BiggerPockets Podcast 451: Stop Chasing the “False Summit”: Have Better Relationships and Results with Michael Hyatt

BiggerPockets Podcast 451: Stop Chasing the “False Summit”: Have Better Relationships and Results with Michael Hyatt

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Does it ever seem like working overtime is a competition? We often see people bragging about how they work 60 hour weeks, work on weekends, or spend the most time at the office or in front of their computer. Does this constant overworking actually accomplish something or is it more of a chest-beating competition?

Michael Hyatt argues that working crazy hours rarely does anything for our productivity, and if anything, can make our work sluggish and dull. He should know, in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as teams were working more than ever from home, Michael decided to do the opposite. Michael lowered his (and his team’s) working hours from 40 hours a week, to 30 hours a week. The result? A profit increase of nearly 100% and company-wide productivity boost.

Not only does your work quality benefit, but so do your relationships, your health, and your outlook on life when you are off of the “grind mode”. Michael believes this so much that he wrote a book about it. Win at Work and Succeed at Life goes through what Michael calls the “double win”: winning at life and work, with no tradeoffs!

Michael lists a handful of ways you can instantly improve your work/life balance. Tips on sleep, nutrition, and getting your “daily big 3” done so you can accomplish goals that matter, instead of just being productive. If you ever feel like a workaholic, these tips will help you align back to a productive yet enjoyable schedule.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets podcast show 451.

Michael:
Not all work is created equal. What you want to focus on is the work where you’ve got passion, you’ve got proficiency and is going to drive the results in your business.

Intro:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing, without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What’s going on, everyone? It’s Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, here with another phenomenal show with my friend Mr. David, the workhorse, Green. What’s up, man? You’re not such a workhorse anymore. You’ve been taking it a little bit light and easy lately.

David:
Well, I don’t know about light and easy, but I’m definitely taking more downtime.

Brandon:
Leveraged.

David:
There you go.

Brandon:
You’ve been leveraged lately.

David:
Yeah. Michael’s interview today is amazing, first off. If you are here, get excited because it’s going to be a great one.

Brandon:
You’re going to love it.

David:
We talk a lot about ways to basically improve your performance by looking at rest and having balance as something that isn’t necessarily a negative. What we didn’t talk about, but what I think is a great analogy, is the fact that a Honda Civic that used to commute doesn’t need to even be looked at except every 5,000 miles when you go change the oil. They can check your tire pressure. It’s a very basic car that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. But if you’re trying to be a race car, if you’re trying to be a Lamborghini or a NASCAR, man, a NASCAR needs a pit stop a couple times a race.

David:
They’re changing tires that frequently when you’re trying to perform better.

Brandon:
That’s good.

David:
Can you imagine trying to compete in NASCAR without ever taking a pit stop? That’s how many of us that are listening to this podcast have been living our lives.

Brandon:
Yeah, because high achievers need to take that time to make sure they’re focused on not just work, but work’s important. We talk about work today. We talk about the things you can do to improve your work, but we also talk about things to make sure that you have a clear definition between work and life. It’s something that I’m always trying to improve because that work-life balance, to quote the one thing, doesn’t really exist as much as work-life balance is seen. It’s almost more of a verb, right? Something that we continually do, and so this episode is going to help you a lot with that.

Brandon:
Plus, Michael has got a ton of great stories and anecdotes. He’s just a super cool guy. We actually had Michael on here back in episode 363, where we talked a lot about virtual assistants and hiring people. We talked about that a little bit today. But today, we go into it a little bit, again, a different approach, more of a holistic approach to, “Are you living a balanced life?” All that and more to come. But before we get to that, let’s get to today’s quick tip. All right, today’s quick tip is brought to you by David Greene.

David:
Today’s quick tip is ask yourself, “In what areas of life am I trying to make up for lack of impact with just extra what we call butt in seat time?” It’s very, very tricky to convince yourself you are productive because you sat in front of a computer eight hours that day, when in reality, you didn’t get a whole lot done. You could have worked for two hours, and have been much more productive than the eight. Break yourself out of the W2 mindset that says, “I get paid per hour, so I just have to be at the office, be at the computer.” Say, “I’m working.”

David:
Instead, ask yourself, “What activities do I need to be taking that will make me successful, and how can I break those activities down into smaller bite sized chunks that, like you said in the podcast, sometimes you can do in five seconds?”

Brandon:
There you go. Awesome, man. All right, well, with that said, I think it’s time to jump in the interview. Anything you want to add right before we bring in Michael?

David:
No, this is a great one. Let’s bring him in.

Brandon:
All right, here we go. This is our interview with Michael Hyatt.

Brandon:
All right, Michael, welcome back to the BiggerPockets Podcast, man. It’s awesome to have you here.

Michael:
Hey, thanks, Brandon. Good to be with you.

Brandon:
Sweet. Let’s jump into this thing. Last time you’re on the show, we talked about… I mean, we talked about a lot of stuff last time, but specifically, we talked a lot about assistants and hiring executive assistants for you in life, which I then did. Now, I have… Actually, I have two assistants now, which is awesome. Thank you, by the way. I took action what you taught.

Michael:
Well, congratulations. Congratulations.

Brandon:
It’s been life-changing.

Michael:
I can tell by Belle, who was just on, that you did well. I’m proud of you.

Brandon:
Thank you. She’s awesome. By the way, I used the BELAY for that one. I know you worked with BELAY in the past as well. They were great. It’s awesome.

Michael:
They make it easy.

Brandon:
Very much. Cool. All right, well, let’s jump in to this. You’ve got a new book out. I want to just start talking about that, because, I mean, I’m a reader, and I know you’re a reader, and our audiences are readers. Let’s talk about the book. What is it? What’s it about? We’ll just start there, and we’ll dive in.

Michael:
My new book is called Win At Work and Succeed at Life. It’s basically a manifesto against the cult of overwork. We’re presented today with this idea that you can win at work, or you can succeed at life. By that, I mean, maintain your health, your most important relationships, hobbies, et cetera. You can do one or the other, but you can’t do both. What we argue in the book, and I wrote this book with my oldest daughter who’s now the CEO of Michael Hyatt and Company, we wrote this book together. We really wanted to articulate these five principles to free yourself from the cult of overwork.

Brandon:
The cult of overwork, and it is a thing, right? It’s a bragging point in today’s culture of like, “Oh, I’m just so busy. I’m working all the time. I’m hustling, hustling, driving, driving, right?” It’s very much a status symbol.

Michael:
Definitely a status symbol. Woe to the person who doesn’t respond in that way. Somebody says, “Well, how’s work going?” You go, “Well, it’s pretty manageable. I’m working about 35, 40 hours a week.” I mean, you look like a slacker. That is definitely the cult of overwork, but it also comes at a very, very high price.

Brandon:
I’m sure we’ve all seen that meme or the Instagram post. I’ve seen it before. It says something like… I’m going to butcher it, but basically, it says like, “Wealth, family, friends,” something else, and it’s like, “You can pick two.” Basically, it’s like, “You can only have a couple of these things in life,” and so you’re saying that that’s not true, that there’s another way around it.

Michael:
Absolutely. I felt like for most of my career, I was faced with this impossible choice, where I could pick one or the other, but I couldn’t do both. As a result, I had this unspoken pact with my wife, and that is that she would raise the kids. I would work hard, make enough money to try to fund the entire enterprise, but we lived on parallel planets, basically. Finally, I woke up one day, and I start the story in the book where I’ve been hired to turn this one division around at a big corporate publicly held company, and this division happened to be number 14 out of 14, so it was dead last in every important financial metric.

