The 5-Step Method to Accomplish Anything with Michael Sandler of the Inspire Nation Show

“Don’t climb the ladder, jump to the top rung.” – Michael Sandler

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Do you have a method in place to make sure that you accomplish everything that you want to get done? Is there a reliable system to guarantee that you are accomplishing what you set out to, thereby making progress on the big goals in your life? Or do you find that you get stuck on meaningless activities, on a human hamster-wheel, constantly working but rarely making progress?

Michael Sandler knows a thing or two about getting things done. He’s the host of one of the top ranked self-help podcasts in iTunes, Inspire Nation, has completed a 5,000 mile, 40 day, solo, unsupported bike ride across the country, was a successful businessman, became a leading barefoot running coach, and so much more. He’s mastered the ability to see a goal through to fulfillment, and he’s paid careful attention along the way to the things that have allowed him to see such success.

This episode of The James Swanwick Show is all about how to put processes into place that, over time, allow you to accomplish incredible things. Michael talks about techniques to skip intermediate steps on the way to success, essentially jumping to the top rung of the ladder. We get into Michael’s 5-step method to accelerate success, how to build tasks into a brainless system that help get them done without you even thinking about it, and how looking at time as blocks and putting the most important thing you have to do into the very next available block can help you be productive even through an unpredictable schedule.

But one of the most poignant moments of the show comes when Michael makes the statement that “fear has never killed anyone. What kills you is knowing that you didn’t go for it.” And you can see that Michael truly lives his life this way. Being afraid is not a problem. The problem is in allowing fear to hold you back from really going for what you want to accomplish in this life. Don’t be someone who looks back on their life with regret about the things that they didn’t even attempt to accomplish. Give it a shot! Take the initial first steps, and use Michael’s 5-step method to make progress on your dreams.

So listen up and pay attention to this episode, in order to learn how to accomplish more faster, to not get burnt out, to work harder and smarter than everyone, and to ultimately accomplish your goals and live the life that you want on this episode of the James Swanwick Show!


Notes on the Show:

  • You don’t always have to start from the bottom of something. Look at what the people at the top are doing, and emulate them to skip intermediate steps

  • When we truly believe that we can be the best, we will not only practice, but we will visualize. This process of believing and visualize is extremely powerful in accomplishing goals

  • Be fearless in taking steps toward your goal. They don’t have to be big steps, but they need to be headed the right direction

  • Take a small step toward what you have to do (something like putting it in your calendar) to make sure that it actually happens

  • Taking action will often help you to adjust your vision for where you want to go and how you want to get there

  • When there is an obstacle in front of you, before you try to overcome it, take a second and try to understand why it’s there and if it means you should course-correct

  • You must be aligned personally with the work you are doing. Otherwise, you will get burned out on it

  • Build the things that you must get done into a brainless system

  • Look at your time as blocks of time. Then make a commitment to grab the first block that becomes available to get the stuff that you have to do done


5 Ways to Accelerate Your Success

  1. Write it down. Don’t underestimate the power of journaling as if it has already happened. Burn this visualization into your brain, including all the details, with a lot of emotion

  2. Initiate. Get started!

  3. Take small baby steps at the beginning, which eventually start to turn into larger steps

  4. Have a plan. Know where you want to go. Have a goal in mind, and adjust your sails as you go

  5. Work harder and smarter than anyone else. Put in the time and effort.

“Fear has never killed anyone. What kills you is knowing that you didn’t go for it.” – Michael Sandler

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Inspire Nation Show on iTunes

Barefoot Running

Mindful Running


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James Swanwick: How do you accelerate your learning? How do you accelerate your success? How do you dream big and play big and actually achieve success? A lot of us of course, we have these dreams and these visions of what we’re going to do, and then we might start off a hundred miles an hour, and then of course a week, two weeks into it. We crash, we have a setback, we don’t continue with it.

Or maybe they just stay ideas; they just stay thoughts in our heads that we never actually take action. Well, enough of that. We’re going to stop doing that. We’re going to stop it right now. And to help me teach you how to do that, I brought in the host of the top, or one of the top, self-help podcasts called Inspire Nation, the Inspire Nation Show. His name is Michael Sandler. Michael, how are you, mate? Great to have you here.

Michael Sandler: I’m doing great, James Swanwick. How are you doing?

James Swanwick: I’m doing very well, thank you very much. Now, just to give the listener/the viewer context, Michael interviewed me on the Inspire Nation Show recently, which was a lot of fun. And now I’m very happy to say that I get to interview Michael in return and really just learn about how we built his podcast, because it was really only launched in September 2015, and already it’s in the Top 20 self-help podcasts. So, Michael, just tell us a little bit about your story first of all. What’s your background? Where do you live? What do you do? How did you get to this point? And then we’ll walk through a step-by-step guide on how the listener or viewer can really accelerate their success.

