#37 – Geoff Woods: Success Depends On the People Around You

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Episode Summary

Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life with Krisstina Wise. Geoff Woods is the host of “The Mentee,” a podcast that documents Geoff’s journey from employee to entrepreneur. Today, Geoff has partnered with Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, who are the authors of bestselling book, The ONE Thing, and is working behind the scenes with them to start The One Thing podcast and so much more. Find out how Geoff transitioned from being an employee to running his own business.

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You can also click on the time stamps below to jump to those specific points in the conversation.

What We Covered

  • [02:45] – Who is Geoff?
  • [06:10] – Is Geoff just lucky?
  • [10:55] – Geoff already understood the power of mentors before he began his side hustle.
  • [14:15] – When you find a mentor, you are shaving years of mistakes off of your plate.
  • [18:35] – Geoff knew he had to know millionaires in order to become a millionaire, so how did he reason with the fact that he had to ‘ditch his friends’, if you will?
  • [18:55] – Just because you need to find new friends doesn’t mean you have to get rid of old ones.
  • [22:25] – How did Geoff get to know millionaires within 10-12 months from the time he decided he needed to surround himself with people who were already living his desired lifestyle?
  • [25:30] – Ask this: What are you working on and how can I help you?
  • [29:35] – Have there been any consequences because Geoff decided to start his own business?
  • [30:15] – Geoff has not watched the news in two years.
  • [33:55] – Get comfortable saying the word ‘no’.
  • [37:35] – What are the 5 empire builders?
  • [40:35] – Geoff reads 1 of the 9 things that keep people from being millionaires.
  • [48:50] – Right now, it’s sexy to be an entrepreneur, but the reality is that it’s HARD to be ‘number one’.
  • [50:45] – What does ‘The One Thing’ mean to Geoff?
  • [52:50] – Did Geoff ever want to give up? And if so, how did he get past that?
  • [53:50] – What myth would Geoff like to bust on today’s episode?


[Tweet “I had two choices when it came to accomplishing something. I could do it the eas”]
[Tweet “The most successful people did not show up to get something; they showed up to g”]
[Tweet “When you become clear on who you’ll surround yourself with, you start to recogni”]

Links Mentioned

Geoff Woods’ Website
The Cashflow Quadrant, by Robert Kiyosaki
The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

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You are at the intersection of wealth, health, and happiness. Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life.

Today, I tackle money wealth with Geoff Woods. Geoff is the general manager of the publishing arm of Keller Williams, which includes many national bestsellers, most notably, The ONE Thing. He is a quintessential overachiever in that he is also the host of the incredibly popular podcast, the Mentee podcast, and he’s the creator and teacher of Creating a 7 Figure Network. Geoff is a good friend. If you want to know millionaire and billionaire secrets, you’ll want to listen to this episode. Enjoy.

So, Geoff, it’s really, really fun for me to be here with you today. You and I met, what? Maybe 60 days ago or so?

Something like that.

Yeah, introduced by our mutual friend, Jay Papasan, who I’ve known for I’m not going to say how long because that will really age me.

You don’t look it.

And we both really started in real estate and our careers about the same time. So, Jay is an incredible human being. I know you have the privilege of working with him every day, and then he introduced the two of us.

So, anyway, it’s real fun that we get to chat again, and this time, I actually get to interview you live, because you’re remarkable. I thought I was just meeting a friend of Jay’s and you guys were working together, and we spent 90 minutes together and you reshaped some of my world. And I wasn’t even expecting that, so thank you.

But, you were quite a success story in a very unique way, I think, and I really wanted to introduce you to my listeners as an inspiring story and something that’s very applicable and practical that I think many can do what you’ve done. You just had served an example of how you really sort of analyzed where you were and how you were doing and then you made a decision that, “This isn’t quite working for me. I think that I have more potential, that there’s more in me, and I want to do something different. It’s a little scary, but I’m basically going to quit my day job, and I’m just going to do this entrepreneurial thing,” and voila. You’ve done pretty well at that, to say the least.

I know there’s a lot of people listening that, in the back of their mind, they’re thinking, “Man, I really would like to do my own thing,” but they don’t know how, they don’t know if they should, there’s the fear, and you’ve done all of that. So, you left your cushy day job.

I did.

And you’ve been wet. Tell us the story. Give us a little background. What were you doing before? What was that pivotal moment when you’re like, “You know, I’m just going to jump off here, take a risk. I’m called to do this other thing, and I’m just going to go ahead and do it.”? Can you lead us up to that point?

I was in medical device sales for about five years, and I was in Southern California, which this was an amazing opportunity, amazing blessing in my life. I wore scrubs every day, I ran through hospitals. I actually sold a device that saved lives. It was extremely rewarding work, and I don’t know how many of your listeners can relate to this.

But, even when times can be good in your career, you still may feel like something is missing. That’s where I was. In my heart, I knew, one day, I wanted to own a business, I wanted to be my own boss, but I didn’t know how to get there. I’ve got these really comfy golden handcuffs on, and I just can’t quit that type of a job just to start a business, especially knowing how many of them fail.

Well, two things happened that changed my perspective on how “secure” my job was. The first was a colleague of mine had a stroke and he was only 35 at the time. My wife and I had just bought a house in Orange County and we had just had our first child. So, all of a sudden, I’ve got real responsibilities, and while I have a “secure” job, my colleague helped me realize that I still have to wake up and be able to go to work every day in order to collect that check, and, God forbid, something happened to me, what happens to my family? That was really unsettling.

The very next week, I got hit again when my company made a change to our commission structure, and overnight, my income got slashed by 40%. I don’t know how many of you have ever suffered a devastating pay cut or a job loss, but it’s just that. It’s devastating. Month after month, we start hemorrhaging cash to the point where, literally, the bank account almost hits zero, yet I still have this mortgage to pay. I still have these card payments. The bills keep coming but the income is no longer there to support it.