Michael:
The CEO said, “How long will it take you to turn this division around, because it’s a total drag on the corporate earnings?” I said, “I think we can do it about three years.” I went back, rolled up my sleeves, shared with the team the vision of turning it around, and we worked hard. We were working 70, 80 hours a week, working on the weekends, working in the evenings. I was eating junk food. I wasn’t working out. I thought all that stuff could wait, but it paid off, because in a year and a half, we went from number 14 to number one in profitability, in growth, every significant metric.

Michael:
I got the biggest bonus check I had ever received in my life. It was more than my entire annual salary. I could not wait to get home to share it with Gail, and she’s always been super supportive, my biggest cheerleader. We’ve got five kids. I walked in, bounced into the house. I unfurl the check, and I said, “Look at this. Can you believe it?” I can tell there was just a hitching or giddy up. She just wasn’t her normal, enthusiastic self. She said, “Babe, we need to talk.” She led me into the den. We sat down. She said, “You know I love you. I’ve always tried to be super supportive.” But she said, “I gotta be honest with you. You are never home, and your five daughters need you.”

Michael:
She started to cry a little bit. She said, “Even when you are home, you’re not really here,” and then she really started crying. She said, “Honestly, I feel like a single mom.” That gutted me. That was the last thing I wanted to do was to put her into that position. I felt like… I justified it that I was doing it for the family the entire time, but I realized that this was no longer sustainable. The people that I was doing it for, I was hurting. I said, “There’s got to be a better way.” I think when most people confront that kind of choice, they do one of two things, either they hustle harder.

Michael:
They think, “Oh my gosh, if I can just work harder, get the big pay off, have enough money, then I can relax and give attention to my health. I can give attention to my family. Pay attention to my kids, all the rest,” but the problem is that number keeps growing. It’s like an unreachable carrot. The other alternative is what we call in the book the ambition break, where you say, “I am not going to be a slave to my work. I’m not going to do what my dad did, or I’m not going to do what my mom did. I’m going to give attention to my family. I’m going to be really there for my kids.”

Michael:
We throttle back our professional ambition, but the problem is for people that are high achievers, that’s not very satisfying, either. You feel like you’ve got all this wasted potential, and it just doesn’t work. This was 20 years ago. That set me on a quest to find a third way to say, “What if there was a way to win at work and succeed at life?” A lot of times, it was three steps forward, two steps back, but I started getting momentum. This is now something we call the double win. We teach it to our clients. We practice it ourselves with our staff, and it works.

Brandon:
The double win, you’re winning at home. You’re winning at work.

Michael:
That’s right.

Brandon:
I think that that is super important because, again, people… Especially, I noticed this with starting out entrepreneurs, the real estate, people who listen to our show, and I was there as well, I just would go all in on something, all in on it. I was there because I felt like I had to get there and had to climb this mountain. I always tell myself like, “I’m almost at the top.” Do you ever climb a mountain, or do a big hike?

Michael:
Yes.

Brandon:
You think it’s the top right there, and so you start, you’re like, “Oh, I just gotta go over that ridge. I’m there. I’m at the top,” and you get up there and you’re like, “Okay, that wasn’t the top. I get to the next top right there, and start going to that one.”

Michael:
That’s right.

Brandon:
There’s always this other top, and I never make the top of the mountain. That’s what I feel like 15 years of my life was, was always saying, “I’m almost there.” When I get this thing, I’m going to be at the top, and I can relax a little bit. It’s a lie.

Michael:
It is. Inside the book, we call that the false summit. It’s like you think you’ve made it, and you get up there and you go, “Man, this is not what I expected, or this is not what I hoped, or did I really sacrifice all those years of my life for this?” It’s very unsatisfied. We pick in the book on Elon Musk. Without a doubt, I mean, he’s a phenomenal entrepreneur, and he’s become an icon, especially to an entire generation of young entrepreneurs. He famously said, at one point, he said that unless you’re working 80 to 100 hours a week, you’re not going to create that big thing and make a dent in the universe.

Michael:
The problem is that it’s just not sustainable. In fact, it hasn’t worked out pretty long. He’s gone through two marriages now. He admits that his five boys hardly speak to him. He’s basically… All he’s got is his work. He’s married to his work, because everything else is in the trashy behind him.

Brandon:
You know what, it brings up a good point about the people we idolize in life. We see these people like, “Oh, I would love to be like a Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or Elon Musk,” or even in our industry like, you look at them like, “Wow, I would love to be like them.” But at what cost?

Michael:
That’s right.

Brandon:
I tried really hard lately that when I think about people I want to be like, I always want to look at the rest of their life. Do I really want to be like them the rest of my life? A lot of times, the answer is no.

Michael:
No, that’s exactly right. That’s why you have to consider the totality of their lives, because life is multidimensional. One of the things that we argue in the book is that all these different domains of life, you’ve got a spiritual domain, intellectual, emotional, physical, financial, your vocation. You got your marriage. You got your kids. You got all these different things, but they’re all interrelated, and they all affect each other. This is just common sense, right? I mean, you get sick, and it’s going to affect your work.

Michael:
You’re feeling stressed at work, it’s going to affect your marriage. You’re having a spat with your spouse. You’re going to drag that to work. All these things are interconnected. That’s why work life balance, which a lot of people love to make fun of today, is actually essential, and it’s possible, but it depends on how we define it.

David:
I think when I hear work-life balance, I often thought it means a perfect balance of two hours a day for this, two hours a day for this, two hours a day for this. Then obviously, when you get into the trenches, you find that that is pretty much impossible to actually maintain, that you swing back and forth between, “Work needs me more. Family needs to be more.” Can you maybe illustrate a little bit of how that should work, in your opinion, Michael?

Michael:
I think that sometimes when we define balance, we think that every compartment of our life, every category of our life gets the same distribution of resources, our attention, our focus, our money, our time, but that’s not what it means at all. What it means is that every category of our life gets the appropriate amount of attention, and it’s more like walking across a balance beam, where when you’re walking across a balance beam, most of the time, you’re out of balance, and you’re trying to shift your weight around to stay in balance. That’s how life works.

Michael:
There are seasons when you have to go all in on work. Maybe you’ve got… In your world, you’re launching some new development project or some new apartment complex. It’s coming out of the ground. I don’t know what it is, but you’ve got something that requires all in for a period of time, but you gotta be careful that that doesn’t become a way of life. Where it usually goes off the rails is you get seduced into thinking that situation is temporary, but one temporary emergency leads to another temporary emergency leads to another temporary emergency.

Michael:
Before long, you’ve got maybe 10 years of being completely out of balance. That’s why you’ve gotta visit the honest planet occasionally. Look in the mirror and say, “Okay, what’s really going on here?” The problem is work is incredibly seductive. I mean, you think about spending time at work compared to spending time at home. At work, there’s a defined when. At home, not so much. Kids, especially, a marriage, these are long-term projects where you see little incremental improvement, and sometimes you think you’re good backwards, not forwards.

Michael:
At work, there’s a lot of rewards. There’s a lot of attaboys, a lot of satisfaction. At home, not so much. It’s pretty thankless a lot of times. At work, you get to experience flow, where you’re doing something you love, you’re really good at, and time just seems to fly by because you’re enjoying it so much. At home, sometimes it feels like you’re watching paint dry. It can be so slow. I think we got to realize all these psychological effects on us, that keep us in the work mode. That’s the place where we know what we’re doing.

Michael:
Sometimes at home, we don’t really know what we’re doing, and we weren’t taught or whatever, but we’ve gotta get over that if we’re going to build long-term success.

