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Have you ever felt like you can’t get out of your own way? How can we overcome old habits and step into a new version of ourselves for more success? This is exactly what entrepreneur and author of 3 Alarms, Eric Partaker helps CEOs and entrepreneurs do.
Eric Partaker is a CEO of the Year, Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK, Formerly Skype, McKinsey, Serial Entrepreneur, Peak Performance Coach for CEOs and Entrepreneurs.
Learn more about Eric and his work at > www.ericpartaker.com.
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Transcription of Interview
(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)
Adam G. Force 00:00
And we are recording. Alright, so, three, two and one. Hey, Eric, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show. How’s everything going, man?
Eric Partaker 00:10
Going really well, thanks a lot. I’m excited to be here. And yeah, thanks for everyone who’s given us their time to listen, really appreciate that too.
Adam G. Force 00:20
Absolutely. Yeah, well, we’re gonna give them some juicy bits here and talk about some good stuff that will help their businesses. So, you know, before we get into it, I always like to know, I mean, everyone, you know, we tell a little bit about the history and stuff, but I kind of want to share Well, what’s happening most recently in your world these days? What are you focused on? what’s what’s the drama, The exciting stuff?
Eric Partaker 00:42
Yeah, well, okay. So, on the drama front, one of one of the most challenging things I had to deal with recently, I mean, I’ve done a lot of different things, you know, I’ve been a consultant help build up Skype, and it’s early days, and, and then I built a chain of restaurants here in the UK. And, sadly, the whole thing, you know, after 15 years of work with, with COVID, the whole thing went into bankruptcy, because just 00 sales, zero revenue environment, and cash eventually runs out. And so so that, that was, that was a big blow. And, you know, it took a while to kind of come to terms with that, but it also in a weird way, was easy or easier to come to terms with, because there’s little you can do, right, and so when it’s kind of totally outside of your control like that, then it somehow does make it you know, easier. But on the upside on the other side of the equation, you know, I was just on the board of that company. And, you know, my main focus right now is helping entrepreneurs, leaders, you know, CEOs just, you know, do do a much better job at just, you know, closing that, helping helping them helping them scale up not just you know, the the entities or the things that they’re working out, but helping them scale up themselves as well. So helping them become kind of like better people at the same time. And that’s, that’s what I do, you know, my day job now I work with, with with individuals and their organizations. And so that’s been very exciting. And the other exciting thing is I just wrote a book. So just read a book called The three alarms, out on Amazon. And that’s essentially a guide into how to close the gap between kind of your current and your best self.
Adam G. Force 02:56
Ah, I love that. Cool. And was there a particular inspiration for, you know, taking on the, from what I hear from a lot of other people in my network, the challenge of writing a book?
Eric Partaker 03:12
I mean, it is very challenging. Yeah. I, I had the benefit of somebody who helped me with the whole process and, and the whole thing. His name is Jeff Goins. Great guy. And he did, he did demystify it for me. And it’s like anything, though, it’s, you think it’s hard to do it? Right. So it’s like my seven year old when I said to him four weeks ago. Okay, so let’s take the training wheels off your bike. Yeah. And he was like, Ah, no, he’s like, that’s not gonna work. And sure enough, what happens? You take the training wheels off. And suddenly his face just lights up, because after the second or the third attempt, he suddenly go in for, you know, a good like, three seconds. Yeah. And what seemed impossible suddenly becomes, you know, possible. So it’s like, that was written a book as well. Right? So it’s like that way, everything.
Adam G. Force 04:18
Pretty much, you know, it’s funny, you bring up something, you know, with family, and, you know, my wife and I had a baby back in April. So he’s just over seven months, and he’s getting to that point where he’s like, trying to stand up, right. He’s like, climbing up like with his hands on the couch and getting up on his feet. And for the past several weeks now I watch him stand up, fall down, stand up, fall down. Sandell Hold on, and it’s just such a prime example of what you’re talking about. You’re not thinking about, oh, you know, I failed. It’s too hard. I’m just not going to do it anymore. Right. And you just keep going. He’s not even thinking about it so innocent, you know. And it doesn’t matter how many times he falls down sooner or later, that habit that constitency of him doing it every day, he gets better, he gets stronger. And next thing you know, he’s running right?
