Available on ItunesAvailable on Google PodcastsAvailable on Spotify

Andrew Griffiths is Australia’s #1 small business author with 12 books now sold in over 60 countries. He’s a writing and publishing expert, an international speaker and leading business advisor with over 20 years’ experience. Andrew presents around the world, sharing his ideas and expertise on all aspects of entrepreneurialism. Considered an expert in entrepreneurship and an authority on building a profile as a thought leader through writing, publishing and speaking, Andrew is featured regularly in mainstream media globally. Andrew’s greatest strength is his ability to energise entrepreneurs to achieve extraordinary results. His best selling books include: The Big Book of Small Business, The Me Myth, Bulletproof Your Business NOW, 101 Secrets to Building a Winning Business, 101 Ways to Sell More of Anything to Anyone, 101 Ways to Market Your Business and more.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The challenges of doing business and the secret to achieving great success
  • The importance of being a peak performer to be successful
  • How to focus on one thing at a time, and why you should
  • How listening more and talking less benefits your business
  • The importance of simplification to getting things done well
  • The things successful people do differently
  • The Top extraordinary, successful and inspirational people for Andrew Griffiths
  • Making mistakes, get it right and learning along the way
  • Finding success in our own terms
  • The importance of developing good work habits
  • The illusion of productivity
  • Personal success vs business success
  • Getting what we think we want
  • How becoming clear on what we want in life gives us extraordinary clarity of what success truly means

 

Where to find Andrew Griffiths

Website: http://www.andrewgriffiths.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrew.griffiths.165

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/agauthor

Linkedin:   https://au.linkedin.com/in/griffithsandrew

Transcript

button

Jesse:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the show. Today we have a very special guest, we’re speaking to none other than Andrew Griffiths, our good old mate, AG, all the way from Cairns who happens to be Australia’s leading small business author. How are you mate?

Andrew:

Very good thank you Jesse, how are you?
Jesse:

Mate, fabulous. We’re sweltering down here in Canberra mate, we have a balmy 38 degrees. I think we’re giving you guys in north Queensland a bit of a run for your money today.
Andrew:

Unbelievable. Jeez, you’d feel it down there at 38 degrees, wouldn’t you?
Jesse:

It’s a bit uncommon for us mate, it’s normally minus 6, so you’d see it’s a bit of a shock for the system. Mate, we’re having a great chat today, mate, we’re having a chat about all things related to success.
Andrew:

A great topic.
Jesse:

I’m really looking forward to diving into that, but before we do that mate, I wanted to give some people who may not be as familiar with your work as the people who belong to the Practice Makes community, because they all know you and love you. For the general audience, what you might not know about Andrew, he’s a contributor to the Ink magazine, Flying Solo, CBS, and you’re a mentor at KPI, the Key Performance … Key Person of Influence program. Mate, that’s a CV and a half. How did you get into all that?

Andrew:

I guess like all CVs, it tells half the story. I think I’ve had a few different lives Jess, that’s the reality of it. I think if I started … I’m a commercial diver by trade, so for me, I had a business, I bought my first business when I was 18, and I bought a dive shop in Sydney of all places. As life evolved I did different things, I worked in exploration in Western Australia for a few years, I’ve worked in travel, I’ve traveled around the place. What I’m doing now really started, I think, when I was … I’d got decompression sickness as a commercial diver, and I had to retrain myself. The company I was working for, they retrained me, put me into sales and marketing, and I kind of took to it like a duck to water. Next thing, I thought, “Well, I’ll start my own marketing business,” and the real change for me came when I actually wrote a book about marketing.
I wrote a really simple book, 101 Ways to Market Your Business, and from that great things fortunately evolved. That’s probably the easiest way to describe it, Jess.
Jesse:

You’ve got 12 books now, Andrew?
Andrew:

Mm-hmm (affirmative), yep, 12 books in some 60 countries around the world. They’re sold in around 60 countries, at times more, times less. I’ve been translated into Indian, into Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Estonian… It’s very, very cool if you’re travelling around to see your books in different languages, and of course I’ve got a whole pile of the foreign language editions here as well, which is … It’s really cool. Also to me, interestingly enough Jess, it really highlights that I talk about pretty simple stuff, I talk about the challenges of doing business and how to do business better, and that’s what I’m really passionate about. Helping people to achieve greater results in whatever they’re doing. It’s kind of interesting to see that my books have been so successful in different areas, which just showcases and highlights that people have the same issues, the same problems all around the world.
It doesn’t matter where you are, businesses in Vietnam have the same challenges as a business in Australia. They might look a little bit different, but at the end of the day they’re pretty much similar, and I think that’s probably one of the biggest realizations for me with the success that I’ve had in the literary world.
Jesse:

That’s a really interesting point mate, because one of the things that I know you and I have spoken about in other conversations is about the similarities from one business to another, what can we learn from one business, and what can be applied from someone else’s business that we can take into our own. As we dive into this topic of success and peak performance, I know that there’s going to be a lot of dental practice owners and dentists themselves thinking, “I just want to be a dentist. Why do I need to think about all this sort of stuff? I’m just wondering if you’ve come across that kind of situation with other professions, and what would be your thoughts around that mate?
Andrew:

It’s a great point, and I’m sure you’re right. There are always people listening, going a little bit overwhelmed, when you start mentioning words like success. That can be a challenging word for a lot of people, which is interesting. When you start to throw in the concept of peak performance, that can, again, scare people off. I’m saying, “Hey, look, I just want to have a business where I can make a good living, feed the family, have a nice holiday every year and do those kind of … Have a life that I’m happy with and satisfied with.” To me, to achieve that, you have to be successful and you have to be a peak performer. It’s just that there’s different degrees of peak performance. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to climb Mount Everest once a week, it just still means though that if you want to be successful, and personally, I’ve yet to meet anyone who I would deem successful who isn’t a peak performer.
It’s just that they don’t consider themselves a peak performer, that’s the reality of it for me. I would never have called myself a peak performer, but other people keep telling me that I am, and I kind of go, “Oh, I must be.” It certainly isn’t a term that I would have applied to myself, Jess, and I guess that maybe other people are the same.
Jesse:

That’s a really interesting point. I guess what I’m hearing you say is “success” means so many different things to different people, and one person’s definition is their own, and that’s completely cool.
Andrew:

Absolutely, and I think that, to me, is vital. If I’m working with someone, if I’m coaching someone or if I’m … Whatever that situation might be, I really ask them to define what success really looks like for them. What does it really mean? Not the flipping, driving a Maserati, got a mansion by the beach, got babes hanging off me or any of that kind of stuff. What does it really, really mean? When people are honest with themselves, and they start to give more meaningful answers to that, it’s a lot more about contribution, it’s about security, it’s about freedom to be able to do the things that they want to do, it’s … Very few people say, “Oh, I want to be successful so I can do nothing,” you know? “I want to be really successful so I can sit on the beach from when I’m 40 to when I’m 90.” I don’t see successful people saying that, in fact they say the opposite.
They say, “You know, I wanted the financial freedom to do more stuff, I want to give back, I want to contribute, I want to change the world in some shape or form,” or, “My little world, in some shape or form, provide a future for my children.” I think defining what success means to you in a really honest way in your relationships, in your health and well-being, in your business, in your interactions with others, in your relationship with the world, that, to me, is what it’s all about. If you have a good definition of that, and a clarity around that, then you’ll tend to make it happen. If you don’t want to use the term, “Peak performance,” you use another term. The reality of it is that, again, you don’t have to think about athletes climbing Mount Everest. You just got to say, “There’s the things I want, and that’s my definition of success, now I’m going to go out and make it happen,” and that is what they’ll do.
Jesse:

I think the beauty of that too, mate, is because in the past, and I’ve been thinking about my own goals, when I was in my 20s particularly, I used to have these visions of successful people and think I needed to emulate what they were doing. To be truthful, I found that a bit intimidating. I felt it was actually a negative motivator rather than a positive motivator in some senses, because I just thought, “Oh, that was just so far out of my zone, just don’t bother.” What I love about that is, if you can take success in your own way, in your own definition and think consciously about that then that’s cool. Mate, I just wanted to tap into something you said about contribution and relationships and all that other sort of stuff. It’s the new year, it’s early 2016, and traditionally at this time of the year we think about goals. Do you think that setting goals and thinking consciously about those things …
I’m guessing I know the answer. How do you translate those big picture ideas into something concrete that you can work towards? Do you go through a goal setting process yourself?

Andrew:

I do, I do. I do it a little bit differently though, these days. I used to be a bit of a, “Here are my top 10 goals for the coming year, and this is what they’re going to look like and this is what I’m going to do, and I’m going to get that done by January and that done by February.” For me now, goals are much broader, I think is probably the easiest way to say it. Part of my planning process is, say, I spend a lot of time reviewing the year that was. It’s really important for me to figure out, “What am I really proud of that I did in the last year? What frustrated me, what irritated me, what didn’t I do, why didn’t I do it?” I like to do that really reflection of the good and the bad from the year that was, and then that forms the basis of my planning for the year that is. I look at that and go, “Okay, what am I going to do more of in the coming year and what am I going to do less of in the coming year?”
That, for me, is starting to set that mood where you’re looking at my own behavior, perhaps, is where I start. I’ll turn around and, some of my more of, less of in the coming year is, I’ve got them in a notebook in front of me. One thing, I’m going to focus more on one thing at a time, last year I got pulled apart in a lot of different directions and I’m a big believer in that focusing on one thing. That’s going to be one of my things that I’m focusing on, is every day, what’s the one thing that I need to get done today, the most important thing right here right now. I’m going to eat more good food, eat less stuff that’s not good for my body. I’m going to do more yoga, I’m going to do less sitting, I’m going to make more money, have less wasted money. I’m going to listen more and talk less. I wouldn’t call those goals, but I’d call those behavioral goals that I look at for me.
On that then, sure, then I’d have my business goals. I’m going to run 6 programs on there, I’m going to have 10 coaching clients, I’m going to do 30 key note speaking jobs. Whatever it might be, in my little world and a targeted amount of revenue that I’m going to make in 2016. I know that I’m going to do that, and then I have one for my writing as well. What do I want to do with my writing. I’m going to develop my writing style, et cetera, et cetera. I have, rather than just a list of, “These are my 10 goals for the year,” I, over many years, have worked at a system that I think just works a little bit better for me, and there’s much more about less, perhaps, definitives and more behavioral type stuff, but there are still definitely some very specific goals in there to achieve as well.
Jesse:

That’s really interesting, that you’re saying that. I love the way that you’ve framed that, what I really love about what you do is we see this in action all the time. You have those of us who are fortunate enough to get to hang out with you a bit more, we see these come through and see you live them. One of the things I’ve learned from you actually, Andrew, as we’ve been talking, whenever we spoke throughout 2015, was setting themes as well, so just to share with you, one of my big themes with some similarities here with you is to simplify as much as I can, I’ve found that my life got a little bit complicated in some areas, and I was adding more and more stuff into it. I’ve just found that I needed to strip some stuff away, and get back to the essence of the good stuff.
Andrew:

Themes are great, because they become … If I go back a step just for the stuff that I talk about, I have the over-arching themes for the year. I come down and say, “Well, what is that going to look like? I want to move more, physically I want to move more.” I break that down, “I’m going to do more yoga, I’m going to stand more, use my stand up desk more, I’m going to go for walks more, I’m going to have more adventure holidays as opposed to laying by the pool holidays,” or whatever it might be. You break that down to the third stage, and that’s actually turning those into specific goals. “Right, book 3 holidays now, and they’re going to be walking holidays. Right, buy the extra gear you need for your stand up desk, or whatever it is today, and stand up for 20 minutes a day,” or when I’m at home working or writing or whatever. Each week, stand up for another 20 minutes, and increase it over the space of the year.
Starting with the big picture, strangely enough, a lot of people don’t do that, and I think that the theme for the year is just a great way to actually … To give a meaning, and I guess give that drive, that point to aim for that this time next year, you want to go, “Well you know what, I achieved that during the year, I did do less, I did simplify my life and I got better stuff done.” It’s like saying no, if your big theme is, “This year, I’m going to say no a lot more, because I’m getting pulled apart in too many different directions,” then again, that’s something that you need to focus on all the time. I’ve had a few of those years, where I’ve really had to say, “I’ve got to say no more,” and so you automatically say no before you say yes, and people go, “Oh, but you’re going to miss opportunities,” et cetera. The problem is, well, I wasn’t really taking advantage of the opportunities that I had, because I was too busy chasing butterflies.
I think that’s a good thing to do, and I think you can change a theme during the year as well, I think you can master it. “You know what? I’ve got on top of this now, I’ve simplified, I can actually have another theme now, I don’t have to have 12 months of simplifying if I’ve got my life simplified and I’ve got my life on track after 3.” I think that’s a really nice thing as well, but if you start to sneak back into a bad habit then you’ve got to get the theme up again, that’s the way that I look at it.
Jesse:

That’s certainly the way I’ve come to look at things too, and that’s really been based on quite a few conversations that we’ve had over a number of months. Mate, I wanted to touch base, because you’re in an entrepreneurial space where you come across heaps and heaps and heaps of people, and what I love about what you do, Andrew, is you have a reputation for being probably one of the most generous people in the business space. I think that’s firstly, huge kudos to you, which is wonderful. What I wanted to ask you is, as you observe this plethora of people, what do you think it is that the successful people do differently in terms of habits, or mindset? What is it you think that actually allows them to achieve their own success, perhaps more than others would?
Andrew:

It’s a good question, isn’t it? I think there’s a few things, to be honest, Jess. I look at it and I think that, successful people that I know, I think that they’re great dreamers, that they are able to dream and create a vision and have a plan. Sometimes the implementation and sometimes the actual doing is not that good, but they have a dream about, “I want to do this.” I know for me, when I wanted to be a writer, I just had such a dream of making it happen that really nothing was going to get in the way. Of course you make it happen. I think of all the successful people I know, they are very good at dreaming and visualizing, that what that dream is going to look like. That’s what makes it happen, we know that. The second thing I think that they’re really good at is they had a high level of self-belief, and it was interesting for me Jess. I tell this story often.
When I was thinking about writing my first book about marketing and I asked a number of people in the marketing world that I knew of, “What do you reckon? I’ve kind of got an idea for a book on 101 ways to market your business.” You know what, most of them turned around and said to me, “Andrew, you’re a nice bloke, but really? You haven’t got any qualifications, you live in Cairns for starters, you’re not famous, who’s going to publish anything that you’ve written, and really, what do you know?” Of course I was quite surprised by that, but I completely ignored them and wrote it anyway. How lucky am I that I did? I look at that, and I think, successful people have high self-belief in themselves. That doesn’t mean they don’t go through the stages of doubt, impostor syndrome, all the rest of it, which we all do. Believe me, I do as well, but they have more self belief than they have self-doubt.
I think when you have more self-belief than self-doubt, well, that’s when you make stuff happen. Another thing, a third thing, and I think that they tend to do well, is they’re very good learners. They learn and they listen, they observe, they’re hungry. I worked with a guy, for a number of years, a Swiss guy who was an amazing entrepreneur. We were travelling around the world, I was working for a company, he had his own resort. He was in his 70s, and I was in my 30s. He could outrun me, and what I admired about him, everyone he met he would ask questions about, “How could I do business better? How could I do this better, how could I do that …” Keen to learn. When I had the pleasure of working with Richard Branson, and met him in Melbourne, the questions that he asked me were, “Tell me about your business, how do you do what you do? How have you been successful as an author, where are your books published, how did you do it, how did you come up with the ideas?”
Successful people ask a lot of questions, and they listen to the answers. I think that that’s a real sign of a successful person. Anyone who gets up and says, “I’ve got all the answers,” we already know that they’re probably a douche, so we don’t go. The more successful they are, the more they tend to ask and the more they tend to listen. I definitely think that. A last 1 or 2 there I would say, Jess, is one is that they normally have a really good peer group, so that they have good people around them, which I think is important. I think we all know the value of a peer group, and then probably last but not least, or maybe second last, would be that they’re very resilient. They get knocked down, they dust themselves off, and they get back up. Even if the idea they did, or they had failed, they don’t go off and suck their thumb and sulk about it for the next 10 years. They just move on to the next thing.
The last point I’m going to say in here is I think that they are generous, generous with their time, generous with their spirit, generous with their knowledge, and keen to help other people. They’re all the signs to me of what really successful people actually do.
Jesse:

