It’s no secret that we’re pushed to the limit these days. We’re rushed, overwhelmed, and always behind. It’s no wonder we’re trapped in an endless loop of short-term thinking. How do we break out of this cycle and begin to think more long-term? That’s what today’s amazing guest is going to share with you today.
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How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World with Dorie Clark
What happens when we’re pushed to the limit? When we’re just persistently rushed. We’re persistently overwhelmed and we are trapped in that doom loop of short-term thinking.
What happens, we end up, I know me, at least what I do is I just put my head down and I pushed through, I’m going to just say, okay, what’s next? What’s next? What’s next. What’s next. Don’t even take a moment to breathe. But what feels like this endless cycle, this doom loop of short-term thinking it doesn’t have to be that way. We can create a more interesting and meaningful life. We can create a more profitable business. We can create a business that thinks long-term in a short-term world.
That’s what the title of this episode is how to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world. I’ve got our first repeat, I think our first repeat guest on today, and I’ve had her on three times actually, between podcasts. We’re going to talk today about how did she become an entrepreneur. We’re going to talk about what long-term thinking actually means. And we’re gonna talk about how to balance, what I teach? I teach this stuff, small wins, quick wins give them a taste of victory. How do you balance that with long-term thinking? How do you co-mingle short and long-term thinking?.
We’re talking about why we’re all so busy these days and why it’s like, this is a new phenomenon, or is this something that has been around for a while? We’re going to talk about something that makes me so mad that 97% of senior leaders identify strategic thinking as the key to their organization’s success. But 96% say they don’t have time. That’s crazy.
We’re going to talk about what to do when you’ve got multiple choices in life and in business. What’s the path that you should take. There’s a quote that we’re going to talk about. That’s pretty profound and gives us some direction on that. We’re going to talk about these four different waves of one’s career learning, creating, connecting, and reaping, and what we should be doing in each of those.
We’re going to talk about what advice Dorie Clark today’s guests would give to an entrepreneur, aspiring entrepreneur, someone like you, maybe who knows that they know what they want to do. They know they want to be an entrepreneur. They’re just not sure about their niche or their true passion or purpose.
We are going to learn today how to develop the skill of long-term thinking how to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world.
Matt: Well, welcome Dorie.
Dorie: Hey Matt. Still good to be talking with you again.
Matt: All Right. So I think you might be, I’m not sure you might be like our first repeat guest.
Dorie: Unbelievable. I’m honored.
Matt: I’m almost positive. I need to go check. Like, I don’t even know. I’m like, who else has been on twice? I’m pretty sure. So that’s kind of Cool.
Dorie: Special Sandhills advantage.
Matt: We might talk about that. Technically, if you go across previous podcasts, this will be your third time, which is, I know that has never happened. That’s kind of cool.
So the title, like the title of this, why people are listening to this is how to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world. I would love to hear from you just like your definition of what long-term thinking is because I know for me, it’s 2021, and everything is short-term.
So what’s long-term thinking to you.
Dorie: Well, at a basic level, for me, long-term thinking it’s not about a particular X amount of time. It is at a really basic level, the act of making choices to do something today that makes tomorrow easier and better. That’s how I think about the long term.
Matt: But when is tomorrow? I know tomorrow is tomorrow like we’re recording this on a Wednesday tomorrow is Thursday, but like, that’s still short-term thinking.
Dorie: It’s short-term in a temporal sense, but if we’re talking mindset, I mean, ultimately there are certain activities that you’re never going to be, sorry, you did. You’re probably not going to say, oh man, I am so bummed. I went to the gym yesterday. I mean, maybe feel like, twist your ankle or throw out your back, but mostly you’re actually going to feel good. You’re going to say, oh wow. I went to the gym three times last week. That was a good move.
Similarly, for our careers, it’s very much like investing. We all know $10 a month starting when you’re 25 is a lot more valuable than a thousand dollars a month starting when you’re 50 and just the small things add up. So for me in writing this book, I wanted to apply that lens to our careers.
A lot of us put on strategic caps when it comes to our business and our jobs, but not necessarily our own careers. I wanted to understand what are the things that we can do if we’re all busy. The things that don’t require huge amounts of time or even huge amounts of effort, but just a little bit of strategy that if you keep doing it over time will lead you to the place you want to go.
Matt: So like for you, I think you’ve been an entrepreneur now for how long?
Dorie: I have been working for myself since 2006.
Matt: Okay. Wow. I didn’t realize it was that long. I thought it was like 10 or 11 years. So that’s cool. So 15 years you’ve been an entrepreneur. When you decided to make that transition to become an entrepreneur, were you playing the long game? Or was that just like one of those? Like, I’m going to become an entrepreneur and I have no idea how this is going to pan out type things.
Dorie: Mostly I did not have a freaking clue, which is why I write these books because I want to make it easier for other people. I feel like the thing that drives me bonkers and I write about this in the long game is when people who have, quote-unquote made it in one way or another, just kind of pull up the ladder after them and they try to be really evasive about, just work hard and excellence will prevail. It was like, oh, okay. If that’s how it works then obviously, you must be the most excellent of all time. There are strategies, there are ways we can do this and I really wanted to understand them for myself and I wanted to help other people understand them as well.
Matt: That’s one thing that I picked up from you is like the majority of your, I mean, this is this new book, the long game is what your fifth six,
Dorie: This is number four.
Matt: Four. Okay. I just know you’re going to write two more or so at least. I find that a lot of your content and this is true of your books, but it’s also true of your online content is basically here’s how I did something that took me a year, all the mistakes I made and I’ve learned mistakes from others. Here’s how you can do it in three to six months and avoid all the pain and frustration.
I kind of liked that because I didn’t get it, first of all, it humanizes you, but second of all, it actually, it’s a value proposition. I don’t know if you did that intentionally, but it’s a value proposition. Like, don’t take a year, like I did take six months.
