7 Coaching Lessons from Tim Ferriss
I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan and have read all of his books. The 4-Hour Workweek is his most popular but The 4 Hour Chef was my favorite. Although my wife says I have yet to cook her a meal despite my new knowledge. LOL.
That’s not entirely true… but I’m not the guy you’ll normally find in the kitchen. I prefer the office :o)
His new book Tools of Titans was AWESOME… action-packed and full of valuable lessons you just can’t buy anywhere else.
The best part was a series of long interviews he did that were amazing… but a tad long in some cases if you don’t have a couple hours to kill. The MAGIC of the book Tools of Titans is he took these incredible interviews and broke them down into 2 or 3 pages detailing the most important highlights.
I literally read half the book in the parking lot outside the book store. My daughter was a tad disappointed when I rolled up late for her gymnastics class WHOOPS #DadFail
Tim Ferriss is very popular in coaching circles and is a highly successful investor in start-ups and the world’s leading expert on “lifestyle design.”
I read this quote of his on one of his blogs and thought it was AWESOME. “Most ‘superheroes’ are nothing of the sort. They’re weird, neurotic creatures who do big things DESPITE lots of self-defeating habits and self-talk.”
Here are 7 coaching lessons from real life “Superhero” Tim Ferriss.
#1 You’re The Average Of The Five People You Most Associate With
Don’t underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker. “Giving your time and energy to negative people is “masochistic” says Ferriss.
In a nutshell… you’re the average of the five people you most associate with.
The rule says that the five people you spend the most time with shape who you are. It borrows from the law of averages, which is the theory that “the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes.”
Importantly, the list is ever-changing, depending on what areas of his life he wants to work on… physical, emotional, psychological, financial as examples.
If he feels like he needs more work in the physical realm, then he’ll modify his closest group to reflect that objective. It’s not always the same five areas and often people don’t adjust their inner circle.
We may interact with many people, but the few who are closest to us have the greatest impact on our way of thinking and our decisions. Tim was given that advice when he was 15 years old and it’s impacted a lot of his decisions. And each year, he states it becomes more and more important to achieving his goals.
#2 Don’t Wait Until You’re Ready
If you’ve been reading any of my stuff you’ve seen this from me many times. ”Reasons come first… answers come second.”
Our brains are designed to protect us, so it’s therefore natural for anyone to wait until everything is perfect before making the big change.
It’s a popular quote made famous by Tony Robbins. As a guy that helps business coaches build successful practices I get told all the time “I’ll hire a coach when I’m ready.” My response each time is “You’ll never be ready! Hire them now and the business will magically appear and you’ll have someone to help you.”
For Tim Ferriss, running a nutritional supplements company 70+ hours per week meant it was never the right time to enjoy the things he wanted out of life (hanging out with friends, riding a motorcycle, writing a book).
Ferriss decided to make a sudden and dramatic shift. For the most important activities outside of work, it seems like the timing always sucks.
“Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” Tim Ferriss
Waiting for the right time to quit your job? The right time to lose 10 lbs.? The stars will never align and all the traffic lights will never be green at the same time.
He made the hard decision to dramatically cut down the amount of time he spent working and the rest is history: Tim used the extra time to write the bestselling book “The Four Hour Workweek,” become a tango champion, ride his motorcycle across China, and the rest as they say is history.
Making a big change can be daunting. The situation will never be perfect. You’ll make big mistakes, but just do it and correct course along the way.
#3 Be the best at ONE thing
Dabbling is for poor people.
Think of it this way – the consulting business that perfects their one feature (helping chiropractors generate new leads using FB as an example) and is the best at that will be another coaching business that wins.
A major weakness Tim continually sees are companies getting distracted implementing new features and trying to improve the product. They already have a successful product (you need to have this or FORGET IT) in the marketplace and instead of identifying the cheapest and most successful avenue for acquiring customers or focusing on POLISHING THE PRODUCT THEY ALREADY HAVE, they focus on adding ten new features that don’t add much to the user experience.
Bottom line – create a winning product / service and then polish the most important aspects of it. Then spend your energy finding profitable customers in an efficient way.
If you want to cut through the clutter then you have to be absolutely great at one thing. Niching is another example of this. Not only should you niche but you should go two levels down. Rather than just being the coach that looks after dentists only, you become the master of referral marketing for dentists and importantly, this will allow you to be number one in that specific market.