Mate, that is quite a list, and firstly, there’s so many questions that are coming up for me now I just want to ask you. I guess the big question I wanted to ask you, with those particular attributes, is, do you think people are necessarily born with those, or do you think they can be cultivated, or do you think they learn them, or is it about surrounding yourself with the right people and getting some of that through osmosis? What’s your thoughts around some of that, because people might be sitting there going, “I’m just not in that space right now, how do I get self-belief?”
Andrew:

It’s definitely about the right peer group, there’s no doubt about it. I think that some people are born with a vision, I remember seeing a guy on TV who runs a really successful restaurant in the Hudson River off New York. That was interesting, he was being interviewed and they said, “So, when did you want to be a chef and run a restaurant?” He said, “My earliest thought.” They said, “What, how old?” He said, “5 or 6 years old, I wanted a restaurant, 7 years.” He’s 50 or 60 now, and they said, “Well, what are you going to do in 10 years?” He said, “I’m still running my restaurant.” He was so passionate, just that conviction was there. Some people are lucky, they have that conviction at an early age. Most of us aren’t, I wanted to be a marine biologist at a young age, then I kind of realized I spend more time in a lab doing stuff I don’t want to do than riding humpback whales around the ocean, which I imagined a marine biologist would do.
I do think that we change, we evolve, we grow, and we hopefully learn along the way. I do think you can learn about these things, I think that more and more people discover it in themselves, of, “Hey, I want to be an entrepreneur and I can do that.” Other times we find people that, “Hey, I’m an entrepreneur, I run a business, and I really don’t want to, I just want to work for someone and get a pay packet.” That’s okay as well, so I guess it’s a combination of learning. A lot of the time it’s failing, I know for me a lot of my life there was so many mistakes that I made in business, and still make in business. I think anyone who says they don’t is probably just not trying hard enough. Some of the most successful people that I know of are making mistakes every day, but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They go, “Awesome, I’m one step closer to getting it right.”
I think there’s that real culture that we see in the entrepreneurial space and the success space of … It comes back to that resilience factor again, going, “Okay, this is what I want, I’m clear about what I want, I’ll do what it takes to get it.” Sometimes, I’ll make a mistake and I’ll have to take a different path or a different direction, or find a different peer group or learn a better way to do it,” or whatever the case may be. That will help me get to where I want to go.
Jesse:

Mate, that’s fantastic. I guess what you’re saying is that it’s a constantly evolving thing and as we go through life, as long as we’re defining success on our own terms, as you said, you might find yourself in a business and then think, “Maybe that’s not for me,” and that’s fine. You go in and work for someone else, and that’s a perfectly great definition of a successful life, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Andrew: It comes back to that point, what does success mean to you? If you don’t define what that really is for you, I think that you’re looking for success on someone else’s terms, what you’ve seen in a movie or what you have this false vision around it is, you think all the money in the world will solve all your problems. I know it’s easy to think that way when you haven’t got any money, but it’s rarely the case. Again, I do think as we grow, we get a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and that helps us to perhaps get a little bit clearer about what success means to us. Very different if you ask an 18 year old kid what success means to them, you ask a 50 year old woman what success means to them, 2 very, very different definitions.
Jesse:

That’s really good. Mate, while we’re talking about these things that, I guess, contribute to success, as I said you’ve come across a lot of different people in your line of work. I don’t know if I can ask this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. Is there anyone that springs to mind that’s really inspired you and you thought, “Wow, they’ve just been great,” someone you might observe or work with, or I guess to put it another way, who would you have at a dinner party if you could invite these people over?
Andrew:

I’ve been really lucky, and even I kind of felt often like I’m just getting started with what I’m doing. I have been fortunate enough to work with some pretty extraordinary people, but also I guess met some extraordinary people and followed a lot of extraordinary people in the same vein as well. I look at them in a couple of different directions there, I think Jess. I think about, when I got into personal development at a young age, I was given a copy of Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends and Influence People. When I was 18, I’d just bought my first business, and I’ve got to say, for me, even though I don’t like the title of it, it’s one of the most extraordinary books that I’ve ever read about how to deal with people. It really, really tailored my entire life, and in fact, I just wrote an article for Ink.com about it, which is I read the same book every year, Christmas morning is my ritual.
I spend a couple of hours and I read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. I’ve read it 30 times now, and I look at that and go, “It’s just a wonderful kind of a book to learn stuff.” A lot of people were like that for me, like Zig Ziglar, I’ve loved Zig Ziglar and I had the fortune of talking to Zig Ziglar a few years before he died. Those kind of people who are inspiration and motivational, and told wonderful stories, a little bit later on and it seems like Tony Robins is, to me, a very inspirational guy. Some people love him, some people hate him, I think he’s awesome. I look at Louise Hay, a lady who started a business in her 50s and has built this incredible global publishing empire. I just think she’s one of the most extraordinary women on the face of the planet. Right up through to, interestingly enough, there’s so many people.
Now, for me, having been doing what I’ve been doing for quite a long time now, I look back at the people who I’ve met who are entrepreneurs, there’s a guy that owns a chicken shop around the corner from where I live, as in roast chickens. He’s been running this business for 30 years, and I look at that. Making roasted chickens for 30 years, and I tell you, I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face, I’ve never seen him not engaging his customers, I’ve never seen him not giving his staff a bollicking because something’s not good enough. I just look at him and think, “What an amazing guy,” and I met a lot of those people. I met recently a guy called Edwin, I can’t remember his surname but he was a third generation sausage and small goods maker in Brisbane, 85, okay? His grandfather had immigrated to Australia, set up a small good factory, and of course Edwin came into it when he was like 10.
Edwin’s just letting go of it now to give it to his grandson, and Edwin’s going, “Oh, I don’t know,” his wife’s saying he’s got to have a holiday. You look at this going and you think, “What does this guy … He was in the business for 70 years, so modest, so humble. I look at a person like that and I go, “Man, I just want to sit, and I just want you to tell me everything. What do you know?” People go, “What does he know about social media?” He doesn’t know anything about social media, but he knows about people, he knows about developing products, he knows about doing business, he knows about negotiating, about … Excuse me, about money management, about getting through tough times. All of that kind of stuff. I’m far more inspired by people that have gone through that than by someone who may be has started one company that’s been really successful and they sold 30 million dollars.
You go, “That’s awesome, I admire you for it, it’s cool, great and all the rest of it, but I’ll be interested to see where you are in 10 years, 15 years, and see what you’ve done with yourself, and with the company, and with the money,” and all the rest of it. I guess more now as I get older, I’m looking towards those people who really inspire me are the unknown people. No-one knows Edwin, no-one knows the guy at the chicken shop around the corner from me. No-one really knows those people, they’re not famous, but they’re the ones that I think are just extraordinary at what they do.
Jesse:

I agree wholeheartedly, I’m always drawn to those people that have lost a little bit of bark as well, the people who’ve kind of had a few knocks along the way but managed to get up and continued to have another swing at … Eventually had the success that they were looking for. You mentioned the guy that starts his company in his dorm room at Harvard and sells it at 21 for a squillion dollars, which is, as you say, good luck to them. The people who I really look to are the people who’ve overcome some sort of adversity to climb whatever summit it is that’s important to them, so that’s really cool. Ladies and gents, if you’re just joining us now, we are speaking to the one and only Andrew Griffiths, Australia’s number 1 small business author, contributor to a bazillion magazines such as Ink, Flying Solo, CBS, and mentor, a key person of influence, the world’s leading personal brand accelerator, all round good guy.
Andrew, just wanted to have a chat, if we could, about where you think that … We’re talking about these successful people and so on and so forth, we’ve spoken about some of their attributes. One of the things that has always interested me, and I’m going to butcher a quote in a minute, and I’m hoping you might be able to set me straight because the quote has just completely sprung to mind right now, and I haven’t written it down in preparation. It’s the old saying, you sow an action, you reap a habit, and you so a habit, you reap a destiny, and so on and so forth. I can’t remember whose quote that is, and I know that I’ve completely butchered it. I did want to talk to you a little bit about the role or the importance of habits in people getting through to achieve what is important to them. Do you have any thoughts or anything about that at all?
Andrew:

I do a lot to be honest. I think again, for me, I don’t really call them habits, I call them rituals, and I guess whatever you call them, because I find that if I’ve got the right rituals that I make things happen. I do think that it’s a very common characteristic of very successful people is that they’ve developed a really … The right set of rituals, or the right set of habits. For me, I have certain rituals, like I get up very early so I’m at my desk by about 5:00 pretty much every morning. I spend that first hour getting my act together, so my first hour of just … I don’t check my email, I don’t do that first of all. I plan for the day, I really focus. What’s that one thing that I need to be doing today, my main project that I want to get knocked over during the day? What am I focusing on? I read through my notebook with my visions for the business for the year.
What am I doing, making sure that I’m on track. I do a bit of writing as well, normally I write an article every morning so I’ll do that in that hour as well. After that, then I’ll go and … I’ve woken up then enough, then I’ll go and do other things, like do a bit of yoga, maybe have a walk, have a nice breakfast, do that, and then I’ll come in and by then it’s normally around 7:30, 8:00. I’ll start and spend an hour doing my email, and one of the new things that I’m doing this year, like a lot of people, is my new ritual for me is to batch my email. I’m only going to check my email 3 times a day, and I’ll check it first thing in the morning, 8:00 ish, I’ll check it again around 11:00 and then I’ll check it again at around 3:00, and do that. I just, like again, many of us, I think I’ve just got to break that habit of being stuck on email all day long.
Once you start doing email and you open your email, you spend the rest of the day responding to everyone else’s demands. I just think that to get anything done these days, we’ve just got to get much smarter at how we do that.
Jesse:

I agree wholeheartedly. I think for me the other one is alerts on phones, is another one that takes me …
Andrew:

Turn them all off, yeah, turn them all off.