Dorie: Yeah. I think that’s really true. I think that there is a lot of time and effort wasted so often just because the process is really opaque, the process of achieving success, whatever that means. Sometimes it’s about getting your message heard and breaking through to the next level.
Sometimes it’s about hitting a new benchmark in terms of sales or something like that. But a lot of times the actual mechanics have not been discussed. So people have to guess they have to, they have to make all the mistakes. It just seems so unfortunate to me. One of my principles is that it just kind of bothers me at a fundamental level that so often it seems like it’s the loudest voices are the ones that are always getting heard.
I want the best ideas to get heard, but it’s really hard for that to happen if we’re erecting a lot of barriers and there’s a lack of transparency or a lack of information about, all right, how does this work? We all know there’s a difference between being good at something and being well known or respected, or being a recognized expert for those things. So that’s what I wanted to really dive into.
Matt: Hmm. So I’m curious with this book if the timing of this book is right like we’re in the middle of the pandemic if you heard about that or anything, but it feels like we’re living more short-term than ever because we’re just trying to get through this.
It’s always, I know for a while, I was just like, okay, we need this and then we’re not past it and then it’s Okay. So it feels like everything’s short-term like I’m curious just to be honest, do you wish you’d maybe released this like three or four years ago when people were naturally may be more open to thinking long-term or what are your thoughts on that on the timing of this because you play started writing it three years ago.
Dorie: I started ideating for this yeah. In 2018.
Matt: So we even had heard of a Coronavirus, like what is that? It’s a made-up word.
Dorie: Absolutely. Yeah. So back then, the short-term thinking that I had in my sightline was the more innocuous kind. It was like, gosh, everybody’s on social media all the time. I’m like, don’t those sound like innocent days. But of course, we’re still on social media all the time, but yeah, you’re exactly right now we have a lot more pressing concerns.
So one of the stories that I tell in the book is about this guy, he was kind of a casual acquaintance where, when I announced, oh, Hey, I have this book deal, which I got the book deal literally right before COVID February 28th, 2020. I got the email, Hey, congratulations. And then within a week, the entire world was freaking out.
And so I said, oh, I have this book. And the guy’s like, what’s it about? And I said, long-term thinking, and he’s like, Nah, he’s just like cackling. He’s like, guess what? We don’t need that anymore, too bad for you. Oh, God. Sometimes it’s like, oh, the sinking ship, but I am mad a believer in long-term thinking, and I will tell you why. Okay. For the past 18 months, I mean, you’re exactly right. We’ve been forced into, short-term thinking of necessity. That’s not a bad thing you need. Short-term thinking sometimes, oh my gosh, you have to figure out how to work from home.
I have to figure out how to homeschool your kids and be the zoom police or whatever it is. All of these crazy things. People are dealing with supply chain shortages and their businesses. Some businesses are exploding. Some businesses are contracting there’s madness. And so having skills in that area in agility and change and pivoting, you need it. But also I believe equally that we can’t live our whole lives like that. If all we are doing is constantly being in reactive mode, we are not setting the agenda. We are not actually able to do a good job, getting to the place that we want to get to because we’re just fielding the inquiries. Saying that your inbox is everybody else’s to-do list for you.
And at the end of the day, if all you’ve done is answer 150 emails. You might quote, unquote, feel accomplished, but it’s not really an accomplishment. You haven’t done anything other than clear something out, that’s just going to get filled up again. And so similarly, instead of living an inbox kind of life, we need to do something. We need to put a stake in the ground and say, no, no, I’m going ahead here. We know of course, that things can change. Things can change fast, might not work out precisely the way that we want, but also by setting that goal and moving in that direction, at least we are far more likely to end up if not in that place, at least a lot closer to it than we might’ve wanted.
I am willing to wager that 18 months into COVID people are pretty freaking sick of reacting and it’s time to regain control. And long-term thinking is the vehicle that lets us put a stake in the ground to do that, frankly, I think of it not to be too grandiose as the way to fight back against COVID.
Matt: Interesting. I like that thought. I mean, people are sick of reacting and I think there’s only so long psychologically when we’re talking mental health in a way that we can live in fight or flight, we’re, we’re not intended to live in that situation for months on end. It’s very unhealthy. I mean, I’m not,
I’m not a psychologist, please. I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either, but like, I’ve got to imagine that there are probably some chemical reactions happening in brains like they’re changing. We’ve learned stress and things like that literally alter your brain’s chemistry. I’ve heard the stories of things like that happening. I mean, it alters our body’s chemistry and then all kinds of things get thrown off. And I think a lot of that can, again, not be too grandiose, but I think living in that short-term thinking is like, the short-term thinking becomes, okay, how do I get through tomorrow? Well, the problem with that is then the very next day, you’re thinking, well, how do I get through the next day? So it becomes this doom loop, and I think that’s a problem.
So I’m kind of curious, like, first of all, I am not one of those people who feel accomplished when I’ve answered a bunch of emails. I just feel exhausted now for me, it’s 10, 10 is my limit. If I answered 10 emails, I’m done. I’m like tapping out like ref come in, call the fight. But I’m kinda curious because I’m a marketer, a proud marketer. I love what I do. I teach people. It’s almost like gospel now in marketing, like quick wins, small wins, give your audience a quick win and give them something. They can digest quickly, give them a taste of victory. Then on the other side make your bed. If you make your bed, the whole rest of your life is going to be and I believe that to a certain simply, so what’s the balance, right? Like how do we, those are short-term? Those are quick wins. How do we balance that, with this long-term thinking?
Dorie: So the way that I think about that, Matt is that you’re exactly right. We have to live for all of us in a realm where two things are happening simultaneously and it is the short-term and the long-term, it is a quick win. And it’s also understanding that this part is important. It’s not just quick wins. If all we’re after is quick wins, then a hundred quick wins don’t necessarily add up to the big win at the end. So something is going to take a big chunk of time. And so for me, one of the most important variables that I think is often underappreciated is having for all of us, we need to develop a more accurate sense of timing and of what things actually take in order to accomplish them.
