Join Dean and Dan as they discuss the question that frames the day; What do you have for me today procrastination?
Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep005
Dean: Mr. Sullivan.
Dan: Mr. Jackson, it's been too long.
Dean: It has been, hasn't it? I was thinking that same thing. So much to talk about. All good.
Dan: Yeah, and I just want to tell you that I'm getting a lot of feedback from the previous sessions we did together.
Dean: Me, too.
Dan: This was in, not my workshops because my own workshops only happen over a two month period. The last one of the previous period was about a month ago, and the next ones won't start in two weeks, so I've been visiting when the workshops that are coached by our associate coaches. I come in, and in everyone of them, someone has come up and said, "I'm listening to the Joy of Procrastination." We're already having an impact on the world.
Dean: It's so great. I'm getting the same thing. That's encouraging. Most importantly, not to be selfish, it's having an impact on me. Let's be honest. That's the most important thing.
Dan: Yes, absolutely. You want to be able to practice what you're preaching.
Dean: Have you-
Dan: Tell me a couple of things that you've noticed.
Dean: I'll tell you what. I've moved into what I would call the automatic routine level of my first 20 minutes of waking. It was an interesting evolution because Joe Polish and I had John Paul DeJoria on "I Love Marketing". We did an episode with him and he was talking about his morning routine of ... He spends the first little while of the morning just laying in bed and just getting grounded. I used to be that I would wake up and I'm up and going. There wasn't a lot of laying around or transition from waking up to getting going. I've consciously made an effort to when I wake up now, I get awake and I am thinking, "Okay, Procrastination. What have you got for me today?" He never sleeps. He's there at the ready. Whenever I'm ready ...
Dan: 24/7, this one is working.
Dean: I can count on him. That's been my thing of starting my day like that, asking myself that thought, and I've picked the three things that are my actions for the day before I step foot out of my bed. It's been a great relaxing thing. I thought about this wisdom of your ... Because you were the one who really brought this idea of picking three things to me.
Dean: Ultimately, I know your practice is that you do your three and then you're done. I've been focused on those three as if those are the only three things that I'm going to do, but then I give myself the option to say, "If I want to, okay. What's next?" I do more if I want to.
Dan: I have to tell you that I do do that, but I'm at 100% when I complete the three, so I'm in bonus territory. Just because of teamwork with other people in the program, they might have sent me impact filters and say, "We'd like to have a meeting on this and that." If this comes up, then it comes up. It might come up overnight. I'll get a PDF of an impact filter, and we can explain for those who don't know what an impact filter is. To me, I respond to impact filters if the communication comes to me in that forum. Let's say that I came to me late at night, and I already had my three things planned. Well, I'm going to do the three things because they are number one, two, and three. However, I'm very serious about responding as quickly as I can to someone else's impact filter request. There might be one. There could even be two. I had two on one day that were overnight things, so I responded to those, but those were bonus achievements for the day. It was frosting.
Dean: That's exactly it, and I think depending on ... What I'm finding now is setting up these procedures for dealing with things like that. Just like you said, you're focused on the three, and then you can do bonus things if you want to. That's exactly the way that I think about it, but I loved your ... You shared with us in my workshop once about an attorney who had a policy of, "I'll never return your phone call today, but I will always return your phone call tomorrow." I've kind of adopted that kind of an approach to somethings to take away my need to feel like I need to respond to something right away.
Dan: Just to give a very quick background on it. This is in the mid 1990s. I had one of the top defense attorneys in the city of Toronto. Still is, by the way, because he was only in his early 40s in the mid 1990s. I know his hourly fee in the mid 1990s was $500. It's probably exponentially greater than that now. Defense, it's an emergency situation. When somebody wants a defense attorney, it's usually some sort of an emergency situation where often times you're in trouble with the law or your being threatened with criminal activity. These individuals tend to be very, very insistent that you give them your full attention. They would come in for their first appointment and he always insisted that an intermediary could not come in and talk to him. It had to be the actual person who was the defendant.
