Narrator: There’s the status quo and there are the game changers. They write books and make films about game changers. People who put a dent in the universe. Are you one of them? This series explains everything you need to know to be a game changer. And how to win at the game of business and life. Today’s episode is made possible by Think Next, Act Now, a movement that trains and mentors tomorrows entrepreneur, today. And now, here are your hosts; Bill Wooditch and Todd Schnick.
Todd: All right, welcome to the show about how to become a game changer. Understanding that business and life is a game, and you have to play it well and play to win. Welcome to Episode One, our first episode in this series. We’re going to talk today about the always forward philosophy and mindset. I’m joined by my friend and colleague, Bill Wooditch. Good morning, my friend, great to be with you. Gosh, I’m excited about this series.
Bill: Well, good morning Todd. Thank you very much. It is an honor and a pleasure to be on your show.
Todd: Now the pleasure is mine. I’m so excited about what we’re about to do here and appreciate your support of this series. Very grateful for that. It’s going to be exciting. We’re talking about six main ideas in how to become a game changer. It is always forward philosophy that we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk next week about defining winning. I mean; knowing your destination; most people don’t know that. We’re going to talk about the think and do effect; as you said pre show, that may be the most important thing that we can do to become a game changer. Next we’re going to talk about being the CEO of your life; most people are not. Then we’re going to talk about owning the present. And then we’re going to close this series with a further conversation about the fact that business and life is a game and you have to play it well and play to win. Now before we get into this first discussion, Bill, what does it actually mean to be a game changer and why do we even need to do a series like this?
Bill: Well, you know what Todd, I think we’ve been inundated with words like; difference maker and game changer; and really what they are is just empty words. Maybe it’s a rallying call for a feel good. But nothing can happen without an action. So to be a game changer means you take action at the point of accountability; and a game changer by definition and by their involvement; determines or influences the outcome of something. I know we talked about a game worth playing in life. If it’s a great game worth playing, and to me it is; it’s a scary proposition for some people. Because think life is this big, daunting enterprise. To me it’s mindset, it’s a game. And if it’s a game worth playing, well, let’s get involved at the point of contact. Let’s get involved and make our presence determine the outcome. Let’s get engaged. Let’s be active. Let’s be present. Let’s be involved.
Todd: The whole point of the series is to teach us all how to be game changers. Because I think, let’s say this out of the gate here, I think most people aren’t playing the game; are not playing the game.
Bill: Right. Well if you’re not playing the game; and people are on the sidelines and they’re going to be observers in the game, but they’re not going to be participants. And I think the marrow of life, the good stuff in life, comes from participation. Now it’s the edge where we get cut. Because we can risk; we’re risking our ego at the point of contact if we’re a game changer; but game changers want responsibilities. You see they want accountability; they thrive in the pressure. And in the pressure, that’s where success is not only found but it’s forged.
Todd: Well, we’re going to talk about pressure down in the series. And how if you’re not feeling pressure then you’re not playing the game. That’s the whole point. And hopefully we help you understand that you want pressure because that’s when things are starting to really happen. All right, well, this is going to be a lot of fun. So, let’s get into today’s subject; which again is this always forward philosophy and mindset. Now every email I get from you is closed by ‘always forward, Bill’. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of always forward, give us the overview; what exactly is that? What do you mean by that?
Bill: Let’s break the two words up. Always and forward. Always is constant motion, and forward is a motion in a certain direction. Life is not supported by stasis. We can’t sit in some hermetically sealed bubble, and think we’re going to be safe. We will regress. You know, I’ve seen a lot of people who have a little bit of success; wanna sit on that success. You can’t, because how you got it is how you’ll lose it. You’ll lose it to someone else who’s going to take it and make those moves. So you must always be thinking and moving always forward. The mindset will dictate the activity. The activity is going to influence the result. Everything comes from that mindset and action. And if your mindset is to view this enterprise, this life, as a game; you’ll understand that it comes with loss. But it does come with victory. And victory and winning comes from you being immersed in the game and learning how to play it well. Doing the work to learn the game and then getting out there and playing it well.
Todd: Is it fair to say; this may be too harsh and too widespread a judgment; but I think most people out there think they’re moving forward, but most aren’t. How do you know?
