Where “Crazy” Entrepreneurial Minds Get Stuck with Alex Charfen – Episode 64
Entrepreneur and coach Alex Charfen has dedicated his life to answering the question, “how do you make business’ grow?” For the past two decades, Alex has created and curated proven business philosophies, models and strategies geared specifically to entrepreneurs.
In grade school, Alex was labeled as developmentally disabled and didn’t feel like he belonged anywhere. Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs, we all have been labeled as different in some way somewhere along our journey.
In his adult life, Alex has found success and a place where he belongs. “We learn nothing standing still and we accomplish nothing standing alone.” Alex encourages entrepreneurs to work together as a team. “Learn the secret that every great entrepreneur in history has learned. Build a team or join a team, and do it fast.” He is an expert when it comes to understanding your entrepreneurial personality type, and his emotional and intriguing interview with host Micky Deming will leave you with many takeaways.
Micky Deming: Hello, welcome to the TREPX Podcast! This is Micky Deming and today the TREPX Podcast is an incredible episode, they all are, but this one I am really excited about! TREPX is all about entrepreneurs. It’s in our DNA. It’s in our name, TREP, short for entrepreneur. We love entrepreneurs!
The back bone of our team is just thinking entrepreneurial and all of the services and all of the things that we do are to serve entrepreneurs and that’s why we created this podcast, to share the stories of entrepreneurs and the people and learn from them and get excited and hear from what others are going through. So, today is another incredible example of that and it’ll even add another layer because guest for today’s episode is Alex Charfen and he is an expert and has really committed everything he’s doing to understanding how entrepreneurs think and so it is an interesting topic.
A lot of times we talk about how to help entrepreneurs with this or that or different services, different ideas, different strategies. This is a dive into the psychology of how an entrepreneur is wired, how they think, how they process information, how they may feel in certain environments, and Alex has a lot to share in this. I know from experience, we have been to his event, he is very passionate about this and his knowledge of this subject. You know it’s there, because anyone whoever hears him speak is blown away because they feel like he is like reading their diary to them or something, like he understands so well how entrepreneurs are wired. So if you are an entrepreneur, you will definitely want to hear this.
Some of the key things that we dive into are how to maintain momentum, the entrepreneurial personality type, which is what he talks about, is really a personality type that is wired for progress, for momentum in that when are we able to continue with momentum that we thrive and we feel alive in that. The other thing that we talked about was how to relive pressure and noise. We live in a very noisy world right now and for entrepreneurs that can be stifling, that can, you know, prevent us from getting momentum. So we go all over the place. Alex was, you’ll be blown away by the energy that comes through in this interview and I think you will want to take notes, because you will feel like “Wow, I have never heard someone talk about entrepreneurship that way”.
So, I am going to stop talking and let you listen to what Alex had to say. Definitely check him out and learn more; you’ll want to after this. And you can find his website at charfen.com and you can see this episode and the show notes at trepexgroup.com. Very excited to share this interview with you. I hope you enjoy it, so please listen and enjoy Alex Charfen.
Micky Deming: Hello, Alex Charfen! Welcome to the TREPX Podcast! How are you doing today?
Alex Charfen: I’m well, thanks for having me! I really appreciate you letting me be here.
Micky: Yes, I am thrilled to have you. I was just sharing off the air, how listening to you on the Mike Diller podcast was a huge eye-opener for us as a business and then we had part of team just went down to your new place to check it out. So, how is that coming together? Is it starting to be made whole?
Alex: Micky, it’s the craziest thing in the world. You know every time I share the story of our office with somebody, I get like little goosebumps because Katie and I started talking about this probably 12 years ago and so to finally have built it and to have had a couple successful classes here, it feels like something we, you know it’s one of those things that was a dream that was impossible that it’s unreal what is going on.
