Jeffrey Hayzlett | Think Big, Act Bigger (Episode 442)

Jeffrey Hayzlett | Think Big, Act Bigger (Episode 442)

Thinking big and acting bigger means doing hard work and owning your role — leading by example while keeping your ego in check. But the rewards make it all worthwhile.

“That’s what you have to start to learn about thinking big — for any person or company, any age or size — is to own who you are because you can.” -Jeffrey Hayzlett

The Cheat Sheet:

  • What’s the secret to success that the charlatans won’t tell you? (05:37)
  • Fear of failure (and not being willing to take risks) is almost always more dangerous than the actual consequences of failure. (06:45)
  • Learn The Katelyn Rule and how it applies to thinking big and acting bigger. (12:09)
  • Does your job meet your conditions of satisfaction? (17:25)
  • Never lose sight of what’s happening in your business — clean your own bathroom! (22:52)
  • And so much more…


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Do others look toward you for leadership — and if so, do you own that role? Have you defined where you want to go in the workplace — and in life — and can you fearlessly do what it takes to get there? You may have to throw conventional wisdom by the wayside, reframe limitations, and steamroll obstacles as you go. If only there were a book that could help you chart the course…

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime TV and radio host, keynote speaker, bestselling author, and global business celebrity who has bought and sold over 250 companies with 25-billion dollars in transactions over his career. On episode 442 of The Art of Charm, we talk about his new book, Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, which imparts 10 core lessons that help you act on your ambitions to be the fearless pathfinder and decision maker you want to be.

More About This Show

As with any dramatic life change — from weight loss to setting the course for success — there are countless charlatans who will try to sell you a shortcut that magically eliminates the primary, and most unpleasant ingredient: hard work.

Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of the new book Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, will tell you right off the bat that there’s no way to avoid the hard work (unless you happen upon the rather unsportsmanlike luck of an inheritance or just being in the right place at the right time).

The good news is that you can do it with the help of something you already have in abundance: yourself. “Have a really good sense of who you are and try not to be things you think you should be,” says Jeffrey. “Own it. To really be comfortable in your own skin is the first thing — that’s very, very important.”

Jeffrey comes from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He’s a big guy at 6’3″, 250 lbs. (“Isn’t he bigger than necessary?” was the first thing his wife’s great grandmother said upon meeting him). He wears cowboy boots and rides horses. He’s outspoken — sometimes in ways that others might deem “inappropriate.” But he is who he is, and he owns every bit of it. He works for Fortune 100 companies, he hosts television and radio shows, he’s got his own podcast, and he writes books. Hailing from a place that most people wouldn’t be able to find on a map, he says, “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

When gearing up to write Think Big, Act Bigger, Jeffrey said, “I’m sick and tired of all the charlatans out there. I’m sick and tired of people telling me I can’t do this or we shouldn’t do this or we’ve tried that before…this is about saying we’re going to do things differently and it’s time to get off your ass and fearlessly go after what it takes to get there — and really, truly define where you want to go and care less about the conventional wisdom. Let’s go reframe the limitations and let’s steamroll the obstacles and get stuff done.”

According to Jeffrey, most businesses fail because the people in charge “didn’t think things out, didn’t put enough resources behind it, didn’t spend enough time — not enough sweat equity — or they just picked a stupid idea to begin with. If you’re going to do it right, make sure you do your homework correctly. Make sure you put enough money behind it. Be realistic, and then work your frickin’ ass off!”

Even when you commit to doing all the hard work, Jeffrey concedes, failure is still a possibility. That’s just the nature of business. “Most people are truly afraid to fail,” says Jeffrey. “And what I try to do is…embrace it…and if we’re going to fail, let’s fail fast.”

Jeffrey relays a story about a two-million-dollar campaign he did for Kodak that seemed brilliant in production, but it failed in execution because of one tiny — and seemingly obvious — hitch that hadn’t been considered. While the results were disappointing, he reassured his team by reminding them that “No one died.”

