Top iTunes Business Podcast

47+ Million Downloads

SPI 438: How IPA Can Lead to the Best Version of You—Productivity, Staying True to Yourself, and More with Eric Partaker

Whether you’re just getting started in business or you’ve been doing this for a while, you’re probably used to stressing out about all the different bits and pieces of your business. You wear all these hats, there’s all these things going on, and you’re working so hard. Do you ever think you might work yourself sick?

Well, our guest on this episode, Eric Partaker, worked himself right into a heart attack at 35,000 feet, and almost didn’t have any more life to give. Since then, he’s had a reawakening, and has dedicated his life to helping others become their best selves: in business, in relationships, and in life. If that’s what you want, you’re in the right place to learn from someone who learned the hard way.

Eric is a fun, down-to-earth guy. And he’s got this really amazing strategy and framework called IPA to help you build your productive, antifragile identity. And he’s just released this free training and ebook!

Today’s Guest

Eric Partaker

Eric has been named CEO of the Year at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK by Startups Magazine, and among Britain’s Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs by The Telegraph. He has advised Fortune 50 CEOs while at McKinsey, helped build Skype’s multibillion-dollar success story, and has founded several businesses. His work has been featured on major TV stations, in the Wall Street Journal, and in the Economist. He has also appeared as a guest judge on The Apprentice with Lord Alan Sugar.

He’s certified as a High Performance Coach and has completed a coaching certification and apprenticeship with Professor BJ Fogg, who leads Stanford University’s Behavior Design Lab. He continues to research evidence-based studies in psychology, neuroscience, habit change, leadership, and peak performance—helping others close the gap between who they are and who they’re capable of being.

Website: EricPartaker.com
Instagram: @ericpartaker
Facebook: PPLericpartaker
LinkedIn: eric-partaker-5560b92
YouTube: YouTube

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 438: How IPA Can Lead to the Best Version of You—Productivity, Staying True to Yourself, and More with Eric Partaker

Pat Flynn:
I want you to imagine this: Whether you’re just getting started in business, or you’ve been doing this for a while, you work yourself so hard. You stress out about all the different bits and pieces of your business, which we have to, right? Because especially in the beginning, you have to wear all the hats. But over time, you have a team to manage. And there’s all these different things. And you’re working so hard. And you’re so dedicated to your business and your job, and your family and all the things that need to happen, that you have to go to the hospital because of it. Well, that’s exactly what happened to our guests today, Eric Partaker, who was at one moment in life, thinking that he was not going to have a second chance at it, because he worked himself to the bone and almost didn’t have more life to give.

Pat:
So we’re going to unpack the story and share with you Eric’s journey. He was actually one of the first employees at Skype in fact, before it got sold, and then started his own company and just worked himself so hard, that … and I’ll have him tell you the story. But since then, he’s had a reawakening, and he’s since then dedicated his life to helping others live a healthy version of their best self: their best self in business, their best self in relationships and in life. If that’s what you want, you’re in the right place. So stick around, here we go.

Announcer:
Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host. His favorite computer program growing up wasEncarta, Pat Flynn.

Pat:
What’s up everybody? Welcome to session 439 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Pat Flynn here to help you make more money, save more time and help more people too and today we have Eric Partaker. You can find him on LinkedIn, Facebook, all the places. He’s the only Eric Partaker in the world, I think. But he’s here to partake, care of you … sorry, I just had to. It’s Father’s Day, the day I’m recording this intro. So give me a dad joke. That’s okay. I’m trying to lighten the mood too, that was a pretty dark opening. But you know what I’m saying? We need to have some fun here too. But Eric is a down-to-earth fun guy. And he’s got this really amazing strategy and framework called the IPA framework to help you build an amazing life and live a life where you have the best version of yourself coming out.

Pat:
Yes, IPA. And no, I’m not talking about the beer, I’m talking about something that he will share with you here during this podcast interview. And just very, very happy to connect with Eric. In fact, he and I connected over a virtual conference, right? Because these are the thing now. And it was through Pete Vargas and his Advance Your Reach Live speaker contest, called to The Speak Off and Eric spoke, and he did an amazing job and I just had to reach out to him to get a story because it was incredible. And he’s here to tell to you and tell us what we can learn from his experiences working at a high performance company like Skype, and beyond. So here he is, Eric Partaker. Well, Eric, welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Eric Partaker:
Thanks. Yeah, I’m so pumped to be on here. So the pleasure … Thank you for having me on the show.

