Momentum Podcast: 854
Mandatory Behavioral Change for an Entrepreneur
by Alex Charfen
Running and growing a business is the greatest form of personal development on the planet. The behavior change required of an entrepreneur as their business grows is the hidden cost of growing a business. No one talks about how much you must unlearn and change at each stage of your business’s growth.
In many ways, the growth of the business depends on the entrepreneur becoming the leader that can run the business. Failure to grow often leads to the business plateauing or backsliding.
In this podcast, you will learn what behaviors must shift for entrepreneurs as you grow your business. You will learn how you must change in order to grow a business that gives you the life you want.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
Last week, I had the opportunity to go up to Toronto, Canada and speak at the Archangel event for my friend Giovanni Marsico and his wife Stephanie, and well, now his wife Stephanie. And the event was immediately followed by their wedding in which we were invited to. I was incredibly honored to be there. But I wanted to share with you the advice and the information that I shared with the group that was there. Of all million dollar plus business owners that are part of the ARC Angel Council. I think this if you are running a business that is approaching or at a million, what do you think you're going to be at a million. This is some really important information for you to understand and watch out for.
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 had so much fun last week at Arc Angel in Canada. We were hanging out with just a ton of really extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs. We got to go to Giovanni and Stephanie's wedding, which was beautiful and just one of the best weddings I've been to. We had a really awesome time, and the two day event that we were at, I was actually the featured speaker. The only speaker besides Giovanni and Gio asked me to come in and said, ‘you know, share what you think is most important for million dollar plus business owners to understand’. Like, what is it that they need to know that is most important? And I want to share that same advice that I shared with you. In fact, when I was done, I had a ton of people come up to me, ask me questions. It was a really fun event. I love supporting entrepreneurs. I love answering questions. I love helping them apply what I shared to their exact business. And I spent a lot of time doing that last week. And here's what I shared with them. You know, I think as entrepreneurs, we have this very unique growth curve where what we do to get started will absolutely crush us and hold us back If we keep doing it as we grow and scale our businesses. That is unlike most growth curves out there in the world. In fact, like you think about the growth curve for being like last week we were hanging out with one of the attendees. Connor is a pro hockey player. And if you're a pro hockey player, the growth curve that you have at the beginning of playing hockey is a growth curve you continue to become better and better at playing hockey. You're a kid and you learn how to play hockey. Then you learn better skills, you learn better skill sets, you get better at playing hockey. You just keep doing the same thing to get better at it. Yes, you might get different instructions. Yes, you might have a higher level of coaching or a high level of physiological input, but you're doing the same thing over and over again to get better at what you do. You know, one of the other people that we're hanging out there hanging out with there was Ben, of course, Guy who was Mr. Canada bodybuilder. And if you look at the graph growth curve for bodybuilders, it's very similar. You know, you start working out and you work out harder, you work out better, you work out smarter, you learn new techniques of working out, but you continue working out and lifting heavier and heavier weights with better form in and doing the same thing. You can become a Mr. Canada or a Mr. Olympia, or if you have the right genetics and the right supplementation, let's say so.
But for entrepreneurs it's different. For us as entrepreneurs, it's actually radically, radically different when you look at what it takes to get started in business. If you continue doing that, it will crush you and your growing business. And here's what I shared with the group that was there. You know, when we start a business, I asked the audience, “What did you have to do in order to start your business?” And within seconds everybody yells out “Everything!” I had to do everything, I had to do all of it. Now, here's the challenge. If you continue to do everything as you grow and scale your business, it will crush you. In fact, not only will it crush you, it will stop your businesses growth. It will hold you back. It will have you plateaued and stuck in place. It will have you feeling like the biggest bottleneck in the business. And the company starts to feel like a death of a thousand paper cuts. In fact, we get to the place where we start having the quitting fantasy. And if you haven't heard me talk about the quitting fantasy before, it's that thought that we all have. And I want you to know we all have this where we start growing a business and we start building a team and we have some people around us. We're getting some leverage and it just gets more and more and more overwhelming and more exhausting. And we feel like we're getting help, but we're doing more and we feel like we have a team. We're delegating to, but we still have more pressure on us every single day. And that quitting fantasy is the thought of me. And if I could just go back to doing it all myself, everything would be so much easier.
It's interesting as entrepreneurs, when we think of regressing to a place that feels comfortable, we regress to the place where we do everything. It just shows you how unique we are as human beings. Because when the average person fantasizes about a place that they feel comfortable and I know this because I've talked to a lot of average people, they think about retirement, they think about laying on a beach, they think about having no responsibility in the world at all. They think about, you know, just being able to check out and do nothing. And as entrepreneurs, our fantasy is to do it all ourselves. So just shows you how differently evolutionary hunters like you and I are hard wired different than the rest of the world.