Micky: That’s so cool! I know those guys had a blast down there and it seemed like just and awesome energy and it really fits in. I mean, what we are going to talk today just to let everybody in, we are going to talk about the entrepreneurial personality type and how we as entrepreneurs think and that’s a big topic and I want to get into all aspects of that, but I guess to start, you know, you are living in that yourself and you’ve been there. This current business you’re working in was the product of you wrestling with that, so I guess to start out, can you just share what your current project is, how you got there and how it came to be? (4:51)
Alex: Yeah, absolutely! So, the basis for our content today is a framework called the Entrepreneurial Personality Type. And you know Micky, you can look at it as a body of content, we look at it as a discovery, because our team and now thousands of entrepreneurs that we have shared this with and thousands of, you know, creatives and talented people and entrepreneurial personality types that may not have a business, have all confirmed for us that they see this content and they don’t say “Oh, I think this kind of applies”, they don’t say “Gosh, that kind of feels like me”. They say things like “I have never heard anyone describe how I have felt my whole life” or they say “That’s just the truth” and when you get that type of response so consistently from people in all different levels of career, all different age groups, and really all different demographics, that they confirm they have this personality type, for us it feels like we have discovered that there’s this subpopulation.
Micky: And you did you uncover it? (6:07) Like, you probably couldn’t dig it out of your own head, like was it more from interacting with other people? How did you start to piece this together?
Alex: So, you know I have thought about that a lot, because it has been such a crazy journey other than the realization and I think that, for me, the “how did you figure it out?” starts when I was really long. I was the kid who was, you know, distracted in class. I was a behavioral problem. I was developmentally disabled, retarded, failure to thrive, uh, gosh those were things teachers said. You know, I went from special education to gifted and talented, back to special education in a three year time span. And so when I was younger, I felt so separated from the system. I felt so isolated, so alone, that I felt like I was completely screwed.
I share with people, it is not a joke, I was 11-years-old and I remember like it was yesterday, like this is how weird it is. I remember like it was yesterday, I was about 11-years-old, and I got picked second to last, it was like the last three weeks of 6th grade, and I wasn’t picked last for a team and it was like “Holy shit, there’s potential here”! You know, because up until then I was always picked last. I was that kid, I was like the Napoleon Dynamite kid, and so I felt like there was no way to connect anywhere in the world where I would get help, other than my family, and so I started obsessively reading about success and you know, if you read enough about success Micky, here’s what’s crazy, success leaves clues and they’re clear. So much clearer than we believe right now and they’re blatant and they’re there and entrepreneurs have said the same thing over and over and we miss it and you know we discovered the personality type by seeing that consistency of messaging, consistency of behavior, and consistency of activity.
Micky: Yeah, that is intriguing and I think your story, it adds a lot to it. You know, these are things you are experiencing and going through and I think before diving, I think one thing that is probably important to understand is, to help people understand, why does knowing how I think as an entrepreneur, how does that help me? How does that impact me? What does that do to help you grow? To just understand the way you think. (8:45)
Alex: Oh, no question! So, Micky, you tell me man, we are on this podcast, right? And do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?
Micky: Oh yeah, go ahead.
Alex: Because it helps the audience, you know. We all have, people think I am nuts sometimes because I say the behavior among entrepreneurs is so consistent and people look back at me and say “You’re crazy, entrepreneurs are the most inconsistent people there are”, but I don’t see it that way. Watch. For you, you know when you feel like you’re moving forward, like you’re in a flow like things are going well for you, you know that feeling? You know what I’m talking about?
Micky: Yeah, yep.
Alex: We call that the feeling of being “in momentum”. Does that word, momentum, have a physical effect on you?
Micky: Oh yea, absolutely! That is on my notes as one of things I want to talk about, so yes that is what I gravitate to.
Alex: But, why? You feel it right? When I say momentum you feel it, it actually feels like “hey, hey quiet, something important is happening”.
Micky: Right, it’s like you want that feeling of “today I am beyond where I was yesterday”.
Alex: It’s that feeling of contrast. It’s that feeling of moving forward. It’s that feeling of knowing that we’re achieving and that we’re making progress and you know what’s funny? When I ask people what does that feel like? One of the things they say is, you can confirm this, they say “alive”.
So here is the translation, for us to feel like we’re alive, we have to be going forward. Would you say that’s fair?
Micky: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Alex: Ok, so here’s why I think it is so important for us to understand who we are. We are physiologically sensitive, momentum based beings, who are highly, highly sensitive to constraint and we feel momentum and if we’re ever in a place where we feel constraint and the lack of momentum, that will drive us more than anything in our world and most of societies systems, most of the systems in the world, don’t not only help people like us, they hurt us.
