Embracing Failure and Evicting Procrastination – with Peter Shallard

Hey gang -

Check out one of our favorite interviews from the Starting From Nothing podcast.

Peter Shallard, a shrink for entrepreneurs has seen it all in the world of business. He has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs overcome the business and personal challenges faced from the start of their journey through to be a well-established business, and beyond. Peter has identified common issues which arise to many entrepreneurs and can offer really great, useful advice to anyone asking for it.

In This Interview You’ll Learn...

  • 04:11  Peter’s advice entrepreneurs starting out
  • 25:10  The merits of embracing failure
  • 30:03  The importance of commitment to the vision
  • 34:12  Balancing the manifestation of success with hard work
  • 44:18  How alignment helped us to get The Foundation sign
  • 46:38  The benefits of having structure
  • 50:10  Why we procrastinate too much and what to do about it


Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast
Guest Name Interview – Peter Shallard
Introduction: Welcome to Starting from Nothing – The Foundation Podcast, the place
where incredible entrepreneur show you how they built their businesses
entirely from scratch before they knew what the heck they were doing.
Now, here’s your host, Andy Drish.
Andy: Welcome everyone to another episode of Starting from Nothing – the
Foundation podcast; the home for entrepreneurs who are starting businesses
from scratch. Today I’m super jazzed because I’ve got my buddy Peter
Shallard on the line with us.
Peter: Oh yeah.
Andy: Oh yeah. If you’re watching the video, he was flexing a moment ago because
he’s getting all ripped. So we’re going to have some fun today.
A couple of weeks back, Dane and I did a riff episode where we just kind of
hung out, riffed on some really cool ideas and stuff; Peter and I are going to
be doing that. If you don’t know Peter yet and you haven’t heard of him,
that’s sad because Peter is known to many as the Shrink for Entrepreneurs.
He’s certified in NLP, he started studying NLP when you’re what? Like seven?
Peter: Yeah. No, no, about like 17.
Andy: Seventeen.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: Yeah, studying NLP when he was 17. When it comes to having issues or
blocks, Peter’s one of the best people I know to sort through them. So he’s
like a go-to for me. If I’m all crazy and not centered and out of control, he’s
the person that I talk through stuff with. We have a man call once a week
where we catch each other up on things that are working in our lives, things
that are not working in our lives, and they’ve been extremely beneficial.
Peter: And super manly, right?
Andy: And super manly.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: Clearly. So, welcome first of all. Thanks for coming back.
Peter: Thanks for having me back. I’m super stoked to be back. I could tell things
have been going great since then, since we talked last. You have a logo now
behind you.
Andy: We have a logo behind us which makes us an official business and which
makes us legit and stuff. Yeah, it’s like a little plaque thing which is awesome.
Peter: I feel like I’m part of something greater and, you know, like it’s satisfying, you
Andy: Like you’ve grown with us.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: So Peter was the first episode that we ever did. This is a great transition. I’m
glad you’re bringing this up because Peter was the first interview that I ever
Peter: Was I really? I didn’t know.
Andy: Yeah, you really were and you were the …
Peter: [unclear 00:02:26] you faked it till you made it with your podcast. Dude, I’ve
interviewed 500 people. I’m going to [unclear 00:02:31].
Andy: I was really nervous so I wanted to have somebody that wouldn’t make me as
nervous and Peter won’t make you nervous. Unless this is the first time you
meet him then he’s a little intimidating but …
Peter: Really?
Andy: Yeah.
But I’m glad that you brought that up because on the first interview you said
something that struck me and that actually has stuck with me and I’ve told a
whole bunch of people since. I was asking about the process of
entrepreneurship and what happens and you talked about a specific period
and phase in business. When people get started there’s like this two to threeyear
window, and during this two to three years it’s when there’s a lot of
struggle. I would say characterized by lack, like a lack of opportunities, a lack
of ideas, lack of money to get started.
Peter: Right.
Andy: And it’s a period where a lot of people struggle.
And then something happens. Depending on how much action you take,
somewhere between year two and maybe year four or five where -- it’s
almost like a switch flips. I assume for some people, it’s maybe where they’re
making like ten grand a month or so, like something switches. And all of a
sudden they don’t struggle with lack anymore, what they struggle with is
abundance. They struggle with an abundance of opportunities. There’s too
much opportunity to choose from. There’s too many things for them to pick
and that’s where all their stress comes from.
Peter: Right.
Andy: Both are stressful, one’s just I think a lot more fun than the other having to
experience both.
But can you talk a little bit more about that period? Because I think a lot of
our listeners are probably in that phase where they’re just getting started.
And I’m curious, what advice we have for people who are in that phase and
what they should be focused on. Because the problem I see with internet
advice in general is they don’t take into consideration what stage people are
at in business.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: They’re at stage one where they have no idea or no money in the bank, it’s
very different than a business making 500 grand a year.
Peter: Oh, yeah. I’m glad you brought that up because this is something that I’ve
noticed. I’ll answer your question but I want to digress. I’m going to be an
asshole and not answer your question for a second.
The internet, like the guru advice thing, is really interesting to me because
I’m always reading -- I’m reading everybody’s blogs and kind of like -- and I
know all these people personally who are kind of dishing out advice on how
to live your life and run a business. Some of them are my clients. And so I
kind of -- I get a little bit more in-depth than I think the average person does.
What I see is that the focus of people’s advice changes over time as they
become more developed as entrepreneurs, as they move through those
different kind of phases that you were describing. But the crazy thing is that
their audience essentially stays the same. Like their audience it’s all -- people
are newly discovering that website or that person every single day. That guy
who discovers them, that guy who’ll go rather who discovers them for the
first time is totally starting from nothing. And they’re dealing with like advice
that …
Over time as -- and this isn’t a golden rule but it’s sort of generally true. The
advice becomes more and more idealistic and more and more difficult to
follow because it’s sort of like first world problem advice. And that’s actually
the realm that I work in as the Shrink for Entrepreneur. My clients, we have
the same -- you and I talk about this all the time -- my friends as well like first
world problems. You’re wrestling with these issues of scaling a big business
and you’re totally playing with first world problems that are like …yeah.
Andy: It’s so true. We got a relatively large tax bill this year, right?
Peter: First world problem.
Andy: Really stressful …
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: … really a first world problem. It’s interesting because it can be as stressful at
the end of the day as not having cash flow.
Peter: Right.
Andy: It’s like that level of stress but it’s … When you step back you’re like, oh, life’s
pretty good though.
Peter: Yeah. And I mean the crazy thing happens. I have a client who has a business
that’s in the aviation industry and they have a monthly burn rate of about
quarter a million dollars. They’re very successful business by anyone’s
measure but there’s that amount of money flowing into the company every
month and flowing out of it. When they have first world problems, they’re
very stressful because if you make an error, if there’s a line item on your P&L
that isn’t what it should be, you’re like, “Oh my God! We’re suddenly like a
100 grand under that we shouldn’t be” or whatever.
Anyway, but your question -- I want to stay on track here. Somebody’s got to.
Andy: Do you?
Peter: Your question was -- what was your question? About the beginning, before it
happens. When people are starting out, what do we got to pay attention to.
We could talk about this for like an hour.
There’s a couple of things. The most important thing I think is to focus on
seeking out experiences that are going to teach you something more than
things that are going to contribute to a quick win. So the one thing that I see
more than anything is people who are starting businesses looking for
shortcuts, looking for a way to kind of accelerate, jump ahead and do
something that’s like keeps them away from risk. The desire to kind of take
the easy path to figure out how to hack the business and kind of skip the
learning curve is driven by like a fear of having those learning experiences.
