Entrepreneurs: This Is The Most Important Skill You Can Master (NOT Sales)

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In this post I share with you what I believe is quite possibly the most important skill that you can learn as an entrepreneur…heck, as a human being!

Listen to the podcast above or read below…pretty much the same content.

And I’m going to share with you some of the particular strategies and techniques that I have learned around maximizing the skill.

What I am referring to is learning the skill to manage your state, to manage how you feel throughout your day every day so that you are in the best possible condition to get the best out of yourself and then therefore get the best results from whatever situation you’re in, whether that’s doing work for your business, going into a sales meeting, communicating with your child, communicating with your significant other, going to work out, whatever it is.

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What Tony taught me…

It was a big breakthrough moment for me when I attended Tony Robbins “Unleash the Power Within” event.

I’ve been a student of Tony Robbins for my entire adult life, but I had never attended the live events. And by studying his materials, I knew logically the content he was teaching, I knew it very well, and I’ve done largely a good job of applying it in my life.

But by attending the event, I understood the importance of this concept at a gut level, not just a logical level of understanding, not just cognitive level but on an emotional level at a gut level. And it’s really changed how I think about it. And it’s changed how I approach my day pretty dramatically.

Our life is a collection of moments

So at that event, Tony Robbins teaches the idea and it’s one that I’ve just completely adopted now, is that your state, your moment to moment state, and your ability to manage that is one of the single most important – or maybe the most important thing – in determining the quality of outcomes of your life. 

And that’s a big statement to make.

But if you think about any situation that you’ve ever been in in your life that’s important to you I believe you’ll see this is true. Maybe think about a situation that you have experienced repeatedly – conversations with a significant other, conversations with your children, going on sales calls, participating in a competitive sport. Over the course of many repetitions, you’ve surely experienced a wide variability of results – some great, some not so great.

And if you think back to why that is, you will find I’m sure, that in most cases the difference in performance from one case to another is in how you approached it – were you in a peak state or not.

Think about your favorite athlete

I like to use the sports metaphors because it’s easy for us to look at a pro athlete and know, just by watching them, if they are ready for the game or not. You can physically see it when a football player is fired up and he’s going to go out there and be an animal on the football field.

This is the reason why pro football players are cracking helmets and smacking each other and yelling and jumping up and down before they go out on the field!

It’s because they know that they have to get in peak state to perform their very best at that level.

But if they’re just not into it, they’re not giving it their all, they’re not ready, they don’t have their game face on…you know that you are going to expect a different level of performance from that player.

You, the athlete!

This is not reserved just for professional sport – the same dynamics are true in every moment of your life.

Think about you as being the ‘athlete’ of your life. Don’t you want the same peak performance in every area of your life that’s important to you?

Every moment of our life is impacted by our state.

When we go and have a conversation with our kid and maybe our kid is being a little bit of a turkey or whatever, or I’ve had a stressful day at work or a combination of those things. The quality of that engagement with my kid is going to be based on my ability to put myself in the right state to engage with them in the right way. Otherwise I’m going to snap at them.

Same thing, of course in conversations with your significant other. Anybody who has had a relationship with somebody long term knows that you’ve had those moments where you’re just not feeling it. You’re not really in control of yourself. And then you say something that you regret and you guys have to dig out from under that for a period of time. We’re human, it happens, but this plays out in every area of our life, all day, every day.

Our lives are ultimately all of these moments kind of stacking up…so the quality of our life depends on our ability to manage the quality of those moments.

Proactively manage your ‘state’

So if you think about the fact that you are going into your day and throughout your day without a conscious, deliberate strategy to manage that state most effectively, it’s kind of crazy. It’s kind of crazy to think that you would allow yourself to do that.

And the reality is, as we know, as a society, so many people are having trouble managing their state, this is why  antidepressants are prescribed like crazy and people struggle with things like their weight or they struggled with alcoholism, really struggled with drugs and things like that. It’s because people are trying to find something that puts them in a better state.

