196: The Vacation Effect: The Secret To Working Efficiently And Improving Your Business With Denise Gosnell
It’s only logical to think that if you aren’t working, then no work is getting done. CEO and Founder of The Vacation Effect and President of Denise Gosnell Consulting, Inc., Denise Gosnell, shares the secret to improving your business while not actually working. In this conversation with Mitch Russo, she talks about ways on how giving yourself space and time off can assist you in coming up with solutions to problems that you wouldn’t normally think of sitting in your office. Denise gives detailed real-life experiences of how she applied this in her life and how it resulted in success for her clients. She also gives tips on how to pinpoint your inefficiencies and turn it around to give balance in your life.
The Vacation Effect: The Secret To Working Efficiently And Improving Your Business With Denise Gosnell
Do you know any other podcast that is a two-way conversation? You can talk to me anytime you want and I’ll respond back to you. I’ve had messages from all over the world and I want you to click the button on every show page that says, “Speak to Mitch,” and I’ll return the favor with an honest and prompt answer. This episode is sponsored by VEA, the Virtual Entrepreneurs Association. Finally, a place with all the tools, resources, discounts, education and community to help you on your entrepreneurial mission. Think of the VEA as the AAA or Swiss Army knife for business. This is an incredible value and while the price is still super low, check out this amazing resource-rich asset that can make you money by saving you money on the things that you already buy. For a limited time, you can get your free trial of VEA as well as a copy of Daven Michael’s new book, The Virtual Entrepreneur at VEABusiness.com/mitch. Now, onto my guest and her incredible story.
Several years ago, a bolt of lightning originating deep in the sky found its way to my guest’s brand-new dream home. It was sudden and devastating. It was heartbreaking, but it was also a wakeup call. As a practicing busy attorney, her life was full of activity related to her work, but little else. At that moment, while flames consumed the icon of her wealth, the showcase of her success, she was struck with insight more powerful than any she’d previously had. She declared that this would be the best thing that ever happened to her. Imagine standing in front of your own house, burning to the ground and making that declaration. No life was lost, only things. That gift brought her to fully appreciate how little time she spent with those who matter.
At that moment, when everything in her outside world changed, it also shifted inside. That’s how she discovered this reservoir of joy, causing her to leave her busy practice and dedicate her time to finding a way to grow her new business while spending only three days a week. The remaining days can be spent on doing anything she, her husband and their friends and family want to do. That my friends are called The Vacation Effect. She is here to tell us all about it. Welcome, Denise, to the show.
Thank you so much for having me, Mitch. It’s a pleasure to be here.
It’s my pleasure to have you, Denise. It’s great to know you. We’ve gotten to know each other through other means as well, which I’m grateful for. Tell us a little bit about how all this got started for you.
It goes all the way back. I realized now in hindsight that my whole journey stems from my childhood. I was a daughter of a scrap dealer and I was always teased for being the junk dealer’s daughter, for being poor and not having the nicest clothes. People would always say, “What did you do? Get those shoes at Goodwill?” I had gotten them at Goodwill and it was very painful as a child to go through that teasing. At a young age, Mitch, I remember vowing to myself like, “I will be rich.” All I ever wanted since I was ten years old was to be a millionaire. Looking back, it’s a profound realization that drove me my whole life.
I became valedictorian of my class, Summa Cum Laude and I graduated from college with honors in 2.5 years. I worked full-time all through college while taking a twenty-hour class credit. I started out as a computer engineer. I was making six figures as a computer engineer, but that wasn’t enough. I’m like, “How can I make more money than six figures?” I tapped out at $140,000 as an engineer and I’m like, “What else can I do to make more money?” I’ll be a patent lawyer. I went to law school and wanted to combine my love of technology with the law so I could make more money because patent lawyers are the highest-paid lawyers on the planet. I got my patent license after I graduated from law school.