One example, in the long game, I tell a story that Jeff Bezos relates in the 2018 Amazon shareholder letter. He tells this story about a friend of his, that hired a handstand coach for yoga. And the handstand coach said, okay, so the average person thinks that it takes about two weeks of practice to get good at doing a handstand. Actually, it is not, it takes six months. That would be 24 weeks of daily practice in order to be able to master a handstand. And I think it’s so powerful because most of us would probably be willing to concede that, if we’re making a guesstimate about something, we don’t, we’re not an expert, right. We’d be like, yeah, okay my estimate might be offshore or maybe it’s off by 10%, 20%, maybe 30%. This is a leader really off by 12 X factor of 12. And for so many of us, we actually don’t take the time to research and understand and advanced by talking to people who’ve actually done what we want to do by researching that process. We don’t know what it looks like. And so we know it’s not overnight. We’re clear on that. We have no idea what not overnight is, is it two weeks? Is it six months? Is it six years?
No clue. And so this is where people good, smart people drop off and drop out because they say, oh, I’ve been trying this for three months, nothing’s happening. Oh, I guess it’s not gonna happen for me. And it’s like, Hey dude, like three months is not even half the time. That is the average. Like if only we’re able to calibrate our expectations more accurately, we actually know what we’re in for. And we can make a more educated choice about, do I want to do this or not?
Matt: It just makes you think like I’m in the process of learning Spanish.
Dorie: Oh, Congrats.
Matt: Yeah. And it was facilitated because one of the kids on our soccer team, his dad does not speak a word of English. Oh wow. I’m like, I want to be able to communicate with him. And I know basic Spanish, I did four years of public school, Spanish. So basically I don’t speak Spanish, but I can put together a few things and I’m like
I can point at something and be like, ghetto. I don’t know how to say the word that I’m pointing to, but do you want it? Yeah. And I know how to say like they don’t, they to Papa, but like that’s about it. And so I’m learning Spanish. And I remember like, okay, I’m going to map it out in my head. You know what? It’s probably not going to be this season that I’m going to be able to have a conversation because they thought occurred to me. And it occurred to me as I was reading this book. How long did it take me to become fluent in English? Most seven-year-olds are borderline fluent in English.
That was seven years. Now, if you take out the first year where we kind of are Googling and God going, okay, six years to become fluent, I didn’t have a job to raise. Like I had a business to run, but I didn’t have any, I wasn’t coaching soccer. I could do nothing, but learn English all day if I wanted to.
Dorie: It’s time for the McWilliams household to go all immersion in Spanish.
Matt: The only way for us we’re trying to do. So we’re starting with like duo lingo and some other stuff. And I’m like, and I’m going to, I’m somehow thinking in three months, I’m going to be fluent in a language when I’m spending 15 minutes a day on an app while I’m walking the dog. It’s asinine. Now,
do I know 10 more words than I knew yesterday? Yeah. But think about any words we know in English, it is in the tens of thousands, potentially. It’s a lot of words. So that means I need at least 10 a day. I need at least a thousand days. That’s three years before I gave him a moderately, let alone go ahead and put them together.
And I just, I love that. Like we have to have that more accurate sense of timing like you said. And I think one of the things that, like, when I think of this, when I think of the accurate sense of timing is I think it’s really hard. Because it holds us back from long-term things is we’re just busy.
Why are we so dang busy? Like this is every single person that I know. Like, I don’t know, is this a based on the research you’ve done? Is this like a 20-year phenomenon? As it started in 2000, is this like a decade, centuries-old? Or has this been around for, as long as mankind’s been around? What’s the research showing on why we’re so freaking busy?
Dorie: Well, there’s a lot of reasons as you can imagine that, but one of the most provocative that I thought was fascinating that I came across in my research is that, organizational psychologists have quantified this, this is a legitimate phenomenon. And I think we probably know it intuitively, but to see it in black and white, like, oh yeah, that’s a thing. Sylvia Walesa at Columbia business school and her colleagues did a study showing that part of the reason why we’re so busy is that in America, certainly in most Western societies, there is the status accorded to busy people. And so we are drawn to both being busier, making our calendar busier, and also telegraphing to other people. Oh, man. So busy wall to wall because it enhances our perceived status. And so it becomes this vicious circle because we claim that we want to take the steps. Oh man, I wish I was less busy. I wish I could do this. Blah, blah, blah, blah. But we keep making choices that push us to be busier because it is a loss of face and a loss of status. If we seem to have an empty calendar. Oh wow. I guess no one wants to do business with that mad anymore. And many of us are not aware of this. This is a subconscious phenomenon, but we keep making the choices again and again.
Matt: Hmm. That’s such a powerful statement though. We keep making the choices. We’re not busy because of external things. Now there might be seasons of life where you are, your mom’s got cancer. You might be busy because of that. You didn’t choose for your mom to get cancer clearly, we didn’t choose to be homeschool but we did. We actually have been homeschooling for years. Most people do not. Yeah. Like I joke with people,
I’m like, COVID really changed nothing. We both worked from home and we homeschool. I’m not trying to be mean or insensitive, but it did not change our lifestyle But like a lot of people didn’t choose to suddenly be responsible. Like you said, being the zoom police, those are, those are things that happen.
But most of the stuff is, is that choice. I know I challenged myself. I think about three years ago, three or four years ago to never respond to somebody with that, you know, how’s it going so busy because why was I doing that? I wasn’t looking for sympathy. I was actually just looking to seem like I was really important.
That was a tough admission. So I don’t, I don’t allow him even when I am busy. And there are times where I really just am. I just don’t allow myself to say that. And I think that’s important. You keep making those choices. I want to, I want to read something here. And this is from the book. This made me mad.