Eric Partaker 05:06
Totally. Yeah, exactly. It’s like that for like, literally everything in life. And, and so if there is anybody listening who is thinking about writing a book, and you’re like, I’ll get around to it someday, or I think it’s so daunting. A book gets written by doing the number one most important thing sitting down to write. And, yeah, if you focus on that on a daily basis, it gets done eventually, you know, you just focus on continually starting and the finishing takes care of itself.
Adam G. Force 05:36
Yeah, I’ve gotten a little obsessed with the idea of habits. And just doing small, attainable habits every day, every week, whatever it might be, consistently. And when you do that, it just slowly chips away. Same thing with the book, right? You’ll just slowly it’ll get there sooner or later, you just got to consistently put the effort in. So it’s awesome that you put it together, you got it done, it’s out. So congratulations on that. So let’s talk a little bit about it. I mean, what so let’s just like in a nutshell, let’s just we’ll break it down. But in a nutshell, what is the intention of the book for, say, the people who are listening to this podcast? What do they get learning from it?
Eric Partaker 06:21
Well, I like to think of it this way, if I had a magic button, and I went around the world, and I said to every single person, look, if you press this button, you’ll instantly become the best version of yourself. Is there anybody on the planet? Who would press the button? Right? It’s like, everyone, yes, a regard. And I think this is our one universal faith, regardless of you know, religion, or spirituality, or geography or age, I think the one thing that unites us all is a desire to unlock our potential to become all that we’re capable of being and to become the best version of ourselves. And so if that’s a universal desire, the book then starts from Okay, well, if we all want this, what’s the issue that, you know, it’s not, it’s not the desire, we all have that. And we want to do that. So the issue is more how, you know, how do we do it? How do we navigate, you know, the up and down terrain of, of life. And so the book presents three house, if you will, okay. So how to how to step into being your best to the power of identity, how to optimize yourself for action, through increased productivity, and how to get much better at handling the unexpected, by building your anti fragility, so identity, productivity, and anti fragility, IPA, like the beer but better for you.
Adam G. Force 07:54
So I know, you can handle the unexpected based on your restaurant story that you just just gave me. Let’s before we get into that, I want to talk a little bit about productivity, because it’s popular for people. Now, you you’ve been, you know, reading your biography here, you know, as a CEO, coach, mentor, you’ve got a top 30 entrepreneurs in the UK, you know, all kinds of, you know, recognition, right. So you’ve done a lot. And I’m just curious, what have you learned about productivity from your experience over the years? Right, so can you tell us a little bit about that the evolution of yourself?
Eric Partaker 08:39
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So first, it starts with the fact that I used to be the world’s worst procrastinator. Yep. And I mean, I would sit down, and within five minutes, I’d be distracted working on something else, I’d sit down, be trying to focus on something, I feel this, like, insatiable desire to have to move and do something else. And it was just awful. So all of my success came at, you know, I have a heavy price and with a lot of a lot of pain. And there’s a handful of things which I implemented, which I talked about in the in the book, amongst other things that have had a profound effect in my experience, and in the experience of, you know, the people that I coach and so what I’ll what I’ll get people listening is three powerful routines. And of course, there’s more here, but you know, these are three things to run with. So, one is recognizing that a productive day doesn’t begin the day out, but it begins the night before was getting eight hours of sleep. Yeah. And if you get less than eight hours asleep, your studies clearly demonstrate that you’re going to be more prone to distraction You’re gonna have trouble focusing at some point, probably be a bit more irritable and anxious. All things which don’t bode well for productivity. Yeah. And so the way that we protect our eight hours asleep is by launching a campaign against all of the artificial light that really shouldn’t be going into our eyes so late at night, because when the light from your phone, from your TV, from your tablet from your laptop, when that gets picked up by the eyes, it goes into, literally gets picked up at the center of your brain by a gland called the pineal gland. And then that gland then says, Oh, it’s still daylight out. So we’re going to start producing melatonin. And your melatonin production drops by 50%. You need melatonin to sleep well, it’s a sleep inducing hormone. And so the first routine to implement is what’s called a digital sunset. And it says