Momentum Podcast: 817
An Early Lesson In Entrepreneurial Intention
by Alex Charfen
When it comes to doing anything, there's the act of getting that thing done, and then there's also the intention with which we do it. I feel fortunate to have started to learn this early in my entrepreneurial career. Before I understood the power of intention, I was like most of us, making a list and going as fast as possible to get as much done in the shortest time.
While this may sound logical, it was not the most effective way to do things. In this episode, I share an early lesson that I learned about the intention with which we do things.
If you want to get bigger results out of the time you spend executing anything, this podcast will help.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast
I was very fortunate to work with some incredible entrepreneurs early in my career, and I learned a ton of lessons from them. And one of the most important ones was the power of intention of actually thinking through things, of declaring what you want before you do something. And this morning I'm actually in the sauna. So if it's not the normal clear sound, it's because I'm just recording right onto my iPhone. But I felt inspired and felt like this is a message that every entrepreneur should hear. So in this episode, I'm going to share a quick story with you about my early career that might give you some insights and also share the effect it had on me and how I've applied what I learned in my life.
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. Should 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.
When I was in my early twenties. If you listen to the podcast, you've probably heard part of this story before, but this is going to go a little deeper on in. When I was in my early twenties, I sold the company with a friend of mine, Brice Gibbons, and actually sold it to him. And then he sold the software to another company. And I ended up in an earnout with a company in Florida that did not work out. I made it eight months out of 12. It was incredibly stressful. I worked for this crazy entrepreneur named Cameron Kune Kuo and if you look him up, he was like a very, very intense entrepreneur but also not very careful. He was credited with bringing down downtown Orlando and Jacksonville. And so I loved working with him. You can go read about it online. And I started working with a brilliant entrepreneur named Richard Athol, and Richard was a consultant, a manufacturer's rep. He owned the manufacturers rep firm in New York, and he had an office with another person in Florida. But I didn't have anybody in Florida that was covering the accounts for him. And so I ended up working with him and I had my own company, but my company really for the first few years acted as a partner company to his. That's how I was able to get accounts like Fuji and Targets and SanDisk and just some incredible corporations. And it was really based on Richard's reputation and the two of us working together. And there was this day and this was like something I remembered yesterday in the shower. There was this day where Richard and I were working together, and probably after a year or two of working together. And I was in an office in South Florida, and we were both making the phone calls that we needed to make for the day. And at the time, my process was to write down every phone call that I needed to make and then just start hammering Thriller. And I noticed while we were in the office that there was these long periods of silence. Like, I couldn't see Richard from where I was sitting, but I noticed that in between his calls there was these long periods of silence. And so being a young entrepreneur who didn't want to interrupt and didn't want to like bother him, I kind of peeked around the corner and I saw that he finished a call and he hung up and then he kind of leaned back in his chair and he was kind of gazing off into space, doing nothing. And I'm like, What is he doing? And then after a few minutes, he would pick up the phone and make a call. And then after that call he did the same thing and it was distracting to the point where I wasn't getting my calls done. So the next time he was like staring off into space. I walked around the corner. I'm like, Hey, Richard, what are you doing? And he said, Well, I'm about to get on another really important call, and I want to make sure that I'm really clear on what I'm doing and I know what I want to get out of the call. And I asked him, like, do you do that every time you're on a call? And he's like, not every time, but wouldn't support an important call. I spent a few minutes just thinking about what I want to get out of the call, what I want to get from the person. And you know what I how what I need to do and like I want to have clarity around each call I make and I'm like, Huh, I don't really do that. And he goes, Well, you should. Because when with what we do, we might only have one chance to talk to somebody and move them in the direction we want and help them in the way that we want. And if you're not setting that up ahead of time, you really kind of leaving your calls to chance. And I remember and then he's like, I need to make another call, so give me a few minutes to think about it. And I left his office and I went and sat down and I thought about it and I'm like, You know what? He's right. I just hammer through phone calls, and when the person picks up is when I would started thinking about what needed to happen on the call. I had an idea, but I didn't create that massive level of clarity like Richard was. I didn't sit there thinking about it, jotting down notes and figuring out exactly what I wanted to get out of the call. So for the rest of that day, while we were working in the same office together before each call, I would spend some time thinking about it and I would write down what I wanted to do on the call, and I'd write down why the call was important and what my goals were for the call. And then I would make the call, and by the end of the day, I realized it was probably my most productive days of day of calls, maybe in my career. And it was this incredible lesson in the power of intention that if we are willing to slow down a little bit as entrepreneurs and declare our intention and get clear about what we really want, that it is so much more likely to happen for us. And so from that point forward, when I was making calls, I would always sort things down a little bit and maybe not make his call, make my calls as fast. But when I created that intention first, when I thought about it first, when I really thought like, what is it that what? Why is this call important? What do I want to get out of this call? How do I want to help on this call? The calls were way more effective. And so even though I might