Brandon:
That’s such a good point. I struggle with that a lot, where, again, when I’m when I’m doing work, whether it’s the real estate stuff I do, whether it’s the educational side of what I do like with BiggerPockets, stuff, I love it. I’m in it. I just feel so good. I’m like conquering things. I’m like, “Dude, I love to conquer things, right?” But then I go home, and I’m sitting on the floor with my daughter. I love Rosie with all of my heart, but after an hour of playing tea games, I’m like, “I need to go out to my office, and go get some work done.”

Brandon:
I struggle because it just feels so mundane to sit there and play tea party for an hour, two hours, because I’m not getting those dopamine hits of like, “I just conquered this new thing, I recorded this video or whatever,” but I’m really trying, because I know that at the end of my life, I’m never going to look back and say, “I wish I would have spent less time playing tea party. I’m going to look back if we’re too much.”

Michael:
That’s exactly right. Take it from me. I’ve been married for 42 years. My wife and I have a great marriage. We occasionally don’t have a great marriage. But most of the time, it’s pretty darn great.

Brandon:
Sure.

Michael:
We have five daughters. They’re all adults between 30 and 40. We’ve got nine grandkids. Buddy, I’m going to just tell you something. It is worth it. It is worth whatever you have to do to make sure that you give the proper attention to your family, because when you have kids that are grown that are among your best friends, that actually want to be with you and spend time with you, when you actually want to be with the person you’re married to, and go vacation with them, and you can’t wait to get home from the office and share with them what happened, I mean, that’s priceless.

Brandon:
One of my buddies once jokingly said, but it was half serious, he said that he didn’t want kids, but kids are a 20-year investment in the last 40 years of your life. I love that. He ended up having… I think he has six kids right now. He obviously loves kids, but his point was you have kids, and then you get grandkids later, and the grandkids are a lot. I mean, I’m sure you know they’re fun people. I love them. You don’t have to change their diapers every time, but you still get the joy of having them around.

Michael:
That’s right.

Brandon:
Otherwise, I really do worry about if I get… Before I had kids, my wife and I struggled to have kids for a number of years. I thought, “Well, if I went and had no kids ever, and I get 65, 70 years old, 80 years old, with our technology today, we’re probably going to live to 130, 140.” That’s a long time to have no family afterwards. Obviously, you can build good, solid friendships, and you can adopt in other people’s families, but that… I wanted to always make sure that my kids were they’re number one, because a good chunk of my life will be after the work years are over, and a good reminder. A good reminder.

Michael:
Absolutely right.

Brandon:
All right, so let’s talk about… In the book, you talk about that the double win. We talked about that. What are some things… Let’s go tangible here. What are some things people should be doing to get more balance in their life to get the double win?

Michael:
One of the things that we talked about in the book… In fact, the way the book is structured is around these five principles of the double win. Let me just jump to the second one, because it’s super practical, and it’s this, constraints foster productivity, creativity, and freedom. Typically, we think if there’s a constraint, that that is the enemy of freedom, right? We want to work in a world without constraints. If I need to work 12 hours a day, 14 hours a day, I want to work that way. Let me tell you a story. Back after I had that experience with my wife, Gail in the den, where she told me she felt like a single mom, I thought, “I need an executive coach. I gotta have somebody that helps me figure this out.”

Michael:
I hired a guy. In fact, I hired a guy named Daniel Harkavy of Building Champions. He became one of my best friends. We co wrote a book together called Living Forward. One of the things that Dan-

Brandon:
I love that book.

Michael:
Oh, thank you.

Brandon:
Great book.

Michael:
Thank you. Well, Daniel said to me, as he began to coach me, he said, “I want you to put hard boundaries on your day because you don’t have boundaries, buddy.” He said, “Here’s what your day looks like.” He said, “In the middle of the afternoon when you think, “Oh, well, I might not get this done this afternoon,” you think to yourself…” He’d coached tons of people, so he knew what I was thinking. He said, “You think to yourself, “Well, I’ll go home. Eat a bite with the family, and then I’ll crack open my laptop, and I’ll get right back to work.” There’s no boundaries in your life. By your own admission,” he’s saying to me, he said, “You’re working Saturday mornings. You’re working Sunday night. You don’t really take vacations.”

Michael:
“I mean, you might go with the family to the vacation destination, but you’re working in the morning for most of the morning while your family is at the beach. You’re taking phone calls, answering emails, all that stuff. You’re not really present there.” He said, “I want you to establish hard boundaries.” I said, “Okay, I would.” Back in those days, I decided that I would establish a hard boundary. I wouldn’t start till nine in the morning, and I would finish promptly at six. Now, I do a lot better than that now, but that was the start back then. I said, “I won’t work on the weekends, and I won’t work on vacation.”

Michael:
That was really hard. Daniel asked me for permission if he could call Gail periodically and check in and see how I was doing.

Brandon:
I love it.

Michael:
That was the scariest thing ever, but I said, “Okay, gulp.” He did. He would follow up and say, “How’s Michael doing?” Because I had that accountability, because I had the coaching and because I established the hard boundaries, everything shifted right then because here’s what started happening. Do you know how it is like on the Friday before you go on vacation? You got all this stuff you got to get done. You’ve got a hard deadline, and you’re like Superman. You get a week’s worth of work done in a Friday just because you’ve got that constraint. Well, the same thing happens every day when you have a hard quit time, because I would say, “Look, I don’t have time to goof off. I don’t have time to check Facebook or chitchat with this person in the hallway. I gotta stay focused here, because it’s 6:00 p.m. I’ve committed to Daniel, and I’m committed to Gail, and Daniel’s going to check in with Gail. I gotta finish at 6:00.”

Michael:
I can’t work on the weekend, so I can’t drag the work home. What are my priorities for this week? How can I stay focused on them, and actually get them done. Now, here’s what’s really interesting about constraints. Can I tell you their story?

Brandon:
Please.

Michael:
Back when the pandemic started, hard to believe it’s been almost a year as we’re recording this, but we have about 40 full-time employees. Most of them are younger couples or younger parents who have small kids. Now, all of a sudden, they had no childcare. They had no nannies. They had no daycare. They had no school, nothing. The kids were underfoot. They’re trying to work from home. It was crazy, a lot of stress. Plus, they’re getting all this stress from the macro environment, the economic downturn, all the stuff that was happening with the summer with protests and the riots and so forth. Everybody is under a lot of stress.

Michael:
For the end of March, we said, “Okay, as an experiment, we’re going to move to a 30-hour work week. We’re going to work from 9:00 to 3:00. We’ve already were practicing the hard boundary thing with our previous work day, which was 9:00 to 5:00, but we’re going to go 9:00 to 3:00. We’re not going to dock anybody’s pay. Everybody’s going to get paid the exact same before this started, we’re going to try it for two weeks, and then we’re going to analyze the productivity and make sure that the constraints that we’ve implied have actually improved productivity, or at least allowed it to remain the same.”

Michael:
The end of two weeks, executives got together. We said, “Okay, what do we think? It seems to be working. We can’t see any slip. We can’t tell any difference, honestly.” We said, “Okay, let’s do it for a month.” Then we said, “Let’s do it through the summer,” and then when we got to our strategic planning in late September of this last year, we said, “Guys, let’s make this permanent.”

Brandon:
That’s cool.

Michael:
I mean, I can’t tell any difference. We’re working 30 hours a week. Everybody’s just as productive. We just finished 2020, and we were up 100% over last year over our profit. We were highly profitable last year. We doubled it this year. We grew our top line by about 50%, and that was in a pandemic working fewer hours. This stuff does work.

Brandon:
It’s really good.

Michael:
It’s true for our clients too. They’ve been doing very similar things with similar results.