That’s when I finally said, “Okay, enough’s enough. I’m not in control, and it’s my fault, because I’ve allowed myself to get to this point where I’ve only had this one stream of income. That needs to change now.” I set out to build some passive income and made a lot of mistakes just because I didn’t know what I was doing, and that was the exact moment that I heard the Jim Rohn quote that, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

For the first time, I looked at my five, said, “Amazing people. I love them. They’ll always be in my life, but I have no business asking them for guidance because they’re not where I want to be.” I set out on a mission just to upgrade my five, did it really fast, I launched a podcast in January of last year called “The Mentee”, where I’ve been the mentee and I’ve just been documenting the private conversations with my mentors. That blew up. It became a six-figure business, and along the way, I ended up meeting Jay Papasan from The ONE Thing, and an opportunity was created to move to Austin to partner with him and Gary to launch a company together, and all of a sudden, I went from employee to entrepreneur in 10 months.

That’s fast.

It was fast. Much faster than I expected.

That’s really remarkable. So, you’re making it sound almost really easy. So, is it just pure luck that things worked out that way, and I don’t think pure luck works that way. I mean, there’s always luck in everything somewhere, or magical contingencies, universal interventions or whatever.

But, what happened? You made a decision. There’s this life moment. It’s like, “Okay, I have no control. This isn’t working for me. My income just decreased by 40%, and this colleague had this illness.” It sounds like all this happened at once, so you were getting this message. Then what? Did you quit the job even though they’ve reduced your pay structure. Did you quit or what happened?

No. This is where I really started — the golden handcuffs started feeling more like the handcuffs of a prison, because I looked up and realized, “Okay, where else can I go and earn the same amount of income?” Even though they slashed it by 40%, I was still making more than I would anywhere else in a corporate setting.

So, I was stuck. That was really unsettling, and that was when a mentor of mine really helped me change the way that I look at things, because he shared that, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” He said, “You may harness these negative emotions about your current company, but recognize it’s a stepping stone. It’s still putting a roof over your head, it’s still putting food in your mouth. So, be grateful for it and be grateful for the fact that your company just did all these things, because it’s helping raise your awareness now that you need to make a change.

So, why don’t you focus on becoming as efficient as possible at your day job so that you can free up time to start building something on the side, and that’s when I launched the podcast and started turning that into a business. Literally, full-time job, starting a business. That’s two really big rocks. Not to mention wife, new baby. Needless to say, my time was strained, and I started building up that income on the side so that, one day, I could hopefully choose to do my medical job or not. In the process, I ended up meeting Jay and the opportunity to start this company with him and Gary came about.

I think that’s really important because what I listened to there is that it wasn’t easy. I mean, you were working two jobs, basically two full-time jobs and trying to be a good husband and a new father, and there’s just such a lesson in there. It’s work. There was no guarantee this other thing was going to pay off is trying to manage all these different concerns at the same time, but really, after this belief that, “I can do something on my own.” But, I think there’s sort of this feeling that it’s going to be easy. “I’m going to quit my job and start this new thing and it’s going to blow up, and it doesn’t quite work that way. It’s really willing to say, “Take on a lot of extra work, hard work, long hours, maybe a little bit less sleep,” especially with the new baby, maybe no sleep, right?

I remember my episode 50 of The Mentee, I interviewed my wife, because my goal was always to be transparent about what it really takes to go from employee to entrepreneur and share the things that most people would never share. You hear my wife say, because I’m asking her how me starting the business is taking a toll on our marriage, and you hear her say that she could count the number of times that I either fell asleep next to her or woke up next to her combined in the last year on two hands. That’s the side that people don’t see when it comes to having to start something, when you’re holding down a full-time job. There’s massive sacrifice. But, she was on the boat. We were rowing in the same direction. She was onboard, and it’s gotten tremendously better since.

Absolutely, but there is that period of true sacrifice and willing to take on that in order to truly follow your dreams, to do this ambition, and I think it’s so easy in the media, or marketing, or books. It just sounds like sort of the way we started like, “Oh yeah, I quit my job, but a year later, I’m working with The ONE Thing.” It’s like yes, but there’s a lot of agony, and heartache, and fear, and not sure, and questioning myself, and waking up in cold sweats, because, “What the hell am I doing?”

So, it’s that behind the scenes that never quite gets reported that I think is the true resiliency, and determination, and blood, sweat, and tears, and this willingness to go through the pain and suffering without any certainty on the other side. But, it’s worth the pain and suffering if and when it does work out. But still, there’s no guarantee, right?


So, you’d mentioned you came across this Jim Rohn quote, but it sounds like you already were the type of man who valued mentors. So, that’s unusual too. In my world, when I coach a lot of coach and consult, especially younger adults now that are just entering the business world, or entrepreneurs that are trying to turn their business into a profitable business versus sort of a free hobby at the moment, that the idea of really getting a mentor or paying for a coach, or spending time getting advice from others that have sort of been there, done that, and have done it successfully is very slim. It’s not like it’s this common understanding, or belief, or knowledge that I need to find a mentor. So, have you always sort of had that inside you? Tell me about that.

I think, to a sense, yes. I don’t think it was always that clear. I always recognized that I had two choices when it came to accomplishing something. I could do it the easy way or I could do it the hard way. When I put it like that, it’s like, “Yeah, well I want to do the easy way.” What people don’t realize is they, almost 99% of the time, are choosing the hard way unconsciously, which is, “Let me set a goal, let me put a plan together, and I start taking action.” Sounds about right.