Not that you wrote it, but that this is true. So I’m going to skip around here, but okay. A study done by the Manhattan research group, 97% of senior leaders identified strategic thinking. The ability to focus deliberately on long-term priorities as key to their organization’s success. It doesn’t say this, but I’m assuming that they think the strategic thing is like the number one thing they need to be doing.
And yet 96% claim that they don’t have enough time to do strategic thinking. Another study shows that a full 28% of their time is spent processing email The last seen group says it professionals attend an average of 62 meetings per month. I would kill myself, which sounds like a shocking number until you realize that it breaks down to about two or three meetings per Workday.
That’s not unusual. That’s just Tuesday. And then you say, it feels like we’re beginning to live in our own personal Groundhog day. And I’m thinking, oh my gosh, it really is true. Like if P that’s what life is like for so many people, it’s just like an endless doom loop of the same day over and over again. I don’t know that I have a question there that just makes me mad.
Like I read that and I’m like, holy crap. What’s the deal with that? I don’t know. Like I wish I had a better question around that door. I really do. I just wanted people to hear that, but I don’t know any thoughts on any thoughts on what you wrote.
Dorie: What’s the deal with that is a perfectly valid question.
Matt: That was what I want to say. Like angry?
Dorie: No, it’s so true. I mean, you peel back the layers a little bit and you, you begin to realize just the way that we’ve been living our lives honestly, both pre COVID. I think a lot of people see that with the travel like oh God, I was traveling so much. Why was I traveling so much? Like now that we have distance, we can appreciate that.
But even now how things have been with the pandemic and it’s just like the endless zoom, like, I’m loving zooming with you, but anything becomes less fun if you do it for 48 hours a day.
So a lot of people are just really over-indexed in these crazy ways. So I think that there’s a lot going on here that we have to understand. But the most important takeaway for me is no one is going to police your calendar for you. If you work for yourself. I mean, obviously, it’s on you. If you’re an employee, though, it is in the interest of your boss and your coworkers for you to be responding to every message within five minutes and to be at their Beck and call that’s handier for them.
And again in the spirit of long-term thinking, even if intellectually, they know, oh gosh, maybe that isn’t the most productive use of her time. Maybe she should be doing long-term strategic projects in the short term. They’re like, you know, I need to find the file and she can tell me where the file is. So I don’t care if it’s 11:30 at night, let’s do it.
So we have to be the ones to really draw those boundaries. And it can be hard for people we have to, we have to literally figure out all the scripts about how to say no and how to think about it, and how to protect that time. So we’ve basically gotta be our own hell’s angels vigilantes about guarding our time because otherwise, no one else will.
Matt: I love that. I think you mentioned this in the book. I’m struggling to remember for sure. But you talk somewhere in that section about why we’re also busy. You talk about how you just started by asking follow-up questions to people when they would request, to pick your brain, or whatever. And you found that like half the people, I don’t know the exact percentage, but half the people just never responded to your follow-up. So that eliminated half the requests right there. And then, you know, the next, maybe some of them responded and you decided it wasn’t the best use of your time. And that was a great way of just eliminating like 75, 80% of requests for your time. I thought that was powerful. And so I actually, you know, I’ve, I’ve already put this into practice, but I, I had my assistant who does manage my calendar. Like he is the police and he’s more protective of my calendar than I am. Like I have to argue with him to add stuff to it.
Dorie: My wife really needs to see me come on.
Matt: Yeah. But the kids really do want to play with me. You know, ‘Kevin, like, can they have five minutes now?’ But yeah, I had him after reading this, I had him add some additional kind of like follow-up questions and he’s, he reported back to me. There’s only been like 15 people he’s using them. He was like, yeah, it’s about half the people never even respond to the follow-up. It’s amazing. They never respond. And I’m like, that’s amazing. Yeah. They really didn’t want access to me bad enough to, we’re not asking them to fill out a 42-page questionnaire. It should take them five minutes. Yeah. That’s going to take those five minutes. Why am I willing to take a half-hour?
Dorie: Yeah, we, we need to get better at erecting some barriers. And I don’t mean that in a snobby way. I don’t mean that in a, you know, oh, you know, I’m too good for you kind of way. Just at a very basic level. There are a lot of people out there, you know, these, these are the people that kind of fall into the, oh, it doesn’t hurt to ask category. And they are literally, you know, we, we might think we’re special. They’re asking a hundred people.
They don’t care if it’s Mattmcwilliams or if it’s Mike McWilliams or if it’s, Joe Mattmcwilliams or like, oh, I’ll just talk to those guys. And if you even put a tiny hurdle in just a little bit of friction to be like, do you really want to talk to me? Why do you want to talk to me? Is there a particular reason? Can I be helpful? Like, what’s the deal? And they’re just like, Ugh, too much effort. And this is a good thing because you don’t really want to be spending your time with those people.
Matt: Yup. I really love that. I was like, oh my gosh, that is so true. When I asked him, you know, he verified exactly what you said about half. The people don’t even bother to respond. So there’s a quote in the book here. I want to read, I just thought this was kind of interesting. You said it was from Marian Stoddard’s mom. I know that you, I think you directed or produced a movie about.
Dorie: Yeah, yeah. Years ago I directed an environmental documentary film during this, this very heroic woman, just a regular housewife who helped lead the cleanup of a very polluted river in Massachusetts named Marianne Stoddard.
Matt: Yeah. And so her mom, so Marion’s leaving for college, just setting the stage here, leaving home for college. And her mother told her whenever you have a choice of what to do chooses the more interesting path and that was one of those quotes, you know, there are usually four or five quotes in a book. And that was one of them that just stopped me because I’m like, Hmm, I want to keep reading, but first I need to have an existential crisis.
Matt: Do I even agree with this? And so I kinda want to play devil’s advocate for me cause I have a couple of questions on this. First of all, what does that mean for you? Like whenever you have a choice of what to do choose the more interesting path, like how has that driven the choices that you’ve made personally?
