story your tell about yourself, and the story you tell about yourself determines your behavior, and it determines your outcomes.”

Your story – who you are now – should be quite different from your story 12 months ago. Your story of your future self (a year, or 3 years out) should be very different from who you are now. One of Ben’s key concepts is that we can decide who our future self is and live as if we are that person now.

One of my favorite Ben Hardy quotes:

If you’re not embarrassed by who you were a year ago, you’re not making enough progress.

People who’ve had traumatic experiences (who hasn’t?) often make their stories about those experiences. If they feel they acted wrongly in those events, they may fold that into their stories, past and present. If they felt victimized, they may live as a victim. They may live into that story so it becomes their future story, as well. All this creates a negative self-view. Unlikely to help them move their lives forward!

What people must understand is, they are not now the person who acted however they acted in the past. They will be a different person in the future than they are now.

A powerful present – what you do and how you do it now – depends on your stories of your past, and of your future. Your past has only the meaning you give it.
Your stories determine WHO you are, and you are the author of your stories.Write them, and tell them, so they serve you. Ben Hardy’s presentation provides the inspiration, and the blueprint, for doing that.

Serena Williams Wins Often!

Do you follow professional tennis? Even if you see an occasional item in the news about it, you know that Serena Williams wins often.

This is a sport from which many top-notch players retire by the age of 35, or even 30. What gives her the edge and the drive to continue winning as she nears 40 years of age? Read on to learn about Minda Zetlin’s take on this.

Minda Zetlin, the “Laid-Back Leader” and a regular contributor to Inc. magazine, attributes Serena’s winning ways to her mindset. As regular readers know, I believe mindset is at the root of every human success or failure.

Williams has what Minda terms an “internal locus of control”. She believes her performance is what causes her to win or lose. When she wins, she celebrates her performance. When she loses, she blames herself. Sure, her opponent played a brilliant game! No matter, Serena believes she wins or loses by her own performance.

Serena recently lost the Australian Open tournament to Naomi Osaka. Minda provides a link to Serena’s post-tournament press conference. Serena talks about making “easy” mistakes – mistakes of her own doing, not “forced” by her opponent. She ended up leaving the press conference in tears!

Some people criticized her for not crediting her opponent’s great performance. Right or wrong, Serena was totally focused on her own mistakes which she sees as the cause of her loss. In her mind, it doesn’t matter how her opponent played. All that matters to her is: How did she play? And she didn’t like the answer!

Often people find it easy to blame outside forces, especially when outcomes fall short of their expectations. This is basically a “cop-out”. Here’s an article I wrote several months ago on taking responsibility.

If you are determined to be a winner, a mindset like Serena Williams’ will serve you well!