Now, this works against us because the conditioning and when I talk about condition, I talk about or I'm talking about actual psychological conditioning of doing everything to create success early in our business creates an environment where we feel like we have to do everything in order to continue having success in our business. And this is one of the most challenging things that we have to overcome in our conditioning, because here's the transitions that we have to make as we start growing a business and we have to go from doing everything to effectively delegating to the people around us, we have to go from solving all the problems to realizing that if we solve problems for our team, we are not serving our team. And we have to go from being the engine that is growing our business to managing and growing the engine that is growing our business.
And so let me break this down one step further for you. You know, if you are growing a team and you are still doing too much, here's what ends up happening. You become the biggest liability on the team and you will know you're the biggest liability on the team when you feel like you're the biggest bottleneck. And here's the issue. We have this conditioning of doing everything. Every one of us has had that point in our lives where we don't have enough resources, we don't have enough time, we're too young, we're too old, we don't have what it takes. You know, the people around us are giving us negative feedback, like, ‘Hey, you need to go get a job, you need to do something else’. But we see this tiny little light at the end of the tunnel and we look at that light, we can pull it towards us, we can pull ourselves towards it. And the people around us might be saying things like, ‘Hey, get out of the tunnel, that light is a train’. But we keep going and we finally get close to that light. We get more proximate, we step through that light and that is where we become who we are today. If you're an entrepreneur, I know you've been on that journey. I know you've been there where you've had the negative feedback around you and you've done it anyway. And that conditioning.
Here's what happens. Once we do that, we start thinking that that's how everything we're ever going to do is. That's how we're going to do everything. That's how we're going to create success. We constantly have to be in that place of tolerating all the pressure, tolerating all the noise. And as entrepreneurs, one of the biggest issues we have is that conditioning of doing everything causes us to tolerate way too much. And what I mean by tolerating too much, we tolerate people around us that we don't really need. We tolerate the places we go where they're not really moving us forward. We tolerate the things in our lives that we don't really need or want anymore. You know, the way I look at it is it's binary. The people, the places, the things in your life, the routines that you have, the things that you're doing, they are either giving you momentum or they're taking it away. There's no middle ground for people like you and I. And so this habit of tolerating this habit of being in this place of tolerance will hold us back. You know, I've had the privilege of working with so many extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs. I've seen so many people go from 6 to 7 figures, from 7 to 8 figures. I've worked with people who've taken businesses all the way to nine figures, ten figures. I've been in the room up close and personal with multiple billionaires that have personal net worth in the billions of dollars. It's extraordinary to be around people like that who move the world around like puzzle pieces. It's extraordinary. And here's where I can tell you. The more successful the entrepreneur, the less they tolerate. It's like a direct equation. And I'll say it again the more successful the entrepreneur, the less they tolerate.
And, you know, this is where a lot of people start to look like they're eccentric or weird. You know, you see entrepreneurs that dress a certain way every single day and they never change the look that they have. Steve Jobs was famous for it. He wore the exact same thing every day because it was easy. He didn't tolerate, like, having to dress up for everybody else. And you see entrepreneurs that do things like fly private. They don't have one plane, they might have two. And, you know, they don't allow themselves to be in situations that normal people are in because it creates too much noise for them. They don't tolerate life like the rest of us live. They put systems in process in their life where they fly private. They're protected from the noise, they're protected from the hassle that so many of us put up with. And, you know, as entrepreneurs, when we understand that, the more we tolerate, the more we're holding ourselves back, this will help us make breakthroughs in our lives.
You know, it's easier sitting down and taking inventory of the people, the places, the things in your life. They're causing you noise. Ask yourself what is causing me pressure and noise and make an extensive list and look at it and say, “How much of this can I eliminate right now?” And you know, I say you need to be ruthlessly selfish when it comes to pressure and noise in your life because far too many of us are tolerating things that we just don't need to tolerate anymore. We're putting up with things that we don't need to put up with anymore. And so that's one of the lessons that I shared with people that were in the room.
