“The Five Magic Ingredients of Success”

We have mentioned a few times in previous podcasts about what ingredients you need to be successful in your business.  Well here we put them all together and give you real examples of how they can help in your business and in real life to achieve successful outcomes.


Below is the transcription of our podcast for you to read through if you prefer:

John: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and welcome everybody to episode six of the Big Idea podcast where as usual it is our job to help small businesses think bigger. My name is John and I’m here as always with my friend and colleague, Mr. Jason Brockman.

Jason: Hello John and hello to you all.

John: It is the first podcast of 2017 that we’re recording today, episode six. The first one we’ve done this year. How’s your year been so far, Jas?

Jason: So far it’s been good, it’s been good, yeah. I’ve enjoyed the last day or two.

John: It’s been fantastic. We are recording this, literally it is the 3rd of January, so first day back at work. Hey, here we are, we’re doing the podcast. We’re committed to you guys.

Jason: What shall we talk about today then, John?

John: Well, do you know what, we’ve mentioned today’s topic several times in previous weeks and we’ve alluded to these magic ingredients and I still can’t think of a better name for them, so we’re sticking with it. Hey, it’s in concrete now, they are magic ingredients. We’ve alluded to them in previous weeks, but we’ve never actually gone through and said, “Look, here are what they are in completeness.”

Jason: Maybe we can ask our listeners and those in our Facebook group to come up with a better name than five magic ingredients.

John: We could do, yeah. Then we could go back and pretend that we never actually mentioned this and just it was always called that.

Jason: [crosstalk 00:01:33], no we can’t, that’s good. So, our Facebook group?

John: The Facebook group, yeah, is just search Big Idea podcast on Facebook and you’ll find the group.

Jason: We’ll approve you, you’re in and you can watch us live because we record these live usually every Monday lunchtime, obviously we’re Tuesday today, a day later for our bank holiday here in the UK. Yeah, Tuesday we’re here live, but every Monday at lunchtime we are live on the Facebook group.

John: We certainly are. Just to prove we are live, hello to Martin who just literally liked the post on Facebook, good to see you mate, I hope you’re well. Shall we crack on then with magic ingredient number one?

Jason: Magic ingredient number one.

John: Cool. Now we talked about this one in depth in last week’s episode. If you missed that one it’s episode five. Don’t go and listen to it just yet, but once you’ve finished with this one, go back and listen to it again. We talked about goals. We spent a good 50 odd minutes talking [crosstalk 00:02:31].

Jason: It’s our longest podcast ever to be fair, isn’t it? It’s probably twice the length of the one we recorded just before that.

John: It was, yeah. We won’t go too in depth about goals but suffice to say, you’ve got to have goals haven’t you because otherwise you don’t know where you’re heading. What we discovered last week was that your goals need to be specific and they need to have a deadline. You can improve your chances of achieving those goals by first of all writing them down. Second, by sharing them publicly. Third, and for me the most important one, by having consequences. You can have the pleasure of achieving your goal, and for a lot of people that is enough, but what if it isn’t? Then you’re relying on the willpower, which as we said is a finite resource, it will run out. All right, what if I’m not achieving my goal to get pleasure, but to avoid pain? I think that’s where the consequences come in.

I’ve got an example, which I’m going to take you throughout each of the five magic ingredients today. Here is my goal for the next 90 days. It’s very much related to the fact that it was Christmas two weeks ago and the excesses of Christmas, but I want to have a waist measurement of 85 centimetres of less, so my goal is specific. 85 centimetres or less. It needs to have a deadline, so here’s my deadline. I will have that waist measurement by the 27th of March 2017.

Jason: Just in time for the Easter eggs do you mean?

John: There is a very good reason for that because I’m going on holiday to Florida on the 28th of March, it’s about the 30th of March, but that is the Monday before I go away, so that is the last podcast I will be recording before going on holiday. That’s the specific target, 85 centimetres, got the deadline. I’ve written them down in the script. I’ve shared it pretty damn publicly I think.

Jason: You have.

John: And consequences, so there we go. Oh, did I not mention the consequences? Okay. Here’s my consequences. I will publicly state that if I don’t achieve that waist measurement of 85 centimetres or less then I will record that episode of the podcast with my shirt off with my moobs out and everything.

Jason: Let’s hope he hits his goal then.

John: Exactly, now everyone wants me to achieve those goals.

Jason: We’re all behind you John, 100%. We’ll be following you up every week.

John: It should, because I’ve now got those consequences of if it gets to, I’m going to say four weeks time, so my willpower is gone now. We all know how busy the gyms are in January. By the time you listen to this probably in three weeks time, four weeks time they’re going to be dead quiet again, so my willpower will be gone. What’s going to keep me going is not, “Oh, I’d quite like to have this beach body” or whatever, it’s going to be, “Oh shit, if I don’t do this I’ve got to get my moobs out on the Facebook recording and literally everyone in the Facebook group is going to be watching me with my wobbly bits hanging out.” Nobody wants to see that. Literally we’re going to spend the next three months building up this Facebook group only for me to kill it with one episode.