And unfortunately, one of the other things that I learned from Tony Robbins is that we can solve problems in a healthy way or we can solve problems in an unhealthy way.

People are achieving the state that they’re looking for through drugs, through overeating, through addiction, various types of addiction, because it does give them some sort of state that they’re looking for, even if it’s a very unhealthy way to get it.

So we have to learn the healthy way to get to that state.

As an entrepreneur, this is incredibly important because you are driving everything in your business. And almost every entrepreneur I know is a pretty emotional human being.

If you’re not developing your skills to consciously manage to make sure that you’re using that as a tool most effectively, it can go the wrong way.

Most entrepreneurs that I know experienced depression and experienced anxiety at levels that I think the average person is not aware of because it’s a tough and very difficult choice to be an entrepreneur and experience the highs and lows that go with it.

So I think as entrepreneurs, it’s even more critical that we are very deliberate about our approach to managing our state. So that being said, the first step is to make sure you are thoroughly convinced about the importance and truth of the following statement:

In every moment throughout my day I can either approach that moment in an optimal state or a sub optimal state. If I can make sure that I can approach every moment at an optimal state or as close to it as possible, my life is going to be better. I’m going to get better results in all areas of my life.”

That’s step one.

Three things drive your state

Step two, I want to share with you some of the skills that I have learned that have really helped me. And again, I give credit to Tony Robbins for all of this. He teaches that there are three things that really drive your state on at any given moment throughout the day.

1. What are you focused on.

What are you focused on and the classic example is being able to see somebody who’s really focused on something pretty negative and they can be in the exact same experience as somebody who’s focused on something more positive and you can see the difference in their experiences.

Everybody’s been out to a restaurant with a group of people where one person was really obsessively focused on something that was going wrong there at the restaurant —the service was too slow, the food wasn’t hot enough, whatever it is that got them off the rails a little bit – and they’re miserable.

And then there’s eight other people at that table that are having a great experience regardless of the fact that the service is a little slow and the food wasn’t as hot as you want it because they’re focused on the group of people that they’re with. They’re focused on the company and the relationships in the conversation.

That’s just a very obvious example, but something that we’ve probably all experienced and can relate to.

What you focus on changes your state.

2. The language that you use or the meaning that you assign to something.

So the second thing is the language that you use or the meaning that you assign to something.

Language is really tied to our mind and our feelings. You can surely think of words that if somebody says to you or someone you love, you get pretty darn heated pretty.  The reason why is because those words mean something to us and they trigger emotional responses.

So if you think about your choice of words in various scenarios, you’ll understand the impact they’ll have on how you are approaching a situation.

For example, a challenging employee could either be a ‘problem’, a ‘challenge’, or an ‘opportunity’.

Do those words elicit different emotional responses in you? They certainly do for me.

3. The most important one — your physiology, your physical state.

The third one, and by far the most important one, is your physiology…your physical state.

Tony Robbins teaches that the foundation of all effective change is your physiology, as our mind and our body are so very directly connected.

The big takeaway from understanding that is that the fastest way to change your psychological state is to change your physical experience.

And that is again why you see the football players jumping up and down cracking helmets before games – because they are using their physical bodies to get their mind and emotion in the right place so that they will then go out and use their physical bodies most effectively in the game.

The takeaway for you is to understand that there are these very simple but very powerful little hacks that you can apply or techniques, strategies that you can apply in your day to make sure that you are putting yourself in a peak state.

Getting in peak physical state

Here are the fundamentals that have the greatest impact on your physical condition:

  • Are you getting enough rest?
  • Are you eating well?
  • Are you getting exercise?

But you already know that. And you can probably be doing better in at least one of those areas, right?!

