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SPI 572: How to Turn (Almost) Everything You Touch to Gold

Someone told me the other day, “Pat, everything you touch just seems to turn to gold.” Typically, I would deflect this question or just say, “No, that’s not true. A lot of things I try, I fail.”

But I had a different answer this time. I said, “Well, I only touch things that can turn into gold”.

He really liked that answer, and said, “Well, how do you do that?”

I want to unpack this for you today, by sharing the five-step process I use to make sure I’m only working on things I know have a great chance of succeeding.

SPI 572: How to Be Great at Most Things

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, the most often said phrase in his household is we don’t talk about Bruno, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: So, I received a comment the other day that was really interesting because my answer was surprisingly good. And I don’t mean that my answers usually aren’t good but in this case, I really enjoyed the answer that I shared because it seemed to hit home and I wanted to unpack that for you. So, this is a comment that I’ve received a few times in the past, and I always kind of laugh it off or find it really interesting, but my answer here, which was given live at an event, not live on stage but it was actually during lunch with people was a little bit different. So, I wanted to unpack it for you here today. And the comment I got was, and I was at lunch and a person turns to me. I had just met him, but he had seen my stuff before. He’s a listener of the podcast.

Pat Flynn: He turns to me and he goes, “Pat, everything you touch just seems to turn to gold”. And he was like, “you’re like Midas. Everything you do, it just seems to be profitable, it seems to work out really well”. And again, typically I deflect this or I often just resort to, which is the truth, “no, that’s not true. A lot of things I try, fail. All a lot of things go wrong. I have had my fair share of very expensive failures in the past. So no, but you do see a lot of the things that are going well, but let’s move on to the next conversation.” But I had a different answer this time. My answer was, “well, I only touch things that can turn into gold.” So, it’s not that I’ve everything I touch turns into gold. I only choose to touch the things that have a chance of turning into gold.

Pat Flynn: And he really liked that answer, and I wanted to unpack that for you today because he was like, “well, how do you do that? How do you know what to touch then that can turn into gold”? And so, I wanted to give you a five-step process of how I do this. Now, the first thing is understanding whether or not this even has the possibility of turning into gold, right? Validation, very important. This is what I talk about in my book Will It Fly?, right? If it does not have that ability as a business, right? Not everything in my life is about “can I make money or not,” but I only put myself forward into things and I put my time and team and dedication into things that I know have a chance, right? So, how do I know that?

Pat Flynn: Well, you could follow the process that I talk about in my book Will It Fly? as far as building a market map and doing some more data analysis of a particular market to understand what your position could be and all that sort of more scientific approach. But if I do have an idea and I’m curious about exploring it, the number one thing I actually do is find other people who have done it before me. And if nobody has done it before me or has gone into something similar, well, then that’s a red flag at first. It doesn’t mean I’m automatically turning away and trying something else, but it just means okay, why hasn’t anybody tackled this yet? Or why hasn’t it been successful? There might have been people who have tried it, and if they have failed, why? I want to find out. I want to learn about this.

Pat Flynn: So, typically, for example, going into marathon training, right? I can easily defeat the story that I’m telling myself that this is impossible, right? That this is something I can’t do. That’s the story I usually tell myself the first time I start anything, it’s just the negative Nancy’s coming out. But then I go, well no, look at this person or I find stories or I read or I watch YouTube videos about people who perhaps were even unhealthier than I was, who then train themselves to run a triathlon or a marathon or something ridiculous. And it’s like okay, well, then there’s no real reason for me not to be able to do that. I’ve found others, thus proving that these stories that I’m telling myself are incorrect. And so, that helps me move forward, right? And oftentimes that’s where a lot of people already are failing when they start thinking those thoughts and don’t have some way of countering that. So, that’s number one.

Pat Flynn: Secondly, if I am still interested and have proven that there is sort of room for me in this space, I don’t know it for sure yet, but I do want to have my fast track into that space as much as possible. So, going back to the triathlon spot, right? And this is again, I didn’t make any money off of triathlons. First of all, I spent a lot of money on it, but just I’m using that as an analogy here, right? Because it’s a very clear example of, well I didn’t know how to do any of this and I needed to get training for it and it was going to take some time, much like business. And there’s a lot of parallels between exercise and being an athlete and business and being an entrepreneur. The second thing was finding a mentor or trainer.

Pat Flynn: And thankfully I ran into somebody on Twitter who was able to train me. His name is Jeff McMahon. You can find him at He and I still train together several years later, almost a decade later now, but not on triathlon stuff. More strength training, HIT training. And I just work out out of my garage, and he Facetimes in three times a week, which is really nice. So, finding a mentor or trainer who can guide me, right? Why would I try to figure this out on my own when not only there’s people who have done this before, but there are people who have done this before, who are now training other people who have made the mistakes, who’ve worked with other people who’ve made mistakes, who can fast track my success toward that thing, right?

Pat Flynn: So, I never find gold on my own. I always find gold by finding others who’ve found gold before me in that particular space or who can at least guide me or give me the right pick-ax if you will. So, that’s number two. So, first one was finding other people who have done it before me. And number two, finding those people who are stepping up to train others like me, who are going through this for the first time or who are experienced and knowledged in that space. Number three is really important, this is to set a goal. And to set a goal is really key because that helps you understand how you measure up now versus where you’re going and the progress that you make along the way. It allows for a reward on the other end. It allows for some sort of understanding that you are going in the right direction. And for me, going back to triathlon training, there was a very specific goal.

