#184 – The Focus Project With Erik Qualman

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Episode Summary

Have you been struggling to stay focused in the last several months? Where your focus goes, your attention flows. Focus is something that seems so simple, and yet so unattainable at times. It can be easy to lose sight of what you should be focusing on and let all the small details drag you down. Today we are faced with so many decisions that it can be easy to get analysis paralysis. Let’s get you focused on this episode.

Our guest Erik Qualman (“Equalman”)  has a new book out called The Focus Project, and it offers great insight on how to stay focused. Erik is an alumnus of the podcast, and I am so honored to have him back on again. Erik is a bestselling author of books such as Socialnomics, Digital Leader, and many more. Erik has worked with clients such as IBM, Google, FBI, National Guard, Disney, Sony, etc. Erik has performed in 55 countries and reached over 35 million people in the last decade. Erik was voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling.

Today’s episode is full of actionable items you can use to take back your focus and achieve your goals. Some of the topics talked about are.

  • Creating Systems To Keep Organized
  • Making Not-To-Do Lists
  • Reducing Clutter
  • Decision Fatigue
  • The Art of Saying No
  • Focusing On Only One Thing A Month
  • Why You Need to Act Like a Cowgirl or Cowboy.
  • Focus On The Big Not The Busy
  • Focusing As A Habit

Enjoy this conversation with Erik Qualman!


Erik’s Website

The Focus Project (Amazon Link)

Sovereignty Academy

WW Podcast “Learn More” page

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You can also click on the timestamps below to jump to those specific points in the conversation.
Read Full Transcript

This transcription was made by using Otter.ai so it is not 100% accurate.

Krisstina Wise [0:01]
Welcome back. This is Krisstina wise your host In this episode I interview my longtime friend, Erik qualman, also known as equal man, Erik’s a big success. He’s an entrepreneur of a multi million dollar business. He’s the number one best selling author and motivational speaker. He’s performed in 55 countries and reached over 35 million people in the last decade. He was voted the second most likable author in the world behind Harry Potter’s JK Rowling. His works been used by the National Guard to NBC Universal to NASA. We had a fun conversation we talked about focus, a word I found incredibly difficult to stay true to during this crazy time we live in Eric’s latest book is called The focus project where he reveals what he learned about the power of focus by focusing on one important thing each month for 12 months. He shares his secrets for staying focused as well as the trials and tribulations. Mostly that is much harder than we think even when being focused on being focused. So Like me, you’re having some trouble staying highly intentional and directional, you’ll wish to listen in to Eric’s big focus reveals, please enjoy my conversation with Erik Qualman.

Erik, welcome to the welcome wealthy podcast.

Erik Qualman [1:15]
Now Great to be here. Can’t wait to share some of my wins and also sold misses.

Krisstina Wise [1:20]
Yeah, this is gonna be a fun conversation. So this is round two you you were actually my podcast was really just first releasing it. So first Thank you. So it’s really nice for those, you know, original ones that are willing to say yes, before there’s a big following. And you shared so much then and we’ve become friends over the years. You’re another fellow austinite. So it’s just it’s good to see you here.

Erik Qualman [1:42]
It’s great to be back and congratulations just keep it you keep it rolling and just creating that following so I know you’re helping so many people out so thank you.

Krisstina Wise [1:50]
Well today we’re going to talk about I see it’s behind you too. So the full

Erik Qualman [1:54]

Krisstina Wise [1:55]
and I love it. I’ve got my my annotations and my thing in here. SoIt’s just such a fun read. So thank you. And I really just want to delve into this book. But before we do that, for everybody listening, just share a little bit of story like your background, how you got started, which is a really cool story and how that rippled. And you’ve spoken about it over 55 countries and in probably thousands of stages and some of the biggest audiences in the world. And so yeah, just share who’s Erik qualman or equal man, ya know,

Erik Qualman [2:25]
I grew up outside of Detroit, and I got into the automotive business like most folks, but what I liked about it as I would like the digital side, and this is back when digital, there’s very few people working on digital. So at my internship, just to show up, very few people actually helped program the first cadillac.com website, as an intern. And so you fast forward my whole backgrounds been digital, I worked at Yahoo back when they were a small start up, they’re kind of the Facebook of the day, and then worked for travel zoo Head of Marketing also worked at a big company like at&t helping with their online

Krisstina Wise [0:59]
Like me, you’re having some trouble staying highly intentional and directional, you’ll wish to listen in to Eric’s big focus reveals, please enjoy my conversation with Eric Coleman.

Erik Qualman [3:00]
Digital orders that at that point like how to get additional landline in your house, because everyone needed an internet connection that was back on dial up. So it’s been a great journey but about 11 years ago, was the head of marketing at travelzoo. We took that company public and became the top performing stock on the NASDAQ Actually, we took the company public, but my space was kind of big. And I could see this change and how we communicated. And I was going, let’s get on Facebook, actually, and then got arguments within the company about why don’t we go on MySpace, it’s bigger. I’m like, well, Facebook should be bigger because of blah, blah, blah, long story longer. I wrote a book called social dynamics because I go, how can people not see that this isn’t just for teenagers, this is good change politics, it’s going to change the way we communicate. So I wrote that book. And as I say, the rest is history. So now I’ve written I guess six books, and we’ve now performed in 55 countries we reach 50 million people. My whole goal in life is to have fun and to help people or to entertain, educate, empower people. But about life so they can inspire others to do the same. So I primarily write books, we have an animation studio so we produce some videos that some people have seen because some of them gone quite viral. But that’s what we do. We try to entertain, educate, empower people their best life, and thanks for getting the latest book on focus. And so that’s that’s the that’s the short version of the story.

Krisstina Wise [4:21]
Yeah, and I know a lot of your work has really been on the digital world. And even the footprint I mean, I think that the last podcast we talked about was really be aware of the digital footprint that you’re leaving because you know what, it’s not what did you say what stays in Vegas? Now it’s on Facebook and or what you know, what happens in Vegas is now on Facebook. And you know that that wasn’t the time that things really shifted. It’s like oh, yeah, I am leaving a footprint but that you know, you’ve really focused in that digital world and and had those conversations what where does focus come from?