But regardless of your physical condition, how do you ensure that you are utilizing your physical state most effectively? Here are a few things that I have found that can really impact me and help me maintain peak physical state:

1) Cold Shower

This is something you’ll see in the Tony Robbins documentary. He has cold plunges at all of his houses, and the first thing that he does every morning is jump into the cold plunge. It’s 50 degrees, which is shockingly cold to jump into.

I don’t have a cold plunge, but what I do have is a cold shower. And first thing I do, anytime I’m getting into the shower, is to spend the first few minutes in a really cold shower.

The cold has a real impact on me physiologically: it gets the heart rate going and clears out the cobwebs. It’s very, very stimulating and immediately jolts me into a heightened state.

It’s a very powerful habit.

2) Music

I’ve never been a real big music guy, but the Tony Robbins event changed that for me quite drastically.

I’ve learned to use music as a tool to help me manage my state. Now I have playlists for when I’m working, when I’m working out, when I’m going out to meet friends at a party, etc.

I’m listening to music because it helps put me in that right state.

3) Power Questions

Another tool I use is asking what I call ‘Power Questions’.

You are constantly asking questions of your brain, and your brain ALWAYS gives you some sort of answer.

The problem is that sometimes your questions suck, and the answers you get suck as well! This puts you in a bad state.

The alternative is to have a series of questions that put you in an empowered state and lead to better answers.

Those are ‘Power Questions’.

Let me use a series of questions you could ask your brain so help distinguish between questions that suck and Power Questions:

You could ask the following questions regarding your desire to lose weight?

“Why am I so fat?”

“Why can’t I ever lose weight?”

Those question are terrible! There is almost nothing good that will come from them.

Or you could ask the question, “How can I lose 10 pounds?”

Now we’re moving in the right direction. We’ve created a question that gives us a target. It gives us something that we’re moving towards and hopefully by asking the questionmy brain starts to look for strategies.

How about, “How can I lose 10 pounds in the next four weeks?”

Even better!

But how about this:

“How can I lose 10 pounds in the next four weeks in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable?”

Now we’re cooking with gas!

That’s a ‘Power Question’ if I’ve ever seen one!

Surely you can see the difference. Now create some ‘Power Questions’ of your own!

What makes Tony Robbins ‘Tony Robbins’?

One of the things I loved about the Tony Robbins event was that he was so damn real. It’s easy to think of him as some alien life form that has more energy and brain power than the rest of us.

But he really took the time to make the point that the perception that he was somehow ‘different’ really was not true.

He stressed that we was just someone who at a very early age – and due to the terrible circumstances of his childhood – realized that he had to very proactively manage his psychology and physiology every moment of every day if he wanted a better life.

And he still does it every. damn. day.

That really struck me. Here’s this guy running over 30 different businesses, constantly traveling, has a family, etc – and he’s still doing all of these strategies each day to maintain his peak state so he doesn’t get off track.

Those are the keys to the kingdom right there!

We all experience emotional setbacks and slumps. It’s your ability to use these tools to quickly turn around and get back into a better place that can make a massive, massive difference in the quality of your decisions, the quality of your influence and impact, and ultimately the quality of your life.

I hope that this is helpful for you and I hope that you can apply some of the things that I’ve shared with you today.

Manage your state. Get out there and kick ass.

All the best,

Mike Cooch

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Mike Cooch
Mike Cooch

LVRG CEO Mike Cooch is a serial entrepreneur who generates 6-7 big ideas before breakfast (conservative estimate) each day.

Mike has a Texas-sized passion for sales & marketing, business development, technology, and entrepreneurship.

He has founded successful businesses in technology services, agency services, publishing, and ecommerce (and flopped on a variety of attempts as well…keepin’ it real!).

His businesses have made the INC 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America three times, and have been recognized as a 'Best Place to Work' in their respective cities.

He has an MBA from Babson College, the #1 ranked entrepreneurship program in the world by US News 24 years running, where he has been a regular guest lecturer on 'Managing a Growing Business'.

He has three children, is an avid skier, hiker and traveler, and is loving his adopted hometown of San Diego.