Off the top of your head, when you hear the phrase shift into a higher gear, what comes to mind?
I ask this question because inherent in the title of this book is a very powerful and life-altering command. It came, without your permission, and has already gone directly into your subconscious mind! Yep, that’s right—I’m using my Jedi mind tricks on you already. But seriously, I want you to think about what’s already bubbling up for you when you process the title. Go ahead—reread it if you need to. Shift . . . into a higher gear.
By the time you’re done with this book, that phrase will mean something much more powerful than it does at this moment. I want us to have a starting point for what this phrase exemplifies in your life now. Understand that its definition will shift as we go through this book.
By definition, shift means “to move or cause to move from one place to another, especially over a small distance.” Think about that for a second. Shifts don’t have to be these huge, massive, super-grand gestures of change. Sometimes it can be small things that make a big difference. My goal is to get you to make small tweaks in what you’re already doing that will make a monumental difference in your immediate and long-term results. Another definition of shift is “a slight change in position, direction, or tendency.” See . . . there it goes again. The notion that big changes can only happen in big shifts is completely inaccurate! Small ones (i.e., slight changes or small distances) can and will actually get the job done just as nicely, if not better.
We’ve been lied to for most of our lives. We were all told that we had to make astronomical, enormous, and opulent changes in order to get the results we desire. For many of us, we have been left feeling like under-achievers— unsuccessful, unmotivated, or simply flat-out “not committed enough” to get the outcomes we want. I can use myself as an example.
For years, I struggled with managing my weight. I would constantly fluctuate between 210 and 250 pounds. I blamed it on the fact that I traveled too much to be consistent with a complex exercise and nutrition plan. But the moment I stopped making excuses and started making small changes in my nutrition and my exercise, I was able to get to my ideal size and feel great about my body. I had to recognize that small changes were just as potent as huge ones.
I believe that we focus too much on making massive changes instead of small, steady ones. This causes us to give up way too soon and settle for mediocrity, usually because of habits and thought processes. But greatness and excellence are at the finish line if we don’t forfeit them.
Here are some things you see daily, but whose hidden meanings you overlook:
• Big trucks rolling on small tires
• Big doors swinging on small hinges
• Big boats gliding effortlessly because of small propellers
• Big building architectural designs drawn on small plans
• Big companies merging in small boardrooms
• Big ideas written out on small napkins, over a business lunch
• Big adults starting off as small embryos
• Big forests beginning with small seeds in the ground
• Big movements being initiated by small, yet powerful, groups of individuals
• Big amounts of wealth being controlled by a small percentage of the population
The point is that it’s the small things that make the biggest differences in your life and business. And it’s going to be the small things that make the most powerful difference for you as well. This reminds me of the Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 Rule.
20% of your effort produces 80% of your results.
20% of your wardrobe produces 80% of your outfits.
20% of employees produce 80% of the results in most companies.
20% of donors create 80% of the revenue for most nonprofits.
Only 20% of what you do daily is producing 80% of your actual results. The other 80% is what we call superfluous! It’s filler, not exactly necessary to the bottom line. The key to success, then, becomes finding out what your magic 20% is, and doing that 80% of the time. That’s how you 10× your results in life and business. That’s how you shift into a higher gear. We’re going to talk about a lot of this, and so much more. But again, it all goes back to the power of making shifts.
For example, we all know that 211° water is extremely hot; however, it doesn’t produce steam until it’s heated one extra degree. At exactly 212°, something magical happens. That superhot water transforms into steam, and steam powers locomotives, trains, ships, and all types of amazing machinery. What’s my point? What if I told you that you are only one shift away from a transformational moment in your life, career, money, relationships, parenting, physical health, business, ministry, and/or emotions? Most times, we feel as though we are miles and light-years away from the things we want. What I’ve learned is that most people are simply a few shifts away from breakthrough. That’s exactly what I will prove to you in this book.
When I became a dad, I made a small shift in my parenting style. I made a decision not just to parent my girls but also to mentor and coach them to greatness. I made it my goal not just to provide for their needs but to be intentional about their goals and aspirations. I purposely invest in them, teach them lessons that my mentors taught me, and coach them through the mountaintops and valley-lows of their lives. That one small shift took me from 211° to 212° of steam-powered, locomotive, ninja-dad status that I am grateful for every single day.