Dorie: Yeah. Well, You know, at a really basic level, Matt, I think that for so many of us, the default is just, you know, sort of safety and numbers, right? I mean, this is why we get the, you know, if you don’t know what to do, go to law school, like I kinda think, I mean, if you really want to be a lawyer, God bless yes. Do it. But you know, if, if you’re going to law school because literally, you’re just not sure what to do. And it seems like a safe option. I don’t know if that’s the best choice. And so the idea of choosing the path, that’s more interesting, I think is powerful for me. And it stayed with me all these years later.
I mean, I made this film more than a decade ago because ultimately it is about, first of all, it’s about following your own north star, right? It’s about, what’s interesting to you, right? I mean, for some people like, oh, you know, ornithology, that’s the most interesting thing in the world. You know, I am not that interested in like, you know, going on a birdwatching vacation. Right. But for some people, it is so just pursuing that I think is fantastic. What is interesting to you? But also it is to a certain extent, the idea of going a little bit off the beaten path, you know, if you have a choice to take a vacation, do you return to the same Caribbean place that your family goes to every year? Or maybe do you try something different?
Do you go to a different country, a different place, see something that might give you a different lens to look at the world and I try to incorporate that in my own life. I mean, one, one thing that I talk about in the long game actually is in 2015, you know, I think at least one of the times when I was back on your show, it was around the launch of my book, Stand Out and I was on the road, constantly promoting it. I gave 74 talks that year. So I was honestly barely in my apartment. I was traveling so much. At the end of the year, I was just like, oh my God, why am I living in New York?
Why am I paying so much money to live in New York when I’m hardly in New York, it just didn’t seem logical. So I made a commitment to myself that for the next year, which was 2016, I would make a point of doing at least one quote, unquote, uniquely New York activity per week. This was like, okay, if you have a choice between a movie and a Broadway show, well, Broadway show, the decision is made for you. Right. And so I think that’s kind of one variation is how can you maximize the special value of things around you? How do you choose the more interesting option?
Matt: I love that example again, just to play devil’s advocate. I’m not going to push back here. I’m immediately thinking like the guy who’s saying. Okay, got, got it. More interesting, cool vacation. Okay, cool. We’ll go. We’ll go to Florida instead of Sheboygan. Right? Got that. And I immediately, I’m thinking, why do you like reading my stuff? Because that’s what we did this year. We went to like the same three places we always go and come to think of it.
We haven’t been on a vacation to a new place in like four years. So I don’t know. Like I like, okay, we gotta do that. But like, you know, I’ll just use me. I’ve got kids, soccer, practice games, my business, like my team who relies on me to, you know, do things like paying them. So how can I just choose? What’s interesting. Like what’s the intersection of like interesting and responsibility I guess.
Dorie: Yeah, absolutely. Certainly, it doesn’t mean what’s what would be interesting, Matt is if you decided to go spend six months at an ashram, that seems really interesting.
Matt: It does. Yeah. Tell me more about this. Do you have a lead on that?
Dorie: I mean, you know, great for some people, but ultimately the way that I think about it, it’s not, you know, a mandate about how we need to lead all the parts of our life. But when we’re at inflection points, making decisions about things, I think that it’s kind of a useful internal compass. I mean, let’s take an example within the confines of you running your business, there’s a lot of different ways that you could be promoting it. Well, some people are saying I should have a podcast and some people are saying, I should write a book, some people are saying that I should, you know, really go all-in on, you know, some kind of social media.
Dorie: Exactly. I think a very plausible starting point is, well, what’s more, interesting to you. You’re a lot more likely to keep it up and actually do it,
which of course is necessary in order for it to be successful in the long term. If you actually pick a medium where you feel some resonance and you’re like, oh yeah, that would actually be super fun for me to do that rather than like, oh my God, I have to dance with, you know, with affiliate marketing materials in my hands again.
Matt: Yeah. It’s not happening. Okay. Now the lens is making more sense because I think about that from my standpoint, I don’t love writing. I like having written, he how Dakota, Andy Andrews. And, you know, we were talking beforehand, like, you know, I finished my book, we’re shopping right now. We’re in that, we’re in that last little stage before. It’s like, okay, this is finally going to be published sometime in my lifetime. That was cool while it lasted. But the podcast, I mean, this is, I think your episodes like 452, that’s amazing 452 episodes. What I love doing is talking into this microphone and, and doing things like this interview because nothing else what’s more interesting than talking to amazing people. I mean, I’ve gotten to interview people that like, otherwise I would have no real access to have a conversation like this. Like, Hey, Dorie, you got this book coming out. Can I just talk to you about it for 45 minutes? Like, that’s a weird, like, no you’re busy.
So you have a selfish interest in doing this clearly and that benefits me because I get to have cool conversations, you know? And I like that. I think that’s a valid question I really do now. I think, you know, what’s the more interesting path I think, especially when there are some, you know, binary options. There’s A and B it doesn’t have to be extremes. Like my mind initially went to, which is like, well, what’s more, interesting go to work tomorrow or wake up and watch football all day. It’s not that kind of stuff, people. So, all right. Another quote that really stood out to me and I just, oh, I love this one. It’s about the four career ways. And I want you to touch on those. We’ve got learning, creating, connecting, and reaping. You write that like ocean tides, we need to learn to ride each wave. Right. And then transition into my eyes are getting, I’m getting old, I have contacts and this is kind of sad.
Okay. Where was I? And then transition to next, trying to hold onto a wave for too long leads to frustration and stagnation. But when you can absorb the lessons of each and then gracefully shift, it enables you to keep growing, keep developing, and moving forward. So, you know, I said the waves, you know, learning, creating, connecting, and reaping, like, what do those mean? What should we be doing in each of those waves?
