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In this episode:
- 00:34 – Meet Keith
- 02:47 – When the ____ becomes clear, the ___ becomes easy
- 10:46 – The role of emotions in the goal-setting process
- 18:30 – This is the perfect length of a perfect business plan
- 25:06 – Keith: “You need to stay connected to people that you are doing business with”
- 28:23 – When is the best time to stay in touch with people?
- 31:43 – Connect with Keith
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Here is the transcription:
Fiona: Hi, it’s Fiona Soutter here from Super Savvy Business with this week’s podcast!
Now today I have a very very special guest with me, his name is Keith Abraham; and Keith and I met earlier this year in February when I was at a conference. I was so impressed with what he wanted to say that I wanted to bring his message and his teachings to the Super Savvy Business community.
Now, passion is the key ingredient to achieving sustainable success in our lives and our businesses, wouldn’t you agree?
So Keith is the perfect person to be able to speak on this topic. In the last 16 years he has spent researching, training, and working with people to help them find their passion, harness their passion and then turn their passion into personal and professional capital. In fact, Keith has personally assisted individuals and companies alike to create over 10 million goals! That’s such a huge number, but it’s, you know… this is what he does! And he has inspired businesses and people around the world to live more passionately.
He’s got 3 best-selling books including ‘Live Your Passion’ and he has co-authored 3 others. He is founder of the Passionate Tribe Online Community and his weekly blog has over 4,500 subscribers. I think that really does give us a good idea of the sort of influence Keith has amongst his community.
He has built a client base of over 265 companies across 20 different industry groups across 4 continents globally and speaks in over 80 conferences globally each year and has just been awarded the National Speakers Association of Australia honour – it was the keynote speaker of the year.
So you can understand why I’m so excited to have Keith on our call today and I just want to start by welcoming you, Keith, to the Super Savvy Business podcast.
Keith: Oh, thanks very much, I really appreciate the opportunity to be with you here today, Fiona, so thanks for that!
Fiona: Now, Keith, you know, when we first met I was very lucky to be able to sit through a whole day of your Passionate People Workshop and I walked away with my head just expanding with, like, so much inspiration, and ideas and wonderful things to be able to walk away with and be able to actually implement into my personal life and into my business, which is why I was so keen to reach out to you and bring you into the Super Savvy Business community.
Uhm, one of the things that really hit me, you know – you talk about putting your personal goals first ahead of your professional goals. Why is that, Keith?
Keith: Well, Fiona, at the end of the day, you know, from all the research that we have done over … you know, I have been a professional speaker for the last 7 or 8 years – and I have been talking about goal setting for the last 25 years around the globe… and one of the things that has been really interesting in this journey is that, you know, when – I love the saying, ‘When the why becomes clear, the how becomes easy’ – and so often people don’t achieve their full potential because they don’t have a strong enough reason why. And, you know, it’s an old story, you know? I believe we all operate on 3 levels, you know… You are either just getting by, you’re good at what you do, you are great at what you do. What’s the enemy of greatness? It’s that we’re good at what we do. You know? We’re in that comfort zone and by truly getting yourself clear on your personal reasons first, you then can achieve your business goals and things that you want to do. If you are just going to be successful at business you know, that will drive you for a little while, but it won’t be sustainable. I see lots of people in business who are very successful and their life is crappy. So it really… it’s got to come back to what your personal drivers are.
Fiona: Yeah, look, I completely agree with what you are saying. When I work with my clients in my mastermind program and that’s one of the first things that we discuss, you know? Why is it you do what you do? And many of them will come back with a business-related answer, won’t they?
Keith: Oh, absolutely, yeah, it’s so often Fiona, one of the things that, you know, I want to achieve this in my business, and I wanna… and that’s great, but WHY? You know, at the end of the day, WHY are you doing it? And you know, look, the HOW and the WHAT, you see, so often, Fiona, people stop at the WHAT… And so often, you know, people say to you, you know, “so what are you going to do when you leave school? What do you want to achieve with your business this year. So what are you… you know, what’s your career goal?
