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SPI 605: Anti-Time Management — The Key to True Happiness with Richie Norton

What happens if your business idea takes off, but you still don’t get the lifestyle you want?

Many people quit traditional 9-to-5 jobs and start their entrepreneurial journey to have more freedom. They want to spend quality time with their families and work on the things they love. But if we’re not baking that into our businesses from the start, will we ever get there?

That’s the topic of today’s episode with Richie Norton. You might remember him from way back in episode 270 when we talked about how he and his team at PROUDUCT helped me launch my first physical product, the SwitchPod.

I had to have Richie on the show again because his new book, Anti-Time Management, could be a game-changer for many of us [Amazon affiliate link]. We get into the false promise of time management, its history, and what it was originally designed for. Richie also talks about and shares the tools to help us start our business with our ultimate purpose in mind and build around it.

This is a deep conversation that hits at the core of how and why we work. I love having these kinds of talks on the show, so listen in for some valuable insights and a new perspective on time management. Enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Richie Norton

Richie Norton is an award-winning author, serial entrepreneur, and sought-after speaker. An executive coach to CEOs, he is featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post. Pacific Business News recognized Richie as one of the Top Forty Under 40 “best and brightest young businessmen” in Hawaii. Richie is one of the world’s leading thinkers as honored by MG100. He is the CEO and Cofounder of PROUDUCT—an INC. 5000 company—a global entrepreneurship solution helping businesses go from idea to market with full-service sourcing, product strategy, and end-to-end supply chain. He is the author of several bestselling books including The Power of Starting Something Stupid and Résumés Are Dead and What to Do About It. His new, upcoming book is called Anti-Time Management. Richie was born and raised in San Diego before moving to Brazil and then Hawaii.

Richie is happily married to Natalie. They have four boys (one son already made his way to Heaven) and they have cared for three beloved foster children. They live on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, with their little dog, Velzy.

You’ll Learn


SPI 605: Anti-Time Management — The Key to True Happiness with Richie Norton

Pat Flynn: So that was Richie Norton. He’s been on the show before, I think in episode two hundred and something where we talked about product development, eCommerce, and those kinds of things. Richie and his company,, has helped me and Caleb create these SwitchPod, from engineering it, to manufacturing it, packaging it, all that kind of stuff.

The 3PL, third-party logistics and all that kind of stuff, that’s along with it. That was Richie and his teams doing. But today I’m really happy to bring Richie back on the show in episode 605. So we’re talking 400 episodes later, so it’s been quite a while. And Richie has been deep in philosophical work with relation to time management and happiness and finding goals and how entrepreneurs become successful.

And he is with us today to talk about his new work, Anti-Time Management. And I challenge ’em a little bit on this and, you know, the reason why is because aren’t we supposed to manage our time so that we can allocate our time in the places that it should be and, and all that kind of stuff? And coming outta this conversation today, I mean, I have this huge realization of the fact that, you know, goals, aren’t really where it’s at.

I mean, goals are important, but there’s something even more important beyond that, that we should be striving for. And we unlock and unpack all that today and everything in Rich’s book is just incredible. And I love this. It’s a pretty deep conversation, which we sometimes have here on the show. You know, I love the tactics and strategies and here’s step one, step two.

And there are exercises and things that you’ll actually be able to do alongside this conversation today, as you begin to listen to it. But I love going deep. I love chatting with Richie. He’s just such a cool guy and I wanna love and support him so much. So here he is Richie Norton. This is session 605 of the Smart Passive Income podcast.

Thank you again for joining me, hope you enjoy it.

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, he still hasn’t ever beat his father while playing chess. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Richie welcome back to SPI, my friend. Thanks for coming on today.

Richie Norton: Dude. I love you so much. I’m so excited to be here. We’re going to have so much fun.

Pat Flynn: Dude, I love you too, man. And I just have to always thank you for the work that you’ve done to help me and especially me and Caleb on the SwitchPod, you and your company PROUDUCT has just done so much for us and continues to do so much for you even like stepped up and were like, you know, gave me things for the Deep Pocket Monster channel, like our coins and our patches and stuff that people are going crazy over right now. So thank you for always taking care of me. I appreciate you.

Richie Norton: No, you’re welcome. We have, we have a great team at PROUDUCT, Thiefaine and Jase, and they just keep coming up with ideas, but you’re easy to work with, cuz you’re so awesome. You know that right?

Pat Flynn: Well, what makes it hard to work with somebody? I’m curious.

Richie Norton: When they don’t wanna be helped. You know what I mean? They’re like, nevermind, I’ve gonna do it on my own. You know, like.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Uh, dude, for those of you who don’t know, I might have said it in the intro already, but Richie and his company at PROUDUCT help entrepreneurs create like physical products, whatever you can come up with, they will help you do that.

