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SPI 475: Michael Hyatt’s New Book, Win at Work and Succeed at Life

Is it even possible to win at work and life?

This might be one of the most important episodes of the Smart Passive Income Podcast ever. That’s because we’re covering one of the most critical aspects of entrepreneurship: balancing work life with … well, everything else. It’s the so-called “double win” — succeeding at work and life simultaneously — and Michael Hyatt’s here to explain some of the strategies he uses to achieve it. He has a new book out on this very topic, which he co-authored with his daughter, Megan: Win at Work and Succeed at Life.

Some of us believe that work-life balance is a myth, that “making it” in our careers means a lot of hustle, long hours, red eyes, and jugs of coffee. But Michael’s here to tell us that work-life balance is not a myth. Finding and creating balance is foundational to mental wellbeing and burning out is no fun — for us or those around us. The double win is possible!

In this episode, you’ll hear Michael and I talk over strategies and mindsets for achieving balance and freeing yourself from the cult of overwork. Michael details how to embrace constraints, how he structures his workday, how to curb workaholism, and even how his company doubled its profits mid-pandemic … with the entire team taking part in a 30-hour workweek experiment. This episode will inspire you to find that crucial balance in your own entrepreneurial journey. Let’s go!

Be sure and check out Michael’s book at WinandSucceedBook.com/spi. You’ll find some cool bonuses there as well, like The Double Win Cheat Sheet, an infographic consolidating the five principles of the book.

Today’s Guest

Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt is the Founder and Chairman of Michael Hyatt & Company. He has scaled multiple companies over the years, including a $250M publishing company with 700+ employees and his own leadership development company that has grown over 60 percent year over year for the past 4 years. Under his leadership, Michael Hyatt & Company has been featured in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America for three years in a row. He is also the author of several New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling books, including Living Forward, Your Best Year Ever, Free to Focus, Vision Driven Leader, and Win at Work and Succeed at Life. He enjoys The Double Win with his wife of 40+ years, five daughters, and nine grandchildren.

MichaelHyatt.com
WinandSucceedBook.com/spi

You’ll Learn


SPI 475: Michael Hyatt’s New Book, Win at Work and Succeed at Life

Pat Flynn:
This episode of the podcast might be the most important episode ever recorded, and the reason I say that is because it affects your mindset. It affects your mental health. It can affect the other people around you too. Our special guest today, Michael Hyatt, who’s been on the show before, loves talking about something called the double win. What is the double win? The double win is this idea that you can win at work and succeed at life. Within the world of entrepreneurship especially, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing this for a while, you know that there’s a constant balancing act with relation to what you do, and when, and how it involves all the parts of you, from the personal side and the things that happen there to the work side and the things that happen over there.

Michael Hyatt is coming out with his new book called Win at Work, Succeed at Life who he’s co-authored this with his daughter. It’s just an amazing read. It’s one of those ones that when you read it, especially if you have kids, but even if you don’t, but Michael and Megan are so great as a pair of writers here. The Five Principles to Free Yourself from the Cult of Overwork. There are some things mentioned in this episode that were really surprising to me. Some stuff that Michael does with his team, some stuff that he does personally to help him and his team give themselves the best chance to succeed, again, at both work and at life.

If there’s one thing that… If you’ve ever heard me talk about Michael Hyatt before, you know that I admire him not just because of his success as a businessman, but because of his success as a father and a husband. We get into that as well, and I’m very much, so much appreciative of his time today to share not just with me, but with all of you the principles that we could use to get out of that feeling that things are always with tension and we can have some sense of balance. Now, there are myths around balance as well that we’ll discuss, but this is the episode that you need to listen to right now. So make sure you 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 go-to breakfast is a breakfast taco — Pat Flynn!

Pat:
What’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Session 475 of the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Wow, that’s a lot of podcasts, and we’ve touched on these kinds of topics before with relation to work, and life at home, and how those things work together. I’ve been sharing that journey with you ever since I started to the point where I had kids, and that changed everything to the point where the kids started going to school. That changed everything. Things always seem to change, but the cool thing about principles are that it doesn’t matter what happens, really. The principles will always remain the same. And we’re going to talk about certain principles to free yourself from the cult of overwork, something that can burn you out and perhaps even – like some friends of mine who’ve been on the show before who have shared these stories about burnout and overwhelm – end up in the hospital.

