What does it take to scale multiple companies, write bestsellers, and still keep your personal life rich and fulfilling?
Join us as we dive deep with Michael Hyatt, founder and chairman of Full Focus. Michael has achieved incredible feats in the business world, including growing a $250 million publishing company and leading Full Focus to be recognized on Inc.’s Best Places to Work list and the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for two consecutive years. Beyond the business accolades, Michael has penned multiple bestsellers such as “Living Forward,” “Your Best Year Ever,” and “Free to Focus,” sharing his wisdom on how to win at work without losing out on life.
In today’s discussion, we’ll dive deep into his latest book, a tactical guide that empowers you to set and achieve your goals. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, a budding author, or someone looking to strike a balance between professional success and personal happiness, this episode has something for you.
To kickstart your journey to achieving your goals, visit the1thing.com.
To learn more, and for the complete show notes, visit: the1thing.com/pods.
We talk about:
- Michael Hyatt’s journey and achievements as the founder and chairman of Full Focus
- Overcoming fears about the future: strategies for positive reframing and challenging limiting beliefs
- The crucial difference between designing life aspirations and taking actionable steps to realize them
- The process of setting detailed goals across various life domains
- Distinguishing between aspirations and goals
Links & Tools from This Episode:
- Learn more at fullfocus.co
- Read “Your Best Year Ever”
- Follow Michael Hyatt on Instagram: @michaelhyatt
- Free Resources
- Want to be a guest or share feedback? Email email@example.com
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Produced by NOVA Media
Hey, everyone, and welcome back to The ONE Thing podcast. I'm Nikki Miller. And today, we have the pleasure of having Michael Hyatt, who's the founder and chairman of Full Focus. He has scaled multiple companies over the years, including a $250 million publishing company with 700 plus employees and his own goal achievement company. Under his leadership, Full Focus has been featured in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America in 2020 and 2021. And the company was named to Inc's Best Places to Work list.
He's also the author of several New York Times bestsellers, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling books, including Living Forward Your Best Year Ever, Free to Focus When at Work and Succeed at Life and Mind Your Mindset. My favorite stat about you, you've been married for over 45 years to your wife, Gail. You have five daughters and ten grandchildren. I'm so excited to have you here today, Michael. Welcome and thank you for being on our podcast.
Thanks, Nikki. Appreciate you having me.
So this book that we're really going to dive into the updated version, which I'm excited to talk with you about, but this book is really a tactical guide on how to set and achieve goals. And you've recently updated and revised it, but I don't think the strategies to do this have changed all that much. So I'm always curious what's the new information that you added, or you felt like you wanted to impart into the reader?
Yeah, I think we just went a little bit deeper on the research and pulled some more research about goal achievement. And then the thing that we also did was added some additional stories. Don't ask me which ones, because I can't remember, even though I sat in the studio last week and read the entire book for the audiobook. But there are some new stories. And yeah, just kind of gave it some refresh on the content.
Don't worry, I won't quiz you on them, not this time. And one of my favorite parts about this book is something that we talk a lot about in The ONE Thing which is in The ONE Thing, we have seven circles, the seven areas of your life that are important. In your book, there's nine what you call the interrelated domains of your life. And it's this idea that life is multifaceted, right? That if we're succeeding in one area of our life, it does not imply that we're succeeding in all areas of our life. Or if we're failing, alternatively, in one area of our life that we're not failing in all areas of our life. And every domain matters because each one of us, each one of those affects all the others.
So you talk about this idea of understanding your life score before we even get into the tactics of and the five-step process of setting and achieving goals, I want to talk about this life score and where you came up with this idea and how you identified it. Because normally I find authors look up at their own life and say, oh, shoot, I have one area that's succeeding or failing and it's affecting all the others. What was that evolution for you?
Yeah, I was actually sitting on an airplane on the way back from Toronto. I had attended a seminar there and I was thinking, you know there's got to be a way that we can help people measure kind of how they're doing in the various domains of life and I'm very competitive with myself especially. And I thought, if I could self-assess on these for myself, it would be helpful because this shift around. Sometimes, I'm doing amazing in my marriage and sometimes I'm doing amazing in some other domain, but sometimes not so much.
And so I created this way to self assess and then to kind of create the math so that people could come up with a score and figure out how they're doing. So we recommend to our clients, for example, that they do this at least once a year. Some of them that are really in the program, doing coaching with us, they'll do it once a quarter. But it's very easy if you don't measure this stuff to kind of let it get away from you and go, oh my gosh, I'm not taking care of my kids the way I want or developing the kind of relationship I want with my kids.