And they help you engineer it, if you need it, like they did with, with the SwitchPod, they can help you ship it and package it and you know, all that kind of stuff. It’s just incredible. But we’re gonna talk about something even more incredible today, which is something you’ve been working on for quite a while now. I know you’re very proud of it. I’m stoked cuz I uh, got a look at it early. And it’s your new book. Your last book was amazing. And I know it’s done very well, but what’s different about this book. What’s the new one called and what’s it about?

Richie Norton: Well, well, the last one was called The Power of Starting Something Stupid.

And what’s interesting is I, I remember you holding that book in your hand before we even knew each other, you know, like I think maybe the book, I’m not sure how it all happened. It happened through John Lee Dumas, but at one point you had that book in your hand, you’re sharing it with your people and the book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid did really good.

You know, Brene Brown blogged about it. Steve Forbes, Covey, Jack Canfield, all these great people endorsed it. What I realized though, was people would come to me with their stupid idea, but they didn’t actually want the stupid idea. They wanted what they thought would come from it once it was successful. So someone, like this’ll make sense.

Like someone will come say, Hey, I wanna make this thing go. Cool. It’s not hard. If somebody wants to buy the thing. When you make it, it’s not hard to turn that into a business. There’s a demand for it. People buy it, it grows it scales. But for the entrepreneur that didn’t start the business just to sell pencils or whatever they were selling, who started a business to create, wanting to create more time for their family. More time for travel, more time for autonomy, you know, these things that you talk all the time. They totally miss the boat. So that’s why this book is called Anti-Time Management, cuz it actually moves beyond. What’s the thing you say you want to, the thing you really want, it moves beyond habits. It moves beyond strengths.

It moves beyond goals. It moves beyond business and projects to actually the reason you’re doing the thing. You know, I learned a lot from the Coveys and they would say, you know, begin with the end in mind, you know what they, they didn’t say what everyone gets it confused. They didn’t say begin with means in mind.

Everyone confuses goals, habit strengths as ends when they’re just means they’re just tools to get us somewhere. So Anti-Time Management reverses the whole process, it’s actually pretty unique, uh, to help put what you really want to create immediately at the center and work from it instead of endlessly towards it.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Give us an example of something maybe in your life that uses anti-time management. I mean, when I first heard the title, I’m like, wait, we’re all striving for better time management. Like, are you saying like screw time management and like, let’s not worry about our calendars and time blocking and all these other strategies to help us, you know, achieve what it is that we wanna achieve.

Like what’s going on.

Richie Norton: It’s a good question. I’ll give you some examples, just, just real quick. I had to go deep into this work and research to like get here, you know, and, and to even be able to say this, but time management was never designed to give people time ever. Suddenly recently it’s crept into the self-help vernacular.

But it was designed during the industrial revolution. It was a tool made to control every blood, sweat, and tear that was dropped by every worker. So it’s not about the, the keyword here is management, and management’s control. So the question is who controls your time under traditional time management? Your boss controls your time.

It was never designed even today when they give you benefits of time off. That is designed so that you work harder and stay with the company. Retirement benefits, stay here until you’re 65. So, so, so the whole idea of time management is a great idea when we are trying to apply it to like have more time and be free.

But the actual principles of time management don’t lead us. Have you ever like worked on something really hard? You have your whole calendar full. But you feel like you got nothing done and an empty life?

Pat Flynn: Yeah.

Richie Norton: That’s why. Wasn’t designed for that. It’s not a tool for that.

Pat Flynn: So what’s the answer?

Richie Norton: The answer’s Anti-Time Management. Read the book. Go get it. Yeah. So, so the idea is you move from time management, where they control your time to anti-time management, where you control your time. You move from time, manage where they take your time to you. anti-time management, you create your own time. You move from, they took your space to you create space. You move from, they took your choice to you making choices. And you say I’m already doing that as an entrepreneur and I’d say, cool, most entrepreneurs I know, and probably you too, except for some that are exceptional, they started a business to get their time back, get their life back for their family only to end up losing their time, their life and their family, to the business.

Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

Pat Flynn: I, I tweeted out something yesterday that said, when I got laid off, I was so happy to escape the nine to five, but I ended up working 12 hours a day. So in order for me to actually, you know, benefit from the freedom that I thought I had.

I had to recreate those boundaries that I once had as a nine to five, you know, worker. But now I’m, I’m my own boss this time and I’m, and I have the reasons and the why behind it now.

Richie Norton: You actually said exactly what, what, where I was going. And, and it’s a perfect example is what happens is we continue as we move from, I was at work. I learned leadership. I learned management at a place as we move from traditional corporate organizational behavior. To our own business, solo entrepreneur, entrepreneur, founder, whatever you wanna call us. We bring with us those time management principles and strategies and tactics to the new workplace.

This is why we don’t have what we were actually looking for. Sure. You can make a business successful, but if you left the business right now, would it keep running? Does it matter? Do you want to be running it? Can you take your kids to their baseball games? And can you watch their recitals? Can you take six months off?

