Momentum Podcast: 841
Momentum From Stillness
by Alex Charfen
The concept of Momentum from Stillness was first introduced to me by one of my coaches, Kylie Ryan, a few years ago. Initially, I was repelled by the idea of Momentum from Stillness because I thought it meant I needed to slow down, stop doing things, and stand still. This made me feel uncomfortable and restless, but I've since learned that I was misinterpreting the message.
There is an overwhelming amount of messaging in the entrepreneurial space that tells us to hustle, grind, and push through things. We need to understand that there's another side to the grind, and we're seeing the symptoms of what happens when we just stay in this mindset of hustle and grind.
It's not about stopping and standing still, but it's about taking time to understand what's really going on and contemplating our next move. It's about taking a breath and finding a new perspective. It's about finding momentum in the stillness.
Full Audio Transcript
Today, I want to share with you what I feel like is a crucial awareness for entrepreneurs, and I've come about this awareness and this learning over the course of many years. Many businesses, many failures, many mistakes, many successes. And the concept of momentum from stillness is a concept that was first shared with me by Kylie Ryan, one of my coaches just a few years ago. And if you hear momentum from stillness and you're repelled by it, I. want you to know at first I was, too. I trusted Kylie. But when she said Momentum from stillness, what I heard was I needed to stop doing things and I needed to slow down and I needed to stand still. And that made me feel uncomfortable, restless, maybe even a little paranoid.
I've now come to learn that I was misinterpreting how I was feeling and the message she was giving me. It may be one of the most important messages I've ever heard, and it may save you a tremendous amount of pain as an entrepreneur. So these days there is like an overwhelming amount of messaging in the entrepreneurial space from some of the most popular and well-known entrepreneurs on the planet that we need to hustle, we need to grind, we need to push through things. I keep hearing messages like get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, go to work, and don't stop until you're done and do it every day and you'll be successful. And in some ways, these messages are true.
Yes, it does take hustle to be an entrepreneur. And yes, it is sometimes a grind. And yes, there are periods of time where maybe you do need to get up and grab a cup of coffee and go get something done. But that messaging, which has been around forever and tends to wane, it gets loud then gets quieter, it gets loud then, gets quieter. And from my perspective, just my perspective, it's very loud right now and. What I feel is so crucial for us as entrepreneurs to understand is that there's another side to this story. There's another side to the hustle, there's another side to the grind. There's another side to getting up every day and just putting your head down and working. And we're seeing, I'm seeing the symptoms of what happens when you just stay in this mindset of hustle grind. Put your head down and work every day.
In fact, what I've seen recently and now this is happening a lot, is more and more entrepreneurs who are what we would call, quote unquote successful are firing their teams and shutting their companies down and going on sabbaticals and moving away from what we would all call success. In fact, one that I was so proud to read this messaging from her and so proud to see her Instagram post is from someone who we've actually worked with. Her name is Vanessa Lao. And Vanessa was just recently on the cusp of hitting a million YouTube subscribers. And having $1,000,000 plus business and really being successful and getting huge speaking gigs. And I just saw recently and this is public, so I'm not breaking trust or anything here, but this is public. She just recently posted that she is shutting everything down and going on sabbatical. Now, I haven't talked to Vanessa, so I don't know exactly why she's doing this, but I've talked to a lot of people who are doing this. I've done it myself.
And here's why I think this happens and here's why I think entrepreneurs who hustle and grind and never look up and put their heads down and work all day and don't really give time for a stillness are in danger of doing the same thing. It is because when we hustle every day, when we push every day, when we don't take time to understand what's really going on, When we don't take time for contemplation of what's really going on, we can start to create what we would call, quote unquote, success. We can start to sell, we can start to have income, we can start to have revenue. But here's what so often happens to entrepreneurs who are in that place of hustle until you die, is that we create a cage of our own making. We trap ourselves on a hamster wheel that we've created. We create this environment that when we finally look up, when we finally stop hustling, when we finally take a breath, when we finally take the day where we don't grab the cup of coffee and get to work, we realize we're not where we want to be. We're not even happy with what we're doing. We're frustrated with a lot of the stuff that's going on. And like Vanessa said, she got out of corporate America so that she could build a business, and you can see this post on her Instagram page, and so that she could build a business and stop doing things she didn't like. And she got to the point where she was right back in that place where she was doing things every day that she didn't like and frustrating and it wasn't good for her mental health.