Jason: Reasons to leave, no don’t even look at the [inaudible 00:06:05]. Guys, if you’ve got your goals and you want to share them publicly then in our group on the Facebook you can come along and you can write in your goals and what you’ve got set up for the next 90 days and we’ll be able to hold you to account to those. If you want to be a little bit less public and you just want to share them with John and I, then send them over to our e-mail address and we will look at them and we’ll review them with you as we’re going along each of the 90 day steps.

E-mail addresses, you can contact us both on either jason@bigidea.co.uk or john@bigidea.co.uk. Nice and easy. If you want to just share them with us, that’s great. If you want to share them more publicly with the group and we’ll all be able to help you along the way, then that’s where you can do it in our Facebook group.

John: Don’t forget those consequences. If you can’t think of a consequence just let us know, we’ll come up with one for you. Magic ingredient number two is desire. Now again, we covered this in a previous episode, this was episode two. We won’t go too in depth with it again, but for me desire is about knowing the difference between can’t and don’t want to. The example I think I gave in that episode was about adding the word yet to can’t. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s either that I can’t do it yet because I haven’t learnt how to do it, or I don’t want to. In other words, I don’t have the desire. It’s knowing the difference between a want, something that would be quite nice to have and a desire, so something that you need to have. Again, my little example, I want a washboard stomach with rock-hard abs and huge definition.

Jason: We all want that within 90 days, John.

John: But I don’t desire that. Well, that would be nice to have. If I desired it, I would do what I need to do in order to achieve it, but I don’t. It comes down to the kind of playoff, which do I desire more, cake or sit-ups? Steamed broccoli or lasagna? Now, as a daily one-off it’s easy to make the right choice, but to create long-lasting habits, if the desire isn’t there then that willpower’s just going to run out and you’re just going to end up playing the same old game of … well, how many people are sat here, 2017 … it’s the first week of 2017, how many people are sat here with the same resolutions that they had last year? New year, new me. It’s one of those things that everyone says, don’t they?

Jason: Yeah.

John: Cool. Number three of my … number three of, that’s wonderful England. The third of my magic ingredients is the magic of knowledge. Now, in many ways this is actually the easiest of the ingredients to put together. All you need to do is go and find someone who’s done what you want to achieve, and just get the blueprints from them. Easy. Go to a library, read some books. Go to Audible, listen to them. Go to iTunes, listen to some podcasts like, ooh, I don’t know, can you think of any decent podcasts?

Jason: There’s this one called Big Idea.

John: Big Idea.

Jason: You’ve not heard that yet, no?

John: No, not heard that, not on iTunes anyway.

Jason: Well, you’ll hear it on iTunes next week!

John: You can go to Youtube, you can watch videos. Are there any of our videos on Youtube?

Jason: They’re all on the Big Idea channel on Youtube. All of these ones which we’ve recorded on Facebook Live are all there, too.

John: Fantastic. You can go to Netflix and you can watch documentaries and watch biopics. Are we on Netflix?

Jason: No.

John: Oh, okay.

Jason: I don’t know, I’ve seen some of the programmes on Netflix, I think we should be.

John: Yeah.

Jason: Yeah.

John: We’re you thinking like Orange Is the New Black or Narcos?

Jason: Breaking Bad.

John: You can literally go to the internet where all of the information since the dawn of time is stored and available to you in seconds direct to a device that you can just carry around in your pocket. There is literally more information available to you now than has ever been available before. I remember when I was at school and the teachers always used to say to me about doing maths and working out your calculations, so you need to show your calculations and you need to do this mental arithmetic because what are you going to do when your older, carry a calculator around with you all the time? Well yeah, now I do, but I also now carry the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica around with me in my pocket. Oh, and Atlas of the World and literally every bit of information that you could ever want to have is at your fingertips.

I came across this quote the other day from my mate Arnold Schwarzenegger. I say my mate because, you know, we’ve never met, but I’m sure if we had he would be my mate. I’m sure he would of loved the impression I did of him in, was that episode one?

Jason: And three.

John: [crosstalk 00:11:20]. The quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger I will not do in my Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, okay? He said, “Now” … see, I almost naturally went into it then. He said, “The worst thing that you can ever do is to think that you know enough. Never stop learning, ever. I’ve always treated the world as my classroom, soaking up lessons and stories to fuel my path forward. I hope you do the same.” I just think that’s such an apt thing, I mean it’s a trap that I fell into when I first started out, it’s this thinking that you know enough. I remember when I first started out I knew that I knew nothing. I knew that I had to go and learn. Again, I was a civil servant who thought, “Well, I want to run an internet marketing company.” I didn’t know how to build a website. I didn’t know anything about marketing. I didn’t know anything about running a business. I had to learn all of those things.

Literally when I first started out and I was probably doing, say 30 hours a week on top of the day job, probably of those 30 hours, five to 10 hours every week were just learning. Well, okay, how do I do this? What’s self-assessment? What do I need to do with this? How do I get a webpage up? How do I make that text appear in the centre? How do I make an image appear there? How do I get people to take action? How do I persuade people to do things using copy? That was great until I had a little bit of success. It wasn’t until that came [inaudible 00:13:02] and then all of a sudden before you know it, well, I know everything now. I know all there is to know, and it wasn’t until we got a big kick in the teeth from Google in, what was that, 2012, so nearly five years ago now that I realised well actually, no I don’t know it all.

