Momentum Podcast: 273
The Point Of No Return
by Alex Charfen
My client Annie Grace is literally changing the world. There comes a time in business when you're growing that you can no longer do it all yourself. Until you've built a team around you, you don't understand one of the greatest gifts to an entrepreneur.
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. 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.
The point of no return. A couple weeks ago, one of my clients, Annie Grace, who runs the Naked Mind and the Naked Mind Podcast and wrote the book The Naked Mind and is really changing the world of addiction in general, but specifically alcohol addiction, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Annie's doing. I'm so excited that she's one of my clients. Being a coach is not just about helping entrepreneurs and a consultant is not just about helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, but when you can work with people whose mission motivates you, it's about helping people grow their business but it's also about expanding who you are and expanding my contribution in the world.
Getting to work with someone like Annie Grace is absolutely an example of how being a consultant, you get to have leverage with people who are literally making their dent in the universe. Right now in the world of alcohol addiction, there's basically one big option, The 12 Step programs, and the admission that you're an alcoholic, and a life of going to meetings. You know what? That works for a lot of people. I grew up in a 12 Step house. I have tremendous respect for the people who are in 12 Step programs and that it's worked for, but it didn't really appeal or work for me.
So, Annie's philosophies and processes are so much more in line with how I feel. A few weeks ago ... That's not what this podcast is about though. A few weeks ago, I got a message from Annie and it was something, I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like this, she said, "Alex, I'm building my team, and I'm bringing on some more people, and we're doing a lot more things, but I feel like I'm at the point of no return." I remember thinking, "What the heck is she going to call the point of no return?" Then it all made sense with the next sentence.
She said, "I'm at the place where I've hired so many people and we're doing so much, I can't do it all myself anymore." She went on to say, "I always had this thought in my mind that if everything went wrong and I couldn't afford everybody and nothing was working that I could just get rid of my team and do everything myself, but I'm in that place right now where if I go any further there's no way I can do it all myself. There's no possible way I could do it all myself." I remember thinking, "This is such a massive transition for entrepreneurs."
Now, all of us don't feel it. You may never have had that realization while you were growing your business that you were crossing the threshold of the point of no return, the point where you could no longer be a solo-preneur, the point where you had actually grown yourself out of solo-preneurship and you had to have a team. Here's what's so amazing about Annie, Annie's already got a seven-figure business. She's grown it like crazy. She's having this massive impact around the world. She's changing people's lives and literally getting them out of the biggest problem in their life, and she's just crossing that threshold right now or feels like she's crossing that threshold right now.
How amazing to have that massive of an impact and then hit this barrier? For those of us who feel it, I know I felt it early on when I was first starting businesses and I've worked with so many entrepreneurs who feel this, as this massive wall standing in front of them, as this threshold that is huge that is laid out in front of them as this chasm that they must cross. In crossing that chasm, here's the problem. When we look at bringing on a team and having so many people that we can't do it all ourselves anymore as the point of no return, we look at crossing this chasm as a negative. We look at building the team around us so that we can have a bigger impact as a liability.
Here's the challenge for a lot of us, especially for people who have had a hard time with people, or had a hard time growing up, or haven't really felt the support of a team, or don't feel like we're the best managers, this can feel like massive exposure because we have to have a team. I'd like to present to you a different view of this, a different way to look at this. See, I don't think this is the point of no return at all. I mean, I do think it is the point of no return from being a solo-preneur. I think it's the point of no return from having the highest exposure you will ever have as an entrepreneur.
Let's make no mistake, while so many of us see a team as a liability, the fact is if you're a solo-preneur, I don't care if you make $10,000 an hour or ten dollars an hour, you have the same exposure to losing it all. You go down, the company goes down. If you're not there, you're not going to make money. Being a solo-preneur is the absolute worst place to be in business. I don't care who tells you that that's the fantasy. I don't care what information product tells you solo-preneurship is the way to go, it is the absolute most exposed, most difficult place to be as an entrepreneur, period.
When you're alone, it is all you. There's no team around you to help you at all, because see, here's this view we have of team, "If I create a team, I'm going to have a higher level of exposure." I'd like to replace that with this meditation, "Until I have a world class team, I will always have the highest level of exposure," because when you don't have a team, it's all you. You are fundamentally literally completely and totally exposed. You're exposed to challenges. You're exposed to issues. You're exposed to every customer complaint. You hear everything. You know everything. You see everything going on in the business. It is the most challenging place for us to be as an entrepreneur.
Here's the challenge. Until you've built that team around you, you don't know how different your life be ... or your life can be. Hm, you don't know how different your life be. You don't know how different your life can be. You don't know how much momentum you can feel. You don't understand one of the greatest gifts of being an entrepreneur, and that is assembling a team of people, corralling them around an outcome or objective, giving them clear accountability, clear scoreboards, and then watching a team of people grow together, grow an outcome, change a market, and have a massive impact on the world. That is one of the greatest privileges available to us as an entrepreneur.