He'd say, "Right up front, I want to establish a rule for you. I will never return your phone call today, but I will always return your phone call tomorrow." It was a shock to the system of these people because by coming in, they're willing to pay the $500 and hour for his time, but in their mind, that demands his full responsiveness any time they want to phone him. By paying him $500 an hour, they should be able to call him any time, any where, and under any circumstances. He would get the immediate saying, "If I'm paying you this much money, I'll have you available any time I want." He says, "Now, you see? Isn't this wonderful. We just have complete clarity right here at the beginning that we're not going to work together because you don't want to follow my number one rule which I'll repeat. I will never return your phone call today. I will always return you phone call tomorrow."
Then he went on to tell them that if today I'm actually meeting with you, I'm not returning anyone else's phone call, so when you come in and we actually have a meeting, you will have my full $500 an hour attention. That's why it's worth $500 because nothing else is on my mind and we're not going to be interrupted. I'm not thinking about any of my other clients with I'm dealing with you, and that's why we have the rule. He said, "There's about one out of two." Out of two people that he gave the rules to, one of them would accept it and then that was fine. One of them would say, "Well, I'll go to somebody else." That was fine, too, but he was going to stick to his rule.
Dean: It's an interesting thing that I think what that does is it clears the deck for you to be present. That's what I've found with the three is that I know that I've determined that these are the three. In order to have the peace that I'm not missing out on something that I should be doing, I've already gone to the point of ... That's why using the procrastination as the thing that helps, it automatically presorts and prioritizes your things for you. To know that until these three are done, I don't need to think about anything else.
Dan: Let me ask you a question about that first 20 minutes that you're going over this in your mind. Is there competition for the three? In other words, are there five competing for three positions or-
Dean: Dan, as a high quick start, you know exactly that if you give me ten minutes and a piece of paper, I could have three weeks worth of stuff that I need or three years worth of stuff, too, to do. There's always competition and self created. What I look for is the things that I've risen to that level of priority. There might be more, but knowing that ... I've noticed some patterns. What I do is the things that I often feel the procrastination about is I experience as another person. That's there's somebody attached to that procrastination.
Dan: Yes, indeed, there is.
Dean: That's the one that I feel the most urgency around, and that's why I like that.
Dan: Would you say there's a commitment there? Some sort of commitment that you've made?
Dean: Yes, exactly.
Dan: There's a deadline. Probably a deadline, too.
Dean: Yeah, sometimes or an expectation that we're moving forward. That is kind of the first thought that I've observed that my procrastination comes in the form of as I'm making that decision in the morning. It's the person. The people. Who are the people that are most expecting to hear from me today or need to hear from me today or that I would like to connect with today? It's that kind of level. I was like that first because then my first action of the day can be to send a quick email or a text or something first thing in the morning to let somebody know that I'm on this or that things are progressing, evidencing that things are moving or making that connection with somebody.
Dan: You know something is that our peace of mind about teamwork with other people is that we're getting constant reassurance that the thing that we're working on together is top of mind for the other person.
Dan: I always feel reassured when I get a note saying, "I just want you to know we're working on it and this is what we're doing today to work on it." It isn't finished, but I get a sense that the finishing is taking place and that's all I need to know. I don't know what the actual results are yet. I just want to know where the other person's attention actually is.
Dean: That's something. One of our profit activators in the during unit is this: Profit activator five is delivering a world-class experience, a dream come true experience for people. The way that I have people look at this is as a time line. From the moment that you start and your in the during unit process with somebody, and there are two parts of it. Everything above the line is the actual experience that the client is having or the partner or the other person that you're working with, the things that they are actually seeing, feeling, hearing, experiencing. Then below the line are all of the systems and the processes and the things that are going on backstage to support that. Sometimes, there can be an extended period of the backstage activity with no evidence front stage that anything is actually happening. It's almost like the way to use ... I know your analogy of that. Front stage, backstage is probably even more elegant than above the line and below the line.
It's almost like poking your head out from behind the curtain and saying to people, "Hey, we're working on it. One minute please." That kind of thing to ease these people's minds. I always aware of that, so that's how it starts for me is it starts with the people. Then on the other end of it, there are people that I'm waiting for something from. It's either people who are waiting for me to deliver some things or there's also people that I'm waiting and I'm sitting there at the front stage to see what's going on in the backstage. It's almost like poking my head behind the curtain and saying, "Hey, is there anybody back here?"