Erik Qualman [4:53]
So the focus book came from because in my mind, so I love technology, but technology changes every second but humans Nature never does. So I’m always face to face can replace it. Obviously, we’re living through challenging times where we’ve gone, almost all Jetsons, but I’m more of a Flintstones first guy. And then later in the Jetsons capability when time and distance are an issue, which we’re doing right now, right? Because we could physically be together, it’d be a different experience. And so where the focus project came out of was like a lot of people. I’d had some success, but I was at the end of the day, my hair my pillow would catch on fire because my hair was on fire. I’m like, what was that I go tomorrow, it’s gonna be different. Not gonna do that again. Tomorrow is the same. The next day was the same. I know this is crazy, because I somewhat have more control over my time and say others because I own the company. But then I realized as I talked to a CEO here, a stay at home dad here, a school teacher there that everyone was wrestling with it, just it’s so that I pause And said How great would it be if I just took out a project where for each month that is focused on the thing that mattered most. And so that’s what I did is I had a year of false starts because this is so hard to do. And then I finally was able to do it for those 12 months each month just focus on one thing primarily with the end result being what works and what doesn’t work and everyone’s different. So I say we’re all living the same movie but we’re different actors and different actresses. And so it’s really about here’s what worked for me here’s what didn’t work here’s what the science shows and kind of giving it to people so so that they can take and go Yes, I’m trying to do too much I can’t do it all I can have it all but I can’t do it all at once. And so that’s what the whole purpose of the book was is not so simple art of doing less better.

Krisstina Wise [6:49]
I love that and it’s you know, it is a message has been there for a while we know what you know Gary Keller and Jay Pappas and had the one thing book and, and then there’s essentialism Book and, and I always called it the I called it the fuck book, which was Mark Manson’s the art of not giving enough. And, you know, some of these have been out here. But what I loved about your book is you really did break it down like, hey, this was the focus this month. And this is what I learned. And this is what I studied. And this is how it were I succeeded and where I failed. And so first of all, how was this experience for you?

Erik Qualman [7:24]
Yeah, no, great question. So I actually gave myself a grade each month. And so one big learning was that you’ve got to go for progress over perfection. And so I only have 12 months to age. Fortunately, one of them was the first month but I got two A’s. And so you have C’s, you have C pluses you have B’s. And so like for mindfulness, I have a tough time. I know how good it is to meditate. I know how good it is to journal, but somehow that always slips in terms of time or I can’t get my brain to kind of quiet down but I just, I think give myself enough i got i did better at it. And so I took some takeaways Okay, I can do that. And then sometimes I go, Okay, that’s not sustainable. It’s just it’s not possible and being okay with that, that was like a big takeaway is just again that progress versus perfection. I think that’s helped a lot of people that are reading the book. To understand that look, you got to cut stuff out. And by doing that, you’re gonna do the big things much better. Like you said, Gary Keller Jay Pappas, out there book, the one thing or we list all those books in the book, actually, a Greg’s book essentialism. So it’s tested, like essentialism. Does it work? Or is it just good to read? You know, it’s I want to test like, what’s really realistic, or like these miracle mornings or Sundays, like, dude, I’m not gonna do 10 things before in an hour. It’s not not possible. My kids not happen. And so what, what, what’s plausible?

Krisstina Wise [8:47]
I love it. Well, let’s break it down a little bit, a little bit. So I think one of your aims was growth, but what do you how do you think about growth? What is growth mean to you?

Erik Qualman [8:56]
Yeah, in this particular instance, so I tell people if you’re going to take on your own focus product What I want you to do, and all that means is that you’re going to carve out, let’s say, a half hour a day, for that month to focus on that there can be one of the most rewarding months was to organize physical stuff, right? Because it’s just love it because you put in the time you can see the result. And that’s why it also makes you more productive, being organized. That’s why there’s all these best sellers out there about organize your life. And so that was one of my favorite minds, I knew it would be. But the growth month is a month that I said, you’re gonna do the focus project, you’ve got to nail the thing that will allow you to allocate this time. So for us, it was, hey, we’ve got a crush me speaking on stage, obviously pre COVID. So these are live events. And so that’s our when I thought of growth, it’s like I want to do that month because I can measure it. And also to allow me the flexibility if we crush that month to kind of have this time to do that. So that’s why I picked that particular piece in terms of growth. It was sales of getting me on stage to speak and now it sounds great. Crazy that’s always been our top revenue generator. But I would start to track again I did a year where I failed that false starts, I call him I couldn’t do it. And I’d literally look at the month that I’m supposed to be allocating a half hour a day or two hours, eventually, two hours a day to this, I allocated 17 minutes for the month. This is the top thing. And so once we did get it started, the good thing is we crushed it that month, by focusing two hours focusing the team focusing my time, just around that piece. And it sounds so simple, like why weren’t you doing that before? It’s because we get pulled by all the things right? You get pulled by all these immediate things, then you push away the one thing that you think and wait, but it’s the most important piece. And so that’s why I took it out because we can measure it and also to is the most important thing to allow us the grace to do it for the rest of the year.

Krisstina Wise [10:53]
Yeah, what I love about that also, I mean, I find myself as any especially small business owner entrepreneur, there’s never any shortage of things that seem like they’re important. And in great ideas and different projects. And, you know, I just I find myself that I really spread not just myself to them, but I spread my team to things we just, I’m an innovator, I’m a visionary. There’s just so much to do and create. And so I love that it’s just not you like myself, too. It’s like, What’s that one thing that we’re going to grow because I’m trying to grow everything at once and it just doesn’t talk about fail. It’s just tired at the end of the day. But I also love what you said the team was rallying that same focus. I think that’s equally important that it’s not just you trying to work on you know, these measurable results in what you you know, your part to it. But what is we as a team, this is our primary focus for this month.

Erik Qualman [11:46]
Now, you’re spot on, I sat down with the author of the Shark Tank book, so he gets a behind the scenes look at all these entrepreneurs and all the sharks themselves. And I asked him like, what’s the top thing you’ve taken away from the two books you’ve written? He goes really It’s all of them get back to don’t drown in the sea of opportunity. So exactly your point with the team is you got to get the team focus that truenorth. And it’s easier said than done. Again, my habit in default, I slide back into it sometimes because that’s why I actually reread the book when I’m having a bad day, because that’s why I wrote it for one person, right? I could always go back to that research is that, especially when I was traveling, I just come in, we’d have a status meeting on Monday, and I just kind of blow through it or push it off. I was like, Oh, we can push that off. But now that’s the main we don’t push it off. That’s the main meeting for the week. It’s like, Alright, what’s your main focus for the week, then we’re going to check back in on Friday not to hold you accountable. But just so they remind you, what are you doing? And is anything holding you up? So like, what are you doing is there any blocks in the way that we can help remove if you don’t do that they’re working on what they think is important and it might not be important for the whole organization.