And it’s not that they’re purposefully hurting us, but when you look at the constraint based systems that are out there, you know standardization in schools, standardization in jobs, cubicles, reports, let’s put you in a box, let’s make you fit, let’s make you do this thing. Like, 29 million people in the United States own a business for a reason. They had to make their own rules, because they couldn’t follow anyone else’s. It’s who we are.
Micky: Right, yeah, so what you’re saying is basically for us to be thrive there’s gotta be something in place where we have the ability to move something forward. I think that’s huge. I think the momentum piece is really important and so knowing that, how do people create space to do that for themselves? (11:41) Because sometimes it’s like it’s a blank slate and I feel like I’m going a million directions and I’m not creating any momentum. How do you find a way to create space for that? (11:54)
Alex: Just start getting to move forward again. You know Micky, first I think, let’s explain momentum completely first so that everyone understands the concept the way we see it. So first, I just want to lay this foundation. I don’t think that you or I really understand happy or sad and the wonderful world of emotions and I know that sounds like a joke to everyone, but it’s really not. Because I’ll ask you, so Micky, how often have you been told YOU don’t feel right? It sounds like this: Hey, why are you being so intense? Hey, why aren’t you being intense enough? Why don’t you tell us how you’re feeling? Why aren’t you expressing yourself? Why are you being so aggressive? Why are you so calm? Or otherwise, being told that you’re not feeling the “right” way at a given time. Has that happened to you once or twice?
Micky: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Alex: How often, Micky?
Micky: Uh, once a week, twice a week probably.
Alex: Ok, so if you’re admitting to once or twice, probably 12 or 13 times. Like it is for me! And you know the fact is, is that there is this other kicker on this is that not only do we not understand the world of feelings, but we’re really not aware how our activities affect others. So here is the challenge, like we don’t understand happy/sad, we don’t understand happy, sad, frustrated, angry, pissed off, ticked off, confused, and I’m just not going to talk to you. To us it is all the same.
So we exist in three states. The first one is momentum. That’s flow. That’s attachment. That’s being there. That’s connection. That’s going forward. It’s the feeling of being alive.
The second state, like all of those other feeling words, stop thinking about them. They confuse us. If you look for happiness, you’re going to have a long, long search. Go find momentum and you’ll feel fine. The second state is facing resistance. So Micky, I will ask you like I ask every entrepreneur, haven’t you had that point in your life where the cards were stacked against you? You didn’t have the resources? There was constraint in your life? Things were working against you? The world had conspired against you? Yet, that was the time that you found that tiny little light at the end of the tunnel and made everything happen? Have you had that?
Micky: Yeah, definitely, yep.
Alex: Ok, so we’re crazy! We create momentum when we have momentum and when we don’t, we create momentum.
Micky: Yeah, no I think that’s a huge topic and just even in this podcast I have been kind of surprised how many people I have interviewed that are entrepreneurs who, their stories repeat themselves and they’re totally different, different industries, different personalities, different types of people and how you would see them on the surface, but this theme has come up a lot. I started this and I had a destination in my mind and I’m going after that destination and I’m going after it and I’m going after it and the worst think that every happened was I arrived at the destination. I got there, I got.
A lot of people have really, you know, everything just went south. They lost that momentum.
Alex: Well Micky, it’s like the guy that gets out of the NFL, right? Like you have worked your whole life to be on that playing field. I have had a lot of friends who went through that transition. You lose momentum, right? I meant, that’s that place where you feel like you crash land.
Micky: Yeah, you’re alive. You’re dead when it stops.
Alex: Well that’s the third state. So we have the first state that is momentum. We have the second state that is basing constraint where we can actually find the light at the end of the tunnel and move forward, but the third state that really challenges us is when we are in constraint.
And Micky, I will ask you. I want all of the listeners to think about this. When you are in that first state, that alive, that momentum, do you feel like you get a physical boost? Like your body can go longer, you have more stamina?