At the end of the day, people stop at WHAT. But really, the driver, they key, the proven path is really understanding WHY. And, you know, and I make no apologies for over emphasising this, because you need to hear it a few times for it to sink in, you know…
When the WHY becomes clear, the HOW becomes easy.
In actual effect, I honestly believe that the HOW will find you. When you are clear on your WHY your reason, your purpose, your focus, the HOW’s just come to you; people walk into your life, people walk into your business and, you know, ‘Wow, how did that… how did I manage that, how did that happen?’
Keith: It’s really… it really, really is critical.
Fiona: And that WHY has to be something that is a really strong emotional connection to you, wouldn’t you agree?
Keith: Absolutely, and actually I think that this is the missing piece of the puzzle for most people. From all the research that we have done, if your goal isn’t both emotional, if you are not emotionally connected, mentally connected and physically connected to your goal, you will probably not, uhm, pursue it, as well as what you could.
Keith: Or as fast as what you could. You know, I have searched high and low and you know, we’ve got a whole stack of research as to why smart, intelligent, well-educated, driven people not pursue or not tap into their full potential? Because they don’t have an emotional, a mental, and a physical connection. In actual fact we call it “Feel, Think, Do”. How do you want to feel? What do you think the goal is that you need to achieve to actually gain that feeling? What do you need to do today, this week or this month to achieve that goal?
So when you can align all of those three together, and you saw this during the Passionate People workshop, when you can align all of those three together… something magical happens. What happens is people gain that laser-like focus and they just align themselves and they connect to the goal. Everyone has lots of goals. But at the end of the day the goals that really matter the things that are most important to you are the ones that you are aligned to and connected to.
Fiona: Mmm… And you know, as business owners we all know it’s… you know, a pretty emotional roller coaster and there are times when you are really quite challenged and if you are really connected to your WHY, that’s what keeps you there; that’s what helps you to get through those tough times and that helps you to overcome and not just throw the towel and give up.
Keith: Yeah, absolutely, it’s the… I call it your ‘True North’, what you need to have in your business and this is… this is one of the challenges people to run their own show, you know? And they are not.. they are not as fortunate as your people, Fiona, to have you as the sounding board, as the resource to help them come back to that True North. What happens is, if you do not have a True North in your life and in your business you will be distracted by whatever. You know? You will be distracted by stuff that just doesn’t matter; it just doesn’t count. And so, the challenge for us is to find that true North; and if we feel we’re getting off track, you know, what is important, what matters, what’s gonna make a difference, what’s meaningful for us… and see, I honestly believe that when we are so focused on what is not working, [any or possibly] channel your energy in stuff that is working and where you want to go.
It’s hard to drive a car when you are looking in the rearview mirror.
Fiona: Yeah, that is so true. I mean, you mentioned before about, you know, people finding it hard to find their true North – what sort of strategies do you suggest people use in order to tap into what that is?
Keith: Yeah, look one of the things we, Fiona, that is, uhm, you know,that I have talked to groups now for close to 25 years, you know… a number of years before I became a professional presenter and founder of Passionate People, one of the things that we get people to do is start their list of 100 things that they want to do in their lifetime.
And when I originally did this, it was just one of those neat little ideas that, you know, that somebody shared with me and, and I shared it with a whole stack of people. And we’ve taken it a few steps beyond that. It’s not this life, it’s not just a life ‘to-do’ list – some people call it a bucket list – now, I don’t like calling it the bucket list, because, you know, a bucket list is when a doctor tells you have got 6 months to live and you are going to do all the things you thought you wanted to do until you kick the bucket. So let’s call it a ‘life to-do’ list.
And I honestly believe that once you have gone through a process of writing down those things that you want to achieve in your lifetime you can then go back and reflect upon them; and go… when I, and let’s say for example, when I travel to Tuscany and live a month in Italy in this little village in Tuscany and just submerge myself in that culture, when I achieve that, ok, so here’s the question: How would you feel?