Bill: But I think the world runs on two D batteries; denial and delusion; first of self. So I think we need a mirror and we need some sort of honest, if possible, introspection; or at least some sort of clarity. Because there’s two forms of measurement. There’s going to be the objective measurement; someone’s measuring you from some sales quota; or measuring you in life based on something they can actually quantify to measure. The other one’s subjective. And that’s going to come from inside. And that’s a feel; am I moving forward or not? I would submit to you, Todd, that I know when I put in a good day and I know when I mail it in. When I put in a good day, I know that I’m exhausted or enervated from the effort. And the achievement might not be evident now, but you just have that feeling that it’s coming. And you just keep going after it. You just know inside when you’ve got it. You also know when you mail it in and start cutting corners.
Todd: Yeah, you do, and you know it; you know it deep in your core. Maybe you don’t admit it to yourself, but you know. And if you’re listening to this and you’ve felt that; and hell, maybe you’ve felt it this morning, who knows. You know that’s when an always forward idea becomes important. And boy action and taking a step forward, it just changes everything. It alleviates fear, it eliminates stress. Just taking action just makes you feel better. We’ve all felt that.
Bill: Good point on fear. Really good point on fear. Because if you think about sitting and thinking and wallowing and being mired in fear; one of the remedies for fear is to take an action; is to face that fear by moving forward; by moving through those fields of fear and facing the dominant fears you have in your life. Facing the dominant fear you have and taking that like the Ethiopian proverb, which ‘one bite at a time is the way you eat the elephant’ in the Ethiopian proverb; same with fear. Go after it and know that you’re never going to conquer it. I don’t believe that you can conquer that which is inside of you, totally, but I think that you can really take the moves to contain it, understand it and move through those feels. That’s always forward. You’re going to get your butt kicked; that’s part of the game. You’re going to get hit, you’re going to get hit hard. You have to get back up and crawl, move, walk and then run forward. Everything in life is next. Move forward.
Todd: That’s how you get through a defeat is just to get back up and keep moving again. How important is mentorship here with this?
Bill: I think mentorship is essential today. I have been besieged by people; I think there’s a void today; a huge void and a huge need for mentorship. And mentorship to me is, if you take a picture of a person walking on a path; and I also think the mentor has to be worthy of the mentee and the mentee has to be worthy of the mentor; there’s a duel obligation there. But I think we’re walking down the path and I think we’re walking maybe as a mentor, a little bit ahead of the mentee who is learning. And then as we walk, we’re side by side, we’re sharing ideas; and the ideas have to be theirs. So as a mentor you eventually want to be redundant; where you’re out of the picture and that mentee is walking alone as another capable mentor. I think mentoring is the biggest contribution that I can make, I know, on this planet.
Todd: How does it help you move always forward. Is it someone holding you accountable to do so?
Bill: Accountability’s part of it, but it’s also teaching you how to think. I think how to think and then act. And here’s the thing that I’ll do; I’ll never ask the questions; I mean I’ll ask the questions but I’ll never give the answers. I’ll ask ‘have you thought about this? Have you thought about this? What’s your downside? And how do you address your ultimate downside?’ Todd, upside is easy. It’s easy in life. It’s protecting your downside. How do we limit this? What happens if this happens? And if this person does this, how do we react? And let the student, let the mentee come up with those answers because they’ll own them. If we give people answers, we’ll always be feeding them. We’ve got to let and enable them to think and make those mistakes and learn and grow from there. That’s the essence of mentorship.
Todd: Well, and I think the essence of mentorship in context of that is most people know the answers. They just don’t [inaudible 8:36} themselves or they’ve never been asked to think about them. So that’s why that’s so important. Which then proves to you that you have what it takes to move always forward. I’ve heard you tell a story about walking through the grass barefoot; what’s that about?
Bill: I want to go back to something you said; it’s certainty in the answer. I think we have something that we need to always validate by the external. You have to be careful with that because if we go to 100 voices for opinions we might stop at 51 and say ‘okay, it’s 51/49, that’s what I’m going to do. That internal voice is very important to give you whatever certainty is in life. In a life that’s fraught with era that’s uncertainty, that’s I think how we grab it.
When I was a little kid, you know we grew up in western Pennsylvania; small town about 3,800 people. And there was a lot of woodworking going on, there’s a lot of barn building, there was a lot of fences going up; so there was always a lot of huge; and I’m talking about six to seven-inch spike type nails. And we’d walk around with sneakers or barefoot through the grass; kind of that Mark Twain ideal. And you do this one time and you learn. The first time you hit a nail, bam, you will always look in the grass before you walk. So I mentor and teach this one part; you can do these things, but be careful and look for this. And the people that don’t, the first time they get hit, the second time they’re always looking for that nail. So it’s almost once bitten, twice shy. One of two choices; you can know there are nails in the grass or you can wait til you step on it, you’ll always look.
