Momentum Podcast: 670
How to Change Your Behavior Faster
by Alex Charfen
The path to growth for an entrepreneur goes directly through behavioral change.
At each new level of growth for our company, our behaviors change almost completely.
One of the reasons so many entrepreneurial businesses get stuck and stop growing is that entrepreneurs stop changing behavior and growing themselves. It's incredibly difficult for a business to grow when the owner doesn't.
In the past few years, I found a way to change behavior faster. This process is not intuitive, but it works like crazy and also provides significant support for your team.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast.
For entrepreneurs, the growth of our business directly correlates to the growth that we experience ourselves. Each new level of growth in our company causes behavior within ourselves to change almost completely. One of the reasons so many entrepreneurial business gets stuck and stop growing is that entrepreneurs stop changing their behavior and growing themselves. It's incredibly difficult for a business to grow when the owner doesn't. In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, Alex is going to share a personal example of how behaviors need to change in order for your business to grow. In addition, he is going to share the process he uses to identify behaviors that are causing issues for him and how he goes about changing them fast. I hope you enjoy.
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.
I often share with people, if you don't have the business you want, you haven't become the person who can run it yet. And today's video, today's podcast is about that. And it's about behavioral change. As entrepreneurs, one of the things that we have to do if we want to continue to grow the business we have, if we want to continue to expand, if we want to continue to gain traction as entrepreneurs, to have a bigger business, to make bigger impact, then we as entrepreneurs ourselves have to evolve our behaviors and change our behaviors.
That may sound like an indictment of all entrepreneurs. Like all of us have to change behaviors, but here's the reality of growing a business. If you look at each stage of growth for entrepreneurs, each stage of business growth, it requires something entirely different from us as entrepreneurs. And so for me, I'm always looking at how do I change behavior faster? How can I advance this? How can I be better at this? How can I change the right behaviors in a faster way? And here's what I've found. And this is a very non-intuitive way to get there. This may be even hard for some people to comprehend if you haven't done a lot of personal work, but I'm going to try and make it so that it's accessible.
Here's what I believe. When you repair the damage you've done with your behaviors, you will change those behaviors faster. And I know that sounds a little ambiguous, so let me give you as much detail as I possibly can as to why I think this is true and why I think this is perhaps a path to growth for a lot of entrepreneurs. My daughter's dog is going crazy in the other room. It's distracting me like crazy, but let me see if I can get back on track here. I'll share a story that happened in the past week.
So in the past week, I got triggered, big time triggered by something somebody on my team did. It was actually causing triangulation on my team. I'll probably do another podcast on triangulation and just how dangerous it is when there is triangulation between people. Instead of two people talking a third person's introduced. Here's what happened to me. I had somebody on my team that I did some work for, got some stuff together for and asked her for feedback. And I was waiting for feedback from her, and the feedback came from my wife. And Cadey and I work together, so Cadey gave me the feedback. And when Cadey gave me the feedback, I was instantly triggered.
Here's why, one, I was looking for feedback from this person and I'm getting it from Cadey. I hate the feeling of being triangulated like that. Like asking one place, getting it from another place. I think it comes from a lot of the insecurity and challenges I had as a kid with my parents. I think for a lot of us that can't stand triangulation, that's where it comes from. It comes from like that triangulation that happened in our childhoods. But also this triggered me like crazy because Cadey and I have run businesses together for about 17 years, and there's been times in our businesses due to how we set things up and how we communicated, where that happened to me constantly. I would be expecting feedback from somebody and then Cadey would come in and give it to me.
And what ended up happening in those periods in our business was the person who was giving me exclusively constructive or set objectively negative feedback was my wife. And so I was constantly getting negative constructive feedback from Cadey, which was unhealthy for our relationship. So these days, if there's even the hint of triangulation, I'm triggered like crazy. Now that's the setup. That's not actually the subject matter of what I'm talking about here. In that trigger, I jumped on a call with the team member who caused the trigger. And I didn't yell and I didn't cuss and I didn't do any of the things I used to do when I was younger, but I was energetically triggered. I was energetically off. And the way... It didn't matter what I said, when you're energetically triggered, when you're amplified, when you're accelerated, when I'm accelerated, when I'm reactive, the person on the other end of the exchange hears it and feels it.