And nothing happens by accident. In fact, I often say that the two alternatives to life are either drift through life or you design your life. But if you're going to drift through life, nobody drifts to a destination they would have chosen. So better off to be intentional and to really have a plan for each of those domains so that you've got balance in your life so that you're healthy across the board.
And for you, I have to imagine, I mean, one of the things that I appreciate so much in reading the book is all of the personal stories that you share, which are so vulnerable and so relatable to anyone who's going through any course of their life, and especially with such a big, well especially with such a big family, you have to assess often, I'm sure.
I mean, I come from a large family. I've got seven sisters, so I know what your house was like having five girls in it. Yeah. So I know what that household is like. That's chaos. And probably sometimes you're, like, excited to get out the door and go to work. But a lot of times you want to make sure you're also spending intentional time with your family. So is that where this developed to that you wanted to make sure? I want to be the dad, I want to be the husband, I want to be -- I mean, you're not married for 45 years on accident.
Well, here's the crazy thing. So like I said, I'm very competitive. I'm an Enneagram three. If that means anything to the people that are listening, I'm an achiever. That's like my number two strength on strength finders. And so I'm about doing, doing, doing, measuring, achieving, accomplishing. And that's served me in my career very well. But I kind of had a meltdown back in about 2002. So here's the story.
So I had taken over this one division of Thomas Nelson Publishers that, as it turns out, out of 14 divisions in the company, I was the general manager of one. It was the one that was performing the absolute worst. So we were the worst performing in terms of revenue growth. In fact, we were shrinking. We were the least profitable division in the company. We'd lost money the previous year and the morale in the division was terrible. Nobody wanted to work in that division. Everybody was trying to get out, whatever, so they gave it to me.
So the good news was I couldn't screw it up. I could only make things better. But the CEO said, how long is it going to take you to turn this division around? And I totally pulled a number out of the air. I said, I think about three years acting like I knew what I was talking about. And he said, well, it's kind of what I was thinking too. So I went back to the team, rolled up my sleeves, they rolled up their sleeves. We were traveling, working 70 hours a week, but we did it.
In fact, it didn't take us three years. We did it in a year and a half. We went from number 14 to number 1 in revenue growth, number 14 to number 1 in profitability and also in employee satisfaction. So it was an amazing turnaround story. I got the biggest bonus I'd ever achieved. So it was bigger than my whole salary for the year. So I went home to talk to my wife, Gail, and I could not wait to show her this check. I just knew she was going to be over the moon. Walked in, ba-bum, showed it to her. She was not impressed. She said, well. She said awesome, but there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm in it. And she said, we need to talk. And I thought to myself, oh oh.
And I kind of had this sneaking suspicion that I was going to get this talk about work and life balance. And I'd been so absent from my family. And so she took me into the den, and she began to tear up a little bit. And she said, you know I appreciate everything you do for our family. I'm beyond grateful. But here's reality, you're hardly ever at home. And even when you're here, you're not fully present. And she said, your daughters need you now more than ever because they were all in high school or late middle school. And they needed a dad that was fully present. And then she began to cry and she said, I feel like a single mom.
Well, Nikki, that was not what I was going for. Right. I mean, I just thought to myself, here I am, just turn this division around, had this enormous career success, but I'm not being successful in all this other stuff that's really important. And so that was the point at which I thought to myself, I feel like I'm faced with this impossible choice. On the one hand, my team needs me. I mean, they've put in an enormous amount of work, and they want to continue the momentum. They were very happy. They all got big bonus checks to and they wanted to continue that. And I've always wanted to lead and I wanted to run this division.
But on the other hand, here was Gail and my family. And they needed me now more than ever. And so I felt like I was faced with this impossible choice. And as I began to think about it -- and it created a lot of anxiety for me for several weeks. And as I began to think about it, I thought, there's got to be a third way. There's got to be an alternative that doesn't force me to choose where I can both win at work and succeed at life.
And that sent me on a two-decade search to try to figure it out. And your best year ever was one of the things that came out of there because I started setting goals in these non-work areas of my life and just realizing that these things, these other non-work areas were not going to get better unless I had some design and gave some intention to it.
Thank you for sharing that story because I think every entrepreneur, every business owner, every team member is listening to this story and raising their hand really high and saying, I've been there before. I've been there before where I come home so excited and I've done something great, but at what cost? What was the cost of that thing that I put my family through, that I put myself through? Maybe that I put my health through. Whatever it may be.
And so often we lose sight of that as we look at the scoreboard of business, because winning there is so clear, but so rarely do we take time to actually articulate and set goals and all the other places. And I love what you said earlier, is that you said nothing happens on accident. And I have always believed that the best life is the one led on purpose, that we actually have to identify what it is that we want.