Krisstina Wise [12:57]
That was some of the the, you know, the biggest leaders in the world that are, you know, leading the biggest most successful companies? Are you Do you find that these CEOs This is what they’re really good at is this focus is the kind of this one thing that and they drive the team forward towards the one thing, even though they’ve I mean talk about massive opportunities and projects.

Erik Qualman [13:21]
You know, it’s a great question because part of the reason going back to one of your first questions was where did this idea come from, as I was in a room, so I gave a speech on stage in front of all the companies that make the candy. If you think of Halloween, like everyone, every piece of candidates in your Halloween basket, everyone was in this room at this cocktail reception. And so people’s last names are Mars, you know, they live on streets like Hershey and so I’ve always just the spine so I asked them, you know, you’re successful, your family’s been successful for hundreds of years. How do you do it? And they like focus, and I go, what’s your biggest challenge each and every day and they go stay in And so they’re slightly better than most. And a big learning from the book is they’re not more talented. They’re not more educated. What they do is they have better systems. And so these highly successful people, the way they can focus, the way they win is by focus. So that’s why they win. And then how do they focus? They have systems, they don’t rely on willpower. They’re better systems and routines. So they have systems around saying no, they say no to almost everything. And so that’s one of the key learnings of the book.

Krisstina Wise [14:29]
Yeah, that was big in there. And you know, MacAllan talks about that in essentialism, too. It’s kind of the art of saying no. So how do you do that? Did you find that when you’re going through this? You’re saying yes to too many things. And this was a new practice to get better at saying no.

Erik Qualman [14:44]
I’ve gotten much better at saying no, it’s still not easy. But you got to get a system in place that defaults to No, so your immediate just get in the mindset of No. So it might be as simple as if you’re doing takeout food today. They go Hey, do you want pepper on this? Just Say No, I know. It’s weird, but it’s just like, get in the habit. saying no, because most of us are people pleasers. And that serves us well like going back thousands of years. You want to assimilate to the tribe, you want to mirror people and you want to be a people pleaser. But you’re not pleasing anybody. If you say yes to everything, because you’re basically saying no to everything. You say yes to everything. So every everyone’s going to lose. So that’s a framework that’s helped me to know that my nose or no, am I but that makes my Yes, yes. And the easiest way to think about it is unless it’s an emphatic Yes. So when you ask, Hey, do you want to be a guest? That’s an emphatic Yes. Do you want Super Bowl tickets in fatik? Yes. If you’re thinking I probably should do that. That’s a no. Like before, I’d say yes. Because I probably should do that. Because XYZ, I probably should do that because it might help. But then the day comes, you don’t want to do that. And so if you say yes to things, you’re basically saying note opportunities in the future. And so all the top successful people Understand I’ve got to say no today because that allows me to say yes tomorrow so it should be if it’s not an emphatic Yes, it should be an emphatic No. With like some sprinkles, so it doesn’t hurt so much, but it should be sharp like, hey, my default is I’m heads down this book trot project. So no, I don’t I used to say like, maybe a couple months. I’m like, if I know it’s a no, it’s like, hey, I’d love to this is a great opportunity. Thanks for reaching out, but it’s gonna be a no because I’ve had this on my book.

Unknown Speaker [16:26]
Yeah, and that’s, that’s okay. That’s okay. I did I get it. One of these that

Krisstina Wise [16:33]
that I really liked was the focusing on relationships. So tell me about that your project to focus on relationships. And really the before and after, did you notice like, Well, I’m not really focusing on relationships. And now that I am this is the change for the difference.

Erik Qualman [16:49]
Yeah, because I think a lot of us especially now, like you say you’re working from home, it’s a virtual world. It’s that you don’t have those kind of day tight compartments as a Dale car. You would say you don’t have those fine lines that are set up in place. And so that helped me a lot is that when I’m present, I’m present, so that I’m not thinking about something else. And that’s with the kids. There’s dedicated time we’re going to read from this time to this time. And so it’s just like, there’s nothing else that you’re doing. You’re not trying to answer stuff on your phone. While you’re doing that. It’s just like when you’re there, you’re there that has a lot of health, positive health ramifications, as well. But it’s really about focusing on those relationships. And sometimes it sounds crazy, but you almost need to write down on paper. them you know, there’s all rule of thumb, you can leave it relationship like 150 people, the people, but they’re trying to figure out that’s true, like from a digital world standpoint. But I think it’s true from a core deep relationships and so kind of figure out what are those relationships that are really deep, otherwise everything becomes kind of a surface level relationship. So that was really helpful for me to be able to do that. Sometimes you have to like write down and it’s sad because then you’re not writing out a name and maybe Makes you feel bad, but it helps you deepen that relationship with those other people.

Krisstina Wise [18:04]
Yeah. And in the book, you’ve been telling a story that, that you wanted one of your projects with swimming and so that you were getting into that and invited the kids that the girls had a really nice time to swim and you find yourself irritated, like, Wait a second, this is getting in the way of X, Y, or Z. And then if you don’t mind telling that story, but then it’s like, no way, this is actually a really great time to be present and, and to enjoy this time.

Erik Qualman [18:27]
Yeah, no, I mean, I was a thanks for bringing that up. But yeah, I was training for a triathlon. So you have to swim the first leg of that event. And so you’re in the pool, and it’s a small enough pool where I’m training long enough, but it’s narrow, so I could actually see the kids so I can see that they’re okay, so I can watch them while I’m swimming. And they’re having fun, I’m having fun. But obviously, they want to interact with daddy. So they’re diving under, they’re grabbing my legs. They’re kicking me in places. I don’t want to be kicked as I swim off. And you’re like, Hey, I gotta focus. You know, I gotta get this. I gotta rock this thing out. I gotta go. To the witness, try not win it, but do well in the triathlon. And then it dawned on me, Hey, no, this is the most important thing, this relationship, you know, I’m not going for gold medal here. So it’s like that day’s gonna go and they’re not going to want to be in your lane. And so I talked about sometimes you want people to cross over into your lanes in life, it’s kind of a metaphor. And then enjoy that time, because that time is kind of fleeting, and remind yourself what is the most important thing and what’s more important than relationships. And so it’s really about taking advantage that time and then so that became more of a win. And it actually makes you if you’re diving after them and you’re trying to concentrate, it makes you stronger in the race. Because anyone that’s done a triathlon, you get kicked in the face people all over you. You’re not having this pure, perfect lane. And that’s why I think a lot of us run into problems I know at random for me, is I wake up in the morning thinking All right, here comes this perfect swimming lane. I’ve got this plan and as Mike Tyson says, Everyone has a plan to get punched in the face. And so all of a sudden, that day, there’s no perfect swimming, swimming lanes never happen during the day. And so it’s really about realizing that’s a beautiful thing, that that’s what life’s all about these challenges and moving around and weaving, and then hugging those obstacles are coming your way somewhat like if you think about the kids, and those relationships. So, all of a sudden, metaphorically, it’s like, yeah, you’re gonna not have a perfect swimming lane. To during your life, you’re gonna swim in other’s lanes, others are gonna swim in years. And also to, you gotta understand, at some point, if someone’s in your lane for a long time, but they’re not helping you. You didn’t change lanes. Like you have that choice. You need to change lanes or think about life. You have the remote control, we forget that we have the remote control to change the channel.