We don’t want that to happen, obviously, either. So let’s just dive right into this episode with Michael Hyatt, a leader of leaders, one of my virtual and virtually online mentors, but just honestly, one of my best friends. I absolutely love spending time with Michael. He and I have gone fishing together. His wife, Gail, just has welcomed me into their home. They’re just so amazing. If you want to check out this book, you can go to WinandSucceedBook.com/spi. We’ll talk more about the links later, but let’s just dive right in. Here’s Michael Hyatt.

Michael, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thank you so much.

Michael Hyatt:
Thanks, Pat. Always a joy to be on.

Pat:
You’re back with yet another amazing book with an amazing title, and it seems like you’re just churning them out like crazy. How – I just need to know, how far in advance do you have these books planned? Are you writing every day? You’re a machine.

Michael:
Yeah. Well, I do write almost every day, but usually, we’re planning three years in advance. So right now, we’re working on the book that will be out three years from now. So it takes that long because the publisher wants a year in advance. By the time we do all the research, the interviews for case studies, all that kind of stuff, it just takes time. But we’ve got it down to a well-oiled machine now, and I’ve got a great content team that helps.

Pat:
That’s amazing, and part of the reason why I’m asking is because this book literally is about work-life balance. So for me on the outside scene, somebody like you, who is both a machine when it comes to the content that you’re creating and the amazing work that you’re doing, plus I see you out on the lake with your family, or going on vacation, or doing these things together, it just… How do you do it? I know you’ve answered these questions in the book, but from a high level, I’d love your thoughts on just this idea of work-life balance, something that all of us entrepreneurs, starting or even those who’ve been in it for a while, always are thinking about. It just seems like a never-ending battle.

Michael:
It does. I mean, I had all, but given up on it. There was a point in my career where I just said, “It’s just not possible,” and Gail and I entered into this pact where I would man the fortress at work and she would hold the home front. Occasionally, we’d see each other.

But back in the year about 2001, I got my dream job. I was hired as the general manager for one publishing division for Thomas Nelson Publishers. It was their book publishing division, and at the time, Thomas Nelson Publishers was the seventh largest publisher in the US, but this division they gave me responsibility for was dead last in every important metric. So it had the slowest growth. It was the least profitable, worst return on assets. Division morale was terrible. All that stuff. So the CEO said, “How long is it going to take you to turn this division around?” I didn’t really have a clue, but I pulled a number out of the air, and I said, “I think three years.” He said, “Okay. That sounds reasonable. You got it.”

So I went back, shared the vision with the team. We rolled up our sleeves, got to work. Pat, I was working 70 to 80 hours a week, every night, almost all the weekend, during vacations, the whole thing, but it finally paid off. So not in three years, but in a year and a half, we turned that division around. We went from number 14 to number one fastest growing, most profitable. Team morale was fantastic. I got the biggest bonus check I’d ever received, which was larger than my annual salary. So I couldn’t wait to get home to share it with my wife, Gail, and I thought she would be elated. She’s always been super supportive. But when I shared it with her, I got home, walked through the door, shared it with her, and she just was a little less than her enthusiastic self.

So she looked at me, and she said, “We need to talk.” I mean, I just had that knowing sense that this wasn’t going to go well. So we walked into the den, we sat down, and she said, “You know I love you, and I appreciate so much all that you do for our family, but I’ve got to be honest.” She said, “You’re never home, and your five daughters need you.” Well, that was a gut kick, and she was right. Then, she said, “Even when you are home, you’re not really here.” I thought, “That’s true, if I’m honest.” Then, she said the worst thing of all. She started crying a little bit, and she said, “Honestly, I feel like a single mom.”

Pat:
Jeez.

Michael:
Well, that just threw me.

Pat:
That hits.

Michael:
It killed me because I thought I was killing it, and I thought I had really reached the summit in my career, but what I discovered was that it was a false summit. I think most entrepreneurs, most business leaders, when they get to that point, they’re faced with what I now call the impossible choice. You can either win at work or you can succeed at life, you can’t do both, pick one. Unfortunately, Pat, you know this from dealing with so many entrepreneurs, we have an entire culture today of overwork where it’s esteemed. It’s validated. It’s held up as the model. We have great entrepreneurs, phenomenal entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, who touts working a hundred hours a week. If you can do that, you can bury your competition. You know? Meanwhile, he’s gone through two marriages, and by his own admission, his sons don’t even talk to him. So I just thought there had to be a third way.