But, what most people are doing is they’re guessing because they don’t have the experience or the perspective that somebody else might have if they’ve already accomplished that goal. The easy way is to say, “Alright, I recognize that if I want to accomplish something, let’s see who’s already done it, let’s deconstruct how they did it, and if there’s a chance for me to actually get in a relationship with them to the point that they can reach back, grab my hand, and pull me forward, and guide me, I’m going to get there a lot faster.”

That’s in evident when I moved to Austin and, all of a sudden, I’m sitting down with a Gary Keller and a Jay Papasan and they’re saying, “Alright, you need to hire people.” I don’t know how to do that. “Okay, here’s Gary’s 200-page operation system on how to hire somebody. Here’s the playbook, go.” It’s like you just shaved decades of mistakes off of my timeline, thank you. What’s going to get you there faster?

That’s really good, and you said a word that I talk about a lot too, and it’s experience. I think even some of the younger generation now, I’m not sure we value experience or the power of experience, like what experience is. I mean, a lot of people have years, and that doesn’t necessarily mean experience.

But, it’s experience in the sense that, “If I’ve been doing this for two decades, and doing it at the very top, I know something.” You know something. And people that are doing it better than I am, maybe one or two decades more than I have. There’s so much knowledge there: trial and error, figuring things out, lineage from what they’ve brought from their mentors and teachers and leaders.

So, I think that’s a really important takeaway is that the value of experience, and it’s just not get a mentor, like, “I need a mentor,” and that’s sort of even talked about all the time. Go get a mentor. It’s like, “No, go find somebody that has experience, and is almost in a place that they want to pass that on to some degree. And it does, it can just shave years off because you’re not making all the stupid mistakes that they’ve already been through, right?

This is reminding me of something I heard early on in my journey when I started putting some intention behind surrounding myself with the right people, and it was understanding the difference between seeking advice and seeking counsel. Advice is something that you seek from your friends, the people you happen to be in a relationship with, and it’s based on their opinion. It’s not necessarily based on fact or actual experience. Versus going and seeking counsel – like when you hire an attorney, you are seeking counsel – is based on wisdom, knowledge, experience.

So often, if you were to look at the people that you’re actually in a relationship with, they’re what I call relationships of circumstance, you happened to have met them through a mutual friend, you happened to have met them in an event, and you realized that you liked each other and you got in your relationship, and because you like each other, in those moments of indecision or struggle, you go to them for advice. Versus recognizing, “Where do I want to be? Who are the people who are already are? Let me have some intention behind getting into a relationship with them and then seeking counsel.” World of difference.

That’s great. That is really, really powerful. So, it sounds like you did have a little bit. Maybe a little bit unconscious and not completely intentional that you need to go seek this experience in mentors, but there was something there that you did ask for counsel. Then, when did you come across this Jim Rohn quote that “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most of your time with”. What happened in that moment? Was it just like this light bulb went off and you’re like, “Oh my god!” Or was it slow? Tell me about that.

I’m sure everybody who’s either watching or listening to this has had a defining moment in their life where something hit them so hard and they remember it with such clarity like it was yesterday. It was right after I had tried to get into real estate investing, because I’m going, “I need passive income. Real estate, yes,” and I ended up losing thousands of dollars for stupid mistakes that I should have known, but I didn’t have the experience to know what I didn’t know.

And I remember I’m sitting in my kitchen and I’m reading this book, “Cashflow Quadrant”, which is one of Robert Kiyosaki’s. Everybody knows Rich Dad Poor Dad. I think Cashflow Quadrant is the best, and at the end of the book, it starts talking about the importance of your five, and why you need to surround yourself with the right five people, and he quotes Jim Rohn, and it was that exact moment that I remember thinking, “Interesting. If I want to wake up one day owning a business that is making a massive impact and delivering over seven figures a year to my family, like at that level of clarity, who are the people in my life who own businesses who wake up every day, that business is making an impact and delivering over seven figures a year to their family? The answer is zero.”

My thought at that moment was, “Then what are my chances of getting there?” and my heart sank, and that was the moment that I said, “Alright, I’m not going to focus on starting a business, I’m not going to focus on investing in real estate. My lead domino, my one thing is to focus on surrounding myself with the people who are where I want to be.” That was the single defining moment that led me to now standing here in Jay’s office working on The ONE Thing.

Wow. So, you had this awakening like, “Holy cow, you have you’re one thing.” That’s one thing. It’s another, then, that there’s, I think, two sides of this. One side that I want to ask you about is was there any sort of psychological or emotional tension, or something to deal with there? Because, again, it’s like, “Wow, there’s zero, but I have all these relationships and friendships.” How do you make those decisions sort of emotionally, psychologically say, “Hey guys, I’m moving on. Goodbye. It’s been nice knowing you.” That’s the first part. I think a lot of people, when they hear this, might be saying to themselves, “Yeah, I don’t have that five either but I can’t just drop my old friends off the back of the bus,” right?

Such a great question, Krisstina. I personally did not have that thought, but in speaking with enough people, I know they all do. Here’s the thing, it’s just because you “upgrade your five” doesn’t mean you eliminate the existing ones. All those people who are in my initial five are still in my life. It’s just in a different capacity. I don’t call them and ask the person who’s not married when I’m having challenges with my marriage. I don’t call the employee and ask questions about how to scale my business. I go to the people who can give me actual counsel, and those people who I want to stay in a relationship with, I still invest in those relationships, but it’s just a different focus now.

Right, but how much of the time you spend with this group of people makes an impact. I mean, if we stay stuck in the same relationships, yeah, maybe we have these different counsels we go to, but it’s very periodic, and it’s just like for a 30-minute coffee, or an hour coffee, and we get some counselor advice, or whatever. That’s different than spending time with Jay, or Gary, or whomever you’re spending time with that there’s only so much time. So, how much does some of these relationships that we don’t want to upset, maybe, really can thwart our success if we spend the majority of our time there whether or not we’re asking them for advice.