Long story short, I entered into this world of being a patent lawyer, making a lot of money and deep down, I wasn’t happy. You shared a little bit about my story about my house fire. That was a wake-up call for me as sitting there as an entrepreneur. I started to work for myself after I worked for a big firm. I got to the point where I was making a lot of money at a large law firm, but they were keeping most of the money. I’m like, “I’m bringing in all my own clients. Why not open my own firm?” The day I left on maternity leave was the last day that I worked for somebody else. My daughter’s fourteen and on maternity leave, I gave my notice that I wasn’t coming back. I walked with a large billion-dollar client as one of my first clients. I was lucky to have a billion-dollar client fund my company. They were my largest client at the time. I took them with me and I brought them to the firms. That was no big deal. No problem. It was me they had hired, not the firm.Both the best and worst boss you can have is yourself. Click To Tweet
In hindsight, Mitch, looking back right there, I was laying on the couch on bed rest working on patents. How stupid is that? Instead of laying there and dreaming about my baby and watching videos on parenting, I’m working on patents on the couch. I was on bed rest for three weeks before she was born. It was driving me crazy because I was used to doing something all the time. I had been addicted to the pursuit of money over joy. Even at that time, I didn’t see anything wrong with that. Fast forward, I love being a mother. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter was never neglected. I was present with her all the time. The problem was I wasn’t mentally present with her. I don’t even remember holding my own child as a baby because my mind was off writing patents or doing whatever needed to be done next.
This makes a lot of sense because so many of us as entrepreneurs are driven and feel this passion. Maybe even to the point of hurting ourselves. The stress levels that we put ourselves through as entrepreneurs are not because we like stress. It’s because we have to make a living and we’ve left behind the safety of a job or the safety of a family business and now we’re out on our own. You are very lucky, very clever and smart to take a client with you. Not everybody can do that. Many people still work every day at companies. They work for half-days. Do you know what a half-day is?
Tell me what you mean by that.
Half-day is eight hours of work and then you go home, have dinner, play with the kids, then another four hours on your side hustle. Entrepreneurs that I know work half days already. If they work the whole day, they wouldn’t get any sleep. The idea is that you made that choice and you took the risk and you left. That one client loved you, but they could have left and they could have been wooed back to the firm. Anything could have happened. You already made that choice. Tell us what happened next.
I opened my own firm and a handful of years went by and I was still making great money. That client was 80% of my revenue. That’s one lesson I’ve learned in my life. Don’t have all your eggs in one client basket. When I ended up not wanting to do that work anymore, I almost went bankrupt because that was 80% of my revenue. There I am doing patent law. I was dabbling and I also have a real estate company with my husband at that time and another company that wasn’t making any money. I had three companies at that time as well. I was still working on my own.
Now, I was my own boss working 70 to 80 hours a week as a patent lawyer for myself. I had the worst boss and the best boss on the planet, myself. As my daughter starts growing up, there’s this lingering thought that something was off. I’m always a happy person in nature. You encounter me, I’m always in a good mood. I never have a bad day. I had this nagging feeling like, “Something’s off here. I’m not happy, but I’m happy.” I’m a happy person, but I’m not completely fulfilled. It was the grind of the work. I wasn’t thrilled with the work. I was doing work I hated for the money.
It sounds like you weren’t feeling very satisfied either.
It got to the point where I felt like I was painting the same wall over and over again. I wrote over 250 patents for that large company and it was boring after a while. I’m like, “What am I doing?” I made the decision to stop doing work for that client. This was before my house fire. It was terrifying to resign from doing that bread and butter work. I thought I’d had enough. I resigned from them. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my mortgage the following month and that dream house that later burned. I called up the bank and I didn’t tell him I quit. I told him that I’d lost my largest client and I needed them to refinance the house with something I could afford.
I worked out a loan mod to where they refinanced it and gave me six months of a much lower payment and then it went back to the normal payment six months later. I paid him every dime that I owed them. I needed that six-month buffer to rebuild my practice from scratch and rebuild all my clients. I was still doing patent work at the time. I replaced it with other clients that need more patent work and it wasn’t difficult to deal with as a client that I didn’t like working with anymore and then my fire happens. At that moment, the day of my fire, when that fireman asked me, “What do you want us to retrieve in the next five minutes before your house is destroyed by fire and water?” How I answered him had nothing to do with all the monetary stuff I’d worked so hard for. It was all stuff.
I asked him for sentimental things that represented the people in my life that mattered, the people that I wasn’t spending the time with. That was when I vowed that, “I’m done with this. I’m going to spend more time with those people no matter what,” but I also think that can figure out how to make a nice living so my family doesn’t suffer. I can help those people that I care, but I think I can do both. I didn’t know how I was going to figure that out. I wanted both. I wanted plenty of free time and I wanted to have a good living. It didn’t have to be as much money as before. I was fine with taking a big pay cut. I didn’t care about that anymore, but I still wanted to provide a nice life. It’s like that dichotomy where you’re trying to reconcile and feeling guilty about wanting to have nice things, but you also want to have time for your family. I wanted to resolve that.