Pat:
Absolutely. And like I was saying in the intro, I had first heard about you actually watching a pitch or essentially a talk that you gave at one of Pete Vargas, who’s been on the show before too, and he’s great, a coach, mentor, and speaker friend of mine. And I was just so impressed with your talk in the three minutes you had to tell this beautiful story and these amazing lessons, and I just was like, I need to talk to Eric and have him come on the show, to expand on all this because you’ve had a crazy wild ride in the world of entrepreneurship. Why don’t you take us along for the ride and tell us a little bit about how you got started, and what you were known for? Because I know you’ve made some pivots and adjustments over time which we’ll get into as well. But tell us where this all started for you.

Eric:
Okay. Well, it goes back, I got to take us back 10 years. I’m boarding a plane, and I’m on a return flight to London. And the cabin door is closed, the plane starts to ascend, and I think it’s going to be a normal flight and then shortly after those cabin doors close and the plane starts ascending, I could feel something’s wrong. I get a lot of pressure, it starts to build in my chest. Soon that pressure becomes pain. It goes through my shoulder down my left arm, I start getting quite nauseous, sweating, I say to my friend and colleagues sat next to me, “I need some help.” He runs to the stewardess. Stewardess asked if there’s a doctor on board, doctor rushes over, takes my vital signs and then I heard the most terrifying thing I could have imagined 35,000 feet in the air, “We need to land the plane immediately. I think he’s having a heart attack.”

Eric:
And I mean, that descent felt like an eternity. Because I was just absolutely terrified that my heart was going to stop completely before the plane landed. Plane finally lands. I get taken into an ambulance waiting on the runway, they administer nitrates, open up the arteries. The ambulance speeds off to the local hospital. And I just looked up into the eyes of the French paramedic looking down at me and I said, “Please don’t let me die. I have a five year old son.” And then I probably thought, I hope you speak English. And then the next day I woke up in that hospital, and I realized something needed to change. So what had led to that situation? To answer your question, so how did this all start? I had been obsessed with achievement for 10 years prior to that, but I did it in all the wrong ways.

Eric:
So I was working 100 plus hour work weeks at McKinsey and Company. I joined Skype, we were about 30 people in the London office. We scaled it to 500, we had this wonderful exit to eBay for $4 billion. But I was working like a dog at that too. And then I started a chain of Mexican restaurants in the UK and went after the burrito market, and it was just constantly work, work, work, work to the point of near death. And after that happened though, it prompted this search. I thought, there’s got to be a way to perform at a high level, but without breaking down. And so that created the last decade of my life, which has been this obsession with high performance, how do I perform at that high level without breaking down? And I’ve just been learning and consuming and applying and teaching ever since.

Pat:
Do you think there was any particular reason for the near heart attack and the burnout that a lot of people and entrepreneurs experience when it comes to overclocking, overworking? Is it essentially just a physical thing like maybe we’re working so hard, and we don’t have time to workout, we eat unhealthy or is it mental and just the stress and what that causes? What combination of that do you think is at play here when it comes to … This is a story we’ve heard before in different kinds of moments of people’s lives. What do you think exactly about the overclocking is the problem?

Eric:
For me, it’s really about three things, and I refer to it as IPA. So like the beer, but better for you. So identity … it’s all about, we need to master our identity. We need to become more self aware of what does “best” look like and do that holistically. We’re on a three legged … You need a minimum of three legs on a stool to create stability. And those three legs are your health, your wealth, your work and your relationships. You have to look after those. So, that’s the identity piece. The second thing is around productivity. We have lots we want to do, but we end up working far too much to produce what could be done with frankly less effort. It’s not just about optimizing our identity, it’s not just about being more productive, because we can do all that and things can still not go to plan. And that’s that last piece in the IPA, the anti-fragility. So how do we get better at handling the unexpected? So that we weather the storms that are our life, right?

Pat:
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot to unpack here for sure. Let’s actually go through each of these three things, if you don’t mind. And let’s start with identity, I think identity is an interesting word that a lot of people think about. And they try to discover who they really are, what are their superpowers, what are their weaknesses, and this is along the lines of where a lot of entrepreneurs feel identity is. But in your eyes, what really is identity? You’ve mentioned health, work, and also relationships as well. Where do we even begin to understand identity and what are we aiming for, in particular, to stay and remain on task and you’re happy, stress free and etc?

Eric:
So I love that you just said what are we aiming for? Because I think too often when it comes to identity, too often when it comes to how do we become our best, it’s almost like people are taking a machine gun to the shooting range and they’re shooting for too much. They’re trying to hit too many targets. And Stephen Covey has his roles and responsibilities, Tony Robbins, all these categories for improvement. And what we’re most obsessed about is our health, is our wealth and it’s our relationships. And so whereas a lot of people will tell you, “Focus on a myriad of things and change happens gradually over time,” when I talk about identity and becoming your best, what I’m saying is, actually just focus on three things. And using a simple tool, you can start that change process immediately.