These might not be your goals. The whole idea of anti-time management isn’t necessarily for me, it is more time, more freedom, more flexibility, but it could also be just to work more and work harder and be more productive and have more time for that. It’s whatever you want at the end of the day. But let me, let me give you some reasons why, so some of your listeners may know this and you know this too, and I’ll go through it quicker than I would do if I was gonna go like super deep into this part, but you know, my brother-in-law passed away at 21. He is never gonna grow up to be 65 and retired and live the American dream. It doesn’t exist. My son died as a three month old after catching pertussis. He’s never gonna be able to grow up and do these things.

We had. We had fosters, we had three foster children, so I had four boys, three foster kids. The foster kids were with us for a couple. Full care, love them so much. You know, they ended up leaving. We wanted to adopt ’em, you know, it’s the system, it’s the whole thing. In that sense, it hurts in some ways different and sometimes worse than the finality of death. Cause we don’t know where they are.

My wife had a stroke and lost her memory. She got it back.. My son got hit by a car, crossing the street. He should, he literally should be dead or quadriplegic right now. Yet he’s out riding these big 20 foot waves now. We got lucky. I, I say that because we don’t go to work for work’s sake. We don’t. We go to work for the sake of something else. We create businesses for something else. We do what we do for something else. So the idea of anti-time management is to work from that something else. And to make it like, try to make it even a little more real, a real inside of a metaphor. If you were to bake a cake without sugar, you wouldn’t expect the cake to be full of sugar.

If you were to build a business without putting in your personal time, family time, flexibility, how can you ever expect this business to create that for you? It was never baked in from the start. In fact, you cement systems, so that five or 10 years later, when you finally wanna leave, you’re forced to sell because you never created a system that created an environment where you could have what you wanted.

You drop a rock in the water and expands. Well, the more you put yourself into the business, the more the business requires of you. The more you put your values into the business, you can value your time instead of timing your values, and it grows your business better because now you have positive constraints that allow you to think differently and problem solve for your real goals.

In other words, the biggest constraint to most people’s business growth is the bottleneck of themself. But if the business is able to work and run in a way that allows me to live my values from the start, there’s no failure. The projects might fail here and there, but I’m still able to do the things that I need and want to do.

Architects don’t build buildings. You’re an architect. They draw them. General, general contractors don’t build buildings. They won’t even pick up a hammer. They sub the whole thing out. The job of an entrepreneur is to put things in motion, not to do everything yourself. And you can do that with anti-time management.

Pat Flynn: So help the person who’s listening to this who is at the very start of their journey, where they do feel like they have to do everything that they pick up the hammer. They have to, you know, wear all the hats, et cetera. And they’re feeling stretched thin.

They’re feeling like they are kind of lost. How can the principles in the book help them at this point?

Richie Norton: So let’s say, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? You’re gonna do whatever you’re gonna do, you’re gonna do whatever works.

What makes me sad or when I talk to people or consult them is when they believe they’re doing something that will lead them somewhere when it never will. We know too many people who have gone down this long path thinking why do it every day? We all do it. If we don’t reflect and it leads down a path towards something we thought we, we really wanted when it won’t.

How would we know that?

This requires reflection, but let’s, let’s think about it for a second though. I’ll, I’ll make this real for someone. If someone were to take a piece of paper and write down and fold it in half long ways, like a hot. This is so simple on the left hand side, if they were to write down every single thing they do in a day, everything from changing diapers, to working, working out, you know, doing the business, whatever they immediately would see on one half side of the, of the paper, their entire life on average show up.

Which is startling. Most people would never write this stuff down at least on one half sheet of paper. And I’ve done this with, with clients and I’ll share with you some of the, what what’s happened. If you like circle the things you like and want to do and write ’em on the right hand side, you all of a sudden see this imbalance.

Here’s all the things I’m doing, but here’s only the pieces of it that I like and want to do. This creates imbalance. The reason I say what you like and want to do is because most people will go and take a strengths test and say, I’m really good at this. And I’m gonna double down on strengths. Only to find out later that they don’t like their strengths and they wanna do something else.

But the corporation is intentionally, I don’t think people understand this, strengths test were not designed to help people be like necessarily just, this is all you all you’re gonna do, like it is made so that a corporate person can say, you can’t have this other job because you’re not good at that.

This test that you’re good at this. We’re not here to teach you anything new. We’re here so you can keep doing what you’re already good at. So someone’s really good at laying bricks. They will lay bricks forever. Because they go, this is what I’m good at is what they told me I’m gonna do. And they, they move forward with that.

Pat Flynn: You might not wanna lay bricks.

Richie Norton: So when you don’t wanna bricks, this is why you, you put down what you like and want to do. You don’t have to focus on your strengths anymore, unless you like your strengths. And if you were to go down that list and eliminate delegate and outsource every single thing you don’t like and want to do.

