Momentum Podcast: 869
Billionaire Principles for Success (Part two)
by Alex Charfen
Individually self-made billionaires look fundamentally different. When we compare one against the other, it's hard to see what makes them similar, and easy to see what makes them eccentric and unique.
Through obsessive research of successful people throughout history, I developed the 10 Habits of the Self Made Billionaire. I was able to confirm and get even closer to the results these patterns created in my professional career when I worked side-by-side with and consulted with individuals who went from somewhat humble beginnings to 10 figure wealth and massive contribution.
The secret is, self-made billionaires are just like you and I, only with the habits that create success. The good news is, you can adopt these habits as well, and you don't have to be a billionaire.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
This is the second of a two part episode on Billionaire Principles for Success. And if you haven't listened to the first one, you can go to the episode directly before this one and check it out. These are the ten principles that I have observed, researched, read about, that self-made billionaires have that most of the world doesn't. I want to share them with you because you can bring these into your business, into your life, and experience a massive amount of success like I have.
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'm a huge believer in the belief that success leaves clues, and as a result, I have obsessed over and studied and researched successful people for most of my life. And like I said in the first episode, I have had the privilege and the honor of being around some of the most successful people on the planet over and over again. I've had friends, I have friends that are super high net worth. I've spent time around actual billionaires, people who have billion dollar companies, people who have hundreds of millions in net worth over and over. And I see the same patterns, the same principles in play. And in 2016, for those of you who didn't listen to the first episode, I wrote an article for Success magazine called The Ten Principles of Self-made Billionaires, and it became one of the most downloaded, I think the most downloaded article on Success for over a year. And I looked it up recently because I'm looking at some stuff in my own life. And oftentimes I go back to the timeless principles that I've looked at before and I want to share with you today six through ten of the ten principles of self-made billionaires. So again, if you haven't listened to the first episode, back up one episode and you can hear it. And today I want to take you through the second half.
So principle six of self-made billionaires is that they rely on communication systems. Now, this one might seem a little different or a little odd, but here's what I've recognized and realized in all the time that I've spent around successful people. They don't just communicate with people. They communicate within a system, within a structure. I know that, you know, for me, communication is like it's equivalent to my success. My ability to communicate is my ability to be successful, my ability to communicate with you right now, to communicate with my team, to communicate with our members, to communicate with the market at large, creates my success. And so in my company, I rely on communication systems. That means we have an operating system, a process, and a structure where we communicate the right things at the right time. We don't have meetings. We have targeted interactions where everyone knows the outcome. They know their responsibilities, they know what's expected on the way in. So we all are successful. And I built these because I watch successful people communicate within a system. You know, I often hear things like that. Entrepreneurs say like, “Oh, I find myself repeating things over and over again. My team never hears me. They don't understand what I'm trying to get done.” And oftentimes it's because entrepreneurs are communicating in a way that isn't in a structure. It's not in a system. In fact, oftentimes the team is like waiting for word from on high, and when they hear from the entrepreneur, sometimes it's clear, sometimes it's not. And sometimes things are out of the context. I often joke that years ago I was coaching the CEO of about a $50 million company, and I went to one of his meetings with him and he shared with the team three objectives that he wanted them to think about. One was an emergency. It needs to get done now. Another one was, hey-let's-get-this-done-in-the-next-two-years. And the third one was maybe we can do this someday. But he communicated zero timeframes to his team and left them completely confused. I remember talking to everybody when he left the room and they're like, “What the heck can you help us understand this?” And it was because he was communicating outside of a system that was because he wasn't looking at a process and a structure for communication. When you do this in your company, it will change the way people around you react. And the reason that billionaires have teams that all march in the same direction to get things done at the right time is they have structure and systems to communicate. At Google, they had a company all hands at least once a month every month, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page would answer questions from the entire company. Everybody in the organization knew that that was going to happen on a monthly basis. It was part of a communication system, not haphazard, not off the cuff. It was a system.