Michael Sandler: Let’s see, where do I start? I guess I’ll go backwards briefly, let’s see if that works. In New Jersey at the moment, just outside New York City, from little Hamlet here, been here for a little bit less than a year. Before that, lived on Mali for about four years, [inaudible 00:01:52] Boulder before that, and I moved out to Colorado as a teen to try to make it as a professional in cycling, trained for years at the Olympic Training Center both in cycling and speed skating.

Raced in Europe in cycling. One race over there surprisingly in mountain bike, not on the road — kind of interesting — and met up with a full-sized Peugeot there. Or as the doctor later told me I [inaudible 00:02:18] an automobile, of which I told him, “Au contraire”. [laughs] And a safety official waived me into an oncoming car, and that was my career at the time.

I went back to grad school years later, got two full-time accelerated Master’s degrees simultaneously, went on to be quite successful in business and then got back into cycling and raced as a top sprinter in the nation again; and from there, went on to do a 5,000 mile 40 day solo unsupported bike ride across the country in 40 days.

The next step, and lobbied congress at that point for people with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder; became a very successful coach and speaker in those genres, a national speaker for people with learning disabilities; and then ended up going from there, got hurt in another accident, how to strip off my shoes to heal. I was told I would quite possibly lose my left leg and never be able to walk, let alone run again.

And I became a barefoot runner and went on to become the leading coach worldwide in barefoot running, wrote the bestseller Barefoot Running — so if anybody followed that craze, that was my wife and myself, that was in part our fault.

And then went from success with Barefoot Running, to Barefoot Walking, to Mindful Running, leading the world in teaching people how to meditate and run or combine those components together, and then started the Inspire Nation Show which [inaudible 00:04:00] what I like to say is overnight in 45 years.

James Swanwick: Well, look, that’s pretty dull and not very interesting Michael, so thanks for being on the show mate, and all the best.

Michael Sandler: Oh. Well, thank you.

James Swanwick: That’s a lot. You’ve done a lot, Michael. That’s amazing. So, two degrees at the same time, a sprinting cyclist, 5,000 miles soloed bike ride, you’ve lobbied congress, coach and speaker for people with learning disabilities, barefoot runner, started a podcast. So, that’s a lot of different things. First of all, congratulations for doing that, but secondly, there must be a system for how you can achieve those kind of things. Because all those things are very different, and all of those things I would imagine take Herculean efforts to achieve. So today, we’re going to talk about how to be a serial winner: how to really accelerate your success. And we’re going to break it down into five steps. So, just before we get into the five steps, do you have a tried and tested formula that works every time, or have you amended it along the way, Michael?

Michael Sandler: I’d say I’ve amended it and grown into it along the way. It’s worked each time, but I think I’ve become a lot more contemplative, go with the flow and quieter now, which I think has helped shortcut the process. I like to say that I don’t like to go up the ladder. I like to skip the whole ladder. So, when it was starting out with cycling as a kid, and all of a sudden I’m racing with the pros, or whatever piece of the puzzle like this podcast, I don’t want to work my way up the ladder. I want to look at the top, try to emulate, understand what’s going on there, believe I can get there and then flip a few switches and find a way to be there.

James Swanwick: I like that. So, don’t walk up the ladder. You actually want to race up the ladder really quickly, right? Or you want to actually just jump to the top rung of it?

Michael Sandler: Jump to the top rung. It takes too long. It’s really about belief system. If you believe you need to go — and that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to practice, sort of like if I wanted to get good at free throws, I’m going to need to throw a lot of free throws.

But if I believe I’m going to be a great free-thrower, then I’m not just going to practice free throws. I’m going to go look at the best, watch the best, see if I can ask the best, talk with the best, put myself in their mind, if not in their shoes, and then I want to visualize it myself and see myself doing it as if I am them. And that belief system of seeing it and then you will see it in your head — believe it and then you’ll see it, by visualizing, visualizing, visualizing, you bring it about. It’s extremely powerful and it works time after time after time.

James Swanwick: So, let’s do these official five ways to accelerate your success. Five ways to jump to the top rung of the ladder; how to be a serial winner. I think you touched on it there, visualizing… You mean dreaming big, visualizing — just break that down as the first step, Michael.

Michael Sandler: So, it can be journaling; writing down what you want is a great way to go. So write down, “I want a number one show” or you can do the Bob Proctor method. I like that. “I am so happy and grateful now that I have the number one show.” So first, you  burn that into your subconscious. That’s a Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. That’s his idea as well. So, it goes back a long time.

