ep. 62 - Dan Waldschmidt: Keynote Speaker, Business Strategist, & Ultra Runner
Dan Waldschmidt is a keynote speaker, business strategist, and ultra marathon runner. He has spent his life attempting, and often achieving, the outrageous. He refuses to accept business as usual – making him an unconventional, highly effective, consultant to some of the largest companies. Having devoted years to studying thousands unlikely high performers, Dan shares stories of ordinary humans achieving outrageous success.
ep. 62 - Dan Waldschmidt: Keynote Speaker, Business Strategist, & Ultra Runner
Kyle Davis: Dun dun dun.
Gail Davis: Today in our GDA studio, we have Dan Waldschmidt. Dan has spent his entire life attempting, and often achieving, the outrageous. He refuses to accept business as usual, making [00:01:00] him an unconventional, yet highly-effective advisor to some of the world's largest companies and their senior leaders.
The Wall Street Journal calls his blog, Edgy Conversations, one of the top business blogs anywhere on the internet. He's been profiled in Business Week, Ink Magazine, Business Insider, and on dozens of radio programs. Hundreds of his articles on unconventional business strategy have been published, and he's a champion extreme athlete, [00:01:30] bestselling author, and an all around edgy dude. Welcome to GDA Podcast.
Kyle Davis: All right Dan, let's get edgy. You ready to do that?
Dan Waldschmidt: Let's do it. I had to take my jacket off. Literally, taking it off right now.
Kyle Davis: Well now, maybe because we're about to get hot. It's going to get spicy in here. So for those who don't necessarily know your background or who you are or your story, kind of give the audience an opportunity to know where you came from and what you've done.
Dan Waldschmidt: [00:02:00] So, I am ... I feel like Tiger Woods was raised to play golf, I was raised to do business, so no TV in the home, 18 years, very religious parents, literally, I'm not even joking. Like no TV in the home at all. Reading my dad's law books at 12, started my first lawn-mowing business at 13 or 14 or something crazy like this, and I didn't even know how weird I was. I was just doing shit, and basically, if you didn't, you got a whooping. Like, I guess we can't do this anymore, right?
Kyle Davis: We should.
Dan Waldschmidt: [00:02:30] I don't know. Is this being like watched by someone?
Kyle Davis: No.
Dan Waldschmidt: We know the NSA is listening to us already.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, I think CPS is going to be out of this to, so don't worry about it.
Dan Waldschmidt: There you go. There you go. Our sponsors are gone. Anyways, so I took these lessons. I tried to make seminary work. Didn't work for me. Dropped out. Went to study government [inaudible 00:02:50] politics. That didn't work. Dropped out that, and along the way, built a couple multi-million dollar companies that got sold to a publicly traded company, and I feel like that was the beginning of [00:03:00] going like whew. Take a deep breath. Now let's figure out what made it all work, and how can we help really big companies grow and adapt using, not my lessons, because I'm one dude doing one thing in a couple different places around the world. How do you help people who want to change with the right answers?
And so, that's the story in a nutshell, kind of radically disrupting industries and organizations.
Kyle Davis: So in building the businesses that you had, when [00:03:30] you reflect upon those, I don't necessarily use those as like the evidence of the data points that you use to teach your lessons, but when you look at that, what were you doing right? What were you doing wrong, and then over time, with what you've learned through your research and just conversations that you've had, what can you now put and give to people so that they can run a more effective organization?
Dan Waldschmidt: So when you say like what did I do right or wrong, I think the answer for I what I did is like infinite. [00:04:00] I still tell our team, like the number of mistakes I make is legendary. It's like if there was an awesome award for like the biggest screw up, Dan Waldschmidt.
By the way, I'm noticing this bald eagle in this studio. Bald eagle. I feel very American.
Kyle Davis: It's very American here. Very [crosstalk 00:04:17]
Gail Davis: It came from my media center.
Dan Waldschmidt: There you go. I feel like there needs to be someone playing, "I'm Proud To Be an American," in the background while you're doing this.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, we're going to have Lee Greenwald come in here.
Dan Waldschmidt: He's all busy from the Trump campaign. But he should be free now.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, I think [00:04:30] he's free now.
Dan Waldschmidt: So, look, I'm a perfectionist. And my team will tell you, I just cry every time I make a mistake. Like it hurts me, like I feel the pain of screwing up. But I only know one way forward, which is like relentlessly forward progress. That's it. And as I spent time writing this book that became a best-seller accidentally, I wasn't even planning it to be, I learned time and time again that successful people are just relentless about taking [00:05:00] the next step forward. And it doesn't require our money, it doesn't require a lot of brains, it doesn't require another degree, it requires a lot of desire. And so, that's what I'm constantly trying to feed is how do I keep my desire strong so that I can go into battle? As we were talking about earlier, the "if" factor- how do you build warrior spirit into everything that you do?
Kyle Davis: So, two questions in that. One, how do you- since you just kind of teed it up for me- how do you build your desire on a daily basis, or weekly [00:05:30] or monthly? How do you keep tying into that. And then if you can explain for the audience what is the "if"- not "it"- factor?