Todd: All right. Bill and I will return after this short break. We’ll be right back.
Female: Think Next Act Now is an entrepreneurial movement. It is a teaching platform. A coaching forum that emphasizes action. And a link between thought and action makes a difference in the outcome you determine; or the result that’s determined for you. When you see, seize and create opportunity for yourself; you take a big step toward becoming recession proof and changing your life. If you are determined to make a change in your life, Think Next Act Now, will provide the essential tool kit to move your life forward. Only realized potential cashes the check of reality. Now is your time to realize your potential. Think Next Act Now and go always forward. To learn more, go to billwooditch.com; that’s billwooditch.com
Todd: All right, I’m back with Bill Wooditch, I’m Todd Schnick. All right, so, Bill we were talking about mentorship and all that. But I think understanding what your message; which I’ve heard you say is your driver for moving forward; what do you mean by that, how does someone understand what that means?
Bill: Well the message for driving forward is to be able to understand risk and the importance of risk in moving forward. And when I talk risk, I’m not talking blind risk, I’m talking about intelligent risk; where we way the factors. And sometimes there’s family involved and we have other things other than ourselves to consider. And I think that’s all part of risk. It’s like crossing the Rubicon. In ancient Rome, it was in Caesar; there was a river called the Rubicon River. And he stood there with his army amassed on the banks and to cross the river was treason. Treason was summary death; because the men who made the rules in Rome were fearful. They were fearful of a standing army coming back in conquest and taking over the city. Now Caesar just conquered Gaul. It took about seven years of blood and mud cake strife; but he and the men were one. They stood on the banks and he looked across that river; and when the first hoof hit the water, he had crossed the Rubicon. The Rubicon in life is the ultimate decision that you can’t go back from. So before you look and cross that Rubicon know what you’re going toward and know once you cross it, there’s no way back. It’s those decisions in life that irrevocable. The ones that you cannot get back. In management today when people mention crossing the Rubicon, you’re all in. That’s true risk with big reward. But it’s also big risk and possibly could be harmful to the career.
Todd: But that’s all part of it as you said. It’s all part of how this whole process works. But until you know what your Rubicon is that you want to cross, there’s no way you can be a game changer, right? Because you don’t know what you’re changing.
Bill: Well you’ve got to know what you’re going to cross and you have to know the price you’re willing to pay to cross it. Now that’s great in the mind but what happens with skill? Because I think you have to have the aptitude and the attitude to be able to be a game changer. You’ve got the do the work to build yourself up to learn, to read, to go on a quest to always improve. Because being a game changer, the characteristics of a game changer is that you’re always under improvement. You understand that success is always under construction. You understand that you’re always under construction. You’ve got to expand that box of what you think you know; and expand it and take in some new ideas. Think if they resonate, if they’re part of your arsenal to change the game, use it. If they’re not, throw them out. But the key is to be exposed to them and then to experience and try new things. That’s just part of the arsenal, DNA of being a game changer.
Todd: Well next week we’re going to go deep in understanding the costs of all this. But, for now, I’ve heard you say something and I’ve heard it before, and in the context of this conversation it makes all kinds of sense. But you’ve said, be careful about what you want because you might just get it.
Bill: Cracked open a fortune cookie; Chinese proverb and Confucius said ‘be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.’ So a lot of people are thinking; ‘I want this, I want this, I want this’. But once they get it, they’re either ‘oh wow, I didn’t know that this was what it was going to take and this is really what it was’; because either under the kimono it was either something that shocked them or it’s something that they weren’t really willing to continue to pay the price for. I think a lot of people like to think they can sit on whatever they achieve as success. And as we said previously; life is always forward is not supported by stasis. You have to keep moving, you will atrophy, you will never stay the same. So think that’s very important as we go forward because you’ve got to know with clarity what you want. I think you have to know with clarity why you want it. And I think you have to pursue it with that always forward, game changing mentality; knowing that there could be detours, but if you really want it, it’s a must have, it’s a need, go get it.
Todd: I’ve come across far too many people over my short years that they don’t know what they want. They’re walking aimlessly, they’re on a path that they didn’t choose. Any council you can provide on helping someone say ‘how do I figure out what my Rubicon’s going to be?’