And I get it comes up. I don’t have enough time. I don’t have education. I don’t have experience. I don’t have money. I get all that. We can, we can address that. But if you were to eliminate, delegate and outsource every single thing on that list that you don’t like and want to do, then the left hand side and the right hand side will be balanced.

Just like a balance sheet. Everything I like and want to do is everything I like and want to do, and I’m doing it. But balance is a weird word because balance, actually, you know, in physics means motionless. It doesn’t move. We don’t want balance. So the idea now is how can I appropriately move my life from a negative imbalance to balance to then in an imbalance in the direction I want to go the whole 80, 20 year old, you free up 80% of your time now only doing what you like and want to do all your responsibilities are still handled. And now you can do more of what you like and want to do.

What this looks like is I had some, a client ask me and she said she didn’t like what she was doing for work anymore. And I said, really, do you really not like what you’re doing? Or are you just not making enough money? Like if you’re making more money, would you like it? She goes, yeah, I would like it, but I don’t wanna do the work to do all the money, you know, to do all the money things, to get the money, you know, it goes on and on and on. It’s an endless cycle. I said, ask a better question, get a better answer.

If you’re telling yourself I can’t do this thing, because these reasons your brain works like a calculator and says, you’re right, you can’t do that. That’s not the way it works in the world. But if you say, how can I do this thing without this bad thing happening by Tuesday? Well, then you can come up with, you can create space in your mind if just to solve the problem.

So she went from making with this one, thought her thought was, how can I have more time with my kids, and make more money without doing all this work that I don’t wanna do, only focusing on the things I like and want to do? So to the person to answer your question that wants to start from the very beginning, doing it on the right foot, start from your purpose, then the payments. Most people start with payments and expect to find their purpose way out on the fringe of their life. It’s a completely different life. To say, I’m gonna get a job I’m gonna live in this city, which decides my lifestyle decides when I work, when I’m gonna do, it’s a very different choice than saying I’m gonna go on the road for six months with my cell phone and work from it and find ways to support what I’m doing.

So what this girl did, she’s amazing. She ended up within that month making more money that month she ever made. I think she made like 30 grand that month when she was only making usually around three grand. It was something like that. And it wasn’t not the money though. The money was just simply a consequence of her focusing on offers instead of doing work that never produced income. Right?

So most people will say I’m not making money. And as soon as you say when’s the last time you asked someone to pay you. Their eyes roll back. And, and they’re like, I never asked someone to pay me. How do you expect to make money? If you think making money means working, then have you worked a day in your life if you’re not asking people to pay you?

Work could be anything you define it as. But if you’re gonna define it as money generating activities, focus on money generating activities. So she did that freed up all of her time. And the one thing she said, I’ll never forget it. She said Richie, and she’s crying, I spent the day with my boys at the skate park. I haven’t done that.

And it had nothing to do with she couldn’t, she didn’t have to make that much money to do that. She was at the skate park before she was able to make the money, cuz it made her think differently of how she spent her time when and where. I can give you a million examples, but there’s a lot of stuff to unpack there.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, there is for sure. And, and thank you for that. You know, on this exercise, which is very clear that you could do right now, if you wanted to, with the hot dog paper, left side, right side. How do we help a person who’s doing that exercise who sees a long list on the left hand side?

How do we figure out what the first steps are to start, you know, outsourcing and, and delegating those things. And, you know, is it bad if there’s still things on that list? That just seem like I gotta change the diaper still. Like I’m not gonna, you know, hire somebody to just come over and change diapers.

Richie Norton: Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, this is good. Let me give sort of a framework and then, and then answer that like specifically. So the idea is if you’ve been to Europe or you you’re a fan of castles, they’ll have a castle and then they’ll have a moat in a lot of cases. The idea is build the castle, then the moat.

The purpose is the castle, the family, the time the moat would be a strategic mode of how you work to support that style of life and then how you get paid. Changing how you, how you’re paid changes more about your life, arguably more than anything else you do. Because it, it dictates exactly what you do when and where and how.

Okay. So when you’re going on the list, I’m, I’m not a huge fan of lists. This is more, just a representation of what’s already happening in your life. Not a list of things to do. It’s a list of things you do every day. These are not goals. This is not the past. This is not the future. Cause when you look at that list, most people are also thinking in their head, I’m doing this because I’m avoiding all this pain that I’ve experienced in the past and I’m doing it because all this success I want that I’ve had in the past, that will lead me towards this future that I want.

But to the rest of us, to our, to our children, to our spouses, to our coworkers, they don’t see our past or the feature it’s in our head. All they see is how we show up and how we on that piece of paper, that’s how we show up. So when you go down the list, you’re obviously going to know that every single one you can get rid of gives you immediately back your time.

More than just like say it was an hour for each thing you would do. It gives you back your mental bandwidth. This is huge.