Dan Waldschmidt: If
Kyle Davis: That's right. There's no 't' in 'if' at all
Dan Waldschmidt: So, my morning routine is ever-evolving. But a couple things I've noticed is there are three kind of key motivations, I think, for pretty much anyone. One is money, health, and sex. Love, whatever you want to call it. How do I keep those balanced? [00:06:00] Especially at 38, there's a lot of places I want to be, there's a lot bigger vision that I want to accomplish. How do I maintain maximum output without crashing? So my 20s was like go-go-go-fall, go-go-go-fall, and I never kind of learned that hey, dude, get your shit together. You know, take care of your body, take care of your family, that's simple and dumb. I just made all of those mistakes. And then you won't crash.
And so, for instance, my day is a very coordinated, wake [00:06:30] up at a certain time- 5:15- pretty much every day, no matter what time zone I'm in. My watch vibrates and everything beeps and chimes until I drag my ass out of bed, that sort of thing. I drink 40 ounces of water pretty much right away. This hydrates me. At first, you do it and it feels uncomfortable. But after a while you just feel hydrated. I take a few minutes to meditate. I have some affirmations. Really it's part of meditation. For instance, one of the things I meditate on is, if I want something I've never had, I must do something I've never [00:07:00] done before. So kind of just, think about. And it's something I'll challenge an audience with. "You say you want something different but today looks like yesterday, which looks like last week, which looks like last year. You're acting like a loser but then talking about like, 'oh, we're going to win.' No you're not, you're going to freaking' lose because you're acting like a loser. So you're not going to win. It's just dumb. So, if I don't want to lose how do I start winning?" But anyway, that's some things I think about.
And then if I'm running in the morning I'll get that out of the way, get some protein in my body and then, you know, take on the day. Around noon, the one thing I'm maniacal about is meditation. [00:07:30] So I'll take 15 to 20 minutes, which for me I feel like it's three hours because I'm so like, shiny and like, 'chase it, chase it, chase it.' But there are apps. One of my favorite apps is Brain.fm. There's Omvana, which is another one. But with Brain.fm, I put it in for 15 minutes, say meditate and it feeds this stuff into my head and I can think. And, what's interesting about meditation is it's like lifting weights, or crossfit or something. It's a skill. You get better at it as you do it.
So, if your excuse is, [00:08:00] "I would do that but I'm no good at it," well then, that's dumb. You wouldn't stop having sex because you're no good at it. You would hopefully try to get better at it, I mean that's a whole other rabbit trail. But in general, I'm saying it's a skill that enables you. I feel like, when I'm done I feel like I've taken a three hour nap. And I haven't. What I've done is drained some of the stress, focused my brain.
If this were life or death, if this were this Spartan sort of conquest, every tiny detail I do or did [00:08:30] or was preparing for would be carefully measured. So, no one tells Kobe Bryant, "Oh, you're drinking too much water. You're practicing too hard, Kobe." We go, "Shoot those thousand free throws so that when game time happens, you're a winner." No one tells Steph Curry, like, "You're showing up to practice too early." But we tell our sales and business teams like, "I don't want you to push too hard, take time for you." And we should do all those things, yay. But at the same time it's like, "What are you doing to make [00:09:00] your life better? Right now, what are you doing?" And that's, I think, the conversation that we need to have and so I try to build my life around that. What are small changes that seem insignificant that when added together have exponential impact?
And if we say that companies are full of individuals, we can take all those individuals and make them exponentially better in small, tiny, little ways, what does that do to business across the world. And this is why when I go in and help a company who wants to change, they grow at a thousand percent year over year. [00:09:30] Guaranteed. Why? Because they're willing to do the small things that lead to massive impact.
Gail Davis: Did you want to go into the "if" factor?
Dan Waldschmidt: So the "if" factor is a story that we were chatting about over crackers and cheese, which I'll let all of you just imagine how amazing that experience was. A nice, fine cheese and crackers and talking about Spartan conquests. It all goes together, trust me. But, the "if" factor is a story about the one city-state in the world that was not conquered by [00:10:00] Philip of Macedon, who was Alexander the Great's father, and essentially the reason why we say "if," I-F is when they refused to surrender, Philip said, "If I conquer you, I'm going to do all this bad stuff." And their response wasn't, "Please go away, please give us a chance." They responded back with one word. "If." And essentially here's the takeaway from that: you would assume that the greatest king in the world, the strongest king, the wealthiest king in the world, when he said surrender you would say, "Yes, what are my terms for surrender?" [00:10:30] And the Spartans said, "If." In other words, maybe you won't beat us.
Which I think is really- your rating system is screwing me up. Like this is totally unacceptable. You know because you're smiling. Right then was the perfect opportunity to be like "BOOM." Just drop a bomb and get away.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, yeah. Well I mean, I'm a huge fan of Philip II of Macedon, we can talk about the way he changed the way warfare was fought during the time. We can talk about how he reorganized the phalanx and allowed [00:11:00] the Macedonians to conquer the whole known world, pretty much.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah.
Kyle Davis: Even though his son pretty much gets all the benefit, we should really give credit where credit is due.