So I’m looking at that group as like a sample population sort of in the
statistics, the little statistical game I’m playing in my head, and then I look at
some of my clients, some of the really successful people, multimillionaire
entrepreneurs I’m lucky enough to hang out with. These guys all have
massive battle scars. They have these stories of huge failures and things like
that have happened that are primarily learning experiences. And so I see the
people starting out trying to avoid those and I’m like the math doesn’t work,
right, if they’re going in a direction that isn’t where these other successful
people have gone.
In the first two years of business, like I encourage people to look at it as a
learning curve and I actually won’t take on a client who hasn’t been running
their business for at least two years because I don’t want to, as a therapist,
interfere with that learning curve either. Because that desire that that person
might have to work with someone like me is primarily to insulate themselves
from that learning curve. It comes across as like “Tell me what to do so that I
don’t have to do the learning. I can just learn from you and you can just tell
me what to do.” And it’s like, “No, no, no.” Because this is not an intellectual
learning, it’s a … I lack the vocabulary. It’s more an existential one. It’s more
of learning from the street. It’s a school of hard knocks type experience
where you learn about …
I think fundamentally what it comes down to is what is value, how do you
create value, how do you fulfill a value gap and create that exchange of like
something that you have that other people want in a way that scales and
works and that type of thing. That’s the part that you can’t really get out of
like a textbook nor can you get from somebody else’s advice. Because
ultimately if someone could tell you exactly how to go do it so you could just
go paint by numbers, they will just do it themselves. Why would they leave
that much value on the table? You know what I mean?
So there’s great guides and there’s great, like, depending on what industry
you want to build the business in, depending on what avenue you want to go,
there’s great information. But at a certain point you have to just go do. That’s
why I think that the focus, this new trend in I guess like business books,
business intelligence around like what you guys do with the Foundation
around like the lean startup, the agile software, like agile programming kind
of philosophy and how that gets applied to business models. All that stuff is
super interesting to me, its super exciting because it focuses on iteration on
small experiments utilizing technology to lower the cost of failure so that we
can … Yeah, so that you can try stuff out and have those learning experiences
and not be afraid of them.
I started a business and it was a massive failure stories that I ever hear are
people who have an idea, they fall in love with it, they’re like “I’m going to
start a restaurant,” or whatever, and then they raise capital or they have
their own money, they sync all of their savings, they mortgage their home or
whatever, and they begin a development process of like six months, nine
months a year, two years before their first customer ever, like, shows up. And
then they launch the thing and it turns out it’s not what the market wants
and it [unclear 00:11:03]. And it’s painful, dude, because this ruins people’s
Andy: And this is why entrepreneurship gets a wrap for being risky.
Peter: Yes.
Andy: I personally think at the end of the day -- starting a business is the safest. I
don’t consider myself a risk averse if you will. I enjoy skydiving and adrenaline
stuff but when it comes to like finances, I’m not risky at all. I’m fairly
But I think that’s why entrepreneurship gets the wrap of being the risky route
to go because you see people doing that and you know what? Like 25 years
ago, 30 years ago maybe that was the only opportunity is that you actually
had to take that type of leap because you don’t have the access to
information and tools and stuff that we have today.
It’s pretty wild when you think about -- If you wanted to build an eCommerce
website, what, ten years ago? It would cost 25 grand or more just
to get a website up and running so you could take payments and that you can
pay $25,000 a month with a site like Shopify and have the exact same -- Well,
have a better experience actually. It’s wild.
Peter: Yeah. I have a client whose like a medical doctor, an MD, whose I’ve been
talking to about ways to scale their business and we decided to do some
iterative kind of testing, different ideas, different markets that he could tap
into for the type of medicine that he does. This guy’s an executer. He’s
awesome. He takes a lot of action.
So we were able to launch from having no website -- like he has a website for
his practice but nothing about this new idea. It was a space of three weeks to
being able to setup and test and drive traffic with paid traffic and actually
bring people on and have them convert and validate that like there is, in fact,
people willing to do this thing, to take action on this offer.
Andy: It’s amazing. Three weeks and you can have, like, you know whether or not
an idea is going to work; whether or not it can be profitable or not.
Peter: Yeah, exactly.
Andy: I want to talk about taking action and procrastination but not yet in a little
Peter: It’s procrastinate.
Andy: We’re going to procrastinate on talking about procrastination a little bit. I
think it’s really interesting that you say that he’s an action taker because I
assume the majority of your clients are because I think what happens is
you’re almost -- During this early phases like you’re conditioning yourself to
take action. Action doesn’t become something that’s like hard and heavy to
do. It almost becomes like the baseline where it’s just like natural.
Peter: Yeah. I think that that’s kind of the key. Like what you just said is you’re
conditioning yourself. That’s a goal to think about it and think about like the
first two years of being in business or when you’re kind of working towards
maybe that 10K kind of threshold which is … I would say I’d love to actually
do a study and find out what timeframe people generally hit that with their
kind of own businesses but I would say it would be about the two year mark.
The thing is that you should look at it as conditioning. It’s preparation for
something because I guarantee, if you ask any successful entrepreneur, the
business that they started, their first ever business idea, is not the business
that was massively successful, right?
Andy: But we all think it is. Like we all think that first business idea is going to be the
one, you know?
Peter: Yeah. It’s not. So you’ve got to think about that as like you’re training period,
your conditioning period. I close a lot of controversy about a year ago when I
published an article and basically encouraging people to go get real jobs
because -- and it was specifically targeting this demographic, this phase that
people go through the first two years because I started -- Stop me if I already
told you the story in our interview from like a year ago, whatever, but I got
this person who wrote me an email. I get all those email. Anyone who’s
listening, you can drop me a line, just email me. I love getting email from cool
So this person emailed me saying like “I want help. Give me your perspective,
your opinion on what I should do. This is my situation.” This person was like,
“I’m living in my car. I’m trying to make my dreams happen as a web
developer building websites but I just can’t find any clients. I had to sell my
house. I couldn’t afford to then live in a rental so I’ve gone on my car and
started staying with friends.
I’ve alienated all of my friends because they’ve told me they tried to have like
interventions and tell me that I need to get my shit together, I need to go get
a job, and they all just hate it. They decided to kick me out of their houses
because sleeping on the couch was enabling me to just keep going. No one
believes in me, I’m hoping you do. What should I do?” And I was like, “You
need to go get a job.” As this person, they lost it.
I actually said it in a very, kind of -- I explained myself, I explained why this
was a great approach and what was important about it.
The rationale is there’s something fundamental that that person doesn’t have
in terms of the capability gap. Now that doesn’t mean they’re genetically
deficient, they don’t have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. It means that
there’s a capability that they need to develop. There’s literally a muscle they
need to work out and it probably has something to do with sales.
So I said to them, I was like, “Why don’t you apply for a part time sales job?
Even if it’s like phone sales, like you’re in a call center making outbound calls.
It will give you a thick skin. You’ll get okay with rejection. Selling another
person’s product that you can believe in that has a huge big company behind
it or whatever, you can believe in and it’s very easy to do that. The
psychological obstacle is not nearly as high as selling your own product where
you’re trying to be a good salesperson but you’re also partly kind of worried
that, ‘What if I don’t believe in my own product and it’s not good enough
yet?” There’s all that dialogue.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: So I was like, “You can go do some training. You can actually get paid which
alleviates your problem of like not having a house; not having somewhere to
stay. You can go get paid to learn the skill that is essential to business
success; particularly small business success, particularly freelance small
business success which is what you’re trying to have happen.”
So the principle was great. I felt so proud of myself by telling this person that
I turned it into a blog post about why it’s sometimes okay for entrepreneurs
to go get jobs because you can learn phenomenal things from other people’s
businesses. And the way to do that is to work for them, to work in those
other people’s businesses.