simply means all the electronics go off one hour before bed, so that you can go to sleep with a brain full of melatonin and actually get the eight hours of rest that you need. The second thing is, how do you start your day in the morning, and most people start their day me included in the past now these days anymore, but they start their day in reactive mode. And what I mean is that they’ll start their day, typically in their inbox on social media, looking at the news, they might do this on the way to the bathroom, while they’re still in bed on their way to you know, have some coffee. And this really damages productivity once again, because it puts you into this scatterbrained kind of, you know, state, and instead, what I would encourage people to do, and you’ll experience a huge shift in your productivity, if you follow this is just to start the day, focus on being creative, rather than being reactive. And by being creative. I mean, you know, work on one of the top three most important things that you know you should be doing, but that you haven’t provided any time for yourself to do. Yeah, and if you just do that, for the first hour of the day has a huge impact on the rest of the day. And then the last routine I’d recommend people install is the routine or the habit of single tasking. We lose 28%, on average of our workday to the inefficiency that results from jumping from one thing to the next, start working on a presentation in your inbox, you reheat your coffee, go back to the presentation, you answer the phone, you answer an email, go back to the presentation, suddenly, the hours up, you look back and be like I only worked 12 minutes in the presentation. So 28% loss of the day, means that if we extrapolate that to the working weeks within a year, that means that the average person there’s loses 13 weeks a year to jumping around on stuff, the inefficiency that results from doing that 13 weeks a year, that means the average person is losing an entire quarter every year, they’re playing with three quarters in their year instead of the full four. So of course, they don’t feel productive. And if we extrapolate that across a 40 year career, the average person loses a decade. What could you do with an extra decade? That’s like two extra careers there? Yeah, so. So we get better on this last routine by really focusing on single tasking. And that’s, you know, phone out of sight off, don’t have 17 browsers open, you know… Don’t if you’re working on a document on your computer, put it in full screen mode, just eliminate all of the distractions, and really catch yourself and focus on I’m going to work just on this for 30 minutes, just on this for 60 minutes. I’m not going to jump around to anything until that block of time is done. And when you do that, you can reclaim that missing quarter every single year.
Adam G. Force 14:03
Yeah, wow. I mean, that’s a lot of time that you miss out on I you know, and I I’m one of these people to where, you know, several years ago, you know, starting my first business I was I was all over the place and I know exactly what you mean, when you sit down. It’s it’s the I always talk about the cringe list, which is like things we don’t necessarily want to do but have to be done. And yeah, it’s like sitting down to do that presentation. But you end up like doing, you know, some something else that you enjoy doing. And, and you’re easily distracted. And I see you know, through our our captivate program, we have a lot of students that come through there, and it’s the same story because we have all these ideas. There’s so much stimulation coming at us throughout the day, and work on someone I spoke to once before put it really well. They’re like, You’re like a dog who sees a squirrel and you chase the squirrel, right? It distracts you and you run after it. It’s like There you go. And I know this is a major pain point for a lot of entrepreneurs and something I had to work really hard on. And I still continue to always work hard on his discipline. And you can’t have discipline if you don’t have focus, right. So the things you’re talking about, I think, are instrumental to nurturing that focus.
Eric Partaker 15:23
100 100%. And the more productive days you can string together, you know, the more focus that you have, the happier, more fulfilled, you’ll end up being because you’ll be achieving the things that you you you want to be doing. You know,
Adam G. Force 15:39
That’s it. That’s the bread and butter, right? It’s like, you have something you want to do. You got to have a you know, I think Jim Rohn put it, I think it was Jim Rohn. He said, You can struggle through the discipline, or you can struggle with the regret.
Eric Partaker 15:54
Yeah, so pick…
Adam G. Force 15:55
Pick one. Yeah, I mean, cuz it’s hard it mean, we’re all human, right? Not ever, you wake up at four 430 in the morning, and your emotional side wants to hold you back. And your logical side says, This is what you need to do in order to become the best version of yourself that you want. Right? So you have to you just got to make these decisions and stick with it. But we all struggle with that. Right?