Krisstina Wise [20:52]
Wow, that’s so good. Something else when listening to it makes me think of as well. Is it How many times do we get so angry? tend focused on the outcome that we’re really missing the juiciness of the experience itself, the training with the kids grabbing on you and the laughter and then being silly and you know, you’re doing the race anyway. But we miss those real moments that the training really is the, the fun piece. So you know, and then the race is just like, Alright, go race and check that off the box. But I find that especially for us Taipei entrepreneurs, we’re just so focused on the goal that we almost get pissed off if anything’s in the way as opposed to having a playful spirit of like, Alright, let’s, let’s see what this is today.

Erik Qualman [21:35]
Though. You’re right, I mean, it’s like if you’re writing a book, it is you’ve gotta you’ve probably if you’ve had Matthew McConaughey on the show, because he’s obviously an austenite. Like, there’s joy and there’s happiness, love, you’ll derive happiness from the outcome, but really, you want to focus on joy, which is the pure joy of writing something that you enjoy the process. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. It says, Did you derive joy From the process and that’s when you produce your best work as well, whether it’s in business, whether it’s an arts, whatever it is, it’s it’s really trying to get back to easier said than done. Again, always say what we talked about the learnings I got from this project simple, but not easy. And so it’s stuff that we now just like if you want to get better shape, you know, eat better exercise, more simple, but not easy to execute on. So that’s why you kind of need those systems in place in those my items, they’ll get you back to ground zero.

Krisstina Wise [22:33]
I like what you did here even breaking it up like one focus a month and the way you did this, because

Unknown Speaker [22:39]
I’ve thought about this with a

Krisstina Wise [22:40]
lot of the books like yours, it brought it you know, when I read yours or reminded me of this, so it really seems like should it be the easiest thing in the world to focus on one thing, it’s just one thing, like then we can just not even worry about everything. I mean, you kind of worry about everything else, but you know, but it’s the hardest thing in the world to worry about. Just focus on one thing like it’s not just For me, too, I get very focused, and I have an objective. Let’s say, I am, I signed up for a new programmer course. And I’m so excited and it starts, but then I get in the habit of ever, you know, just the normal life takes over. And I even forgot that that was the focus in the first place. I mean, I spent a few thousand dollars on that thing. So was there anything that just I mean, outside of that you were doing this? You’re writing a book about it and challenging yourself? Was there anything that really kept you on focus? Like, what are the systems? Was it just like, hell bent like I am going to train myself to stay focused on this.

Erik Qualman [23:38]
Yeah, no, I mean, it’s funny because I’m in the, in the process of doing the focus project in the process of writing the book, and still I couldn’t focus on certain things like that day would happen, where to explode. And so I wrote in it focuses hard, really hard, really, really, really hard. And so it’s giving yourself that grace, first of all, and knowing if that day got away from you today. Just don’t have a couple days in a row repeat like that. And so that’s the key is don’t let that chain get broken because you get that momentum all of us like momentum. And if you let a couple days slide it’s just like if you’re going to the gym it’s like when you’re in that moment I was like I missed today way back tomorrow but if you miss a couple days like whatever I’m not going to the gym anyways might as well eat this chocolate and all sudden you start going down that wrong path and so systems here’s a couple systems one ate the same breakfast every day for a year. Same breakfast, whatever Think about it. It was an egg white for Tata, just pour an egg whites very easy to make you flip it over, it’s done. The other thing is super easy to claim. It’s got a green smoothie on the side again, super easy to clean. And then it’s just like some lean turkey meat and then so at least I had one healthy meal to start the day but most importantly, I didn’t have to think about it. It was automatic automatic shirt like Steve Jobs started this I started wearing a grey shirt many many years ago before Zuckerberg did, but Zuckerberg does the same thing. See Facebook. It’s just you don’t want to It’s called brain fatigue, you have decision fatigue. And so that allows you to kind of that’s one less decision to make breakfast, one less decision, what am I wearing? And so there you go. And so those are some of the systems that I put in place that helped me a lot still helped me today.

Krisstina Wise [25:16]
All right, so let’s talk about I really love the declutter piece. I’m really, I mean, I’m all about minimalism thing in its place. And still, it’s just so easy for things to pile up, and then it starts to fill up the load of that. But tell me about that. What was that experience? What did you notice? And how did you feel once you know once this project was complete?

Erik Qualman [25:37]
Yeah, I mean, it’s never done. But it’s always rewarding to I’m kind of I don’t hoard stuff by nature. But stuff accumulates. And it gets unorganized through the course of the day. The day gets crazy, right? You don’t know what’s gonna happen in the day blows up and things are unorganized. But I always love it. And it’s shown in the research that most of us work better. If things are organized, it also gives you some quick wins. So if you ever need a quick win, it’s just set the clock for 15 minutes and do it. Others argue you got to take the whole day and just crush your closet, whatever works for you. That’s what I say in the book, figure out what works for you. The science will show both but figure out what works for you. But it’s very rewarding to get in there. And then you have to have systems there too, because you go in your closet. And I’ll see like, I might wear this, you got to have a system. So the system was, if I haven’t worn it in 12 months, that’s an automatic donate to charity. This thing has had its time this shirt has had it’s time these pants, it’s now time for someone else. So that helped me as well by donating it. As small businesses, you can write this off too. So it’s helpful to not to sell it, but it’s just donation. So that was a system I had otherwise you’d sit there and lament, you spend all day in your closet, like debating back and forth. It’s like, I haven’t warned that in a year. So boom, it’s done. And then you all know it because you have Like your favorite shirt, and you have this okay shirt, you always get to go to the favorite shirt. So it’s a little easier, it’s a little easier for me to wear a gray shirt. It’s not easy for depending on what your role is. And what you do is wear the same thing every day. But if you have your favorite shirt, you’re always gonna default to that. So you might as well get a couple of them just as backup anyways.

Krisstina Wise [27:22]
And how did you feel when you really went through this whole project, that focused project for that month? Did you was there a noticeable difference? Have you felt better?