Principle seven of self-made billionaires. Now this is a big one. They require push communications. Now, let me tell you what I mean by push communications. Billionaires don't wait around for someone to communicate with them. They actually, they don't go around seeking the information. They mean digging into stuff, researching their answer for hours. Billionaires actually expect their information to be curated, concise and delivered directly to them without having to ask. And this is what they require from the people around them. This is what I call push communications. Billionaires know what they want to see, and they understand what they want to be able to review, and it is sent to them. They're not out hunting it down. They're not out on a search. Once they understand that something's important, that important issue or that important communication item is put into a system where it gets pushed to the person who is running the company and to the person who is in the place of success in actually making the company move forward. I watched this over and over again when I was around really successful people. Information would show up and I would ask, “Hey, what is that?” “Well, it's a weekly report that I get from my manufacturing department”. Oh, they just send it to you. And it would have information in it. It would have data. I would have an explanation of what was going on. And I watched over and over again that they didn't have to go chasing information down. You contrast this with most entrepreneurs and we're getting very little push communication. In fact, when we feel uncomfortable with something, we have to go ask a question to get it delivered to us. We get it answered for us. For you to put this in practice, think about what are the things you want to see from your team and then have them push that information to you in their simple operation system that we help entrepreneurs put into their business so that they can predictably grow. We have push communications. We have a system where the team is sharing numbers. We have a system where the team is sharing a weekly report of what went right and where they need support. We have a system where as an entrepreneur we're getting push communication so we don't have to go chasing it down.
Now, principle eight is so important. Billionaires are intentional with what they consume. They don't let noise into their lives. They don't let information they don't trust into their lives. And they are incredibly intentional about what they allow into their lives as far as information. I call this conscious consumption of information. When I look at the entrepreneurial world, unfortunately, most of us are in this place of complete unconscious consumption. And you hear about this in the dialogue of entrepreneurs. When I hear it, it makes me cringe. It makes me feel bad. It makes me feel like we've been led down the wrong path. Because you hear entrepreneurs saying things like, “I'm going to read 300 books this year.” I mean, when I was younger, it used to be 50 books a year. Then I started hearing 100 books a year, then 200 books, then 300. And like 300 books, that's like almost a book a day. Not even accounting for weekends. And I remember thinking like, this has just gotten to the point of overwhelm. As an entrepreneur, if you are consuming everything, if you have turned the goal into consumption, you are working against yourself in a lot of cases. Because here's what we should do as an entrepreneur, and this is what I have observed wildly successful people do. They understand the exact issue that they're facing, the challenge, they've done the analysis to say, “Here's where the problem is”, and then they go out and consume information on exactly that problem. It is intentional consumption, not unconscious consumption. It's intentional so they can solve the problem in front of them. What far too many entrepreneurs do, and by the way, I've been guilty of this before I discovered this, before I understood this, I used to do the same thing. I would just read everything that crossed my path. I would see a bestseller and grab it. And I wouldn't ask myself, “Hey, is this information that I need right now?” And oftentimes I would put the time and the effort and the energy into reading, and nothing in my life would change. But when I did it the way that I've seen wildly successful people do, when I understood the issue I was trying to solve and I went and found information about exactly that, I created massive momentum. You can do when you consume intentionally around exactly what's going on for you, that that information will move to this second stage of learning, which is actual application. Because the absorption of information, consuming information without application is so hollow, it just doesn't get you anywhere. But if you consume information, you apply it and you experience success. That's where we create new habits. That's where we create new neural connections in our mind about how we are going to do stuff. So the more intentional you are with your consumption, the more momentum you will create.
And now the last two. These are important. Principle nine of the self-made billionaire is that they make decisions based on data and narrative. Oh, this was such a big one when I finally learned it. Now, this wasn't just observational. This was observational. This was through reading. This was through research. When you look at the most successful people in the world, they absolutely look at data, they look at numbers. They're obsessed with numbers. They're obsessed with getting the right information and understanding where things stand to the most successful people in the world. Scoreboards are a huge part of understanding where things are and calming anxiety. In fact, I've now learned in my business career that when I look at the right scoreboards, it calms my anxiety. If things aren't going well in the business, I look at my net worth scoreboard and I feel a lot better. I'm a lot less anxious if things are going well in the business and I look at enough of our scoreboards, I understand where our productivity is going to come from in the near future. Scoreboards are huge for me, but what it took me a while to learn was that you want two parts to this. You want the scoreboard, and then you want narrative, you want explanation. You want somebody to tell you what's going on. Not just rely on data to make decisions. Because when you have the numbers and the explanation, then you actually understand what's going on. And if you listen to the first episode, that absolute reliance and absolute dedication to people, when we rely on people and we trust them and we're dedicated to them and then we trust them to give us the narrative, the explanation. We become infinitely better at making decisions. It's only through analyzing data and having in-depth conversations with the right people and explanations from the right people that we and the most successful people on the planet get enough of the picture to make quality decisions.