Brandon:
That’s so good. To add to the constraint thing, what I did recently… This goes back to the comment we talked about having an assistant. One of the most valuable pieces of an assistant is that I tell her my constraints, and then she makes sure that I hold to them versus… Let’s say I was only going to work… I’ll do two example. I am taking Tuesdays off for what I call just creative work. I can surf if I wanted to. I go sit by myself at a coffee shop, or I could go film a video or whatever. It’s just creative work, no meetings. Then Friday, I’m trying to take off just entirely. I don’t work Fridays.

Brandon:
I’m trying to cram everything in the Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s working just fine, but if somebody asks me, “Hey, Brandon,” a friend of mine, “Hey, can you do a podcast episode on Friday, or hey, can we go analyze this deal together on Friday?” I would always say yes. I go, “Cool. I got the whole day free. Look at my schedule. This is wide open, right?” But as soon as I had an assistant, and I told her what my constraints were, she just made everything fit within the days that I have, and now on Fridays, I’m like, “I have nothing to do today. This is amazing.”

Brandon:
That alone is worth the cost of an assistant just for the amount of free time it’s given me, because it forces me to not emotionally say yes to things, but to make her fit within the constraints that I’ve given her. That’s been huge.

Michael:
Well, I’ll tell you what’s at play there too is that you’re doing what Stephen Covey talks about when he says, “We need to put a pause between the stimulus and the response, because in that pause, Dr. Covey says, is our freedom. The problem is when you get to the stimulus, somebody says, “Hey, Brandon, how about we do this on Friday? I need to pick your brain. Can we have coffee, whatever?” I’m the same way, by the way. I would just say yes, because there’s no pause, but now, what I say is, “Look, that sounds amazing.” If I didn’t know the day, I said, “I’d love to do it with you, but I tell you what, you gotta check with Jim, who is my assistant, because Jim runs my calendar. We have an agreement I don’t touch my calendar, so work it out with Jim. We’ll find a time.”

Brandon:
Exactly.

Michael:
That gives me the pause, because Jim can come back to me later and say, “Hey, I know you wanted to do this in the moment, but do you still want to do this, or is it really important? Can we push it out?” Now, we’ve got all kinds of options.

David:
So good. All right, let me play devil’s advocate here for a minute. Let’s say you’re a young hustler. You wanted to do big things in life. You know it’s going to take some work to get there, and you hear Brandon say, “I want Fridays free.” The first thought that goes through your head is, “Well, that’s 20% of the week that I can use to be more productive than Brandon. I’m going to catch him and pass him if I work Fridays, and he doesn’t.” Michael, is that what you found in your experience as the case?

Michael:
No, I didn’t find that. I think that makes rational sense. I think that that makes sense. That’s basically the same kind of argument that Elon Musk makes when he says you work 100 hours a week, because you’ll work in three months what it takes everybody else to do in a year. The problem is those last few hours are not as productive. Now, I have nothing against working five days a week. I work three days a week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I have nothing work five days a week or working 40 hours a week, but the science says that once you get past about 50 hours a week, it’s counterproductive.

Michael:
In fact, there’s a Stanford study that we quote in the book that says, “People who work 70 hours got nothing more accomplished than those that work 50.”

Brandon:
Amazing. I totally agree.

Michael:
20 hours of just busy work or we call it fake work, and you can keep yourself busy. You can do low leverage work, but here’s the cool thing. This is the Pareto’s principle. We’ve got this baked into our planner, the full focus planner, but we identify our daily big three. Now, based on our survey with our clients, the average person with a task list has 15 items when they wake up in the morning that they’ve got to get done they think that day, 15 items, but those are all kinds of items. Some of them are really important, related to a quarterly goal. Some of them are just low leverage work, checking email, whatever.

Michael:
What we say is if 20% of the effort drives 80% of the result, which is the Pareto Principle, then 20% of 15 would be three. What are the three tasks among those 15 that if you could nail those, you could declare victory, because they contribute to an important project, and they contribute to a goal? That’s what we do. I declare victory when I get my big three done for the day. If I get other things done, that’s just bonus. I can choose to do it or choose not to do it, but getting those big three done if you do that every day, day in and day out five days a week, and that’s where… I think, David to answer your question, it’s more about focusing on tasks that matter, not on time with your butt in the seat.

Brandon:
That’s so, so good. Tim Ferriss from The 4-Hour Work Week that came out, what, I don’t know, 15 years ago maybe now, a long time ago, but that was probably the most impactful thing he said in that book was where he said, “If there was a gun to your head, and you could only work four hours, that’s where the word came from, the phrase came from, the title came from, you could only work four hours a week, and there’s a gun to your head that said, “You cannot work more than that,” what are the tasks that you would actually do to move your business forward?” It really forces you to think, “Well, what would I do?”

Brandon:
Let’s apply this to real estate investors who are listening right now. I would guess 95% of what a real estate, a new real estate investor does, is not contributing towards the things that’s going to give them the deal or get them in the game. If you’re not actively analyzing a property, looking at a property, talking to a real estate agent, making an offer, sitting in a bank talking to a banker, those are the things that actually drive you forward. What they’re doing is they’re reading a little bit. They’re making a business card. They got a really nice logo. They got all this stuff, but they’re not doing the work because they don’t have the constraints.

Brandon:
They’re not like… They’re just working here. When you really boil it down to what are the fundamental things that you do and… The great part is you can ask somebody who’s further along in any industry, who’s further along. I mean, Michael, you ran publishing for a long time. We have a publishing company at BiggerPockets. We came to you and said, “Hey, we want to get on the New York Times bestsellers list. What are the five things I gotta do?” I know you’ve been there. You’d be like, “Okay, do one, two, three, four and five.” Then I could… Now, I know what those fundamental tasks are versus me just wandering around trying to figure this out with 40, 50, 60 hours a week. It’s amazing.

Michael:
We’re just doing a lot of busy stuff, right? In promoting this book, I could go out there and be on 150 different podcasts, and probably 140 of them would matter. Being on BiggerPockets matters, right? This is a high leverage opportunity for me to promote the book, and so not all work is created equal. That’s a fundamental principle that we have in the book. Not all work is created equal. What you want to focus on is the work where you’ve got passion, you’ve got proficiency, and is going to drive the results in your business. That’s a few things every day.

Brandon:
That’s so good. I love the whole… One of the three things you’re going to accomplish today, get that done. I always also add like… I know you do as well. If you can define, what is the next step to get that done today, because a lot of people just haven’t defined what that is. Usually, it’s a five-minute task. It’s like, “You send an email. Make a text message, right? Make a phone call.” It’s always a simple little thing. Go on a website and type in a couple words. Now, you’ve got the next step. If you just did that, if every day, people… I mean, and again, I got a lot of this from reading your content over the years.

Brandon:
If you have a vision of where you want to get to, and then you boil that down to annual goals, quarterly goals, what are you going to do this week? What are you going to do today?

Michael:
That’s it.

Brandon:
What am I going to do in the next five minutes? If you always ask that question, and it was all aligned in this nice aligned thing, I believe all success is a series of five minute easy tasks, everything. I mean, if a brain surgery is a series of five-minute tasks or less, some of them are three seconds, right? Cut here. Put here, but people aren’t… They don’t define what those steps are. They’re doing steps that aren’t actually aligned in that vertical, so they’re doing things that don’t get them closer. But if that’s all people did…

Brandon:
I’m ranting here, but this is so important, right? If they just knew where they’re headed, and then align their daily actions with that, it’s like success should not be a surprise. It’d be like, “Well, of course, I got a six pack. I lined up. Of course, I got a million dollar net worth. Of course, I bought an apartment complex. Of course, I published a New York Times bestseller,” because it’s not a mystery.