Pat Flynn: The keyword there was which ones can you delegate, can you outsource. Like happiness is not on the, everything is gone from this side of the list and now only things are on this right side of the list, right?

Richie Norton: No, I’m glad you’re digging into this. So, so yeah, you’d have this whole list. You have to remember like you chose. The again, there’s a lot to this, but in essence, we all choose the responsibility that we have, even though I didn’t choose for all the terrible things that happened in my life at, at some way, shape or form, the things I’m doing today was a choice of, of yesterday right. Aside from, from, from random acts or things like that. So you’re you, the chairs looking at it going, this is my life. For the listeners, like, ask yourself this question. What thing could I literally get rid of that it wouldn’t impact anyone negatively. If it didn’t get done. And you’d think that there’s nothing there like that, but you’ll be surprised how much is there like that.

Okay. And I’m not talking about getting rid of like little luxuries or even just wasting your time on social media or not, or like digging your way into email, whatever it is. If there’s something you can get rid of that you don’t have to do anymore, and it won’t hurt someone negatively eliminate it. You got your time back, you got your bandwidth back delegate in this sense to me does not mean you pay.

It also doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dumping your trash on someone else. Other people like doing things that I don’t like doing.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That was a huge realization for me. Like, can you say that one more time? Because I think, you know, for, for me it’s like bookkeeping or, you know, financial stuff. It’s like, I don’t wanna deal with any of that stuff.

But there are people who that’s their passion, that’s what they love. And so. Everybody wins in that case.

Richie Norton: That’s right. Everyone wins in that case. Other people like doing what I don’t like doing. And if you have again with delegation, I’m thinking not having to pay somebody yet. There are other people that like, you might not even have a team. You might not have anything. I get it. It could also be software. Like there could be something that is automated, you know, that you already have to do this. If you can move it and you don’t like it, you’re good at it. You do it because you obviously feel like you’re the only one that can, that’s why you’re still doing it.

But if you don’t like it, is there someone or something or some software where it can be quote unquote delegated where it’s better suited for them, they’ll probably do it better than you would anyways. And people freak out about that, but it’s actually a very simple process and it’s totally possible and it doesn’t have to be permanent.

You don’t have to say it forever. You can say one time is a test, cuz I’m freaked out that you’re gonna get it wrong. And before you do it, I’m gonna make, you know, almost sudden you’re a micromanager. That’s the problem is this is the real problem with delegating outsourcing is we give ourselves a new job as a micromanager.

So if you can delegate it. Just put like a little D next to it. Like I’m going to delegate this out at some point to someone doesn’t all have to happen at the same time, obviously. And certain responsibilities that you don’t like doing, but you feel like you need to like, obviously like certain things like caregiving for your family, you’re still gonna do, but there are some things that you don’t need to, so it’s subjective.

Outsourcing would be absolutely paying someone else to mow the lawn, paying someone to do the taxes, paying someone, to build the funnels, paying someone to edit the, the, the podcast, paying someone to do whatever, whatever, whatever the editing, the videos it goes on and on and on. But this is the key. This is the key, Pat. I know you’ve experienced this yourself.

The key is not to hire somebody that you have to teach how to do it. Because if you have to teach someone how to do it, you’ve given yourself two jobs, one, the job of teaching them and two, the job of getting it done, if possible, hire someone who is an expert at it, who probably knows how to do it better than you.

And by the way, in the freelancer world, these people are probably less expensive than bringing some intern or some employee in house. Because they own their own business. They do this for a living and they love it. They’re 25 bucks per project instead of 250 bucks a week. This is the real deal, man.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. You could also pro bono some stuff too. Maybe you have a skill that you’re passionate about and you can borrow somebody else’s skill that they’re passionate about and kind of, they need yours. And so you can kind of, you know, do an exchange there, I think, especially for those bootstrapping or just in the beginning.

Um, you know, for example, Well, to your point on outsourcing, first of all, like when I started to learn just how much time I was getting back, but again, it wasn’t even about the time I was getting back. It was what did that time now open up for me to be able to do, to spend more time with the kids and to, you know, dive into other projects and to experiment with the SwitchPod and other things like that. Absolutely.

But if I was just starting out and I didn’t have a lot of money. I think that I would figure out what my superpowers were and see who needs that, who can also help me and we can kind of work together. And so, you know, there’s ways to, to go about it, even if you don’t think there are.

Richie Norton: Absolutely. And the thing is, again, I’ll just repeat this, like focus on ends. Not means there are a zillion ways to climb a mountain, but if the goal is to just be on the mountain and the goal is not necessarily to climb it barefoot. Why are you climbing it barefoot? Get a helicopter. If you can get a donkey, you know, a gondola, whatever.

Like if the goal isn’t the climb and the goal is the result, then you have a thousand different ways to get something done. Zillions. So we, illogically choose activities that we, we think will be the easiest, fastest, and cheapest to get something done that don’t lead us to where we wanna go. But when you choose, like, I’ll just say this word, we can, we can, we can talk more about it, but when you choose like purpose first, instead of payments first, you will find ways to work that allow you to keep purpose first that crowd out the distractions.