And now number ten is an interesting one. Principle ten is that self-made billionaires are proactively transparent. You know, I think when it comes to transparency and integrity and honesty and sharing with the people around you, a lot of people look at transparency as answering a question honestly when it's posed, and this is definitely part of it. But what I have observed in being around and researching wildly successful people is that they are proactively transparent. They proactively communicate the intention that they have. Behind doing something so that they avoid misunderstandings and eliminate any type of drag, any type of operational slowdown in their business. They know that vague goals and unclear purposes can stop momentum in its tracks, so they don't wait for people to approach them with questions. They understand the importance of actively showing up and sharing what they need to with the people around them. And so instead of waiting for the question, instead of waiting for someone to ask for clarification, they are proactively transparent with how they're feeling and what they want and what their objectives and outcomes are. And oftentimes as entrepreneurs, this is a place where we can improve. I know it's a place where I can improve. In fact, I think about it all the time. Am I being transparent enough? Am I sharing enough with my team and am I telling them what's going on? You know, a simple place like this for you to think about proactive transparency. This is something that I coach. This is something that I do. This is something that my wife does, but it's something that I observed first with really successful people. I remember being in a meeting with an incredibly successful business person who had two or three direct four companies that all of them had gotten over 100 million a year. He was very wealthy, had a house in New York, house in California, like somebody that I aspired to be like. And we were in a meeting where some of the members of his team and he walked in and he said, “Hey, I want you all to know I had a rough morning. I've had a headache all day. It's really bothering me right now. And so if I seem frustrated or upset in this meeting, it's the headache. It's not you. I just wanted all of you to know”. And I remember thinking when he did it, like, Wow. It was back in the nineties when that happened. I was born in 72, this was in the mid-nineties and I was a consultant and I remember thinking like, “Man, the mantra in consultancy is never let them see you sweat and don't show any weakness and don't tell anybody there's anything wrong. Show up and get the job done and meet your objectives and you don't get fired”. And I remember thinking it was so novel for him to come in and say, “Hey, it's not you, something's going on with me”. And to be so transparent so his team could feel comfortable. And I'm glad he did, because throughout the meeting it was clear that he was in a level of discomfort and pain. You could feel it. And I kept thinking, “What would this meeting have gone like if he hadn't been proactively transparent and told everybody what was going on for you?” If you're running a team or if you have kids and there's something that's bothering you or something that's frustrating you or even with your spouse, rather than holding that inside and trying to show up and be like you always are. Just tell people, Hey, I'm dealing with something right now and you will let them off the hook. Because when it comes to the people around us, often our spouses, our children, our team, if something's going on with us and we don't tell them why they instantly think it's them, they start asking what they did wrong. And when we are proactively transparent, we protect the people around us. We share with the people around us and we create trust with the people around us.
So those are six through ten on the list of the Principles of Self-made Billionaires. And I hope you enjoyed this. And not just enjoyed this, I hope you listened to it in a way where you're asking, “How can I embody these principles? How can I bring these into my life?” And so you know, I have spent over ten years obsessing around the process, the structure, the routine, what we now call the Simple Operations System (SOS) that will help you fulfill all ten of these principles. It will help you embody all ten of these principles, because when you have the right process and structure in place, you will have simplicity of purpose. Principle one, simplicity of plan. Principle two, you will limit what you tolerate. Principle three, you will be comfortable with absolute reliance on people. Principle four, you will have absolute dedication and protect your people. Principle five, you will rely on communication systems because are trust them and they will have you show up and be seen and heard by the people around you. Principle six, you'll have push communications where the right information comes to you and you're not chasing it down. Principle seven, you'll be intentional with what you consume because you'll know exactly what you need to focus on. Principle eight, you'll make decisions based on data and narrative and the right discussions in the right format within the right system, because this system will drive you to and you will make better decisions and you'll know when and how to be proactively transparent with your team and the people around you so that you can protect them when there's something going on for you.
If you're interested in accelerating your success as an entrepreneur and predictably building your company in a way that you don't feel like you have to do it all yourself, take a minute right now. Go to SimpleOperations.com, click on the home page, the link on the home page. Answer a couple of questions for my team and set up a call with us so that we can show you how the Simple Operations System will help you embody the ten Principles of Self-made Billionaires and so much more. You can grow a business without feeling like you have to do it all yourself and have what we all got into entrepreneurship in the first place. The reason we got into this freedom entrepreneurs are that small percentage of the population that will quit a 9 to 5 and put ourselves into a 9 to 10. And I don't mean in the morning and call it freedom. It doesn't have to be that way. You can get your time back as you grow and scale your business successfully, predictably, and have outcomes that you never thought possible. We'd proven this over and over again with hundreds of entrepreneurs that have used the simple operation system. Go to simpleoperations.com and register for a call with my team.