Michael:
Well, it’s interesting, this morning, as we’re recording this, it’s the day after the Superbowl. Tom Brady just had his amazing seventh championship, which just killed it. He was like a machine, so methodical, so calm, so confident, just executed one play after another. I was talking to my business accelerator clients today. I was saying, “Success is not an accident. Tom Brady just didn’t show up to play that game.” I found this article in The New York Post this morning. It talked about his training regimen. Oh, my gosh, unbelievable, but it’s a series of small things. It’s him taking care of the small things working a system, and a system will be the goal every time.

Michael:
If you’ve got a system, it’ll be the goal every time. Tom Brady has a system, and so it’s what he eats. It’s the fact that he sleeps nine hours every night, that he works out with a trainer that he really works on his mindset. He exercises his brain. He uses this app called BrainHQ. He plays it for a couple of hours every day, because when they’re on the game field, and he’s got a few seconds to look downfield, identify somebody that’s open, and throw a pass. He’s got just seconds to do that, and so he’s gotta keep his brain sharp as well as his body sharp.

Michael:
It just made me see that the people that really succeed are people that have a system, and they work that system every day. We think sometimes that it’s gotta be this massive killer deal, this big breakthrough thing that’s going to launch us into orbit, not usually. Not usually.

Brandon:
That’s so true. Nobody’s ever like… I mean, I don’t know anybody who says, “Yeah, Tom Brady just got lucky today.” Nobody says Tom… It would be horrible, but why do we say that about every other business like, “Oh yeah, that CEO just got lucky. That real estate investor got lucky?” If you look at their life, they’re doing it, and so then to twist that one further is when if you’re listening right now wondering why you haven’t had success the past year or six months or two months, whatever, ask yourself, “Are you doing the actual steps every day that should have given you the success?” I think the answer most of the time is probably not.

Brandon:
Now, I want to twist this a little bit, and fire this over to David real quick, because David here is probably the most picture perfect example of somebody who was a complete workhorse. David’s whole story, we don’t have to go on the whole thing, but you worked 100 hours a week for years as a cop, right? I want you to explain that, and then where you are today. I mean, you’ve been just hanging out here with me for the last month in Hawaii. Talk about that real quick, David.

David:
It fits in really good with what we’re talking about. I’m like a case study in everything that are being sold. To be frank, I was the most stubborn human being evolved, where I heard people say this, and I just didn’t stop. Well, as Michael, you were talking, what I realized was I was that person who would say, “Well, you work four days a week. I’m going to work seven, and I’m going to be twice as successful as you.” It was for because in the post industrial era W2 environment, you are compensated for hours per butt in seat time, whatever you want to call that.

Michael:
This is important. This is important.

David:
I learned I was succeeding by having my butt in the seat, and so my brain would rewire itself to say, “How can I rearrange my life so that I can be at work all the time?” I bought a car that I could sleep in, so I wouldn’t have to commute back and forth. I set up my life and my businesses to the point where I was not responsible for buying Christmas presents. I need someone else to do it because I had to be at work all the time. When I got out of that world and into the entrepreneurial world, which is just a way of saying a world where there’s some creativity and freedom that will make you successful, I brought that old way of thinking into it just like I brought a football body into a soccer match.

David:
It was the stupidest thing you could do. You can’t keep running with a football body when my brain had been built a certain way. I did not understand that your brain is much more like your body. It needs rest. It needs recovery, short spurts of intense activity, and then a period of rest followed make it perform so much better. Imagine if you went to the gym and said, “I’m going to get a seven-hour workout in. Because you’re only going to work out for half an hour, I’ll be 14 times stronger than you when we’re done.” That’s how I was actually living life. Now, I’m in this… It felt like a leap of faith, but what you guys are saying is what I’m trying to do.

David:
I came to Hawaii and said, “I’m not going home until something breaks in my business, and I’m needed, or I think I’d be happier there than here.” It’s not going to be because I think my business needs me. The opposite happened of what I was afraid of. We just put 51 houses in escrow. This time last year, we were crushing it at 28. We’ve almost doubled it all during COVID. I’ve been working less. I’ve been doing less of the tasks. Every time something comes up that needs butt in seat time for David, I say, “Okay, if I have to do it, I will, but I’m never going to have to do it again.”

David:
Who do I have to teach? How am I going to leverage this? What do I have to do to make sure that this never actually makes its way through all the firewall and gets to my desk? Someone else should have caught it. I think the reason I’m being more or I’m seeing more success is that this forces me to train everybody that’s underneath me. I now have 10 Davids of people on my team, instead of a me. I’m recognizing the less time my butt is in the seat, the more people there are that are doing this, and we’re getting exponential returns. It’s sort of embracing leadership as opposed to just doership.

Brandon:
Doership.

Michael:
I love that. I love that times 10. That’s such a great example. I wish I could have interviewed you for the book, because that’s a good example. The other thing too that I think that illustrates David is tension is the enemy of performance. I don’t know if you guys golf-

Brandon:
A little bit.

Michael:
… but the worst thing you can do-

David:
Not well. Not well.

Michael:
I don’t golf well either, but it’s true for any sport. If you’re tense, you’re not going to perform. Like most of my golf instructor has just said to me, “Okay, just relax. Relax your grip. You’re holding that golf club like you’re trying to choke it.” I think that’s true in life too. When I’ve got the biggest deals, when I’ve made the biggest deals, when I’ve made the biggest advance in my business, had the big breakthroughs, it’s been when I was in a state where I was relaxed, not tensed, not stressed out of my mind and usually when I was doing something other than work. One of the things we argue in the book…

Michael:
Again, it’s called Win at Work, Succeed at Life, but we talk about rest is the foundation of productive, meaningful work, and the cult of overwork devalues rest. It’s like rest has no commercial value. It can’t be monetized, so we want to try to minimize it and get by with as little sleep as we can. I once published a book back when I was in the book publishing business. It was basically how to survive on four hours of sleep a night. It was the same argument that David was making, that, man, if I could work those four hours that my competitors are sleeping, think how much the leg up I could get on them.

Michael:
Well, that has all kinds of dangerous, debilitating health impacts, social impacts, relational impact, and all the rest. We argue for rest, being really methodical about it. Boy, that was the thing that was really clear in that Tom Brady article in The New York Post, is that he is religious about getting to bed at 8:30 at night, and waking up at 5:30, because he knows he needs that much sleep in order to perform at his best. We talked about sleep. We talked about hobbies, another way to be relaxed. When you’re doing something… For me, it’s fishing, golfing, playing a musical instrument.

Michael:
Some of my biggest breakthrough business ideas have come not when I was working on the business, but when I was doing something relaxing like that.

Brandon:
I’d say a lot of my good ideas have been either driving around like when my kids are in the car sleeping, just driving, no music, jogging. I’m just jogging. If I’m listening to music when I’m jogging, it’ll just be songs that I like, so my mind just wanders and it’s just like… That’s where I get all that. It’s like that rest and time. Then sleep in general, I’m not good at sleeping, because I stay up way too late, either working or just watching a Netflix or whatever. Then I’m like, “Oh, but I gotta get up really early because miracle Morning. I gotta wake up early.” Then I wake up early.

Brandon:
I’m getting six hours a night, sometimes five and a half. I feel it in my body. Then once or twice a week, I just crash, and I sleep for nine hours. It’s a really unhealthy way to function. You got any tips for just changing that about myself and those people who are listening who might be nodding along right now? Any tips on that?

Michael:
I used to think that having an alarm to wake up by was an important thing. I don’t think that anymore. I think having an alarm to go to bed on time is an important thing, but to just be rigorous about that, because sleep is so tied to performance, to focus. Sometimes people wonder why they feel like they’re ADD. They may be clinically ADD. That’s the thing, but sometimes, we’re just unfocused because we haven’t had enough rest. When you’re sitting there reading the same paragraph over and over again in a book, that’s usually because you haven’t had a good night’s sleep.