And then I’ll, I’ll give you another, another tool like that, that whole like one sheet, paper worksheet thing as a tool.

I’ll I’ll share another one. You know, I don’t know if people know this. I don’t really share it this much, but I started working from my cell phone. Pat, 20 years ago. Cell phones didn’t look like an iPhone. They folded over, man. You know that 20 years ago, Facebook didn’t exist. No YouTube, no Instagram. I don’t think there were any podcasts.

I don’t maybe, maybe someone recorded thing. I think it was called radio back in the day. You know, this is real. The reason I say this is because it is so easy today. Easy in quotes. It’s also obviously difficult, but 20 years ago, when I said I’m only gonna work for myself. And it was because I wanted to be able to travel with my family around the world and still make money.

It was because I lived in Brazil and, and saw like incredible where I was at. It’s not, not, I guess, everywhere in the country, but I was in favelas where it was extreme poverty, you know, and I’ve met people from all kinds of, you know, different walks of life. And I told myself, I don’t wanna wait till I’m 65 and retired to live the life I wanna live with my family, but how am I gonna contribute to the world and add value and help other people become self-reliant and do all this fun stuff, whatever, if I don’t have money myself and that’s I got into social entrepreneurship, my first business was actually a cashmere company in Mongolia, and I started doing business all over the Asian of Pacific Rim, Philippines, Western Samoa, Fiji.

All all over the place. Long story short, I told myself I’m only gonna work for my cell phone. The reason this is important is because this created called a forcing function in psychology, which allowed me to say if I can’t go to the office, if I can’t necessarily be seeing people in person, although I can, and I will, if I need to, or want to, if I’m not gonna always be plugged into a computer, how am I still gonna get the result?

Offices are means. Goals or means. Habits or means. These are all just tools leading us towards what we really want. But when I worked from what I really wanted, the freedom, I didn’t limit myself in, in my thinking. I limit myself in saying what tools would stop me from being able to live that freedom. It allowed me to create ways to do it.

Pat Flynn: That’s making sense. You said you had another exercise.

Richie Norton: So here’s what I would do. I call it the four P’s. And if you were to take a piece of paper and fold it in half, like a hot dog, but then half again, like a hamburger. So there’s four squares. Okay. And you were to write at the top of each one, small, so you can like have more room to write and I’ll go through this quickly, obviously, but if you were to write, uh, personal, professional, people, and play.

And you were write on the personal one. This is self-care, it’s not selfish. All the things that you need for self-care. If on the professional side you wrote down all the things, getting outta debt, making money, starting business, learning, buying courses, listening to Pat’s podcasts, another good P there.

Okay. Okay. Okay. Then you go over to the people, put your spouse, put your kids, put people that you need to make amends with people that you love. People you don’t wanna lose touch with. Coworkers. Put down things that make you excited things you wanna do, contributions you wanna make to the world. If you were to do that, you’d see we are moving from your present life on the last tool to your future life.

As you wanna step into not two years from now, could people think five, 10 years ahead, but if you think Pat, think of the Pat Flynn in 2012. That Pat Flynn different human, different life, different situation, different financial situa, everything is different. So again, we, we start making plans for 2032.

We’re thinking way out in the future. We, we won’t even want the goals we have today, then it’ll be a different person. So it’s really important to then move that idea of the future to the present because you can become that person now. So once you have these four things, You can go through and either eliminate them all until you find the one you really want.

But essentially if you circle the only one that you really, really, really find the most important and circle, you, you, you narrow it down to four things, one for each quadrant, one for each quadrant. So you, then you could say, what are the chances that if I did this thing, that all the other things would also fall into place.

I’ve done this activity for years and with my clients for years, this thing moves mountains, man, because it be these four things become your north. So every time you make a decision, you can ask, does it make this thing happen? Does it lead me closer to it? Or does it move me further away? And if it moves you further away, it doesn’t mean you have to say no, it just means you can consciously make decisions and stop tricking yourself.

And if thinking that something you’re gonna do is gonna get you something that you want or wanted, and then you can change the goal. If you need to. This is so important. Let’s just make it, let’s make it super. Like if I said like, for me personally, it’s like, I’m just making stuff up. Let’s say it’s like fitness stuff.

Let’s say, let’s say money is making seven figures. Let’s say that family I’m gonna put my wife is my most important relationship and all things of course will, they’re all important, but I’m gonna focus on her and let’s say the last one is. Let’s just say the last one’s like donating a bunch of money to some organization.

Let’s just say it’s that. Or it’s traveling around the world, but like doing social entrepreneurial things, something, something that contributes to other people’s lives. I did this, I did this. I’ve done it for years, but I’ll tell you the last time I, one of the most important times I did it was 10 years ago.