I’d stopped learning from probably, let me see, I started out in 2001, no 2000 I actually launched the business. I probably learnt regularly up until about 2004, 2005 at which point I thought, “Great. I know it all now. I’m making more money than I ever thought possible so I don’t need to know anything. I don’t need these personal development books.” I used to hang around with these people who did MLM stuff and they were well into their personal development. The problem was I’d look at these people and think, “Well yeah, you’re reading all these books, but you’re not actually any richer. You’re not actually making it,” but then in hindsight they probably weren’t running their own business. They were literally just a glorified self-employed salesman. It wasn’t until we got a big kick in the teeth from Google that really rammed home to us that, “Yeah, I don’t know it all. I better actually start learning again.”

Jason: We kind of knew it up until that point, but after that point it’s kind of actually we’re starting from the bottom again aren’t we, in order to get our business to where we needed it to go, we needed to do an awful lot of learning because what was relatively easy for us beforehand now was incredibly difficult.

John: Well it is, I think we’d learnt one thing. We’d learnt how to rank on Google. Don’t get me wrong, that actually … it got us to a very good place because we played to our strengths, which was actually, “All right, we’re pretty good at this, we’re pretty good at that.” We were really good at ranking on Google pre-2012. We actually … rather than focusing on the weaknesses, we really, really focused on our strengths but to the detriment of everything else. When our strength suddenly overnight was turned into our weakness, we then didn’t have the experience or the knowledge to actually deal with that. It was kind of back to school on this, wasn’t it?

Jason: We wasted an awful lot of money thinking that we could be getting experts to do it for us, because we didn’t know it. We had no idea so we outsourced to different people, whether the field experts in SEO or whatever and we did spend an awful lot of money chasing after that particular goal, didn’t we?

John: We did, and I think in hindsight they probably didn’t have the knowledge either because the SEO world was turned on its head in 2012. Everything you thought you knew you actually didn’t know. Yeah, it was just time to start learning again. My preferred method now, certainly over the last 18 months to two years is audio. I stick Audible in my ears, I stick podcasts on at least an hour a day. Anytime I jump in the car, Bluetooth’s on, podcasts, Audible. Every time I’m out walking the dog, headphones are on. It’s at least an hour a day. Probably, depending on who I’m listening to, either 1.25 or 1.5 speed, which if you’ve never discovered this little setting on your Audible, trust me it is a game changer. There’s a little button down the bottom that says 1.0, press it, the person starts talking a bit faster. You can go right up to I think it’s 2.0 speed, or some of them you can now go up to three times speed.

Jason: Oh, wow.

John: Which I cannot cope with, because literally you go, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, what did he say there?” By the time you’ve thought that to yourself, another three sentences have escaped and-

Jason: Have you noticed the bookmark feature though where you can just tap a little icon and that gives you a bookmark and it records that snippet for you? You can go back [inaudible 00:17:00], so it saves your marker going on [crosstalk 00:17:02].

John: Yeah, I do like that, but the only thing that I find that does is it only records in 1.0 speed.

Jason: Oh, okay.

John: There’s a book I was listening to and I was listening to it in 1.5 speed. You get completely accustomed to somebody’s voice at that speed. Then all of a sudden I took the bookmark, went to listen back to it and they’re talking really slowly. I’m like, “Oh my god, is this guy on drugs or what? What’s up with him [crosstalk 00:17:32]?”

Jason: [crosstalk 00:17:33].

John: If I’d only listened to it on 1.0 speed that would be normal, and then if it had suddenly jumped to 1.5 I’d go, “Oh my god, what’s going on here? He’s talking too fast. He’s on speed.” They were all on drugs, that’s obviously the lesson. What that means is because I listened at least an hour a day, because I listened on 1.25 or 1.5 speed was [inaudible 00:17:53] last year I had listened to around 500 hours of audiobooks and podcasts on everything from property investment, Forex share trading, copywriting, health nutrition, dog training. I remember that I had a dog training book over there for months, didn’t I? Listened to it in the Audible, done in like an hour.

Stoicism, NLP, leadership, 17th century warfare, accounting, networking and biographies, profiles, interviews, people like Alex Ferguson, Andre Agassi. That was actually a fantastic biography of Andre Agassi. I’m not into my tennis in any way, but the lessons I pulled out of that book were just amazing. It’s called Open and it’s not … I don’t know actually, I think it might be written by Andre Agassi, but it’s very well written. He’s written with a ghostwriter, so it’s got a little bit of a story to it. Fantastic, absolutely brilliant. Well recommended. Who else, Warren Buffett obviously, my hero. Tony Robbins, Elon Musk. If you think you’re thinking big then think again, Elon Musk’s taking us all to Mars, we’re going to colonise it. He’s getting solar panels on rooftops and creating electric cars and then giving away the patents to everybody. Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, you name it, these guys are now in my ears every day. That is the equivalent … you know 500 hours a year, that’s like the equivalent of a masters degree. Every year from the world’s leading lights on any topic you want.