And then here's another one. This one's big. As we start to grow and scale a team, we have this habit of solving. Now, when you started your business, who solved all the problems? It's easy. Answer: You did. You solved everything. And what happens is we start growing and scaling a team and growing a business and maybe we get into the high six figure, seven figures. Some of us even get to the eight figures while we're still solving everything, while we're still doing everything, while we're still trying to jump in and make everything happen. And what happens is that means we are running our business through personality, not process. That means we are solving. And I want you to just have a mantra. Solving is not serving. And here's what I mean by that. When you solve an issue for someone on your team, you are taking away their responsibility of solving it for themselves even further. When you solve an issue for someone on your team, you are responsible for the solution. You may not be aware of that at the moment, but I can tell you that they are. When you create a solution, when a team member comes to you and says, “Hey, I have a problem”, and you say, “Oh, do this”. They walk away thinking, ‘Well, I've got to do this because this is what I was told to do and this has got to be the right answer. And so I'm just going to go do it’. And they don't question. They don't experiment. They don't think about it for themselves. Solving is not serving. Solving is actually taking away both the responsibility and opportunity for someone on your team to learn. So as you start growing a team, when somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, I have a problem”, the first thing that you should answer is the question, "Great, how do we solve it?” What would you do when someone says, “How do I do this?” You say, “What would you do?” And you work them through it and you have them give you answers. And you, instead of making them keep answering until you get the answer you want. When they're giving you answers, I want you to ask the question, “Could this work?” Because we want to allow the team, the people on our team to solve for themselves. When you have an entire team that relies on you to solve, you don't have a team. You don't have a team of people who are actually growing your business, you have a team of assistants. And I have seen entrepreneurs running eight figure businesses with teams of assistants where they are solving everything. They are the solution for any issue that comes up and they are exhausted and they are the bottleneck and they are frustrated and they look enviously at people who have tiny little businesses that do them. All of them do it all themselves and have simplicity in their lives. The simple way to get around this is to remind yourself solving is not serving. Do not jump in and fix things for your team. Do not be the solution for everyone. When somebody comes to you with a problem again, ask them what would you do? And then coach them through it. Help them, but do not give them the answers and give them both the opportunity to learn and the responsibility of solving for themselves. And you'll see your entire company shift.
And again, if you're doing this right now and you're sitting here thinking, “Oh, I do this all the time, I tolerate so much, I'm solving all the time, I'm holding everybody back”. Well, that's okay. Hey, don't don't feel like you are the only one. All of us do this. I've done this. I've run businesses where I had a huge team and they were all assistants. That's how I know how that feels. I've been in that place where I remember, like I used to get so overwhelmed that I had this huge team. We had offices in the US and Latin America. We had a ton of responsibility, a multimillion dollar company. I was in my twenties and I used to have this fantasy when I laid in bed of being able to start a tiny little business and I would get a one bedroom apartment with a futon and I would have so little responsibilities that I would be able to get everything done and I would be able to pay all the bills and I wouldn't have any noise or any pressure, any team members calling me or any. Back then it was the fax machine going off or emails coming in, and that was my fantasy was the one bedroom apartment with a futon and no furniture. And that was how I put myself to sleep at night. And so if you've had the quitting fantasy, if you feel overwhelmed, if you feel like you're stuck in your business, I want you to know you are not alone. We've all been there. What we do in the beginning of our careers as entrepreneurs, what we do in the beginning of building a business as entrepreneurs, conditions are to keep doing it as we grow. And when we understand this, we actively start to change our behavior. Everything changes.
And I want to let you off the hook here. I won't let myself off the hook. Sometimes I look back in judgment at my former self and I think, ‘wow, how could you have continued to do that?’ Well, here's the reality. We are one of the few disciplines in the world where in order to grow, you have to go through radical, absolute behavioral change over and over. Like I said, bodybuilder, just keep bodybuilding. You can become a better hockey player. Just keep playing hockey, you can be a better business owner. What you do to start has to radically change. You have to change behavior, which is one of the hardest things for human beings to do in order to continue growing. And so let yourself off the hook, have these awarenesses that solving is not serving. You're tolerating too much. You don't have to do everything, and you will start to actually transition responsibility to your team, get the protection and support you need from them. Remember, my undying belief about visionaries is we have strengths that need to be protected and we need support everywhere else. And the way we get that is exactly what I'm talking about. We stop tolerating, we stop solving, we stop doing everything, and we will actually build a real company where we are doing less in order to grow and scale our business.
If you are in this place of tolerating too much and solving problems for your team and feeling in that place of overwhelm where you're having the quitting fantasy, reach out to us. I run a company called SimpleOperations.com. We show entrepreneurs the process, structure and routine to scale real businesses where you have a team that protects and supports you and you don't feel like you have to do it all yourself. And we've helped tons of companies go from the early stages of growth into the seven multiple seven figures into the eight figures, and we have some that are on their way to nine. We would love to support you. So go to SimpleOperations.com right there on the homepage. Click the button to submit a survey to my team, set up a call with us. We would love to talk to you about how we can help you grow and scale your business, build a real company, go out and make a massive change in the world, make a massive income for yourself, and build generational wealth all while you're doing less tactical work on a daily basis, moving into more strategic leadership and becoming the visionary you've always envisioned yourself being. Go to simpleoperations.com. We can't wait to talk to you.