Andy: Why do you think that created controversy?
Peter: Well, that person email me back and told me that I was a toxic hater who
deserved to be like -- I don’t know. They were not happy.
Andy: What about the blog post?
Peter: I think that in the personal development business-y community, I think that
there’s this kind of agenda of quit your regular job. If you’re working on a
cubicle, you’ve somehow failed. Believe in yourself no matter what and be
committed to being an entrepreneur.
Whenever I spot sort of fundamentalism in any form, I’m always like, let’s
step back a little and analyze this and see if there’s any kind of opportunities
that can be derived from doing the opposite or kind of like finding the middle
of the road. I just see that there’s so many incredible skill sets that is difficult
to learn when you’re trying to build a business on yourself, just by yourself,
but you can develop when you’re working with other people. So when you’re
starting out, if cash flow is an issue, part time work is a phenomenal thing,
you know.
Anyway, a lot of people were like attracted by that headline I guess. The blog
post was like telling people -- the people who read such blog post are used to
being told “commit to entrepreneurship no matter what.”
Andy: Yup.
Peter: Here’s someone who’s saying like, “Hey guys, maybe you like 50/50.”
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: Yeah. That’s why.
Andy: In the beginning, taking action is a big thing. What other skills should people
be doing? I loved what you said about this guy. You’re like he’s not
genetically flawed but there’s a capabilities gap. There’s a skills gap that
because he’s not getting what he wants, he’s missing some sort of skill that
he needs to develop in order to get what he wants. For people just getting
started, what skills aside from taking action quickly and failing fast, what skills
should they be learning?
Peter: The point is that you can identify what the skills are. Like it’s very easy to do
so. You can identify your own capability gaps and you’ll inevitably have them
if you’re not already like a billionaire through your own business then there’s
probably areas that you can improve. I know I shall have them.
So what you can do is set like an audacious goal and then try to, like, have a
few experiments to get you on that journey like moving towards the goal,
taking little baby steps. And if you hid an obstacle where you feel like you
can’t progress and you’re overwhelmed and, like, you don’t know what to do,
that’s totally natural. That’s what happens. And so at that point you ask
yourself this just one simple question: what kind of a person would easily and
effortlessly be able to triumph over this obstacle? And then you think about
like who you know and who you’ve read about. Like what would Richard
Branson do, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: Like all of us have mental scenarios. And you think about, well, what would
that person be like? What type of capabilities would they have? And then you
get some contrastive analysis happening. You’re thinking, “The type of
person who would easily be able to do those would be a master salesperson.
I am not. Maybe I should develop that skill set. How can I do that?” You know
what I mean?
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: And you quickly develop a laundry list, not of personality flaws, but of
capability gaps that you need to close in order to be the very best version of
yourself, in order to be the most successful entrepreneur. You know? That’s
it. It’s like a super simple framework for figuring out how to take over the
Andy: No big deal at all. That’s the key to life right there. Boom!
Peter: Yeah. Big goals. Identify big goal. If you can’t accomplish it, figure out what
capability would make it easy for you to accomplish it, then make it your job
to go, educate yourself, practice, workout that muscle, like build it up.
The metaphor that I love because I’m a closet nerd, I have a [unclear
00:21:16] Xbox controller [unclear 00:21:18] computer. The metaphor I like is
like video game character, right? From like a role playing Dungeons and
Dragons game, you get like points. You get to like figure out how many
charisma points you have, you get to figure out how much strength you have,
how much like attack points, blah, blah, blah.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: That’s what’s going on in life. Like you have these attributes, you have these
little bars. However you, you know, that we say in therapy, there’s only two
things that mess people up: your parents and high school. So whatever that
left you with, that whole confusing-ness of like conditioning, that’s kind of
your beginning profile.
Andy: Uh-huh.
Peter: And there’s infinite flexibility. You can learn to do anything. So you just have
to grind it out. You just have to be like, “Well, I want to get really, really great
at this one thing that I’m kind of deficient on so I got to do it,” you know? I
got to grind it out.
Andy: This is so beautiful. And this is why I love talking with you, man. Its little
things like that where he just drops his bomb. It’s like, “Oh, well, if you want
to get anything that you want to, this is just a simple frame for doing it.” And
he just does it so nonchalantly.
It’s what we’re doing in our company right now. We started implementing
the Rockefeller Habits. Basically each quarter, we sit down and we plan all of
everything that has to happen in the business in the different categories. So
we have marketing, sales, product, operations and culture. I think those are
the five areas.
Peter: I just want to point something out real quick about this because you skipped
over the amazing leap that you made. Why did you implement the
Rockefeller Habits?
Andy: Because our business was chaos and we had no -- Everything was insane …
Peter: [unclear 00:22:54], what type of a person would turn this business from
chaos into awesomeness.
Andy: Yeah, totally. And Rockefeller would.
Peter: Yeah, Rockefeller. You nail that, right?
Andy: Yeah. Yeah. But what’s been so fascinating now is because we actually have
clear goals, with clear deadlines, and a clear accountability for who’s
responsible for what. Now we have complete transparency around what’s
getting done and what isn’t getting done. And when you don’t have
transparency, you actually hide. When stuff is hiding there’s no wall for it to
butt up against and so there’s no like pressure for something to transform or
to change.
And so what we’re seeing now is our game -- we have two weeks left in our
game, three weeks left in our game, and it’s getting to crunch time. And
we’re seeing the areas that are behind and the areas that are behind have
very clear -- they’re always tied to like some sort of personality characteristic
for the person who’s responsible for them.
Peter: Capability gaps.
Andy: Totally. Almost all the time and it’s really, really fascinating.
And then when you look at business through this lens, business isn’t just --
the way I see it -- it’s not just a way to like make money and have a great
lifestyle but it’s actually ultimately the way to become the ultimate version of
you, in whatever way that is.
Peter: See, my other article that I wrote about this titled Something if I scratch my
memory about why businesses are the ultimate human growing machines.
Andy: Totally.
Peter: It’s like a treadmill for your mind. Like we’ll train you to have a level of
intelligence and agility and real world skill and expertise, and also somewhere
along the way like zen philosophy and ability to appreciate paradox and go
deep and meaningful and charisma or networking ability. When should I stop,
Andy: Yeah. Yeah.
Peter: Like the things that building a business will develop in you. But, and this is I
think the mindset of somebody who starts out as they, like, I’m in it for a
gold-plated jet ski.
Andy: Yup.
Peter: I want it in the first year.
Andy: A gold-plated jet ski. I’ve never even considered that but that sounds
awesome, dude.
Peter: Yeah. Like that’s what they want is the bright shiny thing. But like what
works. What eventually gets to a place where you can have an abundance of
gold-plated jet skis is making your goal to level up your character stats, you
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: And become the type of person who shits gold-plated jet skis. [unclear
Andy: And when you become that type of person you realize, ah, I didn’t really want
a gold-plated jet ski anyway.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: It become meaningless.
Peter: … would like to plate with gold.
Andy: What’s that?
Peter: Think of something else that you would like to plate with gold.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: Or whatever, you know? You figure it out.
Andy: I’m getting a little echo now.
Peter: A little echo?
Andy: Maybe not anymore. Now we’re good. For a second I don’t know if there’s
little lag. We’re good now.
Peter: Okay.
Andy: So this is why I think a lot of people in The Foundation make a lot of progress
because what happens is that when you’re doing this on your own and you
have goals and then you don’t reach the goals, what goes through your head
when you don’t have this understanding of actually capabilities gap, you
think failure. Like, “Oh, I’m a failure. I’m a failure.” And then you’re generally
surrounded by people who don’t believe in you in the first place and then you
Peter: I hate those people.