Eric:
What I mean by that is … I have a book coming out soon, Three Alarms. Actually by the time this airs, it will be out. And in that book, I talk about three simple phone alarms that I set ages ago … well, following the plane incident, that had a huge impact on my life. What these three alarms do is that they segment my day into three pieces. And I have a best self identity that I’ve chosen to power or guide the relevant segment of each part of the day. So at 6:30 a.m. Every single day, the first alarm goes off, and it says world fitness champion. I’m not a world fitness champion. I’ll never be a world fitness … are you a world fitness champion?

Pat:
Definitely not, no.

Eric:
And that’s not the point. But it’s just that when that alarm goes off … I mean, there’s mornings, right? When you wake up and you don’t feel like working out, right? It’s the last thing that you want to do, perhaps. I have those mornings too. But when that alarm goes off, it reminds me okay, well, how would a world fitness champion approach their workout or the health piece to this day right now? And so I go ahead and I do the workout. I might be in the workout, be on the eighth repetition of an exercise and I don’t feel like continuing. And then this little voice goes off in my head, well, what would a world fitness champion do right now? And I do the ninth and the tenth rep. That’s the 6:30 a.m. alarm, because for me at that time of day for me has to be adjusted to the person, the health identity is most relevant to power that will to exercise.

Eric:
At 9:00 a.m., I have another alarm that goes off. It says world’s best coach to remind me well, how would that version of me show up in the world? How does that version of me behave? How do they interact with others? The most important alarm of all, for me, goes off at 6:30 p.m. Every day. And it says world’s best husband and father to prompt the question, how would the world’s best husband and father walk through that door right now? Or if I’m at home, in my home office, how would the world’s best husband and father walk down stairs? That intentionality in the three areas of life that matter most setting an identity that means something to me.

Eric:
If you’re a swimmer, your health identity might be you’re Michael Phelps in the morning, for example, that’s when you’re doing your swimming. If you’re a CEO, you might say I turn into Elon Musk. So it’s about choosing something that matters for you, and then timing that alarm to go off to prompt some intentionality at the most relevant time of the day. That for me, is what I mean about using the power of identity to become your best self, but limiting your focus just to those three critical areas rather than everything.

Pat:
Really love that. The part that stood out to me the most is how I can … when you talk about identity who do you want to become? Versus what should you do? What should you do should be based on who you want to become. I love that frame of mind. It remind me of a book by Jesse Itzler who is the owner of the Atlanta Hawks, he wrote a book called Living With a Seal, like not a-

Eric:
Yeah, I know.

Pat:
Well a military person seal not like the animal. And in that book, he talks about something called the 40 percent rule where if you’re struggling, like you said, if you are only seven reps in, you want to do more. His strategy is well, your body is set to tell you to stop, when you’ve only been 40 percent. And you still have so much more to go. So keep going. But that’s like a rule versus what I love about this is, well, who do you want to be and how would a person of that nature behave? They would do 40 percent more or 60 percent more or push a little bit harder, right? So I love that because then you can start to identify yourself as somebody comparable to and like you said, you’re not trying to become the best or world’s top person, but that’s how you want to behave.

Pat:
And I really love that structure in terms of identity across all those different parts of life. And like you said, those little alarms, the three alarms, book coming out soon or out already, by the time this comes out your health, that’s your 6:00 a.m. Alarm, you got your worth and work that’s your 9:00 a.m. And then your 6:30, let’s shut off and let’s become a father. Let’s become a husband during this time. I really love that framework. That really helps make it very clear and easy. What are some of the struggles that people have when it comes to identity and who they think they’re supposed to be versus who other people are telling them they’re supposed to be? I think there’s a lot of push and pull in there as well. What are your thoughts on all these external factors trying to help you become somebody that maybe you’re not supposed to be or you don’t want to be?

Eric:
Yeah, great question. And that’s what I was trying to address with this three alarms technique: is, it needs to be tailored to you. So best is relative to what best looks like for Pat on the health front. Best for what best looks like for me, if I’m thinking about the work front. That’s what I meant for example, within health if your biggest priority is swimming, well then go ahead and choose the swimmer that you aspire to be. But remember, these are just aspirations. None of this is about perfection. I’m not really the world’s best coach. Sure, there’s somebody better than me. Like I said, I’ll never really be a world fitness champion. But this morning when I was doing my … so this morning, I ran stairs. I try to do creative things with my environments. I got stairs going from the top to the bottom floor of the house. I said, “I’m going to run the stairs for 30 minutes.”