So you write it down exactly what it is that you want. And then you can have la-di-da dreams. You know, it’s nice to dream, and dream big and see it happening. But take tiime to actaally put yourself in a chair, put yourself in lotus position, lay down, focus on deep breathing and burn this into your brain. If it’s going to be the number one show, see yourself having the number one show. See people calling in about your number one show; people emailing about your number one show. See the sponsors of your number one show. See it, feel it, and do this very intensely. It has to be with a lot of emotion. To put yourself in the issues of already having the goal that you desire.

James Swanwick: Now, doing that is not enough for those things that you desire to actually happen. I know that The Secret obviously did really well in talking about the Law of Attraction. You then actually have to go out and do that. One of the big misconceptions is that if you just sit there and want something enough, that all of a sudden that stuff will come to you; but you actually have to go out and action the thoughts and the intention that you are imagining. Right, Michael?

Michael Sandler: Yes, and I guess the best way to do that if I had to use a word is be fearless. And by fearless, that doesn’t mean you need to take giant steps. I think that’s Tony Robbins, who said you need to take giant steps. But you can take baby steps. Just move forward toward that goal. So, it’s something you’ve talked about with me as well: is getting moving.

And so, when I wanted to race bicycles in Europe, and I’m racing all over the states and I’m putting that out there, how am I going to do this? Well, I started talking with people about it. How am I going to get to race in Europe? How am I going to go there? How am I going to get to do this? And talked with everybody I knew and also travelled around to try to be in the mix. Movement has a way, I call it road rules. The more you’re in motion, the more things come to you; the more road magic, things start to take place. And then I have the Belgian director of cycling say, “Would you like to come over and race for us?” And now, I could’ve thought, “Wait a second, this is a top federation, this is a high-level. I need to start a little bit lower level.” But at that point, I had already been setting myself up for doing this and i’m like, “Sure, game on. Let’s go for it.”

I had been taking the steps, didn’t even know the exact steps to take, but I was taking steps in that direction.

James Swanwick: Absolutely. So, before we jumped on this call, I was interviewing a potential assistant for me. And I’ve been thinking that I need an in-person assistant for a long time here. I’m based in Los Angeles. I have an assistant in the Philippines. I have a few people who work for me around the world, but I don’t have anyone in-person, physically where I am, most of the time here in LA. And I’ve putting it off, putting it off, putting it off, and doing it — “Oh, I don’t want to train someone. It’s just a pain.” And finally, two days ago I put it in the calendar, I was like, “Just take one meeting. I have one meeting with someone, an assisatnt who might be good.” And I put it in my calendar, and that was just one small simple step. And now because I saw it in my calendar, I then reached out to a couple of people I know. “Hey, do you know anyone?” And a friend of mine, a guy called Daniel messaged me back and said, “Hey, I’ve got this girl who might be good. I’ll introduce you to her.” I said, “Okay.” And then before you know it, she was scheduled, she’s here, she just had a 30 minute meeting with me. I’m going to test her out next week.

So, the mistake that I had made, I think, for the six monhs before I actually finally had that meeting, was it was in my mind, I was thinking I have to do it but I didn’t actually take the small step of putting it in a diary or in a calendar and actually asking people for a suggestion. I just didn’t take that small step. It was just an idea in my damn head.

It wasn’t until I actually took action on it, actually took action, there you go, that now I’m moving forward. Now, maybe she works out and maybe she doesn’t, but at least now I’m moving forward. So, that’s an example of just turning an idea and taking a small step.

Michael Sandler: Yes, and I think we’re rewarded for taking those steps. I think the universe is conspiring in our favor. It’s doing the bike ride across the country, and I got half way across the country, stopped off in my hometown at the time, which is at Fort Collins, Colorado, didn’t have the funds to make it the whole way across the country yet. The donations were coming in but they’re coming in slowly. And I said, “You know, the last thing in the world I want to do is sell my motorcycle. It’s my pride and joy.”

I got to Fort Collins and the only way to continue was to sell my motorcycle. And I sold it in a fire sale price. I’m pretty much in tears, I get on the road. The next day, an anonymous donor comes and supports the entire trip across the country. And a web company that does all my IT for the entire country, and it just got better and better and better because I said, “Okay, I’ve got to take the step forward, even if I don’t know what it’s going to take and I’m not sure where it’s going to lead.” It’s symbolic, and I think in doing that, just like you took today, or a few days ago, took that step, the gears are ready to go into gear and do things for you if you take that first step.

James Swanwick: Absolutely. We’re talking to Michael Sandler who is the host of the Inspire Nation Show in iTunes. Make sure you check it out, Michael Sandler is his name. We’re talking about five steps to accelerate success. How to just jump to the top rung of the ladder. Now, if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can see I’ve got my phone out here, and we’re doing a livestream now, Michael, on Periscope. We’ll do a Periscope here for the next 10 minutes or so where you can ask Michael questions.

