“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar
That’s the entire premise of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, one of the top-selling business/self-help books of all time.
The idea is simple. The execution of the idea is also simple, but not easy. Nor is it commonly practiced.
If you have a huge goal, the “lone ranger” mentality is a really, really bad idea.
You can absolutely develop a lot of knowledge and skills on your own. But if you want to turn big ideas into “universe denting” realities, you need to get people invested in your goals.
But not just financially invested.
A not just anybody, but highly influential people. People who are far more successful and experienced than you.
You get people emotionally invested when your goals BECOME their goals.You get people invested in your goals by first becoming invested in theirs’. When advancing you also advances them. In order to do this, you need to:
- Become extremely good at what you do
- Become emotionally invested in “the cause” of what you’re about
- Understand the “context” better than anyone else (develop your own unique view of the world and how it could be created)
- Invest yourself in the right relationships (the people who you could clearly create synergistic relationships with)
- Remove attention from your goals for a time as you develop the best experience and education available — growing someone else’s goal
- Merge your goals with other people’s goals
- Ask for help
- Don’t get derailed as you continue to succeed bigger and bigger
- Focus on only a few key relationships
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how to get the right people — those who can actually move the needle in a big way — into your goals and dreams.
1. Develop rare and valuable skills
“I have survivor skills.” — Amy Tan
The orientation you have coming into a field matters. If you enter a field solely as a salesman, you’ll remain that.
But coming in as a “craftsman” (or woman) is much better. If you enter a field because it speaks to you. Because you’ve had transformative or very painful experiences that have led to your curiosity and growth.
The two best ways to solve a problem are by 1) relieving the pain of either yourself or others, or 2) following something that you’re absolutely curious about.
Pain and or curiosity — two things that will compel you forward.
2. Scratch your own it (only do that which you truly care about)
“I do believe in the old saying, ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger.’ Our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are. By overcoming difficulties, we gain strength and maturity.” — Angelina Jolie
It’s much easier to develop expertise at something that actually matters to you. However, when you’re thinking of something worth investing your time, energy, and money into — it’s also important to think about what you believe to be useful.
What is useful according to your value system and beliefs about the world, how it could be, and how it should be?
Most psychologists have enormous psychological baggage. They are perhaps the strangest among us. They studied psychology first and foremost, to figure themselves out. To understand how to help themselves AND OTHERS. They’re scratching their own it — and doing it through helping others.
What experiences have you had that were pivotal?
If you took 20 minutes to make a timeline of the KEY EVENTS that have happened in your life, what would they be?
Chances are, there are less than 10 events you could point to that have had the biggest impact on the person you have become.
What are those 10 events?
What do they mean?
Why did they matter so much?
Have you resolved those experiences yet in your mind?
Or are they still plaguing you?
Are they still suppressed? Or are they guiding you with ferocity?
What gets you emotionally-charged, in both positive and negative ways? Follow that. Because emotion is not only what sells, but emotion is what transforms people. Emotion becomes a story. The story is the formation of your idea, and why it matters to other people.
You don’t need to focus on just one thing. Usually it’s the intersection of several things that becomes the idea. The “connection” between things is the context. That’s what matters. That’s what other people don’t see, and that you can see. That’s why you need to develop curiosity, but also need to become studious. You need to become an expert. You need to let your emotion and story make sense.
3. Become an expert at the “context” of your field (learn the rules so you can strategically break them)
“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” — Peter Thiel
Who are the big-hitters in the field you want to innovate?
Who are the one’s doing it right?
Who are the one’s doing it wrong?
How are they doing it wrong?
What’s not working?
What’s the history of how things got to where they are?
What angle could make the biggest impact on this field?
What other fields have not been creatively integrated into the thinking and systems?
What are the perceived boundaries and limitations that people in the field have?
What are the norms that should be shattered?
Steve Down, the founder of Even Steven’s restaurants came into the food industry from the finance industry. He loved the idea of Tom’s shoes, who gave away a free pair of shoes with every pair bought.