Eric:
And I got to about 25 minutes and I was getting tired and sweating and I wanted to stop and it went off again in my head world fitness champion. Does a world fitness champion stop? Not only did I do the five more minutes, but I said, “You know one can run the stairs at least five more times, because champions do more.” And that’s kind of the attitude you have. So it’s really … it’s not absolute, it’s relative. And the beauty of this technique is you define the phrase that matters most to you. And when I say … just to clarify when I say, because I’ve had questions about this, people say, “What do you mean give the alarm a name?” Really simply … so when you set an alarm on your phone, if you have an Android, you can actually go and you set your alarm. And on Android, it will say, name and you click on name at the top alarm, you can literally name it something and similarly with iPhone, you go into the alarm, it will say label, click on the label and you can name it whatever you like.

Pat:
Got it. Thank you for that clarification. And I’m imagining for people who perhaps are in the audience, and maybe there are big-time musicians, you could perhaps have an alarm that is related to something else that you might be working on, right? Like world class musician, what would a world class musician do? They’d probably practice more often and really hone in on the stuff that’s more difficult and not as fun sometimes if they want to improve and get to that skill level. So is it always just those three categories? Or can you add your own categories of your own?

Eric:
It’s totally flexible. You can add whatever you like. I chose those three categories because … if you just go search online, and you look at what are people obsessed with, when it comes to searching on Google? The three biggest categories is they’re obsessed with their health. They’re obsessed with their wealth or their work. They’re obsessed with their relationships. And these are the things that are most meaningful to people, and it makes sense. I mean, without our health or nothing, our work produces our wealth and our income and our relationships … well that’s why when I was in the ambulance, I said, “Please, I have a five year old son.” Because ultimately if you think you’re going to die, you think about those closest to you —what’s most important. Of course, you can change it and maybe for on a particular day, you’re going to be Jimi Hendrix for the day or whoever you like. So it’s flexible. I just think you’ll be onto a winner if you start with those three places.

Pat:
Cool. I love that. And I love that it’s just simple and easy to identify. So thank you for that. Let’s move on to the P and IPA. And that’s productivity. Productivity is a hot topic here on the show. We’ve had a lot of productivity experts come on, a lot of people mentioned tools and tactics and do this and don’t do that. One of my favorite strategies is J triple O, which is J-O-O-O the “joy-of-opting-out”: being productive by opting out of things, so that I can focus on the things I have said yes to. What are your strategies for productivity? Because I think a lot of people assume, okay, let’s be productive so that we can do more. We have more time now to do more, but it doesn’t sound like that necessarily is what you do with this extra time. What are your thoughts on productivity? What frameworks might you have for this?

Eric:
There’s three … and the reason productivity is so important for us to … IPA is all in service of someone reaching their full potential, becoming everything that they’re capable of being, being able to perform at a high level, again without breaking down. That’s what this is all about. And productivity is so important because we can’t become our best unless we’re able to work on whatever it is that is important to us in the most efficient way possible. There’s three things I think about with productivity. One is, I like to turn it into a design issue. A lot of times when think when you say the word productivity to people, sometimes it even conjures up this negativity, like I’m not being productive enough, I gotta whip myself. And so let’s make it a design issue. The second thing with productivity is, instead of just focusing on the gain, we need to actually focus on the loss and I’ll explain what I mean by that.

Eric:
And then the third thing is, how do we actually apply at 80-20? And I want to give you a very concrete example of how I apply that in a business context. So let’s start with the first. How do we design productivity into our day? First is that we need to respect that a productive day doesn’t begin the day of, it actually begins the night before. And it’s all about how we shut down our day and how we get the appropriate amount of sleep. And I really love Cal Newport, in his book, Deep Work. He talks about implementing a shutdown routine. And so I have this in my calendar 30 minutes before I’d like my day to end, I have an appointment. It’s an appointment that I keep with myself, it says “shutdown.” In my calendar, I click open that appointment and in the meeting description, I have a five point checklist. And it is simply … do a final check on email, update my task list with any new actions from the day. Look at the next day ahead on my calendar.

Eric:
Choose my top three items for the next day. And last but not least, drop those top three into the white space of the day. That allows me to shut down my day and move into dinner. So that’s the evening routine within designing for productivity. And then I have what’s called a digital sunset. So one hour before bedtime, such that I get eight hours of sleep, it’s no electronics. Because in the book, Why We Sleepby Matthew Walker, he talks about how any blue light that is coming into our eyes emitted from electronic devices in that hour before bedtime lowers our melatonin by 50 percent. So we won’t sleep very deeply. We need to sleep deeply to start the day productively. Okay, so that’s the evening routine, designed for productivity. Then we get to the morning routine. And the mantra here is, just be creative before reactive. So don’t start your day in your inbox or on Slack or something else.