That is definitely one of the compromises is the person that I used to speak to every day, I now speak with once every two weeks. It’s not cold turkey, it happened overnight, but it was a slow progression that just, day after day, as I’m making progress, I am choosing to invest my time differently. And you know what? That’s okay. But, notice what I said there: invest my time. Because, it is your number one asset.

So, that’s really good. I think it’s just to know that there is a choice, and we all have to make hard choices sometimes, and that’s not necessarily the easiest one, but it’s the choice of, “Okay, if this is true, this is a truth that we are the average of the five people we spend most of the time with, if that’s pretty close to being true, then it gives us a choice as to do we want to stay where we are, if we do want to move on, if we want to move on to this next level of success, achievement, relationship status, whatever that we might have to let some things go in order to open up the space to move on?” and just get good with that, get okay with it, right? Despite the fact that it’s not necessarily emotionally pleasant.

Yeah, I agree with you.

Alright, so that’s sort of part one. Part two is, “I’m okay. I can deal with the fact that I’m going to change the time spent, or the investment in some of these relationships to open the space for, let’s say, this next category of knowledge,” and just people operate differently at different levels of success. I mean, the philosophies tend to be different, the daily practices, the habits, the levels of discipline. I mean, it’s different.

There’s a reason why certain people are at a certain level of success, and most of those people share a lot of the similar things that are different than those that might be in different circles. But, it’s not like you can just call up Gary Keller and say, “Hey Gary, I want to upgrade my five and I want you to be one of them, so can I just come hang out with you or become your best friend?” So, how did that happen? How do you make the decision, and then within 10 months, 12 months, you’re actually working with Gary Keller and Jay Papasan?

You want to go the actual story of how that transition happened, or how someone can end up connecting with a heavy hitter?

Well, I’d say share a little bit of your story as the example, but then to try to help people understand that there is, maybe, a way to go about this, because, seriously, I can just see that people are like, “How do I call so and so?”

I clapped my hands twice and I clicked my heels. That’s what.

Exactly, exactly, the magic genie.

There is a central theme of coming from a place of contribution, and always genuinely looking out into the world asking, “How can I add value?” As soon as I started surrounding myself with the right people. First, it was in the form of me being willing to even open up my wallet and attend events, some high-level masterminds, getting in the room with the right people and just observing. I noticed that the most successful people did not show up to get, they showed up to give. The most successful people did not show up to get something, they showed up to give value. That really struck me, and I took that and just immediately incorporated it just like, “It’s a part of me. It’s who I am in my bones now. I am a person who comes from contribution.” That’s really important to understand.

We rewind back to the beginning of 2015. It’s been less than a month since I launched The Mentee Podcast. My national sales meeting for my medical device company comes up, I forget what city we’re in, but it’s time for the keynote speech. They hired somebody to come in and speak, and I walk into the room, and there’s this white book that is sitting on my chair, and it says The ONE Thing, and onto the stage walks Jay Papasan. I don’t know who this guy is, I’ve never heard of this book, but he starts talking about the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.

I’m in the back of the room and I’m just blown away by his message. It is striking me so hard, and all the while while he’s talking, I’m going, “Gosh, I have to get into relationship with this guy. I don’t know how. But, how can I add value to him?” He finishes his speech, standing ovation. And everybody starts to sit down, I look around the room, and I’m going, “How is it possible that nobody’s getting out of their seat to go to talk to this guy? He’s walking off the stage. He’s going to walk right past us.” I got up and I basically went and tackled him, and I said, “Jay, my name is Geoff Woods. First and foremost, thank you. I don’t know you personally, but your speech really touched me. I just launched this podcast called The Mentee. I have to feature you, I must share you with my audience. Is there a way that I can spread your message?”

Coming from a place of value, he says yes. I think that was like episode 17 at the very beginning. At the end of the interview, I ask him one simple question. “What are you working on? How can I help you?” He says, “We’re always looking for exposure for the book.” I didn’t have a solution for him, but I filed it away in the back of my mind. As my podcast got traction and I started getting interviewed on other platforms, I started writing for entrepreneur, I’m thinking, “Oh, I can connect Jay with all these other podcasters who are interviewing me. Oh, I can write an article about productivity and feature it in an entrepreneur magazine, adding value.”

And when I did the social media blast to promote the article, I saw Jay resharing it on Twitter. He was retweeting it. So, I tweeted back at him, “What are you working on? How can I help you?” coming from contribution, and he replied and said, “Gary and I are looking for a CEO for a publishing company. And in that moment, I thought to myself, “Interesting. I actually know three to five people because I’m a super connector. I build relationships,” and I replied and said, “I know three to five people. Let’s talk so I can make sure I connect you with the right person,” trying to come from contribution.

Jay and I get on the phone. He tells me what they’re looking for, and I am speechless, which if you ask my wife, never happens. I told them, “I had some thoughts. Give me a few days and I’d call them back.” I hung up the phone and I sat in my car in silence for five minutes. I walked into my house, I looked at my wife and I said, “Honey, I just had a phone call and I think everything’s about to change. I would not be surprised if we moved to Texas.”

Before she could say anything, I ran into my office, turned on my mic and recorded this, because I knew it was a defining moment that ended up becoming episode 57 of my show where I literally documented all the behind the scenes things. Like I just knew. I called him back two days later and said, “I sincerely got on the phone with you because I wanted to add value to you and connect you with somebody who could be qualified, but in the process, I realized I’m your guy,” and I got the job and here we are.