Dorie: Yeah, absolutely. So this section was really inspired by a lot of the work that I did with executive coaching clients that I work with and folks who were part of my online course in community recognized expert because I’ve seen for so many folks, typically I’m working with, you know, smart, good professionals or trying to get, you know, entrepreneurs are trying to get their ideas out into the world. They’re trying to grow their platform. And it’s a long process, right? This is part of the long game and people can hit snags and get frustrated. And I kept seeing, again and again,
the same pattern, which is people would come in and say, I am working so hard. This is ridiculous. Like I’m just killing myself doing this and why aren’t I seeing progress? And so I talk with him and try to peel it back and understand what was happening. And what I realized was very, very often the common denominator is they were working really hard.
That was all true. But the issue was that they were working really hard doing the same thing. They were keeping at the thing that they were good at, or they were keeping it, the thing that they liked, where they were keeping it, the thing that they knew how to do. And you know, that’s great up to a point. But the problem is that in the quest to have a successful career and in the quest to actually get your ideas known and heard and be recognized for your expertise, you have to do different things too. You can’t just literally be on an assembly line and keep doing one thing like, oh, I like writing. So I’ll write 5,000 articles. Well, that’s fantastic. But if you don’t publicize the articles, no one will ever know.
So you have to start to do different things. So the four waves, the four major waves that identified number one is learning, which I think obviously always comes first. You’re, you’re in a new company, you’re in a new industry and you know, you just, you soak it all up. You’re reading the books, you’re talking to people, you’re figuring out what’s what that’s pretty self-evident. But then, some people never shift out of that, which is problematic.
Because if you want to make a mark, you need to go into creating mode, which is where you are starting to reflect on the things that you’ve learned and actually share information, and start sharing your point of view. What have you learned? What can you contribute to the conversation? Why are you here? So that’s how you start to make your name. Connecting then becomes really important. Because again, you can’t do this stuff in a vacuum, you need to build a community around you, a community of peers who can help make your ideas better. Who can help amplify your ideas?
Certainly in the world of affiliate marketing, I mean, you really need a community. That’s kind of the essential thing is you need colleagues to help promote each other’s work. So you’ve got to know people. And then finally there’s reaping, which is where on the surface, we’ve kind of, you know, like we’ve hit it like, Aw, yeah, he’s big now. All right, fantastic.
And for a while, you should enjoy it, you know, lap up the success. That’s amazing. And also if you keep trying to milk the same things again and again, for too long, eventually it gets stale. Eventually, the world changes and moves on and you’re, you’re, you’re going to be behind. And so that’s why it’s so important to not try to hang on too long to what you had. But instead, to understand, it’s not a destination, it’s a circle. And you’ve got to go back into learning to say, all right, well, what’s next, I’m going to start learning about that. I’m going to be a student again so I can keep getting better.
Matt: That’s powerful. I just happened to look down at this quote that the book fell open to that I’d highlighted. I wasn’t going to ask you about this, but I just saying yes to everything means being average at everything. This is in this section where you’re actually talking about commerce bank and how they just decided, like, I think it’s from what’s in the book that you were referencing here, uncommon service, uncommon service. And which is a book that I thought, or listened to it, I should say.
One of the things that they talk about is just like if you’re going to give uncommon service if you’re going to be excellent at like a couple of areas of service, you got to suck at some other stuff, you know? And it’s like their thing, commerce bank was there.
I remember Mavericks at work. Another book that I love, I think was profiled them. Like you are not going to make money. If you want an interest-bearing account, you do not go to a commerce bank. Their interest is like zero. I think it is literally zero. I don’t think you make no money. You could deposit a million dollars and you’re going to end up at the end of the year with a million dollars in there, you know, but that, but they do it. And then there, they do that, but they’re open later and they have better service. And like the people are always nice and things like that saying no, conversely is what gives us the rare to be great.
I’m just curious, like, if there were one practice, we kind of touched on this a little bit earlier with the calendar and things. But like, if there’s just one thing that people could do tomorrow that would free up even just 20 minutes a day, to be able to think long-term, what would you say that one thing would be like, would it just be saying no to something that takes 20 minutes? Or, you know, what would it be?
Dorie: So obviously it’s a lot easier said than done to just say, totally and so if we’re giving just one piece of advice, Matt, what I would say the idea of this kind of draconian, just so you know more, I feel like it’s a little, it’s a little too, too facile of a recommendation because you know, real people are like, yeah, but come on.
Matt: It’s easy for me to say.
Dorie: Yeah, Exactly. And so what I would suggest for them, which I think is much more attainable in the short term. So again, saying no is important that comes in down the line. We’ve got to learn how to do it eventually.
But in the short term and playing the short game is to play the long game. What I suggest is it is a strategy that I call downshifting requests. So you can’t necessarily say no to something, but you can downshift it. And so one of the concepts I talk about in the long game is really understanding, making sure that you understand the total cost of what you were committing to.
So just as one typical example, someone to say, oh, Hey Matt, I really want to catch up. I’ve got some questions for you. Maybe I can pick your brain. Can we have lunch? I’ll buy you lunch. Like there, you know, the big guy, like, ah, I’ll take you out for lunch. If you were to say yes to that, you know, let’s, let’s say for some reason, oh God, okay. I owe this guy a favor. I guess I, should you say lunch in your head? It’s an hour, but it’s actually, he’s, he’s 15 minutes late. The lunch takes an hour and 15 minutes. Not an hour. Okay. That’s an hour and a half. You drove 30 minutes to get there. Oh, wait. There’s traffic on the way back. It’s 45 minutes. You’ve now spent half your day. Having lunch with this random guy that you didn’t want to do. It’s like a three-hour commitment. That’s enormous.
So a downshift it’s relatively easy is to say, oh my gosh, you know, I’d love to be helpful. I know you have some questions. I am so slammed right at the moment. I can’t manage your lunch, but why don’t we do a phone call? And that way the three hours becomes a tight 30 and you can cut it off. Oh my gosh. So sorry. I’ve got another call. I’ve got to jump. And it’s a graceful way to help someone, but not necessarily accepting the form that they had originally proposed.