So that was 20 years ago. I hired an executive coach, and I got really focused on this. It was three steps forward, two steps back, not always perfect, but I’ve worked hard for the last 20 years to try to find that whole work-life balance thing. Is it possible to really kill it at work, to not… what I call it in the book, the ambition break, to pull back your ambition and settle in your professional career. But on the other hand, not sacrifice your personal priorities, like your health and your family, on the altar of your professional ambition, and I think it’s absolutely possible.

Pat:
How thought? That’s obviously what we want to know. How do we do this? Of course, everybody’s lives are different, but there’s got to be principles. There’s got to be things that we can start thinking about to help us be able to manage both sides. Does this mean they have to be blended together and it’s just one, or does this mean instead of saying, “Oh, I’ll do it in three years,” “I’ll do it in 10 years, so I can be slower and then have more time for other things…” But then, how does that affect your goals and your ambitions? There are so many levels and layers here. Where do we even begin to start thinking about, “Okay. Let’s start to manage this thing we call life now?”

Michael:
Yeah. Well, I think it starts – and in fact, it’s interesting because the book is subtitled Five Principles to Free Yourself from the Cult of Overwork. So it is a principle-based approach.

Pat:
The cult.

Michael:
The cult of overwork, and it is a cult. I mean, it functions for many people like a religion, right? It’s something that internally validates them and gives them a sense of identity and a sense of purpose, and importance, and significance. But we’ve got to get that from other places, and I think that one of the foundational principles is to realize that life is multi-dimensional. It’s not just work. That’s one spoke in the wheel, but we’ve got… If you just lay it out, we’ve got our spiritual lives, our emotional lives, our intellectual lives, our financial lives, our physical lives, our marriages if we’re married, kids if we’ve got kids, social life, our vocation, of course, that’s one, one of the 10 that I list in the book.

Then, there’s avocations, hobbies, the things that make life rich and textured. Financial life. All those are different dimensions of life, and really, we’ve got to be good, balanced portfolio managers. Just like if you’re investing your money and your financial advisor says, “You know, I think we got to put all this stock into – pick something – Tesla or Apple.” That’s not a good plan, right, because that doesn’t really set you up for resilience if the market crashes or that particular stock crashes.

Same thing is true with our life. We have to plan by taking into account all those different areas, but here’s the key thing. Life balance does not mean that we give every one of those dimensions, one of those domains the same amount of attention, focus, and time. What it means is we give them the appropriate amount of time, and attention, and focus. At some seasons, that’s going to look different than other seasons, but it starts by realizing that there is a life outside of work. For a lot of people, that’s a new idea or something they’ve forgotten.

Pat:
Yeah. I love this idea of the appropriate amount of time, attention, effort, et cetera. Like you said, everybody’s pie graph, pie chart is a little bit different, right? It reminds me, all these categories that you mentioned, I can’t help but think of Best Year Ever and the Full Focus Planner, and everything else that you have. A lot of this stuff carries over here for sure because it’s not just about setting business goals, right? It’s setting avocational goals, spiritual goals, marital goals, et cetera, physical health goals, and the same thing when it comes to balance or balancing. So where does one begin to understand how much is appropriate? Are there exercises in the book or something that we can map out essentially?

Michael:
There are.

Pat:
Okay. What are they like just so we can get an understanding?

Michael:
Yeah. Let me tell you where I started and what I recommend that everybody does, and that is embrace constraints. I think the typical American today… and it may be true all over the world, I know you’ve got an international audience, but constraints are seen as something to be avoided. “If I can make enough money, if I can be successful enough, I won’t have any constraints at all. I can just do whatever I want whenever I want.” But constraints actually produce productivity and freedom. So what I did, and I did this in consultation with an executive coach back after I turned that division around. So this would have been about 2003. So about 17, 18 years ago now. He said to me, “I want you to establish hard boundaries for when you’re going to work.”

Now, that was a brand new idea for me because the way my day looked is that if I didn’t get my work done by mid-afternoon, I was like… I’d look at my watch, and I’d go, “Well, I’m not going to finish by the end of the day, but that’s no problem. I’ll just go home, grab a quick bite to eat with the family, and then I’ll sit down with my laptop, and I’ll finish. If I don’t finish by the end of the day Friday, if I don’t finish my work week, then I’ll drag it, and I’ll go to the office on Saturday morning, or I’ll work Sunday afternoon,” or I would drag it into vacations. There were absolutely no boundaries.