Dan Waldschmidt: Can I just say for the audience like, literally there is so much edgy atmosphere in here.
Kyle Davis: So much edge going on.
Dan Waldschmidt: I mean like, literally. I mean, when I say literally it's not like an 18 year-old saying literally I mean literally.
Kyle Davis: Literally we have stuff falling off the table.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yes. That's the experience of awesomeness that happens when you get an "if" moment. [00:11:30] Whoo!
Kyle Davis: This is true. So, what I like about it is, and when I think about the phrase, it's to that point that you said. You know, Philip went in there and started the request, if you will, with an "if." And what I learned in sales was that, you know, you never say "Hey, if you're available tomorrow" No, it's "When are you available tomorrow?"
Dan Waldschmidt: Exactly.
Kyle Davis: And you get the word "if" out, you just purge it from your system. [00:12:00] And that's my understanding of the "if" factor, and that iconic phrase. But I have an understanding from the conversation we had prior to this that you have like six key takeaways from that. So I was wondering if you could expand on that?
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, so that "if" story was one of the thousand stories that went into the four years of research and writing of the book. And essentially the question we were trying to answer is, "Why do some people win when they shouldn't win? [00:12:30] And why do some people lose when they should be the likely winner?" And the six points were:
One is it takes outrageous amounts of hard work. And I know that's not famously popular to say, like work your ass off. But that's what it takes. I've never met a highly successful person who says, "Oh my gosh, I worked smart my way all to success." Like, "Dan, I was so smart, like my ass was just like a big glow of smartness." Like none of that. It was all like, [00:13:00] "Dude, I worked. I was out of money. I thought I was going to die. No one believed in me. I stopped believing in myself. And eventually I like came through the darkness and saw the light." Like no one ever says, "I'm going to work smart." But yet we'll tell our teams all the time in business, "Work smart." What are we doing to work smart? This is the wrong question. What are we doing to work with intensity?
You know Malcolm Gladwell says ten thousand hours. I don't know if it's ten thousand hours. It feels like for me it's 20 thousand hours or 50 thousand hours. I don't know. Hours I haven't even put in yet. But [00:13:30] what does it take- what's that intensity and focus that allows us to take everything that we want and crystalize it into the daily steps we're doing to get closer to where we want to be. And that has no time limit. That has no time limit. So that's where it hard work.
The second thing is you've got to be weird. And as a guy who's in 14 countries, 30 different verticals, I get the same phone call either me or my chief of staff saying, "We've heard about you from someone else." It's 100% of the time. No one's Googling 'dude with edgy [00:14:00] business advice' unfortunately. If you want to buy the SEL on that you can own it for like $7 for the entire like, millennia. But-
Kyle Davis: Google AdWords I just bought some- [laughter]
Dan Waldschmidt: Don't do that! Then you're going to steal my business. People are going to be coming to you instead of me. But no one says, you know, we're going to be like everybody else but then they'll send me a blurb, "Dan, you don't know what we do but we're a Silicon Valley software company and here's what we do blah blah blah blah blah." And if I didn't know the name of the company I could have copied and pasted that paragraph into Google and come up [00:14:30] with like nine billion results. And everybody smells the same, looks the same, acts the same. You know, we try to be like everybody else so that we fit in, don't stick out. And the reality is all that stuff that, frankly, our parents taught us young- "Don't make a scene please." I have a beautiful five year old daughter, but like if I take her someplace I'm like, "Dylan, please, please please don't make a scene, don't stand out." But I'm teaching her to do the exact opposite thing that will make her massively successful down the road, which is that you have to be a little bit weird. You just have to.
And number three [00:15:00] you have to use smart tools and technology to keep you successful. I mean, here's one obvious challenge, if you're listening to this, how many times have you sent an email to somebody and you never got a response? I think that's everybody, right? So there are tools and technology that we use that 100% of the emails we send get a response, or we get notified. And then we use Close or Boomerang, something like that to respond back go, "Hey, Mr. Awesome-person, I'm sure you're busy and wanted to respond to my awesome email but you got too busy. [00:15:30] Let me nudge you."
This happens to me in my business. Someone will say, "Dan, we want you to come and speak." Or, "We want you to come and consult." And then I'll go, "Great! When can I grab a few minutes with you?" Five second email goes to them. Nothing. So a day goes by, two days go by and if you don't do anything often that turns into a dead deal. So, one way that we've radically increased revenue in our business is if we don't hear back in a day we get a nudge and I'll just gently- it's all professional, it's classy. We're not being idiots. It's [00:16:00] very classy. It's like, hey, I know you're busy. Like you said, not if, can we do this tomorrow? Can we do this next- pushing- and if I don't get a response to that, here's another email. And if I don't get a response today- you reached out to me for a reason. What are the smart tools and technology to help us do that? So, that's some of the thing- tools.