His idea was to have a quality restaurant do the same thing. For every sandwich bought, a local hungry person would get a sandwich.
When he took this idea to several friends and experts in the food industry, they all scoffed at him. Starting a restaurant is extremely difficult. Even more difficult if you’re also giving away lots of food.
This was good “context” for Steve Down. His background in finance allowed him to see the situation from a different angle. He began punching numbers and making contacts with local non-profits.
After doing all the math, the numbers made sense. However, he’d have to make the restaurant extremely high quality. The idea of being socially conscious was only cool if the restaurant was also cool — and good.
Within a few months of being opened, the first Even Steven’s became profitable. The idea and success made it very easy for Even Steven’s to get invested backers.
4. Surround yourself with people who remind you of your future — not with people who remind you of your past
“Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.” — Jim Rohn.
You don’t have to wait until after you get a college degree, or after you become “financially secure” to start living your dreams.
I just met a kid at the gym who wants to start several businesses, but he’s pursuing a degree in nursing. His goal is to work in nursing for 5 years so he can get some financial footing, and then start pursing his entrepreneurial dreams.
Gary Vaynerchuk once said that if you’re under 40, you should be taking big risks.
The younger you are, the more time you have to fail fail fail. Why be conservative in your 20’s and 30’s?
Why be conservative in college?
You are shaped by your environment. The best way to become who you want to be is by surrounding yourself with people who are already there. Not with people who aren’t there. And not with people who aren’t going there.
Immerse yourself in the culture, thinking, and behaviors of those you aspire to be like. Those are the very people who will soon become heavily invested in you, and will take your ideas and help you make them real. But not just real — but real in a very powerful and big way far beyond anything you could imagine or muster on your own.
You want to have people invested in you who have already done what you’ve never done. People who have launched products. Who know marketing. Who have connections. Who have failed a million times and learned a million lessons.
5. Invest in key mentorships
“If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor. When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.”— Sydney Madwed
If you don’t start investing money into relationships, your progress will be slow.
Conventional wisdom suggests that supply is what creates demand. That may or may not be true economically. But psychologically, it’s exactly the opposite or true.
Demand creates supply — both internal and external demand. When the ‘WHY’ is strong enough, you’ll figure out how. When you make a decision, the ‘universe’ conspires to make it happen.
When you MUST do something, you do it. And you can’t rely on your own internal drive. You need to create conditions of necessity that force something out of you that you didn’t even know existed.
You do this by investing money — even small amounts in the beginning — into relationships. As an example, I hired Ryan Holiday in September of 2016 to help me write a book proposal for what became WILLPOWER DOESN’T WORK.
I payed him $3,000 for 3 months of mentoring. That was a 1-hour phone call, once per month, for 3 months. He also gave a quick look at my proposal and told me how to adjust it.
By investing the $3,000, I got help from someone who had been where I wanted to be. I began surrounding myself with someone who reminded me more of my future than my past.
Had I not made that investment, I wouldn’t have changed my proximity to someone I wanted to be like. Had I not made that investment, I wouldn’t have been committed. As a result, I would have procrastinated action — because I had a TON of emotional resistance to writing a book proposal. It seemed like a confusing and daunting task.
My sabotaging beliefs and environment were forcibly stopping me from writing my book proposal and living my dreams.
The financial investment shattered my subconscious beliefs AND my environment. By investing in myself, I began to more fully believe in myself. I had SKIN IN THE GAME. I was invested and committed. I was watching myself do what I wanted to do. And I was getting coaching from someone who was where I wanted to be. I had a timeline to get things done.
Are you invested in key mentorships?
If you don’t believe can afford them, it’s because you haven’t created them.
You don’t need a lot of money to get mentorships. You can start by being an employee. Or by doing free labor for the people you want to learn from.
Necessity is the mother of invention. If the WHY is strong enough, you’ll figure out how to get access.