There’s so much in that story, and I thank you for sharing that story. It almost seems so obvious and simple, but people don’t do this. They work so hard trying to push their stuff on other people, or market, or sell, or network, and all these things, and they’re missing the point. You were so clear on this man was special. This man had changed you by just this one presentation, and so then you go to make his life better to learn, “What does he care about. Ask those questions.” I love the questions you ask. It’s like, “Jay, how can I add value to you? Is there any way that I can spread your message?” Like, “Yes, you can,” and then you follow up, and you follow up, “How can I help some more,” and then you actually do it, and within a short period of time, here you are working with him.

So, there’s so many lessons in that story that you’re right. It’s just going back, like, “How do I make contribution? How do I add value?” And it does remind me a little bit, too, Tim Ferriss talks a lot about this, good friend of mine, Charlie Hoehn here in Austin talks about this. But Charlie, for example, a young guy, he worked for Tim Ferriss and was his right-hand man for — do you know Charlie?

I do.

So, great story. Similar story, but he just goes and offers to work for Tim for free. He says, “Hey, I will clean your trash cans if that’s what it takes, but I admire you, I think I can help you, I clearly want to learn from you, and I’ll do it for free. I’ll come out there. I’ll go out there on my own dime. I’ll figure it out.” So, it’s that same level of contribution, just this sort of awareness that, “If I do a good job helping other people that are more important than I am and I became really valuable to them, it’s going to open up all kinds of doors, potentially.

That’s it.

That’s such a great story. What about what consequences? Have there been any sort of negative consequences once you made this pivotal decision to travel this other direction and maybe upgrade or top grade some of your relationships and really move towards where you are now? Have there been some kind of bad things that have happened, or painful moments, or something, or has the dominoes pretty much just fallen for you once you made some of these decisions and started moving that direction?

They really have fallen for me, which has been really nice. I’ll go in two directions. The first is just recognizing that the moment you become clear about who you’re going to surround yourself with, you start to recognize all the negative influences in your life. I have not watched the news in two years, because if it bleeds, it leads.

It is all negative, there is no value. I will not allow that to even get into my mind, and there have been some occasions where there are people who, unfortunately, live below the line, meaning they go to blame, shame, and justification. I cannot be around those people. I will not allow that influence to be in my life. So, I will distance myself from people who I claim to be toxic, because I value myself and my future too much to allow them to sabotage it by getting in my mind. That’s the first one.

The second one, and this has been one of the biggest blessings of being here in Austin working with Gary and Jay, I’m really trying to live The ONE Thing. I’m trying to be that guide for all the people who are fans of the book, which is why I’m doing this live stream right now. Living a life of priority and focus is hard, and we’ve never been taught how to do it.

And the easiest way I can illustrate it, and I shared this with The ONE Thing audience earlier this week, about three months ago, I had my state of the company meeting with Gary and Jay. Every month, I come together and I give them an update on how our business is doing and seek some mentorship, and I had a change in our business plan and I wanted to present it to them. My business plan was one page and it was three simple priorities: priority number one, priority number two, priority number three. Super clean. And those priorities work in order of priority, meaning one was more important, two, which was more important than three.

We start talking about priority number one, and Gary asks a bunch of questions, I answer them, “We good?” “Yeah,” and I get down to priority number two. I’m about halfway through number two, and Gary stops me and goes back to number one and asks a few more questions. I didn’t think anything of it. I answered him. I get back to number two, wrap it up, I start to get into number three. He stops me again. He goes back to number one and asks a few more questions. I answer them, say, “We good?” he goes, “Yep,” I get back to number three, and for no more than 10 seconds that I’ve been talking about number three again, he stops me and he says, “Quick question for you. Do you need to accomplish number three to accomplish number two?” I said, “Nope.” He said, “Do you need to accomplish number two to accomplish number one,” I said, “Nope.” He said, “Then do me a favor. Cross out number two and number three and don’t even think about them again until you master number one.”

How many times, in your life, do you have all these priorities swirling around in your head and you take action on them? Because, that’s what you do. You want to move the ball forward. You’ve got all these balls up in the air. You’re juggling, you want to keep throwing them in the air, and what Gary instructed me that day is it’s okay to recognize that there are all these things on your road map. It’s okay to have all these balls, but you need to set all of them aside until you can take the one most important one and master it.

The moment he shared that with me, it was this amazing blessing and I gave myself permission to just say no to everything that just did not matter as much, then I got hyper focused on the things that mattered most, and as a result, saw meaningful progress in the business.

How is it to say no? I mean, people don’t like to hear no. How easy is that really? I mean, you’re saying no to yourself probably like, “No, I’m not going to spend time there. No, I’m not going to spend time there.” But, I’m imagining you get requests all the time, so how do you stay true to that?

It’s a challenge. I think, for me, I’ve developed the right mindset around it to the point where I actually get a little excited when I say no to things now. It’s kind of liberating like, “Ooh, I’m in control. I like that.” But, it’s not easy. But, when you come from a place of priority and you recognize that if you say yes to those things, you’re truly saying no to the things that matter most to you, and that’s not what life’s about.

That’s really good. My thing has always been to say, “No thanks.”

Or push back. I’ll say, “Hey, I’m against a deadline. Do me a favor. Circle back with me in one month.” Put it back on them, because 99% of the people, if you turn around and give them a task, they fall off. If it’s really that important, then they will follow through. Oh, you need me to do this? Do me a favor. Send me a detailed email with your plan for it so I can review it in advance before we schedule a time to meet. They don’t circle back.

You’re exactly right. They never do. They forget about it about two seconds after you say no.

If you want to ask for my most valuable asset, my time, that I’m going to ask immediately, did you double down and make an investment to deserve that time?