Andy: God! Right? And then you fail and you’re surrounded by it. And there’s so
much like insecurity when it comes to getting started in business.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: And that’s why people want logos, and websites, and they waste their time
doing stuff to make them feel like an official business as oppose to getting
hung up on doing cold calls and idea extraction stuff. But I think …
Peter: I think …
Andy: Yeah, go ahead.
Peter: The other thing about failure is that if all of those ingredients, those weird
things are in place that are making you feel like you’re failing a lot, you’re like
-- that’s something that is really setting with you, that sensation of failure.
The dangerous thing about it is that, yeah, when you pursue the bright shiny
objects kind of prematurely, when you pursue the gold-plated jet skies in
your first year of business, you’re trying to kill it and make it; you’re not
focusing on developing your character.
You might win and actually, like, I’ve been that person. I’ve known people
who have actually hit homeruns very early on. It’s called beginner’s luck. They
accidentally just hit it out of the park and make something. And the problem
is that they don’t live a lot with the character. This actually happened to me. I
think we talked about those in the interview we did back in the day but, yeah.
The problem is that -- Let’s say you fail. You aim to hit the homerun and then
you fail, and then you have this experience of I failed because you didn’t get
the thing that you wanted and you’re obsessed with the outcome. There was
a neediness around needing that outcome.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: So your awareness isn’t on, “Oh, look. I failed but look how much like I
developed as a person. You just feel like you failed.” And failure is the
implication of the word. I’m obsessed with language is a part of my ability to
be a Jedi. I really focus on the language and what it means; the deepest
structure that the words people use actually reflect. And failure presupposes
the ending of a process.
So when a high school student -- and this is where, obviously, like I said, high
school messes us up -- where we learn about the meaning of the word
failure, it’s all around academic performance in most people’s lives. So to fail
a test, to fail an exam is to reach the end of a term and be cut off and fail. It’s
to reach the end of your year. It’s to reach the end of your high school
education and you failed. Dun, dun, dun. You know what I mean?
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: And the problem with entrepreneurship is that like -- we know one thing for
certain that keeping on trying like stick ability and a long time in the game is
what results and success. And so failure is this horrible thing because, like, we
feel as though you’ve come to the end of something but the right way to start
a business is to like have a lot of different little experiments where all of
them are just a step in the right direction; even though they are abysmal
failures from any like external point of view.
Like if you’re just telling yourself this is all just experiments, this is all just me
trying stuff out, you have to kind of get away from that very emotional pull of
the word failure and the experience of failure has where it makes us feel like
we need to stop because we’ve failed; the real personal development.
The only personal development secret there is to business success is you just
keep doing it. You know? Like people talk about -- I think there’s some stat
out there that -- I don’t know the one in the US for sure so if somebody can
fact check this for me. But something like 95% of businesses that are
registered will fail to make a profit in the first two years.
But if you look at individual entrepreneurs and you go out and find people
who have been running their own businesses, who’ve been a captain of their
faith for 15 years plus, and you just look at that group of people, almost
down to a T they’re phenomenally financially successful. Because most of the
failures, most of the people who couldn’t do it they fail. They gave up, they
stopped. So they no longer get to be a part of that group.
So, yeah, so sticking at it. That’s the danger with failure.
Andy: It’s really interesting. My vision for The Foundation has been shifting a little
bit lately. Dane and I joined this mastermind with Dan Sullivan, he’s the
strategic coach. Pretty much every entrepreneur that I respect has went
through his coaching program at some point. Uber expensive. We get four
days a year with him.
When we were there, we actually go to his office in Toronto and we go to his
office, they’ve been in business 25 years. And you go to his office and like
everything is so dialed in, right, because they know their business so well. So
on every wall they have a big map of their different ideas and concepts that
are all printed out. Everything is systematized to a T.
He has a vision. He’s been in business 25 years. He has a vision for the next
25 years of his business and he’s 77 years old. It’s incredible. And I was there
and I got to meet Joshua Rosenthal who’s the founder of Integrative
Nutrition. They’re $40 or $50 million a year company.
Peter: I know Josh, yeah. I met him.
Andy: Yeah. So we’re talking with him and Dane has this concept of unique genius
and I asked Joshua what his genius was. The first thing he said completely
blew me away. He said commitment to the vision. That was the genius. And I
was like, man, you know what, if you focus on one vision for 25 years, you
can’t fail. There’s just no way.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: And it made me really think about what, in 25 years, what we could create
with The Foundation because … yeah. It becomes really, really exciting.
Peter: Yeah. And the thing is is that, like, I guarantee that in the first few years of
that 25, there was probably a huge number of temptations to give up;
essentially to compromise on the vision; to stop, to take a left turn, to go
somewhere completely different. But it is that stickability too.
Unfortunately we’re having a very unsexy conversation. People don’t want to
know this like what works? What a huge number of people want is a magic
secret esoteric formula, a tonic that they can swallow. Pop a pill and have a
successful business, you know? Then like how to make a million dollars in
negative two days. That’s what people want, unfortunately. But individual
persons, the smart persons who are listening to this podcast hopefully who
are bad asses they will … yeah. Hopefully they’ll get the unsexy truth, you
Andy: Truth, man.
So there’s two things I want to cover. First of all I just love hanging out with
you and having these chats. Time flies. I feel like I’m learning a bunch of cool
stuff from just talking with you; makes me want to do this way more often
with you.
So if you’re listening to this and you’re like having a ball like I am, email me at
andy@thefoundation.com. Maybe we’ll bring Peter back on again in a couple
of months or do these more regularly just for fun.
Peter: Yeah, have regular [burn 00:32:41] downs.
Andy: Dude …
Peter: The sad truth is for listeners out there when you’re saying, like, if you do vote
to bring me back like survival style or whatever, the funny thing is Andy and I
just have to switch on the microphones for our regular. We do this every
week anyway.
Andy: Yeah. That’s why it flows so easily.
Peter: Yeah.
Andy: So here’s a question I actually have for you, from me more than the
audience. A year ago Peter introduced me to this coach and her name is Julie.
She even hates the word coach. She doesn’t like being called that. She works
a lot with rewiring your mindset around abundance and manifesting stuff
into the world.
Generally when I hear the word manifesting I run. Peter is more cynical than I
am when it comes to that. When he told me that he met a woman who has
like got this manifesting stuff down I was like there’s no way. There’s no way
because Peter, he tend to be more cynical than I am.
So I hired her, right? I hired her last March and I got to tell you, like, my
entire life has shifted because of work. I’ve been working with her every
week for the past year and my entire mindset, my entire reality now is
different because of it. I’m more relaxed, I’m more calm, more stuff happens
in the business with less effort. I can go on and on.
But I’ve been struggling lately with this idea of -- There’s like the hustle,
hustle; you got to grind it out and go for it. And then there’s like this whole
abundance flow and just align with what’s right for you. How do you balance
the two and like what are your thoughts on this? It’s a weird paradox and I
don’t know if there is an actual answer. There probably isn’t. But I’m just
curious on your perspectives.
Peter: See, now we really are just having like a regular Peter and Andy conversation.
We are talking and talked about paradox. So just wanting every listener, this
is about to get paradoxical …
Andy: Down the rabbit hole.
Peter: … secular and confusing and psychedelic.
Yeah. So how do you rationalize that what we’re starting to learn about the
human mind and about the way that this crazy gray matter interfaces with
the external reality like that is our universe? Has these spooky things that
kind of go on, these weird, weird things that we have to kind of descend into
like almost spiritual language to just be able to describe that close us to
manifest success if that’s what we’re looking for versus, I guess, the most
stoic philosophy of grind it out, of do the work, no pain no gain.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: [unclear 00:35:21], the sort of weightlifting approach to business which I’m a
huge fan of; like we’ve just been talking about essentially.
