Momentum Podcast: 176
by Alex Charfen
Is addiction always a bad thing? There are two sides to that coin. As entrepreneurs, we all have addictions. When you hire people who have a bias for achievement, you don’t have to motivate anyone. Hiring addicts is one of my secret weapons, a leg up over the competition. Do the people that work with you have something to prove? Are the people you work with true believers?
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is The Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Higher addicts. Okay, so the title of this podcast is supposed to be a little provocative, Higher Addicts, because in our world today, we look at this term addiction as being this patently bad thing that you ... Anyone who's addicted has an issue. Anyone who's addicted has a problem. Well, I'll be honest with you. I'm addicted.
I'm addicted to helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I'm addicted to working out every day. I'm addicted to staying hydrated and drinking water. I'm addicted to eating whole natural foods that feed my body with fuel, and I'm addicted to avoiding any type of processed garbage that's going to slow me down. Those are addictions of mine. I know because if I don't work out for two or three days, which right now I'm going on the week of trying to get ready for Funnel Hacking Live next week. I've missed workouts the last couple days, and all day today, I've been trying to figure out like what feels like it's missing? Why do I feel so challenged? Why are my shoulder's hurting? It's all because I haven't worked out. I haven't moved. I haven't fed the addiction I have to working out.
See, I think that as entrepreneurial personality types, people like you and I, we're all addicted to something. We all have that thing that we need to keep doing that makes us feel whole, that makes us feel like we're moving in the right direction, and some of us have some negative addictions, have some challenging addictions, some addictions that don't help our health, some addictions to alcohol or drugs or porn or other things. However, it's all on a continuum, and one of the things that I look for when I'm hiring, one of the things that I beg for when I'm hiring is I want to hire people who are addicted to showing how incredible they are through their work. I want to hire people who get a rush out of working, who are excited about working, who love doing what they do. I want to hire people who are addicted to accomplishment, achievement, who are addicted to making things happen, to helping the people around them. Like those people exist.
And when you hire people who come with that bias of achievement, who are addicted to making things happen, who are looking for the place where they can feed that need, it is so much easier to run a business because when you hire true believers that are addicted to achievement, that are addicted to making things happen, that are addicted to going out there and winning, you never have to motivate anyone. But when you hire people who aren't true believers, when you hire people who are looking for a job, when you hire people who are looking for a paycheck, you will find you can't motivate them enough.
So my solution for entrepreneurs is to go out and hire addicts. You are looking for people who are addicted to the rush of achievement, and you can identify this in interviews. Don't think that you can't. I spend a lot of time looking for this. I look for people who have a chip on their shoulder, who act like they have something to prove, who feel like they haven't really gotten a fair shake, who really want a place where they can put their entire energy, their entire being into something and see it be successful. I look for people who are true believers, who want to work with our company, who respect me and who I am. That's important. Like if they don't respect me, I'm going to lose.
My father still has run a business my entire life, and I started working with him when I was about eight years old, and I can remember not too long after that he shared with me that if the people working with you don't like you, you're in trouble. He said, "You have to have people who at the very minimum like you." Well, in my career I realized that wasn't enough. You have to have people who are true believers if you really want to build a world changing company. My dad started that equation with, "Be careful for the people that don't like you," and then for me it's a totally different story. They have to like me. They have to be a true believer. They have to like me and who I am, our customers and what they do, our company and the products we put out. They have to believe in all of it in order to work with us.
And then I look for those people who have something to prove because the people who have something to prove are the ones who are addicted to achievement and accomplishment. They're the ones who get the massive dopamine and serotonin hit from making things happen for your business. They're the ones who are going to stay up late and get up early and give you the discretionary time. They're the ones that when they're driving or showering, they're thinking about how they're going to solve the next big thing for your company. Hire addicts. It's one of the biggest secrets I have in business, and it's one of the secret weapons I have against competition.
I recently hired an addict. Her name's Isla Brook, and she is incredible. She's doing some marketing work for us and some content work for us. She's all the way over in Australia, and we have a massive time difference. In fact, when we are here in U.S. Central Time at 5:00 PM, it's 7:00 AM her time, and when we're starting our day, it's way end of the day her time, and I can't tell you how often she's answering me at a time on one of our messages or something where it's not the right time for her to be working, but she's working, so it's not that I have to like motivate her at all. In fact, I end up having a lot of conversations with her, a lot, about taking time to herself, and she spent the weekend with her kids last weekend, and she left her computer at home, and I told her how proud I was of her because I want her to still be a healthy human being. I want her to still go out and do stuff. I want her to still do what she needs to do.