Let’s back up because there have been some big transitions in your life in this story. The first thing that happened is growing up in a poor family created an enormous drive for you to be wealthy, to make money. It did for me too. I grew up and watched my family fall apart. My sister and I, without ever having a conversation about it, maybe even unconsciously, both made the decision that we would never be in a position that our mom is in. She was in her late twenties, lost her husband with two little kids with a house to support and at that time, no viable skills to market. She struggled. We, together and separately, made the decision that we would never want to live a life like that, which is interesting. As you know, a lot of times poor people grow up in the environment of being poor and they stay poor. Whereas you and I had this moment where we said, “Never again. We’re never going to experience this,” and it’s worth doing whatever it takes to get out of that.
Step one was getting out of being poor and get into being wealthy and successful, which you did and which I did. Something happened and it happened to both of us. You made this decision that, “Money’s not enough. Money does not satisfy me as much as I thought it did.” Readers, if that’s where you’re at, it’s the same for everybody. Once you become wealthy, it’s not as if you don’t care about money anymore or you won’t want to continue making money, but you’ll realize that it never was the money. Yes, it’s good to have and you need to pay the bills. As Denise described her situation, she had to pay the mortgage. It’s that point where all of a sudden, the realization happens that life is not money. Life is life. Life is about happiness. Life is about achieving a state of wellbeing, which is being happy enough not to be ridiculous about it, but to be happy in life. Denise, that’s what you decided to do and you called this process, The Vacation Effect. Tell us a little bit more about what this Vacation Effect is.
In the process of trying to figure out what I was talking about, how to have both the quality of life, plenty of free time and make money and grow your business, have both at the same time. I always thought you had to pick one or the other. After my fire, I’m like, “I’m going to figure out how to have both.” Even if I lose money, I don’t make as much. You still should be able to make a good living and have plenty of free time. There’s got to be a way to do both. What happened was I had always dreamed of having what I call my Tuesday-Thursday schedule. It was having two business days a week that I could wake up and say, “What I want to do that’ll make me happy?” Not have anything on the calendar, no meetings and no work that had to be done. It literally was a happy day.
I call it a freedom day. Having the freedom to do whatever made me happy whatever that might be. Starting a new company, writing a book or going to the spa. I didn’t want it to be in the trenches of my company. That had always been my dream. After my fire, I’d been trying to figure out how I can pull off this freedom day thing two days a week when I’ve got three companies. I have my law firm part-time, my coaching and training company and my real estate company with my husband. What’s one of the most important ingredients in what I teach at The Vacation Effect, I stumbled onto when you get ready to go on vacation, you get a month’s worth of work done in the two days right before you leave. Have you ever experienced that before? I think everybody has.
I always say to myself, “I wish I could be that productive all the time.” What I stumbled onto by accident with the little time experiment that I did one month, I learned that you can be that productive all the time if you use a technique that I call Forced Hyper Efficiency. It turns out that when I did a little scheduling experiment where I decided to do that schedule I’d always dreamed of for 30 days and see what happened, it forced me to be hyper-efficient like you do when you’re about to go on vacation, but every single week. That’s where the name, The Vacation Effect, was born from. This notion of forced hyper-efficiency. The way that works in practice is that if I’m only working in my companies Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, and this applies when I’m not traveling. When I’m traveling, I have to adjust the days.
Imagine I used to work six days a week, 70, 80 hours a week. All of a sudden I go and I say, “I’m going to try working three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday for ten-hour days.” Cutting my work week literally in half. What was interesting was in the first 30 days when I did that experiment of my time, I started realizing how much time I was wasting. I started realizing all the things I was saying yes to that I shouldn’t have because it wasn’t important. All the time I was wasting on social media, surfing websites, getting distracted with interruptions, having meetings scattered throughout my calendar all throughout those days. It was a mess and I didn’t realize it was a mess because I was too busy being busy. I don’t know if anybody else in your audience can relate to being too busy being busy. Busy is not the same thing as being effective. That’s what I learned. My little experiment forced me to learn how to be effective with the time that I was spending. I get as much done in three days as I used to in six. If I take two days off, there’s nothing to feel guilty about because things are getting done. That’s one piece of it.Giving yourself space and time can result to something magical because some of the best ideas come when you’re not working. Click To Tweet
I look at my calendar and it’s packed. I could squeeze in maybe a 15 or 30-minute conversation, but by the time I hit Friday, my next week’s calendar is completely packed. I did this back in November of 2019 is I blocked off Fridays and I said, “I’m no longer going to work on Fridays.” I remember the first Friday that was blocked off on my calendar. I said, “I have a day off. Let me answer my email and then I’ll go out and play.” I never left the computer that day. I don’t know exactly what I did, but I knew I was busy all day responding to people, setting up appointments, making adjustments to things, updating my social media, all this stuff, but yet I had Friday off. I started to make the effort, but I didn’t quite finish it and I didn’t see anything on my calendar that was unimportant. How would you advise me to take advantage of The Vacation Effect knowing what I told you?