The answer is that you have to be able to grok the paradox that you can do
both because this is the thing that I kind of wrestle with and the wrestling of
which -- like wrestling with it is not necessarily a bad thing but here’s some
things about my life and my career:
One, the biggest developments, the shifts, the next leveling up opportunities
that have happened in my business career have happened because of
serendipitous, magical, and mystical chance. Not because of something that I
have done, not because of some genius insight that I have ever had.
Now, flip side of that coin, other people who know me, significant other, you
know, various, like, folks who know me well, will actually say, “Well, you have
the intelligence to put yourself in that place so that you were there at the
right time and you met the guy and the thing unfolded and blah, blah, blah.”
And so I try to -- and that feels great to hear that because I’m like, “Yeah, I
did that.”
Andy: I am the man.
Peter: I thought for a second. Thank you for reminding.
But the thing is is that I try to oscillate because I haven’t found a pivot point
where I can just balance in between the two. So I try and oscillate between
gratitude for what’s outside of my control and the good things that happen
and that’s where we go down the spiritual rabbit hole.
And then also I oscillate to cracking the whip on myself and making myself do
huge things, you know? And I know that that works as well because
sometimes I have moments where I just want to sit on a couch but I got to do
something. I make myself do the work and then good stuff happens and so
one contributes to the other. It’s a very difficult thing to kind of rationalize
but, yeah. But these great things have happened to me. Some of them I’m
just grateful that they happened. They felt spooky, they felt there’s
something bigger than me was contributing.
I guess the whole thing -- I know Julie very well. She’s one of my best friends.
The whole kind of philosophy behind her work is that if you focus on what
you want enough, if you’re able to kind of have a clear enough vision that
you’re working towards, then it’s just a matter of putting yourself into a state
of flow. And I think that this is perhaps the practical takeaways that
sometimes making yourself do the work, having that stoic attitude filling your
capability gaps, crushing it like all of that vernacular. Sometimes that can be
in a very powerful way where you’re in a state of flow while you’re doing it.
Sometimes you can be like just pushing, shoot up a hill, like fighting yourself
to make yourself do these things.
And I think that like that’s really the very edge of my understanding is that
I’m seeking now like the work -- I’m quoting Julie basically here. But the work
is putting yourself into that state where work itself becomes effortless.
Andy: Mm-hmm.
Peter: You and I were just chatting, like, two days ago, I was telling you about how
hard I’ve been working with just on a huge, big implementation of a new
marketing system for Commit Action, one of my businesses. I’ve been
clocking a huge number of hours of work. But the thing for me is like when
I’m working in a way that I kind of forget to eat, it’s sort of like, I’m just like in
the zone.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: It’s not effort to do the stuff. It’s more effort to stay energized, you know? I
guess that’s what I’m saying is that when you’re starting to understand this
paradox, this thing, the thing to focus on is what actions you have to take in
your life that are going to put you in the emotional state. That are going to
put your neurochemical bath that your brain is sitting in is in your
bloodstream, into the type of state, endorphins wise, when you just are in
your zone and you’re doing the work, and you have the optimism bias and all
of the right ingredients are there so that, like, I guess you’re most open to the
opportunities that are around you that if you’re closed off to will pass you by.
Andy: I think we’ve all been in a state like that where it’s like you go to the grocery
store and you get the parking spot upfront or you get the last ticket for the
concert or whatever it is. And things just happen naturally and easily for you.
Peter: Right.
Andy: I think the work with Julie is -- Up until I started working with her, I thought
that was outside of my control, and I thought that was something that just
happened to me, and that I would fall into that state and I would fall out of it,
and that there was no rhyme or reason to why that was happening.
Peter: Right.
Andy: And I think what she’s taught me the most is that there’s actually -- you can
reverse engineer and you can actually create that type of flow and condition
yourself. Just like you would condition yourself to take an action, you can
condition yourself to be in flow.
Peter: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing. Again, it’s like something that you -- In
fact like the only thing that you should do is condition yourself to be there.
Because then once you’re there, everything else is a hell of a lot easier.
And so I know, like, it’s hard to describe and I’m sure there’s a bunch of
listeners right now who are like frustrated by the vagueness of this
conversation. It is hard to describe what you’re aiming for with this stuff, but
I can describe what you should try to avoid, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: Which is like when you’re in the place where you feel as though you have to
do a bunch of stuff and you’re overwhelmed by the fact that you have to take
action on these things. That you’re like, if I don’t it’s going to be a disaster.
You know what I mean? You feel as though that’s true to you. I guarantee it’s
not. It’s a first world problem. It’s an illusion.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: At that moment and when like working just feels so painful to you and you
push through it like you’re waiting through like concrete and you do it
anyway. In that moment you’re going to be like 1% as effective as an
individual as you could be with whatever you’re working on. Whether you’re
trying to write an email or, I don’t know, write a blog post or make a sales call
or have a meeting or, like, talk to your staff or whatever. You’re just going to
be very, very ineffective.
And so I think the number one thing that I have taken away from some of this
work is when I identify that that is happening, I’m getting into that state, I
stop trying to do the thing that I think I have to do. And I go to do something
that’s going to put me back into like in the zone state. Like that seems to me
the beginning of the sort of journey you’re working with the stuff.
Andy: I’m glad you talk about it because this is a little bit of a nebulous
Peter: Just kidding.
Andy: Again, if you’re interested in going down the rabbit hole much deeper with
me on this topic, email me and let me know about this interview. Just put
Julie in the subject line. If I get a bunch of emails, I’ll bring Julie on here and …
Peter: God, dude, people’s brains will melt.
Andy: Yeah, yeah. Your brains will melt. Like the stuff that’s happened with her is …
Peter: Can you do it three-way? Can I get on in that conversation?
Andy: Totally, man. I think that would be super fun. We’ll let the audience decide.
Again, email me andy@thefoundation.com, put Julie in the subject or Julie
and Peter and we’ll get a show going. I think you would be incredibly
surprised. At one point she wanted to -- she’s business partners with Russell
Simmons first of all. She, at one point, wanted to detach money from effort.
Like the idea of making money from actually putting effort to get money. She
gets a call one day -- Has she told you this story?
Peter: Probably.
Andy: She was on Dragons’ Den which is like Shark Tank in Canada, for her health
foods company, and she got on there and she did her pitch but …
Peter: Oh, yeah, I know the story.
Andy: Yeah, didn’t do anything with it. She’s in this middle of this period of saying
like money comes to me without effort, right? I’m not exactly sure the
language she used but detaching energy and effort from receiving money.
One day she gets a call from Dragons’ Den and they say, “Hey,
congratulations, you are the People’s Choice winner and we’re just calling to
let you know.” She’s like, “What does that even mean? People’s Choice?
What is that?” I’m getting a little echo again.
Peter: Really?
Andy: Turn that down. Yeah. So she gets this email from people -- I still get the
Peter: I don’t know. Did anything change?
Andy: Okay, now it’s off.
Peter: Okay.
Andy: So she gets this phone call, not email. She gets this phone call saying “You’re
the People’s Choice winner,” she’s like, “What’s the People’s Choice thing?”
They say, “Well, on Dragons’ Den what we do every season is we have the
audience vote on who their favorite person is and they voted and you’re the
winner,” and she’s like, “Oh, cool.” And they’re like, “Yeah. And it comes with
a check for $50,000.” So she got 50 grand just like that, out of the blue. I
could tell you other random stories.