And my favorite thing about your best year ever, which really should be called your best life ever, because it's a model for living a great year, year over year. But what I love about this book is this five step process and part of which is actually identifying what you want to do. But you don't start there, you start somewhere else, which I think is really important to talk about. So can you talk about the five steps and specifically why you started with believe the possibility?
Yeah. I find that where people get really hung up is that they lose the battle in their mind because they have these limiting beliefs. And these beliefs are what really holds them back. And sometimes it's beliefs about themselves. They believe that I'm just not worthy of success or like I used to have this belief for years that I wasn't very good with money. And there was logical reasons for it because I wasn't very good with money. And I came from a background where I wasn't taught anything about money or how to manage money or what money meant. And it was always this scary thing that I tried to avoid.
So there's sometimes beliefs about ourselves that hold us back. There are sometimes beliefs about others. We create these stories in our head. In fact, I've written an entire book on this called Mind Your Mindset, which talks about the science of thinking and how that impacts our actions and how those actions determine our results. But these beliefs that we have about other people sometimes are just random stories that we come up with. We're walking down the hall at work, and somebody doesn't make eye contact with us and we think, oh, I guess she's mad at me or he's upset with me, or he doesn't think I matter. They don't see me. When you find out later that, no, they just had some devastating thing happen or they're preoccupied, lost in thought. It has nothing to do with you.
My daughter, Megan, who's a CEO of Full Focus, our company says nobody thinks about you more than you think about you. And that's really true. And we make up these whole stories as if we're the central actor in the whole story and everything's about us, but it's not. Sometimes it's stories about the world. You know, we think, oh, well, we're almost in a recession, nobody can succeed in this market, so I don't even need to try.
So I think that's like the first place that we have to confront kind of maybe the lack of what we really want in our life is to look at those statements or those sentences inside of our head and say, what am I telling myself about me? What am I telling myself about other people? What am I telling myself about the world? And are those true or could they be re-engineered? And I talk about taking limiting beliefs and transforming those into liberating truths so that now a sudden we have a fighting chance. It's not enough just to shift your thinking, but that's where it has to begin.
Obviously, we know we have the stories and it's clear that those show up sometimes in retrospect or in hindsight. But how can you recognize a story from inside of it? Any tips or tricks that you can bring awareness to for the listeners on where they might be telling a story they're not aware of?
Yeah. I think the first thing to do is if you see in some area of your life where you're not getting the results that you'd like to get, maybe you have a really bad marriage or it's just not optimized, you just don't enjoy being with that person anymore. Or maybe it's at work. It could be anything. It could be any other area of your life or maybe it's in your physical health. But if there's some area where you're not getting the results, the thing I would say is before you jump into a new program, like you hire a new trainer or, you ditch this marriage and go get another one, before you do that, chase that upstream and say, what am I thinking about this?
Conversation this weekend I had, we were at our lake house with some of our family and all my family lives really close. All my daughters, all five daughters and their families live within 20 minutes of us. All the grandkids live within five minutes of us. And every weekend, there's usually a half of them at the lake with us. So I had my grandson, my oldest grandson down there, who's 20, and he said, I just have a lot of fear. He's confiding in me. He says, granddaddy, I have a lot of fear about the future. And he said, I just don't know that I have what it takes. And I have this terrible fear that I'm going to fail.
And so I said to him, I said, well, let's talk about that. I said, you realize that that's just a thought, right? That's just a sentence in your head. And maybe it's based on little evidence here, but it's not based on all the evidence. So I said to him, I said, let's ask a different question. Why should you feel confident about the future? Now, that's a very empowering question.
And one of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that the quality of our questions determine the quality of our results. So if you want better results, ask a better question. So I said, why should you be confident about the future? And so he started thinking and he started listing a whole bunch of things. Well, I could sense his energy shift just in the conversation. He wasn't fearful. He was feeling more confident. The next morning, he came to me and he said, hey, I thought of two more reasons why I should feel confident about the future. So I did exactly what I wanted it to do. So he was taking that limiting belief and through the power of using the right question, he was transforming that into a liberating truth.
I've been there in my marriage. I've been married -- actually, we just had our 46th wedding anniversary and --
Thank you. There were times when I would ask myself, why should I stay in this marriage? She's getting on my last nerve. And I'm sure she asked that question more than I did. But at some point, I just I said that's not a very good question because your brain will serve up answers to those questions. So I started asking myself this question. Why do I want to stay in this marriage even when it's really hard?
And I came up with a list of reasons like I really want to be somebody whose life is the epitome of love and there's no better place to love, and learn to love that in our most intimate relationships. If I can't love my family, if I can't love my wife, how can I love anybody else? So I got to figure this out. This is, you know, love's not just an emotion, it's action. And there are emotions, thankfully, but it's got to begin with the actions. So beginning to interrogate those sentences that are in our head and to imagine a different version of that is really helpful.