Eric:
I start my day doing one of those top three things. And then the last routine within productivity design is just single tasking. So in the book, The One Thing, there’s this fascinating stat, they say that 28 percent of a workday is lost to multitasking ineffectiveness. I took that 28 percent and I thought, we’re not doing this justice, because when somebody sees 28 percent of a workday loss, what do they think? Ah, it’s just a day. But I took that 28 percent and I said, if we multiply that out against the work weeks in a year, that’s 13 weeks lost per year, that’s an entire quarter. Over a career that’s an entire decade being lost, right? An entire 10 years. Because of what? Because we’re multitasking, we’re not single tasking. So the last routine there for productivity design, is just focus on working on one thing at a time and be super conscious of jumping around. Because if you do that you’ll reclaim an entire quarter every year. That’s the productivity design.

Pat:
Love it. Can we talk more about that before we get into gains versus losses?

Eric:
Yeah.

Pat:
When it comes to prioritization, I know for high performers, a lot of people, my audience, we want to do all the things. What are your strategies for prioritization? Because that’s ultimately what needs to happen before you choose the first thing or the one thing to work on. And I love The 1 Thing— Jay Papasan has been on the show before; I’ve interviewed him, he’s a good friend of mine. He wrote, the foreword to Will it Fly? And I totally believe in that. But I’m always curious about how high performers like yourself, determine what your priorities are, when we are almost … it’s in our DNA to try to do too many things than we’re supposed to. What are your strategies for prioritization?

Eric:
That’s a great segue to the 80-20 principle. And just making sure that we’re not boiling the ocean to heat up a cup of tea. And instead we’re … what’s the 20 percent ? But really understanding what does 80-20 mean? It means what are the 20 percent of things I could do, which will drive 80 percent of the results. Let me give you an example. Let me give you a story from the Mexican restaurant chain that I built. I had no idea how to build a Mexican restaurant chain. Who does? Right? There was a quick service environment. And I thought, we could focus on the ambiance, we could focus on the food, we could focus on the service. But what are the 20 percent of things that we could focus on that will drive 80 percent of guest satisfaction? And I zeroed in on the food. That’s typically where someone would stop. They said, “Yeah, we focus on the food.” But within food, there’s flavor, there’s texture, there’s aroma, there’s appearance. What are the 20 percent of food attributes, which will drive 80 percent of the guests satisfaction? We focus on the flavor. I then want another 80-20 level deep again, continuing the prioritization trend here.

Eric:
We have 17 components that go into a meal. What are the 20 percent of the components that will drive 80 percent of the flavor? And then I went into those recipes and said, “All the ingredients that go into those recipes, what are the 20 percent of the ingredients that will drive 80 percent of the flavor and the recipes? The next thing I know, I’m shaking hands with Mexican farmers in the Yucatan Peninsula, because we zeroed in on the fact that we needed to get our dried chilies and other special key ingredients direct from Mexico to impart the most flavor in our food. So that’s like a real-life business example of how we use the 80-20 principle to go all the way back to farms in Mexico for certain ingredients that would ultimately drive the award winning flavors that we served in the chain.

Pat:
I love that. How do you stay comfortable knowing that there is still parts that could be improved? Right? What about the other 20 percent that you’re leaving or essentially the other 80 percent that could … you can leave behind to get an additional 20 percent? I think we always try to do all the things and all the things at 100 percent. And I mean, I’m completely in the camp of Parados law and 80-20 and all that stuff for sure. I mean, we’ve implemented this on our end as well, on SPI and my other company at Switch Pod, in terms of how it was designed, it doesn’t do all the things it does the major things that people who do videography want. And this is what has created the form of the switch pod and how it’s selling so well. Because we’ve left out the bendy legs on the tripod, right?

Pat:
And I don’t know if you know, but we have this invention, and it’s been doing very, very well. No, it doesn’t do a lot of what other things do because we found in our research that most people actually don’t even use the bendy legs when trying to do vlogging anyway. Just very clear examples here for sure. But how do you feel … how are you okay with leaving stuff, even though it’s fewer things, behind when making decisions to focus on just the 20 percent of the stuff that gets 80 percent of the results? What makes you feel comfortable doing that? How can we get over the fact that we’re not doing all the things.

Eric:
Well, I’ll be honest, I’m not comfortable. And it’s really tough. Because I look at it and I think, “oh but I could work on that and get that last 20 percent. Here’s how I deal with it. I try to as quickly as possible to start the next thing, the next project, so that I get so consumed with that, that I’m off to the races to do the 20 percent that’s going to generate the 80 percent on that, and then try to do the next thing. So in reality, I’m like avoiding the issue in a way.

Pat:
Yeah. But it’s helping you.

Eric:
Yeah, but exactly, but by just trying to keep myself busy, because I’m the type of person honestly that will just sit there and look and go, okay, well, we can change the sentence a little bit. And we can move the logo around and … oh my gosh, I’ll just do that endlessly. So, I just try to keep moving like that to the next thing: ship, next thing ship, next thing ship.