Hello to the Periscopers. If you don’t follow me on Periscope, this is where you can find me in my social media. You can see it there, which is @jamesswanwick. You can follow me there on Periscope, or I’m on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, all of those good places. So Periscopers, as you are watching now live, make sure you ask — you’re getting lots of hearts there, Michael, look at that. You see the hearts that are coming?

Michael Sandler: [laughs] Thank you.

James Swanwick: Here’s the question from @philajosh. He says, “How do you take the first step when you feel fear?” That’s the question from one of my Periscope followers. How do you take the first step when you feel the fear, Michael?

Michael Sandler: I like to do the visualization, like I mentioned before. And to dive into it and to try to understand where the fear is coming from. So it’s like peeling away different layers of the onion. But then, what’s most important is first step. It doesn’t have to be a big first step, but any first step. In the greater scheme of things, to get from point A to point B, there’s no direct path. We like to use the analogy of an airplane in the past. Now, they’ve got GPS it’s a different story. But in the past, you would tangent from one beacon to the next beacon to the next beacon, never going in a straight line but you’d still get there.

So to go from A to B doesn’t have to be a straight line. It’s just, say, “I’m feeling that fear and I’m going to move forward anyway.”

James Swanwick: Yes. You know it’s funny, I became a sportscenter anchor on ESPN, and I’ve told this story quite a lot. I went for an audition at Bristol, Connecticut in 2010, and I was terribly nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I messed up my first audition. And the ESPN producer said, “Nope. Not good enough.” And I was very fearful. I was fearful that I was going to fail. I was fearful that I was going to succeed, because I was like, if I succeed, holy hell, all these thousands of people are going to watch me on TV and maybe I’m not as good as I think I am, and maybe people are going to criticize me. So, I had a fear of failing and I had a fear of success. But in that moment I just said, “You know what? Please let me have another go. I’ll come back tomorrow and try again.” And I was very fearful the next day as well, but guess what? The next day, because I kept moving forward, I nailed it. I got the audition, I succeeded with the audition and I was on air about two or three weeks later.

So, it’s perfectly natural that the fear will come in anything, even if you use the analogy of a guy who sees a pretty girl on the street. It’s perfectly natural that you’re going to feel fear about going up there and approaching. But you just got to suck it up and just walk through the fear anyway or go around it and just say, “Listen. I’m either going to push through this damn fear and do it, and maybe something amazing happens, or I’m going to do nothing, shrink into mediocrity and regret for the rest of my life.”

Michael Sandler: I think that’s the key thing: fear has never killed anyone, I don’t believe. I could be wrong, but don’t think so. But what does, what kills you, is your heart being wounded because you didn’t go for it, and that gnaws at you for years to come. And it’s sort of like the girl that you never asked out or something to that effect.

So it’s much better to just deal with the fear, even if you’re holding your hands behind your back, doing anything weird, pinching yourself, whatever you’re doing — just take the step.

James Swanwick: Okay, so we’re moving on now. The first step was write down exactly what you want, second step was get moving; take small baby steps. What’s the third step, Michael? You got there ‘initiate’, is that the same as…?

Michael Sandler: Initiate really is the same as taking that step.

James Swanwick: So taking those steps, initiate. So, we’ll skip through what we might call the fourth tip then, Michael. So, what would that be?

Michael Sandler: So, a fourth tip would be having a plan at that point. So, knowing where you want to go. Actually, you need to have a goal in mind. So, you can get started without… Things start to come clear as you’re moving down this path. And so, adjusting and figuring out exactly where you want to go becomes very important.

For instance, starting a show at the beginning, putting one foot in front of the other. “Okay, I know I want to start a show. I know this show is going to go very well.” Where do I want the show to go? So after I’ve gotten down the road a few steps, then I’m going to adjust my sales and figure out exactly where it is to become clear. You don’t need to have everything down at the beginning, but you do want to get it clear as you go further down the road.

James Swanwick: So just clarify that for me. Once we’ve written down what we want, we’re getting moving, we’re taking baby steps, you’re talking about going quiet? So, just clarify exactly what we’re doing at this point.

Michael Sandler: At this point, what you’re doing is adjusting your sales. You’re getting clear, getting clarity let’s call it, on exactly where you want to go. So in the beginning it could be, “I want to get a job in real estate.” And so, I ask people about getting jobs in real estate, that’s taking one step forward. I start to meditate, visualize, “I’m going to get a job in real estate.” That’s great. You’re moving forward in the process. Now, you get an idea, “Ah, what I really want to do, is I want to be a commercial realtor. Not only do I want to be in real estate, I want to be a commercial realtor; I know exactly what I want to do now.”

And so now, you’ve got that additional focus to take the next steps.