Number four is telling ourselves no. And this is a really hard one. As a runner I struggle with this. Let me tell you why. Last week I ran 74 miles in training. This morning I woke up at around 7:00, [00:16:30] yesterday I woke up at around 10:00. I'm anywhere from 70-80 miles a week, which if you do the math is slightly more than ten miles a day. So if I want to eat candy, I go eat some candy. This would be another time to eat a particular type of candy but, you know I can eat whatever I want because I deserve the right to because I have calories to burn because of running. But running and eating sugar makes you have these massive crashes. And it just doesn't work. You have to tell yourself no. And that's the reason [00:17:00] why on the inside of my arm I've got-
Kyle Davis: A pretty actually awesome tattoo.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah.
Kyle Davis: That's fully colored. It looks like there's a lot of single-point work on there, not that I have a tattoo, I just know a little bit about them.
Dan Waldschmidt: Lots of color. And it says "Burn the ships." It's from that story of Hernando Cortez again, another history. Brought three ships from Spain and was supposed to you know, gentleman adventurers coming to the land, and when they came to the country it was like "There's going to be beautiful women, [00:17:30] and there's going to be gold nuggets on the ground and we're so strong. We're going to conquer the new world." And Hernando Cortez was a brilliant dude. Said get everything off the ships, get it off. And they unloaded the ships, three ships full of supplies. Put them on the beach, make some places to store this temporarily, put all this on the beach, get it off the ships. Get it all off. And then when everything was cleaned off the ships he said, "Burn them." Burn them. Now I don't know if they actually burned them. It seems ridiculous to burn something that's sitting on water, but they cut holes [00:18:00] in them and sunk the ships.
And here's the lesson why if there's a reason to not win, we are pretty damn good at finding it. Meaning, well I kind of got there. We almost achieved our quota. We tried really hard, right? And we know the times that we perform the best is when we're up against a wall. When you're broke you will find a way to put food on the table, you will. But when you don't need it, when you've got a beautiful car, [00:18:30] when you've got you know, vacations and multiple homes, and when you don't have to have it, its strange. It's harder to get. And part of it is that intensity of saying look, "I'm going to burn the ships." Look, our lives are full of things, ships, that are wonderfully beautiful ships.
I met somebody at church the other day that said to me, "Pray for me because I need a new job." And I was like, "Tell me what you're going through." And he proceeded to tell me that you know, he needs a new job. I said, "Is your resume on the street?" [00:19:00] "No, it's not on the street." "Have you polished it up?" "No, well I like to spend time with my wife right now. We're watching this show The Dancing With the Stars." Apparently, it's this amazing show, I haven't seen it. But there are stars that are dancing. And he's like, "I would go and do a job search, I would work a second job at night." That's what I suggested, why don't you work something at night until you save up a little bit of money? He says he needs to spend time with my wife.
Now, I'm in the house of the Lord. It's hard for me [00:19:30] to say to him "You're an asshole and you need to tell your wife, look, we need to spend less time together while I get my shit together for this family which is actually what I married you to do, take care of you, right? Not be a lazy fool. I'm going to go out there and get this extra money I need. Instead, his ship was "Oh, I need to spend closeness with the wife." No, you actually don't right now. And if she was honest with him she'd probably say, "Get your ass out of the house and get that second job." But this is what I'm talking about. We've got movies on our queue and not goals [00:20:00] on our checklist. And that's an easy throw-away line. I get it, it's a throw-away line but it encapsulates how we live our lives, is we're full of things that I deserve because of something else I did. And just because you did something awesome doesn't mean you can do something stupid or less than incredibly spectacular.
So telling yourself no. Number five
Kyle Davis: On that though, do you find- and I've seen this a lot but do you find that too many people provide themselves and opportunity or an out, [00:20:30] there's always some backdoor way to never fully commit, to never-
Dan Waldschmidt: Oh dude, I was ranting about this this morning. Seriously I wish there was a way you guys could have been there because I was saying you know what, if I hear one more person tell me this goddamn trial balloon, way to float a trial balloon, I'm going to shoot that thing out of the sky. That's ridiculous. When have you ever taken your best idea and said we're just going to magically float it up in the air? This is enterprise-speak for 'we're going to try something new.' But it's under-resourced, it's all half-assed B.S. and then people are like, "The test didn't come out good." [00:21:00] No, your effort wasn't good. And you're an idiot if that's how you make your decisions.
Look, the times in our lives when we perform are when we have to. It's like me, I've run a hundred mile race- I was telling the team- I'm 60 miles into a race, I don't feel like doing it back in November. I'm bouncing along this trail, the reality is if that would have been anywhere close to my house, I would have been in my bed. But because it's in the mountains of Alabama, and if you're listening, I don't hate on Alabama, but these mountains [00:21:30] were not particularly wonderment of God's beautiful nature. They were the mountains of Alabama and no one could see me air quoting because I was like I've got to get out! I could stop and get some moonshine or something but I-
Kyle Davis: So like you were running to deliverance.