Pat:
I love that and we had skipped over gains versus losses, any quick words about that before we move on?

Eric:
Yeah very quickly about that. So when people think about productivity, obviously they’re thinking about something that they can gain, ultimately. What’s the goal that I’m trying to achieve? And they focus on the gain. And actually, they need to focus on the loss. And the reason I highlight this is … and there’s a whole website built around this go to Stick for example, and it’s all built on loss aversion. So hardwired into our DNA, is that we are two times more inclined to not lose $100, than we are to gain $100 because it’s our survival instinct. We have to protect what we have, rather than venture out and try to get more. That’s there to protect us. Unfortunately, from a goal achievement point of view, we’re not hardwired to necessarily go after the gain. But what I learned is that if I have my goal, but then have an accountability partner, and agree on a very hefty monetary penalty with this accountability partner, then it inspires action.

Eric:
And I’ll give you an example. I have a five-point checklist that I try to do, which, if I hit it on a daily basis, it’s a good chance, it’s going to be a great day. Not guaranteed—a good chance before putting the monetary penalty there, sometimes I’d hit that one out of five days 20 percent; sometimes two, sometimes three, maybe I’d hit 80 percent. The moment I put the monetary penalty in there, which for me, I thought, what’s a ridiculous sum of money that I wouldn’t want to lose on a weekly basis, and I thought $1,000. I would not want to lose a $1,000 every single week, let alone $52,000 in a year, just because I didn’t do something that I knew is good for me.

Eric:
Once I did that, and I agreed to pay … it’s actually a group that we’re in—a forum, and I agreed to finance the forum’s annual retreat to the tune of $1,000 for every week that I don’t get 80 percent of these peak routine days, I haven’t missed a week since! That’s because I’m hacking into our loss aversion, which is hardwired into our brains.

Pat:
It is. And I think about people who have like an Apple Watch, right? We need to fill out the little circles for health every day. It’s not the fact that they’re filling out the circles every day. It’s the fact that they don’t want to lose the streak that they kept going, right? That keeps them going. So I really love that. I also have heard of tools or websites where you can actually set a goal and actually create a penalty right there on the website, for example, you will donate money to a charity about something you don’t like, in fact, and that can help you too. I’ve heard people do that as well.

Pat:
So that’s really … I love that focus on what you can lose because that’s just in tuned with our DNA and setting yourself up for that and having accountability partners. I love that. Let’s hone in on this last point, the A in IPA which is anti-fragility, and I’ve never really … I mean I’ve heard that word before, but I’ve never really even thought about it in regards to being a high performer and being a creator, being online, being an entrepreneur. What’s that mean exactly? And why is that important?

Eric:
Yeah, great question. So, anti-fragile. So, Nassim Taleb wrote the book, Anti-fragile, and really made us all aware of how anti-fragility exists in the universe, exists within us. But we’re just not so conscious about it. So what it means is that most people think that the opposite of fragile, for example, is robust, or resilient. If you’re robust or resilient, that just means you take a beating and you stay the same, and eventually, you could take a bit more of a beating then, say, a fragile person. But eventually you’ll break down as well. Anti-fragile is different. Anti-fragile means, the more I hit you the stronger you become. So stress actually creates strength. And people listening right now, they might think, “well, but that doesn’t actually exist and it certainly doesn’t exist for me.” Ah, but you’d be wrong then, because your body is the perfect model for anti-fragility.

Eric:
So UV radiation, for example, in small doses actually repairs tissues and generates vitamin D, it’s needed for every cell in the body. Exposure to germs and bacteria actually builds our immune system. When we stress a muscle, it causes it to grow. So anti-fragility is already happening down here in the body. And all we need to do is get it up more proactively here in our head. So, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about how do we turn challenge into growth and how do we have stress be something that leads to strength rather than something that we try to avoid. So, that’s the basic premise. And then of course, I can go more into that. But I’ll just pause for a moment. That’s that’s what it’s about in a nutshell.

Pat:
No, I love that. It makes me like remember Marvel in Black Panther’s new suit that was created, every time he gets hit, it stores energy and he becomes stronger, and then he unleashes that on his enemies—I’m sorry, we just watched a whole mess of Marvel movies in the house during the pandemic here and we got through all of them, which is really fun together as a family. Anyway, anti-fragility, getting stronger: the more I hit you, the stronger you become. So does that mean I want to invite being hit more? Or does it just necessarily mean let me grow a thicker skin and just plow through the … what I would imagine could be tough moments in the business, perhaps losses, perhaps trolls and haters, what kind of things are we asking to be hit from to help us grow further?

