Dan Sullivan is considered by many to be the No. 1 entrepreneurship coach in the world. His company, Strategic Coach, is considered to be the best in the field as well.

I've been studying Dan's work for over five years. I joined Strategic Coach just over six months ago, and it has revolutionized my life. 

Specifically, there are two ideas that have been game-changers for me, which I believe every entrepreneur needs to understand.

1. Who, not how.

The foundation of the Strategic Coach program is the idea: Who, not how.

What Dan observed in coaching over 20,000 entrepreneurs is that they are incredibly good at coming up with goals and exciting futures to pursue. Their problem is that the first question they ask themselves is "How can I accomplish this?"

"Millionaires ask themselves 'How?'" Dan says, "Billionaires ask themselves 'Who?'"

It's a simple idea that isn't as easy to implement as you'd think. 

When you have a goal you want to accomplish, train yourself to ask "Who?"

If there is an area of your life that you are procrastinating on, it might be because you haven't thought in terms of who, and are probably trying to do the how.

For my own life, I'd been trying to finish my PhD. For two years I've been standing at the finish line, with just a few weeks of work left, but hadn't completed it.

Then I realized I was still being a "how" thinker, and I decided to hire a stats consultant to help me understand what I was trying to do. 

Similarly, I've been writing my second major book, Personality Isn't Permanent, and it's been much harder to write than expected. I've been stuck on it.

Then I decided to think in terms of "Who?" and hired Tucker Max's team at Scribe. Immediately, I got lined up with an amazing editor and process that helped me break past being stuck. 

Again, if you're not making fast and powerful progress in an area of your life, you probably have a "Who?" problem. You need to shift your focus. 

It will change your life and success immeasurably.

2. Twenty-five year thinking.

The second major Strategic Coach idea that has changed my life is the 25-year method of planning and visualizing.

Because the world is changing so fast, it can be easy to seduce ourselves into thinking we can't plan 25 years out. 

This is short-term and small-minded thinking. 

Recently, Nick Nanton, the multiple Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, did a documentary on Dan Sullivan's life called Game Changer.

In the film, Babs Smith, the co-founder of Strategic Coach, said, "He has a different way of looking at time. And it helps people to be on their own time, and not on the time the world tries to impose on them. 'This is your window.' 'You have to act now.' He's like, 'No you don't.'"

The reason Strategic Coach operates the way it does is that it shatters people's common views of time. In fact, Dan Sullivan plans to live to 156 years old. One of the first things entrepreneurs learn at Strategic Coach is that they have a story in their mind about when they are going to die. 

"We all have a number," Dan says. 

He then challenges them to imagine where they'd ideally like to be in health and vitality the year before they think they're going to die. Of course, no one wants to be a vegetable or in a group home the year before they die. They want to be healthy in body and mind. 

So, if they are planning to be at that level, then there is no reason to believe they will die when they have unknowingly planned in their mind they would die. 

So they then extend the number of years they plan to live, sometimes by 20-50 years.

"What would you do with all that extra time?" Dan asks.

People make a list of what they'd ideally like to do. They are then challenged to begin doing that stuff right now.

In other words, by properly planning to die, people learn 1) they have way more time than they thought they did, and 2) they have permission to live their true and biggest dreams here-and-now.

Rather than short-term thinking, at Strategic Coach you make 25-year plans and dreams. This takes the pressure off. 

You have time.

You will figure this out. 

I've also been working on a book with Dan. Then, three months ago, my wife gave birth to twin girls, Zorah and Phoebe. Our life has been crazy since, and I was already working on my PhD and second book at the time.

I began fearing that I was pushing my collaboration with Dan off too long. I began imagining Dan would be upset I wasn't getting things done as fast as he wanted.

But again, he thinks much differently about time and even relationships. 

He thinks in terms of 25-years and 100X potential. He thinks in terms of investment instead of costs. He thinks in terms of gain instead of gap.

Everything is fine, he assured me. Finish what you need to so you can focus your energy on what we can 100X together.

Wow, this is different, I thought.

Conclusion.

These two ideas have radically changed my life. 

These ideas have empowered me to grow my team, progress on my PhD, write books more effectively, and collaborate more powerfully.

Focus on "Who?", not "How?"

Think long-term. 

It will transform your life.

Published on: Mar 9, 2019
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