Please allow me now to give you a few questions to ponder based on what I’ve already shared with you. Feel free to journal about your answers to these simple yet powerful questions.
• What small people shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small nutritional shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small financial shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small personal growth shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small emotional shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small parenting shifts do you need to make right now?
• What small spiritual shifts do you need to make right now?
I invite you to answer these questions, and I invite you to take some small action today to make a few of the changes you thought about as you answered them. Remember, this entire book is an invitation for you to shift higher in any and every area of your life that you want to. Keep in mind, this book is not called Think about Shifting into a Higher Gear. It is titled very intentionally, because I want you to take the action and actually shift. Deal? OK cool!
Congratulations! A “higher gear” denotes that you are already doing something right—which you are! You are already a rock star. Only a rock star would be drawn to a book like this. I firmly believe that like attracts like. I firmly believe that you and I were drawn to this cocreated learning experience because you’re already on the journey to success and you just want to shift some things into a higher gear. Well, guess what? I do too! Let’s do this thing together, then—shall we?
We are about to go from good to great and from OK to amazing! It doesn’t matter where you are currently; we are about to level up. It’s all going into a higher gear.
I need you to understand something: I’m proud of you. Take a minute and really embrace those words. Most high achievers do not hear this phrase nearly enough. Although I personally heard it as a kid, I did not hear it enough. And I think that’s why today, as an adult, I am such a celebrator, encourager, and exhorter of humanity. I believe that deep down, all of us want someone to be genuinely, sincerely, and enthusiastically proud of us.
• Proud of our efforts and progress
• Proud of our journey and resilience
• Proud of our hustle and determination
• Proud of our results
We all want that! So again, I am very proud of you. And I am excited about your current level and your next level. A popular inspirational says, “Failure is not an option. It’s actually a privilege, reserved exclusively for those who try.” That’s why I can say that I’m proud of you—for trying! It’s in the effort that success is truly discovered. But now that we have covered that, I need you to understand something else even more powerful.
It’s important that you understand that there is no “there” there. Allow me to explain. If your entire motivation in life is to get to a place called there, the challenge with getting there is finding out the truth about what doesn’t exist there. So you have to ask yourself what really drives you once you get there.
As I said earlier, since 2013, I’ve hosted a powerful annual conference for high achievers called the Full Throttle Experience. It’s a personal development conference where I teach and instill many principles you will learn in this book, through a high-energy motivational and experiential immersion process that creates lasting change for attendees all over the world. That event (my there) takes about six months for my staff and me to plan and market, and four days to execute. But in total honesty, the final day of the event is the least fulfilling day for me personally. That’s right. When it’s all over, it’s the hardest day for me, because while yes, I am a million percent grateful for all the changes and transformations that people make during the four days, saying good-bye to everyone and tearing down all the banners, lights, and activity stations is kind of sad for me. Why? Because there is no there there. The truth is, the best part of the conference is the process of the conference and the execution of the conference, not its completion.
Have you ever achieved a goal, and once you have, you still weren’t happy with what you got? Why is it that we can put all this effort into achieving a goal, get it, and ultimately still not be happy with what we got? I believe that success in life is ultimately not about just arriving as much as it is about the journey. Which means we cannot be motivated by the there; we must be motivated by the process of getting there. Which means we must be excited about enjoying the ride. And every single day, with each sunrise you are fortunate to experience, life gives you a chance to enjoy the ride.
I believe that in order to enjoy the ride, you must “better” your best. Part of the disease of being a high achiever is that we always want to improve, we always want to get better, and we always want to top ourselves. Every time we are about to score a touchdown, we push the end zone back about twenty-five yards! If you’re reading this book, that means you’re a high achiever and probably an admitted overachiever. You’re in good company, because so am I. I don’t know any high achievers who are not competitive, who are not movers and shakers, who are not go-getters, and who are not people who want the best out of life. But for us to enjoy the journey, must we not only attain the best but on a regular basis outdo our best, because that’s how we feel fulfilled.