Eric:
Yeah, great question. So you certainly can build it by deliberately stepping into it. Right? So there’s all—the whole cold shower thing, Right? Extreme sports, right? Bungee jumping, putting yourself into a box having never bought before just to get comfortable with being, of course you can do those things. I’m not actually suggesting that though, what I mean is more along the lines of it starts with, first we got to reframe stress. So if we take three groups of people, and one lives a stress-free life, second group has stress in their life, but use it positively. And the third group has stress in their life but use it negatively, which group lives the longest? So most people are inclined to say the first group stress-free life, but it’s actually the second group that experiences stress, but use it positively.

Eric:
So with that in mind, I guess what I’m trying encourage people to do is, well, why not just make life one big mental gym? Every moment of adversity, everything that doesn’t go your way, the person who cuts you off, the pet peeve thing that happens with that person in your life. All of these become repetitions in the gym of life, they all become a chance for you to exercise your ability to respond to those things as optimally as possible. That’s a segue into the next thing, which is creating space. So Stephen Covey, the late Stephen Covey, he came across, and he wasn’t able to properly source it. So the story goes, he’s in a library in Hawaii. And he opens up this book, and he’s just dumbfounded by this passage which says, “Between stimulus and response exists this space. And within that space lies both our growth and freedom.” And he records this in this journal, it goes off and thinks about it later the week returns to find the book, the book’s gone. So he was never able to properly source this.

Eric:
But that is, that is a fantastic tool for anti-fragility. Because we get triggered by different things in life, right? Could be our kids acting up or we get into that fight with our spouse or we missed the train. And often, our response to those things is typically a suboptimal response. It’s like this emotional … we blurt out, or we do something that … the 95-year-old version of Pat wouldn’t do, for example. The wisest version of you wouldn’t do. If we can just appreciate that a space exists between stimulus and response and pause through a deep breath, walking away, whatever, create a little bit of space, a tiny moment of awareness.

Eric:
When we do that, we can turn on our prefrontal cortex, the part that makes us human, and instead of it being this emotional response, we can afford ourselves a chance to choose an optimal response, we can bring in kind of rational thought into that. It takes practice to do, and one of the best ways to practice doing it is by simply to, and frankly, a good place to start is with our families because we spend so much time together. That’s where the altercations more easily happen. Unfortunately, we sometimes say and do things with our families that we wouldn’t dare do with a colleague or with a business partner, right? So really great exercise is take some of your family members and write down your trigger list.

Eric:
These are the things they do that when they do that, it kind of drives me up the wall. What are your triggers? And instead of think of what’s the perfect solution to all those? There’s one solution. It’s just create space. So the stimulus happens and all you’re going to focus on doing this I’m going to create space. A tiny moment of awareness before I just respond, so I can choose how would the wisest version of me respond? When you do this, this is a fantastic way to build anti-fragility, is you’re taking something which would otherwise stress you, and otherwise would lead to this like fragile response. And you’re using that as like a bicep curl in the gym, every single one of those you’re going to look forward to, because if you complete the repetition correctly—pause, create space, choose the optimal response—you’ve just strengthened that muscle. You’ve just built your anti-fragility. So that’s an example and a tool of how you can alchemize, challenge into growth throughout our life and become more anti-fragile.

Pat:
Absolutely love that. Do you have an example if you don’t mind sharing from your own personal life that you’d be willing to share? Doesn’t necessarily have to be about family, but even in business?

Eric:
No, I’ll do it, 100 percent about family. So I have a 15-year old and a six-year old. The six year old, behaves like a six year old. And you’ll ask him … so a great thing is bedtime. Especially if he gets a little bit of Xbox time at the end of the day loves playing Roblox and a couple of others. Minecraft. And man, to get him off of that, it’s always a challenge. Now old me, “Leo…” Leo’s his name, “Leo it’s time to come off.” “I don’t want to come off.” He’s starts raising his voice and then I raise my voice and now we got two children raising their voices, one just happens to be 44-years old. And so that was old me.

Eric:
So newer me: Leo starts doing that volcanic eruption. Pause, create space. What does the wise version of me say? “Leo I totally get it. You want to play more, don’t you?” “Yes, Papa.” So I’m coming alongside of him, I’m not coming at him, like boarding another—like a pirate ship, right? I’m going to come alongside and board. “And of course you want to play it because it’s so much, fun isn’t it? Having a great time, aren’t you?” “Yes.” “And I bet you want me to play with you too, right?” “Yes.” “Okay. Well, how about this? How about I play with you for a few minutes now? We will need to shut this off then. And then tomorrow, we can play some more together.” “Okay.” Totally defused the situation, because I created a bit of space. So yeah, that’s an example. I mean, I can give you 100. That’s one example.