How would you feel? You know, when I, when my business brings a million dollars in profit, ok, great, great, but, how would you feel? And so what we find is that when we go through the process of getting people write down all the things they’d love to do in their life time, and then we are going to come back and say, ‘Write down the driving emotion’ – there are 135 different emotions that us as human beings can experience. Just under half of them are negative and just over half of them are positive.
So there is a whole lot of different emotions that we can experience. Now, for some people those emotions are, you know, will just jump at them, you know? It could be success, it could be accomplishment, it could be a sense of achievement, it could be energised, it could be happy…
And so once you have identified those sorts of driving emotions – and we all have three – as we go through this process, 3 start to stand out; 3 start to repeat themselves over and over again. They are your driving emotions. They are like personality and they tend to stick with you for a long, long time.
So once you know your driving emotions, then what you can do is then go back and say, ‘Okay, if this is how I want to feel – because, you know, I know you would have heard this Fiona – everyone’s talked about this for the past 40 years, they talk about ‘smart goals’, well I wanna make myself very very clear: smart goals don’t work. They don’t work for people; they work for companies, but they don’t work for people because unless there is an emotional connection in there people won’t… people will not be connected to it. So the normal goal setting process looks a little like this:
- You set a goal
- You take action
- You get a result
- And you get a feeling
And what we’re saying is let’s invert that, let’s turn it on it’s head and say, let’s start with how you want to feel. Then, let’s say, you know, what action do you need to take to gain that feeling? What result will you get when you take that action and then won’t that naturally lead you towards the goal? And the answer to that is ‘Yes’.
Keith: And so the process there, Fiona, is that they are getting people to first identify the things they love to do in their life and I say a hundred, and then second is to get them say what are the emotions that are attached to each one of those goals? What are the driving emotions that are the most important to me?
To me personally, my driving emotions are [..] of being energised, being successful and being […]. And I defin… I have a definition that is appropriate for that… for me.
Fiona: So then, once you know what your driving emotions are, how do you then bring that across into your business life?
Keith: Well, well, that is simple because in your personal life or in your business life your driving emotions are the same. So, for example, for me, one of my driving emotions is about being energised.
And so to me, I have a definition around being energised: you know, I want to have an abundance of energy; I want to make sure that I’m… that I am… you know, that I have got energy to talk to you at this time of the day, I’ve got energy to talk to the client I spoke to today and I have got energy to my family after, and so … and I’ve got energy to do the things that are important, uuuh, and that matter in my life.
And that’s not just about health and fitness but what it also involves is in my business I don’t do the stuff that dries my energy. You know, I.. there are 3 things that I love to do in my business: I love to write, I love to speak and I love to create. So I make sure that, as part of my business goal, that I am doing that. And that gives me energy.
Oh, and funny enough, with more energy I can go and make more of a difference and help people set their goals and do the things that matter. And it’s a lovely thought.
Fiona: Mmm… Yeah, it’s pretty powerful when you start to look at it that way, that, you know, by being in touch with what your personal driving emotions are it can have such a huge impact on being successful within your own business.
Keith: Oh, absolutely, you know, a lot of times, Fiona, and you know that this is the workshop that we’re at, you know, when you ask people what their driving emotion is, they will say, ‘accomplishment’. So okay, what goal do you need to achieve in your business to feel accomplished? For some people it might be.. you know, you might say,
‘What’s your driving emotion?’
‘I want to be happy.’
‘Okay, what do you need to achieve in your business to be happy?’
Because what we have to be very careful about, Fiona, is that we don’t measure our success, we don’t measure our business by other people’s standards. Oh, it’s a million dollars in the bank! Well, I know people who have a million dollars in the bank, you know, from the results in their business, and they are miserable! Because they have got no way for the things that are most important to them. They have got no way for the things that energise them, or make them happy, or, in your own definition, make them successful.
Fiona: And you hear there are lots … you know, highly successful people who, in their personal lives – they are miserable, you know? So it’s.. you know, for me, hearing you, uhm, share this message back in February, it just made so much sense!
Fiona: And that’s why, I suppose it is so important for me to be able to bring out your message to my community, because I think a lot of people miss that connection.