Dan Waldschmidt: Exactly. That's exactly it, I've got to get out of this place. Like, the ship that was burned was me getting 60 miles in. And so the only way I finished the race and got a belt buckle and added it to my collection of hundred mile races [00:22:00] is you put yourself in a position where success is the only possible outcome. That or really bad, bad stuff. So, we don't do this because it's scary, and I get it. It's like oh, have a plan B. But that plan B is really plan failure. It really is. Because that's that escape chute where things get really tough, and we all have it when you're gasping for air and you're like I can't do this another step. Guess what? You're not going to go another step. But if you have to take [00:22:30] that step, you will.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, I mean there's a lot of like- I'm tying this back to my time that I spent in San Francisco working at tech and the same thing is true in the New York tech scene as well, but you have these people who you start these new revenue streams or revenue lines and new forms of business and what not and then fully fully commit to it and there are two options. Either it's going to be successful or it's going to be a failure. And they run into failure. And then once it fails you either keep it, pivot it, or just move on. And I don't think a lot of people do [00:23:00] that.
Dan Waldschmidt: One of the big questions that a billion other companies have asked me is, "How do we know it's working?" I'm like look it's really simple. If you stop doing the right thing before it starts working, you've just done the wrong thing. So you can decide whatever the right thing is. You get to decide. That's the beautiful thing. You can decide. You tell me what success looks like. And if you stop moving in that direction until you're there, you've now created your own failure.
So number five is giving so much value it no longer makes sense. [00:23:30] In today's talk about the tech world of trading, case studies. "Download my case study." It's all half-assed white paper crap made popular by HubSpot because they wanted to sell a software. If you put your content out people will come magically. No, they won't. Because it's not giving them value.
I write a blog that has 30 million views. Lots of people come read my stuff, I'm on CNBC. Gail, you mentioned a whole bunch of people. You know what value is? [00:24:00] When I write a handwritten note to someone who just signed up for my newsletter list. That's value. You know what value is? When I put my cell phone number on my website and say "If you have a problem, text me or call me I'll respond to you." That's value. When you're sinking and you need a hand up, that's being valuable. But we've got a business culture that's all about trading, it's all about oh, you paid for a dollar of value so I can't give you more than eighty cents because then I'm not making a profit.
We forget that you know, there are magical ways [00:24:30] that we can provide surprise and delight with customers and they love us forever. Southwest. We love them because of their culture. We look at Zappos with amazing customer service. Look at something like RAI, we were just talking about, where they will pay for their individual employees' to go on these adventures all over the world. So the dude who's selling you the shoe, that special bag or whatever it is, he's not just saying it because he works there, he carried that bag to Mount Everest or something. You know, it helped him in a way, it just- case study after case study after case study, if [00:25:00] your business is suffering, small business, medium sized, or large, it's largely because you're not giving enough value. Not discounts, no one heard me say discounts, I didn't say discounts. Discounts are for losers. If you're giving discounts, stop. Stop. Just be awesome. Tell people, "What would you pay someone who's awesome? That's what you're going to pay me. [inaudible]
And then the last thing that I would say point number six that we've covered with people who have achieved unlikely success is, they embrace the suck. And this is a military term, right? I think it [00:25:30] was MacArthur or somebody? Who said this?
Kyle Davis: It may have been MacArthur. I do know that it's more Navy so the SEAL team has adopted it as their unofficial slogan. Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, it's like unofficial SEAL logo or something, mantra is "Embrace the suck." Which just means, listen, we often bring people into our teams that go, "Look, it'll be easy just do this thing and it'll all work out," and that's not the case. It's a battle and as I mentioned to this company earlier today, there is no sort of on domination. If you want to dominate your business it's [00:26:00] not like, "Well we sort of dominated." And that means like, you didn't dominate, which means someone else did. And so it's very binary and we have to, whether it's millennials- and I love millennials. I hear big companies going, "We can't deal with millennials." No, no here's what happened. We had this business culture with these big billion dollar companies who never had a reason to be in business- I checked myself, I checked myself-
Kyle Davis: It's cool.
Dan Waldschmidt: Who never had a reason to be in business except to make money for shareholders. And they were fat [00:26:30] and lazy and uninspired businesses. And all of a sudden they had millennials and millennials don't care about money. They care about changing the world. They care about a cause. So for the first time in like the history of business in a long time, we had employees demanding of us, "Give me a reason to fight. I'll take the suck, right, just give me a reason to fight. I'll stand in Wall Street with no bathrooms and camp out just to make a scene. Right, to get my point across." And so for the first time ever we had business leaders who are like, "I don't know how [00:27:00] to deal with millennials." You know why? Because your mission statement is shit. And your responsibility to your employees is to give them a reason to go and fight and so that is what's amazing about this generation is they're teaching us, they're forcing us to have a reason beyond making money to change the world.
I love millennials because they will get in, roll up their sleeves, get to work. They don't care about a bonus. They just want to know that they're fulfilled and making a difference in a meaningful way.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, the whole money thing- and I'll just speak because as a millennial I can- I'm an authority, right?
Dan Waldschmidt: [00:27:30] An absolute authority. Right here you are.
Kyle Davis: Yeah yeah yeah. But when it comes to making money and all that, I mean, as a sales manager and that being my background and everything, I have the first question from one of the companies I worked for in New York was, "Hey, are you super money motivated?" And I was an idiot and I took the opportunity with them and it was just a money culture. I had no reason to fight for what they were selling. It wasn't a good product, my heart wasn't in it, I didn't care. The next company they're like, "Hey, you know, are you money motivated?" And I go, "No, I don't need it, I can make it. If it's a good product, [00:28:00] I'll sell it. I'm not worried about making the money." And that's how I got the job with that company, because I believed-
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah.