James Swanwick: Right. I like it. So keep getting clear. I mean, what I like to do is I like to amend as I go along. What my vision is when I start often isn’t how I end up. But just because I had the vision and because I took the action, sometimes I even get a better vision. Sometimes I get a better outcome than what I had when I initially started. So, it’s really just adjust as you go. Same thing with overcoming obstacles: if you’re walking in a straight line and all of a sudden a wall emerges, what are you going to do? Are you going to just look at the wall and go, “Well, I can’t go through that.” Or you’re going to go, “Alright”, I might climb it. I’ll go over the top of it.” Or I’ll get a track and I’ll smash right through it, or I’ll figure out a way to go around it.

So, it’s really just getting clear and also amending the vision and the path along the way as obstacles come up.

Michael Sandler: It means that a very important component of this, each step of the way, is going quiet. While I believe in moving forward and moving forward with speed, meaning taking action quickly to get started. I don’t want to rush. There’s a big difference. That’s why I’m saying take small steps. But what I want to do is check in each step of the way. Where is it I’m trying to go? Okay, a door has just gone in my face closed, or there’s a wall now in front of myself. What does this mean?

And that’s something that I’ve actually been challenged with in the past, and I do much better now, which is, if I had an obstacle come in front of me before I start to climb over it, under it, around it, I want to know what it’s there for, because there are times when it’s there to direct you a different way. And if you’re just moving ahead without taking the time to hit the pause button, you may never know that there’s an easier way to go, a better way to go, or that you need to make it about face.

James Swanwick: Yes. One of the things I’m guilty of is just wanting to go go go the whole time and not looking at the bigger picture. So, as I’m recording this, I’m actually headed to springs this evening for three days. I’m going to shut off my phone for a couple of days and just have no contact, shut down, and just go into some deep thinking. Well first of all, I’m going to play some golf and hang out and chill out, and then I’ll probably go and sit down and just do some deep thinking and try to get very clear on a vision. No cellphone, no wifi, no email, no nothing. No distractions.

And that’s important for me because when I do just take that time, I can then go, “Hmm, am I on the right path?” or “Do I need to deviate from here?” or “Do I need to create a new goal or a new vision?” or “Is this still what I really, truly want?”. The danger is, of course, is that you’re going 100 miles an hour. We’re trying to jump to the top rung. We’re trying to make all these things happen, and we lose sight of the bigger picture or we get muddled up. And we’re so focused on making things happen that we don’t get that clarity where we have to pause and just go, “Hmm, maybe I should just make a couple of changes here.”

So, that’s what works for me: Getting out of town, shutting off, trying to have that space and then most of the time I get great insight when I do that. Does that happen for you, Michael?

Michael Sandler: Very much happens that way. And for myself, I’ve had the experience before of just go, go, go and things not working out because I never hit that pause button so to speak. Or other times, and for this show, it was all about — for Inspire Nation, we had an idea for the show. We didn’t know what it was going to be, we didn’t know how it was going to be, and my answer to that wasn’t to dramatically rush forward, it was putting pieces in place. “Okay, let’s learn how to do this part of the puzzle. Let’s learn how to do that.” But to figure out what the vision of the show was, I did two things.

One, I went for long walks and I put the question out there and said, “What is this show supposed to be?” What’s it supposed to be? And just left that out there and try to go quiet during the walks, and then I was doing lots of meditation. Each morning, getting up, doing a gratitude exercise, and then going quiet and listening to hear what this show is supposed to be.

There’s a lot of creating angst too of, “Oh, maybe it should be this. It should be that.” And Jessica and I going back and forth on what this should be, until we went bigger idea, bigger idea, bigger idea. Because we knew the ideas weren’t logic-mind. They weren’t linear. They weren’t analytical because it was like a thought bubble would come up. And if we went quiet, we would hear these big thought bubbles and get a great idea and go, “Ah, it’s supposed to be a worldwide show. It’s supposed to be a giant self-help show. It’s supposed to be this, not the other.” Only when we went quiet.

James Swanwick: So going quiet and getting clarity is very important. Alright. So now, we’re moving onto the last tip here, Michael. We’re moving along, we’re taking action, we’re going quiet at times to get clarity. What else do we need to do to jump the rung and speed up our success?

Michael Sandler: Go like hell. [laughs] So, ultimately, at the end of the time, when you’ve got the vision, you’ve got the clarity, you’ve got the direction, you know where you’re going, work your tail off. And I don’t mean work harder. Work smarter. But if you want to circumvent the ladder, you’re going to have to put in the time. There’s no way around it. That means practicing more, practicing more than anybody else, taking more time to do it. If not, taking more time on the working than taking more time to learn about what you’re doing. Learn, learn, learn.

Make this not just a full-time effort, make time as a full-time effort plus. This is where entrepreneurs either succeed or they fail. The entrepreneurs often that succeed are the ones who put in the time and a half, the double time to begin with, that are putting investments. It’s like launching a rocket. And if you launch the rocket, you got to burn a lot of fuel just to get one foot off of the ground. And you got to get that thrust, that momentum going. And so, put in that time.