Wow, and you really do coach to this. When you and I spent time together, again, it was just to meet and chat and get to know one another over coffee. I didn’t think I’d be getting this 90-minute awesome counsel based on. Because, you’ve done things, obviously. I’m here doing a podcast interview with you and I’m newer to the podcast. So, I was so lucky that I got to receive a lot of your podcast strategy. That has been very successful. So, number one, thank you, publicly thank you for spending that time.

But, one thing I did take away from that, and what you really work with me I was like, “Krisstina, you’re working on these other priorities. Just nail this podcast thing. Just go there, and let’s move these things around so everything really is this funnel, this linear sequence of actions around really, really mastering the podcast and getting the podcast successful. So, that was really helpful. I came back with my team and wrote on the board, and said, “Oh my god, we’re going to just cut this, this, this, and this, and let’s just focus here,” and it really did shift so many of my internal operations.

And you’re exactly right. The podcast has gotten a lot better because we’ve focused on it, and our numbers have just totally increased by just that little adjustment. I mean, the numbers, the downloads went up about like 20% just by focusing on it, versus it’s just one of many things that we’re trying to squeeze into any given day or week.

I love it. Sometimes if you illustrate it, it really makes sense to people. If you imagine lining up 100 dominoes, and I give you the goal of knocking every single one of them down, you would never go to domino number 14 and knock that one over first, because your goal is to knock them all down. In the case of you, it was very clear that your lead domino was the podcast. So, why focus on anything else until you just were able to knock down that first domino and it makes everything else easier and necessary.

Yeah, you’re exactly right. So, anyway, thank you for that, and everything’s become easier. I think the other thing is focusing on The ONE Thing, but everything else is easier because it becomes more obvious as what the next domino is, and the next domino, and the next domino, and it’s sort of these dominoes go in a nice curvy row versus they’re all over the place and you’re trying to figure out how to knock them down individually. So, I think that’s a really good metaphor.

So, when we met, also, that I really loved was the idea of your five empire builders, and I think that’s something that Gary Keller shared with you, and it’s really shaped some of your thinking that’s a little bit different even than the average of the five. So, can you share about that? What do you mean when you say five empire builders, and how important do you think that is to success?

So, Gary has a quote in a class that I took, and it’s actually on the home screen of my iPhone, which I can’t look at right now because I’m doing a Facebook Live, but it says, “If you are at the average of the five people you spend the most time with them in business, your success will be the average of the five people you hire.”

Gary talks a lot about if you don’t just want to build a business, but if you really want to build an empire, it comes down to having the right people and as your generals, or as your empire builders, and you should not need to, as the CEO, hire more than five people. And if you hire the right five people, not only can they do 100% of their job, which means they’re not giving any of it back to you, because you’ve already got your own job. You need to find people who can do the job.

But then, they can also go out and find another empire builder, who can go out and find another empire builder, and another empire builder, and another empire builder. And this is how Keller Williams was set up. Gary got the right five, and they were then able to go out and recruit their five, and each of those people was able to go out and recruit their five, and you fast forward 140,000 agents later, we’re the largest real estate company in the world. And it was because he started focusing on making sure that he got the right five in place to begin with.

Okay, I get it, and I’ve seen Gary do that, so it’s a fundamental principle that has proven to work at a very high level. Going from Keller who is small company in Austin Texas that was failing in the mid-80s to now the number one real estate company in the world, and he did build his empire, and I started with Gary, so I’ve seen that. I’ve been part of it, and seen it, and experienced it.

But, a lot of my listeners, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re small entrepreneurs. They’re either real estate professionals or they’ve left the day job and they’re really trying to make their businesses, their ideas work, and it’s a lot of solopreneurship. They’re one person and they’re stuck because there’s so much time in any given day, and one person, it’s a lot to try to pull off a successful business by yourself. But, do you have any advice? How do you build your empire when funds are tight and you’re the one person to try to make this happen? Do you have any advice or suggestions on how to start building that empire on you’re living out of your savings accounts?

So, a few things. On Jay’s wall, right up here, he has a piece of paper. I’m going to totally jack all his stuff up. Sorry, Jay. Gary typed this thing out that was the 9 Things That Keep People From Being Millionaires, and one of them that I’ll read to you is they don’t see people as an investment or asset. You’ve probably always heard that it’s a good idea to invest your money so that your money can make money. And everybody talks, when they talk about investment, they’re like, “Oh, I’m going to make investments. I’m going to invest my money.” Yet, the number one asset that you can invest in is people.

So, for that solopreneur, that person who’s just starting out, who’s bootstrapping it, I think it’s a matter of having the right perspective to say, “Hey, I need to get to a positive cash flow state where I am saving off a certain percentage so I can then reinvest in the highest leveraged asset, which is people.” I’ve been going through this with my podcast. All of a sudden, we got to a cash flow state where we’re profitable every month and I’m going, “Alright, if I really want to scale, I need to now make that investment in people,” and I think the next thing is giving yourself permission to allow your world to get so big that anyone can step inside your world and have everything they could possibly ever want.

This was hands down one of the most valuable pieces of counsel I’ve received from Gary and Jay is the number one reason that talent leaves is because a day comes where they perceive they can no longer have everything they could possibly ever want inside your world. So, they leave. Gary asked a different question when he was building Keller Williams. “How can I give myself permission to allow my world to get so big that anyone can step inside my world, have everything they could possibly ever want and still be in my world?” Now, notice he didn’t say, “Me create the opportunity for them, me do it for them.” It’s, “I’m going to give myself permission to allow my world to be big so that I can recruit a person who has talent, and then it’s their opportunity to create the opportunity to have everything they could possibly ever want.

And then to find the right person.

Because that’s you giving yourself permission to then one day step out and allow that  somebody else to make that their opportunity, and that’s exactly what they did with me.