So what he encouraged me to do, what he asked me to do is he said, “Is there a time that you would be willing to quit at the end of the day every day and literally not pick it up again until the next morning?” I said, “Yes, I’m willing to do that,” because I didn’t want to pawn all this off on Gail. I didn’t want to have this unbalanced marriage because I could see the trajectory of where it was headed, and it wasn’t good. So I said, “Yeah, 6:00 PM. I’ll be at the office by 9:00, and I’ll quit by 6:00.” He said, “Okay.” He said, “What about the weekends?” I said, “I’m willing to not work the weekends.” So that was another constraint, and not willing to work vacations. Now, here was the kicker. He said to me, he said, “Would you give me permission to call Gail on a regular basis – not that regular, but occasionally – and just check up on you?”

Pat:
Whoa.

Michael:
It suddenly got real, and so I said, “Yes,” gulp, and he did. He followed up with Gail, and he would just have these conversations with her. He said, “So how’s he doing?” It was like I was a recovering workaholic. But here’s what happened that was amazing. Now, you know this from personal experience because if you go on a vacation, that Friday before you leave on vacation for a week is the most productive day of the entire year, right, because you… The plane is leaving, it’s not going to wait for you, and so you’re just uber productive. You’re laser-focused, you get your work done, you don’t get sidetracked by fake work, or busy work, or office chatter. You stay focused, and you get it done. That’s what happens when you have a hard boundary. Now, can I tell you another story?

Pat:
Please. Yeah.

Michael:
Okay. So I want to roll forward to the pandemic. This past year has been a crazy year, right? It feels like a decade, but it’s only been a year.

Pat:
Yeah.

Michael:
So about the end of March – so like the pandemic, the lockdowns, and all that started about the middle of March. So toward the end of March, we realized that our younger employees, which is basically all of them, young parents, and we have about 40 employees, and they were really struggling because now, all of a sudden, no daycare, no childcare, kids are underfoot. They’re trying to work. They got all the environmental stress of the pandemic and the economic impact, and all the worry that comes from that. So we said, “Okay. Look, guys. As an experiment, we’re going to try to work just 9:00 to 3:00 every day. So we’re going to work a six-hour workday, not an eight-hour workday.”

Now, we’d already been pretty rigorous about enforcing no email, no Slack messages, no text messages after hours or on weekends. We wanted people to work about eight hours a week or eight – sorry, eight hours a day, and so we said, “We’re going to cut it to six hours a day as an experiment for two weeks. We’re not going to dock your pay, everybody is going to get paid the exact same amount, and then we’re going to see how productive we’ve been. So the goal is to be as productive as we’ve been, make better choices, do the important stuff, get it done, and then we’ll ante up in a couple of weeks and see how it went.”

After two weeks, we got together with my executive team. I said, “Okay. How are we doing?” “We can’t tell any difference. Everything seems to be on track. No slippage. Nothing.” We said, “Okay.” We went back to the team. We said, “Hey, good news. Experiment worked, and so we’re going to roll it out for the next couple of months.” And then we rolled it out through the summer. Then we got to our strategic planning session in September with the executive team, and we said, “Okay. We’ve got to really be honest here. Has our productivity slipped, or is it still great?” We all said, “It’s great,” and we were on track to beat our budget.

As it turned out, for 2020, we doubled what we had done last year in terms of profit, and our revenue was about 50 percent over the prior year in a pandemic with the team working most of the year six hours a day. So we made this a permanent benefit or feature of how we do work at Michael Hyatt and Company. We’re just doing 30-hour work weeks. So we just wanted to prove for ourselves that you can win at work and succeed at life, which is the title of the book.

Pat:
That’s an amazing and courageous experiment because that goes against what most people would think, which is we need more hours, but I think it’s this pressure and the constraint that you’re creating that forces efficiency. And you have, on the other end, a 3:00 PM time where now people can be with their families, can have a lot more room for working on themselves and their mental health, which I’m sure is a huge part of this as well, which then can allow them to come back the next day even more excited and ready to conquer the day until 3:00.

For me, I’d love to ask you, because I find that I work best with constraint, but there’s many times being an entrepreneur now that I don’t need to force a constraint, but I know that when – for example, when I have a deadline or a launch, or the team needs something by a certain time, I’m going to get it done, and I usually wait till the very last minute because that’s the time where I feel I need to get it done, but I could have done it a month earlier. How do we create this sense of a 3:00 or a 5:00 that we have to end, or in some cases, a deadline to finish a project when there really isn’t any consequence if I don’t hit that? How do you create a consequence?