I could tell you the story of this sign. How this sign actually came to me. I was
doing work with Julie and I was thinking about how it would be really badass
to have like a giant Foundation sign for the podcast behind me and I’ve
always wanted this like giant sticker back there.
I did an interview with Pete Sveen who runs the Think Entrepreneurship
podcast. At the end of the interview he goes, “Oh, by the way, thanks for
doing this with me. Just so you know, I have a sign company that does signs.
So if you ever want to a sign for anything, just let me know. Give me the logo
and I’ll send it to you for free.” It’s like little stuff like that, dude. It’s crazy.
So, anyway, before we get too far down that hole, again, email me if you
want to bring Julie and Peter back on. We’ll have an incredible conversation.
Before going into that though …
Peter: I love this, like, voting thing. It’s brilliant. It feels like a game show.
Andy: Oh, man. The entire reason -- just so you guys know -- the entire reason Peter
and I are having this chat the way that we are that’s pretty like chill and just
kind of riffing is because Dane and I did that episode like three or four weeks
ago and you guys emailed us so many times. I got more emails from that
episode than any of them. Because of that we’re doing a lot more of them. So
thank you for your feedback and please keep it coming.
So, moving on. There is the whole abundant thing but there is the idea of
having a structured discipline to your week and being accountable for what
you’re doing. And having somebody there to like -- I think it’s especially
important at the beginning as you’re building that muscle, as you’re
conditioning yourself to take action over and over.
Peter: Just when I thought that we’re escaping the rabbit hole of paradox, I want to
point out that one of the things that helps me get in the zone the most is
structure. So one of the things that helps me get in this creative flowing zone
where I feel like I can do anything and honestly the work just happens, the
great thing is getting done, is structure around other things in my life; like
kind of building a container around that. So I’m like a highly, highly structured
person even though I believe in.
We were just chatting the other day about how this week because I had so
much going on. I was actually scheduling my meals in my calendar, my Gmail
calendar with like reminders of what food I should eat because I wanted to
reduce the cognitive load of deciding what those meals would be. Yeah. So
structure is super important.
Some people might think it’s weird that we can alternate from talking about
manifestation and meditating like this woo-woo stuff about how stuff can
just appear in your life when you kind of wanted and you focus on it and
staying in flow which is this very liquid term. And then we start talking about
this very concrete structure thing. It’s really two sides of the same coin.
When you grok the paradox, when you get this, they really support one
So I just want to give that context because otherwise it’s kind of a crazy
juxtaposition. Yeah, so let’s talk about structure.
Andy: It’s so true. It’s like a dance between the two where the structure actually
creates this base for flow.
Peter: Right.
Andy: So it’s like having the morning or evening ritual creates the space to like get
into that flow during the day.
Peter: Right.
Andy: Let’s talk about people who are getting started, and procrastination and why
that happens, and what are the structures that are missing.
Peter: Yeah. Procrastination is super interesting to me because when we’re talking
about these first two years in business, it’s the thing -- Procrastination is the
kind of the obstacle that prevents us. It’s anything that slows down our
progress of that learning curve so you can look at those two years as this
journey up this ramp. And procrastination is what causes people to just stop,
like to just hesitate. Essentially make that learning curve longer than it needs
to be.
So for a long time in my business, when I was just working as the Shrink for
Entrepreneurs, I work with very experienced entrepreneurs and I used to
think about what can I do to help all these people who are just starting out,
who are in that first two-year period, who I’ve sworn I won’t take on as
clients. And that’s what kind of kicked off my study of procrastination which I
had struggled with in the past. So for many years now, I’ve been investigating
the neuroscience of procrastination and what really is going on with it, and
why it happens and why it’s such an epidemic. So this is something that’s like
my home turf. I love this topic.
One of the things that I think blows people’s minds to learn about
procrastination is that it is a growing epidemic. It’s actually increasing
globally. And this is happening for a really bizarre -- like a reason that a lot of
people haven’t kind of seen coming. Procrastination is partly how brains
responds to the abundance that the world that we now live in because of the
advent technology.
Just a few generations ago, like in some cases, maybe less than two
generation, two generations ago, maybe three, humans were in a place
where they couldn’t procrastinate. They were working in like agricultural jobs
where work was dictated to you by the seasons and there was always more
to do. And if you procrastinated you would like have nothing to eat the next
winter or whatever.
It’s been that way for thousands of years. The industrial revolution happened
and we quickly moved humans into city and gave them jobs and factories. For
the most part, everyone was a blue-collar worker like in the Western world.
In that environment, procrastination doesn’t really exist either because your
job is dependent on you doing something on a line, on a conveyer belt, you
know? Metaphysically or literally, there’s quality control breathing down your
shoulder. You can’t procrastinate in that environment. You’re kind of just a
cog in the system and then you’re bone-tired. At the end of the day you go
So now this crazy thing has happened, this knowledge economy has
happened because of technology, because we have robots to do all those
jobs for us. We’re now empowered by technology and we have all those
spare time on our hands. This is what people don’t realize is that it’s now
possible even if you’re not an entrepreneur, even if you have like a day job,
you know, like you’re working in an office. You can go to work.
I guarantee that 90% of the people listening to this could go to their jobs, if
they have a job, and do nothing for half of Monday morning and nobody will
kick their ass, nobody will even notice. Like it’s possible to spend four hours a
day on Facebook and no one will even notice. And the crazy thing is if you’re
running a business, you’re even less accountable. Like there’s so much
Dude, what time is it right now? It’s almost 4 o’clock on Friday afternoon. It’s
actually a holiday today so I’m going to do nothing. On Monday I could do
nothing for the entire day. I could call all my clients and say “I want to
reschedule,” and I could just play video games. Honestly, nothing would
really change.
This is crazy. Our brain is not ready for this abundance of time. We’re dealing
with hardware that’s built on thousands of years, millions of generations of
zero procrastination opportunity, and now we live in this world where we can
procrastinate and these things are competing for our attention is
opportunities for procrastination built by the smartest minds in marketing.
You know like Facebook and BuzzFeed and stuff like that.
Andy: Oh my God!
Peter: And it’s all coming at us and our brains can’t cope with it.
Andy: If you’ve downloaded any sort of video game anytime recently, the amount
of studies they do to get you addicted to that stuff is insane, man.
Peter: Oh, man, yeah. When I grew up I just want to work for, like, the people at
Candy Crush and learn about human psychology.
Andy: Right?
Peter: God!
Andy: It’s almost like people -- Attention is the greatest energy that you possibly
have is focus and attention, and everyone in the world is designing stuff to
steal your attention is how it feels.
Peter: I mean Facebook, their entire business model is built on your attention. Like
literally the evaluation. Their market capitalization is built on your attention.
That’s what it is. Period. Done. That’s it.
So there’s all other stuff coming at us and I think -- So the first message is if
you’re somebody listening to this and you find yourself procrastinating a lot,
i.e., if you’re a human, realize that a huge amount of this is environmental.
It’s our neurological hardware struggling to adapt to this crazy world that we
find ourselves in and it’s only going to get worst.
And so it’s incredibly important that we start studying and understanding the
things. The structures that we need to build both metaphysically and
mentally in our head and literally in concrete terms. In our external lives that
will support us to not procrastinate, to take the abundance of time that we
have available, the abundance of energy, the fact that we don’t need to go
forage for our lunch which takes a few hours, but we can do something with
that time because we can use that time to build something, to create
something. It’s that opportunity.
If you add up all of the humans just in this country or, you know, on the
planet or whatever, the amount of time that they have that could be spent
procrastinating, if we could just reclaim 10% of everyone’s time, we could
change the planet. We could end famine, we could end pollution, we could
fix the economy, we could do whatever we want to do. That is why fixing
procrastination is important.
