• Michael Pietrzak

24 Lessons from Tony Robbins Business Mastery—Part Four, Action


—By Mike Pietrzak



One year ago I put myself through the odyssey of Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, and on this anniversary I'm sharing my top 24 lessons from that unparalleled 5-day "MBA through a firehose".


This is Part Four in the series, and the focus today is on Tony Robbins' Top 6 lessons about TAKING ACTION.


[Check out Part One: Mindset Lessons, here.]


[Check out Part Two: Sales & Marketing, here.]


[Check out Part Three: Client Lessons, here.]



Six Lessons About Taking Action in business


Lesson 19: Focus Equals Power

Entrepreneurship can feel a bit like being a circus sideshow, with you spinning plates at the end of poles. You get one turning, then move over here to get another going, but by the time you have five or six in motion the first one is almost stopped, and at risk of smashing to the floor.


And so the unhealthy entrepreneur runs from this to that task, never feeling like he can rest even for a moment lest you end up with a bucket of broken dishes. The solution is to do less, but better. The solution is to become a master of focus—the opposite of trying to do it all.


There was a time when I was writing copy, scheduling client meetings, building my website, doing bookkeeping and social media manually—all before noon! And why did I try to do it all? Because like most entrepreneurs, it’s hard to pick a focus because you’re afraid of picking the wrong one, or letting the other tasks slide.


Take billionaire Bill Gross’s advice: “The wrong focus is even better than UNfocus.” This is because when you work with focus you get clear outcomes. Without focus, you’ll never know if your efforts could have been effective.


How I applied this lesson

I’ve made some excellent strides here. Even before Business Mastery, I printed out in large, bold letters, “FOCUS = POWER” and posted it beside my desk, where it still lives. This helps me stop chasing a million small tasks and instead focus on a maximum of three priorities for my week (write this article and turn it into several social posts, for example).


I cut several product lines and started to focus only on our core mission and the 12-week programs that generate the most revenue. Guess what? Clients are noticing, and sales have improved.


Quick wins for you
  • Create a “Stop Doing List”. Decide what you will no longer do because it’s not the MOST important priority, and put it on a list that you see daily.

  • Delegate as much as you can to freelancers or employees. Be a business owner, not an operator (see Lesson #4). Let your colleagues know what is important to you.

  • Take Payal Kadakia’s advice: Shut down products [that aren’t working] and focus.


Lesson 20: Build a Complementary Team

When you start out you likely won’t have the luxury of staff. But as you move from being a business operator to a business owner (see Lesson #4), you will necessarily recruit staff, either in-house or on a contract basis.


Who do you hire? A team that compliments each other, of course! When I made my first recruit, I wasn’t good at social media, and didn’t enjoy doing it. So I hired someone who did.


Google tried to answer the “what makes a dream team” question by combing its decades of hiring, firing, and performance data and found that all successful teams have a mix of people with certain traits: left/right brained, emotional intelligence, strategic mindset, etc. Diversity is strength. Find those people that complement you and each other.


How I applied this lesson

When I was in a position to hire a second freelancer I knew that I was falling down on “tech stuff” including website design, and so I hired someone with those skills that I lacked. She built a new website with a better structure and a better sales conversion rate. And last week I hired my first sales rep, who’s already making sales, which is not something I’m innately good at.


To supercharge my coaching practice I hired a firm to generate leads for me, because I have no idea where to start with cold outreach. Their services complemented my strengths and allowed me to focus on my highest good, which is coaching clients.


Quick wins for you
  • Don’t just hire people because you like them; assess your own strengths and weaknesses and hire those with talents that fill gaps in your skillset.

  • Give the people you interview personality tests: Myers and Briggs is popular. This will help you see a candidate’s strong and weak points, so you can build your dream team.

Lesson 21: Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast


I had a hard time accepting this one. The argument is essentially this: you can have the best strategy in the world, but if it’s executed by people with the wrong attitude, you will fail.


Company culture is that intangible but invaluable quality that determines what people do when they are not told what to do. I walked into a burrito place last week and asked the guy behind the counter, “how are you?”


“I’m tired, man,” he said. I doubt if the company leadership wants him greeting customers this way. My guess? Management is also tired, because culture comes from the top.


Make it clear to your team members how you’re going to act as a group and individually—including how you speak to clients and colleagues, taking initiative, work hours, what you wear, and how to tackle problems.


How I applied this lesson

This lesson showed me that I had not been setting a good example. I was burnt out and it showed in the low energy I brought to meetings and even my emails. I resolved to change my attitude about the company, and started renewing myself with hikes, time off, and music. Soon enough, my team commented on my renewed enthusiasm and THEY became enthusiastic.


Quick wins for you
  • Start treating your team like a team, rather than siloed individuals. Let them know that this company is a place of collaboration, not competition.

  • Over-communicate to and over-train your team. Institute a quick Monday morning huddle where you can go over examples of how you want them to act when you’re not around. Work to transfer your brain to them.

  • Set the tone through your own words and actions. Be the company culture you want to see in them.

  • When necessary, let go of the people who can’t or won’t buy in to that culture.


Need help taking conscious, effective action on your business? Schedule a free, casual 30-minute coaching chat with me.

Lesson 22: Ask for Help


I’m embarrassed to say that this is a lesson both in business and in life that I took too many decades to learn. Entrepreneurs are ambitious high achievers with lofty beliefs about their capabilities, even when we struggle with self-doubt.


We believe we can do much more than the average mortal. We struggle to delegate until we let go of the false belief that “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself” (that’s bullshit—you’re not better at everything than everybody).