James Swanwick: Absolutely. So you got to put the time in, you got to focus, you got to commit to it. Because a lot of people will start a hundred miles an hour, and then burn out after a week or two. Right? I mean, that’s why the diet industry is so huge in this country. Because people start off going, “I’m going to eat nothing but vegetables for 30 days” and they last like three days, and then they crash again. So, you know, like, go, go, go, but you have to make sure that you believe in that vision. You got to want it enough. You got to be passionate about it enough.

Listen, this podcast that I’m hosting, the James Swanwick Show, it’s been going almost two years now, started off as the Alpha Male Club Show, and now it’s the James Swanwick Show, and I don’t know how many episodes I’ve done. It must be coming up 250, maybe a few hundred, might be more, I should probably count them, but why I have stayed the course? Because I like doing it. I like interviewing people like Michael Sandler, I like interviewing authors and experts. It’s good training for me. It just reinforces learning for me.

So to stay the course in anything, you got to be passionate about it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to follow your passion and create a business out of your passion, either. It can mean that, but like I used to be passionate about Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and so I created a blog called Tottenham Nation and I hated it after three months. I’m like, “This sucks. I don’t even want to watch my team anymore.” So, you do need to be careful about it as well. But the bottomline is, you must always be looking to move towards something that gives you pleasure, something that drives you. Because if you don’t, you’re more inclined to crash and burn, and then just throw it away and discard it and go, “Oh well, time to move on to the next shiny new thing”, Michael.

Michael Sandler: I think you need alignment. So, for instance, if you’re doing somethnig just for the money — and that odesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with making a lot of money. Go for it, it’s great. But if you’re doing it just for the money and you’re going, “I don’t relaly like it. I don’t enjoy it” or “It’s not in alignemnt with my values, but I know I’ll make a killing at it.” And when the going gets tough, you have no fuel to keep going. It’s in congress with who you are.

If you’re going, “I enjoy this. I believe in this. I’m helping others” or there is a burning desire. “I need that money to pay for my family and to pay for my new kid who’s coming along the way.” If you got that fuel and it’s in alignemnt with who you are, you’ll be able to push through when the going gets tough. And each of the things that we talked about, bike ride, going pro, the show, whatever it is, I’ve hit those moments where it would be really easy to quit.

You’re crying in the middle of the night going, “It’s 2:00AM. I can’t go to bed until this has uploaded, and it’s going to take me another few hours.” And this is the third or fourth day in a row. And you’re going, “Well, I know what I signed up for. I know why I’m doingi t. I am very passionate about it or at least enjoy this, and I know thisis going to make a big difference in the long run. I can’t get through this.” If you don’t have those drivers, when the going gets tough, you get going.

James Swanwick: Yes. You know, I’m the creator of the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, which encourages people to quit alcohol for 30 days, and it’s been going about a year now. You know, I get energized by the fact that so many people do that challenge and they transform their health. And that gives me passion and drive and enthusiasm, right? To hear that. And I get emails and text messages from people saying, “Thank you so much. You’ve helped change my life. This is amazing.” And it’s great, that’s awesome.

But I tell you, at times I get super frustrated with it because I’m not a technical person. I don’t like creating lead pages and opt-in funnels, and all that kind of stuff. I’m not a technical person. I don’t like that. And I’ve hit moments during that business where I’ve had to get in and do the nitty-gritty of that stuff, and sometimes I might, “Oh, man. I hate this stuff.” Like, I just want to speak on camera, I want toj ust inspire people with my owrds and my voice. I don’t want to be writing HTML or trying to figure how to opt-in funnel and a sink it up with a get-response auto-responder and all this kind of nonsense.

The reason that I push through, or I find a way around it by hiring someone to do it, or getting help, is because my bigger vision is helping as many people as possible quit or reduce alcohol. Because I know that’s what I can speak about best and that’s what works for me. You know, so I have that drive. So, this things going to be going for five years, ten years maybe. The 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. It’s going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.

I’m still going to think, “Damn, this is a pain in the ass sometimes.” Beacuse there are going to be obstacles that come. But because I have the bigger picture, I’m willing to move through them and put up with it, or find another way to get through it.

Michael Sandler: I think one of the key things that you just mentioned there, and it can’t be overstated, is that you’re not just doing this for yourself. You’re doing this for others. And something happens in our minds and our hearts when we’re doing something that’s bigger than just for ourselves. It could be doing something that’s for our family, it could be doing something for community, or for a whole group. When you do that, there’s a quote by St. Augustine, and I’ll butcher it here but it goes something like, “Lord, don’t give me a smaller burden; give me wider shoulders.”