The campaign was repurposed and the money spent wasn’t really lost, after all. Jeffrey and his team were able to learn from this mistake and recoup their losses, but even if the story didn’t have such a happy ending, the fact that no one died is the takeaway, here. Unless you’re in the business of saving and protecting lives, the mistakes you make at work probably won’t cause anyone to die, either.

The Katelyn Rule

But what happens when you’re not the executive in charge of making the decisions that succeed or fail and direct the course of your company’s future? Jeffrey tells us the story behind something he calls The Katelyn Rule.

Katelyn was one of Jeffrey’s new employees. About a week into her employment, she asked a very basic question that may have had good intentions, but was ultimately pointless — and that she should have already known the answer to.

“Since you’re so new,” Jeffrey said, “I’m going to give you 21 questions that you can ask me in any given month. You can ask me about the meaning of life, you can ask me where the best Italian restaurant is, you can ask me, ‘Do you think my boyfriend loves me?’ You can ask me any question that you want to ask me. Is that one of the questions that you want to ask?”

“She turned to me and said, ‘Probably not.'”

“I said, ‘Well, good career move! Because if you have to ask me that question, what do I need you for? I hired you [because] you’re a superstar; we only have superstars because we only work with high-growth companies and we want the best people. If I answer questions like that — that seem to me to be fairly common kinds of questions that you should be able to decide yourself — I don’t need you!”

No matter where you are in the hierarchy, you have the power to make decisions that matter. If you can prove — to yourself and the higher-ups in that hierarchy — that you can make good decisions (like not asking your very busy boss questions that you should be able to work out for yourself), then your future’s already looking brighter.

Conditions of Satisfaction

Depending on your job, you may not even care enough to make those good decisions. You might just be punching the clock and counting the hours until you can punch it again to go home and forget about work entirely. If this is the case (as it sadly is with most of us at some point in our lives), you’re probably not considering your own Conditions of Satisfaction.

With his physical size and giant “cowboy” personality, it begins to make sense why Jeffrey works exclusively with high growth companies. This ties into his own personal Conditions of Satisfaction — that is, three rules that make any job he accepts worth his time:

  • Make Money
  • Grow Professionally
  • Have Fun Doing It

“If I can’t have all three of those things,” says Jeffrey, “I don’t want to work with you!”

Clean Your Own Bathroom

“No matter how big you think you are,” says Jeffrey, “there’s always someone bigger.” Taking this into account allows him to check his ego, which plays out in other constructive ways. For instance, even though he’s the top boss in charge of everything at his company, he cleans the bathrooms in his office. This serves two purposes:

  1. It’s an equalizer. “I want people to know there’s no job that’s beneath any of us,” says Jeffrey.
  2. It’s leading by example. “If I’m cleaning the bathrooms,” says Jeffrey, “if I ask you to help take out the trash or pick up around your desk, you really can’t complain much!”

“Never lose sight of what’s happening within your business,” he says. If you’ve ever walked into the bathroom of a restaurant and it’s sloppy, for instance, do you really want to eat there? “If the bathroom is really bad, then what’s the kitchen look like?”

Being involved on every level of your business — no matter what it is — ensures that you don’t miss the little details that make a big difference in the minds of your employees and potential customers.

“The biggest thing I want to leave with people: no matter what you do; no matter what changes you make — let’s just say you do make a mistake — no one’s going to die. That’s got to be a mantra for you. If you want to think big and act bigger, you have to realize by and large, for what we’re doing in our business every day, no one is going to die. So what happens if you fail? Get over it. Move on. It cost you more money? Move on. It took you more time? Move on. You’ve got to redo it? Move on, and just get it done. There’s going to be a million things that are going to get in the way of you doing it, but it doesn’t get done until you start with the first one. So just keep pushing. Be relentless and just steamroll through those things because there’s a pony in there on the other side, and that’s what you have to go fight for.”


Resources from this episode:

Books by Jeffrey Hayzlett

The Art of Charm bootcamps

You’ll also like:

-The Art of Charm Toolbox
-Best of The Art of Charm Podcast

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