Erik Qualman [27:32]
Yeah, no, it’s just in you. The gravitational pull is to go back to what you’ve been doing for your whole life. So again, I fall into that too. I reference book a lot to this every day. If I’m struggling, I kind of go back and flip through it. What do we do right? What do we do wrong? How do we get better? So definitely getting much better at just being relaxed about the big things. One, focus on the big things. That also gives you perspective. guy just relax.

Krisstina Wise [28:03]
So I think we’re, you know, so many of us, myself included struggle I mean, I love again, you can break this up in these 12 projects per year and focused on the one thing. Life is obviously so many concerns at once and so your husband and then there’s that focus and you’re a dad’s there’s that focus. You’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, so there’s that focus you’re an employer so there’s that focus you have these clients and all these you know, the all these you know, people around the world that are clamoring for your and your Teach Your, your, your you and then you’re an author and so there’s the time even authorship, you have to sit there and actually focus. So in all of this was it by virtue of like focusing on just one thing at a time and these different categories open up more space for everything. So That you don’t like the word balance, but things felt more in balance, maybe versus maybe just chaotic. And everything’s kind of out here kind of running from one thing to another and putting one fire out and trying to keep wife happy while clients are over here, did it do this work? Did you just feel more organized and structured that and ultimately more balanced? Does that make sense?

Erik Qualman [29:20]
It does. Yeah, it does. It works. But again, I’m gonna repeat this 100 times so that it’s gonna sink in for everyone that you’re striving for progress, not perfection, so it was better than before. And it’s still better than before today, as I keep you have to be mindful that each day because that’s how tricky this stuff is. And so, you mentioned the word balance. And I know we’ve talked before, it’s really about harmony. So since we talked about the swimming lanes, that’s harmonious, right? You’re combining two things I need to train for the triathlon. I need to spend time with the kids boom, when when right before you get frustrated and say I got to keep these separate. And that’s it. harmonious. Now, there are instances where you don’t want harmony, meaning that you gotta block off time. Like the one thing they call it time blocking. I call it in the book, acting like a cowgirl or a cowboy. You’ve got to fence off specific times for yourself. And then keep wide open spaces. If you looked at my calendar, it was jammed to the gills, I’m sure yours is or was as well. And so you got to fence off specific time for certain things read with the girls, or I’m going to exercise. Like that’s non negotiable, like what are your non negotiables and then fence those off, and then don’t fill in every other crack on that schedule. Try to keep it wide open. One thing we covered in the book, Warren Buffett, it’s funny if you flip through his calendar, it’s almost completely empty. And it’s paper right? It’s a paper calendar. And, and he’s taught even Bill Gates Bill Gates had his calendar he thought a good CEO has it. Not morning to noon, all meetings. buffets even taught them this that it’s like no, no, it’s, it’s this is what you need to keep it up and we call it cowboy and cowgirl scheduling. Another great thing that we learned is a good story is that Buffett was talking with his pilot Mike Flynn. And he goes, alright, Mike, I want you to this exercise I want you to write down your top, you know, two things you need to do. And then it goes, and I want you to write down the top 18 things you want to do the other the rest 18 years. All right, I did it. And he goes, alright, now what are you going to do? And he goes, Well, I’m gonna focus on these two things. And when time allows, I’m going to get to these other 18 things, I guess. No, no, you’re gonna throw that other 18 thing list away or keep it in the drawer. You’re only going to focus on these two things. If you get one of these done, then you can move on over. And so that’s why we came with the idea of the not to do list. And so the practical thing that everyone listening here today can do is look at your to do list 90% of people make too lists. Only 4% of people make not to do this. But successful digital leaders index very high on making not to do lists. And so look at your to do list and just write the word not it’s going to give you a heart attack to do this, but just write not at the top and then go down there and just select that one thing, look through all of it, and just highlight one and move it over. That’s your to do list. And so easier said than done, you’re gonna have heart palpitations just thinking about writing that word not on the top of your to do list, but you still have it there is this your not to do list? And once you get that to do thing done, then move the other item over. I like that.

Krisstina Wise [32:40]
So how much did you find is you’re focused on one thing again? Did you notice maybe where you’re wasting time and other areas that really weren’t productive and we’re out of focus and even if they were even on even the not to do wasn’t getting any attention because I don’t know social media like we Wherever the distractions and all this?

Erik Qualman [33:02]
Yeah, no, it’s a good question. And it was, it was one where I didn’t have a ton of fat. Like, I’m not a big TV watcher. Even though I write social dynamics, occasionally I can get sucked into social media, but not too often. So it wasn’t when I write the book, I said, Look, I know you’re not just sitting on your couch, like you’re successful you people reading this, you’re having success. But just like a CEO, or someone else, or a school teacher, stay at home dad is that at the end of the day, you’re exhausted. And you felt like you’re running 100 miles per hour and didn’t get anywhere. And so wasn’t necessarily I was wasting time, I was being wasteful with my time. And the big difference is wasteful, meaning I was doing little things that mattered, but they weren’t the big picture things. So that if a day or two slip, I wasn’t writing the book, that’s a big picture item that I need to get done. And so you can’t have too many of those days. And it happened during the focus project where I wouldn’t write word which is a big No, no. And so that’s, that’s where we got better at what are the little things that are pulling at us that are immediate, to where you’re getting better at saying, hold on. That’s not a house on fire. I don’t think I’ll put it out. That’s important. It’s a little thing, but it’s not as important as other thing that I’ve written down over here. So as soon as I get this done, then I can go over and do that. I call it playing with house money. You’ve got to do it in the morning for a lot of reasons. One, you got that brain drain to it, you got attack the day before to tax you essentially. And so now I’m gonna flip the script. I’m gonna ask you a question because what was really fascinating to me is that all of us are one of three birds. So we’re either a robin you get up super early or morning person you’re getting that cuts the worm, you know, the early bird gets the worm. There’s eagles, those are kind of tweeners and most of us are eagles, or you’re a night owl, and so you’re not completely out of luck. If you’re not dollars just that your morning might start later. And most of us are most efficient basically an hour after we normally would naturally wake up. So and I’ll see if this holds true for you. So if you were to go to bed, let’s say on a Friday, you have nothing planned for Saturday. So there’s no reason you don’t have to get up for any reason. Like what time would you normally go to bed at what time would you normally get up?

Krisstina Wise [35:23]
I’m pretty consistent at 1030 to 630 plus or minus an hour.