Keith: Look, and nobody talks about it. Look, Fiona, I don’t know anybody that is talking… you know, because most people say, ‘Okay, well you need to set a goal, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, it needs to be realistic, it needs to be tangible…’
Yes! Yeah, yeah, that’s true. But then you go, okay, where’s the emotional connection? We’re emotional creatures!
Keith: You know? We feel happy, we feel joy, we feel sadness, we feel anger, we feel frustration… And so why not harness that emotion, uh, to drive us towards the things that we want, uh, in our lives? And so… you know, I just think, I don’t think I know this is cutting edge, this is goal setting for the millenium and beyond, this is beyond the normal, you know, write out your goal, and look, I’ve done all that sort of stuff.
I have been the advocate and the ambassador for that process, but when you sit down and truly analyse it, you become the student, you know, not the master, but the student. Is that … all of a sudden you get a different perspective on why it works and why it doesn’t any why people succeed and others don’t.
Fiona: You mentioned something there that I would like to touch on, uh, that was about, you know, writing your goals and during the workshop we spent a fair bit of time talking and working on our own business visions and creating business plans and all those sorts of things…
But you took such a different approach to it, Keith, and I was just wondering whether you might be able to touch on some of that process and how your approach is different to the way people normally think about writing business plans, for example.
Keith: Yeah, exactly, look, I have been a great believer and advocate to the one-page business plan… and I think, you know, you recall, uhm, when I was with you on the Sunshine Coast, the things that I said. It was a client that taught me this value of it, you know, I was asked to go and speak to a large printing business. And when you think of a printing business you think of Quick Copy, and there is nothing wrong with ‘Quick Copy’s’, or the Snaps or anybody like that, but this was a large printing house, it was a 25 million dollar business. And.. so I’m waiting to speak and the CEO stands up and puts up a one-page business plan for a 25 million dollar business, includes a 120 odd staff. And, I go – you know what, I know nothing about the printing industry but I know exactly what they are going to achieve this year. And if I can get it and I know nothing about their business, I would imagine that all of his people would have gotten it as well.
So my approach for setting a one-page business plan – and I’m able to provide a template for your listeners – my approach is really simple.
Fiona: That would be fantastic!
Keith: Firstly, there’s four key areas.. and this applies to any business, anywhere in the world:
You want to have financial objectives – so you want to have financial goals
You want to have operational effectiveness
You want to have people growth, people development
And you want to have customer marketing – and underneath marketing put files and service and loyalty.
You can change those areas around. And what I say is, “Okay, what are your one or two – they are more than that – but what are your one or two key financial objectives in the next 12 months?” And then that can relate to turnover, it could relate to profit, it could relate to increased volume, you know, whatever it might be that’s specific to your business.
And then what you do is you then go on and say, “Okay” – and I used to do this, I used to say to people that you want to have the key outcome for the next 90 days, but I have changed my thinking around and I think business is too dynamic these days… I honestly believe that what you want to do is say, “What are the key outcomes that I need to achieve in the next 30 days that will work me towards those key financial objectives?” And then you go through… there could be 2, or 3, or 4 different objectives.
And so, for example, if we use one – let’s say I want my business to turn over $500,000. So that is one of my key objectives. And I want to have 40% profit. There are my two key financial objectives for the next 12 months. What do I need to achieve in the next 30 days to work towards that goal? You know, what are the key objectives for the next 30 days would be to create a prospect list, to do what I call a “ten by ten by ten formula” and so… Who out of this ten can I not afford to lose? Who out of this ten have the greatest potential? and who are the ten prospects that I really need to go and introduce myself to and to work with? So that might be three objectives.
The other objective might be… well, you know, time is money, so I am going to look at some ways to, uhm, you know, create some partners that can, you know, fill my pipeline for me. Or, maybe one of the other objectives is I am going to start to ask for referrals.
So there is the.. there is the objectives that I am going to work on this month.
And, you know, ten by ten by ten could be two by two by two, could be five by five by five. But all of a sudden you start to have a very measurable, a very specific plan. Of course, what sits above this is how you want to feel.