Eric Partaker 16:22
Yeah. 100% and that, you know, that’s a good segue to another area that I cover within the book, which is about identity, young kids. If If you can bring more intentionality into your life and and say this is who I want to be, you’ll, you’ll suddenly tap into the power of behavior following you know, identity and what I mean is that we get to choose you know, as a kid if I if I give my seven year old was talking about Leo before my seven Yeah, if I put a spider man costume I don’t need to tell Leo then. Okay, this is what you should do next. I put him in the costume. He doesn’t need training, he doesn’t need instruction. Immediately he’ll start shooting webs from his wrist jumping around and making funny noises. Right? Yeah. So and we all have this this superpower you know, as kids we you put the superhero costume on and behavior follows identity it just we just we become that person. And so I do this on the three most critical fronts of life every single day, the three most important things people you know, are are consumed, you know, with her about his their health, you know, their wealth and I don’t mean like turning into a billionaire I just mean you know, having the wealth and the means that provide you with the life that you want. Yeah. And, and our relationships, health, wealth and relationships, also the three most search topics on the internet. Right, so So I took that as a as a guide, and I chose and created a superhero identity on each of those fronts. So something a phrase that represented me at my best and then I put that into my phone and time that identity to go off to show at the time of day that would most benefit from being powered by that superhero version of me so at 6:30am the first alarm goes off it says world fitness champion because that’s me when I go into the gym I it’s that version of me right? At 9am next alarm goes off world’s best coach to remind me how to show up for my clients and at 6:30pm most powerful alarm of all goes off for me it says world’s best husband and father to prompt the question How would the world’s best husband and father walk through that door right now? Yeah, so by bringing that intentionality into play, I you know, I have something to shoot for right and something to measure myself against. And, and it just changes the way I show up on on those three fronts.
Adam G. Force 19:14
So good way to trigger that because you know, we don’t we we can think about these things, acknowledge them, even write them in our journals. But as the days go by, if we’re not reminding ourselves, we may not show up that way, right? We we forget or we we digress in some way to old behaviors. I love the idea of triggers like that. And and the I wrote down what you said, I think this is a great quote, behavior follows identity, right. So to become that person, you know, we as people fight, fight, fight to do stuff with their business, their life, whatever it might be. They start realizing that they have to become a different person. And you have to take these steps to do it. And the first thing is to what does it feel like to be that person and remind yourself, so I love the identity strategy that that’s pretty cool.
Eric Partaker 20:11
Exactly, exactly. And it’s all about making this stuff. Like super simple and, you know, easy to, to apply. And I think people need less theory more kind of like, practice. Right?
Adam G. Force 20:24
Yeah, I think that I’m glad you said that. Because it’s true. I mean, you can you can read a lot of books from guys like Robert Kiyosaki and others, you know, say someone’s trying to get rich, whatever it is, there’s a lot of theory, and it’s inspiring, and it can give you some perspective shifts, but there’s not a lot of practicality and, you know, anecdotes or steps you can take, you know, to start doing those things the right way, right, you’re kind of left to figure it out on your own.
Eric Partaker 20:53
Totally, totally. So, so and so in, in, in the book, I take people through lots of practical tools to help them, you know, step into being their best on the identity front, improve their productivity. And, you know, we didn’t, we didn’t talk about it much, but there’s loads of tools in there about building your anti fragility as well. And just, you know, as a wrap up point, as a thank you, for anyone who’s listened all the way up to this point, you know, like, seriously, big thank you to you. And, and if you head over to my website, as a as a thank you additional Thank you. I’m glad to gladly give you caught a free digital copy of the book. So if you just head over to Ericpartaker.com. And you could pick up a free digital copy of the book. And there’s also some free training and worksheets to help you embed some of the some of the concepts. So if you’re listening, and you want to take any of this stuff a little bit further, go a little bit deeper. There you go. And we’ll welcome you with open arms.
Adam G. Force 22:17
Yeah, me, and we’ll have the URL in the show notes, you know. And Eric, you know, but we got a couple minutes. Before we wrap up. I also just want to kind of touch on that last part that we didn’t talk about too much. Just real quick. Give me a little insight on that, was it fragility? Is that you said?