The next step will show you how to transform the mentorship into something very powerful for yourself and others.
6. Focus all of your energy, money, and skills on your mentor’s goals
“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” — John Wooden
Small investments lead to huge psychological bursts of improvement. Use every crumb of momentum you can. Small wins boost confidence, which ripple into bigger wins.
Winning is how you gain confidence. You gain confidence by trusting yourself more. You can’t do that with willpower. You need to see things completely different. You need to “convince yourself of the truth in which you wish to see manifest.”
This is resolve.
You can have everything you want in life when you give your life to others. Or, as Christ said, “You find your life by losing it.”
You can’t be manipulative or transaction-based in your relationships. You need to invest in others, and truly INVEST YOURSELF in that relationship.
Quantum leaps and exponential growth are available only in collaboration. You must become emotional about the results your mentor is seeking to get.
You must SEEK FIRST to understand and then be understood. This will require you to be a great listener and observer. What does your mentor want? Why do they want this? How did they get here? Why are they stuck?
What are they not seeing?
How can you bring your ingenuity and skills to the table?
What are you willing to give up to help them win?
Are you willing to put your own dreams on the back-burner for some time? Can you think far enough ahead to realize this is the FASTEST way to become who you want to be? Or are you so short-sighted to only see 2 steps in front of you?
Why not think 50 steps?
This one relationship could take you 50 steps forward in the same amount of time you could take 2 steps by yourself.
But your dopamine dependence and self-absorption just might keep you obsessed with those 2 steps.
If you give of yourself for even 6–12 months of total focus on your mentor’s goals, you’ll gain decades worth of experience in the process. They are working on far bigger and more compelling things than you could do right now (if you’ve got a great mentor).
How do you think Ryan Holiday advanced himself as a writer as quick as he did? Rather than writing mediocre books on his own at age 19, he apprenticed under Robert Greene. He saw the PROCESS of creating an epic and bestselling book.
That experience fast-tracked his skill-set and MIND-SET by decades. It’s how he’s become such a skilled writer.
He took just a little bit of time to develop true relationships. He learned from those relationships. And he was a brilliant student. He was useful and helpful. He asked questions. He worked long hours. He cared immensely about the success of his mentor. The more successful he could help his mentor be, the more successful his mentor would help him become.
The skills he developed were one thing. The CONNECTIONS he gained allowed him ACCESS to get into the big leagues. The better you can position your mentor, the more powerful position you’ll be in.
7. Document AND PUBLISH all of the insights you get along the way
“Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know — and what we don’t know — about whatever we’re trying to learn.” — William Zinsser
As you gain incredible insights being around successful people, you should document your learning.
Keep a studious journal filled with experiences, concepts, ideas, and insights. Write it all down. Write the good, the bad, the ugly.
You’re getting a rare education. A “behind-the-curtains” look that very few people have access to.
What are you seeing?
What are you learning?
How are you growing as a product of being a part of something bigger than yourself?
What are you learning about yourself?
How are your views of the world changing?
Based on what you’re learning, if you were in your mentor’s shoes, how would you do things differently?
Why would you do it differently?
How would you do it the same?
How grateful are you for this experience?
How did you get here?
Where are you going next?
What connections and insights have you gotten in the past week working on this project?
What have you learned about people and innovation?
What are most people doing wrong in your space?
Don’t just keep a studious journal. Start publishing your insights and ideas online. The best place to practice is in public. In the process of being apprenticed, you’ll develop your own ideas, voice, angles, and BRAND while getting mentored. All the while, you’ll be blowing up your mentor’s brand by giving them all the praise — and by continually acting as a testimonial of them.
8. Apply everything you’re learning to your own life and business
“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.” — Stephen R. Covey
If you’re not being changed by the culture and environment you’re in, then you’re resisting.
You need to immerse yourself fully. That doesn’t mean you lose your foundation. What it means is that you’re adaptive. You learn to apply — not just to fill you head with information.