Michael:
Well, I think if you have a team, you can create the accountability, and I think it’s like you got to get a vision for what you’re going to do with that non-work time. I think this is what’s missing for so many people. They don’t have a vision for that. They can’t imagine life without working. I talk to entrepreneurs all the time, you probably do too. They say, “I love my work. For me, work is recreation. I can’t imagine anything better than doing more work.” But it’s a failure of imagination. They just don’t have a vision for what lies outside of work.

One of the things in… I don’t know if you know this or not, but I recently… I wrote this down. First of all, this book with my oldest daughter, Megan. I made Megan the CEO of my company on January the 2nd of this year. The reason I could get excited about that succession was because I personally got excited about what was on the other side of that succession, what was on the other side of me not being the CEO. So that got me really excited, and it made it easy to do that, that transition.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs struggle at that level too, but I think for the non-work stuff, it’s the same thing. The truth is if you have hobbies, you’ll be way more interesting, way more focused when you are at work, and more creative. The research backs this up. We sought a lot of the research in the book, but hobbies are one of the best ways to expand your thinking. As we’re recording this, we’re just on the other side of the Super Bowl, and I was reading about Tom Brady and just about his regimen. Have you studied this at all?

Pat:
I haven’t. No.

Michael:
It’s crazy. I mean, first of all, he has a very disciplined work day, and talk about constraints. I mean, he gets up at the same time every day. He goes to bed at the same time every day. He gets nine hours sleep every day. But he’s constantly involved in things – like he plays a game called BrainHQ. So this is an app – I haven’t tried it yet, I want to try it. But he wants to keep his mental faculties sharp because he realizes that as a quarterback, he’s got three seconds to look downfield, identify a receiver, and make the call, and get the ball to him. That takes mental acuity, and so he wants to keep his brain sharp.

So that just doesn’t happen by accident. I gave a whole talk the other day about Brady. Success is not an accident. It’s something that he has programmed in. To get back to your question, I think you’ve got to get a vision for this non-work-related stuff. So then it’s easier to set aside the work and go… Like for me – we were talking before we got on – I love bass fishing, and I’m really into bass fishing right now. I mean, I’m so serious about it that I’m hiring guides and I’ve got…

Pat:
I’m not surprised, dude. I’m so not surprised by that.

Michael:
So I’ve got a Bass Lure of the Month Club, where they send me a box every month. All this stuff. So I’m looking for… I mean, I love my work, but also, I look forward to the weekends and being at the lake where I can fish.

Pat:
That makes perfect sense because I know a lot of people who… They have a work day that ends, but it doesn’t really end because there’s nothing really to look forward to. They’re just going to watch Netflix, or eat junk food, or what have you, versus also planning not just what your work day is like but what your play day is going to be like after. I think that’s actually a very, very… So it’s almost like a reward for yourself. Do you consider it like a reward, “If I finish this, then I finish that,” or is it more, “I’m going to do my best at work, and when that’s done, no matter what, even if I did poorly, I’m still going to enjoy and have that constraint?”

Michael:
Well, part of it is I set my workday up in a certain way. So I only have three things that I got to get done every day. So this is built into our Full Focus Planner, but the daily big three. So one of the things we learned… This was a couple books back when we were doing some research. We discovered that our average client who uses a task list has 15 items on the task list before they begin the day. So 15 items that they feel like they got to get done today. Now, their master task list may be hundreds of items, but 15 for the day. So most people look at that, a list like that, they know they’re not going to finish, and they’re overwhelmed, right? So even if they get eight of the 15 done, more than half, they go to bed with seven of them left unfinished and they feel defeated.

So if you bookend your days with overwhelm and defeat, how do you show up for your team? How do you show up for your family when you get home? I mean, it’s just like the game is rigged against you. So let’s just reinvent it. So if Plato’s law is true that 20 percent of the effort drives 80 percent of the result and works in all kinds of things, then 20 percent of those 15 are probably going to drive 80 percent of the results that you need to be generating. So obviously, 20 percent of 15 is three. So I try to pick the three most high-leverage tasks that I can do every day.