There are nine components to what I teach that makes it where you can have both free time and your business still grows. One of them is the forced hyper-efficiency idea. The other one in combination with forced hyper-efficiency is taking a freedom day. Those two work hand in hand, giving that Friday back to yourself, but then not doing the things that you were talking about. Making it be things that truly bring you joy that isn’t in the trenches of the company. I believe there’s a magic that happens on both ends when you give yourself that space. I don’t know if you ever noticed that if you take a lot of time off on vacation or on a holiday break, some of the best ideas come when you’re not working.
It’s like that week to week if you give yourself space. Answers will come when you’re not even trying to. I would encourage you to go back to doing what you started to do there. Don’t open your email. Do something that would make you happy. What will happen is you’ll have to start looking at Monday through Thursday differently. You’ll have to start, “If I’m not going to have Friday available to me, how do I need to manage Monday through Thursday differently because Friday is no longer an option?” Even if you just do it for a 30-day experiment, which is what I always recommend. Thirty-day experiments are wonderful. I changed my life through a dozen different 30-day experiments. You can dip your toe in the water and you can see how it works and you don’t have to permanently commit to something.
It’s easier to commit to for 30 days. What if you did that for 30 days? You said, “I’m going to give myself that Friday back and I’m going to only wake up and say what I want to do that makes me happy.” You can already have a plate preplanned if you want, but I think it’s great to have half the time where you don’t have it preplanned and see what comes up, then see what you have to do differently Monday through Thursday. See what bubbles to the top that will allow you to realize where you can optimize Monday through Thursday to make it fit without even missing a beat.
I’ll tell you what my experience has been. When I go on vacation, you’re right, I have that time to decompress and to allow ideas to flow. All that is exactly accurate and works that same way with me. It’s also one of the reasons that I don’t do a lot of photography here in Florida where I live. I tend to need to travel in order for me to immerse myself into something deep and long enough to find my creativity. I find that the same thing is true with this process in my world and in my life. Hanging around Florida, I’m still walking around with my phone. I’m still getting notifications that emails are coming in and all that. It seems to make it harder, but when I’m overseas or I’m in a foreign country or I’m even on the other side of the US, I tend to be better at being disconnected. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for that.
Even on a freedom day, I set my phone to do not disturb where only certain things will come through or I’ll turn it to vibrate where I don’t hear it, but I’ll check it a couple of times. In fact, I would encourage you to consider doing a 30-day experiment where you do either 2 or 1.5 days that are freedom days during the week. Because there’s a magic that happens when you do two business days, even for 30 days to ruffle the feathers and figure out where your inefficiencies are. Even if you went back to Friday’s off as a freedom day because what happens magically if you do three days a week instead of five for 30 days, you will learn a lot about your inefficiencies.
You’ll figure out things that you didn’t even pay attention to before that you don’t necessarily notice if you take one day off the table. You get laser-focused because you can almost absorb one day and not notice it that much. If you take two days out of anybody’s entrepreneurial schedule, you’ll notice it. I would encourage your audience to try a 30-day experiment for the sole purpose of learning where you’re not being efficient, where you’re not delegating, where you’re not doing things the most effectively to help you with your efficiency. You can optimize it and work 4 or 5 days or whatever you want. There’s a magic that happens when you do an experiment like that.
Step one is to take your calendar, get out a big electronic red marker and block off a day or two in the first week of your experiment. What’s step two?