Kyle Davis: -in what they were doing because it made so much sense.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, and what's interesting is when you're in the first type of business if they change your commission, or if economic factors change, you're like, "Guess what guys? I'm out, they didn't pay commission." There you go. All of a sudden you're bouncing but if you have a reason to fight, you'll stick around and make it happen.
Gail Davis: Dan, I'd like to shift over to [00:28:30] edgy conversations and, you know, where that came from, what the meaning behind edgy is. Dan Waldschmidt: Awesome. I feel like you're keeping us in line, like-
Gail Davis: All generations are represented here.
Dan Waldschmidt: We are trying desperately to stray off the reservation and you have brought us back, very gently I might say. And lovely. But you know, you're forcing us to be adults now for a few minutes. So edgy conversations came about after four years of work [00:29:00] looking at why some people win and some people don't. And for me, as I was mentioning before we hopped in the studio, I've read 50, 60, 70 books on sales. I've read several thousand books, just because when I was growing up I had to read a book a day. So you can imagine that as a kid. And my parents said, "We're not going to let you read fiction because it's fake. You're going to read biographies. And historical time pieces, right? Real stuff. Real people. Failure, winning, the whole journey."
Kyle Davis: As a history [00:29:30] major I fully support that line of thought.
Dan Waldschmidt: Let me warn you, your kids may hate you temporarily.
Kyle Davis: I don't care.
Dan Waldschmidt: They will come back to love you later, quite possibly. So, I was reading these books and hearing people say like, "Follow these steps." And I thought, I'm 19 years old, I took my first company from two million to 20 million, I'm thinking, I did none of the shit that's in this book. I had this obsession like why is it that some people win? And they're not supposed to win [00:30:00] but then other people, they have all the odds. They have rich parents, they go to the best school, they've got the degrees, they've got the beautiful girlfriend, right? And everything is like, perfect and amazing and yet they never kind of rise to the moment. They're always kind of there but not winning. And I thought, what is it?
So that began my four year quest to figure this out. I spent thousands of hours researching it, had a neuroscientist on our team helping us kind of carve through what we thought were patterns [00:30:30] that didn't end up being patterns and just getting to the root cause. We came away with four nuggets. And I gave you six lessons before but the four philosophies that we came away with is that ordinary people who accomplish awesome things are extreme in their behavior. So not different, extreme. That's a different word, different feeling, extreme. They're disciplined in their activity, they have a giving mindset, and they're human. [00:31:00] And of course if you're observant, you're like EDGH would be human but we spell Yuman with a Y EDGY is cooler than EDGH. So allow us some creative liberty people.
But, those four qualities are what determine success and here's what I would challenge people: no matter what problem you're trying to solve whether it's something in your personal life or whether it's in your professional life, ask yourself these questions. What's the most extreme thing we can do? What do we need to be doing consistently [00:31:30] with discipline? What do I need to give? And then what's the human part of this? And if you put those pieces together, stack them together, you will have a solution that is so much more powerful than the way you're thinking now. It's transformational. And that's a big thing I often tell people is look, I'm not in the information business. I'm in the transformation business. And that's not another throw-away line. What it means for me is I want to give you some ways to think differently so you can go [00:32:00] do this on your own.
You don't need to buy my course, I don't have a course. I just want to have a conversation. If you want to change, I want to give you the tools to do it. That's the roadmap. Extreme, discipline, giving, and human.
Kyle Davis: One of the things that you mentioned in the meeting that we had prior to this was just the whole idea of having the dunk tank and cold ice being absolutely disruptive change everything from beginning to end. Explain that for those who are like oh, we're going to make these minor changes. You either change or you don't, [00:32:30] so.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, the small little changes no one notices and you're agonizing oh, what color blue should it be? Is it cyan or indigo? And everyone's like, it's blue. You know, its just blue. And you don't get the return investment that you expect. And so again, if I'm going at it from how do I grow this at 1000%? At a business level. So that's more of my mindset is, then we have to have radical change. The number one indicator of success [00:33:00] is momentum. So let me run my logic backwards for you. Sales are a trailing indicator, and you know this as a manager, the last thing that happens is a sale. Actually probably the last thing is you actually getting the money in your bank account, right? Which might actually count as a sale.
Kyle Davis: Yeah, that's when it's over.
Dan Waldschmidt: That's the only thing that really matters actually. But the sale is a trailing indicator so we're all like "What are our sales?" And then we ask ourselves another question: "What's our pipeline?" And the pipeline is always bullshit, right? It's three quarters [00:33:30] fluffery, no one has done much to cultivate anything, it's just like a hope and dream and maybe a little Peter Pan fairy dust mixed in. Hopefully this stuff turns into something that might actually be revenue and it never is. It's just bullshit. Hoping the phone system works if someone actually calls so we can close this deal.