Sometimes that takes me six hours. Sometimes that takes me four hours. Sometimes, in two hours I can get it knocked out, but I declare victory when I get those three done. Anything else I get done because I can have other items on my list too, they’re just not the big three. Anything else is gravy. So what that does is it means when I quit at 3:00, I’m feeling successful. I’m feeling like I bagged the day. I got done what I needed to do. If I do that day in, day out every day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, excluding vacations and sabbaticals and all the rest, I can build a business doing that.

Pat:
What do you do at 3:00 PM?

Michael:
Usually, I go and sit down and debrief with Gail. So I’ve been married for 42 years. You’ve met Gail. You spent time with her.

Pat:
Love her.

Michael:
So we just sit down, have a cup of tea, just chat about the day, and then we go our separate ways ’til dinner. Right now, she’s working on a puzzle and I’m doing some reading. But then we get together. We do enjoy watching TV together. So right now, we’re working through Ken… What is his name, the guy that did the Civil War and did the Vietnam one?

Pat:
I don’t know.

Michael:
Anyway.

Pat:
But it sounds interesting.

Michael:
It’s on PBS. It’s fantastic.

Pat:
Thank you for that. I want to ask you… There’s a quote from Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan ’til they get punched in the face,” or punched in the mouth. A lot of times, when we create these plans and we read books like this, and we’re like, “Okay. We’re going to do this. We’re going to create the balance sheet and understand our allocation for time and energy and such.” Then, of course, life happens, things happen, and it doesn’t always go according to plan. That could either be taken in as a “Well, this didn’t work for me,” or just, “The world is against me.” How do you bounce back when maybe it doesn’t go according to plan or you have an off day, and it’s just feeling like this balancing is still just a myth for us?

Michael:
Well, I think there is the reality of seasons. You’re launching a product. You’re trying to finish up that book you’re writing. You’re starting a new business. Whatever it is. Getting a graduate degree. Whatever it may be. There are seasons when you go out of balance. I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is people drifting into that unconsciously. As long as it’s conscious and you say like… I might sit down with Gail like I did a few weeks ago, and I was trying to get a webinar finished, and it just wasn’t going well the first pass… It didn’t work, and I was going to have to work through the weekend because the webinar was already scheduled. So I just sat down and I said, “Look, we need to negotiate something. I need to work through the weekend, I don’t see any other way to get it done. Are you okay with that?” She said, “Yeah, I’m good with that.” But it didn’t become a permanent feature of our lives.

Here’s where people get in trouble, and I did this for years. It was one emergency after another emergency, after another emergency, after another emergency, and I was convinced each one was temporary but strung together like pearls on a string. It was a way of life. It had become permanent. I told Gail, “As soon as I get acclimated to this new position, then I’ll get back into balance and give you and the girls the time you deserve.” Then, somebody would quit, and I’d say, “Once I get this position filled – because right now I’m working for two – once I get this position filled, then I’ll snap back into balance, and I’ll give you and the girls the time you deserve.”

But the problem is we deceive ourselves into thinking those situations are temporary. If we’re not careful, they become a way of life. They become permanent. Then, we wake up, and this is why people wake up, and they have a health crisis or a marital crisis, or their kids are off the rails, or something else, and that’s what we want to avoid. We can sustain those trips and falls as long as they’re occasional. Honestly, it happens to me still, like I just shared, but it’s okay. We’re playing a long game, and we’re looking for the trajectory of where it’s all going.

Pat:
How would you offer advice to a couple that has their work-life balance down pat? They are finishing work at 3:00, and they’re conversing in the night, and they’re a beautiful relationship, and they want to have a kid now. Then all of a sudden, kid comes around. It’s crazy. It’s insane. Everything is thrown off the loop. Kid is waking up at all hours of the day. I’m getting no sleep. Everything just seems out of whack. I remember what that was like because it actually wasn’t that long ago. I got through it, and I think that’s one thing that helped me is just knowing that it wasn’t going to be like that forever. But what advice would you offer for those who purposefully almost get thrown for a loop in this way and for example, have a kid?

Michael:
Yeah, I would say that that’s just part of life. Be kind to yourself. Realize that it will pass. You faced this, and I faced this myself going through raising five daughters, but it will pass. That’s where I think we have to remember… The best metaphor I can think of for balance, it’s like walking a tight rope. You’re constantly out of balance, and you’re constantly having to adjust your weight and move to stay in balance. The same thing is true in those high-demand periods of our life where it may take a little bit more effort to stay on the tight rope. You may fall off a little more frequently, but that’s okay. It’s a worthy endeavor, and it’s worth it, and it’s not going to be forever.

