Hi there! Jonathan Doyle with you once again for the weekly podcast back on the weekly schedule, which is a good thing. Nice to be predictable and consistent on the things that matter.
And this week, what I want to talk about is the concept of “Positioning”. I’ve had a couple of experiences in recent weeks where very simple things had been said. A couple of people have said things that have had a very big impact. And as I reflected on it, I realized that it’s crucial in life to position yourself in two ways.
One is to be positioned around people who can speak wisdom into your life. You want to be within a certain kind of person that can speak real wisdom and insight into your life. I’ll talk about that more in a second.
And the other thing about positioning is that you need to be hungry. You need to have what I call a “fundamental disposition”. A fundamental disposition is like a way of being. A way of being in a world of seeing, in a world of being expectant about sort of useful and valuable things coming your way.
So, I guess what I’ll do first is talk about what actually happened and just how impactful they were. And just how interesting it is that sometimes, it’s just a single phrase or a sentence or a simple interaction that can really shift your life in a different direction. But it won’t happen if you are not capable of this fundamental disposition.
So, what is that fundamental disposition? It’s a hunger, it’s an interesting… growing. It’s the first chapter of my book. I talk about decision. It’s about this mindset that most people don’t have, which is kind of, “I’m going to grow. I’m going to develop. I’m going to contribute.” So, when you build that sort of belief into your life, this kind of expectancy that things are going to develop and grow. Then you just tend to be more attuned to those interactions.
I remember listening to Andrew Warner, who’s a great entrepreneur. And he talked about not being on the sidelines of life. He said being in the arena, down on the field. He said, “Who sits on the stand?” You know, it’s the drunks, it’s the people yelling, its’ people who are too out of shape to be down on the field. And that’s a pretty harsh sort of metaphor but his point was kind of: the action doesn’t happen in the stands. The action happens on the field. The action happens where people are kind of hungry and focused and really competing. And you want to be that person. You want to be that person that is out there on the field with that fundamental disposition. And if you do that, if you sort of go into each day, fit, alive, switched on, then you are much more likely to be attuned to the wisdom that’s out there. So, for me, a couple of quick ones and I’m very sensitive as always to the stories about my life that people go. Well, I’m not into that. Well, you just get the metaphor. You understand that you can apply this to any area of your life.
So, a few weeks ago, I took the family on a holiday. We’re up at the beach and it was nice and warm. Took the bike up. And I was doing a lot of riding and I was riding with this guy who was 60. But he was a former National Road Champion and a great guy and a brilliant rider. I thought, “Man, if I could be that fit at 60!” So, I did, we did one ride. There was a whole group of us. And it was tough, it was flat out and this guy was setting the pace and I’m just holding on to his wheel. And we ended up in this long highway, just swopping off at the front, which means, one person will set the pace and we all sit on behind and then you pull out and then you go to the front and do some hard work in the wind and then you swop and you keep doing that. But it was tough. We did about 50 odd kilometers an hour, on the flat. It was really heavy pace for about 2 hours. And then over coffee later, I sort of said to him: First thing that I said, “Can you give me some advice?” We started talking about gear issues of all things and he just started commenting on watching me. “While I was watching you” he said, “you’re doing this, you’re using the wrong gearing and doing this and that.” Basically, he said to me that you just need to spin in a much higher gear. I’m not into cycling, “what does that mean?” Friends, it doesn’t matter whether it is cycling. What it was, was a very simple insight from somebody who was very experienced and quite wise. And I took that idea of spinning in what we call, “a higher cadence.” Then I took it with me and started to really apply it. And it really changed my training and my competitiveness on the bike.
Now, again, the cycling isn’t the issue. What the metaphor here is, what the idea is that I was open and I’m not going to say this in a proud way but I was humble, I had humility in the sense that I wanted to learn. And I recognized that somebody knew more about something than I did. And positioning myself that way, in two ways: one is humility; one is wanting to learn, being hungry for the wisdom of a wiser person. And second part of positioning, which is just being around this person, finding somebody who was doing something well and positioning myself in a conversation with them. So, what I’m getting at here is just a simple concept. Here he spoke for a few simple sentences but because I was attuned, because I had the disposition, because I was hungry, I got the message, I got the wisdom that was available and really applied it. So, the message in that is, you can apply that to any area of your life. Who is the person that has the wisdom that you need? And there’d be people all around you but so much of the time, we are either too busy or do not have the humility to ask and say, “How do I do this?” or, “Could you give me some feedback or advice?”
In the book, in my book, I write a whole chapter on asking and it’s funny when I speak about it at conferences and talk about how entrepreneurs ask and how successful people learn to ask for what they need. It’s funny every time on the break somebody comes out to me and asks me something outrageous, they’ll go, “Will you mentor me for the next 12 months for free?” And I’m going, you just said that because I just talked about asking! Absolutely!