When we think of building a team as the point of no return, we turn that off. I want you to open this possibility, because what is a team? A team is not liability. A team is not liability. When we look at a team as increasing our level of liability, we are looking at it wrong. Again, it's only because we haven't been there. Here's what a team is. A team is support. A team is insulation from the problems in a business. A team is the expansion of your capability, the expansion of your abilities, the expansion of what you can do. A team is the only way you will ever make your greatest contribution.
If you're on this planet to make the biggest impact you possibly can, like every single person I work with including Annie Grace, then you should know that the only way you do that is with a team, because people like us, we learn barely anything standing still. We have to be in momentum to be absorbing lessons, and we learn barely anything alone. We are tribal creatures, and the people around us influence and create who we are.
So, when we build a world class team of people around you, it makes everything ... When we build a world class team of people around us, it changes everything in the business. I've used this analogy before, it's kind of like Iron Man when he puts on his suit. When I get up in the morning, my team and I accomplish more than I could ever dream of doing in weeks and I'm not kidding.
There's some things that I'm very good at, but most things I'm terrible at. I'm overwhelmed by calendars and scheduling. I have a really hard time keeping together details. I don't really like to look at spreadsheets, and charts, and checklists. I force myself to do those things. I have a hard time with operations and keeping schedules straight. I really struggle with a lot of what it takes to run a business, but I build those systems and those structures around me through bringing the right people onto my team who are willing to offer the protection and support I need. Then I'm candid, and transparent, and real with them.
When I was younger and I ran businesses, I used to lie to people and say, "Oh yeah, no, I can read that," or, "I can check that out," or, "Yeah, I'll go look at the calendar." I remember before meetings, I used to sweat for hours and hours trying to prepare the schedule, and the process, and the procedure, because I didn't want anybody to know what I didn't know. I know the feeling of being intimidated by not knowing something, by not understanding something, by having those people around you.
Here's what happens, when you're real with a team, when you're candid with a team, when you're transparent with them, when you bring the right people on, your capabilities are expanded. I know that today I create results in the world that I am not capable of creating myself, but I can still say I create those results because I'm part of the team that does. For anyone, and if you are still thinking that there's liability in a team, when you don't have a team, you fundamentally limit the contribution you can ever make. I want you to think about that.
Is that call of contribution in your head? There's three awakenings of the entrepreneurial personality type. I haven't shared these in a while. The first one is that realization that you knew you were different. How old were you when you knew you were different from the people around you? I'm at a homeschool conference this week. It's been interesting. I've had this conversation with several people, and all of them say very young. Then how old were you when you first acquired innate motivation when that switch turned on that you couldn't turn off? Because I know you can't turn it off. How old were you when that happened?
If you've said yes to the first one and yes to the second one, that you have innate motivation, the third one is the call of contribution, that voice in your head that's saying, "You can do more. You can be more. You can leave more behind. You can make this world a better place." If you're hearing that call of contribution, then I want you to know something. Here is the thing, the issue, the challenge that you will wrestle with for the rest of your entrepreneurial career.
Are you ready for this? This is the foundational challenge of most entrepreneurs. This is what we are struggling with. When we sit and we're restless, we're agitated, we feel that frustration of not having done enough, here's what it is. It's that the contribution we want to make, the level of contribution we feel we should be making just isn't there. The challenge is, the infrastructure we built around us is not robust enough, big enough, functional enough for us to make that contribution. I call it the contribution gap.
You will always feels the gap between the contribution you want to make and the infrastructure you have around you, and that is a team. When you build a team, you can expand your contribution exponentially. There is an infinite level of contribution you can make if you're willing to bring other people onto the team. When it's just you, you're limited by who you are. When you bring other people on your team, you have no limits. You can bring whoever you want, and there is an unlimited combination of strengths, and purpose, and people, and passions that you can bring together to grow your business.
When you don't have a team, you have to keep your business small enough so you can do it all. That means every single day the equation in your head is, how do I keep this small enough for me. How do I keep this small enough so I can control it? How do I keep this small enough so I can do it? Whether you know consciously or not, you are consistently thinking about keeping your business small.
29 million businesses in the United States, 90% of them will never hire a person. 22 million of them are under $100,000. Why? Well, because so many entrepreneurs walk around with the meditation, "How do I keep my business small?" Don't think this isn't one of the most common issues entrepreneurs face, because it is. Here's the big one. When you don't have a team and you say, "I don't want to have a team. I don't want to go past that point of no return," you are protecting your ego above the contribution you can make. You are making your ego more important than your purpose in the world.