Bill: Well, I think there’s; a French philosopher once said that the man’s biggest fears come to him in the dark. Because we’re alone and those thoughts come through and we’re afraid of being alone in the dark with our thoughts. But that’s where you find that Rubicon. It’s by yourself, no one can tell you or give you that. All you’re doing to feed that is going by what society, what the external thinks is important to you. What’s important to you has to be important to you; not to others. Close your eyes, think and then feel. The feel is more important than the thought. Because so many people are chasing different things because people want them to chase a certain thing. Or people tell them they should; a word that makes me shudder; that they should go after this. That this is the thing that will make them successful. And they’re confused. We have so many competing voices in our head that we’re confused. The one voice that we must liberate and the one voice that must resonate has to be ours. We have to find our voice. That will give us the compelling pool of what’s important to us.
Todd: We talked about mentorship earlier. I think a mentor can help you find that path, but I think that it’s important; and I’d love for you to comment on this; a mentor shouldn’t tell you what your path is but they ought to be able to guide you to discover that yourself, right?
Bill: You’re right. And I think it’s not only a path, but a mentor can keep you off the wrong path. So I think that’s almost as important as putting you on the right one, is to try to keep you off the wrong ones. And by giving examples and saying ‘have you thought about this if you go this way, here’s what you’re going to get, is that really what you want?’ So I think that’s very important in knowing ‘hey, you know, what am I going to go get; and if I get it oh my god, I didn’t know that’s what it was’. So I think part of it is to keep them off the wrong paths, because the wrong paths take a long time, a lot of effort, build up frustration, the years go by and the inelastic thing we can’t get back; time; is one of our most precious resources and we can’t squander that.
Todd: Well as we talked earlier in the episode; you probably even also know that answer yourself. And sometimes that mentor holds up that mirror and you say ‘oh, I knew it; I knew that instinctually’.
Bill: As people, we’re insecure, so we have this insecurity. And we’re uncertain and we don’t have a certainty in ourselves, so we like to validate what we’re thinking by asking others, you know ‘corroborate my thinking here, give me some substance here.’ It’s important to look at your blind spots. It’s important to see those things; other people can see things you can’t see. But be careful of seeding or giving over that personal responsibility to find your way, find your path, and know this is well. There’s a difference between going with a fervor and going after something and being undeterred; and you might be in the right place and you might be in the wrong place. If you’re banging your head against the wall going after something that you’re never going to get; back out, do something different.
Todd: All right, Bill, I’m thinking about, you mentioned insecurity a minute ago. There’s not a day passes that I think most people don’t feel insecure about something. Whether it’s in business or their life, or both; isn’t there an opportunity to say, ‘hey because I’m feeling that here’s a chance for me to break through that wall’?
Bill: Well I think that’s where the fire of opportunity, that’s where the flame is. And I think when we see that flame, we feel that flame, that’s where the opportunity is. The deeper sometimes the insecurity and the uncertainty, that’s the fear we have to overcome to go forward. And I think in terms of process and progress, I think we can take those small steps, just like that Ethiopian proverb, forward, building the confidence through skills and building the confidence through small successes that can overcome some of that insecurity. But at a certain point we’ve got to say “blank” it and we’ve got to throw ourselves out there and make it happen. We have to know where the insecurity comes from. It comes from society. It comes from societal evaluation of who we are, what we do and what they think it represents; what we have or what we do represents to them so that we are open to their judgment. And when we open ourselves to the judgment of others we’re always going to be a puppet to the puppet master. Cut the strings. Insecurity can be dealt with on an individual basis; it’s a huge factor for all of us; we all face it at some point. Make those small steps, try to get some certainty in yourself, believe in your product, believe in yourself.
Todd: Isn’t insecurity a learning opportunity? Isn’t that when you can say ‘wait a minute, I’m feeling uncertain about this, I need to figure it out.’ And that’s where a mentor again can be helpful; they can guide you on that. There’s other ways to learn. Continuous learning is a big thing for you; that’s a big factor in defeating insecurity?
Bill: Insecurity’s a part of growth and I want you think about this. Every time I went into a Fortune 500 company; I thought about that person having the same kind of bathroom habits as everybody else out there. They’re putting on their clothes the same way that everyone else did. And these people have their insecurities, deep seeded insecurities, just like everybody else. So I wasn’t going to give up my personal responsibility to the self, to be true to myself, I wasn’t going to fall down like a doormat, I was going to stand in there and deliver. Now they might not have liked me. They might not have bought my product, but I was going to go down the way that I was going to go down. And that is the difference in being a game changer, maintaining yourself self respect. Because if you maintain your self respect, you will start to peel away some of those layers of insecurity; you will become more of you than you probably ever were before.
Todd: Talk more about this idea of continuous learning. You keep saying to move always forward you have to keep raising the bar. Which is learning new things, learning new skills. Talk more about that.