Well, I’m guessing that there’s some getting over your ego too, because there’s so much of that of, “Wow, well I’m the one and I’ve created this. Nobody could do it as well as I can,” or maybe even with your Mentee Podcast. I know you’re trying to scale that, and was there a moment where you’re thinking, “I created this thing. I can’t bring anybody else in. They’re not going to do it as good as I did.”

So, this has been a very recent thing, because how can I be the face of The ONE Thing and have two things? That’s not integrity. Jay said to me, “No, you don’t necessarily have to shut your podcast down. What if all hundred and whatever episodes until now was “season one”, and in season two, you recruited somebody out of the audience to be the next Mentee to document their journey and you went to being the mentor.

Now, that’s exactly what’s happening. We’re recruiting the next Mentee. I brought in an operations manager because I reinvested my cash into a human. It’s his opportunity to scale the Mentee. It’s that next Mentee’s opportunity to document their journey inside my world while I’m over here being the face of The ONE Thing. It’s just bigger thinking, and the only reason that happened is because I focused on surrounding myself with people who thought bigger.

Was there a moment of — I mean, did you have the thoughts of, “Nobody can do it as good as I can,” was there any of that ego in there, or were you just like, “No, I get it. I’m ready and willing to replace myself to the person that can now take what I’ve started and then turn it into something even greater than what I’ve been able to produce so far?

The moment Jay said that, the light bulb went off and I said, “That is it. I knew it.” That was another defining moment for me. But, the reason I accepted it so fast is because I knew that’s what Gary did. There came the day where, all of a sudden, he said, “I need to step out as CEO and just be chairman and allow somebody else to have everything they could possibly ever want of a CEO. They serve their time, and then the next CEO, then the next CEO, then the next CEO. Five, six CEOs later, the business has grown exponentially and he has just been chairman of the board. It freakin’ works.

That’s awesome. I think that’s what I really love about you is this trust of these truths that come from your counsel, and willing to say, “I’m just going to trust that they know what they’re talking about. They’ve proven it, and you’re really an example of practicing what you preach. You’ve learned these things, you’ve done it, and then you’ve learned things and you’ve done it again, and it’s really remarkable and you’ve done it in a very short period of time, and it’s uncommon to see people that are out there teaching, actually, concepts, or theories, or ideas that are actually doing what they’re talking about.

Anyway, you’re so inspiring that way and I really admire that a lot. I don’t see it very often. So, Geoff, you’re working with some amazing people like Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, and I think you know this, but my listeners probably wouldn’t know that I started with Gary Keller, actually. When I was in my late 20s, I joined Keller Williams. I was brand new, basically out of college, and some personal travel abroad and came into real estate and started with Gary Keller, and back then, Keller Williams was a very small company.

So, I really had the advantage of starting there when it was so small. Gary taught all the classes back then, Gary and a man named Dave Jenks. I was young but I was in every single class that Gary taught. I started in the back row, then I kept moving up row after row, but I was always amazed, number one, captivated by this man that was so brilliant even back then, right? So, I was like, “Why isn’t this place packed? This man is amazing,” and my brain couldn’t understand why everybody wouldn’t be here to listen to him. I just think some people are learning-based, and maybe others not so much.

Then, I kept making my way all the way to the front row, then I started having enough courage to ask a few questions, and similar. Then, Gary actually coached me. I was one of his mentees back in the day when he’s writing the first Mega Agent Book, and I was part of that group, but all of that story to say Gary Keller is an incredible mentor even without trying, I think. He’s just such a teacher and he has a passion to push this knowledge that only he has. It’s true brilliance on the world in ways so the world can be better.

I mean, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my business and the way I think if it weren’t some of the shaping that I got from Gary from a very young age. Then, Jay too. You know, Jay has taken on and I’ve learned so much from him in those relationships. So, all of that to say, you’re working with two of my, somewhat, favorite people, and people that have actually shaped my personal life. What is that like on a day-to-day basis?

I pinch myself. I’m still waiting to wake up. People ask me a lot, “Is it as good as you thought it was going to be?” and it’s infinitely better. Sometimes you don’t know. You hear things about people, and you think if they reach a certain level of success that maybe there’s some skeleton in the closet. They’re just both truly exceptional human beings, and I’m just blessed to be in business with them.

That’s really awesome. Part of the story though, I think, is it’s a full circle in the sense that you had this job, golden handcuffs, you broke away from that, life happens, some life experience caused you to say, “I want to go into business for myself, and here’s the reasons why. I want control, I want this, I want that.” Then, you come back full circle where you’re working, really, probably as more of, I think, the coin term is “intrapreneur”, if you will. So, talk about that. I think that’s another really great inspirational story that even entrepreneurial mindsets, entrepreneurial people might have the biggest opportunities as an entrepreneur inside an organization, like Gary’s world, like you said, that’s so big you can build sort of your own empire inside of his empire and you’re not giving anything up.

Yeah, I think this is a term that is starting to gain traction, and I think if we were to look at an adoption curve, we are very early on that adoption curve. Right now, it’s sexy to be an entrepreneur. It’s sexy to go out and own a business. The reality is most people are not destined to be a number one. If you’re employee number 17 at Facebook, you would be very freakin’ happy right now.

I think it’s a matter of just saying, “Do I have the entrepreneurial spirit?” Am I meant to be number one and wear the crown for all its glory, but for all the weight that comes with it?” or am I better served to be in an organization that supports entrepreneurial thinking and acts like an entrepreneur, but in a more structured environment with that security. We’re going to see a lot more of that in the next few years.

It can be awesome that you are still an entrepreneur. Like Gary’s saying, “Come to me with your business plan and present it,” and then you have the experience, the counsel right there to help you in the moment versus having to seek it outside. What an awesome experience that’s probably opening up your career and your life so much bigger than it would have been, maybe, otherwise, or taken a lot longer to produce it.