Andy: It’s funny when you position it as like an epidemic, you know? I never think of
it in those terms and I never really -- I think we all are like, “Yeah, we …” I feel
like we just kind of joke about it, you know? Like, “Oh yeah, I procrastinate,”
blah, blah, blah. But you never really think of like how serious the issue really
Peter: No. You think about it in terms of population statistics. Like look at your life.
Let’s assume that you’re like -- everybody thinks they procrastinate more
than average, right? So let’s pretend how -- let’s pretend that you
procrastinate for like just five hours a week which is bullshit. Everyone
procrastinates more than that. Then add up the entire population of the
country, then add up the average income of the entire population of the
country, divided by 40. Like how much they earn per hour times five. That’s
the economic impact of our, like, bullshit estimate of, like, piece of
Andy: (Laughs)
Peter: So this stuff is kind of a big deal.
Andy: Oh, man. So Peter runs the Shrink for Entrepreneurs where he consults with
very, very high-end entrepreneurs who he won’t even tell me the names of,
at times. But then he’s also building something on the side, Commit Action.
Can you speak to that a little bit and tell us like what that is and how people
are using it?
Peter: Yeah. So Commit Action started as my iterative attempt to help people beat
procrastination. I wanted to use what I knew about Psychology and some of
the work I’ve done one-on-one with people around procrastination, and also
in my own life, to kind of create a service, a thing that people could do.
Something that people could get in on that would help them beat
And so what Commit Action is is we’re a team of coaches. I employ a whole
bunch of people. They’re my productivity ninjas. They’re experts in that and
that alone. They’re people who are psychologically kind of selected as a very
unique profile with a graded understanding, delayed gratification, and
discipline and all those types of things. And we’ve created a framework that
we’ve tested, validated along the way.
We managed to scoop up the Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard
Medical School who’s super passionate about beating procrastination also
and the neuroscience of it. He’s a world-renowned neuroscience researcher
so he helped inform our coaching process as well. We’ve been figuring out
this methodology, we’ve tested it with thousands of entrepreneurs and it’s
going really, really well. We figured out that there’s a few key ingredients
that you can kind of bake into people’s lives that make procrastination less of
an issue. So we call them the pillars of productivity and [unclear 00:56:27]
Our coaching methodology is built on that, that’s what we work with people
on. But the thing is is that they’re not secrets. I don’t know how much time
we have but I’m happy to dive in to the details with you because we share
this information for free. We want people to actually know about it before
they join Commit Action and start working with one of our coaches. Because
the more understanding you have of how to fight that epidemic of
procrastination and win the war on procrastination, the better you’re going
to be able to use both our service and like anything in your own life. So you
want to stack understanding and, you know.
To dive into it really quickly one other things that -- We focus on these four
primary pillars and the fifth one relates to our -- full circle relates to our
conversation about Julie so we figured out kind of halfway through, I guess
about a year ago, we figured out we needed to add a pillar to our kind of
consumer facing pillars of productivity concept.
So they are specificity which is understanding how to set goals at the right
level of granularity that your unconscious mind easily understands what
those goals are and understands how to move towards them without being
too overwhelmed by the abstractness, like by the hugeness of the goal, or
too overwhelmed by the granularity of it, by the too many, like, 101 items to
do. So the level of specificity or what our neuroscience research is called --
what do they call it? Implementation granularity, it’s like the nerd term. It’s
super important.
Measurement is something else and we’ve seen that in the quantified selfmovement
that’s kind of taking Silicon Valley by storm. It’s the foundation of
this whole industry thing that is supposedly about to blow up around
wearable technology or these medical tracking bracelets that measure stuff
about our bodies.
So the idea of measurement is that when we measure things we love to play
games, we’ve started doing this as young children, it’s built in to our
psychology with the gold star chart from pre-school and things like that. So
measuring something actually makes it instantly more achievable when
you’re tracking.
And I think one of the things that -- It sounds very unsexy like, “Oh, yeah, I
should measure a goal,” but what a lot of people don’t realize is that a huge
number of big goals they’re working towards that they get caught up
procrastinating on, they end up not really experiencing any gratification.
So I’ll give you an example. Like the classic one is weight loss. If you want to
lose weight you have to work out for like three or four weeks and eat healthy
before you’ll notice any result. And so measurement is not about measuring
the pounds that you lose because that’s going to feel great. People are going
to compliment you, you’ll notice your body is thinner; you’ll feel good about
that and be excited about it no matter what.
Measurement is about creating a ritual of tracking the micro changes like just
ticking off. Look at the last seven days, I ate grilled chicken for lunch every
single day for the last seven days and you start to feel good about that streak,
like type of measurement; even a meaningless stuff like a gold star chart. It’s
ultimately meaningless but it elicits that positive response, that dopamine,
that endorphin. You start to feel good about the fact that you’re making
progress even though you haven’t really made progress yet.
And so you don’t do the thing that most people do where they have like a
long term goal that’s far away. They work towards it, they get halfway there,
they’re not getting the gratification they want and they quit or they
procrastinate. So that’s the importance of measurement. Two more.
Yeah, there’s deadlines which is -- It’s super unsexy but we’ve just broken it
down that when people don’t have dates attached to their goals they’re not
able to -- they just don’t get done. Why is it that people are so productive
right before they go on vacation when they’re about to get on a plane and fly
off somewhere. They crush things, they get the inbox empty. Why does that
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: So there’s something about deadlines. We understand a lot about the
psychology of it and it’s something that every goals needs to have.
So Commit Action, the actual service, our coaches create kind of deadlines by
having this weekly ritualize conversation. They phone our clients up every
week, they yell at them, they spit in their face. No, I’m just kidding. But they
do. They set deadlines by figuring out what’s going to happen within the next
seven days.
And the last one which is I think the most powerful and the one that you
should. If you’re thinking about, like, getting a coach or using Commit Action,
you should get that from this person but you should also go, pursue it on
your own. Both paid, finding people that you can buy it from, both for free,
from your friends, from your family. It’s accountability. You can stack so
many layers of it.
I know Andy and I spent countless hours talking about how to increase
student accountability in The Foundation, figuring out how to hack that. It is
the single most important thing when it comes to human behavior change,
turning intention into results is accountability.
Jogging buddies work. If you have more than one it works way better because
of the cost of failure; behavioral flexibility. If you’re alliance on one source of
accountability alone and that becomes remotely flaky then, like, your
accountability mechanism has vanished. So you’ve got to stack as many
layers as possible. Tell your significant other what you’re trying to
accomplish, what the deadline is, what the goal is. Tell your business coach.
Get a Commit Action accountability coach. They are pro. They want to be like
your jogging buddy who doesn’t show up when he’s hung up.
Andy: Yeah.
Peter: So accountability is super important.
So all these things, these unsexy things, we can talk for hours about the
psychology, the neuroscience. I start to geek out on it. Gets really exciting
about why they work. But we learned we made this massive, massive
We created these four pillars and a few others. We track like seven different
psychometric variables for all of our clients at Commit Action. We realize we
made this huge mistake when people started burning out. Because they were
being too productive and they were, like, finding that Commit Action was too
onerous and they were just getting yelled at and the coach was like, “Drop
and give me 20.” It’s kind of like personal training for productivity but it’s not
actually scary.
And we realize that we needed to add another pillar completely in the
opposite direction. I don’t know if I should tell you guys what it is. I should
maybe use this as my like …
Andy: Use it as debate.
Peter: Yeah. So there’s a fifth pillar that if you don’t have it the rest of it, the perfect
system will actually blow up in your face. You’ll be super productive but
ultimately you’ll be unsustainable. So if you want to know what that is, dude,
I’ve got to do it. I’m not going to tell them.