Micky: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Alex: Ok, so you’re boosted. Second, do you feel like you get a cognitive boost, you can think clearer, you can kind of see where you are going, you make decisions better?
Alex: And do you feel like, here’s the big one, is there a chemical boost?
Alex: Like you feel a little boosted, like you’re actually a little bit not depressed, it’s the opposite. You’re a little high from it.
Micky: Yes, right, yep.
Alex: It actually gives you a physical, cognitive, and chemical boost. Here’s what I want everyone to hear: As entrepreneurs you have to protect that feeling, because here’s what being in constraint does to us, and you all know this. Being in constraint is like a coin flip. It’s that Jekyll and Hyde thing that happens to us because as soon as we feel held in place, that’s where physically we breakdown, cognitively we breakdown, and chemically we become challenged and we can become symptomatic of half of the stuff that’s in the diagnostic manual of you know, the DSM-5 for psychiatrics. We can look ADD, we can look ADHD, we can look bipolar, manic, narcissistic, all those things because the same way that we are so driven when we are in momentum, when we are in full constraint we breakdown. We can see everyone in our lives as suspect. Micky, have you been there?
Micky: Oh yeah, definitely. A lot of people are going to connect with this and I think that defining it, that’s important. Like understanding what makes us thrive in our life. I don’t think you can always put a definition to it. When you feel like “Oh, I feel in the zone and things are going right” I can get up really early and I can go to bed late and I still have energy the next day, but like what is that called. So I think that’s what’s helpful in this.
Alex: Yeah and Micky, here’s the stuff that like when we look at momentum for people and we ask them about periods of momentum, there’s always the same things present. Like when I ask you, do you remember a period in your life where you had a lot of momentum?
Micky: Oh yeah, yeah. Just, I mean in the business like when you, sometimes things just come easily, you’re producing a lot of content, you’re making sales, and it all seems like it’s happening on its own.
Alex: And here is what I know about periods of momentum. Like here there are things that you need to have present. Number 1, what is that compelling outcome? What’s the thing that you’re trying to do? What is the number you’re chasing, the goal you’re driving towards? You know, what is making you excited to get up every day?
You know, the second thing that has to be present is where is the scoreboard? What is giving your perspective? It’s funny when people say, “You know Alex, I had this period in my life where I experienced momentum and there wasn’t a scoreboard”. What was it? Well, I was going through this seminary. Well, the scoreboard was how many books you read, the semester, the grades. You know, there is always a scoreboard for momentum.
Now here is the big one that most people don’t realize. Compelling outcome, scoreboard, and contribution, which means there’s mutual contribution of the people around you. You are working with people in both directions; you’re helping them and they’re helping you and that creates momentum for people in our tribe. Isolation is not a strategy, it’s a symptom.
Micky: Yeah, that is really good. I think that is helpful to think of in your own life and also as a leader. You know, how do you create an environment for your team that they can have a compelling outcome, a scoreboard to know the progress, and contribution? I think that’s probably something as leaders that we’re always fighting with. Like how do you balance, how do you create enough constraint that, you know even though that’s like our dirty word, how do you create enough that they know what the expectations are, but then also that freedom? I think that is a pretty good step-by-step process to allow them to have momentum too.
Alex: Yeah, no question. We call that the momentum equation, Micky, and we train it, because if you have a cadence within a business and you have a system where you reinforce those things, here is the magical thing that a business can do. It can create momentum outcomes for the clients. It can create momentum outcomes for the all of the internal stakeholders, like the team, the owners. It can create outcomes that our positive and give momentum to all of the vendors. We call that a constructive company.
Micky: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Alex: It’s amazing what happens when you run an organization in a way that everyone involved is getting increases in momentum.
Micky: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s like momentum builds itself. I think the important question that I come to is like, defining this thing helps a lot because we all want to be in that momentum. We know what if feels like to thrive. Yet we all also know what it’s like to get stuck and to get into those periods where it’s just like I can’t get momentum, I’m stuck, I’m feeling constrained, and so my question to you would be how does that happen? What causes that to happen so we can avoid it and at least keep the stuck periods to a minimum? (20:48)
Alex: You got it! Yeah, I think, here is the equation we have for everyone and we call this the Contribution Equation, because. Micky, I have spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs, with people like you and I, and what I know is that we will go to incredible lengths of complication to do the special thing we want to do. You know, I have seen people who aren’t organized write incredible software programs. I have seen introverts become speakers, I have seen extroverts become people who sit in a room all day and you know, do what they need to do. We will change everything, but we have to really protect ourselves because I think that people like you and I, we know we are different and we experience a much higher level of pressure and much higher level of noise than the average person. Would you agree with that?