Pat:
That’s a great answer. Thank you. Now, Megan, one of your daughters, has co-written this book with you. I’d love to know a little bit more about how that actually worked. How did you both write the book together? Also, speak to what it’s been like to, in fact, include your kids within your business. Was that something they were already interested in, or was it like… because that’s awesome. I would love if my kids and I continue to work together into the future. I’ve seen all of your family together and just how much of a bond you have. That’s one of the reasons, one of the many why I admire you for what you’ve built there as a family. But I’d love just to have you speak to what it’s been like to work with your kids and specifically with Megan, what was this book like to work on together?

Michael:
Well, it really grew out of our mutual philosophy. We both had a deep-seated conviction about this. She tells her story in the book too. When I hired her, which was now about seven years ago, she was working as the marketing director for a nonprofit school that focused on racial reconciliation here in the Franklin, Tennessee area where we live. So she and her husband, shortly after she came to work for me – and she was just working as a contractor initially, and then I wanted her to come on as the COO, but she had just adopted two kids from Uganda, both of them having special needs.

She said, “Dad, the only way that I’m willing to do this is that if I can work 9:00 to 3:00.” So she was the early pioneer in this. She said, “Because I want to be the mom who’s picking up my kids after school. I don’t want them having to find another way home and us having to figure that out. I want to be there when they come home.” She has five kids. So I said, “Sure.” I said, “Let’s try it.” I said, “I don’t really care how much time you put in the seat. I really care about the results. That’s all.” I mean, it’s been a dream come true. Honestly. She first started working with me… The first job she ever did with me, she was 17, but she would go to trade shows with me when she was eight.

Pat:
Wow.

Michael:
I just took her to different business things, and she learned the language of business. I taught her things like how to give a firm handshake, and look the other person in the eye, and use their name, and be respectful, and all that kind of stuff. She’s just grown up around it and grown up with the philosophy, and Gail and I are both very verbal. I talk about work with the family. I talk about it with… at home, and Gail… or Megan and I have to be very careful about that now, so the other girls don’t feel left out. But then, my youngest daughter, Marissa, is also working in the business. She’s the director of marketing for our Full Focus product line. So yeah, it’s good.

I think it works well in a family, in a family business, if your relationships are healthy. If your relationships are not healthy outside of work, work is only going to amplify it and make it worse. If you have good, strong, and healthy relationships outside of work, then inside of work, it’s not an issue. We’re at the point where we’ve worked so much together that we can practically complete one another’s sentences, and she’s just… I don’t know. I just really admire her. I think she’s a better leader than I am. I think she’s more focused than I am, and I’m just… I’m loving this season of my life, where I get to be the chairman of our company, and take a step back, and cheer her on.

Pat:
That’s epic. Well, congratulations to you in what you’ve built, and together with your entire family really.

Michael:
Thank you.

Pat:
I’ve come to really love your family, and we spent a lot of time together before. I can’t wait ’til we can get back on the river or the lake again very shortly here hopefully.

Michael:
Oh, me either.

Pat:
One thing that I know doesn’t help us when it comes to balancing all these things in our lives that we need to balance is this thing that we entrepreneurs call bright light syndrome or squirrel syndrome. There’s always a new opportunity, there’s always a new thing to say yes to, and oftentimes, we say yes because who knows if that opportunity is going to be around in the future. How do you tackle this urge for us to keep trying new things and scratching all of the itches?

Michael:
Well, first of all, you’re speaking my language because I suffer from that same malady. I have a gazillion ideas a week, but the thing that helped me more than anything is having a really healthy team, an executive team particularly, and this is something I think you have to do as a leader. You have to create a culture where it’s safe for dissent, where people can push back against your ideas and speak to you almost as a peer. I’m going to reserve the final veto vote, I mean, it’s my company, right?

Pat:
Right.

Michael:
But at the same time, man, I want people to say something to me. I was just having this question with Chad Cannon, one of our… our chief sales officer, and I was saying, “Chad, I don’t know about continuing to do webinars. I think we need to do something else, and here’s this idea.” So I presented to him a whole idea. He said, “No, I don’t think that…” He said, “I think we need to stick to webinars. They’re doing great. They’re doing better than you think. You’re just bored. Go back and find something else to do.” Well, I love that. I love that kind of pushback because it gives me perspective.