Michael:
We have an inability to deal with conflict when we’re tired. It impacts our heart health. This is what got my attention. When you sleep only on average, anything less than seven hours sleep a night, you increase your risk of heart attack dramatically. I can’t remember the exact stat is, but heart health and rest are key. In fact, it’s true for every disease. One of the best ways to build your immune system, we all know this, is getting adequate rest. If there were two other books that I could recommend to you, you may have read them already, but one is Rest by Alec Pang, P-A-N-G.

Michael:
He wrote another book that actually got us into the shorter workweek, a book called Shorter. In that book, he presents all the scientific evidence for why a shorter work week is actually more productive, why you’ll accomplish bigger things if you do that.

Brandon:
That’s cool. I have not read that, but I fully believe it. Man, I fully believe it. That does worry me like, if I… I’ve heard lack of sleep is the new smoking. It’s worse for your body than smoking. I beg, “You drink soda every day all day, or you smoke every day. I’m way better than that. Right? But am I? Because if I’m not getting the right sleep I needed, then…”

Michael:
No, that’s true. I advocate and have practice now for about 30 years, I take a 30-minute nap right after lunch every day. I’ve done it in every kind of environment. I’ve done it when I was working in a corporate environment, when I was the CEO and when I was in middle-level management. I figured out a way to do it. That completely reboots my system. That’s another thing that’s worth studying is the value of naps.

Brandon:
100% agree. I read this somewhere. I don’t know what book I read it in at one point, but I do this. I’d never taken a nap from the time I was four up until I think I was 32 maybe. Three years ago, maybe I started trying to get… I did a couple things. One, they say drink a cup of coffee. Have you heard this before? Drink a coffee right before you take a nap. Drink a cup of coffee, and you fall asleep, and then 20 minutes later, the caffeine hits you and it wakes you back up again. That’s worked really well for me. If I sleep more than about 25 minutes, though, I’m shot for the next four hours, but 25 is my… 15 to 25 is ideal for me.

Michael:
Well, what the science says is that 26 minutes is the ideal length.

Brandon:
Really?

Michael:
I just had my doctor told me that.

Brandon:
That’s funny. If you go over that, you just start feeling worse, and the longer you nap, the worse you feel.

Michael:
Totally.

David:
Don’t turn your computer off, but hit Control Alt Delete. Let it restart. Then you gotta redo it, right?

Brandon:
A quick restart.

Michael:
It’s reboot.

Brandon:
There you go.

Michael:
Exactly.

Brandon:
One thing that has actually improved my sleep dramatically, probably one of the… If I had to pick up an app that’s changed my life, the most of all the apps in the app store on my phone that I’ve used, I have the app Calm. That’s C-A-L-M. It’s a meditation app, but I actually don’t use it for the meditation really, because I just can’t get myself into the habit, but the sleep stories on Calm have… I went from taking an average of an hour to fall asleep every night, which was it was very typical hour, hour and a half, two hours to fall asleep. My brain just won’t stop working.

Brandon:
I put on a stupid sleep story like a train ride through the Switzerland Alps or something like that. I don’t know. Within five minutes, almost every single night, I fall asleep, so the key is [crosstalk 00:45:43].

Michael:
It’s literally a story?

Brandon:
It’s literally a story. They’re like, “You get on the train at this stop, and there’s the clouds out the window.” They just tell you the story, and sometimes it’s reading things like childhood stories like Alice in Wonderland, but it’s engaging enough to keep you interested, but not enough so that your body fights sleep. It changed my life. I still struggle with actually turning it on and going to bed, because I just want to stay up because I’m like, “I like staying up late,” but for people who struggle with the mind just relaxing. Then they have another one called Moshi for kids.

Brandon:
This works for my daughter as well. She’ll take a half hour to fall asleep at night just wiggly and whatever, but I’ll put on this Moshi app. It’s a story about these little Moshi characters, little stuffed animals basically. Within a minute, she’s out. It’s just something about getting your brain focused in on a fairly dull story that just changes lives. That’s cool.

Michael:
This could be a whole new market for books that are boring.

Brandon:
It could be. [inaudible 00:46:38] reading very, very dry, boring books and let people fall asleep. I tried doing it with fiction. I can’t do it. I’m into the book wondering what comes next. It’s a terrible idea, or real estate. I start listening to strategies or business stuff. I just can’t do it, but a story about a train ride through the Alps, and I’m out.

Michael:
That’s awesome.

David:
My books are perfect for this.

Brandon:
Your books are-

David:
Yeah, so if you’re having trouble sleeping, buy any of my books. They will put you [crosstalk 00:47:03], and they will make you more productive the next day.

Brandon:
There you go.

David:
It’s actually why I wrote terrible books was because I wanted people to be more successful.

Brandon:
There you go. I love it.

Michael:
It’s a public service.

Brandon:
You’re a good man. All right, man, well, we slowly move towards the back half, I’m wondering where… Let’s talk about some more tangible things people can do. I know you have the things that leaders can do to implement the double win. I mean, we talked about one of them, but what else can you throw at us?

Michael:
If you want to implement this with your team and all that, which I think is really important, one of the things to do is to make sure that you’re modeling it, that you’re leading by example. I think this is true for anything that you want to change in your company, because I don’t just want to double win for me. I want to double win for my team, right?

Brandon:
100%.

Michael:
I want them not to burn out. I want to retain them. I want them to show up as the best version of themselves, where they’re highly focused, highly productive, and actually get it done. I think that that starts with us as leaders, because if we’re saying one thing, and modeling something different, guess what people are going to do. They’re going to follow our example. I used to have an executive back when I was at Thomas Nelson Publishers, who was a total workaholic. I mean, he’d literally, and he was running a major division in our company. He had hundreds of people working for him, and he would work till 7:00 at night, 8:00 at night.

Michael:
I said to him, “Buddy, I said, this is contrary to the kind of culture that we’re trying to build here.” By this time, I was an alcoholic that gotten sober, and I was on this big thing to try to get everybody to not work so much. He said, “Well, I just can’t do it.” I said, “Well, here’s…” He said, “I don’t have any kids at home. It doesn’t matter.” I said, “But what about for the people that are working for you that do have kids at home? They’re here trying to keep up with you, instead of being home with their family, and their kids need them. I can never get them to do it, but it’s gotta start with you. It’s gotta start with you. You’ve got to model the behavior that you expect.”

Michael:
I think to teach on this and to give explicit permission… By the way, when we say double win, we’re not talking about compromising your professional goals. We’re not talking about somehow putting the brakes on your ambition or pulling back on what you want to achieve. If anything, my goals are bigger today than they’ve ever been, and so I say to my people, when I teach this, and I think if you want to have a company that’s practicing this and actually benefiting from it, then I think you’ve gotta give them a lot of reason why. One of the reasons I keep telling them, I said, “Look, I want you to not burnout. I want you to be highly focused when you’re here, and we expect you to be productive when you’re here.”

Michael:
Modeling it, teaching it, giving people a lot of why, and then I think also modeling it in terms of corporate culture like, “Don’t be sending emails after hours.” Now, I know the real estate business, that could be dicey, because depending on what kind of real estate business you’re in, that may be evening work, but don’t be sending emails after hours or text messages. Don’t do it on the weekends. Again, real estate may be an exception, but there’s gotta be some parameters. There’s gotta be some boundaries that you respect as the owner or as the leader, and that you also expect your people to respect.

Michael:
If you do that, then the benefit is that everybody in the company is their most focused, most productive, best self.

Brandon:
That’s good.

Michael:
Does that make sense?