Erik Qualman [35:31]
Got your Robin like I am. It’s about that you’re almost on the same schedule. I am anyone that gets up before seven is Robin. Most of us are eagles, that’s seven to 10. If you’d naturally get up after 10, then you’re a night owl. But essentially, and I don’t know if this holds true, you can say no feel free. Is it an hour after you get to say 630. So 738 ish is probably when you’re at your optimum that’s when you might write. That’s when you might do That big thing. I don’t know if that holds true for you, does that hold true?

Krisstina Wise [36:04]
It absolutely holds true and that I mean, that’s just my brain when I wake up my it’s like time ago and it’s that creative energy and that is all that energy is just ramping to get going and, and then my brain turns off at three o’clock, like if we’re supposed to have a brainstorming session or strategy session or real important conversation. I mean, I’m my body is present, but my mind is completely toast at that point. So, I mean, I mean, my brain actually has a stopping point,

Erik Qualman [36:35]
though, that’s great. And so, and you know that so that’s what we talked about in the book is you got to know thyself, and know the strengths and know that weaknesses and so that’s why it’s imperative to attack that item for you. 738 you’ve got your coffee or your morning tea, whatever your ritual is. It just got to do that attack the day before it attacks you now interesting enough most high level top performers Robbins. Now that doesn’t mean like I said, most of us are eagles, but top performers, especially in the business world are early risers. They’ve adjusted to that, partly because they understand there’s less distractions, it’s the only time they can get that quiet time. And so we put a list together even in the book. It’s like 30 ranges from Richard Branson to Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, all the way across to I mean, Jeff Bezos, Amazon, so these people get up ridiculously early, like 435. But that was a common thread we saw as well. There’s still top performers, especially in the creative world that get up there owls, so it’s just knowing when your optimum time is and not wasting that on email, not wasted on something that someone comes in and grabs you like you said, You’ve got your team, they come in and grab you. You gotta be like, hey, that’s important to me. But not right now because I gotta get this thing done. Let me finish this.

Krisstina Wise [37:54]
Yeah, no big shift for me too, was Those were some big shifts with not to check email first. And even the shift for me with my cell phone not to just get right on the cell phone in the morning like, nope, the phone is not going back on until like my meditation time, my day lined out to these few different things. Now I can turn all those notifications on, but I can’t tell you it’s right now that’s now it’s pretty easy. But at the beginning, it was the hardest thing in the world not to check my phone like, Oh my god, I’m missing me. I it’s laughable. Almost. I mean, I, I couldn’t do it. I could not do it. And that was a big shift. It’s like, nope, nope, nope. And I finally learned like, wow, you know, the world’s not gonna, you know, my world’s not gonna fall apart just because I waited an extra hour to turn my phone on. You know, I could have been sleeping during that time and nobody had known any different.

Erik Qualman [38:47]
Yeah, it’s funny because if you go through a big life event, like say someone really close to you gets sick or gets in an accident. You have to go to the hospital. You’re there for two days. And that’s all you’re doing. Like Your phone, there might be people saying how’s things going, but that’s it, you realize the world moves on without you, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s like the world can still function without you and so that’s why you always get back to the big things. And so those live events also remind me I gotta do the big things, you know, what are the big things and so that was just the Epiphany there is that it’s not easy, but it can be done.

Krisstina Wise [39:24]
So we’re we’re already like bumping up against our time together that was so fast. What would be what would be your even I live at the beginning of the book, you really you have your list of kind of your epiphany is or what you call them.

Erik Qualman [39:38]
I had like the 15 top focus items, we had the 99 things from life, there’s good to know.

Krisstina Wise [39:45]
Yeah, but what were some of your what were those eureka moments like once this project was complete, you wrote the book. And if you’re sitting back reflecting what really jumped out at you like what were these big like, Whoa, I just never would have realized that had knocked in this.

Erik Qualman [40:01]
Yeah, the top three things for me, we’re just looking at that focus is really, really hard, really hard. But it can be come a habit, you gotta treat it like a habit. And so you got to train yourself to do it. And so that’s why we went over some of the things whether it’s your way, the same thing whether it’s where you eat, you know, the same thing for breakfast, it’s really just getting in the habit each and every day, what works and doesn’t work for you. And so that’s why I wanted to be the guinea pig and test all these things. The street science, me testing married up with the clinical research and the clinical science and just giving it to everyone saying, here’s a playbook to give it a try. And so that was important. The second thing was successful people are more focused than other people. That’s not an epiphany, both epiphany was that they’re not smarter. They’re not from a different background doesn’t matter where they’re from, or what they do or their intelligence level. They all the consistent thread they have is they have system In routines, and that starts with saying no, say no to almost everything. We’d call it acting like a doctor. A doctor wants to save everybody. They want to treat everyone but there’s laws in place that they don’t do that because if they do it they get tired. And then it’s a it’s a problem for that patient because now they’re making mistakes and it becomes a big issue. So you got to treat your time like a doctor and you got treat your I call my yeses as limited inventory as someone that sells items online throughout my career like e commerce. There’s a set amount of inventory. And once it’s off the shelf, those Yes Hi, Raul. Yes. Well, Allah. Yes. And so so that was huge. And then last, but not least, is you’re just going for progress, not perfection. So give yourself a break. And when you take this stuff on, you know, Neil Armstrong got it right. You know, that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. It all starts with small steps. floss one tooth you know, BJ Fogg. He did the research. Let’s ridiculous who’s going to floss one tooth? Exactly. Because motion creates momentum. So you do it you go might as well floss all these teeth, or when I was having a tough time journaling, because I’d go on that I don’t have 15 minutes to journal. So I’ll do it later and it didn’t happen. But now it’s like just write one sentence, and usually leads to more but if not, at least I wrote just that one sentence that was good enough. And so that was those are the top three learnings is that one, it can be learned to have it. It’s not easy to do. It’s really about having systems and routines in place. And three, give yourself a break. You know, it’s about progress. Not perfection. And think big picture when you wake up. Go. Did I take care of myself? Yes. Are my kids still alive? Yes. Okay. Everything else is gravy, house money. Let’s play some house money.

Krisstina Wise [42:53]
I love it. I love it. All right, it it makes me think too, that that just clarity, focus gives clarity. It just gets through the blurriness of all the things that can be there like nope, focus clear. This is what I’m working on. And then everything else comes second intent. And is anything changed during kind of this COVID time, I think I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine here recently. And I said, during this time, I’ve had more, you would think with kind of think, maybe more space in a certain degree, it’d be easier to focus on other things, but I found myself quite the opposite is I’m having more trouble having clarity or focus and kind of just feel pulled in many cases, I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked yet. It doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere. So it’s almost as confusing time. For me personally, that’s what’s really worked successfully. Historically. I’m off center. So what did you notice if Are any of these principles? factored in here?