And I could tell that the person on my team who I was talking to could feel how triggered I was after I got off the call. During the call, I actually thought I handled it really well. And then I actually, when I got off the call, I'm like, "You know what? Something was wrong there. I don't feel good about that exchange. I don't feel good about that call. This is the level of introspection I've gotten to." When I was younger, I read this story about Rockefeller. That he would go at the end of the day and look at every exchange he had, every conversation he had with people. There's different stories. Some say that it was every day, some say that it was at the end of the week that he would go look at everything that he talked about with people, and he would rate himself and grade himself as to whether each exchange was a good exchange.
And when I was younger, I thought, "Man, what a tiring process." These days, I almost automatically do this. I'm constantly looking for areas of improvement. Well, here's what I realized when I was on that call. I had to take a step back and go for a walk. And so the first step... And this was really a three-step process for me. The first step was I acknowledged I was triggered. In the past, I wouldn't have done that. In the past, I would have said, "I'm fine. I communicated well, I didn't yell and scream. There was nothing to fix here. There's nothing wrong with this exchange." These days, energetically, I feel it when I communicate in a triggered way, I feel it when I communicate in a way that there's too much energy behind my communication, there's too much pressure behind my communication, and I felt it in that case. And so the first step for me is acknowledging it and saying, "Hey, there was a little too much here. I may have stepped over some lines. I may have crossed some lines here."
The second step was I wanted to understand it. So I went on a walk and I was thinking like, "What could have gotten me here? Why was I triggered? Why did I react that way?" And that's when I realized this is because this is a historic issue, both for me as a child, which brings up all types of childhood behaviors, but it's also a historical issue of working with my wife and having triangulation happen where sometimes I had a hard time communicating with people in our company because they always wanted to communicate through Cadey, and it created this really challenging environment for me. And so I was doubly triggered, jumped on a call and I didn't calm down, I didn't get in my body, I didn't do breath work, I didn't do all the things I know that will get me out of that trigger and into a much more rational, connected and present space. I just like got on the call. And if I'm honest, now that I'm talking about it out loud, I got in the call in a hurry. I got on the call in a hurry. I didn't really think before I got on the call. I wanted to get on the call and say, "Hey, I don't want you to ever try and get like this again." And I said that with an energy where it was loaded, with an energy where it was reactive, with an energy where it was pushing against the person I was talking to.
And so here is what I did in this case. First, I acknowledged that it happened. I acknowledged that something was off. Then I went for a walk so I'd understand it and know where it was coming from. Then I did the hard part. This is really the hard part. If you want to change behavior as an entrepreneur faster, make the behaviors you want to change very uncomfortable for yourself. Here's how I do that or here's how I did it in this case. As soon as I acknowledged what was happening and I understood what was happening, I immediately got in touch with the person and repaired and made a repair.
And I left her a Voxer, a message system that we use, a voice messaging system we use, and I said, "Hey, I want to let you know today when we got on our call, I was triggered. I didn't say I was triggered. I didn't express anger, I didn't express reactivity, but I know that I was, and I feel like our exchange was more heated than it needed to be. I felt like I was more reactive than I needed to be and I want to let you know why. There's this historic pattern in two places, in my childhood and with Cadey in businesses that we've run.
So I want you to understand that those two things trigger me. And I also want to take responsibility for the conversation we had today. It shouldn't have felt like that. You didn't do anything wrong. You weren't trying to trigger me. You didn't know that by telling Cadey feedback because you happened to be on a call with her, that it was going to trigger me. And I want you to know that I do want you to come to me in the future and I will not react like that in the future, or I will do my best not to react like that in the future. And I just want you to know I'm sorry and I apologize for how I acted."