Fiona: Yeah, and I love this process of chunking down, and the fact that you have taken it – like you say – from 90 days down to 30. You know, you take this sort of overriding, sort of huge big goals, you know, like you say and increasing your revenue from $500,000, you are chunking it down, so now these goals start to become more achievable in your mind rather than this huge marathon you can’t get to the end of.
Keith: Yeah, absolutely, look I had a… I wrote a blog about this, uhm, late last year I had one of my clients that I work with here in Australia, is Lexus, and one of the best Lexus dealerships in Australia is Chatswood. And the dealer principal is fairly young and dynamic guy and I had him speak to another group of my clients. And you know one of the comments he say which has stuck with me and has been a real, uhm, you know, lighthouse, a comment that keeps me focused – he said, ‘You know what?’, he said, “When we don’t hit our goal”, and you know, and the car industry is very much a 30 day industry, “When we don’t hit our goal… you know, people go all, “Oh, jeez, we missed our goal, we were supposed to sell 40 cars and we sold thirty”. He said, “You know what, it is never one thing”, he made a comment, “It’s a series of neglect; it’s… we didn’t make the follow-up call to Mr and Mrs Jones, we didn’t get the quote back to Mr Smith as fast as we said, we didn’t, you know, we turned up late, you know, five minutes late to a demo…”. You know, it’s a series of neglects. It is never one thing that kills the month, it’s never one thing that stops up a business. It’s a series of things that you should have done.
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda”
Keith: But it’s a series of neglects.
Fiona: And I guess too, when you have got in these key milestones and everything written down… to look at them daily and think, “What action am I taking today to bring myself one step closer? How am I proving what I did yesterday so I can get closer to achieving these goals?”
Keith: Yeah, absolutely. You know, uh, that goes back to… you need to start to create. And I know we don’t have enough time to talk all about this, but – maybe another time – but one of the things that I say is that if you want to avoid the series of neglects then you need to create a set of rituals. You know? Uhm, people create rituals and rituals form futures. And the key here is that you need to have a set of rituals that support you in moving your business forward.
For me, one of my rituals is … uhm… is I contact 7 clients every day. An email, note, unconditional gift, uh… phone call… uh… whatever that, you know, whatever the method, but I contact 7 clients every day. Because I’m a great believer that, you know, you need to stay connected to people that you are doing business with; you need to stay connected to people that might be doing business with. So one of my rituals is that. And that will always … it creates momentum. You know? It’s the amount of times that you will have people that will say to you… I had a client just yesterday, “You know what? I got your email and, funny enough, we were just talking about you this morning. Right! Look, we want you to do this”, “Oh, wonderful, excellent!”. There will be other times when you get nothing back. But, it’s… you don’t do it to get something; you do it because you want to stay connected to people.
Fiona: Yeah, you know what? You know, you have given us so many golden nuggets, but that… I mean, even if people just took one piece of information, that one idea and implemented that into their business, I think every business would benefit from doing that, in order to build relationships, in order to stay in front of mind with their clients, and like you say – you know, you might just hit them at the right moment when they are thinking, “Oh, I need to sort this out, I need to do something”, and then BANG! there you are. And because you nurtured that relationship, you know, you are the person that they are going to feel connected to.
Keith: Yeah, absolutely. You know, this.. I am not going to talk too much about this subject anymore, and you know, one of my books, the first book that I ever wrote “How to Create Loyal, Profitable Customers”, and uhm… and, because you know, everybody is talking, Fiona. Everyone is talking about sales and nobody is talking about, “Okay, what do you do once you get them? What do you do after you get, you know, get them to keep them?”. And, you know, and it’s.. look, if you want to create… people say, “Aaah, you know, I need to create customer loyalty” – really simple frequency of interaction; you need to stay in touch with your customers when they are not doing business with you. And there has never been a better time in the world to date to be able to stay connected to your customers for free than there is today. And so many people don’t do that.
Fiona: Yeah… and it’s so easy, really, to keep it personal.. and like you say, whether it be an email, a little note, I mean even little hand written notes that come in the post – you know, that… because nobody does that, do they?