And so, you go those wide shoulders when you’re doing it for others.

James Swanwick: Right. Yes, I like that a lot. That’s a good phrase. I’m a big fan of that. I’ve been going through an issue, Michael. Let’s talk about this with my podcast, that the listeners are listening on at the moment. It used to be called the Alpha Male Club, now it’s the James Swanwick Show. I got distracted last year with shiny new things. And things that I loved doing, to be quite frank, but it just took a way a little bit. And so, I lost a little bit of the consistency of the show, in terms of I used to pump out two or three episodes a week and then there are a couple of weeks — few weeks last year, it was only one a couple of times. I went a couple of weeks without releasing an episode. So, I haven’t remained consistent with it.

Based on this talk, what advice would you give me to try and ensure that I remain consistent and I keep and hold myself to that high standard that I believe I should be holding myself to, so I can reinvigorate and drive this thing once again?

Michael Sandler: I’d say first and foremost is build it into your routine. The best way to be consistent is to be able to trip over it. If there is a set time, day, place, the works, where you’re going to do it, it’s more likely to get done. If you need a set date, time, place to be able to reach out to guests and you have that on a consistent basis, that makes it easier as well.

So, the audience sticks around if you’re consistent on your end of things. To make it easier, to be consistent for yourself, built it into a brainless system so you don’t have to think about it at all.

James Swanwick: I like that. Building it into a brainless system. In fact, I’m going to write it on my whiteboard behind me right now. I like it. I’m just going to do this here. Brainless system.

So, an example of that, if you’re watching this on YouTube, there’s my social media things, but I’ve just written down ‘brainless system’. I’m going to do a better version of that. You can see that, Michael? Can you see that?

Michael Sandler: Yes.

James Swanwick: Okay, very good.

Michael Sandler: Make it bigger here.

James Swanwick: So yes, let me just actually — I’m going to move this here. You can follow me on all those Instagram pages there, but you can see, part of my brainless system is that I have a whiteboard right behind me where I’m recording this podcast. Now, I’ll show you where I am. This is my treadmill desk. I’m not walking at the moment, but I’m standing up because I like to stand up when I do interviews. I don’t like to sit anymore. There’s a great book by James Levine called Stand Up: Why Your Chair is Killing You. So, this is part of my brainless system.

I often have thoughts that I want to doodle down and I want to see it repeatedly, rather than write it on a notepad where maybe I lose it. I put a whiteboard right behind me where I do most of my work, so now I can just grab a pen, turn around and write down one of Michael Sandler’s great quotes there. “Turn it into a brainless system.” So, that’s an example of that, right Michael?

Michael Sandler: That’s a perfect example. Another good example would be, as simple as… Let’s say you always forget your car keys or your cellphone when you leave in the morning. And so, a way that we can ensure that you do that, that you take them with you, is either have a place, a shelf and a hook right by your door where those belong, or you can carry a little basket or a little bag on your doorknob, and you always put your phone and your keys there. That way when you go for the door, it’s there. If you see them laying any place out from the house, tredge them over, throw them there. It’s brainless because in the morning when you’re going to leave, you’ve got them there. Now, it takes a little training to get it done, but you start to get it faster and faster, “Oh wait, I didn’t want to leave this over here anymore. I need to put it by the door.”

James Swanwick: Yes, I have a case that I do. I am notorious for being — if I don’t… Man, I leave keys, glasses. Can you imagine all the things that you got to take with you when you leave home? For me, it’s a set of keys, a wallet, a phone, headphones for my phone, sometimes my computer…

Michael Sandler: Have you put a little whiteboard, a mini whiteboard, by your door with a checklist on it?

James Swanwick: No. No, I haven’t.

Michael Sandler: It’s a great one to try. The other way you can do it, which is… It’s a little bit over the top, but I actually used to use it in the past, is to have a laminated checklist. And you just go, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic. Okay, got everything. When I was a pro-cyclist, it would be, “What do I need to leave the door with?” And I’d have my list: socks, shoes, license, this, that, the other, the other. And that way, when my brain is already thinking of the race, the course, the competitors, whatever… I pause for a minute, I go through my checklist, I’m good to get out the door. And then it’s more stress-free.

James Swanwick: Yes, I like that. It’s just taking the brain stuff out of it. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg, who created Facebook is a great example of that. He wears the same clothes every day, right? He wears the same shirt, same colored shirt, round neck shirt. He doe that deliberately because he doesn’t want to spend time thinking about what he’s going to wear. He just goes to the closet, it’s no-brainer, I’m just going to pull out the next shirt. I’m not even going to think about it. That’s an extreme case, obviously. But it’s effective, it works for him. So, anything you can do to put a brainless system, as Michael Sandler says, is going to be more effective.