There’s real safety in numbers, right? There’s this Bible verse that I love. It says, “In a multitude of counselors, there is safety,” but it’s up to you as the entrepreneur, as the leader, to put together the multitude of counselors or the people that you’re going to give permission to speak into your life. So that keeps me focused, and I know that whenever I have some idea, that’s going to have an impact on our resources as a company, time of the team, capital, focus, all the other things.

So we work on a system where we do two-week sprints, and so what the team says to me today, and I’ve given her permission to say this. If I come up with an idea or something I want to do, they say, “Oh, that sounds interesting. We’ll put it in the backlog for consideration in the future.” Now, I’m sure if I said to him, “No, I want to do this this week,” they would move heaven and earth to make it happen this week. But hopefully, by now, by my age, I’ve got at least enough wisdom to say, “That probably wouldn’t be good for the organization. I need to listen to the team.”

Pat:
Right. What if you don’t have a team? What if you’re a solopreneur? How might you go find people to help bring that kind of perspective?

Michael:
Well, this is where there’s a huge value and I know you’re a big proponent of this too, but masterminds. Having a group of peers that can hold your feet to the fire, yes, but also keep you focused on what you really want. Because a lot of times, we choose things that in the moment that we want, but they’re not long-term what we want. We choose comfort now over progress for later. I think Brené Brown says something like, “Choose discomfort now because it will go better later.” I think that’s exactly right.

Sometimes we just need to have the discipline, and it can come… Honestly, my wife, Gail, is a fantastic accountability partner. I know not everybody has that. For some people, that would not be good for their marriage, but for me it works. Gail holds me accountable. My daughters hold me accountable. But a peer group that you create for yourself, I think every entrepreneur should be very intentional about that, getting into a mastermind or creating a group for themselves of people that can just keep them focused.

Pat:
Thank you. We’ll put some resources in these show notes specifically for masterminds that we’ve had in our library for a while. So thank you for queuing that up for us, Michael. I want to ask you about the book. Where can we get the book? Who is it for?

Michael:
This book is for every business owner, entrepreneur, or really, leader of any kind who finds themselves just working nonstop and feels like there’s got to be an alternative. They’re tired of looking their spouse in the eyes and saying, “Honey, I’m sorry. I hope I can do better in the future,” and not feeling like they can get any traction. They just feel like they’re stuck because this book presents a model for really having the double win where you don’t have to sacrifice your professional ambition. I haven’t. But at the same time, you’re not sacrificing your health or your family on the altar of your ambition.

But you can find the book… We’ve got a webpage called WinandSucceedBook.com/spi, WinandSucceedBook.com. If you go to /SPI, then all you have to do is take your receipt there. We’ve got some cool bonuses, but one of them is called The Double Win Cheat Sheet, which is basically takes the five principles of the book and fleshes it out in an infographic so that you can pin this somewhere to remind you of what you’re ultimately after, the double win.

Pat:
Excellent, and one more time. Amazon would be the best place for you. What would be most supportive?

Michael:
Yep, Amazon, if you go to the WinandSucceedBook.com/spi, that will have links to all the major retailers, but yeah, Amazon. Everywhere where better books are sold.

Pat:
So good. Michael, thank you so much. Stick around with me because we’re going to have you chat for our backstage pass listeners in just a minute. But everybody, definitely, please follow and check out Michael Hyatt and the new book with Megan, and we’ll have all the links in the show notes for you. Michael, thank you so much for your time today. Always a pleasure.

Michael:
Thank you, Pat.

Pat:
All right. I hope you enjoyed that interview with Michael Hyatt. Again, you can find him and his new book with his coauthor and his daughter, Megan, over at WinandSucceedBook.com/spi. All the Michael Hyatt books that I’ve read have been absolutely life-changing, and I think that this one could be the most life-changing. Of course, I’ve been a big fan of Best Year Ever, and I’ve taken his course every single year. He has his Full Focus Planner. He’s just doing anything and everything that he can to talk about all the aspects of life that may be a drag and to learn how to navigate that, including books about working with people in meetings to now books about having that balance that we’re all looking for. So WinandSucceedBook.com/spi.

If you want the show notes, and other links and resources mentioned in this episode, you can go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session475. Again, that’s SmartPassiveIncome.com/session475. Thank you so much. Looking forward to seeing you in the next episode. Make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already, and as always, take care and Team Flynn for the win. Peace out.

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


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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