Micky: Oh yeah, definitely.
Alex: And you know I think that is where we get stuck. Here is what we don’t realize, most of the constraint in our lives, most of where we get stuck, most of what slows us down is us. And so we have this equation, the Contribution Equation that is four steps.
The first step is look lower pressure and noise. Here is how I describe pressure and noise, it’s everything in your life that creates operational drag. What we don’t realize and what we don’t look at in our lives is hey, what do I need to stop? What do I need to take away? What can I make easier? Where can I clean things up, get rid of crap, purge, get rid of junk, make my life different? What is it that I have in my life I don’t need anymore? Because all of it that is not useful is pressure and noise and so this is everything, Micky.
You know when I say lower pressure and noise that means physically we should be treating ourselves like professional athletes and if you’re not you have to wonder why, because we have a moral obligation to do everything we can. I’ll explain why in a second. You know, this means that with our businesses that we are telling people, we’re looking at what’s really going on. We understand our numbers. We are resolving ambiguity. We are lowering pressure and noise.
It means in our lives we know how much money we have. We don’t have insecurities around things that are foundational and you know there are some things that all of us should be doing to just have our lives in order and not have unknown questions and that lowers pressure and noise.
Here is what happens, when people like us make moves where we remove operational drag, we get rid of the things that aren’t important to us, we start really making the things that are important to us our central focus, our entire lives change. That is the second step.
The second step is this, you lower pressure and noise step one. The second one is you increase protection and support. Here is what I mean by protection and support; it’s everything that also helps lower pressure and noise, but here is what we tell entrepreneurs Micky, we learn almost nothing standing still and we accomplish nothing alone. So either build the team or join a team and go fast, because the entrepreneurs dichotomy is this, we need far more protection and support in order to reach our full potential because we have much bigger goals. Would you agree with that?
Alex: Here is the challenge, any request for protection and support makes us feel exposed. Would you agree with that?
Micky: Oh yeah. Here is a great example. So Kahuna accounting, we do outsourced accounting/bookkeeping for entrepreneurs. Everyone hates doing accounting and bookkeeping. Everyone wants to not be in that day-to-day, but when you get to that point of having the conversation, sometimes it becomes, it’s like I’m exposed. You’re going to see all of the things I’ve done wrong. You’re going to see all of these. It’s a big fear barrier of like, I don’t want to admit that I’ve been neglecting this and we’ve learned there’s a huge mental block in that. Like, I’m just going to keep this all bottled up inside, not because I want to do it, but because it’s like such an exposing thing to put out there.
Alex: So in other words, what you find is even though somebody is coming to you for help, they are saying “hey, I need help”, they have a hard time being transparent?
Alex: And see, that’s the big thing is that when we lower pressure and noise, like first you can do this for yourself. Get up in the morning and go for a walk, get some dopamine going, eat the right foods, hydrate, breathe, move during the day. All of those things will lower pressure and noise and create a foundation where you can create all of the entrepreneurial success you want and then transparently ask for protection and support.
You know what’s funny is? Those entrepreneurs are so worried about being exposed and to you guys it’s just transactions. Like we have the same thing when we take on coaching clients. They say gosh, we don’t want to answer these questions because things are so bad. We always assume that if they’re coming to us, they are. That’s just how it is, because here’s the math again. You lower pressure and noise, increase protection and support, and strength and abilities just show.
So I will ask you the question that I ask a lot of entrepreneurs, Micky. How much of what you do today, on a day-to-day basis, like recording podcasts did you learn in school?
Micky: Oh man, pretty much none. Let’s see, my day-to-day. I have a journalism degree, so I guess a little bit of interviewing, but I probably don’t do it the way that I learned it. So yeah, very little.