Matt: Oh, I love that. That’s why I schedule calls in between other calls. I very rarely talk to people when I don’t have an appointment right after and that’s not because I’m rude. It just the business equivalent of when you have your friend call you when you’re on a blind date type thing. I found that to be super helpful. I remember as I was reading through the book, I was thinking of different ways to do that with the downshifting.
I mean the phone call example, I love to schedule calls when I’m out on my walk, I’m going to be out on the walk anyway. So I’m taking my dog for an hour anyway. So if I’m talking to you, I technically am not investing any time. And I’m just sounds kind of crude. I’m not investing any time in you.
I’m investing my brainpower and do you please, I’m, I’m fully engaged, but my dogs pooping, you know? it’s exercise and we were, I was joking with someone there today. She’s a social media expert. And I like, that’s why I love clubhouse is because as opposed to Facebook live, like if I’m going on a Facebook live, I got to go over to the studio, turn on the lights, I gotta look presentable. And I’m like, I was talking to her and I was delivering one time. I was like dropping affiliate marketing bombs. My dog was pooping in the snow. It was like, and I’m like, this is awesome.
So one of the things I love about this book here, I will say, and I don’t have a question here. I just want to acknowledge is like that you actually provide actual resources to go through things you have the recognized expert evaluation toolkit, right? It helps you, kind of like get the idea of where you are in.
My audience especially like they’re in the process of becoming a recognized expert. This toolkit guys will show you how you get access to it in the book it’s completely free. You could probably charge a lot of money for it just independently, but you don’t, it’s totally freeing the book shows you how to just,I don’t know. I think it just, speeds it up. It speeds up the process, right. Of becoming that recognized expert, becoming what you are. One of the world’s best at teaching people how to do Dorie. So I just want to acknowledge that. Are there any other, when they, when they get the book, like what else would you say you’re going to get from this? That might be, cause that’s a surprise. I kind of ruined the surprise. It’s like a surprise in the book because it’s so relevant to my eyes. What other surprises? Little goodies might there be if they get the book?
Dorie: Good, good question, Matt. Well, in the book, basically, the way that it’s laid out, there’s, there are three major sections and it starts with how to create more white space, which is what we were just talking about. So I think that one of the most useful elements is really a very tactical breakdown of how to make more time in your calendar and scripts and questions to ask yourself so that you actually have a frame to just get a little bit of space. It’s not that long-term thinking takes a huge amount of time, but it does take some time.
So you got to give yourself the space to do it. So we go through that, we talk then about how to really get clear on your priorities as distinct from, what everybody else says you should be doing, but to understand where you want to end up. And then there’s a pretty extensive discussion about just these questions of how to reframe failure, quote-unquote because I think for a lot of us, we tend to assume that if things don’t work out precisely how we thought they would do that is a failure.
I really want to push back on that because whenever you are pursuing a goal, that is long-term enough, there’s enough of her horizon. It is almost inevitable. It is far more likely than not that in the course of a five-year goal, a 10-year goal. I mean, come on everything, literally, everything’s gonna work out exactly the way you envisioned it back in 2016 or whatever. No. So that’s not failure. That is a change in plans that you can adapt to and learn from. But it’s so easy to get demoralized along the way. There’s a lot of strategies that people can use and employ to be able to really, I think, be more resilient in that process and ultimately get to where they want to go.
Matt: So Dorie, as we wrap up, I have one more question for you, but I just want to say to everyone listening, Marshall Goldsmith, those of you who aren’t familiar with them. I know on the back of the book here and the endorsements, if you ever felt like you don’t have enough hours in the day, you have to read the long game,
Clark will help you strip away things in your calendar and they keep you from spending time on what’s most important and achieving your ultimate goals. Here’s what I’ll say, guys, if you go get the book, this book is 2018. She said this book is like two years of research and thinking and writing and blood, sweat, and tears and her best thinking on this subject of how to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world.
If you go get the book, it’s 20 bucks. I don’t know, 22 bucks on Amazon, I haven’t looked, but it’s not that much money guys. You can basically get access to all that for 22 bucks, it was like 1 cent per hour that Dorie spent on this roughly. You read through this and you don’t think that Marshall was right.
If you don’t pick up 30 minutes a week to be able to do some long-term thinking you will pretty much guarantee it. But if you don’t, as always, anytime I interview an author, well, the things I say is like, if you don’t get the thing that I’m promising, so you don’t pick up at least 30 minutes, I think you’ll pick up three or four hours possibly.
You don’t pick up 30 minutes a week to be able to do more. Long-term thinking because I think 30 minutes a week would definitely be worth $22 unless you make like 5 cents an hour. If you don’t, then you email me Matt@Mattmcwilliams.com. Just send me your receipt. I’ll send you the money. That’s how much I believe in this book. So I’m going to buy the book for you. Don’t lie because if you do this, I’m not going to ever let you do it again because you’re one of those people who apparently just digest this book.
Anyway, because it’s that good? So Dorie, last question here, what advice would you give? A lot of our listeners, they are, they want to be an entrepreneur. They just don’t know what’s their niche. Like, what’s their true passion or purpose. And I know this is something that you help a lot of people with. So kind of, I don’t know, it could fall under, long-term thinking in an odd way, but I just wanted to really ask this question of you.
So what would you tell that person they’re like, I know I want to be, I want to work for myself. I don’t want to work for the man. I want to be an entrepreneur, but I’m not really sure what my passion or purpose is.
Dorie: Absolutely. I mean, such a, such a common scenario. So thank you for asking that Matt, I have two suggestions. The first one actually comes from my first book, which is called reinventing you. I talk about a woman named Elizabeth and I loved the strategy that she used because she was trying to figure it out. In her case, she wasn’t being an entrepreneur, but she was trying to find a career. She was like, oh, I’m interested in so many things.