David:
100%. I will be honest, I’m a real estate broker. I run a real estate team and a lending team, so this is a thing where you have to work weekends when you’re a real estate agent. You’re there for your clients. They’re free in the evenings. They’re free on the weekends. You have to be there for them. However, that is not an excuse to become a workaholic. We have created and are working on creating systems to where when somebody has a question like… This is something I’m working on right now. I haven’t talked about it. I want a chat feature where anybody who’s buying a house with us when they get that moment of anxiety at 10:30 at night saying, “Oh my god, what about this, or what are my closing costs going to be? Do I have enough money?”

David:
That they can immediately get ahold of somebody who will respond to them, acknowledge what they’re feeling and say, “We will look into this and get back to you in the morning,” and then they can have some peace and calm, “Okay, I got it out of my head. It’s being worked on,” but that’s not an agent taking a 10:30 at night phone call that turns into 45 minutes of listening to somebody go on and on about how scared they are. There are all kinds of things we can do, which I’ve found, usually, if this stuff pops up where you have to do something, because you didn’t put a system in place ahead of time to prevent that, the, “Oh my god, the toilet is leaking. What am I going to do,” landlord phone call is because you didn’t explain to your tenants what to do when the toilet would break.

David:
I guess what I’m saying, Michael, is I found that it is often an excuse to say, “I have to do it. I have to do it. It has to get done.” That is justifying some other motive that we have. I was wondering if you would share what you found in your experience is the best advice for the person that maybe is a workaholic, because they don’t have a family life or because they have bad eating habits, and they don’t like working out, and this just becomes a distraction from everything in their life that they don’t like so that they can get started breaking themselves out of that cycle and maybe recognizing that they’re lying to themselves when they say things like, “It has to get done.”

Michael:
No doubt. The conversation I’ve had with people is the trajectory conversation. If you continue, like you’re doing, how does the story end? We don’t have to guess. We know how this story ends. When people are workaholics, here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to probably go through your marriage. You’re going to probably have your kids go off the rails in some way, and the thing that you’re trying to protect work is going to be dramatically impacted. Ask anybody that’s had a divorce, or where the kids have gotten on drugs, or the kids… something else. They just want to talk to them.

Michael:
Those have vocational impact. I think that if we don’t take care of those things, then the whole thing comes unraveled. I think to have that trajectory conversation and say, “If you continue on this president pace, where is your health going to be in 20 years? Are you kidding yourself thinking that soon as I get this next big deal, as soon as I get this next thing sold, then I’m going to take time for myself, and I’m going to really work out?” I mean, that’s how helpful… Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I’ll have a heart attack.” No, that was years, years and years of doing little things that led to that heart attack or to that relational crisis.

Brandon:
It’s actually a counter or the flip side of the coin we talked about earlier, which was succession be a surprise, but heart attacks are rarely a surprise either. Failed marriages are rarely a surprise either. They’re a product, so as much as the things that we do give us the great things in life, the things that we do give us the bad things in life too. Now, there is the occasional like, “Hey, you had a brain aneurysm, or an accident happens,” but a lot of the times, it just is there. I mean, this is going to sound horrible. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I just spent a couple weeks with my parents.

Brandon:
I was like… I told my wife when they left… They just left back to the mainland, and I was like, “I mean, I love, love, love my parents, but I worry every time they leave, it might be the last time I see one of them, because the way they eat and take care of themselves is…” We’ll not be surprised if either one has a heart attack. It will not surprise me at all. I hope they don’t. I really hope they don’t. I’m trying everything I can to get them to eat some vegetables and take a walk, but it’s hard because that’s the penalty or that’s the consequence of a life that you lead. It won’t be a surprise.

Brandon:
I guess that’s the question for everyone right now is like, “What in your life right now is not a surprise, it’s not going to be a surprise if it happened?” That should wake us up.

Michael:
To cast it in a more positive light-

Brandon:
Please.

Michael:
You’ve read Living Forward. You know what we do there, but to be thinking about where would you like to be in 25 years? If you could really impact the quality of your most important relationships or your health or your finances or your vocation, where do you want that to end up 25 years from now? Go ahead and write a paragraph about what that looks like. We do that in the book Living Forward, talking about a life plan, and as something that I’ve done now for 20 years, regularly review it so that I don’t lose focus. Sort of in the fog of war, I don’t lose sight of the destination.

Michael:
My marriage, like it is today… Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s not an accident. It’s not an accident that I have a great marriage or that I have a good relationship with my kids or my grandkids. I see life as a recipe, and the cake that you’ve got is because you used certain ingredients, and cooked it in a certain temperature. If you want to change the cake, if you want a different cake than the cake you’ve got right now, because the cake you’ve got right now, which is your life, is a result of all the ingredients that have gone into it up until this point, but if you want to change it, you can.

Michael:
That’s the good news, but you gotta change the recipe. You can’t keep doing the same things you’ve been doing, and expect a different result. The worst thing is the wishful thinking, the lottery kind of thinking, that, “Once I win this big deal, once I do this big deal, we’ll be an easy street.” That just doesn’t happen. That’s just fanciful, fantastical thinking.

Brandon:
That’s a really good picture to the cake thing. I’m going to totally use that analogy in the future with people, because it’s exactly… There’s a recipe you’re building in your life right now, and there’s ingredients that you’re added to this cake, and it’s going to create something. If it’s not something you want, then you better find another way. That’s why I said earlier you can ask a person who’s already got the cake in their hand. They already cooked the cake last week, and be like, “Hey, how’d you make your cake?” They could tell you what ingredients to put in the cake. It’s not a horribly complicated thing.

Brandon:
Let me ask you one more question here about what about people who… They’re listening to us a lot. We talk a lot about family, because I’m a family guy. I got a couple kids at home. You got your kids and grandkids now. What about those who don’t have the kids yet? They’re young, or they’ve been single so far. They don’t have a significant other in their life. Why shouldn’t they just work and just hardcore work for 80, 90, 100 hours a week? What’s the other reason besides just spending more time with your family that this is important?

Michael:
Well, one of the things that we mapped out in the book is there’s basically 10 domains of life, at least 10 domains of life. Marriage and parenting are two of the 10, but that still leaves eight, and so if you’re going to focus on vocation, which is one, to the exclusion of the other seven, not including parenting or marriage, that’s going to produce a very lopsided life. It’s going to make… You still got your health that you need to be concerned about. You still got your emotional health, your intellectual development. You still got your finances, your hobbies, friendships. Man, I’ll tell you, one of the things that is key to longevity…

Michael:
I’ve done a lot of study on this in the Blue Zones and all that kind of stuff, done a lot of reading about that. A lot of people think it’s just diet and exercise, diet and exercise, diet and exercise. No. The quality of your relationships with other people that you have social connections, and deep friendships are as important to heart health, to combating autoimmune diseases and to longevity as your diet and your exercise. You just can’t hunker down, and don’t mistake thinking just because you have relationships at work with other people, that those are the same as friendships. They’re not.

Michael:
Those are based on the luxury of proximity. You just happen to be in the same office or whatever, but you’re not really doing life with them in the sense that you do with your friends, and you need friendships outside of work, because if you suddenly lose your job or your business collapses, most people can be resilient as long as those other domains of their life are fleshed out and healthy. But if you’ve got all your eggs in one basket, and it’s work, and you lose that, it’s a crisis. I’ve seen this happen.

Michael:
My successor at Thomas Nelson Publishers, he was a guy that that his work was everything. When suddenly I became the CEO as his successor, he was lost as last year’s Easter egg. He didn’t know who he was. He literally said to our CFO, he said, “If I’m not the CEO, who am I?” His identity was so inextricably linked to his work, that without his work, he didn’t know who he was. He was lost. Man, I don’t want to get to that place in my life. I want to have a life that’s bigger than my work.