Alex: Ok, so here’s the fat. The strengths and abilities that propel you through your day-to-day, today, the output that you have in the world, the contribution you create comes from the in-betweens. It is not from anything you tried to do and so the fact is, that when we lower pressure and noise and we increase protection and support, skills and abilities develop.
I will ask you Micky, I have asked hundreds of entrepreneurs the same question, haven’t you had the experience where you either get asked a question or you fire back an answer on an email or you’re on stage and you can give somebody the right information and then you think immediately, how in hell did I know that?
Micky: Yeah, absolutely.
Alex: That’s strength and abilities just showing, because we tap into a greater consciousness when we allow that. Like I know that I tap into a greater consciousness when I’m calmer, when I’m more centered, when I’m present, and when I’m transparent and vulnerable. That’s where you get those strengths and abilities.
And here is the fourth part. So you decrease pressure and noise, you increase protection and support, your strengths and abilities show, and here’s the big part. You make your greatest contribution. I don’t want anyone mistaking me for anything but an aggressive capitalist. In fact, I am not a republican or democrat. They don’t agree with capitalism, either one of them. I’m a capitalist and I just think it’s a shortcut.
Capital flows to contribution, unless you get governments involved and then capital flows to Halliburton, but the fact is, in an entrepreneurial world that I live in, it’s the only one I know, capital flows to the greatest contribution. The person who is making the biggest impact makes the most money and so for me this contribution equation of lowering pressure and noise, increasing protection and support, allowing your strengths and abilities to show so you can make your greatest contribution is the shortest path to all the affluence and influence anyone wants to have in the world.
Micky: That’s great. Yeah, I think that I just want to reiterate all of that, because for the listeners here, I don’t think there is anything more important they will hear all day. Especially think about lowering pressure/noise and increasing protection and support, that’s another one that has been massive, consistently come up on this podcast. When I finally broke down and opened myself up and invited other people in and shared is when I finally got clarity to make better decisions. I think that is really good.
Alex: Micky, can I ask you something about that?
Micky: Yes, please do.
Alex: So you’ve had the same experience that I had of interviewing people over and over again about what you just said. Here is my experience, most entrepreneurs, not all, but most entrepreneurs this story when you remove all of the nose, right? It’s something like this. I had a bunch of ideas that didn’t work and then I had one that went crazy. I overwhelmed myself. Tried to do it by myself. Finally hired, brought people on, got a partner, whatever its, and then everything starting working and I realized people had a hell of a lot more value and by the time I was done with whatever I’m about to describe, all I was doing was helping people.
Alex: Is that pretty consistent?
Micky: Very consistent and I think that initial mindset though is actually really intriguing to me, because I think a lot of people don’t really know what they want to be when they grow up, like in terms of as a business. Like, what does scale mean for me? I get into this wanting something and what you’re saying about like you have to, nobody does anything alone. Do you think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize that? That they’re going to have to be around a team to make anything happen? (30:14)
Alex: I think it’s way worse than that, Micky. I think it is really way, way worse than that. Here is what I think. I think that, you know, about a decade of the wrong kind of internet marketing has convinced people that if they’re not working on their own in the bedroom with a Net Jets cards so that they can fly private whenever they want to, you know making $10-$15,000,000.00 every 90 days, from a product launch and you know, from doing whiteboards at their bedroom window, then they feel like they’re failing. And you know, here’s the problem. We have been sold this bill of good, these things like be a solopreneur, have a boutique business, have a mobile business, have a virtual business.
You know what, here’s the bottom line guys, that’s all bullshit because no one in the history of the world ever did anything significant as a solopreneur. Friggin present them and I will show you. I have studied every friggin one of them. Einstein had a massive team. Edison had a huge team at Menlo Park and a huge facility. Like all of them had teams. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, they were nothing without their students. You can’t do this by yourself and this myth that is perpetrated by people who have massive infrastructures and massive teams who sell the product on how to do it in minimal time, but then spend 150 hours per week promoting it. They are not telling you the other side of the coin.
The fact is the faster you learn the secret that every great entrepreneur in history has learned, build a team or join a team, and do it fast.