Jason: There’s a quote that’s appearing in my life a few times now. The first time it had cropped up was at a Cancer Research event where scientists was talking about the two pound coin, and on the side of that it says, “Standing on the shoulders of giants.” That quote was really relating to the fact that actually his work was done by the fundraisers, and without their money being raised they couldn’t do their work. Then the quote appeared again in Tim Ferriss’ new book and I’m a quarter of the way through, Tools of Titans. In there it’s got that same quote in there, and it’s reflating to standing on the shoulders of giants. So your Winston Churchill, your Elon Musk and all that … the knowledge that you’re getting from these people is exactly what you’re doing in order to make your business go further.

John: Yeah. They’ve all paved the way. I’m reading a Napoleon Hill book at the moment. It’s not Think and Grow Rich, it’s the other one. He talks and he’s hero worshipping the Elon Musk’s, the Richard Branson’s, the Lord Sugar of his day, only they are Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Rockefeller. Literally these are the giants that we’re now standing on the shoulders of. Without these guys innovating and disrupting things 100 years ago, or you know, 80 years ago we might not have the Branson’s and the Musk’s and the Buffett’s of this world.

Jason: I guess we did, because there’s lots in the press at the moment about going into the new revolution, the new industrial revolution or whatever, so lots of industries are going to be looking to change their direction and change the way of doing things because of computerization and apps and all of the new AI stuff that’s going on and that kind of thing. Yeah, knowledge is going to be needed by a lot of people in order to keep up with the changes which are going.

John: Yeah, oh definitely. If you want a book that’s going to scare you and excite you at the same time, Abundance by Dr. Peter Diamandis. I read it about three months ago and just the minute I put this book down, I thought, “Well that’s great. I’m now convinced that I’m going to live to 125. I am going to go to space in my lifetime, and technology is just going to save us, but it is going to completely change everything we do.” If I was in my 20’s and 30’s now and doing anything that could possibly be done by a robot, I wouldn’t want to be a lorry driver now because within certainly two decades, possibly one, we’re going to have automated lorries. There’s going to be no … becoming a HGV driver is not going to be a career path for our children. Becoming a taxi driver is not going to be a viable career path for our kids. We need to think differently, and we’ve talked before about the school system churning out people for the old industrial age. Well, they now need to create … they need to train children not for today’s jobs, but for the jobs that are going to exist in 10 years time.

It’s no good churning someone out, imagine our kids leaving school in 10 years time thinking, “Oh great. I’m going to become a delivery driver.” Well, no you’re not now because Amazon now own that and they do it all by drones and by automated 3D printing. Oh crikey, that was one of the things in Peter Diamandis’ book was, well actually in the future you’ll just have a 3D printer in your wardrobe and you’ll go online, get your body scan of your exact measurements including 85 centimetre waist, and 10 minutes later the exact garment you want is 3D printed in your wardrobe ready for you to wear and it’s tailor fitted to you. It’s mind-blowing.

Jason: I think we’re digressing. We should move on.

John: I nearly digressed even further because you-

Jason: I know, I stopped you, didn’t I?

John: You did, yeah. What knowledge do you need? Well, you need to know who has done what that you want to do. How did they do it? What are the stepping stones that you need to take? You know, what are the stepping stones, in what order do you need to do them? It’s no good saying, “I’m going to go from here to there and I’m going to end up with 10 million pounds in the bank.” Well that’s great, but at the moment you’ve got 100 quid in the bank, so what’s the next step? How do you turn 100 quid into 200 quid, before you worry about turning 100 quid into 10 million.

Yeah. Who’s done it? How did they do it? What are the stepping stones? What order are those stepping stones to be done in? Can I learn from the mistakes of those that have done it before, and can I get there quicker, easier, better? That’s the reason I’m reading about Henry Ford and Rockefeller and Edison now, is actually well these guys weren’t perfect. They made mistakes, so can I emulate what they did? I’m not saying I’m going to change the world in any great way, but just studying actually well these people didn’t have the knowledge that Elon Musk has now and yet they changed the world, so what can you do with extra knowledge as well?

Back to my example. Everyone knows the secret to losing weight. It’s eat less and exercise more, isn’t it? Calories in, calories out.

Jason: That’s what they say.

John: Yeah, easy. If 99.9% of the population know that, why is it that 61.7% of us according to a recent Google search by me are either overweight or obese?

Jason: Because they don’t have the willpower to get to where they want to be.

John: It could be.

Jason: They also don’t know that actually eating less, but eating less what. Or eating more what actually makes you lose weight.

John: Exactly. I mean, I could say, “Well I’m going to eat 2000 calories a day. That’s me, brilliant.” Now, if I eat 2000 calories of Christmas pudding and clotted cream, does that give me the same nutritional benefits as 2000 calories of steamed chicken and broccoli? Clearly not, because you need to know about macronutrients, you need to know about the nutrition difference between raw food and cooked food. Some of the knowledge that I’ve taken on in the last year, these are the benefits of juicing, the effects of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, dairy on the body. I’m now, what, three years caffeine-free predominantly. By the way, if you are caffeine-free don’t ever think you can have a little bit of caffeine about five o’clock in the evening because I’ve done that twice now and been awake until five in the morning just because I’ve had one cup of coffee.