I remember back in October of 2016, the first time I spoke for the Million Dollar Round Table. It was my largest speaking engagement to date. I was speaking to over ten thousand of the top financial professionals from eighty-three countries all around the world. As I was speaking, my presentation was being translated into thirteen different languages simultaneously. It was amazing. A seminal moment in my career. It went so well, I got invited back the following year. I clearly remember beginning my thirty-nine-minute keynote address with the following thesis.
I believe that life gives us one open invitation daily. It comes in the form of a question: Will you be better today than you were yesterday? Asking yourself this causes you to make a constant decision to better your best. I believe it’s easy for us to better our best because our best is really and truly based on our past. Here are some questions that will help you see where I’m going with this:
• Where was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
• What’s the best month in sales you’ve ever had?
• When was the best spur-of-the-moment trip you took?
• What’s the best sporting event you’ve ever attended?
• How was the best steak restaurant you’ve enjoyed?
• What’s the best family dinner you’ve ever prepared?
• What’s the best play you’ve ever seen?
• Remember the best concert you’ve ever attended?
• What’s the best book you’ve ever read (besides this one, of course)?
Any questions asked about your best will automatically make your brain reference one place and one place only. That place is in your past. Your best is always based on yesterday, yester-week, yester-month, yester-year, and sometimes even yester-decade. Our best is always predicated on experiences we’ve already had, period. That’s why it’s so easy to better our best: our best is based on something that has already happened, which means we must use today to improve our tomorrow.
Every single day, we get a chance to top ourselves. To better ourselves! And that’s what “the best” do: they consistently improve themselves and better their last execution of success. The Japanese call this kaizen. Global peak performance expert Tony Robbins in 1980 coined the term CANI, which stands for Continuous and Never-ending Improvement.
The late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown, was asked in an interview, “Mr. Brown, out of all your concerts and performances that you’ve done all over the world, which one was your best?” Brown quickly responded, “The one I’m going to do tomorrow night!” James Brown was the best because he made a commitment to constantly shift his performances into a higher gear and top himself night after night. What about you?
The biggest room in the world is always, room for improvement! —Author unknown
So the first minor shift that I want you to adopt that will make a major difference in your entire life is the 1% shift. I want you to commit to getting 1% better every single day in one area of your life and business/career that you care about. That’s right. Notice I didn’t ask you to get 10% better, 45% better, or 80% better. All of those percentages are extremely difficult to attain and even harder to maintain for any meaningful length of time. Are they possible? Yes, of course. But they are very challenging for most people to maintain on a regular basis. And the hard truth is that the changes we make in life that are worth making are those that are sustainable and repeatable. If you can’t sustain a change, why make it in the first place?
For example, I’ve never heard someone say, “I want to go from rags to riches and then back to rags!” Have you? Yet millions of people play the lottery in hopes of attaining a level of wealth that unfortunately most can’t maintain afterward.
Rather than focusing on huge leaps, let’s focus on something that all of us can do:
I want you to get 1% better at loving yourself each day.
I want you to get 1% better at forgiving people who have hurt you each day.
I want you to get 1% better at cultivating your coworkers each day.
I want you to get 1% better at parenting your kids each day.
What would happen to your financial future if you got 1% better at money management and debt elimination each day?
What would happen to your current relationship if you got 1% better at loving that person each day?
What would happen to your physical fitness and vitality if you got 1% better at taking care of yourself each day?
What would happen to your sales results if you got 1% better at understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target audience and prospecting for them each day?
Getting 1% better every single day is a shift that you can make and sustain no matter the current state of your life.
1. There is another gear that you’re meant to live your life from. It’s simply waiting for you to actuate it.
2. There’s no traffic on the extra mile. Go the extra mile each day in some small way and watch your life transform.
3. I am proud of you. Put your hand on your heart and receive that for ten seconds.
4. Remember that failure is not an option; it’s a privilege reserved exclusively for those who try.
5. Each day you wake up, you receive a special invitation to get 1% better. Commit to bettering your best each day.