Michael, it's so incredible when you start to see these reframes take shape that just by asking the right questions, you can literally transform your own or someone else's life. I mean, you did that at the beginning of this conversation with that story when you brought home the big bonus check and you said, this can't be it if my family's not happy. How can I have all of these things? How can I be the best dad and the best husband and have all of the other areas of my life that I want to be great.
And it reminds me how important it is for us to reframe our own thinking and to give ourselves an opportunity to answer a better question. Because you're right, if we find all the reasons this won't work, then sure, that's going to deflate your energy and you'll find proof. If you're asking why am I not good enough, you're going to go out and find proof for that. And it's so important that we actually take a minute to reframe so that we can think possibility as opposed to impossibility.
And then something that really surprised me in this, candidly I read this book a long time ago and then I reread it before we jumped on. And it reminded me something really important that the next step after Believe the Possibility is Complete the Past. And it reminded me, I came back to a moment when I read it, which is it's so interesting in the space of self-development where it's so forward focused that almost always someone's going to point you to the future. All future, all future. Don't worry about what happened yesterday. Just keep going, keep moving forward. And you spend a lot of time talking about our history.
And there's a quote that you say that I committed now to memory because I love it, which says that history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And yes, and I love this idea of paying enough, not getting stuck in our past, but paying enough attention that it can help create a better future. Can you talk the listeners through that? Because I think it's a really important concept and you just articulate it so beautifully.
Yeah. What I noticed is that when I'm coaching clients or I'm just dealing with public in general or employees. Or even my family, it's very easy for the past to define them. And we are not our past. Certainly that influences us, but we can create a better future. And I don't want people to drag the worst of their past and the best of their future. But that takes, again, some intention and some deconstruction. And so what I say in the book is that we have to complete the past. We have to get closure on the past. We have to finish that chapter and be okay with it before we can turn to the next chapter.
So this is really important to acknowledge it and not try to run from it or try to suppress it. Because if we do, then it will crop up in the worst ways when we least expect it and completely derail us. Now, what I'm not talking about, there are a lot of people that have gone through horrific, traumatic events. And so what I suggest in the book, is it going to help those people? Those people are going to need to get therapy. They're going to need to get professional help.
And by the way, that's what the healthy people do. I used to think like I didn't want to go to therapy. I sent my wife to therapy, but I didn't want to go to therapy because I thought that would be an admission that something was broken. When I finally did go to therapy, my therapist said to me, he said, it's really good that you're here. He said, I find that only the healthy people come and get therapy. The other people just want to avoid it all together. So let's just kind of a reframe of therapy. And if you need that, if you're listening to this and you feel like, oh my gosh, I had this traumatic thing happen, my book is not going to help you.
But for ordinary people that don't have those kind of traumatic things, then maybe there was something you weren't acknowledged for last year. Maybe there was something that you felt like you were disappointed in a result. Well, it's important to acknowledge that and sometimes just to acknowledge it and to talk it out with somebody that's, first of all, acknowledging it can sometimes completely resolve it.
Sometimes you need to talk it through with somebody. Maybe it's a coach, maybe it's a loved one, maybe it's a friend, somebody else. But just talking it through will help you psychologically come to completion on that. So that now you can say, okay, I'm good with that. I wished I'd been acknowledged for that. I wasn't. But it is what it is. And so at least I can recognize that. And I'm not going to let that derail my future. And so that's kind of the process in a nutshell of completing the past.
I mean, I think it's so important because so often we can have our past affect our future without even realizing it. I mean, going through some of these questions myself in the book, I came up with answers that surprised me. I didn't think that that was something that bothered me anymore or frustrated me anymore. And yet it does come up in our future behavior unless we choose to resolve it. Again, I go back to every time someone creates a principle like this, they've experienced it in their own life. When did you look up in your own life and say, my past is affecting my future and I need to resolve this? Was there a moment? Was it behavioral?
Yeah. Well, it was definitely behavioral. And I cited the limiting belief that I had for years, which I'm not very good with money. And I had abundant proof of that because of something called confirmation bias. And you had mentioned it, Nikki, is that when you have this confirmation bias, this idea of confirmation bias, what it means is that you come to a conclusion and then you begin to assemble the relevant evidence from your past. And all of us can find evidence of where we were incompetent or we didn't succeed or we failed in some way, but those don't have to be the whole truth. And they definitely don't have to define us.