not have been getting as many calls done, I was getting way more out of the calls that were getting done. And so this is one of those lessons. I'm sorry. I'm wiping my face because I'm sweating. I'm at 147 degrees on sauna. And this is one of those lessons that stuck with me. And over the years, I'm now 49, so that was over 25 years ago. Over the years, I have increased the level of intentionality with everything that I do, and I'll give you some examples in the morning. I sit down and like most people, I make a to do list. But then I have in my momentum planner and one of the exercises in the momentum planner is to go through your to do list your calendar and then write your intention for the day. And so rather than just write before a call or a meeting in the morning, I get clear, like whatever meetings I have, whatever interactions I have, whatever I'm going to get done on my to do list, I write down the intention behind them. And it's not it's not complicated. You know, I might have if I have a sales call, I'll write down, I want to help and insert the name of this sales call and have a productive call with them and see if we can help them and make sure that I express myself in a way that's clear and help them if we can. And so I'll write down that intention. If I have a meeting like today, I have a personal financial meeting with Katie, which is part of our marriage cadence. You know, one of the biggest things that people argue about in marriages is finance. So Katie and I have a process around it. So this morning I wrote down to have a productive financial meeting with Katie, where we're both on the same page and we are building out a ranch right now. So I wrote down, I want to get clear on the finances for the ranch so that we are clear moving forward and we don't feel constrained and we feel like we're in agreement. And it takes a few minutes each morning for me to write down that intention, but it completely and totally changes things. And this power of intention, this power of declaring what we want ahead of time, the power of thinking through things is one of those things that's not intuitive as an entrepreneur. Or at least it wasn't for me, because for me it was about speed, execution. How fast can I go? How many calls can I make? How much can I get done today? And what I've realized increasingly over the past 25 years and an even deeper meaning to me over the past 25 years, is that the more intentional I am, the more I get out of what I'm doing. And that doesn't mean that I have to stop and create an intention for everything I'm doing. But when it's important, when it's something that I want to make sure moves me forward, when I want to create momentum, I do sit down and create that intention for those things. And this is one of those things. Like I said, it's counterintuitive because it feels like you're going slower. But, you know, one of the most incredible lessons I've learned from racing cars, which is a hobby I have on the side, is that sometimes when you slow down, you actually go far way faster. When I first started racing cars, I was on the accelerator. Every single chance I got, I would carry way too much speed into turns. I'd have to slow down through the turn. I wouldn't carry as much speed out of turns. And I was always confused as to why people were beating me. And it was because I was going too fast. I didn't slow down and set myself up. You know, when you're racing, as you enter a turn, if you can scrub off enough speed so that you can hit the apex of the turn, you can get right back on the throttle. And that's how you get maximum speed through a turn. It's actually by slowing down to set yourself up. And when I look at the power of intention, when I look at creating that intentionality, when I look at slowing down to declare what I want, it feels very similar to me. You know, I set myself up so that I can carry the speed through so that I get everything that I want out of the interaction. And this has served me incredibly well. You know, even if I'm speaking on a day, that's when I really write down an intention. You know, last week I spoke for my friends and committee who run a program called the Condor Program, where they help people who are in the health care industry or in the wellness industry become psychedelic facilitators and integrators. And the morning that I spoke at that event, I wrote, I'm doing this from memory, but it was because my planner's upstairs and I'm in the sauna. But it was something like, you know, show up at time cause event in a way that supports them, in a way that helps the people who are in the event, in a way that shows why I feel so strongly about the entrepreneurial personality type, which was what I was speaking on it and in a way that brings everyone out and everyone in the room with me. And when I used to present the entrepreneurial personality type, it was a little us against them. And I've gotten to the point where I know that's not how it needs to be anymore. So I wrote out that full intention. So for you to apply this in your life, when you're going into a meeting, when you're going on to a phone call, when you are starting the day, take a minute and ask yourself, what's the intention behind this? What do I want to get out of it? What's everything that I want to get out of this, create that intention, and you will see that you're setting yourself up to go way faster, to get way more out of the interactions in the time that you're spending in. The day, and I'd love to hear from you if you apply this and see how it changes things for you. I'm on Instagram at Alex. Charfen and Facebook Alex. Charfen. Twitter Alex. Charfen. If you try this, please let me know. I'd love to know how it works for you. And if you're interested in a system that creates a massive amount of intentionality for you wiping my face again, I'm sorry, but that creates a massive amount of intentionality for you as an entrepreneur. The momentum planner is game changing. You know, it's one of those things where we created eight years ago, and Katie says it's her highest productivity habit. She always has people. And that's my wife. She always has people. Ask her, how do you get so much done? How do you do everything that you do with kids and managing a massive household and all the other things that she goes down and she always tells them. The highest productivity tool I have is a moment momentum planner because it creates such a high level of awareness and intentionality. And so if you'd like to check it out, you can go to Charfen dot com forward slash MPC like momentum planner system. And if you do, I'd love to know what you think and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for listening to the podcast. I appreciate you like crazy. Have a momentum filled. Incredible day today.