No question.

So, a few more things. I know we’re reaching the end of our time together. So, a few more questions. Obviously, we could talk, probably, all day long. I could just like, “Give me more, give me more.” The ONE Thing, I think it talks about — I’ve read the book, so I won’t spoil it. It’s a book that —

It talks about two things, people.

Right. It’s a life-changing book, and I know it’s really shaped and changed a lot of people’s thinking. What is The ONE Thing? I mean, if you sum that up, what does The ONE Thing mean?

My answer is going to shift every day because every day that I live it, it takes on new meaning for me. I think it’s about recognizing that you have two options. If your life were like a pie, you can nibble around the edges and just eat the crust, or you can get focused and make a claim and say, “This slice right here, just this one slice, I’m going to go deep, and I’m going to enjoy it for all its richness and its glory.” It’s about recognizing what are the things that actually matter most to you in your world and saying, “One at a time, I’m going to focus on one at a time and master it before I move onto the next, before I move onto the next, before I move onto the next.” That is the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results.

It sounds so easy, but it’s so damn hard. Why is that? Don’t you think it would be so easy? Just focus on one thing, right?

Because we’ve never been taught it, but that’s a huge reason of why I got brought on board. That’s a huge reason why I’m even doing this live stream right now is because we want to build a community around it. We want to show people that if they could just bring priority and purpose to their life, it can be so much more rich and enjoyable.

So, a couple more questions, and I ask these questions of all of my guests. Obviously, you talked about both of these a little bit, but you’re very successful, you’re such an example of practicing what you preach, you’ve really, in a very short period of time, I think you represent what’s possible in a short period of time. Versus taking a decade, it took you 10 months, basically.

So, in all success, there’s production of success. It doesn’t come without some breakdowns, some pains, some agony, but the media always paints the pretty picture like it was all easy. So, are there any — I know you referenced a couple pivotal turn-point moments, but can you share an emotional time where you wanted to give up, or something where it was really hard or painful, and how you were able to get past that?

Well, holding down a day job and launching a business at the same time with a newborn, with a wife, with all these other things going on, our marriage really took a hit, and I went under the line. I went to blame, shame justification. It’s her fault. She doesn’t understand all these things, and it was a mentor who whipped out a 2 by 4 and smacked me across the face and said, “It’s all you, bro. It’s you.” Recognizing that, for everything that happens in our life, you’re fully accountable and accepting that accountability, because once you do that, then you’re in control, then you can actually make a change.

So, it’s been a powerful lesson. The entrepreneurial roller coaster has certainly held true. There are great highs and there are low lows, but in each of those lows, there’s a powerful lesson that brings me right back up to the top.

Alright, one more question. On all my episodes, I like to do a little myth busting. So, there’s a lot of conventional wisdom out there that people believe to be true, but it’s false and it’s thwarting people’s best intentions, their hopes, their dreams, because they’re just in behaviors that are sabotaging their dreams and goals. So, what’s a myth that you come across all the time that you would like to bust?

Well, we kind of talked about it earlier, the difference between relationships of circumstance versus relationships of intention. And I would just challenge people to simply draw five circles and put the names of the five people you actually spend the most time with, then ask the question, “Are they where I want to be?” If you really went deep, you’d notice that most of those people, you happened to have met through a circumstance. They are relationships of circumstance.

If you want to accelerate your path, if you want to get to that next level faster, then it’s really about switching some of those names out with relations of intention, people who are already where you want to be and seeking counsel from them. The original five, they still get to be in your life. They just play a different role.

So, is the myth then that my relationships don’t matter? So, what’s the common belief that we’re sort of stuck in that then it’s like, “No, they do matter, and most of –” The truth is that they do matter, the myth is maybe they don’t?

The myth is that you don’t have the right five, or that you think you have the right five. You think you’re good. I’m here to tell you, if you be honest with yourself, I have yet to meet a person who has ever had the right five without focusing on it.

 Alright, well that’s — I don’t know how we can have a better ending. So, let me go ahead and ask you this. What can I do to help you to bring value to what you’re trying to produce for yourself, your career, your next opportunity?

Spread the message of The ONE Thing. That’s it. I’m on a mission to teach people how to live with priority and purpose, and we will be launching The ONE Thing Podcast coming up shortly, and when that happens, I’m sure I’ll reach out to you and ask if there’s a way we could help promote it.

Well, great. I’m here for you. We’ll make sure to promote The ONE Thing though, obviously, “Hello everyone, buy The ONE Thing. Everyone that’s listening, again, it’s a book. It’s a must-read for everyone. Timeless book.” Then, we’ll make sure we link it up to it in all the show notes and do some good promo for you. But, let me know anytime I can help.

Thanks, Krisstina.

Alright, Geoff. Thank you so much. I really value your time. I know you have a bazillion other things to do, so thanks again.

You’re welcome. Talk soon.

Talk soon.


And so ends another episode of The Wealthy Wellthy Life. This was one more millionaire mindset that will make you wealthy while keeping you healthy. Before you leave, if you want to learn how to become rich, healthy, and happy, then sign up for my free money training at mindfulmoneywebinar.com. You will learn my signature formula for transforming your life from debt into a healthy multimillionaire. It’s the only moneymaking system that makes your health your number one asset. It’s helped thousands of others and it can help you too. If you’re curious how it all works, visit mindfulmoneywebinar.com and sign up today. Again, that’s mindfulmoneywebinar.com. Remember, it’s free. And as always, be sure to subscribe to my podcast to make sure that you catch next week’s millionaire mindset. This is Krisstina Wise, your personal guide to having it all, signing off. Here’s to living a Wealthy Wellthy Life. I’ll see you next time.

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