Andy: Dude, I think that’s fair. I think that’s fair.
Peter: If you want to know what that is, go to commitaction.com/sfn for Starting
from Nothing. There is an opt-in page there and we will mail out. We just
created this. You are the first person I’m sharing this with. I just got done
creating a series of video tutorials all about the five pillars of productivity. We
will send them all to you. It’s totally free. It will be awesome.
Andy: Dude, so amazing. Thanks, man.
Peter: No one knows about this by the way. This is the first place that I’ve
announced these videos. So go check it out. It’s like brand new content and
it’s awesome. We’ve been working on this for the last, like, months.
Andy: Commitaction.com/sfn for Starting from Nothing. Just to reiterate.
Regardless if you do Commit Action or not, the importance of having
accountability in your life -- I know Carl, who a lot of people know, has been
using Commit Action for ages.
Peter: Carl is a badass Commit Action customer. I should pull up Carl’s Commit
Action stats while we’re talking.
Andy: If you don’t know Carl, he’s one of the top students in The Foundation from
last year who worked at Tesla Motors, built ClinicMetrics. Just absolute rock
star. And then the other thing is like the Commit Action framework is around
having three goals a week and then you focus on those three goals.
In January we hired this consultant to teach us the Rockefeller Habits and we
paid $18,000 for this consultant to work with us for three months. And pretty
much doing exactly this where it’s like we have three goals a week,
everybody in the team does, and we measure each week how far did we
make on each one of those goals and each week we report on it. It’s that
simple and it is life changing.
Peter: Dude, that’s the Commit Action methodology.
I don’t really talk about this generally, but if you do sign up for Commit Action
-- go get the free information -- but if you join the actual coaching program
for starters, it’s not $18,000. It’s significantly cheaper. That’s what it’s all
We found that three is the magic number. There’s even some kind of science
behind that. The Marine Corp -- actually this is interesting. The US Marines
tested the right number of tasks to have an individual marine focused on and
specifically squad objectives and squad numbers. And they found that when
you had three people who are focused on three objectives in a complex
training environment with like distractions and noises and things like that,
these training scenarios that they run, that would produce the maximum
success. When they bumped it up to four people on three objectives, there
was an increase rate of failure.
Andy: Wow!
Peter: When they did three people on four objective, increase rate of failure. So
there’s like this magic number three.
I’m super obsessed with mythology and all that kind of stuff, for some reason
the number three has always been this magic number. Every Hollywood
movie follows the three act structure. The basis of all mythology tends to
have three critical turning points for every single character. There’s some for
every single kind of protagonist.
There’s something about the number three so we base Commit Action on. If
you can pick three balls up a week and move them forward in your life, in
your business, then eventually, inevitably you will climb that learning curve,
you will learn what you need to learn, you’ll develop the character attributes
you need to, and using that fifth pillar you’ll also accomplish the like zen
something that will be. Indescribable method that we’ve been talking about
and you’ll just rock it and that’s what we’ll be doing.
Andy: And I think the real gold or what you don’t realize is, yeah, you will -- Randy
Pausch in his Last Lecture, he talks about like the head fakes and how sports
in high school are a “head fake” which, you know, you think you’re learning
how to play football but really what you’re learning is discipline and how to
play as a team and leadership. And I think the real gold in tracking three
activities a week personally and professionally, and having somebody hold
you accountable, is that when you’re not reaching them you reveal what’s
holding you back and you reveal the …
Peter: Which is what …
Andy: … capability gap.
Peter: Which is really what we’re all about.
Andy: Which is really what we all know.
Peter: Yeah. For Commit Action, we’re more interested certainly where all of the
training idea with our coaches. It doesn’t go in like what do you do in the
situation where a client is successful and smashes three goals? It goes into
what do you do with the client when they’re not successful and they’re
unable to smash their three goals? Because what happens next is game
changing if you do it right.
Andy: What you’ll notice is that if you struggle with the same thing for more than
two weeks, it’s not the thing that’s in the way. There’s something else.
Peter: Right.
Andy: Always. Almost always.
Peter: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
So, yeah, Carl’s been a Commit Action customer for a long time. While you’re
talking, I just pulled up his profile and I see that the last week of Commit
Action that he completed he nailed three for three. His results here are
pretty steady. I’m looking over his profile. He’s been crushing it.
Andy: He’s such a rock star. And his beard is like down to his belly. Well, maybe not
that long but it is -- there might be animals living in it. I’m not sure.
Peter: Are you serious? He hasn’t updated his profile picture on Commit Action.
Andy: Check it. It’s big. (Laughs)
Peter: (Laughs)
Andy: Dude, awesome man. Thank you so much for coming on.
Again, if any of you are listening and you enjoyed this session, email me
andy@thefoundation.com. Let me know. If you’re interested in learning
about the five pillars and more about Commit Action, commitaction.com/sfn.
Peter, if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way? Where
can they find you?
Peter: My personal email address is peter@petershallard.com. I’m a beast at
responding to email so you cannot hammer my inbox too hard. It loves it. It
takes it. It loves the punishment. I’d love to hear from you. I really do
encourage you to go check out the content at Commit Action. We have a
huge amount of free content that’s just nearly available.
Andy phoned me up and said “Come do this podcast but you should totally
prepare something special for my readers,” so we’re also dropping -- I just
setup last night. I have an eBook that I wrote called Demystifying Your Fear.
It’s many, many thousands of words. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever
written. It’s all about psychology and a lot of Jedi stuff.
I used to sell it on my site for $47 and I decided to take it down and focus on
some other things in business but I’ve dusted it off and you will get a copy of
that the moment that you sign up or shortly after you pop your email
Andy: Or like two moments after.
Peter: What’s that?
Andy: Probably two moments after.
Peter: Probably like two moments after. Yeah. We’re working on [unclear 01:09:29].
Andy: (Laughs)
Peter: So, yeah. Yeah. I think you guys should go check that out. Yeah. There’ll be
more than a few opportunities to chat and catch up and hangout. I’m going
to twist Andy’s arm as well. If people are thinking about joining Commit
Action and signing up for some coaching, we love to have you. It’s awesome.
You should just go check out the content first and make up your mind. I’m
going to get Andy to comment and answer some questions.
Commit Action is all about beating procrastination and becoming super
productive and it works on the premise that basically -- Everyone knows what
they should be doing. More or less you have the list of a 101 things you know
you should do to take your business to the next level. If you could just do
them you would succeed. You’d get there, you know? So we make you do
them. It’s personal training for productivity.
But in the rare event where you hit an obstacle where you don’t know what
to do next and there isn’t like a clear path ahead of you and it’s not a
procrastination problem, you have a strategy issue, we do a cool Q&A. People
ask me questions. I record little videos where I tell them what I think. If I
don’t know the answer, I’ll go tap my network and find someone who does,
go ask them, then deliver the answer back anyway.
So I’m going to make Andy come in and do some of those for Starting from
Nothing listeners who want to do that stuff. Because he’s a smart guy and I
think it will be cool for the interviewer to finally, like, dish out some zen ways
Andy: Oh, yeah.
Peter: Some business strategy. The table shall turn.
Andy: Dude, it sounds awesome, man. Again, thank you all. Thank you for listening.
Thank you for just being part of the Starting from Nothing community.
Peter: Thank you for having me back.
Andy: Yeah. I think judging by how much fun I had this interview there’ll probably
be a third time.
Peter: That’s awesome.
Andy: Thanks, man.
Peter: I appreciate it, dude. I start to chat. I will catch you next week.
Andy: Later brother.
Peter: All right. Bye.
Closing: Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview and created a custom
action guide so you know exactly what action steps to take to grow your
business. Just head over to thefoundationpodcast.com to download it for
free. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.