Keith: No, correct. You know, and that’s why I say we have a complement: we use email, handwritten notes, unconditional gifts, you know… look, if I like a book, I’ll buy 20 copies of it. Look, I’m just looking at my books in my office here at the moment and I’m going, you know, I’ll just grab one and I’ll go… now I have my VA that will send me 7 names every day. I don’t think about who I contact; it’s totally random, it’s totally.. you know, she has some system, I don’t know what system it is, but she sends these 7 people to me, their names, their address, their telephone number, and email address and I just, you know, as I said, note, phone call, unconditional gift like send somebody else’s book, whatever it might be it is just a way of staying connected.
But understand it is a discipline. I’ll give you a quick little story. I had a professional speaker come to me – a lovely lady who got a really wonderful message and … and she sat across the table from me and broke down in tears you know, she said, “My business, my buiness. I don’t have anything booked for the next couple of months and really is depressing…” and she said, “Could you”, you know, “What would you suggest?”. And I said, “I tell you’ll what I’ll do. Here’s what I want you to do: I want you contact 7 people every day. It could be a prospect, it could be a client, it could be somebody… but I want you to contact them, to phone people every day. I want you to do that for the next month. Every week I want you to send me those people’s names – you know, you can fax them to me, you can email them to me, uhm – I just need to know… tell me their first name, tell me their company name”, and I said, “Here is what is going to happen: you will send that to me and I am going to delete it as soon as I get it, I am not even going to look at it, but you need to send it to me so I know you’re on the right path.” And 30 days later we sit back down and I said, “How’s business?”, she said, “I have never booked so much work in my life!” And…
Keith: You know, I could say a hundred stories like that.. it’s not about technique, it’s not … funny things happen when you get in the market place, you start to stimulate the seeds that you plant over the there and not reaped from way over there. Just, the universe has a funny way of saying to you, “Okay, you are serious, so we will look after you”.
Fiona: Wow, look, I am just SO grateful for what you shared – I mean, our time has gone extremely quickly, Keith, and I am sure that our community here at Super Savvy Business… I am hoping that they have all taken lots of notes, they are going to be listening back to this recording so that they can make sure that they can take all those golden nuggets that you shared.
Now, obviously, we have only covered just a tiny, tiny fraction of the, you know, incredible amount of material and teaching that you have.
So how can people connect with you or learn more about what you do with the Passionate People Program?
Keith: Look, the best way is they can visit PassionatePeople.com or they can go to KeithAbrahamBlog.com and log on to my blog. I do a blog three times a week, it’s all about passion, and direction and focus, and becoming the best you can be, and pursuing your passion and discovering what’s important to you. And, uhm, I just feel that the blog is the best way to stay connected with me; apart from people getting the blog, that’s predominantly the way I communicate with my tribe… so if there are any events that I run up.. And in essence I run one event, one public event a year around the Passionate People program that you had a chance to experience…. and, uhm, just all the other work that I do around the globe and everything like that; it just had to do a lot of private work and a lot of public workshops, you know… So that’s just the one I do do just to add back to the community. So if people are on my blog they will find out about that and they can come along to it.
Fiona: Fantastic! Now, I actually have a copy of your book, “Passionate People”. How can get – and it’s an amazing book and I highly recommend that if you don’t already have your copy that you grab a copy of it – how can people purchase that, Keith?
Keith: Yeah, look, they can jump on my website, KeithAbraham.com or visit PassionatePeople.com and they can buy the book there. And we will just ship it to wherever you like in the world.
Fiona: Beautiful. Well, Keith, I’d like to thank you so much! I know that, you know, you are a very busy person and the fact that you have been prepared to give up your time away from your family to speak to us – you know – it means an awful lot to me and I’m sure it does to the rest of our community.
So thank you. I am sure that we will love to have you back again.
Keith: Absolutely. I love what you are doing, Fiona, you are out there making a difference and I am always happy to help another passionate person make a positive difference,
Fiona: Beautiful. Alright Keith, well, we’ll leave you there tonight, and thanks again, we’ll speak to you soon!
Keith: Thanks Fiona, bye now.