If this is stinging a little bit, I want it to, because when we make ourselves more important than the outcomes we were put here on the planet to create, that is when that restless frustration will turn into all kinds of stuff. We'll turn into hyperactivity and challenging behaviors, and we'll show up in ways that we don't want to, and we will show ourselves in ways that we don't want to. This is when we become symptomatic and diagnosable, and people tell us we're broken and disordered. When we are trying to protect our ego, when we are trying to hold things back, when we're trying to keep it small, that's when we really look challenged, and frustrated, and like we just can't create the momentum we want because we aren't.
Here's the thing with protecting our ego, especially for people like us, I know you've had a hard time with people around you. I know you've felt judged. I know you've been told to sit down, shut up, stop talking, and quit making everyone else uncomfortable. I've been there. I want you to understand something, right now there are people, not one person, but people out there who if you were willing to put together the right opportunity, they would join you passionately and help you make the contribution you want to make in the world. They are just like us, and they are looking for the opportunity to join a team and go change the world. I know because I have a team of people exactly like this, and they absolutely blow me away every day.
Where so many of us look at team as the point of no return, as liability, as exposure, as pain, I want you to understand something. When you build the right type of team around you and you give them clear outcomes and you make sure each person knows their role and they have clear scoreboards, and accountability, and understanding of what they should do next, they will feel taken care of, they will support you, and they will help you create incredible levels of momentum.
So, if you've ever had the thought like Annie did that you're moving towards that point of no return, that you're not going to be able to do it all yourself, that you're getting to that place of exposure where you have to have a team, that it feels heavier and harder, I want you to know something, congratulations. That's exactly how it should feel. You're doing exactly the right thing. Now, just keep going forward. Go forward with the faith that your contribution is important enough to build a team around. Go forward with the understanding and belief that the people you bring onto your team will have the same level of passion and excitement you do for the people that you're going to help.
Go out and find true believers. Build systems to help them feel safe. Create a communication cadence. Make sure that they understand exactly where they're going. You will see your entire life change, because every entrepreneur I've ever worked with is a born leader and so are you. As leaders, we want to have a massive impact on the world, but we often forget one of the most foundation facts of leadership. That fact is, you will have the greatest impact on those who are most proximal to you. You will have the greatest impact on the people who are closest to you. You as a leader will have the greatest impact on your team.
When you look at the history of great entrepreneurs, they've left behind discoveries, and businesses, and innovations, and tools for all of us to use. They've written books that are shortcuts that have shaved hundreds, maybe thousands of years off of the research we have to do today. They've given us their knowledge, their understanding, and their wisdom to carry forward. What we also see is that great entrepreneurs throughout history left behind something equally, if not more, important. They left behind the legacy of their teams.
Just like Aristotle was trained by Socrates, throughout history great entrepreneurs have left behind a legacy of incredible entrepreneurs who have been on their teams. When we look at incredible people throughout history, it's not just the businesses they left behind, it's the impact on the people most proximal to them. It's the lives that they've changed. It's the opportunities they gave people, and it's the difference they created through the strength of their teams that is the true lasting legacy of a game changing entrepreneur.
I know that's exactly how it will be for Annie as she goes through this transition, built a massive, incredible game changing team, and goes on to impact even more hundreds of thousands of people because she already has. It may be millions, but as her team grows and she's surrounded by true believers, she'll pass the point of no return. I'm talking about a different one. I'm talking about the point of no return that where your business, your concepts, what you do in the world is so impactful that you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.
I'm talking about the point of no return where so many people have heard about what you do and seen your products and understand who you are that you have left an indelible mark in the universe. The point of no return to where you have created a true legacy that can never be taken away, that is what we're really here to do as entrepreneurs. That's what we're really here to be as entrepreneurs, to make our greatest contribution. Don't forget, I'm a capitalist. I'm not talking about just giving stuff away.
Capital flows to the greatest contribution. So, not only should you be building a world changing team and making a massive impact in the world, you should be creating a massive amount of wealth and equity for you and everyone around you because that's how we prove we're making a massive impact. I want to help you get past that point of no return, because that's where the game really changes for us.
Annie, thank you for your inspiration on this podcast. It is an incredible privilege to work with you and Bryan and to be a small part of what you're doing in the world. For all of you, if you haven't built a team yet, I want you to know that the true path to entrepreneurial success is when we lower our guard, allow for vulnerability, let people come close to us, create a team, and go out and together make our greatest contribution.
To everyone on my team, I love you all. Thank you for your help. Thank you for your support. Thank you for what you're doing for entrepreneurs around the world. If you're listening and you're ready to start building your game changing team, go to billionairecode.com. Answer a couple questions for my team. They'll reach out to you if you set up a call with us. Let us show you the systems, the structures, and the communication cadence that will build your team today, tomorrow, and as far into the future as you want it to go. Billionairecode.com.
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