This is stuff I’ve learnt about. I’ve learnt about body weight exercise, high intensity interval training, resistance work. You know, exercise again, exercise isn’t exercise. You can go and do a 20 mile run or you can go and do a 20 minute sprint session and actually the two will have very different effects on your body and your metabolism. Doing resistance work, weight work is different to doing cardio, but people just think, “Oh, I’ll just go to the gym, do some exercise, run on the treadmill, eat some salad and that’s it,” and then as you said, they run out of desire. They maybe don’t see the results as quickly, but I think a lot of the problem is they don’t actually have the knowledge that they need. They don’t have that specific plan of, well actually who has dropped three dress sizes?

Jason: I get the disappointment because you don’t put the weight on overnight, the same as it won’t come off overnight. You know, you don’t get unfit overnight and you won’t get fit overnight. It’s a longterm plan and people don’t realise that I don’t think. I think that’s another thing which hits the willpower. It’s kind of like, “Oh, I’ve only lost that bit,” or, “I haven’t lost anything this week and I’m trying to be very good.”

John: If you looked at someone who’s done it before and you said, “Well, actually they had exactly the same problem three weeks in and this is how they overcame it,” or, “They had this problem three weeks in and that’s why they failed.” You can say, “Okay, well actually I know three weeks in is the trigger point. That’s where I’m most likely to fail, so what baby steps can I put in there, what mini-reward can I put in there? What consequence can I put in there of failing that actually makes sure that I don’t fail?”

I’ve learnt all that sort of stuff. I mean, pre-workout fuel loading, post-workout loading, fasting, ketosis, protein shakes. You know, I’ve experimented with all of that and I’ve found the plan that works for me. I know now what I need to eat, when I need to eat it, what exercise I need to be doing, what type of exercise, when I need to do it to be able to hit that goal 90 days in the future. It’s not a case of … because most people go, “Well, I’m overweight.” I put on a fair chunk over Christmas. Most people will go, “Right. I want to lose a load of weight really quickly.” Whereas actually I’ve said, “I want to lose” … “I want to get my waist measurement down to a specific size, but 90 days in the future. What happens this week doesn’t matter.”

So many people I know go to slimming clubs and then they say, “Oh, I’ve only lost a pound this week and I was really good.” You can just see their willpower metre go. I’ve tried really hard, it was really horrible. I deprived myself of all the food I like. I had to eat this really horrible rabbit food and I had to go out and I had to pound the streets for two hours a night and then I had to go to the gym and it was really bad, and all I’ve got to show for it is one pound. Well, actually you might only have a one pound loss to show for it, but if you actually measured your body fat percentage it may be you’ve lost four pounds of fat and gained three pounds of muscle, in which case job done. You’re doing fantastically well, but your motivation isn’t there because you don’t have the knowledge that you need. I’ve now got the stepping stones from hundreds of people who’ve done this before me to say, “Well actually, if you do X, the results are Y.”

Jason: So, number four.

John: Number four, we lingered on that one a little bit longer than I planned.

Jason: It might be a whole session of its own.

John: It may well be I think. A whole session on juicing and weight loss. Number four of the magic ingredients is environments. It’s not to be confused with Greenpeace, melting icecaps or global warming. In essence, this is the people that you surround yourself with and the information that you fill your eyes and ears with. It links kind of nicely into knowledge really, because again the environment that I surround myself with is YouTube videos, Netflix documentaries, Audible, podcasts, massive, massive Tim Ferriss books that could be used as a kettlebell in themselves. 700 pages that book, unbelievable. I tell you, the biceps I’ve got are just from lifting that book every day.

Jason: It turns you into a titan, I don’t know about being a tool of titans.

John: Who you hang around with makes you who you are. If I think back to when I was about 18, 19 years old, this is when I needed to learn this lesson. If you surround yourself with arse holes, you’re going to become an arse hole and that’s where I was headed at about 18, 19. I was hanging around with a load of people who basically just liked to go out and drink every night and to hell with work and to hell with families and relationships.

Yeah, it got to the stage whereby I was putting my career at risk. I nearly got sacked as a civil servant.

Jason: You must of been really bad.

John: It wasn’t bad, it was just I was turning into these other guys who … they were a couple of years older than me and they literally just lived for going out drinking every night, and I mean every night like, “Oh, it’s Tuesday night, let’s go clubbing,” which was great on a Tuesday night, but it’s not so good on a Wednesday morning when you’ve then got the big team meeting and you’ve actually got to drive to work at half seven, eight o’clock in the morning and you’ve only got in at two in the morning, and you probably shouldn’t of been driving even at that time.

The effect it had on relationships, I was engaged to someone at the time. Literally that relationship completely fell apart because of the friends I was hanging around with. I was hanging around with these guys who … they didn’t respect their girlfriends, their fiances, their wives. All they cared about was, “Shall we go out clubbing? Shall we try and pull tonight?” I was pulled into that circle of friends and things kicked off massively probably when I was about 19. As I say, lost my girlfriend at the time, nearly lost my job. I had a big bust-up with this circle of friends and as a result I haven’t seen them since … I haven’t hung around with them since, I have seen them since. Ironically the only time I ever see them now is when they’re out in a pub, they’re still getting trollied. They’re in their 40’s for God’s sake and they’re still acting like they’re 18. That is what my life could of been like if I’d hung around with them, because I would just be another one of them.

