March 01, 2019
Once I figured out that becoming a successful entrepreneur is a learnable skill, I became a self-development junkie.
It's not that I would not have figured out on my own some of the things I learned from my mentors, it's that it would have taken me significantly longer.
And if I can pay someone to compress the time it takes me and my business to get from point A to point B, I'm always happy to do it.
One of the masterminds I have belonged to for over 3 years is ProCoach founded by Andrew Barber-Starkey.
We meet every quarter, and for every meeting, Andrew teaches one of 12 "success factors."
Then we're supposed to focus on that success factor for the whole quarter.
The topic for the last quarterly meeting was "Develop Centers of Influence."
Centers of Influence are essentially people who have the ability to help you accomplish something—through their skills, resources, or connections.
As part of the teaching, Andrew makes us go through two exercises.
The first is about listing 5 most pivotal moments in our lives, identifying people who contributed to these moments, and detailing what specifically their contribution was all about.
The other exercise is about creating a list of 10 centers of influence you would reach out to in the coming quarter and specifying why this would be a good idea.
If you've been paying attention, you will notice that I said that Andrew teaches one of 12 success factors every quarter. It means it's a 3-year cycle.
You will also notice that I mentioned that I've been part of his mastermind for over 3 years.
Which means, I am now going through these success factors for the second time.
Because I take notes on my iPad using the GoodNotes app (which I strongly recommend), I now have thousands of pages of notes from all events I've attended—including all 3+ years' worth of notes from ProCoach.
So at the last meeting, I could compare the notes I was taking in 2019 to notes I took in 2016.
And this is when I had a series of breakthroughs.
I realized that the only people I listed in 2016 who didn't make it to my 2019 list were those to whom I tried to reach out and didn't get anywhere with.
Somehow, Sir Richard Branson didn't immediately jump on the idea that he could be promoting Trademark Factory® to his partners and followers.
So I took him off my list.
Other than that, my 10-person lists from 2016 and 2019 were virtually identical.
Then I looked at my first exercise from 2019 and realized that I've been approaching centers of influence wrong all this time.
I saw, clear as day, that not one of my pivotal moments happened because I intentionally approached the person instrumental in that moment with a specific request to help me accomplish that pivotal moment.
Those pivotal moments just happened because that person was part of my life.
Just to give you one example, I met my wife when I was paying a visit to one of my clients.
She was his executive assistant and, apparently, he kept telling her how amazingly awesome I am.
In other words, my client had done the heavy lifting and pre-framed her perception of me.
Long story very short, she moved in to live with me after we've known each other for an hour and a half.
To a certain extent, I owe my happy family life with 3 amazing kids to that client.
But had I ever approached him with a request to indoctrinate his assistant about my charming personality?
Of course not!
What I had been doing is building a relationship with him that went beyond simply taking his money for drafting contracts and offering legal advice.
And that's when I realized the true meaning of "developing centers of influence."
It's not about finding ways to use influential people to accomplish your immediate goals.
That's what joint ventures are for.
Developing centers of influence is all about building real relationships with people who might end up creating those pivotal moments for you.
That was probably one of the biggest epiphanies I've had lately.
I'm curious to hear from you if this resonates with you at all.
Simply respond to this email with your comment on what this means to you.