Dan: Here's a question I have for you. Since you started doing this, you've explained the beginning of your day, but is there a big different that you noticed at the need of the day because that is kind of your experience for the whole day when you're looking back?
Dean: I noticed that most of those things are ... A lot of them, I can get done in the procrastination hour that I've been calling it now. I can spend generally the first hour that I'm starting to do stuff as the procrastination hour, and I can get most of them done if it's something that I can further that kind of communication or do that kind of thing or schedule or brainstorm or get clear on what I actually need to do. I make a distinction between the procrastination stuff and the proactive stuff. That's made a difference.
Dan: That's a really good distinction. One of the things in the Strategic Coach workshop or at the 10x Workshop where ... This is the level that you and I work at is that the 10x level. The key document for the entire day is called "The Moving Future" which is 180 days scan of 90 days back. What are you proud of? Where have you had winning achievements? Then right now, what's got momentum to it? In other words, what are you working on right now that has some real energy behind them and things are happening. Then 90 days in the future, new things that could really, really become far more important if some action and attention was given to them. Then we have just five projects for the quarter. We have a 25-year framework. There's 100 quarters and there's five significant achievements in each of the 100 quarters, so you just focus on that.
What I've noticed since I've been starting the workshops with the procrastination priority exercise is that when they are filling in the bottom of the moving future, invariably two or three of the projects were the procrastination issues that they transformed in the very first hour of the workshop. It shows the importance of these things. These are not frivolous things that they're procrastinating on. They are actually strategically important things that they are procrastinating on.
Dean: I think that's an important thing. The danger, I guess, would be that your days are just being spent in addressing the things that are urgent and not necessarily urgent and important. I always keep a note of an observation of it of whether it was something that was proactive or something that could be avoided again. I really like to set up system around things that make it easy. The way that you and I do these podcasts is exactly the way that I do all of my podcasts. Just so simple that we literally ... I realize that the essence of it, the most important thing, is the content. To set this up where if all I have to do is dial in and talk and then I'm done, I have a never ending excitement, enthusiasm, and appetite for creating podcasts. It's a ten quick starts dream format.
Dan: Yes, it is.
Dean: It's like brainstorming. It's like verbal brainstorming in a way. Having a conversation with somebody who you've got a context of the topic, procrastination, and a premise for it. The joy of procrastination.
Dan: Both of us are exploring between podcasts, so in other words, we're taking what we're developing in these podcasts, and then we're going out and we're testing it out. We're adding new dimensions to it that we bring back to the next podcast. It's an hour brainstorming between the two of us, but each of us will walk away from this hour with, "Oh, that was a really interesting insight." I do the form. I've got the running form of the priority, but I hadn't really thought about just sitting there and first thing in the morning of just going over. I've already chosen my three most important things from the night before, and I say, "Well, maybe do a procrastination priority check up. Is there something that you're avoiding or something that your postponing which really deserves to be one of the top three for today?"
That's the thing that I'm going to get out of the conversation here. I'm going to do a little check first thing in the morning to make sure that I'm not just creating the future without paying attention to the present. A lot of the procrastination things are really things that should have been handled in the past that you've been avoiding or not coming to grips with or postponing to some time in the future.
Dean: That's an interesting point because my thought is: I think about you. I know you. You come into the day with your three already set, and in a way that I have wondered to myself, just even over the last two weeks here, is that another level of procrastination on my part. I've been looking for different flavors of procrastination, and I recognize in myself that I have a pattern of doing something that can be done later later. We've been talking about the big things-
Dan: Sometimes very later.
Dean: Sometimes very later, exactly. Honestly, I look at things. I have on more than one occasion, I sit with my laptop and my power light indicator comes on saying, "You need to power up." It gives you a warning at 20% battery life. Then I watch it and it give you another warning at ten. I see that happening and I just wonder. On more than one occasion, it gets all the way down to now the power goes out, and I'm forced to go and plug it in.
Dan: I have a similar experience. Not with that because I keep mine pretty well powered up all the time. I have it plugged in all the time because I just don't like the ... It's like watching the gas tank on somebody's car getting down to one quarter and I start getting nervous.
Dean: Right, that solves that. I've solved that.
Dan: There's a great Candid Camera routine. Remember Allan Funt and Candid Camera?