I actually have to push her away from working rather than trying to motivate her to work because she is a true believer with a chip on her shoulder who wants to prove who she is, and she also wants to see tens of thousands of people exposed to our content, so every single day, she wakes up for a passion or with a passion that you can't give to anyone. Like I couldn't make someone as passionate as Isla. I couldn't beg for someone to work as hard as she does, with the level of commitment she does, with the results that she's getting for us, but I don't have to do any of those things because she's a true believer and an addict when it comes to achievement. An addict when it comes to accomplishment. She's an addict when it comes to helping those around her make things happen, and that is exactly how I've always built my teams.
So when you're interviewing or when you're talking to people, here's some ways that you can start looking for these tendencies. When I'm talking to people, I want to hear in their history where they get passionate and where they get excited. When I'm talking to people, I want them to explain to me why it would it be important for them to work for us. When I'm talking to people about potentially working with us, I want them to sell me on how badly they want to work for our company and what it would mean to them to be able to have an effect and make a contribution and work with the people we work with, and I want to hear that it's going to be life changing for them because I know when I give someone a life changing opportunity, they become addicted to that change. They become addicted to making it happen. They want to go out and make it happen, and they want to make it even bigger and better.
Now, for anyone who's ever dealt with serious addiction, I want you to know I'm not trying to belittle the term addict. I know how difficult it is. There's addiction in my family. I've dealt with addiction in my past, There was a time where both Cadey and I drank far too much, and we quit in a weekend together. Stopped over 14 years ago. It's called the spontaneous recovery. We never had to hit rock bottom or do any of those things. If you're interested, you can read Annie Grace's book, The Naked Mind, and you'll find that spontaneous recovery happens a lot more often than is talked about out there, and from the day that we quit drinking, I really didn't ever want to go back.
So, I know how ... But prior to that, I know what it feels like to be pulled to drink. I know what it feels like to have to go and have a drink, so I'm not at all trying to make anyone who's ever dealt with addiction uncomfortable, but I do want to point out that there's two sides of that coin. The healthy addictions that people have, the healthy obsessions that people have, the obsession that they might have or create around the work that they do for you is going to be game changing for you, and so as an entrepreneur, when you go out to hire people, don't just hire anyone because they have a great resume. Don't just hire someone because they look good on paper. Don't just hire someone because you think they might be able to work for your team and maybe get a result. Go out and find the true believer that believes in you, your company, and your clients, and then find someone with a chip on their shoulder, something to prove, who's an addict, who is addicted to achievement, accomplishment and making things happen.
Talk to them about their work history, and you'll hear it. You'll hear how they were given an opportunity and they created way more out of it, and I don't even care if it's at work. When we're hiring younger people, sometimes we'll find someone who was given an opportunity to create a charity at their school, and then they turned it into an endowment, or someone who was given a project in one of their classes, and it changed the way that the class did those projects. Like I'm looking for the person that when they get excited about something, they change everything about it, they make it happen, they get massive outcomes, and they're ready to show up and do that every single day.
You'll hear it in their dialogues. People will tell you, "I just want a place where I can really put all my energy. I just want a place where I can be successful. I want a place where I can change things." I remember when we hired Isla, she told me she thought this was the most exciting opportunity of her entire career, and that for me was all the confirmation I needed that we had found the right person who was a true believer and who was going to have that addicted quality to helping us move forward, and she's proved it every single day since then.
Look at your team and ask yourself how many of them are just showing up for a paycheck, how many of them are just there because they need a job, and how many of them are true believers that are addicted to creating your company's success? Because if you count too many, and you know, in a lot of cases, one is too many, who aren't true believers, who aren't addicted to creating success, who aren't ready to do what it takes to make things happen in your company, who ...
For most of my team, I feel like I'm keeping up with them. If you ever feel like you're trying to get your team to keep up with you, you're probably in a situation where you haven't hired these types of people, and it's probably time to place some ads because if you want to grow a company fast, if you want to throw a company through the stratosphere, if you want to see what it's really like to have break neck speed growth where a company grows day over day, and you can grow as a human being, and you can grow the people around you, and you can have your team be motivated and excited and pumped to come to work every day, then you must surround yourself with addicts.
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