There are two parts to that. One is that when you’re one of your workdays, you’re going to want to pay attention to how you’re handling your time and what things come up in your mind. You might have some guilt that comes up. The most common with my entrepreneurial clients is guilt. They will often say, “I feel guilty that I’m not working all the time.” I felt that way because it took me a long time to get over the guilt that I was feeling. I was this workaholic. I’d been conditioned to grind all the time. Look at our business leaders. We’ve got these great business leaders like the late Steve Jobs who passed away and was reported to not have any meaningful family connections. I don’t know if that’s true or not but that’s what the media always says.
He was this jerk that had no meaningful family and that he regretted having lived his life like that. You have guys that are touting like, “No one ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.” Elon Musk tweeted that back in November of 2018. I have to respect Mr. Musk for everything he’s done. When that’s our business culture telling everybody that you’re not worth it if you don’t work your butt off all the time, that’s what I have a problem with. That conditions us not to work smarter. We could work smarter instead of harder almost every time. The grind only works so long, it’s not sustainable. That’s what I learned.
Let me take a different take on what you said. When I was building my software company, one of the things that I noticed was that my employees would stay as long as I would stay. What I would find out later is that if I left early, half the company would leave early. Right away, I have a problem with that. Don’t get me wrong, these are back in the days when there was no internet. It’s not the same, but back then we were brick and mortar company. We had 100 people. When Mitch left, the vacation time started. That was my problem. If an audience is in the same situation, what do you advise?
I have two answers that I give, depending on which way you prefer. One of them is you can let your team know that you’re doing a time experiment and that you want them to help you hold accountable for it. You’re trying to be better at delegating and letting them step up and do the job and getting out of their way. That’s what most of my entrepreneurial clients do and their employees are thrilled because they’re waiting for the boss to get out of the way. Finally, let them have the responsibility they’d been waiting for and that they were being paid for instead of being micromanaged all the time.
If in the case where like what you were talking about, if the company is of nature where that would happen and everything would fall apart if you weren’t there because they depended on you being there all the time and if you left, they’d leave early too. In that scenario, you might not tell them what you’re doing. You might let them know that you’ve got some other businesses you’re working on, that you’re going to be at a different location on those dates for the next 30 days or whatever you want to tell them. You could go and sit in your office and do something fun, but I think it’d be hard to get the real benefit of the experiment.
To be honest, in this technology age, if you’ve got employees that aren’t on board doing their job and stepping up and letting you not be there all the time, they’re probably not the right employee to have. That will rise to the top and maybe let people know some staffing problems that they’re having. If you’re the entrepreneur and you’re paying their salary, they shouldn’t expect you to be there all the time. If they do, they’re not the right team player because anyone who’s a good employee is going to understand that the boss has given them a job so that the boss doesn’t have to do it.
I agree with everything that you’re saying. We are at a point in your process where we’ve blocked off our calendar. We’re trying to get past the guilt and it’s very valid. I certainly felt that myself. What we’re trying to do is look at what I’m doing during the time that I am working. How do I make that time more efficient? What would you suggest?
This is part of what I call my nine growth and happiness multipliers that I teach my private clients and that also will be covered in my book that’s coming out. One of the next key components to what to do during the time that you’re working is part of your goal-setting and time-hacking. If you’re going to be working less, you got to be effective with what you get done so that nothing falls through the cracks. An example of what I did that transformed my life and where all the other goal-setting planners that I had ever bought. I bought 30 of them and none of them ever worked for me.We can work smarter instead of harder almost every time. The grind only works so long. It's not sustainable. Click To Tweet
I made my own because the method that finally worked for me and making my new schedule work so that I could run my three companies three days a week and you still be a seven-figure entrepreneur, I had to figure out fast. Here are the components to my goal setting that changed my life. It’s simple in principle, but it’s hard to implement. People have heard it before, but they’re not doing it. I wasn’t doing it. It’s all about the Pareto Principle that we’ve all heard about before, the 80/20 rule. How 80% of your efforts only produce 20% of the results. It said that 20% of your efforts will produce 80% of the results. To help the audience know what that means, for those who may not have heard it, if 20% of your efforts that you spend your time on can produce 80% of the results of your day, why are we not always working on that 20% and that being the main thing that we focused on? We don’t do it most of the time.
It’s because we become conditioned to be crazy busy. We’re busy all the time, whether we’re being effective or not. There’s nothing forcing us as an entrepreneur to be responsible for our output. We throw more hours at it, “I’ll get to that at the weekend when it’s quieter. I’ll get back to that later.” It’s not forcing us to be effective. Here’s what I implemented that transformed and allowed to get more done. It was twofold. One was to start my daily brain dump when I’m planning my day of, “These are all the things I need to get done.” Most of us have some method of that, doing a brain dump of what needs to get done. The next step is I added a Pareto analysis to it where I look at it and I circle the top three.