As I’m almost getting emotional thinking about it, but that was, that was RA for our son passed away. It moved me from Hawaii to Arizona, which is a weird thing to say, but I wanted to get an executive MBA at Thunderbird, the number one international business school in the world. It was just something I wanted to do.

It was there that we met our foster kids. It was then that I published my first book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, I wanted to become an author guy. I wanted to become an entrepreneur guy, which led to creating PROUDUCT. Which led to creating my video editing company, which led to creating all kinds of things, which has led to these conversations, which led to this, this book.

Now this one activity changed everything for me, cause I realized who I wanted to become. And instead of telling myself I’m gonna become it later, I said no to become, I have to become it now. At least the parts that I can. So I worked from the goal, not towards the goal.

Pat Flynn: That’s a huge, I mean, that’s a, that’s the biggest realization for me here today in listening to this.

And I think for a lot of people is, is the goal is not the reason. Right? And that’s, that’s huge. Cuz we talk about goal setting all the time. We’ve had specific podcast episodes we’ve brought in people like Michael Hyatt on to teach us how to create the right goals and goal setting is important. It. You know, you want ’em to be measurable.

You want ’em to be a little bit risky and all that stuff to help push you and outta your boundaries and your comfort zone and, and whatnot. But then it’s like, for what? Like, what’s that goal going to do for us? And you know, a lot of us can’t answer that question cuz we’re just like, I don’t know.

I just wanna get the goal and then, you know, that should open up things for us. But like now it’s like, wow, we aren’t even like, like we’re working day to day. Or using these tactics to try to grow or scale or get time back or whatever. But when we’re there, it’s like, okay, well then what? And you know, it’s like, if you have this, why in mind, and we, we hear about this all the time. I just like the way that you’re putting it, because it it’s more tangible. And now there’s consequence if we don’t think about it. Right. And so, yeah. Keep, keep going because I, and like how do we differentiate from, or figure out goal versus why?

Richie Norton: So this is, this is good. I never said this in a podcast before, too, but what I grappled with in writing in the book was vocabulary. Cuz there’s not vocabulary. A goal can be brush my teeth every day or a goal can be, make a million dollars. It’s a weird word. It’s a catchall. It’s not fair. It’s not a fair word. Okay. So I try to change some of the vocabulary in the book to help us think differently, but let’s sticking with our regular vocabulary of, of goals.

You said the right thing. And it’s a question that I, I ask people like, okay, so what does a goal do for you? This helps you understand it. So it’s not just some weird thing. It’s like, what does it do for you? 99% of the time. We’re not doing a goal to get a goal. We’re doing a goal for something else. Okay.

There’s an ancient philosophy around this by Aristotel. And he called it final cause. There’s four causes and it’s like, there’s like material for something you need. There’s uh, like some sort of like design to create it. There’s an agent, a person to make it. And there’s final cause, which is the last thing. In essence, an acorn becomes an Oak tree.

So why are we, if we want an Oak tree, why are we planting some other seed? If we want time, freedom and stuff. Why are we not planting that into our business immediately. Why we’re not baking it in from the start. So with goals to me, and we’ll, I’ll talk about final cause in a second, but to me, a goal from experience is a task.

You’ve done it before. How is that a goal? You’re just doing it again. But a goal outside experience is growth that requires creative thinking and diligence and commitment. But when somebody comes to me and says, I’m gonna start a business to start a gym, this is a real. They start a gym and they make a ton of money and they say, but I’m not happy.

And it’s like, how are you have so much, you’re an entrepreneur. You have money. You’re not happy. I, I get happiness is like a whole thing. I get it. I get it. I get it. I’m not trying to simplify it too much, but well, no, no. I wanted more time to be able to travel with my family to Italy for two months out of the year.

Now this is actually a conversation we had, this was all like before he ended up doing it. He said he was gonna quit his $250,000 job as a accountant to a gym, but you needed two gyms to be profitable. I’m just listening. And he is like, cause I want my time back so I can go spend a couple months outta the year in Italy.

Sounds like a great goal to me. How long will it take you for you to like be profitable and to have to be free and do what you want? He says five years, how old are your kids? And he says 13 and 15. I’m not trying to be rude here, man. I’m being really nice too, obviously. And I’m like, you understand your kids will be 18 and 20 when you finally have freedom.

And I said, it’s not that you can’t start the fricking gym. It’s just, you have to operate it differently. Oh no, I’m a micromanager. Okay. Well now we’re talking real, cuz you can hire a manager and have the gym running. You can do one of those 24 7 things where they put the card in and out and nobody’s there.

You could make it virtual. Once you realize the goal is actually to have freedom with your time with your family. The idea of the gym becomes obsolete. It’s one of a thousand options. It’s not about the business. It’s about how you operate the business. Game changer.