Wisdom is knowledge properly applied. Very few people have wisdom. Most people are seeking empty information. They don’t advance quickly because they don’t really learn — and they don’t really learn because they don’t apply.
True learning is a shift in patterns. It requires a permanent change in how you see the world, and how you operate in the world. If your behavior and worldview didn’t change, then you didn’t learn.
You need to use everything you’re learning to transform yourself. As you transform yourself, you’ll take everything you’ve brought with you and sharpen and refine it.
Again, this isn’t about losing your identity and individuality. Rather, it’s about allowing your best experiences to shape and reshape you. It’s about being flexible and malleable. About having a growth mindset. About making a habit out of shattering your habits — and continually ACTING.
You get insights and ideas through action.
You transform your personality by changing your behavior.
You upgrade your confidence by living in the world at a higher level.
You upgrade your worldview by investing more and more of yourself into yourself. You’ll be shocked as you see increasing amounts of money and resources come your way.
When the WHY is big enough, the supply will come. It will come in abundance. The universe doesn’t care if you tap into with a teaspoon, a bucket, or a tractor tailor. It’s your choice to what extent you’re going to evolve your state of being and living in the world.
The more you apply, the faster your brain and being will change. If you continue filling your head — even with good information — yet don’t apply, you’ll canker your soul. You’ll see within yourself a fraud and hypocrite. You’ll know what to do, yet not do it. You’ll build a strange pseudo-personality where you’re merely pretending to know something, yet you have no conviction because you have no experience.
You don’t believe it enough to live it. You’re still unsure. And when you’re indefinite, you can’t do anything with power.
In the book, The Alchemist, the crystal merchant who chose for decades not to live his dreams said to the young boy who inspired him:
Today, I understand something I didn’t see before;every blessing ignored becomes a curse. I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and horizons I have never known. Now I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.”
9. Give all the credit of your success to others
“Self-made is an illusion. There are many people who played divine roles in you having the life that you have today. Be sure to let them know how grateful you are.” — Michael Fishman
As you succeed big, which you will — you must give all the credit to those who brought you here.
You can pay people in other ways than just giving them money. Perhaps the highest form of payment you can give them is giving them credit for everything you’ve become.
You become the living testimony of your mentor’s teaching. You give them far more credit than they deserve. But in reality, they do deserve it.
If you remain a humble recipient, and never let external accolades cloud your judgement and sense of security, you’ll continue to be relate-able to all people. That’s the essence of transformational leadership. To be someone others LOVE. Someone they want to see succeed, because you are a living embodiment of their greatest desires and highest values.
If you experience the death-sentence shift that happens to most people seeking success — which is to BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN PRESS — you will fall. Your success will become a catalyst for failure. Anything you’ve gained you will soon lose. Because the people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way down.
If you burn all your bridges, you’ll have nothing but a mirage underneath you. Eventually, you’ll come crashing down.
Don’t do this. Give others credit. Pay them more than just money. As you do this, and do it in all sincerity, gratitude, and humility — others will seek to invest more and more into you. Because by making you better, they are also making themselves better and also more successful.
10. After you’ve established the connection and trust, tell your network about your goals
“Both sexes get trapped in the same box for different reasons. If I ask for help… I am not enough. If I ask for help… I’m weak. It’s no wonder so many of us don’t bother to ask, it’s too painful.” — Amanda Palmer
After you’ve clearly established yourself as a giver — and continue to give — ask for help. You’ll be shocked by the swarms and armies of people who will come to help you.
Again, you’ll be stunned and shocked. You’ll be humbled.
Why are people being so generous?
Why do they care so much?
Why do they give so much?
What you didn’t realize — while you were giving and serving and helping for so long — is that people became emotionally invested in you. Emotions change a person. Emotions dictate action far more than reason. Human-beings are not rational actors. They act based on emotion.