Dean: I do remember Allan Funt, yeah.
Dan: They had a bowl of soup, and they asked people to come in and eat the bowl of soup. It was soup that they really liked. They would start eating it. What they didn't realize was that underneath the table there was a tube that came up from the floor, and no matter how much soup they ate, the bowl was continually filled.
Dean: It kept filling it up.
Dan: Some people would go through two complete bowls of soup before they said, "Something's really strange about this bowl."
Dean: I love that.
Dan: I always thought that a lot of things life should really be like that. You just can't use them up. It doesn't matter how much you use them, you can't use them up. The one that gets me more than any because I don't drive in cities. The only driving that I would ever do is ... Because Babs is the main driver if it's just the two of us because she likes driving and I couldn't care less. The other thing is that I have a limousine service that pretty well takes care of 90% of my regular schedule. One of the habits that I've noticed, not Babs, but the drivers have is that there's a right hand turn that we're going to be needing to make, and let say, in about a quarter of a mile. They'll have to be in the right-hand lane to do that.
I say, "Well, why don't you just get in the right-hand lane right now?" A couple of times, they didn't do that and the right-hand lane was filled then they actually had to go past the turn because the right-hand lane had been filled up with other cars that came out. I said, "If you know that you're going to make the turn in a quarter of a mile, why don't you just get into the right-hand lane right now?"
Dean: I can't punch any holes in that logic. I would say that same thing. If I know that I'm going to need the power on the laptop, why wouldn't I do that right now? I know that about myself. That's something that I've been able to support myself in that by ... Somebody gave me the language of my lifestyle manager, but I call her my "easy button", Courtney, who does all of the things around my house and with supporting my life. I have the bottomless things like what you were talking about with the soup. I have my groceries and my water and all of those things are bottomless basically. They are constantly replenished. Razors and contact lenses and my bottomless water bottle, my bottomless water drawer by my bed. All of those things. Everything can be replenished is constantly replenished including the gas in my car and all of that stuff. I don't give any thought to, "Oh, I'm running out of water or I'm going to run out of razors."
Dan: What you're saying to me is so crucial. Babs and I have the same thing. We call it our "four seasons lifestyle".
Dean: Right. You were the inspiration for it for me, for sure.
Dan: Nothing more is required of us when we're living in our home here in Toronto or in Chicago than would be required of us if we were the guests at a top hotel like The Four Seasons. There's a lot of really top-notch hotels, but you do have to make your requests known even with a top hotel. However, once you make your requests known, they will build it into the system and that includes the next time you come back. They have a file on you. They write your requests down, and everything is there. I say, "Why should I be thinking about this at any time? I'm paying for these recurring things to happen all the time without having given any thought to it."
Your hitting on a very, very important point is that people are procrastinating on the big things because they're not systematizing the small things. They're mind space and their energy is being used up with really not important things, but which have suddenly become urgent because I've run out of razors or I've run out of ... If you have contact lenses, you run out of backup supplies. You've taken a very small things and made it very, very urgent. I notice a lot of individuals who procrastinate about really big things, like we've got the biggest check opportunity of the year coming in and I don't have time to prepare for it because I've got all of these itsy bitsy urgent small things to do.
There's a phrase that the Four Seasons has and it is probably the number one rule that they have in their entire system, and that is, "We systematize everything that's predictable so that we can humanize everything that's exceptional."
Dean: Well, that makes total sense. I start to see those things, like I mentioned the podcasting here that is so easy now. Anytime I want to record anything, which this is really a gateway to I could write a book with anybody that I wanted to on the drop of a dime because I know that this is the trigger to the process that is all set up ahead of time behind it. If I had to invent or figure out all of the steps involved in recording a podcast each time I wanted to do it, it would be a cause for procrastination. I think friction really is the precursor to procrastination. I think that looking for that friction really gives the clues to that if you could remove that friction, you can remove the procrastination. Let's go down this path for a little bit because I think this podcasting idea is a great example of it.