Eric Partaker 22:35
Anti fragility? Yeah. So Nassim Taleb, he wrote a great book called anti fragile, and basically, what so when you ask the average person, what’s the opposite of fragile, don’t say something like robust or resilient. And it’s not really the opposite, you know, so fragile, if you’re a fragile person, you get ahead a few times you break if, if you’re a robust person, you can take more of a beating, but eventually, you know, still break. If you’re a resilient person. Well, definition of resilience is simply that it absorbs shock, and it stays the same. So anti fragile means the more you get hit, the stronger you become. I say, and, and that’s where we want to get to, that’s where we want to be playing. And people people may think, Well, yeah, but Okay, now we’re getting all theoretical, this, this isn’t real. But you’re dead wrong. Because every single person listening right now, all of us, our bodies are like the perfect Temple of antifragility. So what I mean is that you stress a muscle and it causes it to grow. Right, you expose the body to germs and bacteria builds the immune system. So you’re already anti fragile. You just need to get what’s naturally going on in your body, which isn’t intelligence in and of itself, right. And you need to get that into your head into your mind consciously because it’s happening without you even realizing it subconsciously. And the way we do that, you know, that the top tip I’ll give people is simply to reframe stress, it starts there. There’s loads of other tips in the book to build on that. But at the Foundation, it’s reframing stress. And what I mean by that is that stop pursuing, stop stressing yourself out by pursuing a stress free life and exactly and instead, realize that stress builds strength. And in the same way that if you’re at the gym and you step towards a dumbbell rack and you pick up a weight and you curl it and it you know, makes you stronger, every every challenge, you know, moment of adversity thing that doesn’t go your way. Turn life into one Big mental gym, all of these are being are like dumbbells or weights being presented to you. And you can either run away from them and then you don’t get stronger, you can step towards them. You know, grab hold complete, the repetition becomes stronger as a result, right?
Adam G. Force 25:15
Eric Partaker 25:17
So that’s where antifragility starts with the reframing.
Adam G. Force 25:20
Nice. Yeah, I love it. Man, I love I love all three topics that you’re hitting, because they’re so important. You know, we get really hung up on the tactics and the business skills. And yes, you need business skills, but they’re gonna be worthless if you haven’t mastered these fundamentals of productivity in different disciplines and habits and things like that. So that sounds like you’re offering a lot of good perspective shifts, but also practical steps people can take to start implementing them in a way that’s understandable.
Eric Partaker 25:52
Yeah, that’s the whole point. That’s, that’s what I was shooting for. So yeah, so yeah. Yeah. I hope that was useful.
Adam G. Force 26:03
It is it is. And I appreciate you taking the time to jump on and just kind of share your story with us. And, you know, I gotta get a hold. Can I get we get you for one more minute? Yeah, yeah. I just wanted to hear a little more on the, you mentioned the restaurants, they had a chain of restaurants. What was that all about? I mean, so you start, it’s more like several restaurants Like what? Like, what’s up with that?
Eric Partaker 26:29
Yeah, so I help build up Skype in it’s early days. And then this is going back like 1615 years ago. And then we had we sold to eBay for about $4 billion. And then after that, I was thinking, what to do next. And I was, you know, I live I live in London in the UK, but I grew up grew up in Chicago, even though I haven’t been I haven’t lived in the US for for 20 years. Yeah. And, and I thought, well, when did I have the most fun? And it was in the restaurant industry. And then I was missing Mexican food. So I decided to start a chain of, well, it was one restaurant, and then you know, eventually it grew into 12. And, and, yeah, and so I was just kind of following, you know, following a passion and did that for you know, well over a decade. So. So yeah,
Adam G. Force 27:28
That is a tough industry too, man and to do multiple restaurants. Kudos to you.
Eric Partaker 27:34
Yeah, it is. It is. Thank you. It’s very, very tough industry. But if you kind of pay tribute to what people find most important, which for me, it’s all about the flavor at the end of the day, and then you get rewarded.
Adam G. Force 27:49
Love it, man. Awesome. Well, listen, thanks again. Congratulations on all the great work and the book that you have out. Sounds like it’s gonna help a lot of people. So guys, you can pop on over to Ericpartaker.com. It’s spelled just like it sounds really. So pretty simple. Grab a free copy of the book. I mean, you have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain. Right, Eric, thanks again. We’ll catch you next time, man.
Eric Partaker 28:14
Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Adam G. Force 28:16
All right. Bye bye bye.