But I can remember sitting on an airplane with a good friend of mine and I was kind of telling him all this about my financial woes and whatever that I'd gone through. Back in the early 90s, I had a business that went, I wouldn't say it went bankrupt, but we didn't have enough assets to distribute, so technically we couldn't even go bankrupt. We were that broke. But a friend of mine a few years later was sitting on an airplane with me and he said, he said, you're not very good with money, are you? I mean, that was like I was embarrassed.
It was like somebody telling me that I had spinach on my teeth, but a lot worse because I thought maybe I was hiding it, but here was somebody that I really respected who validated it. I went into a tailspin. And I started thinking to myself, wait a second. At some point I just said, I've got to pull out of this because this thing in the past where I've made some financial mistakes. They are not all the truth. They're not the whole truth. The truth is I've never been educated on money.
And so I began to shift that thinking and started to think I can learn about money, I can become a better money manager. And now I think I'm really good with money. I've made a lot of money. I've kept a lot of money. I've become very good at it, but I didn't start there. And it really took kind of facing squarely look in the mirror, facing the past and saying, I'm drawing conclusions, universal conclusions based on a very limited data set. And the truth is I've been very successful. Even at that point, there was a lot of financial decisions that I made that were really good. It's just that I wasn't noticing them because I had this confirmation bias.
And I think specifically around money, I always say people have so much stuff around money. And the irony of it is I was coaching someone the other day who had a very similar limiting belief that just kept saying over and over, I don't get it, I don't understand it, I'm not good with money. This conversation just kept coming up. And I said and I finally asked them, well, how do you think one becomes good at money or becomes good at managing money? Well, you have to start and you have to learn.
And one of the best things I was lucky to be in, Gary Keller, the co-author, The One Thing's world early in my life, and he said to me when I was 22, he said, money really is just the language of adulthood. And if you choose not to learn about it, you are choosing to be illiterate. And it like was a hit to the face because I used to think the same thing. I mean, I was 22, so I actually was not good with money. I knew nothing.
And yet it was my sort of realization that the only way to become literate is to practice reading and writing. And the only way to become good with money is to practice learning about it and and investing in it and understanding it and making peace with it. So I love that story because I think it's so important to reframe, especially that where people can have a lot of stuff.
Well, it's really good. I mean, and it's true in every area of life. I mean, you think about it, how much training do we get on marriage or parenting, or financial management or taking care of our health? Any of that. I love this meme that was going around Facebook recently. It said we didn't do it because it was easy. We did it because we thought it was going to be easy. And the truth is, none of this stuff is easy. And it takes education, it takes work.
But any of us, I mean, the difference between us and people that are enormously accomplished in some area of life is that they've just gone to school on it. They decided they're going to study. Maybe they have some aptitude for it, but aptitude, I mean, we know all of us know lots of talented people that have been unsuccessful. So that doesn't explain it. It really is putting in the work, doing the work. And I like to think of this book, Your Best Year Ever, as sort of a way to do that, a way to envision a bigger, better future and then to work systematically toward achieving that incrementally toward achieving that.
It really is a road map for that. I mean, the next of these steps is Designing that Future. And I think I'd love to hear your perspective on this because I think this is actually one of the biggest challenges that I see in coaching people is that most of us goal set in our business life and probably to an extent in our financial life, but most of us don't design our future everywhere else. In all the other buckets that you mentioned in the book, how did you go about actually designing that? Like how did you start to define success in that future for all those other areas?
Yeah. And the challenge is that some of these other areas where we want to experience a qualitative difference, it doesn't come down to a simple matter of creating a quantitative goal. Like let's say somebody comes up with his aspiration and I distinguish between aspirations and goals, and aspiration is just something you want, but it's a little bit ambiguous. It's not really defined. So I might say to myself, I want a better marriage. Okay, well, just if you think that's a goal, you're going to be really disappointed because that's not going to move you toward a better marriage.
So you say, well, how do I quantify that? Because one of the things I say in my smarter framework is that it needs to be specific and measurable. But how do you do that? Well, this is where I think it's helpful. And I talk about this a lot in the book, Your Best Year Ever, the difference between achievement goals and habit goals. And oftentimes, it's a habit goal that will help us to realize an aspiration that's difficult to quantify. So, for example, I could say, one of the things I can do to have a better marriage is I can spend more time with my spouse. How could I do that? Well, what if I had a weekly date night? So as dumb as that sounds, that's where I began. Just I decided I was going to have a weekly date night.
Now, there were times when I was really motivated to do that. And then there were times when I got busy, and I forgot about it. So now I've said to my executive assistant, this happened about seven years ago. I said, your job is to make sure that I have a date night every week. I want you to schedule it. I want you to get the reservations. And basically, I don't want to have to think about it because whether I feel like it or don't feel like it, I want a weekly date night.