And more and more, I see entrepreneurs expressing similar outcomes, similar conclusions that they've come to from trying to do the hustle and grind and put your head down and work all day and never looking up and really understanding what's going on. And so when Kylie first shared with me the concept of Momentum from Stillness, like I told you in the intro, I actually had a reaction to it. I'm like, “Oh, I don't, I don't want momentum from stillness. I want to be going every day. I want to be pushing every day. I want to be making things happen every day.” But I trust Kylie implicitly, and I know that she knows what she's talking about. And so I started really contemplating this momentum from stillness. And here's what I realized. When we are still, when we engage in meditation, when we allow ourselves to think, when we allow ourselves to journal, when we take long walks without music or a podcast in our year, maybe even for some of us, a long drive. I know that works for me. And we just think about what's going on and we are alone with our thoughts.
That's where we start creating with intention the future that we really want, and that creates the present that we really want. And when as entrepreneurs, we get up every day and we are sprinting all day long, every day, pushing ourselves as hard as we can, never taking a breath, you know, grab a cup of coffee and get after it and and don't meditate, don't slow down, don't, you know, contemplate anything. Just do the work. We often get into a place where we back ourselves into a corner. We go racing right into a place where we don't want to be. And this is especially true for more experienced entrepreneurs, because the more experience we have, the more we've been doing this, the more we start to realize what we want and what we don't want, the more we start to realize what we're willing to tolerate. You know, Tony Robbins has a great quote. He says, “In life, you get what you are willing to tolerate.” And then he goes, you know, the event I was in, he went on to explain how he tolerates very little and that's why he has the life that he has. He doesn't tolerate a lot in his life. And when I've studied successful people, people with successful companies, people with successful families, which to me those two things are equally as important, people who've created massive organizations, people who've really made a dent in the universe. What I find is that those people tolerate very little.
I often share with people ‘billionaires are the 1% of the population that are unwilling to, or sorry not 1%. They're a lot smaller than 1%. But billionaires are the tiny little percent of the population that are not willing to tolerate what the rest of the world does. And when you look at billionaires and the way they live their lives, you can see that there is a low tolerance level. They fly private. They have eccentricities from the outside looking in, making them look weird. They have behaviors that make them look very odd, you know? And like Steve Jobs, my friend Price recently reminded me of a story of Steve Jobs that when he first bought his house, he only had one furnishing in the entire house. It was a Tiffany lamp. And in order to lower pressure and noise in his life, he only left that lamp in the house because it was perfect in his opinion. And he didn't want anything else to come in and clutter it and mess it up and interrupt his thoughts. This is the man who reshaped and reframed so many industries. We've lost count. And that's how serious he was about stillness. That's how serious he was about being alone with his own thoughts. He only had one furnishing in his entire house, a lamp. And so for so many of us, as entrepreneurs.
I think that if we understand that we are the people who make up the rules in our lives, we are a tiny percentage of the population, not as tiny as billionaires, but as entrepreneurs, where a lot less than everybody else who we get to make up the rules. We actually get to create the life that we want. We actually get to be intentional about who we become and where we end up and what we end up doing and what we do on a daily basis and who we do it with. And the rest of the population does not have that privilege. Somebody working in a corporation might, from one day to the next, get transferred to another location, get transferred to another team. Most people who are working in jobs don't have the luxury of getting to decide what they want to do on a daily basis. But you and I do. And what I see in the world today is this message of hustle and push and grind and move things forward makes it so that we don't align with what we really want to do. My wife Cadet, spelled C-a-d-e-y in case you want to look this post up, recently wrote an awesome post on Facebook about alignment and entrepreneurship, and I'll just quote one part of it. She says “The most important quality to pursue to achieve success is alignment. You will never be able to out discipline or hustle misalignment. Alignment with yourself, alignment with your most important relationships and alignment with your business. What starts off as a couple of degrees of misalignment in ten years is a canyon away from your own definition of success.”