So the second thing was, I spoke at a conference on the other side of the country about 10 days ago. It was great. I had a 2-day conference with ladies and there were some fantastic people there. There were about 50 ladies in the room and it was great to be in a space with people who were really professional and really hungry to learn and grow. And there was this fantastic lady there, her name is Nancy, and she was just a lot of fun and a lovely, warm person and she was sitting on one of the front tables. This was a 2-day conference, I spoke for 2 days on a whole bunch of stuff. But at one point, I tend to, I don’t drink any alcohol but I enjoy my coffee, right? So, I had a couple of coffees and I was pairing along. There was a little break and on all the tables, the conference organizers had put a lot of sugar in terms of like jelly beans and all that sort of stuff. And I reached out to grab a couple of these because I was feeling a little tired and Nancy just looked up at me and there was this look on her face. And she said, “Ooh, do you know what’s that going to do in your adrenal glands?” And I laughed, I said, “No, do I want to know?” And it started this amazing conversation and it turns out that she had celiac disease, she was really attuned to dietary things and she just spoke to me a little bit about how excess sugar consumption affects your adrenal glands and creates stress, and also to stuff, and you crush your energy levels. And it was just fascinating! It was just like this one little conversation really got to me. I thought, “Yeah, if I’m going to really speak and write and encourage people on peak performance, then, I’m going to have to be the message. I’m going to have to be the message. I’m going to have to be the person that actually does what I talk about.
So, I didn’t make those jelly beans. It was interesting. I was already aware of the impact of sugar and all that sort of in my life in general, I don’t eat much sugar at all. But there was just this one concept from somebody that really got to me. Why? ‘Coz I was positioned. Where? Positioned in a room of people who were really trying to be successful in life and contribute and position in the sense of humility again. I was open to learning, I was open to somebody who knew more about something, sharing that wisdom with me. And then it has affected me so ever since then. I’ve even trimmed off more sugar. I just sort of more and more attuned to avoiding it. Now, this is isn’t a dietary podcast. This isn’t telling you what to do. It was just this one interaction.
So, summary here is, first thing is I want you to decide again. I want you to come back to this first principle in the book: The Principle of Decision. If I’m going to have this interaction, if I’m going to learn from people and pick up this sort of wisdom, then, I need to be the kind of person that decides to live in an uncommon life. No one can do that for you. Most people never do it at all. But it’s really worth giving it some thought that you make that decision today to be a person who across all area in their lives is going to grow. This is one principle, growing: deciding that everyday you’re going to learn something, you’re going to contribute something and you’ll develop.
The second thing in the book, I have a whole chapter on Reference Groups, which is just where we position ourselves, the kind of people in our lives who we decide to be around. So, another sort of final reflection would be to say, “It doesn’t matter if you do the positioning, if you get yourself around the right people and you’re open to learning. It doesn’t matter what they tell you if you’re not prepared to actually use them.” And this has been a mantra in so many podcasts and I’m going to bring it to you again, “It doesn’t matter if you have all the best ideas in the universe, what matters is the ones you actually use.”
So, yes, position yourselves, but then, when you’re learning things, when you’re learning wisdom from other people, whether it’s through journaling, or just through reflection or through decisions and goals. You have to get it right. How do I use that knowledge? So, for me with the cycling, I took that cadence knowledge and really applied it immediately. And everytime I am on a bike now, when I’m training hard, I’m really thinking about cadence: Where am I? Where am I in the chain? Am I in the wrong gear? Can I spin higher? I’ve applied the knowledge and again with sugar, when I’m out there, out and about, I’m hungry or tired, I remember what Nancy said to me, I think your body, you think you want sugar but what your body needs is probably some more complex carbohydrates. It needs something more substantial. So I can apply her knowledge in the concrete realities of life.
So, there it is! Be open to the wisdom around you. Seek it out. Look for people… Here’s a question, “Who is surrounding your life at the moment?” One or two people…. Think about it now. I’m going to be quiet for a few second. One or two wise people that have some wisdom that they could give to you if you went out and ask them. Who are those people, think about them now.
Okay, sometime in the next 24 hours make a decision to ring them, write to them, email them, have a coffee with them and be humble enough to ask their input in whatever key area you need input in. You know, we’re often so scared of rejection. We think if we ask people for something, they’ll say, “I’m too busy or I don’t know.” They’ll think you’re weird. But it’s often side of people… the price of admission. I’m not worried much these days about seeming weird. I don’t want to be like everybody else. And to come out and risk rejection and to ask for help or to ask somebody for their time is part of the price of admission of living an extraordinary life.
So, there you go! If you haven’t got a copy of the book yet, “Bridging the Gap”, there’ll be a link here somewhere in the podcast. So, grab a copy of the book and post a comment at the bottom. Here will be a long transcript but at the bottom, post a comment. What are you learning? How does this resonate with you? And then I want you to grab this URL and I want you post it on social media, give people the links, listen to this, share it with family and friends. I love giving this stuff out for free. All I ask is that you’d share it as widely as possible ‘coz I just love impacting more and more people.
So, I’m Jonathan Doyle! Post a comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know other things that you’ve learned, wisdom that you’ve learned from other people. And I look forward to speaking with you again next week!