One of the frictions of doing the podcasting is availability, coordinating schedules. You've got Anna, which is a very effortless process. I can say to Anna, "Hey, can we record then?" That gets on the scheduled, and I know with 100% certainty that at the appointed hour, the conference line is going to ... You're going to be there with me on the other side of that. However, for other people, when I'm doing my "More Cheese, Less Whiskers" podcast, I set up a calendar that I have a special URL that I just send people to. I've already pre-selected the times that I'm going to be available. I just tell Lillian, my assistant, who I want to invite to do the podcasts. I'll give her six at a time. She'll coordinate with them, send them to that special URL. They pick the time that they want to do, and I get just a notice on my calendar. "Oh, you're recording with this person. You're recording with that person."
Truly, all I have to do is who up and talk because I've already set up the process that as soon as we hang up the phone, that sets another chain of events in motion that this audio will get sent to a Trello board, and my team will take that and they'll take the audio. They will get it equalized and all of that stuff. They'll post it up where we host it, and get it up into iTunes, and it'll show up on joyofprocrastination.com. All without us having to do anything. We just dial in and talk. It's a pretty effortless podcast system for ...
Dan: It's got a guaranteed multiplier in it because we're spending an hour talking to each other, but a growing number of people are getting the benefit of the hours that we're spending together and what we've come through. None of this is pre-planned. It's one of the advantages of the two of us talking together that five minutes from now, we don't really know where the conversation is going to be five minutes from now. However, we're comfortable in the fact that whatever it is, we'll talk about it in a way that's interesting.
Dean: I think that might be the thing, friction.
Dan: Can I tell you something? It relates to the friction thing. I've introduced the procrastination priority into the workshop, and it was a huge hit. The first quarter it was a huge hit. I actually had tears with some of the successful entrepreneurs, and it was as they explained it because they would come up to me and they would have almost tears in their eyes. They said, "You cannot appreciate how much I've beaten myself up and considered myself a moral failure because of this thing of procrastination. For some reason, you've taken what's been an extreme negative for me and you've actually transformed it almost instantaneously to something that's a huge advantage, a huge positive."
I know there was a real impact from the first go through. What we did was we attached another strategic coach tool to that procrastination priority which was the Four C's. Namely, if you want to get yourself in gear, there's a four-step process to actually making headway which is, first of all, make a commitment that you're going to do something. That will require a measurable result and a deadline. Then, you're going to have to go through a period of courage because what's keeping you procrastinating is you're afraid of something and you've got to go directly into that fear. However, you do that with a commitment. If you do those two things, what's going to happen to your brain is that you're going to create a new capability that matches up with the thing that you're supposed to do.
In other words, you're going to rise to the occasion. You're going to develope the new knowledge or the new skill to actually carry off a successful breakthrough, and then out of that is going to come a heightened sense of confidence and that will put you in a position to take on something else that's very challenging. That's a standard tool inside Strategic Coach called the Four C's. What I decided that I would use the Procrastination Priority as a general platform, so we'll start off the workshop with it every time because it has such beneficial impact right at the beginning. I said, "Let's examine some other models for procrastination and why they procrastinate." I don't know if you've got a pen and paper there, Dean.
Dan: What I want you to do is draw a square that is actually wider than higher.
Dean: Okay, so a rectangle.
Dan: Yeah, it's a rectangle. That's exactly the word. It's a rectangle, but it's wider than higher. Language is so important. You just pointed out the importance of language. Actually, having the word is most effective. Then what I want you to do is draw a diagonal line from the lower left hand corner to the upper right hand corner so it goes straight up. Then put a dot at the lower left hand corner. Just draw a dot. Then there is a word that goes above the line and there's another word that goes below the line. I'm starting on the left hand side. You have two triangles now, and in the upper triangle, you put the word "approval" as big as you can. Then in the bottom right, in the bottom triangle at the right, you write the word "results" as big as you can.
Here's what you're going to do. You're actually going to draw the dot several more times. What you're going to do is you're going to figure out what one third across is, and you're going to go up the diagonal line and draw a dot there. Then you're going to keep going and at the two thirds mark, you're going to draw another dot. Then draw a straight line from the top to the bottom through each of the dots so that you break the rectangle into three parts. I call this ABC because I want to link it up with our ABC model. If you can think of the three parts of the rectangle now as separate universes. In the first one, in order to get a very small amount of results, you have to get a great deal of approval from other people.
Dean: I like where this is going.