Micky: That’s great! I love that. Drop the mic right now! I think it’s great and I think our team has grown a lot recently and it’s been fun. It’s like a fun atmosphere, fun environment to have. You know, there’s new challenges in that, but everything you’re talking about, that’s to be an entrepreneur is to take ideas and scale them with a team and have other people be able to share them. It is incredibly rewarding and I know you talk about that.
Alex: It changes who you are. Don’t you think, Micky? I mean you know what happens, this is in the life of every great entrepreneur, and we have this body of questions. We call them the entrepreneurial life questions, but we all go through the same transitions, you know. One of those transitions is what we call, where we go from the how does my team get me ahead, to how does my team get ahead period?
Because when you first start managing people. Do you remember when you first started how messy it was? You start and you think like, I’m going to tell everyone what to do and they’re going to do it all and then I’m going to get a lot more done, and then you turn around and nothing’s done. And it’s like, come one people, what’s going on? I always share with people, I was an executive vice president of a company at 21 and I had 9 secretaries in 8 months. None of them were fired. I am not proud of that. I was horrible with people and then I started realizing, man if you’re overwhelmed, it’s not about managing the people. It’s not about delegating the projects. It’s about supporting the people so that you can actually, legitimately hold them accountable, because you can’t hold somebody accountable to something they don’t have support for.
When I started seeing the world that way, I don’t know man, my value in people changed. I started seeing the ability to help people grow through a business and the ability to change people’s lives through where they worked. Gees, this was my last company. We had a huge multi-million dollar international consultancy and we were doing that there. So now we are actually putting out the content that does that.
Micky: Yeah, no it’s a big point and I love that you share that and that’s what you can do with a team in transitioning to impacting a team. Going back to the contribution, my guess would be, and maybe I’m wrong, but my guess would be that when people hear your message and hear you do a talk or you do a session or things like that, that the two things that standout the most, this is just my guess, are talking about momentum and talking about pressure and noise. Is that fair? (43:40)
Alex: Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s one other thing. This is what I usually end with, Micky, so I don’t know if it stands out the most, but this is what people talk about after I speak. Not in podcasts, but in presentations. I was just out at this group called Metal in California. Amazing group of media, entertainment, and technology alpha leaders and I did this. So here is how I close, so when you were a kid did you feel isolated, Micky?
Micky: Yeah, sometimes.
Alex: And you remember what that was like, right? Sometimes you felt isolated. For me, sometimes I felt so isolated that I thought I was THE only one, like I was a party of one.
Micky: Right, yeah.
Alex: And so here’s all of us have felt that and so what I share with people is this very simple message, there’s nothing wrong with you and you are not alone. I know that sounds weird, there’s nothing wrong with you and you are not alone, but I think that the rest of the world, my belief is, the rest of the world does everything they can to convince people like you and I that there IS something wrong with us. That we think the wrong way. That we are symptomatic. That we go to fast. That we need to stop, sit down, and slow down. You know, not change things and that there is something wrong with us and what I share with everyone is this, that if you’ve felt isolated and you’ve felt alone and you felt like you didn’t have a club and you had nowhere to belong, that in and of itself along with the desire to contribute, make a change, and move the world forward confirms that you’re part of the most important club in history.
It’s not that you have nowhere to belong, you belong in the most important club. The entrepreneurial personality type, because from the beginning of time, from the first person who got up and said let’s go over that hill to the next person who explored and built and created commerce, and made stores and buildings and products, and started making the world. Every single person who moved it forward was like us and it doesn’t matter who it was for you, who called out from history. I have shared some today, Einstein, Socrates, Plat, Newton, who was it for you that let you know you weren’t alone? Because when I was a kid, I went looking for success because I was so broken and I found myself. Einstein didn’t read until he was four, could never tie his shoes. Gates had trouble in school, just like I did. Steve Jobs struggled through school so much, he only audited classes. He didn’t want to be in them. I found myself. The world has been created by the people who are different and isolated and stand alone because anything else is just average and no one average every changed anything.