What I did age 20 was change who I hang around with, but not through any choice of my own. It was kind of … all blew up in my face, but in hindsight that was the best thing that could of happened to me. It was the lesson that I needed to learn then. If someone had … if my 39 year old self now had suddenly discovered time travel and I can go back to when I was 18, 19 and just slap myself around the face a bit and say, “Oi. This is the lesson you need to learn,” that would be it. If you surround yourself with moaners and whingers, you’re going to moan and whinge about life not being fair. If you surround yourself with people who change the world, well then you might just do the same.

Again, we touched on this in episode one, which was Be Careful Who You Listen To and that’s very similar again, because it’s … you do listen to the people that are around you. If you want to grow a big business but you spend your time, or your spare time … I put that in inverted commas for those listening on audio, watching Eastenders or X Factor, well you’re not going to get there as far as if you spend that time watching inspirational documentaries or listening to audiobooks or watching Youtube videos or literally invite someone out to lunch who’s done what you want to do. Sit down with them, grow your network.

I actually was … over Christmas, I cancelled my Sky TV and I’m so proud of that because I think I’ve mentioned it probably for about six months now, that I’ve wanted to cancel it. I keep mentioning it because again, if I go back 10 years, we watched a lot of TV and a lot of crap, which served absolutely no purpose for my business whatsoever. It didn’t move my life forward in any way. Now I think, “Well where could my business be now if I had cancelled it 10 years ago?” Literally we watch an hour of TV a day at most, probably 45 minutes a day. It’s Netflix, it’s Amazon Prime and it’s high quality drama normally which I would argue, someone might argue otherwise, but I would say that that makes my copywriting better because I can now write better stories. I can write better dialogue, whereas what did watching Eastenders ever do for me? I certainly didn’t learn good copywriting, good dialogue from that.

Jason: Buy our stuff or we’ll shoot you is now our copyright. [inaudible 00:36:14]. Fancy cancelling Sky after 17 years and you did it over Christmas, which is their biggest selling point. That’s amazing.

John: Yeah it is yeah, fantastic.

Jason: Were they pleased to see you go?

John: They were not, no. It was actually a really horrible process to leave them. I get they’ve got retention targets and there’s scripts in place, but I spent half an hour on live chat to someone called Dave who probably wasn’t called Dave, he was probably in a call centre in India somewhere. He was trying to get me to … yeah, he was trying to get me to stay, but it was just ridiculous questions. He was trying to be my best mate on live chat and that doesn’t come across well at all. Why retain me?

In many cases lots of businesses think about the life cycle of a customer and in terms of how do we warm the customer up, how do we engage with them, how do we get them to know, like, trust us and then they don’t think any part of the customer journey about the end of that journey. If Sky had actually let me go with a little bit of a fight and was like, “Oh, okay. We’re really sorry to see you go, but we acknowledge blah, blah, blah,” rather than, “Here’s a reason to stay. Here’s a reason you should stay. Well actually you’re going to miss out on this.” It was literally objection after objection after objection, it was like. By the end of it I literally had to be rude to the guy and said, “Look, I’ve got to get back to work now. You’ve wasted half an hour of my time. Can you please just process the bloody cancellation?” He was like, “Oh yeah, yeah, sorry, no worries.”

It was like … actually that left me with a really bad taste in my mouth and it’s not the first time this year that I’ve tried to leave a membership organisation that has not let me leave, that has really tried to literally chain me to the bed and force feed me their content. It was like, “No, actually give some thought to the customer journey at the end of that customer journey,” because every customer lifetime value, there was an end to that customer’s lifetime. In many cases you’ve just got to let them go with your best wishes and sure, give them a few subtle nudges that they’re more than welcome to come back if they want to, because otherwise I’ve left Sky now, the taste I’m left with in my mouth from Sky is, “I don’t ever want to go back to that.”

Jason: You haven’t even had the followup letters yet. You’re going to get bundles of them.

John: Yeah, exactly. I know I’m going to get all sorts of wonderful offers for new customers only. Meanwhile, I’ve got the likes of Netflix, because actually I did cancel Netflix several years ago. I joined them when they first launched in the UK and then I left after about seven or eight months because literally at the time their library was shit. It was all the stuff that’s in the bargain basement of Blockbuster video was still around then. Then literally I cancelled it and their attitude was very much, “Okay, we’re sorry to see you go. By the way, you are more than welcome to come back anytime you like, but we’ve let you leave.” Then I was really surprised at the time just how easy it was to leave, and then sure enough two years later I had a quick look, “Oh, their library’s better again. Now they’ve improved their service, I’m back.” I’ve been back now for probably a good two years. I’ve got no intention of leaving. I pay 10% of what I’ve paid Sky and I use it 10 times more.

Jason: So that I’m sure that you’re going to hit your goal, how does the environment affect your 85 centimetre waistline?

John: Well if I’ve got … if my environment is a fridge full of chocolate, a cupboard full of biscuits and I hang around with a load of couch potatoes, then I’m not going to achieve it. It’s not that I’m not going to achieve it, but it’s going to be harder for me. I can’t do moderation. I was back on the waggon so to speak, back to eating normally healthily yesterday, which was Monday, so on Sunday evening I am pigging out. I am literally … I had three helpings of Christmas pudding, half a tub of clotted cream with then double cream on top, biscuits, chocolates, cheese, absolutely everything that I shouldn’t be eating to hit my goal on Sunday for one reason and one reason only, so that it’s not in the house.