Bill: The biggest frustration I have in life is dealing with people who stay in the box of their own thoughts. A box that they were taught. A box that only is open to judge others. And that is very important. I think we have to be able to expand that box of our thinking. It’s a literal box. And say ‘what if’. ‘Maybe there’s something different than what I thought. Maybe there’s something different than what I was taught.’ That doesn’t mean you have to buy all that stuff. That doesn’t mean you have to do all that thing. But you can take it in and think about it and say ‘you know, maybe; and what if?’ That opens the door to learning. And I’m more passionate, Todd, about learning as a way forward than anything I could ever write about. Because, to me, I had to learn how to learn, when I went to school. I was given the opportunity to go to school. I foreclosed my future by thinking I was going to be cool; grew my hair, smoked cigarettes, and went to work in a factory. I thought ‘ah, this is going to be cool’. And I couldn’t spell words over three letters and I definitely couldn’t pronounce them. So I had to go to school and I had to learn how to learn. But that way forward; learning from the great thinkers and books; playing life forward through history and thinking what if. And opening myself to some other thoughts and opening that box; that box that was my previous level of understanding; enabled me to meet with people on their terms. Enabled me to converse with people. And being able to share the message. And it expanded my ability to connect with people through varied interests. To learning, learning, learning; constantly changing; adapting; adopting to what you learn makes you not only a game changer, it makes you a formidable difference maker.
Todd: But, there are those; I believe strongly that learning is part of the process of moving always forward. But, there are people who say ‘all right, well then I’m just going to keep learning, and I’m going to keep learning, and I’m going to keep learning; but they never do anything with it. How do you shield yourself from falling into that trap?
Bill: I’m just thinking how long you were sitting on that but, before you threw it at me.
Todd: Oh it was a long time.
Bill: I know, cause I’m long winded. You know you can have thought and you can be Isaac Newton; when he discovered calculus, he got up on the edge of the bed, kept his feet fixed to the floor and he would sit there sometimes for hours and hours and hours just thinking. Well that’s thought. And there’s action. And that could be Custer. Blind action, not thinking through what could happen, just reacting. Neither one is an effective criterion for an effective game changer. Because the shorter the distance between that deliberate thought and that decisive action, the greater the likelihood of success in any endeavor. That thought and then that action; that deliberate thought and then bam, the action. That makes a difference. Why? Because most people don’t think and won’t do. And they think it through too long and by that time someone else has already taken the reward; because they’re overcoming their insecurity, they crossed the Rubicon, and they’re going out there and they’re meeting people and they’re making things happen.
Todd: Well, we’re going to have a whole episode dedicated to the think and do effect. So we’ll go deep in this down the road a bit. Let’s close this episode with one final discussion. This idea of, again back to insecurity; I think someone who’s a game changer is always moving forward and they’re always taking the next step. The problem is a lot of people don’t know what that next step is. Walk us through how we can be sure we’re confident understanding what that next step should be, can be. Because as you said, if you’re not moving forward, you’re regressing.
Bill: Some of the biggest, I think, opportunities that I was able to cash as a result, came from thinking after all the fighting was done. So after the conference room proposals and after all of the meetings we had previously; is to sit back and think what if. What if I do this, what if I do this. Because when you’re at that point in life and you start to think what if; and if you take the actions behind that what if; that’s going to help you with what’s next. There’s an internal guidance system within us; we either turned it on or we turned it off. If we either ignore it or we follow it. And there’s that little pool in there to say ‘I should do this’. A lot of us try to rationalize and say ‘no, no, no, no, we don’t need to do that’. The rationalization comes from the head. The strongest component in the equation comes from the gut. That’s not rationalization, that’s not thought, that’s feeling. So I think we have to train ourselves, Todd, train ourselves to think, what’s next. What moves my value proposition forward? What’s the best action I can take to put myself in a better position to win this game? Think that. Think that and then do that which comes from the thought.
Todd: Well all the successful people that you read books about and watch movies about; they’re the ones that are thinking next. They’re understanding that. And we’re going to talk more about that deeply as we get into the series. All right. Well, heck this has been a good start for this series. This is all the time we have for today. Bill, before I let you go, how can people contact you should they have questions about how to become a game changer? Bill: Billwooditch.com.
Todd: All right. Well tune in next week for the next episode. We always talk about business and life is a game and you have to play it well and play to win. But next week we’re going to talk about what actually is winning. What is the destination and what do you actually have to do to become a game changer? All right, so on behalf of my colleague, Bill Wooditch, I am Todd Schnick; we’ll see you next week on Be a Game Changer. So, until then remember, always forward.