What else you got? You got something else, Michael? What else can I do to try and get this going? I’m looking at my calendar now. We’re going to run through this right now. I’m looking at my calendar, and now what I’m going to experiment with is that I’ll only do interviews for my show on Wednesdays. So, I set up my interview schedule now, that the only time people can book time with me are Wednesdays from this point on. So, that works, right?

Michael Sandler: That works. So, when have you scheduled booking guests?

James Swanwick: You’re right, I haven’t. It just comes up kind of like, whatever.

Michael Sandler: So, we need to do frontloading. And I’ve been calling it lately the Costanza Effect. And there was a George Costanza episode in Seinfeld where he started doing the opposite of whatever he wanted…

James Swanwick: I love that episode. It was great.

Michael Sandler: Yes. You know, he got to work for the Yankees. [inaudible 00:36:40]. And he did that by doing the opposite of his intuition. In this case, what that means is contacting people for interviews, it’s probably not the first thing that you want to do.

James Swanwick: Right.

Michael Sandler: Therefore, it’s probably the first thing that you should do. Get it done first, get it out of the way. Frontloading. You always get to the things you want to get done. You ever miss a workout that you wanted to do?

James Swanwick: Really. I really miss workouts. I love workouts, yes.

Michael Sandler: Yes, so exactly. You’re going to find a way to get the stuff in that you want to get done. What you need to do, is put in front of that, the things that you don’t want to get done, that keep getting pushed off and pushed off and pushed off.

James Swanwick: Right. Yes, I like that. So, I got to really put it in my calendar and just assign it. This sounds great in theory. I’ll tell you why it didn’t work, why it hasn’t worked for me up until now. Is that I do many of the things and I actually do stuff with Tai Lopez, who’s a friend and mentor of mine. I sell his business programs to people over the phone, and Tai does his webinars promoting these programs on sporadic days. So, I don’t really know at the beginning of the week when I’m going to have to get on the phone and talk to some people who want to buy into the programs, right?

So, that makes it a bit harder than to say, “Well, every single day, every single Tuesday morning from nine until ten, I’m going to book guests.” When all of a sudden on Monday, it’s like, “Well, actually on Tuesday from nine until ten, you have to be phoning potential clients. So, how does one get around that, Michael?

Michael Sandler: Look at your time as blocks of time. And so, you know Tai’s going to be taking a bunch of blocks. You don’t know which blocks they are, but you could say that my first available block of time that I have, starting from Monday through Friday, whenever that block is, I’m just going to grab that phone, get on the web, whatever it is, and contact people right away. The first block that’s available. And then you get it out of the way by doing that. It’s really a matter of choice, of prioritization.

If it was, for instance… Tai’s taking a good chunk of your time for this program, but you still get the workouts then, so you put the priority, the workout, at a very high priority, that no matter what you’re going to get the workouts there. If we put the same level of priority no matter what, I’m going to contact guests, it gets done.

James Swanwick: Right, I like it.

Michael Sandler: I can’t say it’s fun.

James Swanwick: Yes. Well, maybe there’s some stuff there that I can try and test, which is terrific. Maybe one of my tests is getting the assistant to reach out to guests as well, you know, and taking that off my hands.

Michael Sandler: Well, it could be very helpful, and it could be a matter of trying to find a way to get momentum. So, maybe putting out a whole bunch of queries and then sees what comes of it, or even saying, “I’m going to take a weekend, hold up, to reach out to people, and let’s see if I can book out a month or two.” And just slam out a bunch, get it out of the way and be done with that part.

James Swanwick: Right, I like it. So, some great little tips there, success tips on how to accelerate your success. We started off by talking about how to write down exactly what you want, moving, taking baby steps, getting clear, believing in yourself… And then we talked about some little productivity hacks there as well, which can help you execute on your strategy and make sure that you’re jumping out to the top rung of the ladder rather than walking up the ladder. So, this has been great. Michael Sandler, thank you so much. Where do our listener and viewer find more about you?

Michael Sandler: Real simple.

James Swanwick:

Michael Sandler: But they can also find us — we have our Inspire Nation YouTube channel. We have our Inspire Nation Show on iTunes, on Podcast Republic, pretty much everywhere these days.

James Swanwick: Very good. Well, Michael Sandler, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here. Don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat, jamesswanwick. I’m doing a lot more stories and a lot more posting on Snapchat these days, and you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, my Facebook page of course,, and yes, make sure you… And please do leave a review in iTunes as well if you liked this, and let’s keep pumping up the podcasts, the James Swanwick Show, and supporting Michael Sandler and his show throughout the year as well.

So, Michael Sandler from the Inspire Nation Show. Thank you very much.

Michael Sandler: Thank you, and a mighty woo-hoo!

James Swanwick: Woo-hoo! There you go, and to you, the listener and the viewer, I’ll catch you on the next one. See ya!


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