Same thing with my daughters. I have five adult daughters now. They're all successful in their own way, but I make sure that I have lunch with one of them weekly on a rotating basis. So every five weeks approximately, I get through all five daughters. Well, that's because just having a better relationship with my adult daughters isn't going to cut it. I've got to create a habit goal around that, that makes that possible. And so having an executive assistant helps with that. And maybe not everybody listening to this has that, but any way that you can try to automate it really helps.
At first, Michael, I thought you meant a lunch with one of the daughters every single day. I was like, that's your whole week. That's the whole workweek.
They couldn't handle that much of me.
I love that. Well, I think that to your point, it's about systematizing these things. I always say if it matters to you, there's a system around it. Ultimately, if it's somewhere in your life that matters to you, there needs to be a system around it. And I've heard people say before, well, that feels impersonal. I'm like, well, it's better than the alternative, which is that it doesn't get done, right. I think for most busy people, you have to systematize these things.
For example, my system for staying in touch with my friends, which is easy to not. We've got kids and businesses and life, and I send a text to one of 25 people. I want to make sure I stay in contact with every single day. Just send a text. That's my system every single day, I have a rotating thread to make sure that we stay connected and ultimately that's my system. So I think if it matters to you, there has to be a system around it. To your point, whether it's you executing it or someone helping you execute it, which I think can evolve over time too.
I did want to ask you, before we get off this idea of designing your future, there's something you talk about in the book that I'd love your live perspective on because I really enjoyed it. And you don't hear about it that much in written, which is specifically around risk. Part of the smarter formula was around risk. And I thought you articulated so well how important it is to have a level of risk with these goals. Can you talk about that?
Yeah. Well, I've got this smarter acronym that is kind of my whole goal setting system with seven steps. Now, I obviously built on the success of other people, somebody I think it was GE that came up with the smart system of goal setting. But the R usually stands for, and there's a lot of different iterations of this, but oftentimes the R stands for realistic but never really resonated with me. I want to set a realistic goal that just doesn't inspire me.
Well, as it turns out, all the goal achievement research says that you're far more likely to achieve a risky goal than a realistic goal. A realistic goal doesn't captivate your imagination. It doesn't command your attention. It doesn't give you the juice that you need to follow through on it because it's, yeah, if you've been growing in your business, for example, for 5 percent a year for the last 10 years and you say I'm going to notch that up to about 5.5 percent because that would be an incremental improvement, right? Look, nobody's going to get excited about that. That's just not enough. And it doesn't require any innovative thinking.
So if you really want to make a big dent, you've got to ratchet that up. So I talk about three zones in the book. There's your comfort zone. Like this is where you are reasonably confident you can achieve the goal. You know exactly how to get from where you are to where you want to go. If that's the case, you're in the comfort zone and nothing great ever happens in the comfort zone.
So then there's the what I call zone two, and this is your discomfort zone where you feel some fear, uncertainty and doubt. And those are the exact markers you're looking for because when you move the goal up to where you go, oh, I could fail, that's fear. I could fail. I'm not at all certain how I'm going to get from here to there. And frankly, I doubt whether I've got what it takes to actually pull that off. If that's how you feel, fantastic. You're in the discomfort zone and that's where your goal should be set.
Now there's zone three, which I recommend you avoid, and that's the delusional zone. So that's where you've dialed it up so high that it's beyond risk. And now you just kind of are paralyzed. You can't move forward because it terrifies you. You have no clue how to even start. So at least in the discomfort zone, you may not be able to see how to get from point A to point B, but you probably know the next few steps and that's all you need because the other ones will reveal themselves as you progress and as you pursue the goal.
I think it's so important too, because what is real and what is realistic, I mean, you don't really know until you get started on it. And I always love the example of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile. And then right behind him there was a rapid fire, people breaking the four-minute mile because it wasn't real until it was until someone showed everybody that they could do it. It's always unrealistic until somebody achieves it.
Exactly. And there's so many examples in history about that.
And I think you said something earlier, which is you have to have something that drives you. Right. I don't want a goal that doesn't excite me. And I think when you're building out these goals and when you're envisioning that future, it's not just about I'm excited to make this amount of money. There's really a reason behind all of this, which you also touched on in the book, which is really finding your why. So what was your why in -- I mean you've written so many books, you've led so many huge companies and you're still doing it, by the way, and still pouring into this community. What's your why in writing this and in delivering these incredible tools for people to go out and achieve?