But how do you measure progress? How do you measure radical change or torrent? This is, by the way, why 70% of changed management projects fail. Because they look at all the stuff you could put on paper and unfortunately, [00:34:00] as Helen Keller said, that's a great segue. Unfortunately, as Helen Keller said. If you want a master class in speaking excellence, I have just demonstrated therefore. All of this. But she said, "The most beautiful things in life can't be seen or heard, they're felt." And momentum is one of those things that you feel and we spend a lot of time starting, stopping, starting, stopping. And like with running or any other activity, whether it's crossfit, it's [00:34:30] how do we build momentum at all costs. And that's where the cold water- radical change- comes. We go from inert to moving forward. And then we throw it away because we won't keep the momentum going.
So those are the things you should focus on momentum. How do we get momentum, how do we build momentum, how do we maintain momentum, how do we eliminate everything in our way that stops us from keeping that momentum? Which is why, if you've got negative people in your life or your office, you've got to shoot them. Well, sorry, let's [00:35:00] go back. Can we edit that out?
Kyle Davis: We keep it.
Dan Waldschmidt: Okay, well don't shoot them literally. I just mean like-
Kyle Davis: Figuratively.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, figuratively, yes. This is not one of those moments where it's, you know, #literally. This is figurative-
Kyle Davis: Well this is Texas, so people might confuse that, but I think we'll be fine.
Dan Waldschmidt: I feel like I need to wear boots before I tell people to shoot people.
Kyle Davis: We'll go buy some.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, again, you have to avoid negative influence because they cripple your momentum. It's not about, "Oh, my job is to keep your feet on the ground." Hey, guess what? If I wanted [00:35:30] my feet on the ground, I wouldn't spend so much time trying to be positive. I don't want my feet on the ground. I want to soar, I want to climb, I want to think big, I want to grow. I don't like where I'm at. If I didn't have to be stuck to Earth's gravity I would be off like jet-blading-skiing-piping-packing whatever I'd do with a jet. I'd be doing all the things. I don't even know what the word is, like-
Kyle Davis: We'll figure it out.
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, and just take one of those words and like, when you edit just insert one-
Kyle Davis: Jetsetting?
Dan Waldschmidt: Yeah, jetsetting, nice. So, you know, it's just like those are the things where [00:36:00] we often make a- again, talk about not burning the ships- we allow negative people in our lives and then five breaths later, we'll say, "Oh, but I really need to be inspired, I really need to be motivated. I just wish I had a reason to go out and fight." You had one. You just let some moron in the front door who robbed you of all of it. And imagine if you're in your house and someone just came in and grabbed the television and walked out, grabbed the refrigerator and walked out. You'd be like, [00:36:30] "Dude, dude, dude! Hey that's mine. You can't have that." So with our physical things we're very protective. Like, you can't have that. I've worked to build that, to maintain that.
But then when it comes to motivation we're like, "Everything you do makes me feel icky and horrible about myself and miserable, but I'm going to choose to make an excuse to keep you in my life." And it's ridiculous. This is where we have to start thinking about domination from a different perspective. Look, it's all or nothing. And I may love you as a person, I may have to switch where [00:37:00] I go to church, I may have to switch where I send my kids to school, I may have to switch the gym I go to because some person there is just a complete asshat, whatever it is. I have to guard my inspiration at all costs.
I have to do that because how dare you come into my life and rob me of my dreams. Like, you don't get that right. You don't get the privilege to come and tell me, "Oh, you don't get to drive a Maserati because I'm here to bring your feet to the ground." Like get out! It's not your [00:37:30] privilege- I have to safeguard and we don't think about it that well. We're like, "Well, I need to do that." And so this is another reason why I don't do committees, I don't do groups, I don't do boards, like boardrooms. I don't do any of those. I won't sit on your board because I don't know of any committees or groups or boards that are doing anything that's really magically changing the world. It's bad enough we have to have meetings. Right? I mean when's the last time you left a meeting and were like, "Oh my God I'm so inspired by this meeting!" Maybe like GDA.
Kyle Davis: Well, sometimes, yeah.
Dan Waldschmidt: Your mom could throw, you know. We can do all these things. [00:38:00] The reality is, we're not often thoughtful until things are in flames. And then we ask ourselves, how did we get here? You got here by a series of choices, which by the way is also inspiring because, just make different choices if you're in a place where you're like, "I don't want to be here. This is uncomfortable." Then just make different ones. You know, change where you are to get to where you want to be. Let's not whine about how we got here. We're here. We're here. Let's fix it, figure out a new path forward. [00:38:30] And often going into a company they'll be like, "Well Dan, here's our legacy-" Ah shut up. I don't care. I don't really care. I care about you're here, you want to get to there, what do we do to get there?
Maybe some slight adjustments. We don't need to spend time whining about, "Well, if you knew, I've been treated unfairly." That's why we call it life. Life is unfair. Some people on the other side of the world have bombs raining down on their head. Little girls are raped in Africa in some places. This is not fair. Unfortunately, that's life. So you have your [00:39:00] first world problem, boo-hoo, boo-hoo. The reality is, you're not taking ownership of your life and of your business and of your decisions and your thoughts in order to change where you want to be. So you give back the right to whine or complain about anything else.