Jesse:

Absolutely, if I see Facebook or whatever it is sending me an alert that so and so has commented on this or that, the number of times I’ve been taken off task … Like you, I’ve cut mine down to twice a day now, so it’s morning and night. I think it really gives you that clarity of thought, and it gives you that uninterrupted time to focus on a particular task, because when you’re completing a task, as soon as that concentration is interrupted it takes … I don’t know. For me it takes about 10 minutes to get my head back into the zone of where I was before the interruption, I don’t know if you find that.
Andrew:

A neuroscientist will tell you it’s 20 minutes, even if you think you’re back in there, you’re not. When you’re multitasking, and when you’re just distracted, that’s where it is. I know for me Jess, if I spend a day writing, so my day is writing a book or whatever it might be, I get up in the morning, I check my email, but then the rest of the day, I just going to be writing or I might not check my email, I always find that, at the end of the day, how I feel is very different. I feel clear, I feel calm, I feel like I’ve got a lot done, I feel a real sense of satisfaction, and I feel quite energized, yet at the end of the day, when I’ve been on email all day, and social mediaing, and taking 50 phone calls, and doing all this kind of stuff, I feel absoutely exhausted by 4:00 in the afternoon.
That’s the thing that I notice, and not physical exhaustion but mentally exhausted and rightly so. I think that the moral to the story there is, I think we’ve got to be constantly developing our work habits, our rituals, whatever it might be. No-one taught us to use email, no-one taught us to use social media, no-one’s taught us how to manage this stuff, and every time we turn around there’s more stuff for us to deal with. I predicted 2016 is the year of the digital detox where more and more people are going to say, “You know what, I’m just going to disconnect, and I’m going to work in really powerful moments.” I had a really interesting example of this Jesse, I went on a retreat last year, to a place called Camp Eden, where you go there, and people go there to stop smoking, and I don’t know, whatever other things they want to stop.
For me, it was a week of a lot of travel beforehand, and I was tired. I just wanted a really good, healthy week, no email, no internet, at all, there’s no signal in the valley, so it doesn’t matter. You can’t sneak hit in. You started every day with yoga, and there’s no tea and coffee and all that kind of jazz there. What I really, really noticed was how difficult it was the first day, but then how, as the week progressed, how much easier it was and how much better I started to think, et cetera. The big thing was, when I was leaving, I thought, “Oh well, I’d better turn on my email,” as I was driving down the road of course, I’m getting hundreds of emails. I had, I think it was bout 1800 emails that had come in during the week I was away. You know what, I went to a coffee shop, open up my laptop, and just sat down and responded. It took me an hour and a half to respond to the ones that really need it.
Most of them were crap, didn’t need to be responded, they were junk or whatever. I realized, well, I did all of my emailing in an hour and a half for a week. If I’m at home and in my office, not on the road, I tend to spend hours all day long. I looked at it and I thought, “Isn’t that interesting, when I do it in that condensed one it’s a week, hour and a half, yet I can spend 3, 4, 5 hours a day, sometimes more, doing these kind of crazy emails. Hmm, interesting.”
Jesse:

Mate, that is so cool, 1800 and you’ve managed to get back to the important ones in an hour and a half is fantastic, what a lesson.
Andrew:

Very eye-opening for me, and kind of put stuff into perspective about, A, just how much crap we get in our email, but B, just, if you’re really focusing to get through them, it’s a daunting task to look at an inbox with that many emails to be responded to. Of course you realize that 90% of them don’t need to be responded to, and then the ones that do are really very, very short, bang, yep, got it, thanks, yep, yep, yep, whereas I would probably spend more time on them, and yeah. Interesting little thoughts there I guess.
Jesse:

One of the things that I certainly do in my practice, and I certainly, when I’m working with my clients, one of the things that I suggest, just in terms of making that really practical on a day to day basis for dentists, one of the things that I’ve done in our practice is, I’ve allowed about half an hour a day within my work day to have as administrative time. During that half hour, I’m time partitioning basically. I’m basically saying, “This is when I’m batching my email, this is when I’m batching my phone calls, this is when I’m batching writing, or referral letters,” or whatever it is that I’m doing. I allow half an hour a day within my work day to do that. Whenever I talk to dentists about that, the first thing that comes up is they go, “But that’s lost productivity Jesse, you’re losing half an hour, how many dollars an hour, and that’s going to add up to this much over the year.”
The irony of that, Andrew, is it’s actually the opposite. What I’ve observed is I am so much more focused, so much more productive in the times that I’ve gotten my fingers in someone’s mouth that it actually boosts my productivity and it means that I just clear out the mental clutter as much as the physical stuff as well, and it’s great.
Andrew:

I agree completely. I think, again, I think the concept of maybe peak performance means working for 18 hours a day and charging through and doing all that stuff, I don’t think that’s peak performance, I think that’s lunacy. I’ve certainly done that, and I did that for years. Did I get any more done? No, I just got less productive. I got into a routine in my business where I worked 7 days a week, and the way that it happened Jess, was quite simply because I didn’t get anything done during the week because I was talking to people, meeting with people, blah blah blah, and I started working after hours to get the actual work done. I would say again, “Oh, look, I’m going to come in on Saturday, and get stuff done,” and then because I was going in on Saturday, really, I was just fluffing around on Thursdays and Fridays. I was there, but I was totally non-productive, and then because I had so much work to do, then I had to come in on Sundays as well.
All of a sudden I was in a 7 day a week cycle, really because I was just unproductive in my rituals and my routines. I made the decision that I was going to not work weekends ever again, and it was a long story why that happened. I said, “Well, I’m going to work Monday to Friday, if I’m going to work 20 hours a day, I’ll work 20 hours a day, but I’m going to work Monday to Friday. It was interesting, within 6 months I’d halved the number of hours I worked, and doubled my income. Look at that as an illustration of productivity, and just again, being focused and all the rest of it. Bad habits sneak in so easily, I think they’re the little killers. Lying in bed at night looking at Facebook, rolling over at 6:00 in the morning and checking your Facebook feed, or checking your email. Really, how many vital emails have come in between 10:00 last night and 6:00 in the morning?
Jesse:  I’ve got someone trying to give me SEO at midnight, surely that’s vital. Don’t you get those emails at midnight too?
Andrew:

I do, I get them all, and I look at it and kind of go … We’d be kind of like lab rats, where we’re just responding to bells and tinkles and emails, and how many shares and how many likes, and we’re like Pavlov’s dog. We’ve got to have the right rituals.
Jesse:

Interestingly enough as well Andrew, because you mentioned the bad habits. One of the things I’ve observed in myself actually, is some of my bad habits actually started with really good intention.
Andrew:

Always, always.
Jesse:

I would do something that I was trying to help someone, and of course, not that you don’t want to help people, but sometimes you get into the habit of doing these things, as I say, with the best intentions of helping someone else, but that becomes your new norm and all of a sudden you’ve just got to, as you said earlier, learn to say no.
Andrew:

One of the biggest things that I’ve observed with businesses over the years, and I certainly have probably been in this situation myself, and I see it with men predominantly. Men are running a business, they start working longer, longer hours, spending less time at home, right about when they actually get financially successful is when their marriage breaks down. They turn around and they go, “I did all of this for us,” and the partner goes, “Yeah, but I just wanted you,” you know? “I haven’t seen you for 10 years,” you know, cats in the cradle kind of stuff. The fellow goes, “Oh, I’ve got this successful business and this money, now I’ve got to sell it to pay for a divorce, and I’m on my own.” You kind of go, “Hmm, interesting lesson there,” I think we’ve got to have our family have got to come along with us on the ride, and they’ve always got to be number 1.
That whole thing, blokes go, men, the mentality is, “I’ve got to build this business for the future of the family,” the family want you now. They don’t want you in 20 years when the business is successful, they want you now. I think successful, smart people figure that out pretty quickly.
Jesse:

I’ve seen that a few times as well, and it’s a tragedy when you see that happen. You have this dichotomy where you’ve got this seemingly business success and professional success, but the personal life is a complete disaster. Really, I think if we go back to that definition of success, what success really means to each of us, I think if we’re really honest with ourselves every single one of us would say, personal success is actually more important in many ways than the commercial elements as well. Why are we doing it?
Andrew:

It’s just when money’s tight or you’re younger or whatever it is, that becomes the appealing thing because we’ve seen that with money comes all of the things that we think, freedom and a Playboy mansion or a whatever your view of the world is around money and freedom. The reality is it’s not like that, as we get older and smarter, we kind of go, “Well, what really matters are the relationships we have with others, our health and our well-being, our ability to influence people in a positive way, make the planet better, leave a legacy.” Those things happen, but I think we all have to come into that realization at our own pace, me telling you to come into it isn’t going to make you do it. I didn’t think like that when I was 18 or 25, or probably 30. It’s only when I got older I got a bit smarter.
Jesse:

Mate, when I was 18, my definition of success was a fast car and a bird on my arm, really. That’s fine when you’re 18, that’s no problem at all. I think you’re right though, as you get older the things that you want or the things that you realize are important to you, you suddenly become more aware of that sort of stuff as you go through life, which thankfully, is the gaining of wisdom, I hope.
Andrew:

Lifestyle does become more important, we want to have a lifestyle business. I live in Cairns because I like living in Cairns, and I can run my business from anywhere in the world, really, these days. I choose to do it from Cairns at the moment, that’s for sure, because I can have a good lifestyle in Cairns. You can put on a pair of shorts and a pair of thongs and walk down the road 100 meters and have a cup of coffee with a friend. You can go fishing, you can do the things that you want to do here. It’s a lot harder to do that stuff in a city, in the largest city anyway. I’m not judging one way or another, I think it’s more about, well, what kind of lifestyle do you want? It’s like saying, “What does success mean to you,” is the same as the question, “What do you want your life to look like?” I think that’s a success, peak performers, and answering those questions all roll into one.
Jesse:

I think, again, coming back to that point, one of the purposes of creating the business in the first place is to have that lifestyle, and that lifestyle does, whether you live in Sydney or whether you live in Cairns or whether you live in Canberra in my case, that’s all part of the deal. The purpose of it is, you only get one life, so you might as well enjoy it. For me, having an enjoyable life, the definition according to Jesse Green of success is to enjoy my life in every possible way.
Andrew:

I think people, some of us confuse that though, and they think, “Oh, so you’re sitting around, you want to pick fluff out of your belly button …” Of course, the reality of it is that it’s not like that in the slightest. The reality of it is, I work hard, I have a lot of … I don’t have a lot of stress but I have stress, you know. I have commitments, I have financial pressure, I’ve got those whatever, all the things that everyone else has. You look at all of that kind of stuff and you go, “The difference is you choose how much of all of that you have.” If life is too stressful, I change my life. I find that if I have no stress I don’t do anything, I don’t get out of bed. Give me 100 things to do and I’ll get them done, give me 3 things to do and I’ll get none of them done. I think a lot of us are like that. This whole success thing is really learning to understand yourself better. I think if you can do that, everything else kind of falls a bit into place.
Jesse:

Mate, that is absolutely wonderful advice, and I think that anyone listening to the conversation we’re having today is going to go, “Wow …” In terms of thinking about takeaways for the audience, I guess one of the things that I’d be encouraging, it’d be interesting to hear feedback is to put some thought into it. What is it that I want out of my life, what does success look like to me, at least, and how can we then move forward with that?
Andrew:

I think you have to start there, that’s got to be the beginning, and then you’ve got to turn around and say, “Well okay, so that’s what I want, so the logical next step is to say, well, how am I going to get it?” The logical choice there is find someone who’s already got exactly what you’ve got and learn from then. Move your way through that particular process. If you’re not clear on what you want, you’ll get what you think you’ll want, and often that’s not the same as what you actually do want. We’ve got to have that extraordinary clarity around, and I don’t think enough of us spend enough time getting really clear on that, “What does success mean to me? What does success mean to you?” More than the Ferrari, and more than the whatever it might be. It’s an interesting realization, and I think that those who are truly successful are those who are able to really be clear about that in their own mind.
Jesse:

I think that’s absolutely 100% correct mate, gold right there, ladies and gents, from Andrew Griffiths. That is just a nugget of solid gold, so if you can get that clarity, I think you’re halfway there, probably more than halfway there really.
Andrew:

I agree mate, I agree.
Jesse:

Now mate, before you wrap up for the afternoon, I wanted to ask you a quick question. Given that you’re an author, and I think I might know the answer to this, but if you could only have one book on your book case, what would it be?
Andrew:

It would have to be Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People, it just has to be my book that I guess I read every year. I can’t stop reading it now, my house looks like a Dymocks store. You could easily put a Dymocks fricken sign out the front, I’ve got books everywhere. For those that don’t know I do teach people how to write books these days, so I’ve got hundreds of authors of mine that I’ve taught, I’ve got their books as well as my own unhealthy addiction to books. My accountant just shakes his head every time he sees my credit card statements, and how much I spend on books on a monthly basis, let alone a yearly basis. I read a lot, and I have a voracious appetite for learning. I think it’s one of the greatest joys in life, is to be able to read a book. Unexpected bonus, look at what you get out of it. 25 bucks for a book? You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s the best money spent on the face of the planet, a good book, in my view.
Jesse:

There are lots of great books, and speaking of your books, Andrew, you had the 12 books, and I guess this is a bit like trying to name your favorite child. Of the 12 books that you’ve written, is there any one for you that stands out that you’ve enjoyed writing or has resonated?
Andrew:

I enjoyed writing The Meme Myth, which is my first personal development book. That came out around 2010, and that was an interesting book because, like a lot of people, I’ve had an unusual kind of a life I guess. For me, I didn’t want to write an autobiography initially, the publisher, Simon and Schuster wanted me to write an autobiography. Instead, I kind of said, “No, I want to write a personal development book, but I’ll share my stories and my realizations and my observations in there.” That’s how it evolved, so The Meme Myth was probably the one that I enjoyed writing the most for many different reasons. In terms of my business books, I guess probably the one that I’m proudest of is The Big Book of Small Business. I know it’s a bit of a cliché kind of title, but it is, it’s a big book. 350 pages, and it’s just filled with what, to me, are my philosophies and strategies and ideas around building a successful business.
That was a bit of a culmination of a lot of my work, so I think that was a nice … Really enjoyable to write that book and put it together, and of course since that’s come out, and even The Meme Myth now, as you mentioned mate, I do this as I write so many columns and things like that on a weekly basis. I haven’t had a book out for a few years, so I’ve got to change that this year. I’ve got a few books in the pipeline that will be making an appearance in 2016.
Jesse:

Mate, I’m looking forward to that, because both of the books you’ve mentioned are on my bookcase and I’m looking at them right now. They are just behind me on my book case and I’ve read them both, so I can certainly commend them to the listeners. Mate, if people did want to get a copy of those books, where would be the best place? Booktopia, Dymocks?
Andrew:

Booktopia, Amazon, wherever they are, Dymocks, any of those places. If they haven’t got them they can get them in, very, very easy from that point of view. I think they’re easy to find mate, no worries about that.
Jesse:

Andrew, thank you so much for coming on the show today, I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and I hope the audience has taken away lots of little notes from all the bits of info and gems you’ve been sharing. I just wanted to, on behalf of all the listeners, say thanks for coming on the program, and …
Andrew:

A pleasure, thank you for having me.
Jesse:

You mentioned earlier Andrew, that generosity is one of the key indicators for success, and certainly mate, using that one metric alone you’re a phenomenal success, so thank you so much mate.
Andrew:

Thank you Jess, and thank you to everyone listening, and always a pleasure mate.
Jesse:

Cheers mate.

button

Never Miss a Blog Post and Get the Savvy Dentist Podcast Delivered to your inbox every week!