When you’ve creating loving and deep connections with people, there becomes a deep emotional bond. Seeing you succeed will become more important than their own success. And that’s the true essence of mentorship and leadership. To want success for those helping you more than you want success for yourself.
You can feel free to ask. Because you’re going to continually give. You won’t stop giving. Your goals have morphed overtime, becoming far more holistic and less selfish. You genuinely want to continue helping those you work with. Their goals have become your goals. You’re emotionally invested in the cause in which you are a part.
And when invested in a cause, you become embedded in the culture. When invested in the culture, you’ve bought into the shared reality that makes that culture — which is a social and living organism.
11. Integrate your goals with their goals (“Mission Matching” — Richie Norton)
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler
Overtime, you’ll begin integrating goals with those you work with. And here, you’ll get a 10–20 year leap in success.
Immediately, your projects will seem decades beyond what you were doing just last year. You’ll be working on businesses and other projects with people who have been doing it much longer and bigger than you.
The reason is simple — your ideas and the ideas of those you learn from are highly resonant and synergistic. You bring an enormous amount to the table. They aren’t doing you a favor. You’ve become one of them. They have an enormous respect for you and your work — as do many other people.
Without even realizing it, you’ve fully established yourself as a expert and authority. You did it while helping them, while documenting your findings, while publishing mass amounts of stuff, and while living what you were learning.
Now, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about who you’re working with. You are now part of a much bigger cause. You’ve matched missions with your mentors.
You’ve BECOME what you intended to be because you surrounded yourself with people who reminded you more of your future than your past.
You lived into your future. You time-traveled. You’re a time-traveler. You walked through a worm-hole and found yourself decades into your future in a very short time. And most the people you’re working with have made similar jumps. Now you’re changing the world. You’re dedicated to a cause worth living and dying for.
12. Develop synergistic collaborations (100X thinking is the new 10X thinking)
“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.” — Marissa Mayer
10X thinking is what happens when someone begins to realize they can go big on their skill-sets and abilities. They do this by forming a team around them, by delegating, deleting, or outsourcing everything from their life but what they want to do.
100X thinking is when two or more people of the above description come together to change the world.
It’s when powerful mission-matching happens. When the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. When transformational relationships happen.
You can only do this if you are an intense learner, and are willing to destroy everything in your life that isn’t optimal — including your limiting and narrow views.
When you mission-match, you can do several different projects at once. And you’ll begin seeing CONNECTIONS between things much faster. All of a sudden, you have idea after idea that becomes business or book or product after product.
Although totally different and serving different niches— they are all clearly connected. And the connection becomes more clear and powerful and transformative.
13. After you succeed big, don’t forget the basics or core values
“The fundamentals of your business are like free throws: emphasize and practice them to perfection.” — Cathy Engelbert
All the while, with every step up the progression — you stay to your WHY and HOW. You don’t forget the basics. You keep things in perspective. Even though you’ve expanded and evolved, you never forget. And you never lose touch with the fundamentals.
The fundamentals include:
- Your health (food, fitness, sleep)
- Your mind (continually learning, thinking, journaling, teaching)
- Your key relationships (God, family, friends)
You give yourself the “self-care” you need. Most people at some point stop investing in themselves. They stop putting themselves and their own health first. They get addicted to the cause or to their goals and they lose the most important parts of their life in the process.
They lose their health. They lose their values. They lose the connection to self, family, and the WHY that started them on this path in the first place.
Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach explains that every entrepreneur needs to take 1/3 of their days as “free days.” It’s only by truly unplugging that you can have the energy to go intensely on “focus days.”
It’s while you rest and recover that your best ideas will come. Thomas Edison took naps all the time. While he slept, his brain and subconscious mind would operate a million times faster and more effectively than what he could do consciously.
When you rest and recovery, you allow your subconscious to take over and solve all your problems for you.
You already know things will work out. You’re not obsessed with the outcome. You just let it happen. And it does, because you’re not forcing it to happen.