Kyle Davis: How can somebody take a life of creeping neglect and not protecting what motivates them and become a hyper-protective individual over their motivations and then find their desires? I know that's kind of a loaded question and there's probably a 45 [00:39:30] minute answer to it that people can call GDA for advice on and we can book you, but what can people do to change that mindset instead of dying the death of a thousand cuts?
Dan Waldschmidt: I think the most important thing and the one piece of advice that I give people is to know what you really want. What is it you want? I feel like a lot of us don't know what we want. We spend a lot of time agonizing over making money because someone told us if you have more of it you'll be happy. We spend time trying to do things because our [00:40:00] religion says if you don't do those thing you're a naughty person. There's a lot of things that we do and we don't even think about what we're doing.
I had a friend of mine call me a week ago who's going through a divorce and he was like, "We're in couples therapy." And I said, "That's a ridiculous waste of your time. Why aren't you in therapy figuring out what you want?" And he said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Do you know what you want? Like, marriage is a choice. You're in it or you're not in it. Both are great choices. There's not right or wrong, do whatever you want. It's all a choice. What do you [00:40:30] want?" "I don't know." And I feel like in a moment of honesty, really raw honesty, we don't know what we want. If you don't know what you want you can't get it.
So I think the first thing for anyone who's looking for change, whether it's at a corporate level, a professional level, personal level, one of those things: money, health, sex, what it really comes down to is what do you want? And once you know that, and its usually not the first thing. I'll tell you, you know how you know that you know what [00:41:00] you want? It's probably a little too scary to say out loud. Like, if I say this. You know, it's not even like dropping an F bomb on your podcast here, which I have not done. I feel like if there were gold stars like with my five year old, five gold stars for Dan, because that's-
Kyle Davis: We still have to get through the finish.
Dan Waldschmidt: Amazing. What is it that you want? At a real deep, personal- because once you have that. And combine [00:41:30] that with what we talked about earlier. You're meditating, you're obsessing on it. Everything else begins to come to you. Not because of some law of attraction or anything like that, that's a little bit ridiculous. What happens is as you obsess and plan, you come up with your own ideas. You don't even see failing as failure, you just see it as another try. That's the benefit of obsessing about progress and greater performance. But you have to know what you want. That's where everything begins. And by the [00:42:00] way, by the way, that doesn't have to be locked in stone. Even if you wrote it down on a piece of paper, it could change tomorrow. Great, great.
It's that self-awareness to say okay, take for example marriage, "I'm in this marriage, it's a choice, I can change tomorrow. She can change, I can change, it's just what it is." I'm working for this company. If I want to change tomorrow, I can. And we're like, "No, but I have a mortgage, and this-" Look, they're all choices. You can do whatever you want to do when you own these choices all of a sudden life becomes so much [00:42:30] better because you instantly know that, "Look, I can do this or not." Talk about embracing the suck. Imagine if you might be a Navy SEAL, or you're not a Navy SEAL, I don't know, but you still need to embrace the suck.
That's not fun. But if I say, "You are a Navy SEAL, act like a Navy SEAL, we're going to train you like a Navy SEAL, and that's why you need to embrace the suck because you are being trained to be a highly destructive mercenary at the behest of your company." I feel like [00:43:00] we need another eagle flying.
Kyle Davis: Freedom.
Dan Waldschmidt: Freedom, hashtag. So, but you know. That's why you embrace the suck because you are in pursuit of your mission. But if I said to you, "We're just going to do this and we're not really sure why." When things get tough, you back out. You find a way to back out. So, you've got to know what you want.
Gail Davis: I think this has been a fantastic conversation and its gone by so fast. Often when I'm telling a client about a possible speaker they'll [00:43:30] be like, "Tell me about the person's style." And I have to say that you came across as so passionate, so enthusiastic-
Dan Waldschmidt: Oh, not at all.
Gail Davis: It was such honesty and it just all put together it's very, very powerful. So I've really enjoyed this time together, and I know Kyle's got a sign off here for-
Kyle Davis: Yeah.
Dan Waldschmidt: Is it an eagle? Is it an eagle screeching? To the sky.
Kyle Davis: I'll have to like, edit that in.
Dan Waldschmidt: How do I do that? I need like an app on my phone that can do eagle-
Kyle Davis: You need a freedom app and we'll be like ready to go.
Dan Waldschmidt: That's it.
Kyle Davis: If your [00:44:00] ready to invest I have an idea for you afterwards. But hey look, if you want to have Dan Waldschmidt come and speak for your company you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers at 214-201-1999 or by visiting GDAspeakers.com for the transcript, and books and all other awesomeness that is Dan. And you can read that, see that, hear it, whatever it at GDApodcast.com and be sure to subscribe on iTunes as well. [00:44:30] Thank you.
Dan Waldschmidt: Thank you for having me. Wonderful. I know I'm a little slow because I was actually thinking about your idea for the-
Kyle Davis: I have a legitimately funny idea that we'll talk about in a second. Okay cool, thanks guys.