Dan: Then in the middle one, it's about half and half. You can get a big result, but it's going to require a substantial amount of approval from other people. Then in the right hand one, you get a real huge amount of results with very little approval. Then we can just put our three ABC names underneath the boxes that the left hand is very, very irritating. In the middle, it's okay. The word is "okay". Then under the third box is "fascinating and motivating" which goes back to a long time conversation we had a long time ago about what's fascinating and motivating.
If you look at people's happiness with their work, but also the issue of procrastination, the more you are to the left, and I call this the "Approval Results Spectrum", the more you are the left in this spectrum, one is the more irritating your day-to-day life is and the more you will procrastinate. The reason being is that you require an enormous amount of approval from a lot of different people to even attempt and achieve a small amount of results. One of the reasons why people procrastinate is they immediately see a result they can get, but then they think of everybody's approval that's actually required before they can actually start on the result or actually achieve the result. It's very energy draining to have to get all of that approval. Then the middle it's appreciatively better, but there's still ... I call that friction, the amount of approval that you require before you innovate something new or try something new.
Dean: Yeah, I was just going say the whole-
Dan: That's a huge friction because you may be in a situation where some important person is feeling negative about what your doing will stop you from actually moving forward. Over on the right hand side ... I think even the most innovative of us as entrepreneurs, let alone people who are employees who work in a situation where they clearly have to get approval from above them to actually move forward. However, even as the entrepreneurs, you still need approval. What I have done, and I talk about this in the workshop, the only approval I need for my new ideas is from the people who would actually write me a check.
Dean: That's the vote of marketplace. That's the only vote that counts.
Dan: The vote of the marketplace. That's the only vote that can change whether my new idea is a good idea or a bad idea. It's the vote of the marketplace. For example, nothing I do in the program and none of the books that I do requires any approval from anybody in my organization. I can just go up and create it, but that would only happen after the ideas that I'm actually working on ... I know I already have approval from the champion of the check writing clients.
Dean: Yes, that makes so much sense. I get this. I've seen this, and we've talked about this, but this is the most thorough understanding that I've had of it since we ... Because you've layered in some of the things here. I don't think I've ever seen you talk about that spectrum yet of the approval results spectrum. Is that a preview of our next workshop here?
Dan: Yeah, this will be pretty close to the beginning of the next workshop, yeah. I've got it all in multimedia, so it's animated all the way through and everything I asked you do on paper is actually done up on a multimedia presentation that's animated and moves. One of the things that I really, really noticed, and this comes up and I'm sure it comes up in your world, too, is that we have people who come ... There's two aspects. It's trying to get prospects to actually write a registration and actually enroll in the program. The other one is to renew them into further years, so they get to the end of the first year and renew. Our whole future is based on new clients that we get into the program and keeping the ones that we have. That's everybody's business.
I'll talk to the sales people, and they will take a prospect. They might work on them for about six months. It's all "Yes". Then when the ultimatum decision comes down, "Well, we've got a workshop starting and this is your final chance to get in it." It's a "no", or it's "Well, I'm not really convinced yet." That's one aspect and it's very frustrating because it's an expense of personal time and effort, and there's a cost to it. It's demoralizing for the sales person especially when they've been getting a lot of "yes" to it.
The other aspect is that someone comes into Strategic Coach and they spend their first 12 months in it. They've been raving about all of the progress that they've been making, their time, how their managing their time, and what kind of larger checks their getting, and how they've simplified their own work. They're working on this. They're not working on that, and a lot of the other tools that are in Strategic Coach. They come up for renewal and they say, "No, I think I'm good." I don't think I need anymore.
Dean: I'm not using the forms or I'm not ...
Dan: In terms of results, they're getting tremendous results. I've talked to some of them and I've gone deep. Not all of them because that's really not part of my process in the company. It's always come down to one thing. If they were to, first of all, just join Strategic Coach, in their mind they know that they're going to have to make some significant changes. Immediately, they're running into a lot of disapproving voices for making these changes. For an entrepreneur, that can come from team members. The team members don't want to make them charge. Some of them have partners in the business. They partner will not go along with the changes. Their family, their friends, the community they live in. If they started showing significant progresses, it's going to put tremendous stress and tension into the relationships with these individuals.