In the first 10 years I ran businesses, if somebody told me that I would be going through this process, I would have laughed in their face like, hey, if I didn't break it irreparably, I was moving on to the next thing and I was ready to go to the next thing. And it didn't matter. And the communication that I had with my team was violent and challenged and charged and reactive all the time. But now where I am today in business, I feel when that happens. I can feel when something's off. I can feel when I've been reactive. I can feel when I've created a conversation or an environment that feels unsafe for the other person. I can feel when I have triggered them.
And that's really where this came from. I took a walk and I could tell, I was accelerated on that call and I could tell that the person I got on the call with was accelerated because of the level of correction I gave, because of the way that I gave it. And so by leaving the message and by telling her what was going on, and that by having subsequent exchanges with her about what had happened, here's what I know happens to me. When I have to go and apologize and explain the mistake I've made, I am way less likely to make that mistake again. And for me as an entrepreneur, I want to be able to change behavior and adjust to the current environment and be where I need to be as fast as I can. That means I want to get out of reactivity and triggers as fast as I can, I want to be as present and aware as I can be. I want to be able to make the best decisions I can. And I know that if I go and make repairs and I explain what's happened, that will severely diminish the chances that I'd have that behavior again. It's like conditioning. If you have to go understand it, first acknowledge it, then understand it, then explain what happened and let the other person know with compassion and empathy that you've stepped out of line, like I did. I let the other person know with compassion and empathy that I stepped out of line.
I know that it is going to severely limit me doing that at any point in time in the future, which is important. Lee Iacocca has this quote. Lee Iacocca was an amazing CEO. For those of you who don't know the name, he was an executive at Ford. He was responsible for the Ford Mustang. Then he went to Chrysler, which isn't even like a real brand anymore. So this is a super old story. And then he revitalized Chrysler by introducing the minivan, just an amazing CEO, amazing executive, amazing entrepreneur. And he had this quote, "The speed of the boss is the speed of the team." And that quote throughout my entire early years in business was misinterpreted by people like if you're the boss, you have to go as fast as you can and do as much as you can be. The first one in the last one out.
And Iacocca was not in any way saying that. In fact, if you go look at what he meant behind the speed of the boss is the speed of the team, he actually explained it as the faster that as the person in charge you understand or you acknowledge, understand and repair your behavior, or change your behavior, that's how fast your team will acknowledge, understand and change their behavior. So the faster you can change behavior, the speed of the boss changing behavior is the speed of the team. And I internalized that. And now I know that in order for my team to change behavior like I want them to, in order for us to get the results we want them to, the more transparent and real I am with what's going on for me, the more results I will get from that. And so I hope this has helped. Making repairs faster, going and repairing things with your team, going in and letting people know you've stepped out of line, letting people know you reacted, I think is one of the fastest ways to permanently and indelibly change your behavior as an entrepreneur. I hope this was helpful. And if you'd like more information on what we do as a company, and you'd like to get in touch with a member of my team and understand some of our coaching memberships, where we help entrepreneurs grow and scale businesses, you can go to billionairecode.com, answer a few questions from my team, download a copy of our Billionaire Code matrix, which is the nine levels entrepreneurs go through from $0 to $100 million to create success and to create the business that they want, the business that you want.
On that Billionaire Code matrix, you'll be able to identify exactly where you are right now, what you should have already done and what you will be doing next so you can anticipate what you'll need. And you can download a copy of the Billionaire Code Decoded, which is our new ebook on the nine levels of the Billionaire Code in detail. So go to billionairecode.com. And remember, as entrepreneurs, behavioral change is literally the construct, the key to us creating the business we want. So when we change behavior faster and we make it more permanent, we get the business we want and the contribution we want to make even faster. So acknowledge when you've stepped out of line or made a mistake or been reactive, understand why. And then once you've acknowledged and understood, go make the repair and explain what's happened, and you will see your behavior shift like crazy. And you'll see the level of trust and connection on your team go up. Thanks for being here today.
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