There is some stuff left now, but I have told Sarah, “Look, this is it.” We’re drawing a line underneath that as of Monday. I don’t want it because literally I don’t do moderation, I can’t have a biscuit. I can’t have a chocolate. I have a tub of biscuits, a whole thing of chocolates, an entire Christmas cake and a tub of clotted cream. Yeah, if I’ve got a fridge full of fruit and veg and a cupboard full of nuts and seeds and I hang around with a running club or I go to the gym and hang around with healthy people and my Facebook feed is full of Joe Wicks and Jason Vale, Tim Ferriss then actually the environment around me helps me so much more to actually hit that goal. Do you not find that?

Jason: Yes, I do. Absolutely, but I haven’t had a pigging out session to be fair [inaudible 00:41:28] Christmas [inaudible 00:41:29]. Perhaps I still need to that, or find somebody else to come and eat it for me.

John: I think the reason that helped me as well is because I pig out so much-

Jason: Then you’re sick of it.

John: Yeah, I do. I get to the stage where I do not want to see another piece of Christmas cake and I don’t want to see anymore chocolates, I’m just … I’ve absolutely had enough. Literally I was craving … about middle of last week I was craving nutrition. I was like, “Do you know what I’d really like now? A nice carrot, apple, beetroot and ginger juice,” and that’s what I had this morning. It was so good, although I did forget just how much ginger I put in, I was like, “Whoa.” I suppose the vocal chords still work at the moment because they are gingered out right now.

Jason: That’s four of our five magic ingredients. What’s number five then?

John: There’s an old saying isn’t there, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” In our businesses no one gets paid until someone takes action, and action is the fifth of the magic ingredients. Nothing gets done without action, whether that’s writing a sales letter, sending an e-mail campaign, picking up the phone to speak to a customer, writing a Facebook post or recording a podcast. Without taking action, everything else is meaningless. I can write down my 85 centimetre goal. I can share it with every man and his dog, put it out there publicly on Facebook posts and on audio, on podcasts. I can put consequences in place. I can make sure that I’ve aligned my goal with my desire. I can get all the knowledge, all the stepping stones I need. I can line all of those stepping stones up and I can make sure that the environment is right.

Sooner or later I’ve got to stop all that, because all of that’s planning. Sooner or later I’ve got to stop all that planning. I’ve actually got to bloody do something about it. I can make sure that my Lycra is ironed and that my fruit and veg is in the house, but I’ve got to actually eat the fruit and veg and I’ve actually got to put the Lycra on and I’ve actually got to put the running shoes on and get out the door and actually go for a run. Each of the five ingredients are pretty vital on their own, but most of them you could muddle through without one of them or two of them.

You do hear of people who thrive despite their environment or those who achieve huge success without really having much desire for it, but you never hear of any multimillionaire, uber successful businessman who never took any action. I’ve got the … all these five ingredients are written on the wall in my office.

Jason: We had a look at that didn’t we in one of your interim podcasts, which you’ll see in the … or the Facebook Live video, it’s not a podcast sorry, but yeah, Facebook Live. If you’re in the group you should be able to go back to the one just before Christmas, wasn’t it?

John: I think it was, yeah. It was the Work/Life Balancing one, wasn’t it?

Jason: Yeah, yeah, it was an update.

John: Literally in our Facebook group we do some in between-isodes. These podcasts tend to be 30, 40 minutes long, probably getting on for 50 minutes again this time, whereas when we’ve got perhaps a little bit of a shorter message, five minutes, 10 minutes or so we’ll record a little in between Facebook Live’s in the Facebook group. Again, Big Idea podcast is what you want to be searching on Facebook if you want to go in there. Yeah, one of those I did like you said just before Christmas was a followup to an episode we done on Work/Life Balance. If you’ve got any questions relating to this episode, ask them in the Facebook group and if appropriate we will do a followup recording just for you guys.

Part of my wall in my home office is … literally I’ve got all of these five ingredients written on the wall. I’ve got goals, desire, environment, knowledge, action. The first four are written in charcoal grey and they’re a particular font size, whereas action, I’ve got it actually printed in bright red. It’s one font size higher and I’ve got two exclamation marks there. That is to remind me that it is the biggest one that I can influence on a daily basis. All of the rest of them, yeah, long-term strategy, we’re looking at goals, we’re looking at aligning the goals with the desire. We’re looking at gaining knowledge. We’re looking at making sure the environment’s right, but every day I need to take action. It becomes habitual then because nothing, and I mean nothing happens without taking action.

The action that you need to take right now is to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or your podcast listening device of choice and join the community on Facebook. Jason, once again, how do they join our community on Facebook? We haven’t mentioned it three or four, five times so far have we?

Jason: No, not at all have we? Big Idea podcast, you’ll find that … type that into the search bar, hit search, find the group, apply and we will accept you in willingly and you can come and meet the lots of other people that are in there, find out about their businesses and what they’re doing and find out about your business and what you’re up to, too.