Then in the first year when they make a lot of progress and they hit the end of the first year, it's because they are running into not just anticipated disapproval, but they're actually running into disapproval. Things like, "Oh, you're getting above yourself now."
Dean: Yeah, this really isn't the time for you to be taking free days. We need you to be focused.
Dan: Yeah, and you're team says, "You're not here anymore. What are you doing? I wish we could take free days like you take." What I've noticed is that a lot of people grant other people power of approval over their forward motion. This would general among human beings. This isn't just an entrepreneurial issue. We grant people. The worst thing is where it's somebody from the past who is actually dead, but that person still has approval rights over the actions that you're taking.
Dean: Boy, that's pretty deep.
Dan: You will procrastinate as a result of that sense of disapproval or worry about disapproval.
Dean: That's amazing. I think it's interesting that that's a friction that you see it as. Because I was looking at the same type of thing with friction being, not so much approval on my part, but on the technical capability or the thing that you don't know how to do, I guess.
Dan: That's another dimension. This just happens to be one that I zeroed in on in preparation for the next workshop. Again, what I have is a little exercise then when you name your five most ambitious projects for greater results over the next year. I said, "Now, whose approval do you need to actually get these done, and then why do you need that approval?" It's just a little scan for them to get them in touch that they may be unconsciously granting permission rights and permission power to other people.
Dean: Approval might be one form of friction, and the technical capability or skill or uncertainty about something maybe another form of friction. It's very similar. It's funny how when I talk about this idea, and you've heard me share it, about my frustration that entrepreneurs have in trying to be a self-milking cow, of trying to do everything, make the milk and pasteurize it and package it up and take it to market. When really the only thing that the cow really needs to do is make the milk. The result that's really the thing here. We often, on my team, I draw out things and list all the things that have to go into making up a process happen. We draw what I call the milk line. Where's the line that this is the milk producing portion of it, and everything else is something that could be done by somebody else.
This process of the podcast is really completely set up to embrace my bovinity. To just allow me to come on and give the milk and then the rest is done. Looking at your ABC here, the results then ...
Dan: The only approval we need is each other's that we're going to meet at a certain time. That's the only approval that's required.
Dean: The only technical friction on this is a phone connection which is very easily managed by us.
Dan: Dean, can I tell you where I really saw this approval of results thing happening? You know I'm a very active political junkie, and I take great interest in it. This has been in my entire lifetime when I started following presidential elections. When I was eight years old, Eisenhower was the first one. I got real interested, and my mother was really good about it, so we would stay up late to see who the president was going to be. She would write me a note the next day, "I let Dan stay up late last night, and therefore, he's sleeping in this morning. He won't be to school." This brought her into instant tension and stress with the school authorities. I was always penalized. I had to go to the penalty room and make up time for all of the eight hours of school. I had to serve eight hours of penalty."
My mom laid this out for me. She said, "I'm going to give you permission, but they're going to penalize you, so you have to make a choice whether you want to do that or not." Which I thought was cool, but there's a price to be paid. If you're doing something special, there is some sort of price that's going to be paid for it. I did that, but this was the most unique one in the sense of the winning candidate bypassed everybody's approval in the sense that he bypassed the approval of the establishment of the Republican party. The party that is run by the Bush's and the Romney's, and there are all sorts of people. Not only did he ignore their approval, he more or less made their approval kind of worthless. It put noses out of joint.
Then, he completely bypassed the approval of the mainstream media and all of the so-called experts, "Someone like this could never be elected president of the US." Then he won, and then there's two weeks of outrage after this. People venting what a horrible country we live in that someone like this could be elected, but the truth is he got the approval of the right people to be president. That's all he was really interested in. He more or less knew whose approval he needed right up front, and just went for it.
Dean: The voters are the check writers in our ...
Dan: Yeah, well, and those voters that would give him 270 or more electoral votes. Whatever approval was needed to get to 270 electoral votes, that's the only approval. However, the interesting thing about this is that I said, "He's the first one I've seen that's actually operated as a entrepreneur and not as a bureaucrat because most politicians are semi-bureaucrats and they look to put together approval." They have a growing number of IOU's. You have to do this. You have say that. It's very, very complex so a lot of winning candidates actually look like the first ... By the time they get to be president, they need an enormous amount of approval to get any results when they become president. I think that if you compare that, I think that Trump right now is kind of in the third column because he didn't ask for anybody's approval except for the approval of the people who gave him the vote, and so he doesn't have to pay attention to what any of the columnists think or what the leadership of the Republican party thinks or anything else. He can just get result.