I look at the list and there might be fifteen on my list on any given day. I don’t know what yours looks like. I circle the top 1, 2 or 3. Usually, there’s between 1 and 3 that I look at the list and I’m like, “Which of the items on this list are my Pareto levers? Which of these are the ones that will take the least amount of effort that will produce the biggest results?” It’s not always that exact 80/20. It might take me 10% of the effort and it might produce 70% of the results. It might take me 30% of the effort. It might give me 90% of the results that matter in my business. It’s not always an exact science, but the point is to look for the levers. Circle the 1 to 3 levers that if you did those first and you did nothing else that day, your business would still be okay, and the most important things still got done.
That step one is in that list, identifying the 1 to 3 levers that if you did those first you’d already be 80% of the way there in the results in your company. I’m talking about picking the items that are going to produce the results for the company. Not just busy work, but results that bring money in the door. Results that keep things going in a big way or that reach your big goals for the year. Not little tedious things that anybody could do or you don’t want to get to. What I then do in my process is I circle those and then I label them 1A, 1B or 1C. I prioritize them in order where they’re ranked w amongst those 2 or 3 themselves.
I look at the rest of the list and I apply a time-hacking process to my list. What I mean by that is I have this laundry list that I’ve created into a formal process and a formal checklist that I give my clients. It has about twelve different ways you can hack time and get things done faster. The reason I don’t prioritize the other ones until I look at my time-hacking lists for ideas is that I’m looking for patterns for how I can group some of those things together. It might be I looked down the list and say, “Of the fifteen, four of them are email replies.” I’ll batch those together and do those all at once. I might number of those together, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
I might look at the rest of the list and see that some of them are projects that need to be worked on, “Two of these are this kind of project. This one requires internet research and so does this one.” I’ll put those together, internet research. You can see what I’m batching them together. “This one I’m going to need to use another time-hacking principle on. I’m going to use where I’ve turned on my diffuser and I play music because this is writing and creativity. I do my best when I’ve got my diffuser going with peppermint in the air and my certain classical music on in the background.”
I write that down and then I prioritize all of them once I’ve finished assigning my time-hack to it. What I’m left with, I transfer that over to the little checklist that I have. At the end of that process, I’ve got this prioritized task list that starts with 1A, 1B and 1C that are my biggest levers. That way if there’s nothing else that I had done for the day, at least I’ve made a great impact on the levers of the business. The 2 through 15 are listed in batched order or whatever order made sense based upon the time hack that I applied to it. That way I can blow through that list faster than I ever imagined by literally spending ten minutes in the morning to plan all this out.
I’m glad I was patient enough to wait for the third step because that did cover some of my concerns. Let me also point out that as a person who’s focus is on selling, for example, if somebody is reading and they’re focused on selling, then it’s going to be hard to create those priorities. We don’t know in advance if our next conversation is going to result in a block of time being wasted or a $25,000 sale. How would we use this? Maybe what I’m thinking is maybe that this isn’t as applicable to people who are in a single function role, as a salesperson. It’s more applicable to entrepreneurs who are trying to do lots of things at the same time.
I would agree with that. The salesperson would have to adapt it. I think there’s some essence of it that you could adapt because I suspect that even a salesperson might need to make a bunch of phone calls, but they also probably have other things they need to do as well like return emails, return voicemails. There are other tedious things that have to be done as part of the job. That’s where I think this could help them with maybe their levers make twenty phone calls. Whatever that metric is and whatever that thing is for a salesperson, if all they did is that, they could go home and they’d be at least satisfied that the most critical things got done. For one salesperson, maybe it makes twenty phone calls. Maybe for another, it’s only five because of the typical close rate that they have. That’s harder to quantify but look deeply enough. There’s a number there. There’s a way they could quantify that to say, “My biggest lever is if I’m on the phone for four hours and then in the afternoon I’m going to do these other things that I ranked 2 through 15.