Well, thank you for that. And I think that my biggest why is that I just want people to experience what I call the double win, which is winning at work and succeeding at life. I feel like there are so many people out there who are advocating for this lopsided or one-sided success. And it's kind of what I call the hustle fallacy, but it's the idea that if you're willing to suppress the need to be a great spouse, a great parent, you sort of ignore your health. You can achieve amazing things because you put all that energy, all that focus into one domain of life.
The problem is you may not know it yet, but you're headed for a crisis because your health will fail, your marriage will fail, your kids won't talk to you, whatever it is. And those are enormously costly. So you either pay now or you pay later. And my big why is to help people to realize they can have multidimensional success across all these domains. I mean, your life's never going to be perfect. And I mean, even to this day, there's times when I go out of balance, and I have to work hard to get back in balance. And that's just the nature of life. It's just like I have to get my wheels aligned in my car periodically because they go out of alignment. Same thing is true for your life.
So this idea of balance is really more the idea of life integration. But I want to help as many people as I can experience that because the future of our nation, the future of families, the future of individuals really comes down to designing a better future. Again, we're not going to drift to a better future. We've got to design it. And that's what I want to help people do.
I love this idea of designing that future and then having this energy that you just talked about to have your wife or why you want to fulfill that. And then you say the most important thing, which I don't think is it seems to be the obvious, but it's not said enough, which is then you have to go do something about it. It's not enough to know about it. You have to go and actually take action on this and you have to go and make these things happen in your life. In other words, it's one thing to design your life. It's another thing to go and execute on that design that you've created.
Yeah. I don't know if you remember. You may not be old enough to remember, but years ago, a couple of decades ago, there was this big phenomenon. It was a movie and it was a book called, oh, I can't remember it, but it was the law of attraction.
Was it The Secret?
The secret. And so, man, I wish that were true. You know that -- and this may be controversial because some people really want to believe that because it doesn't require anything other than you just focus on what you want, and the universe will bring it to you, and you don't have to do any work. Well, I can tell you, in my life that's never been enough. It's got to start with that. I mean, you've got to focus on what you want. You've got to challenge your limiting beliefs and transform those into liberating truths. And you've got to do all that. Complete the past, all that. I get it. But until you actually start to execute, nothing is going to happen.
And the good news is that it really doesn't require, I don't think, massive effort. What it requires is incremental effort done consistently over time. And I think so often we underestimate the power of incremental effort over time. But if we can just get focused, I don't care if if you're trying to lose weight, if you're trying to improve a relationship in your family, it's just that consistency of execution, taking those small steps every day that will transform your future. And then one day you wake up and you go, wow, okay, yeah, I've been working hard. I have an amazing marriage now. It didn't happen overnight, but it also didn't happen when I just sat alone somewhere imagining a better relationship with my wife. I actually had to do stuff. So execution is all important.
There's risk in both, though, in doing one too much without the other, right, too. Because if you're very execution focused but you don't do the foundational work to really understand where you want to be completing the path, as you said, and some of that deeper work, then you could find yourself very busy but not achieving the things you really wanted to achieve. And then on the other end, if you're doing some of that foundational work, but as you guys just mentioned, you don't take action, then it's all in theory and you're going to be winning in your head, but not in the real world.
I'm so glad you brought that up, because it's not either or. It's both and. And I've met people, Chris, that sort of have this idea that all that limiting belief stuff and completing the past, it's all kind of woo woo and we don't need it. Let's just execute. Well, the problem is you can be working hard, really rowing hard, going in the complete wrong direction. And if you don't do that thinking work, there is a relationship between our thinking, our actions and our results.
Again, I get into this in the book Mind Your Mindset, which interestingly, I wrote with my oldest daughter, Megan, which was fun because she gave it from her perspective, and I gave it from my perspective. But it takes both and. You have to do both and don't let anybody sell you that it's either or. It really is both and.
I had this -- I was teaching in a workshop and it was for an organization. And one of the participants had been voluntold into the training. And so she was being a real stick in the mud, as you can imagine. And she was throwing me some grenades. And we were talking about this and the reason why it's valuable to do some of this foundational work or I think we were talking about having long vision and why you want to imagine future success before you start working in the short term. And she said, I can't look that far ahead. I have potholes in front of me that I have to swerve around every day and they're all over the road. And if I don't focus on the potholes, I'm going to run one over.
And I thought about it for a second because the way she had described it, she kind of had me in a corner and I was like, well, how do you know which way to swerve? How do you know to swerve left or right? Because if you don't, then you might swerve right, right, right, and then be so far off track that you never can get caught back up. And so I think it's knowing that you have potholes in front of you, but also using all that foundational work to know which direction you need to turn.