Pat:
Yeah, and I thank you for that. I very much resonate with that. We are gamers in the family here too. We’ve had very similar conversations. And I think the way that I frame that is, in that particular scenario is just like, know who you’re speaking to in your audience and what might they want? That’s how you begin to help them versus just pushing more force behind it. And I really love that example. Thank you for sharing that.

Eric:
Yeah.

Pat:
The IPA, what have we not talked about related to IPA that we should discuss really quick before we sign off here? This has been a great discussion. Thank you for the tangible and specific strategies. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you for the personal stories. But what are we missing here that can tie all this together?

Eric:
We’re talking about all this of course, at a high level. I’m giving you a lot of theory here in essence, but we all … you and I both … knowledge isn’t where the game is played, these days you can google anything. So even if you don’t know something, you’ll know it in a few seconds. It’s about translating knowledge into action. That’s where the game is played. And I want to help on that front. So I have a special offer for everyone listening today, and if they head over to my site, at ericpartaker.com. For the next month, two great gifts to help you really embed all of this. So first, you’re going to get a free course that’s going to help you transform your health, your wealth, relationships using many of the tools like the three alarms that we discussed today.

Eric:
Second, I mentioned the book, the Three Alarms coming out. And you’re also going to get a free electronic copy of that book, that not only covers what we talked today but loads more too. So that’s all there, ericpartaker.com. And I think really that’s the next step is, let’s take some of these theoretical concepts and with some practical tools, a bit more hand holding and explanation, actually take action, take action on this stuff. Try it out. Don’t let this be another podcast episode where you go, “Wow, that was interesting. Some great ideas there.” And then 48 hours later, you forgot it. Implement. Try. And so that’s what I want to help people do next.

Pat:
Thank you, Eric. I appreciate that. Ultimately, what are your goals? Where do you want to be in five years from now? I’d love to get a sense of your future.

Eric:
Yeah, there’s two things that I do. So one is … I’ve been in the trenches, CEO. Last year in the UK, I was honored with the CEO of the year recognition. I really relate well to entrepreneurs, CEOs, people building businesses. So one thing I’m doing is as a entrepreneur coach is helping people build a better company, but do it without sacrificing their health and relationships. And I really want to grow that over time, from one-on-one coaching to groups to productizing it and creating courses and I’m very excited about that. So, that’s one big realm.

Eric:
The other thing is, and this IPA relates to both really, but the IPA is also just more generally about whether you’re an entrepreneur or you just aspire to be an entrepreneur. You don’t need to be a CEO, maybe you like doing what you’re doing and you’re having a great time with that. I just want to get out there and just try to positively transform as many lives as possible. I know firsthand from my own experience, that everyone deserves a second chance. And so I want to give people the tools to give their best shot at that second chance. So I guess one side, it’s about helping people build a better company without sacrificing their health and relationships. And on the other side, it’s about becoming the home of the second chance and giving people those tools that they need to close that gap between who they are and who they’re capable of being.

Pat:
Love it, Eric, thank you so much for this time today and your wisdom and good luck with the book launch. Ericpartaker.com to take advantage of those gifts that are available now. And if you’re listening to this in the future, still go there, there’s probably still going to be some great stuff being given away and more amazing things from Eric here. So Eric, thank you so much. Might there be a way to connect with you on social media before you go?

Eric:
Absolutely. I’m on LinkedIn, that’s huge in Europe. I know it’s not as big in the US, but you also have a global audience. So please reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram course. There’s nobody else in the world with my name. So it’s Eric with a C Partaker so I’m very easy to find.

Pat:
That’s great. Wonderful job. Thank you so much. I appreciate you and good luck with everything. Thanks so much.

Eric:
Thanks a lot Pat.

Pat:
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Eric. Eric, thank you so much for being here today. Appreciate you and I cannot wait to see what else you do, who else you impact and how big you go. Because, man, you’re going places. Thank you so much. And for anybody who wants to connect with Eric like he said, you can check him out on LinkedIn or Facebook. Eric with a C Partaker. P-A-R-T-A-K-E-R. And if you’d like these show notes to this episode and the resources and links, all you have to do is go to smartpassiveincome.com/session438. Once again that’s smartpassiveincome.com/session438 Thanks again. I appreciate you. You are amazing. Thanks for listening all the way through. And until next time, make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already. I look forward to serving you in next week’s episode. And as always, #TeamFlynn for the win. Peace out.

Announcer:
Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at www.smartpassiveincome.com.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building your online business the smart way.

Get Unstuck in just 5 minutes, for free

Our weekly Unstuck newsletter helps online entrepreneurs break through mental blocks, blind spots, and skill gaps. It’s the best 5-minute read you’ll find in your inbox.

Free newsletter. Unsubscribe anytime.

Join 135k+

Subscribers