John: Cool. We’ve got a fantastic little community growing there now and it’s good to find so many people who’ve got like-minded aims and ambitions really. I think for 2017 we’re all going to have a bloody good year because we’re all in control of our own destiny. Now, as part of the weekly podcast we’ve introduced recently, a tool of the week feature and I’m hoping Jason, because that’s not on the script, but I’m hoping that you’ve got a tool of the week for us, otherwise it’s going to be a very short outro to this podcast.

Jason: I know. Well this week I’ve gone with a suggestion actually from Keith in our group. He put a couple of his tools down, one of which I do use myself. It’s Todoist. T-O-D-O ist, I-S-T. It’s a to-do list, but also it’s a bit more than that in terms of what you can do with it. It’s accessible through all of the devices online. It’s got API so you can connect it to your Gmail account and things like that. It’s got a freemium bit so it’s nice and basic, you can just have your to-do list and things, but if you pay 29 dollars a year you’ve also got lots of other features that you can do as well. Things like collaborations, so if you’re in a team you can again go back to some [inaudible 00:48:12] task and that kind of stuff, but it’s in a nice easy tick box format.

We talked about Trello, which is from the first week of these tools. This is a little bit more simpler, so a little bit more basic perhaps, but you can put your goals in there. You can put your jobs that you need to do. If you’ve got a task within your e-mail you can send that e-mail to Todoist and it appears in your list of things you’ve got to do today, tomorrow, next week, this year, whenever you need to do that. You can even do things like labelling, so you can put as many labels as you like on to each of those jobs that you’ve got to do. There’s things like projects, you can set up a project, so I have one for work, I have one for some of the other things that I do. You can set priorities as well to the jobs that you need to do and you can write, “This is my one thing to do today, and these are the other things I’d quite like to do, and this is the stuff which we might not get to today at all.” We can then make them pause, we can move them on to the next day or move them on to the next year or however we want to do it.

Yeah, it’s quite easy. As I say, it’s on all of the things. You have an app in your pocket, you have it on the computer, on your pad or wherever you want to do it. You can make little notes and things like that as well on the go so it’s something you can just like, bang, bang, bang, done. It’s a little bit easier to use I think than the Gmail task to-do thing that the Gmail and Google have got within Gmail. Yeah, so that’s my thumbs up this week, Todoist.

John: Todoist.

Jason: Todoist.

John: It’s all one word, yeah?

Jason: All one word, Todoist.

John: Todoist, not to-do list.

Jason: Not to-do list. Take the L out.

John: Well it’s interesting because I-

Jason: And thanks to Keith for putting his … because we put a post in our group didn’t we and kind of explaining some of the things, what do you use to make your life easier and that was one of his, and it’s one of mine, too.

John: Yeah, no definitely. Absolutely guys, if you’re in the community on Facebook and you’ve got any suggestions for our tool of the week, please do let us know because we’re keen to share obviously the best tools and the best resources that we can use to actually amplify your productivity. That’s interesting because I don’t use any … I use few apps or anything like that.

Jason: You’ve got a nice bit of paper in there, haven’t you?

John: I love pad and paper. I’m very old school with that and I think we must do a podcast on that one day because I-

Jason: Actually the one from you mentioned last week, the 90 day goal thing, I think we did the weekly sheet and that’s on the website from last week’s show, so there’s some of the paper and pen stuff that you do.

John: Yeah, I think we might have to have a old school versus new school podcast one week. If you’d like to see that guys, then let us know. If not, let us know again. This is your podcast.  Yeah, we decide what to do each week, but at the end of the day it’s … without you guys listening to the content we wouldn’t be here to do it for you.

Jason: We want to make it useful for you guys as well, so if there’s something that you’re stuck on or you need to do with your business or anything like that, then pop it into the Facebook group or send us an e-mail, we sent you the e-mail address a bit earlier, and we’ll include it in the podcast and we’ll talk about it, because then it’s useful for you guys as well. I’m sure if you’re asking it or you’re stuck on it there’s a heavy number of our group who would be also be interested.

John: We are back next week with another episode. Next week we are talking about the one thing that has made a big, big difference to my productivity. That’s probably where I’m going to be talking about old school.

Jason: Paper and pen.

John: Paper and pen, we may incorporate that into next week’s episode.

Jason: That’s next Monday lunchtime, isn’t it? We’re going back to lunchtime next week on a Monday.

John: Yeah, absolutely. If you want to watch it live in the Facebook group we record these literally live every Monday lunchtime. It goes out on iTunes a few days later, but you can actually watch it live. You can see our beautiful faces, which at the moment are bathed in the winter sunlight. I don’t think you can even see us at the moment. It’s very low winter sun coming through onto our kitchen table here. Yeah, you can comment on the episode, let us know what you want us to cover, watch the live recording of next week’s episode every Monday lunchtime. Again, in the Facebook group, Big Idea podcast is what you need to be searching for.

Show notes for everything we’ve mentioned today and everything we’ve talked about, obviously Todoist, we’ve also had quite a few book recommendations and mentions in here, which hopefully Rob has picked up on. I’m getting a nod from Rob. Those show notes will be available at bigidea.co.uk/podcast. In the meantime, we will see you next week. Bye bye!

Jason: Goodbye.