If I were to be channeling my inner Chet Holmes or my inner Grant Cardone, I would say, “Don’t stop making calls because that’s how you make money.” You make calls when you’re on the phone and you’re dialing. I have an answer to that as well. It’s a combination of what you’re describing and a solution that I implemented again. I’ve done this several times in my life. Here’s what I loved about what you said. You talked about the Pareto Principle and Perry Marshall does a beautiful job of explaining that in his 80/20 book. The idea with prioritization is that you know in advance what is the more valuable thing. The problem is sometimes you don’t know. Everything looks valuable until you do it and then you find out if it was or not.
The second thing is, and this is super important and most people who are starting out may say this doesn’t work for them, but get an assistant. This to me has been life-changing. I’ve had companies with hundreds of employees. I’ve been working alone since after Chet, Tony and I stopped working together in 2012, I had someone helping me on and off, but it was only in the last 90 days that I’ve had effectively a full-time assistant and it has changed my life. I was able to use the process you described, get rid of the bottom 80% and delegate that to my assistant. That seemed to be the key for me to go and feel as if I have the chance of getting more and more time off.
That’s one of the nine in my Nine Growth of Happiness Multipliers.
We’re on the same path. Denise, this has been quite an adventure knowing your process, learning your story. Denise, we have two questions that we love to ask our guests because they help us understand a little bit more about what they truly value. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
It’s a toss-up between Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. Both of them having something similar in common about how they withstood such abuse and still held love for those people hurting them and maintain that sense of peace and love no matter what was going around with them. I would love to talk with them more about how to have that capacity in my life. I have a great love and a great capacity, but I’d love to understand that perspective of how to have that much love and compassion.
It’s a good choice but unfortunately, I’m going to have to force you to pick one. Who would it be?
I would say Nelson Mandela because he was imprisoned and it went on to lead a country. I think that it would be interesting to talk to him.A good employee understands that the boss has given them the job so that the boss doesn't have to do it. Click To Tweet
With Nelson Mandela, imagine the transformation of going internally from total hatred to total forgiveness, to total love and the feeling of freedom. What a transition a human being would have to make to do what he did.
To lead a country after that.
It’s a good choice. As I sometimes tell my guests that if I can arrange for that meeting for you, all I ask is I’d be a fly on the wall, so I could listen in on that incredible conversation.
Another one I’d like to interview is Adolf Hitler, but that’s a whole other story.
If you own firearms, that would be a great interview. Denise, this is the grand finale, the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
I would like to end workaholism on this planet where people no longer work themselves to the bone. They find that joy and happiness and we’re working smarter as a better way and a happier way of living.
That is a great way to change the world, but I tell you to start in Japan first.
No doubt, if you need a place to implement it.
Have you ever been to Japan?
I have not, but I’ve heard that Japan has a much better work culture and is more open to that.
I was going to say a little bit of the opposite. I took my daughter to Japan as a graduation present when she graduated from Lesley University as a Magna Cum Laude. When we got to that country, one of the first things I noticed is that it makes America look like a third world country. Tokyo City is beautiful, so perfectly, wonderfully organized, clean and safe. It was unbelievable, but there is that dark cloud of the work environment. The people who work for companies there are culturally forced to work until 10:00 at night.
I was talking about the Microsoft study that Microsoft did a four-day workweek in Japan where they test it and it went well.
I could see why it would particularly with that culture. The dark side of that culture is the suicide rate. Unfortunately, there’s a place where you go when you’re ready to commit suicide. There’s a forest that is known as the place where people go when it’s time to end their lives. There’s a dark side to that and I think your change the world mission is so incredible. If we could do that, it would change the lives maybe even millions of people. I would love to see that happen.
Thank you for sharing and helping me understand that other cultures because that makes me even more excited about my mission and how many people we can help around the world.
We promised our audience a free gift. Tell me about what that gift is?
They can get a free copy of my book summary of all these Nine Growth And Happiness Multipliers that I’ve been talking about. If they want to learn what all the other ones are and how to implement it, it’s literally a free copy of my book summary, The Vacation Effect. They can get that at VacationEffect.com. There are free resources there as well as my podcast. They can find a link for the podcast there as well, The Vacation Effect Podcast. I would love for them to check that out if anything I’ve said has resonated.
Go check out that podcast. I have a feeling knowing Denise, it’s going to be a lot of fun to listen to. Grab that free gift and who knows, you might be able to shave a day or more a week off of your calendar by doing so. Denise Gosnell, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. I enjoyed our conversation and who knows, maybe I will get to work less too.
I look forward to how your experiment goes. Thanks for having me on the show.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- The Vacation Effect
- The Vacation Effect
- The Vacation Effect Podcast
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