Erik Qualman [43:59]
Yeah, what we noticed When it first started is that people had more time. So they had the more time that they had the reception and more time because something went away that was filling that time. So they had to go into traffic and they went to work, and XYZ or they’re going out every Friday night, and all of a sudden, they just have time, right? Cuz it’s like, there’s wide open spaces. And so what happened, those gravitational pull, they start to fill in that time, hopefully with good stuff. But most of that was like busy stuff. I say, don’t be busy. If you ever say here yourself and I catch myself into this day, how are you doing? I’m busy. You don’t want to ever answer that. Like getting the mindset of I’m focused on the big not the busy. And so we saw that people did have that time, then they then all sudden, they became like you said, super busy, because all of a sudden, whoa, I gotta adjust everything I’ve done. And now I gotta adjust. Like, in our case, we’re live events. All of a sudden it goes virtual, we’re better than most because we have an animation studio so we were prepared for it, let alone My friends that I’m talking to that. Don’t do Anything that, that all they did was live events. And so now they’re running 100 miles an hour, and don’t feel like they’re getting anywhere because they’re trying to test up what’s going to work. So to your point is like, Oh, my gosh, I’m exhausted, and did I get anywhere. And now we’re kind of in the now of kind of adjusted. And we’re kind of getting to the new norm. And hopefully things change. But it won’t go back the way it was, that’s for sure. In terms of like, life will never be like it was before COVID. So it’s about what does that new norm look like? And so now they’ve adjusted that’s why we pulled the book forward, because so many people are asking, I need that because it’s crazy. I can’t focus. I don’t know. There’s a great article in The New York Times, you can homeschool your kids, and you can work from home, you can be excellent, but you can’t do them both at the same time. And so that was a big relief for people. And then now what do I do? And so that’s why they asked for the book to hopefully figure out where do I fence off certain times. Where do I leave wide open spaces and what are the Big things I should be focused on and writing those down. It was interesting, I don’t run out of time. But going back to the beginning of the project, I wrote down on a piece of paper, what got me excited, man, I’d love to be good at golf, like I’ve never focused on golf. I’m writing all this stuff down, I get like 50, I cross cross cross cross cross down the 12. And then crazy enough to cross matches with basically the top 12 failed resolutions that people do every year, like I want to get in better shape. And it’s like, there it is on my list health, and it’s the top failed resolutions. And then all of a sudden, I looked at one of the top 10 selling books of all time. Oh, guess what it cross marries to that. And so that’s why I say we’re all living the same movie or different actors and actresses when you see that Data Wise how that lines up that my list handwritten down lines up with the top resolutions, which lines up the top failed resolutions with mindset with the top selling books of all time. That’s amazing. Wow. Wow. Wow. All right, to wrap this up. Thank you. And I always I always love talking to you and love our conversations.

Krisstina Wise [47:06]
We’ll make this a little bit about Eric now. So if I said, or if you said, Christina, if you really, really knew me, you would know that was something about Eric Coleman that most people don’t know, because we just see the professional you.

Erik Qualman [47:19]
Huh? Let’s see that don’t know.

Unknown Speaker [47:23]

Erik Qualman [47:25]
yeah, it’s interesting. I guess this is an interesting story that most people probably wouldn’t know. And my girls the other day going, why are your teeth like a different color? Like, why are they brown down here? You can’t see them, but they’re not Brown. They’re just not the same color as my other teeth. Because they’re fake tea. And like my dream growing up was the play college basketball. And I got cut from our high school team as a junior so like, you think that dream dies, but no, it’s still there. And I went to college, became a manager at Michigan State University, which is kind of a waterboy. And then I kept on Thinking man, I still want to play and I could see what it took to play. So I was working out afterwards trying. And then junior year there’s a bunch of people sick and injured. So this would happen maybe once or twice a year with enough players. And they go, Hey, koala, we need you to play today. Like in practice, I go, this is my moment, like I’ve been were put on like 35 pounds. I’ve like been working out through a couple inches. And I’m doing amazing. Like, this is the time I go, yep, I’m gonna, like they’re gonna go, this guy needs to be on the team. And then I took an elbow like just an errand elbow to the face. And I had was born with two teeth missing. So I already had a fake tooth to make up for that gap. And so when I got hit, I was like, Oh, I could feel that. It was teeth, but I thought it was a two that that was the fake one. So I like kind of just threw it down to the side and kept playing because I didn’t want to lose my momentum and lose my opportunity. And then about 20 minutes, there’s a timeout and the trainer’s like look at me. You can see there’s blood coming out of my side of my mouth and I’m trying to hide it. And then it goes, Hey, there’s a, you like missing three teeth like there’s two real teeth that are missing in there. We found them over here. By the bench, you got to go to the dentist right now. So I’m sitting there in the hole right now it’s really hurting. But I’m going man, I can’t believe this happened to me. But coaches Oh Hall of Famer, he built the whole program on grit and grind. And so I didn’t realize it till the next year when I did walk on make the team get a scholarship. That that probably was the main reason I was able to do that because there might have been players the same skill, but he just knew I had that grit to keep going. And so looking back, that I always use that in my life to remind myself when something bad happens. I go I can’t see it. I know this is happening for me. And I this is really timely right now because there’s been days for a while there would go to my wife, we’d kind of joke to each other. She works with the business. As well, do you want the bad news or the really bad news first. And then then we started to realize, wait, we’re so blessed that we’re healthy during this very challenging time. So it’s all that perspective. And knowing that there’s innovation that’s going to come out of this time that’s going to help us we’re starting to see it now. And so it’s to remind ourselves, we don’t know why we’re going through this season, but if things happen for you, not to you,

Krisstina Wise [50:23]
I love that. Thank you. What a great story. And Alright, so next question is, tell me a brag moment. What’s something you’re really really proud of?

Erik Qualman [50:33]
Oh, man, that’s a good one.

Well, I’m proud of my daughters, you know, this. They’re just amazing. So I always try to ever write this in the book. I’m still trying to live up to the coffee mug they gave me with a nail polish that’s still sticky to this day that says world’s greatest dad. So always trying to live up to that. terms of other moments, like just some there’s just been some surreal moments where like I met the present In United States, it doesn’t matter what politics You are my parents are like, why did you meet with him like he’s a president, like, I was with President Obama, and he’s a big basketball guy. So I made him laugh pretty hard, because everyone’s saying the same thing to him. And I could see we’re going to kind of align up based on where we were standing in the room. And so that was, that’s kind of a good moment. But there’s little things to like NASA used our work. So anything that just helps people, the National Guard, FBI, just some crazy moments that have really just looking out there and helping someone just be better.