I think the outrage against him is that a lot of people have lead lives of 30 or 40 years where they got themselves into a position of approval in the political establishment, and he just ignored them and said, "I don't think your approval is important at all."
Dean: I don't need your approval and I'm spending my own money to do it.
Dan: Yeah, I'll write the checks and everything. I sent an analysis of this to Peter Diamandis and I said, "This is an example of one of your disruptive technologies. What he just did." Peter was just fascinated with it. He got back to me and he said, "God, I never looked at it this way, but you're right. It's the way a new, disruptive technology ... It sort of ignores all of the rules and comes up with something brand new."
Dean: Yes, fascinating.
Dan: It doesn't matter. I had my preference in the election campaign, but I'm just observing what seems to be so mysterious to people is how did this guy get elected. I think that there's a real ... A lot of the-
Dean: I have to say, you did call it. You were accurate.
Dan: Yeah, I did. I spotted this about a year ago. He's doing something that doesn't require any of the conventional approval to get where he wants to go, and my sense is, bringing it back to the entrepreneurial world, is that all innovation in the entrepreneurial world is just basically ignoring the conventional approval that controls an industry or controls a marketplace and saying, "I don't need approval from anybody except the check writers."
Dean: Fantastic. What's our takeaway for today?
Dan: I'll just talk about it personally. One is the re-tightening of how I start the day simple because of your report of actually giving some thought. I actually have a quiet time or mediation period after I get up where I can simply slip that in. The second thing is to look at the system of recurring things everywhere in my life and make sure that they are really systematic. That there's not something that's perpetually or running out of something that I always need and I haven't put in a system to make it recur automatically. Those are two things that I would do.
Dean: I'm going to observe myself this pattern of waiting until the last minute again. I look at that as such a ... It's just a conditioning thing. It goes to ... Let's observe this, and let's have a really deeper discussion about this next time because I think that it comes down to a lot of things. I look at the ... I'm coming up to Toronto for Strategic Coach next week. I haven't booked my flight yet. I don't have to book the flight. Lillian books the flights for me, but I haven't decided the day which leaves this whole ... I know I'm going to be there for the Thursday, the Friday, the Saturday. I know that if you're available, we'll have lunch on Saturday.
Dan: Lunch on the Saturday.
Dean: Yes, we've got these recurring and I work so well within those kinds of things, but I'm constantly leaving the booking of the flight, the plugging in of my power cord, charging my battery, whatever it is. Packing, everything is done at the last minutes. I'm going to examine myself this between now and the next episode that we do, and I'd love to think that through.
Dan: Yeah, and just as a little preview of what we're going to talk about, I think there's two issues that are really involved. One is that ... It goes back to a comment that you made when we first started talking about procrastination. It was that when you imagine a future result that you're immediately excited about, you're not actually operating in real time. You're actually operating in timeless time. The thought does not exist in time.
Dean: Shape-shifting or time shifting.
Dan: Yeah, you're time shifting. The clock hasn't started when you have the idea. However, the moment that you've made some sort of commitment to the idea, then the clock starts. It seems to me that this putting off of things that you know you're going to have to do is having the belief that you're not actually in the real time system, that you've got infinite play with. You don't have infinite play of it. That would be one thing that I really notice. Then the other thing is an appreciation of what it costs you to indulge in these last minute stuff. Because I think there is a real cost.
Dean: Oh yeah, I often talk about that. I pay, and I've actually called it a procrastination tax. I probably pay a premium on all of my air travel because I leave it open for the last minute basically of when the days I'm going to do. To buy a business class ticket last minute is always more expensive than buying it 30 or 60 days ahead of time.
Dan: You can hit a situation where first class is just no available or business class.
Dan: Anyway, it's really, really interesting, but I think there's something about people not appreciating that they're actually living in a real time system that's tied up with procrastination. This was beautifully paced today.
Dan: I really enjoyed it.
Dean: I think so, too, and I'm looking forward to the next one already.
Dean: Perfect, okay. Have a great day.