How do I, how do I do it? And so what I loved about her approach is she actually decided to kind of do the reverse of most people. She ended up saying, how do I eliminate possibilities? It’s so hard to sort of zero in like, oh, it could be this. It could be that and there’s an infinite number of things. What Elizabeth did is she made a list of maybe half a dozen different fields, pretty diverse things.
She started trying to gather data points and this could be informational interviews. This could be reading and research, but she tried to come up with reasons not to do a certain thing. She’s like, all right, what’s the bad stuff. Tell me the bad stuff. What’s terrible about this. Similarly, if you’re an entrepreneur pursuing possible niches, try to a war game, the reasons not to go into a particular area or a particular field.
That way, number one, if you do go in that field, you’re going to be a heck of a lot more well-informed and you’ll know what you’re getting into and you’ll know potentially ideas about how to get around it. But you can also just weed out things where you’re like, oh wow, I actually could never deal with that. So the reversal and the process of elimination is one strategy.
The other thing that I’ll suggest is if you’re still working in a day job, but you want to have an entrepreneurial career, I am a big fan of, not just certain leap and the net will appear well. That’s awesome. That’s also very scary. I am a big fan of basically allocating 20% time. This is something Google talks about using a fifth of your time. Now, admittedly, if this is something really different than what you’re doing at work, this might be nights and weekends for a while. You might need to do that. It’s the reality of entrepreneurship, but it’s doing research and testing in a small way so that you can place these little bats and see what works.
In my book, Entrepreneurial You, which Matt and I have on a previous episode talked about, I profiled a guy named Linea Chon, and he was a nurse. He built apps, not himself. He didn’t know how, but he commissioned apps to be built for the iPhone. This was just his hobby. He was interested in it. It’s like a side gig, his work found out about it. And they were so impressed. Like he thought they’d be mad. He was worried.
They were so impressed. They made him the head of social media for the hospital that he worked at because they said, Hey you’re, you seem to be into this like technology and social media and stuff. Why don’t you do it? He ultimately ended up becoming the head of communications at the company because of this. So it can lead in crazy cool directions. Both whether you want to have a full-time entrepreneurial career or just keep it as a cool balance with your day job.
Matt: I love that. I love that. Dorie, Thank you so much. This has been so awesome guys. Like I said, go grab the book. We’ll put a link in the show notes and learn how to be a long-term thinker because I think it’s like the lost art and it’s going to benefit people in these crazy times. The cool thing is it’s going to benefit you 10 years from now. So Dorie, thank you so much.
Dorie: Matt, it’s always a pleasure talking with you. You were mentioning earlier the recognized expert toolkit. I’ll just say for, for folks who want to grab it this second, you can actually get that for free. It’s a score and self-assessment about how to grow your platform, how to grow your, the recognition of your expertise. Just go to Dorie clark.com/toolkit. You can get it for free. And of course, still, pick up the book anyway because there’s lots of good stuff in there.
Matt: Definitely. Don’t pick up the book because that is like the tip of the iceberg.
What Dory just said. There’s so much good stuff. The stories, just the practical stuff. I know for me, we were, we were already doing a lot of this stuff to worry, but I got at least 30 minutes a week out of this and I will. I just share it before you go.
I got to share this one thing. So I get asked a lot. Okay, Matt, like, well, I’m, I’m just struggling to get ahead on my content or I’m struggling to get ahead on stuff. How do I do it? I’m like you put it on your calendar plan. So then what you do, this is a little hack I learned from Michael Hyatt.
And, and I know you talk about similar things. It’s like when I put on my calendar to do things, I can honestly say, I can’t meet with you then. I had it from 1: 30 to 3: 30 today I could meet with somebody. It was on my calendar. The funny thing is that spot that 1: 30 to 3:30 spot on Wednesdays was there because prior to leaving our team, that’s when Robby, who was our integrator and project manager, that’s when he and me, when he left and we were trying to hire somebody in that role, by the way, if you know anybody who’s an integrator or a project manager, please let me know. That’s not only you Dorie, but for everybody listening.
So when he left, I kept that meeting. So Wednesdays, 1:30 to 3:30, I still meet with myself, to plan my content and plan all that. How do you do it? You put it on your calendar, people, you know? So if that, if I had to read about that, I don’t know that I would have done that. I don’t know what would have kept that like standing meeting with somebody else for myself. So Dorie, Thank you so so much. This has been awesome.
Dorie: So fun. Thank you, Matt. Take care.
Matt: So go get this book by Dorie Clark. The long game is that what the cover says. How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world. As I mentioned, if you don’t get your 20 or so dollars worth of value, email me. I’ll give you a refund. Like that’s how much I believe in this book and just I can’t say enough about this.
The level of thinking that this had me at that section, we talked about commerce bank is super powerful and there’s a quote in here. Let me see if I can find it real quick. That really stood out to me. “If a goal is worth pursuing, it’s worth pursuing the version of it we actually want, not one that’s watered down to protect our ego. Big goals on their own might feel paralyzing. How do you even start to write that novel? A big goal coupled to small consistent efforts can be exactly the galvanizing force we need to achieve something powerful, especially in the face of overwhelming odds.”
This book will help you to do that set goals that matter. Think long-term be a long-term thinker, see years down the road, even, or just months down the road to start with. Not just tomorrow, not just survival. Survival is highly overrated. Thriving is what we want. So go grab the book. Mattmcwilliams.com/longgame. Make sure you put the two G’s back to back there. Mattmcwilliams.com/longgame.
Grab the book and make sure you hit subscribe. Share the podcast with someone you know. If you know someone they need this information. Just tell them about it. They’re trapped in that doom loop. Don’t go share the episode with them. Tell them to just listen. 45, 50 minutes worth of their life. To be able to possibly set themselves up to gain 30 minutes a week or an hour a week for the rest of their lives. That’s a pretty good ROI right there.
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