Krisstina Wise [51:32]
That’s one thing I love about you. I mean, you’ve had these mad successes, and you’re just just so humble and real, and you’re just here to help people and, and I’ve just always really admired that about you. And so tell me like, just a big bismil failure where you’re looking back and just say, what was I thinking that was horrible.

Erik Qualman [51:55]
Oh, man, there’s a lot to draw from. I think that one of the Challenging most challenging times is that during the reset, everyone remembers Bernie Madoff, that whole Ponzi scheme, there’s actually a bunch of smaller Ponzi schemes like that that had happened during that time. And so I invested some of my best friends to this day. And it was good because they’re still my best friends. So I realized that money for me, it’s as important as a friendship. And also you the buck always stops at you. And so I invested these folks there today, like some big CFOs or big companies, so they know finances inside now. And they like the Bernie Madoff they were, they were roped into this thing. And so I was like, oh, man, this is great. I can’t believe we’re getting this return. And then I start questioning cuz I’m not a finance guy go Why don’t understand why they could give us like 15% Why wouldn’t they get it from the bank? All because X, Y and Z. Okay, that makes sense. And then finally, I don’t know this doesn’t smell right. Like my dad says it does too good to be true. It probably is like, let’s get out but I think Couldn’t get it out because it was too late in the game. And so all these people, including me, lost all that money. And for us, it was like, a huge amount of money is like our almost entire nest egg. And here we are about to start our small business, rather our first child, and lay on top of that, I go to the doctor, and the doctor comes out and she’s crying because it’s been diagnosed that I’ve lived lymphoma, cancer. I’m like, This isn’t good, like if the doctor is crying. And then fortunately, later that week, we went, I was living in Cambridge. So we went to the Harvard’s Medical Center and this guy comes down and goes, Hey, there’s a lot of false positives on this. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is for you. You’re gonna have to we have to take blood tests for a year with you. But I mean, I don’t want to give you the wrong sense, but I’m almost positive that this is a false positive based on what I’m reading here. So anyways, that day before that week before I went to see that doctor that whole week was just like, oh boy. We still started the business. And that’s why I tell entrepreneurs I go, we could have not started a worst time. So the best time to start was yesterday, the second best time starts today. I know it firsthand, we started the worst possible time. And it all worked out.

Unknown Speaker [54:15]
Not that Thank you. Well, one final question, to do a little myth. myth busting. Is there a big fat myth you’d like to bust? From your point of view,

Unknown Speaker [54:24]
something that you just see, you’re like,

Unknown Speaker [54:26]
wow, I just want to I want to shout it out when

Erik Qualman [54:30]
I was a little bit controversial, but one that the pops to mind is I’ve been talking about online voting for years. And now we’re almost being forced into it. And so the myth, I always have this she don’t have in front of me about right down. I usually go, Hey, it’s insecure. It can be manipulated. Boom, boom, boom, there’s a lot of good reasons. And I flip that, Oh, my God. Those are the exact same reasons that were listed for why people would never never ever give their credit card online to buy something on something like Amazon. So back in the 90s have the exact same reason. So the question is not if we’re going to go to online voting the questions when it gets me excited, because everyone goes to the presidential race. But really, it is exciting at the local level. Because it’ll say, hey, you didn’t weren’t aware of this because 95% of you don’t vote at the local level. This is what’s happening. And here’s what one side saying. Here’s the other side, like try to have a B and A just on the app, you can vote just right away, get the information, even vote. So I’d say most people look at me like I’m crazy. I say all envoys coming. They definitely did like a year ago, but now that they realize, Oh, it’s gonna be hard to physically vote. Now they can see it a little better.

Krisstina Wise [55:49]
Awesome. Well, Eric, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for your book. And I can’t wait to hear what the next focus project is,

Erik Qualman [55:57]
though. Thank you. It’s good to see you and you know, hopefully, we’ll be able to to each other physically soon as well.

Unknown Speaker [56:02]
Okay, I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much. No, thank you.

Krisstina Wise [56:07]
If you’re inspired by today’s show, and you’re the kind of person who likes to help others, there are some easy ways that you can help me. First, please subscribe to the wealthy, wealthy podcast. By doing so. It helps both of us, you’ll never miss an episode and it helps me and my ratings. And if you’re able to leave a review, hopefully five stars even better. Finally, if you think your friends and family would enjoy the show, I invite you to share the wealthy wealthy podcast with everyone you know. If you have any questions, I’m here you can email me at support at wealthy wealthy calm, and I may even use your question or suggestion for a future podcast episode. Also, if you want to be motivated and inspired more regularly, connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn at Christina wise, that’s Kr ISSTI na WI s I believe we are all on this journey together towards finding our sovereignty and freedom. And I’d love to be part of your journey. I’d love to help you, and especially on the financial side, so learn more at sovereignty Academy calm. As always, thank you so much for listening and being part of the wealthy, wealthy community.

What We Covered

[2:07] Tell us who is Erik Qualman

[4:25] Where did The Focus Project come from?

[6:52] I love the message of the book, so how has this experience been for you?

[10:30] When you’re an innovator and visionary it can be easy to lose focus on what the priority is. I love how you narrow in on what is important for the growth you want to happen.

[14:32] Was the art of saying no a new practice to you? Were you saying yes too much?

[16:33] Tell me about focus as it pertains to relationships.

[18:05] Tell us the story about swimming and how you had to change your focus.

[20:55] I love that, how many times in our life do we get so focused on the outcome that we are not present to the magic in front of us. Having a playful spirit is so important.

[23:28] What kept you on focus? What are those systems you used to keep you pointed in the right direction?

[27:22] How did you feel doing one focus project a month? Did you feel better doing it?

[28:16] Life has so many focuses at once. How did you find balance in doing your projects? Did you find more organization and flow in the process?

[32:44] Did you notice where you were wasting time? Where were the distractions?

[34:41] What type of bird are you a Robin, an Eagle, or a Night owl?

[39:30] What were your biggest takeaways from the project? Looking back what was like wow I had no idea that made such a huge impact.

[43:14] Has anything changed during this time of upheaval?

[47:00] Krisstina if you really really knew me you would know that?

[51:46] Tell me an abysmal failure of yours.

[54:17] Tell us a myth that you would like to bust.


“Don’t drown in the sea of opportunity.”

“They way you win is focus!”

“I’ve got to say no today because that allows me to say yes tomorrow”

“You’re striving for progress, not perfection, so it was better than before and it’s still better than before today.”

“Attack the day before it attacks you.”

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