So with final cause if you wanted to make the, the example people use sometimes is a table. You need wood, you need design, you need a person to put it together, and then you finally have a table. But if the what’s the goal of the table, if the goal of the table is to have a nice dinner with your family tonight, you can just do Uber eats. You don’t need a table at all. You wasted all that time of money on something is totally unnecessary.

If the tables supposed to be a legacy table that lasts for years for your family. Sure. Why not? So the idea is to take away all the things that need to get done is to take away the things that are unnecessary. Because a full calendar is an empty life in many cases, and it creates space so that when terrible tragedies happen, you can still have the flexibility, which I define as autonomy, availability, and ability.

Those three things. You can make your own choices. You’re available to do it when you want to. And you’re able to do it. And we all have different grades of possibility within those three ideas. But at the end of the day, I’m telling a person right now, yes, you can coach your kids’ baseball team. Yes. You can go to the recital and yes, you can make money and you know what else you’re responsible.

You’re gonna get it done in less time in a different way. You just have to think differently because we’ve been taught for 200 years, Pat, to have someone else tell us exactly what to do and we’re gonna do it. And now that we’re entrepreneurs, no, one’s here to tell us what to do. So we do it the way we thought we learned.

Pat Flynn: That’s so true. I mean, that’s, we, we’re not trained to think on our own.

Richie Norton: We used to be, we’re not. And then it went away. Yeah, yeah. On purpose. True. Yeah. And you think like our, our ancestors or whatever, even our parents’ grandparents, they didn’t have this opportunity. They built it for us. We might as well take advantage of it.

Pat Flynn: Dude, we can talk for hours and this philosophical sort of approach to life and business, something is we don’t talk about here often on the, on the podcast. I like to get into these deep conversations. I’m so glad that you helped initiate this today. I hope it helps a lot of people who are listening to, and if they wanna check out the book, Richie, where should they go to, to check it out?

Richie Norton: Thank you. Yeah. It’s available on Amazon now and Barnes and Noble now. And it’s also like on crazy places like Target and Walmart. It it’s everywhere. So you can go now and grab that and I I’d really appreciate it. I think it’ll help you. You know what I’m hearing from people, Pat, when, as they get like early copies of it, I’m hearing them say these are like senior engineer type. People are saying I’ve never heard of this before. First saying I’ve never heard of anything being done this way. I wish I had it earlier. It’s pretty profound to turn your purpose into a project and then to get paid for it. It’s a revolution, man.

Pat Flynn: It makes sense. And as somebody who’s been able to do that, it’s beautiful.

And now we have like a roadmap and somebody to help us through a lot of the psychoanalysis that happens, uh, with yourself when you’re going through that process. Cuz I mean, I wrote about it in my book Let Go. It was just so new and different and, and I, I wanted to crawl back to the thing where a person could tell me what to do, just because I was so used to that, but I’m glad I actually was forced not to do that.

Cuz I couldn’t get a new job even after I got laid off and I went in for interviews and stuff. So I’m, I’m grateful that I was, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t have a choice, but we always have that choice right now and you can choose to go and get the book and check it out and support Richie here and Richie supported me and I’m gonna support him, which is why he’s here on the show today.

Bro, I appreciate you so much. Thank you for coming on. I wanna wish you the best of luck with the book. I hope it goes far wide as it should, and I hope it starts a, a movement for people.

Richie Norton: Thank you so much. And you’re the perfect example and all the people you teach are the perfect examples of being able to do this.

So I’m, I’m grateful to be chatting here with you, man. You’re the best. Thank you so much.

Pat Flynn: Thank you, Richie. Appreciate you and everybody. Go check out as well, and we’ll have all the links in the show notes. I’ll tell you where to go in just a minute, but thanks again, man. Appreciate you.

Love you, man.

All right. I hope you enjoyed that deep conversation with Richie Norton there. A lot of big realizations, hopefully something unlocked for you there today, but again, Richie’s book Anti-time Management can be found wherever books are at right now. You can also check out his company PROUDUCT, if you are ever interested in creating like physical products that you can then sell to your audience.

And just again, him and his team are amazing, but Anti-time Management, what a great conversation, really, really big realizations today, from my perspective. And hopefully for you too. Let me know what you thought of the show hit me up @PatFlynn on Instagram and, or Twitter. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode.

And again, if you haven’t already done so. Check out SPI Pro we have an amazing community of hundreds of entrepreneurs, just like you, people who are there, not just to ask questions and get help, but also there to support you on your journey as well. In fact, it is the number one thing that people have provided the most positive feedback for that we’ve created in our history at SPI and anything I’ve ever created, in fact.

There are business partnerships happening, masterminds being formed, all the things that you would need to support your business endeavors are there. So go ahead and check it out, apply. See if it’s right fit for you. Go to and I look forward to reading your application and seeing ya in there.

So again, Thank you so, so much for listening all the way through. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode until then cheers, peace out, take care. And as always Team Flynn for the win. Have a good one.

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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