Dave Dahl was a convict who sold his bread company for $275 million. Despite giving the impression that he could kill you with his pinky ring, he spoke gently. Tony asked him about the secret to his success and he said, “The willingness to ask for help was the most important thing.”


He embraced humility. He stopped worrying about what anyone else thought of him, and let go of the need for others’ approval. He asked for help, which is not something most entrepreneurs do easily, because we imagine that we have to project this aura of success and competence for clients and investors to trust us. Say it with me now: that’s bullshit!


How I applied this lesson

It was difficult for me to do, partly because it was expensive, but mainly because my ego had been telling me I could play Superman, but I hired a freelancer to manage the tech side of my business.


To grow my coaching practice I hired an exceptional business coach who guided me to niche down and turn myself into a brand. It worked. Plus, last week I hired a company to do lead generation for me—something I struggled with for years. I’m highly optimistic about the results that are coming.


Quick wins for you
  • Ask yourself: “who can help me with this problem?” and “who has walked this road before?” Then, reach out for advice.

  • Slightly before you feel ready, hire. Delegation is a sacred form of asking for help. Stick with freelancers at first to control fixed costs.

  • Seek out help for your own mental and emotional states as well. You are the company, and you need to take care of you.

Lesson 23: Execution Trumps Knowledge


Tony often says something like, “Knowledge is not power. It’s only potential power. Action is power.” And it’s true!

Think about your friend Jerry who has one million brilliant business ideas and the talent to succeed, but does nothing. The world is deprived of his genius.


Conversely, think about all the millionaires and billionaires you know who dropped out of college (*cough* Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs, Larry Page, Jack Dorsey, Michael Dell *cough*). It was action that preceded their success.


And what kind of action leads to success? Massive action, of course. The best execution is supported by thoughtful strategy, prioritization and focus, good data, love, and joy, but most importantly—you need to actually do something.


How I applied this lesson

Oh, boy, did I take some action after Business Mastery. The next day I cleared my calendar to review all of my notes, and went for a long walk on the beach to reconnect to my mission. I created a long list of action items, in categories, and prioritized them. One year later I’m still crossing items off my Business Mastery list in Trello.


That includes hiring out my weaknesses, rebuilding two websites, creating lead pipelines, taking courses, interviewing clients and sending surveys, testing new products and marketing, growing seven social media accounts and leveraging video, starting Jiu Jitsu, going on an Ayahuasca journey, and hiring a business coach.


Quick wins for you
  • Get good at using Tony Robbins’ classic tool, the Rapid Planning Method: In ten minutes you can get clarity on your result, reconnect with your purpose, and create a massive action plan.

  • Be like Bob and focus on baby steps. No, I’m not joking. High-achiever types believe that tackling big goals is the best strategy. Yes, but not all at once. You need to break your audacious goal into many small, almost too-easy-to-manage pieces if you want to be effective.

  • Stop talking; start doing.


Lesson 24: Have Fun With It


This lesson didn’t come from Tony’s mouth or verbatim from one of his Business Mastery guests. Nonetheless, I heard it loud and clear. One quality that each of the speakers shared in common was their obvious enthusiasm for their work and business. Not one of them was negative, cynical, or worn out—including the ex-convict.


Even the expert on accounting gushed with joy for his work! They were all having the time of their lives while riding to the top of their fields.


There’s a powerful takeaway here: that if you want to succeed in business, you must have fun with the work. No amount of hustle, grind, push, or sheer force of will can sustain you all the way to success. You will burn out if you dislike the work—if it feels like a chore.


Steve Jobs said it best: "The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”


As an entrepreneur you have two choices: you can choose work that you love, or you can choose to love your work (see the subtle difference?)


Hell, why not choose to do both?


How I applied this lesson

I admit that, going into Business Mastery, I dreaded working in my writer training business. I had a bottomless to-do list of action items, and I was tackling the same administrative tasks week after week—activities I should have delegated long before.


So I took a long walk on the beach and asked myself point-blank: “Do I want to keep doing this?” The temptation to shut the doors was overwhelming.


But I took the time to consciously reconnect to my purpose for doing this work. I remembered what having my own writing mentor, and being able to leave my government job, did for my happiness. I decided to focus on giving that to others, and I’ve been having a heck of a lot more fun since then.


Quick wins for you
  • Go on a short journey and ask yourself: “Can I choose to enjoy this work, or should I walk away?” Don’t agonize over this decision for weeks or years—search the depths of your soul and then commit to the path that makes you most happy... without looking back.

  • Create some space in your day! Many entrepreneurs feel that they have to be on All. The. Time. It’s not fair or realistic. You’re a Human Being, not a Machine Doing. When you work 10 hours straight without getting up to stretch your legs, it poisons your body, mind, and spirit. Bike for 30 minutes. Eat a long lunch. Disappear for the afternoon. You, the entrepreneur, are the company, and you can’t run yourself at the redline.


***


There it is, my fellow conscious entrepreneurs: my top 24 lessons from Tony Robbins Business Mastery. Others may have collected different takeaways from this five-day billionaire-bootcamp, but after 20 years and five businesses, I’m finally starting to see the ingredients of a truly world-class, scalable business.


These 24 lessons are those ingredients. Is this a simple recipe? No. But now you have a roadmap to get cooking.


Do you feel like anything is missing from my list, or should have been emphasized? Let me know in the comments!


Need help taking conscious, effective action on your business? Schedule a free, casual 30-minute coaching chat with me.

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