Pat Flynn: It was a particular race that I was going to swim, bike, and run on a particular date. My coach, mentor, Jeff, he was going to come down and fly down and watch me. So, there was something at stake here and there was something to work toward. And that’s really important because that is motivating. If I was just kind of dilly dallying and like, “oh yeah, I’m going to train for a triathlon but I don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen,” then it’s likely that I’m not going to actually put the right training regimen in. And not only that like I said, measuring against that date and measuring against that race was really key. And so, what I could do is sort of reverse engineer from that date with my mentor who helped guide me here, Jeff, to help me understand, okay, here’s the training I need to do. And here’s the sequence of that training and how it’s going to lead up to a great race, right? So, setting a goal, really key.

Pat Flynn: Number four, this is a question I got from Tim Ferriss that perhaps you’ve heard me say before, but this counters any sort of overcomplication; it is anti-complication. And that’s this question and asking yourself this question that is, if this were easy, what would it look like? If this were easy, what would it look like? And I don’t know about you, but me and my brain I often tend to overcomplicate things just immediately off the bat. And what this question does is it allows me to refocus to not just, how am I going to get this done but what are the simple ways or the easy methods to do so? And of course getting some guidance from a guide or a coach or mentor is helpful along the way to make it easy. But even then when I’m on my own and left to my own devices, I often wonder, okay, how do I overcomplicate this? And it’s like subconscious, for whatever reason I start to make things harder than they need to be.

Pat Flynn: So, this reframe of, “well, if this were easy, what would it look like?” helps me understand, well, what are the minimum things I can do to get the maximum results, right? Again, a very Tim Ferriss way of approaching something. And this isn’t to say I’m lazy and I want the laziest way there. No, I might work really hard, but I work really hard to understand what are those first dominoes I should push over that are going to push all the other dominoes forward. So, when it came to triathlon training it was fitting in the training regimen into my already existing schedule, rather than “let’s go to this area and…” Whatever it is, it might be just really hard, right? In the Pokémon channel approach, right? The “if this were easy, what would it look like?” approach with my busy schedule, this being a hobby and something on the side and me having a lot of responsibility for family and work and team, it was well, I could take the approach of the quantity of daily videos and doing it that way.

Pat Flynn: That’s one way to succeed, but no, I don’t have the time and that’s not easy for me. What if I instead focused on one video per week and focused on the storytelling of that and high quality filming, which is something that is easy for me to do? Then I could get some better results and much faster and less time, and that’s exactly what’s been happening. So, finally after making it as easy as possible and anti-overcomplicating things, it’s then setting an expectation and understanding of the consequence of what happens if I don’t continue to move forward. That’s really key, especially when it comes to business because there are some amazing financial and life design implications when it comes to the success of your business. But at the same time, if you expect to be a seven-figure business owner after one year or expect to have a hundred thousand subscribers after a year, then it’s going to kind of play with your mind a little bit.

Pat Flynn: And I think that when it comes to success, setting the right expectation but also having goals in mind that align to what it is that you need, not necessarily what it is that’s fancy or everybody else is talking about is going to be key to success, right? The example I often use is when I coach students about business, they say, “oh, I want to be a seven-figure business owner”. But then when we track it, when we understand exactly what they actually need to live the life that they want to live, it’s usually a $150,000 to $200,000 business, which is a completely different business and business model and approach than a million dollar business, and the same thing goes with anything. So, this is really an episode about how to be great at most things, right? Find those who have done the things that you want to do first and just again, get over the fact that it is impossible because it’s not.

Pat Flynn: It’s not impossible when you see other people who’ve done it. And there are many cases for people who have struggled more than you who have succeeded. Therefore, you can succeed too. Second, finding a mentor or a trainer. Third, setting a goal, so you can measure and track against that and have something to work toward. Number four, if this were easy, what would it look like? And number five, setting those right expectations and understanding truly what this can do for you in your life and setting the right metrics behind that as well. So, I hope this episode helps, just kind of a brain dump of things based on this conversation I had earlier with relation to the Midas touch, and no, not everything I touch turns into gold. In fact, I touch a lot of things, but the things that I choose to hold onto, the things that I choose to put time and effort into, those are the things that I know have the best chance of turning into something, and that’s based on this five-step process here.

Pat Flynn: So, hope you enjoy this. Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate you. Hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out on the next episodes. And speaking of next episodes, we got a great interview coming up this coming Wednesday. And then next Friday, starting at episode 574, for about a month in fact, we’re going to have some amazing members of SPI Pro come in and take the mic and teach you something. We’ve done this once before. It was a huge hit. We have some amazing people inside of SPI Pro. You can check out SPI Pro at, and you’ll hear from them very shortly because they got some amazing wisdom to share with you too, and I don’t want to just keep the mic all to myself here on Friday. So, you’ll hear that next week. So, make sure you subscribe, so you don’t miss it. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in the next episodes. Cheers, peace out, and as always, Team Flynn for the win. Bye.

Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to The Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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