David:
You made another point that I really like and want to highlight, and it’s that just because someone is in close proximity to you does not mean you have a deep authentic relationship with them. Because someone’s been your friend for 20 years does not mean you are actually deep friends with that person. Even if you’re married, I think there’s a lot… I’m not married, but I think there’s a lot of married couples that are going through life because it’s convenient, but they’re not connecting very deeply. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking, “Oh, I spend time with my family,” but you don’t know your kids very well.

David:
They know that you don’t know them very well. Those are the kids that go off the rails that then takes a lot of time that you got to go after them, and try to bring it back. It’s a good practice to know the reason we’re investing our money wisely and working on self growth is just to have a better life, and you’re not going to have a better life if the relationships that you do have are convenient and shallow, rather than a deeper, meaningful connection.

Michael:
Absolutely. I mean, the quality of your relationships equals the quality of your life.

David:
That’s a great way to put it. When you don’t have that, I guess this is what I was getting at, you’re more likely to throw yourself into work. You don’t consciously think of it, but you’re like, “Well, what else am I going to do? This is what makes me feel better.”

Michael:
It’s all you’ve got. I mean, I think we have to admit too, people medicate with work. They feel the discomfort of having to engage at home or having to work through this issue with your spouse or with your kids. It’s just easier to… People run to the bottle. They run to drugs. Some people run to work. They don’t call it being a workaholic for nothing. It is addictive, highly addictive.

Brandon:
That’s a really good point. Well, speaking of kids and family, I’m going to go see mine in a few minutes. Let’s start to move this towards the end here. I got jujitsu in a little bit too, which I have a really good analogy for jujitsu. I was thinking about this too. Before I jump into The Famous Four, I was thinking about how…. David and I have been… We’re starting our jujitsu process, and we’re working on this wrestling stuff. What we’re learning from Jerry, who’s our private instructor, is how much… When you first jump into jujitsu, when you first get into it, you expend so much energy, and you’re pushing and pulling and, “Ah.”

Brandon:
It’s just so much. You work up a sweat in three seconds, and you’re dead for the rest of the day. But when you roll… We’re not rolling. When you wrestle with someone who’s really good, and we’re learning, is how little energy they use, because it’s all very controlled movements and a lot of holding, a lot of things like that. It just made me think about how we talked earlier like, you can just do a whole lot of different activities in life and burn yourself out really well. Work 80 hours a week, because you’re just doing everything and not fighting, fighting, fighting, but the masters at any kind of martial arts, they’re controlled.

Brandon:
They’re not sweating even hardly. Jerry doesn’t even sweat when we roll. He’s doing the right moves at the right time, because he’s practiced it so many times, and he’s intentional about it. Anyway, that’s just another I’d like to throw a jujitsu analogies, but-

Michael:
That’s great one.

Brandon:
I like that.

Michael:
That’s a great one. I mean, we saw that with Tom Brady. He didn’t look like he was breaking a sweat even-

Brandon:
No. He doesn’t.

Michael:
Patrick Mahomes looks like frantically trying everything that he could [crosstalk 01:03:29].

David:
In the last couple minutes, he was getting killed. What scares me about what Brandon just said is he was showing a couple guys yesterday. I completely have no idea what they’re doing, new guys after the Superbowl, a couple moves. They were throwing everything they had at him just exhausting themselves. I remember watching thinking, “You look like a bozo. You think you’re going to impress him [inaudible 01:03:51]? Why are you doing that?” Now, I’m realizing that I work 80 hours a week. I work 100 hours a week.

Michael:
[inaudible 01:03:58].

David:
It’s telling, yes, the successful business people, people that have life, “I’m a bozo. I look just like those people looked.” That’s funny.

Brandon:
That’s really good.

Michael:
That’s great.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. All right, well, before we get out of here, let’s move over to the last segment of the show. This is called our…

Speaker 5:
Famous four.

Brandon:
This is the famous four. It’s the same four questions we ask every guest every time. We’ve asked you this before, but maybe your answers have changed. The first question which we’ve tweaked a little bit, “Is there a habit or trait you’re currently trying to develop in your life, Michael?”

Michael:
Yes. I am trying to be more consistent in healthy, clean eating. In fact, I just started a 14-day cleanse today. It’s basically a version of Mediterranean diet. My wife and I are doing it together.

Brandon:
That’s cool.

Michael:
We were eating good already, but we’re trying to take it to the next level.

Brandon:
All right. Very cool. Number two.

David:
Next question, what is your favorite business book other than your own?

Michael:
I would have to… I don’t know if this is a business book or a personal development book.

Brandon:
Either.

Michael:
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I just keep coming back to that again and again and again.

Brandon:
That’s a really good one. All right, number three.

David:
All right, when you’re not changing the world and helping improve people’s lives, what are some of your hobbies?

Michael:
I bass fishing. I love fly fishing. We bought a lake house in August, and I’ve got access to both now, which is amazing.

David:
That’s cool.

Michael:
I also play the native American flute.

David:
That’s awesome.

Michael:
That’s a fun thing.

David:
That’s so cool.

Michael:
Then golfing.

Brandon:
I just watched the video this morning, and I’m shamefully going to admit it was on TikTok. It was this guy who teaches men how to be… It was one of them. His whole thing is how to make men more attractive. He said, “The number one thing, the number one thing you can do to be more attractive to women is to learn an instrument.” That’s what he said. He said they’ve done, I guess, apparently studies that says, “That’s one of the number one things that you can do is learn an instrument.” Michael, attractive man.

Michael:
I’m still trying to win the same girl I’m married to.

Brandon:
There you go. You gotta keep up in the game, so the flute is definitely doing it. All right, last question from me. What do you think separates successful entrepreneurs? If you had to boil it down to one or two things, what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or just never get started?

Michael:
I think the really successful ones have a real clear vision of what it is they’re trying to create, and they’re just dogged in pursuing it till they get there.

Brandon:
Love it. Love it. All right, well…

David:
This has been a great interview.

Brandon:
This is awesome.

David:
I appreciate your insight into this. I think that there’s a lot of people that are doing well, and they think that they’re doing everything they can be, and this will open some eyes as towards the fact that we can all do better and have a more balanced life instead of just being successful on one thing. Thank you, Michael, for your time today and sharing that with us.

Michael:
Thanks, David.

David:
For those that love this, where can they find out more about you?

Michael:
Well, you can find out more about the book at winandsucceedbook.com, winandsucceedbook.com/biggerpockets. If you buy the book from your favorite retailer, and go there, you can get what we call the double win cheat sheet, which is an amazing visual that will keep all these concepts front and center. When you’re tempted to veer off, you stay in the straight and narrow.

Brandon:
That’s awesome.

Michael:
My main website is just MichaelHyatt.com. That leads to my podcast and everything else we do.

Brandon:
Very cook, man. Well, everyone, go check it out. Go get the book, and super cool. Are you on Instagram as well? Are you on Instagram [inaudible 01:07:37]?

Michael:
I am at MichaelHyatt.

Brandon:
Okay, well, you’re all over the place. Al right, so I’m going to go… I already follow you there, but everyone else, go follow Michael there and wherever else you can find him. I guess that’s all we got. Thank you, Michael. This has been amazing.

Michael:
Thanks, Brandon. Thanks, David.

outro:
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Fighting the “cult of overwork” especially when working becomes a bragging right
  • How to keep your business running at full speed while having time for your family
  • The importance of putting up “hard boundaries” so your day can be respected
  • Identifying the “big 3” tasks that you need to get done everyday
  • How to implement “double wins” in your life
  • Knowing which work is important and which work can be put on hold
  • And So Much More!

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Books Mentioned in this Show:

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