Yeah. I mean, it's not unlike a moon shot. If you're sending a rocket to the moon, I've heard all kinds of stories about this, but the rocket is basically on course 5 percent of the time. 95 percent of the time, it's correcting course. But if you don't have something you're correcting to, which is that long term vision, then it's really easy to get lost, to go in circles, to spend time off the beaten path and to use a golf analogy, to be more time in the rough than you should be. You want to be in the fairway, but the only reason you can be in the fairway is because you're aiming for the pin. You're constantly course correcting towards the flag or the pin as a golfer.
Or if you're like me getting a lot of practice with your five iron hitting punch shots out of the trees.
I've been there.
If you're like me, you're just driving the golf cart. So but I think what this all goes back to, Michael, is I loved your reference of The Secret and we'll probably have some fans on here who might get mad at us. So I'm going to be in your corner on this, which is that I do think there's a power in it, but not the one that most people believe, which is that if I just think about this thing enough that it's going to come to fruition.
And I always give the example of I can try to manifest becoming a billionaire all I want, but I don't think that one day someone's just going to blow through my door and plop it on my lap. I'm going to have to put some steps in place. And I think that that's really the power in that formula, which is it does require, it doesn't articulate it like this, but it requires you to get crystal clear on what you want. And to what you said at the beginning of our conversation, which is when you reframe questions or when you give your mind a new thing to think about, it will create evidence in favor of it.
So if I start articulating, I want this, I want this, I want this, well, then my brain will start asking, how can I go get it? And so I think that's the importance of identifying it. And you have a tool that you've created to really help keep people on track for this, which is the planner. Can you talk about what that is and how it works?
Yeah. We have a product called the Full Focus Planner. We sold about 1,000,002 copies of this.
I said just a million two.
Just 1,000,002. Well, honestly, when my team came to me and said we think we should do this as a way for our clients to achieve their goals and to be more productive, I came from the publishing industry, and I didn't like that industry. There's a lot of problems with it. And I thought, oh, how many do you think you can sell, because we got to sell a significant amount. And they said, well, we think we can sell at least 10,000 copies. Well, that doesn't sound like much, but in the publishing world that's profitable if you can sell 10,000. But 85 percent of all the books published don't sell 10,000 copies. So I'm thinking, oh, do you really think we can sell 10,000? Well, now here we are. Since we started in 2017, we sold 1,000,002 and it sells more every year.
But what it's designed to do is to be a place where you can have all your annual goals, all your quarterly goals, and then begin to work those out on a daily basis. So it's a day planner in the sense that you have a plan for every day, and we recommend that people identify their three most important tasks for the day. And it's helpful if they're related to one of your goals or they're related to one of the important projects. But this keeps you focused. Now you have to understand this is a physical planner. And I've had people comment on Facebook that say, hey, the 1990s are calling. They want their planner back because there's all these digital solutions out there now.
The problem with the digital solutions is that trying to do this stuff in a digital environment is enormously distracting. You've got all these text messages and email messages and all these windows open and browser tabs open and all these things you could be doing with your time. And so we said we've got to pull people out of a distracting digital world where they can actually focus. And our company is called Full Focus where they can focus and get stuff done because we know, and you mentioned this, Nikki, a moment ago, but clarity accelerates progress, and nothing gets you more clear than writing stuff down and preferably writing it by hand.
And my team, we all read a book called The Revenge of Analog, which talked about why vinyl records are making a comeback and board games and yes, physical books because people want to interact with the physical world. So we have this planner that is amazing. I mean, Forbes said it was their number one choice for planners, and we've won lots of awards, had lots of reviews and a lot of influencers using it. And it's something that just helps people stay on track and get what they want most out of life.
I think what's so cool about this planner specifically, Michael, and even in you talking about the story of bringing it to fruition, is that even someone like you who thinks big, who's run a huge organization, still went back to your team and said, really, you think we could have 10,000 planners sold and here you are 1.2 million later? So I love that we all remain on this journey, right? And ultimately, we're all constantly on the journey to think bigger, to execute more clearly and to get even more clarity on the amazing life that we could live. Michael, at the end of every one of these podcasts, we always ask our guests to give our listeners the one thing that you would want them to take away from this conversation. What's the one thing?
I think the one thing is that you can have whatever future you want if you'll take the time to design it. So start there.
Ooh. Got goosebumps. And if anyone wants to follow you, if they want to purchase the books, where's the best place for them to find you?
Yeah. The best place is to go to fullfocus.co.com. The .co, fullfocus.co. That's our website that's got links to our podcasts and all the books and courses and the planner and everything else that we do.
Thank you, Michael, so much for being here today. I've loved getting to know you and talking to you about the book. Everyone go grab a copy of that, as well as the planner and hopefully we'll get to bring you back on the podcast soon.
Thank you both.
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