When I read that from Cadey, I got chills because she's so right. I've seen it too many times. I've seen too many entrepreneurs build the castle that they thought they wanted, only to figure out that they were locked in it and it has become a dungeon. And so, like I said earlier, my suggestions to do this in another way to create momentum from stillness are to take time for yourself. Meditate. If you're one of those people who says “I can't meditate, I get all these thoughts in my head”. Well, that's what's supposed to happen. Here's the easiest way to meditate is to sit down and as thoughts come up, set a timer for 5 minutes. If that feels like an eternity, you set a timer for 3 minutes. If that feels too long, set a timer for one minute, sit down and breathe in through your nose and out through your nose and see what thoughts come up. This is your mind communicating with you. Take breaths. Slow it down. Listen to what's coming up. Contemplate what's coming up. Let it pass and then just continue to do that and you'll get to the point where you actually can meditate if that's too much for you. Like I said earlier, take a walk, take a drive, take time for yourself where you can think about what's really going on. Take a look at what you're doing and check in with you. What in your life is creating excitement and momentum? What is it that you want to be there long term? And where are you experiencing constraints as an entrepreneur? And when we're building a business, sometimes we have to punch through constraints. You know, sometimes the obstacle really is the way, but sometimes the obstacle is of our own making, and we actually increase the size of that obstacle by not realizing we don't have to do it anymore. And so ask yourself, where are you feeling excitement and momentum? Where are you feeling constrained? Where are you feeling frustration? What is your energy going down? And if those things are in a business model that you are building that will temporarily be there, then that's the time to push through. That's the time to make things happen.
But if you're building a business model where you will have those things in your life forever. It's time to contemplate how to change that because we make up the rules. Let's make up rules so we can win. I know this is completely contrary to so much of the messaging that you hear in the entrepreneurial world today, and I accept that I'm okay with it. I've been around long enough. I've helped enough people build massive organizations. I've helped my clients and friends build hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in wealth. I've built tons of wealth for myself and my family more than I certainly ever thought I would have when I grew up as a kid with six people living in a 1300 square foot home, the home that I grew up in now fits in my master bedroom suite. And that level of success, that level of time in the game, that level I’ve seen so many hundreds of businesses that I've worked with and coached has convinced me that not only can you create momentum from stillness. But it may be impossible to create long term momentum without creating that stillness, without creating that dialog with yourself, without creating that communication with yourself. So you are building your life with intention on a daily basis, and you end up in a place where you actually want to be. Don't ever forget that. As entrepreneurs, we determine where we go in our lives. We determine where we end up. We determine what our lives will be like. Build a life that you are excited by. Build a life that you are going to want long term and build a life that you don't wake up one day and just want to shut it all down and start over. Because on the way you can be intentional and create time to check in with yourself.
Like my wife said, check in with your alignment, make sure that you know you're not doing something that eventually is going to burn you out because there is always an option. There's always a way to do it in another way. If you take the time to think about it. Otherwise you might end up in a place you don't want to be. If you are an entrepreneur who's growing a business and you want to be part of a group where with other entrepreneurs growing a business, where we talk about things like this, where we talk about some of the latest technologies for entrepreneurs, some of the latest strategies for entrepreneurs. I have a group on Facebook. It's called Simple Operations: Operating Your Business Just Got Simple. We've got a couple thousand people now and it's been growing like crazy, and so I'd love to have you join. So take a minute now and go to Simple Operations: Operating Your Business Just Got Simple on Facebook. We love to have you as a member. And remember, not only can you create momentum from stillness, it may be the only way we create it long term. Thanks for being here with me today
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