So for anyone who has every felt alone, understand you have a tribe and all you have to do is reach out and let another entrepreneur know what you need and you will have it, because we support each other. If we all collectively lower pressure and noise and offer each other protection and support. There is no limit to our strengths and abilities and the contribution we can make, because the systems in the world don’t support us and there’s kids who are just like us and people who don’t make it to go on a podcast and run a business. Instead, they are in rehab or in jail or an early grave or worse and all an entrepreneur needs when they are stuck is for another one to reach out and offer some help. So remember, we are all in this together.
Micky: That’s great. I appreciate just the way you share that and just the passion you have behind it. You’re right, I think it comes from a place that is real and that people are going to connect with that and this has been really good. I have tons of notes here to take away. I think just as we start to wrap up, I think because, and this is probably the nature of it when you speak, is that people probably need to get away for a bit and just process it and think about it. I also think there is such an important, the momentum conversation is so important, and I think there’s probably a lot of people listening that feel stuck and so I’m wondering if there is anything, and it’s not going to be a quick fix, but if there is anything you have as we start to wrap up that is like a step that someone can take or what’s something someone can do to start to build momentum, get things moving in the right direction? (39:28)
Alex: You know this is a shortcut that I share with people and it works 100% of the time. I don’t want to be the guy who always talks about extremes, but I’m the coach, unfortunately, the consultant, the person who gets called when people are in a really bad place and it’s worked with the people who are in the worse place and Micky this is crazy because it doesn’t fail. So for someone like us, if we’re stuck in the moment, if we can’t move forward, if we’re looking at a sheet of paper and you know we can’t figure out what to write down, if the cursor is screaming at us on the screen, it doesn’t matter how bad life is going if you pick up the phone, send an email, send a text, and just see how someone else is doing. Make a contribution to them, check in on someone, it will give you momentum, because isolation, when I say it’s a symptom, it is a symptom. When we are connecting with people like us, you can get in the moment momentum by helping someone else.
Here’s what is crazy; it works every time. Next time you pull up to a stoplight, take out a dollar and give it to the guy on the corner, and see what it does to your chest, not his. It is you help someone and you feel it. And here is what happens, when you’re in a stuck place. Guys, I have a Facebook group called Entrepreneurial Personality Type, Micky you have probably seen it, and there’s a lot of videos in there. A lot of time when I’m stuck, I say ok, I need to reach out to entrepreneurs and give something away. Like what video can I do that will help people right now and I record it and put it in the group and that’s contribution and I always feel momentum from that. Within 15 or 20 minutes someone says hey, thank you and it makes me feel even better.
Like when we turn the focus to others and help, we move forward. It’s just hard to make that connection.
Micky: It’s great, I love it, that’s perfect! In the moment momentum. That’s perfect. There is no excuse to not take action and move something forward right now. This has been awesome Alex! I can’t thank you enough. Where can everybody find all of this good stuff to learn more of all of your sharing? (41:54)
Alex: Well Micky, anybody who wants to should join our Facebook group. It’s open right now. We are going to grow it to 5,000 people and then we’re going to figure out what we’re doing with it. We are right around 3,000 now, but that’s in under a year with no advertising and it’s Entrepreneurial Personality Type on Facebook, go to We Are EPT.com, and then also you can just go to our website Charfen.com. Our blog is there, there’s more information on the personality type, and you can see our events here in Austin which we would love to have you come and hangout.
Micky: Yeah, awesome. Well thanks so much Alex. This has been a pleasure and lots to think about after this one, so thank you very, very much.
Alex: My pleasure Micky.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the TREPX Podcast. For more episodes, interviews, and business growth tools, please visit TREPXgroup.com.
About TREPX Podcast: TREPX Podcast provides insight, stories, and tips from entrepreneurs to help strengthen and grow your business. Starting in early 2015, host Micky Deming has interviewed dozens of founders, experts, business professionals and fellow podcasters to understand how they got to where they are now, and share their stories and expertise with others seeking to achieve their desired level of success.
Guests include Peter Shankman, Michael Port, Mike Michalowicz, Aaron Walker, Pam Slim, John Lee Dumas, and Jack Zerby. Discussed topics include marketing, mindset, customer service, business growth, social media, and much more. For audio to every episode, visit TrepXGroup.com/podcasts, or listen to the TREPX Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.