Tim created a niche with The 4 Hour Workweek that drilled him down into a niche of “time management and productivity.” Tim is on record saying “I don’t want to put out ‘The 3 1/2 Hour Workweek’ or ‘The 3-Hour Workweek.’ It would be boring for me to produce and it would be boring for people to consume.”
He therefore went with the “4 Hour” part and has put out best sellers The 4 Hour Body and The 4 Hour Chef and has since coined the phrase “Lifestyle Design.”
It’s becoming increasingly more important to niche and narrow down your focus.
#4 Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Have to Be Risky
Some people are born entrepreneurs and have no issue taking big risks to get started.
But a huge percentage of the population want to own their own business and have the potential to be great, but are afraid to take the first step because they see it as an “all or nothing” wager.
He says it makes a lot of sense to moonlight and test a business idea (start selling) for a period of time until you have the confidence and some cash flow coming in. After successfully doing it in your spare time it’s at that stage you’ll feel more comfortable going “all in” and risking your livelihood.
Being a successful entrepreneur is 90% psychologically so test drive your business idea and your abilities to see if running a business is for you. Another way to minimize the risks is to test everything. The original name of Ferriss’ first book was, ‘Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit’ – but the publisher didn’t like the title.
He needed a new title. He ran a Google Adwords campaign aimed at his target market. He created a dozen different book titles and subtitles as the advertisements text. By measuring click-through rates of each ad, a clear winner emerged: “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-to-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich.”
If he didn’t do the test… would he have had the same level of success he enjoys now? Not likely, and he therefore encourages all entrepreneurs to test and optimize everything. Some say this is a sterile approach to naming something as intimate as a book you’ve written. Tim disagrees vehemently.
“You don’t need to sacrifice your artistic integrity to do this. All you’re doing is coming up with a number of options that you would be happy with as an artist, and then allowing the market to help you decide and choose among those options.”
#5 Being Assertive Can Help You Get Preferential Treatment
There’s a difference between being a nice guy and being a doormat. We all know it’s a dog-eat-dog world out here. Unless you want people taking advantage of you, you have to learn how to stand up for yourself and what you truly believe in..
Think of the new kid in class that shows up his first day of school. All the other boys surround him and start teasing him for being the “new kid.” The new boy looks each one of them in the eye, pulls his shirt over his head, slams it to the ground and says “alright, you guys want to make fun of me. Fine! Let’s get it on. I only ask one thing – no more than two of you at a time because that’s not fair. Let’s go!
What’s the reaction of those other boys? They’re looking at each other bewildered and finally say “you know; maybe we better be friends with this guy.”
“Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.” Tim Ferris
This stuff doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But if asserting yourself sounds scary, maybe that’s a good thing.
#6 Fear Can Be a Good Thing
As a business coach, what do you fear?
As someone who works with coaches all over the world, I can tell you without hesitation that it’s talking to prospects – especially over the phone. Why? “That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be – it’s fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do.”
So why does Tim Ferriss say fear is a good thing?
“I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” Tim Ferriss
Tim offers some fantastic advice here that we can all learn from. Your fears often serve notice of exactly what you need to be doing more of… for both your personal life and your business. Make a list of your fears and then set out doing them; “resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.”
If you’re still scared then define the worst possible thing that could happen if you take on what you’re fearful of. Understand it, accept it, and then proceed to take action.
As people continue to push themselves into uncomfortable situations, they’ll be making progress towards their goal and becoming less afraid, subsequently moving their baseline and allowing themselves to take on new and bolder tasks in the future.
#7 “In Your Wildest Dreams” Success Is More Possible Than You Think
I remember growing up and dreaming of scoring that game winning goal in overtime. Then at age 11, it happened for real. In fact, it happened twice in two consecutive playoff games.
All of us have what we might think to be wild dreams. The problem is that most of us think they aren’t achievable, and therefore, we never bother to try. What a shame!
Very few people chase what they’re really capable of. As you get older, the voice in our head that used to say, “You can become an astronaut” says, “Be reasonable and lower your expectations!”
The good news as Ferriss points out is that the competition is actually higher for the reasonable kind of success than the “in your wildest dreams” type of success. That doesn’t mean that becoming an astronaut, rock star or millionaire entrepreneur is easy – but it’s more possible than you think.
More of us need to adopt the Nike tagline – JUST DO IT! Follow that advice, and you may see your wildest dreams come true.
Thanks for tuning in,
About Karl Bryan
Karl Bryan gets clients for Business Coaches…period. He is the editor of The Six Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of Leader Publishing Worldwide, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world.
His goal is straight forward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients and to start using the internet effectively.